Friday, June 19, 2009

enCouragingBliss: Finding Your (Off) Center

The culture in which we live is dangerously close to pathologizing any aspect of personality that does not live up to our ideas of "normal."*

(*Again, I must point out that I am not in any way speaking to mental illness that deprives an individual of safety and happiness.)

Now "normal" means some very specific things and what it comes down to is your ability to fit inside a tight box -- or cubicle -- that includes, most importantly, your role as a money maker and a consumer.

Can we all say it together?


Yesterday, I wrote a bit about the idea of Our Tamed Wild Woman Selves.

When I first started reading about this and thinking about this years ago, I would get frustrated to the point of tears. What the hell did Pinkola-Estes mean? What would my life look like in a concrete way if I were able to find this supposed inner Wild Woman that had, supposedly, been placed in some cage of which I was only slightly aware?!

(Literature held some clues. My favorite book is The Awakening by Kate Chopin, and so did The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. If you haven't read either, go do!)

But it is only as I turn 40 that I feel like I am getting somewhere -- to some wonderfully spooky and mysterious Forest that contains magic and fairy tales in terms of my own Journey.

A large part of the discovery of this fairy tale land is realizing that I am the central character and that it is my character that makes the whole thing so interesting.

Besides sounding narcissistic, what do I mean?

I mean that I finally have learned that it is all the quirky stuff that makes me me that is going to make this journey fun and interesting.

eccentric: (adjective) 1 (of a person or their behavior)
unconventional and slightly strange or whimsical
2 Technical (of a thing) not placed centrally or
not having its axis or other part placed centrally

As of right this minute, I am calling forth an Eccentricity Revolution for Wild Women!

Are you brave enough to join? (Do I need to double dog dare?)

Here is the beginning of an
Eccentricity Revolution for
Wild Women Manifesto:

1. We will crash through the doors
of our cages & fly free!

2. We will never again not wear
something because it's "too much."

3. We will never again be quiet
when we want to be loud,
loud when we want to be quiet.

4. We will DANCE!

5. We will SING!
& speak truth-in-love
even if it makes us nervous.

6. We will love our bodies!
(They are the conduits for our unique lives.)
We will never again judge
with numbers!

7. We will write & paint &
sculpt & make things
like there is no tomorrow!
(Because there may not be one.)

8. We will cease to numb,
or apologize
for our Unique Selves.

9. We will always be
aware that we
Walk in the Sky.
(Thank you, Ravi Singh.)

10. We will affirm the life-giving &
loving energy of the Universe;
We will not participate in
the Culture of Fear & Violence.

11. We will consider the sacred currency
of our life energy as the precious
commodity it is, & only choose
to spend it in line with our own
personal values & priorities.

12. We will be All the Color
& Warmth of the Sun
for Ourselves & Each Other.

13. We will be the
Sound of Laughter.

14. We will be Soft & Persistent
as Rain, making Grand Canyons
of Creative Expression with
our Patience & Fortitude.

What would you add to an Eccentric Revolution for Wild Women Manifesto?

Will you join us?

Will you spread the word to other women who need it?

Viva la Revolucion!

(A VERY special thanks to Lisa at Nerdy Renegade, who read these in advance and shared her wisdom and added so much before it went "live." Let it be known far and wide that she may officially and publicly from this day forward be referred to as "Oh Wise One.")

(Photo Credit: Christine C. Reed, Yet Another Peony, 2009)


Tiara said...

I'm totally in! :D

Melita said...

oh yeah, i am definitely in!! all women everywhere need to do this!

Brandi said...

I got told the other day that I was 'too much'. And as much as that hurt (it was more the way and where it was said), something in me stood up and said SO WHAT.

hell yes I'll help spread the word!!

rock on girl!

karmacoy said...

Sign me up!!
I'm ready to be wild... in fact I am and have been for some time! I won't apologize! But my wildness has become, well like you said... tamed and caged!

When I was in my early twenties, I travelled in Europe where I met a kindred spirit by the name of Athena... we had a blast together and our theme song was.... can you guess? Wild Women Do (And They Don't Regret it!) by Natalie Cole! I teased that she was a W.W.W (a Wise Wild Woman hehe)

We were Wild Women in Florence and Amsterdam, Paris and Rome, Barcelona and Monte Carlo and Corfu!

It's time for me to reclaim that flame!

Viva la Revolucion!!

mermaid musings said...


I am in!

p.s. wonderful Christine!
Can I print this manifesto? Thank YOU!

Jenell said...

I used to be an administrator at a school for severely emotionaly disturbed children. The organization was great. They did a lot of genuine staff development. Two of the most important things I took away from there was not to gossip, and not to apologize for (or pathologize) who I am. Our training director's personal mission statement was "I am creative, resourceful and whole." Isn't that awesome?! It reminds me of what you so beautifully said.

YogaforCynics said...

I can be wild...not so sure about the woman part.

I was the last kid in first grade to know my left hand from my right, and I still get confused as anyone who's tried to navigate while I'm driving can tell you. And just recently I found out--guess what?--it's now an official pathology, with a scary sounding name--"directional disorientation" or something like that. I'm guessin that, by the current manuals, I've probably got dozens of disorders. Oh well....

Raine-Lee said...

Awesome post! So inspiring! I'm in!

Christine Claire Reed said...

Yay! Welcome to the Revolution Tiara, Melita, Brandi, Karmacoy, Raine Lee!

