While I thrived in academic learning, I began to see that it was only one part of the puzzle…a part that validated analytical, “objective male” thinking. While this can be exhilarating in it’s own way, the “feminine” was missing…silenced for millennia. The part of my being that knew things instinctively and intuitively was tentatively taking root and flourishing. As I connected more deeply with mother earth, and enjoyed the companionship of other women exploring the sacred feminine, I grew in self confidence. I learned to trust my inner voice, and over the decades since have worked to integrate it with the “masculine” that is so entrenched in our societal structures. One example: I wrote a thesis about women’s spirituality in academia! It explored how some types of knowledge become validated and perpetuated while others languish.
Another thought on all of this…I realize that my journey started on the shoulders of my feminist foremothers who lobbied for the rights to vote, make free reproductive choices, and develop professional lives among their accomplishments. My mother was the sole woman in the majority of her graduate classes at Harvard and was told by one professor that, “it was a waste of time to educate women because they just married and raised children.” (I doubt he knew she worked as a psychologist until the age of 78 when she physically could no longer do it…yes, wasn’t it a waste to educate her?!!!!)
While I’m grateful for their work, I see my generation as the one to move beyond, “succeeding in a man’s world” (i.e. greater educational/economic/political access) to owning, validating, and incorporating the feminine. Yes, as a married, stay at home mom, I consider myself a radical feminist…something that baffles some of my contemporaries (“when will you be going back to work?!”). Because of our foremothers, this was an empowered choice, and for that I’m grateful. Yet it’s important to embrace and bring to light the feminine…including child rearing…and celebrate it on its own terms.
Integrating the masculine and feminine dimensions in my daily life is a bit of a teetering balance. It means fleshing out and giving space to the feminine to flourish while effectively functioning within structures that deny that source of wisdom and power. Quite the acrobatic challenge! I’m incredibly grateful that as a young woman I had the chance to be completely surrounded by other women who validated this aspect of my being. It has strengthened and nourished me over the years.
Here is a haiku I wrote for a friend’s (and sister DEMer) birthday about our trip to New Mexico:
Rebirth the Earth Together
Re-own their Beauty