Featuring Dasha Bogdanova (Belly Dance Deva) and Loret Farris (Bee Priestess) Join us as we honor our Mother, the Earth, and the many gifts and blessings she bestows on us.
Featuring Linea Van Horn, Astrologer at Large, Certified Astrologer, Founder and Past President of the San Francisco Astrological Society.
Location: Unitarian Universalist of San Mateo, 300 E. Santa Inez, San Mateo, CA
People in our culture often have a tendency to undervalue themselves. This is especially true for women. One of the reasons for this is that we live in a hierarchical culture that values domination, control, and competition. In the business world we hear language such as ‘dominating the market share’, ‘beating our competition’, ‘controlling the sales process’. In our personal lives we might complain that ‘he’s too controlling’, or ‘she’s competing for attention’, or ‘I wish they’d stop dominating the conversation’. Everyone is trying to ‘be the best’ so they aren’t left hanging at the ‘bottom rung’ of the ladder.
In a ranking system there is a lot of comparing ourselves with others for respect, influence, and power. In a linking system there is more emphasis on expressing affection and a sense of caring and love for others, which promotes feelings of security and connectedness. Love, friendship, and compassion are all characteristics of ‘linking’ behavior.
Our tendency to rank ourselves against others plays a vital, yet detrimental, role in our culture. Because so few people can make it to the top, that means that most of us tend to be somewhere closer to the bottom – which leads to the tendency to undervalue ourselves. Some people roll with it. They boost their moral with positive thoughts or by associating with caring friends and family. Others let consistent self-undervaluing cause them to sink into feelings of worthlessness, shame, or feeling like they’re not enough, or will never have enough.
Secrets to having more self-worth
Then make a second list of people with whom you feel bad, or uncomfortable in some way. Maybe when you’re with them you feel anxious, or you feel you’re not as good as they are, or with whom you feel sad or discontented in some way.
I have a big decision to make. Can I do so with making no mistakes? I’m right in the midst of the dilemma of which
choice to make. Either choice has a positive or potentially negative outcome. Neither choice is perfect. So I sit on the fence wavering, “Which choice should I make?” While wavering, my mind makes its way back to some of the “poor” choices I’ve made in the past. You know – the MISTAKES!
How many of you have had this experience of trying to make a decision? How annoying it is to have “poor” choices from the past invade your thought processes creating further confusion and indecisiveness!
Or maybe you’ve had the experience of going about your normal routine when a memory, or little video clips (I call them bloopers), of past mistakes floats uninvited into your consciousness. Then all of a sudden you’re pulled into a low mood with feelings of regret, or even shame. You might even begin to feel that you’re flawed, that everything you do is not good enough, or you might begin to beat yourself up for every mistake you’ve made. Now it’s even harder for you to make a decision!
You might even begin to doubt your ability to make “good” decisions. Does this ever happen to you? It happens to me too, and to many others.
We live in a culture that’s focused on production and results. Mistakes are often viewed as failure, or wasted time, or wasted resources. Mistakes are viewed as poor choices that we need to feel shame about, even punished for.
WHAT IF THERE WERE NO MISTAKES!
What if you lived your life as if there were no mistakes, only choices – in your personal life, in your relationships, and in your business, or on your job?
What if you changed your perspective and realized that every day you are simply faced with choices. What if you viewed each choice as an opportunity to learn something that will contribute to your growth and evolution as a conscious being? Some choices will bring immediate gratification infused with feelings of achievement and success from which you can learn and replicate. Others will create challenges that catalyze opportunities for personal growth. Each choice creates the prospect of providing something of value that can be applied to future decisions.
This thought was revolutionary for me. A friend and colleague, Joie, once said to me, “You’ve made all the right choices, whether you’ve felt secure about them, or not.” What a reassuring thought! When I think back, every choice I’ve made, even the challenging ones, were huge learning and growth opportunities for me. They’ve made me who I am today!
What if every choice you made was viewed from the perspective of: How did this worked well for me? Is this something I can, or should, replicate? Should I do this differently in the future? What can I learn from this? Then there would be no judgment, no criticism – only opportunities to learn something of great value.
