“When sleeping women wake, mountains move” – Chinese Proverb
Over the past year, I struggled to balance what seemed to be the opposing sides of myself. There is this assertive “doer” side of me that loves to get things done, constantly create, be courageous, and do those crazy fearless things. On the other hand, there is the other side of me which strives to uncover my nurturing, patient, and grounded qualities. It is the side of me that looks with compassion, understanding, and a deeper wisdom. It is the side of me that sees the missing feminine energy and compassion we need to remedy the hurt in this world.
There have been times when I have seen an extreme of both of these sides. This extreme either resulted in passivity or aggression. When I was going through these extreme waves of being unbalanced, I didn’t have a name for them. I didn’t understand what was happening.
Then I met Nilima Bhat, the author of Shakti Leadership. It was through her book and personal guidance that I was able to name what these sides of me were and why it was happening.
To start to make more sense of what I’ll be getting into, let me start by sharing a South American Prophecy of the Eagle and the Condor: “Deep in the mists of history, human societies decided to take two routes and become two different people: the Eagle people and the Condor people. The Eagle people are typically mind-oriented, industrial and related to masculine energy, often identified with science and technology. They have been the explorers, the colonists, and the aggressors in the records of history. The Condor people are intuitive, creative, feeling, and related more to feminine energy. Indigenous people have usually identified with this path, as they prioritize the heart above the brain, and mysticism over rationalism in their cultures.”
After reading this story, I was able to make sense of the actions and types of energy we see in our society today. After reading Shakti Leadership, I learned about the sacred feminine, the sacred masculine, and what they look like when when they are out of balance.
The Divine or Sacred Feminine “… brings a deep wisdom rooted in trusting one’s intuition and heart. It is a passionate, creative, and life-giving force. The true feminine supports deep heartfelt nurturing of all creation and the passing along of traditions from one generation to the next”.
When we don’t listen to this feminine side of us, the voice becomes louder but also loses parts of itself, self-esteem, and the ability to self-love. This “wounded” feminine can result in passivity. The sacred feminine side of ourselves which brings patience and a calm to all parts of life even through chaos and ambiguity. It is the caring part of oneself which incubates, births, and nurtures.
The Divine or Sacred Masculine “…is characterized by confidence without arrogance; rational thinking without a need to control; honor without a desire for war. It provides stability, strength, and courage in an ever-shifting world.”
When we don’t listen to this masculine side of us, we try to overcompensate, we fear failure, and try to “overpower”. The unbalanced or “wounded” masculine hurt, often trying to use force to protect the ego.
When both are in balance, it is when we feel whole and at our best selves. In Hindu or eastern mythology, we often see gods and goddesses portrayed as one. We see a female and male side of them and this is often believed that they are being portrayed to show the balance of the sacred feminine and the sacred masculine which is inside of each person. These sacred qualities are inside everyone regardless of gender. As women it is possible inhabit the qualities of the “wounded masculine” and for the man to inhabit the qualities of the “wounded feminine”.
Unleashing Your Wild Woman
In one of her many interviews and talks, Arianna Hufffington says “we are drowning in data and starved for wisdom”. To do lists and packed schedules lead to burn out and are often caused by self imposed pressure to perform, achieve, and "be the best". While there is a metaphysical (spiritual) aspect to this burn out, it can also be detrimental to our physical bodies. In Ayurvedic medicine, hormone imbalances are said to be linked to stress and a suppression of our inner channels.
Suppression of our channels are related to stress, lack of sleep, and so many other factors. This can lead to an unbalance of hormones and other health issues. So, how can we find a healthy balance to our sacred feminine and sacred masculine?
In our society as Ekhart Tolle says, “In time, the ego also took over most women, although it would never become as deeply entrenched in them as in men. We now have a situation in which the suppression of the feminine has become internalized, even in most women. The sacred feminine, because it is suppressed, is felt by many women as emotional pain.” (Full Excerpt at the end of this post).
A time where women feel they live in a “man’s world” and need to work twice as hard, twice as fast to get what they want, we can use our feminine qualities to nurture and empower ourselves and the spaces we inhabit.
It is qualities of the sacred feminine which holds our world together and it is these qualities that allows us to connect with one another. It is the lack of human connection we as social animals crave which often leads to a breakdown within ourselves, our families, and our societies.
