Masculine and Feminine
Empowering ourselves through embracing and honouring emotion
There have been so many important issues celebrated and raised at International Women’s Day over the decades, including women’s rights, abuse towards women, and women and war. All of these topics remain relevant to this day and still need to be acknowledged. Yet, as we mature in our self-awareness as women we can also turn our focus towards ourselves and our inner growth, as much as we focus on atrocities happening to us around the world. A central aspect to empowering ourselves as women is to learn how to master our emotions and embrace our feminine essence.
What does it mean to have a feminine essence and what does this have to do with emotion?
As women with a feminine essence, we are emotionally-based. This means that we see the world through the lens of our emotions. We think about the world in response to how we feel about it. We communicate about the world in language that expresses how we feel about it. In a nut shell, we are connected to the emotional landscape of what is happening around us, rather than having a fundamentally physical and mental orientation. This does not mean we do not think or that we are not physical beings, it simply means that the mental and physical are secondary to the emotional.
The masculine essence is the other way around. He is predominantly mental and physical. Men in their masculine essence still feels emotions; however, emotions are generally are secondary. Even when men are in alignment between their head and heart, they can be heart-based, however their emotions are still seen as ancillary.
So the feminine is all about embracing our emotional selves and embodying the constant flux and flow of seeing the world through the eyes of emotion.
How does this translate in women empowering ourselves?
What this means is that as women we need to embrace how to understand and work with our emotional selves to master our inner world and our subsequent actions and reactions. Our journey of empowerment is one of learning how to read our own emotional wisdom and value ourselves by standing in our truth. It is about stepping out of the portrayal as a victim of oppression (even when oppression is still happening) and fully embracing the powerful feminine who knows how to listen to, acknowledge and validate how she feels before discerning how she acts.
The problem is that throughout history emotions have been misunderstood, feared, diminished and ridiculed. Consequentially, the feminine essence has also been diminished. This has left women confused, feeling lesser than, and unsupported in understanding and embracing our emotionally–based nature. The key is to recognise this general social misunderstanding about emotions and learn how to have a new relationship with our emotional selves based on self-respect, self-value and inner confidence as a woman.
It is important to celebrate ourselves as women. However, perhaps it is even more important to work through our unconscious wounds and discover how to access our emotional wisdom and self-value that defines our feminine essence.
Embracing our Inner-Woman
Learn more about how to work with your emotions rather than be overwhelmed them in my new book.
Boundary Confusion in Relationship Work
Inspired by my experiences at Cynthia Connop and Ernst Dams’ Living Love Workshop at the Joining Gathering 2012
My partner Paul and I attended a retreat called The Joining where we spent a beautiful couple of days learning about, celebrating and rejoicing the dance between the feminine and masculine energies. We shared special experiences of opening further into our gender potentials with another 100 amazing men and women with the same passion for connection, community and conscious cultivation of the masculine and feminine. It was here that Paul and I met Cynthia and Ernest who facilitated a couple of workshops that focused on David Deida’s work that embraces raising the masculine and feminine sexual essences.
The Basis of the David Deida Work
The whole aim of this work is to cultivate the masculine and feminine sexual essence that can become lost in our contemporary couple relationships. Deida points out in his work that there are three stages of evolution for the masculine and feminine. In the first stage, the masculine and feminine are sexually polarised but they are embroiled in control and power issues. The second stage evolves from the power struggles but unfortunately can all too easily become sexually unpolarised. Our relationships then become more like good friends than intimate lovers. In the third stage of David Deida’s work is where we aim to re-polarise our sexual essence in respectful, safe intimate relationships.
The aspirations of this work are profound! In a time of significant changes in couple relationships over the last few generations and when there are very high rates of relationship separation, this kind of work is greatly needed. Our intimate relationship could provide the glue for meaningful connection and increase resilience in a stressful, disconnected world.
My Group Experience & My Confusion
In the group, it was wonderful to have the time, focus and support of other beautiful women to re-embrace my feminine essence through dance, body movement, expression of feelings, and supporting other women into their feminine essence. However, my confusion arose when I discovered that I was not cultivating my feminine essence for my partner and he was not cultivating his masculine essence for me, but rather we were to freely give our sexual essence to any man or woman in the group.
After a challenging group experience, emotional discussions with Paul and then further discussions between Paul, Cynthia, Ernst and myself, I still swing between two camps of thought and feelings on the issue. Does it honour our relationship to do this work largely exclusively with my partner or is it acceptable to do this work with any man (for me) or woman (for my partner). While I can see the enormous value of learning how to cultivate our sexual essence in our intimate relationship, I question how we can honour the sacredness, specialness and boundaries of the relationships while we do this work.
On one hand, I can see how the exercises with other people were triggering past betrayals from past relationships that still need healing. Yet on the other hand, I question how much of what I was feeling was a normal adaptive emotional response to the actual experiences in the group that required me to hear them and act on them. I question, what is right for Paul and I in our own unique relationship and more generally, how are we to really honour our intimate relationships and cultivate them while learning the David Deida work?
I would greatly value anyone’s input who is familiar with David Deida work with sexual polarity…
Confidence in ourselves as women in business can be a real challenge. We often attempt to embrace a business persona that protects us and portrays a “powerful” image that we are untouchable, strong and ultra-independent. However, in creating and living this image we may be betraying our true selves and blocking off what we really need to feel and be to create a successful business.
A False Masculine Image in Business
Many women try to portray themselves as masculine to survive in the business world. However, this exercise can set us up for self-deceit about the fact that our dominant orientation in life is actually feminine. As women, we often look to establish love and stability in intimate relationship before we are ready to venture in to the world and establish ourselves. This is quite different for men in their masculine who try to establish themselves in the world before they are ready to give and commit in intimate relationship. This one of many differences between the feminine and masculine that impacts on women in business and can lend to role and gender confusion.
Another difference between the feminine and masculine in business is that the feminine is relationship and feeling based while the masculine is action and mentally based. This results in the feminine being focussed on the interpersonal and values the flow and ebb of emotion between people, while the masculine focusses on getting the job done.
Embracing the Feminine in Business
Embracing ourselves as “confidently feminine” AND as a real asset to business in every role is important. Rather than trying to squash a circle into a square hole, perhaps the trick is to respect and value the feminine aspects of ourselves in business as women. For example, women in their feminine energy may circle around an intention to create the outcome rather than “strive towards goal”. As women we may manage groups of staff through our concern of their wellbeing rather than focussing on what is produced. This does not mean that less is produced, rather it simply means that the management is wellbeing based rather than outcome based. Finally, we may evolve in our own businesses rather than take a linear approach. The key point is that the feminine may be different from the masculine in business, however it is no less effective or appropriate in creating successful businesses.