One question arises whenever I pronounce the distinctly un-pithy title of my book for women - 'The Tao of Dating: The Smart Woman's Guide to Embracing Your Inner Goddess and Finding the Fulfillment You Deserve':
"What qualifies you to write this book?"
Well, nothing really. See, I actually don't want you to just listen to me and accept everything I say - the whole point of the exercise is to figure out stuff for yourself. I present ideas for you to test. If the principles work for you, use them. If not, toss them and use something else. This is the 'be your own damn guru' principle.
Moreover, you may have noticed that I'm a guy. I'm generally pleased with that situation, intermittent requests to die for my country notwithstanding. However, it poses handicaps when attempting to gain deep insight into the feminine psyche.
That's why I borrow the brains of remarkable women like Marianne Williamson to aid me in the task. She wrote this great book called 'A Woman's Worth' that everybody should read, guys included.
I've also caught glimpses of the goddess and know what she looks like. The Taoist principle at work here says that you can't see a mountain if you're standing on it. You, the goddess, are standing upon the mountain of goddesshood. I, the pilgrim, am looking at you awestruck from the foothills. This means that often I can see and appreciate you better than you can yourself.
Now I know what you're thinking: "Who, me, goddess? I am not pretty enough - it's the pretty ones who have that kind of power." Or, if you're pretty: "Well, I'm pretty, but there's always someone younger, prettier, with smoother skin and a nicer butt." Or: I am not smart enough. Or: I'm too smart. I'm too young and inexperienced. I'm too old.
All the internal chatter is self-contradictory nonsense anyway, so let's just stop it all right now. That brings us to the first Goddess Principle
1) The Goddess exists now and only now. Get rid of all the excuses. You are what you've been waiting for. Claim the power and be it.
Eastern traditions like Hinduism and Tantric Buddhism hold that we are all incarnations of the divine. So the goddess already lives within you - it's just a matter of acknowledging that presence and revealing it. I love this line from 'A Woman's Worth':
'That's all that separates the queens from the slavegirls: a shift in consciousness from denial to acceptance of personal power.'
Now I don't know how you define 'goddess' for yourself. Maybe it means being the embodiment of compassion, grace, beauty, sensuality, kindness, wisdom, or joy.
However you define the term, there is no physical barrier keeping you from expressing those qualities right now - like 7-11, goddess-hood is available to you 24/7. You merely have to choose to express it. That is the second principle:
2) The goddess is service. Service is at once the exercise of her power and the flourishing of it. The more of it you do, the more you grow into your goddess power.
The power of the goddess is the power to elevate those around her -- with something as simple as a word of encouragement, a warm hand on the shoulder, or a look of appreciation. That kind of service is its own reward.
When I think of examples of the goddess, names like Marie Curie, Florence Nightingale and Oprah Winfrey come to mind. Nobody says they're perfect, but they are perfect in giving their particular gift fully. That motivates the third principle:
3) The goddess serves by giving her gift. Therefore she specializes in the giving of her particular love-infused gift.
Athena, Diana, Aphrodite, Inanna, Guan-Yin -- all are goddesses from different traditions, each with particular attributes: wisdom, love, fertility, compassion, and the all-important bowhunting skills.
Service is not the same as servitude, and you need not be all things to all people, so stick with your strengths. The part about compassion, service and love are never optional, so make sure you have those down. Then specialize: pick some aspect of the goddess that you're already good at and be exceptionally good at it.
Once again, Marianne Williamson expresses this more eloquently than I ever could:
[The world] will change when every woman gets it that we are all beautiful, powerful and strong. That we deserve love and approval and support. That we would all be glorious if we could only spread our wings. That we are, each one of us, a portion of a great and mighty Goddess self. ('A Woman's Worth,' p32-33)
4) The goddess embodies both feminine and masculine energy, but majors in feminine and minors in masculine in her intimate relations with men.
If you're interested in being appealing to men, here's a little secret: we guys like you because you're women! It's an amazing, beautiful thing. We like strength and confidence, too, but more as the spice rather than the main dish (hint: most straight guys aren't not looking for a guy facsimile in a companion).
It's a challenge, especially with all the masculine energy necessary for success in the modern world. Yet it's well worth your while to practice leaving the directive yang energy at work and to bring more of the receptive yin energy to your hearth.
That's a topic for a whole other article. In the meantime, embody those wondrous feminine qualities of softness, grace and receptivity, and we men are putty, I tell you.
5) The goddess leads with love. She does not wait for the world to arrange its circumstances to be just so for her to give her gift.
The first two Goddess Principles established that your gift is ever-present. So what are you waiting for - give it already!
Oh, I see. You're waiting to give your gift to someone who's *worthy*. See, but this is not about commerce or quid pro quo here. This is about you being the ever-shining sun - not because it's a good idea, but rather because it's your nature. This is about your heart being open all the time. The openness and radiance are their own reward. And, as a pleasant side-benefit, the good men will notice and flock to you in droves (if that's what you want).
So practice opening your heart right now. Imagine your child, niece or nephew and the barrierless love you feel for them as they run up to you to give you a flower. How open is your heart now? How ready are you to embrace that child? Does it feel good?
Then why not practice the openness all the time. And if you're single, that open, loving version of you is the one you want on display, since it's the most likely version to capture the attention of Mr Right when he saunters along.
In a recent seminar, I elaborated on these concepts. Click here to listen to an excerpt and download the full hourlong version of the 'How to Be A Modern Goddess' teleseminar. I hope you find it useful and uplifting.