Reflections on 'balance for better', International Women's Day 2019

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I think it’s wonderful that international women’s day is celebrated, especially for girls around the world, to learn about how they and their contributions can be more valued now than their female ancestors have been. It is evidence that humanity is evolving and it’s important to say that men as much as girls and women benefit from the recognition of male-female imbalance and the steps taken to redress it. 

We have all probably heard Western cultures being described as ‘patriarchal’, meaning simply that men have traditionally been in positions of power throughout history (no accident it’s called ‘his story’!) and have often chosen to misuse that power manifesting as dominance over women, other nations, nature and the earth, while simultaneously publicly denigrating and demonising feminine qualities such as emotional expression, care, intuition, creativity, sensuality, embodiment. The centuries of denigration has become unconsciously held fear of these energies or qualities, which we are now called to re own and re integrate not only for ourselves but for the greater good. The current imbalance also shows itself, never more apparently than now, in our dysfunctional, controlling and destructive relationship with the natural world; because of our conditioning, generation after generation, we have forgotten that we are integrally connected with, and cannot survive without, earth’s fully functioning ecosystems. We have been taught to exert control over and use earth's resources without care, rather than to live interdependently, taking what we need in a sacred and reciprocal relationship. We can change only by questioning the status quo, both internally and externally, and ideally free of judgement of what has gone before.

I see this International Women’s day with the theme of ‘balance for better’ as an opportunity to reflect on how we relate with those feminine qualities within ourselves whether we identify as male, female or non-binary. Are you suppressing emotions, judging yourself for having naturally arising feelings or ignoring your intuition? Do you even know you have intuition and how to listen to it? How do you relate with your body; how do you nourish or abuse yourself and does this parallel any kind of abuse of nature through your food and other behaviour choices? How are these things impacting your daily life and what might you do to address any imbalances you notice within you? How might you feel more well, more at ease or more content by paying attention to or expressing these things? Only you can know the truth of that which is within you but do remember it is ok to seek help to explore these issues if you find you need it. That could actually be another way to celebrate the feminine, to recognise the need for support and to seek it with equanimity, knowing it is a sign of strength not weakness as we have been taught. 

In summary, if we simplify the language and say that masculine represents active energy while feminine represents passive energy, we can perhaps more easily see that all humans are born with a natural capacity and need to express both of these energies. Therefore, we each have within us both masculine and feminine qualities and the need to feel free to express both in their fullness in order for us to feel whole and well within ourselves and for us to collectively create harmony in the external world, which includes equality between the sexes and all peoples. As ever, the place to begin this rebalancing is with yourself, through enquiring within and understanding yourself better and then taking your newfound balance and understanding to the wider world to contribute to the movement towards equality, harmony and interdependence.

Marybeth Haas

Integrative Arts Psychotherapist

Marybeth's work aims to facilitate clients to learn about themselves and why they do what they do the way they do it; to help clients become more aware of their choices in every moment in how they respond to life and other people; to foster awareness of our innate connection with Source and Nature, experienced through our bodies; to empower clients to choose to live fully in the Present instead of being lost in thinking and worrying about past or future. Many things can get in the way of our feeling able to be present and fulfill our true potential. Self beliefs and assumptions about life can be mostly unconscious (we don't know we have them but they inform every choice we make), having been learned from our early experiences in our family, culture and environment. If these beliefs and assumptions remain unconscious they rule our lives without our knowing it and we may wonder why we repeat negative patterns or why it feels difficult to feel content and peaceful inside ourselves. By having a safe, confidential, non-judgmental space with a qualified Psychotherapist to explore your experience through talking and/or image making, you can process any past pain and trauma so you are more free to live in the present and you can discover any limiting self beliefs based on things in the past so you can have more freedom to choose how you respond to life as it is NOW. I have worked in a variety of public service settings over the last 11 years, including bereavement support, family and parenting support, older peoples' mental health and sexual abuse support. I have worked with both adults and children with a wide variety of issues including experiencing domestic violence, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety and bereavement. I am currently interested in the transpersonal aspects of psychotherapy as taught by CJ Jung and the field of eco psychology. I can help you work with your dreams as well as to explore what it means to be a fully alive and conscious human being in context with Earth and all other beings, fulfilling your greatest potential.