All my life I’ve been surrounded by women. I grew up with five sisters and my mother; I had female house-mates, worked with many women; I studied with mostly women while gaining Yoga and Life Coaching certifications; I have been blessed with more than 31 years of marriage to my wife, Bridget; and, indeed, more than seventy-five percent of my yoga students are female. I have to admit it, I have been surrounded by wonderful women and I am captivated by feminine energy and sensitivities. I believe they will save our world.
Ever since an early age I had a lot of feminine energy around me. Granted it wasn’t always pleasant, it was always enlightening. Of course there were family squabbles among the kids but also I witnessed the tension between generations as my sisters, and I suppose my mother too, began to expand the roles and freedoms of women. I believe we were all fortunate to have been born into these times because we are both witnessing and participating in a fundamental shift of global energy: the sacred feminine is arising.
It is my privilege to work in such closeness with so many women. I bear witness to a growing movement of women regaining their power without compromising the best of the qualities of being feminine. Women are diversifying their roles and are demanding a balance of equality; they are even finding new and creative ways to express all aspects of their being, even the masculine qualities. The Taoist symbol of Yin-Yang [ is a perfect symbol for describing the balance of energy that I witness in these wonderful friends and students. Additionally, I get to have wonderful interplay with men who have softened into their feminine side, both on and off the mat. Overall I see more beauty and creative power, more balance and equanimity.
A tenant of my spiritual practice is to strive to “take it deeper.” Yes, I have a lot of women in my life but what is to be learned and shared from this? First, I have to acknowledge that at an early age I also had a powerful image of divine femininity in my Catholic upbringing. The Virgin Mary was greatly honored and was taught that her loving care expressed as unconditional love showered down upon us; a great salve for a young boy who frequently felt lost in the dynamic of living with six females and five other males (four brothers and my dad).
Later in my life as I studied Buddhism. and then metaphysics, I also explored a compelling force within me that drew me deeper into the heart of feminine energy. In time, I identified more with the name “Mother Mary” than the Catholic rendition; it seemed more natural to think of the Divine Mother as a power that actually had intercourse with male energy. Balance seemed to demand this perspective, and opened the door to explore power in the form of creative feminine energy. I recognize that the term “mother” is a heavily anthropomorphic limitation of language and our capacity to conceptualize the Supreme Whole expressing and creating itself as it gives birth to our reality. Regardless, “Mother” works really well for me.
My human mother was a lovely and very strong woman. My observation of women who become mothers is very favorable for within motherhood we can witness a level of love that is powerful in its depth and heart-achingly beautiful in its tenderness; passionate and intense in its nurturing expression. All this sensitivity to feminine energy made me ripe for a powerful ride of personal growth and my own empowerment. The yoga community is, as mentioned above, primarily made up of women. The yoga teacher community is more than ninety percent female. My years of studying with them, and sharing the delight of profound Tantric studies, deepened my respect and admiration for women in a profound way. It also lead me around to a more personal relationship with the Divine Feminine, for which I choose to use the more intimate and affectionate term of “mother.” She becomes the Goddess to me, and I relate personally in a sweet sort of surrender that is experienced between beloveds.
Within Tantra, we hold the concept that the highest most unified Supreme Consciousness—Om, God, Shiva—pours out its creative force—Shakti— for the delight of knowing itself in its infinite diversity, all held within its infinite wholeness. This force is what we refer to when we say “mother nature.” It is the very essence of beingness empowered by the supreme force, expressing itself within a field of infinite love. The Tantric view holds that it is all “mother” pulsing in and out of being. As such this expansion and contraction represents a love that includes the shadow side, the places where the love is diminished and the light is made dark. We grow through trial and error. If a tool is powerful enough to complete a task you put it down and pick up a more useful one for the next task. By this I mean that through the loving application of compassion—for ourselves and others—we grow into our next highest level of being. Most of us could go on and on about how our trials and tribulations have been the very afflictions of love that produced great insight and growth.
My personal practice is to keep an on-going awareness of my presence within the presence of the Divine Mother. I love to sense her flowing around me, in me, and from me. I offer my gratitude as often as I can, for even the smallest things such as the abundance of dirty dishes and clothes that I can launder. Blessings abound. I have a twice-daily practice in which I love to sit and just feel, without thinking. These meditations take me deeper into relationship to the presence of that which is holy already within me. When I get out of my mental-dominated state of being (masculine?) I experience this loving energetic embrace in a ever-more-sublime way. I find it to be most nurturing. It becomes a salve for my soul and helps me to feel more connected to others and my world.
What really floats my boat is seeing the unfolding of this feminine power and consciousness all around us. This is a multi-generational and non-gender specific pulse of connecting with new and higher levels of feminine qualities. I see them being implemented throughout our society, relationships of all sorts, and even our business and government. Qualities such as mutual cooperation and communication, tapping into the power of diversity, making contributions for the greater good, showing mutual respect and a willingness to help others succeed, are all being explored and implemented in new and wonderful ways all around us. The practical Tantrika side within me also recognizes that the shadow still exists as well. We can gain strength and perspective from recognizing that we build upon the base of what has come before us; life and evolution is a spiraling assent from the base level of existence to the more sublime being we can aspire to become.
The path of growth I choose to follow is the path, or better yet, dance, with the Goddess. I seek to expand my capacity to love and interact within the kindness of others. I seek to be creative and appreciate the creativity of others. I revel in the wonder of the differences and similarities between men and women; in learning the ways of women and their powerful contribution to our social evolution. The feminine power is rising around, and within us, and it makes me very optimistic about our future. In short, we are experiencing a renaissance of Spirit, and that spirit has a distinctly feminine face to it.