From the time we are born, all of us, male and female, are directed toward linear, left-brain activities that will help us succeed in the world. Public education emphasizes math and science. Children’s leisure time is structured to accommodate organized activities and competitive sports. Much of our adult lives is spent doing, striving, working and achieving, often on a clock and under great pressure to succeed. This fast forward moving trajectory of our lives thrives on and stirs up the masculine side of things. But what do we do on a regular basis to nourish our feminine sides?
From an archetypal point of view, our lives are wildly unbalanced.
Our bodies crave equilibrium. We need a balance of masculine and feminine activities and qualities in our lives. And in a world that favors, the masculine, we often have to work a little harder and make time to attend to the feminine.
“Masculine” and “feminine” as archetypes have very little to do with the gendered characteristics and stereotypes that we are familiar with. Carl Jung posited that masculine and feminine exist on a continuum and are essential qualities of creation itself. They reflect the divine nature in all things. Men and women, however they gender-identify, have masculine and feminine qualities. The Hindu and yoga traditions recognize Shiva (masculine) and Shakti (feminine) energies. The Tao offers Yin and Yang.
The masculine is associated with left-brain activities, linear, sequential and structured, logical. The feminine is associated with right-brain activities, emotions, holistic perspectives, and creativity. Where the masculine is understood as assertion and control, the feminine is about receiving and vulnerability. The masculine is rigid. The feminine is fluid. All of these things are critical to reaching our full human potential.
Here are 3 signs you might be starving your feminine side.
- Your last vacation was… never.
If you are driven by your calendar and spend your “free” time binging on Netflix, you are starving your feminine side. The feminine thrives on productive ambiguity. For the feminine, a free afternoon offers the possibility of spontaneity. Daydreaming is an activity for your feminine side. Binge watching Game of Thrones might feel like doing nothing, but for your brain, it’s not actually relaxing. It’s more like dissociating. It does not represent an effective antidote to days and weeks of pushing and doing and going. Give yourself some unstructured time to let your mind actually wander and create something.
- Your last hot meal came in a styrofoam boxThe feminine wants a sensory experience. It craves flavor in food, a diversity of aromas, colors and textures. The feminine wants to luxuriate in the senses, whether that means eating a delicious meal, steaming in a lavender-scented tub, feeling fresh blades of green grass between your toes, or taking in a glorious Texas sunset. The feminine asks you to slow down so you can exercise your five senses and enjoy the offerings of our environments.
- You’re feeling like you’re not good enough, and nobody else is either
When the feminine is suppressed, we have a harder time accepting things as they are. The voice of our inner critic gets louder, and we have difficulty receiving both criticism and compliments. We idle agitated, never satisfied with ourselves or others. It’s not a happy way to be! When nothing and nobody seems worthy of our love or attention or praise, we need a boost of the feminine.
This month at Transcend, you can renew your own feminine strengths and bring yourself into balance at our workshop, “Nourishing the Feminine” on March 24. We will explore feminine qualities to help you unbind your emotions to access this incredible source of embodied wisdom. On March 31, join us for Painting with a Pose, a fun class that blends yoga and making art. Finally, you can always access and nurture the feminine with a Yin Yoga class, Sundays at 12:15 pm.