Women Leading in Change

“Women Leading in Change, a Female Wave of Change Transformation Journey”

I am so grateful for having found my tribe…

Do you ponder what is the meaning of life? Your life… Are you interested in doing more, being more, creating more? What is MORE? What’s possible…  I’ve always been fascinated by human behaviour and what best place to start and examine the intricacies of the human condition than with me #360Me

Last year was a significant shift in my development as a human.  Starting with 10 days of Vipassana – which is a particular type of meditation technique learned by attending a residential course with a qualified teacher where you are free from distractions so that the reality within can be observed.  Meditation has been part of my life for 10+ years now, I’m not religious with it but I have witnessed the beneficial effects first hand so it will continue to remain in what I do.

That same drive and desire to actively seek out new experiences and learning opportunities is in part why I was also drawn to the Female Wave of Change.  Working on behalf of Recruiting Solutions at the time I was networking a LOT and one of those meetings I arranged was with the brilliant Mireille Toulekima, with whom I shared my vision for the Workforce of The Future and she saw how my passion and purpose was aligned, so she suggested that I meet with the board of FWoC to explore the potential of becoming an ambassador for Australia.

FWoC Purpose Core Values_Picture

Female Wave of Change is a global movement that unites women changing the world into a better place.  Mireille was right I did resonate with the core values and purpose and I wanted to make a dent in the universe, this organisation was going to give me a safe place to be my authentic self and empower me to become the changemaker I dared to dream of.  Through the Women Leading in Change program I met some amazing women, like me who dared to dream.

The 10 week program is a transformation journey and the value I got out of it immense.  The mentorship and guidance of the teachers like Mireille, Nienke, Mam Yvonne and all the other wise women involved is a testament to the support and focus on human values.  With their guidance I was able to reflect on my strengths, the unique value I can contribute and with compassion, collaboration and an abundance mindset develop a roadmap for change.

Although the program for me has been completed, it’s only step 1.  The vision for this organisation and the program being developed will Reshape the Future, with our help…  Because the value we get out of the program can only be honoured in the actions we now take.

This is the point at which you get to choose your next adventure… maybe Regenopause or The Pain Barrier or just as awesome would be if you share your thoughts – you can add them below or engage me direct susie@mssusanne.com.au

If you’re not ready to take your next adventure now then you can always subscribe and come back later…

smileykiss

Regenopause

The Evolutionary Woman – Barbara Marx Hubbard is where I heard this term from and at a time when it spoke to me on so many levels… one of them being the impetus of this blog.

My story starts with menopause not at the still relatively young age of 50 but actually I would estimate at about 24.  I say estimate because I cant tell for sure, no woman can (that I’m aware of) it’s a few signs that in retrospect pointed me towards that time, the first being the night sweats.  If you’re male or haven’t yet had the privilege of going through menopause yet then let me explain… I would wake my bedding and clothing (if any) were drenched, the heat I would emit overnight was enough for my partner to prefer to remove himself from my vicinity on numerous occasions, it was uncomfortable and annoying to say the least.

Then there was the mood swings and finally depression that characterised particular situations in my life certainly (that’s a whole nother blog) but again in retrospect it was also another tell-tale sign of being in menopause at the tender age of my early 20’s. Not that I knew that was what it was at the time.  In fact it wasn’t until my early 30’s would I learn of my predicament and I use that word deliberately because it was embarrassing, among other things, at that point… I was just getting ready to have children or so I assumed, only to be told that my bloods showed a totally different life path.

The condition I came to understand was premature ovarian failure but to my “friends” I was less of a woman not only because I was barren but also because of the connotation of being in menopause – old, ageing – not something I wanted to be associated with as a vibrant 31 year old.

Regenopause

No person I believe wants to really be associated with being old, yet as Barbara so eloquently put it, in terms of REGENOPAUSE – the ability to regenerate, to refocus your attention to what the world needs you to do.  It wasn’t something I’d ever thought of…  a life without children.

It took me a lot of years; emotional roller coasters which went from self loathing to self love; testing of many relationships; personal growth and self reflection to figure out I was okay being just me.  Forging a new path, one that wasn’t built on either a social construct that women should automatically be mothers at some point, nor my own life plan to have children.  This is something I’m passionate about because I no longer prescribe to the Brules – I’m a bad ass MOFO these days.

What truly touched me though with Barbara’s words, when she had her regenopause moment, are how I am also nearing 50 and am finally recognising my Impulse and being conscious of using my Inner Compass to guide me.  She was right, we are all creative and she’s left a marvelous legacy for other Evolutionary Women to follow, to which I want to pay gratitude and thanks as I continue my journey and seek to be the Female Wave of Change I want to see in the world.

I hope this has been enlightening, challenging and everything in between…. Now this is the point at which you get to choose your next adventure… May I suggest Dear World or Energy to Burn & Back to Nature; otherwise just as awesome would be if you share your thoughts – you can add them below or engage me direct susie@mssusanne.com.au

If you’re not ready to take your next adventure now then you can always subscribe and come back later…

smileykiss

 

MOFO

Theme Song

I’m not a mother.

