home what'snew resources ask amy news activism antiviolence events marketplace aboutus
Articles & Speeches
Feminist.com Bookstore
Find Services In Your Area
Inspiring Quotes
Links/ Best of the Feminist Web
Our Bodies, Ourselves Reading Room
Partners & On-Site Non-Profits
A R T I C L E S* &* S P E E C H E S

by Barbara Wilder


(Excerpt from Embracing Your Power Woman: 11 Steps to Coming of Age in Mid-Live by Barbara Wilder

ďÖthe reason we havenít found our grail, the key to who we are as women, is because we look for it in a world of false power, the very worlds that took it away from us in the first place. Neither men nor work can restore our lost scepter. Nothing in this world can take us home. Only the radar in our hearts can do that.Ē
- Marianne Williamson

Direction is a powerful word. In its most innocuous form it is simply the way that something or someone faces or moves. But the word loses its innocence when I pose the question: Whose directions have guided your life? As children it was natural that our parents directed us. When we reached adolescence, we began to balk at their direction. We believed that as adults we would become the directors of our own lives, and we couldnít wait to get to there. But instead, as adults, we acquired other directors Ėmates, children, government, bosses, and society in general. Now, at midlife, we are balking again like we did as teenagers. We want to direct our own lives.


Throughout our lives, most of us have had a pretty clear idea of the direction in which we were headed. Getting a job, getting a mate, raising children, sending children to college to get a job, a mate, children. The reason this was so clear is because we were being directed by our role within society. The direction that I believe most of us want to move in, as we step over the threshold into the second half of life, is one of respect, power, and independence within a loving, sharing, and caring community. So, how do we do it? We create a new direction for ourselves as women in the second half of life. We find like-minded women and create our own caring communities in which we can nurture our budding power. And we become the directors of our own lives.

- What direction did you want your life to take after getting out of school?
- Did your life go in the direction you hoped for? If it didnít, why not?
- What direction did you dream of heading but didnít dare believe it was possible?


To grab the reins and point our lives in an exciting, fulfilling, and powerful new direction we need to unlearn some of our early programming. As teenagers, most of us had no direction other than the one foisted upon us by parents and social norms. Even those of us who had some idea of what we wanted to be were reminded daily that husband and family came first.

Every one of us has an inner-voice that whispers to us. When we were teens it said things like, Donít go to the college your parents want you to go to. Go live in India for a while. Or, You know you love history, donít major in science. Or, Donít get married, go to New York and be a dancer.


What do you want to do for the rest of your life? This is a heady thought, isnít it? Where does one start to look for the answer to this question? Itís simple really. Start right where you are. Your spirit knows that you are exactly where you need to be to take the next step toward your new life. So, itís time to listen to your spirit. It is our spiritís job to guide and nudge us toward our lifeís purpose, and it is when we donít heed the messages of our spirit that we experience frustration and what we often think of as failure. In the second half of life it is finally time for us to fulfill our deep inner purpose. Oneís purpose is different from oneís goals. And our purpose may be very different from what weíve always thought we desired for our lives. Therefore, we must learn to disconnect from old beliefs so that we can learn to pay attention to signs and signals and begin to learn the fine art of listening to spirit.


Women have always been known for their intuitive abilities. Intuition is a formidable talent, but in our male-dominated society it is not valued because it is a predominantly feminine talent. Developing your intuition will help you to hear the directions of your spirit.

To do this you will need to expand your awareness of the world around you and at the same time turn inward to become aware of your own feelings, thoughts and sensations. Your spirit speaks to you in many ways, from gut feelings to external signs. By paying attention to everything around you, while simultaneously paying attention to your feelings and instincts, you will begin to recognize subtle but very real messages.

To begin, you need to become more conscious of where you are and what youíre experiencing at any given moment. What color are the flowers in the pot on the porch? What is the woman across the aisle wearing? What does your own voice sound like when youíre talking on the phone with your husband, partner, girlfriend, or mother? What part of your body tenses up when an angry neighbor accosts you with another petty complaint?

