Several time ago I asked the question “What does power mean to you?” This piece about the empowerment of women was sent to me by Kali Fyre, a sister Queen and reader of The Queen of My Self. It is from her blog, “Awakening the Iris.”
For me, women’s empowerment is really about BALANCE, or at least how I teach it. Statistics show that a culture that marginalizes its women suffers in totality, and when these same women are empowered, the benefits are spread to the men of the community as well. It is my belief that men in our society are just as emasculated as women are marginalized. There are impossible “MACHO” standards to meet for men, just as women are bombarded with “BARBIE” ideals. Neither gender can really freely be themselves. In part, I believe this has helped to fuel the immense controversy around gender identity issues. Society has bombarded us for so long about what it means to be a man or a woman, it can be uncomfortable when someone openly crosses those “lines in the sand.”
It is always uncomfortable when someone speaks a truth that strongly questions accepted reality. That is exactly what women’s empowerment is for me. It is encouraging women to listen to their hearts, what makes their souls sing, and to follow that. It’s not simply about rising to the top of a Fortune 500 Company. Although that’s a wonderful thing, if it isn’t what your core is aching for, then it’s an empty victory. Coaching women, for me, is about shattering the expectations and conventions of society. The “Donna Reed” image of mom home with the kids may be considered a throwback to the 50s and early 60s, but do your insides melt when you put yourself in those images? Then THAT is your power! Maybe every dream you’ve recorded in your dream journal for six months has you riding motorcycles and wearing leather. Find a way to access that for yourself!
Typically, it IS the women who will initiate and impact change in a community or a culture, even if only as “pushing from behind,” especially if it is a spiritual redirection. When a woman finds her personal truth, her own North Star, she will most definitely impact those around her. We live not in a vacuum, but in relationships, households, families, communities. As I told someone recently, we exist in our own lily ponds; sometimes they are private, sometimes they intersect and overlap. When we change something, no matter how small, the ripples move outward and impact every other lily pad in our pond, ever so slightly. Those changes inspire others to their own shifts, and we all continue to impact each other. This is how I value women’s empowerment, as the initiation of ripples that will bring about even greater change.
One can indeed make a difference, even if it’s just shifting from one foot to the other. How did you make your impact today?
– Kali Fyre, NH
Donna Henes is the author of The Queen of My Self: Stepping into Sovereignty in Midlife. She offers counseling and upbeat, practical and ceremonial guidance for individual women and groups who want to enjoy the fruits of an enriching, influential, purposeful, passionate, and powerful maturity. Consult the MIDLIFE MIDWIFE™
The Queen welcomes questions concerning all issues of interest to women in their mature years. Send your inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.