With Women’s Day happening in South Africa today let’s bring out our womanness. Yes, I made that word up but it’s just another way to say let’s embrace our feminine sides. This refers to men and women alike, or however you choose to identify yourself.
In my journey with Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome and working with letting go of the all the holding that created the depletion in the first place I have worked very closely with the concept of the feminine essence and it’s been a vital part of my healing.
Being More Masculine is Safer
Let me share a secret with you. As a child I was a bit of tomboy. Partly it was because I was not a typically girly-girl (meaning the stereotypical pink/dress/ribbon/ballerina-loving girl). I was a terrible ballerina (typically the tree at the edge of the stage waving her branches) and was much better at riding a bike, somersaulting into the pool and picking up frogs.
However, besides not being innately a stereotypical girl, I was also a tomboy because I wanted people to see me as strong, brave and not vulnerable. Deep down I was definitely not all of those things but I had seen that these qualities were revered and admired and they helped me to feel protected. So I spent most of my life until my thirties turning my back on my feminine essence and embracing the masculine with great vigour. I remember clearly the first time I, cautiously, wore pink at the age of 31 and through those earlier years I told people I was a feminist which basically meant that I wanted females to be seen in the same light as males.
Now I know that I want females (and the feminine in males) to be seen in their own light. And what an incredible light that is. When we truly embrace the authentic feminine self it is POWERFUL. The feminine is about connection, nurturing, intuition, compassion, emotion and creativity. It is also about collaboration and when women come together with their gifts true magic happens.
The Feminine as Threatening
Thankfully, the gifts of the feminine are being increasingly embraced. In the past that power was threatening to a patriarchal society and women were not allowed to shine so bright. There are many stories of women authors, artists, poets who became dreadfully depressed as their work was not acknowledged and they were expected to stay at home and play wife. They were then labelled as hysterical when they experienced depression and their work was blamed for the depression. Bed rest was prescribed as a result. That’s a very good way to keep an aspiring woman under wraps. Men too bore the brunt of the patriarchal society. Those who displayed the feminine qualities of compassion, emotion, intuition, empathy and nurturing to too great an extent were labelled ‘sissies’ and ostracised. (And, yes, this does still happen -to both men and women).
Our Bodies Speak Out
Fortunately, the suppression of the feminine essence is all slowly changing and the change appears to be gaining momentum as women’s bodies are speaking out. As a practitioner of a body and mind energy balancing modality called BodyTalk I know so well how our bodies speak through their symptoms. The earlier ‘hysteria’ was the body’s way of saying what women could not say - “Let me shine”. Now, I see so many women in my practice with chronic exhaustion, hormonal imbalance, fibromyalgia and their bodies are also shouting out “Enough! It’s time to shine and be me”.
Women are not meant to operate like men. As Kate Northrup points out in her book, “Do Less” women’s menstrual cycles result in fluctuating energy levels over a course of approximately 28 days, with days at a time when our bodies are calling for deep rest and moving inwards. Men’s energy levels cycle around a 24 hour circadian rhythm (women have similar circadian rhythms but our hormones trump these!). Therefore, men can expect the same output from themselves on a daily basis. Women cannot. We burnout when we strive and push in that way. We deplete ourselves when we do not honour our bodies' needs. Incidentally, men burnout too when they don’t honour the needs of their bodies but their needs will be different.
Whatever you label yourself in relation to gender, we are all being called to embrace our feminine qualities of compassion, nurturing, intuition and connection to go inwards, listen to our needs and shine our truth out into the world rather than try to please others, prove our worth and fit the mould.
A Successful Balance
We need a new definition for success. Success should no longer be about achievement and striving but rather about the degree that we balance our masculine sides and our powerful, shining womanness. In that balance I've seen my clients find flow, ease, strength and passion.
When we get that right that can be be considered one successful achievement!