(this is a rework of a previous post: A Woman’s Guide to Breaking the Rules, February 2013)
To repeat yesterday’s segue to this guide:
You do not raise your hand and politely ask if you may, please, begin breaking the rules now. No! When the time has come to toss the rule book (probably the one you learned from in school), and you know it in your bones, the “raising-your-hand” moment is long past. You have donned your fierce and are standing up- many times alone (or at least it sure feels that way) – for your heart and your spirit, “the way it’s always been done” be damned.
Here is the Crone’s Guide – thoughts not rules. We are no longer about rules!
1. Recognize you aren’t alone or the only one. Actively seek your tribe. You will recognize them because they are the ones urging you on, saying hell YES!!” to each step you take. They are NOT the ones encouraging you to turn back, to not rock the boat, saying “it’s always been this way.”
Finding your tribe offers more than validation and interaction, important as both of these are. Your tribe provides inspiration and provocation to raise the bar on your own achievements. In every domain, members of a passionate community tend to drive each other to explore the real extent of their talents. Sometimes the boost comes not from close collaboration but from the influence of others in the field. Ken Robinson.
2. Acknowledge and welcome imperfections as signs that you are doing something new – there is no such thing as failure, only understanding what didn’t work. Accept the mess that being imperfect often makes.
Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it’s going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, or suspended animation. Anne Lamott.
Healthy striving is self-focused: “How can I improve?” Perfectionism is other-focused: “What will they think?” Brené Brown
3. Don’t Wait for Signs. Sera Beak says: Watch out for becoming overly attached to signs and overly dependent on receiving them…Don’t sit back and wait for the doorbell to ring before you move. Go ahead and ring it yourself. Nudges from the universe are not necessarily being done (or not being done) to you; you are, instead, a partner in their creation, hence, you determine their presence and their consequences.
A favorite story, “Waiting for Signs” from Brian Andreaus, creator of Story People: I used to wait for a sign, she said, before I did anything. then one night I had a dream & an angel in black tights came to me and said, You can start any time now & then I said is this a sign? & the angel started laughing & I woke up. Now, I think the whole world is filled with signs, but if there’s no laughter, I know they’re not for me.
4. Discover for yourself that there are no rules. If you want rules you can make them up as you go along (see my modern fairy tale about that here) . Dont worry about everyone else and what rule books they are following. You are breaking the rules – all those rules that no longer work for you whether or not they once did. You are doing what you came here to do instead of stewing in a job you hate or a relationship that does not support your being your best and truest self. You are making the world a better place – simply by breaking worn out rules and following your heart and passion. Which of course means living life at your most courageous. At least it won’t be boring!
Wisdom traditions worldwide say there’s no greater blessing than to live the life of your soul, the source of your deepest personal fulfillment and of your greatest service to others. It’s what you were born for. It’s the locus of authentic personal power – not power over people and things, but rather the power of partnership with others, the power to cocreate life and to cooperate with an evolving universe. Bill Plotkin
5. Forgive yourself. Forgive yourself whatever you need to forgive yourself, most likely for not being perfect however that manifests for you.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for hundreds miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves… Mary Oliver
Sometimes it takes darkness and the sweet
confinement of your aloneness
anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you. David Whyte
6. Don’t forget to celebrate something at least once every day. Celebrate that you do not have to be stuck or live a life of “quiet
desperation.” Celebrate that you have amazing choices in front of you that generations before would have gladly given their all just to taste, never mind live. Celebrate each small step towards your Real Self and ignore all the clamoring desperate voices that would have you instead focus on what you don’t yet have or what you have lost. Celebrate what is right in front of you right now, this moment. It doesn’t take long. Celebrate breaking the rules on-by-one as steps forward for not just you but for every woman who is waiting to find her tribe. Light a candle. Breathe in and be present. Blow out the candle, breathe out gratitude.
7. Pay attention to the stories you are telling yourself about your life. “To relinquish your former identity is to sacrifice the story you were living, the one that defined you, empowered you socially – and limited you. This sacrifice captures the essence of leaving home…The great mystery that is this world, like a jigsaw puzzle, cannot assume its ultimate form unless every piece takes its true place. We are born as the piece that can take that place.” Bill Plotkin.