Today my social media feeds are full of inspirational women in different guises. Twitter is showcasing the powerful female leaders, on Facebook friends and family are celebrating inspirational mothers, daughters and grandmothers, my Instagram feed is highlighting wonderful yoginis – it is International Women’s Day after all.
But this got me thinking… What does it mean to have been inspired by a woman? Who are the inspirational women in my life? And have I met any women who have inspired me in ways no one else can?
Almost immediately my first yoga teacher popped into my head. A beautiful goddess yogini who, 12 years after walking into her class, I now call a dear friend. She has inspired and nurtured me in so many different ways. I deeply believe that without that meeting I would be a very different person today.
But to allow myself to settle on someone so obvious seemed like a cop-out so I started looking deeper inside myself… It occurred to me that perhaps my inspiration lay with someone who showed me the darker sides of myself and inspired me to be better.
I recalled someone I met last summer. A world-renowned yoga teacher put on a pedestal and held in awe by many. She has a phenomenal mind plus a huge amount of knowledge and wisdom to impart. Initially I was captivated by her, like the rest I was hanging on her every word, lapping up everything she had to offer. But the more I was around her the more I disliked her and the more uncomfortable I become. Then I realised she was showing me things – she was a mirror into the darker side of myself.
One evening I sat with how she made me feel and wrote the words below in my journal. They were never intended for publication, but today as I sit here pondering the meaning of inspiration it seems right to share…
Shows you, you
Highlights your warts
Focusses on the spiky stuff
Shows you, you
Not enough time
Uncaring, but cares very much
Unfocussed, too much in your head
Too many things
Overwhelm, but by choice
Teaches you something
The things you don’t want to see
Not answering, unhearing
Loving the sound of your own voice
Bossy, rude, self-righteous
Lack of sleep, not enough time, but by choice
Unhappy, but choosing this life
The mirror shows you what you need to see
The mirror shows you, you
My mirror inspired me to be a better me, to look at the things in her I disliked and realise these were things I needed to work on. It wasn’t comfortable or pleasant, but it was inspirational!
So today my inspirational woman is the one who became my mirror.