Every time a woman claims right relationship with the perrenial feminine her world rights itself.

On my fortieth birthday, almost two years after returning to Canada from living overseas, I promised myself to never again say yes to anything I didn’t want to do or love to be. Then my sons cracked an egg filled with paper confetti on my head, which was hilarious fun! I didn’t tell them my promise. I kept it to myself. But their ritual for Mum felt baptismal to me. Carl Jung taught the first half of life is about forming a strong, healthy ego in response to the world, while the latter half of life is a call to go inward and learn to let go of it. Turning forty was this marker for me. I’d been gallivanting across the globe until a voice instructed me to return to my roots.

I say it was a voice because this is how I experience inner guidance at crucial times in my life — it is an audible voice inside me and beyond me at the same time. It is a feeling instinct, too; a clear sense of knowing with no questions attached. This quality of knowing is distinct from the social training we all inherit and construct our identities upon (Jung’s idea of ego). And whenever my safety has been at risk, I’ve heard the voice. All I’ve needed to do is trust it and act upon what I hear.

Instinct of the soul overrides human training. And I’ve learned instinct is a fine teacher. I willingly follow it now. I encourage you to follow it, too. It usually demands courage we may not have exercised before. But there’s a developmental process woven into life teaching us to discern instinct from training.

My second marriage was prime ground for learning discernment. Against my instinct, I’d married a deeply disturbed man. He appeared to be sweet and affable to everyone else but behind closed doors, he was a tyrant.

When I was widowed at a young age, it changed my orientation to life. I was in-between who I thought I was and who I had yet to become. My second husband sensed this vulnerability in me as a weak link and the way for him to gain control over me. Whether or not he was conscious of what he was doing, I will never know. But the journey with him brought me to a place where I needed to see, and see quickly, that my life was truly at risk. He was a force determined to take me down, and take me down hard.

My experience of the chasm of darkness I fell into with him was an unconscious temptation to alleviate my grief. But life never intended me to have a short cut through the grieving process. The instinct of the feminine is to foster growth in the dark.

We all have our moments when the chasm of darkness opens to seduce us. The human experience is a house of mirrors in a land of distortions. And the house of mirrors is the fragmented psyche. The mirror of the man I married was severely distorted. He inoculated himself against truth through his own narcissism that masked whatever fear and pain he carried.

Why was I attracted to him? I don’t really know. And I may never know because it still perplexes me more than three decades later.

But there is something I have considered.

My first husband’s death was a violent awakening for me. It fragmented my life and deconstructed my identity. All the pieces of me had yet to coalesce into the new me when I met the next man I’d marry. Those fragments gained such ascendancy that they acted autonomously. I couldn’t hold them. I was not yet grounded in the fullness of my new reality and therein was the real danger. For I was a generous-hearted woman naively enthusiastic about what I could manage.

In my arrogance, or maybe it’s more accurate to call it ignorance or even idealism, I imagined the rest of my life to be easy. That somehow I had already arrived. I had no idea it was just the first of many initiations intended to resurrect my arrogance, ignorance and idealism. How is it human beings have lost what it means to incarnate, to take on a human life? For the woman I am today, I find this astonishing. We are generally so ill-equipped to comprehend that everything we undergo is in service to the human soul, which learns through individual experience.

Much of what we think we choose, we really don’t choose at all. In truth, we come into our life with a learning curriculum, a pattern to fulfill. We are born into an alignment with this pattern, which means we’ve already agreed to it! The task is to learn through what comes. When we learn, the trajectory of our experience shifts as the common field of the collective soul grows.

I wish someone had told me not to take anything personally. Every encounter was mine to learn through. And nothing had ever gone wrong. It was the impersonal nature of my life in action. That’s it!

I learned in short order that being reckless with my life is not wise. I must value it as the great gift it is. I was not safe in my second marriage. Instinctually, I knew this before I married him, but I remained hidden from myself. I was bamboozled by social training that led me to believe I must accept a marriage proposal because it might be my last chance at happiness.

It was foolish at best, dangerous at worst. And as my father recently said to me about that time, “You were doing okay.” But I made a choice that turned everything upside-down.

Nevertheless, I’m here writing about it. And I learned something of such tremendous value that I feel called to share it with you.

The true measure of a woman is her willingness to honour her soul’s guidance in the midst of anything.

To say it another way: How willing are you to go against your deep instinct when faced with a dilemma or an opportunity?

The price paid for self-deceit is always accounted for in the book of life.

Drawing from the deep feminine, I’ve learned I can always source what I require and allow myself to laugh at how ridiculous it all can be. Modern woman is generally so conditioned to work against herself that she doesn’t even recognize this.

When I said yes to the call to return home after that traumatizing experience and what followed it, I was faced with the great unknown. I had no idea where I would live, how I would live, or what I would have to give to my children. But not heeding that voice was unthinkable.

It is only by trusting ourselves to the unknown that we are in a position to discover our own unique path in life. And now is the time modern woman must come to understand her essential being hidden in her own inner story.

Question for Reflection:
Who would I be if there was nothing to fight and something to learn?

Magdalen Bowyer

Magdalen Bowyer

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