Uppdaterad: 24 feb 2020
Yesterday I wrote a letter to women. I shared a deeply personal story with the purpose to heal our collective wounds as women, but also to empower more women to step into their feminine leadership. For the same reasons, I want to share a story with you today. It is a story from a much more recent event, from a meeting room, and I share it because I need your help.
Please read slowly and with an open heart.
I am sinking.
Something is pulling me down.
Away from my core. Away from my strength.
I lose myself.
My words. My ideas. My knowledge.
The arguments for my cause are long gone.
I feel small.
Insignificant. What am I worth?
Why am I even here?
I am not given any chance to recenter myself. Reboot.
And I too forget about that need.
I forget myself.
It feels like a struggle.
An invisible tug of war.
I don't see it. But I feel it.
It feels like drowning.
It's a fight between the masculine and the feminine.
The structured and controlled against the creative and connected.
The linear and logical against the non-linear and imaginative.
The goal-oriented against the process-oriented.
The forceful against the allowing.
And the masculine wins.
Because it is dominant, and it has been the norm for thousands of years.
It is the way we do business.
It is the way we rule the world.
What else do we know?
The feminine - the intuitive, flowing, soft, sensual, creative and life-giving.
Qualities that so many of us are longing for. In meeting rooms as well as in living rooms.
Qualities that the world so desperately needs more of.
Qualities that can hold space for chaos and complexity, with love and light.
In favour of what?
In favour of business as usual.
In favour of the norms and ways to go about, that have created the problems of today.
Me, and the feminine qualities I bring.
I drown when not seen.
I drown when not listened to.
I get quiet.
And so the masculine way can continue to dominate the world.
Business as usual.
Until we collapse by the imbalance.
Because that we will.
Unless you ask me to dance.
Dance, explore and create.
A dance between polarities,
also allows for everyone in between.
A dance between masculine and feminine,
allows for the new, more beautiful world, to be born.
A dance that could cure the meta-crisis of today.
I beg you.
Ask me to dance.
This text was born after a day of meetings that left me depleted. I couldn't understand why. What had happened? I am strong and confident woman. I know I have a lot to contribute. I am intelligent, well-educated and experienced. I am growing stronger in my feminine leadership each day. But anyhow, I got quiet. I drowned.
As the fighter I am, I rose up again. This world is in too much need of the feminine for me to be silenced. And I need to understand why this is continually happening to my sisters and me (and also men) so that we can do something about it. Why do strong women constantly get drowned in contexts dominated by men? Even in settings with well educated, conscious men, who might also feel they have integrated the masculine and feminine within themselves. Who might even promote feminine leadership.
To understand, I asked for help. I reached out to a wise man and friend, who I've had the pleasure of working with for a couple of years. Being in a meeting with him is more like the dance described above. With him, I've always felt encouraged to show up in all my feminine power.
- Why is that? What do you do differently? How do you as a man hold space for both the masculine and the feminine?
- It's essential to take a step back and see that everyone in the room is an important part of the whole. But also to restrict stereotypical masculine behaviours and characteristics. I know I talk a lot, so often I need to remind myself to be quiet so that others have a chance to be heard. And not the least to listen beyond traditional masculine logic - to promote balance between emotion and reason, circular and empathetic reasoning.
Dudes! I wanna dance. I don't wanna fight.
But it takes two to tango.
If you genuinely wanna dance with my sisters and me. If you wanna create space for feminine leadership. Then, dear man, I need you to do your part. I am not sure what it is. I don't have the answers. That's why I need your help. I need you to pay attention. Pay attention to your and your fellow mens actions and how they affect others like me and my sisters (but also your brothers). We have all been brought up in the old story of the world. Even I need to be attentive to my actions so that I don't maintain the past.
We need to listen deeply. We need to be curious together. We need to widen our senses so we can tune into potential new movement. Just like in contact improv dance, a good place to learn and take inspiration from.
Contact improv is about responding to impulse and sensation. It plays with trust, listening, and reflexive action. "We practice allowing ourselves to fall, release weight, and roll with momentum, which might require undoing some of the well-practised ways we hold ourselves up." It is all about leading and following, constantly changing. Leaning into the unknown, leaning onto each other.
For feminine leadership to have a part in this world. For the feminine qualities to have a place in the meeting rooms, we need to create the conditions for it. All of us. If you genuinely want to make room for more feminine leadership, what well-practised ways do you need to change?
Please take this as an invitation to explore. Without judgement. Let's learn from the past so that we can dance into the future.
Here are some tips on further reads:
“I don’t believe the feminine is sublime and the masculine is horrifying. I believe both are valuable, essential, powerful. But we have maligned one, venerated the other, and fallen into exaggerated performances of both that cause harm to all. How do we restore balance?“ What does the narratives about the feminine and masculine do to us? The world? Filmmaker Brit Marling gives shares her story on the subject.
What does the feminine and masculine have to do with systemic transformation? Nick Jankel writes brilliantly about the topic and the importance of switching from Control & Protect Mode to Create & Connect Mode (or what could also be called the masculine mode and feminine mode...). Read it here!
Curious about my journey from feminist to a feminine leader? Read it here!
If you want a really good piece on feminine leadership and organisational development, look no further. Fanny Norlin and Lovisa Alsen gives a thorough description here!
This picture illustrates one of those moments when I've experienced the dance of the feminine and masculine: