It's killer but smells nice - Redefining female / by Cherryl Duncan

Yes, I'm primarily a yoga teacher, but I'm also an author of a book about authenticity, a mentor, a coach and I somewhat of a thinker. When you go as far into the philosophy of yoga and mysticism as I have, one can't help but be affected in all areas of ones life, and that's why I sometimes ponder things seemingly unyoga-related (at least to the untrained eye).

I turn 40 in July and can't help but be drawn into pondering this next phase of my life and what it means for me.

So, what does it mean to be a 40 year old woman?

I’m at the precipice of something new, standing at the edge of a large forest, somewhat afraid to go in. My 30’s lie at the outskirts and 40 is somewhere in the middle of it.

Mysterious and a little dark, a thick and silent energy moves through the trees like a powerful snake. All I need to do is walk in.

It’s true what they say, that youth is wasted on, well, the youth.

If only I knew this power when I was younger. But the world doesn’t work like that, and it’s not the laws Nature operates within. Maybe we’d be too powerful and destroy each other and ourselves, for with power must come wisdom.

I do not profess to be wise, but I am wiser than I was, and I know that if I walk into 40 having fully let go of 30, I will be that much wiser.

We live in a culture where woman are encouraged to hold onto their youth, their beauty, and their easily digestible roles in society. We’re either the Innocent Maiden (beauty) Wife/Mother (Devoted and selfless), Temptress (a mere distraction for men on a noble mission) or the ultimate crone (shunned).

So, as a 40-year-old childless woman, where do I fit? According to society I’m stuck somewhere between tempting men away form their noble causes (rolls her eyes) and the fast track to cronedom. The former eliciting a yawn and the latter unappealing for obvious reasons, although somewhat less so.

I feel neither the urge to tempt anyone, except perhaps into higher states of consciousness, authenticity and awareness, but that’s another story. Nor am I ready to enter into the sinister, malicious and disagreeable role of the crone – yet!

On the contrary, I feel a force so strong; it even scares me at times. An energy, if I truly surrender to, renders me almost drunk with its power. I start to understand the maniacal laughing of the comical villain in a 70’s superhero movie and then remember that I am still a lady (society still manages to hold me in it’s anxious grip) and I control the laughter and stand at the edge of the forest, wondering how best to direct the thick, silent and powerful force I now recognise as mine.

Women have been trying to redefine female power for a long time now, and here I stand, recognising that it’s time to contribute. Contribute in a way that makes sense to me.

For me it’s the energy of it. The power of it. It lies in nature. It lies in strength.

It’s not man.

It’s definitely not shoulder pads.

It’s killer but smells nice.

Until then, I’ll stand and watch and when the time is right, I will walk in and never look back.

What does being female mean to you? What does it mean for you as a man to be in a world of the female resurgence?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Cherryl