“If we’re going to understand and dismantle patriarchy, we need to be talking about the dark side of the feminine, as well as the negative masculine.” -- Carolyn Baker
A few months ago, I wrote a Women Connected blog called the Feminine Shadow. I had been reflecting on the female relationships that I've experienced and observed over the years in my personal and professional life.
As the founder of WomenConnected.net my work is support women to realize their best selves and to use their talents and gifts to make profound change in our world.
As a coach, I also know that in order to become our best selves, we need to look at all sides of who we are - including the polarities.
As I thought about my own female relationships over the years, I remembered dear friends. Women with whom I have enduring relationships. Some are friends. Others are teachers and mentors. Some relationships got lost through job changes and family moves and then when we're reunited, we seem to pick up where we left off. As well as those loved ones that have passed.
But there are some relationships that have also been down right confusing.
I've had moments of walking away from a conversation with another woman and wondering "what just happened here?" It seemed that so much was under the surface, unspoken, yet acted out in confusing and sometimes hostile ways. I've begun to think of these confusing behaviors as "the feminine shadow".
I've always thought of women as sharing a kind of pact with one another.
I'm sure this stems from my relationship with my mom, but it was so much more than that.
We share the female biology. Only another women can truly appreciate the ranges of discomfort during "that time of the month", or the exquisite love when holding your child for the first time, or the deep loss that accompanies losing your looks to time in a society that is so preoccupied with youth.
And, we share a female psychology.
Among other things, we also share an imprint of violence and oppression of women that's been passed down through the generations of mothers to their daughters.
I have come to believe that the "confusing moments" are emanating from an unseen and unloved part of the female psyche.
The Feminine Shadow Project
I need to play with this more and decided to take this topic of the Feminine Shadow to the level of a project. I'll be undertaking this topic as an art journey exploration. I'll be creating articles and doing visual journaling like the image below.
This page isn't finished yet and I may/may not share the final page. This is very deep and personal work as I excavate the imprint of the feminine shadow in my own psyche.
This work is a multi-stage process that I'll be in for the next several weeks. I'll share bits and pieces as I go along. I hope you'll stay tuned for more!
SHARE in the comments below, what has been your experience with the Feminine Shadow? How has it shown up in your own life and your relationships with other women?
Terri is an Integral Coach, facilitator, writer, wife, mom, continuous learner, and founder of WomenConnected.net. She is passionate about women's development and demonstrates her love and commitment to the development and empowerment of women both personally and professionally.
At WomenConnected.net we stand for the unique qualities and strengths of women. We are teaching a way of being for women that encourages women to collaborate rather than compete, to trust rather than mistrust, to value each other as much as they value being with a man and to honor and value themselves. We do this through Women Connected Circles, Releasing the Need to Please, and a range of private coaching programs.
Contact Terri: womenconnected.net and firstname.lastname@example.org