Happy New Year beautiful people.
This is my absolute favourite time of year and I am soaking up every minute of its gifts. I hope you are too.
I am with my family and with myself and I feel very settled and nourished. I am making art, reading, writing, swimming, dreaming, sharing, listening, thinking, laughing and lounging.
As I spend these slow, beautiful, restful days feeling into what matters most to me, I use my sketchbook to help me respond to the internal whispers of my muse, amplifying her soft voice so that I can hear her better.
The muse has been generous. She has delivered images of women, one after another, and they come baring new insights. They are women with something to say. They are teachers and healers and they are here to help clear away some baggage. Not just mine, yours too. And not just ours but that of our mothers and grandmothers and all women that have gone before us.
These women are here to challenge my ideas and deep seated beliefs around a very significant question that I think we should all be asking ourselves…..
What does it mean to be a strong woman?
And how are strong women represented?
As images of women come forward in my sketchbook, they look back at me (literally) and I am forced to consider these questions. I contemplate the beliefs and stories held around the image, voice, power and wisdom of strong women that we have been raised on. For so long we have modelled ‘strength’ on the masculine model, but women are more than “not quite good enough men.” The women in my drawings are here to guide me.
Strong women are not afraid to be seen in their comfortable underwear, to bare their full bellies, to wear what pleases them, to speak truthfully rather than politely, to bring together rather than divide and conquer, and strong women have a Wild Warrior inside who is not afraid to protect what matters and express her truest, wildest, creative nature out loud.
So here are my 3 wishes for all women in 2017 –
- May you be free of perfectionism. When we are comfortable with our vulnerabilities and imperfections we know we are solid.
- May you be free of needing the approval of others. When we are confident to listen inward rather than outward for guidance we strengthen our intuition and learn how to please ourselves and move forward with confidence.
- May you be free of competitive relationships in your personal and professional lives. When we seek compassionate, quality connection with others we find our community and a co-operative of others with whom we can give and receive support.
Things are changing. Women are changing. Men are changing too. How much we embrace our innate strengths and master them depends on how willing we are to let go of allowing the outside world to dictate who we are, needing to be the acceptable ‘good girl’ and instead listen within and embrace our wisdom as women.
To develop our strength it is important that we have the space in our lives to safely explore who we truly are, to discover our true nature, and eventually grow more and more confident in our self-belief. We need relationships and practices that support us. As an artist I am fortunate that I need only go to my sketchbook to find that space to explore, express, play and be vulnerable.
The images you see above are not complete nor polished. They are my raw, unedited ideas, straight from my muse to you. It is my hope that they inspire you to explore your own version of the strong woman that lives inside you.
I would love to hear what you learn.
Here’s to a wonderful 2017.
Jan Allsopp says
Great post Michelle! Thank you for your beautiful wishes for me this year. I wish you the same. I love your strong women!
Thank you so much Jan. May they all come true.