I think I am going to try this new perspective for 30 days and see if I can rid myself of the regrets and shame when I make a decision that might not be perfect. I like the perspective of viewing every “choice” as an opportunity to learn. Want to join me? Now I feel a bit better about the decision I have to make!
If you are struggling with choices and decisions and can’t see your way through the dilemma, or if you are carrying the burden of shame, guilt, or regret and it’s sucking the joy out of your life, then give me a call TODAY for a 30-minute complimentary consultation. You deserve to be living a satisfying and joyful life. Email Joy or call her at 415-819-8769.
Men who said Yes to that question made about $40,000 a year more than those who said No.
Rich went on to say that there is also some evidence that psychopaths rise higher on the corporate ladder. It could also be phrased that business practices just reward psychopaths. It’s some kind of an inverse (perverse) ‘survival of the fittest.’
I know this is a pretty intense statement, but I’m tired of the way Corporate America runs roughshod over the environment and the little people. No wonder there is so much greed and competition combined with so little regard for what’s really important. Syria is losing its population because ‘psychopaths’ masquerading as rebels and military personnel are bombing and shooting up towns and the countryside in a violent effort to ‘eliminate the enemy.’ In the meantime, they are destroying a whole country and making it unfit for human habitation. Can someone please explain the rationale behind this!
Take a look at our ‘reputable leaders’ in Washington. They strut around with their big egos impeding any kind of progress just to be obstructionists. Half of Washington is caught up in a witch hunt, or in verbal bashing of fellow contestants, that almost no one is focusing on the real issues. Something is wrong with this picture!
How are we going to achieve global peace? How are we going to create a sustainable environment that will support our rapidly expanding global population? How are we going to ensure that every child has the food and medical attention they need, and deserve? What are we going to do when, not if, the icebergs melt and sea water rises, flooding the low lands (which includes our costal populations and the lowlands around the Bay). How can any of us sleep at night when there is so much inequity in the world?
We have a lot of big issues that need to be addressed. Many want to do something but don’t know how, or don’t have the courage, or support, or think they need permission to speak up and take a stand.
Ever felt like you were getting shot down in the office…by other women?
Talk about the unkindest act of all.
To succeed, many of my corporate clients have been working hard to become more like men – tough, competitive, driven. For men this style obviously works. There’s a reason the “old boys club” has been around so long.
There is a big difference, though, in how men and women play the competitive game. Men dwell mostly in their heads and are less ruled by emotions. They like to compete – be the top dog – yet they don’t personalize the battle. They go out for drinks after a heated conference room battle and hash out the latest ball game like the best of friends.
A women’s cultural and natural inclination is to form circles of collaboration where we can support, listen to, and encourage one another. As a result, when we start throwing punches like the boys, there’s an internal cost. It’s hard to divorce ourselves from our feelings and stay in our heads. And in an effort to stay one-up, the cost can mean keeping other women down.
So what’s the solution? One is for women to build on what comes naturally: circles of collaboration. Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the Hunt, refused to follow the traditional female role of wife and mother. Instead she asked her father, Zeus, for a bow and arrow so she could roam free in the woods with her circle of nymphs. Artemis and the nymphs were self-sufficient, hunting and supporting each other. They created a circle of collaboration.
There is a growing tradition of female mentoring in US corporations. There just isn’t enough of it YET! Are we really too busy or too competitive to stop and help one another through the ranks? Mentoring should be the type of collaboration women can embrace. I know this is happening in some of the younger newer and savvier companies, but we still have a long way to go in the larger more male dominated corporations.
If you feel you are not getting the support and encouragement you need from other women, then I invite you to visit one of our In Her Name Circles. We are an open community of women who honor each other and the Feminine Divine, as well as the Masculine.
- build nurturing relationships
- encourage self-expression
- share feminine wisdom
- explore topics that are of concern for women
- encourage personal growth and exploration
- support the empowerment of women
- ignite the spark of the divine within
- connect more deeply to the Divine that is Feminine
Gender stereotyping still occurs in our society. One of my clients, a very savvy twenty-something, shared with me that her supervisor pulled her aside and told her, “not to be so emotional,” after giving a talk on a project she was passionate about. Not one to be easily intimidated, my client pointed out to him that he would never accuse one of her male colleagues as being “too emotional!”
