As a child under ten, I was a mischievous tomboy. I would often arrive at my favourite Aunt’s doorstep with marbles and toy soldiers in the pockets of a hand-me-down floral dress I’d inherited from my sister. My soiled black knees were barely covered, and I would often have lost my shoes and socks.
It was the early 1960’s, and I did my best to fit in with my Aunt Rose’s more traditional pastimes. Between unsuccessful attempts to teach me how to knit and letting me bottle-feed my baby cousin, she talked about the joys of being a wife and mother. My aunt patiently took on the task of taming the tomboy in me while she lovingly held the vision of my feminine charms flourishing.
She knew I secretly dreamed of being a ballerina. From the age of four, on Friday afternoons, I would clean my feet and don my pink leather dancing slippers to go to ballet school. Although there were times I felt incredibly awkward, I was inspired by the poise and grace of the older dancers and aspired to be like them. My girlish dream ended in tears a year and a half later after my first stage appearance. At the last minute, I was asked to exchange my white satin tutu for a black leotard and bow tie to play the role of the groom when I wanted to be the bride.
Although I was only six, life was presenting me with a powerful metaphor on how I had already learned to rely on the masculine or assertive side of my character to get what I wanted in life. But my Auntie Rose was often waiting in the wings to remind me about the benefits of being feminine. She entered my world to highlight the importance of developing both sides of my nature to lead a balanced life.
Rose was genuinely happy and loved to tell heartfelt stories about her dance through life with my Uncle Paul. Their relationship created a window of hope in my world, where my parents’ destructive marriage had previously cast a grey shadow.
Growing up amid constant arguing and turmoil, I was forced to become extremely self-reliant even though my heart cried out for comfort and support. I told myself I would never be as financially dependent as my mother and chose to be industrious like my dad. I learnt to defend myself from an early age and built a shield to protect my sensitive nature. Being headstrong, strategic and fast on my feet became a way of life.
Even though my Aunt did her best to elevate my ‘yin’ energy and tone down my ‘yang’, the idea of following in her footsteps didn’t quite call to me at the time. With a box of crayons in one hand and a junior atlas in the other, I set out to colour the world and define my unique signature.
Defining masculine and feminine energy
As children, many of us are expected to fit into either a pink or blue box labelled male or female. In the 1960s, the era where women burned their bras, things began to shift. Gender stereotypes were up for review and women fought for liberation. Now we live in a far more liberal world where we’re much more comfortable with terms like gay, straight, non-binary and transgender. No matter where you sit on that list of titles, the masculine and feminine sides of your nature have nothing to do with your sexuality. They are the contrasting energies you were born with that make you whole and complete.
The feminine coincides with being and allowing. It is the receptive side of your nature that relates to your feelings, imagination and intuition - along with nurturing and being nurtured. Despite what most people believe, your power centre arises from the feminine. It rests with ‘your ability to’ do something rather than the action you take. As the origin of all things, your feminine energy perceives and conceives and aligns with your creativity. It is also the source of balance – the balancing of all things.
The masculine energy dynamically creates and puts things into action using logic and reason. It is the assertive, thinking side of your nature that expresses itself in the world. The masculine searches for meaning and understanding and evaluates. It is the strategic, productive side of your character that instinctively provides and protects.
Do you lean towards using more of your masculine or feminine energy?
To understand the different ways the two principles work, let’s use the example of starting a new business:
Creating through the feminine...
You would temporarily suspend logic and reason and use your imagination to conceive ideas. You would picture what the business looks like, visualize the environment you would like to work in and get a sense of how it feels to operate the company. With your creative juices flowing, you might envisage the company logo, imagine your new website and search the net to be inspired by the latest trends.
The process of using your imagination, and building your desire would intensify your powers of attraction. Your energy would draw opportunities and synchronistic events into your life. A friend may tell you about the ideal office space that has just come available, or you might receive an unexpected call from someone who wants to hire your services. You remain receptive and allow things to come to you that would enable your business to come together and prosper.
Creating through the masculine...
You are far more hands-on and would aim to build a foundation for the business. Finding a space to rent and signing a lease might be a priority. You might also print business cards, advertise on social media, launch a website, call potential clients and hire staff. Once that structure was in place, you would have a framework from which to operate. You would then attract clients by asserting your energy in the world being proactive and productive.
“Establishing harmony between the receptive and assertive sides of you creates an energetic flow that allows you to be fully self-expressed in the world while you feel inspired and supported. It is the key to leading a balanced, abundant life.”
How can you master the balancing act?
To achieve that graceful state, it’s important you trust and rely on both the masculine and feminine sides of your nature equally and bring them into accord. Being productive and taking action needs to be coupled with feeling, sensing, intuiting and imagining. You harmonise the dance between being assertive and receptive. Following that formula enables you to be productive and creative while you remain open to inspiration and support.
To get an idea of where you under or overemphasize the masculine or feminine, run through the checklist below.
Which qualities do you need to develop?
Being / Feeling /Allowing / Conceiving / Perceiving / Nurturing / Being Nurtured / Receptive / Creative / Inspiration / Imagination / Intuition / Desire / Ability
Being / Doing / Thinking / Expressing / Building / Evaluating / Providing / Protecting / Assertive / Productive / Implementation / Will / Logic and Reason / Meaning and Understanding / Action
If you find you are lopsided, make an effort to embrace the qualities you need to stay balanced. Rather than letting them lie dormant in your shadow, bring those parts of you to life by giving them your attention.
In hindsight, I can see that much of what my Auntie Rose taught me about taking a gentler approach to life, gradually sunk in. But it wasn’t until I overcame my fear of being vulnerable, and potentially being judged as being weak, that I eventually integrated more of the feminine qualities to feel more whole and complete.