Together, Willow Pearson, Diane Musho Hamilton, and Sofia Diaz form the heart of the teaching team—along with Ken Wilber via live teleconference—that will be leading the Women’s Integral Life Practice 5-day workshop this October 15th-20th at the Omega campus in Rhinebeck, NY.
To give an example of the unique kind of co-creative experience they plan to offer in the workshop, Sofia, Willow, and Diane engage a topic of rather extraordinary richness: what is the feminine shadow? Shadow work is one of the four core modules of an Integral Life Practice (the others being Body, Mind, and Spirit), with the term “shadow” representing the personal unconscious, or the psychological material that we repress, deny, dissociate, or disown (which can be not only the lowest and worst aspects of us, but the highest and best). Unfortunately, denying this material doesn’t make it go away; on the contrary, it returns to plague us with painful neurotic symptoms, obsessions, fears, and anxieties. Uncovering, befriending, and reowning this material is necessary not only for removing the painful symptoms, but forming an accurate and healthy self-image, incorporating both the devils and angels in all of us.
With this general understanding of shadow in mind, Diane, Sofia, and Willow explore how some of the uniquely feminine aspects of shadow might manifest in the lives of women (not because the feminine quality or type is exclusive to women, but because most women would self-identify as having a deeply feminine essence, and so these kinds of questions are of very real concern). Willow goes on to suggest The Virgin, The Whore, The Amazon, and The Hag as four archetypes to reflect on, and how each one has a unique shadow manifestation as well as a unique feminine wisdom at its core. Sofia offers that a shared quality of all forms of feminine wisdom is that they are profoundly embodied, and that there is a profound degree of choice and self-responsibility in terms of how fully that embodiment occurs. Diane agrees, and goes on to point out that there are also extremely strong social, cultural, economic, and political forces in play that can either help or hinder the healthy expression—and development—of a woman’s femininity.
An understanding of developmental stages, it turns out, is one of the most important contributions of an Integral Feminism. In a world seemingly beset by the divisive, aggressive, and oppressive aspects of the y chromosome, the cry has often gone out that we must replace the men in power with women! Surely they have the linking, connecting, and healing qualities needed to mend this planet. Well, yes and no. As the work of Carol Gilligan—one of the most popular, and most misunderstood, feminist writers—shows, both men and women grow through four hierarchical stages of moral growth: from selfish (egocentric), to care (ethnocentric), to universal care (worldcentric), to integrated (Kosmocentric). Men traverse these stages with an emphasis on justice and autonomy, and women traverse these stages with an emphasis on care and relationship—hence the title of Gilligan’s popular work: In a Different Voice—but they both proceed through the same general waves of increasing care and concern. The problem with the world situation is not men (or the masculine mode), nor is the cure women (or the feminine mode); rather, what is needed is higher levels of both. (Elizabeth Lesser, founder of Omega Institute, found this topic so important that she and Ken spent an entire dialogue exploring the need for a “three-dimensional feminism”—a feminism that understands developmental depth. We consider this conversation required listening for anyone interested in learning about the true gifts of an Integral Feminism.)
Sofia, Diane, and Willow make for an incredible team, and this dialogue gives a wonderful taste of the creative flow, joyful communion, and wise insight the coming workshop will offer. We invite you to join in on this exciting discovery of a more comprehensive, caring, and integral feminism, and how to make it a part of one’s unique integral life practice….
(To learn more about the 5-day workshop, happening October 15th-20th in Rhinebeck, NY, click here….)