I wanted to be at one time in my life, like a lot of little girls I suppose… I was certainly sold the brule (#bullshitrule) that my life’s journey was one of finding Mr Right, getting Married, having kids, those kids having kids so I became a Grandmother and so on… A wonderful life stretched before me in supplication to others. A gift to the world of my dream to be nothing more and nothing less than a wife, mother and grandmother. To some this is the ultimate sacrifice one that proves that I am not selfish – this whole concept of parenthood is often coupled with not being selfish, not being self centred, yet who are we not to be these things even when we are parents because from what I am understanding of the world there is a great deal of sacrifice in doing exactly that.

To be self centred in my view is to know my self, love my self and then ultimately be able to love unconditionally. I used to believe the brules about this being a ‘bad’ thing but having started to experience rather than just knowing intellectually that this isn’t bad at all but instead a beautiful and foundational part of our existence and something that I now embrace.

I used to think I loved unconditionally, I certainly said it… I certainly understood the concept intellectually / rationally however when I really examined my love for my partner I had to admit there were still times I got jealous and demanded some reciprocation and sign that he loved me in return. So what is that? What is that, if not a condition of my love. I am giving to you so I expect in return. My words and my actions, my experience were two different and opposing things, although I didn’t see it that way for a long time. I have touched on this in one of my other posts (Misery to Happiness) where I recall that when I went into the Vipassana course… I keep going to call it a retreat LOL – it is not that in any sense of the western world’s standards but to me that’s what it ended up being and / or what it was before I went because I thought of it so…

Back to the story: I recall that I had been struggling with this concept of love and what I defined it as, given I so wanted to be loved unconditionally, something I yearned for years earlier when I was married when I didn’t believe I was being accepted for myself, my true self.

Even that “my true self” who is that – it’s something that is emerging more and more each day, with the more and more I remember about who I really am, who I really am not and everything in between. Whoa tiger – getting a bit too philosophical there I fear… Hmmmmm interesting that, even the use of that word ‘fear’ – what is it I really fear?

Unfuckwithable

This writing process is one of creation, not that I’m saying I’m some expert or ‘great writer’ but yet I choose to write, it’s a thought that so filled me with joy when I was at my Vipassana retreat in those constant dialogues with myself during, after and between mediation. And that is what being a mother is to me, it’s not the brule that says I must give physical birth but it can be a creative pursuit or a vision to be a billionaire (#impactabillionlives) or something in between. What resonated (among many theme’s) with me from the Conversations with God, was this concept of the ‘holy trinity’ as it was put, the three states of knowing, experiencing and being.  This is my new truth and understanding of the world, that there is no absolute truth but the system of relativity which enables us to see all that is, all that was and what is present to which we are beholden and in my case in awe of my creation.

I have intentions of being a billionaire and making an impact on this world and I want to do so by supporting those that have those same values and visions because to me these are the wonderful teachers in our world right now who are showing humanity a way forward which is within our control, individually, collectively and universally. This may not be true for you but it is my truth and my mission to drive changes in society through community engagement, economic empowerment and personal growth.

I hope this has been enlightening, challenging and everything in between…. now this is the point at which you get to choose your next adventure… Hell on Earth or Sounds of Silence or just as awesome would be if you share your thoughts – you can add them below or engage me direct susie@mssusanne.com.au

If you’re not ready to take your next adventure now then you can always subscribe and come back later…

Hell on Earth

Day 8 had been blissful, my meditation practice was in flow and I felt connected to my environment.  However as is the nature of life, nothing lasts forever and so it was the very next day I found myself struggling to control my mind, over-exerting myself and enduring more pain than before.  I had a laser focus, I was determined to sit in my chosen position without moving, during the hour long meditation sittings.  I believed this was the way to learn.

Not to dissimilar to my ethos for life, having been brought up on the cultural and parental expectation that we must work hard to earn a living.  It’s interesting don’t you think how this brule* (bullshit rule) doesn’t serve us, in fact it only serves to disempower us and blinker us to the prospect that we can be happy in work and life without having to endure pain.

The lesson at the end of Day 9 was in how we cling to happiness and therefore how this can be just as destructive to our ability to control our mindset as is the focus on the negative.  The Vipassana technique talks to being equanimous and as had been the case with each passing day, the teaching and review of what we were learning at the end of each evening was the timely reminder of the experience I was going through. The day previous I was in bliss and had become attached to this feeling, which led me to feeling disappointment in not being able to achieve bliss again in the following day.  I’m particularly prone to seeking out positivity, ever the optimist but it became clear to me that this has at times clouded my judgement and led me to feeling more disappointment at points throughout my life.

