Give Women Some Room to Breathe

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US Open, Serena Williams, everyone is talking.  I didn’t watch the game so I had to research it and see it from a different angle to see if things add up.  Surely, she is being seen by many now as an entitled brat.  In her mind however, she is a victim of sexism and unfair ruling.  Where do you stand?

I will say right away that I don’t care to be right.  I will share my view so that it’s there and so that it can validate all the women out there that may feel the same. Here is the thing:  Serena broke rules.  She said she didn’t cheat though her coach admits to giving her coaching during the game, but she did slam the racket (which is a violation to the integrity and professionalism of the game) and then insulted the umpire by calling him a thief.  The first time I watched it, I cringed, thinking: Oh my goodness she is losing it and it doesn’t look pretty.  But then I watched it again, and again, the longer version, the in betweens and here is what happened:  my stomach started to hurt, I began to curl up and cry feeling anger and defeat.

My point is not that she is right, but my point is that it’s hard for a woman to be a woman in the world we live in.  Yes, there are rules and we must follow them but here is the deal: these rules are not made with us in mind.  Serena is 37, she had a baby a year ago and she is probably completely hormonal.  She must be dealing with what it takes to bring up a child in this world, what it is to be black, what it is to be a champion and how to do the rest of her career given all the difficulty that we experience after birth (and from following her IG story, I know she almost died).

Why is it that “emotions” run so much in our lives and yet we have to “keep them in check.” I know some men can read this and say, “well, we do, because that is what being an adult is like,” but I beg to differ.  It is not easy to keep your emotions in when your hormones are running the show and when the world you live in, fundamentally, doesn’t give you space to express what you feel.  I have experienced this time and time again and unfortunately, more from other women than from men.  Somehow, when we “lose it” we seem like we are not in control and that is bad…and yet, the whole world wants us to be vulnerable, to give up control, to be flexible, to be good moms, to be good at what we do etc.  I get it, Serena broke the rule, but in my world, she broke the silence of those of us who suck it up and try so hard to live in the world where being who we are is not accepted.  And I admit, when a woman has charge on something, she does seem crazy and disconnected from herself but I also know that the only way out is not trying to tame her crazy but validating how she is.  Those that are smart enough to honor the space we are in will help us see more clearly and we will calm down.

Here is one way to see it:

“The feminine’s moods and opinions are like weather patterns. They are constantly changing, severe and gentle, and they have no single source. No analysis will work. There is no linear chain of cause and effect that can lead to the kernel of the “problem.” There is no problem, only a storm, a breeze, a sudden change in weather. And the bases of these storms are the high and low pressure systems of love. When a woman feels love flowing deeply, her mood can instantly evaporate into joy, regardless of the supposed reason for the mood.” ~ David Deida

 

Again, I am not going for the right and wrong, I am just simply sharing as another woman who can see Serena’s storm just as a storm.  It is sad that people comment that she lost her grace.  This is a woman that won in Australia while already pregnant and wants to continue to create legacy.  It is unfair to blame her that she overshadowed another woman’s win.  She didn’t do that, we did that by looking at what she did with judgement and not empathy.

Her coach is right when he said in an interview: why is it a big deal that people show emotion on the court when that emotion is real.  Emotion is energy in motion, if we let it be, it will pass, but when we judge it, punish people for it, then we add mass to it and then that energy doesn’t flow freely, it gets stuck.  That is what happened in the game.  Serena was accused for cheating and she wanted to set the record straight.  Finding the wall instead of attentive listening, her emotions escalated (this can happen to anyone, let alone a woman who just became a mom), and after that we knew this wouldn’t end well.

Part of me wishes she could “collect” herself, but a big part of me is grateful for the dialogue that will follow as the judgements resurface for us to clear so we can begin to honor people for who they are, giving them space to have an emotional response especially when they were done wrong.

Serena, and all the women out there that struggle to keep it together, I feel you ❤

 

Royal Wedding – Access to my World

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I woke up this morning to take care of my younger son while my husband took our older to his theater class.  Of course, as soon as I was conscious, I wanted to watch the Royal Wedding.  I know opinions on this are mixed: majority of people will be glued to the screen and some will inevitably not care.  Wherever you are about it is right, I suppose.  Inevitably we all have a view on it and that’s just how it goes with royals, celebrities and people who seem to be the ones setting the trends for all the others.

I grew up in a small country and my mom was well known in my early years – all until I left to study in America at the age of 16.  Somehow being around artists, musicians, writers and other celebrities of my home land had me feel both entitled to mingle in those circles but also living in pretense that I don’t really want that kind of life.  Moving to USA where I was nobody was a rude awakening, I was no longer known as my mother’s daughter but an immigrant who worked hard for everything in life.  While I had a life of a privilege at home, in New York City all my special talents were nothing in comparison to all the talented people who lived here.  None the less, I can’t say I didn’t succeed, I got my Master Degree, studied numerous spiritual disciplines from yoga, mediation and Reiki and was in leadership training where  I was highly effective.  In fact, I felt like I was a front runner in most of what I did, so when I got married a little over 6 years ago, I was even courageous enough to start my own life coaching business.

