Balancing our masculine and feminine energies for joy, power, and peace
How do we as women harmonize our masculine and feminine essences — the forward moving, action-oriented energies with our more nurturing, receptive ones – to bring our voice and vision to the world?
We're in a confusing time!! We have more opportunities to excel, to be anything we want without the limitations of previous generations. But too often I speak with women who are at least as over-worked and under-pleasured as their grandmothers were. We have fewer restrictions on who we can be, but far higher expectations for ourselves!
I've been writing and thinking about feminine energy for over a decade. The Taoist philosophies and qigong practices I was studying seek to understand the interplay between opposites within a unified whole -- we know these are yin/yang or feminine/masculine. After the election this past November and the appalling behavior of our president-elect I began to articulate more clearly the kind of masculine energy I wanted in our leaders, whether they be male or female. And that has led me to offer this workshop at the Wild Woman Fest this year.
Don’t be confused here…When I talk about the masculine and feminine, I'm speaking about energies, not genders! Ideally humans learn to identify, strengthen, and harmonize our both masculine and feminine tendencies for a life of greater joy and wholeness.
Yin and yang energies live in every aspect of nature, and in all genders. Sometimes they work together to bring a sense of satisfaction and ease. But like a see-saw, equal balance is rarely possible. We’re most often either focused in one direction of the other.
We’ve been raised in a patriarchal culture that values the masculine energies of productivity and efficiency over those of nurturance and spontaneity. Competition is prized over collaboration, goal over process, and the rights of the individual over those of the collective. Often we don’t notice this imbalance, except when things start falling apart and we begin to lose our happiness. When our success is founded on the hyper-masculine, we can’t help but find our lives skewed toward force over inspiration, the rational to the exclusion of the intuitive, what’s most efficient and practical over what brings real joy.
In the era of Trump we have a poster-child for what immature masculine energy looks like. Dominating, arrogant, and condescending treatment of others is the outward display of what can happen in an election in a culture that still so thoroughly devalues and dismisses the feminine.
When these yang energies lose their internal integrity — when they become unhealthy or fail to mature — we see them in our culture and ourselves as self-abuse, isolation, and harsh, perfectionistic, or dogmatic attitudes that rob us of the connection and pleasure that the yin energies bring to our lives. At those times what we most need is the healthy feminine, but out of desperation, we can fall into attitudes and behaviors common to the hyper-feminine: despair, loss of libido, obsessive self-doubt, helpless-ness and over-indulgence.
Many of us bounce back and forth between those polar extremes, obsessively over-working and then vegging out in our favorite way, maybe binge-watching a show with a spoon in one hand and a pint of ice cream in the other. We push too hard in the hyper-masculine, then zone out in the hyper-feminine. Then we panic, flood ourselves with guilt and remorse, and rush back to work. This cycle exhausts us and minimizes our joy, inspiration, and effectiveness. We lose our internal sense of what would be healthy and reviving.
Instead of allowing our less-than-whole, obsessive, fear-induced tendencies to drive us, what we most need is to allow ourselves to be held by the healthy masculine aspects — the structured, purposeful, courageous waxing moon — in order to teach us how to surrender and relax into the healthy feminine waning moon.
In the same way, when people — no matter their gender — authentically honor the moon's waning aspects (the nurturing, reflective, gentle feminine), then there’s no need to lapse back into the abyss of the obsessive, harsh, controlling and uber-independent hyper-masculine.
You'll see below an attachment of the first graphic I've created to show visually the extremes (in darker colors along the outer edges) and the healthy harmonies set against the paler colors, closer to the center. The center column represents the resulting optimal harmonizing of yin/yang or masculine/feminine energies.
Please, Dear Wild Women, let me know how this hits you. I’m working on an on-line course on this material to debut this fall and would love your perspective and suggestions.