I actually didn’t want to be a girl. It has taken me a long time to accept my femininity. I wanted to be a boy when I was younger and called myself Christopher…and although by the age of 9 I finally grew my hair out and started wearing skirts…I was still questioning and resistant. And also, as we know – it’s not skirts and long hair that makes us feminine by any means. It’s no accident that life has put me in so many situations where I’ve had to discover the power of my own femininity and to stop fearing it.
When I first went to college at Boston University I was assigned to “Women’s Issues” as my volunteer week and I was so pissed off that I wasn’t in environmental issues. “What do I need to learn about being a woman?” I thought. We volunteered in a women’s shelter – which I hadn’t realized until later that a few people close to me have lived in these shelters – and how life-saving these shelters actually are. I also didn’t realize how close to home some of these women’s stories were until these women started sharing their experiences with me. I remember one day after one sharing that I started crying and went into shock. I suddenly realized that this domestic violence that these women were describing was something I too had been experiencing myself. At the time I was anorexic and weighed 90 pounds. I was so out of my body and in such denial. This was a turning point for me – realizing how much I’d left myself and how I knew this wasn’t the life that I wanted.
Fast forward 3 years and I’m in Niger, West Africa. I chose to go there because I thought it would help me heal from my eating disorder. My goal was to weigh enough to go and I’d figure the rest out as I got there. I envisioned being topless and playing a djembe. I hadn’t envisioned visiting one of the poorest countries in the world that was strictly Muslim. I befriended some strong women there who were getting punished and imprisoned for their work in women’s rights. The whole theme for the several months I was there was me talking and working with these women – and asking – What does it mean for a woman to be in her power? I hadn’t looked closely at myself as a woman or as an American woman yet..and I hadn’t studied the history of oppression and misogyny yet..so this was opening my eyes.
But let’s get more personal. Because this really was a quest for me about accepting myself. To neither play small nor walk around with spiky defenses (I first showed up in Bali with motorcycle boots, a shaved head, and camo pants and vowed to never grow my hair long. It’s to my low back now FYI.) It was also a quest to meet myself – my softness – which all the energetic work I’ve practiced has helped. Bali helped me initiate my feminine. It was about discovering how to care for myself and nurture myself. Recovering from my eating disorder – which my first diet was when I was 9 years old – and finally healed- which took in its entirety 27 years.- and that was a game changer as I had to truly step into my feminine in order to heal. I had to learn to feel my feelings, trust myself, respect myself, and also nurture myself. I also had to work through my old pain and traumas. I’d shut myself down sexually at various times and realized there was a part of me terrified of pleasure. Now I realize that healthy pleasure needs to be at the core of all that I’m doing. Healthy pleasure is what helps me ground and want to be here.
While the feminine lives in all of us, the world is finally starting to calibrate into a healthy feminine and healthy masculine. The work I do creates a safe space to connect back into our intuitive power and inner magic. It’s the art of dreaming and the ability to “download.” I have to admit I used to take drugs and herbal meds to get the kinds of highs and insights that I get now simply through being. We’ve forgotten how magical our body is – it’s a divine portal. And I’m here reclaiming mine and holding space for others to find how magic uniquely expresses herself through them as well.
If you are looking for an opportunity to reclaim your magic or rediscover the power of your femininity, I have two women’s yoga retreats in Bali coming up.
Connection: November 21st-28th
Biodynamic Yin Training: December 2nd-16th