Gentle Healing for the Exhausted Woman
by Roslyne Sophia Breillat
Every woman loves to nurture, give, help, serve, take part, belong. When she lives from the innate generosity of her feminine spirit, she enjoys the natural state of giving and receiving as one. When she is in harmony with her body and being, she gives without ever knowing she is giving.
Her body is the physical representation of Mother Earth’s beneficence. Her body connects with the spirit of the earth through giving. Her body loves to give. Her body also loves to receive. It is her nature to give to her friends, family, sisters, lovers from the openness of her heart. It is her nature to give to the earth through her love of sacredness and beauty. It is her pure delight to give passionately in lovemaking from the deep vastness of the Earth Mother in her womb.
She enjoys nourishing others through cooking, touching, talking, listening, supporting, creating, loving. She is always there with a kind word, wise counsel, a homemade cake, a bunch of flowers, a creative gift, a warm embrace, a tender kiss, a welcome smile. Her deepest acts of giving manifest when she gives from the stillness, depth and silence of her true nature, her true being.
The precious gifts of such giving do not always come through physical actions or spoken words, but through the power of her female presence. And this embraces many ordinary actions throughout her daily life. Sometimes she is learning to give from a deeper place through doing nothing at all, through simply being who she really is.
A woman in our society is frequently conditioned that giving to others without giving to herself is her duty, an integral part of who she is. This focus upon giving as a duty has usually been passed on through the female bloodline of her family for many generations. Familial rules, structures and expectations reinforce the misperception that giving to herself is selfish or unacceptable.
In truth, it is not a duty or a burden for a woman to nurture or give to others. It is a joy. But only if she simultaneously enjoys nurturing her own body and being, giving in gratitude to the whole of life, within and without. Then, through giving she receives, and through receiving she gives.
She has often been taught to seek attention, a sense of identity and self worth through giving to others without giving to herself. This kind of distorted giving emanates a tension and momentum fuelled by the fear that if she stops continually giving outwards she will feel empty and worthless, hopeless and useless, devoid of meaning, purpose and value. True giving is unconditionally of the heart. It never comes with strings, resentment or emotional pressures attached. It never asks for anything in return.
If as a child she has not been free to explore, play or create in joyous spontaneity she will not know how to find her true vocation as an adult woman. Her body will then cry out for her attention through tiredness and depletion, through physical and emotional symptoms that require her to listen more deeply to her own feminine needs.
If she has been taught that asking for what she needs is unacceptable, asking for support is unacceptable, reaching out to others is unacceptable, she will become hard, dried up, pale, drained, listless, overly independent. And the mighty effort to continue living like this will sap all her strength, vitality and wellbeing.
RESTING UPON THE EARTH
The pace of this modern world is harsh, not rhythmic; discordant, not peaceful; ugly, not beautiful. When a woman is exhausted it is usually because she has been running with this pace for far too long. She has become aligned with the masculine force of the world instead of the feminine rhythm of the earth. She needs to slow down, to listen intuitively and non-judgmentally to the needs of her female spirit, her female heart.
She needs to listen to the birdsong at dawn, to the rustling leaves in the trees. She needs to pause long enough each day to feel the breath of the wind in her hair, the soft touch of its caress upon her cheeks. She needs to stop excessively pouring her love into others and begin to feel the subtle pulse of the earth flowing through her veins. This beautiful earth that supports us is increasingly plundered, exploited, ignored. And when a woman slowly becomes more sensitive to Mother Nature’s fine yet powerful rhythms, she becomes more able to receive.
The flower gives its fragrant perfume without need for thanks or gratitude. The bird sings its sweet song without need for compliments or attention. Mother Earth infinitely gives her beauty without need for applause or self-importance. And yet she knows precisely when to draw inwards beneath the comforting cloak of the night sky or beneath a pristine blanket of snow, to regenerate, replenish and renew. She knows the precious art of rest and the divine purpose of turning within so as to continue giving through her eternal cycles of transformation.
