Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Woman You Were Meant to Be ~

Sarah Ban Breathnach outside her beloved Newton's Chapel
I've mentioned that one of the books I'm reading daily is Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy. And I want to share one of the ideas that was an entry in January about "The Woman You were Meant to Be." When I was in my twenties, I read a book with the title The Woman You Want to Be by Margery Wilson. And that idea stuck with me throughout the years as I went through all the grown-up years of my life. Oddly enough, it must have stuck with many women, Sarah in particular, because she has just released a new book with the title Peace and Plenty, and she talks about Margery Wilson's book. I'm going to give you some ideas and information from Sarah's new book, but I have to read it first!

So today, I want to present you with the idea set forth in a Simple Abundance entry: being your authentic self. You may not even  realize that you aren't being "the woman you want to be." But that doesn't mean you can't begin today to become more authentic.  It is Sarah Ban Breathnach who has written at least 10 books to help you get there. I've come to believe that it's basically a lifelong journey, and perhaps isn't one that will be completed on this earth. But I am willing to work toward becoming as close to who I really am, who God wants me to me, until the day comes that all my earthly work is over and done. Please think about the fact that women aren't supposed to be simply REactors to what happens to them in life, but the quality and ideals of our whole society depend on their being PROactors! I noticed many years ago that the women's faces I saw as I went through my day...whether at school or at church...were sad. And that's what called out to me from the page of this book...a line that describes this same condition.

In her introduction to her January 5th entry, Sarah quotes Emily Hancock, a woman who wrote The Girl Within. Her thesis is that women cannot mature unless and until they re-connect to the young girl they once were. Emily says: Many women today feel a sadness we cannot name. Though we accomplish much of what we set out to do, we sense that something is missing in our lives and--fruitlessly--search "out there" for the answers. What's often wrong is that we are disconnected from an authentic sense of self. 

Sarah goes on to say:                   
Has this ever happened to you? You are washing your face, and suddenly you do not recognize the woman staring back at you. "Who is this? you ask the mirror on the wall. No reply. She looks vaguely familiar but bears little resemblance to the woman you were expecting to see there....
But what's wrong? What is this sadness we cannot name? Here is a question that deserves loving meditation. Perhaps the heart of our melancholy is that we miss the woman we were meant to be. We miss our authentic selves. But the good news is that even if you have ignored her overtures for decades ("Wear red ...Cut your hair...Study art in Paris...Learn the tango...") your authentic self has not abandoned you. Instead she has been waiting patiently for you to recognize her and reconnect. Turn away from the world this year and begin to listen. Listen to the whispers of your heart. Look within. Your silent companion has lit lanterns of love to illuminate the path of Wholeness. At long last, the journey you were destined to take has begun. 

And Sarah has a whole book on re-connecting to your authentic self, beginning with  the simple process of remembering who you were as a young girl, then creating a collage to make your true self shine. Wouldn't you like to see the sadness of the women you know disappear? At the end of each day--even for me--I feel I've been in a battle to get it right, to get something done, to make a difference each day. And all of that may be well and good, IF I'm being my authentic self. Sit and meditate on the girl you once were. See if you can go back to the age of 10 and bring that happy spirit to the forefront of your mind. Write it down and add some pictures of that girl. This process is one that Sarah gives complete directions for doing in Something More. I'm just a blogger who wants you to think about who you've become in the years between birth and now. But my hope is always to get you to think about being all you can be...not just for yourself, but for your family. Even the effort will produce good effects. 


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