“Life is exhausting!” This is what one of the moms on my women’s soccer team quietly mentioned while we huddled in a circle, ready for our 10pm game (a perfect time for all the mothers and busy executives on the team so it wouldn’t affect the schedule of anyone else in the family). The full day before the soccer game with work, kids, life, housework, scheduling and volunteering was enough to send any sane person directly to bed, but we were here tonight, needing a little connection, fun, and physical release. I looked around the circle at each woman. Each one had a story of strength and perseverance on and off the soccer field, and yet it showed in their faces with an air of plain tiredness. And it wasn’t because they were tired of life – heck, they were there to play soccer, weren’t they? Rather, they just needed the permission to recharge and dust off their inner passion.
The amount of work women get done these days is incredible. Not only are women pushing themselves mentally, but physically, emotionally and spiritually as well. Just think of some of the incredible women you know who are carrying more weight on their shoulders and holding more responsibility in their hands than you could possible imagine, not to 20%mention doing an amazing job! The crazy part is that if you asked them honestly how they felt about all their accomplishments, most women will point out all the things they aren’t doing or aren’t doing well enough.
It’s an epidemic of exhaustion. Everyone has their reasons, and there are millions, between stress, diet, society, illness, single parenting etc. And it’s not just women, I understand, but this book is focused on releasing feminine energy, which is the great balancer.
But what can we do about it?
An exhausted woman has lost touch with her inner life force. We all are powerful beings, but in our effort to please others, we often get stuck in our heads and left outside our bodies. A vibrant woman glows with internal passion and joy. Becoming vibrant isn’t meant to take effort or to be another self-help project. Rather, I see it as a dusting process.
We’re not searching for something new or the “fountain of youth”. We’re letting go, breathing deep, and practicing the art of living from the inside out, from our internal force instead of our external force. It’s a life trusted, a life of daring to show our true colors. It’s a process of re-knowing and re-awakening. There’s nothing new under the sun, no new knowledge or techniques, but rather the re-learning of everything we already know, but have forgotten.
It’s not tiring to be yourself freely; it’s tiring to try to be somebody else.
Do you have an ache in your gut, constricted throat, headaches or drained energy? These are all signs that your inner world is not matching your outer world. We can often lose ourselves to what we do rather than who we are.
Have you ever noticed, when you walk into a room full of women—at a conference, meeting, even a dinner party—there’s usually only one of those ten women who looks vibrant and alive? The aura of exhaustion kind of floats over the room in a haze, into the conversations full of one-upping on busyness, schedules and pressures. Yes, we live in a day and age where women in the Western world have more freedom and privileges then ever in recorded history, but we also live in a pressure cooker for perfectionism and over-extension. For women to be successful in careers, relationships, and parenting requires much more brain-muscle power than we realize.
For all the amazing benefits that feminism has brought us, its fruits have not necessarily included personal or spiritual fulfillment. Many women feel subtle, yet persistent, anxiety, depression or exhaustion. This is because we’ve cultivated a masculine version of living. Trying to achieve this masculine version, which means creating things we can control, results in losing our feminine power. This is the power to see and embrace things beyond our control, including those things our hearts most yearn for: intimacy, relatedness, creative expression, authentic community, and meaningful contribution.
The term ‘creative expression’ does not just mean artists or musicians. Our creative energy is exuded into problem solving and establishing good relationships, friendships, and families. It involves organization and connection- building, as well as generating feelings of completeness and nurturing and building communities and families. Creativity is in the small things and in how we express ourselves, and is a key manifestation of vibrant, feminine energy.
Yet, so many women feel pressured, exhausted, and on a treadmill that keeps going and going.
Letter from a “Modern Day Power-Mom”
I am a middle-aged mom (38). I am busy in my career and feel exhausted most of the time. Every day is a rush, from mornings of getting the kids to school, working as much as I can and skipping lunches, and then back to driving my kids around town to their activities, supper rush, trying to exercise, and then laundry dishes and cleaning up. My sex drive is way down, but every once in a while I go out dancing and have fun and realize that I am a sexy goddess, I want to have fun, but I just feel so detached from my body.
