The feminine principle has been suppressed for millennia. In recent decades, we have also learnt to suppress the masculine and relate in a safe, neutral way. Relating in a neutral way is expedient for all of us at times, but part of the richness of life and opportunity of this time, is for all of us to develop a wider spectrum of strengths and choices, and dance more freely with others, especially in intimate relationships. To dance we have to be willing to be and express something other than neutral. In doing so, we help others express more of themselves. In particular, when we are more feminine, we leave space for others to be more masculine.
How to be more feminine :-
1. Please ourselves - Women have been conditioned for many generations to get and keep a man. Even in these enlightened, liberated times, studies show that women who are not in relationship are less confident about their appearance than women who are in relationships. This feminine obsessions with being wanted, loved, attractive and in relationship can get in our way.
When we are feminine for our own sakes, we do not feed these obsessions or attempt to manipulate others, which is something women learn to do when they have no direct access to power. When we pay most attention to how we feel, rather than to the response of other, we own our own power and are authentic.
2. Explore, experiment, create, express - To please ourselves, we have each to explore what being feminine means to us and what helps us to feel feminine, and to enjoy and express the many different aspects of our femininity. This might include exploring creative outlets such as art, writing, music or dance, or creating a home or garden, or connecting with children, nature, the earth, sea, women, men, intuition . . .
3. Reclaim choice - To change deeply entrenched habits, we need to be aware of our liking for what is familiar and, hence, comfortable. For many of us, that includes responding in a neutral or masculine way. Only when we are aware of doing so, do we have real choice.
4. Connect and flow with life - The power of the feminine comes from connecting and co-operating. This is usually seen as co-operating with others but it can also apply to flowing with life and change. The feminine, which is associated with intuition and feelings, is well placed to do this, provided we own our feelings rather than resist them or dump them on others.
5. Connect with others (in an isolating culture) - The feminine is associated with and, to some extent, discovered through, connection and co-operation with others. Now that we are all so busy and many of us are somewhat isolated, this can be challenging.
A resource which is useful for this and for learning to flow with life is improvisation, in dance and in theatrical games. Look out for theatrical or comedy improvisation, Action Theatre, Five rhythms, The Wave, contact improvisation, Biodanza.
6. Connect with our bodies - While the masculine has a narrow, mental focus, the feminine has a broader view which includes our bodies, sensuality, feelings, hearts and all life. There are many forms of movement that are useful for connecting with our bodies. Some of these, such as sacred movement and dance, also help us to connect at other levels.
Look out for belly dance, which connects us with our bodies, sensuality and femininity. The emphasis is not on body shape but on using and enjoying what we have. That said, dancing in front of huge mirrors can be challenging but meeting that challenge helps us get over our obsession with having ‘perfect’ bodies and come to terms with what we actually look like, which is extremely liberating. There is also growing movement of dance which fuses the dance of different traditions. This is particularly useful for experiencing different aspects of the feminine (like the proud, earthiness of tribal dance; fiery flamenco, softer Indian dance). Look out for tribal fusion or ATS classes.
7. Open - The more we inhabit our bodies, the more we open, which allows us to feel more feminine.
One aspect of this is sharing ourselves. In 2007, a study revealed that, contrary to popular myths, men talk just as much as women. It does seem to be true that women talk more about people however. This can descend to gossip, or we can help others to share themselves and connect with others in a fuller, deeper and more meaningful way.
8. Praise - “The feminine grows through praise" David Deida.
According to Deida, the masculine grows through challenge and the feminine through praise, at least in part because praise helps us to open. Deida does not however, tell us how to meet the challenge (in the UK, at least) of getting praise! The best answer I've come up with is to praise myself freely and often, and to notice signs of approval in the responses of others (like being more open with me, giving me their time, attention or a smile).
9. Take great care of yourself - When we are nurtured and ‘loved up', we are softer, more open and feminine. The feminine is the great nurturer, so lets love and pamper ourselves. This includes choosing the company we keep with care and ensuring we always have the support we need. When we take great care of ourselves we can keep our hearts open.
10. Clothes, hair and energy - I was tempted to call this section ‘appearance’ but there is much more to it than that. Clothes, fabrics, colours and even styles, all have an energy and affect how we feel (confident, happy, sexy, attractive etc. ). Very often, it is this feeling that attracts people's attention, rather than the outward change, which brings us back to pleasing ourselves.
11. Love, relationships and heart wisdom - Despite the feminine obsession with love and intimate relationships, most divorces are initiated by women. The love, intimacy and deeper heart felt connections we long for are only possible when we drop down into our hearts and risk keeping our hearts open. When we do so, those around us naturally drop down into their own hearts, and open more, deepening their connection with themselves and their heart's wisdom, their environment and with us. This is the gift of the feminine, a gift the world sorely needs.