Women and Emerging Futures

The next wave of my own evolution lies in exploring the potential of women to profoundly shape our world. Not only if women can but if women will...do what is required to make the difference. This demands redefining our notions of 'leadership' and reclaiming meaningful expression for women. To progress beyond historical notions of evolution through incremental change, we must redefine what it is to be human - and women are the key.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Mom and Pop Talk

The conversations about the family are always the tough ones. We've learned well how to deny the truth of our experience and hold to the party line on how it all went down. The problem with that is that the body never lies. NEVER!

Although today was only Day 2 of IWI, we're already into the conversation about the roles we took on in our early family system; and the strategies these became in our lives as adults. Without thinking, or mindfully considering anything other than what we know, our lives run on 'automatic pilot' for most of what we do. The people we choose to spend time with. The work we do. How and where we live. It is frequently startling and sometimes stunning when we discover that we have not really been choosing at all but just running what is familiar to us.

But, without exception, the toughest conversation to give ourselves permission to have is the one that lets us know that Mom and Dad aren't perfect. Our lives have been shaped by forces we pretend not to notice, finding ourselves buffeted by self-denigrating habits of thought and behaviour that do not serve us well...and yet, it never occurs to us to consider that somewhere in there, the genius lies waiting to be found. And sometimes, to find it, we have let go of our pretty stories about our not-so-pretty lives.

It often feels raw and jagged. The secrets that the body keeps begin to awaken and flow and reveal themselves. Our stories start to fray at the edges and we find ourselves coming face-to-face with our own self-deception for self-preservation. In that moment, eyelids get heavy and the entire room seems to be desperate for a deep sleep. The funny thing is that we have already been in a deep sleep and what is happening is the awakening that comes when mixed with our last feeble efforts to hold the truth of our experience in check. Once out, there is no turning back.

I've heard things that have made me weep for days. After more than 20 years, I am no longer surprised by what adults of capable of inflicting on children - particularly their own. When we own them, we can with them as we please. At least, it would seem that such a thought process prevailed for so many, for far too long.

And yet, the determination of that essence of who we are to LIVE AUTHENTIC LIVES is stronger, deeper and prevails - no matter what! - even if it finally means that we have to reveal a new truth to ourselves. In that moment, we seem to grow up and become the adult we have so longed for, for so long.

I remember writing From Victim to Victorious Voice after having spent time with a group in a conversation not unlike the one that unfolded today. I am clear that keeping the secrets - from ourselves and/or anyone else - does not stop the harm that adults do to children. The alternative is to find within ourselves that voice that keeps the secrets and be willing to hear that truth ourselves. Sometimes it comes in dreams. Sometimes, it will flow through our fingers and onto the page or screen. And sometimes, the small quiet voice in which it speaks whispers its secrets to a single soul that feels safe. Only then do we become willing to tell the world what is long overdue to be heard.

Some parents are monsters! Some parents are wounded children trying desperately to raise children. And some parents are detached and numb by necessity as they, too, try to ignore the secrets their bodies carry. In my time, I've come to believe that the vast majority of parents love their children AND are profoundly disconnected to the truth of their own childhood experience, incapable of noticing an internal cue and desperately seeking external ones to make up for it. It's not about good/bad, right/wrong - it's about awake/coma. And coma will kill us.

If I were to identify the one thing that keeps getting in the way it would be the degree to which we really, desperately want to love our parents. We turn ourselves inside-out to find ways to explain it away, make excuses for it and dismiss as irrelevant or trivial what has often crippled our ability to live the lives we want. We would prefer to live a smaller life, hoping for the best, rather than tell ourselves the truth and risk damaging the uneasy peace we've made with our aging parents. It leaves me wondering : what our children will do with us?

Breathing is good.....

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