I work with many women entrepreneurs and business women who have successfully engaged their masculine active/doing sides. They are out there doing their work: supervising, selling, leading, networking, marketing, etc. Some are doing great! Others haven’t been able to find the right formula for success, or getting that steady flow of clients. They are doing everything right… but something’s off.
For the latter, I often wonder if they are sacrificing their full sensual feminine self by sliding too far into their ‘inner-masculine’ and becoming overly ‘male-identified’. Too often we women think we have to be as good as a man or even better in order to be successful. This can actually be counter-productive if it becomes a personal style that is abrasive, full-tilt assertive, or even overpowering.
Male-identification, I believe, is a feminist backlash in a society which still favors masculine qualities and ways of thinking. It’s time for women to let go of the past, reclaim our full feminine self, and step into the future. The Dalai Lama inferred when he said the world would be saved by the Western woman that we women have work to do. There’s no time to be hung up on an old paradigm that keeps women, and men, stuck in an outdated belief system.
During my own journey I came to realize that when a woman owns her inner-masculine, she has a greater chance of being successful in the business world. When a woman sacrifices her feminine self, however, it can leave her feeling disconnected from the true essence of who she is. Then a woman can come off as appearing abrasive instead of assertive, as bitchy rather than as ‘taking a stand’, as ‘being just like a woman’ when passionate, or as too ‘touchy-feely’ when showing empathy or compassion. I’ve also heard way too many tales of women being negative or demeaning to each other in the work-place, rather than being supportive and collaborative.
Another reason for the denigration of women is because we have a bad rep as the “weaker sex.” In reality, and in so many ways, the feminine is the more powerful, resilient and resourceful gender. I watched my mother-in-law hold everything and everyone together when my father-in-law went through several major health crises while her adult sons were almost paralyzed by worry and concern. This is more common than we women are credited for. The old paradigm keeps women stuck in stereotypical roles that are both no longer relevant and too confining for contemporary times.
Here I am, a ‘mature’ business woman with lots of life experience, who runs her own practice, and is a leader in her community… and it was still very challenging to set that boundary!
How many of you experience similar difficulties when having to confront someone for whatever reason?
As I ‘unpacked’ my feelings, attempting to get at the source of why this had me in such turmoil, I realized that, somehow, I felt wrong for setting the boundary. As if it wasn’t OK to protect my space.
I finally comprehended that I had been living by an old story about how I should show up in the world. It went something like this: “Be nice, accommodating and understanding of everyone else. It’s your job. It’s OK if others take advantage of you because of your niceness. They will like you for being so nice and accommodating. You must be liked. The world won’t be safe if you aren’t liked.”
Wow! Where did this come from? I had been giving everyone license to walk all over me. Where was my backbone? What happened to my power?
as a child that being super “nice” was expected. It became the ‘role’ I took on and played all my life. When I set that boundary, I confronted the role of “be nice and accommodating.” I said, “NO! I deserve to be respected.”
Even though I did the right thing, I still went through quite a bit of inner disturbance. This showed me how challenging it can be to change an old story about how one should show up in the world. Even if I was ready to change that old story, it still created a lot of inner conflict!
Changing these old stories can be challenging, especially when it generates fear or panic like it did for me. Some of these old stories might go like, “I’m not good enough so I’d better not take on anything too big.” Or, “It’s not safe to be seen so I better play it low-key.” Or, “I have to work really hard to make it. There’s no time for play or having fun.” Or, “Why bother to try? Somebody else will do it better.”
These old stories go on and on, simmering just under the radar in our subconscious, keeping us from living to our potential. When we try to stretch ourselves, our fear of actually doing something outside of the norm yanks us back into staying ‘safe’… but small. Is it safe to play it safe?
So, what happened with that colleague with whom I set the boundary? She realized that she had overstepped her bounds and was apologetic. She made appropriate amends. The result is that our friendship and collegial relationship is stronger than ever, and I feel more empowered because I took a stand and claimed my right to be respected.
Because the old stories which govern how we should live our lives can be so confining, I have dedicated a whole day of my upcoming workshop “Sacred Sexuality, the Shadow, and Loving Relationships” to helping you uncover and work through those old stories. This is a perfect time for you to awaken to your capabilities and find the courage to step into your big self!
