Love in a Time of Personal Power

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Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash

 

“We have put the value of love — of life, self, and others, — in combative opposition to the value of personal empowerment. In actuality, these two values should be more like the Eastern concepts of Yang and Yin, which are not combative. Rather, they compliment each other as opposites while retaining their own identities, reaching toward a universal harmony. Love needs empowerment to have strength and substance, and empowerment needs love in order to have value, purpose, and meaning.”
— Massimilla Harris and Bud Harris (Into the Heart of the Feminine)

 

I grew up during the second wave of Feminism. I remember those years of women fighting for equality. And, I remember how they were treated for wanting equality.

Looking back now, I see that the call was for equality but not really for love for all of life, for justice for all, for the leveling out of the playing field for all.

It’s clear the feminine (as she appears in all human beings and in all of life) has been missing when we see the ways in which the power structures and institutions of our western culture values some lives more than others. When we discriminate against some lives and not others, when we commodify lives, when we don’t provide safety and care for all lives, we are witnessing the lack of the feminine in our institutional, systemic, and individual behavior.

Over the past two decades, many of us have found ourselves on this deep reclamation of the feminine.

She called and many of us answered, not really knowing what that meant.

The feminine (yin) can only be known in relation to the masculine (yang), and the masculine only known in relation to the feminine. In Chinese Medicine, this relational dynamic is understood as an elemental way of seeing and knowing life. Everything is related and nothing truly stands on its own. So when I speak of the feminine, I speak from this perspective. I am not speaking of women and men, but rather the energies of yin and yang.

The feminine is dark as related to the light. The feminine is moist as related to dryness. The feminine is non-linear as related to linearity. These aren’t moral leanings. They describe life and all life entails, including death.

The feminine is the mystery. She doesn’t reveal herself in clearly defined ways. Instead, she reveals herself through symbol, intuition, dreams, and the deep imagination of the inner world. But, the feminine has been revealing herself back into the world of form and we’ve begun to see the world in new ways. We’ve come to see how the feminine appears in this world.

We have so far to go to truly hold all of life as sacred, worthy, and equal. I believe one of the reasons we have not done so is that we don’t know the feminine. We don’t clearly see her. And, because we don’t see her clearly in relation to the masculine, which has had a greater presence in our world, we don’t see that the nature of life itself is to live not for itself but for the whole.

This is how the feminine moves in all of us — not hierarchically, but relationally. The feminine cares for life — all of life. Not some life. And not just life that is commodifiable. She cares for all of life equally.

The feminine is Eros. And Eros is love. Eros nurtures the impulse to live. And the living of Eros moves in such a way to ensure the preservation of the human species.

But the feminine is not moving within all of us because we haven’t become conscious of how she is within us. And we become conscious of how she is within us when we come to see what is hidden within us when we find the courage to face that which we haven’t wanted to see. When we do this, our hearts can break open. Our compassion can flow. And, our love can pour forth.

We can come to remember our wholeness.

While we’ve been seeking empowerment and equality, this twin ‘value of love’ has not been championed in the same way.

“We are liberating our empowerment, yet at the same time, we are denying our inherent abilities to like, nourish, and take loving care of ourselves and to make the love of ourselves, others, and life the dominant value we try to live by.”
– Massimillia Harris & Bud Harris

We want to be equal to men. We want to be empowered. But to what end?

Ultimately, it must be for the love of all things, all beings, all of life. For this is the nature of the feminine. She does not discriminate. She does not exclude. She does not favor one child over another.

Empowerment needs love in order to have value, purpose, and meaning.

What does empowerment do for us and the mess we find ourselves in if we aren’t caring for all beings if we aren’t using this power to liberate all of life from the effects of our out of balance, hyper-masculine western culture, exemplified by racism and white supremacy? The feminine does not hold any aspect of life supreme over any other, any expression of life over any other, any incarnation of life over any other.

