Wise Woman Wednesday – Lone Mørch

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Wise Woman Wednesday

Occasionally, I share windows into wise women I know. There is no criteria, per se; rather, every now and then I feel called to share something that seems relevant, beautiful, fun, and of course, wise. We women have the opportunity to amplify each other’s voices, to connect women to each other, to share our stories with each other, and it’s something we must do if women are to come into their wholeness and fullness. Plus, it’s just fun to honor and amplify women.

The wise woman: Lone Mørch

I’ve known Lone for about eight years now. We dance regularly together, and we’ve sat and chatted, many times, sipping chai and eating Indian food as we’ve discussed feminism, the sacred feminine and masculine, and how much we’ve learned on this inward journey to wholeness.

Seeing Red

Lone recently published her first book, a memoir titled Seeing Red. In Lone’s words,

“Seeing Red: A Women’s Quest for Truth, Power and the Sacred is an Intimate memoir about a woman’s search for personal power, a journey of climbing inner and outer mountains that takes her to the holy Mt. Kailas in Tibet, through a seven-year marriage, and into the arms of the fierce goddess Kali, where she discovers her powerful feminine self. As much a memoir about coming into one’s own as it is a love affair with the Himalayas, Seeing Red takes the reader on an unforgettable journey of creation and destruction.

This is the story of Denmark native Lone Mørch’s transformation–a story of love and passion, and also a story of self-betrayal. This is every woman’s story because it’s a dispassionate tale of one woman who knowingly gives up on herself, and who has to fight tooth and nail to reclaim herself. In the end, the efforts are worth it, but she has to strip herself bare, lose everything she’s held dear, and strip away everything she’s ever built in order to see the truth.”

 

I loved Seeing Red. It’s fascinating, funny, and moving. It’s Lone’s journey, yet at the same time, in a very universal way, it is every woman’s journey.

The Interview

Lone and I sat down to talk about Seeing Red, but also about how we find our way by being on the journey, not by waiting until we are ready for it. It’s the journey that seasons us with wisdom and healing.

There are many things Lone and I talked about that I feel are universal for us as we reclaim the deep beauty of the feminine. During our chat, Lone revealed, “The story that lived in my belly was the story of power.” Power in the belly…sound familiar?

Over time, what really compelled me to dive more deeply into Lone’s rich experience is what she discovered in her work photographing women through her company, Lolo’s Boudoir. As she worked with more and more women, she discovered she was doing exactly what she needed to do to see what she, herself, was up against in her desire to affirm her own beauty and sexuality. She was seeing and hearing the same beliefs and messages from each woman she photographed that she heard coming from within herself.

During the interview, Lone shared that she was always looking for beauty,for a space for women to be beautiful. As she was starting to step into a deeper sense of sovereignty, she wanted that for the women, too. As she did so, she discovered she could no longer play along with the “slightly superficial boudoir, be sexy” kind of exploration and experience for women.

“The accumulated stories of all these women and their difficulty in accepting their bodies and their difficultures around sensuality and sexuality were piling up. I was starting to be drained and frustrated.”

Lone could clearly see the underbelly of this society, “how it is image driven and how our bodies and our sexuality have been commodified. We become estranged-from-our-essential nature as women.” She didn’t feel in integrity anymore and began to ask herself, “Can I undo stereotypical images of sexy as I create more images?”

Some of Lone’s words of wisdom from her work photographing women:

“Most women end up being naked and feel the most powerful and the most free.”

“I had to allow myself to be more naked and real and put up the front that I’ve got it going on and perfect. It has taught me how to see. It has taught me that I have to fall in love with each person…”

“It healed my mistrust of women; taught me how no matter the age and stage we are at we end up dealing with the same questions.” 

And, as you’ll hear, Lone learned to trust more deeply in her own creative process. She used to be a planner and now she sees she functions really well in the intimate moment. This is so much of what reclaiming the feminine is…learning to trust our deep creative nature and the feminine nature of the creative process, that of the unknown, the fecund, the emergent.

Listen to our chat here. It’s 35 minutes, so you might also want to download it and listen to it on a walk out in the woods…urban or not.

You can buy Seeing Red here, and discover more about Lone’s work here on her ‘Divinely Furious’ blog.

:::

Lone Mørch, in her words:

I’m an award-winning author, photographer, speaker 
and creative facilitator, driven by a deep sense 
of curiosity, freedom and social justice.
 