She knows the power of stillness and the power of silence. She does not give so that someone might love her or because it makes her feel important. She knows how to give selflessly because she is love. True giving is an act of loving sacredness, service and gratitude. And the earth knows how to receive selflessly because through opening to the sun’s warmth, the storm’s wildness, the stars’ brilliance, she receives an integral part of her immortal spirit.
Her many glorious ways of giving and receiving do not exhaust or deplete her precious resources or create imbalance to her delicate ecological systems. Only what we do to her through our ignorance and our greed destroys her beauteous bounty. And, like every woman, when she is acknowledged from a true place of gratitude, she shines, pouring ever forth from her infinite capacity for giving.
EXHAUSTION & MENSTRUATION
Many women are exhausted simply because they have taken on too much. Many mothers are exhausted because they are continually mothering everyone except themselves. Mothering is a beloved teacher of selfless giving whose importance is often overlooked and undervalued in contemporary society.
Many single mothers are exhausted because they have the most difficult and the most unacknowledged job of all. Attempting to balance the discipline of male authority with the gentleness of female love is a challenging task for a woman, particularly when she is also working in the world and particularly when she is menstruating. This often places excessive strain upon her as a parent as she cannot be wholly female when she is continually living through a male role.
A woman who is exhausted before and during menstruation needs to slow down, replenish, withdraw from the world for a few days, listen to her inner rhythm. She needs to flow with the moon, flow with her womb, strengthen her body with supportive herbs, relax, do anything that nurtures her feminine spirit. She needs to make sure her body is receiving enough protein and minerals. She needs to rest and be with the vast mystery of her changing consciousness for she is in a holy place during this phase.
MENOPAUSE & GIVING
One of the many precious lessons that menopause bestows on a woman is the sacred art of learning to place her own needs first. This can be a challenging part of this powerful transition, an arduous task requiring much inner reflection, deep soul searching and ruthless letting go. Often she is feeling so exhausted by the time she reaches menopause that she cannot embrace its many blessings.
Her wise healing teacher within is not half-heartedly saying, “You can’t go on!” She is calling, imploring, beseeching, “You can’t go on living as you have been, as you are now. You MUST change! And you must change from your very depths, from the inside out, from the very source of your being!”
When a woman is exhausted from many years of stress, she simply cannot continue immersing herself in a life that does not support her body in the gentle art of nurturing her feminine spirit.
During her mothering years her purpose is to gain experience through caring for others. During her menopausal years she is asked to enter a place of being more and doing less. She is learning to bring the presence of being into everything she does so that being and doing become one.
Years of emotional, psychological and physical stress within her body and psyche create myriad symptoms. Often ignored or unnoticed, these eventually manifest as adrenal depletion, physical weakness, low dhea levels, debilitated nervous system and diminished kidney chi.
PAUSING & ENJOYING
Every woman is a cyclic creature, dancing and spiraling with the ebb and flow of the feminine psyche’s many transformations. When her life becomes linear instead of cyclic, rational instead of intuitive, forceful instead of powerful, she depletes her bountiful energy supply through too much thinking, stressing, planning, worrying. She needs to pause. She needs to stop. She needs to rest. She needs to merge with the restorative beauty, healing power and nurturing sustenance of Mother Nature and her own nature within.
One of the most treasured moments for a woman healing from depletion is when she first begins to honour her female essence, heed her body’s wise messages and tap into her infinite wellspring of stillness and peace.
Dear woman, if your nervous system is stretched beyond its limits, if you feel frazzled, frayed, irritable, listless, shaky, fatigued, then your body is living beyond its natural capacities for endurance. You need quiet healing moments of solitude within sacred spaces filled with beauty. You need quiet healing moments to replenish and refill.
Enjoy the creative pleasure of writing in your journal, painting on your canvas, allowing words and inspiration to flow effortlessly from your womb, your heart, your wisdom, your intuition. Become aware of who and what vitalize and empower you, who and what drain and deplete your energy. Avoid these as much as possible. Write down all the places, people, activities, food, situations that nurture your feminine spirit, increase your energy, your power, your love of life. Embrace, enjoy and fill your body with the nourishment of these as often as you are able.
