Hope

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These words are from my friend, RC.

She wanted to share them, knowing they are intended for more ears and eyes and hearts than just hers; yet, she felt they would not be honored in her own circle.

I know, deep in my bones, how important it is for us to bring what is held deep inside out into the light. I know how important it is to tell each other our stories, and to listen to those stories with our hearts, because the heart does not judge. We need each other to simply hold space for the healing that yearns to happen within each of us.

::

Standing in front of the mirror, unadorned and unashamed, I remember in my breasts and my belly, in my shoulders and my thighs the freedom she must have felt in the garden. I know the joy of being surrounded by succulent fruit and the caress of perfumed air. I sense the wonder he felt, watching her, adoring her with his eyes, the pleasure he took – and gave – his hands full of her flesh while the divine moved in their midst.

But when I cover myself with my modern fig leaves, the shame pours in, filling my lungs and threatening to drown me.

How can it be that knowing gets twisted, turned back in on itself, split again and again until the truth no longer exists? Starting with that first juicy bite, she has been blamed. And her daughters have borne the burden with every child they carried. Pendulous breasts and widening hips no longer worshipped but feared. Feet that danced now bound. Mutilated, humiliated, beaten and burned – for what sins? The sin of being, of becoming?

Layers of shame interwoven with layers of soil, each aeon invents brutal new methods of pain. And now, we rape the earth and her daughters with equal impunity. Nothing sacred, nothing safe. No elders have to hold us down for mutilation to ensure desire, we submit to the knife so willingly, impossible images of desire carved out of our flesh. We consume but find no satisfaction. We look for the divine behind men enthroned on the altars of religion and government, but she’s not there, and she no longer moves in our midst.

The garden entrance stands guarded by flaming swords, no hope of return. But the images shimmer just on the horizon. Freedom still beckons, reflected in the morning light. I hear the whisper of the divine still moving.

Hope hangs around my neck – a string of perfect pearls.

~ rc

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An Apology to End All Apologies

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Last night, I took a long, hot shower; a long, hot shower after a tepid dance.

The dance was fine; I just wasn’t feeling it, and after eleven years of dance, I know enough to dance “I’m just not feeling it.” Eventually, when you dance, “I’m just not feeling it.”, you come to feel whatever is really here. True on the dance floor, true in life.

Back to my long, hot shower. As the water pulsed against my tired skin, thoughts of apologies came to me: how I learned to apologize upfront, a long time ago; how I hear so many women apologizing for being; how apologies seem to be a part of our conditioning as women in the patriarchy.

In the shower, I saw something: I saw how we can all, all of us women, apologize upfront –

a one time apology.

an apology to end all apologies for simply being female.

an apology that clears the channel.

an apology that says, “Enough is enough.”

an apology that, when we say it, allows us to feel that there is nothing to be sorry for, nothing to apologize for, nothing to hand our power over for.

an apology, out loud, standing in front of the mirror, or with a sister, or with a man who truly has our back and desires for us to feel the depth of feminine beauty and wisdom, stated with full awareness, standing in our beautiful female bodies, feeling the words course through our hearts, touch our souls, conscious enough to feel the words…and either the truth of them or the lie in them.

Maybe by consciously apologizing for being us, for being women, for taking up space, for having a voice, for feeling outrage, for caring about life, for birthing babies, for having vaginas, for being sexual, sensual, creative beings…maybe we get, real-time, aloud, that in simply being female there is nothing to apologize for.

All the times I have apologized in my life for nothing, for nothing grounded in the truth, I was doing so out of a conditioned habit to be a certain way to make others feel more comfortable…or make myself feel more comfortable in a situation where I couldn’t feel comfortable because I wasn’t being me…wasn’t being who I really am –  a strong, powerful, creative, woman with deep feelings, a soulful sensuality, and a wise intellect (insert your own true, valuable offerings as a soul, in a female body, put on this earth to be a vibrantly creative contribution to the world!).

I’ve been apologizing for something ungrounded in truth, somewhere deep inside, and all along I haven’t felt one bit sorry for being female. Instead, while I apologized, way inside, some part of me fumed because apologizing for simply being is a horribly violent act to the soul.

Why should any human being apologize for simply being? Why should any human being feel shame for simply being?

Being is a gift. Being is a mystery. Being is creation simply being what it is. No one should EVER apologize for being. It is violent to the soul. And it causes a soul to get confused, angry and sad…

Sometimes, the apology comes out as “I’m sorry.” in response to nothing in particular. Sometimes, the apology comes out as hiding our femaleness by being more male, or hiding our emotions, or putting down our sisters…sometimes the words “I’m sorry.” aren’t there, and instead what is there are actions that try to hide what is true within us.