I am an advocate for women’s visibility, voice and value in the world. For more than a decade, as a photographer, I’ve witnessed thousands of women heal and transform their body-image and self- perception. I’ve learned that the sovereign path, living from inside out, is the only path to self-liberation. Together, I see us break the chain of invisibility and free our voices. As the patriarchy is falling apart around us, we have the glorious opportunity to re-imagine ourselves and our world in a more feminine, honest and harmonious way. This is the conversation I want to invite you into.
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Woman’s Tendrils of Wildness

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Somewhere, I learned to be careful rather than carefree. At some point, I learned to think rather than intuit or feel. Along the way, this girl’s wispy tendrils of wildness went way underground, deep down into the depths of the dark places where she learned to put away her very natural, very powerful, and very threatening erotic nature.

Carefulness is not a helpful strategy for a life well lived.

Thinking is good for many things (math, taxes, logic), yet when it runs the show we feel dead inside.

Living what is natural and organic to the soul is what unfolds a life that both sings and serves.

::

Woman’s erotic nature is powerful, yes; but threatening? Only to those who want to control and dominate life.  

The nature of the Feminine principle is the full cycle of creation, all the way around the circle from creation to destruction. For something new to come, something existing must die. This is threatening to those who want to pretend that they continually feed structures based on perpetual growth, never ending profits, unlimited and unsustainable consumption.

There is no such thing as perpetual growth without eventual decay. We know this in our bones and in our cells. When something grows wildly, feeding on itself to keep growing, it is cancerous and eventually leads to its own death.

We can pretend half of life’s cycle doesn’t exist, yet pretending doesn’t make it go away.

In the same way, we can pretend our erotic nature, our power as women, doesn’t exist. We can hide it away thinking we’re fooling everyone, especially ourselves, but this doesn’t make it go away.

Our erotic nature is nature. It doesn’t disappear; we just keep it down. Or, we share it in a small sliver of the way in which it is meant to be shared. Or we allow it out in acceptable ways – acceptable to those who want to control eros.

Keeping our nature down hurts us all, men and women, for no one is happy, truly happy, when life is being controlled, when our hearts our closed, and when our bodies are seen as objects rather than living, breathing creations.

But, the erotic is not simply for sexual pleasure – it is the force that animates all of life and eventually destroys it as well.

The force that through the green fuse drives the flower   
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees   
Is my destroyer. ~ Dylan Thomas

Destruction eventually happens anyway. We all die. But while we are living, if we tuck our fullness and power away into the dark., the power to create, to love, to voice, to serve, we over and over again destroy our own capacity to be fully alive vibrant beings here to offer to life what we’ve been created to bring forth.

What does it really mean to serve life?

Just as the leaf doesn’t refuse to fall from the tree in autumn, so, too, must we let go of the need to hold on.

To make an offering of your life to life is to live.  Allowing what you really are to become, to flow, to die…while you are alive, is to serve.

And, by the way, it is here in the allowing that we rediscover and live these wispy tendrils of wildness, this eros and joy.

Image is Tendril: LicenseAttribution Some rights reserved by Hamed Saber

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Touch as Prayer in Motion

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“What if you knew you’d be the last to touch someone?”
~ Ellen Bass*

I read these words. My mind flashes back.

I was the last…as he was dying; then, as he lay dead.

So many times, I’ve wished I could have known what was coming so I could have said what (in hindsight) I would liked to have said.

My mind flashes forward. I no longer touch him and I am not the last.

::

I find endings so damn hard.

Some sweet part of this personality hates letting go of those I’ve loved…those final letting goes that happen when I must part from the bodies of those I’ve loved.

Some dead. Some alive.

In the hardness, I go a little unconscious and do things that (after the fact) I wish I hadn’t done. I tighten up against the impending ending and leaving.

Yes, yes, I know they stay with me. In my heart. Their spirits always here. Yes, yes, I know. And, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about how my body will never be with their body in the same way.

Body to body… touching, connecting, loving, making love. So many times, my touch on the skin of my lover has been unconscious AND so many times my touch has truly been a prayer in motion.

“…before you make love to a woman or to a man, first pray — because it is going to be a divine meeting of energies. God will surround you. Wherever two lovers are, there is God. Wherever two lovers’ energies are meeting and mingling, there is life, alive, at its best; God surrounds you. Churches are empty; love-chambers are full of God. If you have tasted love the way Tantra says to taste it, if you have known love the way Tao says to know it, then by the time you reach forty-two, love starts disappearing on its own accord. And you say goodbye to it with deep gratitude, because you are fulfilled. It has been delightful, it has been a blessing; you say good-bye to it.”
~ Osho

“…you say goodbye to it with deep gratitude, because you are fulfilled. It has been delightful, it has been a blessing; you say good-bye to it.”

