Redefining Superwoman

Michele Woodward says she is not superwoman, but after reading her book of essays titled I Am Not Superwoman, I am more convinced than ever that she is just that.
In fact, I think Michele has superseded the traditional definition of Superwoman to create a whole new one that all us deliberate creators (guys and gals alike) would do well to embrace.
Before I explain, let me share two recent stories …
This morning as I settled onto the couch to spend more time with Michele’s book, I had the overwhelming feeling of being an incredibly lucky girl.
Not because the house was clean, the emails were caught up, and the dogs were properly fed.
Quite the contrary.
There was a ton of stuff that needed doing.
And still, without a whiff of guilt, I settled on the couch to read one of my best friend’s books of wisdom.
While my sweetie golfed.  And the dogs slept.  And the cats watched the birds outside the window.
I thought it surely it doesn’t get any better than this.  A whole delicious day to do whatever I please with it.
Indeed, a whole delicious life to do whatever I please with it.
A life led by my joy.
Which reminds me of the Abraham quote Matt recently shared at GVU:

“Your quest for joy should be the same as your quest for water to survive.”

Indeed, joy is a big deal.
That’s one lead-in story.  Here’s the other:
Yesterday a friend (and client) told me about her 88 year old mother who is losing her will to live. While mom’s health isn’t fabulous and she’s restricted to an eating plan that eliminates salt and cholesterol, there isn’t any physical reason she should be withering away in body, mind and spirit.
My wise friend, upon noticing that mom’s depression is affecting her appetite, suggested:
“Mom, since you don’t have anything to lose, why don’t you go ahead and start eating your favorite foods again.”
Since mom wants to die anyway, there literally is no downside to eating her favorite ice cream and chips and such.
Mom followed the suggestion and quickly experienced a noticeable improvement in attitude.  (I’d go so far as to call it a dramatic improvement.  She was sounding spunky again!)
As I reflected on her renewed zest for life by simply eliminating eating rules and honoring her food joy, I thought about how nice it would be for all of us to realize we also have nothing to lose in following our joy.
Which brings me back to Michele’s book.
In chapter 2 Michele shares her “Disillusionment Theory” as to why women’s happiness has been shown to steadily decline after age 47.
Michele suggests that to be happy in mid-life, women should focus on what brings them joy and make that their life priority.  That misbehaving, forgetting about what other people think, and throwing out the rules might be exactly what we need!
(You know this message is music to my ears!)
Then in the following essay, Michele writes that we are best served when we engage things for the JOY and fun of it – not because of the results it’s supposed to generate.

For example, learning for the sake of learning – not just because of the job it will qualify us for.  Or running for the sake of running, not just because your marathon training schedule requires it.

Her message is to indulge yourself, to enjoy your life, and to honor what your heart calls for.
I have to say, that’s exactly my idea of a Superwoman. 😉

  • August 7, 2010
  • You and me both, Pernille. (Trained to do business before pleasure.)
    My favorite way to do it is business AND pleasure!
    Thanks for reading and for launching the conversation here, my friend. Love you!

  • Pernille Madsen says:

    I totally agree, Jeannette, that does sound like the best definition of a superwoman!!!!
    Most of us were taught to do business before pleasure, and many women never get to the pleasure part! I sure lived a large part of my life that way – not very much fun in that!
    Today I love suggesting the opposite: pleasure before business!!!
    And from an LOA perspective that is not only more enjoyable but will also give better business results 🙂

  • Debra says:

    This is quite possibly my FAVE post from you to date, Jeannette. *and that’s saying a lot, ’cause I pretty much LOVE every post you share!*
    It’s probably not too hard to guess why this is my new fave… Being that it’s all about Living One’s JOY!!! 🙂
    Love your example stories and I couldn’t agree more with Michele’s theory on disillusionment, especially in the decline of women’s happiness after age 47.
    In fact, in my Joy of Brilliance biz of guiding lovelies to their most aligned, in love with Self, JOYful being-ness (whether they’re women, or men, of ANY age) … I find that humanity seems to need *crave* a sort of JOY nudge, a kind of permission as if someone some where along the line pulled their JOY privilege card, leaving them empty handed (hearted) and without joy in their lives.
    It turns me on immensely that I am blessed to be able to guide lovelies back to their own knowing that JOY is their birthright, that it is inherently alive inside each one of us, not dependent on circumstances outside of us, and that living it is the MOST important thing they can do…and that when they do…all else turns to gold.
    …and oddly enough, the cleaning, chores, to-do lists, etc. all end up getting done…in spite of the JOY! LOL How cool is that?!?
    Put JOY first. All else is secondary. (PS~ JOY = LOVE)
    I love the Abraham quote from Matt, too. …must share that one!
    Thanks Jeannette, big JOY to you…and to Michele; I must go place an order for her book! 🙂
    In JOY… XO 🙂

