There is this practitioner that’s popped up on my socials for about 6 months now. Each time I see them I’m curious, drawn to find out more.
Except, as I try to learn & understand their practice – I just get confused.
The feeling of curiosity remains…
But I don’t know if I’ll be safe with this practitioner…
I don’t know what to expect in working with them…
I don’t know if their world-view & values match my own…
Curiosity is something I value, but I don’t want to follow it blindly.
I want to work with people of high-integrity.
People who’s work is build on a solid, informed foundation.
People who teach through direct experience & intellect.
It got me thinking.
Do I do that for other people?
I know when embodiment first discovered me I was overflowing with curiosity! I wasn’t super discerning about who I learnt from, I didn’t investigate their world-view or values before saying ‘YES I’ll sign up for that!’.
I don’t want to be one of those practitioners.
So today on the podcast I’m sharing with you my ‘Feminine Embodiment Philosophy’.
Feminine Embodiment isn’t a religion (or cult), but it is a world-view & lens for experiencing life. This philosophy, what it stands for, what it values and the skills involved in practicing it are the focus of today’s podcast.
It’s the perfect podcast if you’ve found yourself curious about embodiment – but had no idea why.
It’s also a great resource if you are a practitioner/aspiring practitioner of the arts as it may put more language around what you already sense (which is my job as teacher – to put language and structure for you to blossom more fully into what you are already capable of).
Specially in today’s podcast we speak about:
- The nature & definitions of masculine and feminine energies
- Our hyper-masculine work at the micro & macro level
- Why we’ve come to be so hyper-masculine & how you can assess your own internalized ratio of experience
- Defining the feminine & embodiment, what are they and what skills they require
- The role of feminine embodiment in sanity, sensuality & spirituality
- The purpose of life (so, you know, it’s a pretty deep chat 😆)
PS. I ended up doing just one session with the practitioner I was so curious about. I left that session with more questions than I had answers. Perhaps that’s the purpose of their style/way of facilitating? I don’t know because their philosophy is not stated. What comes from here remains a mystery.
Resources mentioned on this podcast and/or related to this topic
- Our values & commitments in detail from the School of Embodied Arts
- Feminine Embodiment Coaching Certification Program
- Primal Feminine Flow embodied movement practice
- Podcast: What is feminine embodiment?
- Podcast: How to hire a coach, my guide for who & when to choose
So it turns out that there is a philosophy and a worldview of feminine embodiment, which is really important to understand. And on today’s podcast, I’m sharing that information with you. I recently had an experience with a practitioner where I was really curious about their work, but I just could not understand what their values or their worldview or their results were. And I found it really challenging because I wanted to know more about that person’s practice and have a soul the world, and what that meant in terms of how they showed up in the world, that I couldn’t find that information anyway.
It got me thinking I should share that information with you. So welcome to today’s podcast, which is a philosophical exploration of my view on the position, perhaps the political position of feminine embodiment. Thanks so much for joining me, Jenna Ward, here in the School of Embodied Arts podcast.
Welcome to the School of Embodied Arts podcast. I am your hostess, Jenna Ward, feminine embodiment coach here for our weekly explorations of living leading and coaching as emotionally empowered, sensually alive and magnetic women.
Recently, I came across this practitioner in a different field of work to me and I was really curious about their work. I did some reading, listened to some blogs, kind of went searching down the rabbit hole. And I couldn’t put my finger on why I was curious about this fellow practitioner, but I really, really was. And so I booked in a session, had an initial experience of working with that practitioner, which was really beautiful and yielded some lovely insights. And then I was considering do I actually want to work with this person in the longer term?
And some interesting questions began to arose. Although I had had a nice experience and although I had this inner feeling of real curiosity around this practitioner, I realized that I didn’t know what the values of this person were. I didn’t understand what their worldview or their perspective was. I didn’t know if their approach was something that I supported. Was it trauma-informed? What were the rules of engagement, if you will? And were results that this kind of work created, was that something that I even wanted?
