Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Shaving...a clip from my Mother-Daughter book


BODIES

Getting clear on how you were parented in regard to your body will help you see whether you’re parenting from habit or from your highest, most conscious choice. In turn your daughter’s inner voice will be able to come through clearly for her, without the static that comes from confusion. Beliefs change over generations. Separating your own inner voice from what your parents and society taught you will be an enlightening, liberating experience. How autonomous were you, as a growing girl?

One summer day when I was 12 I was strolling through the park to my best friend’s house.  I bravely stopped to chat with some older boys, high school boys who worked in the park and had sisters my age.  One of them casually mentioned that I might want to consider shaving my legs.  I disengaged from the conversation as soon as was socially appropriate, continued through the park to my best friend’s house, my leg hairs growing longer with every step, and asked for a razor.  My friend wasn’t even home—I asked her sister Amy (click on her name to view Amy's brand of inspiration!).  I sat down then and there on the edge of their tub and unceremoniously shaved my legs.  There was no way I was walking back home through the park—or anywhere--with those gorilla-like leg hairs.  This was not a topic I’d discussed with my mother, so  there was no threat of repercussion for shaving my own legs at the moment I deemed perfect. 

In retrospect, although I had full leg-shaving autonomy in relation to my mother, I had previously given the matter zero consideration, grabbing a razor in response to a boy’s offhand comment, as though I had no choice.

The first time my daughter mentioned leg hair, I told her she had a choice.  I told her first that European women don’t have the same obsession with hairless legs and that it is acceptable not to shave at all, ever, which she found horrifying. 

“Of course I’m going to shave,” she informed me.  “So when can I shave them?” 

She was adamant, so I chose age 13. It was several months away, even though “all” her friends were already shaving, so I had time to campaign for no shaving at all; I was passionate about my point of view: her leg hairs were blonde and sparse (although to her they looked gorilla-like).  She told me how most of her friends had shaved without even asking their mother; they shaved at each other’s houses.  But she was willing to wait as per our agreement.  After I had had my say (which consisted of an occasional: “Is there anything I can say or do that will get you to consider not shaving your legs?”) I had to let go.  Her verdict, after that first shave: her legs felt heavenly, and she had savored the whole shaving experience. She still does.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mother-Daughter Book Gets Edgy...


A NEW BELIEF ABOUT PARENTING OUR DAUGHTERS

What if we approach mothering our daughter from a new perspective?  A Divine Feminine perspective, as opposed to the old patriarchal view of obeying whoever is in power.  

What is a Divine Feminine perspective?  We were born into a male-energy way of relating to the world and behaving in the world.  We have become linear, task-oriented, hierarchical, externally led and externally powered. We barely realize it, because it is simply “how things are,” even though people are exhausted, depressed, and centered around having possessions.  

In the Divine Feminine perspective, there is no punishment. There are no power struggles. There is a sense of being receptive to new ideas and an allowance for creative solutions.  There is less striving externally and more intention-setting and believing and sychronicity and ease.  The old way of being has not helped humanity in raising daughters who don’t grow up into insecure, competitive women—if we are secure, unthreatened individuals, it is despite the old programming. The old perspective did not teach girls to listen to their inner voice; it taught us to obey authority.  The old perspective on parenting is a belief system that’s been handed down to us.  What if we could make a shift? For some, this shift will be easy and welcome. For others, there may be some resistance. Some people hold onto beliefs tighter than others. So be patient and loving with yourself—it’s the Divine Feminine way to be!

Here is a belief and its transformation: 

Sex is inherently bad.  Women should not like it.  It is used for babymaking, within wedlock.

From the 60s…out of the ashes…came the idea that sexuality and freedom can coexist. That it could be a pleasure and not inherently or exclusively linked to babymaking. But still a level “naughtiness” is attached to sex, a level of secrecy and discomfort.
 
And now try this leap:

Sex is Divine. It is a union of spirits in bodies. Girls engage with it for the first time when they consciously determine they are ready—with or without a partner. They are in charge of their level of consciousness regarding their bodies. Sex is not about being afraid or manipulated in order to be loved. It is about hearing your inner voice, and making a promise to yourself to honor your body and keeping it.  (And eventually it is also about making babies.)

The above is just a new belief.  Does it rattle you? If you have a preadolescent daughter, now is the time to begin to investigate your own beliefs about sexuality.
 
Here are some other beliefs I heard growing up:

Money:  Money doesn’t grow on trees.  The love of money is the root of all evil. 
Religion:   God’ll getcha for that.  Catholicism is the one true religion.
Bodies:   You can never be too rich or too thin.
Food:  You don’t live to eat, you eat to live.  You don’t have to like it to eat it.  
Jobs:  Security versus pleasure--not both in one job!

Make your own list from your past.
 
1. Money
2. Sex
3. Religion
4. Bodies
5. Food
6. Jobs

Which beliefs still operate in your life?  How have your beliefs evolved? 

Consider, for each item above, that it’s “just” a belief.  Examine why it was important to you or your parents.  What is the opposite of this belief?  What if your daughter believed the opposite? Can you imagine letting go of any belief that is not utterly and truly joyful?  Consider whether there are any beliefs you would like to evolve deliberately.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tiny Mother-Daughter Book Bite


A GENTLE CLASH OF BELIEFS

When she was nine, Lily lost her hat.  She had others, but I loved that adorable butterfly hat and was reluctant to see it go.  Weeks went by.  It was definitely not in our house.  She informed her classmates that I was offering a $5 reward for the hat, and within minutes it was found at school.  That night, the finder’s mother called me.  “Please don’t give Cole $5,” she said.  “He was just helping out a friend, and he’d gladly do it for free.” 

“I insist,” I said.

“Please don’t,” she said. “I’d like him to learn that there is value in being a good friend.”

“I know,” I said. “I get it. That makes sense. But,” I countered, “I would like him to learn that simply being himself will reap rewards out in the world.”

No one was right or wrong; it was a clash of beliefs.  My friend was willing to let go. I had offered the reward, and wanted to keep my word.

“If you must,” she said.   I sent the money to school for him the next day.  It made me feel so good—to have the hat back, and to reward Lily’s friend for being himself.  Life can be easy; work can be playful. Those are beliefs. Speaking of which, I believe that, like Cole, we can be rewarded for being ourselves, for following our inner guidance.