I love this suspended week, the one right before the new year. If I am able to, I take a lot of time for resting and contemplating on the year past.
I write, I sleep, I have conversations with my friends.
Then I dream about what the new year could be.
Last year, I had written one simple thing.
I want to learn how to receive.
A simple wish.
Not surprising, seeing the context.
At the end of 2019, probably emotionally ripe for it, I had a short story with a man who shattered my ego completely. He challenged me because I felt something with him I had never felt before. It was in everything he did, everything he was. Call it masculine energy.
I had no idea how to behave with such a guy and went at dating my usual way, like a warrior goes to a battle. Trying to impress him – and succeeding, I charged with all my might to lead the dance, not realizing that in so doing I was pushing him away.
We clashed against each other and strong. The battle of egos was silent but constant, and he probably picked up very fast that he could never be with a woman like me. Certainly, as my friends said at the time, his ego was too fragile to match the one of such a “powerful woman”.
But my attitude had nothing to do with power.
I was raised by a woman just like the one I was. Almighty. She was always the strong one in the couple. In any relationship, the eternal alpha. That’s how I thought I should be.
I would go through men, fast and furious. Loving them and then crushing them and then being disappointed. I actually was going about everything in life that way. Pouring outward energy into the world until boredom, or worse: complete depletion.
But I was probably coming to an end with this cycle. Being attracted to such a man was a first for me. A sign, a struggle that helped tear down my old ways. And where used to be a hardened soil was now a plowed field, all soft and ready for new seeds to be planted.
At the end of 2019 I was finally able to let go of him emotionally.
And it’s at the very beginning of 2020 that I wrote, I want to learn how to receive.
A lofty goal.
I have spent a lot of my life making plans, guided by a sort of terror that if I didn’t hold on to the wheel very tightly, the car that was my life would crash into a wall. I had negotiated my way into the traffic, then kept my eyes on the road, straight ahead, never really asking myself where this race was leading me.
It was a road made of the expectations I had put on myself.
Be pretty and good, work, meet someone, have children. It hadn’t turned out exactly that way for me, but I was still holding on to the guidelines as tightly as possible. I could see the fertile and unexplored lands all around me – but without a roadmap, I was too scared to venture out in the wild.
I knew I was free.
But I couldn’t put my freedom into practice.
The year 2020 started for me by meeting a man I would probably never had seen if I hadn’t had that potent and fleeting story right before.
I recognized right away the masculine energy, but it had a different tone this time. It felt well rounded, soft. Confident. Between us, no battle of the egos but instead a calm sense of an opening, a curiosity, all infused with beautiful, reassuring old-school romanticism.
I was ready, but it still took months for both of us to figure out our dynamic. We were clearly and energetic match, but my old habits kept coming back.
I wanted to lead, to plan, to organize, to project for both of us.
Actually, I had a true moment of panic the day I realized that my new partner’s life was even more hectic than the life I had just succeeded in leaving behind me. And that there was nothing I could do about it.
What our egos are doing, more often than not, is simply protecting our selves.
I’ve always admired people with a serene and unapologetic sense of self. The ones living their own life, to the beat of their own drum.
When our sense of self is fragile, we need to build around it a strong ego to protect it. By the end of 2019 I was just starting to feel like I could let my guard down. It had taken a lot of work over the years to learn how to nourish and mature a true, profound sense of self.
One that wouldn’t need to hide behind the fierce protection of my ego. Slowly, I was getting there.
Letting go of the illusion of power in my relationship with men is probably one of the most challenging journeys I ever embarked on.
An inner battle.
I was ready to soften, but I had no idea how to do it. Still today, it’s an uneasy subject for me.
In the first few months, we struggled so hard I wasn’t sure we could make it. Not only was my relationship taking me to emotional places I’d never been to, but the world around us also seemed to be screaming that it was time to let go of control, and embrace what was.
I was completely out of my comfort zone and I didn’t understand what was going on. When you’ve kept everything tight for all your life in fear that if you don’t, it will all fall apart, the panic is immense.
It made me brittle, easily irritable. If I wasn’t the leading power, if I wasn’t the guiding hand, the provider, the giver, I felt like I was not enough.
If I wasn’t enough then, I was unloveable.
I simply didn’t know how to receive.
Life had given me what I had asked for, and now I was rejecting it with all my might.
My boyfriends used to exhaust themselves with me.
Nothing they would ever give me was enough. I didn’t care for their presents, I didn’t listen to their point of view. Only I knew what to do and where to go.
I used to exhaust myself, doing everything for two.
It took me so, so long to understand. Being able to receive is one of the most generous things we can do. Whatever the love languages are between two people, we need to make space for truly receiving.
When I do, it feels like a delicious softening of the soul.
Like the tightness in the depth of my body finally surrenders.
Being able to receive is a boundless power.
Imagine giving to someone who can never see your gifts because they are busy showing you how much they have to give. That used to be me.
The true adventure starts when we’re able to give as well as able to receive. The secret is, always, balance.
Feminine and masculine are loaded words in today’s world, but they shouldn’t. They are an energy, not a gender.
I have always been careful about the use of the word power. Because it is so often associated with masculine attributes. A strong, conquering energy. An outpouring of force and resolve.
These are great. But only in balance with the still, receiving energy of the feminine.
I had spent my life in my masculine. I had suffered from a complete imbalance. I wanted to experience what it felt to embrace my feminine energy.
How to receive.
Extend this love metaphor to the whole of life.
Imagine being a presence so powerful and so at ease in itself that just by being there, you shine and you attract. Imagine knowing that just by being, you are enough.
This is who you are when you are ready to receive.
Imagine following your instincts because you trust that life will provide.
Imagine coming out of the traffic and stopping on the side of the road for a minute without a worry that you’ll be able to go back in, if you ever want to. Let the traffic go by.
Imagine you could even decide to carve your own road, knowing that if you do, people will naturally follow.
Life has this way of gently pulling us towards ourselves if we let her.
We can only enter the magic it if we’re ready to receive.
We can only receive if we’re able to let go of total control.
I don’t know yet what my intentions will be for 2021. Will it be just a simple sentence like last year? Will it be a long list? Will it be about conquering and moving mountains? Or sitting back and observing myself and the world, like I have been trying to do in the last few years?
I know one thing, and it’s that for me, the softening has only begun.
Like a graceful yoga pause in which each breath releases more tension, having you marvel at the ease you didn’t know you had in your body.
Have a lovely suspended week. Wishing you all the joy in the world. May you be open to receive.