These questions were unanswered and despite a lot of searching and research, I couldn’t really kind of get a grip on understanding these really important considerations in working with this practitioner. So in the end, I decided that right now actually now’s not the time. Because I need to go and research all of these things and really make sure that I’m on the right page. And that this practitioner that I want to work with is somebody that’s going to be able to take me in the direction that I’m seeking. And then it got me thinking, “Well, do I have the same answers readily available for people who are interested in what my worldview of feminine embodiment is, the results that it can create, the values that it stands on and the approach?”
And so if you are somebody who has felt very curious about the realm of feminine embodiment, but hasn’t necessarily been able to explicitly name why that is, this podcast is the answer for you. And if you are a fellow or aspiring coach or practitioner of the embodied arts, then this podcast is my individual as a practitioner, my individual perspective around the worldviews and the work of feminine embodiment. And so I hope that it might lend some useful language to name what your own experience has been, and perhaps provide some contrast for you to really orientate and determine what your unique position in the realm of the feminine arts is.
Because I believe that every practitioner who is drawn to the feminine arts, whether to practice personally, or to work in it professionally, we each are going to relate to this worldview and these possibilities in our own unique ways. And that flavor that you bring is born of your lived experience and your gifts and your skills and your interests and your hungers. And that’s a very important flavor to bring to the conversation. So today I’ll share with you a little bit about my flavor.
So first of all, what is the worldview of feminine embodiment? Well, there is an important disclaimer that I need to put first, and that is feminine embodiment is not a religion. It’s also not a cult. It is also not a dogmatic approach to living. It is more in alignment with a philosophy or a set of worldviews that may relate to your experience of the world. Let’s test out some of those worldviews now together.
I believe that the majority of our modern world is orientated in a hyper-masculine way. When we think about the masculine, we’re thinking about the go penetration, moving forward energies. The masculine and I’m not talking about the masculine gender here. I’m talking about the energy or the orientation of the masculine as one end of a spectrum. So every human of every gender has both feminine and masculine energies within them. And these energies have different names, but are acknowledged by many different types of indigenous cultures and spiritual practices, from different Asian and Southeast Asian practices.
I’ve been doing some lovely training in Aboriginal history and culture, and there are interesting energies that are represented in indigenous cultures around these different energies. And I’m not an expert. I can’t speak to these, but suffice to say that this polarity or I don’t want to describe it as a binary because it’s not either or. You’re not in your masculine or in your feminine. They are a spectrum and there is fluidity between the two. But if we were to describe the universal energy of a masculine energy being, the penetrating go forward movement and direction, then we would also map the masculine traits to be those that are logical, logical, linear, and predictable. And these traits of the traits that are celebrated in many modern cultures.
In contrast, the traits of the feminine. So the feeling, the flowing, the illogical, the emotional, the irrational, the sensuous, the erotic. These skills, qualities and attributes exist in all people. But these skills and qualities are very much not celebrated by our culture in a kind of an overview sense. And what this looks like if we think about it on a day-to-day basis, if we were to take these two ends of the spectrum, let’s say the masculine as go and the feminine as feeling sensuous flow. Just take a moment to reflect on what ratio of your day is spent in the orientation of doing, thinking about what else needs to be done, moving forward, producing and getting stuff done.
Think about the ratio of how much of your waking time that takes up. And then think about the ratio of how much time you spend sitting in the feeling, engaging your senses, opening to the experience of pleasure. Not necessarily talking about sexual pleasure here. I’m talking about pleasure as the enjoyment of life, the enjoyment of your senses, the enjoyment of inhabiting this body. How much of your time, what ratio of your time does that feminine end of the spectrum take up? For most people, the ratio is grossly imbalanced.
