What A Woman Learns
By Rev. Dr. Iyanla Vanzant
In the ancient days, the wise grandmothers would take the young girls away from the village to teach them all that they needed to know about themselves and their lives. Every tribe, clan, village and community honored and revered the wisdom of the grandmothers. The people knew what these grandmothers knew; that becoming and being a woman is a sacred affair, not an event. They understood that becoming a woman takes time. The young girls knew that what they would learn from the grandmothers was necessary. They also knew that it was a secret.
Over time, the woman’s learning process changed. Today, women learn on the job, often without the nurturing wisdom of their grandmothers. Time on the job is still a vital requirement and the woman’s learning process remains a sacred event. Although many of the secrets are not taught today, make no mistake, the secrets are not lost. The sacred secrets of being a woman are etched in the soul of every woman. It is the duty of every woman to excavate the secrets of the soul and live them with grace.
The soul, as used here, is the intangible essence of the being. It is what makes you who you are. It has nothing to do with what you are called or your name.
The soul is not a physical characteristic. It is spiritual. It is the core. All of life’s issue are born in and healed through the soul. Some say that the soul is the flesh and bones of the personality. The traits of the personality are the clothes that a woman chooses to wear in response to the developmental needs and deficiencies of the soul. In women, the soul is the driving force. It is the place we store our life maintenance supplies. It is the place to which we retreat when our reserves are low.
There was a time when women were taught how to access the scared resources of the soul, extracting whatever was needed in order to confront a particular situation. Women were taught what songs to sing; what dances to dance, what prayers to pray and they were taught what things they needed to reach out for in order to replenish the soul.
There was a time when the inspiration to be a woman came from other women. It was communicated to young girls in the way the grandmothers moved. The way they spoke. The way they looked at you, their eyes conveying silent conversations which imparted the knowledge of their soul into the essence of your soul.
Then, for reasons known and unknown, women buried their secrets. They refused to sing their songs. They forgot their rituals. They altered their prayers. As a result of this women began to die from the inside out.
In order for a woman to live and learn and reclaim her aliveness, she must understand her unfolding process from the inside out. At every age and stage of living there are stages a woman must master in order for her to claim her power.
The blessing represents what the soul brings to life and what the soul can offer to the world.
The blessing has nothing to do with what an individual can do. It is the essence of who and what the soul is at a particular stage of development.
The blessing is what God sends through you into the world as a demonstration of love.
The blessing is a gift for others that manifests through and by your presence.
All blessings grow and mature over a naturally predetermined course of time.
Some blessings blossom and transform into a deeper, more profound expressions of who a woman is.
Other blessings fade, allowing something else, something grander, to take its place.
As the blessing grows within you, it transforms you and those around you.
All blessings are learning tools. They help you to navigate through the lessons you must master in life.
If it is left undisturbed, allowed to develop and blossom without interruption, the blessing becomes a pillar in the foundation of character.
The blessing allows you to give to others without losing yourself.
The Gift represents that which is given to you by divine providence as a support mechanism. Support means that which you can abide in, that which you can stand upon.
The gift is the presence of God-ness that sustains the soul.
As a woman grows and develops, the use of the gift becomes a matter of choice.
Whether she chooses to use it or embrace it does not diminish the power or presence of the gift.
The gift is a woman’s to use in her own best interest. Yet, when she shares it, the presence of the gift is intensified.
How a woman uses the gift will determine how her soul develops.
Using, embracing and sharing the gift will determine how well a woman is equipped to master her lessons.
The gift allows you to be with others without losing touch with yourself.
The Lesson represents what a woman must learn and master within her own being. At certain stages of development, the mastery occurs as a course of natural development.
At other stages, the lesson requires hard work, diligence and the mastery of all of the previous lessons.
A lesson missed, ignored, denied, or unaccepted increases the difficulty of the learning process of the next lesson.
The lesson allows you to learn from others without losing your sense of self.
The Grace represents that which the soul of others naturally offers to you. In essence it is the intimate connection between souls which unfolds through instinct.
The grace allows you to connect with others and to be nourished by others without expectations.
The Heart represents the emotional character a woman is called to embrace in order to support and advance the development of her soul.
The heart is more than a state of mind or a state of being.
The heart is what a woman must consciously choose to embrace and practice. Failure to do so can lead to deterioration of the emotional balance of the soul.
The Healing represents that which the soul needs to continue in its development and unfolding.
The healing allows you to receive from others that which you need to nurture yourself.
The Ritual represents that which a woman must do in order to sustain herself and support the wholesome development of her soul.
The ritual is a woman’s sacred time with herself. By performing the appropriate rituals, a woman learns not to take herself, life’s events and her learning process so seriously.
The ritual keeps a woman grounded in what is and is not important.
The ritual, when you do it, grounds the self.
The ritual allows you to withdraw from others in order to renew yourself.
Grandma knew that at every age, what a woman would learn and needed to learn would sustain her for the years to come.