Selling (out) the Feminine.
Last night I stumbled upon an aptly-timed post by Sera Beak, the author of Red, Hot and Holy, that incited a flurry of feeling. This “fire-hosing” critique was a bare-all body slamming wrathful wake-up call for awareness inside a growing movement where the feminine as a long-exiled Way of Being barrels out of Her cave pell mell into a dying industrial-age world. Those of us who find ourselves curiously poised to receive her culturally disruptive, societally-inappropriate, and wildly beguiling Love Bombs dance with Her, as the face of liberation, AND necessarily as the shadowy and serpentine wraith of old, no-longer working (did they ever work?) systems. Of course. One cannot dance this dance of Remembering without coming face to ugly face with the war into which we were all born subsumed. Namely; hierarchical, industrial, scarcity-focused, (and yes), insidiously patriarchal ways of thinking, creating, seeing, and ‘producing’.
The result? Female competition, name-calling, pointing fingers, bad-taste-in-your-mouth pain-point marketing, outrageous tuition prices, work at the expense of intimacy, smoke’n mirror posturing (join me and ‘find your power’), and self-aggrandizing guru complexes abound in this fragile sphere of the ‘awakening feminine’. And yes, She IS pissed. Let’s just say it like it is.
Now before I continue I’d like to take this tender moment to out myself first. I feel called to stir the cauldron on this particular subject simply because I have unerringly stumbled upon my own putrid ick - all the ways in which I knowingly or unknowingly have commoditized, packaged and pandered the Goddess in my own marketed programs, lectures, and performances. All of the way in which I too have tripped and fell into the muck of the empirical mind - conquer and dominate the industry! More IS indeed more! Gain a MILLION facebook likes and call it the work of She! Eew.
Truth is, no matter how beautifully one wraps and adorns the ego in the name of ‘service’ it’s still ultimately serving the fractured too-small story first. And that’s the bitch of it. I personally will be the first to revel in the holy shame and the deep grief that comes along with our cultural blind-spots, and our lack of true elders. The Goddess is crying out for a new model. She, through of each one of us, sparked by the co-opting we see all around us (and if you’re a deep diver, inside us), is DEMANDING that we apply our wild feminine creativity and our unbounded imagination to the quandary of ‘conscious feminine business’ among other evolutionary front-line issues.
This, my sisters, requires a whole-systems change. Make no mistake about it. One simply cannot serve the message of the Wild Feminine on the tarnished silver platter of old. Which necessarily raises the question; what do I mean by the Feminine?
Just a month or so ago I found myself in the Sonoran Desert in Southern California at the South end of Joshua Tree National Park. Fragile Springtime had come early to those rocky basins and heat-scorched sandy washes. Although it wasn’t so obvious from afar, upon entering her prickly wilderness it became immediately apparent that life had entered a delicate courtship - the dance of eros kissed by the temperate blue sky and gentle sun. Miraculously, in the midst of the characteristic desert defenses, sentinels of little green plants, the ocotillo cactus, the cholla, and the sage, among others, all decided to bloom defiantly! Splashes of reds and yellows and fuchsias caught the eye. Tantalizing scents offset by the blooms (and emanating most especially by those on their way back to the earth) literally inspired the breath. The heart beat faster. This autonomous draw toward blooming of ones own accord, the whole and natural magnetism of all beings touched by the blooming, and the creative offering of oneself as food for the earth IS my understanding of the way the feminine dances in the world. Inherently relational, She walks the Beauty Way and the Way of the Wild - wild as in untamed. As in sovereign. Beauty as in whole beauty - the beauty that is not always lovely. She is the ultimate giver and remover of life. Nurturing. Intimate. Erotic. Creative. She holds life and death and temporality in her artistry. An artistry that is rooted in the fertile soil of what is to be valued above all else - the fragile and spirit-infused dance of life itself.
So I say again, one simply cannot serve the message of the Wild Feminine forced and squeezed into an economy and culture that is INHERENTLY top-down, fear-based, and built not on the value system of enhancing life, but on prestige often at the expense of vitality. It’s time to step into the alchemists laboratory. It’s time again to turn lead into gold.
To say I know what that looks like would be lie. To say that this will be easy, or in any way simple would be a lie. But this is indeed the question I’m living into now; how does the feminine make herself delicious in her blooming for the world while simultaneously coupling with the impeccable integrity of the masculine principle? How does one create a sustainable, earth-based, embodied and whole business model that simultaneously honors the feminine, Her sovereignty AND - for lack of a better phrase - effectively ‘gets the word out to her people?’
I’d like to poset that the solution - as with all solutions for all things - lies in the embodied experience and ego-less mirroring of the autonomous wild world. There is no ‘system’ more efficient and life-serving. Perhaps the question is not so much to market or not to market, but a deeper, more crucial check-in to the subterranean realms of the soul - into the dark humus of our own inherently feminine values. What are we promoting, and what are living?
