What your doctor won’t tell you (as he doesn’t even know)

As a young teenager studying dance, I would spend hours scrutinizing my reflection in the mirrors that lined the dance studio walls, using a mental knife to slice off my “extra” curves.

At the height of my anorexia and at my lowest weight, I secretly rejoiced when my periods stopped.  While this was a sign that my body was in dangerous distress, I was happy to have one less piece of evidence that I had a female body.

I saw my female body as messy and unruly, a wild thing that craved foods that I thought would make me gain weight, felt anxious when I needed to feel confident, and needed more sleep than I could ever get while auditioning by day and bartending by night.

With all my curves, cycles, cravings, and feelings, I was sure my body was against me.

I was convinced if I didn’t tightly control my desires and continually whip my body into shape, I would become undesirable, unlovable, a joke.

My warped teenage views about women’s bodies and womanhood (ones I spent the rest of my life happily leaving behind) are unfortunately shared by many and are insidiously stitched into the fabric of the dominant culture.

(To go more in depth, check out my new book, Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning On The Wisdom of Being a Woman, now available for pre-order with hundreds of dollars in free bonuses).

In the US, women make up 51% of the population, but hold only about 11% of policy-making positions in government, education, and media.  Many scientific studies are done only on male subjects (human or animal) so that the results aren’t “skewed” by menstruation.

Which means that you will all too often be on the receiving end of policies, perspectives, and protocols that are designed by men, for men, and that subtly (or pretty straightforwardly) view women’s bodies and psyches as pathology.

As I have come to see it, women are like circles in a world built for squares.

Often, circles need different things to flourish than squares do, and in this world built for squares, those things can be hard to come by.

So we look at our circular bodies that go up and down and all around, compare them to square bodies, and feel sick and crazy.

We look at our circular souls, compare them to square spiritual traditions, and feel lonely and disconnected.

We look at our circular emotions, compare them to a square world that rewards us all for being on our A-game at all times, and we feel wrong and deficient.

For our circular bodies, we’re peddled diets and plastic surgery and cover-up to tighten up and pretty up our “messy, unruly” bodies.

For our circular souls, we’re prescribed rules, lists, and scripts to help us transcend our “messy, unruly” bodies.

For our circular emotions, we are peddled little white pills to mask our symptoms and mute the ways our “messy, unruly” bodies naturally communicate “no” or “my world just got rocked” or “something’s not right here.”

So too often, we circles feel like we are damaged, malfunctioning, and crazy squares – and often the square world blatantly tells us as much — but the truth is we are actually circles.

And circles, my friend, even in this world built for squares, are not wrong — but are just right.

What if you aren’t sick, deficient, or crazy — you just haven’t met your Feminine Genius yet?

Feminine Genius is a divine mix of your intuitive, cyclical, sensual, emotional, and collaborative strengths.

Feminine Genius is the energy of life — the intelligent, creative, and sacred energy of life – that runs through your body like electricity through the power lines.

Feminine Genius is the light and is also the woman who is lit.

Feminine Genius is a set of mindsets and practices that offers circles what we need to flourish in this world built for squares — a “curriculum for flourishing,” if you will, that I am honored to be able to really lay out for you in my new book, Feminine Genius.

Every woman is naturally full of Feminine Genius, but the dominant culture can rip holes in us (or we rip them ourselves) and out leaks our light.

Please know that I am not anti-allopathy.

I am extremely grateful that when I’ve broken a bone — or when my child has run a 104 fever for more than 4 days, when the pain of pneumonia has reached beyond bearable, or when my unborn baby is in such distress that the only way to get him out alive is with a c-section — western medicine has a pill or powder or scalpel that can help, and miraculously fast.

Please also know that there are many, many leaders, educators, and policy-makers who hold deep respect for women, girls, and “the feminine.”

However, the mindsets that fuel the dominant culture are too often male-centric and closed-minded.  And all too often we give them our unquestioning faith.

We cannot look to those who do not particularly value women, girls, or “the feminine” to bestow some sense of value upon us.

We cannot look to those who have not seen their true beauty to recognize and celebrate our own.

Knowing ourselves to be beautiful, valuable, and lovable — this is an inside job first.

This inside job happens in two steps.

STEP ONE: You come to see that the idea of your body as a form of currency to trade for love and admiration, is a farce.  A bait and switch.  A con game, and you’re no longer playing.

You come to see that any abiding sense of worth, value, and lovability is an inside job.  And that any prize or pat on the back is simply a confirmation of something you already know in your bones.

This first step is quite radical, absolutely liberating, and not one that many women know about or choose to take.

STEP TWO: You start to wonder, if a tidy, perfect, and pretty woman’s body isn’t actually a winning ticket to the good life, then what is it?

You come to see that your body is condensed soul.  That your body is divine and the Divine is in your body.  There is no separation.

You come to see that the Divine is in a kind of a rhapsodic call and response with you, through your body, at all times.  God Herself whispers to you through your feelings, emotions, sensations, longings, desires, intuitive prescience, and simple nudges.

You come to see that when you follow your inner guidance, the results are far better than you could have planned for.

You come to see that your body is innocent.  That it is good to feel good.  That your hunger is holy.

And you come to see that your body, which once seemed so messy and unruly and such a damn uncomfortable place to be, can actually, miraculously, feel like home.

This second step, taken right after the first step, become your first two steps on what I call the path of Feminine Genius.

The path of Feminine Genius is certainly a path-less-traveled.

It is messy, unruly, and instead of a nice straight line, it circles around and around.

It comes without a map, a blueprint, or a money-back guarantee, and it instead asks you to trust (and eventually love) the very parts of yourself you used to try to slice away with a mental knife, an all-nighter, or a self-improvement bender.

And for circles in a world built for squares, it’s the best game in town.

Now, your turn.  Come share with us in the Facebook discussion which part of yourself you haven’t historically trusted, but want to learn how to.

To your Feminine Genius,

“This book is exactly what women need to remember who we are and how to access our unique genius – which is what the world needs right now, too. This book is brilliant and right on time.”

Kate Northrup, bestselling author of Money: A Love Story

Photos by Wendy Yalom Photography and Jan Stürmann of Albino Crow Photography