If you have any knowledge of Jesus, or Christianity, then the most prominent image is the cross. A man nailed to a cross, in excruciating pain, being taunted by some. What message does that literally nail into our minds?
That you have to suffer in this life.
That life is hard, that you have to do things day in day out that you don't want to. That the only way to get through is hard graft, not listening to yourself, that life is a daily grind of tasks, and lists and zero time for yourself.
We literally nail ourselves to the cross criticising ourselves every day. I should do this, I am too this, I am overweight, I want to change job, or relationship, but I couldn't do that. We judge ourselves and each other. We tell ourselves over and over again that we don't have "time" for the creative things that makes us smile, or better yet makes our heart sing. Maybe it is singing! Or just walking by a river and listening to the birds.
Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will do that. After this job, after this episode of The Bold Type (my latest!), after I clean the house, answer that email, do that thing for someone else. Then I will that one joy filled experience that I love doing.
And the days roll on, the weeks accumulate and years rack up.
Over and over again, we nail ourselves to the cross. Every time we say no to ourselves. We are making ourselves suffer. And that shows up eventually in our lives, our health, in ways we don't always connect.
Regardless of what faith you attest to, if any, it doesn't matter. The message has been clear for 2,000 years. You are here to suffer. That's not true. Its literally bullsh%t! And we need to stop believing it and living it. Especially women.
I am in Israel as I type this. I am loving it!! More on that later. In a few days I am going to be in Jerusalem and I know I am going to find it difficult to see the images of the cross all around Jerusalem. Because I know that it was not the message we were meant to receive. That messaging was created 400 years after Jesus died, by some dudes who got together and choose their own interpretation of his message. And then they created the bible around it. Remember we are all human, and stories getting embellished, distorted and our bias gets in the middle of it. The true message of that time was completely lost. However it is coming back.
His message, like the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhất Hạnh and many others - is LOVE. What is love?
It is Joy, Divine sparkles of Light, it is Peace, Happiness and Being Present. What is it to you? This is what it is to me.
As woman we have especially been trained, messaged and told that we have to suffer. Whether than is in childbirth, how it has been totally taken over by medicine to the extent that we don't trust our bodies to do the most natural. We have been "gifted" the contraceptive pill to muck up our bodies so much when we want to conceive we can't (any sign of a pill for sperm?!) and our menstrual cycle is literally plugged and deemed dirty and an annoyance so much so that soooooooo many women now are suffering.
It's time to decide to stop nailing ourselves to any cross. We can lay it down, burn it if you want! How? For me it has been a slow process of un-peeling the layers. Some of them I didn't even know were in my life and psyche. Question how you are living and look at one area of your life you would like to change. I wouldn't suggest going for the biggest area, but maybe you need to. Rip the band aid off and start afresh. Only you know you.
The way I am doing it, is small steps of doing the things I really want. Letting go of those activities or relationships that are not making me happy, or lifting me up, and making small changes. One day at a time. And when I forget I try to remember to be kind to myself. And start again.
Sending you much love from Tel Aviv.
Photo is taken by a woman in my group tour at Nazareth. July 2022.