“I enjoy being a girl” is a Broadway tune from 1958 in the US. When I started working with my life and leadership coach, Barbara, in San Francisco in 2004, she quickly realized that I had some deep-seated issues about my femininity, and gave me that song as an assignment to sing and perform for her. It took me until last year, however, before I could feel the truth of those words in my body. How is even possible that I could have rejected the form I came in almost my entire life?
From woman as inferior...
I believe that one of the main reasons is that I saw woman as inferior. Since power used to be a big thing for me, even as a child, I automatically rejected anything I deemed as less powerful. I also prouded myself for being smart, driven and innovative, all qualities that I felt women didn't have an equal amount of. It makes me cringe to even write this, but it is what I was brought up to believe. The only way to handle the tiny problem that I was, in fact, a woman, was to become a "person", a "professional", to draw as little attention to my female form as possible and stay away from anything that I considered feminine. In addition, or maybe as a result, I’ve carried a lot of shame around my body (weight issues, rejecting my big breasts, feeling disgust about my jewel and having major issues even acknowledging that I had a period and that it effected me hormonally). I'm sharing these sad prejudices about how I used to think and feel, which, btw, subconsciously continued long after I switched "teams" and started empowering women in my late 20s. I mentally made the switch, became a woman's warrior and advocate, but it was not a truth in my body. The rejection of the feminine is not strange in itself, though. It follows the script from the Bible, the Quoran and the Torah, coupled with what even Buddhists and Hinduists saw as gospel, namely that the body itself is impure, and that women's bodies are especially unclean and sexually dangerous, coupled with the notion that women were inferior. What the big 5 taught has then influenced philosphy, civics, and every human-made structure we have, and this programming still runs deep in virtually all women and men on the planet, despite all the progress that has been made.
To woman as precious gift...
Now when I AM enjoying being a woman, (I recently started wearing dresses, and it’s a game-changer! Ha. Wearing a dress was a no-no for most of my life and now I feel like I've struck gold:)) and I support other women making the same journey, coupled with a growing sisterhood around feminine leadership (I also used to reject sisterhood, isn't life marvelous:)), I’m finding being a woman a precious gift. I also see how my former, almost entirely linear mind, carefully sculpted, couldn't appreciate my intuitive and story-telling capacity, nor my yearning for the divine, nor my big heart, which meant that those parts had to be cut off and ripped out. Now, while I still appreciate intellectual discourse at times, it is presence and being turned-on (which I believe are versions of the same) that truly fills me with joy.
What are your own experiences of being a woman, your femininity and being proud of who you are? Have you given it some thought, or taken the perspective, as I did, that we are all 'persons', except for some minor biological differences? If you are a man reading this, what is coming up for you?
So how is body and gential ownership related to our leadership, or feminine leadership as I choose to define it, and what changes when we own our femininity and our sexuality?
1. We become grounded and powerful. When we start liking, heck, even celebrating the very fact that we are women with a base in our bodies and in our jewels, we move from feeling inferior (again, this is usually a subconscious sentiment in both women and men), and the shame disappears (or at least lessens - shame is deep-seated in both women and men for many other reasons too). We stop being as reactive, aggressive/passive aggressive or victim-oriented, and we start appreciating men more. We are more in connection with flow. This translates to the very fact that everything we do, whether it’s a negotiation, a missed deadline, or a creative project, gets easier and lighter. According to some depth psychologists, it's impossible to have access to our full power if we don't own our "genitals".
2. We become happier and have more energy. When we start running our sexual energy, which is vital for our well-being, and turn on our jewels, we are flooded with Dopamine, Oxytocin and the light in our eyes is lit. We become more creative, have almost an endless energy supply, which is the opposite from being sucked dry by living of our adrenaline and the glass becomes half-full. Incidentally, we also end up having more fun.
3. We become inner-directed. When we are connected with ourselves at our most basic and instinctual level, we become inner-directed and care less of what others think. Instead of living out of our heads, often driven by idealism and the search for purpose, we are more present, we live closer to presence and essence, and we find that our connection to spirit is no longer found outside of ourselves, but at the very core of our being.
If this resonates with you, notice during the upcoming week all your associations of the feminine, of women, and in particular your body, your breasts and your jewel, and your sexuality. What comes up for you? If there is a rejection, is it possible to hold it with some kindness, and just breathe into it?
Have a juicy and woman-proud week!
Love and truth,