Many of us are living 90 plus percent in an orientation towards the masculine and of our internal spectrum. And this is a problem. This is a big problem for us because it is like going to the gym and working out your muscles of your arms all the time, but never doing any core training or never doing any training in your lower body and your legs, which incidentally also represents the energy orientation. When we’re in a more masculine energy, we’re pulling our energy up into our shoulders, our necks, our heads so that we can push it out into the world.
Conversely, when we’re in our feminine energy, we’re in a more descending, pooling, rooting down centering energy, which brings our awareness into our hips and into our pelvic ball and into our belly, and into our base. Even just as I speak about that orientation, it re-centers my body a little bit. So take stock. I know and I’m a practitioner of the embodied arts and yet a big chunk, too much of my day is in a hyper-masculine orientation because, because this is what the world demands of me.
We can trace the roots of this hyper-masculine orientation. We can trace it back for quite a few centuries. And one of the roots, there are many, and I’m not here to give a complete analysis of why the world is the way that it is. That’s a very big question. One that I’m hungry to answer, but that I might not be able to give full justice to in this short podcast discussion that we’re having together. But one of the roots of this hyper-masculine approach is that when you are forced, coerced or encouraged to produce more, to be in that hyper-masculine doing energy more, it means that the efforts of your production, the thing that you produce can be sold and can make money for somebody usually somebody else.
So if you are a laborer or a worker or you have a job, then the laboring you do or the hyper-masculine energy that you bring, it produces money for someone. And they don’t necessarily have to treat your body as a sensitive body, a body that has a feminine energy within it, a body that has needs. They can instead treat your body as a tool for gaining capital, gaining wealth, generating money. And a lot of the inequity of our world has been and there is so much tied up in what I’m sharing, and I’m just touching the tip of the iceberg here. Suffice to say that when your body is encouraged towards the hyper-masculine pole, you become a better worker and you make money for whoever’s at the top of that food chain.
This is a very incomplete analysis, but we see that there are a lot of reasons that is beneficial to the capitalist system that we work in for us to all just be good little workers. And I know having been a good little studier, a good little academic during my time at university, and then a good little worker during my time as a hospital pharmacist that they were a lot of my body’s needs and demands. Even if we think of something as fundamental to human life as the menstrual cycle, a lot of companies, and a lot of our culture expect and encourage women to keep producing during that time when our bodies are literally bleeding and shedding and needing time to rest.
Similarly, when we’re just stating a child, I have a client at the moment who is pregnant and in some ways there is still some expectations that she should be able to produce at the same level of work as when she was not pregnant. And yet at rest, her body is doing a gazillion times more work than the next non-pregnant human. So our body’s a very complex, sensitive, finely tuned things. I mean, our bodies are divinity incarnated. And yet, do we treat them with the full respect that our spectrum of sensitivities from masculine to feminine deserve? Our culture would say no.
Our culture would shame the feminine qualities of sensitivity and eroticism and irrationality, and label them as hysterias, label them as unprofessional. Don’t bring your emotions into this situation. That’s unprofessional. Oh, the number of times I’ve heard that and it’s like, “My emotions are actually a huge value.” They are such, such an important contributor to any decision or equation. How could you wish to deny that which is such a fundamental force of bringing all of me to a decision? But I digress.
The current world suffice to say encourages us into as skills of developing the hyper-masculine and it is not working. It is not working for our planet. It is not working for her people. Many centuries have shown us that we are piece by piece destroying this planet. We had doing that because our obsession with production, with generating capital, with generating wealth is at the subjugation and at the decimation of our bodies and our planetary body.
When we consume, consume, consume, we are destroying this Earth and we’re destroying the humanity in the people that live on her. And so the worldview of feminine embodiment is that this imbalance is not natural. It is not natural. It’s not how it should be. It is not innate to who we are actually as a species. It is a set of conditions that we have created for ourselves and conditions that must be radically and irrevocably changed because there is no Planet B. And there are so many people in this world suffering as a result of our obsession with putting more riches into the hands of the few at the top of the food chain. It doesn’t work. There must be a different way.