When I look down at my body I see strange things happening – my skin is sagging, I’ve gained a bit of weight, I always have so much to do, and basically that sexy younger version of myself is gone.
I’d love to have orgasms, to have a sex drive but I just don’t have time to work on that. I’ve heard it might be hormones. I’ll go to a hormone doctor and maybe get some pills to help balance things out.
I also hate getting my period! It seems to make me a bitch for 5 days, then there’s 5 more days of dealing with blood and then I finally feel good for a week or 2, but my husband and I never seem to be in sync – when I’m feeling good I feel like getting lots done and so sex still doesn’t come as a priority, I’m more likely to do things around the house or go out. I still want sex with him; it just feels like the stars have to align with my body, energy and his too!
I wish I could feel in tune with my body – it’d be nice not to be “surprised” by my period every month. I’d love to feel like a sexy feminine woman again but I have so much work to do. I don’t have lots of money to spend on extras or I would pay for massages and spa appointments….then I’d feel sexy. What if there was a magic sexy pill to take so I could have easy periods, look irresistible, feel urged to initiate sex and even get that “glow” about me again. I want to look vibrant. I want to feel vibrant. I want to feel like a woman again, not just a mom, housewife, boring lady with just tons to do. I am that fun, adventurous woman my husband fell for years ago.
I’d love to get away for a week and connect with myself, get my sexy back.
I’d love to be reminded about my body and feel more connected (I’d take more yoga classes but I don’t have time) – Can I get an App or a Pill for that?
What about learning how to have better orgasms? Wow – never thought I’d go there but I do need to do that. Just where do I fit that in?
Take a sex course? My husband would like it but at the same time he’d think it was woo-woo unless I then came home and wanted sex all the time! But I don’t want lame sex! I want goddess sex, where I get to escape, play, giggle and expand, not just do the motions and the same repertoire of tricks that can get a bit boring. I don’t mind doing it, but if my body responded better and I was more in the “mood” it would be so much better.
It takes me a while to get in the mood these days. I have a hard time letting go of all the thoughts and “to do” list of things, plus we have to be quiet because the kids are in bed (and also have to wait until they are in bed- which is getting later and later and that means we’re more exhausted!!)
How do I get some of that sexy feminine energy back? How do I make each month cycle better, so the nasty PMS doesn’t surprise me and I realize, 2 days late after crying with anxiety and a husband shaking his head in frustration, that it was just my hormones, it wasn’t me….
North American culture takes the fewest vacations and has the lowest tolerance for leisure in the western hemisphere. In Dr. Frank Lipman’s book on the subject of exhaustion, “Revive: End Exhaustion And Feel Great Again,” he has found that two-thirds of women are so run-down by life that they are constantly tired. “Trying to juggle the demands of being a wife, mother and career woman has left them permanently exhausted. The ‘Spent Generation’, as these women have been labeled, relies too much on caffeine and sugar to get them through the day. This ‘lifestyle disease’ will eventually endanger their health”.
“I am the most tired woman in the world. I am tired when I get up. Life requires an effort I cannot make. Please give me that heavy book. I need to put something heavy like that on top of my head. I have to place my feet under the pillows always, so as to be able to stay on earth. Otherwise I feel myself going away, going away at a tremendous speed, on account of my lightness. I know that I am dead. As soon as I utter a phrase my sincerity dies, becomes a lie whose coldness chills me. Don’t say anything, because I see that you understand me, and I am afraid of your understanding. I have such a fear of finding another like myself, and such a desire to find one! I am so utterly lonely, but I also have such a fear that my isolation be broken through, and I no longer be the head and ruler of my universe. I am in great terror of your understanding by which you penetrate into my world; and then I stand revealed and I have to share my kingdom with you.”–Anaïs Nin
OK, we understand there’s an epidemic of exhaustion. Everyone has their reasons, there’s millions, between life stress, diet, society, not to mention illness, single parenting, etc.
