What's a Woman in Transition to Do?
Nine, 10, and 11-year-old girls are complaining that Miley Cyrus has gotten "too sexy" for their taste. "I don't know what was going on in her head," said 11-year-old Perry Hamm of the San Francisco Bay area, referring to Ms. Cyrus' close-to-nude appearance two years ago in Vanity Fair. Perry, who was quoted in The New York Times over the weekend, is one of many once-upon-a-time diehard Miley fans who are reconsidering their position as Ms. Cyrus makes the transition from Disney pop star to post-adolescent pole dancer.Whatever your opinion is on Miley Cyrus (and I acknowledge that some you may think this topic is completely frivolous to discuss), the fact is that this young woman is evolving and trying to find her voice and place in the world as she makes this transition. Whether you are 17 like Miley, 88 like Betty White, or somewhere in between, all of us are evolving and share the life-long challenge of following a path that is true for us. And this can sometimes mean "shushing" the external voices so that we can actually hear our own (the inner one).I spoke recently about this topic with Wendi Knox, expert on empowering women in transition. Wendi is the creator of Oh My Goddess, a company whose mission is to inspire women to listen to their inner voice and unzip their true selves. After working her way up to be a Senior Vice President Creative Director at a big advertising agency in Los Angeles (she was the only woman in this position), Wendi was laid off. "It was a shock having to reinvent my life. But, even during the drama of it, I could feel deep inside that it was a huge gift," said Wendi in an interview.Wendi, however, found the gift in the struggle. After years of advertising other people's products, she took her passion for painting, creative writing, and the divine feminine and began to create her own products. Today she has a line of Oh My Goddess gift cards sold in star-favorite shops like Fred Segal in Santa Monica, and is developing a line of books and gifts under her Oh My Goddess brand. Add to this, she speaks as a mentor to women's groups and organizations sharing her story to give women the courage to trust their inner voice as they reinvent themselves from the inside out and and find the gift in the struggle. "The gift in losing my job was that I got to re-discover myself and a life that fits who I really am inside. And now, I have the joy of inspiring other women to honor their inner voice and open to their possibilities," she said.So what happens when we are living a life that looks amazing to the outside world, but no longer fits who we are on the inside world?This question can be daunting since it requires change. While many of us crave change and excitement, when it comes down to really making the changes we need to align with our truth and inner knowing, we resist. And guess what this resistance creates?
"If there is any part of ourselves or our lives that we're not fully willing to accept, we will experience stress and friction in that area. The stress will disappear the moment we accept that part and claim ownership of it. At that moment, the disowned part of us is embraced into the wholeness of ourselves, and from that place of wholeness, miracles are born." - Gay Hendricks, author of The Big Leap
If we resist for too long, sometimes life will make the decision for us to move us along on our path (like in the case of Wendi). Warning: this can feel devastating. And sometimes we have to make the decision ourselves (like in the case of Miley). Warning: we'll probably lose fans and friends, and this might feel devastating in the moment, but ultimately it's a better choice because you know that you've been true to yourself. New friends and fans that resonate with the new you will come your way.But how can we really take that leap of faith, wondering the whole time if we are going to fall into a blackhole along the way?Frankly, I think this lack of trust is the biggest thing that holds most of us back in the discomfort of our "comfort zone." I heard Marianne Williamson speak a few months ago at the I Can Do It! conference in San Diego and something she said on this topic has stuck with me: "Every moment demands a choice ... in each moment we are hostess to love or hostage to fear." Isn't the picture of being a hostess to love a much prettier one?Wendi shared with me that the more support she gives her dreams and visions inside of her, the more support she is finding in the outside world. "What I notice is that I am able to be more seen and heard in the outside world because I am seeing and hearing myself better on the inside world. Instead of pushing against myself, I am embracing myself. It's such an amazing process," she said.Ahhhhh ... that sounds nice.If you'd like a taste of this too, ask yourself: What dream or vision inside of you are you not taking full ownership of?While I would never deny that it's important to listen to external voices, i.e. "the market" (especially if you are a Disney superstar), ultimately a woman needs to find her own way ... and sometimes, undeniably, that can look messy ... (and that's not a bad thing).The paintings are by Wendi Knox of Oh My Goddess. Visit www.ohmygoddess.com for more information. Tabby Biddle, M.S. Ed., is a writer, editor, and reporter dedicated to the empowerment of women and girls. Her work has been featured by The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, NPR, and other national media. She is a regular contributor to The Huffington Post on women’s issues and reports on the inspiring work of women changemakers. She lives in Santa Monica, CA.