It’s no secret. Taking back feminine power and reclaiming womanhood is hot topic.
Many women, as a result of longstanding systems, cultural and gendered norms, ideas around what is appropriate for women regarding self expression and sexuality and many more deeply embedded rules around femininity and womanhood, are royally pissed off.
The depth of these feelings are on a spectrum of course. From fresh, new rage and open-woundedness to divinely embodied and impressively integrated, this is a time where women have heard or are hearing the call to rise, heal and reclaim.
My own story, from the perspective of a woman deep in her own embodiment journey and as a therapist working with women residing on various parts of the “pissed off” spectrum, nestles somewhere between “have now unpacked the shit out of conscious hurt/trauma/anger” and Beyonce’s ‘Run the World’ video clip.
But here’s the thing. In the last 6 months, I have felt a very clear transition from a messy processing phase into reclamation. Specific emotional baggage that I acquired in my late teens/early 20’s, when I really began to define myself, my sexual identity and my place in the world as a woman has been unpacked to the max, leaving space for the new.
My professional background has been mostly in talk therapy, with a little expressive arts therapy thrown in. But can I tell you, since flogging ALL the therapies over the years, in my academic training and in my personal life, RECLAMATION IS A WHOLE NEW BEAUTIFUL CHAPTER.
So why do so many stop the healing process after only the talking about it? The feeling of the feelings? The gaining of new awareness?
Processing without reclaiming is only half the equation towards healing. It is like finding a great recipe, buying and preparing the ingredients, only to stop before you begin to create a delicious meal – and of course, the aim of the game, devour it. You have set yourself up for wondrous possibilities, made room for all the deliciousness to unfold, but then left it all open to going mouldy and rotten.
In honour of taking back your feminine power, from embodying new wisdom and reclaiming the shit out of your life, here are three key areas to dive into if you feel the tug of new possibilities.
Find Role Models
Regena Thomasheur’s book, ‘Pussy: A Reclamation’ was a game-changer for me. It was like a firm but gentle push into a cold pool as I “ummed and ahhhed” apprehensively by the side, too nervous to dive in of my own accord.
Once in the pool, holy cow – it’s invigorating. You know you’re alive when you hit that water, and you can’t help but gasp in shock and laugh with glee once you’re immersed.
For me, Mama Gena’s book has been like a gateway to a new way of living. I had nudged open the door, ever so slowly, but now it’s as if I have no choice but to “pussify” my life with 100% commitment. I fucking love that woman and all she stands for.
It can be super hard to find those out in the world, doing change-making, transformational women’s work in deeply authentic, powerful ways. Don’t get me wrong, they are out there. But unless you are consciously seeking them, it can be tricky to break through the commercialised, faux-empowering noise that surrounds us.
If you are looking for women to read, watch and learn from and are not sure where to start, I would suggest looking to women who are embodied, radically committed to self love and reclamation and who may even scare you a bit, like Mama Gena, Lisa Lister, Rebecca Campbell, Elizabeth DiAlto, Susanna Frioni, Jenna Ward, Sabrina Lynn… oh (wo)man… the list is never ending.
PS: It’s good if they scare you – it means they are challenging you in the ways you just might need to be challenged. Be open.
For me, implementing rituals is a gateway to integrating new learnings into your everyday life and reclaiming your potent womanhood. There is no point walking out of an earth-shattering session with your therapist/healer/practitioner and then letting all the powerful new awareness dissolve as you dive back into reality.
Rituals are an essential component of self-care. I don’t love using that term because for many – particularly mums I connect with – this is where they may switch off. Self-care is just another thing on the “to-do” list that becomes a chore.
Instead, I have been taught that the most powerful way to consider self-care is as a devotional practice towards yourself. So instead of yet another job to stress you out, you care for yourself as an act of devotion. Yes Goddess, that’s you I am talking to!
Ritual can be a profoundly healing act of self-devotion, implemented regularly and also to signify specific occasions. I will speak more about that in a future blog post, but for now here are a few rituals that have aided my own journey in reclaiming womanhood. If some of these feel a bit woo-woo for you, then of course adapt to your own comfort level. But I would always suggest you stay open… remember, I come from a psychotherapy background and since I have embraced a wide spectrum of healing approaches, life has become UNQUESTIONABLY more joyful!
LUNAR WISDOM RITUALS
Learning about the moon cycle has created a HUGE shift within me and my ability to connect to my own wisdom. For example, the new moon is a wonderful time to implement a journalling ritual. I use my youngest daughter’s nap time and put on a movie for my eldest while I take a quiet half hour to connect to my intentions for the next month and how I want to FEEL as I live out the following cycle.
The full moon is perfect for releasing old unhelpful ways of being and clearing the way for the new. I like to go outside and sit under the moon and verbally release the crap that I don’t want to carry with me anymore. Often I will choose a particular crystal and hold it in my hands, allowing the properties to further support me in this ritual (remember to then leave your crystals out under the full moon to charge).
Aligning with nature in this way has allowed me to connect with an innate feminine power that I hadn’t explored until recently. Syncing it to my menstrual cycle has been even more life-changing.
I was speaking with a friend the other day about this trend in childless public figures/celebrities promoting the implementation of drawn out and self-indulgent morning routines to start the day right.
With all due respect to them and their contribution to the self-care movement, mothers around the world snort into their double shot coffee after 4 hours of broken sleep upon hearing that a sun salutation, followed by an ocean dip, a wheatgrass shot, a 15 minute mediation, chanting, coconut oil pulling, and 5 pages of journal reflection is the only way to kick off your day.
