Do you feel like you push and push and push and MAKE things happen? This is more or less how we’re taught to create success in our society after all, and it’s ingrained from a young age. It’s also how most of our workplaces and projects are set up, with pumping stuff out and hustling as unwritten and often unseen foundations.
You know what though? It’s just not sustainable. It’s not balanced. If you live like this for a while you will feel the effects on your energy – it’s exhausting! It’s a short road to burnout.
I noticed this in myself, because when I burnt out I had to have a really good look at why it happened so that I could prevent it in the future. I noticed that I always felt like I was pushing to achieve things, and in my body it felt like I was pushing a big boulder up hill. No wonder I was exhausted! I also noticed that I was really bad at having proper rest time, because even if I was sitting on the couch I was still doing something kind of productive like learning. I had no idea how bad I was at actually taking a break! I mentioned this to a friend recently too who works in a similar environment, and she just went ‘yes!’ and you could see her whole body relaxing in recognition.
When seeking balance I like the school of thought which discusses the masculine and feminine energies, and uses the concept of the ‘sacred masculine’ and ‘divine feminine’ (also under many different names) as archetypes of the inherent strengths of these energies. Both the masculine and the feminine are within all of us – it is not the same a discussing gender or sexuality. It is more like Yin and Yang. Finding the right balance of masculine and feminine within us will help us stay energised, and ultimately to achieve more success, whatever success means to you. One point of clarification – by balance I don’t mean 50/50 masculine/feminine. I mean finding what is right for you at any given time.
The masculine and feminine archetypes
In a nutshell, the masculine is ‘provide and protect’, and the feminine is ‘nourish and nurture’. Masculine is ‘doing’ and feminine is ‘being’. You can see how if you are in the constant mode of doing something all the time, providing for yourself and your family, and protecting the world that your energy is masculine-dominant. Pushing and striving, and having a rigid point of view about how things have to be done and how they should be fall into this category.
The feminine is something that we all too often dismiss as less important, eg. meet this deadline even though we’re shattered, or have an early night? Unless we physically can’t stay awake any more we would probably choose to meet the deadline. This is one idea of what I mean by the masculine being an unspoken and unseen foundation of our culture. In this example, to be that tired leading up to the deadline means that we probably ignored the feminine need to nourish and nurture ourselves for the full lead up of that project as well. We see unscheduled time as empty and something to be filled, rather than a perfect nourish and nurture opportunity. A time to be. After all, we are called human beings not human doings!
The power of the feminine
Being in the feminine has perhaps a quieter power than the masculine, but it is very profound. The feminine is the power of new life, giving birth, of creation. This has obvious implications for our wellbeing. When we nourish and nurture ourselves we gain health and vitality, and energy is a natural byproduct. This is energy that we can use to do what we want with, to save the world and live happy, fulfilling lives. Note the order though, like money (another form of energy incidentally) – we have to gain it before we can spend it. We be before we do.
Another implication of giving proper space to our feminine is that it is the birth place of new ideas, the font of creativity. It is also an energy of movement and flow. When we are relaxed we are physiologically in a state where our brains have full functionality. In other words, when we’re stressed it’s next to impossible to come up with new ideas. The doing, the action, arises from the creative thought. Being in that feminine state also allows us to stay nimble and adaptive, and to be in that state of flow where we experience the most ease and joy. Would you not agree that we live in a time when what we need is creative and adaptive solutions?
We live in a world where we have inherited a masculine paradigm. Without the feminine balance we see the shadow side of the masculine: the command and conquer, might is right, suppression and domination type thinking in response to living systems. It has gotten us into a lot of problems! We know enough now to know that Nature knows best. Our most effective innovations are often ones which mimic Nature in some regard, or directly utilise her skills. And there’s the thing – we widely recognise Nature to be the mother. She is the feminine.
So here’s the challenge for us, both male and female Earth Warriors: to create balance, and through that healing, we have to bring feminine to the table. And to bring her to the table we have to find it within ourselves. We have to practice nourish and nurture, and finding our right balance of being and doing in our everyday lives. Allowing space for it in us will give permission for others to do the same. Allowing space for it in us will be creating space for Nature to thrive. It can be as simple as starting to take care of yourself better, which is exactly what we will be doing starting this Saturday in my free 10 day Autumn Energiser Challenge – so sign up now!
As Einstein said: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
And for you Ladies, on International Women’s Day
Today is International Women’s Day. It is truly incredible in my own life just how much I had suppressed my feminine power, thinking that to succeed I had to copy what works for men. This is not to blame anyone though, it is simply the world we were born into. Ladies, we can do things in a way that works for us. We can change this paradigm. We have our own gifts. Intuition and emotive perception among them, and instead of striving we can allow what we want to come to us, with surrender and trust. Our fear-talk calls this weakness, but it is actually our strength. I think they are superpowers.
Here are three female empowerment themed books that absolutely I love and have helped me a lot:
Playing Big, by Tara Mohr
Tara’s premise is that while women have fought hard for equal rights, now we have them in many areas there are a lot of inner barriers to overcome before we truly step into our power. She says that one of the most common concerns women tell her about that they are dissatisfied with in their lives is that they play small, underachieving in terms of what they know their potential could be. This book is both compassionate and empowering, and packed full of tools that you can use to play big.
Rise Sister Rise, by Rebecca Campbell
This book is a call to action and sisterhood, to recognise and embrace our feminine gifts. Rebecca addresses the fact that we have the potential to use our voice now more than ever before, and that now is the time to heal from centuries of oppression – whether it be the witch burning times or more recent overt and covert examples. Women carry a collective cultural memory of these whether we realise it or not, and many do not feel safe to use their voice. Rebecca also has some great practical tips for us to support each other and rise up.
Pussy: A Reclamation, by Regena Thomashauer
Yup, this is what you think it’s about, and so much more. Regena starts us off by pointing out that culturally we have disowned some female body parts by not even giving girls words with which to talk about them. This book is about owning everything about yourself, about discovering your inner goddess and letting her out to play. Lots of tools and tips, and eye opening, freedom creating, heart soaring ah-ha moments for this private girls school reader!