Sitting in my graduate classroom on the Wilfrid Laurier University campus in Waterloo, Ontario, I had my first panic attack. It was 2:11 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon in October, 2007. I started to Read
I'm starting to notice a trend in the wonderful women I work with.
They have been practicing yoga for a while, and they know how to eat well. They know that self-care isn't selfish, and they have taken countless online courses on "the goddess" and "feminine power."
Yet they still feel insecure, out of balance, disconnected from their intuition, distrustful of their bodies, and frequently sabotage themselves by taking on too much or pushing themselves too far.
Does this sound familiar?
While "feminine power" has become popular (and profitable) in recent years, true Feminine Power is still something incredibly precious and rare in the world today. Why is that?
I believe the disconnect in gifted, smart, and driven women lies in seven false beliefs. These beliefs point to a "False Feminine Power" that undermines our true radiance, wisdom, power and soul. When we live with these convictions, we block our deepest and truest power. These are things that most of us have misunderstood, and that aren't being spoken about much. Many are taboo, many are controversial, and many aren't very good for glossy marketing materials.
When I encourage women to embrace these, their first feeling is often one of relief. They can breathe deeper when they realize that they don't need to try to be perfect all the time.
If you've been on the path of self-improvement and "goddess work" for a while, yet still feel stuck, these beliefs might be what's in your way.
1. "You're a radiant and confident being, all the time.”
The further you walk your own path, the more tests and obstacles you will face. This is the Heroine's Journey. You'll fall on your face many times over. You'll get yeast infections, have PMS, and one day: hot flashes. Sometimes you'll have dark circles under your eyes from sleepless nights. You'll quiver with fear in moments that really matter to you. You'll doubt everything you've ever believed in. When you experience all this, you're in exactly the right place. Great work. Keep going.
2. "A woman in her power is popular and happy."
You may piss people off. People may unfriend you on Facebook. You may lose friends (don't worry, they weren't your real friends anyway).
When you start to ruthlessly walk your Truth, you'll ruffle feathers. This is a good thing. It means you've stopped trying to be the "good girl" (or the "bad girl") or "all things to all people." You've realized that you can't make everyone happy. Being yourself becomes the Holy Grail.
3. "Your period and hormones have nothing to do with your power."
Each month we (women of all ages) move through cycles of death and rebirth, stress and recovery, dark and light. When we partner with them, our souls can reside in our bodies. These intrinsic embodied rhythms are the heartbeat of the Feminine. We must understand and befriend them. Our cycles aren't a curse; they're one of our greatest blessings, the key to our Feminine Power. Bringing your period (or perimenopause, or menopause) from the periphery to the center of your life will teach you what real creativity and femininity is.
4. "Pussy talk isn't necessary for real power."
Pussy Power and Feminine Power are sisters. Bona fide, bone-deep feminine power must be embodied. Women have 2/3 more nerve receptors than men (most of them in our genitals). And when all of these start to wake up, reroute, and sync up (through practices like women's yoga, deep breathing, sensual dance, conscious sex, and self pleasuring) — sparks will fly. When our pelvic floors are relaxed and open, our pussies are warm and juicy and our voices are freed to speak our truths. No pussy power? No feminine power.
5. "The masculine is either in our way, or downright evil."
For most women in the Western world, it's time to stop blaming patriarchy for everything, and to start owning our own Inner Patriarch. That's right — cringe at all the ways you push, judge, force, and squash your own feminine nature. Then distinguish between your Inner Patriarch, and the Divine Masculine. There can be no Shakti without Shiva, no yin without yang, no moon without sun. Likewise, there can be no Divine Feminine without Divine Masculine. Learn to revere and partner with the Divine Masculine, inwardly and outwardly.
6. "Deeply spiritual people have easy lives and always feel in-balance, positive, and in-the-flow."
Uh uh, sister. It's not all love and light and rose petals. It's also dark and ugly and muddy and, as we all know, sometimes quite bloody. When you commit to this path, you must wave goodbye to a "normal" and "conventional" life.
This includes: Taking complete ownership of your experience of life, your depression, your anxiety, your anger, your shit. Stopping blaming anything or anyone outside of you for anything. Every challenging emotion, every grueling decision or seemingly impenetrable life impasse must be bowed to and learned from in order to cross through each threshold on your Heroine's Journey. Trusting that SHE will continually serve us up the exact circumstances we need to grow.
7. "The more you do, the more powerful you are."
Stillness, receptivity, divine communication, and solitude — these are all key ingredients to Feminine Power. We can't cultivate true wisdom, integrity, and wholeness without them. Stillness is the foundation. From there, the seed sprouts and action flows. But the "doing" is secondary, and dependent upon the "being." Stillness isn't all sweet and serene, either. When you slow down, you're forced to confront everything you've been running from.
The Bottom Line
I don't see many women teaching the counterparts to these seven false beliefs, much less living them. Without them, we stay in self-centered pushing, forcing, and controlling mode. With them, women discover what it means to go out on a limb for themselves and to truly feel alive for the first time. They quit jobs, adopt children, take a vacation, dump their boyfriends, and start businesses. Feminine power emerges from within.
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