There's an underlying dynamic that can get in the way of health for ourselves and for the world. It's power.
How does power relate to your wellness?
Power completely impacts how we make change for ourselves, our families and the world. The power structures that define our health practices come from a Western, industrial, patriarchal model.
So that invites the question: "What is true feminine power?"
For true self care to happen we need to shift the paradigm we are working within.
We need to redefine power for complete wellness to be possible for individuals and society.
When I studied philosophy at Berkeley the department had 11 percent female students. There was only one adjunct female professor. I was one of only 15 women in my classes with about 250 men.
But our numbers were not the starkest contrast. I was only woman who ever raised her hand in class. I spoke up in what was often a verbal sparring match.
At times, my professors commented on my clothes or appearance or made suggestive comments during office hours. This kind of environment taught me how to use masculine power for success. I became an excellent arguer. A fighter with my mind.
But like my professors and classmates, I was completely out of touch with feminine power, compassion, care or even a sense of justice and fairness.
This kind of environment does not cultivate wellness or health in anyone.
Let me be clear. Women can wield masculine power as surely as a man. This is not about gender. We all have elements of masculine and feminine energy within us. This is about the energy of that power and how we use it. How power shapes and defines us.
We all have both types of power.
However, the feminine kind of power has been criticized or vilified for about 1,000 years now.
So what is true feminine power and how can we use it for wellness?
It's the power of not needing to fight but winning anyway. It is the power of transformation that can occur through surrender.
Loving, caring, nurturance are all qualities of feminine power.
Here are five steps to cultivating feminine power in our lives:
1. Nurture yourself.
The earth is constantly giving to us. She showers us with food, a place to rest, and gives us the nourishment we need to live.
We can take our cue from her and nourish ourselves as well. Do what we love. Take time to rest. This is powerful and so easy to forget in our busy day to day.
2. Forgiveness is the fastest way to reclaim power.
I saw a great example of this today. A young man was rocking a cap that said "I love haters."
What a great example of the feminine power of forgiveness. Even if you hate, I will love you. The power of love rather than the power to destroy, humiliate or banish is true feminine power.
There is deep power in the transformation that grows through forgiveness. Forgiveness may be the most effective way to change ones life.
Why? Because it takes power back. It brings agency back to oneself. It releases the bonds that tie us to our suffering. So our suffering can change.
3. Let go and go with flow to be powerful
A concrete example of feminine power happened to me this weekend.
Have you ever found yourself at the mercy of your plans? Packed a weekend with commitments and now it's Friday night and you don't want to do anything you planned?
Instead, what you want to do is to sleep in and see where the day takes you.
Feminine power is surrendering and letting things go rather than powering through and doing what is expected of you. Bowing out of plans with integrity. Rescheduling.
Surrender is power. Feminine power is being in state of surrender rather than force.
4. Receiving is powerful
Once we've surrendered we can open up to receive from the universe.
We can let ourselves be enchanted by magic and mystery of the moment.
Giving up illusion of control we create space for magic and miracles.
5. Love. It is our most creative act
We've heard that "Love is true creative force of universe."
In Vedic philosophy we call this shakti. Shakti is the ground of all being -- the creative force that allows things to happen rather than forces them. Cultivating our Shakti, our true Feminine power is so important for health, vitality and creativity.
What we love, grows.
When we nurture ourselves we feed what we love.
When we cultivate true feminine power we shift the power dynamics in our lives as well as those around us.
We no longer seek to win, dominate or shame. Instead, we are cultivating an entirely different quality of life.
This quality is the foundation for a healthy life, healthy relationships and world.
Susanna Barkataki shares tools and technologies for transforming stress to peace and joy through yoga therapy and Ayurvedic wellness.
If you are ready to stress less, feel calm, healthy and own your power let's work together. Sessions can be in person or online.
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May you be healthy, happy, powerful and well!