Episode 54: Balancing your Feminine and Masculine Energies.
As I watch and observe the war between Ukraine and Russia, it got me thinking about the masculine and feminine energies that resides in societies and each and every one of us.
Before I continue, I just want to state I am not an expert in this field, I have just become more aware of it and have enjoyed collating my thoughts and doing some research for this episode. I was apprehensive about creating this episode for fear of offending anyone if I use non-inclusive language, but I am learning, like most of us and have decided to show up anyway with good intentions.
If we think about the strength, power, braveness, honour and pride required by Ukraine to face this battle for their country and freedom, these are very masculine qualities. On the other hand when we hear of the strong sense of community, of compassion, support and devotion to their country and each other, these are more feminine qualities. Can you imagine one without the other?
Through greater awareness I have incorporated more of the sacred feminine into my daily living and I feel less stressed and more nourished because of it, therefore I thought I'd share it with you!
Masculine and Feminine in Society
If I move closer to home, here in the UK I believe that we live in a very masculine based society. If employed by a company our working lives typically work on a 24 hour cycle of work, rest, repeat, which is in line with those that experience the male cycle rather than the monthly female or moon cycle. We are often rewarding for pursuing our days and projects with logic and facts, over gut feelings, imagination and intuition. Often confidence, strength and being loader, faster and more boldly driven are seen as traits of success over fluidity, creativity, receptivity and nurturing approaches. After all there are many paths to walk to reach the top of the mountain, but they aren't all the societal norm!
We are taught at an early age to follow the rules, to fit into boxes that not everyone fits into, for example the education system. If we think about it often the sex and gender of a baby is determined by it’s organs before it’s even born, which brings about certain expectations of how the child and eventually adult will think, behave and act. I am very much learning about this topic and as a heterosexual woman, I really do have no idea what it’s like to be born with a sense of self that doesn’t fit the typical boy / girl stereotypes, I try my best to be open minded, learn and grow.
Regardless of your gender identity and sexual orientation, we all have the masculine and the feminine within each of us.
And Deepak Chopra states, ‘when both are free to express themselves, the foundation is laid for living in harmony, balance, and fulfilment. This need for wholeness is known to modern psychology as well as ancient spiritual wisdom. When we experience one polarity overshadowing the other, disharmony, imbalance, and inequality prevails’.
We can see these opposite qualities in nature, Day and night. Sun and moon, Light and dark. Inhale and exhale. Without one the other doesn’t exist. There is no daytime without the night-time. There is no exhalation of breath without the inhalation of breath.
We tend to think, behave, and feel based on the cultural expectations and norms that are held. And having lived in Japan and being fortunate to have travelled to many places, the difference between countries can be huge. Which just shows that there are many ways of living beyond those that we are typically exposed to. Becoming aware of the imbalances that are present and understanding the different values you place on each can help to support harmonious living.
Whilst I believe in the UK we often elevate the masculine qualities and undervalue the feminine, I don’t think finding a balance is as easy as 50:50. If we think about masculine and feminine qualities of a fluid spectrum, we will each have different tendencies and often as the saying goes ‘opposites attract’ because they help to balance each other out. Depending on the circumstances we may need to amplify certain qualities over others. I think the key is to reflect if you have neglected certain qualities within yourself, if you have the freedom to express yourself and to honour these polar energies within yourself, friends and the wider society around us.
Do you relate to people more through listening, sharing and nurturing (female) through camaraderie, entertainment, and problem-solving (masculine)?
Without often realising it was can often sense this when someone enters a room, through the vibes and energy that they give off, which is usually referred to as our aura. A persons energy vibe comes from that which is within them, based on interactions with their environment, experiences, and the people around them. And societal ideas of what it means to be masculine and feminine are examples of that outside influence on your energy.
As I have become more aware of other more feminine approaches available to our daily living, we start to grow and have more choices. This awareness has helped me to create change and live a life more true to myself.
I know a key thing for me has been to remember that we don’t always need to be striving, but can be content in the present moment. To not always have to be perfect (whatever that means) but learn to do enough, to find the balance between taking action and resting, to let go of solid routines and allow more flexibility for intuitively working e.g. doing a task when we are in the mood vs going against the wind.
To include feeling in decision making e.g. is it exciting and fun? Do I feel passionate about it? Rather than simply taking the decision backed by greatest fact and logic, even if it doesn’t light my fire! I used to be quite judgmental, especially of myself but now I am much more tolerant and accepting, and speak to myself in a much kinder and compassionate way! Changing my approach has really benefitted my health and wellbeing, and whilst you may not be able to relate to all of my examples, perhaps you have some of your own.
Ways to Invite in More Feminine Energy
Dance is a great way to tap into our feminine side, and dance classes such as Zumba offer a chance to express yourself through movement and allow emotions to flow through you. Whilst I absolutely love Zumba classes and practicing in my kitchen, another very different kind of dance that I enjoy is one that doesn’t involve any set steps. Embodied dance practices, where embodied meaning to ‘be in the body’, it is when we call upon our intuition and move the body in a way that feels good rather than being concerned with the result and what we look like. It is movement is free flowing, when the hips are moving we are tuning into the female aspect of ourselves even more. Once I got over the mind thinking thoughts such as ‘what are you doing’, ‘this is silly’, and ‘what if someone sees you’, I have found that it really raises my vibration and feeling of joy every time. I have done some intuitive dancing with people in India and Thailand and it can be liberating! Do let me know if it's something you’d like to try.
