I have been noticing a new balance in myself where I’m able to not overthink things. Letting go of controlling life, not holding it with obsessive grip. The phrase “Let the light be!” comes to mind. (A phrase that stumped me the first time I heard it. A sign I definitely was NOT letting it be!)
So yesterday I was thinking, I want some color in my family room. No more gray walls (side note: what does it say about the American psyche that gray became the go-to neutral in modern design? I digress). Back to my painting plans. I wanted a mint green color. Fresh and spring-ey! This idea brewed for a couple days. Then yesterday I noticed my bathroom is the exact color I desire. You would think the person who painted it that color less than a year ago would have remembered but alas she did not.
I had a good half gallon left off the color. I was home by myself with about an hour to myself with no plans. Being utterly wild and crazy, I went to the garage and grabbed the paint, found a brush, and just started painting. Right then and there without Pinterest boards and plans and —imagine this—not even knowing if it would look good! If I didn’t I would just paint over it, I thought to myself.
Writing this out it sounds like a big fat “so what” is warranted. But there was a certain magic that happened from the moment I was inspired to have green walls, and the delightful discovery I actually owned the exact color I wanted, and then just doing it, not stopping myself, not pumping the brakes. In some areas of my life this is not a struggle, but in expressing myself outwardly to the world, for a loooing time I hid or held back, overthought or overmanaged, not trusting and overthinking every tiny little choice. Not any more.
I’ve done a lot of inner work to bring my heart and mind in harmony and I’m seeing where it’s paying off in my ways of being in the world.
Finding the balance of masculine and feminine energies in ourselves —yin and yang, right brain and left brain, however you want to put it—isn’t about heart without mind, or mind without heart, or mind overpowering the heart or heart overpowering mind, but the two working in harmony together. A succinct concept but not a simple one, especially in a world of patriarchy, a failed experiment in the mind overpowering the heart at all costs.
Are there areas you struggle to dance life and find yourself putting on the brakes? Are there areas you can trust yourself more?
(I’m almost done painting by the way and I love how it turned out. Might go crazy and—gasp—draw some pretty designs on my wall, inspired by this cool instagrammer saw in a magazine! Why does it feel so rebellious and delightful to draw on a wall? Gonna let my inner two year old loose!)
I’m done with pushing. I don’t like it, I don’t want it, you can have it back thank you very much.
I’m talking about the energetic pushing. (Not the physical pushing – though definitely not into that at all!) The powering through, or powering over, a situation. Not my jam anymore. The results of this shift into flow and out of struggle have been pretty awesome too. Like for example, our struggles with THE READING LADY. (YES ALL CAPS.)
My daughter recently started seeing a speech therapist for reading challenges. We were referred to a woman by an Occupational Therapist my daughter loved. But from the get-go the speech therapist rubbed me the wrong way. It’s the kind of thing that you can’t exactly pinpoint though now I can see it: she was a pusher! She was someone who embodied powering through and over challenges. (Plus, she just wasn’t nice!)
So of course since I’m working on finding flow and not PUSHING I instantly decided not to see this woman again and found someone else, right? Oh no, of course not.
Yes, for several weeks we got up SUPER early for a butt-crack of dawn appointment with this woman, who pursed her lips when my child dared to let her eyes wander off the written page, and gave warnings when my daughter played with the shaving cream a little too long as they practiced making letters.
It’s no surprise to hear my daughter started to push back against going to these early morning, super-not-fun sessions! I couldn’t blame her. I didn’t like the lady either! So why exactly were we there??
And then I remember I’m done pushing and forcing. As fate would have it our reading lady was gone on vacation for a bit. During that time I found a new therapist. I ignored the part of me that said “oh but why can’t you be grateful for the person you found” or “yes she is grumbly but she knows her stuff!” or “What if you can’t find someone as good? What if you end up with someone worse?” and alllll that nonsense we tell ourselves. As soon as I shifted my focus asking for divine assistance to help me connect with someone who would serve the highest good in this situation, friends provided not one but two recommendations for therapists who were closer, kinder, and weren’t described as being at all like Dana Carvey’s church lady.
