Posted by: ginalazenby | July 4, 2013

Top Ten Insights from Women on their Journey

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The Women’s Gathering in Bali … reporting from the “frontline” of women on journeys of self-discovery reinventing themselves !

… these 10 insights will speak to many women who are on a journey of transition from old self to new self  (from our Bali Women’s Gathering)

While in Bali last month (June), I hosted a Women’s Gathering with my business partner Mynoo for a few ex-pat women staying around Ubud who happened to float into our orbit. Almost all on were on a journey of self-discovery similar to that which Elizabeth Gilbert had taken for her Eat Pray Love odyssey …. one which she embarked on while in her early 30s. Although a few younger women in their 30s show up at these Women Gatherings, these gatherings do tend to satisfy the need for sisterhood of older women in their 40-60s.

The course plotted by the older woman, almost a generation older than Elizabeth… post-children and post-marriage … is slightly different. She was running away from a first marriage and the call of motherhood whereas the tribe of older women waking up to the great unknown of being 50-something and newly-single is quite another ballgame and a significantly bigger rite of passage.

In our Bali Gathering, our circle discussion provided an opportunity to hear where we each were on our journeys. This may be where you are at in life so I will summarise some of the insights that emerged from the very deep, honest sharings from that Gathering. Here are the top ten of the treasures collated that evening:

  1. A quest for a new identity: many talked about shifting from old identities to a new ones that were coming into being but still very much unknown. The big question being asked: After the roles of lover/partner and mother what else is there? One woman spoke of being the lynchpin of the family and having held space for so many others for so long, she was now learning to hold space for herself. She was discovering herself and although her future was not clear she was enjoying the testing and tasting of new experiences. “Trying to embrace more of who I am”. Sometimes changing our name is part of our new journey, maybe reclaiming an old name. There is freedom in expressing our identity in new ways.
  2. Challenges emerge when our roles shift:  one woman had left her nursing career and was now a full-time mother at home. Her husband did not want her to work outside the home so she was looking to be creative and develop projects that allowed her to work at home because she missed the connection with others and the stimulus that brought. Out of the need for creative impulse a new interesting business was emerging that was also helping other women with businesses in their homes.
  3. Learning to nurture ourselves: As we move from being the primary nurturer of others we now have to learn to nurture ourselves. How to do this? Traveling to the beautiful spiritual island of Bali is part of this. Being in nature. Remembering to book massages for ourselves. We also recall how the role of nurturer that we had was something often unseen by others, our work and the support we give can be so invisible. We need to honour that ourselves as it helps us to see our value. “It is so easy to get caught up with work and to neglect yourself! I have to remember to play.”
  4. Understanding our new power: we all felt that maintaining a strong spiritual connection and bringing this forth to whatever we are doing, including business, is now extremely important. One woman said that she had felt powerful before in business but she realised that she had been living other people’s agendas not her own.  She was feeling a new and different kind of power emerging from being her authentic self. Letting go of will and ego makes things easier.
  5. A journey into the Feminine: one woman shared how she had spent much of her life very deeply connected to her masculine energy. She even wore 3-piece pin-striped business suits; she wanted to show the men in the all-male environment in which she worked that they could not mess with her. Now she felt it was beautiful to bring both feminine energy and spirituality into hard core business programmes. People were much more accepting and open to this. So from being known for her formality it is now a delight for her to wear pretty Balinese dresses and flowers in her hair for business meetings. Another aspect of being in our feminine energy is learning to be patient and not being frustrated with the time it takes for things to come to fruition. Learning to “allow” things to happen in their own is important, even if it is not easy!
  6. A deeper connection to our spiritual life: this emerges for many. One shared how she was seeking to bring in her business skills from her past and integrate them with the spiritual initiation she had been going through. Spending time in nature had become much more important. Most women shared that they had strong and passionate connection with nature, the earth and sustainability. Spiritual practice helps to make us even more creative and resourceful.
  7. Letting go of the fight inside: one woman shared her insight that she had been fighting all her life. First it was against her father, then against relationships and all men … now she sees it is a fight inside her against herself. She could see that she had not been acknowledged, not valued … she is now shifting in to not needing recognition but it is still there sometimes. She is reaching inside to find her own value, to be OK with the way she is, who she is. She is getting to a place where there is nothing she needs to prove, she does not need to concern herself with what men think.
  8. Letting go is important for our next phase of life:  many women have given up so much from their former lives … homes, belongings, husbands, relationships .. the “less is more space” is so valuable. We are finding that the less you have, the easier life is. Stop collecting things, forget about knick knacks. Better to have less to organise and then you can just enjoy each day.  Letting go helps to find clarity inside ourselves. It also helps us to connect with our playful nature and have more fun. Along the way we have had to learn to make huge sacrifices and let go in order to find harmony. One woman shared how letting go of her home, a place of peace that she had always retreated to now found that place of peace was inside her … she was that place of peace. She moved from loss to gratitude. That profound insight helped her to now be in   a beautiful state where she is empty of thoughts.
  9. Reaching inside to connect with our value:  in the past some have felt the need to be apologetic .. just for being them. There was a feeling of holding back and being shy, being uncomfortable about taking up space, of feeling worthy and really showing up with others, of needing to be given permission. Now the learning is to be authentic and give permission to the self to let go, relax and be playful and accepting the vulnerability that comes with that and the power that gives us.
  10. Valuing & Honouring our connection to the Earth: Just like we feel that we have been invisible and our value not recognised as women, so it is with the earth and Mother Nature. We are getting so much strength and sustenance by reconnecting with nature. We are taking power from her. We are learning new skills, growing our own food and finding this is enriching our souls. We find that as we value plants more, they take care of us while we take care of them.

Are you on a journey of self-discovery and re-invention? Which of these do you resonate with most strongly? I’d love to hear from you ….. do leave a comment here.

Lisa brought her hand-made raw healthy chocolate - there is something wonderful about  wicked addictions being healthy !

Lisa brought her hand-made raw healthy chocolate – there is something wonderful about wicked addictions being healthy !

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Responses

  1. lovely blog Gina – heartfelt and authentic stuff!

  2. This article really spoke to me on so many levels. I realise I am still in my process of transition and feel so impatinet at times that I am not shifting quick enough. It is reasuring and such a welcome article to know I share my own unique journey flowing alongside in grace and harmony with other beautufiul women.

    Thank you

  3. Deep in ourselves we have all experienced and are all aware of these issues, but we need the constant reminder that we are not alone. We are developing a language for this heart-centred space we are creating, and we learn it by repeating ourselves. That way, we don’t fall back into the powerful illusion that surrounds us that is beguiling and has a far louder voice. Thank you, Gina, for the reminder! x

  4. […] https://ginalazenby.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/top-ten-insights-from-women-on-their-journey/ […]

  5. I have just read something that spoke to my soul. It is heartwarming to know that I am not alone with my search for my true self, after many years of taking care of others, which I am still doing I suddenly need to connect to the me that existed before that time or was there ever such a time? To reach that joyful child within. I am in my sixties now and want to go back to the real me. Much love to you all out there on the same journey how can I join this women’s gathering group? I would love to go to Bali can anyone show me the way with this one xx

    • Carole – thank you so much for sharing how you feel here. It’s part cry-from-the-heart and part rally call !
      No you are most definitely not alone. It’s a shame that we women have to move into our later post-caring years in order to see our value both inside and outside the context of service to others. It is an exciting time though.
      good luck on your journey back to the “real you” – you’ll get there!
      I will keep you on my email list for details about future events in Bali. PLease email me with details about where you live in the UK .. there’s a Women’s Gathering in London next week as well.
      Gina


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