Yoga can also bring some feminine qualities and it can also heighten the masculine depending on your approach. You may prefer fitness based yoga classes that are all about strength and power, pushing yourself and challenging yourself to come into a particular pose, sometimes with force in order to “succeed” rather than seeing the success in caring for and looking after your body. I remember when I first started yoga and I was really concerned with how much effort I should be putting into the poses.
Should I be trying to engage every muscle?
How can I get the most from the practice, thinking that more is better?
Now I much prefer to try and find the ease within the effort, to be for example strong through the legs, but light in the jaw and shoulders. Yoga is really a dance between strength and relaxation, effort and ease. And I have heard of people leaving some yoga classes before the relaxation at the end, perhaps they don’t think it’s a valuable use of their time, when in my opinion finding this quite and stillness is one of the best bits and really helps to integrate the whole practice and find that peacefulness within, with nothing to do and nowhere to be for just a few moments.
There are many styles of yoga and in particular Yin Yoga, as the name suggest activates the feminine energy, as it really moves us away from striving and doing and helps us to practice being in the moment, with the experience as it is. Yin yoga is cooling, therefore it doesn’t drive up the heat and determination, instead it soothes and nourishes. Whilst there is a lot of stillness in yin yoga and it may seem like not a lot is happening, we can practice tuning into the more subtle sensations of the body and mind, helping us to become more in tune with ourselves and notice that which we cannot always see.
Other ways we may practice cultivating our feminine energy, might be if you are a runner who focuses on data from a smart watch and achieving your personal bests or a specific pace. Don't get me wrong this has it’s place. But how might it feel if you went for a run and let go of the data? Does the data add pressure? Data can be great, it gives us useful information, but do we need that information every run? Similarly if we monitor our sleep, do you focus on what the watch says over how you actually feel?
It could be having a day off and instead of creating a schedule and follow it to the T, it might be that you go with the flow and move about your day depending on what you feel like doing, and then importantly allowing yourself to do it! Having the space can be really freeing and liberating for some! I know I enjoy it, but it can be a struggle if I am in an in-decisive mood and I don't really know what I want to do!
Valuing Both the Masculine and Feminine
When we tune into the masculine and feminine energies of our being we can live with a wider range of natural human experiences with greater freedom. However, currently the typical masculine messages still strongly exist, for example; to not express pain and feelings encouraging people to disconnect from their emotions, which can lead to unexpressed pain. The stereotypes that you must be strong and and even use violence to be a ‘real man’. This does not allow those who are masculine to tune into the beauty of the feminine characteristics within themselves.
The media sells people the notion that the feminine value lies in youth and beauty rather than devotion, empathy, nurturing and community creating, flexibility, openness and creativity. These expectation and stereotypes of mothers for example, does not allow women to honour the beauty of the masculine qualities within themselves without fear of being labeled bitchy or bossy, or backlash for disrupting the dominant masculine paradigm.
How freeing would the world be if we valued and honoured the feminine and masculine qualities in everyone?
Deepak Chopra also powerfully states, ‘I have an emotional response to the following words that I don’t think is unique: loving, peaceful, forgiving, warm, tolerant, harmonious, heartfelt. To me, these words all have feminine overtones. The same is true of the “A words” that are in circulation: attention, affection, appreciation, and acceptance. If you are distressed by the deep divisions in society, these words seem to describe what has been lost. They also outline a path to healing’.
Brute force, physical strength, and aggression are masculine energies are often the qualities demonstrated in wars today, looking at the far end of the scale. But when these forces dominate our society there is less focus on nurturing this earth and all us humans that live on it, when we find more balance and healing occurs the planet can be saved and in my opinion much more needs to be done to get there. It’s time to awaken the feminine energies and this is starting to be seen, I’ve noticed much more content, support circles and workshops being offered and I am personally feeling drawn to creating a compassionate, nurturing space for self expression in the future.
There is no right or wrong, we are all unique and will have different masculine and feminine tendencies. I suggest reflecting on the qualities that resonate with your essence and experiences aside from society’s expectations in various context of your life, such as work, home, relationships to hobbies. Is there anywhere that needs a bit more masculine confidence, determination and power? Is there anywhere in your life that needs more feminine flow, creativity, nourishment?
In the past I definitely valued the masculine energy and feel much more harmonious and healthier for working towards creating a balance that works for me. I definitely don't achieve it all the time but I can recognise quicker and quicker when I need to work with the opposite energy, usually a need to bring in more feminine.
What would be a first step for you to balance your masculine and feminine energies? Do you feel any resistance? I’m curious to find out!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, I hope you have enjoyed reading.
If you would like to listen to the full podcast episode, click here.