This entry is deeply inspired by the book by Maya Tiwari, “The Path of Practice: A Woman’s Book of Ayurvedic Healing” and by conversations with my teacher, Uma Inder.
Taken from “The Path of Practice”….”According to the Vedic seers, a woman’s femininity cannot exist apart from her Shakti—the one energy that gave birth to everything. Shakti is the Mother’s power behind creation, and signifies the sacred mysteries of creation, regeneration and destruction—a metaphor for womanhood…The Divine Mother endowed all females with two gifts: the power to nurture and the power to protect. Shakti is the spirit of protecting the sacred, gathering food, worshiping the Divine and giving birth to children, to inspiration, to ideas and to art…”
I sat with my teacher a few days after many months of separation. I immediately felt my layers of protection melt away. Just to sit with her, I longed to be completely open and ruthlessly honest with myself. I longed to deepen my connection and my practice. As we sat under the canopy of palm and banana trees, Uma told me about a teacher who had come to visit while my husband and I were fastidiously juggling our American life back home. This teacher had spoken of the disconnect that westerners have from the land, and subsequently from nature; their divine nature.
There is a natural "state" of the feminine and the masculine. And each of these states is different from one another. From an ancient yogic viewpoint, there is Shiva and there is Shakti. There is Divine Father. And, there is Divine Mother. Call her Mary. Of Nazarene or Magdalene. Call her Saraswati. Lakshmi. Durga. Or Call her Mother Earth. Or call her “Mom”. Each of our mothers are also part of this divine lineage. Having a holy relationship with our mother, whether she is alive or gone, is part of our journey home to our own divine nature. Home to our Shakti.
Uma talked about how women have increasingly exercised roles of masculine power in the outer world, and even in the bedroom. She spoke about how this is confusing for men. Many modern cultures have lost reverence for the mother as a sacred womb for all that needs nurturing. Slowing down has become perceived as a weakness instead of a divinely feminine role. The role of being a "mom" on its own has been diminished to somewhat less than that of a "productive, hard-working, successful woman". Many women feel they have to do it all, or at least "contribute" in a greater way to the household.
When women assume power as their default position, nature is disrupted. Men become confused and begin to wonder what their role is. This isn't personal. It is as much a part of nature as the winter (feminine) and the summer (masculine). Nothing more. Nothing less. When women take control, as their predominant position, men may feel a sense of loss and uncertainty. The natural sate of the Divine Masculine is to provide, protect, and to project. When a woman steps into this role on a day to day basis, there is a resultant block in the natural flow of energy. When energy is blocked, there is more disease, separation, disintegration, and disconnection from the earth, and from one another. As I listened to Uma speak, I breathed deeply and felt an ancient truth in her words. Truth that resonated in my body. It is just like the land, I thought. Just as we cannot plant crops on the same plot of land year after year after year and expect the soil to be balanced, neither can we cultivate the planet and our relationships with ongoing "production". There is a time for a quiet nurturance to prevail, and it is the essence of the Divine Feminine that is this quiet nurturance everywhere on the planet. And the feminine of each species is the most potent container of this sacred energy.
And so I get honest with myself... As a woman, I long to surrender into the womb of Mother Earth. And to be the womb for others. To plant seeds. Nurture. Nourish. Receive and contain. I long to grow a garden and follow my maternal instincts. They are there for all women, although some may be shrouded over. That is the cosmic truth of the feminine. While the masculine energy in its natural state, penetrates, activates, stimulates and drives. Not bad, not better. Just different. Like two opposite sides of a magnet. Two sides of the brain. It is that pure. That simple... Some of my best moments are when I am soft, and quiet, and clear. And then my husband comes home. Even my smile is different than his. Mine is a graceful container in which I hold his troubles of the day. His is expansive and radiant, like the sun. Mine is more like moonlight.... He drinks of my happiness when I am in this state. It nourishes him immeasurably. I know in the depth of my soul, that this is my natural state. To dance, to shimmer, and to intoxicate. When I am in this state, I shine. When I am shining, I am attractive, and he comes to me. Melts into me.
More from Maya Tiwari’s Book, “The first step in recalling your Shakti is to allow yourself to accept that you already have it. Recognize it within you. Acknowledge it in your feelings and actions. Become attentive to the Mother. Start to notice her presence in everything around you.”
Begin your search. Look for grace, nurturance, nourishment, compassion, and unconditional receptivity. This is Shakti.
I am woman. Hear me roar. Lovingly.