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Community is different to friendship. Where the whole family is supported, kids are of similar ages and have similar interests and there’s a group parenting vibration, with similar values
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Today I saw a friend's post discussing divine masculine and feminine energies and it inspired me to think about some of the observations I’ve personally made since returning home to a different culture.
But first, let’s explore what divine feminine and masculine energies are and how they impact us in our lives.
The divine feminine and masculine energies are yin and yang and cannot exist without the other. They both reside within us regardless of gender and one is not better than the other, however, they can be imbalanced.
The divine feminine can be soft, loving and kind but also fierce when necessary. Think of a mama bear.
Some traits of the divine feminine:
The divine masculine is more about assertiveness, confidence, standing up for oneself, and fighting for a good cause.
Some traits of the divine masculine:
Logic and analysis
When we’re operating with too much masculine energy it can lead to overcontrol, lack of empathy with loved ones, burnout and conflict. When we are in too much feminine energy, we can be indecisive, have few boundaries, and be frozen to take action.
In a therapy session earlier this year I was told I have been operating in my masculine energy for some time and it was recommended I seek out examples of those operating in their feminine more to observe how they dress, act, speak and live, to help encourage me to move more into balance. Sidenote: I am a massive fan of therapy and think we need to de-stigmatise it, my American friends are like “hell yeah, who are you if you don’t have a therapist” 😉
I do believe some societies are dominated by masculine energy - although one cannot exist with the other, I’ve really noticed the domination of masculine energy in Western society more so than what I experienced living in Bahrain.
When I first moved to the Middle East, my boss sent me an email before my arrival on what to expect. Her being from an Island country, used ‘Island time’ as an analogy of what waited for me. “Why do today, what can be done tomorrow” she said. And nothing was more true. Despite the frustrations, of getting things done in a timely manner, life was a little slower paced and very much centred around the family unit within my community. Inshallah was a common phrase used to answer a question on when something might be complete - it means God’s will and if you wanted something done quickly, it would be frustrating to sometimes hear this phrase. But it’s all about surrendering to what will be and letting go of control where you may have none.
Saudi had more traditional roles than what I experienced in Bahrain with most, including the expat families, taking on the traditional familial roles of the husband going to work and the wife staying home to take care of raising the family. When I moved across the bridge to Bahrain, I was pleasantly surprised to see many female business owners from bookstores, gyms, salons and digital marketing agencies. Both local and expats. But many of these women with children were also living very balanced lives working and being present in their children's and family lives, despite the fact that part-time work wasn’t really a thing.
I know I am definitely generalising, but I am only sharing what I experienced in my immediate circle.
I remember speaking with my friend and mentor Wafa, founder of Women Power Network and @getplaybook, about how there also appeared to be a lot less guilt among Arab women when it came to going to work or even taking care of themselves, and believe me when I say, they were still being present in their families’ care. They in my mind had cracked the code of being able to be mothers and have careers in the most balanced way. Was it perfect? I’m not sure, but it’s definitely highlighted the differences in life in a more work-centred Australia, where it seems work leaves little time for family or self-care. Even my husband’s job in Saudi, as the primary income earner for our family, had strict working hours that started at 7 and finished at 4 pm to enable more family time as well as coming home for lunch - this wasn’t always welcomed as it was just another meal I had to plan for ha, but my kids loved seeing their dad in the middle of the day for sure.
Of course, I would be happy to be corrected, but again, this is my lived experience and what we were exposed to in our time abroad.
That leads me to my next point around community.
I’ve always been a natural community builder, of which I’ve only just recently recognised as a strength and skill.
As a family, whilst we collectively redefine our lives in our new environment, I am currently exploring what community means in Australia vs how it was for us living abroad.
Building a community does take time, and of course, it took time when living overseas, but it seemed easier and quicker whilst living overseas. The difference is that many you meet overseas are all in the same boat, of recreating their community in a foreign country. Most people I met overseas were looking for their community too and in the midst of building it. Often friends you met, would be so different from the kinds of people you knew back home, sometimes the only thing you had in common was you were living in a foreign country. But they became your village, and the people you turned to when kids got sick, meals needed to be shared, group pickups and drop-offs needed to be arranged, and milestones needed to be acknowledged.
Community is different to friendship. When I talk community I mean where the whole family is supported, kids are of similar ages and have similar interests and there’s a group parenting vibration, with similar values and lifestyles.
In a similar fashion, when we came home to Australia we opted to move to a new area to us, that is popular for new arrivals from overseas and interstate, so there were fewer established communities for us to work hard to break into. We are surrounded by neighbours and friends that have recently moved here, so we’re all starting out fresh.
I know it will take time but this is part of my manifesting vision for the coming months and years ahead…
I’d love for you to share your views, experiences or comments below, or if you recognise any similarities in your own experiences.
What also captured my attention last week…
Back to journalling - check out The Artist Way for ideas and understanding of the benefits of journalling and free writing