Turn to look at this mechanism of apology as a habit. Is there any truth to it? Do we really feel like we have to apologize for being women? For being who we are? Dig deep. Look closely. Are those apologies founded in anything other than fear, or desire to be connected, which is really fear in disguise?

If we drop the apologies that are untrue, perhaps we might see opportunities for true apologies for things we’ve said or done that we honestly know in our hearts we want forgiveness for.

Like in my dance, I’m just not feeling it – the ‘apologize for being a woman’ thing – anymore. I’m dancing that, moving that right on out, so I can feel what’s really here and live that – without apology, and with love.

::

image: tendril by hamed sabir under CC2.0

 

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Your Voice is Calling

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Since this is about Voice, I thought it would be fun to speak it: [audio:https://unabashedlyfemale.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/YourVoiceIsCalling1.mp3|titles=Your Voice is Calling]

“Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever.” ~ Nancy Lopez

Listen to the sound of your own voice.

When I first read these words from Nancy Lopez, I read them literally… Listen to the sound of your own voice.

I thought of the moment when I first really heard my voice – when I felt the vibration of my own voice reverberating through my body. It was on a day when I’d done some really deep, intensive emotional healing work. I’d released a great deal of old emotional ‘stuff’ that I’d held in my body for most of my life, and as I heard my voice, I felt resonance, alignment, and the truth of what I was speaking. It felt as if there was no separation between what I was saying, the vibration of my voice, and who I really am.

There was a settled quality to it, and a really straight up and down sense of voice…I guess that would be like a linearity to it. And it reverberated throughout my body. I could feel it. There was a flow to it.

I’m trying to find words to describe an experience, which can be hard.

I’ve noticed that as my practice of dance now heads into an eleventh year, I am beginning to spontaneously sing to the music. While the dance practice is silent, meaning you can’t talk, sometimes we vocalize in the dance. Sometimes, it isn’t singing that comes but grunting, crying, or even clucking…what I call voice-making.

Embodiment is what happens when more and more of the energy of your soul inhabits the cells of your physical body. (That’s how I describe it right now. I don’t know how spiritual masters would define it, but that’s what it feels like to me.) As we become more embodied, we become more awake, more full of light, more vibrant with the Goddess in each cell of our being.

Voice and the throat area are closely tied to creativity and the womb area. I’ve found that when we are immersed in the creative process of different creative outlets, we can spontaneously sing and vocalize. And this is important, because as Nancy shares, as we listen to our own voices, we rise above the Voice of Judgment, we begin to see clearly what we are here to create.

I know that the fear of judgment and criticism has been one of my biggest blocks to sharing my voice in the world. Perhaps that’s why Nancy’s words speak so deeply to me.

What is it to really listen to our own voice? Not just the physical voice, but the words, the resonance, the heart in it, and the love in it?

Yes, love. Your voice has love in it, love for you. It is speaking to you, calling you back into your own heart, back into your womb, back into your own soul. Listen. Listen deeply. Drink it up. Drink it in. Drink in the medicine of your own voice so it can heal and bring light back into your cells.

As Thich Nat Hanh shares, “To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”

Your voice is calling, calling you home to you.

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Being Woman. Supple. Unified. Amplified.

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Anjali, by Ramona Klee on Flickr

She is here.

If you sit, quietly listening with heart ears, feeling with heart touch, you will know Her. She has been on her way. A few years ago, the author, Arundhati Roy, wrote,

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.”

And, now… She is no longer on her way… She is here.

With the turn of this solstice, She is here.

She is here. In all beings. In all of life. 

A new way of being

I’ve been working with two beautiful women to birth something new in business. We don’t really yet know what it is or how it will come to be, but we know we are to be doing this together. We are feeling our way, trusting our intuition, following the petals as they are scattered upon our path, trusting in the intelligence inherent in life.

This is the new way. This is the creative way, the way of trusting in life to guide us as we work together in unity. I remember telling a friend a few years back how much women needed to find solidarity, find a way to realize our wholeness as women, both individually and collectively. At the time, the current paradigm separated women rather than joined them. At the time, there was still so much competition between women, and beliefs that we had to compete with each other for love. But that was then, and this is now.

She is here.

Rainer Marie Rilke wrote of this over 100 years ago when he wrote Letters to a Young Poet. Rilke wrote,

“Women, in whom life lingers and dwells more immediately, more fruitfully and more confidently, must surely have become fundamentally riper people, more human people, than easygoing man, who is not pulled down below the surface of life by the weight of any fruit of his body, and who, presumptuous and hasty, under-values who he thinks he loves. This humanity of woman, borne its full time in suffering and humiliation, will come to light when she will have stripped off the conventions of mere femininity in the mutations of her outward status, and those men who do not yet feel it approaching today will be surprised and struck by it. Some day… some day there will be girls and women whose name no longer signify merely the opposite of masculine, but something in itself, something that makes one think, not of any complement and limit, but only of life and existence: the female human being.”

