by Victoria Lister, Brisbane, Australia
Lately, as I’ve been reflecting on my motives for choosing the roles I’ve had throughout my working life, I’ve realised these had little to do with the real me, and everything to do with mind-created ideals and beliefs. I’ve also examined my propensity to choose industries and jobs that have been challenging to the point of debilitation, with no consideration for myself… again the result of the ideals and beliefs I held.
But the revelations haven’t stopped there: in the course of my explorations, I’ve come to see there is a third, equally important element to consider in the work equation: how I’ve gone about the business of work itself.
The answer is, I’ve been great at ‘doing’ work in terms of results, but not in terms of being me in it. I‘ve had a tendency to go into a lot of busy-ness, often bringing an incredible, internal intensity to the way I’ve worked, going into overwhelm and nervous system energy when the need to do so did not actually exist. It’s as if I’ve perpetually been in ‘fight or flight’ mode – which means I’ve probably lived in an almost constant state of stress for much of my life. And having had little conscious awareness of this tendency, it’s meant I’ve needed to become unwell before I stopped.
What created this ‘stress’? Again, I come back to the fact that I often chose roles that weren’t natural to me and shoe-horned myself into them. I can however, nominate a few roles where everything was easy. But these were roles I’d leave after a while, simply because they were not ‘sophisticated’ or ‘challenging’ enough – somehow I imagined myself as needing something more. And if I’m honest, ‘something more’ really meant somewhere where I could satisfy myself I was doing something important, exciting or interesting.
In other words, I’ve totally identified with the work I’ve done and the excitement it can bring, wanting it to say something about me, both for my own satisfaction and that of others… more erroneous ideals and beliefs. It was this, I feel, that created the stress that accompanied everything I did… a constant striving towards an idealised state.
I’ve also realised I left me as a woman totally out of the equation – even now, I’m not yet fully sure how to be a woman and work. Unfortunately, on some level I’d taken on many ill-beliefs about women at work – that we’re a pale imitation of men, we’re not cut out to do the important work, we’re too emotional, and so on. In taking these on board, I left the woman behind and subscribed (appropriately) ‘boots and all’ to the hard, driven, excessive male energy that permeates so much of the working world. Identifying with that energy, I ran myself in it. But, as I’m not actually a man, this was quite a difficult and unnatural way to live (another significant stressor), and it ended up running me.
And going a little deeper… Have you ever come across the awful belief that women who are pregnant and working are next to useless, in another world, often forgetting things? This was one I was both aware of, and feared – and equated with the women I grew up with who had given up work for family or had never had a ‘career’.
Now, as I don’t have children, on the literal level it was never an issue. But as I’ve begun to acknowledge and connect with my femaleness over the last few years – that deeply soulful, still, nurturing space that exists within women and men both – I can feel how the gorgeousness of this place is probably akin to some of what is felt during pregnancy (and I’ve heard some women say as much). As with pregnancy, it is certainly a place in which there is potential for a far greater connection with our bodies, if not our souls.
However, as much as I love that beautiful, tender place of femaleness, I’ve had a fear that if I stay deeply connected to it, I will be less on top of things or lose the plot… in other words, I’ve taken on the belief that work and deep femaleness are mutually exclusive.
“But what if I forget something?” I can hear my mind protesting. So what if I do? Will the world fall over? Probably not. Am I being too hard on myself? Probably – that would fit my pattern! And beyond those notions, I can feel that if I were deeply connected to my femaleness and learnt to be OK with that, my body will provide me with all the cues it needs – and everything I need to do or ‘be across’ will be taken care of. In other words, I’ve yet to learn (as was put to me recently) to trust in stillness.
Is it that hard though? Just this morning I was watching a lovely woman, a member of the public, on a reality TV show. She looked, and felt, very natural, womanly and engaging. Admittedly, she wasn’t at work but I could imagine her easily bringing that same loveliness with her to work. I noticed her generous, womanly bust and wished for a few moments that I had such a bosom! Then I realised I could and did – in the sense that it would be entirely possible to embody the feeling of this gorgeous womanliness, and take it with me wherever I go, including the office.
With that possibility, and an intent to not shun the possibility that in stillness lies all, I can perhaps begin to re-build my ‘womanly work body’…and maybe even create a womanly body of work. Now that makes me smile!
Further Related Reading:
Celebrity Chef or Self-Loving Chef: Where is the Love in the Work that We Do?
From Ideals and Beliefs to Making Loving Work Choices
461 thoughts on “Stress & Work: Learning to Trust Myself As a Woman”
This is such an awesome piece of writing, which I am sure many women can relate to, myself included. A key part in this for me has been about the art of being who I am in a busy working environment and to not let myself succumb to the pressures and ideals of what a ‘good worker’ is and to allow the space for me to breathe and although work diligently still remain in the deepest forms of self-care.
I too have worked in some fairly full on jobs, seeing much and having to put my body through much to either be able to work in the industry or in the day to day business of being at work. There is a way where we can be in difficult and challenging industries and not be affected by them, love our work and thrive as people. But there is a consideration that if we are feeling stressed, overwhelmed and burnt out, then it must be the work. After changing jobs and careers a few times I have realised that because I haven’t changed my approach to how I work the issues that I faced still kept cropping up. However as soon as I started asking other questions and looking at how I was at work, how I felt at work began to shift. It’s a miracle really, but one that is humbling at the same time, because it was there staring at me in the face the whole time I was blaming work for my wows. There is no blame though, just a renewed commitment to taking responsibility for how I am in all aspects of my life not just work.
I love this Jennifer and couldn’t agree more. We can change how we are, how we respond to work (or react to it!) at the individual level. And if we still find the workplace is abusive, we can also choose to leave it. If we can work within it, it’s possible we might be able to bring about some systemic change.
Yes, beautifully said Victoria. The constant pursuit of…whatever it is we are pursuing in life, leaves us in this ‘fight of flight’ mode all too often, meaning we are rarely if ever in connection to our true selves. Yet, when we do so, there is such beauty in us all – beauty that is tangible in your expression here. I could really feel that sense of what it must be like to be pregnant and in ‘touch’ with that soul-full essence. And as you share here, we can all connect with this essence – if we choose to embrace what is within us.
‘…stillness lies in us all’ we just have to connect to it and it’s there. I remember when I was pregnant I felt the preciousness of my body and was able to feel and connect to it frequently. Because of the preciousness I felt, I naturally moved my body with more care and awareness. But interestingly I chose not to continue this exquisite way of being very soon after my pregnancy because of the images and expectations of being a mother I had held on to, resulting in disconnecting myself from stillness and gone into feeling racy, anxious and overwhelmed.
This is such a powerful blog Victoria and super important for us as women to let go of all the ideals and beliefs many can hold around women in the workplace and the pressure we place on ourselves. I have often observed women in my workplace work twice as hard as the men to feel respected and accepted, and I have also seen how beautiful and powerful it is when women bring all of who they truly are to the workplace and the ripple effect that is felt far and wide – this is so needed in our world today.
I am the same at work as I am at home. A lot of the time I feel quite delicate and have no hesitation calling on the support of others if I need it. I look after my physical body by making sure that I always take food that will support me to work and I don’t stay late unless there’s an emergency and even then I will try and get someone in to cover if I can. I’m also pretty good at saying ‘no’ to jobs that I don’t want to do. The other thing that is becoming a constant for me at work is not holding back with my deepening feelings of fondness with my work colleagues; sure I’m aware that this may be pretty out there for some but the force that I would have to bring in to hold back the natural deepening that’s happening would have a very negative effect on my body. Unless I stick to these basic foundations in my care then I know that my health will suffer and I won’t cope as well with the job as I currently am.
