We Are So Different, Yet So Much The Same
Imagine my excitement to be invited to speak at the Awakened Women’s Conference in Bali, this past November! What an honor. This was a golden opportunity for me to present my workshop for helping burnt-out women entrepreneurs reclaim their energy and power. And to be asked to join an expert panel on self-love and self-care – one of my deepest passions – I was thrilled!
The conference itself was for six days, and I had another four days to integrate what I was teaching – what better way to ‘practice what I preach’– in Bali!
In a nutshell, it was an incredible experience far beyond the words spoken to the audience – from the extraordinary women I met from all over the globe, to the gracious Balinese people, the culture, the architecture, the rich landscape… the only thing that wasn’t a ‘plus’ was that the humidity made for a very frizzy head of hair! It’s just not a good look! Luckily all this juiciness outweighed the frizz issue!
What I’d love to share is something that keeps popping into my mind as it moved me. It had nothing to do with the presentations themselves – but an experience I had that affirmed my message and what I was about to share at the conference in the following days.
On one of my free days before the conference, I went for a massage at a beautiful spa, tucked away on a mountainside. I enjoyed a luxurious hour-long massage by a lovely Balinese woman. I drifted in and out, soaking up the actual physical massage as well as the foreign majestic and lush environment. The hour seemed to pass in a blink of an eye. At the end of the massage, the masseuse informed me that the massage was over and that I could take my time. While I laid on the massage table, she said, “You have such nice skin.” Then she asked, “Do you take medicine for it?” I smiled and thanked her and told her I didn’t take medicine for my skin. She said, “Oh you’re very lucky! I don’t have very good skin.”
Until that moment, I had only noticed a sweet Balinese woman. But once she drew attention to her skin, I could see she asked me this question because of her acne. I shared my philosophy about how often our skin is a reflection of what is going on inside our bodies. I then asked her, “What is your lifestyle like? Do you have a lot of stress?” She sighed and then shared how she had a lot of stress – up early every morning, taking care of the kids, then off to long hours of work, home late, making dinner, helping with kids, then getting up and doing it all over again the next day. So yes, she lived a very stressful life.
When I asked her what she did for herself, she told me she was too busy to do anything for herself. I could relate – this was me about ten years ago. The truth was I didn’t make myself a priority… and I paid for it dearly! (Some lessons you learn the hard way!) I too was “very busy” but if I knew then what I know now – that it would lead to my burning out, slowing down, becoming less productive, getting off course and not enjoying life as much – I might have chosen to spend more time on me. But clearly, my path was to experience burn-out myself… more than once I might add! After several repeat and rinse of this pattern, I chose to wake up to it. I can now say in hindsight; I get it. I REALLY get it!
Okay. So where am I going with all this? Well, after she told me she didn’t do anything for herself because she was too busy (which I interpreted as she didn’t make herself a priority), I paused and looked at her and felt myself welling up as it bumped up against my truth and my purpose. I said, “You and I are very different in many ways – your hair is different from mine, your skin colour is different from mine, your culture is different from mine, your job and lifestyle are very different from mine, however…. deep down, many women, (and it seems to be a universal truth) believe that we aren’t worth it.
I shared with her my thoughts… we don’t fully value ourselves, and as a result, we compromise ourselves such as not taking the time for us – to nurture or take care of ourselves like we do our loved ones or even our colleagues or friends – and that’s not very loving to ourselves nor is it being a good role model. We may not do this intentionally. It’s just so deeply ingrained in us. Women are also inherently givers, which is a wonderful thing but not when it comes at the cost ourselves! There is a big difference between giving ‘of’ ourselves and giving ‘up’ of ourselves.
We then held hands and stared at one another – a moment that I will never forget. The silence was more powerful than the words we just shared. I cannot speak for her, but this shifted me.
This was yet another confirmation from the universe… that this message indeed is universal and needs to be shared…
I truly believe we, as women, need to become more aware of our deep beliefs that no longer serve us and make a collective and universal shift… to begin to know our value, claim our worth and live with greater vitality… connect to our deepest calling, our yearnings and live our lives aligned with our highest good.