Unity: This Humanity of Woman

Over the last period of time, a time that ended with the solstice and the birth of a new way of being, women were taught to not trust each other. We were conditioned to believe that it was in our best interest to compete with each other. I feel we were all, men and women, taught this, yet for women the distrust went deeper for in the old way, under the patriarchy, men were offered a kind of belonging within the structure that women were not.

Healing this distrust of women has been a beautiful journey for me. And, I hear it has been the same for other women. Now, in this new time, there is more ease and more support for this healing.

Shannon Port of The Art of the Feminine writes,

“Women are uniting in the Heart. We are remembering that we are One Woman. We could never really compete with each other for anything. The illusion taught us that we could be threatened by another woman. It taught us a false belief that we had to compete for love. This has never been so.  …  The old paradigm divided women and caused them to work against each other keeping them from UNITY. The support for this paradigm has left the planet. Anyone who chooses to stay in it will be shaken quite dramatically. We are moving into the knowing of our Oneness. When we align with Oneness willingly, we will be supported by the Universe in ways we never even imagined. The Feminine is being restored to its auspicious place in the World. Those who hold this Vibration of Love in their Heart will be the Teachers, Healers and Leaders of the New Era.”

Amplify

This humanity of woman, this One Woman, is here.

Can you feel Her? Can you feel this burgeoning unity? Can you feel it both within yourself, and within the collective as well? Notice the shift in coming together.

One of my new partners, Jennifer Kenny, speaks of amplification – just how important it is for women to amplify each other’s work in the world. Jennifer sees amplification as the opposite of competition. We can amplify with joy and with love, for not only is there more than enough love in the world, by amplifying we bring ourselves together and aligning ourselves with Oneness. When we follow the thread of Oneness, we amplify not only women’s voices, but also women’s creations into the world.

I used to feel solidarity was so important because it felt as if we were fighting the nature of the patriarchal paradigm and how the paradigm itself made it so difficult for us to know this humanity of woman. Perhaps I was feeling the different energy that was here at the time. Now, with this new shift, we are actively supported in this amplification. Whether we work together through collaboration, spend time in circles sharing, or share each other’s work into the world, the new way is of amplification, of celebrating, of flowing and aligning with Oneness.

It is Simple

Hilary Hart, author and wise woman, shares this about women and power on her Facebook page, Women’s Power Wheel:

“It is simple. It is simple like breathing. It is simple like gathering with friends. It is simple as standing in nature and knowing you are not alone. The trick is trusting how simple real power is… sensing it… knowing it… and not doubting it…”

When I read these words, I feel a softening and a suppleness to my body and breath that have been absent for most of my life. With these words comes an ease in the moment, when I relax into the simplicity of real power.

It may take time to know this more and more. I’ve been well conditioned to believe power not only looks different, but comes from doing. Yet, it is simple. This is being, coming together, and receiving, then offering up, what has always been so generously given – this life.

When I woke up this morning, these words were in my heart: It is so, so easy to take this all for granted, to expect this breath, this sun, this day to come just like it has each morning of our lives, to expect to receive without ever a thought of what is being given.

May today mark a change in how I receive these things…with conscious awareness of the love being so freely given and the opportunity in each breath to offer it back out in love.

The Feminine. She is here. She is you. She is me. She is women. She is men. She is us. She is all beings. She is life.

She is the Goddess.

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Shaken to the Core

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Today is the first day of the new year, 2013.

It is the Year of the Rising of the Feminine principle – a rising that is occurring in us all, in both women and men.

These past few weeks have been intense days of transformation.

On the Solstice, this past 21st of December, Terry Tempest Williams wrote,

“Today is the last day of the world”, so say the Mayans. I believe them. The world as we know it is ending. What has been peripheral will become central. What has been tolerable will be intolerable. And our own gifts held close, must now be freely given. May we meet the future’s penetrating gaze with honesty, courage, and a redefinition of love.”

These past few weeks have brought us events that I would say have focused the future’s penetrating gaze quite piercingly.

 

Shaken to the core

We’ve all been shaken to the core by the deaths of the children and their teachers in Newtown, and the death of the young woman from Delhi, so violently gang-raped. These are not singular occurrences. Intensely tragic, senseless, painful violence such as this continues to happen all over the world.

At the same time, it’s as if a part of us refuses to really look at what is happening. It can be painful to take in the details. It can feel like it will weaken us to sit down with each other, to listen, to open our hearts. It can make us feel as if we are weak, and that to ignore this makes us strong.

