It was a late summer evening just a couple of weeks ago when I was reflecting on my particularly emotional day.
It was one of those days when I had to take a good look at myself. One of those days where I didn’t like what I was seeing. I felt icky and emotionally exhausted by the residue of feelings left over as the day grew close to an end.
In an attempt to explain my inner strife to Jason, I found myself apologizing for my tears, for my pain and the instability that I had been feeling all day long.
He said something to me that no one has ever said to me before:
“You know Sue, you could allow yourself to get messier and I would still love you.”
It may sound simple to you, but I had lived most of my early life keeping my feminine messiness at bay. The emotions, the inner angst, the feelings that would sometimes well up inside – I was good at attempting to pull it together to keep going.
While that has turned out to be virtually impossible and unsuccessful, I used to live by my own belief that there was very little room in my life for anything messy. I raised two boys as a single parent, and I often felt that if I let myself get messy, things would fall apart for me and for them.
Now, in more recent years I have lifted this restrictive belief in my life somewhat, but not without a tentative, shy and unsure approach – especially in my relationship.
One of the obstacles I see in women all the time when we are struggling with food, body, self-love, and overall health are these very elaborate coping skills to keep the messiness and emotional chaos of the feminine at bay.
Most of us have received the message that these messy feminine aspects of ourselves are not welcome.
We stuff the unwelcome feelings with anything we can find that works. These coping skills can often create their own cascade of health issues, imbalances, and challenges, including the relationship we have to food and our bodies.
The next day I shared this significant conversation with a close friend, someone who also is known to ‘keep it all together’ and she also sighed in relief. “Wow Sue, that even makes me feel more at peace.”
I am now sharing this with you because your relationship to your feminine may be one of the reasons you get out of balance, self-medicate, overeat, under eat, deprive yourself of self-love and self-respect.
This may be the very root of some of the behaviors you have been trying to change for years.
Because this wild and fierce part of ourselves is also our greatest power.
This may be an opportunity for you to change your relationship to your authentic self with a more loving approach to who you truly are in each moment.
There may be a lot of questions about exactly what I mean and how this has shown up in your life. To begin, let’s peal back the layers one little bit at a time.
Summer Solace Series #3: Fiercely Feminine
In today’s Summer Solace Series #3:
- Explore the nature of the feminine in relationship to food and body including some insights on what is often called ‘our shadow side’.
- Learn the first steps to take to unleash your wild feminine in all her forms – including the messiness (without a big mess to clean up later)
- Listen to an ancient myth that speaks directly to your feminine power, shadow, messiness, and unhinged wild wisdom so that you can live authentically and fearlessly from your female power – recorded live from my spring retreat in Bali.
Just to clarify, when I speak of the feminine, I am speaking of our feminine nature. We all have a balance of the feminine and masculine within ourselves. (men included) Our feminine sides are gentle, fluid, receptive, emotional, intuitive, and mysterious, where as our masculine sides are direct, focused, practical, diligent and protective.
We need both the feminine and masculine to survive. Unfortunately, our current cultural paradigms are steeped pretty heavily in the masculine giving us the messages that we should stuff our feminine side more and live predominantly from our masculine sides
This presents a big challenge for many of us, as we have had to develop elaborate coping skills to live in a masculine dominant world.
Food and the Feminine
As you can imagine, this inner conflict can present a difficult understanding of our relationship to eating and our bodies. As women, our cravings change with the moon cycle, our emotions dictate our appetites, and our inner rhythms are not static when it comes to nourishing our bodies with both food and self-care.
There are distinct times when we need more rest and introspection and other times when we feel social and active.
What are we to do?
Developing a deeper sense of our selves with our intuition and body’s wisdom is a good place to start. (Read last week’s Summer Solace Series #2 about Honing your Intuition HERE)
When we are wrought with beliefs that make our feminine rhythm ‘wrong’, it is hard to flow with our feminine. Many of the ways we have been taught may start to feel outdated and ineffective in this exploration. We may need to question our belief systems and expectations in ourselves carefully, so that first and foremost, we can give ourselves permission to flow with our feminine.
Our relationship to our feminine nature is directly reflected in our relationship to food and our bodies. If we tend to ignore our feminine rhythm in our lives, we are likely to avoid our feminine rhythm in our eating. If we have made a lot of static rules and restrictions for ourselves in our way of life, we likely will have made similar static rules and restrictions in our eating.
What I have learned is that I have to listen to my body, and drop the stories that say she is wrong. I have to drop my restrictions, my tight reigns, and begin to soften into acceptance and love for what is, and what is occurring in the moment. I have to honor the rhythms of my monthly cycle, the seasons, and my emotional experiences – eating with more love and acceptance of the fluid, always changing the nature of the feminine.
Unleash Your Wild-ish Side
When I was 25 years old, I was part of a personal transformation group in Prescott Arizona. Each week, as I was witnessed by my group, I would dig into my personal truths.
The very first group I ever attended was themed “Feel your Feelings”.
Don’t we all feel our feelings?
As it turns out, most of us mask our feelings. We stuff, repress, override, and doubt our feelings. We numb, we make ourselves busy, and we neglect creating the space we need to feel.
Hence, the wild feminine is endangered.
Unleashing the wild feminine comes when we give ourselves permission to feel, such as feeling the pain of life, the ecstasy of love, the anticipation of a new experience, and the fear of failing.
~ Rather than the shadow side of the feminine, let’s call her the underworld of the feminine.
~ Rather than imagining wild as an out of control and crazy woman, let’s imagine wild as living in tune with nature, a natural life, freedom, with healthy and integrous boundaries.
As Clarissa Pinkola Estes says: “A woman’s issues of the soul cannot be treated by carving her into a more acceptable form but instead the goal must be the retrieval of the woman’s beauteous and natural psychic form.”
When we gift ourselves with the permission to be living from our wildish nature, we are able to step into the intuitive, wise, expressive, clear, glowing, instinctive truth that each of us are.
Here are some great ways to start:
- Look at your beliefs about what it means to live in your wild feminine?
- Give yourself permission to feel your feelings as they arise, free from judgment.
- Examine where you are in resistance to your true feminine underworld. (aka those so called negative emotions)
- Take baby steps with a lot of appreciation, acknowledgement and gratitude for how far you have come and each successful moment.
- Celebrate all parts of yourself (even the perceived messy, chaotic, unpredictable nature of the feminine)
- Own it sister
Listen HERE to today's story time sit down and enjoy the LIVE recording all the way from this years Bali women's Health + Yoga Retreat.
All we have to work with here sisters is our own attitude towards ourselves, towards our bodies, our health and our happiness.
We do not achieve this by giving up our authentic expression, or by forsaking the joy of our beauteous bodies and minds.
We do this through a deep honoring of our own true nature, self-acceptance, self-love and inner wisdom.
We do this through living life with fervor, creativity and freedom.
The Health Wise Sisterhood Circles ~ Small Focus groups
Create a powerful vision, commit to your intentions, happiness, and freedom, while surrounding yourself extraordinary women.
The Health Wise Sisterhood Circles are for women seeking vibrant and inspired living. Find your personal recipe for health and vitality.
Our next group is coming up this September, 2016.
A Women’s Full Moon Weekend Retreat
With Sue Van Raes and Special Guests
Reconnect and restore in the majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a retreat designed for your health, nourishment, and body-mind-spirit connection. Soak in the sacred waters of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, enjoy the delicious organic home cooked meals, and share in the sisterhood of connection and ritual.