And the view of feminine embodiment is that we must reclaim and redevelop our feminine skills. And so when we think about the word feminine embodiment, what we’re really talking about, the skills that we’re really talking about are if we break it down. First, let’s speak about the feminine. So the feminine as I’ve described earlier is the feeling flowing, sensuous, erotic aspect of our bodies and every body irrespective of their gender or sex has a feminine essence within them.
This feminine essence over many centuries has been shunned and shamed, and silenced for the reasons that we’ve already mentioned. And so what that means is that as we grow up as women, children, humans in the world, we’re growing up internalizing a story that it is not safe to be in my feminine. We might not necessarily have that story playing out in our head, but we are shown repeatedly this truth through the actions of everyone that’s already existing in this really stuffed up system. And so we ingest and we internalize this story as well.
So the feminine, redeveloping the feminine is about illuminating the ways that we have been taught to silence or shame or shun her or it, identifying those, actively disengaging ourselves from those. Disconnecting from the collective narrative that that is weakness, that that is sinful, that that is something that you should not embrace, or that you should not cultivate and intentionally doing the opposite. Which is a heretic act. It is a revolutionary act to do that.
So let’s think about this in a really real life example. So here’s a simple example from yesterday. Yesterday was one of my work days where I had the time and space to be really giving some attention to my work and to my business. And I spent an hour of that work time creating a new altar in my office, lighting candles and adorning the space, nice trimming my flowers and filling their water, putting on sensuous music and doing a movement practice on my yoga mat.
That wasn’t my lunch break. That wasn’t a break from working. That was working. That was me actively saying that my body is the only instrument that I have to be creative, to produce, to engage in the world through. And if I don’t take time to attend and to ravish this body, which I have the great privilege of doing then I actually don’t have the resource, the inhabiting of this body that I need in order to be creative in order to efficiently produce, in order to produce with pleasure.
And if you had told me 10 years ago, hospital pharmacist Jenna, that showing up for work would mean doing all of these practices. I would have been agitated and impatient, and I would have found it to be such a waste of time. That would have been my worldview at that point, because I didn’t realize then how important, how efficient, how enjoyable and how? Here it is. Purposeful it is to inhabit my feminine. So many of us are sold this idea that our purpose is something that we do as our profession. Our purpose is something outside of us.
I agree that your work can feel purposeful. I agree that your purpose can happen through your actions, but I do not agree that your purpose is outside of you. I believe that the way you inhabit your body and live your life defines your purpose. And a huge part of our purpose, a huge part of the point of living is to experience life with intimacy. And we can only do that when we are slowing down to create more sensitivity, more feeling, more aliveness in the body, more of the feminine.
The second part of this equation, which is inexplicably linked to the first is the piece that is embodiment. So we’ve just spoken about the feminine quality. Now we’re speaking about the embodiment quality. So you can’t think your way into your feminine. The language of the feminine is feeling. You can only feel your way into that, which exists inside all of us. And in order to feel, you need to have your body awake. You need to have your body online. And to cultivate the skill of sensitivity in your body. This is what embodiment is. Inhabiting your body with the sensitivity to actually experience what’s going on in there.
The opposite of embodiment is numbness. That’s a state we all know well. When you’re sitting on the couch substituting the feelings that you should be feeling in your body instead with some external stimulation like some scrolling, maybe some sugar, maybe some serials on Netflix, and you’re trying to get all that living and that sensation from outside of you. All of these are ways that we keep our body numb. We also keep our body numb by leaving our body and only inhabiting ourselves from the neck up from the mind up.
And so the worldview of the feminine embodied is that there is so much wealth and richness and purpose in life when we come home to the feeling flowing currents that we can experience when we ask sensitive and inhabiting the temple that is our body. This is the view that we want individuals to take. This is the view that we want to create within our own lived experience. And in the words of Reverend Angel Kyodo Williams, who works in the realm of embodied social justice. “Without inner change there can be no outer change. Without collective change, no change matters.”
