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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A Sacred Duty

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Rose

“There is a relentless search for the factual and this quest often lacks warmth or reverence.
At a certain stage in our life we may wake up to the urgency of life, how short it is.
Then the quest for truth becomes the ultimate project.
We can often forage for years in the empty fields of self-analysis and self-improvement
and sacrifice much of our real substance for specks of cold, lonesome factual truth.

The wisdom of the tradition reminds us that if we choose to journey on the
path of truth, it then becomes a sacred duty to walk hand in hand with beauty.” 

~ John O’Donohue

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Solidarity

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I so respect Sandra Fluke

for her courage, 

integrity &

willingness

to share her voice.

 

I stand with her.

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You Chose For You

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Put it down.

Put it all down.

Stop fighting.

Feel.

It is the way it is.

You did it.

You were scared shitless and you did it.

Breathe.

Breathe, again.

You are here.

You’ve survived…and you’re not diminished one damn bit.

While the voices in your head tell you otherwise,

You chose for you.

Never believe again, even for one second, that you are powerless.

While the voices out there would love for you to believe that you are,

they are wrong.

Be with your self.

Trust your heart.

Let it all go.

Be with,

Stay with,

You.

::

“heart-shaped candlelight” by ZolivierSome rights reserved

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Persistence. Grace. Unfurling.

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Less

After a long, long week of wonderfully internal time, slow quiet mornings and a few days of being really sick, I’m re-entering this new year with less.

Yes, less.

A little less weight from being sick, but also less looking, less sense of internal chaos, less wanting.

A great load has been lifted from how I experience life. And, with the lifting of this load, there is a marked experience of less veiling, less pushing, and less of a need to search for something that never was attainable.

None of this was necessarily a beautiful spiritual experience. Ha. I suppose there is such a thing. Yes, I suppose I have had them. But I don’t want to make it sound like this was all grace and light and beauty. It was painful. And that pain was beautiful, is beautiful. It was real. I felt things I had stuffed for eons, things I didn’t want to feel, but finally came to realize there was no avoiding it if I wanted to know peace…and be free.

I saw things about myself that aren’t pretty, ways I can be, ways I have been with others, ways I hold myself back: self-righteousness, jealousy, wanting to be special, wanting to be wanted, and how damn careful I can be…

In being with these parts of myself, really being with them with love, I came to see that at the heart of each of these unskillful habits is a pearl, a little gem of goodness and truth that was the seed of what grew into behavior was absolutely necessary at the time and saved my little psyche. AND, as an adult this behavior certainly wasn’t helpful in my relationships with others or with myself.

Shedding, unfurling, letting go…all beautiful acts of both persistence and grace.

Speaking of Unfurling

I’d love for you to take a look at this interview I did with Amy Kessel, ACC, a coach and simply a beautiful woman. Video is not my favorite form of communicating, but with Amy it was a lot of fun. She has a gracious presence that drew me in from the moment I first met her by Skype.

Her question of me and other women is, How are you unfurling? A lovely question. I think it’s a great one for all of us to ask ourselves.

While at Amy’s site, check out her other interviews on unfurling with Jennifer Louden, Ronna Detrick, and Kate Courageous.

::

Happy New Year!

Julie

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Get it Done!

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If you’ve ever wondered what the fierce feminine looks like, watch this video.

Anjali Appadurai is her name. And, as she says to the elected
officials who haven’t gotten it done,

“You have been negotiating all my life.”

“Respect the integral values of humanity. Respect the future of your descendents….

Governments of the developed world: Deep cuts, now. Get it done!”

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For Longing

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A friend shared this poem, and I cried tears…

Tears for the beauty of these words.

Tears for the beauty that was this soul, this soul named John O’Donhoue.

Tears for the longing of the soul.

Tears for the beginnings of a glimmer of this knowing: “May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.”

His books, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom and Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, are gorgeous works. I’ve read them, and re-read them, and still I can tell I will read them again. While the words are gorgeous and full, there is something that weaves between the words that lights me up in a way nothing else does. Light moves through his words, through the pages into my own soul.

Let these words of his pour over you, filling the cells of your being with the love that is in every cell of existence. This is our inheritance. To know love like this. To know that God is longing for us with urgency. All stories fall away in the power of this knowing.

::

For Longing by John O’Donohue

Blessed be the longing that brought you here

And quickens your soul with wonder.

May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire

That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease

To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.

May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity, and friendship–

Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.

May the one you long for long for you.

May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.

May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.

May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which
your body inhabits the world.

May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.

May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.

May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

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Bear Witness to Her Words, to Her Life

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What does it mean to witness?

What is it to listen, deeply, to the voice of another speak something that must be spoken?

What is it to not flinch when hearing the truth that flows from another’s heart and soul?

Many, many women are writing their stores. And, many women are reading these stories. We are bearing witness to each other, to our lives, and yes, even our deaths.

My good friend, and writing partner, Jeanne Hewell-Chambers is sharing the writing of her friend Rhonda at her blog, the Barefoot Heart.

In Jeanne’s words:

“Rhonda is now in hospice, and though she doesn’t fear death, she does dread it a bit because she still has so much she wants to say. And there’s so much we need to hear. “Jeanne, they tell me to rest,” she said in a recent phone call with a tone that’s as close to whining as I’ve ever heard come from her lips. “Fuck that,” I said. “You can rest later. Now you write. And write. And write.””

As I writer, I know how it feels when I must write. And as a writer, I know how it is to have my words witnessed, read, and considered.

::

Take a moment to read Rhonda’s stories and, as Jeanne writes, “join me as we bear witness to her words, to her life.”

As Rhonda writes, “I write only truth.”

I imagine that when it comes time to die, one’s patience for anything that is not truth grows thin.

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Pierced

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Pierced

My heart is not my own. It belongs to a far greater force than a single human being.

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