Yes! Love truly “needs empowerment to have strength and substance.”

We must do what it takes to free the Love within ourselves, otherwise, we are still stuck in the old paradigm of ‘what’s in it for me’ where there is little true value offered to the whole of life through our work. And when we do free ourselves, we then have the strength and substance to bring Love to the forefront of our work in the world.

When we face all of the intense conditioning within us — everything that feels so hard to face and own — we often feel guilt and shame when we finally do. But here’s the thing. It is through feeling these very things that love frees up within us. When we truly stay with everything that comes to call on us, asking for us to face it, our hearts can open to the life that is here — to all of life, not just some of it.

This is how we do the deeper work we must do. We do what is ours to do. We face what is within us so that our hearts can do what our hearts know is true to do. This is how Love moves.

And for those of us who’ve said yes to Love and have been uncomfortable saying yes to power, myself included, it is time to bring these two together. Power-over, how we see power playing out in our world, is a zero-sum game. But power born of love is power-from-within, and this power is the expression of our deepest being into the world. It is our life force. It is Soul born from the deep Love that moves all things. It is generative. It is inviting. It is intelligent in the way of Life.

It can be frightening to live our power when our true power has been suppressed. We’ve feared our power for suppressed power fears harming others. We know somewhere that if we unleash it, it can be harmful. Yet, by not addressing it, we harm, too. Our true strength and power are of life itself. When we come to trust life itself, we come to trust that which flows through us and that which flows through all — the Source of life itself.

We cannot have true empowerment without having the conscious understanding that we are given our lives as a gift, that all of life is of equal value, worth, and beauty, and that we are here to serve the continuation of life itself. When we are willing to see what is standing in the way of this knowing and willing to do the work to dismantle it, I sense we will be able to live for life itself and to live life as the gift that it is.

Again, the feminine is the mystery. When we sit in what we don’t yet know and are unwilling to face what we must feel in order to know it, we’ll suffer and cause suffering. Everything is conspiring for us to end this suffering and liberate ourselves and the whole.

Originally published at JulieDaley.com

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Liberating Ourselves from the Pervasive Bind of Being Reasonable and Logical

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I remember their faces, a little stern and adult-like-condescending, as I tried to tell them of my willow tree and how much she loved me. Sitting under her was my delight, and I think her’s, too. But they couldn’t understand. Too far removed from childhood, everything now had to be reasonable and logical. The mystical and the sacred were now seemingly too far out of reach — seemingly.

And so, they would sternly correct me when I spoke of her love and the love I saw in everything around me, which included them but I didn’t know how to speak of that to them. I could only show them through my eyes the love I had for them. The girl that I was felt like a stranger in a world gone mad with reason, a world that had forgotten that play and love and divine curiosity were the magic we can know here on Earth.

I’ve struggled with this myself as an adult. The one so imaginal, light, joyful, and free; the one who loves the process much more than the finished piece; the one who revels in watching it all unfold, revels in the anticipation of touch when skin meets skin for the first time after letting desire blossom and fruit into ripeness — judged, criticized, and silenced by that voice inside, the adult voice that somewhere along the way became ‘my voice’. That voice thinks this is all fluff, weakness, and something no one will respect because it is not logical, practical, nor does it utilize the ‘brilliance of mind’.

I, like my parents, have a good mind. A strong mind. One that loves math and coding and understanding how things works. And that love is a pure love for these things. But that is not who I am. I am not logical. I am one who can utilize logic when it is helpful and let it go when logic is not the right tool for the job.

Here’s the thing — the thing that now saves me every time I sit down to work and create…

We are not logical creatures. We never have been. We are imaginal beings, sacred to the core, mystical beings appearing as real live people, here to awaken love, here to find delight and joy in living, here to not turn away from ourselves or each other when we forget what we are.

While the loss of connection to love can be too great to hold and feel in our hearts during our early years, the delighted one who dreamed up worlds where trees are loved for the magic they are, where everyone knows the truth about flowers — that they are just a mere breath away from Source — is still very much present and this delighted one now must be freed.

