This Little Light of Mine …
Today’s Nest-Making guest post in honor of women and Women’s History Month is by Sally G. It’s an honest and heartfelt account of one woman’s process of becoming her Self, a woman to be honored.
The moment I saw Angela’s introduction to this Nest Making series – I felt its importance. Like a quiet call to action, it captured my heart immediately. Something inside me shifted, and part of me stepped a little more fully into Who I Am.
A blog post immediately flowed through me, honouring the quiet shift taking place right now, online and offline, toward healing, shared compassion, inspiration and support.
I appreciated the way this quiet movement is cutting through the noise of the ‘connection and conversation’ geared more for sales and self-gain than community and service as it was once known and experienced. And I expressed a desire to somehow be part of it.
Here in the Nest ~ I intended to be part of it by showing up, filling with inspiration, admiration and wisdom from the experiences of others. I’ve been moved by what’s been shared so far and feel so happy to be here. Angela then invited me to contribute a story of my own ~ and while my heart surged at the invitation, the inclusion, my mind wondered what I could possibly contribute. You see, I don’t really have anyone specific in my life story that I’d hold up in the light of “you changed my life.” Even now, almost five decades into this journey ~ I look back and see paths populated with those who dismissed me, let me down, hurt me, marginalized me – palpable with the disappointment that I didn’t turn out as they’d hoped, or expected, or – desired.
Please don’t read those words with heavy residues of pain – because in the five days I’ve spent reflecting on how to meaningfully contribute to this series, I realize that these people ARE the shining lights who pushed me to learn about my Self, to trust my Self and to even grow to like my Self. Over the years, I’ve learned that we all serve as Mirrors to each other – each reflecting something back to the other. It’s an integral part of our feeling, and understanding, the connection we all share, that we’re all here to help each other along. Sometimes the help is instantly recognizable and appreciated. Other times, its true value emerges in hindsight, in all its depth, significance and meaning.
I spent the first few decades of my life seeing others as Mirrors reflecting back Who I Am. This began a process of defining myself on others reactions to me and fitting myself into the interpretation of what I thought I saw. I guess on some level, I figuratively dismantled who I naturally felt myself to be, because only distortions of it could be found in the Mirrors around me.
One can only do this for so long though, for the discomfort becomes unbearable and the future feels limiting, at best – hopeless, at worst.
Supported by life circumstances, like giving birth to two daughters, for instance (and feeling a fierce responsibility to get clear about what it meant to be a Mother, a Daughter, a Woman) – I opened to facing the reality that what I’d been doing and how I’d been feeling wasn’t working for me at all. This Honour Student, Exemplary Employee, Perfect Wife, Disappointing Daughter and Hopeful Mother found the courage to accept the fact that “the worst” had probably already happened: I’d failed.
I stand before you to confirm the truth that acknowledging Shame and accepting Vulnerability is a powerful catalyst to meaningful change. Approaching life with Humility and a willingness to learn healthier and more empowering methods of travel has made all the difference. I’m still very much in-process, but I see things differently now, I do things differently and I no longer define my Self by the judgements, feelings and opinions of those around me.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” This, I’ve experienced, is true. The caveat, however, is that you have to know who you are to allow the emotional detachment necessary to feel the words of another as merely words.
Looking back, I see my paths populated with Shining Lights, Earth Angels, who created opportunities for me to learn valuable life principles like Self Acceptance, Self Awareness, Non Judgement, Unconditional Love, Forgiveness, Hope for the Possible, Humility, Empathy, Enchantment and a Sense of Humour that brings laughter to me on call.
I am nothing in particular and absolutely everything – all at the same time. And with the help of everyone I’ve ever met along the way ~ I have created my Self to be the kind of Woman I’d have given my right arm to meet at any point in my past.
We grow, we learn, we heal – all while in relationship with others. They reflect to us Who We Are, Who We Are NOT and Who We Have the Potential to Create Ourselves to Be; from the platform of Character, Values and Spirit more-so than personality, lifestyle and career (though we can always do that too).
Knowing this has allowed me to accept the gift each person brings when our paths cross. Judgement, Criticism and/or Dismissal moves me into reflection and assessment. Is any of it true? If yes, I’m grateful for the information and course correct appropriately. If not, I let it go – I don’t have to accept others’ opinions of me, sometimes they’re seeing me through filters I can’t see – and it’s not actually about me at that point anyway.
Most important of all, for me, is that I move through Life serving as best I can as a soft, quiet light to others. I see others, I hear others, I accept others – and, others matter. I’m ever so grateful to everyone who has, in their own special way, contributed to the Wonder-in-Process that I am. And with luck ~ I’ll serve as the kind of woman many of you recall with such fondness and appreciation to someone in my Present, today – so their tomorrow is a better place for the encounter.
Sally G’s blog address is http://sallyg.me. Her Twitter ID is @sally_g.
Her Modus Operandi: “Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
Looking for more Nest-Making posts? They’re here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.
“Most important of all, for me, is that I move through Life serving as best I can as a soft, quiet light to others.”
I see this is in you, coming from you, all the time. Never underestimate how rare and powerful and fabulous this makes you.
i’m gonna’ have to get up and out earlier . . . or just follow along behind you and say “ditto.” sugar, we were either separated at birth or – and this is my preferred theory – we are both brilliant woman.
You are indeed Brilliant Women – both of you.
Thank you Kelly. I often feel ‘rare’ ~ but powerful and fabulous, not often enough. I so value your contribution to my life …
oh sugar, you are such a quiet light, such a fierce supporter of what and who you believe in, such an open, accepting, non-judgmental, wise woman in my life. i knew these things about you the very first time our paths crossed (on twitter, singing together). i am so very glad we are friends. (and i hope you and your friend had a big time at the oprah show!)
We had a BIG time at the Oprah show – thank you for asking! What an experience. Today, I entered a contest with my local Talk Radio station to attend her Life Class in NYC on Monday — and the OWN Canada contest to see her in Toronto. This series of hers is so significant – for me, anyway … it was such a gift to be there. Not nearly as BIG as the gift of your friendship though …
Sally, thanks for sharing your take (and shining your light) on this series–especially your take on who are the shining lights in our lives–everyone, really–including those who refine us in ways we can’t sometimes see for years.
I feel so grateful to be here Angela. I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to how so many of us sometimes feel like Motherless Daughters or Fatherless Daughters whether or not we had those figures in our lives. Sometimes people don’t show up as we need or we’d like. I’ve been reflecting on what to do about that.