Finding Womanhood in Sisterhood
If anyone would have asked me the question 10 years ago what womanhood really meant, my answer would have been a long and exhausting listing of all the negative aspects that I saw in women and mostly in myself. I was my best enemy when it came to being feminine.
I always associated myself as a “fighter”, a “survivor”, as “successful” or “a failure” – but as a woman? That may sound strange, certainly, given the fact that I have had one boyfriend after another since I was 17 with a marriage of 10 years in between. You would think I would know something about being a woman, but in all honesty I realize today that I had no clue!
I never thought about the word “woman” in association with “divine” until I was about 35 years old. Not having grown up catholic but protestant, there were no saints or sages – let alone female role models that I could ever relate to in my upbringing.
Not having had a true relationship with my mother, I grew up as a tomboy admiring my father and being astonished by my mother at best, but mostly estranged. I entered every relationship bringing forth the masculine force within me, and hoping it would all work out. Well, with no surprise it did not. After a first divorce at 29, a number of ruined relationships and a trail of broken hearts, the universe sent me a teacher to learn from. My first spiritual teacher was a woman and I discovered at 35 years of age. She taught me two things I never knew about being a woman – that I could be loved like a child by a woman, and that it was beautiful to be the embodiment of the divine feminine!
Needless to say that my whole life changed and that my opening to womanhood, and seeing womanhood as something divine, was a revelation beyond words. I was in awe to see that being a woman didn’t mean being weak, bitchy, mean or needing to submit myself to a man. Being a woman became a path of self-discovery, one we must all travel as women and as sisters.
Having focused my whole life on the negative side of womanhood, I now discovered the beauty in women; the qualities of surrender and openness, the joy of motherhood and sisterhood, the glory of a sexual unfoldment with no shame, the soft and the strong sides, the joy of togetherness with sisters in a space that revealed a divine quality of intimacy that I had never known before.
Of course, both sides of the feminine still exist, but now I can relate to the negative sides of the feminine in a new way. When I feel the negative side come up inside me, when the deep judgment comes up again, I can see it for what it is – the remnants of a woman who did not honor or love herself for being the beautiful woman she is.
I still have no deep relationship with my mother, but I can love her for who she is and see her as a woman that forbid herself and her daughters what was forbidden to her – a long lineage of hearts closed down to that feminine side that I am given the opportunity to finally open up.
When my daughter was born, it was the ultimate feeling of the divine, the mother that started unfolding and entering me – another aspect of the woman within that I have the opportunity to explore every day and most importantly, that I can model for my daughter. I can finally be the mother to her that I would have liked to have.
One of the greatest gifts that I have given myself (and that the universe has offered me) is finding a true sisterhood of likeminded women, getting together in intimacy, in love, and in openness. We bring our honesty and vulnerability into a sacred space where we can all simply be who we truly wish to be and express that which is within us. We can transform our love to fear, jealousy to hatred, anger to bliss. All is welcome, offered and held.
I lived for three years in a space with only women, a household of sisters for sisters. I entered that space over ten years ago feeling alienated from my own womanhood and from all my sisters around me. The deep work that occurred by just being there, being open, feeling loved and held in every aspect of my overly critical self broke down the barrier that held me prisoner from the deep well of love that resided inside me – or rather, it melted it away through acceptance and togetherness. We ate together, we slept in the same space, we cried and laughed and cursed together, we experienced different things at different times and yet it all felt like it was a cycle of one big Whole, where we as pieces of the puzzle offered ourselves to the experience. Suddenly I saw each sister in her wholeness, and I recognized each aspect of them within me and I could finally accept that somewhere we all longed for the same thing – deep connection and love.
For me, being a woman in a space means being myself, free, accepted, loved, held, being spoken to honestly and with a consciousness of love and seen for who I am as a whole being – no mask necessary. This space has transformed my life and still does. I marvel at the opportunity to welcome all aspects of the feminine and to discover myself in each of my sisters and her story. We truly are ONE in this space, and opening to that is a tremendous gift to becoming all that we are as women, as sisters, daughters and mothers.
Today, I have sisters all over the world who give me the opportunity to cultivate a deeper and more conscious relationship with the feminine. I realize now that I was born as a woman so that I could follow a path of gratitude, discovering every day more about the deeper meaning of womanhood… a discovery to be continued!
Photo credit: Kenya Brading