Chances are, you're making commitments and setting goals for the new year.
Do you have one that relates to health? Maybe it's exercise more or lose five pounds.
Here's an alternative: Be comfortable in my container and embody it fully.
At some point last year, I clicked a link that bought a class that delivered a new perspective that I feel the need to share today: "How to Lead Like a Woman" created by Nicola Amadora, Ph.D.
(If you're a man, don't close this window. The rest of this post might apply to you too...and it certainly applies to how you can support the women in your life).
The course is online and sent in eight weekly installments.
It teaches about many topics essential to discovering the unique qualities of feminine leadership: "caring for others, relational capacities, nurturance, intuition, emotional intelligence, sensuality, communication, the ability to embrace many parts, to practice patience and to go with the flow, to live in harmony with the natural cycles, to embody grace, to offer support, empathy, and collaborate with others for the benefit of all life."
Lesson two is titled "Leading from the Ground Up." The first time I read it...I read it again.
I'd never before heard the importance of being present in our own bodies in order to full inhabit our potential as leaders.
Amadora shares that "To be able to lead like a woman she needs to fully live in her body and experience her connection with the earth, with herself and others."
Having rejected many parts of my own body, I'm not unlike many women I talk with.
Most of my conversations these days are with women, who like me, are now in our fourth decade. We're still seeking to unravel the mystery of how to feel great in our container.
For years, and even now, we spend countless hours in conscious and unconscious thought striving for an improved version of our 'container' rather than spending those thoughts working to embody our container and fill it...fully.
Many women in the Western world that I have worked with are disassociated from their body; and all too many reject their own bodies, from their hips to their teeth.
We need to be present in our bodies, so we can feel safe, grounded, guided and embodied in our leadership. A conceptual understanding of feminine leadership isn't going to grow us into an empowered leader.
According to Amadora, there are five steps to inhabiting our body and encountering its full power.
- Bring awareness and thank your body
- Make it a habit to listen to what your body needs
- Be present - practice bringing your thoughts to the here-and-now
- Use your whole body when you communicate and guide others (lead)
- Be open to your intuition - your body will give you signs of what to do in all kinds of situations and decisions
When I worked through Lesson Two and consumed the the guidance on that page, I suddenly realized there were parts of my body I hadn't 'seen' or felt in years.
I noticed them.
I felt bigger.
And, I realized I'd been trying to run the metaphorical race without my legs. I was going to make it across the finish line, but I had made it much harder on myself.
Getting comfortable in my container made it easier for me to focus on others.
So.much.wasted.energy. had gone into wanting a different container or to change my container. Or, being critical of my container.
My mindset shifted -- instead of being critical of it, I began to listen to what it needed.
I found I wanted to fill it with energy-food that made it feel good and strong.
I desired exercise for clarity and energy -- not to make something smaller.
Amadora's invitation at the end of Lesson Two is a wish that I echo for women everywhere and of every shape and size:
"Enjoy inhabiting your body more fully; let your senses take up more room in your leadership and take refuge on the earth. She is big enough to hold you and guides all of life quite well."
My wish for you as you consider how to make this year your best year yet is to abstain from the resolutions to lose weight or go to the gym more often. Instead, resolve to inhabit your body. Trust what it tells you and thank it for what it is and what it enables in you. However you've been made...you are perfect. Send that message and watch eating well turn into a natural instinct and enjoy as exercise becomes an act of joy.
May this be the year that you feel a true, deep connection to your container.
May it be the year you settle in to your container-home.
This was awesome!