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I’ve moved!

My blog is growing up and I’ve moved to my own own domain. Please visit me at www.tactilesoul.com

See you there!

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The empty cup

I’m not really one for television, but I’m a chronic insomniac, so when I am too exhausted to sit at my computer, but unable to sleep, I channel hop through the wee hours.

During one such long night, I happened upon a Dr Phil show about mother-daughter relationships. Given that my own relationship with my mother is non existent I paused to watch. He made a profound statement that has remained with me and influenced much of the work I do with women. He was chatting to a mother who was obviously at her wits end, doing everything for her wayward and, from my perspective ungrateful, daughter, and he said “If you love your daughter so much, why don’t you take better care of her mother?”

Pow! As Oprah would say, an AHA moment!

As women we tend to put ourselves last on the list when it comes to nurturing. We give and give and give. We have to learn the art of taking care of ourselves. We need to realise that it is not possible to give from an empty cup. How do we teach our children to value themselves if we don’t lead by example? How can we expect others to value us if we do not value ourselves?
Taking time out of our crazy schedules to pamper ourselves isn’t always easy or even possible, so I’m going to suggest something that you can do in your own time, perhaps when you’re in the bath, or for ten minutes before the rest of the family wakes up.

Close our eyes and concentrate on how you really feel, take a journey inwards, step away from the ordinary and listen to your truest self. Ask yourself the question: If I truly love this person, what would I do for her? And dare to answer!

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Imagine a Woman

It was Kierkegaard who said “Life must be understood backwards; but… it must be lived forward.”

Does this mean we should disregard the present? Absolutely not! The actions we take now, the decisions we make, however small, are what influence the future. We don’t have control over what has happened in the past, our responsibility is to take what we can from the past, to learn from our experiences and to be the best of who we are today, to nurture and care for ourselves so that we can move forward to become who we were meant to be.

I make sense of my life through writing, and I suppose that was part of the reason for this blog. I have spent much of my life writing, from the first tentative letters spelling out my first and last names when I was four years old to the angst filled poetry of my teen years and the outpourings of longing to the boyfriend in the army. I’ve authored articles for magazines, written research papers, developed web sites (some of you may remember the worldofwomen site, another reason for this blog) and training material on many a diverse subject. All this writing together with my journaling has given me a pretty good insight into myself. I know where I’ve come from, I sometimes lose touch with who I am in between the roles I play daily, but the picture of where I am meant to be is becoming ever clearer.

I would like to share with you a poem that I keep taped to the front of my filofax. It serves to remind me of who I am and the purpose I am here to fulfil, I hope it will start you on your own journey back to your authentic self.

(Patricia Lynn Reilly, M. Div.)
Imagine a woman
who believes it is right and good she is woman.
A woman who honors her experience and tells her stories.
Who refuses to carry the sins of others within her body and life.
Imagine a woman
who believes she is good.
A woman who trusts and respects herself.
Who listens to her needs and desires and meets them with tenderness and grace.
Imagine a woman
who has acknowledged the past’s influence on the present.
A woman who has walked through her past.
Who has healed into the present.
Imagine a woman
who authors her own life.
A woman who exerts, initiates, and moves on her own behalf.
Who refuses to surrender except to her truest self and to her wisest voice.
Imagine a woman
who names her own gods.
A woman who imagines the divine in her image and likeness.
Who designs her own spirituality and allows it to inform her daily life.
Imagine a woman
in love with her own body.
A woman who believes her body is enough, just as it is.
Who celebrates her body and its rhythms and cycles as an exquisite resource.
Imagine a woman
who honors the face of the Goddess in her changing face.
A woman who celebrates the accumulation of her years and her wisdom.
Who refuses to use her precious life energy disguising the changes in her body and life.
Imagine a woman
who values the women in her life.
A woman who sits in circles of women.
Who is reminded of the truth about herself when she forgets.
Imagine yourself as this woman.

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Unity through fear

I am constantly amazed by the women that I meet, from all walks of life. I am touched by their beauty and encouraged by their strength.

We are united, as South African women, by a common fear (besides the fears we have for our children). Sexual violence.

This is most certainly true of women elsewhere in the world, but in most places it would be a peripheral, intangible fear, something brought to the fore with the reading of an article or a story on the news. South African women are haunted by violence daily. It is force fed to us from the minute we awake in the morning to the moment we close our eyes at night.

The vast majority of women that I meet have experienced some form of violation, yet still they continue to nurture and enrich the lives of those around them.

It is not only fear that unites us, but the strength to move forward and to build on our experiences, our refusal to be labelled victims, our ability to reach out to one another and take the painful steps forward, one at a time, to try to change a nation.

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Everyone’s life holds a unique blend of experiences, aspirations, passions, and perspectives. This is especially true for South African women.

I’ve had so many requests over the last few months to re-publish the WorldofWomen web site. Unfortunately, it’s not possible right now, so I decided to create this blog instead. (Bare with me, I’m a blog virgin!)

Churches expect us to be moral.
Schools expect us to be disciplined.
Friends expect us to be loyal.
Parents expect us to be obedient.
Husbands expect us to be faithful.
Children expect us to be constant.

There are no quick step solutions on how to be smarter, happier, or more attractive. Such messages ultimately fail because they ignore the most important thing a woman really wants – permission to be what she was created to be – permission to live from the heart and not from a list of “shoulds” and “oughts” that has left so many of us tired and bored.

Women need something else – a deeper understanding and connection to the things that stir our hearts, things that make us come alive – things like passion, adventure, fierceness and freedom.

We need to reconnect, to find the woman who knows

when to be silent and when to speak out
when to hang on and when to let go
when to give and when to preserve time for herself
when to surrender and when to take full command

Before we can fully connect with our deepest feminine soul we need to speak our own truth, from the depth of our own feelings.

We need to celebrate the true mystery and magnificence of Woman – not the woman of pop culture or contemporary society, but the woman defined and illuminated by the wisdom that already resides deep within our bones.

We need to remember, rediscover, and reclaim the woman we have forgotten to be.

We need to become the keeper of our own creative fires

We need to reconnect with ourselves and acknowledge our own infinite capacity to be both compassionate and powerful.

There is no challenge greater than remembering
the woman you have forgotten to be.

Fear is an impediment to progress, and a life lived fearfully is rarely the best one possible.

Climb a mountain. Crack the glass ceiling. Raise a child. Each is it’s own courageous act. Yet there is no greater act of courage than to give yourself permission to find an inner strength for yourself that can never again be silenced or denied.

Celebrate the magic, mystery, and magnificence that is
Woman.

She is there … inside you … the woman who knows how to be wild, free, intuitive, powerful, and compassionate. She’s living somewhere beneath the chaos in your life and the dust on your heart.

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