divine feminine

I'm a Goddess, and I Poop Too!

Purchase  this amazing shirt here . I am not an affiliate and will receive no compensation for any purchase you make. 

Purchase this amazing shirt here. I am not an affiliate and will receive no compensation for any purchase you make. 

Have you seen these shirts? What a joy. "I pooped today!" What a celebration of the mundane. 

I love them so much. When I was in grad school, a friend and co-worker bought this shirt for his girlfriend. She was horrified and decided she would never wear it. I secretly wondered if she might give it to me. (She didn't. And then they broke up. Was it the poop shirt, I wondered?)

I love talking about poop. It's a regular household conversation in the Rader home. Pooping is an important and vital part of life, and it's important to note whether it happens - or doesn't - and if there's any changes to texture, smell, color, etc. Just ask Sarah Kucera at Sage; a woman after my own heart. In my first Ayurvedic discussion, she asked me about poop. If I was unsure about Ayurveda before, that sold me. 

Also, I'm goofy. And not easily embarrassed. I was the kid who had a lot of energy - and this was before I started drinking coffee at age 14. My extra energy comes off in the form of goofiness. I make funny faces, dance to no music (in public), and, oh, it also means I have a wild curiosity for just about anything.

I want to know how the planets move. I am interested in wildcrafting. I'd love to learn to crochet. My Bachelor's degree is in Visual Arts and for a while I thought I would be a professional glass blower. I'm currently in training to become a Priestess. Even though I am now teaching yoga and it's basically my dream life, I still ponder on going back to school to become a marriage and family therapist. Not because I want to be a therapist - but because I am fascinated by it. Life is so interesting.

When you have as much energy as I do, and need as much mental stimulation, and have such natural curiosity - well it very easily turns into goofiness. I am the girl in yoga class who is just getting started after a seventy-five minute heated flow. I am the girl who shimmies her entire body while everyone else finds stillness. I am the girl who sighs way too loud and "goes rogue" on the teacher's directions. 

For a long time I thought I had to choose: goofiness or goddess. Goddess or goofiness. 

I love sparkly things. I love getting dressed up and feeling super sensual. I love the photos of women in dresses in the water. I admire women who are so in their feminine element and I love that part of me, too.

But also - I drink water out of old peanut butter jars. I wear $12 yoga pants from TJ Maxx. My pajamas are a combination of my husband's sweatpants and old flannel shirts. 

I take yoga very seriously. It has offered me the most potent transformation and I love the idea that I might be able to share a nugget of wisdom with someone else that might drastically change their life, just like it changed mine. 

But also, I recognize that - it's just yoga. One day we will still die. 

Like Elizabeth Gilbert says in Big Magic - art (and yoga, because to me it's one and the same) is both the most important thing you will do in your life, and also it's completely, absolutely frivolous. And isn't that just wonderful? It frees you from the tyrrany of your inner critic. Because, ultimately, it is not necessary, but gosh it makes life so much better. 

So, here I stand before you. I am a Goddess. I am powerful, I am of divine power, I am strong and educated and humble and feminine and mysterious and absolutely radiant.

And, I poop too.

Isn't it great?

The Power of DANCE and Balancing the Masculine/Feminine

Wednesday was my husband and I’s three year wedding anniversary. He surprised me with private dance lessons. One of the grudges I have held against him since this date was that he didn’t dance with me at our wedding, and so he surprised me with this gift. (Yes, I cried.)

Keith and I at our wedding reception. There's definitely a whole lot of Shiva/Shakti going on here. 

Keith and I at our wedding reception. There's definitely a whole lot of Shiva/Shakti going on here. 

The dance lesson was so fun. The instructor was incredible, and, as it turns out, Keith has quite a bit of rhythm, just not a lot of confidence. And I have a lot of rhythm, but my posture sucks and it means I’m easily thrown off balance. (Umm, hello metaphors for life?)

Actually, the entire thing was metaphorical. Hello Keith lacking confidence. Hello me being thrown in many directions and easily getting off balance. Keith needs more ooomph; I need more steadiness.

But the metaphors went deeper than that. The man - the lead - needs to provide direction. His job is to push and pull and create constant tension as a means of communication. His body is his communication tool, and he needs to do so with confidence, fluidity, and without planning too far ahead of time. He uses his intuition and makes split second decisions without second guessing.

It is the job of the woman to be lead with grace and ease. It is her job to not be pushed over, pulled too far in - she needs to maintain her composure, or her “diva stance,” as our instructor called it. And it is also imperative that she trusts his direction, and when he throws her into a dip she needs to not fight it or get scared, but just relax into it.

What does this have to do with yoga, you ask?

Lately, I’ve been studying the divine masculine and divine feminine, as a part of my yoga practice and as a part of my personal healing process. One of the things I have uncovered through many sources is that my masculine energy is overly dominant. 

We all each of us have masculine and feminine energies within us. Estrogen and testosterone, intuition and logic, receptivity and directionality. The male energy - called Shiva - is the steadiness, the ground, the direction. It is the right side of the body, the left hemisphere of the brain, and it controls our logic and our ability to actively progress towards a goal. Our education system and our corporate world (for the most part) are masculine dominated systems. (And not just because the men make the money - because of the structure of how it’s set up.)

The feminine energy - the Shakti - is the wild, creative powers. It’s the intuition and the excitement and focuses primarily on the state of being, not doing. The feminine is unconcerned with progression - the feminine just wants to enjoy. (“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” had it right.) She is the left side of our bodies, the right hemisphere of our brain, and she is fun.

Both of these things work together to make us independent individuals - and it is imperative that we have both within us. Shiva without Shakti - the masculine without the feminine - is but a corpse. There’s no dynamism, no activity, no power. Shakti without Shiva is out of control. My teacher explains it like this: Shiva is the container that holds Shakti, so that she can dance her wild dance without straying too far from center.

Growing up in a patriarchal society, it’s so easy to allow the masculine tendencies to take over. Couple that with shame about the body that we’ve been taught to have as women, the determination for success, and our culture that values goal crushing over being any day, and I think probably most women have some sort of complex going on. 

In my marriage, this means I’ve been overly controlling. In my work, it means I’m overly ambitious. In my heart, it means I have some serious walls to hack down.

Dancing is a good therapy. It’s a way to embody the characteristics of the divine masculine and feminine and put them into practice. It’s a way to learn to communicate without words but with action - and isn’t that what we’re all seeking? 

So, tell me about you. What qualities are more prevalent? Which do you let shine, and which do you hide? How can you invite yourself into greater balance this month?

And, if you want to get a dose of this in a physical embodied form, I’m teaching hanumanasana, or the splits pose, in all of my yoga classes for the month of September. Right leg forward, our masculine leads - left leg forward, our feminine leads. Check my schedule and come join me in class soon.