“I’ve yet to learn…..to trust in stillness.” I could have been reading about myself and the way I approach work. I have been realising recently how the intensity I work with is exhausting and doesn’t allow room for my natural, divine qualities to expand into every part of my life. It came to me that I do not trust that if I work in connection to the stillness within, that I will be able to be as productive as is expected of me. So in this, I am placing the expectations of others before myself. So if I am working in nervous tension and with an intensity that doesn’t allow me the space to be myself, what quality of work am I truly producing? Something devoid of myself that is merely ticking boxes. So from now on I am committing to bringing the quality of me to all I do, starting with the way I move. I’ll keep you posted.
The great learning in all of this, is that when we harm and diminish ourselves in one area of our life, everything is actually impacted upon. Thus the absolute gold in sharing stories and realisations such as you have done so here Victoria, that we may collectively break down that which has not served any of us – men and women alike – and discover a way forward that is actually true, and honours ourselves (and thereby all others) to the bone.
This is very powerfully said Victoria: “It was this, I feel, that created the stress that accompanied everything I did… a constant striving towards an idealised state.”
What I’ve been learning also, is that ‘the way’ to be – whether in work, relationships or indeed any aspect of life – as a woman, and in honouring the woman that I am, is actually already there within… It is the ideals we have bought into, predominantly through lacking in true value of ourselves, that are what must be met, and shed (if we are so willing), that our natural way may find its expression.
We are the creators of of our health, or lack of, by the way we choose to live, ‘ I feel, that created the stress that accompanied everything I did… a constant striving towards an idealised state.’
The more loving care and honouring I have and take with my self as a women and appreciating my body that is tender precious and delicate, the more the work environment reflects support back to me. That is the heavy jobs simply don’t come my way or there is always someone there just at the moment required to complete the heavier tasks. It is a deep awareness and appreciating I have of this.
When we appreciate how tender, delicate and precious our bodies are we naturally move and use our body with more love and care.
I could totally relate to this Victoria.. the drive to be super human, not just at work but in all areas of our lives, is insatiable, unnecessary, and ultimately ends up hurting the body.
In life there are some thing we are really good at. This is always traceable to a divine realisation that we had. It is beautiful to be able to deepen our understanding of what we are really doing. It is much mire than it appears to be. It is a confirmation of divinity in action.
I love the honesty of your blog, to acknowledge and accept the fact that there’s an unfolding path for you to explore your womanliness without judgement is super inspirational.
Although as a man, I also do have a fear, when I allow more of my femaleness to be expressed in my work, that I will forget things, and indeed I do forget sometimes. But actually I have found that it is not a problem at all as there are always people that do remember me for things I have to do and I now can open hearted say thank you to them. So why bother and just trust that everything that is important will find its place in the rhythm that is needed and to let go of the control we think is needed in life.
It is disturbing how many ideals and beliefs there are around woman in the work place that we can easily subscribe to if we’re not embodying and embracing who we are as women and what we can bring to what we do. I love the concept of trusting in the stillness and surrendering to all that is and can allow us to bring…. a quality much needed whether working or not.
Its the easiest thing in the world, to seek out a long list of things to do, and to feel more important the more complicated things get. However, its this sort of thinking that has the world turned on its head. The only important thing is the quality of what we do, and better to do just one thing well, than a host poorly.
Thank you Victoria, a beautiful reminder to trust in the fullness that we are and bring. That we are enough and that no pushing and trying is needed to bring our qualities out, that allowing and surrendering lets us unfold what is naturally there.
I love this blog Victoria, because much of what you say reflects where I have been. I recognise the tension between holding on to my inner essence, emulating others and wanting to be in the thrust and drive of work. I recognise what happens to women at work who, to their detriment, put work and achievement above all else and sacrificed their true selves and much more in the pursuit of recognition and reward. For a time in my life most women I worked with were driven, hard and sometime ruthless. It was not a kind, warm environment to be in. I very soon realised it was not for me, but moving on sooner than I did, seemed like failure. I eventually left as staying began to affect my health and when I did leave it took some time to re-connect to the self I had lost.
Being in high pressured and stressful industries, women who can offer the reflection of how to work in connection to our stillness is indeed a blessing to all women and all men.
Another powerful reminder of the importance of trusting and appreciating who and what we truly are.
I have found that working in most situations is all about the stress of getting the job done without showing any stillness or connection. It leaves people out and makes it mainly about the money. People should always be our first consideration. I feel if my work is not bringing into play my true stillness that is their to serve humanity then it is for I am in the game for some sort of self gain!
“I can perhaps begin to re-build my ‘womanly work body’… and maybe even create a womanly body of work.” This is exactly what is so much needed at our workplaces as if this is not changing then there will be only the “man driven actions” and so there will be a missing part in the equation – the stillness. If we as women are not responsible and add this the way of working in the long run will not work.
‘ I’ve taken on the belief that work and deep femaleness are mutually exclusive.’ I wonder how many of us women unconsciously do this and even when we think we are free of it still follow behaviours or can get caught out by a reaction that shows us how much we have bought into the “women are less’ scenario. As I make conscious choices to allow the womanliness in me space and as I get support to explore this inner feeling and let it become more of me on a more physical and tangible level I grow in the confidence of myself as a woman. The Gentle Breath Meditation has supported me and so has the Esoteric Breast Massage as have other female oriented sessions and exercises. Bringing a continuing nurturing quality to my life has been, and is, hugely beneficial.
I’m aware I’ve never really observed life from a place of stillness, I’ve instead seen how it is, not accepted it or myself, and then held pictures or ideals of how I feel I or life needs to be and then pushed myself to meet the picture. The strange thing is, as I focused on this future point to meet the ideal or picture of how I wanted life to be, I conveniently missed the fact that my every moment was now chaotic, painful, or stressing my body. The oasis of the picture or ideal is never something we arrive at, it’s every moment that counts, but the dangling carrot we chase in front of us keeps us away from creating a true quality of life moment to moment.
Being a woman in the workplace has meant – for many – that they strive to keep up with and even outdo the men. Yet when we accept and appreciate our femaleness – trusting the innate stillness we have within us, we can work in a different but equally effective way.
So true Sue, we all have a lot to appreciate about each other. The more I work with everyone as equals the more stillness I feel in all my relationships!
Sue reading the word ‘effective’ really brought it home to me just how obsessed we are with ‘measurable output’ but there’s a whole array of energetic effects that we have on our workplace that go way beyond the measurable output that we currently seem to focus almost entirely on. And these energetic effects travel past the perimeters of the office walls and into the families of those that work in the workplace and also to the customers and everyone that comes into contact with the business. The quality of who we are at work reaches far and wide in ways that we’ve yet to re-discover.
Identifying myself with a role, work, mother, partner etc has made me depressed and burnt out at a young age and caused me lots of migraines out of frustration of not ‘knowing’ who I was and making me dependent of others acceptance and approval. Being a woman was never enough, now I’ve acknowledged it is the begin and the end of everything I live.
‘I’ve also realised I left me as a woman totally out of the equation – even now, I’m not yet fully sure how to be a woman and work.’ I feel I know how to be a woman and work but I do avoid the true power of being tender, open,bringing grace and joy and work. Here are some of my strategies; to create stress even before I go to work by wanting to do too much and then go in a rush to be on time or getting anxious when I have to do something I have not done before or focusing on my tight work schedule. But I am learning to be in my stillness and bring my womanly qualities and give those strategies created by my mind no energy anymore.
Very interesting, I can understand the difficulty of trusting that what is needed will be there but and starting to see that it is true. The thought of not being a woman is bizarre when you and I are one, but there is a feeling of leaving those qualities behind to get the job done. In fact, those same qualities often guide and inspire a quality of work that anyone would want to offer.
It is in the stillness that we find the true power of the women that we are. A great article thank you Victoria.
‘create a womanly body of work.’ I love this, it feels so full and oh so much what the world needs. Very inspiring
Hi Victoria, this is a great sharing about connecting to the essence we hold as women, and bringing that relationship to our stillness and rhythm in the way we work. Your first paragraph really grabbed me though, about “… jobs that have been challenging to the point of debilitation, with no consideration for myself…” I can relate to that with life situations, and the more extreme the challenge and stress for me the more I went into focusing on taking it on and overcoming it, not realising or caring about the effects on my health. I can still see the debilitating stress I allow instead of respecting the delicateness of my body and choosing self love.