 

These words are so foreign to this sweet part of me that has such a hard time letting go. It has been delightful. It has been a blessing. Can’t it continue? Forever? Can’t I hold you through eternity?

My soul knows the answer is, “No”. My soul knows this No. To know the deepest joy in a moment of touch, I must know the ending of that touch. To know the deepest joy in the full inhale, I must know the letting go in the exhale.

Life in the body is life in limitation. Learning this makes it all the sweeter. Not necessarily easier at all, yet all the while sweeter.

Knowing touch is a momentary kiss of skin to skin sweetens the magic.

I can hover over the past (I do) as if I can still touch it…but that touch is not touch, it is remembering how it was to touch.

This sweet part wants to hang on, fingers curled; but, fingers curled tightly can’t touch… again, … anew.

Uncurling brings open palms and fingertips ready for new skin. 

And the old loves still breathing? I’m learning to touch with the tenderness of friend.

In the end, touch is prayer in motion. It comes and it goes, as everything that moves does. And it all moves.

::

* I found this here. (Thanks, Laurie!)

 

 

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Orgasmic Creativity

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Closeted & Chained

What keeps us closeted, chained and afraid to be our fullest, most joyful, most orgasmic selves?

What keeps us from being fully expressed?

We can only answer these questions for ourselves, but I have a sense that fear of failure, or looking bad, or succeeding wildly, might in some way be at the center of this.

And, at that center of it all, what might really be holding us back from true creative joy is the fear of fully feeling…period.

Fully feeling our range of humanness and our sacredness, and the intensity of those feelings may just be at the heart of why we stop ourselves from knowing creative joy.

I know from my own life experience, I’ve only been able to feel deep and profound joy because I’ve felt deep and profound sorrow. The heart doesn’t judge… it feels the totality of experience.

A while ago,

perhaps six years or so, I took a class called mess-painting. Mess painting is a kind of process painting, where you use tempera paints, brushes and wall street journal pages to burn through layers that keep you from your deep creativity.

In the six-week process, I painted in my own apartment, in a tent of plastic sheets that I hung from the ceiling. This is a very messy process. I painted six days a week, at least twenty paintings in a session, where each painting was created in the span of two minutes.

In mess painting, the process is to cover one full sheet of Wall Street Journal paper (the ink used doesn’t run) with paint using brushes and any of eight specific colors. That’s it.It’s a very physical process. You have to move quickly. There is no time to think about what colors you want or how they should go on the paper. There is only enough time to move the brush to the color then to the paper, allowing something more present than thought to choose which color and where to place it.About four and a half weeks into the process, I suddenly felt a very different energy begin to move through me. It felt wild and untamed. It felt animal and soulful. I had the overwhelming urge to drop the brush and dive in with my body. I painted with my fingers, hands, and elbows. I couldn’t get enough of my body into the process.I painted until the energy quieted. And then I wrote this:

When I mess-paint, I come alive. I can’t wait to pull out the colors and begin. When I am painting I am totally engrossed. I love to see the colors mix together on the paper, to see what transpires in a given session. I find I can’t get enough of me into the mess – hands, fingers, fingernails – I am so taken with the paintings that I keep watching them as they dry, dying to see what beauty is there. What are the qualities of my painting? There is an energetic pulse to it. I can feel my soul coming through me. Does it come charging through me like a tiger? Does it spread itself on the paper with love and softness, or even reckless abandon?

It is akin to intimacy – when there are no longer any barriers between another and me: when clothes are off, small talk is quieted, distractions are gone, and there are only the two of us in conversation. The language is intimacy. The “words” are infused with love and deep meaning. There is a direct channel open where truth and soul are shared without reservation, without holding back. Passion, desire, and love all come pouring forth into this conversation between two beings. That is the incredible connection and intimacy that I long for. That is the juice I find in painting. When I create art, it is an individual act. It feels like connecting with myself in a deeply intimate way.

After writing this, I felt a peace I had never known. I felt no fear. None.

As I read again what I wrote then, I can feel the joy I felt in the liberation of this fiery, orgasmic, instinctual self. I can feel the love and aliveness, and my soul’s desire for connection and expression. The direct connection between creativity and sexuality is right there and so plain to see.

So, when it comes to being creative, ask yourself these questions:

What will you do knowing you will fail (not that you are NOT going to fail) that you will fail?
In some way, no matter what we try, we fail…and in some ways we succeed. It’s a both/and. In order to know one, we must know the other.