Right now, Canada’s Prime Minister Harper is unwilling to sit down with Chief Pence as she continues on her hunger strike. She is asking to be heard, to be listened to, and for her people and their treaties to be honored and respected. And right here in my own country, in the US, so many citizens are coming to feel that the only thing that gets our leaders’ attention is money and power.

Have these things and these ways been with us for a long time? Yes. Have they grown more intense? Seems so. Is the future’s gaze growing more penetrating? Resoundingly, Yes!

Are we paying attention? Are we listening? Are we looking? Are we stopping to feel, to really feel the depth of the grief and suffering that our actions as a species have caused?

We are witnessing the effects of our lives lived through the patriarchy, through cultural and societal institutions and structures that have hardened hearts, taught lessons of separation and domination, supported greed, and fostered fear and fundamentalism.

 

No longer tolerable

For whatever reason, and there are many, we’ve not only tolerated this, as a people we’ve continued to uphold it…until now.

Now, a way of future life is being shown to us and it is not pretty.

And, now, we are at a juncture. Something has shifted. Planets have aligned. Hearts have been opened. Perhaps, blinders have been removed. I know mine have.

We can face what we are seeing with fear, by arming ourselves, literally, or we can face it with, honesty, courage and love. 

We can sit down with those that are asking to be heard, those with wisdom, those who might have something wise to offer. We can realize there are many people suffering, people who perhaps have no way to cope with their loneliness, or people who’ve been so conditioned out of their capacity to feel that they don’t know what to do with the intensity of this world we now find ourselves in.

 

Redefinition of Love

Tempest Williams words ‘redefinition of love’ are crucial.

Love as we have known it has been fashioned by way of romanticisim. This love isn’t real love. It’s taken me a long, long time to discover this for myself. Love isn’t niceness and sweetness. Love isn’t trading something so that in exchange we will have safety and security.

What is love, truly?

What does true love do in the face of Newtown?

How does true love hold what happened in Delhi?

How might true love respond to the wars being waged?

How do we come to know this redefinition of love?

 

Jeff Foster recently shared,

“Waking up means clearly seeing beyond belief
It means fearlessly meeting life without protection
It means sinking into the deep acceptance inherent in the moment
It means letting go of all ideas of ourselves
Including the idea that we are ‘finished’ in some way.

We are never finished
and we are only ever Now.
This is the great knife edge of awakening.

It is easy to fall. I fell many times myself. I have seen many others fall. And I see them falling now.

There is great humility in realising
that we never knew a damn thing.

And that awakening was never about “me”.

 

Meeting life without protection

Some would say this is unwise. Some are advocating for more protection, more supposed security, more rigidity. And, what will this bring us? If I am the last one standing, have I won anything? What will I have saved myself from?

We are here. Somehow, we have gotten to this point. To know love, to redefine it, means none of this is about the ‘me’, the fearful part of each of us that fears connection, that feels separate, that wants to control to manage this fear. The ‘me’ wants the promise of safety, security, a promise that no amount of fire power or political maneuvering can ever bring.

We are all deeply, deeply hurt – more than we seem to understand – by what is happening in our world. I feel we now know just how intolerable what used to seem tolerable has become. The pain of what we are witnessing has become far greater than the pain of denial.

There is something greater than each of us alone. There is a deeper intelligence that runs through life itself. When we are afraid, when we are trying to figure it all out, we can’t hear this intelligence, we can’t feel it move us. But, when we stop to listen, when we sink ‘into the deep acceptance inherent in this moment’, love is here, love that is this intelligence.

 

Giving our Gifts

It is time to giving our gifts alongside our sisters and brothers. We do not have to, nor can we, do this alone. Many movements are springing up in response to these latest tragedies. People are coming together. And, whenever two or more are gathered…there is love.

Tempest Williams offers that ‘And our own gifts held close, must now be freely given.’

And my friend, Filiz Telek from Brave New World, writes,

“I invite you to consider this: Whether we give or hold back our gifts unconditionally now is a matter of life or death for future generations. If it resonates, dig deeper. Begin today.”

For this is life was never about the ‘me’. It is about life. It is not my life, or your life, it is life.

This is the feminine in real life. This is the feminine principle waking up in us all, men and women.

 

And for you, dear woman,

 

Your femaleness is a gift in itself, and loving it is a radical act.

Loving yourself as a woman, loving your femaleness is vital.

Let yourself be shaken to the core. Let your heart break open. Let life in. Take yourself into life.

We are stronger than we think. Our hearts long to feel, to give, to serve. Our bodies know how to heal.

We must do this so that we reclaim love, so that we come to know the healing powers of the female body, so that we once again become lovers of life, givers of our gifts, a species that walks the earth with gratitude and wisdom. We must do this for all the world’s children.

 

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