I am inspired, grateful and in awe of the women I have been fortunate enough to encounter on my life journey. Being a woman is not easy, and I personally was not comfortable with embracing the beauty of all that it is until my late 20s. I'm still a work in progress, and the whole "acknowledging and expressing I having feelings and emotions" thing is still a new hat I'm learning to wear, and one I sometimes wish I could pull over my face completely. The word "feminine" alone used to make me want to vomit. It brought to mind memories of having to waddle around middle school with a thick maxi pad between my legs, the mean girls in high school with their acrylic nails and anything having to do with crying or the color pink.
The feminine part of me laid dormant inside for so many years because it was a side I associated with weakness. Women were weaker at sports, made less money and CRIED! I watched the movie "A League Of Their Own" with my sister at least a hundred times and I lived by the mantra Tom Hanks shouted at his female players. "There is no crying in baseball!" To me, there was also no crying in life. Suck it up. Suppress. Forge ahead!
However, I am a woman and eventually this feminine creature inside of me was bound to boil up and demand to express herself. In my case, this happened very inconveniently up in the Himalayas, where I happened to be stricken with mother nature's monthly gift to women and was not allowed to enter into many of the temples and sacred places I was there to explore. I was angry that I was a woman and had to sit out of activities simply because of something as natural as a period. I walked around in shame because everyone knew why I was sitting out. I wore my period like the scarlet letter. This was horrifying, as I assumed they probably all assumed I was a pre-menstrual disaster and nobody would want to talk to me either. So I hid out and felt bad about myself for a few days until I encountered a being that was surrounded by a loving essence so strong I could actually see it.
He was a very special yogi, somehow able to see straight to my core, and apply love to all the places inside of me that hurt. It was at that moment that I learned that the times you are most upset are the times you have the greatest opportunity to grow. I sat back uncomfortably and listened to his message to me. He urged me to honor my feminine as sacred. Our world is entering into a time when deep healing and new creation is needed, both areas in which women are naturally gifted. In regards to my personal shunning of my femininity, he simply told me that the internal balance of masculine and feminine energy within every on of us is the key to survival. It was a lot to think about, but that was the turning point in which I began to see how I could be a better woman. It was no longer even for myself, it was for the greater good of all concerned.
Since this moment, I have been drawn to many wise women that embody the true nature of what it means to embrace womanhood and share it's gifts with the world. Here are some of the pearls these women shared with me on my journey to becoming a better woman:
Michelle Bauman, a life coach from California, has taught me more things than I have room to list here, but most importantly, she's taught me how to let go of self judgment. When I catch myself in self judgment now, I have to forgive my sweet self and move on with my day. When I stop spending so much time in judgment of everything I think I messed up at or am not good enough for, it opens up so much time to create more of what I DO want in my life. She's also taught me the value of vulnerability. Showing up as your authentic self has to happen for true, meaningful via connection with others. Absolute vulnerability is absolute protection. What makes you vulnerable also makes you beautiful.
Sophie Beaudrand-Venables from London and France is a shining example of a woman who is comfortable in her own skin and makes no apologies for who she is. She is a strong successful woman, yet kind, generous and loving. She reminds me that the two can co-exist. She also taught me the trick to the best scrambled eggs I've ever eaten (it's in the butter). Sophie appears far younger than her years, but appreciates every wrinkle and gray hair because they remind her she is alive.
Priyanka from Bulgaria worked her whole life to become highly successful in her career, and it gave her the means to buy all the toys in the world. The toys were fun to play with, but didn't make her happy. What made her truly happy was a spiritual connection with herself, and serving others. Bummer ... sorry to break it to you, but money does not buy happiness.
Sheva Freilich from Brooklyn and now Australia reminds me constantly that using the feminine power of compassion to channel empathy into action not only helps the world around us, but propels us into being better people by enriching ourselves in the process. She also makes a strong case for the importance of drinking green juice every day, as she glows from within and sparkles in the eyes.
Sharon Rosenveldt from California, a talented numerologist with psychic abilities that continually blow me away, is a very wise woman. Among her many quotes that have made me better, the two that stick with me are these: "how you do anything is how you do everything," and " you don't get what you want, you get what you expect." She's also a constant reminder to me to hold out for the right love. As a woman with five decades of marriage experience under her belt, I think she knows what she's talking about. It also never hurts to run potential partners by her, as she just always seems to know who will be a good fit for me.
Klara Pazmanyi Vajda from Hungary (she now resides in Boston) is a great woman that I have yet to meet, but I am grateful her beautiful daughter Bernadett has passed down her womanly wisdom to me on many occasions. These are some of my favorites: we should never worry about spending money on health, education or travel as the benefits greatly outweigh the cost. Your ex-boyfriend, slave-driving boss or any other negative person in your life do not pay rent in your mind, so stop letting them take up space! And here is my particular favorite: Too much plastic surgery and chemical peeling can make you look like a burn victim. Please know when enough is enough.
I look forward to sharing more of these pearls in the future, but until then I continue on my journey to become a better woman and am happy to say I'm loving the process.
When I struggle, the words of the Dalai Lama resound loud in my mind. At the Vancouver Peace Summit he said "western women will save the world." So let's start, slowly but surely and all do our parts to use our feminine power for the greater good. Spirit will meet us at our point of action. I'm there with you to hold your hand, even if you have acrylic nails and are wearing pink.
For more information on Michelle Bauman, visit www.michellebauman.com
Sharon Rosenveldt is available at isee4u "at" gmail.com