I was recently having a conversation with one of my beloved students when she stopped me in my tracks with a lovely acknowledgement.
She said to me: “You know the reason that I chose you for my teacher is that you REALLY mean it when you say that you support me 100% to be fully and freely who I truly am.
I’ve been in LOT’S of circles and women’s groups and with other teachers. And they SAY that they want you to be real and authentic. But I’ve always gotten to a point in those situations where I’ve learned that’s not actually the case. And in all the years I’ve worked with you I have NEVER felt like I had to stop being myself for any reason whatsoever.”
Of course I felt deeply touched and honored by these words. But it also made me stop and think about why that is the case, because this is not the first time I’ve gotten this feedback from a student.
Another woman I’ve worked with for many years loves to tell the story about the first retreat she ever attended with me. And right off the bat she gave me a challenge. She let me know that her energy was too big. Everyone had always TOLD her she was too big. Again, she had heard that from family and friends but also from people who were in the role of her teachers and mentors. It was the story of her life.
She didn’t believe me when I invited her and the rest of the group to express themselves fully, no holds barred. She KNEW I must have a secret limit somewhere. And she was letting me know that she was prepared to find it.
I said “Bring it on.” And she did. And nine years later she happily STILL hasn’t found that limit.
Every time I hear these stories I feel a sense of sadness that there are STILL so few places where women are welcomed with open arms to be as big and beautiful and blazingly brilliant as they naturally are.
That even in places where they go for healing they still get the message that they are either TOO much or not enough.
I know that one of the reasons I can hold that space so easily for others is that I’m not afraid of my OWN bigness. I have been tremendously lucky to have found teachers and mentors and of course my fabulous husband who have supported me unconditionally in the full expression of my being.
AND I am totally committed to doing the often hard and always necessary inner work to support MYSELF in being fully and unapologetically me.
I am kind of a personal growth junkie and I am CONSTANTLY searching out my own psychological and spiritual edges and internal limits. And then making every attempt to become conscious of and then heal those places where I’M afraid of being too much. Where I’VE been conditioned to believe that I need to hold back or tone down my strength, my power, my fury, my grief, my passion, my sensitivity, my quirky weirdness, my creative genius and my intensity.
I do this primarily for me, because my deepest desire is to be as fully alive as possible. But I also do it for my many students. Because I can’t allow and support THEM to be fully alive and to claim ALL of their gifts and wildness and bigness if I can’t do that for myself.
So I owe it to me, to them and to the life force to courageously show up and face whatever fear or pain is holding me back from stepping into my full power. And knowing that every time I do that I am making the space for other women to do the same.
So if someone in your life tries to tell you that you’re too much in ANY way shape or form, try to remember that this is NEVER about you. It’s always about them and the places inside of themselves where they still need to grow and heal.
You’ve come up against THEIR limit. But that doesn’t mean it has to be YOUR limit.
You get to say, NO thank you and walk away. You get to say, I’ve got some aliveness to attend to, so I’ll see you around. You get to say, my gifts were given to me as a sacred trust and the world needs me to exercise them FULLY so I am going somewhere where they will be JOYFULLY appreciated.
You get to throw off those ancient shackles of feeling like there is something wrong with you , stand in your power, open your heart to yourself and celebrate the living HECK out of YOU. Day after day after day.
Because every time you do that, you are saying a great big fat YES to life and ALSO making space for your sisters on this wild and wondrous life journey to do the same.