Recently, I took a self-imposed retreat to discover how to more fully operate from freedom, courage and joy. As women, unless the light of love is flowing fully in our family or in our intimate relationships, we’re not fulfilled because loving relationships are our top priority. What I discovered is that we often get derailed in our ability to give and receive love effectively because we disconnect from our self in basic ways that impede being love in the world or supporting others to share love through and with us in meaningful, consistent and effective ways. The reason this happens is we disconnect from the light that sustains our radiance.
Why? What is this light and how do we reconnect to it and enjoy the benefits? During my retreat, I read a profound book on this topic: The Spiritual Rules of Engagement by Yehuda Berg. I strongly recommend this book to all women.
What I learned is that a women’s soul is like a magnetic bowl that draws light and provides it with form. A woman is like a pump drawing the light in through the channel and into her life. Ironically, because of this function, no matter how successful, accomplished, smart, wealthy or attractive we are, we women ALL have a tendency to struggle with healthy self-esteem. Because, as we draw love to us as part of our primary function, through our natural feminine radiance and our top priority of loving relationships, we associate the fulfillment of this experience with receiving love from outside of us. We fail to recognize that the reverse is actually true. It’s our being and giving that fulfills us. In our confusion, we try to recreate the experience and end up seeking attention, approval and love, constrict in neediness and start down a negative spiral of addictive behavior, striving, overextending and lots of suffering. Feel familiar?
All of this creates major problems for us. We know intuitively that grasping repels what we seek. It’s like the adage, “when you need credit, you can’t get it, when you don’t, you have an abundance.” As soon as a woman looks to any external force – a man, her career, material possessions, a role or any relationship or circumstance to make her happy, she disconnects from her light, betrays her self, feels frustrated, empty, lonely and abandoned.
That’s why so many women accept lower wages, feel like victims, resent others and become unaware of our own wants, needs, opinions and preferences. We are often the last to make ourselves a priority, fill our own cup, or remain confident and honest in the face of disapproval or poor treatment. These are the tendencies I discovered in me when I stopped to look.
So … what does it take to reconnect and stay connected to your light? The first step is recognizing the light is within and must be sought there exclusively and proactively. Then the answers come. In my life, I’m choosing actions that reawaken my own values, goals and direction. I now follow a healthy diet, spend regular alone time doing what I love, exercise and meditate daily, cultivate my appetite for life, pursue my own interests, passions and hobbies and express my opinions, feelings and wants more clearly, fearlessly and often. I now notice when I try to place my happiness in my man, my kids or my job. Once identified, I can then withdraw this focus and return to my inner light.
I’m achieving success because my purpose is now to do whatever it takes to remain connected to MY light. This is how I best love the world! And it’s almost funny but when I am connected to my light, then love from others more abundantly flows to me. I’m getting better at receiving, too (another issue we woman face especially when feeling shame over grasping, and our confusion and unhappiness when disconnected from our light). I remind myself it’s a gift to others to provide them opportunities to please me, earn my love and respect and cherish me, not because I need it, but because that fulfills them and allows them to contribute. The result? Everyone wins.
Do I still struggle with this? Absolutely. Do I experience the positive effects of reconnecting to my light everyday? YES and so can you! If you’re suffering from frustration, resentment, loneliness, addictions, a sense of abandonment or lack of joy, take on the job of committing to the primary connection you crave; the one with yourself and God. All of that’s in you not outside of you, and it’s your ticket to a life of joy and fulfillment.
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As published nationally in Women’s Journals, June 2009