We free this one, this imaginal delightful one, together, in community, in circle, held in love, always in love. For it is only love that liberates. It is only love that transforms. It is only love that frees us from the inner captivity of our own making. We, who are not captive in the outer world, we who are free to move and speak, we who have the means and have the privilege to effect real change, can and must.

This world is not what we’ve come to believe it is. It is a realm of love in a multitude of forms.

Love is spread out before us in everything and we do not see it.

The way back to knowing this is by seeing with the heart, allowing the mind to be held in the heart so that it can rest and come to know itself as love, too.
For all is love.


I offer you this meditation to help guide your beautiful mind down into your heart to be held, your heart down into your pelvic bowl so that the mind and heart are held, and your pelvic bowl down into our great Mother Earth so that your whole being can be held by the Mother.

Come join me in Writing Raw or my new course Flourish. We will find this one who knows, who imagines, who hungers and thirsts for what she knows is real and whole and beautiful.

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The Honor of Living Her

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I’m sharing something pretty personal here, but it feels important to write about this.

My entire journey of writing at Unabashedly Female has been to document and share my journey of awakening the feminine principle within myself. I didn’t really know what I was doing in the beginning — I just followed my instinct. But what I did know from the beginning was that I was to write about my own journey rather than blogging about things that would teach you, my readers, things. Now I truly know that this IS how we learn — by sharing with each other our own experiences. And we only learn it if we share the truth with each other.

Last summer, I reworked my website, JulieDaley.com. I decided that it was time to use my name rather than Unabashedly Female and that the revised site should in some way bridge the two different types of work I do — one around the awakening feminine, the other around creativity and leadership in organizations and in the world at large. At this time, I started to post less often here, as you probably noticed.

This decision had something deeper behind it that I didn’t fully see at the time. It is this deeper thing that I want to share here. But first…

My journey into the feminine began decades ago…or I imagine lifetimes ago, really. I know I was aware when I was young and then I took on the head trip that I saw going on around me. I disconnected from the joy and love that I knew was in my heart, from my own soul. It’s what we do.

But then my husband died suddenly. That sent me into great grief and a glimmer of a longing that had been showing itself in slight glimpses to me throughout my life began to grow stronger. I began to follow this longing to know something that I had no clear conscious remembrance of but knew somewhere deep in my bones.

I don’t really remember the moment when I realized it was the feminine. I suppose it doesn’t matter, really. I do remember, though, the moment my journey deepened into the journey of Eros, which IS the feminine principle according to Carl Jung.

But what I want to share here is how hard it has been to accept the feminine within me. To not judge or criticize the feminine within me. It has been so unconscious, and only recently have I come to see how deeply I have the conditioned inclination to distrust, to denigrate, to disown the aspects of the feminine that are truly beautiful and exactly what we need to embody in these times of challenge. When I saw this over this past few weeks, I began to feel so bad about doing this, but then realized, of course, that would just double up on the judgment. Instead, I have been actively sitting with the critical judge within. And it is SO critical of the feminine.

I find this amazing. That I have worked so hard to awaken to and embody the feminine. That I find these aspects within myself so incredibly beautiful. What has been hard to do is stand for what she is. There are great forces – in both men and women – who still do not value the feminine, and now I see how deeply this is ingrained.

Perhaps this is why it has been so hard for me, and perhaps for you, too – so that we can truly have compassion for all of us – both women and men – as we do what it takes to begin to stand firm in our love for her and for all of life.

I came to the realization that my trying to bridge two worlds was a way to NOT bring the fullness of the feminine that lies within me forth into my work. She is at the heart of my work. I was hedging, hesitating.  I see, now, that it is up to me to do my best to make it accessible and understandable to people who truly are hungry for this work, and people who hold these judgments as well.

