The All-Too-Often Missing Ingredient in an Extraordinary Relationship
“Many years ago, I found myself asking Spirit what it would take to save the world. And the answer came clearly and immediately: a lot of enlightened women.”
~ Leslie Temple Thurston
When I ran across this quote a couple years ago in What Is Enlightenment magazine (now EnlightenNext magazine), it snared my attention like thunderclap announcing a wash of rain on cracked, parched earth.
What exactly is the key to understanding women in relationships? How exactly is women’s enlightenment the key to “save the world?”
I know for sure it doesn’t mean a lot of women ACTING enlightened, or behaving in the “enlightened” fashion de jour. Acting enlightened, rather than living it as our truth, tends to just make us more cranky and frankly, un-enlightened. To me, the key is a whole lot of women fed by the realization of who they are, awake to their nature, alive with the privilege of being a woman, full of light. Furthermore, being turned on (rather than off); turned up (rather than down); lit-up (like a thousand-watt light-bulb) and hooked up to our passions and desires -- and then living, acting and behaving from there, isn't a bad start either. I also know that they key to enlightenment, especially for women, lies also in our full joy and happiness.
I’ve spent much of the past ten years throwing myself headlong into research of the seemingly elusive condition, happiness. Through varied trainings, studies with folks who’ve been studying happiness for the past 40 years, work with clients and testing it all out on myself and my own relationship, I’ve come to a glorious conclusion: the health of a group, whether that is as large as a culture or as small as a relationship or family, can be measured by the happiness of the women.
When the women are happy, everyone is happy; when they women are unhappy, somehow it's hard for everyone else to be happy. However, if you look around in your own life experience, you’ll likely notice that many, maybe even most, women around you are shut down and pissed off. Maybe you’ve never even seen what a happy, radiant woman looks like.
There is no universal standard of happiness; you know when you are happy and when you are not. I'm not talking about plastering on a saccharine smile or pretending a sunny demeanor when you don't mean it. I'm talking about your real and true happiness and joy, when your unique expression of life-force is running unleashed and unfettered through your glowing veins. Generally, though, as defined by the veterans I’ve studied with, happiness is a function of appreciating what is so, not what you wish to be so. When you find your life and yourself good, right and wonderful, you are happy.
When you find your life and yourself bad, wrong and miserable, you are unhappy.
Our cultural, societal, economic, emotional, medical, sensual – and many spiritual – belief systems are all prejudiced to reference the male as standard. We also live inside of a “top dog, bottom dog” paradigm. The top dog has the power, the bottom dog doesn’t; and power is defined by power over another. As many advances and liberations as women enjoy currently, we are still defaulted to “bottom dog” status in the hierarchy. Often, any straying from these standards is considered deviant.
So women, like other oppressed groups, have learned – as those considered to be deviants from the norm learn – that it is not necessarily safe to be as we are and that we are not fully welcomed as we are. We cannot have full power as we are. We have learned, however subtly or overtly, that since the playing field is not equal, the easiest option is then to lie, cheat and manipulate to make up for the unfair advantage in order to get what we want. We have also learned that what we want is not important; we have learned to bury what we want - or we attempt to not want at all. The result is a bunch of shut-down, cut-off and royally pissed-off women, swimming in a sea where we are constantly found wrong and bad; hungry, unhappy and depleted at most every level.
The remedy is simple. Fill up the women.
As I, along with my partner, practiced these simple, organic, generous philosophies, my heart and head blew wide open. Imagine: recognition of the anger I didn’t even realize I had; a system that saw me, appreciated me and invited me to do the same; and practical, actual tools to lead a fulfill-able life. I also began see all the ways I was doing a disservice to me and my relationships by focusing on what wasn’t working. Since that put my attention on what was wrong or bad, that’s what we both got more of.
Ever notice that when something's not working or it's wrong, focusing on it doesn't help; in fact it often makes it worse? There is an astounding universal law at play: you can’t focus on bad and expect it to get better, you’ve got to first focus on what's already OK, working or good. You've got to go from focusing on bad to focusing on OK, then from focusing on OK to focusing on good, and then focusing on good to have it all get better. If you want something to get worse, focus on how bad and wrong it is. If you want something to get better, focus on what's OK, what's good, and then it gets better -- and better. It’s just the way the progression goes, like a law of phsyics: bad --> OK --> good --> to better. No short-cuts.
When something is bad, wrong or painful, even though we want it to be better, we can’t skip the next step of OK. We say, "OK, it IS," not "it's OK the way it is." (Don't miss that distinction.) Saying OK means to cease resisting and denying the bad thing, to stop wishing it were different, and simply notice that it IS,