Our July Guest Editor Steph Blom brings us her second interview, this time with Janneke, a women’s coach in the Netherlands who works along the themes of what it means to be a woman, embodiment, sensuality, self-confidence, energy, desires, love and spirituality.
We are about to say goodbye, when Janneke asks me what I am doing exactly – what this project is about. I tell her how it started in Argentina, an idea to explore the connections women have with each other. How the idea transformed to incorporate the connection we have with ourselves. I started asking women to imagine how they, and their lives would be when they would reach the age of 80. I then asked them to write a letter to themselves, from their 80 year old self, to their current self. “What a beautiful question, imagine yourself as if you were 80 years old”, she says. I had already asked Janneke if there might be something she wanted to share with me that I had not asked her already. Now she says there actually is.
“Before you can be open to connect with other women, first you have to be open to connect with yourself. Many women are really afraid of what they will get to see if they would open up to themselves. Afraid of the magnitude and the depth of emotions that they think they will get to meet."
She explains how connecting with other women, can be a kind of shortcut to connecting with yourself. It gives you the opportunity to get a glimpse of what is inside of yourself through the other.
“And that, is something really, really beautiful that takes place when you are in groups. Sometimes we need that bypass, because it would be quite crazy to jump straight into an abyss, without knowing where you will end up.”
What do your connections with other women mean to you?
If I do not connect with other women, I get drained and I tend to step very much into my male role, my male energy. By connecting with other women, my own female energy opens itself. Connecting with other women helps me to remember who I am. Other women are my mirrors, my power places, my support. Of course I work in this field, but these three things also go for, let’s say, someone working as a beautician, as a teacher or as a high level CEO. They also need mirrors, support when they are going through a hard time, and they also need encouragement and energy from their friends.
What do you see in the women you work with when they connect with each other?
I mainly see the strengthening of who they are. It strengthens their inner motivation, and it softens the voices, the judgments that we all experience in our minds. So it makes them more compassionate towards the lesser sides, and firmer about their inner qualities. It reinforces who they are, and it also softens. That’s a beautiful combination, which you see reflected in their faces at the end of an evening: their faces becomes so soft. Literally.
In the beginning women often find it scary to connect with others. Of course, it’s about intimacy when you connect with others. It asks you to show yourself and let the other come in. And that can sometimes be so scary. Because when someone else sees you, what does that person see? What is that person allowed to see? What do you dare to show? That is very scary at first. But after a while you see that the doors open so easily, that the wall is going down, a feeling of recharging. Because that’s what we do. Keeping up those walls costs endless amounts of energy. The moment we notice that it’s actually very pleasant to experience that connection with each other, you receive energy instead of losing it. A feeling of relief, ‘I can land with you, I may be with you, I can show you my inner being’. Relaxation. That’s of course what you see on those faces too.
Why do you think it is important for women to experience that connection with other women?
Because I think that connecting and being part of a group is pure feminine energy. We live in a society where the male energy is greatly appreciated and stimulated, and women are very inclined to go along with that. We are used to live and act from that masculine energy. Which is not wrong. We have both masculine and feminine energy moving through us to use at the appropriate moment. But we have forgotten that connecting and sharing, being in groups feeds us, and that that is female quality. If we do not do that, we close off a very large part of ourselves. Coming back together restores that connection, that quality.
Being together with other women, is a type of coming home to the womb. Whether you see it as the womb of your own mother, of mother earth, or of all women around the world with whom we can also feel the connection. That. A feeling of coming home.
Janneke’s website: www.jannekerobers.com