Thailand.jpg

Khao Lak – Takua Pa District, Thailand 2011kK

The expectation of happy families for one… At two years of age (so I was told) my mother left me, left Australia and went back to Thailand to be with her family, having struggled to make this place her home.  I don’t believe my Dad put up much of a fight although he made it clear I wasn’t going with her.  For the next 24 years of my life I had no idea where my mother was, other than in Thailand, until one day I got the call – they’d found her.  My expectations were high, I was finally going to meet my mother (having no memory of her because I was so young when she left).  Optimistic of our future together, with gifts in hand and a presumption in my heart that I wanted to support her financially because it was the right thing to do, I flew to Thailand to meet her and my half brother and sister.

The reality though is that there’s nothing quite as crushing as the level of expectation…    I have always believed that because my expectations have been positive, optimistic and therefore have intentions that will provide a ‘brighter future’ that somehow they deserved to come true.  That’s not equanimity though is it, in fact it’s a level of expectation I hadn’t really been willing to face before.  Who me?? I don’t have expectations – it was as if just because my thoughts were focussed on the positive, on the optimistic point of view, that those thoughts weren’t expectations at all.  What’s that saying ‘rose coloured glasses…’

Since I was a young child I can’t tell you where I got the philosophy but I was vocal in my belief that both heaven and hell existed not in the after-life but here on earth.  We were born (without choice) into one, the other or somewhere in between but what I have since actively sought, is to find out if we have since that birth, the option to be reborn in our own image, defined by our own drive and purpose.  That I now believe is true, not because I have my rose coloured glasses on but for the first time I have taken them off and want to see all the world as it is, not just how I want it to be.  The difficulty of this choice is that I am not always happy, I am what I perceived as withdrawn, solemn, introspective or some other adjective that describes the opposite of optimistic.  Yet the reality though is I’m content, I am an evolutionary woman unfolding and discovering the next stage of life.

Evolution is a process of continuous branching and diversification from common trunks. This pattern of irreversible separation gives life’s history its basic directionality.

— Stephen Jay Gould

This is the point at which you get to choose your next adventure… Misery to Happiness or Back to Nature

I’d also love it if you choose to share your thoughts – you can add them below or engage me direct susie@mssusanne.com.au

If you’re not ready to take your next adventure now then you can always subscribe and come back later…

smileykiss

Misery to Happiness

Arriving Day 0 I had no (real) idea what I was about to embark on, sure I’d read the website and the emails sent to me about the guidelines for the course but the reality of what I was doing would only become evident through the actual participation.  That’s how the course is designed and was what resonated with me from the first day – experiential learning, which in my opinion is the only way to truly learn and move from a knowing (or intellectual wisdom) to understanding (experiential wisdom).

The first couple of days were a blur… It was Day 3 that took me from misery to happiness but before we get into the nitty-gritty I want to set the picture for you.  The property that the course takes place at is 40km outside of Brookton on a beautiful piece of Western Australian countryside with granite outcrops and views over the valleys.

day3rockyoutcrop

What I was about to undertake was a 10 day course in the Vipassana meditation technique.  In short it involves no talking, no technology or contact with the outside world, meditation from 0430 – 2130 and two vegetarian meals daily… yep it was always going to be a challenge but that’s why I wanted to do it.  I enjoy a challenge and new experiences, my life has been enriched as a result of this philosophy and this Vipassana course was further evidence of that.

Having focused intently for two days already just on breathing and with no one to talk to but myself the morning of Day 3 I found myself crying with the pain and fear of loss. Loss of love, loved ones and being left alone.  My biggest fears rising to the surface overwhelmed me as I recalled memories of my Father not being affectionate, my Mother leaving when I was 2, my desperation and cling’iness to boyfriends, friends who dismissed me and the passing of my beloved family members.  More accurately though it wasn’t so much fear but a belief that I wasn’t worthy of love.

Given other work I’d done before on my personal development I knew it was okay to let these emotions rise and not suppress my need to cry as I was releasing it from my body and my mind, making space for the light and happiness to take its place.  Which is exactly what happened later that day and was further evidence of the Vipassana teaching and theory that we would hear each evening between 2000 and 2100 as the wise words of S N Goenka would guide us on our experiential learning path.  The mind is fickle and moves from one thing to the next, at times, without much rhyme or reason and when we engage with the thoughts we seem to embed them deeper into our sub-conscious.

What happened next I have to warn you would be classified MA 15+ (as it contains classifiable elements such as sex scenes)

ma152b

The meditation sessions for the remaining afternoon dragged up memories and images of my boyfriends, sexual partners and one night stands.  Now, I’m a very physical person and it’s certainly true that one of my primary love languages is physical touch but by the end of the diatribe my mind threw up and with the Day 3 discourse I was starting to get my first taste of experiential wisdom.  Having gone from the misery of feeling unloved, desperate for love even… my mind reminded me of all the times I had sought love; some genuine, others a glimpse of possibility or just the physical manifestation of lust.  Reminders all the same that this external validation of love that I was seeking was also impermanent. Continue reading “Misery to Happiness”