Awesome timing to come across your blog to re-read this again Victoria. At the moment I have more work offered to me than I can handle, to learn to stay connected to myself and not get caught up in the stress and wanting to please everyone is something quite new to me. Instead I can take this opportunity to ask myself which project/work do I feel to work on and what will be the most supportive for me? Letting go of the thoughts to please others is great otherwise it takes me quickly into overwhelm and stress. Also, trusting what I feel and bringing all of ‘me’ to my work and choosing to stay connected is key.
Learning to trust in stillness is to appreciate the power of who we are before we ‘do’ anything.
Recently I realised that I can slip into secretary mode when I am on the laptop sometimes. I begin to type like I used to when I thought that this activity was associated with business and therefore had to be done in a serious and hard way, a masculine way in which business was mostly conducted. Very funny to catch this and a friend recently caught it too and remarked how sweet it was. This comment helped me see that I could be more loving with myself as I let go of this old habit.
What you describe shows so clearly how we try to fit into the world, i.e. looking at what we need to be for the world, instead of coming from us, bringing that out what we know to be true, bringing out us to the world.
When we try and fit in with anything at all then we, in effect, condense ourselves rather than bringing our naturally expanded selves to something with the intention of expanding even more.
Victoria reading your story allowed me to reflect on many of my ideals and beliefs that I had and at some level still proscribe to. This is a great opportunity to reflect more deeply with myself. Thank you
Beautiful Victoria, when women are connected to their stillness the reflection they offer everyone is deeply healing – a much needed asset in very male dominant workplaces.
“trust in stillness” It seems, as a humanity, we are frightened to trust in stillness. It goes counter to everything the world is telling us. Perhaps the closest we get is the’ Keep calm and carry on’ type message which feels more like saying, let’s keep a blanket over this and not go too deep, lets pretend everything is ok. When we do start to get a taste of this stillness we realise what a great healing it offers and how it can bring harmony to the whole body.
I could have written this about me such is the resonance of what you have shared here Victoria. I can feel how I too have held on to the belief that being a woman at work is something of a hurdle to overcome – an obstacle that has to be removed in order for me to function efficiently and successfully. Just writing this feels appalling and such a huge dishonouring of my femaleness, my stillness, my sacredness. Your willingness in exposing this has offered me a huge healing. Thank you.
Thank you Victoria , yes we do have to trust in stillness, and that is the thing, as they do reinforce each other… stillness nurtures trust, and trust engenders stillness.
Coming to terms with how much I have pushed and strived at work for that interesting exciting place, which was actually just a shoe-horn of myself into something that was never me to begin with, is a constant and ongoing lesson that one day I know will end and work will just be simple because it will be about what needs to be done and not what I want or desire.
You provide a great reflection of just how much some women can choose to put themselves through overwhelm at work and live off nervous energy, stress and anxiety when there really is no need, just a drive to prove themselves, to feel worthy or recognised. And all in pursuit of some illusory ideals and beliefs we collectively hold about women in work. The ugliness in all this is that we’re doing our work brilliantly but without ourselves in it. If that’s the case, then where do we go while we work?
Agreed. And the interesting thing is too I suspect the more we honour ourselves, the more we naturally draw to us exactly what we practically need in life.
Women falling for this false way of being to fit into work is so common. We change, bend, contort ourselves and turbo charge it all falsely thinking it is what we need to do to keep up. I have found that the more I am tender, in my stillness and femaleness that I get more done, the qualities of my work is amazing as are my relationships, I deal with things with a clarity and I return home feeling amazing. Well worth developing the ‘woman at work’.
What you share is so awesome… and turns everything we’ve been lead to believe on it’s head. Work is not supposed to be a struggle, and the key to it being simpler – stillness – is the very antithesis of how it is we think we’re supposed to be doing life, work and everything. No wonder we can’t readily get to it ourselves – everything we hear and are told takes us further and further away from it.
This is beautiful ‘But as I’ve begun to acknowledge and connect with my femaleness over the last few years – that deeply soulful, still, nurturing space that exists within women and men both – I can feel how the gorgeousness of this place is probably akin to some of what is felt during pregnancy’ Our still, nurturing and soulful space when lived in our bodies feels divinely gorgeous.
I’m glad you can confirm that Johanna. Connecting with and developing that feeling feels like the way forward. There are certain women I know, such as Miranda Benhayon, who embody and emanate that feeling and it is exquisite to be around. Imagine if we had all mastered that.
It is a huge epidemic of people needing to become unwell before they stop just to realise that the way they are going is not supportive – and for what is all the drive for really?
I would say so, and I would hazard a guess that epidemic has arrived. We’re just not wanting to acknowledge and deal with it. I think there would be a few people in public health roles who are gravely concerned about where we’re at, and economists wondering how we’re going to pay for it all, but otherwise it feels like a ‘if I pretend it isn’t happening, it will all go away’ situation. Yet if you’re of a certain age, you can clearly see the rise of illness and disease, and increasingly complex disease, within a generation.
Thank you Victoria for your sharing. This ‘bringing an incredible, internal intensity to the way I’ve worked, going into overwhelm and nervous system energy when the need to do so did not actually exist’ stood out for me. It just shows that the intensity we live with in our bodies is created by us putting our bodies into a nervous or anxious way of being or using a pressure and getting through that way. It is so not necessary as everything can still be done with the body in a balanced and natural way – and I’d say with a much lovelier quality.
Considering we did not start life this way – with the intensity – it must very much be a learned or assumed way of being. There are times when the flight or fight stress response is needed though these are surely very limited and not the habitual responses to life we have made them.
When you say it like that it seems so simple and obvious. Undoubtedly, the energy that drives our need for success has the capacity to take us over and create complication so we lose sight of what matters most.
Oh Victoria, you could have been writing my life story here and I completely relate to what you have written. Over the years I have been working to unravel the investment I have in my work role and the consequences of this on my connection with myself and others. It’s certainly a tangled web of ideals and beliefs but I know that all they are doing is keeping my true self hidden and this is no longer a game I want to indulge in. Thank you for sharing your experiences as it encourages me to keep up my commitment to learn to trust a state of stillness.
I find it’s an everyday development, the learning to trust in stillness. The old ways seem so entrenched but there seems a greater call now to go back to basics. My body won’t have it any other way.
Having had children I feel the difference in being in stillness through my pregnancies and when not is that when pregnant there is no choice, you just naturally are in that beautiful stillness, but when not pregnant there is a choice to make and we can tend to undermine our tender beingness and replace it in the belief we are not enough this way and we need to prove our worth by going into a drive to get things done, when really the only thing extra that occurs is we become exhausted. The fact is we can be far more affective in what we do when we come from that state of stillness, because we are more aware.
That’s so great Deidre, that last comment. I’ve never been pregnant but I’ve heard it can provide us with the opportunity to really drop into our bodies. I hadn’t directly made a link between stillness and awareness but you’re absolutely right.
It’s interesting how things can come in waves. As I find myself getting ready to take something else on, I’ve correspondingly noticed my anxiety rising along with my tendency to nervous system energy kicking in. It was once described to me (for me personally, though others might relate) as a kind of ‘internal hysteria’, which is a pretty awful feeling. It’s not easy to come back from. Taking the time to do some writing, as in what I am doing here now, helps bring me back to me.
That’s really interesting Amanda. So do you mean while you have chosen a role you feel is right for you, there are moments when it, or elements of it, don’t come naturally to you? I’d love to hear more, though I guess I can relate in the sense that at the moment I have uni study which I’m naturally capable of yet find eternally difficult in the sense of the linearity of thought, the volume of material and the general way it is expected to roll.
