September 3, 2019 @ 7:23 AM

“We must insist on succulence!  Our lives are too rich and too rare to have less” Susan Sark


Many years ago I was inspired to create a “Succulent Wild Women” group.  The premise was based on the writings of artist Susan Sark.  The goal was to gather creative women together once a month to share an outrageous evening of celebrating our most creative and individual selves.  

In our daily lives of being nurturers, caretakers, friends and lovers, we keep so little for ourselves.  This evening became an opportunity to be divinely selfish for one night.  With this kind of freedom we could access our core essence, our most creative and unique selves and draw inspiration from the creative essence of others.  

We had a lot of fun at first … wild hats, scandalous food, hilarious life stories, amazing creative talent, complete freedom to be outrageous and amazing.  Everyone looked forward eagerly to our next juicy meeting.

So I was amazed at how readily everyone succumbed to their habitual nurturing modes.  It happened the very first time we were tested in our ability to remain wild and succulent.  The group was doomed from that moment.

It began innocently enough.  A couple of new women we're invited.  Not really understanding the essence of the group, they asked what each of us did for living.  Rather than describe themselves in the new light of creative essence—of who we ARE and not what we DO, each woman began a predictable patter of describing their jobs and family.  Rather than talk about their own unique creativity, they portrayed themselves in the context of OTHER people and how they serve these people. 

I was shocked and disappointed, but respectfully held my tongue.  Because I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I played a role instead of saying what I really thought and felt.  So, in my own way, I contributed to habitual societal conformity as much as everyone else in the group.  

Finally it was one of the new guests’ turn to speak.  She launched into a lengthy story of her struggles with breast cancer and how it had affected her life.  I watch her wear this affliction like a red badge of courage and realized her battle with cancer had become her raison d'etre.  As much as this woman claimed she was beating the disease, I saw that it wasn't true.  Cancer ruled her life.  She would never be able to give it up, because cancer had suddenly given her life meaning and purpose, and an acceptable reason to nurture herself.

I watched as each women tried to offer suggestions, advice and comfort to this woman.  She didn't want or need their advice.  She argued righteously and against any of the suggestions.  I could see how hard she worked for her right to have cancer.  

But that wasn't the real lesson of the evening.  My epiphany came with how every woman responded to the woman with cancer.  Instinctively they all reverted to their mother-nurturer-healer-friend modes. 

Breast, ovarian and uterine cancer is a disease with its root emotional cause in a lack of healthy self nurturing, and suppression of our potently creative selves.  How quickly these women abandoned their opportunity to be divinely selfish, creatively essential, and vitally self-nurturing.  How quickly they identified with her and became nurturers.   In doing so, they became vulnerable to cancer themselves. 

When I later protested this woman's dominance of the evening and the unexpected detour from the intended lively venue, I was chastised for my callous selfishness and my lack of compassion.  And knowing that they would never understand what had really happened or why, I quietly went my own way, and the group disbanded.

There is a time and place for nurturing.  We can't stop caring for others.  But we need to be selfish more often.  We shouldn't need a reason, like cancer or illness to nurture ourselves and do what brings us joy.  If we do those things that make us truly happy, and if we honour ourselves and our own needs first, we stop being victims.  We start living with integrity.  We become exciting, interesting and real.  We become able to care for others in healthy, reciprocal ways, without co-dependence.  We stay healthier.  We make those who love us happy!

That will always push some buttons for people who live within narrow possibilities and insist on playing roles.  But, as long as we allow other people’s opinions to dictate our behaviour and our personal style, we will never be free to be who we really are.  And that is sad, because our uniqueness and originality is the greatest gift we share with the world.


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