The glorious simplicity of authentically being me

The glorious simplicity of authentically being me

As a woman in her fifties I look back at my life with interest and incredulity. From early on I learnt that there was a game of life and that there were required rules to adhere to, to fit in, to be left alone.

I consider this game, which I not only recognise in my life but also in many of those around me, to be one of humanity’s greatest disgraces. And the sadness, instability and fear that permeated my childhood was a horror to live in, never comprehending why it wasn’t okay to be me… openly, imperfectly, beautifully, innocently, purely me. So the strategies develop… to avoid attention, to keep things smooth, to not rock any boats, even if those boats so definitely needed to be rocked in terms of dysfunctional, abusive, destructive behaviours within family, at school and in the world.

As a child I was sensitive, sweet, insightful, wise, super caring and loved openly and naturally. It became apparent that this, while totally natural and actually no big deal, was not statistically normal; was not reflected back to me in the way others lived and was not something that was honoured, so I morphed myself for many years to fly under the radar and not cause a ruckus.

As a young woman I was super caught up in the importance of physical appearance and very much imprisoned in keeping up appearances, whether as the best daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, community member… set-ups that meant I was almost always falling short of self-imposed expectations.

I acquiesced to this set-up, to the game play, lies and cover up, desperately trying to keep up the facade that everything was ‘tickety-boo’. And although on the surface it looked like things were under control, everything was messy. I was miserable, frightened and ended up gripping life harder just to maintain some semblance of control... it never felt okay.

The coping strategies I engaged with were wide-ranging. Alcohol, food, drugs, distraction, driven busy-ness all played their part. In the acquiescing, I had obeyed the expectations of what I should do in life and jumped through hoops to fit the picture.

In my early twenties I was working in London waiting for my holidays in order to go north and support a charity that offered outward bound adventures to people with spinal injuries. It was on one of these excursions that I realised I could actually do something I loved for my job… a concept that was foreign to me and those around me in terms of work being something you could love.

At the age of 24 I went into nursing and for the first time in my adult life felt that rush of joy for life, for being me, for the opportunity to learn and support others. It was from this point on that incrementally, and significantly, I started to question and break through the ‘rules’ and patterns that I had accepted.

Natalie Benhayon, a presenter and herself a student of the Ageless Wisdom, came into my life just before I turned 40. Meeting Natalie and seeing how she is in the world was the first of many light bulb moments… that being unashamedly yourself was not only awesome, inspiring and super important, but also, and significantly for me, not dangerous or scary in any way. The acquiescing and blind compliance was what got me tied in knots and distorted. The glorious simplicity of being authentically oneself, as Natalie so absolutely demonstrates, is what truly holds and supports us.

Natalie inspires me on a daily basis to live my life without any reservation about being the glorious, sassy, beholding, powerful, inspiring woman that I am.

A practical manifestation of the teachings of the Ageless Wisdom, I would say is in the detail of how I take care of myself, honouring myself as a woman. I know from experience the difference in my day if I ready myself with the grace and delicacy that every woman deserves. This does not make things take longer (in fact it amazes me how much space there is when I afford myself space), it simply means that my day is infused with this care and tenderness so I am less likely to go into, or accept, dismissive or unloving behaviours.

Walking alongside me with these teachings, Natalie Benhayon embodies what it is to be a woman: powerful, graceful and strong; to be a member of humanity; dedicated, supportive and super loving and to be equal, responsible, consistent and steady. Watching the way she moves was all the inspiration I needed to realise how we can either inspire those around us through our movements or keep each other in the compliant entrapment of ‘shoulds’ and expectations.

She is without doubt an incredible resource and role model for me and, in my work as a midwife, the inspiration that she is, is like the most magical marriage ever. Every day at work I have the privilege to be with women and their families in pregnancy, birth and early parenting. I have experienced within myself and have seen up close the devastating effects of what happens when we depart from our innate qualities; the dismissal of the strength and awesomeness of the true female qualities and the discordance that is lived because of the absence of delicacy, sensitivity, whole body awareness and intelligence, and grace.

I have felt in my own body how I was caught in many patterns of behaviour and societal consciousnesses that had me moving restricted, cowed, reactive and/or withdrawn, coping with, rather than growing and thriving in life. Spending hours, for example, torturing over what to wear, how I looked, never at ease with myself even after trying on numerous outfits and/or being complimented by others. Or saying yes to events that I knew in my heart of hearts were not things I wanted to be involved in. And all the while maintaining an appearance of ‘normality’.

In a role model like Natalie Benhayon, I have the endless support to continually update my relationship with myself, allowing the magic of life along with the glory of my innate qualities to emerge and be seen. I now experience more and more consistently a quality of settlement in my body that is exquisite, sure and steady. It is the absence of previously experienced anxiety and conditions that leaves me feeling free, fresh and ready for whatever each day calls for. Our days as midwives can be very unpredictable, so to have a relationship with myself and my body that does not get swayed, tossed and turned by life, is very remarkable.

And in my fifties, I definitely feel more beautiful than I ever have before. A beauty that is not solely about my physical appearance but about the everything I am. I move my body with the grace and delicacy that it naturally is and adore what this feels like, whatever it is that I am doing.

We are so much more than physical beings and the impact our movements and choices have on others go way beyond our understanding. This has brought me to realise and adore the responsibility I have to move in life with care and respect, honouring and cherishing others I meet along the way and the interactions we have.

I have incorporated this awareness into my everyday and this has been and continues to be life changing. From simple self-care (staying warm, eating and drinking to support my body and what each day holds, embracing the importance of rest…) to profound shifts in the way I view the world, my place and purpose in it, what it is to be a woman and the joy of having a loving and ever deepening relationship with my body. The reality of walking this in life is beyond words and Natalie’s lived example touches me daily.

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EmpowermentConfidenceWomen’s health

  • By Matilda Bathurst, BSc Hons, RGN, RM, PGCE (Primary)

    A life enthusiast, nurturer and willing learner; mother, teacher, walker extraordinaire, registered midwife & nurse. Thriving into my elder years.