Tuesday, January 31, 2006

How do you eat an elephant?

"To be strong does not mean to sprout muscles and flex. It means meeting one's own numinosity without fleeing, actively living with the wild nature in one's own way. It means to be able to learn, to be able to stand what we know. It means to stand and live." - Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I had a great day yesterday! We went to a town called Totnes. It's not very big but as our village has one pub and one shop/post office and that's it, any town is a big town to us! We did our groceries and I was able to spend time in TWO bookshops! YAY!! I came home with an ancient copy of Alice in Wonderland and a collection of Collette's essays on gardens. I am working in a lovely garden this summer so I thought I could read it then. Second hand bookstores are amazing.

Unfortunately for them, my new old books will have to wait! Yesterday after writing about reading Women Who Run With the Wolves I was inspired to pick it up again and start reading it. It's like curling up at the feet of and old woman and learning what you need to know. It's become almost a cliche in some circles, but I am an unabashed friend of it.

I came across the quote about strength this morning, and I had to write it down - both here and in my notebook. As I said in my first post, I am so interested in what power we would have if we stopped worrying about our weight and our wrinkles and how we looked. Imagine how much money and time could be spent on our dreams and our children and becoming strong if women (and men) stopped spending money on surgery and potions and pills and diets. So many people are living with the belief that if they could just be different on the outside that they would feel different on the inside. But as Debbie Ford says, "if we put ice cream on top of poop after a few spoonfuls we will taste the poop again."

I used to be like that. I used to think that when I was thinner I would be okay, that when I reached a (frankly) impossible weight that I would also get a personality and confidence transplant and I would be okay. Yuck.

Now I just want to be strong. I want to make my body strong enough to be able to handle anything physical I want to do. I want to be strong enough to take care of myself, to have kids when it's time, and to keep up with anyone. I want to be strong enough to do the Inca trail someday. I also want to be strong inside. I want to be strong enough to fight off the invading media images that show aging as the enemy. I want to be strong enough to be a great aunt to my almost niece or nephew. I want to be strong enough to be an equal partner in my relationship. I want to be strong enough to make the choices and the decisions that mean a creative and honest life.

Can I do it? I think so. Each choice, each decision, each gentle nudge or kick in the ass is a step forward.

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.


Alexandra S said...

I'm printing out that post today and pasting it into my journal to read again and again. That was so, so inspiring Megg. I wonder too sometimes what if we could bottle up all the "stopped energies" of women throughout history who gave up their dreams, got distracted by who they thought they were supposed to be instead of reaching peace and joy with who they really are, what would we have when we released all that energy and talent and vision that went askew? I LOVED this post dearly. Thank you!

Beth Dargis said...

This post is so true. So many women try and strive to be the "ideal" woman, that they don't get a chance to discover who they are. Another great book on this topic is "Forget Perfect" by Lisa Earle.

Frankie said...

Megg, this is an amazing, thought provoking post. I love what you've written here, and I love your desire to be strong for all of the reasons you've listed. You are really remarkable.

la vie en rose said...

amen sister! just what i needed to hear today. i want that strength too. i have this book and have read the first few chapters then i got sidetracked with something else and never picked it up again. maybe it's time...

tara dawn said...

I want that strength as well, both physical and mental. How easy it is to become absorbed in society's dictates of how we "should" be, rather than just allowing ourselve to be as we are. We all need to be reminded of the beauty of strength, and the beauty of women. You, and your writings, are such a glorious illustration of this beauty. Thank you for once again inspiring me.
And amazingly I've never read the book...I just might have to get it now.
Sending hugs!!!

chest of drawers said...

You are so right! A couple of girlfriends and I were speaking about this just the other day, how we let ourselves be influenced by the media and are always striving for some ideal with our appearance. We told each other what we don´t like about our bodies, hair, skin etc. and we came to the conclusion that we are much too hard on ourselves. The critical way we look at ourselves is way, way harsher than others judge us.

twistedsoda said...

I see alot of familiar faces on here. Looks like we are all learning something from one another. Thank you for teaching me about strength. I agree with you 100%. I tend to look at things with a different perspective too, and that things are not in the physical, you just gave me the clarity to keep on being 'me'!