And yes, Mermaid, PRINT IT OUT ALL YOU WANT!!! Spread it around.

Jenell, what an amazing place you worked. I would love to talk to your administrator. Very progressive.

Cynic, What a very interesting "disorder." You are naturally (off) centered! And how many of us do NOT fit into dozens of diagnostic sets? :)

Connie said...

I LOVE IT!!!! Hell yeah I'm joining the revolution!!! Let me go put on a little something for the occasion & let's dance wildly!!!!!!!

Peace & Love.

No, seriously...I LOVE THIS!! And I'm with you all the way!

Jenell said...

Christine, here's a link to my former training director. She is awesome! She probably doesn't remember me, but she made an impression on me, for sure. It looks like she has a private marriage and family therapy practice, now.

Carolyn said...

I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So empowering and wild and wonderful!!

Jennifer Hugon said...

This is beautiful!

I'm dancing and painting right now!

What a fantastic way to rock into the weekend...


Tracy said...

Fabulous! Count me in!!!

Lisa said...

LOVE what you did with this post, dear Christine! Totally awesome stuff!

I was thinking of you as "Groove is in the heart" came on the car radio today. There's a funky dance tune if there ever was one :-)

Of course, I'm in! Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement! I look forward to seeing where we all go with our wild selves!

And..."I'd like to thank the academy for my distinguished Oh Wise One award!" Hee, hee, hee!!!

Emma said...

Love it! Sign me up!

differenceayearmakes said...

Love it!

Rowena said...

1. I have Cynic's directional disorder too. Never can tell left from right.

2. I'm with you in your revolution but would like to go a little bit farther.

I've thought about this quite a bit, wondered who I would be if I weren't the artist, the thinker, the spiritual girl, the weirdo...

I'm so weird I've come to the conclusion that I will embrace the boring in me too. The staying at home borderline hermit me, the mom busy potty training and trying to keep back the tsunami of disorder me, the preferring reading to going out me, the workaday me, the low energy me, the sometimes depressive and/or pissy me, the lover of hollywood blockbusters me, the non traveller me. All the things that are boring and not exciting and workaday and not about reaching something better and higher than I already am, but just about the daily business of being me.

I don't need to be anything other than what I am. Even if what I am is kind of boring sometimes. You know, when I took out my 18 year old eyebrow ring... no one noticed.

I don't need to rebel. I don't need to be reactionary.

I just need to love what I love and learn to live with life.

I just need to be.

Christine Claire Reed said...

Rowena -- THAT would be the WHOLE POINT! :)

claire bangasser said...

I'm in :-)

Tess said...

Oh yeah, I'm in! As I read this through, I started smiling at the top, my smile got wider and wider as I read through until I ended up looking like a manic crocodile!

Artist Jennifer Bernard Swiderski said...

I am glad you wrote about this. It's so very true, and young women ought to be raised this way so they dont have to 'overcome' to be themselves. Luckily, or unluckily, I have always lived this way, thinking it WAS 'normal'. I think it is, however, we all know society doesn't like us to! that's been my challenge as a younger woman, it was very confusing.
I was made to feel I should be apologetic somehow for my 'wild' behavior.And worse, It often made me seriously think there was something wrong with me!
I just want to add, as a 'wild one'
who's never known better, HA HA come on girls, let go, and let you be you. life's too short!
It's your life, not anyone elses. generally, when anyone tries to stifle this kind of spirit, it's because they lack the courage to do the same, or are jealous they are not brave enough to be themselves. help those stuck in thier cages when you can, but fly free, strong & brave while you can.
Blessings to you all.
Jennifer (Wisdom Path Art)

"Be honest, real, original, daring, brave enough to be yourself,unafraid of what others may think A Life really LIVED"

Grace said...

I'm in. Don't even have to think twice about it. This is an awesome idea.

mothermidwife said...

Girl, you know I am in with that! Wonderful writing and great description of another spiritual break-though. Thanks.

lucy said...

me me me!!! count me in!!!

lately i have been questioning myself about whether or not i ASK for too much (a slight variation on i am too much)...all i am asking for is the venue to be myself and for those who say they love me to join in...i don't want to do it without them, but i will if i have too!!!

this girl needs to DANCE and be her own WILD self!!!

Graciel @ Evenstar Art said...

In, she said, so very IN!

Liz said...

Count me in! I've been practicing at being a wild woman my whole's time to let her complettely out...:)

Sheila said...

So which of these eccentric wild women revolutionaries is creating a 'button' we can display on our blog page??? lol Catching up today but thinking about what might be added to the manifesto and kinda getting snared by a couple items I know I don't yet practice...BLUSHES Hmmmmmmm - considers whether it's a tamed area or undeveloped.

Yogini on the Web said...

It always takes me by surprise how much it surprises people -- even in this day in age -- that a woman could be bold enough to speak her thoughts without constant filtering, stand up for what she believes in, be assertive, be bold....

Count me in!

Kara aka Mother Henna said...

Yah! Just found this post with Jamie's tweet about the contest -- I loooooooooooooooove the persistent like the rain!!!!! Prepping for an August show, so not sure if I can make the deadline for poster contest, but you have so many images dreamily running thru my brain.... hmmm :) Lovely! Dunka dunka!!

Maya from Israel said...

great and inspiring!
I will spread it in my country now!

Marisa said...

Am I too late? I hope not!
Count me in.