  • Debra, I LOVE that you set such a strong example for and share such a powerful message about living in JOY.
    You walk the talk, my friend.
    Thanks for the reminder, too, that “…and oddly enough, the cleaning, chores, to-do lists, etc. all end up getting done…in spite of the JOY! LOL How cool is that?!?”
    I think that’s a big reason people DON’T put joy first, is the fear that “business” of life won’t get taken care of.
    Big love, Debra! 🙂

  • Ah, Jeannette. Doesn’t seem I can conjure up any words big enough to tell you how thankful and grateful and touched I am by your friendship.
    The biggest word I can imagine applying to you is: “Love.”
    Note the capital L. Which I used because of you.
    Each and every day, you put the capital L in Love.
    — Michele

  • Michele, YOUR love for the work you do and the people you do it with/for comes through loud and clear in your writing.
    Thanks for the gift of it. 🙂

  • Scent Magic says:

    Follow your Joy should be taught from grade school on! It’s the simplest premise for our lives, and yet it seems the hardest to put into practice. I’m personally looking forward to the day when a majority of the world is busy following their joy – what a Shangri La that will be!

  • AGREED, Laura!! Agreed!!
    Omgosh, I’m having the MOST fun imagining what those “follow your joy” courses might look like!! And RESULT in!!! lol
    Thanks for reading, and especially for posting, Laura. 🙂

  • Laura says:

    I have a story that just happened this weekend that I feel really exemplies this quote:
    “Michele writes that we are best served when we engage things for the JOY and fun of it – not because of the results it’s supposed to generate.”
    I think another great example of this is dating. We usually date in order to get the relationship we want, right? How many people can actually say that they enjoy dating? We meet someone and are hoping that it will lead to a relationship so we need to go through the “pain and agony” of dating…or do we?
    I’ve dated alot, ok? And I have always had the approach of being very light and easy about it. Worse case scenario is that I have a great (and usually funny) story to tell. And then there are the exceptions, like this weekend. I had a date on Friday night with someone I met on-line. It was going to be an early date (going to a winery, sitting outside on the grass listening to live music)…since it was about 1 1/2 hours from where I live (I recently moved from there) I packed a bag to stay at my friend’s house just in case I didn’t want to drive home that night. I didn’t have any definite plans and wanted to just go with it.
    Well, we had a really nice time at the winery and then went back to his house (which is unbelievably beautiful by the way) – and since we had mutual friends/acquantances, I knew I was somewhat safe. We sat outside by the pool, under the stars and talked for hours. The next day we spent the whole day together, hanging out at his house, going into town, hanging out on his boat (OMG!) and then taking a drive through these rural dirt roads to the ocean where he went in for a swim and I sat there wondering whose life I had just taken over. After that we had a bite to eat and I went home.
    The reason why I mention this particular story is I let the time unfold and enjoyed every minute of it and really wanted to bask in the moment and pretending that living in this gorgeous house with a pool (on 5 acres of land), having a boat, going to the ocean late afternoon WAS my life. I wanted to milk that feeling for all it was worth and it was amazing. I had a really great time and was not thinking about where this was going to go…but really just enjoying the time for what it was. Of course, I would like to see him again (and have my suspicions that I will ;-)) but I can honestly say that just going with what felt good and being so grateful for the experience sent me in a 24 trip into the vortex!
    So…I’m right there with you Michelle, in for the JOY of it and not ONLY for what it will yield. Great post Jeannette and thank you Michelle for your wisdom as well!

  • Laura!! I think there should be a movie about that date of yours! I would watch it again and again, as I am SO enjoying the story of it!!
    woo hoo!!!
    (I just hope there was a steamy sex scene involved somewhere – or one coming up soon.) hee hee

  • Debra says:

    Scent Magic Laura~ Funny thing is kids KNOW how to follow their joy. Our system tends to find ways to teach that out of them/us. Imagine how wonderful so many things would be with a conscious commitment to what’s most natural…living JOY…and letting JOY live! 🙂
    Laura~ Oooo…I LOVE your story!!! Had to comment, ’cause I don’t know why really…but I’ve been continually/randomly ‘seeing’ you in a most similar dating situation. Seriously. An outsourcerering continuum of sorts. I’ll see you on FB and just randomly envision you in this type of yummy setting. How cool that you’ve lived it in 3D now!!! YAY You!! …got delicious goose(truth)bumps while reading it. 🙂