So we have this responsibility at the personal level for this inner change, this reclamation of the feminine, this re-inhabiting of the body. Not as a means to produce and to labor, but as the purpose of our life that must happen within our bodies first in order for collective change to happen. And in order for our globe to invert this perverse polarity that we have towards hyper-masculineism and to find a sweet spot of balance between the two.
This is the worldview. This is my worldview. This is how I see everything from politics through to interactions with my child, through to the way I show up in relationship in business, the way that I earn and spend money. Everything is influenced by this view, by this invitation, by this calling, which honestly I didn’t chose. It just kind of spontaneously woke up within me one day and I feel that that’s happening to more and more and more women and humans because there is no other option.
We don’t have a Planet B if we don’t make this shift in our collective polarity towards a more sustainable, feminine feeling, humanized way of living in the world. Within a few generations, we may not be here. That is dramatic to say, but don’t just intellectualize what I’m saying. Take a moment to really hear within a few generations we may not be here or if we are still here, we absolutely may not recognize anything about the planet that we’re living on. It might look so incredibly different.
Feel that. Experience how high your belly, your hips are as we talk about this. That’s embodiment. That’s required. We don’t do it because that’s often painful and vulnerable and uncomfortable and deep and messy and inconvenient. And it makes us make things that aren’t all happy and positive and high vibes. Feminine embodiment is not all happy and positive and high vibes. It can be sensuous and magnetic, yes. And it can also be messy and snotty and dirty and deep and heavy.
And we value all of this. Two of the core values of how I see feminine embodiment working in the world are first vulnerability. Brene Brown defines vulnerability as emotional risk. And it is just even crazy to me that we live in a world whereby we have to define sharing our emotions and feeling our emotions as risky, as something that is challenging, that is not normal. When I look at my child, she’s around one and a half at the moment. She’s so fluid in expressing where she’s at. There is no hesitation or no pause. There is no risk for her in sharing, in expressing in embodiment what she is feeling because it is natural and it is innate.
And I’m trying my best to not socialize her, but we live in this world. It is impossible. I will stuff her up in many ways. Our culture will stuff her up in many ways. As adults, who some of us have had really traumatic experiences. There are many different types of trauma, big and small, collective and individual that we may have experienced or been subjected to. And these traumas, these tensions, they can run so deep. They can be so tender. They can absolutely be risk associated with feeling these. But these traumas are the result of our hyper-masculine world, our obsession with greed and our dehumanization of the body.
These traumas require such bravery to meet and there is vulnerability, there is emotional risk in meeting them. But if we want our culture to change, we have to do that work. And that work is not even and it’s not equitable in everybody. I have a certain, if we kind of think about it in linear terms, which is hyper-masculine, I have a certain quota in my body, in my ancestry that I need to meet. And even though I am a white woman with Irish, English, Polish, and Maltese heritage doesn’t mean that I don’t have a responsibility to understand the lineages of trauma that my ancestors have been subjugated to, but who have also perpetuated on other bodies.
That’s a reckoning I have to do if I want our collective culture to change, but I can only do that reckoning with vulnerability and sensitivity to what’s alive inside me. And that requires me to have this second value, which is self-sovereignty. I agree that things are inequitable and that it’s more challenging for some of us than all those. It’s more challenging based on the accesses and the privileges that we do and that we don’t have. It’s not fair. It’s not equitable, but it still is our self-sovereign responsibility to do what we can to go as far as we can in reclaiming and re-inhabiting our body, which means meeting all of the vulnerable parts of us or as many as we can safely meet and tolerate today. And if you do that, then you are doing more than most.
The final kind of question that I had around this other practitioner was what kind of results am I going to get from this? Where am I going to be at the end of this exploration or this journey together? And this might appear to be a hyper-masculine, hyper-linear question. We can approach it that way, but I’m also talking about results in terms of emotional richness, perspectives, changes in orientating to how I am within my body and how I am within the world. These are also really important results. And so when I think about the type of results that feminine embodiment creates for me, there are three big areas that I feel it is hugely impactful.