I am fortunate enough at this point that my two children have learned the art of reasonable sleep, so I can now muster 5 minutes to complete a little ritual before I climb out of bed. I do praise the benefits of a little morning check in, even if it is only to acknowledge how buggered you actually are and explore what you might do to feel more alive.
My 4 year old knows not to open my door in the morning if it is closed (unless there is an emergency of course), and to go help herself to fruit from the bowl and play quietly. My 20 month old will generally go between wailing and babbling once she wakes, so I give her 5 minutes of that while I literally lay on my back and ask myself one question:
What will bring me pleasure and in turn, support me to serve others today?
Sometimes it’s to connect with a close friend, or to get out in nature, or 30 minutes of quiet solitude.
Whatever the answer, I feel into the process and trust what comes, allowing any emotions to surface without judgement. Sometimes, if I feel compelled, I will write a few sentences in my journal lying next to my bed. That’s it.
Just this tiny act of self-devotion alone can help me find my centre, setting me up for a day of more loving and less yelling, more patience and less frustration, and more fun and less drudgery.
I am getting very good at using my daughters’ sleep and “movie” time to rest and replenish myself. Of course some days I write or do computer based work, but at least 3 times a week, I will use the hour that I have as a busy mum to love myself silly. If I am exhausted, I will do a Yoga Nidra practice (literally translated as Yogic Sleep – lying down, guided meditation basically – HEAVEN). Check out The Yoga Nidra Network for incredible free resources.
As much of my healing has been around reclaiming my sexuality, I am often called to do a Jade Egg practice with a guided audio. I love Tara O’s program and would thoroughly recommend it if you are ready to awaken your sensuality, heal sexual trauma and connect to your feminine wisdom. Often it is the LAST thing I feel like doing, however that is often the time I really need to do it.
Other times it might just be to read a good book, pain my toenails, or sit in the sun in BLESSED SILENCE.
The realm of embodiment is one which excites me most at the moment. A tricky one to define, Embodiment teacher Jenna Ward describes it as “the act of inhabiting yourself fully” and to be in “rich living experience of yourself”. For me personally, it is about embracing the full spectrum of womanhood, which means surrendering to the depth of sensations we feel through our connection to our bodies, rather than numbing or repressing them – a way of living we have become used to in our current culture.
After many years of life experiencing the same repeated frustrations, it finally occurred to me that I was not in the relationship with MYSELF that I needed to be if I wanted to live my fullest, most authentic life. I had spent so many years dedicated to academia that I forgotten how to live in my full body, rather than only in my head.
It was not until I acknowledged that by being closed off, frightened to be vulnerable, allowing repressed anger to fester, and blaming external factors for my own feelings, I had been ripping myself off from experiencing all the wonderful, juicy, aliveness that was on offer to me. At that point, I begun to truly reclaim the full spectrum of my lived experience. That included opening myself up to both deep pain and incredible pleasure.
Because you can only know one, once you have known the other.
Reconnecting to dance has been my portal in. A way for me to access my personal feminine power. I danced for 15 years of my life, firstly as a child just for fun, and then competitively as I got older. As a gangly teenager, although I LOVED to dance and achieved well here and there, I was never all that great and didn’t have the discipline nor inclination to pursue it further.
However, tapping into movement again as an adult, away from the cocktail-infused prowess of the nightclub D-floor (although I’m open to a bit of that now and again!) has been a blessing for me.
I don’t get much opportunity for free dance alone at home with kids around, so I have no choice but to include them! Part B of my morning ritual is dance. Before breakfast is prepared, I will choose music reflective of my mood and just let it rip. I sometimes close my eyes (my girls know I’m weird by now) and allow the first couple of tracks to work their magic and free my body. Once I’ve started to release any stuck energy I then crack on with getting ready while still having a groove. Yes they climb all over me, yes they pull at me and want to twirl etc, but as they get used to my ritual, they are letting me have my moment and enjoying their own opportunity to move.
It is pure magic allowing your body to lead and respond how it wants to, with no judgement or pressure to “perform”.
Any opportunity to hone into our body-based intuition is an opportunity to return to a place of sacredness in our human form, leading us to new frontiers in radical self-love and what it really means to be alive.
Choose Your Own Adventure…
After many years spent deconstructing, intellectualising, releasing, processing and making meaning of my life thus far, it led me to increased self-awareness, created a capacity for forgiveness and understanding of myself and others, taught me skills in communication, conflict management and self-care. Truly wonderful, life enhancing stuff.
But, if you are at a place in your life where you crave more depth, more sensation, more aliveness… you are not alone, dear woman. I continue to meet and seek out those who are doing the work of the sisterhood. The holding of space, the encouragement and support to un-learn, unleash and re-wild so we can fire up the woman within us that knows true uncensored joy.
If you have done the unpacking, remember that how you repack is key. An empty bag needs conscious filling, or old dirty shit might find it’s way back in there, ruining your fresh new luggage. How you do it is yours for the exploring. The three suggestions here have and continue to bring me closer to myself. In true relationship to my womanhood and feminine power.
If we invest in processing the depths of our feelings and experiences, then we must equally invest in reclaiming that which we gave away, or was taken from us. If you come across an opportunity that speaks to you, ignites a spark of desire, but at the same time instills a little fear… then you are probably on the right track.
If you feel called to work with me, I am currently taking a limited number of 1:1 clients through my ‘Mama Rising’ 5 session program, for mothers ready to explore their ultimate potential.
For a taste test of the first session, head over to The Diamond Women Project and explore the first workshop at your own pace for free.
To infinity and beyond, beauties. Go repack that empty case and reclaim your feminine power.