What are you afraid to feel fully? Where do you stop yourself from fully feeling?

If your creativity was an orgasm waiting to happen, what would bring you to that orgasm?

Sit with these questions. Allow them to run and swim and jump through your body. Let them loose to follow their own flow. See what shows up.

A wonderful friend and colleague, Chris Zydel, recently shared this:

There is nothing in this world that you can’t do as long as you are willing to begin by taking the risk of doing it very, very badly.

I wonder. I wonder what kind of creative joy we would know if we let loose this much? Let loose to create exactly what we desire to create REGARDLESS of how well (or badly) we do it, or whether or not we fail (or succeed).

All of our expectations keep us so locked up. IF something is really creative, it is new. Brand new. Meaning, we have NO IDEA what will happen and what will transpire because of our creation.

Can we stand on the threshold of this ‘not-knowing’ and let go? Can we feel what comes without blocking or stopping or containing ourselves? Can we experience this fiery joy?

As I tell my clients, the energy of creativity and sexuality are the same. The rise up from the same place in the body. They are our life force. That’s why we feel so alive when we allow ourselves to let go. I suggest to my clients, especially if they are feeling blocked, to have sex, to experience orgasm, to let go into this experience, so they can explore what creative orgasm feels like.

And, I offer this to you. Will you let yourself open to orgasmic creativity?

::

This post is an offering to the profoundly creative and sumptuously sensuous women whose work I love: JenMarianne, & Susannah. They invited some of their fellow creators to write on Creative Joy and I’m honored to do so here.

Download and enjoy this beautiful compilation of writings on Creative Joy.

Check out and register for for Jen, Marianne & Susannah’s retreat in July so that you might discover your Creative Joy.

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Love is the Teacher. Am I Willing to be the Student?

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most vulnerable…

Touch

I’ve been hovering over the keyboard today, burrowing down into some deep writing time and I’ve been sitting with the question of what feels most vulnerable in me right now.

I couldn’t find the words so I went out for a run. As I finished up, I found the tears beginning to flow, once again. These past few weeks have been full of intense energetic days: the full moon eclipse, Solstice, and Christmas. I’ve felt an unnamed vulnerability over these days, a shifting and unsettling as previously buried experiences come up to be seen again.

I came home and tried to warm my body by making chicken soup, and then following that with a long hot shower…a very long hot shower.

I can’t quite put my finger on what I am feeling. Something in me is longing to be nourished, to be deeply fed. I can feel the longing all the way down along my body.

As I stood in the shower letting the hot water run down my back and inhaling the steam into my cold-air-induced tight lungs, I flashed upon the poem that continually calls me back to read it, over and over again. It feels as though there are gems in the words just waiting to be discovered and savored, as I invite the words to work their magic on my soul. The poem, “If You Want to Change the World, Love a Woman“, speaks not to my mind but to the deeper recesses of my woman’s body. The poem calls to me, over and over. It’s as if I read it, but I don’t yet have access to something…

I long for this…

Somewhere in this body, I, too, long to be loved in the way Lisa writes of.

And then, very serendipitously, I came across this quote from one of my favorite books, A Woman’s Worth, by Marianne Williamson:

Some men know that a light touch of the tongue, running from a woman’s toes to her ears, lingering in the softest way possible in various places in between, given often enough and sincerely enough, would add immeasurably to world peace.

And in reading these words again, my body quivers with longing and my heart craves to know this sincerity from a man longing to love me.

I’ve written before about longing to be touched with the tenderest of touch, and I’ve heard from others who instruct me that if I want to be loved in this way I must first love this way.

I know this to be true and…

I then come across this quote, as if Life is dropping me tasty bread crumbs along this path of discover:

“Are you willing to trust love rather than your mind’s protection from hurt? If you are willing, then you will taste the possibility of living a life of love and conscious innocence. This is possible for everyone. Love is the teacher. If you are willing to surrender to love rather than trying to control it, love teaches you who you are.” ~ Gangaji ~

And the pieces fall into place.

I can touch with the tenderest conscious touch. Yet, I know I protect myself from hurt. I long to experience what Marianne speaks of, yet I can’t say I trust enough that there is a deep sincerity in the heart and touch of my lover…and the fear of trusting love keeps me from knowing love.

To be moved in this way, to live a life of love and conscious innocence, I must let love teach me… really teach me… and this scares me.

How does loving a woman change the world?

