Lately we’ve been drawn to both reading and writing articles on the subject of the ‘feminine’, but what does the term ‘feminine’ actually mean? Author and presenter Jo Wyse, who co-hosts our Tap into Emotional Wellbeing workshop with her partner Austin, explains all in this guest post … ahead of the publication of her beautiful new book ‘I Am A Woman’ on 5th August.
Wow I just typed ‘feminine meaning’ into a Google search and was given the description ‘having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.’
Oh my goodness. When I was growing up, I also held this very shallow perception, which was unfortunate because I was a tomboy (and probably still am a little bit.) I loved wearing jeans and tracksuits rather than skirts and dresses. I loved having my hair tied back into messy bunches rather than delicate French braids and I would always choose (much to my mother’s despair) my comfy sports trainers over a pair of sparkly sandals.
Which is why, when I was growing up, the word feminine was one I dreaded to hear, because I knew I was failing at it. It was a cause of embarrassment, shame and humiliation and looking back now, I even wonder if it could have been part of the reason why, in my mid 20s, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS.)
So it’s fascinating to see that many new thinking experts are now linking physical conditions and illnesses to emotional patterns and that one of the metaphysical meanings behind PCOS is a ‘deep wound to the feminine self’. Maybe this wound started in my childhood? Maybe it started in my mother’s childhood? Even my mother’s mother, or yet further back? So deep are the scars of the patriarchal system we have been living in for generations that it would be hard to truly identify where it started.
My passion now is healing that wound (I no longer experience PCOS symptoms) and helping myself and other women remember, really remember, what it means to be feminine. It’s through reading books and meeting and talking with inspirational teachers that I have come to understand the truth of what it means to be feminine and I do my best now every day to live in that truth. The good news is, it doesn’t necessarily involve pulling on a frock or swapping my size 5 Nikes for a pinchy pair of high heels 😉
You see, I now understand that being feminine is about understanding the cyclical nature of life and the cyclical nature of our bodies. Everything in life has a cycle; a cycle of birth, growth, decay and death and a woman’s body is a reminder of that truth. Every month her body goes through a cycle of birth, growth, decay and death and her feminine role is to remember and honour each stage of the cycle with her authentic feminine traits.
Even if a girl hasn’t started her periods yet, even a woman is going through the menopause, or has had her sacred reproductive organs abused or removed, or like me (in my 20’s) has conditions in that area of her body – she is still cycling. The problem is we live in a linear world which has distanced us from this wisdom, through ‘advances’ such as pills, patches and injections. I’m not saying those things are wrong by the way, it’s just that perhaps more information like this could be given out before they are used by women, who in the main, just don’t know about these things.
So, when women reconnect to the wisdom of cycles (and remember there is never just one cycle, there are cycles within cycles) through rituals, synchronising with the lunar phases, meaningful conversations and sharing with other women, relaxing (not annihilating) their egos and allowing the space to acknowledge and cleanse their redundant emotions every month … we will have returned to the feminine and we will truly understand what that word means.
Who knows, maybe one day in the future I will Google search the word feminine and it will say ‘a person who understands how to use gentle emotions to navigate the cycles of life.’
Jo’s book ‘I Am a Woman – Your highest calling’ is a simple 34 page introduction into the transformative power of a woman’s body through her monthly cycles and is published on 5th of August. It is available to order in hardback on Amazon now for £9.99.