But what can we do about it?
Permission for pleasure.
I met a delightful woman, Jena LeFlamme, on a recent retreat in Mexico who is a weight loss coach with her company Pleasurable Weight Loss (www.pleasurableweightloss.com). Her client success rates are incredible! Want to know what the secret is? Retraining women to add pleasure to their lives, simple, eh? Feeling the sensations and using our senses for life instead of being numb to our surroundings causes our bodies to work FOR us instead of seemingly against us. What a concept.
The daily practice of pleasure permission has become foreign to women in North America – we’re starting to appreciate it in the European lifestyle (with books like: French Women Don’t Get Fat, etc.), It is a learned art, and will take a lifetime to adapt and a couple generations to really integrate into our society.
There’s something magical about a vibrant woman. I call it a “bubbling up” from within. In my ten years of massage therapy work, I often noticed the revitalization process during a treatment. It arrives through deep relaxation, and the visual image that came to mind while I was working on someone was of a flower blossoming right from the central core (or the womb), our deepest innermost self, where the essence of our femininity is present and waiting to be released.
I believe the greatest untapped resource on this planet is feminine energy.
The vibrant feminine energy of women expands and exceeds when given space to grow. The nurturing essence that comes from the core expands with love. When we open ourselves to all aspects of being a woman, and speak bravely about the tests, toils, struggles and hardships we face, we can then start the healing.
Every woman is a universe, a deep, unending story, and a resource powerful enough to heal the world. Picture a vibrant woman in her seventies, sexy, smiling, exuding joy and confidence. It’s a rare sight, but oh so precious. I am always drawn to them, understanding that they have unlocked one of the secrets to life. To go through the “middle” years and come out on the other side with sexiness and energy means you must have done something right.
What would it mean to be a “Vibrant Woman”?
You know it when you feel it: the effervescent joy that makes you want to kiss strangers, sing an aria, dance in the crosswalk at rush hour. Sometimes these surges of energy are the direct result of external events — a big promotion, a great workout, a fabulous first date or a marvelous hug from your child. More often, happiness floods in unexpectedly, and we chalk it up to that mysterious force known as a good mood.
Perhaps you haven’t felt much of this lately?
What if this bubbly, pure sensation isn’t completely random and left to the winds of chance and the minor few? What if you could tap into it, nurture it?
What if you could truly regain your vibrancy and embrace your life with more energy and passion than you ever imagined?
At the Vibrant Women Project, we’re going to delve deep into this topic. The dirty details, the limitations, the colorful experiences that make us all who we are. The process of waking up is not easy, but there’s a cleansing power in removing the messy bits and getting to the point.
If millions of women wake up to all their untapped energy and feel their cup starting to fill up, they can then go out and help others. It’s the eternal essence of what it means to be a woman and help, love, give, be and do. When we are filled to the brim, we share.
As we go deeper into each part, looking at the practical details and honest insights of women just like you, I urge you to reach inside and connect again with your power. Find your unique universe and the voice that needs to express itself.
Every woman and every situation is different depending on where we are in our lives, but I’ve created four little profiles to follow along with. Of course I don’t want to box you in – I totally love and respect the fact that you are perfect just as you are! But for the purposes of this exercise, would you be able to identify with one of these four ladies?
Yasmine: 20-30’s, no kids, busy career, lifestyle & relationship stress. Life already seems challenging and you haven’t even started yet.
Monica: 30-40s, mom, maybe working from home or at a full-time/part-time job. Doesn’t matter because your life is so busy with everyone else’s demands there is literally NOTHING left of you for you.
Cheryl: 45-60: Is this all there is? Still busy, still working and ready for a “second life”. You now have more ideas and time, but no push or passion to get on it.
Jean: 65+: Guess what! You are still very young and vibrant in your core. Society may tell you you’re over the hill, but I’m here to change your mind about that. Time to use your wisdom and channel it into passion. Vibrancy at this age shines brighter and keeps you younger than anything else.
Which one are you?