I’m counting my blessings regularly as part of increasing my overall happiness through gratitude. It’s not just something nice to do, it’s actually proven to increase happiness, and while our temperament might be relatively stable, we have a little bit of control over the lens we see our lives through, so why not try to amplify the good we see and feel?
One of the areas in my life that I’m particularly grateful for is my women friends. Friendship is not as easy for me in mid life as it was earlier. I suppose being thrown together with people around your age at school makes friendships virtually inevitable. Certainly there used to be ample leisure time during student years to hang out and let relationships grow over time and shared experiences. Now it’s a more conscious decision and I’m glad. I haven’t been one to hang on to a lot of people from my past, instead I’ve taken an organic approach (some might even say lazy) to friendship, allowing people and groups whose time has past, to drift away. I’ve had phases of loneliness, and times when there was just one person I was really close to.
Now, at forty, I find I have some incredible people in my life and I’m so grateful. For each of my women friends, life is super busy. Most have at least one child, many have pets, most have partners or significant other relationships that draw their time and attention. They are all pursuing their dreams in one way or another – jobs, businesses, higher learning, creative pursuits, exercise challenges, yoga, spiritual life or travel. That’s what makes them so fascinating. If it’s true that we can judge our qualities based on the people around us, then I’m in fine company. My female friends are leaders in their chosen fields who are remarkable at striking balance in their lives. They prioritise their own wellness, so they have a lot to give their children, partners and passions. Somehow they find time for nurturing their friendships too.
At a recent dinner with two such incredible beings, the discussion turned, as it often does, to how we might ‘play big’. (If you haven’t read Tara Mohr’s book ‘Playing Big’, I highly recommend it.) Out of this relaxed chat came a vision of a free seminar where women with different stories might facilitate a discussion about living well for the benefit of other women. Our experiences range from supporting friends through issues around fertility, birthing, parenting, health issues, surgeries, business ideas that fly and those that flunk out, partners who give and need support, yoga, exercise, nutrition and meditation practices that suit us, and those that don’t. Along the way we want to share our process of figuring out our sense of meaning and purpose and how to live with integrity.
It seems to me, if I try to take the sum of these wonder women, that what they all have in common is immense amounts of grit. It’s an inner resolve, a determination to find a way to make things work for everyone they care about, even in the face of obstacles. I see these women struggle and sometimes fall down, and while I’d like to prevent their suffering, they don’t need any rescuing. They are each the heroine of their own story. They dust themselves off and get back up after every set back. I know they get tired, exhausted even, and they have the self awareness to say no to obligations, and make space to rest. They also have stamina though, they train themselves to keep going when their goals are clear. Some of this is through physical fitness. Each of the women I admire has a dedicated health regime, mostly centred around yoga but also incorporating dance, cross fit, group fitness, walking, swimming, paddle boarding, surfing or running too. They play out their mental fluctuations on their yoga mats, meditation cushions, in parks, gyms, pools and trails, so that when they are tempted to give up, they have a deep well of resilience to draw from to quench their thirst and keep on going. They show the same fortitude in mental and creative pursuits. Sometimes writing or creating in any form is bloody hard, and it doesn’t always come out as intended, but I see the process as well as the results and I’m astonished every time. Their children are thriving too, each person parenting in their own style, displaying for their kids great examples of self care, steadiness, and commitment to working through challenges while being kind along the way.
I hope these particular women stay in my life for many years, but if our paths should diverge, I’ll let them go, knowing they will continue to attract amazing circles of sisterhood and build their communities up through their skills, stamina, grace and grit. If this sounds like a conversation you’d like to be a part of, please come along to the free event Through Grace & Grit: Women’s Wellness Seminar at the Yoga Space in West Perth on Saturday June 18th 3pm – 4.30pm.