What stood out for me Victoria, is when you said you chose roles that weren’t a fit for you, that you shoehorned yourself in. I know that when I have been trying to be a way that doesn’t come naturally to me, that this creates the most stress in my body regardless of what work I do. Stress is awful within us and my challenge at the moment is to feel it whenever it creeps in. It is a good sign that I am going into old patterns and to recognise what they are.
Isn’t it crazy, that even though we are women what you say here is true for a great many women in business “I’ve also realised I left me as a woman totally out of the equation – even now, I’m not yet fully sure how to be a woman and work.” I find it takes time and a willingness to even feel there is a difference for it to change.
Absolutely Lucy, I agree. And do you know, while there is talk of quotas and the like to attempt to even out the mix of genders in positions of influence, this, whilst not a bad thing, is not the answer. The issue is that women have abandoned their femaleness in order to fit in with the norm – the excessively male energy which underpins the business world (and much of our lives).
This is an awesome blog Victoria – “I can perhaps begin to re-build my ‘womanly work body’…and maybe even create a womanly body of work.” This sentence says it all – our womanly work bodies should reflect the totality of who we are as a woman and not be anything less – when we take ourselves into work as less there is much room for abuse to enter.
I agree. I’m coming to see exhaustion, as Lucy mentions above, as the end result of abuse – plain and simple. If we remain connected to ourselves we can never allow anything abusive to enter the equation.
So very true.
I recently started a new job which offers great potential for growth within the company for me. As I sit here feeling pretty exhausted (a familiar feeling after work), reading this blog and everyone’s comments, there is a proverbial penny making it’s way through my body – it is dropping. Despite the awareness I have about what I do not being who I am, I have still fallen into the trap of trying to gain recognition from my new employers so I will be promoted quickly. All under the guise of ‘service’ , but then how can it be true service if it is at the expense of myself? The answer is simple and clear – it cannot. I feel so supported by what I have read this evening from you all. I am ending my day, and hence starting tomorrow, with my eyes open, no longer being held in the jaws of the trap I set for myself. Heartfelt thanks to Everyone.
This is just fabulous for me to read today. Thank you Victoria. I especially resonated with this, “However, as much as I love that beautiful, tender place of femaleness, I’ve had a fear that if I stay deeply connected to it, I will be less on top of things or lose the plot… in other words, I’ve taken on the belief that work and deep femaleness are mutually exclusive.” I have my second Sacred Movement meeting tomorrow and can feel the winds (or rather wings) of change. Quite a bit of resistance though, so I’m feeling exhausted.
Ha, yes, I know that one too – being in resistance, and feeling exhausted as a result. I guess it takes more energy to be who we are not than to be who we are. It’s surely simpler all ’round to be that which we naturally are!
I couldn’t agree more Victoria!
I can relate Lucy but when I go there to the deeper level of stillness it is so glorious and I wonder what I was so afraid of – because I can feel the authority and power in that stillness. Perhaps the choices of not being with it or remaining in it in a world that is not reflecting it is the scary part. But so not true really as it is a very beholding energy.
Reaction – jealousy – from others has been a big one for me in terms of holding back my authority and power. As I am discovering, exercising understanding, and learning not to take it personally when others react, are key to learning how not to react to reaction!
Thank you so much for sharing your struggles with being a woman at work and trusting in stillness Victoria which I can really relate to. Until recently my default position was to live my life in nervous energy particularly at work which was extremely debilitating. Recently I have been exploring what it can be like to bring my natural stillness with me to work and how that can play out so beautifully in the interactions I have during the day with colleagues and clients. I still find it a challenge to maintain this throughout the day but what is helping me is to be playful with it rather than beating myself up when I recognise that I have left myself – oops there you go again leaving me behind and thinking you know a better way …!
Playful sounds like a great way forward Helen – I have been experimenting with this too. Last night and this morning I have been feeling cranky and tired and I have come to the conclusion it’s because I’ve taken too much on. This does not help with playfulness! I’m noticing too how I’m allowing myself to be cranky around my husband. This serves nothing and no one and is irresponsible. One to watch.
I recognise the one about being cranky with my husband because of stuff I’ve taken on at work. Using home as a dumping ground for what we’ve taken on at work is so deeply abusive and dishonouring. It is never ok – not on any level.
Very true Victoria, it is so easy to save the crankiness for those we think will let us get away with it the most. It is often the sign that we have overloaded ourselves and not taken responsibility for it.
We like to think that there’s an invisible wall between work and home but there’s not, one bleeds into the other and back again, which means that everything effects everything all of the time.
It is so important to stay with what we are in our everyday lives, to not get caught up in the way you are expected to be but just be, and do the work from that, our qualities are needed everywhere.
So true Benkt. Staying with ourselves, not losing ourselves to what we are doing, is super-important. One of the most challenging work situations I have encountered have occurred on the two occasions I have returned to study at university. I’ve found the university wants to ‘own’ you – ensnare you in the competition for high grades and academic success and recognition, and it gets worse as you progress to higher degrees. Staying awake to that is a constant challenge; setting it up to be so is a kind of evil.
Speaking from personal experience it’s wise to be wary of choosing to run our bodies on nervous system energy as the long term effects can be a depletion of the adrenal glands leading to some very debilitating chronic illnesses that can take quite some time and awareness to recover from. Running on adrenal was my modus operandi for most of my life until my body eventually said – no more. I’m sure many people can relate to that feeling of being tired but wired – unable to rest even when they want to which is one of the stages on the way to adrenal exhaustion. I can relate to that feeling of excitement that you mention Victoria but these days find it far more enjoyable to operate from a place of stillness within myself and my body appreciates it so much more.
Me too Deborah, being another such woman with a chronic health issue brought on by adrenal exhaustion. The effects of working without an awareness of self and stillness are very damaging and real. In short, you can’t do something on a consistent basis without it having an effect.
Tired but wired, I get the impression that adrenal exhaustion has yet to be fully understood.
Yes – it is understood by some in the naturopathic and similar fields and possibly by certain medical professionals but for many, including the general populace, it is probably less understood in both the physiological sense and the lived sense because it has become normalised we often don’t even know it’s ‘a thing’ until it’s too late.
Yes, it has a tendency to creep up Lucy starting with overriding the tired feeling of the body, then falsely elevating the energy levels through the use of caffeine, sugar and alcohol together with drawing on the use of nervous energy then adrenals. This cycles on until the adrenals finally give out due to their long term abuse leading to a cascading effect of the hormones being out of balance and there being nothing left for the body to draw upon. This goes hand in hand with the giving away of our power over time through doing things we don’t want to do which also creates an energy drain on the body.
I love the idea of women bringing their womanliness to work and building a body of womanliness. While I have not worked in competitive fields and so was not tempted to match it with the men, I was inclined to push myself and work in nervous energy as I multi tasked, never being present, always thinking of the next thing and trying to fit in more than was possible or reasonable. So trusting that connecting to the stillness within me and working from there is equally important. Women who do stay home, work hard too and even though they can choose what to do and when- to a certain degree, there are many pitfalls of trying to do too much or feeling like they have to be on top of everything to prove they are working too. It is very important that all women value themselves apart from what they do and trust the stillness within.
That’s a really important observation Amanda, that stay-at-home women can be equally driven in order to prove they are working too. I work for myself now, from home, so I know all about this. Not only are there the self-generated pressures; it’s interesting how many people assume you’re not doing much because you are at home rather than a ‘bona fide’ workplace. This only adds to the sense of having to prove oneself. I imagine women who have chosen to raise children full-time encounter something similar and possibly even more judgemental (‘it’s not really work at all’). How about we stop the judgements and support each other whatever we are doing?
I so agree Amanda, I have been a woman in a fast paced office environment and a mother staying home…working nine to five was the simpler scenario for my nervous system and even that was not great!! When I was at home I would always try to do just one more thing before taking the kids to school or just before pick up. It became my ‘tell’ in the end, alerting me that I was trying to do too much.
