My mom was a feminist.
She was a pioneer, leading the way for women to gain equality. She dropped out of high school at 16 to birth me, and without a college education she advanced her career to become a leader in her field. She was a warrior – she had to be – and the stories she tells me make me shudder.
Being abducted by an Algierian cab driver.
Being the first woman expatriate in her company, who transferred her to Paris.
Being sexually harassed on a regular basis.
Always needing to be vigilant against bias, discrimination, and outright abuse.
What she wanted most for me was to have the choices she never had. My whole life I heard that an education would give me freedom, would give me the nice things I loved.
I am just now seeing that her brand of feminism was actually very masculine. And, given her circumstances, that makes total sense. She had to become very masculine to be successful, to survive.
And without questioning, I did the same thing for many years. It wasn’t until I read David Deida’s book, “Dear Lover,” that something awakened within me: my feminine essence.
Until I realized that my deepest fulfillment lies not in my self-sufficiency and career, but in risking my heart to live wide open as love.
I have a confession to make: I have been boy crazy my WHOLE life. My mom told me when we were together in Sedona that even as a toddler I flirted with my dad’s friends.
My first boyfriend was in Kindergarten. His name was Charlie.
I have always had the deep desire to be seen, to be recognized for my true light, to have a man reflect that back to me. As I matured, that desire became a yearning to be taken to a place where I had always wanted to be: “surrendered open like the sky filled with moonlight,” as David Deida writes.
But somehow along the way, I stopped trusting my yearning heart. The messages I received said I should lead myself, take care of myself, and trust only myself. The messages from society, and from my mother. And, of course there were plenty of men who disappointed me, so that over time I just began to rely on myself.
Shells covering my feminine heart. Shells of protection.
So when I read “Dear Lover” there was this recognition that came from my deepest heart. A recognition of truth, that I was not living my deepest truth, that the emotional balance I felt was a denial of my deepest feminine essence.
It was as if my heart finally said, “ENOUGH!”
And I could deny it no longer.
Something in me opened, and I began to cultivate it.
I began to dance differently – to use my dance as a way of opening my heart and cultivating pleasure in my body. To dance as a way to experience ALL the textures of my femininity – warrior, seductress, mother, queen, child, sorceress – and to remove the shells of my own protection.
I began a pleasure practice, to learn how to flow pleasure and love through my physical body. I confronted my shyness and hesitation about masturbating, which unlocked my connection to pleasure, and surprisingly, strengthened my connection to God.
And I started practicing yearning. I discovered that yearning is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. There is a deep vulnerability to yearning, to allow myself to deeply feel the desire I have for union. Union with a man of high integrity and consciousness. And ultimately, union with God.
What has emerged in me is a deep devotion to love, to loving, and to living as openness. And just to be clear – it hasn’t all been a parade. When you open more, you FEEL more. I FEEL it ALL now – everyone’s love, everyone’s pain, the heartbreak of the world. After Trump was elected, I spent weeks feeling the turmoil and fear that so many experienced. At times I have felt overwhelmed.
But the gifts have far outweighed the pain. Even having my heart broken is no match for my devotion to love. I consistently ask myself, “What would love do?” and I do that. Sometimes I act out of love for myself, or love for others, and what I’m discovering now is that just acting AS love is the deepest expression of my feminine being.
And, I can still kick ass and take names if need be...