People I knew for those 2 decades of living in the USA were amazed by my results and I am sure some of my friends from Montenegro.  After slowing down a tiny bit to birth and raise my two boys, I felt ready to scale my business feeling like I knew a thing or two about how to create your own happiness in life.  And then, on my 40th birthday my dad had a stroke at the age of 61.  I began to see how success and failure, happiness and loss were so intertwined that it was difficult to isolate which one of those experiences vibrates the strongest so that I can fully honor it and move through it.  Luckily for years of doing Vipassana’s 10 day silent meditation retreats I am able to move through the difficult parts of life, understanding that things always and continually change.  But this is where fear becomes stronger too because the more I have, the more it feels I have to lose.  I know all the moms out there can relate to this, as our fear drastically increases after we have children.

Why am I calling this blog a Royal Wedding?  Because ever since Kate Middleton, who shares my birth date, married her prince William and I married my husband Jason, I have been obsessing around what it must be like to be in her shoes, to be a royal. Of course, I was uncomfortable with my obsession, even envy, so I tried to set it aside, push it down and not worry about it.  I clearly remember in one of the moms’ groups how many moms were doing the same thing: looking at their kids age and comparing it with George and Charlotte.  Yet, when William and Kate had their third child, I realized, the similarities in our stories are no more and it was time to move on.  That is when Meghan Markle came along – a true American success story, the modern life fairy tale.  Here she was, someone who began to succeed in Hollywood, stands up for woman’s rights and is now marrying a prince.

For days, or even weeks, I tried to not think about it but I was truly uncomfortable, so much so, I even told my husband I wanted to explore my jealousy once and for all.  Watching numerous TV interviews and commentaries on the subject didn’t help either: words like: American, commoner, royal, princess, were all doing a number on me and I couldn’t quite let it simmer enough to see the wisdom that it could bring.  I truly believe that anything we feel, any strong emotion is here to tell us something and that the way to hear it is to be willing to explore it and be with it.  I don’t think people should act out of emotions, on contrary, but I do feel emotions are necessary and full of lessons we need to learn to move forward in life.

Everyone had an opinion about the royal wedding, I even saw titles where people go as far as predicting if this marriage would last or not, when the baby will be born, will Meghan be able to sustain the pressure, but also the boring aspects of the life she is about to embark on.  The more I saw, the more I realized that what we think we know and see and the life they really lead are not one and the same.  Biographies, even when they written in partnership with the person who is a subject are never objective and I believed Prince Harry when he said in an interview: “people think they know us, but they have no idea.” When I recently watched documentaries on Princess Diana, I was shocked that she didn’t seem more confident, outspoken and extrovert given the way people spoke of her.  And also, the scandals over the years with royal family were mind boggling to me drawing me more and more into the life of people I actually will never even know.IMG_6795

All that aside, my discomfort over the past few days in anticipation of the royal wedding was growing.  I couldn’t help but feel encouraged by a story of possibility: a young girl born in LA, already divorced and 36 is about to enter royal family.  Perhaps now all the issues that she deeply cares about will be that much closer to being resolved as she now has a platform, popularity and the means to attend to them.  How amazing that must be to get married not just for love but for the mission that you have in the world, I thought.  And then, the envy hit me again.  It hit me hard.  I discussed it with my husband too and tried to use my own coaching training to get to the bottom of it.  I will never forget a relative who once told me that jealousy was a low vibration feeling and I remember I instantly started pretending I wasn’t jealous.  My mother would call me on it, even make fun of me for it, but deep inside, this wasn’t a laughing matter to me – I actually felt the pain.  And then I realized:  the way out is through, let me let myself allow this.

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I turned on the Royal Wedding.  I so wanted to be there, to be a part of it, to be in Meghan’s shoes only to feel what it must be like to live a kind of life where you truly bust through limitations of the mind, the so-called “upper limits.”  I was hanging out with my younger one, both of us congested, with runny noses, watching the rerun.  Interesting phenomenon, the more I was letting myself be jealous and leaned into the pain I felt about it, the more I started grieving my own lost opportunities.  Suddenly, the finger that was pointing at the royal family, began to point at me and looking with eyes open wide at what I am doing with my life.  I felt  desperate at first: I am 40, I am happily married and love my husband and my 2 boys, what is it that I am still longing for?  I wanted the attention, the status, the privilege and the more I allowed myself to want it, the more my life looked like I can never get to it.

As Meghan walked down the aisle and the camera showed the picture of her mom crying, I felt the emotions of change, letting go to receive, growth, life.  Suddenly, I no longer witnessed royals and celebrities but people and then I didn’t see anyone at all, I saw myself and my desires to contribute, to be more and do more.  Instantly, I allowed myself to melt into that everything I see is my own creation and it had me feel deep in my bones that whatever people say or think about me – which often stopped me dead in my tracks – is really their own creation.  I was free.  I am free.  I can’t be 30 again, I can’t change who I am or the life I led so far, but I can make the most out of what is left.  After all, this is what I tell all of my clients and was brutally humbled into feeling it myself.

I could’ve waited to write this blog another day, spent time perfecting it, but I realized, it is when we wait that we experience life passing us by.  After watching a royal wedding today, I got reminded that we create our life and our own modern fairy tale every day and if there is something we can do to move through our emotions, to speak our minds, that we should not wait another second to do that.

To all of you who read messy blog, and regardless of how you feel about the royal wedding, what do you now want to do that you absolutely don’t want to put off?