This workshop is part of my program, Persephone’s Journey, a Wisdom School for Awakening Women. I hope you will join us and discover how you can live more fully and joyfully the life you have the potential to live.
Worrying is the emotional state of reliving past unpleasantries, or imagining future negative events, over and over again. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are times to be worried. But worrying unnecessarily can cause unwanted physical ailments. Scientists claim that concern, stress, or worry is a perfectly natural and normal state IF you are in immediate or potential physical danger. It gets your heart pumping and allows you to flee or fight the danger.
By worrying, however, you’re just reliving the past negative events or imagining future drama over and over again. Worry is characterized by the, “What if…” and, “If only…” thoughts. They haunt us before exams, during stressful days, or in snarled traffic. Imagined dangers and socially-conditioned thoughts like, “what will people think about me?” set off a state of anxiety that alerts the flight or fight syndrome just like real physical danger. It can also prevent us from making change or taking risks that might be much more beneficial than staying stuck.
Fortunately we don’t live in a time or place of real danger. But our modern world is full of “emergencies” and “perceived dangers” that we manufacture for ourselves through deadlines, personal and social conflicts, overwhelm, and with the negativity constantly spewed out by the media.
Since many of us put ourselves under continual pressure, our bodies just aren’t able to combat all the perceived threats. Having no outlets, like fighting or running away, our body absorbs the adrenaline and we begin to suffer real physical symptoms. These can vary from heart palpations, increased heart rate, muscle tension, to stomach tightening, nervous sweats, or even shortness of breath. When the perceived danger is over, the symptoms should subside, but many times they don’t. Some of my clients have gone to a doctor, or even the emergency room, frightened they’ve had an asthma or heart attack. The diagnosis is often that what they really need is to find a better way to cope with everyday stress and worries.
The mind perceives danger and wants to escape, but worry is not so easy to escape. A vicious cycle ensues because the more you worry the more your mind is unable make clear choices. Since thinking clearly is one of our greatest survival assets, we need to learn a way to eliminate worry instead of triggering a state that keeps us in the worry trap. We need to break the downward spiral by changing the tape in our minds and visualizing a better outcome.
1. Exercise – for pleasure not another “have to”
We know that running releases endorphins and other good hormones that help you release stress and feel better. Doctors agree that physical activity like running, bicycling, swimming, or walking on a regular basis helps you to sleep better and is good for your physical and mental state. But if you allow exercise to become yet another worry factor, it will undo all of the good exercising can do. By wearing pedometers, or heart rate monitors, and always pushing harder while not being happy with just moving, you inflate the worry – not decrease it! This might be fine if you’re training for the Olympics, but most of us use exercise to relieve stress and worry, not create more.
The key is to enjoy the exercise of your choice, and not allow it to become yet another thing to worry about. Agree to make exercising a “worry free zone.” Just feel good about moving. Allow yourself to enjoy the scenery or the company of others. Focus on your body and your breath while you exercise, and that will help to stop those negative worry tapes.
2. Slow down, take it easy
For many of us being told to “slow down,” is as useless as hearing “don’t worry.” The trouble is most of us don’t know how to slow down! Yoga and meditation are great ways to help you slow down and to bring a bit of inner peace and calm into your life. There are techniques, like guided visualizations, to help you slow down and stop worrying. Many of my clients find that listening to the guided visualizations I have made for them helps them to relax while also focusing their mind on positive input and suggestions. This helps them to both release stressors as well as to become aware of triggers so they can be avoided before they became full blown worries.
3. Postpone worrying
Another good tip is to postpone the worry. Write down any worry as it comes up. Then schedule a “worry” time. Keep the time short, though. Set a timer, and stop when it goes off! By having a list of worries, and a time set aside for worrying, you can forget them. You’re “fooling” your mind into forgetting the worry, thus breaking the pattern and, eventually, you will lose the “habit” of worrying.
Next week I’ll share some more tips on how to break the worry trap. In the meantime, if you feel consumed with worry and need help in creating a more positive and joyful life for yourself, then contact me today for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. Call at 1.415.819.8769 or email Joy at Joy@JoyReichard.com.