Paperback, Hardback, eBook
Dr Winfried Sedhoff M.D.
Women were once revered and highly respected.
- Learn why women are often treated poorly simply for being a woman, and what you can personally do to change that.
- Discover how to build friendships with other women and be supported.
- Recognise simple things you can do to make your relationship closer, more meaningful, satisfying and stable, by better meeting the friendship needs of your partner, and vice versa.
- Learn how to create a balanced life, how to calm your mind, improve your mental health, and increase your wisdom, tolerance, and compassion.
- Discover ways to enhance your spirituality, and connect with nature, uncover sources of peace, strength and focus.
- Learn to connect with your authentic self, and how to be a better parent and carer.
The light that can transform a dark world lies deep within women, waiting to be uncovered and raised once more.
A Balance of Self: A new approach to self understanding, lasting happiness, and self-truth
Dr Winfried Sedhoff M.D.
A balanced life is something we all yearn for, but it can only be honestly achieved through a balance of self. This important book gently and sensitively guides us towards our inner self and shows us step by step how we can rescue, resuscitate and nurture our real identity back to health. We are offered a life raft stocked with all the survival tools we need for our journey and a clear navigation chart with all the routes we may wish to take clearly signposted. Although written as a handbook for those who have lost their sense of self, this book is also a pick me up to revitalise the true essence of those of us who are jaded or slightly unwell. Now we have no more excuses to deny ourselves true happiness and fulfilment in all areas of our lives.
the fall and rise of women- extracts
It’s hard to live a life true to ourselves; true to the person we know we are deep in our hearts. So many people want us to be different, or someone we are not. Not knowing and living a life true to ourselves can have profound implications for our relationships and our emotional wellbeing. When we aren’t being true to ourselves we don’t meet our needs, we try to meet the needs of the person we think we should be. In some circumstances the suffering can be life threatening. I know this from first-hand experience. When I was young I had no sense of who I was, what I felt, or what I wanted to do. I suffered a crisis so severe I considered ending my life; the misery and torment were that bad. At the time I felt I had no other choice.
By the time I graduated medicine and started working in a prominent Sydney teaching hospital feeling depressed was a familiar emotion. Through most of high school and university I regularly thought about ending my life. The thoughts were so frequent I believed they were normal; that everyone had them. High school years had been particularly unkind. Ostracized early, and rejected and abused by the few girls I was really attracted to, made for some difficult years. The Catholicism I had grown up with offered too much fear and guilt, so I adopted beliefs in the supernatural; clairvoyance, telepathy, astral travel and reincarnation. The idea that we could learn lessons so we would not be reincarnated again and again into suffering offered me much needed hope. They helped keep me alive. Once I was no longer busy studying or working extremely long hours I finally noticed the depth of the emotional pain within. The misery I had been too busy to recognize surfaced and became inescapable. It triggered a personal crisis. My beliefs failed me.
The choices were stark: end it all, live a miserable life struggling to engage emotionally in life and in relationships, or sort myself out. I chose the latter. I would not let this life and its traumas beat me.
At twenty-three years of age I made one of the scariest decisions of my life; I resigned from my promising specialist medical training. I had the support of my specialist colleagues, but I just couldn’t continue; the torment growing inside me was too great. Initially I thought of trying my hand at research, I’d had a few ideas I thought worth pursuing and I could justify it to those who wondered why I had given up such a bright future. Then, as I spent more time alone with my thoughts, I quickly gave up that notion and did what I needed to do: face myself.
Sitting on my plain double bed in a small rented one bedroom unit in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, a pillow to my back to protect it from the cold concrete wall, rain tapping on the window, I began my journey within.
Whydidn’tIseekprofessionalhelp? Atherapistorpsychiatrist to help me in this most troubling time? That would mean accepting someone else’s beliefs and ideas. It would not allow me to find the true me.
For months I sat, every day searching inside myself, trying to find a sense of honest unquestionable truth. Something I could believe in without doubt and prejudice. I faced my worst fears and emotional pains and learnt to understand and resolve them so they wouldn’t block my path. I looked beyond what I imagined I would ever have to face; like climbing an internal mountain. Learning to climb, I gained new skills and made new tools, and didn’t let boulders or obstructions block my way. Many times I thought I reached the summit, but soon knew I was just being fooled and continued on my quest. Then I found it. It wasn’t what others had written about, or what I had expected.