  • Zoe Routh says:

    Jeannette – this post made me well up inside – with joy of course! I’ve just spent a whole week skiing, learning telemarking skills, and enjoying it – just because. Not because i will ever be a great telemarker, Or win a race. Or make money from it. Just because.
    I wanted to climb the hills – just because.
    Just because. Feels like a nice vibe-shifting reminder!
    And Laura – thank you for that excellent joyful date – it made me feel in love just reading it 🙂

  • Yay for the “just because,” Zoe!!
    In fact, I think that might be a great measure of whether to engage something from now on … if it isn’t something I’d do “just because,” it’s got to be worth skipping!!
    WOO HOO for a new tool!! Can I credit you with this one when I share it with clients? (And if you write about it, will you post a link here and let me share it at GVU, too?)
    (And if you don’t write about it, let me know because I will!)

  • MissyB says:

    I’m following my bliss…but stuff isn’t getting done…and then that makes me depressed.
    How do we get past this ?
    I live in awe of you guys…you all seem to get it all done…and I don’t think I do.

  • If I’m having trouble thinking how blissful and depressed about stuff not getting done actually go together, MissyB.
    Obviously that’s because they don’t.
    So it must be that you alternate between the states?
    Which makes it easy to see which one is preferable, huh? If we get to choose, I mean.
    (Which we do.)
    I guess I’m thinking that if the stuff that needs to get done (that isn’t) is so powerful that it can take me out of my bliss, I’ve got to rethink that stuff.
    What’s the stuff, MissyB? Maybe the option is to intend to marry up the bliss and stuff getting done?
    I’m also thinking, too, that there probably isn’t a single person on the planet who has all their stuff done. (Don’t we all have more stuff to do?) And that that state isn’t contrary to feeling bliss. At least, it isn’t for me.
    What do you think?

  • I like this post because it really reinforces what we’ve been talking about on GVU lately… do what you love, i.e. what brings you JOY, and the money is sure to follow!! It doesn’t even mean the money will follow in *that* particular area, but it is bound to follow since you’re spending so much time in your Vortex!
    I think soooo many people get caught up in the rat race, and try desperately to achieve the “perfect” life by society’s standards (family, white picket fence, large house, 2 kids and a dog, etc.). But in the meantime, while trying to achieve this they seem to throw the pursuit of joy by the wayside!! And then wonder why they are so unhappy, even when they do achieve their “perfect” life.
    If we were all to make the pursuit of joy a priority, all the other things we are wanting would unfold perfectly in our lives… because we would be dropping our resistance and allowing things to “pop” and manifest left and right all around us! We’ve been taught to achieve certain things and then happiness will follow. But really the formula is: focus on happiness, and then you will achieve everything else you’ve been wanting!
    Yeah, yeah, yeah!! 🙂

  • Mary, I wonder if that’s what happened to Tiger? Someone at GVU posted this today:
    “The big sports story that made national news today was that Tiger Woods played his worst golf game ever this weekend. After the game he did an interview where he said that golf just isn’t fun anymore.
    “Can I call your attention to a post called ‘The Art of Overcoming the Choke,’ where Jeannette tells the story of the advice she gave to her sweetie when HIS golf game was hurting. She asked when he played his best golf and he told her about the ‘fun’ competition at work. He ‘remembered’ that experience the next day and won the tournament.
    “Tiger Woods; can you remember when golf was fun?”
    I can relate, too, because there have been times when the success of something and the expectations or responsibilities I imagined came with that success threatened to sweep me away from the joy of it. But luckily – oh no, that’s actually INTENTIONALLY – I have a support group in place (including you guys!) that ensures that doesn’t get too out of hand and that instead I stay well connected to the fun of it.
    So to the brilliant GVU poster’s question: can I remember when fostering dogs was fun? (As I’m scolding new foster Sam not to chase blind cat Elvis.) Can I remember when having a big yard with lots of gardening to do was fun? (As I spent 2.5 hours fertilizing bushes and flowers last night.)
    With that simple lovely question, YES, I can!

