“Forget conventionalisms; forget what the world thinks of you stepping out of your place; think your best thoughts, speak your best words, work your best works, looking to your own conscience for approval.” – Susan B. Anthony
Since 1995, March has been designated as Women’s History Month in the United States and International Women’s Day has been celebrated around the world on March 8th since 1914. I can’t think of a better time to embrace and celebrate the Shakti within regardless of your gender identify!
The word Shakti in Sanskrit might be translated in several ways yet it is most frequently applied to the divine feminine. The word “Shakti” comes from the root “shak” meaning “to be able to” or “the potential to produce”. Sometimes Shakti is spelled “Shakthi” which means “power” or “empowerment”, so the term has been utilized to represent the power, force, and feminine energy within all. In Hinduism, Shakti represents the underlying creative force of all divinity, providing the energy to everything without which the world would not exist.
When we try to deny or ignore some aspect or part of ourselves, we begin to feel disconnected from our authentic self and our other tribe members. So, if you are looking to feel more comfortable in your own skin and embrace life more fully, it is important to acknowledge all parts, accept them, and welcome them to the table to celebrate your wholeness and well-being. When some aspect of ourselves feels stifled, ignored, oppressed, or dismissed, it tends to get loud and protest. Sound familiar? Just what the women in the world continue to protest against to this day. So, if you want them to quiet down, you MUST create equal time for their expression, treat them with honor and respect, and demonstrate their value!
So, how can we all honor and embrace that Shakti part of ourselves? Below are 5 suggestions for your consideration. And, if you should be so bold to support change in the world, I would love to hear about your experience!
- Reflect. In our multi-tasking culture, we rarely find time to take a moment and reflect. Yet, it is through reflection that we become more aware of what it is we need – body, mind, spirit – to grow and transform. When we create time and space to reflect, we go deeper within ourselves and begin to commune with our true essence, our Source, our inner truth and strength, realizing the authority of our lives does not come from the outside. Exploring our inner landscape through reflection opens the door to the deep inner stillness and peace within. From this deep inner point, we touch the power and wisdom of the feminine that originates from simply “being” and not “doing”. Don’t be afraid – dive deep into the reflective pool of Shakti energy and emerge refreshed from connecting to your soul’s yearnings.
- Listen to Your Gut. More and more research is revealing how intelligent our guts are, even beginning to refer to our bellies as our second brain. It is no surprise when you understand that both the brain and the gut develop from the same embryonic tissue. So if you are interested in expanding your ability to make wise decisions for yourself, begin to pay more attention to your belly. As you set an intention to listen more deeply to your gut, not only will you notice it guiding your food choices (based upon how your body processes different foods), but you may also notice it guiding your activity choices, helping you to say “No” when asked to do something that doesn’t make your heart and soul sing.
- Go into Nature. As we approach the Vernal Equinox, where Mother Earth experiences equal amounts of light and dark, and begin to see the natural world coming out of hibernation, it is a great reminder of the natural flow, and cycles of life. When we are able to observe and connect with the rhythms of nature, feel the flow of the tides, and understand the interconnectivity of it all, we plug into an eternal energy source that fuels our own natural tendency towards creativity and joy. Go outside, tune into the sounds of the birds singing or the waves of the ocean and give yourself permission to lose yourself for a few moments while you join the river of life flowing through you!
- Create Connections. In addition to reconnecting to Mother Nature, maybe consider expanding your connections with others, yet taking a page from Mother Nature’s book in your approach. Our current culture directly and indirectly encourages and supports competition, which creates winners and losers, which emanates more from the masculine energy. Therefore, to ensure balance, approach your relationships with an attitude of collaboration instead of competition. I was once asked, would you prefer being right and risk being alone or would you prefer being connected and risk being happy? When we release our need to be right and perfect, our energy becomes available to work together to elevate the collective consciousness of the world, transforming ourselves and others!
- Smile More. Smiling is contagious! A genuine smile can diffuse a tense situation and infuse some light into dark, heavy energy. So when you smile, your energy can bring about positive change, facilitate movement, and open a door for dialogue which may not have been possible otherwise. So remember to smile and remind yourself through your smile you are inviting joy into your own life while also naturally bringing joy into the world!