A woman fully in the strength of her being is beauty incarnate. She dances with grace. She smiles easily and playfully. She moves in quiet, intentional movement, freely. She acknowledges her challenges and lives with heart. Her life exists in peace, in vulnerability, and in balance. She learns, grows and expands within the amazing infinity which is this world.
For me, my strength has often felt like a quest to hang on for dear life. To be willing to take all challengers, fighting in each moment for at least one moment where there is no fight. I have not always felt strong. I have felt ignored, embattled, abused, beaten, hurt, unloved. Many times, I have forced myself to pull into my shell, urgently trying to leave nothing exposed, no longer open to more wounds, more pain, more disregard. At other times, I have also been my own terrorizer, inflicting the harshest of judgment, the deepest of cuts, the lowest of blows.
I have worked hard to find within me my own innate strength. I have struggled to claim my space, to create boundaries I both respected and enforced. Allowing myself to find truth within me rather than within the thoughtless words of those around me especially those of the male persuasion.
Looking back, I realize this pursuit, this struggle for inner strength had the perverse effect of throwing me into the extreme. To maintain a sense of strength, I became rigid in defense. To feel my strength I bulldozed myself and others in an attempt to control my environment.
However, there is no doubt: I am a strong woman. I am able to maintain my boundaries. I am complete within the wonder that is me. And, I learned my strength does not need defense to exist. Strength in me IS. Strength imbues my walk and flows within my talk. I am strong not because I fight and defend. I am strong because I am. Losing my strength is not actuality, rather more a lapse of awareness. As I grow and learn, my strength shifts and expands, asking me to shift perspective so awareness of my strength is claimed, here, now, for me, from me.
Oddly, I found the cure to my overextended strength and subsequent release of my defensive stance in the wisdom of my heart. My awesome friend Henry put it this way: Cheryl, I can see you have learned the hard way to be strong, to stand up for yourself. But don’t get caught in only being strong. You also need to be smart!
Strong and smart! In other words, be aware, be thoughtful, act from choice, allowing myself the opportunity for balance through peace, calm and vulnerability. When I allow myself to trust myself to lean into uncertainty instead of fighting to maintain illusive control and avert defeat, I allow for unimagined possibility to bloom within the flower which is me. Smart gives me support to find truth within the expansion of this moment instead of battling to attain what already is within me.
Strength is a sense of self which blossoms within. And as another friend said: Cheryl, don’t let him steal your pretty! Strength is and, over time, I find my strength within me. Strength is not something given to me, though strength is certainly something I can give away, relinquish, and surrender, letting someone take from me. Strength emanates from within me, shining brightly when I let go of the fight, when I claim me, for me. Strength is in motion in my choice, in my smarts, in my balance within and without.
For me, strength shines in my choices for myself. My strength is in the balance of me as Goddess and me as Hunter. To be strong I do not need to ignore or deny my feminine side. Nor do I need to restrain the expression of masculine within. I excel in the positive force and tension of my yin and my yang. My beauty emerges from my willingness to embrace all of me. My red nail polish and matching sexy red dress and shoes are symbols of the embrace of all my life, all of me, including every girlish detail and every tomboy nuance.
In strength, my beauty shines. In choice, I allow myself the possibility offered from the depth of experience. I accept the gift of me, allowing support, love, and life.
Just as I am surprised in finding myself in the midst of kissing frogs, I also recognize my beauty, my strength and my smarts all emerging from the same focus: my heart, my body, my soul. In the truth of my being, my strength need not dominate or control. Instead my strength is in service to the breadth and depth of my life, allowing the wisdom of experience and belief in my beauty to guide me to balance and joy. Strong and smart, I am completely free to be me!