It is important to become aware of your surroundings and your own feelings and sensations because they are all part of an integrated whole Ė and it is in this wholeness that the messages from your spirit lie. Letís start with something simple and very practical, driving the car. For most people driving has become a habit that they do without conscious focus. As you drive, become aware of the cars that are next to you. Look at the red light and make a conscious note of the fact that you are stopped at the red light. Look at your dashboard. Are there any lights lit up that shouldnít be? Listen to the engine. Does it sound like itís in good running condition?

How does driving your car apply to hearing your spirit and ultimately deciphering your lifeís direction? First of all, when you become aware of what is going on in the world around you, over time you will notice when something is different than usual. You will also be putting your focus on your life at that moment. Being in the moment is being at peace. From this point of peace you are able to follow subtle clues that are directing you to take your next incremental step.

Iíll give you an example of this theory in action. One afternoon several years ago I got in my car heading for the supermarket. Within a block I had moved into my normal spaced-out mode. Suddenly I found myself ten blocks past the market. The traffic was bad, and it took me twenty minutes to get back to the store. By the time I arrived, I was becoming irritable. On top of everything else, the store had run out of cooked chickens, which I was really counting on for dinner. I had to think of something else, and that took time I didnít have. The more I searched the store for something to cook, the more and frustrated I became, and I ended up snapping at the clerk, and stumbling over a basket on my way out of the store. By the time I got home I was exhausted and angry.

Unfortunately, this is how many of us live a good portion of our lives. But what if I had been paying attention?

Letís consider a similar scenario, with you, or someone not unlike you, as the heroine. Itís a crisp fall afternoon. You get into your car heading for the supermarket. You are aware and alert. Ahead you see that cars are starting to put on their brakes, a traffic jam seems likely. You remember a shortcut. You turn off the busy street and get to the store in better time than usual. You go to the cooked chicken counter, pick up one of the last chickens. With time to spare you wander over to the bakery. While perusing the pies, someone you havenít seen for several years walks up. Sheís very pleased to see you. She remembers that you have a background in finance. You cringe because you left the corporate world with glee on your forty-fifth birthday so that you could pursue something that could help with the world situation. But you refrain from saying anything. Then she explains that sheís looking for a woman to facilitate the distribution of micro-finance loans for poverty-level women to create home-based businesses. Within days you are on a plane to Bangladesh to train for your new career. Although you left the corporate finance world, your background gives you a great advantage for your new career. You have always dreamed of traveling to remote places in the world. Now you are being paid for it, and fulfilling your desire to facilitate positive change in the world.

Carl Jung calls this synchronicity. Synchronicity is the universe conspiring to get us where our spirit selves know we should be. When we become alert and aware, we canít help but take the next step in the right direction.

- Who or what takes your attention away from yourself and your dreams most often?
- Who do you want to be the director of your life?
- Can you remember a time when you followed the direction of your inner- voice? What was the outcome?
- What are some changes youíd like to see? What are some ideas you have to facilitate those changes?


Barbara Wilder is an internationally acclaimed author, teacher, and healer. She is the author of Embracing Your Power Woman: 11 Steps to Coming of Age in Mid-Life and Money is Love: Reconnecting to the Sacred Origins of Money. A former actress, screenwriter, and film production executive, Wilder is a master teacher of light-energy healing and growth techniques and meditation. She currently lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she writes, teaches, and maintains her practice as an transformational therapist and light energy healer. She is the founder of The Transformational Light Center there. For more information on Barbara and her work, please visit her website www.BarbaraWilder.com.

Copyright © 2007 by Barbara Wilder


home | what's new | resources | ask amy | news | activism | anti-violence
events | marketplace | about us | e-mail us | join our mailing list

©1995-2007 Feminist.com All rights reserved.