Dr. Brian Swimme in his much-acclaimed audio/video series Canticle to the Cosmos rounds up nine hours of mind-blowing physics, mathematics and praise for our Universe Home by saying he envisions a world where commerce supports the vitality of life, not the self-interested cultural neurosis of ‘more-is-more’. (my paraphrase) Where that statement hits Mother Nature is reflected in the simple and elegant cycle of the seasons, the phases of the moon, and the wax and wane of all life here on this jewel called Earth. For every output, there is a receiving. For all limelight initiatives, there necessarily is a dark dreamtime. For every creation, there is a dissolving and a giving away. For every gain, there is a loss. My question : what are we losing in all our struggle for gain???
Let me be clear here. Our culture, our society, and our economies are OBSESSED with forward-momentum. With creative acts. With gaining participants. With more-ness. The drive is the result of a deep-seated and insidious fear of the untamable, serpentine, non-linear, blooming feminine. She does not fit into ANY business plan known to (wo)man today. Fact. Why? Because gaining the outer-world as it stands not of interest to her - alone. What she is interested in is the terrain of the soul. What she is interested in is the hot pursuit of life VITALITY - the ecstatic and ultimately fulfilling blooming of life made full. Which is say life made full in all realms of human experience. I’ll say it another way, the integrity and wellbeing of our businesses (and the ways in which we promote them) are in direct relationship to the wellbeing of our lived relationships with Spirit, with the natural world, with our life partners, and our local communities!
Adyashanti puts it very simply. He says our two most valuable commodities on this earth walk are our time and our attention. Where we put our time and our attention shows for us in a very real, pragmatic way what we truly value…the Truth we’re actually living. This truth may, or may not, equal carefully curated online identities that pay lip service to wholeness, and ecstasy, sacred union, and feminine creativity, self-care, and true intimacy, and love for the land and…and…and…
I am exploring the sacred marriage of my words, my offerings, and my actions. THIS is my metric for integrity. The harmony of these things are my values. Patriarchy wears Goddess costumes* when we sell-out our soul truths, and cheapen our offerings through lip service, where we believe the lie of tawdry fame and chase external approval as if it will staunch a much more fatal wound - fear-based external dependency. The opposite of female sovereignty.
So when I take a breath of air and derail (often due to receiving a perfectly timed and well-aimed ‘fire-hosing myself) from well-worn groves of patriarchal, scarcity-based marketing initiatives and I see commerce dominating vitality in many of our ‘Goddess-themed’ lives, I’m disturbed. The question ‘in what ways am I a living embodiment of my value system?’ would be a more effective exploration for our own vitality than the reigning hollow conversation on the next new business endeavor and marketing plan.
Now this sounds harsh. I admit that. It is also MY PERSPECTIVE born of my own unique experiences. I wholeheartedly admit that too. But when five out of five of my dear friends and sisters who are also figure heads in the world of ‘conscious feminine awakening’ can talk of nothing to me of intimate, delicious, life-enhancing soul-revealing experiences, but instead run on repeat about their next public ‘move’ and the newest promotional scheme, and how well their business is doing, than I begin to smell the stink of what-lies-beneath.
So what game are we playing out here sisters? Whom is hoodwinking whom? The conversation I’m NOT interested in having is of the finger-pointing variety - you vs. me vs. so-and-so which reeks of comparison and competition. I’m NOT interested in discussing whom the voice of the Goddess has ‘chosen’ and who’s actions deem her ‘worthy’ of such channeling. She is NOT a distant father-God that asks us for penitence and perfection, but embodiment! What I am interested in discussing are our choices, large and small, that grow out of the soil of our value systems - those choices that can actually create the change we wish to see here now. Those choices that usher us into true service, no strings attached. This is a call for solidarity in sisterhood. Not to bypass the richness of our own shadow material, but to understand that the place we find ourselves in is sticky and unknown. We need each other to keep each other real.
And if one feels called to speak up in the hair-raising and revelatory voice of the Feminine, to bundle her and to price her, and to hark her wares to the wider world…ask yourself first, and I will do the same; what are you LIVING? For that is what She seems most interested in to me. What beats the ancient rhythm of your wild red heart ALIVE, that has no bounds, and knows no name, and needs no gain? What God or Goddess are you serving in that post, or in that e-course, or through that conversation? Commerce? Life vitality? Both? How has your direct, embodied and raw daily life shaped the birth canal through which you’re now laboring, calling in your hoarse voice for the hand of the Lady?
No easy answers…but I trust in the asking we’ll do as we’re intuitively called. We’ll LIVE. We’ll experiment. We’ll listen. We’ll embody. And we’ll adjust course to follow the Way of Mystery to feed the mouth of the Earth. And perhaps we’ll meet on the corner where our deepest soul vision meets the need of the world. Where ‘success’ is gained in the making of oneself vitally delicious in ALL the realms of human experience, and where work is a holy upwelling of the truth at the center of the image you were born with.* Overflowing. Boundless. Free. Unashamed, and
(* Sera Beak)
(** David Whyte)
Sera Beak : http://serabeak.com
Adyashanti : http://www.adyashanti.org
Brian Swimme : http://www.storyoftheuniverse.org
David Whyte : http://www.davidwhyte.com