Perhaps our hearts are protected, afraid to surrender to love, afraid of the shame and humiliation we have suffered over the past milienia. Women aren’t the only ones to have suffered, yet I know, personally, that painful experiences to my female body, have caused me to not trust, when what I long for is to open to the most exquisite touch I could imagine.

A woman’t body is vulnerable. We take a man into ourselves. When we’ve been abused it is hard to trust again.

Yet, perhaps it is a woman’s openness, a woman’s trust, a woman’s receptivity that might heal much of what is broken in our world.

When a woman trusts, when she is fully open and receptive, when her vulnerability shines from within her, what does she create that she does not have access to when she is afraid to trust?

Lest you think I believe this can only happen with a woman and a man, I do not. I have a sense that it is a woman’s openness, a loving and responsive openness to Love that could move mountains, regardless of which gender the woman longs for.

For me, it is a man, so I write from this place.

Can I trust…

that love itself is the teacher?

Am I willing to be the student?

What I now know is that Love must be at the center of my heart…not my partner, but Love. Love, God, Conscousness…whatever name we give it, must be my beloved. When my partner is my beloved, I place my power in their hands, and vice versa. It’s taken me a long, long time to know this.

And when Love is my beloved, and Love is the beloved of my partner, perhaps then we can enter into the vulnerable, soul-feeding place of deep love – where we are both taught by Love.

::

And, you?

Do you long to be loved in the way Lisa writes of? In a way that would change the world?

Do you long to experience what Marianne writes of? Something that would bring world peace?

What do you know of this longing? I’d love to know…

::

Touch – Attribution Some rights reserved by mysza831

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Begs the Question

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Orchid

I take pictures of flowers. I can’t help myself. Something in me is completely drawn to a flower in the midst of opening to life, it’s soft petals so vulnerable in a what can be a harsh world.

I have this gorgeous orchid in my home. It was a gift and is now in bloom again. As I walked past it the other day, the sun was shining through its translucent petals. The luminosity drew me to it like a moth to flame. In much the same way, when I get too close to such beauty, something in me dies to this beauty.

I posted another shot of this luminous flower online and received a number of comments.

Absolutely gorgeous.

Stunning.

Oh my goodness. Made my heart jump.

Very vaginal in the best way ever.

It was clear that this orchid looks like a woman’s sexual anatomy – vagina, vulva, clitoris, etc.

It seems as though we respond to this flower as something breathtakingly beautiful.

And this begs the question,

Why don’t we feel this way about our own beautiful, sexual female bodies?

::

This post is part one of a three-part series. I’d love to know how you feel…

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Trees Speak

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sun spot with light rays, let it shine

I believe in the erotic and
I believe in it as an enlightening force within our lives as women.
I have become clearer about the distinctions between the erotic
and other apparently similar forces.
We tend to think of the erotic as an easy, tantalizing sexual arousal.
I speak of the erotic as the deepest life force,
a force which moves us toward living in a fundamental way.
And when I say living I mean it as that force which
moves us toward what will accomplish real positive change.
~Audre Lorde

:::

In these days of change, where destruction is so present and many wonder what is next, discovering the enlightening force Lorde speaks of is the rich invitation at hand.

Can we, as women, remember and re-member this force within our bodies and within our lives?

Our sexuality is as natural as breath.

It moves within because it is the deepest life force. To come into alignment with it is to align with life.

Sexuality is not simply having sex. It is awakening to our nature, returning to the wholeness of the feminine, and remembering that at the center of our female bodies lies the void of creation.

We embody the creatrix, the void out of which all arises. To turn our attention inward, to the innermost recesses of the heart and the birthing capacity of the feminine, opens us to re-member this force.

Can we feel life moving within? Can we begin to trust what we see, especially when it is not visible to the eye?

I see things.

I know things.

Ways are shown.

Yet, I learned at a young age to cut them off before they really blossomed in my consciousness; my intellect learned to come in quickly and try to rationalize and explain these unexplainable things.

As a woman, I walk in ways not understood by the intellect. These ways, these feelings and knowings that are irrational to the intellect, but exquisite morsels to the soul, are calling to me to listen. There is no time to dawdle. They call me to play in the stream of deep healing and honoring.

Trees speak.

The sun shines.

Life pulses.

:::

And, you?

What do you hear?

Image: Sun Spot with Light Rays, Let it Shine AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by Torley

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Sexual Creature

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If you could picture your intuition as a person, what would he or she look like? If you sat down together for dinner, what is the first thing he or she would tell you? ***

First Buds, by John-Morgan

What would she look like?

She is bold.

She is bright and beautiful.

She is alive with light and vibrancy.

