Note: In South Africa, we celebrate Woman’s month in August as a tribute to the thousands of women who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of Pass Laws to women. This time of the year we are reminded of the struggles that South African women and women in general have endured over the ages. We also celebrate women in general, as well as the amazing, strong and inspiring women who have risen above obstacles to achieve great successes and created meaningful change. Hence the inspiration for this post.
What will your daughters search for?
Don’t you love those precious moments when life softens your heart by putting things into perspective and reminds you of all you have to be grateful for?
Today, you are blessed to live in an incredible time where the world is open to you. Doors of opportunity stand wide open beside you, dreams and goals lie within your reach and exciting adventures are calling out your name.
Sometimes we can say YES to these things with ease. We skip through those doors, reach out and grab what is there for us and go along for the ride with great joy. Other times, we hold back, resist, give in to fear and confine ourselves to embodying only a fraction of the greatness that radiates from our true being.
Isn’t it strange that somehow it seems to be easier to find “reasons why not to” be everything that you can be against all the odds?
Something that I read this week reminded me of why we need look beyond the ‘reason why not to’ and invest more energy in finding reasons to move forward fearlessly. I reread an essay that Alice Walker published in 1984, titled: In Search of our Mother’s Gardens. In this poignant piece, Alice explores how women of past generations who lived in slavery and repressive eras survived this harshness and kept their muted creative spirit alive.
It got me thinking. Each of us reaches a point in our lives when we search for a better understanding of our womanhood and how to live. In those moments it is natural to look at the women around us, role models and most often at women who have come before us – our mothers, aunts, grandmothers and great-grandmothers.
“Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength – in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.” ~ Alice Walker
Like Alice, it is not uncommon to find that women of past generations have battled through the immense hardships of oppression, poverty, abuse and sexism. Many of them lived in a world where their thoughts, opinions, emotions and dreams were completely disregarded and had to be tucked away into dusty suitcases, with no hope of being recovered. They were forced to succumb to a life of duty to their ‘masters’ in various forms. While the spirit of some of these women died a slow death, many managed to find the inspiration to persevere and give their spirit life in tiny ways. When we look back at their lives, one may be overcome with sadness for the small lives that these women were forced to lived, especially in the awareness of how much more they could have been had they had the chance. They did so much with so little and found ways to be content and even their small nuggets of wisdom, inspiration and guidance still serve to motivate and fill us with gratitude. But how much more could we have gained if their stifled gifts had been allowed to blossom?
…exquisite butterflies trapped in an evil honey, toiling away their lives in an era, a century, that did not acknowledge them, except a the ‘mule of the world.’ ~ Alice Walker
There are those too who were fierce and fearless, those who rose beyond all restrictions and circumstances to achieve the unexpected. These women awaken our awareness to how powerful we are if we simply allow ourselves to be. Warrior Women, Writers, Activists, Suffragettes and Artists – from to Wangari Maathai, Oprah, Maya Angelou, Mother Theresa, Margaret Thatcher, Graca Machel to Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – these are inspiring women, women who changed the world in their own way. They became the giants whose shoulders we can stand on in order to soar to even greater heights.
This insight pushed me to ask myself two questions – What will my daughters search for? And what will they find?
I realise that I have a choice. You do too. Will your life be a story of regret for things that could have been but never found ways to manifest into reality? Or will you be a super awesome, powerful, colossal Goddess Giant whose shoulders your daughters and all the future daughters of the world will stand on – a spring board to heights unheard of by womankind before? I would rather be the later.
Granted in many ways, women still have battles to fight. Yet, so many of us are fortunate because we are not burdened with the same repressive circumstances that the women who came before us faced. This is reason for gratitude and also to commit to going beyond perceived limitations. When we think of the incredible bravery that a young girl such as 16 year old Malala Yousafzai has demonstrated, then we are reminded that there are no obstacles big enough to justify us not living our greatest life.
So I am gathering together all of my meaningless little ‘reasons why not’ and transforming each of them into empowering reasons to move forward fearlessly – typing our words, healing souls, canoeing across rivers and walking across the sacred paths of the Earth. Not only for the future daughters, but also in honour of those who came before us.
What do you want your daughters to find when they search for the footprints left in your wake?