I co-wrote this article with my soul sister and colleague Bland Tyree.
We all have patterns or issues that keep surfacing despite our best efforts to transform them. They are often most noticeable during times of stress, transition, or when we want to step out in new directions. When they arise it can stir up a lot of self- blame, anxiety, and frustration, all of which keep us in a tight knot of tension and contraction.
It is important to know that these places are more difficult to shift because they usually exist in a matrix that is much larger than our individual self, such as our family, our culture, the collective unconscious, and often our soul patterns.
As we, as women collectively inhabit our power and leadership in groundbreaking, new ways one matrix we frequently encounter is the energetic complex of the “Disempowered Feminine.”
The Disempowered Feminine holds the frozen energy of generations of women silenced, banished or destroyed for daring to own their power, wisdom and light. She holds the cultural and institutional limits that forbid women from holding property or positions of authority. She holds the trauma of “the burning times” when as many as a million women were tortured and burned at the stake for being healers or wise women.
You may personally experience her when you can’t speak up and use your voice, or doubt yourself and your ability. She’s there when you give your power away or you feel stuck and can’t take positive action on your behalf. She is present when you feel unworthy, can’t see your strengths or believe you don’t measure up.
Bland here, recently I came face to face with an issue that I have tried to unwind many times and yet I struggled with. I had the familiar feelings of shame, self-blame and powerlessness.
This time however, as I sat with my feelings and observed them with compassion, something new arose. I realized that I had been relating to my struggle as if I was flawed, a really “slow learner.” I intuited that my struggle is sourced in my mother line. I allowed my awareness to tune into my maternal matrix, and I could see the roots of my struggle in the generations who came before me. I also sensed how each woman did the best she could with the circumstances of her life, including the larger cultural and spiritual forces that impacted her.
My heart opened, and I felt tenderness and appreciation for all of these women. I understood that my struggle is not my personal failing, but part of a much bigger pattern, extending back in time for centuries. I sensed my maternal ancestors circling me and lovingly cheering me on, to take the next steps they could not take.
Even as we have more options and freedoms available to us than ever before many of us find as we step into our fullness we are also called to heal collective stuck and frozen places on behalf of womankind. One of the ways we do this is to recognize and dismantle structures of the Disempowered Feminine when we find her in ourselves.
As long as there are women living without personal freedom or power in our world, She will continue to be a potent collective presence, affecting many of us personally.
We are here in part to bring Her healing and wholeness. We do this woman by woman as we each claim our personal power and express our full nature as Sacred.
So how do we heal Her?
When you encounter those deep places, embedded in your own psyche and held in a larger matrix holding you back we have found it helpful for ourselves and women we work with to begin with:
Release your self judgments and recognize the roots of this issue go beyond you personally
Find a supportive relationship to hold you as you face your issue (a Mentor, Friend, Women’s circle)
Use your breath to open to emotions in your body
Reconnect with your Inner Wisdom and connection to Source
Remember these deep issues are healed and released gradually, layer by layer
Above all, be gentle with yourself
Those of us on a conscious journey of healing do so for our selves and the collective. Each time we meet the Disempowered Feminine within us with tender presence and inner wisdom we can release another layer. This brings greater freedom not only to our selves but to the generations that came before us and to those yet to come. This deep healing is our Sacred service to humanity and it is what will ultimately bring peace and healing to our world.
Bland and I have taught together on healing the Disempowered Feminine for over 15 years. For more information visit www.wholeheartedliving.org.
Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I esp. love the reminder that those deep issues are released and healing takes place gradually. Very often we expect full healing to take place right away, and feel like we failed if it doesn’t. It’s so important that we have patience and gentleness with ourselves.
You’re welcome Marianne. Yes, we do need that reminder regularly. It’s never a failure on our part when we keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Beautifully stated and examples of how to “show up” as the beautiful feminine presence that is which is you. xoxo
Thank you Natasha. Deep bow of gratitude. <3
I have thought about women’s individual/personal struggles in a larger, political context but haven’t really explored this type of energetic connection. Thank you.
Your welcome Andrea. Thank you for holding that larger view as well. All levels are an important part of the whole.
So much wisdom here! Patience is so important when we seem caught in the tangles of disempowerment. Each small step to gain and maintain our rightful personal feminine power really does add to the empowerment of all of our sisters no matter where they are in their journey. Thank you for such a provocative post!
Your so welcome Colleen. I agree wholeheartedly, the empowerment work we each do as individuals uplifts the rest of womankind and humankind. xoxo
This is such a wonderful post. My mother and I were talking about overcoming feels of disempowerment a few weeks ago. Thank you for reminding us that our feminine energy needs to come out and shine. I found that developing supportive and positive relationships has really helped me to heal past wounds and move on in my journey in life! Many thanks for thoughts 🙂 xo
So glad you are moving out into life and on with your journey Anna. Supportive friends, soul sisters and community can make a world of difference. <3
I love, Joni, how you have taken “Feminine Disempowerment” (yes, I’m playing with the words a little bit) and expanded it beyond the self. I’ve often felt like the issue was much larger than the individual. The notion of healing with a women’s circle seems to take the collective energy that we’ve inherited and dismantle it using the collective power of women. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about such a group. Thank you for sharing your gifts with us. xo
My pleasure Melissa. Thank you for your insightful thoughts. We are each, individually existing in a much larger matrix than we realize. It holds us and affects us – sometimes providing us with support and sometimes obstacles.
And yes, our collective intention and energy can bring powerful change.
Thank you for this beautiful post, Bland and Joni – what a fabulous collaboration. I love the awareness of all the efforts of our mothers and our mothers’ mothers – it evoked so much compassion in me for the struggle of my own mother to find her place in this world, and a new awareness of how I may be part of that larger multi-generational movement.
Thank you Reba. This was a labor of love. It is powerful when we can see ourselves in the larger matrix of those who came before us and those who come in our wake. xoxo
Hi Joni. I know this article is for women and I was reading up on feeling dis empowerd. I found your article very liberating and freeing to myself as man. I found it inspiring and its given me ideas when helping others. I think when I went through some of my own personal development healings, I connected with my ancestors and other experiences. And, it’s great to see that balance and shift taking place. Thank you so much for sharing this and helping with the feminine energy and women because this also helps me to find meaning. Blessings.
I’m glad to hear you found this article liberating and that you’ve been able to address healing your own disempowerment. We all benefit when any one of us takes a step in our healing. I wish you all the best in your continued growth and healing.
Hi Joni. Thank you for your kind words and encouragment. I will Keep that thought in mind abput when one of us heal we all benefit. That is empowering. Many blessings to you 😊