“To be aware of one’s own feelings, needs, and values and to have the courage to act on them is the essence of conscious femininity.” Marion Woodman
Does the feminine side of your nature allow you to act on your feelings? Do you ever feel that being in the moment is more important than doing? How do you balance being and doing?
This week I saw an amazing film, Marion Woodman: Dancing in the Flames, about the famous Jungian analyst, and it reminded me how important valuing each moment is. The film delved into her interior life journey, her struggles and insights, and I felt deeply connected to many of her experiences.
Understanding Femininity Can Expand Our Awareness
The appearance of this movie at this time was very synchronistic because I have recently been drawn to Carl Jung’s theories and to mythology, particularly the stories of ancient femininity. These are all areas which were previously a large part of my life.
I lived in New Orleans for 12 years and taught a high school English class that included almost an entire semester of Greek mythology. At the same time, I was a member of the Jung Society where I attended lectures, workshops, and a Centerpoint class. Mythology was alive in New Orleans with streets named after the Greek Muses and krewes that created the Mardi Gras events named after gods and goddesses. At The same time, it was a place where people lived very much in the moment.
What Does It Mean When We Become Depressed
But that was during the late 80s and the 90s that I lived there, and while these influences have stayed with me, I have not been actively working with them. Then, in the last month or so, I have felt a strong desire to reread the many books I still have on the subject. Why am I feeling this? Do I want to write a novel placed in an ancient time? Do I want to write about mythology or Jungian psychology? I don’t know.
A great deal of depression about my life and my writing has accompanied this desire. Where am I going with all this? Is it worth it? Like many writers, I feel a conflict between spending time writing and marketing. In the midst of my tears, one day, I admitted, “I’m tired of trying to succeed!”
Nature Puts Us In Touch With Wildness
But hearing about Marion Woodman’s journey shifted something within me. As a child she spent time in the woods “running wild” and that developed her inner wildness; however, she was the daughter of a minister, so she also became a perfectionist in some ways, and this dichotomy was a challenge to integrate. Growing up close to nature in a family that had high expectations for me created a challenge in my life too.
Spirit May Assist Our Healing
Marion also had many health challenges and her healing experiences were very profound. I too have had strange experiences with health problems that no doctor could diagnose or cure, and I had to turn to my spiritual relationship to find guidance. In one case, like Marion, I demanded that Spirit end the problem or end my life. Continuing to experience that illness was not acceptable. Within three days, my problem went away although Marion’s experiences of healing were more dramatic than mine.
We Need To Be Willing To Work With Our Shadow
Marion has worked with addicts and pointed out that many times we turn to drugs, alcohol or other addictions to numb us so that we can avoid dealing with our shadow side. We all need to be able to face this darker side and work with it in order to heal ourselves. Unfortunately, in this culture, we are taught to ignore it and to always appear strong, happy, or content, but this is a dead end approach that will always end in addiction or disaster. Although I have never abused alcohol or drugs, I realize that I have been addicted to ways of thinking that blocked my growth.
By the time the movie was over, I was stunned by the similarites, but gradually a sense of peace came over me. A brilliant woman like Marion Woodman had gone through all of this too, finding her way by trusting herself and working with her shadow.
We Need To Value the Moment and Our Femininity
Suddenly I realized that it was okay for me to be where I was. It was okay not to know what I needed to do next or where I was headed with my writing. The only thing I needed to do was to value each moment and follow whatever emerged because staying in the moment made it possible for what was happening to become clear.
Just as we devalue and avoid the shadow, we also sometimes have devalued the feminine and this is particularly true in the sense that men have not been encouraged to value their feminine side, nor have women been encouraged to develop their masculine qualities. But the reality is that we all have feminine and masculine aspects, and when they are in balance, we are healthier human beings.
The more we become aware of what we feel and need at our deepest level, the more likely we are to act from who we truly are. As Woodman points out, if we act from values, feelings, and needs, we are acting with courage from our “conscious femininity.” This is the feminine part that exists in every man as well as every woman. In a culture that is so programmed to act from the rational, we need to be reminded there is more to consider and other ways to understand ourselves than to obey the rational.
The Moment Will Lead Us To the Answers
So, I am letting my feminine be the guide. I’m not creating an artificial goal to force me to “get to work.” I’m going to keep feeling whatever comes up. I’m going to notice what I need on a daily basis and fill that need if I can. With time, I know the larger picture will emerge if I stay in touch with my deeper feminine and the moment. I’ve been in this place before, and what I needed always appeared in some form. When the time is right, I’ll know what action I need to take.
In the meantime, Marion Woodman’s story has been a marvelous inspiration and I am committed to valuing each moment of each day.
What value do you find in the moment? When is being in the moment most important to you? Please comment.
Next week, I’ll write about my journey to let go of perfection.
© 2015 Georganne Spruce ZQT4PQ5ZN7F5