Went to an event today that's main purpose was to help women feel empowered. It was hosted from 10am-12:30pm at a hotel nearby.
The first speaker at the event was an "intricle" coach. Basically she focuses no just on psychology -like a therapist - not just on your business -like a career coach -but on your over-all well-being and achieving fulfillment.
She told us how most people get stuck doing what comes naturally to them -what feels most comfortable -and they then become stuck or dominated by those tendencies without even realizing it. She shared a story of a couple sitting at a park with their pet dog. The dog kept moaning in pain and finally someone asked the couple why the dog kept moaning. The wife said, "He's sitting on a nail." The inquirer then asked why the dog didn't get off the nail he was laying on. The wife responded, "It's just enough to make him moan, but not enough to make him move."
The speaker then asked us to turn to our neighbor and share what our "nails" were. What were we not changing, even though we want to and ultimately should.
The first woman who sat next to me said that she was concerned with financial matters. I was only half listening -I don't worry much about money, I've just never really cared that much about it.
The second woman had to whisper what her "nail" was. She said it was really bad and she felt really embarrassed about it. I thought she said it was snoring or sleeping too much, but I thought that neither of those were that bad. Then I heard her correctly and realized she had said "smoking". It was weird. I've met a couple people who smoke cigarettes, but only one other person who tried to hide the fact and keep it on the down-low. Why be embarrassed about it? It's unhealthy and a bad habit, but nothing to be ashamed of.
Then I was asked what my "nail" was and I said going outdoors more and being more physically active since I'm more of a home-body hermit. They looked at me weird. Kind of in a judgmental way, "Like really? You don't go outside much? That's weird..."
And I thought, "Really? You're going to judge me for being lazy while you guys are over there worried about money and hiding the fact that you smoke (which is stupid -let the world know because they won't ultimately care. Who here has ever disowned a person because they secretly smoke? Nobody.)
I thought, "People's nails are stupid to those around them. If you're fear is of swimming then let someone who loves to swim know so they can walk you through it (or swim you through it...).
If your issue is smoking let someone who's successfully quite know -or someone who can help you quite. There is no need for shame in any of it.
Then the event hostess spoke and shared about the pursuit of her dream. She wants to create a women's lounge/group -kind of like the YMCA but for women. She wants a place where women can gather to hangout, relax, eat, get massages, chat, share life stories, support one another, and overcome issues. She says her vision is finally coming together and she wants to help other women bring their dreams to fruition.
Then we broke off into 2 groups for 2 separate workshops. The first workshop was geared towards reconnecting with your inner-child.
She said to focus on the aspects of being a 9 year old kid that we liked most. It was a point in time when we were enough of ourselves to know what we liked/didn't like and old enough to accomplish goals. I wrote down words I associated with my youth like: simple, uninhibited, curious, inclusive, invention, vibrant. I was a weird kid.
I liked writing, reading books about mythology and nature and fantasy stories, drawing animals, exploring the outdoors, getting lost in my thoughts as I wandered along the playground, day dreaming, playing games, joking, swimming, biking, watching T.V., listening, blowing bubbles, going to the park...
The workshop leader encouraged everyone to do what came naturally to them: to go subversive and fight against the commonplace instincts we've been programmed to enact. Make a game out of being different and doing what you really want to do.
We were also given 3 questions to answer/think about:
1. What is power? Initially I was going to answer with, "My last name", but decided it would be too conceited. Words I wrote down for power included: Commitment, Autonomy, Ownership, Peace, Pursuing a Goal, Being Strong-Willed.
The hostess answered: It's the ability to know what you want and then make it happen.
2. What do you avoid? Confrontation, drama, negativity, judgmental people...
3. What are you Committed to? Faith, art, and learning.
The second workshop was aimed at handling stressors that come up in life. In pairs of two we were asked to share what events/people bring us the most stress via an overwhelming of responsibility.
She said Responsibility is your Ability to Respond. It's "Respondability". It's not what you get asked to do, it's how you handle being asked.
I said that being told last minute to do something with a limited time of preparation was a major stressor for me. But I'm pretty mellow. So when I get told, "Hey by the way, here's a last-minute responsibility you're going to have to fulfill in the next day or two..." I resent the person and then agitatedly adjust my schedule around to accommodate. I reprioritize my plans/schedule and roll with the punches. I do my best and let the chips fall where they may. I only stay stressed for about 20 minutes. Then I'm over it.
The woman I was paired with shared her frustrations over responsibilities. A 30 year old married woman who grew up in Africa and came to California when she was 19. She has 3 kids -two are off to college and the youngest is a boy who is suffering from autism. On top of that the woman's mother likes to "help around the house" and insists upon telling her daughter all the ways she could be doing things better as well as all the things that she (the mother) has done that day to help around the house. "You know you should fill the dog bowl right now, like I did yesterday..."
Anyways, I told her all moms are stressors to some extent. Most have a hard time drawing that line in the sand that says: My child has officially come of age and can now be considered an autonomous being responsible for his/her own life. You just have to let your mom/dad be who they're going to be and accept that it is just who they are. You have no control over it -you can only change the way you handle/react to it.
I'm very zen. I should run my own workshop.
Anyways, it was a good day connecting with a few people. 3 out of 30 women are people I'd say I wouldn't mind talking to again and hanging out with. The other women I either didn't meet or thought that the conversation wouldn't end up going that well since there wasn't much of a connection. How do negative people find their way into workshops/events like that? It's weir dhow positive people avoid negative people like the plague, but negative people track down and purposely hangout with positive people. Irony...