- Closing her heart and running away from her emotions. Often, a seminal event forces a woman to stop expressing her feelings, stop trusting her intuition, or shut the door on her inner life altogether. This catalyst could be rape or incest, illness, divorce or marriage, the birth of a child, the death of a parent, or any loss.
- Losing connection with her physical body as well as the body of the earth. In today's age of information and uniformity, most people live mostly in their heads, preferring the tidy logical mind over the messy body. We also spend most of our time inside buildings or cars. A woman who lives this way is routinely disconnected from her sensuality, her instincts, and the wondrous, nourishing natural world.
- Addiction to doing. Driven by the benchmarks of our dominant culture, a woman can easily betray her sacred feminine in her quest to be productive, accomplished, and successful. Every woman deserves to find fulfilling work. Workaholism, however, is one of the most subversive enemies of a fruitful inner life
- Abandoning her interior life. Relentless busyness and speed leave no time for contemplation. A woman needs silence and solitude, restful periods of slowing down, and open space for spiritual inquiry to cultivate her profound inner wisdom.
- Not standing up for her true self. In the workplace and in her intimate relationships with men, a woman is frequently misled, bullied, or seduced into dismissing her emotional intelligence and intuition. Striving to be rational, linear, and concrete-to think like a man-is a very effective way to crush the wisdom of the feminine.
- Face your fear. Home to emotions, intuition, passion, and spirituality, the deep, mysterious feminine can be a terrifying place. Confront your fear of being irrational, unproductive, or out of control, of your own body, and of death. Only then can you begin to fully explore and truly feel your innate feminine power.
- Create the trinity of home, roots, and community. To flourish, female wisdom needs a room of its own, a firm sense of place, and an extended, supportive family.
- Cultivate a sacred quartet. Silence, Simplicity, Solitude, and Slowness are all vital to sustaining a rich interior life. Develop this quartet through contemplative practices, whether meditation, prayer, yoga, tai chi, or listening to classical music.
- Take time to honor your body, your senses, and the natural world. Commit to balancing the rational wisdom of your head with the instinctual wisdom of your body and the earth. Place a priority on restful sleep and sensual pleasures. Take a walk. Plant a garden. Regularly just be outdoors.
- Engage in creative arts. Do something every day to strengthen your imagination and your intuitive right brain. Write, draw, dance, sing, sculpt, or play an instrument.
- Create your own women's support group. Reach out to and forge connections with other women-family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and strangers. Surround yourself with women's stories, women's experiences, women's struggles, and women's triumphs. Learn from women's wisdom.
- Embrace the other. Feminine wisdom celebrates inclusiveness and paradoxes. Welcome a diversity of people into your inner life. Stay open to experiences and lifestyles, ethnic and faith traditions, social and political perspectives that contrast with and challenge your own.
Gail Straub co-directs the Empowerment Institute, a school for transformative leadership. Over the past 30 years, she has taught and inspired thousands of people throughout America, Europe, Russia, Africa, and Asia. She is co-author of the bestselling Empowerment: The Art of Creating Your Life As You Want It and the author of The Rhythm of Compassion: Caring for Self, Connecting With Society, as well as Circle of Compassion, a book of meditations. She lives in the Hudson River Valley region of New York, near Woodstock, with her partner in life and business, her husband of 27 years, David Gershon. A pioneer and world-renowned authority on empowerment, Gail Straub had built a career devoted to helping people overcome self-doubt and live with purpose. She had enjoyed a long, loving marriage. Yet, in the midst of her life as an accomplished middle-aged woman, she felt a deep sense of loss. After much soul searching, Gail realized that in her quest for success, she had lost her intuitive, emotional, imaginative self. She realized that she was following the path paved by her mother-a woman whose spiritual abandonment, even more than the tragic fact of her premature death, had haunted and driven her since the age of twenty-three. For information on Gail's book, "Returning to my Mother's House: Taking Back the Wisdom of the Feminine," visit www.returningtomymothershouse.com Buy the book on Amazon: Returning To My Mother's House: Taking Back the Wisdom of the Feminine Book signing:
Monday November 17 at 7:00
Open Secret Bookstore
923 C Street
San Rafael, CA 94901