  • Debra says:

    MissyB~ I used to experience it that way too (still have twitches of it occasionally, like Esther does when she’s in San Antonio…hardest place for her to maintain her vortexy self because she’s ‘home’ where everything & everyone she loves are…she wants to do SO much, see so many people…& she just can’t ‘get it all done’. It’s EASE-ier for her when she’s on the road…and she just takes it all moment to moment without tons of ‘extra’ stuff going on to draw her out.)
    I think that’s the key. Find that frame of being/reference where every day is just EASE (opposite of resistance)…and the flow just magically presents itself. There may be one or two ‘absolutely need to do’ type things (or you may run out of clean undies, for instance), but otherwise the day can be open to inspired flow.
    In this frame everything gets done…just in its own time…with no real attachment to the how and when factors. When I REALLY allow myself that groove, it’s amazing how much *does* get accomplished in a seemingly shorter amount of time than if I’d have ‘tried’ to get it all done. I make a desired ‘to-do’ list so that I don’t forget something important, I only attach dates/times if they’re critically absolute…and I allow the flow to manage the rest. I have fun checking the list once or twice a day and feel really good when I get to cross something off. I don’t feel badly when I cross nothing off, because I remind myself of the other JOYful, inspired-in-the-moment things I did that weren’t even on the list. 🙂
    As far as the depression goes… When I feel that way (& I do sometimes) I do my best to remind myself that it’s just an informer that I’m sideways of my true JOY…and my greatest alignment…and I put as much of my attention on making choices that feel inspired as I can. With each inspired choice, I bring myself another step closer to my natural JOYful self.
    Self Love and JOY go hand in hand…give yourself the biggest HUG ever!!! Take a deep breath and do that again. Then go PLAY!!! 🙂 Relax. And EASE up on yourself…be gentle with yourself. Then go PLAY some more. It gets easier and easier. Trust me! 🙂
    Self Help Goddess Mary~ Love your comment. Reminds me of the movie we watched last night~ Leap Year. Great movie about learning the difference between living your vision of ‘the perfect life the material way that sometimes leaves you a bit empty’ and ‘living your life for JOY, in the moment, on purpose, for the FUN of it…which in turn brings you the greatest rewards’.
    The movie won’t win any great awards. It’s simple, predictable…and with the stunningly gorgeous, mystical backdrop of Ireland…it’s simply beautiful! A great vibe-raiser movie!!!
    *not to mention that it has absolutely added to my visiting Ireland vibrational reality* That is going to be one amazing trip when it comes to be!!!
    XO 🙂

  • Laura says:

    So happy that you guys enjoyed my date story 🙂
    Jeannette (now why am I not surprised that YOU asked this? lol), no steamy sex (although I am sure there could have been one)…just a nice kiss scene (well, you asked!;-)
    And LOVE Debra that you’ve been envisioning this for me..keep it up’re GOOD!

  • Great discussion, friends. Sparking a bunch of stuff for me… First, about stuff not getting done. Well, maybe it doesn’t really want doing. I sometimes amaze myself when I find the to-do list I made last week and forgot – and then I note that everything on the list has been done AND I NEVER EVEN CONSULTED THE LIST. Ha! Think it’s about focusing on what really needs doing, bringing that stuff up to top of mind, and having zero resistance to how it gets done.
    On the relationship thingy… I am weird. As you may have heard me say before, I absolutely, 100% know that I will be married again. I just know it. So when I meet a guy, or have a date, or whatever, I am absolutely, 100% relaxed and in the moment. He’s either the guy I’ll marry or he’s not the guy I’ll marry – regardless, I’m going to be perfectly present and enjoying what there is to enjoy. I never feel lonely. I don’t feel lack, even though I’m between relationships. And I’m not a bit worried about it either.
    I know. I told you I’m weird. 🙂
    Thanks to all who’ve read and commented on my book. If you happen to post about the book on Amazon, I’d be most obliged.
    xxoo to you, Miz Jeannette,

  • Well this is pure genius, Michele: So when I meet a guy, or have a date, or whatever, I am absolutely, 100% relaxed and in the moment. He’s either the guy I’ll marry or he’s not the guy I’ll marry – regardless, I’m going to be perfectly present and enjoying what there is to enjoy.
    I don’t think that’s weird at all!! In fact, I think it’s rather brilliant! 🙂

  • Kelly Pratt says:

    Jeannette and Michele,
    you’re both so very inspiring!
    … I agree with SelfHelpGoddess – “rather brilliant” is a much better description of you, Michele, than “weird”… to be 100% relaxed and in the moment is where I am now as well when it comes to meeting men. And your statement “He’s either the guy I’ll marry or he’s not the guy I’ll marry” is priceless!
    In the meantime, loving my own company is pretty great! thanks you two and everyone else weighing in on this discussion!

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