Sunday, July 25, 2010

Michele Woodward: I Am Not Superwoman

Michele Woodward has compiled a powerful and intelligent look at life, at happiness, and how the two are actually quite compatible if given the chance to work together. Her book, "I Am Not Superwoman: Further Essays on Happier Living" is a collection of 40 essays written over the past couple of years which originally appeared on her blog, Life Frameworks.

Right from an early essay in this book ("Mama Ain't Happy"), Michele emphasizes the importance of being real with yourself in order to enjoy the fullness life has to offer. And, she got me right away by mentioning  " fabulous guy readers" who she enlists to help the women they love. I read lots of stuff written purportedly for women--the writers are often more willing to be vulnerable and advise from a place of cooperation rather than the Mount of High Advice Most Professional which many guys come from--and I appreciate it when the writer acknowledges the few who are reading who are not women.

Michele gets it. She understands that, while it is seldom spoken of, we all aspire to a greatness which hides our faults. She espouses a different greatness, one which exalts our strengths while acknowledging our weaknesses. Not Superwoman or Superman, just the happiest, most-fulfilled "us" we can be, and we get there by doing lots of what we love to do.

Here's the thing: Michele's version of great is sustainable. Any attainments built on a false impression are not. Michele's concepts are life-fulfilling and energizing. Coming from an invented persona is depleting and depressing. Pretty clear choice!

She includes essays on the Important, the Mundane, and the mundane things which turn out to be vitally important. What I love about this collection are the many ways of connection which are offered the reader. Different people will discover their own "Aha!" moment in different places within the covers of the book.

For me, the essays which address the topic of getting unstuck--and there are half a dozen which touch on this to a greater or lesser degree--proved to be the most helpful.

Still, the overarching message, and what I wish to close my little review by focusing on, is that fear is not where we must stop, but a road marker we can note as we fly right past it. Love is the destination, the fuel for the vehicle, and the connecting bond with all those close to us.

When we learn to become aware of how fear is controlling our decisions, we can face the fear which underlies the made-up nonsense we pretend is our justification, walk toward it to see its true, scaredy-cat nature, and become enamored with Love as fear's replacement in our lives. When we start in a place filled with Love, our choices are easier, less complicated, more powerful in moving us forward, and we can provision a happy life for ourselves and for those we come into contact with.

And, while this is not something Michele directly addresses, when I become happier and more fulfilled, I provide unspoken permission for anyone who sees or knows me to do the same. This is how things get better for all of us: one happy person at a time, influencing others to reach for that state by letting go of fear and becoming Love.

I heartily recommend Michele's new book, and if you are not already reading her blog, check it out. I read it regularly.

1 comment:

Olivia said...

Very nice review, Rick. Also, kudos to you for being a "fabulous guy" and reading this book to help the women you love...intriguing. I also want to encourage you to post this on Amazon as well. Peace and love, O