For me years ago when I was at home pregnant and then with a newborn it felt very uncomfortable as I was reflected the fast pace running from my nervous system – that which I was in my work space. I continued in this always doing one thing after the other trying not to stop to feel the uncomfortableness and my own emptiness at lack of self worth at the time.
Thank God for the reflection and presentations from Serge Benhayon which showed me another way to be. I have never looked back and now love being all of me during the day – at work, at home, sitting, or being with family and friends. No more uncomfortableness because I treat myself with the care I deserve so when I stop now, I feel my stillness and loveliness.
Thank you for sharing. As each one of us shares our experiences we learn that it is completely possible to make changes in our lives that are amazing without costing us financially but at the same time being the best investment ever.
The ‘one more thing’ – great signpost Lucy. I’m good at that one too so I’ll remember your words. It’s amazing (and not in a good way) just how much we value ourselves by what we do rather than who we are. It seems epidemic and endemic in women, and is surely the biggest root cause of our dis-ease.
Isn’t it fascinating that we need a job that is glamorous, interesting, intelligent, great to talk about at the dinner table, sophisticated and which gives us a lot of recognition and keeps us busy, while in the meantime our bodies are suffering and we override what we truly feel? Like you share, if you work and you bring you into the work, it does not matter what you do or how busy you are. You bring all of you and that is in fact the job you have to do.
Bringing all of ourselves to work is our job, first and foremost – I love it! It would be pretty cool if we responded to job applications with this rationale up front – it might start something new in the way we understand the purpose of work.
By re reading your blog Victoria I remember how I felt while being pregnant and I must say the way I moved, the way I was with myself was simply divine. I left that behind when I became ‘the’ mother and all the beliefs related to this role. It was all a matter of not knowing how to love myself and to be in that exquisite stillness I had experienced. How to trust the stillness or is it just we avoiding the power that stillness brings?
Great question Annelies, and I’m feeling the answer lies in the latter part of it. How interesting that we can feel our true power then abandon it for an assumed role based on ideals and or beliefs. When I consider where we as women could be – in the same powerful place stillness you describe you felt during pregnancy, and be there all the time – I can feel how from this reality we are. There is work to be done here.
We were born plenty but that sense of plentiful goes when we are trapped by the ideals an beliefs we “think” we need to fill.
What a curious phenomenon that is, that we are born plentiful – you only need to look at a baby to see in most cases this is so – yet something happens along the way to turn that sense of plenty upside down. In the absence of knowing ourselves, in rushes the many societal ideals, beliefs and mores we take on.
A wonderful reminder. There are so many benefits to being in stillness and not in the constant agitation of the next planned step.
I have experienced both sides of the coin; the excess of needing things to be done in a specific order and responding to the call that respects not disrupting my innate inner quality, which benefit so many people.
I know what I would like to choose!
Me too Luke, as in both sides of the coin, and which side I would like to choose! Yes interesting how we can bend ourselves out of shape thinking we need to be something we are not.
This blog reminds me of the women who I work with as they always impress me with their ability to manage large projects involving lots of people. And it seems that the women who allow their gentle or caring natures to be seen actually are able to open up to the most genuine relationships with their colleagues, which in turn affects the whole company. It is beautiful to watch and learn from.
How awesome that you already have some beautiful role models in your workplace! I was speaking to a new woman friend the other day who works on highly stressful, overseas projects and who has learnt over time to present more of the woman she is. This has made a huge difference in the quality of relationships she experiences and her femaleness has been noticed and appreciated – interestingly enough, largely by her male colleagues.
The gold within any organisation or business is in the relationships within them. Once we harness and grow this then our businesses will start to truly serve humanity rather than to just simply function within humanity.
I can so relate to this worry “But what if I will forget something?”, another one for me is: What if I am late? The thing is when I let go of the need to control these things and am connected with my body and its flow I remember things when I need to and I am always there at the right time. But to fully surrender to that and let go of control seems like a big step at times.
I agree Judith. It’s a bit like taking a step off a cliff (or the thought of one) and trusting you’ll be safe. I’m surprised at how insidious the tendency to control ‘what happens when and next’ is. But the times I have let go, it has all been fine. And yes, I do forget things but I’ve also found the world doesn’t end when I do.
By expressing anything less than the natural truth, beauty and stillness of who we truly are as women, we not only do ourselves and our place of work a great disservice but, humanity as a whole suffers. By compromising ourselves and becoming caught up in the ‘doing’ rather than the ‘being’ we become hard inflexible, genderless robots running on the programs and agendas installed in us by outside influences. Little wonder we become ‘all wired up’, blow a fuze every now and then and, even at times, act like were ‘unplugged’. By embracing the true women we are and claiming the true source of power within us, the workplace would undergo a miraculous transformation.
I love what you present here Barbara! Your first description brings to mind a couple of recent productions I have seen in which ultra-human-like robots are part of the work-lifescape. I can’t help but feel this is a comment on the often increasingly de-humanised and disconnected workforce (individuals from self, and others)… and perhaps near reality. Plugging into our own internal power source rather than one we are programmed into feels like a far better – and far more sustainable – alternative.
It will be a great day when women and men alike evolve out of competition! At this stage it’s hard for many to imagine it could be so. The business world itself is based on competition. We should certainly have choice in what we are offered in any marketplace – i.e. a free market – but competition in the energetic sense of the word is not a quality we need to embrace, at any level.
It feels really important and powerful to be in the true expression of a woman at work in this driven world of competition! Allowing ourselves to be sensitive, precious and delicate feels amazing and it offers others the possibility to connect to that and evolve.
This is a gorgeous honest blog Victoria which in itself shows a deep level of fragility you have allowed yourself to connect to and share with all of us. This is what has inspired me the most about the blog – which in itself undoes all that you have previously subscribed to.
Thanks Marcia, it’s great to have that felt and acknowledged, and what you point out is true. Fragility is what gets trampled on in the rush to ‘get it all done’. But the body lets us know what’s what sooner or later.
Great blog Victoria, and very timely for me as I am preparing for my next job. I can particularly relate to these words: “I often chose roles that weren’t natural to me and shoe-horned myself into them”. I too took on such roles that were offered because at the time I needed the income. But I soon learned that making a decision from a place of need never resulted in the job being very satisfying and always fairly temporary: the “shoe horning” certainly caused much pain and discomfort. I will definitely be taking your words and my “womanly work body” with me to any future work.
Yes, the shoe definitely didn’t fit but we chose to wear it anyway. How uncomfortable – crippling – that is.
I relate to what you say about stillness and work. I’ve done the nervous energy, hyper-driven thing, believing that to be what’s wanted, needed, demanded even, when in fact, coming from a position of stillness brings a far greater quality to how I am in all that I do and that stillness then comes through into all that I deliver. Nervous energy and drive are a false economy – the body suffers whilst the mind continues on in its disregard.
That false economy is surely not limited to the body – it must ultimately impact our employers’ bottom line as well in terms of increased sick and stress leave and reduced productivity and, as you say, quality.
As I read you blog Victoria I could not but realise the ‘internal intensity’ you speak of in response to our ‘mind created’ ideals and expectations of ourselves and others is a constant source of tension that easily overflows to overwhelm and drains us in our everyday lives. It also lays the foundation and feeds exhaustion of which undoubtedly plagues our modern day society. We all need to address this internal intensity that we all carry.
I agree Suse. The tension it creates results in a perpetual, false, flight or fight stress response, exhausting our adrenals and leading to all sorts of short and long-term health issues. It’s a very debilitating way to live – and that’s just at the physical level.
Having a womanly body at work feels more harmonious than does the alternative.
This is so true deborahmckay. I am in between jobs at present and with the inspiration presented here by Victoria I am definitely going to be building a new foundation for my “womanly work body” before the next job appears, whatever that may be.
Yes, push, drive and excess male energy sure feels awful.