What matters is that I bring forth what is within me because, as it is written in the Gospel of Thomas,

“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” 

And not bringing this forth has begun to destroy me in ways that I had not seen, but now do.

I’m sharing it here because I know I am not alone. The deep feminine is showing herself in so many of us, if not all of us in some way. It is so easy to fall into the cultural, patriarchal trap of denigrating the feminine within ourselves.

I worked hard for decades doing deep spiritual work to awaken to her. It is crazy how strong the fear of living Her can be. The feminine is needed as she is, not as we wish her to be or as we wish we were to be. She is needed through us as she is and as we are.

It is an honor. I feel a newfound dignity within me, a newfound determination to live what is within me and what I worked so hard to awaken to.

Will you join me? Or perhaps I am joining you!

Either way, we emerge together, embodying and honoring, Her.

One more thing. I am mostly blogging now on my other site, JulieDaley.com and will now be writing more of what I wrote here. For now, I will leave this site here and perhaps occasionally post. I am not sure what to do with the postings here. They are a beautiful archive of many years of my life and my journey. If you have any ideas, let me know. If you receive these posts by email, you’ll be added to my new list since now the content will be similar.

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Writing Directly Out of the Vast, Deep Mystery

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when you are struggling
in your
writing (art).
it usually means
you
are hearing one thing.
but
writing (creating) another.
— honest | risk

from salt, by nayyirah waheed

 

 

We all receive what wants to be created through us in different ways. As a writer and creative, I get images and a sense of what wants to be written/created. I can feel it, but it’s rarely clear. But even then, there’s always enough to begin, enough to take that first step.

That’s really the most important piece. To take that first step. To begin.

But what happens along the way to cause the struggle?

I was talking to a friend today about writing. We were sharing with each other about our writing process and how hard it can be sometimes to put words to what we ‘hear’ or ‘sense’ wants to be written.

I usually get a sense of the writing that wants to come. Sometimes it comes in images, other times I ‘hear’ something. But to write and create, my mind has to communicate what I sense, see, and or hear. Something deeper than my rational mind, the unconscious, is showing me the writing in its own way, but my mind must take that and put it into words. My mind must communicate the creation into form.

Sometimes I’ve noticed that my mind has a hard time doing that because there’s too big a gap between what I sense and what my mind can translate into words. So my mind fills things in as best it can and what I end up with isn’t at all what I sensed or heard. I’ve lately found myself sitting here at my laptop, fingers poised to write, while my mind attempts to find the words. It’s such an interesting thing to witness in the moment because I am aware of a felt sense of frustration within me – seeing/hearing what I’m trying to write and then trying to find the words and phrases that capture it.

Sometimes, too, the writing just flows. There is no gap. The mind is open and free enough that there is no separation in me, the one who is writing. There is only writing.

And then other times, I notice that my Voice of Judgment (VOJ) jumps in almost immediately, judging and criticizing what comes even before the mind gets it down on paper. It’s like an immediate judgment of what comes. It’s crazy how fast the VOJ can grab a hold of the steering wheel and take you right off course.

But really what I want to do is communicate what I am hearing and sensing. That is all I really want to do. It’s easier for me through photography (the image above) and dance. I don’t edit. There’s no judgment. There’s only the expression. But writing has been harder for me to lose the VOJ, the editor that wants to edit before there are even words on the page.

Can you relate?

We want to get it right but so often we come up short. It’s the mind somehow thinking it has to ‘make it happen’, which is really way beyond its job description of simply communicating. It’s trying to play ‘Soul’ rather than letting Soul be Soul and being, doing what it was created to do.

I’ve found that writing regularly helps to shorten this gap. A regular writing practice helps the mind get used to the practice of writing what it receives.

And, what I’ve found always brings me back to writing more naturally and effortlessly is writing about what brings me joy, or what I love, or what I care deeply about. If I’m trying to write something because I think it is what others want to hear, I never do so with much ease. I struggle to get the words out and once I do the piece can feel stilted and tight. And after writing it, I do, too. Because I’ve left Soul by trying to make it happen.

