On this Monday’s post; Allow yourself to be lovable and shine I argued the case for us to become strong basecamps and how important it is that we captain our own Life first and then we can become a leader for our family. Being captain is no longer the prerogative of men, times are changing and with that the need for everyone, women and men alike to accept the responsibility of being our own captains on our own life voyage. We need to start learning to think and act from our own inner indigenous power.
This is easy to say, but as Dorothy shared very challenging to embrace in daily life. Dorothy’s experience was one of;
I’ve been forced to, very reluctantly, take the captaincy of my ship. I struggled and fought with it and screamed into the wind, but ultimately the wind tore the words out of my mouth and carried them away. I was left with a battered ship amid an empty ocean which scared the hell out of me.
It took weeks and months of sitting with it and grieving before I slowly began to come to terms that I was IT – the only one who was responsible for how my and my children’s lives turned out from now on. My “selfishness” is keeping me intact, getting me stronger, so I can be not only a basecamp, but also a container for my children.
I’m sure Dorothy, that you and I are not alone in being reluctant to take the captaincy of our respective ships. I for one never really noticed for a long time that I was not even steering. It is indeed at first a scary thought that we are IT, always.
The opposite can happen as well, our authority as captain can be taken away from us as The Exception describes here;
I have been the captain of my family from the get go – a position I have enjoyed. The challenge came when my daughter’s father and his wife (who didn’t know about our daughter until last April) decided to attempt to take the wheel. Suddenly I was a captain with a boat but no one was really driving; no one was at the wheel. . .It took me a while to remember that I captain my boat. That I could practice what I believe.
From the place of being captain, it all makes perfect sense that we be ’selfish’, that we look at and take care of ‘ME’ first. Leading our family means there is a lot at stake here and being ’selfish’, taking care of ourself needs to come FIRST. For many of us that will take some unlearning.
Not only is there the unlearning required to let go of our ‘learned’ martyr tendencies to always put others first but there is as Joy shares a whole set of new skills to learn, the skills to ‘captain our Life’;
In life, I was always content to be the passenger.. I never even considered captaining my own journey let alone anyone else’s… I would think wow that looks like a nice direction but I would let others navigate and be content with wherever that took me.
Then.. then one day a friend suggested since I loved sailing, why wouldn’t I learn to captain.. what, *me* captain??? how could I when I couldn’t even captain my life.. As I learned captaining boats, I learned how to captain my life..
Now that I live on the boat, the boat and I have parallel journeys.. I had to overhaul her from the inside out, just as I had to overhaul *me* from the inside out.
For Joy the way forward has been to learn from captaining boats how to captain her life.
For TE it meant learning to find her voice;
I learned to find my voice . . . . It took me a while to remember that I captain my boat. . . . . To date, I am back at the wheel with the two families chartering different courses and traveling on very different seas. . . . My daughter has a rock in the form of her mom and the boat has a captain that is willing to open her heart and rise above when the opportunity arises
TE, that you are a rock for your daughter because you captain the ship after finding your voice is a beautiful declaration.
I’ve learned how to captain my life by practicing the skills of being in-integrity that WomenLikeMe teaches. I also agree with Joy, it is in the doing that we get to learn and I can so imagine that your sailing has been a beautiful context in which to learn ‘being in charge’.
And yes Dorothy, in many cases we are IT; unskilled as we might be, reluctant as we may feel, and difficult as it seems in the short term, taking responsibility and becoming leaders of our life is the way out from being ‘confused women’, discontent with being just passengers or being pushed to the side.
However do not think for one minute that you have to figure it out on your own, or that you have to be on your own while you are learning the role of captain. As I keep saying, you cannot do it by yourself for yourself, let’s learn together.