The Feminine Face of Destiny: An Ecological Perspective

Livingstone, Aninha (2012) The Feminine Face of Destiny: An Ecological Perspective. Doctoral thesis, Meridian University.


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Women who dare to follow their dreams encounter both internal and external obstacles. This study proposed the research problem: What imaginal structures arise for women when engaging their destiny? The hypothesis was: Women who are challenged in engaging their calling have a deficient relationship with the positive aspects of the Mother and Father face of the Friend, or the feminine and masculine principles. The literature review considered women’s relationship with destiny from an ecological perspective. Women’s development and process of forming identity were explored, as were obstacles to success. Destiny was presented from various perspectives including psychological, mythic and ecological. Lastly, ecopsychology, deep ecology and ecofeminism were presented. The literature revealed a lack of inquiry into women’s relationship to calling from a soul-centered and ecopsychological perspective. The methodology for this study employed Imaginal Inquiry, utilizing its four phases: evoking, expressing, interpreting, and integrating experience. The primary affects evoked were fear, shame, and grief. Eight participants met for the study, while five attended the second integrative meeting. Utilizing expressive arts, journaling, nature based inquiry and a women’s circle, participants explored their relationship to their calling. vi The study’s cumulative learning was: The retrieval of the instinctual body in community and nature functions to free women from affective barriers, allowing more ease in claiming one’s calling as both process and product. Five learnings emerged. First, cultural reference points breed fixed and product-oriented views of the self, while nature generates a more fluid and process-oriented view. Second, women are prone to becoming paralyzed in relation to their calling when challenged to take risks that require a greater valuing of themselves, their dreams, and their needs. Third, participants’ obstacles were rooted in shame which inhibited them from expressing their authentic gifts in the world, for fear of re-experiencing childhood wounding. Fourth, women who are blocked in their calling as a result of a deficient relationship with the positive aspect of the feminine and masculine principles can develop capacities of both, through engaging their ecological imagination. And lastly, suppressed grief can block calling and lead to isolation, whereas grief and longing that is named and expressed within a collective can facilitate women reclaiming their instinctual energies, which supports calling. The study’s learnings were reflected through the Jewish mystic creation story of Tikkun Olam, which speaks to the unification of the feminine and masculine principles, and the need for each individual to acknowledge their brokenness, and bring forth their divine spark in order to restore the world.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Psychology > Critical Theory
Depositing User: Aninha Livingstone
Date Deposited: 17 Jan 2017 21:49
Last Modified: 17 Jan 2017 21:49

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