My third grandchild, Isla Rose was born last week. I was waiting in the wings, looking after her two 6 and 8-year-old sisters. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.
After about a week, the anticipation of the birth and then subsequent relief at all being well, seeing Mum and bub and the whole family doing great, I could feel something inside going, 'ok, time for me'. That edge of burning out that you can feel where you know you need rest.
The willingness for women to support without question is so strong, so innate we can sometimes lose ourselves in the giving. And I've seen this in men too - that willingness to automatically do, and give.
What happened next, (just a few days ago), was so unexpected. There's another aspect of this 'giving', a shadow side, that is often a blind spot for women. And it implicitly affects our relationships and our well-being.
It's the difficulty in and inability to receive. We are generally so comfortable in giving. That is certainly my comfort zone. If I can give, then to some degree things are ok. It placates some kind of inner anxiety, or perhaps a way to control things, non-intentionally of course. It truly does come from the heart. But receiving? Ooh, that gets vulnerable.
To receive is to be vulnerable. To be vulnerable is to be exposed.
So to continue the story about what happened next... I took a day off to come back to the coast to have my house washed and slipped and fell on my wet deck. Unless someone offers, I find it very hard to ask for help. And I think this is pretty common for women. I had to get humble and call a friend who came straight away. Ended up in Noosa Hospital having a CT scan. Luckily no broken bones just strained ligaments around my knee. But enough to stop me in my tracks.
It's confronting. And to receive this time to heal my knee is both a blessing and a lesson in receiving.
Receptivity and the receptive state is actually a feminine principle. Giving, energy moving outwards, the dynamic state is the masculine principle.
Society in general is very attuned to the dynamic state of energy going outwards. yet the energy of receiving and allowing energy inwards is what creates renewal and regeneration within our bodies, both emotionally and sexually.
An imbalance of these two energies, sexually, and emotionally creates instability and incoherence in the relationship with self and with the other.
I see this demonstrated right before my eyes when I work with women and couples. Both genders can struggle with receiving and that's why it is important if you want to regain balance in a relationship, to self, to life, to another, to truly practice having a receptive body. (note to self here too!)
During the writing of Tantric Sex and Menopause, Practices for Spiritual and Sexual Renewal, it's as if my own lived experience of fatigue and body issues in my 50's, was directly informing me of what we needed to include in this book - not just about sex, but about the aspect of self-care and renewal that wasn't even being spoken about at the time of writing. This is all about inward, receiving energy. This deeply affects our love relationships as well as our relationship with our bodies.
What Diana Richardson and I realised was that this book could be a handbook for women of any age because for me, it was only in hindsight, did I see some of the key things that directly affect our bodies as women - our sexual response and desire, our unique personal body story and our relationship to this body we have lived in since conception.
That's how Womantime Retreat and the Womantime work were born. I felt so compelled that women of any age need this combination of knowledge and experiential skills to move gracefully into their 40s, 50s, and beyond.
To finish off the story, my daughter-in-law said, "You've done so much. How can we repay you?" Well, the ture gift of giving is in what you receive in the giving. I receive so much love from these little ones, it's priceless.
There are still a couple of spots left for this special retreat of only 14 women from 11th - 14th August at Kondalilla Eco Resort on the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Have a read here.
For those who are from outside Australia, and who are not able to attend Womantime in person, I am currently working on taking it online. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to be part of the founding group to go through this powerful work online.