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Excerpted from A Woman's Worth by Marianne Williamson. Copyright © 1993 by Marianne Williamson. Excerpted by permission of Random House, Inc.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.

"Womanhood today is tentative and unsure, a thing defined more by what it isnít than by what it is."

Marianne Williamson
A Woman's Worth
, Part 1

The eternal feminine draws us upward.

-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

It's very difficult being a woman. It's very difficult being a man too, I realize, but this is a book about women. Sam Keen wrote a book about men, which he called Fire in the Belly. My friend Tara called me up one day and told me she wanted to write a companion volume, Volcano in the Uterus. I laughed when she said that, but inside I was thinking and Catastrophes in the Breasts and Terror in the Ovaries ...

More women cry, loudly or silently, every fraction of every moment, in every town of every country, than anyone--man or woman--realizes. We cry for our children, our lovers, our parents, and ourselves.

We cry in shame because we feel no right to cry, and we cry in peace because we feel it's time we did cry. We cry for the world. Yet we think we cry alone.

We feel that no one hears, that there is no listening that matters. And we must all listen now. We must hold the crying woman's hand and minister to her tenderly, or she will turn--this collective feminine shadow self--into a monster who will go unheard no longer. This book is an effort to hear and understand her in today's world, as she exists at this moment, imprisoned while still dressed in all her ancient, soiled regalia. She is like a child yet she is not a child. She is our mother, our daughter, our sister, our lover. She needs us now, and we need her.

Womanhood today is tentative and unsure, a thing defined more by what it isnít than by what it is. For some women, this is not a problem. They have risen above the complexities of society's projections and misunderstandings and now fly high above the clouds. For most women, however, the resistances they encountered as they reached for the sky were so great that their wings have now drooped, and they try no longer.

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