Suddenly I saw life very differently. I could better understand the fundamentals of the human point of view – the basics of what it is to be human. I found it easier to see past the cloud of complexity and beliefs that had restricted, and eventually threatened my life. I found a sense of self and a sense of truth I could feel completely confident with. It helped me see a great hope.
Like many of us I am concerned for the future. Extremes of poverty and starvation grip billions, we continue to fight destructive wars, and still have enough powerful and toxic weapons to wipe all life from the planet. We are increasingly living isolated lives, we’ve become increas- ingly disillusioned and unhappy with our existence, and more and more of us are struggling to find fulfillment, purpose and meaning. There is a lack of direction and vision that can offer us peace, sustainable balance, and real personal satisfaction. It seems the world has lost its way, and with it a sense of realistic hope.
There is great hope. We can find it inside ourselves. We can especially find it inside women.
Itiscurrentlyovertwenty-sixyearssinceIplacedmyselfinto voluntary isolation. Today I work as a family physician – General Prac- titioner – specializing in issues related to mental health. The insights and techniques I gained so many years ago eventually led to basic models and methods I regularly use in my clinical practice, and com- pliment current scientific and psychological approaches quite well. In the last eight years I have specialized in counseling and offering psy- chological therapies and techniques and have had the rare privilege of sharing others’ most intimate life stories. This has given me an even greater insight than I might have otherwise had into the unjust and un- acceptable plight of women.
It has become glaringly apparent that we live in a world currently dominated by the priorities and agendas of men. Women have been treated as second-class citizens; abused, disrespected, and under-appre- ciated as women. Unrealistic expectations are thrust upon them to be all things to all people: mothers, workers, parents, and carers all at once. Icommonly see women struggling to cope, without social or family supports, without their partners understanding how difficult it is for them as women and mothers, and crying wondering what is wrong with them when it seems that other women are managing quite well. Far too commonly I see women struggling to know who they are, what it is to be a woman in our modern world, what it is like to be their true selves. Women are the key to hope of a better life and world for us all, but not if they are treated like this.
As a woman you can enhance your tolerance, compassion, caring, and wisdom in a way that can transform the world. Every child you nurture and care for can gain from your insight, personal wisdom, tolerance and compassion. You can master your pains and fears so generations ahead avoid such unnecessary hardships. From you our children can learn to become more authentic and learn to live more fulfilling lives.
My self-effacing journey helped me see a sense of inner truth inside us all. Inside every woman lies a truth she can awaken – she can realize her authentic self. When we oppress and abuse women the power of their inner truth is suppressed and not allowed to germinate and grow and spread positive influence into our families and society.
The truth that can transform the world lies deep inside you, waiting to be raised and discovered once more.
The Keres Indians of Laguna Pueblo in North America tell a tale of Thought Woman and the origin of the world.
In her book The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the feminine inAmerican Indian traditions, Paula Gunn Allen describes, ‘In the beginning Tse che nako, Thought Woman finished everything, thoughts and the names of all things. She finished also the languages.’1
Thought Woman is considered the spirit of creation that ‘informs right balance, right harmony, and these in turn order all relationships in conformity with her law’. She is considered ‘the supreme Spirit, she is both Mother and Father to all people and to all creatures’. They say she brought building, agriculture, memory, intuition, social systems, religion, creativity, dance, among many other things, and ‘blessed the people with the ability to provide for themselves and their progeny’. She was not a male ruler who punished those who defied her; she is the spirit of a woman who brought life, balance, and an ability to make our own decisions to humanity.
The Keres Indians believe Thought Woman will return and help restore balance in the world. That is the vision of this book – to help modern women elevate themselves to the revered ancient woman of the past – respected, acknowledged, empowered, so she, in turn, can transform society.