But when I write something that brings me joy or pleasure, then the writing flows. The soul can be heard and felt. When this is true, Soul is so close. That’s also true about writing in my Writing Raw groups. I love diving into writing when I’m surrounded by that sisterhood. Just the energy alone of the circle is a big support. And in these circles, we write from deep within, from the texture and beauty of Soul. We write directly out of the deep and vast ocean of Mystery. But you don’t need to be in a circle. You can begin to deepen your own practice of entering into this deep and vast mysterious ocean that is the source of all that is created.

We are so deeply interconnected through something much greater than any one of us. When you write what brings you joy or deeply moves you,  and you faithfully express it as you hear it, you move those who feel a similar way or need to hear it, or something else related. There is a connection. There is a correlation. We do meet our audience through our words but not in the way we ‘think’ we are supposed to.

Something greater than any one of us connects us through the deep place of love within each of us. It is this that drives creative expression. It is this that we honor when we write what we hear. And our writing becomes so much easier through this honoring.

Thank you to nayyirah waheed for her poem, available in her profound book of poetry, salt.  And thank you to Tanya for reminding me of this poem.

 

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To discover great faith in yourself is a profound turning point.

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Through you, life is constantly being born anew. You are an instrument of love. If you want a different world, you must give birth to it. You must come to know what is in your heart. You have a powerful knowing to give voice to and we need your voice – we need all voices to find their true Source – that source within. You do this by going within – by consciously turning and going within to listen deeply and bring forth what you come to know and hear.

Speaking what is true can be a challenge. Oftentimes, the space and time between what you truly long to say and what you end up saying can be very short – meaning, there is something inside of you that you long to say, yet the more ‘programmed’ voice will speak over it almost immediately.

But notice I wrote ‘almost’.

There IS a space between what you long to say and what you often do say and it is this space we adventure into in Writing Raw.

What you long for is longing for you.

What you long to say lies within you, in the deeper layers of your being, often as deep as your bones. To come into contact with this inner voice before it is silenced, you need to come into the inner territory with reverence, awareness, and a true desire to hear.

Your true voice is accessible. It really is.

“I feel so strongly that what you have created in writing raw has this potent link of turning us – leading us – inviting each of us into our own selves. not calling it anything but ourselves, words hinting here and there of naming, but to be ourselves and have faith in that is a great great great gift that is given in that circle.” ~ Barbara Heile

 

The Inner Realms

When the initial glimmer of Writing Raw first came to me, I knew it would be a way to rediscover within oneself the sacred, sensuous realm that most of us have come to believe does not exist within us. After three years and many women, this is exactly what Writing Raw is – a threshold into your sacred, sensuous nature; a threshold into feminine community; and many thresholds into your deep imagination and ways of bringing this forth into words.

We write together. In community. In circle. In reverence and love.

We learn to listen to ourselves and to each other, and eventually to the vast space of what has not yet come into form. For we are that which can bring formlessness into form.

I can tell you this realm exists within you. It is deep and glorious, and it longs to come into a direct relationship with your conscious self.

To discover great faith in yourself – in who you truly are – is a profound turning point. 

It isn’t complicated. It is truly simple in many ways. But it does take a desire to hear what is underneath the predictable and safe. No one can tell you what you will find within but you can be guided to find your way. I am one of those guides and it is what I love to do. 

Why Writing?

Writing is the vehicle that we use to reawaken our conscious awareness of soul and deep imagination. It’s what we use to ‘realize into form’ our innate creativity. And it’s what we use to remember what is true about women – that we naturally and innately know how to weave ourselves into a sacred tapestry of communal expression.

Few of WRYvonnesecondquoteus enter into this kind of exploration without fears or anxiety. But what I know is that alongside this fear is a deep longing to reawaken, realize, and remember… This is the call of soul.

