I Am Only One

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”

Helen Keller

Eighteen months ago, I became a vegetarian. I had been a vegetarian in my teens, around about the same time that I was a member of CND, boycotted Del Monte because of their support of the Apartheid regime in South Africa, had a subscription to the New Internationalist, was wearing Doc Martins before they were cool when the only place you could buy them was the Army Surplus store, and wanted to study medicine to rid the world of disease and suffering.

But somewhere along the road of life, wide-eyed teenage conviction that one’s purpose in life is to change the world for the better was overtaken by the cynicism of adulthood. Marriage, mortgage, motherhood and the mundanity of everyday life shrunk my world, blinkered my view and sapped every last ounce of energy I had. I no longer had the time for my convictions, never mind the courage of them.

So I pottered along in my perfectly lovely, perfectly normal life, telling my inner teenager that there really wasn’t any point anyway; who did she think she was with her ideas of world peace and ending starvation and universal healthcare. No one else was giving a shit and really it was time to quieten  down, get real and grow up. I told her one person couldn’t change the world, and she really needed to get over it.

And that was fine, for a while. But my life was out of kilter with my internal compass, and my chronic box of sadness was growing larger and larger. With the exception of my family, I had lost sight of the things that were important to me, things that I felt strongly about and felt compelled to stand up for.

Then, all of a sudden, it happened – a moment of clarity. It didn’t matter that I couldn’t change the world, feed the poor, house the homeless, eradicate treatable disease. Because I could change me. It didn’t matter if my actions made no difference at all in the grand scheme of things, or if you agreed with me. Because I agreed with me. It didn’t matter if others thought I was a crank or an eccentric. Because I knew my reasons. The teenager did grow up, and she realised that striving to change others and the external world  was missing the point.  I could no longer refuse to do the something I could do.

I became a vegetarian, I took up yoga, I volunteered. I sign petitions, I boycott Nestle, I buy a meal for the first homeless person I come across each time I am in the city centre. I make sure the people in my life  who are important to me, know how important they are. I write to encourage others to be their own true, powerful selves and change their own worlds.

When we all do the something we can do, the world is a better place for everyone.

What can you do?

Claire x

Do you have the courage of your convictions? Do you find it hard to find the time to live what you believe? Share your thoughts below.

 

 

 

 

 

Parading your power with love

Since the inception of Woman Uncut, I have been asked many times what parading your power with love looks like in real life. Divine feminine power comes in many guises and it can be difficult to pin down, to dissect and explain.

As I wrote here, I have felt myself teetering on the edge of this power, never quite fully grasping it and frequently losing hold altogether. I have struggled to maintain a clear vision of what it looks like, but I recognise it when I see it.

We live in an age when Western women have supposedly never had it so good with opportunities for education and employment, control over our reproductive destiny, sexual freedom, and legislation to ensure our equality with men. But despite this, many women who “have it all” feel a sense of emptiness and a lack of wholeness. We have become what society and the media has convinced us feminine should be, and in the main this is a masculine world view, devoid of the female energy so needed by the world today.

So what does a divinely powerful woman in the 21st Century look like to me?

In essence, the powerful woman lives without need for validation from others. She understands that external approval is a fundamental human need and is reassuring to receive, but that depending on external factors to feel good about herself is not the route to true happiness.

The powerful woman knows who she is and what she wants and expresses her authentic truth with courage. She has faith that it is safe to shed the masks and show her true self to the world because she knows that, no matter what anyone else may think, she is perfect just as she is, flaws and all. She understands that she is a unique creature with strengths and weaknesses and that she is, and always has been, good enough.

She draws strength and comfort from her relationships, which she nurtures with deep love, but she remembers that her wants and needs are important too. Certainty in her wisdom allows her to make positive choices for herself and for others. She does not feel it necessary to conform or succumb to that which is not in harmony with what she knows in her heart to be true.

She understands the need to nurture herself; to express herself creatively, to nourish and move her body, to engage herself in work or activity that makes her heart sing, to allow herself to dream big dreams, to revel in her sexuality, to explore her spirituality and sense of self.

The powerful woman knows that there is no need for her power to dominate or flow over others. She is instinctively aware that the intermingling of her power with that of others results in a force greater than the sum of its parts. She is not threatened by difference and understands that collaboration, not competition, is what will be required to overcome the challenges, big and small, faced by our fragile world.

She knows that womankind is at the very centre of the mystery of life, and that from the very cells of her body and core of her spirit,  life is created. She is the vessel of divine, unconditional love and she gives it freely and with joy.

My vision for Woman Uncut is that it become a community of women encouraging each other to shed our self-limiting beliefs and move into our own divine power at our own pace and in our own way. I am not there yet and some days I have doubts that I ever will be. I don’t have all the answers to exactly how you or I achieve this, but I know that this is a path I need to follow, and that the “how’s” will take care of themselves.

With divine love,

Claire x

 

What is your vision of a powerful woman? How do you parade your power with love? Share your insights and comment below.

Image by Jannoo028

Being Brave

In the few weeks that have passed since sticking my head above the parapet and  deciding to share my innermost feelings about myself as a whole, authentic woman, I have been told many times how brave I am being. My feelings vacillate  wildly between pride that I have had the courage to even attempt to foster a nurturing community where I and others can move into all of our glorious, womanly power, and abject terror when the volume of my inner voice is turned up to the max and sneering “Who do you think you are? Who wants to read about the crap that floats around in your head?”

The most interesting thing for me is how these expressions of bravery have reached me; not one has been during a face to face conversation with someone. On a number of occasions, I have met up with a friend who has not even mentioned it to me at the time, and then later messaged me or emailed me to tell me that my writing resonated with them and I am so brave for putting it out there. Some have not even mentioned it at all, yet I know they are following.

Why is it so difficult for many of us to express our true feelings and be real with each other, human to human, in the flesh? One word – vulnerability.

We are conditioned from a very young age to view vulnerability as weakness. Putting ourselves in an emotionally vulnerable position elicits enormous feelings of fear; fear that if other people know our intimate thoughts and feelings then they will no longer like us; fear that we do not deserve to be seen as we are, because what we are is not good enough, and fear that our vulnerability will not be reciprocated and we will be left exposed and hurt. And so we avoid putting ourselves in situations where we might express our true feelings because of the possibility of appearing weak in the presence of another.

But here is the thing – I have made myself vulnerable by speaking my truth in a very public way, and that vulnerability looks like bravery to you. So why one rule for me and another for you? You can bet your boots that if you expressed your vulnerability you would look courageous to others too. Because you would be. It is in the sharing of our vulnerabilities that true connection happens between my heart and yours. Allowing someone to really see you with all your human frailties is the greatest gift you can give, and your reward is a real spiritual connection with an equally flawed soul.

So today, in some small way, have the courage to share your vulnerability with someone. Look someone in the eye and tell them how you really feel about them, or ask for that help you need, or leave a comment here and share your vulnerabilities in a safe space where you will be accepted with love.

Yours in vulnerability,

Claire

Note – since I wrote this, a friend directed me to the work of Brene Brown, an eminent research professor specialising in vulnerability. If this post resonates with you, then check out her blog Ordinary Courage.