This book is dedicated to you women out there. Because I have seen your power, value, and your role in society denigrated. You’re not paid the same as men, you hit the glass ceiling protected by men, and are unappreciated at home and as a mother. You are objectified in the media to the point of contempt. Women like you all over the world are
being oppressed, abused, and disrespected simply for being the person nature intended. You’re often regarded as inferior, subservient, or lowly compared to men who are commonly valued more highly. There has been a fall of woman – a downfall – and it has seen, and continues to see, our relationships suffer, our families become dysfunctional, and our communities fragment and fall apart racked by violence and disunity leading to unnecessary wars, extremes of wealth and poverty, mass star- vation, and destruction of the natural world on an unprecedented scale. The fall of woman – as we shall soon see – was inevitable. What is not inevitable is that it stays this way.
Nature unwittingly made it like this. As will soon become apparent, at first nature made the power and influence of women much higher. The power of desires that define a woman – the Essence of Woman – were strong. They were at least the equal of the power of the desires at the heart of men – the Essence of Man – if not greater. The Essence of Woman was in balance with the Essence of Man and for millennia women were respected, highly valued, and greatly appreciated by their families and community; they held great sway. In some cultures – such as the Cherokee and Iroquois Nations of the United States before the colonization of white man – to be a woman was to be revered. But nature created some potential weaknesses, and the right conditions to turn all that on its head. We have been living the the traumatic legacy of these weaknesses and circumstances ever since.
Nature also provided us with a solution.
Nature also provided us with a solution.
We live in a time when gender roles have blurred and we are no longer true to our authentic selves. Many women have lost what it means to be true to being a woman, and behave more like men, or immature girls. Many men have also lost touch with the authentic man in them, and no longer know how to be the ‘Real Men’ women need them to be. This is leaving many men and women confused, not knowing who they are, or who they are supposed to be. Many of us find ourselves in unsatisfying relationships because we are no longer able to fulfill each other’s most basic relationship needs. The shortage of authentic men is leaving many women deeply unsatisfied.
In the quest to restore balance between the Essence of Woman and the Essence of Man we could try to lower the Essence of Man, bring the power of his desires down so the desires of woman can rise in comparison, but this will only make matters worse. Lower the Essence of Man and there will be fewer authentic men to satisfy women. In the end nature only left us with one realistic option:
Raise the power of the natural womanly qualities within you: become the most authentic woman possible.
Nature refined in you the qualities of the woman it needs you to be. You can see these qualities reflected in your deepest womanly desires and feel them in the depths of your heart. No man can raise the power and influence of these desires for you. No man can make you an authentic woman with great inner power, confidence, and wisdom. Only you can truly raise the Essence of Woman in your being, and around the world. Only you – and women like you – have access to the true heart of an authentic woman that can restore balance and harmony.
Deep inside you resides the spirit of an ancient woman suppressed. She knows your heart. She knows your womanly needs, as she has known the needs of the hearts of women over the ages. She can have great power and influence among us once more. She can offer us friend- ship, caring and nurturing, improved health, insight, tolerance and compassion. Her wisdom can help us find a path for a society that is lost and struggling to find its way. She does not want you to be someone you are not. She simply asks that you listen to your Inner Self and hear her. She wishes you to once again feel her warm embrace, and realize her natural power.
The aim of this book is two-fold. Firstly to help correct the imbalance between the Essence of Woman and the Essence of Man by assisting you to better understand why the Essence of Woman fell, and to help you to raise it and keep it raised so that you, your daughter, and your daughter’s daughter, and indeed all women, can live more satisfying and fulfilling lives. The second is to help you feel true to yourself as a woman and take pride in the woman you naturally are. As you blossom then you will finally be treated with the respect and appreciation you deserve, and you can live the deeply satisfying life that nature intended. In the process you will also help create a more equitable, peaceful, and
How can I – a man – teach a woman to be authentic?
Ultimately I can’t.
I can’t tell you what you should do, or what your place is in society. But, after years of counseling women I can ask many questions that may help you unearth insights and understandings, and I can offer tools and guidance, so you can explore and increase your own Essence of Woman.
In the following chapters we look at why the Essence of Woman fell, and why its fall was inevitable. We explore what powerful yet simple forces can lower it, suppress it, and keep it suppressed. Once we under- stand what you’re up against we can develop practical steps to help you counter such forces. We begin by introducing a practical and simple model that can help us better understand our basic human desires. The model is called the Balance of Self (BOS) Model.