Kelly Brogan in her article the 5 Stages of Transformation breaks down the sleeping, seeing, shedding, synthesizing, and surrender. In another one of her articles Why You Need Your Wild Woman, she lists: find yourself, find your pack, and find your balance.
In writing about find your balance, Kelly writes about sitting in nature for 30 minutes each morning and doing absolutely nothing. Each morning I sit outside for about 30 minutes, do yoga, sit in silence with my eyes closed, journal, or just about anything else I need in that moment. Reconnecting with the natural outside allows me to reconnect with myself and ease any tension I might be feeling. It allows me to connect to my tenderness. In one of Courtney E Martin’s articles she beautifully writes an article of Pope Francis’s Ted Talk: Why the only future worth building includes everyone:
There are so many moments in our fast, furious public lives these days where we miss an opportunity for this kind of brave tenderness, this kind of dignifying gravity. We rush through our neighborhoods, through airports, through workplaces as if trying to bypass the presence of embarrassing emotion, as if none of it matters enough to slow us down, as if — and this is the Pope’s real point — no one matters enough to slow us down.
In doing all of these things, I remember to unleash parts of myself I didn’t know existed. Tapping into my deepest self each morning and striving to create practices that create a more balance day gives me no other choice but to make decisions that are best for my well-being and align with who I am.
There are always those rough bumps in following the path which means living a life that is truer to me. It is always that tenderness and compassion that allows me to be a little more patient with myself in building this life that feels aligned with the wild woman I know is living and breathing somewhere inside of me.
Because this is a topic I’m so passionate about, here are some additional resources in addition to the resources I hyperlinked throughout the post:
Shakti Leadership by Nilima Bhat
The full excerpt from Ekhart Tolle’s book, A New Earth:
The collective dimension of the pain-body* has different strains in it. Tribes, nations and races, all have their own collective pain-body, some heavier than others, and most members of that tribe, nation, or race have a share in it to a greater or lesser degree.
Almost every woman has her share in the collective female pain-body, which tends to become activated particularly just prior to the time of menstruation. At that time many women become overwhelmed by intense negative emotion.
The suppression of the feminine principle especially over the past two thousand years has enabled the ego to gain absolute supremacy in the collective human psyche. Although women have egos, of course, the ego can take root and grow more easily in the male form than in the female. This is because women are less mind-identified than men. They are more in touch with the inner body and the intelligence I of the organism where the intuitive faculties originate. The female form is less rigidly encapsulated than the male, has greater openness and sensitivity toward other life-forms, and is more attuned to the natural world.
If the balance between male and female energies had not I been destroyed on our planet, the ego's growth would have been greatly curtailed. We would not have declared war on nature, and we would not be so completely alienated from our Being.
Nobody knows the exact figure because records were not kept, but it seems certain that during a three-hundred-year period between three and five million women were tortured and killed by the "Holy Inquisition," an institution founded by the Roman Catholic Church to suppress heresy This surely ranks together with the Holocaust as one of the darkest chapters in human history. It was enough for woman to show a love for animals, walk alone in the fields or woods, or gather medicinal plants to be branded a witchcraft then tortured and burned at the stake. The sacred feminine was declared demonic, and an entire dimension largely din appeared from human experience. Other cultures and religions, such as Judaism, Islam, and even Buddhism, and suppressed the female dimension, although in a less violent] way. Women's status was reduced to being child bearers and I men's property. Males who denied the feminine even I within themselves were now running the world, a world I that was totally out of balance. The rest is history or rather a case history of insanity.
Who was responsible for this fear of the feminine that could only be described as acute collective paranoia? We could say: Of course, men were responsible. But then why in many ancient pre-Christian civilizations such as the Sumerian, Egyptian, and Celtic were women respected and the feminine principle not feared but revered? What is it that suddenly made men feel threatened by the female? The evolving ego in them. It knew it could gain full control of our planet only through the male form, and to do so, it had to render the female powerless.
In time, the ego also took over most women, although it would never become as deeply entrenched in them as in men. We now have a situation in which the suppression of the feminine has become internalized, even in most women. The sacred feminine, because it is suppressed, is felt by many women as emotional pain. In fact, it has become part of their pain-body, together with the accumulated pain suffered by women over millennia through childbirth, rape, slavery, torture, and violent death.
But things are changing rapidly now. With many people becoming more conscious, the ego is losing its hold on the human mind. Because the ego was never as deeply rooted in woman, it is losing its hold on women more quickly than on men.