The first is my sanity. I become a much more well-regulated, less overwhelmed, less exhausted, more resourced, more stable human when I practice and invoke feminine embodiment. I’ll speak in a moment about how to practice it and how to invoke it. But sanity is the first thing. In this hyper-masculine world where we are pushed to do, do, do, more, more, more, and exhaustion and burnout is the norm. Actually reclaiming your sanity, which is reclaiming your center is a phenomenal achievement. And I can guarantee that on the daily, feminine embodiment helps me with this.
The second is sensuality. Now this is a whole podcast in itself, but I’m talking about, yes, erotic sexual sensuality. But I’m also talking about sensuality as inhabiting your senses, inhabiting your touch and your smell and your taste and your sound. And going even deeper with our senses into the internal senses of your body and noticing the internal kaleidoscope of data, the encyclopedia that this body is. If you’re numb in your body, you will have no idea what I’m talking about, but you’ll be curious.
If you are numb in your body, that’s simply because the skill of sensitivity in your body is underdeveloped and we don’t need to label that as good or bad. It doesn’t mean that you’re broken or less than. It’s simply just a skill. Some of us have skills and some of us don’t. I didn’t have the skill of sensitivity for ages. I didn’t even know it was a skill until this thing of feminine embodiment kind of awoke within me. But turns out it’s a skill and it’s a skill that all humans ideally have, because it’s how we actually show up as really great humans and how we engage our internal body, feeling and knowing and sensing our inner truth.
I once heard a quote and I can’t remember who said it. So if you know, let me know. But the quote was this. “The truth is in the feel of it.” That’s what I’m talking about when I’m talking about sensuality. Sensing the feel of it. And embodiment helps me so much with this, which informs decisions about how I run my business, how I parent, where I live in the world, how I spend my money.
The third dimension of results that this brings me is the dimension of spirituality, connection with something greater than. For me this brings a real sense of purpose to how I live. It brings a sense of my place in the world, my connection with my ancestors, my connection with fellow humanity. It brings such perspective, peace and then sometimes bliss and that’s one of the results. So across the spectrum, parenting, business leadership, relationship, mothering, divorce, grief, reclamation, decolonizing the body. These are some of the examples of where women who have coached with us have taken their feminine embodiment tools and their skills to work in different niches and areas of need, their sanity, sensuality, spirituality. These are all the results at the personal level and this creates results at the collective level as well.
So the final question that you might be having is how do I do more of it? I have many podcasts speaking about it, but if I was to reflect on today, what is the one thing that I am doing to create more feminine, more embodied in my world? It is this and it is simple. Slowing down to check in, to feel, to be in stillness, and to allow my body to speak to me. That’s a practice that I will do multiple times over the course of the day, particularly when I feel exhausted, particularly when I feel like it’s too much.
If you’re interested in learning more about these practices, there are two ways that our school offers. There’s an embodied movement practice called Primal Feminine Flow that you can download and do at home. The details of that are at jennaward.co/flow. We also have a six-month coaching certification for women wanting to go deeper into the philosophy of feminine embodiment, master their own in personal practices, as well as learn the skills to coach with others using this worldview and this perspective. Depth first, direction second. Feminine first, masculine, second. Feeling first, doing second. Coming home to the body and then meeting the world from that place.
It’s been such a joy meeting you and joining you through this discussion around the philosophy of feminine embodiment today. Thank you for joining. And if you enjoyed this podcast, please do leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you leave your podcasts. I recently realized we have quite a few lovely reviews, which I’m so grateful to receive. And it does help more people to find these conversations, this philosophy, this work, and remember what their body is innately capable of. So do go now and leave us a review if you’ve enjoyed this episode. Thank you so much for joining me and bye for now.
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