In the first chapter we’ll introduce the BOS Model then refer back to it throughout the book. As you shall soon see it’s a powerful yet simple model offering personal and social insights. For example it can give you a much better understanding of friendship and how to improve your relationships. It can also help you better understand how you choose to have sex can either increase the Essence of Woman or lower it. Are troubles with relationships getting in the way of you feeling complete as a woman? We can use the insights of the BOS Model to improve them.
With a better practical understanding of the desires that drive many of our thoughts and behaviors it’s easier to understand the inevitable fall of the Essence of Woman. In Chapter 3 you will discover how women and our society in general, respond poorly to chronic threat. We will see what chronic threat is and why it is so bad for us, and why it’s espe- cially bad for women and the Essence of Woman. Chronic threat is the first of two reasons behind the inevitable downfall of women. Going from nomadic tribes to farmers and settlers was a part of our human evolution. Farming had the potential to provide enough for all and give us common social equitable goals that could unite us; instead society fared badly due to resulting extremes of wealth and poverty, and wars, famine, and suffering. We are yet to understand the full impact that this evolution has on our societies; but one thing is certain, women did not, and still do not fare well. Becoming farmers and settlers was the second reason behind women’s demise.
In this book we look at seven practical steps to help you improve your relationships, your family life, and your power and satisfaction as a woman in our society – steps to raise the power and influence of women so that it never falls again. They are:
• Step 1: Respect yourself, her, and him
• Step 2: Grow friendship
• Step 3: Listen to the real you
• Step 4: Be attractive
• Step 5: Be sex-wise
• Step 6: Be actively involved in decisions
• Step 7: Enhance your spirituality.
In Step 1 we acknowledge the Essence of Woman cannot be raised without respect. With simple practical suggestions you will learn to increase respect for yourself, but also for the men and women around you. This can go a long way to restoring balance with the Essence of Man. This step alone can transform your relationship and how others treat you. It is a critical first step in your journey towards realizing your greatest potential.
In Step 2 we will increase your fulfillment as a woman in friendships with:
• other women
• family and greater community and
• your partner.
As we shall soon see these friendships are critical to you being and remaining true to yourself. So is the right type of friendship with your partner. Get the friendship wrong and you risk your relationship and drive your partner away. Know how to get it right and you can have years of fulfillment in each other’s company. In this section you will learn how to build a deeper bond to each other. This will go a long way towards helping you realize your authentic self.
Step 3 will arguably be the most important step of the seven, not just for you but for us all. Here you will learn to communicate with
your Inner Self. Up till now you may have learnt to listen to your gut.
Some call it instinct. You will learn to communicate with it directly and honestly and this incorruptible part of you will let you know what you need, and help you see the best path for your life, and how to get there. Your every desire is written inside your Inner Self, which sees far more than you are consciously aware of. Learn to communicate with it directly and you will have a truly amazing resource at your disposal. For example, communicating with your Inner Self can help you make rela- tionship decisions. Should you stay or go? It can help give you direction in life, decide on a career, or a path that will work best for you. It can also help you feel truly confident as a woman of inner power and insight. Learning to communicate with your Inner Self can help you connect with your authentic woman in its purest form.
In Step 4 you will learn to enhance your attractiveness and keep it.
Attraction is about promising, and being able, to satisfy important re- lationship needs. Don’t get me wrong, there’s far more to it than just appearance. Looks might get attention, but they don’t keep it. Being at- tractive gets both attention and helps keep it. In this step you will learn what authentic men find attractive and learn to develop one quality we all find attractive: a strong personal self. A strong personal self helps you stay true to the genuine you. Maintaining a strong personal self will help you not lose yourself in your relationship. In this section we outline ten practical and simple ways to develop and keep a strong personal self.
Sex is powerful. It can either enhance us or leave us empty and miserable. It can improve our relationships or destroy them, increase the Essence of Woman or lower it. In Step 5 we will learn the many different desires sex tries to fulfill; not all will leave you truly satisfied, or enhance you. You will learn about sex in a way you may never have considered. Whatever sex you decide to have you can become what I call ‘sex-wise’: that is, know how to use it to build and maintain close re- lationships. Your sexual choices can affect the levels of respect and value of women everywhere.
