A warning: This blog post continues my tangent into a series of posts exploring the feminist writings I am reading. If this type of information is not of interest to you, I’ll return to more “retirement transition – life journey” stuff soon.
This blog is a specific look at The Virgin’s Promise by Kim Hudson and The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock and what it means in my life – my “so what”.
My simplistic interpretation of a woman’s life journey as outlined in The Heroine’s Journey by Maureen Murdock is simply, do the same things a man would do!
The patriarchal archetypical Hero’s Journey is about physically leaving home to pursue achievement and autonomy (stand on his own). A Hero learns to be brave in the face of adversity, is clever and strong, and learns the skills to do what needs to be done. In real life, this journey involves proving that we have good minds, can follow-through (get the job done, be productive), and are emotionally and financially independent. It’s about climbing the hierarchical ladder (until you hit the glass ceiling for a woman). Hero’s/Heroine’s don’t need help – they can do it themselves! They don’t show weakness (nurturing & compassion are weak.) If you ask for your needs to be met – be needy or dependent – it is not acceptable. Put your career before relationships, family, or even any hobby. Get things done logically, efficiently, analytically. The Heroine’s Journey is all about learning the male norms – leadership, personal autonomy, and competence – in order to survive and thrive in the Patriarchal Belief System. Essentially, be a man.
The Feminist Revolution was all about proving a woman could do anything a man could do. But, as a woman, you can never really measure up because we still live in a Patriarchal Belief System and you are not a man! So many women feel the Imposter Complex because there is always a nagging sensation that you will never be enough. If I’m a good girl, if I get that degree, if I act that way, if I meet those expectations… then I will be okay. But then I’m not, because I am not a man.
The woman’s life journey as outlined in The Virgin’s Promise by Kim Hudson is very different than the Heroine’s Journey. While the Hero/Heroine Journey is about physical distancing from mother/family/home to learn autonomy and achievement (in myth, that means fight the dragon and win; in life, that means achieve wealth and success), the Virgin’s Promise is about psychological distancing/separating from the expectations of family/society to find your authentic (feminine) self. This uniquely feminine journey involves connecting to the inner world; developing the feminine traits of creativity, sensuality & spirituality; and driving towards a life of joy. It’s overcoming the need to please others (be accommodating) and to stop conforming to others wishes (meeting expectations).
Intriguingly, in retirement after having completed my own Heroine’s Journey, I now feel compelled to embark on the Virgin’s Promise. But I really dislike that term!
Building on the insights of having lived the heroine’s journey for most of my life and now seeking the promise of the virgin to find my authentic self, I see myself on an Inner Quest. I am beyond the need to climb any corporate ladder or achieve prestige and recognition for achievement. Or I tell myself that. I do want to stop feeling the need to be busy and productive and filling every moment with doing. I need to learn to not hear expectations everywhere and to no longer need external validation.
I am becoming more aware about the truth of female life in the patriarchy. I recognize I subjugated my feminine side to succeed at work and bought into the Patriarchal Belief System. Now I want to let go of the need for accomplishment, recognition, and prestige and activate my femininity – be more in touch with feelings, intuition, sexuality, creativity, playfulness, and humor.
• I want to spend time on creative projects, building deep friendships with other women, and playing in the garden.
• I want to connect with the earth’s rhythms – the moon, the tides, & the seasons – and spend more time outside.
• I want to appreciate the movement of my body, have new experiences, and do things I want/love to do (engagement not mastery).
• I want to expand my spirituality, become more in tune with my intuition, and spend time in introspection.
Breaking out of a patriarchy mindset and cultivating an emerging feminine consciousness does not happen overnight. But my awareness has been heightened and I am intentionally engaging in activities that are helping me on my Inner Quest to unearth my authentic (more feminine) self.
Picture Credit: A quieter week; my best picture is another sunrise.