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Personal growth v. self awareness
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Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.  Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. ~C.G. Jung

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Gorgeous  reader,

I was talking with a friend the other day about this work I do, trying to explain it, and finding myself a bit lost for words. Or rather, in that place of having words, but not all the right ones; like I wasn't able to paint a complete picture of what it is to hold space, to witness others as they explore their stories and discover their own truths, to guide them to seeing their own internalized misogyny and shame. My friend said "So, basically, you help people with their personal growth" and I bristled.  I didn't really understand why in that moment, and so I let it sit and brew and after a few days it came to me.

I have an issue with the idea of "personal growth" and what I've come to realize is that it seems to fall in line, often, with those ideas of fluffy positive thinking that I have written about before. Do I believe people grow? Absolutely. We all change and shift and morph as life marches forward, and some people but a lot of work into growing and changing and learning to adapt and be resilient.

Where my issues is seeming to fall in this moment is the idea that "growth" is necessary. There is a subtle message that I hear when people talk about "personal growth" and that message is "I'm/you're not okay as we are." And that I have issue with. The idea of personal growth is one of striving and reaching and not being present; it is focused on outcome and future and not really on process or the now.

It's a mixed bag really, because things that people do for "personal development," like meditating or yoga or breath work or learning to become self-aware are things I'm all for. I'm all for connecting to our body, bring our unconscious to consciousness, and using the tools of meditation and creativity and connecting to nature and others to do so. Where I'm feeling the bristling though is in the doing it to "better" our selves. Because this implies that we simply aren't okay as we are.

Self-awareness however, while part of what is considered "personal growth," doesn't carry those expectations with it. Self-awareness is about, quite simply, becoming aware of our Self. It is also connecting to our body, bring our unconscious into consciousness, and doing so using the tools of meditation, yoga, breath work, creativity, connecting to nature and others. Yet there isn't really an end-game in self-awareness, beyond becoming aware. There isn't a need to fix or change or "better" one self. It is simply learning to be aware.

I'm grappling with these ideas and with the language of this work I do. My work is not about "fixing" people or making them "better." Truly, my work, is in guiding you, and myself,  to become more aware, and in this process to learn to accept and love ourselves just as we are. Which means, if you are angry, it's okay to be angry; if you are sad, it is okay to be sad; if you are elated, it is okay to be elated; if you are grieving, it is okay to grieve; and if you are a mixed bag of all of these, which most of us are, you are okay being a mixed bag.

We are told over and over in our culture, by those in "authority," be they our parents or "gurus" or teachers or bosses, that having feelings beyond happiness  isn't okay. I'm here to call bullshit. And to say fuck that. To be your and my and everyone's advocate in in saying WE GET TO FEEL OUR FEELINGS and to proclaim that our experiences are ours, are valid, are true. I'm here to say that those who shame you about being angry or sad or frustrated or whatever it is you are feeling need to step back and deal with their own stuff.

You don't need to "grow" or transform or change. You don't need to stuff your rage, or sadness, or worry.  You are NOT too much. You are EXACTLY enough.

Becoming aware of our Self:: connecting to our body---her physicality and her wisdom;  exploring our unconscious and Shadows and bringing them to light; embracing our spiritual self, whatever that may look like - that is the endgame in itself. And yes, we grow and change and transform, that is a byproduct of this work, and yet that is not the goal. And I feel that is an important distinction to make.

Having transformation be a "goal" sets us up not only to fail, but also to feed those stories of how we aren't enough and are too much as we are now. Having "growth" be the goal feeds the same that we are somehow not okay as we are, in this moment.

When growth and transformation happens as a by-product, because the goal was simply to get to know our Self better, shame is not fed and begins to melt away from malnourishment. When we change as a by-product of understanding our Self better, of being curious and getting to our Shadow, those stories of being too much and not enough start to lose their grip, because we are learning to accept our Self as we are and not trying to "fix" us.

So my answer to my friend is, no, I don't help women with their "personal growth." I do however, guide women to deep connection to and awareness of their self, and if they happen to grow as a by-product of that work, well, that's just icing on the cake.

Sending you courage and curiosity as we all figure this all out. xoxo

P.S. I sent our five different videos to you this week as a FAQ for Awakening Our womanline. If you missed any of them here they are again:

What is the mother wound? It's not what you think.

Why to not give advice. (Exploring the second guideline of my circles)

Why we don't compare experiences (Exploring the third guideline of my circles)

Why there is an application process for Awakening Our Womanline

All the deets for the Awakening Our Womanline circle

P.P.S. Last call for  Awakening Our Womanline :: applications are due in just a couple hours. I would truly love to have you join us. Filling out the application should take less than 30 minutes. To learn more about the circle and to request an application (remember to confirm your request in your inbox and to check your spam folders) click here.

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STREAM OF CONSCIOUS WRITING PROMPT

How do you hold on to expectations? How are goals beneficial for you? How are they harmful? In what ways have you shifted or changed as a by-product of your own life practices?

GUIDED MEDITATION

This week I am sharing the Loving Your Self meditation. This meditation is just under ten minutes long and it can be found here.

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ONLINE CIRCLES, RETREATS, & 1:1 WORK

Awakening Our Womanline. A 13-week journey into connecting deeply with the women who came before, healing our ancestral wounds and embracing our own whole self as we are today.  I am currently accepting applications for this circle. April 8 - July 9. For more details and to receive the application click here.

Mindful Mantras. A year long, free program offering a guiding word or phrase to help you become more centered and grounded through out your week. Emails go out on Sunday monrings and discussions will be posted in the FB group each Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. I will also create a YouTube video each week, talking about our word or phrase. For more information and to register, click here.

Embodiment Sessions. Work with me 1:1 to connect deeply with your own embodied wisdom, to learn to dance with your Shadow, melt away shame, transform your stories of being too much and not enough, and to embrace and love your whole Self. We can work month to month (minimum three month initial commitment) or I also offer a six month package. Payment plans and partial scholarships are available. You can learn more by clicking here.

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ON THE BLOG

There is nothing new on the blog this week, however I have been busy writing over on Instagram. If you'd like to check out what I'm going over there, click here.

Archetypes vs. Lived Experience

Rising Inside

Finding Your Roar

 

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LINKS OF INTEREST

Dieting is a violent act - I don't think Rachel Cole could have said it any better. I would add that I consider dieting a form of deprivation and abuse and I strongly feel it is not okay to abuse our body or our Self.

speaking out about silence - Once again, Isabel has spoken the words of my soul. The all of this.

The feminist bake sale that led to death and rape threats -  We are not living in a post-feminist era. The actions reported in this article prove that.

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GWYNN RAIMONDI, MA, LMFTA

Therapist | Writer | Guide

Connecting you to your own embodied knowing


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