Friday, May 9, 2008

How to Live Consciously as a Woman

Here’s 12 ways to live more consciously as a woman:

1. Take Care Of Yourself and Your Own Needs, Before Taking Care Of Others

When you fly on a plane, the safety instructions are very clear that if you are flying with small children and the oxygen masks become activated, you should put on your own oxygen mask, before you put one on your child. This is true in all aspects of your life. In order to be well equipped to take care of the people you love, you first need to take care of yourself.
If you take care of others at the expense of your own needs, you will become resentful and bitter. Your life will be unhappy, you will age prematurely, you will be cranky, and you won’t be very much fun to be around. And that doesn’t serve anyone well.
A conscious woman is attuned enough to herself to know what her true, core needs are, and she takes clear actions to fulfill those needs. Your needs might be physical, intellectual, or emotional. You might need time alone, or more intimacy, or a physical workout, or a challenging occupation.

But no matter what you find yourself needing, you know how to clarify the need, and you know how to act on it. You don't depend on someone else to magically fill this need. You feel comfortable depending on yourself. Only then are you well equipped to focus on the other people in your life. When you create the things that sustain you, your energy magnifies, and things feel effortless and smooth. The more consistently you take care of yourself, the more resilient you become.

2. Respect Your Self and Your Own Sexuality

A woman knows that her sexuality is a vital expression of her being, and she make intentional choices about where and how she expresses her sexuality.
A woman does not use her sexuality to manipulate others, or to compete with others. She knows that any such competition is shallow and meaningless and hollow.
A woman knows that the sexiest thing she can do is honor herself and her own integrity.

3. Love Yourself Unconditionally

There are always things that you will want to be different about yourself, if you choose to think that way. Don’t make yourself feel bad about that extra 5 pounds, or the email that hasn’t been answered, or the groceries that need bought, or the laundry that needs folded. Don't focus negative energy on what isn't perfect. Feeling bad only leads to more feeling bad.

Instead, just accept yourself in all of your infinite perfectness and let yourself love yourself. Let go of ALL the self judgements. You don't need them. You just need acceptance and love. It really is that simple.

4. Make Informed Life Choices That Reflect Your Values

Some women want a large family. Some women want a career. Some women want both. Some women want neither. Some women want a house with a picket fence. Some women want a plane ticket and a passport. All of these paths are perfectly ok, but a woman knows which paths are most important to her and she never apologizes for which of these she wants. A woman doesn’t feel guilty for her choices, she doesn’t have regrets about her choices, and she doesn’t owe anyone an explanation for her choices.

A woman knows her most important values and she feels comfortable and confident to make choices aligned with these values. And she comfortably makes these choices every day.

5. Own Your Own Power

Don’t shrink yourself to make others feel more comfortable around you. Don’t shrink yourself to feel safe or avoid risk. Don’t play dumb. Don’t diminish yourself. Ever.

You are a woman, and you are powerful and beautiful and smart and unique and talented. Let yourself bloom. Let yourself be smart. Let yourself thrive. Stand tall at your real height. Speak with a full voice. Command attention. Command respect. Wear those red high heels or those purple Birkenstocks, or whatever shoes make you feel strong and grounded walking across the street.

6. Commit Yourself To Something Greater Than Yourself

There is an intense joy and satisfaction that comes when you commit to something significant in your life. Only you can know what will bring you satisfaction, but it is probably something more important than finding that perfect pair of shoes. Shoes are exciting, but no matter how fabulous they are, they always wear out. Your contribution to the world never wears out. It only magnifies and increases. And your contribution will feel effortless when it is aligned with your natural talent.

7. Live Fully In The Present

Lots of crappy things probably happened in your past. Your parents left you too often with that boring babysitter or your boyfriend in third grade dropped you on your birthday. You never got the pony you wanted, or you didn't get invited to the prom. Get over it. It is all in the past and you cannot change it. Let it go. It's over.

This is today. Today is new. Today is a blank page that you get to make up. You get to create this day new. Every day. Embrace it.

8. Take Responsibility For All Aspects Of Your Life

You should know how to manage every single aspect of your life, no matter how strange or unfamiliar that feels. You should know how to manage your own investments, how to maintain your house, how to eat nutritiously, how to write a strong resume, how to communicate clearly with your doctor, how to buy a car, how to travel safely. Yes, there are a million details to life that no one ever taught you when you were growing up. If you are like most women, you weren't taught everything you need to know to be a fully indpendent strong mature woman. For some reason, they don't teach that class in school. But if you learn how to learn, and you embrace your independence, and you ask lots of questions, you will get there. You will get over the scariness and the unfamiliar feelings, and you'll figure it all out, one task at a time.

And then one day all that responsibility won't feel overwhelming and scary. Instead, it will feel like freedom.

9. Create Your Own Ideal Community

Some women are close to their birth family. Some women are intentional about creating their own family by having children. Some women adopt. Some women don't feel compelled to raise children. But every woman has a need for some sort of connection to a strong community, be it a community of blood relatives, or a community of chosen friends.

Know what sort of community is most important to you, and know how to find or create community in your life. This might happen naturally, and it might require extra intentional effort.

10. Embrace Risk

It is amazingly easy for women to go through life allowing others to make decisions for them. Parents are convenient deciders. As are husbands. When others make your decisions for you, this might feel safe and comfortable. But no one will ever be able to make better choices for you than you.

Therefore, one of the best things you can do for your life is to embrace risk as you evaluate your life choices. Don't settle for what is safe if it's unlikely to be satisfying. Don't let others choose for you.

Risk leads to growth. Risk leads to learning and discovery. Risk leads you into your own best life.

11. Love Others Unconditionally

Love is its own unique reward. Don't tie strings to it. Don't have expectations for receiving something in exchange for what you give. Give freely. Give frequently. Give without expectation. Accept others and embrace them and love them. Love them without conditions. You will reap what you sow.

12. Exhale

Don’t wait for what is missing. Don’t wait for permission to exhale. Don’t keep your breath all tight and locked up inside. Let it out. Let it all out now. Breathe fully. Live fully now. Live with your arms wide open. Take a deep breath and let it out. Inhale. EXHALE. Breathe. Live.