You are right Ariana, it is definitely from an emptiness deep inside because we have lost connection. The worst thing is, even being aware about it, I can still fall for it from time to time.
Me too Alexandre. And no wonder, because everything in our society is set up to reward us for working in stress – we look super ‘on to it’ and busy, like the model of an efficient workplace, and are seemingly productive. Never mind the actual quality of the work that is produced in such a state!
I’m smiling with you Victoria! I remember the moment I rediscovered the graceful beauty my mum embodies, yet for years had missed having been enmeshed in the coping of her running a business while bringing up two children, essentially on her own. It has only been recently I have seen how much hardness/’blokieness’ I have gone into to get things done or to be at work, and am now rediscovering my own delicateness and what this brings to all and wherever I am.
My grandmother was my role model. Granted, she didn’t work, but she had a lovely morning routine and a gentleness that inspires me to this day. Old school – and definitely worth studying!
Absolutely Victoria, grace in action is most certainly mesmerizing to behold.
I love it Victoria, you have superbly outlined what it can be like for women at work and particularly like the way you described losing yourself…’to the hard, driven, excessive male energy that permeates so much of the working world.’ Your distinction between men, women and male-energy is key and fundamental to understanding the impact this has in a woman’s body. It feels like a fine line a woman has to tread to be taken seriously in that arena by being seen to be able to measure up, while at the same time bringing a whole different quality of relating to the workplace.
So true, Jenny! I have also worked over many years in nervous male-energy, drank lots of coffee to keep me going and never really stopped and rested. It created an enormous tension in my body and lowered the quality of my work and life very much and I did`t even see it. Now that I connected to my inner stillness everything changed, I have much more energy and love for everyone and everything at work! My body feels completely different now and there is hardly any stress.
Beautiful Eva Maria, yes it is usually not till we get out of something, that we can see and feel the extent of what it was truly. The key is in the body, and understanding that it registers every last smidgeon of energy that is used to ‘get on, or get by’ that is not truly harmonious.
Yes the body does never forget. And the spirit plays with that. As soon as we are disconnected we tend to slip back into old patterns and behaviors, f.e. nervous energy, but once we are out of them just for a period of time, this slipping back feels really awful.
That’s really important – ‘My body feels completely different now and there is hardly any stress’. It is possible to effect real and lasting change, you are living proof of that. Congratulations!
That’s really true Jenny – it has been my experience at times that I have chosen to be a certain way in order to be taken seriously at work, and by that I mean more ‘one of the boys’ than my natural, womanly self. Yet it’s only by being ourselves – the women we are – in the workplace and holding steady in that that will change the status quo. So I guess the next challenge is for us to do be very consistent in bringing the truth of who we are.
Yes, and that is interesting in itself as people around can be challenged and reactive or on the other hand, completely open and inspired. It’s a whole different ball-game to navigate.
I agree Jenny, it is a very fine line indeed. Those walking it are forging a new way of being in the workplace – not enjoining the current energy of drive and push (excess maleness), but working steadily and productively in a way that does not override the rhythms of a woman.
We are fairly aware of where these ideals, beliefs and messages about being a woman come from – media being a common source, as well as culture and society. But the real question is – why do we take these on message when all along we have an essence within us which is whole, full and amazing? I realised in my own life that I was not valuing this essence. As I started to connect with it and feel its quality, that felt more real than any ‘shoulds’ or ‘expectations that I was living by – indeed, it gave me a foundation.
A great question: why do we give our power away to the media, other people and cultural and societal expectations? It’s almost as if we are programmed to do so, and in some cases pre-programmed to do so – it can be as is we arrive here on Earth already primed to be who we are not. De-cluttering our minds of the ideals and beliefs we’ve accumulated starts to reveal the essence within.
This is such a great blog – for it exposes the beliefs and ideals we have about being a woman in the world. This notion that femaleness is weak, forgetful, stupid or unreliable is entirely false and it is great to know that you are re-connecting to your femaleness and bringing this to the workplace and the world – inspiring for all women.
It’s a very pervasive notion, one of the myriad ways we allow ourselves to be held back from being who we are in full. Any sort of categorisation would do this – negative or positive.
Very honest sharing Victoria and (talking about the first part of your blog) a familiar scenario to almost everyone of us I guess. I can still pride myself in having worked there and there and making good money. it feels like the money that I earned and the great company I worked for had to prove how much I was worth. Translated: no money and no great job = worthless, which is in fact how we feel if we attach to achievements and material and then lose it. Then we are left with just ourselves, someone we haven’t been in touch with for a long, long time. It took me a while but what a joy when I started to feel myself again, tender beautiful me. I am truly amazing and you know what..we all are.
I wonder if that sense of being ‘just left with ourselves, someone we haven’t been in touch with for a long, long time’ is what we’re faced with when we lose our job unexpectedly or retire. You often hear of men dying unexpectedly not long after stopping work at retirement. Could this be the reason why – that the discovery of the emptiness within is overwhelming?
‘It’s as if I’ve perpetually been in ‘fight or flight’ mode – which means I’ve probably lived in an almost constant state of stress for much of my life’. I can so relate to the internal intensity you speak of Victoria and am really starting to realise that in many ways the totally unrealistic pressure of perfectionism is actually what feeds this insatiable monster. Great blog.
Perfectionism is a huge part of it I feel! Somehow we’ve taken hold of the idea we need to perform perfectly, above and beyond, all the time – a very inhuman way to live. The truth is we have nothing to prove – and I’ve come to see how thinking I needed to prove my worth through the things I do has been a part of this scenario. We just need to love and appreciate ourselves 100% and go from there.
Yes, perfectionism plays straight back into the idea that our value is in what we do, rather than inherent in the quality we choose to bring, or not to bring, to what we do. Appreciation for this quality is indeed the antidote, replacing our constant need for accolade, even if only from ourselves, for everything else but.
Reading this blog, I tracked back my own work history and I can say no matter in what industry I worked in, however large/small the company was – it was always the same, it was always about delivering goods, trying to go beyond expectation and I never considered how I was feeling in it. And come to think of it, it’s not just work, how I hold myself, how I talk to myself – all of it, there’s a running theme. What I am learning is that work is a channel through which I express myself out in the society and connect with people, and how I am with myself and what choices I am making would naturally form the foundation for that.
Yes Fumiyo, I doubt any of us could say we’ve worked somewhere that ‘delivering the goods’ wasn’t paramount, well beyond any genuine concern for the quality of being we might bring to work and it’s value. That is not to say of course that many employers don’t care at all, but the bottom line for most is still business. And it’s a great point you make, as how many of us can truly say we value that in ourselves first… and not our own achievements, expectations and acceptance from others.
It’s going to take a shift, isn’t it? And from employers and employees alike as we begin to realise the current way is not sustainable for ourselves as individuals or for the businesses and organisations that struggling with workers who are increasingly suffering with work (and life) related physical and mental health issues. We need to start making different choices based on different principles.
Yes well said Victoria… ‘We need to start making different choices based on different principles.’ Universal Medicine offers those principles in my experience, and watching the incredible life changes occurring in every single student over the past 14 years, myself included, is testimony to the fact.
Yes a paradigm shift as they say… but interestingly one which you’ve already outlined in your blog, so it is possible and the result speaks for itself. The way forward has been paved and it is there for the choosing now.
Well said Jenny. Was going to write the same thing!
I can feel that if I were deeply connected to my femaleness and learnt to be OK with that, my body will provide me with all the cues it needs ¬– and everything I need to do or ‘be across’ will be taken care of. In other words, I’ve yet to learn (as was put to me recently) to trust in stillness. What stands out for me at this time Victoria, is where you say, learning to be okay with and trusting in your stillness. This is what is coming up for me now in a big way and the old way of push and drive to achieve, for recognition, to be someone, keeps trying to pull me away from that stillness. I am being called to learn to trust, accept and appreciate my own stillness and the power of it, and call out any mind driven voice that tells me, its all about results and then leave out quality. Breaking down old ideas/beliefs around doing and what it will get me, in favour of bringing truly loving presence and stillness back into my day as the true powerhouse that it is.
