This week I was asked to respond to the question, "What is a whole woman?" Before sharing my own thoughts, let me ask you this: When you think of all the women you've known in your life (or heard of), who stands out as a whole woman? What is it about this woman that makes her special?
By definition we could say that "whole" implies being fully intact, uninjured, a puzzle without any missing pieces, neither broken nor fragmented. But does whole mean that one has never been fragmented? Never fallen apart or been shattered into a million pieces?
In the case of a crystaI vase or a concert violin, I'd have to respond, "yes, once shattered these beautiful objects are forever damaged." But what about us? What about the living, breathing set?
Just as our skin heals after a bad case of poison oak, and our heart mends after a painful breakup, we women (we humans) are designed to self-repair. We may be inherently vulnerable and destined to endure suffering, injury and insult, but we can use these life experiences to make ourselves stronger, better, and yes, more whole than we were before.
When I consider life on planet earth, I perceive a series of trials designed to help us grow to our next developmental level. These lessons tend to throw us off our center, and their purpose is to motivate us to find our way back, to reconnect with our rightful path, whatever that path may be. When we succeed in making our way back home, through the dark jungle or across the blistering desert, we have grown tremendously.
These lessons and initiations can range from interesting to distracting to excruciating, and can cause us to become mentally, emotionally, physically and/or spiritually challenged---even devastated. But I believe this is what we signed up for, because we knew the potential for inner growth would be extraordinary.
So, let's go back to the whole woman you brought forth earlier. Is this woman picture-perfect? Is she young and rich and glamorous? Chances are, she's more like your outspoken grandmother, or your 7th grade softball coach. Thinking about a whole woman might have conjured up images of Eleanor Roosevelt, Harriet Tubman, or Amelia Earheart. Or maybe you saw Gloria Steinem, Louise Hay, or Oprah Winfrey.
More often than not, a whole woman is someone who has gone through extremely difficult times and great challenges, and found the inner strength and courage to keep moving forward. A whole woman is not someone who has never been broken, but someone who honors herself and her life purpose enough to keep getting up, brushing herself off, and getting back out there (or in there).
A whole woman values her body no matter how old she is or what she looks like. She values her mind regardless of how forgetful she is or how much formal education she's had. She values her emotions no matter how intrusive or irrational they can be. And she values other forms of of life as much as she values herself; (if she's a mother, the reverse is also true!)
Most of us have a few areas of our life where we don't feel quite whole. Maybe this is due to a health challenge or personal loss. Maybe it's related to a pattern of addiction or compulsion. Or maybe we feel chronically guilty or afraid. Whatever the issue, I guarantee you that beyond this illusion of inadequacy and imperfection lies a divine version of you that is the truth of who you really are. You are a radiantly beautiful and powerful soul who came here to teach and to learn.
If you feel that there's a piece of you missing, raise your voice and call it back in. If you feel cluttered with energies that are not your own, ask your angels or the universe to clear them away. Know that you are a bright spark of light; that there is always help available if you'll only ask; and that you are wholly worth it.