by Lesley Palmer
It amazes me how often I hear in my practice room beautiful, strong, successful women describe consuming inner thoughts of self-doubt and shame. These pervasive narratives interfere with living a life that feels satisfying, whole-hearted, and fully expressed. It seems the script for a women’s ‘meaningful life’ was written for them a long time ago, but is still gripping our inner worlds and keeping us stuck.
Holding oneself back, keeping oneself small is not exclusively a woman’s story. However, women seem particularly conditioned in this way. It seems that centuries of restriction and limitation are still playing themselves out in the narrative of the modern woman. She is consumed largely by fulfilling other people’s needs and looks to her own needs rarely, and in a way that doesn’t sustain itself. There appears a default setting for many women who strive for balance but never feel they can achieve the unreasonable demands put on them in the exhausting and unrelenting juggling act of work, family and personal life.
We seem to run over the quiet voice inside which whispers possibilities of a different way of being that is expansive, restful and spacious: a life more on our own terms. To really shift these inner spaces, we must create space and time and choose to listen deeply to ourselves, being present with what our bodies and hearts are showing us. Too often, we numb out, engaged in a myriad of distractions the world seems consumed with, which is preoccupied with outer value and unrealistic ideals of how we should be.
We have not been taught to tend to ourselves as we tend to others, to turn our compassionate heart towards itself. Creating women’s spaces where we can support each other to do this, and to bring us in touch with our inner, is essential to rewire and transform our collective narrative. Women’s work, whatever the format and however it is possible, is key for our individual and collective expansion of consciousness.
The ‘Woman’s Worth Retreat’ which ran over a weekend at the beginning of November in Cape Town, was created as one such space. Incorporating Drama Therapy, Family Constellations, the practice of Inquiry, movement and art, a containing space was held for participants to inquire deeply into what is holding them back, expand into the full expression of their Being as a woman and unlock an inner sense of value, creativity, and meaning.
The 11 wonderful participants who signed up for the weekend, generated a rich and supportive field, enabling deep work and commitments going forward. It was an incredible honour to hold this space, and witness each one emerging into their full potentiality.
I’m looking forward to holding this retreat in Johannesburg and Cape Town in 2023.
For more information please visit www.presenceinaction.co.za
“The workshop has allowed me to truly believe in freedom and be patient with myself as I discard that which tarnishes that freedom.”
“Lesley’s Women’s Worth weekend was a deeply nourishing experience. Magic happens when women spend time together sharing stories and experiences. Lesleys humor and gentle space holding and intuitive guidance allowed the group to feel safe and comfortable and as a result we willingly shared so deeply. Thank you Lesley for providing this space for connection and feeling deeply heard. It’s a true gift. “
“I cannot recommend this too highly. The weekend’s work is still reverberating in my body and I find myself reflecting on the many insights I gained. Lesley (and Bettina) are skilled and wise. I felt safe even in my most vulnerable places, never forced to speak, never silenced.”
“This weekend nourished me in so many ways… Allowing me to travel inward to explore my worth and value as a woman, as well as connect outward to the community of women that was created over the weekend. Lesley held the creative processes beautifully with her expert and compassionate hands. I highly recommend participating”