I am thrilled to say that my invisible Wonder Woman cape and tights are in the Jeep (along with my faerie wings, which are tangible and colorful)… and I don them less often these days. Once upon a time, they were standard wear for this recovering co-dependent, caregiver, people pleaser, feeling like Mighty Mouse singing “Here I come to save the day!” Not sure if I come by it genetically or by example since my parents were the go-to people among their circles, who could be counted on to be there in times of crisis. My career path led me to become Ms. Fixit and in my personal relationships, my social worker’s ‘rolodex’ brain cards have been thumbed through so many times that they are dog eared. The truth is, no one needs rescuing and while I have information and experience that are helpful, I am no expert on anyone else’s life and needs. I am a willing guide along the way.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to allow myself the freedom to leave the Wonder Woman facade behind. I attended a retreat called The Woman Within which is an event I have been encouraged to experience for many years. Several of my friends have taken it and had marvelous breakthroughs. I welcomed that as well and was delighted that when all was said and done, my transition from where I was to where I am, took all kinds of leaps; some of faith that I would safely land. I was determined to savor the time just for myself; rare indeed for this woman who feels that nothing I do is for me alone. My healing heals the planet….all that stuff which may be true AND I really am permitted to have personal joy. Going into the time away, I told the organizers that if they saw me attempting to fix, save, heal or otherwise exhibit ’savior behavior, they were to call me on it. I was off duty. Within very short order, an opportunity arose to test my mettle. I was asked to take on a leadership role and as my ego chirped….”How cool! They know you are a natural born leader.” and my Sally Field Academy Award speech persona chimed in “And I can’t deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!” My inner knowing creature, looked at me with kind and compassionate eyes, wagging finger and loving smile and said “Don’t you dare.” Saying no has not always come easily to me. It felt really good this time.
Throughout the weekend, I faced multiple challenges to my resolve. Each woman there had her own particular story that had me wishing I could offer answers, wanting to charge in there to fix the situation. Knowing that I couldn’t do it, even had I not made the promise to myself since it was not my role, was painful….literally, head throbbingly so. I needed to sit with my emotional discomfort and it wasn’t until I acknowledged my own loss, pain and sadness; my real human vulnerability that the headache dissolved and I saw clearly that my help was not requested or required. I rest my cape~