November 1, 2012

{Changing Times & Girl-Power} Part Two

[This is the second of a three-part excerpt from my book-in-progress, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: How Princess Diana Rescued the Damsel in Distress. It's taken from a section titled, "Women Attending Women." ]

Diana also felt more open to bring her lighthearted playfulness into her life and relationships—something that at times had been criticized as inappropriate as HRH. But her giggly joke telling, big appealing laugh and sense of fun was one of the things her friends remember the most. “Laughter was ‘the essential ingredient in our relationship,’ wrote longtime pal Annabel [Goldsmith] in the Daily Mail after Diana’s death,” reported biographer Sally Bidell Smith.  

Jungian analyst Josephine Evetts-Secker believes that one of the strongest archetypes or models in the Diana complex was that of puella—the playful girl. It is an energy that, although it can “carry vital spiritual energy,” can be “misunderstood and misinterpreted, because of its lightness and intense spontaneity.”  Evetts-Secker explains in her essay for the book When a Princess Dies that “our culture does not know how to love maturing girls; this is an area of deep neurosis. We seem to sentimentalize and/or exploit them. There is much fear of them, because of their power to seduce. Yet we are so susceptible to innocence, longing for it and mistrusting it simultaneously.”
Do we fear what fully opens us to our most tender, spacious, light-hearted self? Is it our vulnerability that frightens us the most? What would the world be like if we had more wholesome playful energy; more lighthearted thoughtful energy; more genuine spontaneous energy; more lovingly shared touching energy? Was this at the heart of what Diana was attempting to bring to the world? “We might give Diana’s story the title ‘The Princess who wanted to play’. This does not exclude the possibility of being taken seriously; in fact, it must enforce it, if we can only reform our conception of play,” Evetts-Secker concludes.

The “playful nurturer on a serious mission” is perhaps Diana’s most personal legacy for women. To play with heart is the way to keep the “power” in the “girl-power” that began stirring again throughout the world in the 1990s. We are encouraged to use our innate nurturing abilities—no matter the circumstances swirling in our lives—to help “tender” the world’s frayed edges, as we bring a tenderness to our own. And we are set free to play! To be a “well-rounded” grown-up, a life coach friend of mine encouraged his class to “combine the playfulness of a child with the intelligence of an adult.” Shake loose any “shoulda, coulda, woulda” cobwebs that might be holding you back and go play in the divine, blessed, infinitely abundant universe awaiting you.

Finding our own lost or suppressed “little girl playfulness” can assist young girls in finding their authentic self—and love what they find! In this noisy, frenzied second decade of the still new millennium, young girls—the puella of our time—have many harsh, mean-spirited, and vulgar role models. They are pressured to conform to a peer group, many of which are based on these same extreme anger-prone role models. They are bombarded with messages in today’s youth oriented, image driven world to look beautiful and sexy like a Barbie doll or fashion model or rock star. Young girls are bought padded bras to wear even before their breast develop, sending misconstrued messages to boys in their world. The confused mixed messages are dizzying. Girls are served up un-natural, refined, fat-producing foods while being told they must be thin to succeed. They are encouraged to succeed without being taught good manners where kindness comes first. They are being told that women can be independent yet being inundated with media images and examples of the aggressive ‘he’ man and the coy but seductive ‘girl-woman.’

Shift that message by demonstrating in your life that there is power in tenderness, and success in being loving; that being cool is reaching out to people who are different, and that being different is just being different—not right or wrong. And that to love and accept yourself just the way you are is the coolest thing of all!

There may not be a royal princess with a whirlwind life in your world, but I bet there are girls and women of all ages and stages of their lives who could use someone to reach out to them—and every “rite-of-passage” type occasion is a perfect opportunity. Look for ways to connect with young girls and teenagers to encourage their vision. Look for ways to connect with older women to encourage your vision, and their wisdom. Go dance your playful power dance and invite others to join in. ~

[This is the second of a three-part excerpt from my book-in-progress, The End of the Fairy-Tale Bride: How Princess Diana Rescued the Damsel in Distress. It's taken from a section titled, "Women Attending Women." Click on "Changing Times and Girl Power" in Labels list below for the other excerpts.]

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