Last week I had the opportunity to attend an incredible 3-day retreat on how to create healthier, more fulfilling relationships.
My eyes were opened in so many ways, and had some huge a-has about all the things I’ve been doing wrong for so many years! OMG!
But what I learned was about far more than just romantic relationships, it applies to all kinds of relationships, including our relationship with food.
A lot of the teaching was focused on the core differences between masculine and feminine energy, and how so many women today have become stuck in a pretend masculine way of being – because we’ve been taught that we have to achieve and accomplish and be self-sufficient. Heaven forbid we be treated as the “weaker sex” when someone tries to open a door for us or pay for our dinner!
(Actually it’s pretty nice when my man opens the door for me. I feel valued and cherished in that he wants to make my life easier in just the simplest of ways. At least that’s how I choose to see it.)
I can’t tell you how many clients I’ve worked with who believed that they needed to earn love by DO-ing, not just for Be-ing who they are (especially the love of their fathers).
And I totally relate to that. To this day I still have a hard time accepting that I can be enough without a list of accomplishments to share with my boyfriend at the end of they day.
So while the feminist movement has been great for creating gender equality, it’s actually done very little for fostering emotional balance for women (or for men, but that’s another article!)
Of course our parents were doing the best they could by teaching us to be self-sufficient and goal-oriented, but along the way we forgot how to allow ourselves to receive and be in the flow and be supported TOO.
Even moreso, in this masculine imbalance we’ve become attached to a constant need for control…
… Control our food intake
… Control our appetites
… Control our dress size
… Control our day
… Control our partners, kids, coworkers, etc.
We don’t do this to be mean, we do it because we are afraid.
But then we try to control that too… control our emotions or avoid them altogether.
None of this is in harmony with our true feminine nature.
Instead we’re mired in our never-ending to-do lists, rules, comparison and relentless drive to win. Stay in control, never let them see you cry, stand up for yourself or else you’ll get walked all over. Keep score.
It’s not flattering, but in our attempt to stay in control and manage our fear we can even get a little manipulative.
As a result we’ve lost touch with the natural feminine flow, feelings, intuition and grace that resides in all of us. We’ve pushed it down, disconnected from it, and it’s left us starving for something we can’t quite put our fingers on.
Nowhere is this more evident than in how we relate to food and our bodies.
When you think about it, most everything on offer for support with nutrition, weight or fitness is rooted in the masculine.
Count calories and control your portion sizes. Analyze the nutritional value of every bite and determine whether it’s good or bad (then judge or punish yourself for eating it).
Even most of the exercise that we do is masculine in nature…boot camps, slogging away on the elliptical to earn (or burn) points, try to get hard, sculpted bodies and eliminate all trace of softness. Use your “willpower” to stick to the game plan, or else all is lost.
I’ve come to believe that this is a big part of why so many women are in so much pain around this. We are disconnected from our essential nature.
It’s great to employ masculine tools when needed to get things done, but when this becomes our predominant energetic state, it’s fucking exhausting. It goes against the grain of who we are as women.
What would it look like if we brought the feminine back to our relationship with food and our bodies?
Here’s what I see…
Instead of asking, “What should/shouldn’t I eat” or “What can/can’t I eat”, we’d be asking “What would truly nourish me in this moment?”
Instead of criticizing, pushing and abusing our bodies, we’d be asking or bodies what they need and thanking them for what they do for us.
Instead of viewing healthy meal preparation as one more chore on the list or place to fail ourselves and others, we’d view cooking as a beautiful opportunity for creative expression.
Instead of trudging away on exercise machines to achieve some numeric goal, we’d be doing yoga, dancing, or moving in nature… just for the joy of it.
Instead of working endlessly to try to earn a tiny scrap of time for ourselves after everything else gets done (which it never does), self-care activities would be on the top of our priority lists.
Instead of stuffing or numbing our emotions with food, we’d be open and vulnerable in sharing our feelings with the people who matter most.
Instead of ignoring or disconnecting from our appetites (both physical and otherwise) we’d embrace all of our hungers as part of the flow of life.
Instead of trying to map and plan out our days (and what we’re going to eat each day), we’d be open to the surprises and the joy that can arise in the moment.
Instead of counting calories we’d be counting hugs, expressions of love, moments of gratitude.
Instead of abandoning our bodies we’d be open to the tremendous amount of wisdom that our bodies have to offer us each day.
Instead of trying to fit ourselves to someone else’s standard of attractiveness, we’d be doing things that bring out our natural radiance.
Instead of feeling lost, disconnected, overhwelmed and isolated, we’d feel at home.
I’d love to know if you agree. Please leave me a comment below and answer this question:
What can you do to bring the feminine back into your relationship with food and your body today?