Fast forward to today: we LOVE our new therapist. My daughter looks forward to her appointment! And interestingly enough, the new therapist did mention that she observed my daughter doesn’t always keep her eyes on her, but that she also observed that she is retaining the information even though she appears distracted. The therapist was fine with this but wanted to let us know in case a teacher complains that my daughter isn’t paying attention in class. Fascinating difference right?!
OH, and my daughter is soaring with her reading.
No pushing! Finding balance and flow!
Now it’s time to graduate from kindergarten so to speak and apply this concept to the mother of all struggles we’re currently facing: bedtime routine. (DUN DUN DUN!!!)
Have you found the flow and dropped the struggle in any area of your life? How’s it going?
I’m pretty sure I’ve chanted “down with the patriarchy” at a march or rally at some point in my life. But I have to laugh when I think about that now because really it’s as though I was chanting this demand to myself! Hear me out. It turns out that the battle with the system is happening internally. Yes, my friends, it’s time to dismantle the patriarchy inside ourselves!
I had this big, BIG realization recently that I was carrying a wound that I thought I’d let go of a looooong time ago. I recently did some work on healing the wounded father. If you’d asked me if I had a father wound before doing the exercise I would have patted your hand and smugly said, on no honey I spent decades in therapy resolving that! It’s alllll good now.
And the universe laughed!
It’s fair to say that most of us at some point have had some amount of conflict with our father figure. Some lots, some less so. What I never understood about these wounds was that they were keys to seeing and understanding how a system has harmed us. You could call it “the system wound” instead of the father wound. The system – the patriarchy – has dominated, devalued and sought to destroy the feminine for thousands of years. We came into this lifetime with genetic memory of these wounds (and to get super trippy on you, we are living out many other lifetimes that are experiencing those wounds right “now” so to speak. But that’s for another post!)
What ends up happening is that our fathers become the face of the wound. They are men; patriarchy is all “yay men!”; hence we project our pains of this system onto our fathers. It sounds obvious, I mean I knew this, but I hadn’t put all these pieces together. It was like I viewed the system on one side, and viewed it purely externally, and put the father on the other side, and viewed it all personally. The integration of the two hadn’t ever happened.
When I looked at my own wounds they were a lot about self-worth. You say women can’t do this, well I’ll show you I can! You say I should marry a man to take care of me, well I’ll show you how independent I am! I don’t need no man! Grr! (Rosie the riveter arm raised with fist!)
Upon further examination I was pushed to ask…why exactly did I care exactly so much about what anyone said about what I was or was not capable of? Why did I think I had anything to prove? Because if I knew myself to be whole and beautiful and sacred, I certainly wouldn’t give a poop about what anyone cared or said about me.
Huh. What was that all about?
Yes, I spent years working to prove myself. See I am good enough! I am your equal! Ok – well what did I want in return? Digging deeper…to be seen and valued! Essentially, LOVE. I wanted love you guys. And since this is a system wound – not just a dad wound – I wanted this SYSTEM to love me and see me! I wanted to be valued by this messed up, dysfunctional, icky gross system I’d been rallying against my whole life!
Now that is the definition of messed up, right? (Cue Jimmy Fallon….ew!)
The fact is, I’m a sacred woman. I AM love – I’m the eternal spring that gives and gives and I certainly don’t need to go begging for love from a system! Especially a patriarchy that I know logically to be horrible for everyone involved – men and women both.
I spent a lot of time in therapy, women studies courses and chat sessions about how we can dismantle the patriarchy to discover I wasn’t fully getting it. Finally exploring these questions as part of my spiritual work made me see it in a whole knew way. These choices I’ve made again and again only feed a system I don’t agree with or want to keep propped up. I need to remove these beliefs inside myself and align my heart with my mind. To see my value as inherent, not based on the outside system.
Talk about dismantling the patriarchy! Because if there is one thing the patriarchy doesn’t want it’s for us to align our hearts with our mind. The system seeks to disconnect us from our hearts – because the heart is the connection to the feminine! (Ah-ha! You seeing it?) Once we understand the power of our healed, aligned hearts to create a beautiful, loving world then poof! goes the patriarchy.
Of course, your father/system-wound may be different than mine. We all carry different wounds from a system that spent thousands of years telling us to disconnect from our hearts, to abide by rules of a system that would give us love and acceptance, and that threatened to harm us if we didn’t abide. (Hello, burning witches at the stakes anyone?) We came into this life with these wounds in our memory and specifically chose parents who would “push our buttons” so to speak so we could see and heal those wounds. Who knew the the key to healing was right in front of us this whole time?