This is what matters now in these times. No healing or evolution will come without accessing the realm of soul.

 

I’d love to have you join us.

We begin Sept 5th.

You can find out more and register here.

 

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Deep Water

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Photo by Yulia Sobel

 

“Whether a woman is efficient or brilliant in spheres hitherto deemed masculine, or whether she remains in a traditionally feminine role, modern woman must discriminate and relate to the image of the spirit, while at the same time maintaining her roots in her basic feminine nature – that which receives, nourishes, and gives birth on all levels of being through her awareness of the earth and her ability to bring up the water of life from under the earth. All her true creativeness springs from this.” ~ Helen Luke

 

Lately, the pull of the power in my Hara is strong. When I read these words, the pull intensifies. The darkness grows. Some glimmer of knowing shines.

My real work. Down in. Deep down in. Where dark pools shimmer and eternal springs flow. There is a work here that is not work. Not the way we think of work. It is a returning to the deeper images and symbols that lie in the dark waiting to reveal.

I lie in my bed and feel the pull of the tide wanting to take me out to a place of no destination, no ideas, no thing. I can feel it is a place of deep life, before ideas. It is life prior to. I feel a bit like salmon, following this deep call to return to my spawning ground.

Images call to me from below. One is a single flower, with few petals, open to the light, and a single root, feathery and long, reaching down into. The image comes often. I stand in front of my easel, paints on one side still in their tubes, tubes still in the plastic bin that keeps them tidy, brushes circled up in the old spaghetti sauce jar I’ve had for decades just for the purpose of corralling my deep ache to paint. I stand in front of my easel with the image calling and I cannot let the horses out of the corral. My mind has reasons – reasons I do not note. I know the reasons are lies. I know they deceive. But the image is strong. Rising up out of deep water. Wanting to come into being. In its own way. A clear image. Pulsing. Rising up out of the deep water of my own existence.

And, yet.

There is so much that exists prior to the word. And the only way I can find my way to paint is to set the words down, to let go of their structure and supposed definitions. For they are only symbols, too; nothing other than symbols for this experience of life that is ultimately only deep water images finding their way to the surface, reflected onto an existence no one can name.

I will go and stand again in front of my easel, this image before me. What I no longer want to do is impose myself onto this image, forcing it into some idea of what I think it should be. I’ve done that most of my life – except for the early years before I learned about ideas and control. The early years when I simply painted what wanted to come.

I am learning to open to the symbolic realm. I am not good at it. I’m used to trying to understand with my mind rather than letting the symbol itself guide me. But, I want to learn again how to offer myself to this image. The flower wants to come. Only these hands and this heart can bring it to life.

 

***

orangeandgreenwritingrawWriting Raw, my six-week circle for women, begins tomorrow. We are going to dive into this place of no thing, this place that is before. At least we will lead ourselves there.

It’s a beautiful experience of learning to listen to the world within, trusting what you hear, and bringing it out into the world.

This will be the last time I offer Writing Raw in this format. If you’d like to join us, you can read more and register here.

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The flow of red is bittersweet

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sparrowPhoto by Linh Pham

 

A slight taste of sorrow mixed with the
sweetness of red juice running down
the inner blush of my skin
where bone and blood meet.

Through the soles of my feet
the red sap flows
into the earth where she
swallows it with glee.

The earth knows no words of possession.
Everything is shared and offered.
Pumped through stem and trunk
and blood stream alike.

We make so much of trying to
understand what it all means,
yet the cherry is red, I am the color of this flesh,
and there is no meaning.

My heart is breaking. Not in the big
dramatic way but the barely perceptible,
just under the surface of my skin
where the sweetness of red swells.

The sap swells my heart.They are
not such distant cousins, hearts and cherries.
Cherries to one day be found and
eaten by a plump red bird.

