Not too long ago, a friend of mine said I was a wise woman. I don’t remember the specific details of what we were talking about and I know that she held that my ability and willingness to see myself as I AM – the truth of who I AM, and my ability to call a thing a thing and not pussy foot around it led to her words to me. As I heard them and let them move through me, I felt both wonder and joy.
I grew up in a world where intelligence was prized. Everything in my world was fact driven and measureable and empirical and rational. I always knew that I had a good head on my shoulders by which I meant that I was able to think things through and learn new things easily. From school and home I learned that being able to reason and understand things and see relationships between disparate items – having the capacity for mental activity – earned me praise. Living in my head [which I came to see as my being a walking brain on two feet] was something I became very skilled at. I played up my intelligence which I’ve always seen as one of my particular strengths.
I’ve enjoyed learning and cherished my ability for mental activity and reasoning. Even so, it has seemed very cold and calculated. Living in my head has come to feel managed and controlled and remote from the essence of me as a human and humane being. There was no heart there or colour or softness. Everything was very hard edged and angular and rule driven and fixed and rigid.
As I consider it now, I believe that our world has made much of intelligence. We turn to experts who have been well-schooled in education or medicine or psychology or other ‘ologies’ – those who have alphabets of degrees and memberships behind their names. We look to them for the truth of how we are and who we are both as individuals and as part of the whole. They must know because they have studied up on whatever it is and we haven’t. We look to them to lay the news on us and tell us how best to proceed. We bow to their superior [we believe] knowledge.
And I’ve led my life that way. It’s how I grew up. It’s what I knew. And it’s the only way that I believed was possible to move through the world. Terribly Joe Friday [think Dragnet] – “Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.”
And as I’ve moved into knowing the essence of who I AM and the absolute rightness of that and of knowing myself as an infinite being of light – a spirit of will and knowing beyond the boundaries of any empirical belief system or dogma, I know that I’ve begun to know myself as a wise woman. Intelligent, yes, and so much more than that. As I’ve begun to move into the fullness of who I AM, I’ve begun to trust my intuition and internal responses. I’ve coupled my ability to think and act using my intrinsic knowledge, experience, common sense and insight with my intellect.
Joining wisdom with intelligence is a very potent combination. In that joining is softness and colour. In it is feeling centered. In it is being aware of all that happens in my periphery – sound and sights and sensory completeness. In it is light and laughter. In it is discernment and understanding that goes beyond mere facts. In it is expansiveness. In it is being profoundly human and humane.
I felt a sense of wonder in being called a wise woman. And I explored what that means to me and how that feels. I’ve come to know the joy of being a wise woman. And, as I write this, I’m smiling. And I’m reminded of something that Pope John XXIII said: “See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.” That seems to fit here for, to me, it suggests the wisdom of choosing to live being open to all that happens without taking it all personally and without believing that I have the right to or am expected to fix things for others.