I relate to all you’ve said here Julie, particularly the part about the ‘mind-driven’ voice. The mind, and the ambitious spirit that fuels it, ever-seeking individuation, is what is behind the whole push to succeed or do more, totally leaving our hearts and bodies out of the equation. If we listened to our body first we’d be a lot better off. As it is, we tend to drag our bodies all over the place at the command of our over-active minds – a completely horrible state of affairs for women in particular.
Well spotted Ariana – that is the real question that we could all do with asking ourselves… because that incessant drive to ‘get more and to be more’ can be the root cause of a lifetime of dissatisfaction. We were born with plenty, and all we need to do is shine what is innately within us right from the start.
‘We were born with plenty…’ Yes we were, so where does that sense of plenty go? What happens to it? Somehow we let it get knocked out of us. If we lived in a society that understood, welcomed and encouraged our innate amazingness from the get-go, we would not grow up with a sense of deficit, always needing to prove ourselves and seek recognition and identification through what we do. We would each do what we felt naturally impulsed to do, working hard with a great work ethic but not in stress and disregard.
I totally agree that the world of work can be driven by an excess of that male, ‘can do’ energy you describe… and what it needs is the balance of women reminding us that within stillness lies a deeper understanding. The two in harmony – now that would be a knock out combination.
Agreed. Interestingly, I have come across several workplaces over the years that are women-only and have been founded on feminist philosophies. These have not felt beautifully still or harmonious. If I consider feminism as a reaction (to patriarchy), it makes sense. Stillness in a workplace would come from each woman (and man’s) connection to themselves and not from an ideology, let alone an often angry one.
Victoria, I too lived in constant ‘fight & flight’, both at home and at work, to ensure that I was efficient and to be able to judge myself as worthy by how much I was able to achieve. It feels amazing to have let that constant stress go and rather reflect on my day as how connected I have been to my stillness. I still get an amazing amount of things done, but feel vital at the end of the day, instead of exhausted with the need to reach for sugar and coffee.
That’s awesome Carmin, and I know what you mean. When I reach the end of the day I still find I need to remind myself it’s not about congratulating myself for how much I ‘achieved’, but the quality I did it in. It’s a hard habit to break.
We lose ourselves in anything… Work, relationships, mateships, it’s always possible to lose ourselves, As it is the path of least resistance. What is really unique and wonderful is when we choose to find ourselves, and then we can bring ourselves to everything and everyone, and everyone benefits.
That’s true. Anything we do can become all-consuming. I’ve just gone back to uni in the last year, where there’s the potential to not only lose yourself, but be completely owned by it. Being there requires a constant awareness of oneself, and that there is a body attached to one’s mind!
I can relate to the ‘doing’ and getting caught in the cycle of busyness, stress and overwhelm that this leads too. The feeling of being more connected to your stillness as a woman totally changes this- the grace and perspective that is there is amazing.
From the stillness vantage point, much can be seen and felt. In the busy-ness, we’re in the madness of constantly trying to put out fires.
‘I’ve also realised I left me as a woman totally out of the equation – even now, I’m not yet fully sure how to be a woman and work.’ This is something I have realised myself just recently. I feel I have brought the person to work and not the woman I am. Although I work in the healthcare with lots of female colleagues there is a lot of stress of getting it all done.
Being in my stillness and trusting my stillness is more than enough, lets say this is work in progress. Your blog Victoria is a great inspiration to explore to being me, the gorgeous woman I am to my work and not going into male energy, knowing everyone is missing out when I do so.
I like that line – ‘…everyone is missing out when I do’. That’s true – it’s not just for us women but for all and we have a responsibility to bring it.
It’s amazing isn’t it how we can actually work in industries that are concerned with health, yet work in ways that totally disregard it. There’s a responsibility there too, to walk our talk!
True Victoria, we are setting ourselves up to end in the same way our patients have by not living who they truly are. What I see around colleagues that time pressure is huge and the answer is going in more doing and getting the job done totally against our true nature and not considering that the quality of the care they give is not loving, not to themselves and not to the patients.
Victoria your comment ‘I’ve been great at ‘doing’ work in terms of results, but not in terms of being me in it.’ is profound. I too find it can be exhilirating when one get’s through some challenging situations with great outcomes, but if I’m not with me, it is also exhausting. I love your image of developing a womanly work body – the more I can bring stillness to the workplace the more effortlessly the work flows – in its own rhythm.
It’s funny – that exhilaration (and its corresponding challenges) is really just part of a giant rollercoaster ride. Not a great way to live. I like the flow a lot better.
I have had many roles throughout my life which became part of my identity and totally fell for these roles, one in particular, the ‘super woman/mum’ role who could do everything on her own, well that was exhausting! I am no longer investing in any roles, which has freed me up to just be myself and show the true me to the world. In just being me, I have come to realise that in doing so I am more and more trusting in my stillness.
I haven’t done the super- mum thing but can relate to trying to be a super-woman and juggle multiple roles and tasks. Super-depleting and super-unloving. Very unsustainable and ultimately shows up as illness and disease.
Yes and yes Ariana! At least I have come to see this was very much true for me. I had lost any real sense of who I was long ago and, rather than look inwards to make the re-connection, spent years and years looking everywhere else for what was fundamentally not there to be found. How desperately difficult this is for body and being, and no wonder we get sick doing it. It’s time to de-identify ourselves and come back to who we naturally are.
I agree with what you have written here Brendan, especially ‘for if we were being truly loving with ourselves it would not come at our expense’. This is good for me to read right now because I have just started a target driven job and it is very important for me to not loose myself to those targets.
Julie what an opportunity for you to deeply connect with your stillness. Target-driven work is challenging and it’s hard not to get caught up in it. It will be a great day for all when the push for profit at all costs is joyfully abandoned in favour of supporting people – those people first being the staff.
Also Victoria I have found that I have to watch the competitiveness, which is rife within my industry (Estate Agents).
Yes Julie this is now so common in the work place. Targeting goals and work long hours creates an environment that can easily put us out of rhythm and get caught up in overwhelm. Choosing to stay present is what supports us to develop a relationship with ourselves and with work where the targets are met but not laced with the drive.
Recently I’ve taken some classes in Sacred Movement, a beautiful modality designed to assist women to connect with their innate sacredness, as both felt in the body and experienced as a quality common to all women. This has been very powerful in helping me gain a more tangible experience of not only stillness, but how it feels when motion springs from stillness first and before that, from sacredness. Developing sacredness feels like it will provide the foundation for women to be able to trust in stillness.
Bringing stillness to work is such a big present and so needed, yet we are so not used to it. The other day I had this job interview and I was very much in my stillness and with that also very fragile and open. I noticed that this belief came up that I could not be in this way because then I would not get the job as the company was very male driven, hard and with a drive. Later that day I got the message that they thought that I did not fit into the company and actually I felt the same. I am so glad that I stayed with me and my truth, and that I did not change just so I would get the job.
This is very inspiring Victoria and Mariette, thanks for sharing. I had to completely re-imprint the way I approach work as it was very male driven, similar to what you write in your blog, Victoria. Currently I am looking for a new job and finding out how to present the true me without compromise and especially without compromising me as a woman. And I find myself confronted with the same believes and ideals as you both share here. I feel it is so important that we talk about this and become aware of what is going on, as this is needed as a foundation to a different way.
Great Judith, I love what you have written. I had another job interview yesterday and even though it was completely different from the last one, It was great to bring all of me and not putting up some mask or a belief that I have to be a certain way. What I experience more and more is that job interviews are just a sharing between two people, and yesterday I had a lovely time. I am learning to also take away all my beliefs around job interviews and to really just be present and with myself, full of me and no holding back.