Like cherries hanging low on
the branch, glistening in the moon’s
reflection and so close to outweighing
the branch’s hold on them,

I glisten in the moonlight as
her light draws the tides of my heart
in and out with the ever faint swoosh
of the beat and the blood.

To let go into her love
is to dissolve into juice
that feeds a thousand sparrows.

She calls me to her and I go
willingly, my stem breaking
under the weight of longing.

(c) Julie M Daley, 2016

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In the Flesh: Where Wilderness and Spirit Meet, Part 3

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Francisco Carrasco

 

“In our yearning to be perfect, we have mistaken perfection for wholeness. We think we cannot love ourselves until we and others meet some external standard. Depression, anxiety, — in fact, most neuroses and compulsions — are ultimately a defense against loving ourselves without condition.

“We are afraid to look at the damp, dark, ugly yet exquisite roots of being that stretch deep into our survival chakra. We are fearful of finding that the spirit is not there, that our Home is empty, even as our outer home is empty. Yet it is in that place of survival, where the dark mother has been abandoned, that spirit longs to be embodied so that the whole body may become light.”  ~ Marion Woodman, Dancing in the Flames, pg. 66

 

As I sit with these words and feel into this dark root at the base of my torso,

I see that my fear of messy stems from this loss of deep Home. When chaos strikes, which is what messy feels like to me, I can find no ground and this is what is terrifying.

But, even deeper than this is the truth of abandonment – mine of Her – mine of the dark, the dark mother.

I can find no ground when I deny the ground. I am rooted in the ground when I embrace Her.

I often feel very grounded, but this is something deeper. This is a full homecoming into the lap of the dark mother.

Cut off from my own dark,

my own root, my own exquisite ugliness, I’ve hidden the ugliness, the voraciousness, the huge appetite of the dark of self. Sent away to the sewer of the psyche, years ago I would have sworn to you I had no appetite, no devouring nature.

For the past twelve years, since I first felt a pull down into the earth, I’ve followed a dogged path to know something, to remember something. I’ve not clearly seen what that something is. I’ve followed some wise teachers, many of whom taught me a great deal about what it means to wake up. And, along the way, I’ve become more conscious.

But it wasn’t until just weeks ago that I realized something critical to my journey – that on some very real and deep level, I didn’t want to be here…fully here, fully alive in this body. This isn’t the same as not wanting to be alive. It is different. It is not wanting to be fully here, fully in this body – which means being fully awake and feeling in this body, in the entirety of this body.

Yet it is in that place of survival, where the dark mother has been abandoned, that spirit longs to be embodied so that the whole body may become light.”

I am seeing something: that to truly be here in this body means to truly survive, and to survive one must become conscious, become light-filled, all the way down into the survival chakra…into the root of the body. It is here where we finally take root in our lives.


What happens when the root of all roots wakes up?
 

As I perused synonyms for ‘survival’, I found…

to… continue to live or exist, remain alive, live, sustain oneself, pull through, get through, hold on/out, make it…. keep body and soul together…keep body and soul together

Keep body and soul together. THIS is it. Without the dark mother, we separate body and soul. We cut ourselves off from a big piece of our nature. The reality is, we need the mother, the queen of darkness, to survive. We need our instincts. We need our anger. We need our connection to flesh, to all of it. We cannot be fully alive without it. How could we be? How could we possibly be fully alive if we deny the reality of parts of our body?

What’s the point of being here if we are not fully alive, fully alive with the light of love?

There is a regal quality to soul. She, soul, is where light meets flesh, where wilderness and spirit meet. She is the regal bridge between the light of Spirit and the instinct of the dark mother. We’ve only labeled it as ugly. We believe our animal nature is ugly.

But how could we ever come to know our earth in her holiness if we can’t see holiness in the soil of our own flesh?

Think of the parts of yourself that you most want to deny. What did you have to do to these parts and aspects of yourself in order to deny them? Where did you put them when you abandoned them? How deep did you bury them?