The good news is that we don’t have to wait for a system outside of us to fall in order to be liberated. That is the masculine way of thinking, looking to the outside to try to understand and heal something that is within us. As women we do the work internally and then the world outside ourselves shifts. The patriarchy falls when we remove the dogmas, fears, entrenched beliefs and programs within ourselves. When we say no more to disconnecting from the longings of our hearts. When we seek to bring the mind and heart together, or as my teacher Magdala Ramirez says, when we allow the eagle and the condor to fly as one.
I for one am done trying to prove or abide by unwritten rules in order to to seek love from a system that doesn’t believe in my inherent worth. I’m ready to see my father in a new way too. I see how the system has wounded him, me–all of humanity. I’m ready to dismantle it within myself.
After all, “the people, united (within themselves), will never be defeated!”
This week I’m writing about a journey I’ve been on for the last two years to get my groove back! I’m sharing my story because goodness knows I’m not the only woman who has faced down exhaustion/anxiety/ptsd/infertility or some other host of ailments and longed for something more. Because there is more!
[please know that despite this sounding a little bit like an infomercial I promise there are no herbal supplements being sold! (HA!) If only it were that simple, actually!]
I’m going to take you on a little journey this week to share what I’ve uncovered along the way back to finding ME. The first stop on the the journey is a discussion of ENERGY — specifically why at the root of so much of our imbalance is our yearning for the inner balance of our masculine and feminine energy.
Why start here? The reason is that everything in our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. For women this is even more crucial to grasp because we make our realizations from the inside out (where for men it is the opposite – they need to see the outside world to then go inward.)
Early on in this path of awakening I sensed that there was an imbalance within me but I didn’t have the language to explain it. I hope that sharing these concepts can hep you put your own puzzle pieces together.
One of the first pieces to my puzzle was meeting with an acupuncturist who specialized in infertility treatment. When I described what was going on and my symptoms I remember saying, “hey as weird as it sounds I just feel DRIED UP.” Tapped out, nothing more to give dried up. To my surprise she immediately understood, and said “I know exactly what is going on! And I know how to fix it!” It turns out that my yin channel was blocked and needed unblocking. The yin is the feminine…and wow was she right. My feminine was all sorts of blocked.
Looking back I can chuckle a little bit because it seems like captain obvious to say that my feminine was blocked. But at the time I didn’t know and she helped open the door to me seeing it in a new way.
So what are these energies inside us and why does it matter? First, it’s important to understand that masculine and feminine has nothing to do with gender. Every human (male or female, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identification) has a mix of two energies inside of them. If “male” and “female” trips you up, you might prefer the terms yin and yang, or anima and animus—they are all referring to the same concept. At its root it is energy, two parts within that crave balance, communication and ultimately unity.
In simplistic terms the feminine represents our inner world, that which is hidden, our creative ideas and dreams, our emotions, and the longings of our heart. The feminine is watery and passive. It’s the being, not the doing. The masculine is our outer world – it’s how we live in the world, how we bring life to our ideas, how we behave and interact. It’s our mind. It’s fiery and active. It’s focused on the doing, not the being.
In my own life the imbalance came about because I had way too much doing and not enough being. I was all mental energy at the expense of my creative, artistic longings. I was denying the parts of myself that needed inner tending, rest, quiet. And, I was ignoring the longings of my heart.
In the beginning when you start to understand this energy you may notice extremes. You may notice that there is one aspect of you that is way overpowering the other. Then you start to lessen the gap and bring more harmony and balance between the two; eventually it becomes a subtle dance, a moment-to-moment experience of feeling into what your body needs.
Can you think of a challenge in your life and think about how it might be playing out the imbalance of the masculine and feminine? Our culture has denied and devalued the feminine energy for a very long time, so it is likely that she needs tending in some shape or form. Feel into her…what does she need from you that she isn’t receiving?
There is so much more I can say about this topic but for now I’ll stop here. Feel free to comment if you have questions or thoughts to share. Tomorrow we explore the role of purification in helping to restore balance!