She pulses with life force, the same force that pushes seed to flower, that causes the gray gnarled bark to erupt with soft petals of blossom, that speaks fire when the circumstances require it.

She stands completely in her nature, without apology.

What does she say?

” You are a sexual creature.

Your creativity and sexuality are inextricably intertwined.

This sexual vibrant creative energy has nothing to do with men. Nothing.

It is completely about the body and the divine.

The more you disconnect from the projection of this sexual, creative power onto men, the more you will know the experience of your life force solely unto yourself.

Knowing this solely unto yourself frees you to be you in all your radiance.

Then, and only then, can you be in

right relationship

with men, with women, with all of life.

Creatively.

Sexually.

Lovingly.”

Then she says,

“I’m not your intuition. I am you.”

*** question posed by Susan Piver as part of the Trust30 writing challenge.

First Buds by John-Morgan licensed under CC2.0

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The Sacred Realm of a Woman’s Body

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I originally wrote this piece for Amy Oscar and her wisdom series – a series of thirteen posts by women whose writing she enjoys. Amy’s series wrapped up on Monday, and after the fact, I realized that you may not have read what I shared. So, I’m offering it here. Do go and check out Amy’s blog. Not only are there some fabulous posts in this series, but Amy’s blog is one I regularly read and thoroughly enjoy. I have a sense you will, too. I’d love to know what you think of this post, how it affects you, and what you feel about it.

::

I sit here poised to write.

My good friend Amy Oscar has asked me to contribute a post on wisdom to her spring collection of works by bloggers she loves to read.

I feel honored. I value and respect her work. I want to write something good, something fresh, and something alive.

So, I sit still and listen to my body. I close my eyes and ask my body what wants to be shared. This is where aliveness is, not in my thoughts about what I am feeling and desiring, but in the direct experience, in the cells of this body. Alive. Light. Numinous. Awake.

My body speaks of fertility, of abundance, of the rhythms of nature. My body knows these rhythms, even if my mind has forgotten.

I am aware of how much our culture fears the wildness of women, our wild nature. So much so, we have all but destroyed the home where we live, our beautiful Earth, in our quest to control and dominate this wild nature.

Feral and fertile, women’s creativity and sexuality are intertwined, like a long, long braid of gold. We know this deep in the center of our cells.

As Isadora Duncan wrote, “You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.”

The body knows this.  It knows we were once wild, and it knows we believe we’ve been tamed. Old traumas and unwelcome emotions are trapped in the body, trapped until we realize the soul’s longing to be free.

As I begin to write,

I can sense my strong sexual energy and a passion for creation. I feel deeply and I am happiest when my body is set free to express this passion through movement and dance, when I paint and the colors run freely on the paper, when words, whispered from someplace unseen, come to rest, together, in a way I could never have planned.

Women are different than men. Yes. We are different. It is not only okay to say that, it is imperative we see this. Why? Let me share a story with you.

A while ago,

perhaps six years or so, I took a class called mess-painting. Mess painting is a kind of process painting, where you use tempera paints, brushes and wall street journal pages to burn through layers that keep you from your deep creativity.

In the six-week process, I painted in my own apartment, in a tent of plastic sheets that I hung from the ceiling. This is a very messy process. I painted six days a week, at least twenty paintings in a session, where each painting was created in the span of two minutes.

In mess painting, the process is to cover one full sheet of Wall Street Journal paper (the ink used doesn’t run) with paint using brushes and any of eight specific colors. That’s it.

It’s a very physical process. You have to move quickly. There is no time to think about what colors you want or how they should go on the paper. There is only enough time to move the brush to the color then to the paper, allowing something more present than thought to choose which color and where to place it.

About four and a half weeks into the process, I suddenly felt a very different energy begin to move through me. It felt wild and untamed. It felt animal and soulful. I had the overwhelming urge to drop the brush and dive in with my body. I painted with my fingers, hands, and elbows. I couldn’t get enough of my body into the process.

I painted until the energy quieted. And then I wrote this:

When I mess-paint, I come alive. I can’t wait to pull out the colors and begin. When I am painting I am totally engrossed. I love to see the colors mix together on the paper, to see what transpires in a given session. I find I can’t get enough of me into the mess – hands, fingers, fingernails – I am so taken with the paintings that I keep watching them as they dry, dying to see what beauty is there. What are the qualities of my painting? There is an energetic pulse to it. I can feel my soul coming through me. Does it come charging through me like a tiger? Does it spread itself on the paper with love and softness, or even reckless abandon?

