Why Some Parts of Our Femininity Are Not Included in the Mainstream
This week’s share is a teaching with reflections, ideas, anecdotes and a little dip on “Why Some Parts of Femininity are not Included in the Mainstream and how this has Informed my Practice and Embodiment!”
Okay, this is a HUGE topic and I am simply dipping into it, from a spiritual-psycho-artistic approach… ENJOY!
One thing that I’ve devoted a lot of time and practice to this life is developing and embodying the parts of myself as a woman that I didn’t see modeled in mainstream culture, or in the religious and spiritual texts that were readily available to me in my formative years.
It’s been proven that we are a product of our environment and the people around us… so, if, as a woman, you grow up seeing a particular type of femininity modeled, it’s only natural that you will either rebel against that femininity by claiming or embodying the opposite, or by being that modeled thing you saw.
Many women come to me who have neglected parts of their femininity because of religion, society, the way that they were brought up, choices that they’ve made around their careers, and they often find later in life that they don’t feel a connection to certain parts of themselves, and it hurts.
There is such a distance from our own beings when we compartmentalize and leave parts of our being behind.
I’ve also felt this *many* times during my life…
In my book, I mention there was a certain time in my life where I believed I needed to be successful in a capitalist mainstream way, and in order to do that, I have to move fast, talk fast, hustle, and get in the game.
Before that, I had not bought into that game. But, I was also living more on the fringe…
I remember thinking: “Ok, if I want to operate in this world and make art that actually reaches people beyond my tiny artist community, I have to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Yep, that was my 23-year old rebellious mind and there was something sad and beautiful about that… I bought a pair of Levi’s jeans from Buffalo Exchange in Portland and put my stained white slip dress aside and moved back to NYC ready to be an agent of Love and Art in the wild rat race and a whole other chapter of my feminine embodiment began… neither good, nor bad… just different phases of exploration.
A lot of women don’t have that conscious thought: “I gotta toughen up to succeed” it’s just an ingrained belief that if we want to succeed in this world, we have to adapt to the system.
It takes a lot of practice, tenacity, devotion, and dedication to embody parts of femininity that we don’t see in the mainstream… that we don’t see in movies, in feminine leadership, or that aren’t valued or praised in the dominant world.
For me, it’s been a radical unwinding of what is “ok” and “not ok.”
Some of this is quite simple like for example… it’s ok to take the day off when I’m having menstrual cramps!
Even though I have been in this practice of deep feeling and listening for many many years, I still sometimes try to make myself work on days where I am about to bleed. Even though I had an awakening around my menstrual cycle as sacred and a gorgeous part of my humanity, when I read the book Cunt at age 19.
And so, even though I have been unwinding and de-conditioning myself for YEARS now, I still, at times, want to force myself to be a productive worker-bee on days where I am entering my sacred temple of my monthly shed.
I am telling you this because that is essentially how hard it can be to swim upstream or to forge new paths through dense forests of human habit, not just around your bleed (that’s an easy example), but around everything!
When you are attempting to go against the current, which is currently: work hard every day, do not rest, do not stop – it can take a lot of courage to stick with shifting your habits.
One thing that I support so many women in is having the courage to follow the natural rhythms of the body… to take that day off, practice being soft instead of hard, choose to come into the body instead of in the mind and to express the heart’s words, songs, and stories.
I know that if I go against my body and the truth of what I’m feeling, I’m essentially denying my own feminine wisdom.
One of the simple ways mentioned that we reclaim our femininity in a way that we haven’t seen depicted, praised, or valued outside of us, is by listening to the body. (If you know me or study with me – forgive me for being redundant!)
But having a practice around our menstrual cycle, around the lunar cycle, studying feminine archetypes and feminine divine across different cultures, and choosing to embody pieces of the feminine that may feel lost or undervalued or scary to embody is a great start.
This part of my feminine journey has been so important because if I only embodied that which mainstream culture says is ok, then I’m not really contributing to the greater evolution of love and consciousness through my own feminine being.
Sometimes when I talk about this with people, they kind of look at it like: “Oh whatever, this is some feminist, goddess spirituality agenda…” or more recently: “Gender is a construct and why are you looking at your practice and embodiment through gender?”
But, I have to stay close to my truth. I identify as a woman this life on a very feminine-heart-and-body-based spiritual path of awakening to LOVE as part of my experience of being a soul incarnate in a body.
I see this coming into the heart/love/embodied living as vital to the health of our children, the planet, and our future.
In this next phase of sharing teachings, musings, and ideas via this mailer, I’m going to be talking about different aspects of feminine embodiment, how we reclaim these parts of ourselves, how we relax into our natural rhythms, how we keep the courage to be on this journey, without being swept back into the mainstream. (Plus poems, practices, and playlists!)
One way that you can continue to re-write this script is by softening every day into your practice of feeling deeply, writing, dancing close to your heart, and feeling when your heart gets hard – to notice the difference between being close to the love that you are or more in the head – that noticing is HUGE.
As always, thank you for letting me share with you here, and for being on this journey of life with me!!
* Top photo of me above by Pleione and art by Dominoe Farris.