My favorite mantra of the last few years. We can thank Taoism for this one.
Be like water.
Go with the flow.
Don’t get attached to one place, or state.
When you bump into something hard (say, a rock mid-river) stay malleable, take a deep breath, and just flow amiably around it.
Pour your whole self into the space you’re in, whatever the size.
Shapeshift to suit the season (ice, water, steam) — but always stay elementally the same.
Bend, don’t break.
Rinse off the dust.
Nurture the living.
Stay close to things that grow.
Nice to see all your #internationalwomensday posts yesterday, and also frustrating, because: really?? One day?!
One woman who’s been inspiring me lately is Potawatomi scientist, professor, and author Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer. I spent the depths of bitterly cold January listening to countless interviews with her sharing wisdom on botany, spirituality, ecology, and how her Native heritage weaves throughout her work. (Do read her popular book Braiding Sweetgrass if you haven’t already.)
She spoke these words in one interview and they struck me. I don’t know about you, but the very strong messages I received as a good little overachieving Christian girl were that I should be above all nice, positive, smiling, self-effacing, and SMALL. Definitely never daring to take up space with my body, my opinions, or my work.
Two degrees in feminist theory and 40 years later, I still have to consciously unlearn those early messages when I’m sharing my work. It still makes my heart race to publish something that I know will set someone off. And this, even after decades of unlearning that “good little Christian girl” mentality.
So know your gifts. Really f’ing KNOW them. Own them. Speak them. Share them. Don’t stay quiet and keep them hidden just to please other people, or to avoid being too much.
BE EFFEN TOO MUCH.
The people who can handle it will stick around, and join in cheering you on.