It is akin to intimacy – when there are no longer any barriers between another and me: when clothes are off, small talk is quieted, distractions are gone, and there are only the two of us in conversation. The language is intimacy. The “words” are infused with love and deep meaning. There is a direct channel open where truth and soul are shared without reservation, without holding back. Passion, desire, and love all come pouring forth into this conversation between two beings. That is the incredible connection and intimacy that I long for. That is the juice I find in painting. When I create art, it is an individual act. It feels like connecting with myself in a deeply intimate way.

As I read again what I wrote then, I can feel the joy I felt in the liberation of this fiery self. I can feel the love and aliveness, and my soul’s desire for connection and expression. The direct connection between creativity and sexuality is right there and so plain to see.

I’ve been taught

to fear this power, to fear my feral side, my passion, my fire, my ferocity and uncontrollability. I’ve been taught well to fear chaos, yet it is from chaos that anything new is born. And while I was taught this, it is me that keeps it under wraps.

Chaos was wildly singing during that painting session.

Chaos is here, right now. Chaos is ushering out the old and inviting in the new. The old way is dying. Something new is coming. And we have no idea at all what that is.

It is time.

It is time to open deeply to this wild nature as woman. It is time to know it, to invite it out, to welcome it to express. It is time that we see the feminine cannot be reawakened by only knowing the feminine principle in both men and women. We must also honor the spiritual nature of women, the nature that flows through women’s bodies in ways it simply does not in men.

I’ve struggled to articulate my deep knowing that we women have this precious opportunity to come to know the sacred within the cells of our own bodies, how our bodies serve spirit in ways men’s’ bodies cannot, and what this direct experience and realization might do for the evolution of human consciousness.

And in my struggle to write about this, I happened upon an article written last year, by one of my favorite authors on this topic, Hilary Hart.  Hilary writes,

“This spiritual insight into the created world inquires into the nature of women’s bodies, and asks if the receptivity of the vagina, the spirit/matter-integrating capacity of the womb, the nourishment of our breasts, reflect an esoteric dimension that receives energy, serves the infusion of spirit into the physical world, and feeds life in a way men cannot.

Do our bodies show that we offer different gifts and have distinct roles in our collective spiritual evolution, just as they have different roles in the material realm?

While answers to these questions are not easy to come by, asking them opens us to an intriguing and compelling line of inquiry into an entire new spiritual territory – the spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”

I know…

I know the spiritual nature and power of this physical world by direct experience.

I know it because I’ve experienced it by way of the body’s cycles, by way of menstruation, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding my daughters.

I know it when I remove myself from the places where I tend to be most in my head and go into the places that call to the wild succulence of my body.

I know it through the direct witnessing of the deaths of those people in my life I have profoundly loved and the births of those bright angels who are now vibrantly part of my life.

I know it because I have witnessed the cells of my own body come awake again, after a long, long sleep.

It is not mirrored in the collective consciousness, yet that does not negate it one damn bit.

It is neither valued nor protected in the linear, masculine-centric institutions of our culture, whether they be political, medical, legal or religious, yet we know this way down deep in our cells.

When I read Hilary’s words, clarity flows from the connection between my own knowing and her clear articulation. A gap that had been is now bridged.

It’s as if I have been hovering above my own knowing, not quite ready to drop down in all the way. It’s as if I’ve been held up by old beliefs that still infused my awareness, beliefs that kept telling me that the sacred is somewhere else, somewhere up there, and certainly not in this female body.

We don’t need to transcend our bodies to know the sacred realm. And we don’t need to look out there for our power as women. All we need to know is here, right here, within us. It’s already here.

My body has guided me through this writing. It has taken me on the journey of discovering something wholly new.

Our way is the way of the body. Our bodies are sacred and pure. Our creativity and sexuality are physical manifestations of the creative power of the sacred. Whether or not we ever physically give birth to a child, our bodies are vessels for new life. This is the “spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”

::

And, you?

I’d love to know of your experience of the “spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”

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Love and the Nature of Women

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Dancing in the Flames, (c) Holly Friesen

When women’s sexual energies are fully allowed to flow unbridled, without fear of punishment, violation or pain, a different consciousness and reality can and will emerge on this planet. ~Laura Amazzone

On this Valentine’s Day,

let’s not content ourselves with the usual flowers and chocolate, the romantic whispers, or feelings of grief over not having someone to share our lives with. Instead, let’s open our hearts and our bodies to a deeper conversation about love and the erotic, creativity and sexuality, rage and the unstoppable nature of women.

