There’s lots of talk these days about women’s empowerment, as well there should be. After all, for much of human history women have been extremely underutilized resources — and this does not at all serve the greater good. With all the challenges and opportunities facing the modern world, everyone’s gifts and contributions are sorely needed.
I would take this a step further and suggest that many of our world’s challenges are a direct result of women’s disempowerment in modern times. While our planet actually had a matriarchal social structure for much of its history, the patriarchy became dominant some thousands of years ago, and things have been (shall we say) quite out of balance ever since.
Even I now recognize that most of the success I achieved earlier in my life was earned with male energy, the active “yang” aspect of yin/yang balance. And while there is nothing wrong with male energy, it has clearly dominated our way of dealing with life, especially in the West. I believe that we all need the feminine receptive principle to create the balance and coexistence with Nature that will allow life to truly flourish on this planet. And women are probably ideally suited to carry the torch of feminine yin energy, and to offer a new style of achievement that is far more collaborative and balanced.
Personally, I am inspired by the Dalai Lama’s quote at the 2009 Vancouver Peace Summit that, “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” And although of course women all over the world are contributing to a growing movement of holism, Western women have been so relatively advantaged that we really do have an important role to play.
In my work, I see so many women talented women with amazing contributions to make. But for many of them, the outer imbalance of yang energy is reflected internally, with inner imbalances, on the level of hormones, that interfere with their full vitality and expression. And typically, it is the stress hormone cortisol (a very yang hormone) which contributes to other hormone imbalances — and specifically to insomnia, weight gain, diminished sexuality, and other issues that are very disempowering to women.
One of the things I teach them is how to reduce cortisol, as well as how to increase the production of oxytocin, the very yin “love hormone” that is an antidote to cortisol and so yummy and balancing for the female body. Oxytocin production is supported by singing, dancing, kissing, hugging, communing with other women, and by all types of sexual expression, especially orgasm – all terrifically empowering for women.
So although we usually look to the outer world when we talk about women’s empowerment, I propose that it is also an inside job. Most women could powerfully empower themselves by expressing a very feminine quality of nurturance, and tending to their inner balance and wellbeing.
The future of the world could be depending on it.