Pot Plant

Why Women are Like House Plants

pot plantAs women we have been taught to step out of our power. In big ways and small, for most of our lives.

Like plants that were once native to the jungles of hot steamy lands, which now languish potted in the corner of  a hot, steamy kitchen. Plants which in their wild state would be 20 foot tall, in the confines of domesticity never get higher than your shoulder. We know we are not in our native environment, we are not rooted in our own expansive life force power, not sustained by the nourishing earth… but because WE have never experienced the wild land of our birth, we know no different.

Just like pot plants, we are reliant on somebody else to keep us alive. To water and feed us with praise and kindness. This makes us more vulnerable to attack from pests. Cut off from their own place in nature – their own sources of water and nutrition houseplants become rootbound. As do we. Capable of toppling at the slightest breath of wind.

We keep these plants in the corner, to prettify our environments, to bring a safe little bit of the wild into our highly ordered, man-made spaces… and to purify the air. We tie them back, prune them, shape them exactly as we want to fit the space that has been allotted them.

It’s been kind of the same for women for a very long time. We are potted and pruned.

All the wildness, the untameability, the too much-ness are banished if we are to keep our place in the corner of the kitchen. We must not become too big for our pots.

We are encouraged to, told to, ordered to disown so much of ourselves. Our too-skinny, too-fat, too-hairy, too-old, too-sexy,  too-real bodies, our unfeminine emotions of anger and frustration, our needs and demands… we are expected to apologise for our wildness. Hide it. And feel shame about it. Otherwise we will be MADE to do this. We will be shamed. Made to go into hiding.

The less authentic self-expression we have in the outer world, the greater our unresolved, unhealed pain, the greater the shadow power we experience. The more we are potted.

But it is not just our shadow power we are dealing with. Oh no!

Our tacit agreement

The feminine has the tacit agreement with the world to feel what those around her are unprepared to feel. To express what they are happier to keep silent. To heal what they are unprepared to heal. To hold space for that which is ignored and marginalised. To purify that which is left unpurified.

We do this through our emotional fields, as well as through our bodies.

When our wombs are activated we do this most strongly-  as our wombs are the conduits for our creative energy. So during pregnancy, menarche, menstruation and menopause we are processing not only OUR OWN emotional and intangible purification, but also that of all those we come in contact with and are intimate with.

Like house plants processing the toxins in a house, taking them in, and processing them, giving out life-giving oxygen to support those around us. So it is with the feminine. But if we do not know how to keep these toxins flowing with us, and accumulate them in our own cells, then we become sick with them. So one of the skills we need to acquire is keeping ourselves in flow and learning to release fully the accumulated residue of everything that we are processing for others.

The majority of the population is not prepared to see its own shadow, acknowledge it’s own residues. It refuses to acknowledge the power of the feminine, the biological, ecological necessity of the feminine in the life cycle – the vulnerability, emotion, feeling, sensitivity, the nebulous creative, passion – and so all of this is bundled out for women and men who embody the feminine to deal with.

So women are pushed into an even more “feminine” role. As those around dissociate further and further from their own shadows. if and when they become crippled with this pouring in from so many place, it becomes even easier to write women off as crazy, over sensitive, emotionally volatile… it’s because they’re doing the feeling and vulnerability not only for themselves, but for all those around them who are refusing to do it.

So many, many women inhabit their own shadow power as home – and doing this, attract the shadow power of others. The masculine further distances itself and BOOM – this is how The Crazy Woman is formed. And becomes so crazy. She is living out as her reality, stuff which all those around her are denying. The only power coursing through her veins is that which is disallowed. So now she is fully energised… with no way or form through which to ground or discharge this energy…

A New Code of Power

As women we need to create a new, healthy code of power for ourselves… and our communities:

1) Acknowledge this important role that we play for ourselves and our communities as conduits and purifiers of shadow energy.

2) Find ways to discharge this shadow energy when it builds in ways that do not hurt ourselves or other people physically or emotionally.

3) Help those around us to come into their own feminine, to feel their own feelings and live in their own vulnerabilities and express their shadows healthily.

4) Learn to support our bodies fully – physically and energetically – in cleansing the residues in our systems and stay in flow.

5) Create strong boundaries and containers within which we can express our own power and interact others without being damaged by the shadow power of others.

6) Reconnect with and re-own the parts of ourselves we have consigned to the shadow self.

7) Reconceptualise power – what it is and how it works – integrating both our masculine and feminine forms.

8) Commit to shifting from shadow power into creative power as our dominant form of expression and standing in power through creative self-expression.

9) Limit the people in our life who require us to express/ catalyse/ absorb their shadow for them.

10) Keep re-grounding ourselves in our deeper nature, connected to our source power, ourselves and our communities – no more staying safe potted in the kitchen because we’re too scared.

When we diffuse the shadow power and see it more clearly for what it is then we realise that power is not something to be feared, nor something to be avoided. Nor is it something alien to us as women. Not deep down. It has just been withheld for so long that it feels unfamiliar.

Maybe it is because of women’s history with shadow power that they fear creative power so much. That they do everything they can to keep themselves from inhabiting their own unique place of power. Generations of women have been kept indoors. Though we ourselves may not have been, we have imbibed the fears and stuntedness of our ancestors who were.

As my dear friend Tracy said “when a woman is in her power it does not have to be an aggressive or adrenaline-fuelled power. She doesn’t have to grasp for it. Its power but not as we see it in our culture. Because a woman in her power sees things so clearly. She sees what is her and not her. She knows her own shit! She can have a power that is open and soft too.

Here’s to exploring our wild creative power and climbing out of our pots to re-root ourselves in the big wide world.

This post is part of the Reclaiming Your Power series:


Other posts in this series:

She Who Dares… Gets Destroyed

Shining a Light… on Women’s Shadows

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  1. Henrietta

    I felt like crying when I read this, for myself, the over potted pruned and caged woman who is slowly and painfully clawing back the power that is so deeply buried, and working through the complex layers of toxins accumulated over 40 years of being a woman of emotion and sensitivity in our society. I also cry for for my ancestors, who never even realized a glimmer of it, and who were, and are so deeply stunted, poisoned and damaged emotionally that they may as well be in Victorian corsets…and probably were…
    AS always eloquent and necessary….Thankyou

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