History is written by the victors. ~ Winston Churchill
During my undergrad degree, and later during teacher's college, I explored this phenomenon in relation to how history represents the "discovery" of the New World and the impact on the inhabitants of North America. Floating islands with bears climbing trees from their point of view, were ships with bearded men on masts heading for land. One person's "discovery and colonization" of a "new world", was another's invasion and suppression.
Before that, I hadn't really questioned what was in the text books I read. Text book equals the written, objective observations of fact. As a librarian responsible for trying to provide a balanced collection of materials in a public library setting, I am so much more aware of the varying truths---of life presented through the views of someone else; to be considered as idea and opinion.
I have had requests to remove herbal remedy books from the library---because the patron's mother took one out and he felt the library should only provide medical texts and not this "hocus pocus crap". It didn't fit in with his model of how things should work. He wanted to see only books that had controlled studies with single outcomes--that were logical and linear.
He didn't understand how you could operate within a system where the outcome was less predictable; where you would need to be in tune with your body and where you would need intuition, patience, support and his mother's need to find support in an alternative, more feminine model of how things work.
The library did not remove the books.
Yesterday, after listening to a webinar on The Three Keys to Feminine Power, Churchill's quote came to mind as I considered that the victors are the ones who define the present and shape the future. Whether you are the victor or the conquered as a people, is it fair to say men are the victor over women? Throughout history, can we say that men have been the policy makers, the leaders, not exclusively of course, but by the most part.
Don't get me wrong, women have more power now than they have ever had. We hold leadership positions, we work and mother, we help define the present and shape the future---but I wonder if it would be easier to do so if we weren't trying to live an authentic life, confined by the boundaries of a masculine power model?
A masculine power model is incredibly successful for when you are trying to do something measurable, concrete and controllable.
- This model revolves around a plan: you check off steps, you move forward, you push through, you achieve.
- Goals are external and can be measured easily (often in project plan software!) Whether building a shed, reshaping your body or brokering a corporate merger--it is all "out there".
- It is linear, logical and concrete. Building bridges, performing life saving operation or setting up a tent, each person has a role that if done step-by-step, in order, correctly, should lead to success.
It is a pretty amazing system to get things done!
It is probably the model with which you were raised. Go to school, study hard, get a good job, house, status..... Yet despite acquiring "power", there are more and more women feeling disconnected, empty, at a loss for purpose and wondering why their success does not equate to happiness.
What about a feminine power model? Where do women find their innate, authentic power? As opposed to linear, logical, controllable and goal oriented, feminine power can be expressed by words like flowing, intuitive, receptive, connecting, nurturing. This internal power model doesn't follow a check list, can't be measured in a spreadsheet.
According to Claire Zammit, women want to "create our lives as an expression of who we truly are and an expression of our deepest gifts. We want to realize our higher spiritual potentials, our potentials for our relationships, our larger creative contribution."
Once we can tap into who we are (that alone is a journey, not a checklist) we can connect with others (unlike the masculine power model that supports not needing help from anyone) to grow, support each other at a deep level, share our stories, inspire and then move outward to change the world.
While the feminine model may seem less "sexy" it is only because we have been living in the masculine model, that measures success through achievements and titles and concrete things.
Step one to bringing this model to your own life is getting out of your head and into your heart. The masculine model supports suppressing feelings and emotions; staying in the logical to achieve maximum efficiency while striving to reach your goals. Denying the emotional, intuitive part inside slowly erodes your identity and you become invisible. In a feminine power model where power comes from connecting and expression and following your intuition, it is no wonder so many women feel like they are only shades of themselves.
Embracing the feminine within allows you to reconnect with who you are. Through feeling comes sharing and vulnerability. Through vulnerability comes connection and support and with those comes unlimited potential.
All of this takes me back to the adult day treatment program at the hospital where we tried to drill down to our core beliefs. Core beliefs are rooted in childhood and were either expressed directly (you can never be a professional athlete) or indirectly (parents never come to school events to see you). They are often not lightning bolt moments, but more like a constant drip of messaging, that you believe to the point where you reinforce it yourself (I will never be a professional athlete so I will never practice. I never practice so I do not get good. See I knew I was not good at sports).
So where do I begin? I feel like I have made strides in identifying my negative core beliefs (you are not worthy, you are a failure, you have no value). And I do believe by knowing myself better I have also been able to share my stories, find support, be supportive and move beyond my own self limiting beliefs to a place where I have written this blog for over a year, gotten my Reiki Master certification and become a much more patient, joyful, creative and loving mom.
Yet I feel there is something blocking any further progress at this time. Is there something there I am not looking at? Am I consciously or unconsciously blocking my intuition? Am I receding into the linear, logical and goal based masculine model? It feels like it.
I have to return to work soon. Yes, the rehabilitation specialist reached out to me so I will call him next week and we will begin the process. Project planning and logic are the rule at work and trying to apply them to who I am as a person at all times is what the real problem is.
My goal then is to see if I can maintain a sense of feminine power within a masculine power framework.
As always, I am a work in progress......