Coming Home to the Feminine in Business and in Life

Category : On Business

Before the Covid-19 pandemic hit, I had signed up to speak at a Womentorship event, and the topic that seemed to be closest to my heart at the time was how I came to realize the value of the Feminine Principle in how I live my life and run my business. I decided to share it anyway, both for the Womentorship women, and for anyone else who might find it helpful.

Over the last 20 years I have learned an important lesson: that my process of running my business is not faulty—it just doesn’t look ‘typical’ of many businesses because I operate from the Feminine principle. The practices I now embrace (instead of resist or criticize) in my life and business are practices that will also serve the new paradigm in which we find ourselves.

From the beginning of my first university degree, I committed to doing what I enjoyed and what I was good at, even when that approach seemed to be leading nowhere. People would ask me, “What are you going to do with a double major in Political Studies and English? Or an MA in Political Science? How will that get you a job?”

I didn’t know yet. When I finished my second degree and started looking for work, I knew I wanted to write, but I didn’t know who would hire me to do it. Through some wonderful moments of serendipity, I stumbled into a career in a tiny niche industry that I didn’t know existed while I was in school. You don’t usually enter university saying, “I’m going to be a content developer in the museum design consulting industry.” It turned out to be the perfect place for me.

I learned in that industry to trust the process. In fact, I was constantly learning. Every project was a new topic in unfamiliar territory, where I had to learn the content, the people and the requirements. I would begin in uncertainty and simply take the first step, ask good questions, and then take the next step. I built a career out of applying a process that creates order from chaos, leading my clients through the unknown to create ideas and spaces that never existed before. Now I do that not only for museums but also for magazines, websites and other novel communications projects.

But I never really felt like a real business owner.

Someone would ask me: “Do you have a business plan? What projects are you chasing? Are you lining up new projects for when the one you’re working on finishes?”
Me (feeling inadequate): “No, the next thing just comes up.”

It’s worked for 15 years. My only business plan is to maintain a solid network of relationships and to bring integrity and curiosity to every project.

As I began to explore Feminine Leadership through programs with Shakti Rising, I stumbled across a quote by Kathe Schaffe, founder of Women of Spirit and Faith

Feminine leadership is when we sit in circle with uncertainty at the centre and let the Divine whisper what to do next.

Electricity thrummed through me when I read that statement. I hadn’t just been bumbling along in my business! I’d been operating within the Feminine Principle and hadn’t even realized it! It was such a relief to realize my approach actually existed in the world and had a name (Feminine leadership!).

What I learned from exploring and accepting the value of Feminine wisdom is:

  • It’s OK to not have all the answers. You don’t have to know what to do next.
  • Sometimes questions are more powerful than answers.
  • Trust your inner wisdom. Your body always knows. Learning to listen to your body is a continual practice of listening, trust and discernment.
  • Sometimes standing still, or even lying down, is the only way forward.
  • ‘Sitting with uncertainty’ is also known as ‘entering the Mystery’ in some Priestess traditions.
  • You CAN operate—and thrive—in a business operating on the Feminine Principle.

In my career I have also learned that change is the only thing you can really count on. Security is an illusion. The project that I think I can rely on often disappears, through no fault of mine. And new projects that I didn’t know existed, but which are perfect for me, surface the next day. In the last few years I’ve gotten to the point where, when something ends suddenly, I generally laugh and say the magic words: “I wonder what comes next?” and surrender to the Divine Plan. The Plan always reveals itself in hindsight.

Maybe it’s 20 years of practice; maybe it’s being in my forties; maybe I’ve used all the f*cks I had to give; or maybe I’ve finally given myself permission to be what I always was, to acknowledge what looked ‘wrong’ by business standards was not a mistake or a weakness.

It was my Feminine power — my body wisdom, my comfort in the mystery, my practice of surrendering when fighting harder wasn’t going to win any battles — that felt wrong in a patriarchal system and overly masculinized world of business that values control, action and answers.

I still run my business the same way I did when I began — except now instead of judging myself for not fitting a traditional business model, I honour my way as the way of the Feminine, and do it that way in full awareness and on purpose — and with the Divine whispering what comes next.

The practice of being in uncertainty, staying curious and surrendering whatever I can’t control are practices that became immediately applicable to everyone’s everyday experience as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world. These are not practices that have been valued by mainstream society to date, but they have been of immeasurable help to me in navigating these rapidly changing situations that affect my family, my daily experience and my work. Anyone can learn these, although the practice can be uncomfortable — but we’re all uncomfortable anyway, so maybe now is the time to start!

And for those of you for whom this resonates, check out my deeper explorations of the Divine Feminine on my Women’s Spirituality Blog, Arianrhod’s Tower.