The exhausted woman is often addicted to filling a void of inner emptiness by filling others, filling projects, filling time. She is the one who always works late at the office when everyone else has gone home, who always stays up late after everyone else has gone to sleep. Her dependence upon and need for something to work on, move towards, give to, is ruthless, compulsive, relentless. And she wonders why she can’t sleep at night and why her body is so very tired.
She seems to have so much vitality, so much energy. But this is not the true vitality of female strength or the true energy of female power. It is a distorted energy and vitality created by an unconscious need for fight and flight, a desperate need to keep going at all costs, a constant fear of looking within. She has become mentally and emotionally enmeshed in the male drive for survival instead of living and working from the female place of love. She has been taught to be so masculine that she no longer has any idea what it is to be a real woman.
And what of the woman who becomes exhausted through too much of the wrong kind of giving, too little of giving to herself? She is exhausted because she has been moving too fast, working too hard and giving out too much for far too long. She has not listened to her body’s need for warming broths, deliciously relaxing catnaps and soothing scented baths. She has not heeded the gentle whisperings of her heart. She has not invited the blissful contentment of sitting in the sun doing nothing but giving her sweet presence to the grass, the trees, the sky.
She doesn’t have time to stop, to pause, to be, for she is trapped in an incessant cycle of doing, an incessant cycle of fearing what will become of her if she ceases giving outwards and begins looking inwards. She has been seeking her real purpose through the masculine world of projection instead of through the feminine realm of surrender and openness. She is unable to harmoniously blend action and rest, doing and being, giving and receiving. She does not yet know that true giving and receiving are one.
Her body has been running beyond empty for so very long. Her nervous system is wiry and ragged. Her adrenal glands are flat and empty. Her heart is closed and protected. Her hands are shaky and her belly has lost its appetite for food, for life. Her eyelids need to softly close for a little while. She needs to lie upon the earth, surrendering to her sustenance and support. She needs to receive warm sunlight upon her face.
She needs loving hands upon her skin. She needs massage. She needs rest. She needs sleep. She needs nourishing foods and drinks. She needs no demands placed upon her time or her body for a while. She needs to fully listen to her heart. She needs to become the love that she is. The greatest gift and support anyone can give is to unconditionally allow her to be how she is, where she is, who she is, without any pressures or expectations.
Sometimes she may need to sleep all day, leaving the beds unmade and the dirty dishes in the sink. Sometimes she may need to sit within the forest or by the sea. Sometimes she may need to create, but only when her creativity flows naturally without any force or demand. There may be moments when she needs to dance, play, read, sing, listen to music or rest in her garden.
And there will be many moments when she needs simply to do absolutely nothing at all. The healing journey for the depleted woman is to be taken very slowly and very gently in tiny, tiny steps. And as she takes these tiny steps that are so unfamiliar to her driven personality, something so very sweet, so divinely precious, so essential to her joy and wellbeing as a woman will slowly awaken within her heart, for she is too used to forcefully striding through the world with such long proud steps.
No matter what price her body pays for this unspoken bargain with herself, she will keep moving until she drops. And finally she feels as if she has totally burned out, suddenly used up a lifetime’s supply of energy. She cannot sleep peacefully or enjoy her daily life with vitality and grace. She lacks the vital spark of motivation, creative inspiration and sufficient energy reserves for living a fulfilling life. All of these debilitating symptoms finally culminate as chronic fatigue.
It is typical for a woman with adrenal depletion to suddenly leap up and use all her precious reserves as soon as there is even the smallest amount of energy available.
It is important for her to learn that her body and her life are not something to be” fixed” or “improved.” These intellectual male strategies will not serve her precious healing. She does not need to be told that she must heal within a certain time or as others think she should heal. This will only diminish her power, dishonour her wisdom and weaken her strength.
It is important for her to stay away from those who advise her with words and phrases such as “must,” “should,” “can,” “can’t,” “have to.” For she is ever so slowly and ever so gently learning the sacred arts and sacred acts of surrender and acceptance. True healing arises from the vast mystery of a timeless place, as true love arises from the vast mystery of a timeless place. It has no agenda, no structure, no fixture, no demands.