In Step 6 we learn the value of being educated and involved and we also look at important ways you can make a difference and still be true to the person you naturally are. We need women to be more actively involved in decision making so the Essence of Woman not only rises in you, but also spreads through families and communities. Being actively involved in decision making means getting educated and involved, but there’s more to being well educated than just schooling. You may also need to increase your personal education, so you can become more understanding, tolerant, compassionate, and wise.
Enhancing your spirituality is a positive and deeply personal way to raise your Essence of Woman. It enhances an emotional connection with the world, each other, and yourself. It also offers a sense of meaning and purpose and helps nourish you inside. In Step 7 you will learn to reconnect with the world on a spiritual level. The key, as we shall soon see, lies in understanding stories. Stories you tell yourself can change not only you, but they can restore balance to the world. As balance is restored so is the value and power of women.
Remember, our aim is to help you live a life that feels honest, true, and is deeply and lastingly satisfying. It is not to try to make you into what I, or anyone else, wants or needs you to be.
Imagine a time when women are revered once more - where to be a woman is to be respected, never denigrated, and never used or abused or treated like property. A time when a woman can walk the streets proud and empowered, and without harassment, and be given equal pay and recognition for an equal or similar job. Imagine a time when women are more satisfied in stable fulfilling relationships with men who once again know how to be real – authentic – men. Consider a time where women are being heard in every aspect of life, valued for their wisdom, and respected for their compassion and tolerance, where poverty is reduced, the sick are cared for, and the world is once again treated with care and respect – a time of greater balance and harmony. This time may be closer than you think.
As a woman you have more power and influence than you may know. Only you can give human life to the world; you are of a chosen life- giving people. Your natural innate closeness to your precious children makes you perfectly placed to mold the hearts and minds of generations to come and transform the world. Your naturally endowed caring and nurturing desires make you prioritize people – you are more likely to want to share than many men. You, as an authentic woman, evoking the power of the spirit of the ancient woman within, are perfectly placed to restore balance and harmony to the world. You can be our beacon of hope.
By the end of these seven steps – like the ThoughtWoman
– you can transform society and finally restore the ‘right balance’ and ‘right harmony’ with each other, the world,and
HOW WOMAN WAS CAST FROM PARADISE
All change is not growth, as all movement is not forward .
In the early fifteenth century, in the region of the St Lawrence River, the Jesuits, under the leadership of Father Paul Le Jeune, were deter- mined to ‘civilize’ the Montagnais-Naskapi Indians. A peaceful easy living people, where physical abuse was considered a terrible crime, children were never given more than a simple reprimand, and the chief led not by force of power but the eloquence of his words, women held great influence – this was a largely matrilineal society; property and power was passed down the female line. To the French this way of living was unacceptable; they needed to transform them into peasant-serfs, to show them that a woman’s proper place is under the authority of her husband, and the people should obey their leaders – they needed to change them as they had their Indian’s counterparts in France centuries earlier. To this end they coerced or captured the children, placed them into school and taught them to obey by battering, neglecting, torturing, imprisoning, and psychologically tormenting them to ‘educate’ them. They informed the men that French women do not rule their husbands they instigated male rule and dominance. Men who did not conform – and there were many – would not be given the backing of the church or political institutions – power was transferred only to the men who agreed to the French system. For Le Jeune understood – as Paula Gunn Allen points out in her book The Sacred Hoop: Recovering the feminine in American Indian traditions – to assault the peaceful system founded on giving power to women requires child terrorization, male dominance, and the submission of women to male authority.
The Montagnais provide a clear example of the fall of women in
society at the hands of male-dominant oppressors. This wasn’t just limited to the Americas. Women all over the world were to suffer a similar unjust and unwarranted fate. Many are still suffering today.
The downfall of women was inevitable. Women as a group were always going to be treated as inferior to men, undervalued, underap- preciated, and disrespected. By understanding human desires we can come to terms with why it was always going to be this way, why it should never have been allowed to happen, and what you can do to help change it.
How do we understand our human desires? There are so many. We have desires for food, water, warmth, intimacy, and friendship … the list goes on.
We begin by recognizing we are just a personal mix of the
same basic ingredients.