As women, can we really have a conversation about love and not drop deep down into our bodies? Deeper than our hearts. Way down into the fiery cauldron of our creativity.

For some time, now, I’ve written about women’s wild creativity; the instinctual, feral creative side that is different than the rational, linear structure of the patriarchal world we live in. This wild creativity is  an expression that comes from the deep wilds of the body, the creative womb. What flows from this place is what we long to know – our true nature, our deepest nature as women. We can give birth to so much more than babies. The creative possibilities are infinite, but not if we stay up in our heads.

Life is erotic.

We are enrobed in these glorious robes of feminine flesh.

Our flesh and bones are sacred.

New life takes hold, and is nurtured and grows deep within the fleshy walls of the womb.

Somewhere deep within,

our bodies know things we can’t know in our heads, like how the cells of the budding creation receive the light of the soul. Like fruit, the fruit we are is filled with sweet nectar, seeds and succulent flesh.

A fruit is not afraid of its own weight. It grows into its skin fully. It is whole, each part of its body equally alive. ~Gayle Brandeis from Fruitflesh

Like the fruit, we can grow into our skin fully, learning how to wake up each part of our body to its full aliveness.

In her book, Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power, Laura Amazzone writes,

“Regardless of medium, it is essential we create from our bodies, from our experience. Cixous suggests that “women must write through their bodies, they must invent the impregnable language that will wreck partitions, classes, and rhetoric, regulations and codes, they must submerge, cut through, get beyond the ultimate reserve — discourse. “

Yesterday, I was feeling the rage that is usually buried deep inside me. Rage is always here, yet I rarely want to acknowledge it. Rage about so much; for starters: the suppression of the Feminine, the raping of women, trafficking of children, and our seeming indifference to it all.

“Anger is unacceptable because angry women are women in touch with their own autonomous passion and power, especially in relation to men, and this threatens the entire patriarchal order. ” Allan G. Johnson

Yes,

rage is part of this passion, this wildness that doesn’t give a damn about regulations, code or discourse.

The careful part of me wants to know the love in rage. It wants to know that I can share my rage with how the world is and know it is being shared in love. It doesn’t want to polarize or push others away.

In true love, I don’t have to be so careful.

In true love, I could say what needs to be said, and I wouldn’t be ostracized by women and men for showing it.

If I’m truthful with myself, no words are even close to capturing any kind of sense in this rage. It is simply and purely rage.

I know the conditional aspect of being loved well, that as long as I don’t disrupt the apple cart, as long as I don’t say the things that make others uncomfortable, then I am loved. Part of the conditioned beliefs hold that as soon as I come out rageful about what I see, I will be cast out.

Ah, but there’s the rub. This isn’t love at all. This is a kind of keeping in the tribe, the patriarchal tribe. This isn’t love at all.

So what is loving rage? Where do soul and rage meet?

When I ask this question, I feel it rising in my pelvis, deep down in the bowels of my body.

“Getting angry is socially unacceptable, even when the anger is over violence, discrimination, misogyny, and other forms of oppression.” Allan G. Johnson

Socially unacceptable.

Owning and expressing my rage will cast me out of the culture I know, the culture that is here. And, I no longer want to give life and breath to the parts of this culture that I feel most angry about.

Perhaps it is right to be expelled. Perhaps giving breath to this culture through my silence is simply a way to keep the dying alive a little longer, rather than giving my full awareness and attention to what is wanting to be born.

Can this rage fuel what is wanting to be born? Can it be of service to what is nascent?

Is this where rage and love come together, where “the impregnable language” is learned?

On this Valentine’s Day,

a day about love, let’s drop down into the deepest recesses of our bodies, the Yoni. This isn’t old-school passion and eroticism that is all about enticing, this is about tearing down the walls of that which no longer serves.

This is about an eroticism that exists in all of life, a pushing through the old dry bark, so the tender, delicate blossoms can emerge. Think about the power inherent in that push of Life.

This is about creativity that is inextricably tied to our sexuality.

This is about the light of truth, about not paving over the anger and distrust that exists between the genders, a distrust that is created by the very nature of patriarchy, which is based upon domination and control.

This is about love between the genders, finding a love that is true, that can be born out of the cauldron of a creativity that is wild and not so careful.

This is about love.

I want to know this deep nature of women. I want to know it in me and I want to know it in you.

::

The beautiful painting above is by Holly Friesen. Follow her on twitter at @Holly59

This post is part of the Love Sparks Blogging Festival, where you’ll find many other posts about love.

Laura’s Book, Goddess Durga and Sacred Female Power, is available here.

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