I love this Mariette! What a mess it would have been to untangle, had you overridden what you really felt and aligned with the drivenness instead. True job selection – how this would change the recruitment process, and the integrity of our organisations. Everyone would be exactly where they needed to be, doing what was right for them to be doing.
Great job Mariette, (pun intended!). Inspiring to hear you stayed with your truth and who you are as a woman not compromising yourself to get the job. Maybe the interview was never about the job, but you staying true to you.
Love it Mariette – self-worth is the only real job in town!
That’s true Brendan. Interestingly, I’ve actually seen from a number of role models around me – and started to experience in my own life – that it is actually possible to have all we want and need without wrecking ourselves in the process. When our wants and needs are in line with a purpose beyond ourselves, it’s as if all our ducks start to line up in a row, and life becomes simpler and less of a struggle.
Love your comment here Victoria, and I agree that: When our wants and needs are in line with a purpose beyond ourselves, it’s as if all our ducks start to line up in a row, and life becomes simpler and less of a struggle.
Observing the world, I guess we could say from this that the majority of humanity is locked in struggle if not survival. This surely indicates how far away we – women and men – are from our natural selves.
A beautiful process of re-turning and connecting to our inner stillness and then operating from that deep knowing and trust of ourselves, this feels amazing Victoria thank you.
Thomas, you know what is also amazing? Feeling stillness in a man, as I do in your comment here. Beautiful.
I agree Victoria. A man expressing from his stillness is heart-meltingly beautiful.
Thank you Victoria for such a beautiful sharng. Most of my life has been lived in male energy of the continual doing, doing, accomplishing tasks seemed to define who I was. The thought of being a woman first, did not enter my head. As a child of around 10 years of age I said to my mother “I wish I was a boy, they seem to have all the fun. So slowly now at the age of 72 I am starting to realise that I am indeed a beautiful woman filled with love and tenderness, and this reclaiming has filled me with joy and sadness at the same time. This is an ongoing process for me, and I often loose myself along the way, but I know that at any moment I can come back to my loving heart, and that this is only a gentle breath away. I love the words “trust in the stillness”. I am slowly building that trust in me.
Jill, I felt the same at an early age – I saw how it was for my brother who, although two years younger than me, seemed like my father to exist in a world that privileged and prioritised men over women: it certainly seemed as if my mother, and I, had the worse deal. I was deeply hurt by the injustice of this apparent status quo, and as I entered adolescence became angry about it – particularly when I saw films such as ‘My Brilliant Career’. When I entered the world of work, and relationships, I was grimly determined not to be disadvantaged in any way and set about doing life in male energy. It was a great day when I started to understand, thanks to Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, this was not the way, and that being a woman doing life in in this way was in fact enormously harming to my health and wellbeing, not to mention perpetuating an ill ideal that harms the world.
Believing we have to compete with men and ‘beat them at their own game’ (game being an apt description because it isn’t their natural way that’s for sure) is one of the biggest lies we have created for ourselves. It’s a convenient truth which has the women of this world, who hold the stillness of humanity in their hands, striving for supposed equality and running further away from their innate stillness. Seems like a very clever ploy to stop us all from feeling the divinity we truly are, which we will only be able to feel when we women stop running and reconnect to our stillness, our sacredness, reflecting this and inspiring our gorgeous men to do the same.
I agree with your words Jill, “….I often lose myself along the way, but I know that at any moment I can come back to my loving heart, and that this is only a gentle breath away.” I too am finding that once upon a time what appeared to be elusive as far as expressing a gentle and steady ‘woman-liness’, or a tender but powerfull femine quality is more possible the experience now as I allow the development of my awareness of that still place within. I have found that the presentations of Serge Benhayon at Universal Medicine re-awaken something deep within, perhaps a well of ageless wisdom that is within us all.
Me too – and the presentations of Esoteric Women’s Health – without these I would still be completely unaware of my ill momentums. Though my body would always let me know, if not immediately with small issues then undoubtedly with a bigger stop.
Thank you Victoria for your amazing blog. I too was a business woman years ago working as the first women with men selling technical products. Everything your wrote about not being a women in the business world I can agree. Even now nearly 30 years later I could feel the pressure I put on myself and not allowing myself to be a tender or fragile woman. It is unbelievable what I do to myself and I am now very much appreciate that like you chose to be the natural true woman I am truly are.
Isn’t it amazing Esteraltmiks how we so easily dismiss that tenderness and fragility and yet it’s the key to us, to who we are, and it’s woefully absent in the world and the workplace. It’s great so many of us are now recognising that how we work with it’s untold pressure is not the way for women, or men either. We’ve become so busy with making it and being seen to make it, we’ve forgotten to bring our true essence to the table, time for a bit of a re-imprint, no matter where we are now or where we’ve been.
monicag2 I am with you: “. . . we’ve forgotten to bring our true essence to the table, time for a bit of a re-imprint, no matter where we are now or where we’ve been.” So let us change the world all together instead of giving up and think it is not possible.
Count me in ladies, we must never give up. We must be the change we want to see in the world.
Lucy, that is so important to never give up no matter what, that’s the mastery, no matter what happens choosing to come back, recommit and go again.
Being a woman being a man in a man’s world is hard; being a woman being a woman in a man’s world is the way.
But even a man in a man’s world is more often than not a man who has deeply buried his natural and exquisitely beautiful tenderness and is trying to fit in with the picture of what being a man looks like that we have ALL created – women and men alike.
How bananas is it that a woman, being a woman, in a man’s world is hard. There are so many comments in this thread that I want to join in with!
It is pretty hard to believe we donned such masculine suits of armour. In some instances we even ‘out male’ the men. Ultimately, all this effects our health. The rise of breast cancer is surely a case in point.
Wow Victoria that is really a good point you have made – to “out male” the men as a women must have an effect on our bodies as we are living something our bodies are not made for so to speak.
‘It is unbelievable what I do to myself…’ Yes it is unbelievable what we do to ourselves and what I have done and at times continue to do to myself. Talk about bending over backwards and tying ourselves in knots to do and be it all. No wonder women’s health and well-being is on the decline.
Any woman who is truly being a woman is beautiful beyond measure. There is something intoxifying about a woman who is being true, regardless of her physical features. Her energetic beauty is what’s felt first and foremost and the eyes naturally follow suit.
Victoria , you have accurately detailed the lies I have voluntarily taken on in what it is to be successful in the workplace as a woman. Having never felt at ease in this ‘driven’ way, I chose, what I have labelled as ‘less’, and viewed myself as being ‘intellectually’ less. Re-connecting more with who I truly am, I am discovering a confident, strong and subtle knowingness that comes from within me and informs my movement in the world. I loved your comment – ‘I’ve yet to learn (as was put to me recently) to trust in stillness’. This feels very profound for me and is something I am now seeing as a beautiful blessing and way forward. Thank you for sharing.
That’s so interesting – as a woman who aligned with the predominant male energy of the workplace and went into push and drive I never considered taking the path of doing or being ‘less’. We are ever-inventive in our avoidance of being who we truly are! Thank you for sharing this.
Your sharing Victoria is so key and relatable for many of us. I too have walked a similar path and find myself each day exploring the quality of stillness to all that i do and bring in my workplace. This quality allows me to feel the loveliness of how i move, how i type, how i walk and the sublte yet profound affect it has on others. The grace we bring as women in our natural stillness is simply exquisite.
So true Marica. It was suggested to me last night by a lovely lady friend that connecting to our stillness is the way forward in terms of our vocal expression too – our ability to speak up and out, an area many of us struggle with. I can feel how this is so. When I have that stillness, that steadiness, I’m much more me and naturally and confidently so.
Absolutely Victoria and we have so much to share.
I loved reading your comment Marcia as I can feel that gorgeous quality of stillness coming through the words. It is that simple is it not, to connect to our stillness and simply feel the quality in everything we do. Nothing big and yet it changes everything.