By Stephanie Miller
Perhaps I’ve never forgotten Karin Blixen’s lament about her lover's departure in the movie Out of Africa that "if women do anything, they wait" because of its essential truth. Often when we are in our feminine power it is waiting, listening or creating space. It is sometimes referred to derisively as the nesting instinct but it is in fact one of the more vital activities of human society. Creating a home, or more precisely, the feeling of home is something many of us do innately. It is creating and holding the space.
Consider for a moment the bare physiological facts of our bodies, our womb is an open space inside our bodies created for the sole purpose of housing another human being. It isn’t insignificant and it isn’t weak. In fact, it is the most powerful thing about being a woman. Let’s face it, we hold the key to the perpetuation of human life. It is however passive, especially in contrast to the male anatomy which is active. Another aspect of feminine energy is what is often called female intuition. Taken together the feminine power could be called space and wisdom. If imbalanced this could become inactive, irrational or excessively emotional. The masculine power could be called action, groundedness or strength by contrast. If imbalanced it could be over-exertion, stubbornness or aggressiveness. Seeing the result of these imbalances emphasizes the importance of the balancing masculine and feminine energy in both the individual and in society.
At this moment in society we could pause to consider why we are seeing so much hatred, war and aggression. These would be expressions of an imbalanced male energy. The easy, thoughtless, answer could be ‘Men run the world and they’ve messed it up.’ I’d like to posit that it isn’t MEN or WOMEN, it’s us. It isn’t the battle of the sexes. We are out of balance. This isn’t about feminism or patriarchy, it’s about balance. I’ve watched women take to the streets in protest and wondered, ‘To what end?’ What do women want? The quick answer would be ‘Equality’, ‘More women in power’ or ‘Attention to women’s needs’ but that’s far too simple.
I believe what we want is a restoration of balance. We want women to work where they have strength and men to work where they have strength. We want a human society that is basically good and serves the needs of all.
So, where do we begin? I suggest by exploring space. Each of us, man or woman, could look at the areas where we could create more space. The condition of claustrophobia we find ourselves in in modern society could use a dose of empty space. It could be listening more. It be creating an environment where conversation could happen. It could be cleaning out the junk under the bed. Today, try looking at your life and see if you can find a little space. Explore what it means to be a womb in a wounded world.