If healing is to happen, it will happen gently and sweetly and powerfully in alignment with love, with inner stillness, with the innate intelligence of the body. It will happen with the natural flow of Mother Earth and her affinity with the feminine psyche. She will gradually find treasure within. She will slowly awaken to her true nature. She will find the wondrous gift of giving to herself, her being, her spirit. And love, joy and vitality will again flow through her veins.
She will learn to live in the world, but not of it. She will learn to connect with and give to others from a right place within, a very real place. She will give of herself, of her being, but only when she is also giving to herself. She will give of her essence as she has never given before.
And there will be no force, no momentum, no shoulds, no shouldn’ts in her gift of giving. As her body heals she will learn not to do anything that depletes her precious energy resources, her precious strength. She will learn to avoid anyone who drains her life force through psychically feeding upon her power.
THE ART OF SLOWING DOWN
She is the woman who thinks she has to take on everything. She is the woman who believes she is the only one who can get the job done properly. She is the woman who never stops because there are never enough hours in the day to complete everything she needs to do. She perceives it as a sign of weakness to receive help and support from others, a sign of failure to need rest, a sign of defeat if she can’t do everything by herself.
She is the woman who protects her sensitivity and vulnerability with a tough yet brittle kind of masculine strength that belies the power of her true feminine strength. She is the woman who is so very tired and doesn’t even understand why.
When a woman becomes exhausted it is time for her to slow down. It is time for her to stop for a while. It is time for her to delegate, to let go of male qualities such as the desire to achieve, to survive, to control, to attain. She has been living within the demands of time for far too long. She needs to enter the timeless mystery of her being for she is this mystery of the timeless.
Perhaps she has been conditioned to equate busyness with worthiness. Perhaps she keeps on the move, day after day, month after month, year after year because she is running from painful unhealed memories. A woman who has experienced abuse often becomes addicted to living and working at a fast pace as a way of running from past trauma that is too difficult to bear, too difficult to face.
She will overly tend to others’ needs as a way of acting out the nurturing and support she did not receive as a child. Women who have been abused have difficulty in knowing when to say no and difficulty in knowing when to say yes. They are so busy trying to keep away what has harmed them that they become unable to receive love.
Sometimes a woman becomes depleted because she is not living a way of life that truly nurtures her, that truly reflects and express her individuality, her essence, her calling. She has journeyed too often and too far along a road that takes her from her true purpose because that road is deadening, stifling, comfortable, familiar, safe. It is not a road that bestows joy, sensuality, pleasure, aliveness, passion, creativity. It is not a road that brings her to life. It is someone else’s road.
Finally if she is to regain her strength, her energy, her power, she needs to pause by this roadside for a while. Here she will find dewdrops on spider webs and fragrant petals, smooth round pebbles warmed by the sun, soft green grass beneath her feet.
Here she will weep for what she has done to her body. Here she will find loving compassion for herself. Here she will find her own true beauty. Here she will find blessed power, peace and healing. Here she will find the beloved within. Here she will find heart-opening grace.
She will need to rest by this roadside until she is replenished and healed sufficiently to travel another road, a more supportive road, a road where she can live the pure joy and pleasure of giving and receiving as one.
2008© Roslyne Sophia Breillat
Sophia is a woman who lives, writes and paints from the heart
www.wildheartwisdom.com - Roslyne Sophia Breillat -
Within the womb of every woman glows the consciousness of Mother Earth. Wildheartwisdom is a web site for nurturing the truth of this powerful feminine spirit and offers support for the female psyche’s many cyclic transformations. Wildheartwisdom focuses upon the deeper joy and purpose of menstruation, lovemaking, pregnancy, childbirth, mothering, relationships, menopause and beyond. Find spiritual guidance for healing from eating disorders, sexual abuse, miscarriage and abortion. There are currently three galleries featuring Sophia’s art and a selection of her article excerpts. As wildheartwisdom evolves more art and articles will be added as well as an extensive resource section. Sophia’s beautiful art and illustrations are for sale and she is currently seeking a publisher for her two books.
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