Saturday, December 18, 2010
The Circuits of Our Highest Potential
“There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.” Rusty Burkus
I am a very visual person. I immediately react to images as they come in through my eyes. I also do my greatest works of creation with my eyes closed. I can spend minutes a day, “picturing” what I wish to see in the world.
I’ve been attending many of our New Balance Girls on the Run 5k’s across the nation. Our numbers have been growing exponentially. Thousands and thousands of people are coming to the events. Virtually every city that hosts a New Balance Girls on the Run engages multiple tiers across their communities. We are no longer just impacting girls…but entire communities.
When I started Girls on the Run, my vision, while detailed and focused on the individual girl, also encompassed a larger viewpoint. In the very first materials, I discussed frequently of “the Girl Box” and the restraining limitations it’s placement over our bodies, voices and spirits had on our potential. I spoke often of “shattering that Girl Box” and creating a world where all girls and women are free to be themselves. The Girl Box was a metaphor for the gender stereotypes that cultures/societies/religions/political systems/familial systems (basically people) use to place others in a subordinate group in an effort to elevate themselves to a position of dominance.
Ironically, what I didn’t know at the time was…that my belief (along with constant conversation on the topic) in the Girl Box’s control over girls and women was actually a form of supporting its continued existence. The more I spoke of its control, the more control it had. When I viewed an airbrushed and dramatically altered image in a magazine, I was enraged. When I learned that one of my friends had chosen to “enhance” her breasts, I was both angered and judgmental of her. When I saw (at the time) Britney Spears and other teen idols perform with little to no clothing, I was furious. I was furious at them for “caving in” and I was angry at a culture that suggested that caving was the way to success, popularity and fame.
What I didn’t realize at the time, was how much all that anger was simply a form of giving the Girl Box more power. The angrier I got at it, the more it seemed to come up everywhere. The more I resisted it, the more it seemed to wedge its way into my life. The more I spoke of its existence, the more frequently I found it in people, magazines and circumstances. The Girl Box “context/filter” was affecting every byte of data coming into my reality.
Over the last several years has come a softening of that resistance. I’m not angry at it anymore. I just choose not to focus on it anymore and to focus on those instances, people and circumstances which free us, love us and lift us up. I think that Girls on the Run was the universe’s way of providing me with that freeing and unique perspective…one that I had trouble finding all on my own.
“That image is airbrushed and altered. How interesting that someone would consider this beautiful. Beautiful to me, is a woman draped beneath her natural skin. Character lines across her brow, around her eyes and lips, tell the story of a life well-lived. Breasts that naturally fall upon her chest are there to share the wonder of her changing femininity and the depth of her evolution. That image is airbrushed. I give it no attention, power or meaning.”
“My friend chose to get her breasts enhanced. How interesting. I love her so much. She helped me through a difficult time in my early sobriety. She has been a symbol of strength for many in how she managed her husband’s untimely and early death. She is a woman on her way, evolving, as I am evolving with every minute that passes.”
I pass up on the entertainment magazines that compare, gossip, bully and pass judgment on entertainers and opt for publications that tell stories of their perseverance, dedication to their craft and noteworthy performances.
Interestingly, I thought it would take decades and decades to eliminate the Girl Box…but ironically it doesn’t exist in my life anymore. Alright, so occasionally it will crop up…more so around my age these days then around my gender. It usually comes when I’m tired, ungrounded or too rushed…but I just recognize that the beliefs attached to it are those I can either choose to accept or not…and of course I choose not to accept them. Why would I choose to spend time with anything, person or situation (even a thought) that would limit the magnificence of who I am and what I bring to this world?
I find that I am no longer angry. Anger at the existence of the Girl Box or any other limitation on us suggests somehow that we have no control over those limitations. But the truth is…we do. We can control our thoughts and our actions…and every small action, word and thought I have which gives power to those things that enhance my potential is in essence not a shattering of the Girl Box but the elimination of its existence at all.
I stand at each finish line and watch the exuberant and radiant girls as they lift their hands high and realize that the Girl Box, not only has no control over her, but doesn’t EVEN exist in her reality. Our task, as leaders within this organization is not to resist or be angry at the Girl Box, but to join HER in her reality and recognize, once and for all, that the Girl Box is simply a figment of our culture’s imagination.
In her world, limitations don’t exist. In her world, we are free, limitless and able with each thought, action and word we choose to live our lives as she does…exuberant, radiant and with our arms, hearts and souls held high for the world to embrace, honor and celebrate! As a matter of fact, we expect nothing less. Look at me!!!! I’m amazing and so are you!!!!
Isn’t that why we are all somehow attracted to Girls on the Run? Here we can unravel from the imaginary world we’ve believed was real and connect to something that is truly real, pure, box-less and authentic. How has Girls on the Run helped you recognize and achieve your potential? What limiting (and imaginary) beliefs did you choose to accept before you came to Girls on the Run? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.