To be here, fully, we must root down into the dark, moist soil of our being. What does it mean to root down? It means to become conscious, to fill with light, the light of awareness, to wake up to the holiness of the most base and basic qualities of our humanity.

What wisdom does the dark hold?

When I began to listen, I opened the door to power, to a great presence, the kind of power and presence that stands firmly in her autonomy, solidly in her sovereignty, and joyfully in her agency. First, though, I had to admit I was angry. First, I had to admit that I am a sexual creature. First, I had to admit to myself that I’d cut myself off from my soul. Then, and only then, would she begin to listen, and then speak. Then, and only then, did I begin to feel great remorse for my unconsciousness. Then, and only then, did I come to see that she had never forsaken me.

She, the dark mother, does not forsake us. We forsake her.

Our belief in the existence of perfection causes us to cut ourselves off from everything that doesn’t fit our idea of perfection.

Perfection could never include darkness, but wholeness cannot exist without it. Without the dark there is no light.

::

 

How to Enter the Creative Unknown

CreativeProcessMapAdvertI’d love to have you join me for the pilot/beta run of my new course, How to Enter the Creative Unknown. We begin on Dec 1st and meet for four weeks. In exchange for your rich experiential feedback of the course, I’m offering a reduced price. I am excited about this course. In it, we’ll go into the heart of the creative process and discover how YOU uniquely navigate change, challenges, and creativity.

You can read more and register here.

 

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In the Flesh: Where Wilderness and Spirit Meet, Part 2

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“The movement of love is that of a sacred thief, come to remove your clothing and your concepts, and to burn away everything that is false and less than whole within you. And when it is done all that will be left is a raging firestorm of creativity, sensuality, openness, warmth, and kindness. For this is what you are.”
~ Matt Licata

I’ve often caught mere glimpses of her, this ‘raging firestorm’ within. Just the glimpses would freak me out. Afraid of this power, I’ve thought of this firestorm as something bad, some strange and frightening part of me. So, I’ve contained her. I turned my back on her. I cut myself off from her.

But, she never was something bad. I’ve been containing my own beautiful, brilliant, firestorm of a soul, the wilderness within my flesh.

One night a few weeks ago, I woke up, halfway, from a dream. I was in that in-between state –half awake, half asleep. I don’t even really remember the dream, but in that halfway state, I heard a voice inside saying, “But I thought if I contained myself everything would be okay.” I could feel a kind of surprise in this voice, a sense of feeling like what she thought would happen didn’t. I could almost see her, this young version of me, with a look of surprise and sadness that what she expected would happen didn’t happen, even though she had contained herself, held herself in, suppressed her own vibrancy. I could see her standing with her arms by her side, hanging straight down with her lower arms sticking out at a 90 degree angle yet pulled in toward her belly. She was containing her life force, my life force. She learned it well.

As I woke up from the dream, I had this sense again of feeling like I’ve been containing something frightening. Then, I had this flash of wondering what I would be letting out if I quit containing me. And then…

The next night before preparing for bed, I went into my living room to sit and meditate. As I walked into the living room, I suddenly sensed a very large presence, so big it filled the room. At once, I knew. This was my soul. I’ve never experienced it this way before. As I sat, I realized it was no longer contained. It was full and deep and palpable. This was me, but not the personality me, it was the presence that I am. Yet, as I sat, I felt distant from this presence. This was my own presence and I felt a distance from myself. Tears came. This distance was painful. And the fear was painful, too. But the greatest pain was realizing that I had done this to my own Soul.

For many years of this spiritual search, I’ve seen presence as out there, or up there, somewhere, and that a deeper knowing of presence would be by way of it coming down into the body. But in this moment, that didn’t jive with my experience. The presence I felt was all around me, completely around me, but I was seeing myself outside of it, or up above it, or distant from it.

A long time ago, I made up something about my power and came to believe something about it. I could go into what that was, or is, but that doesn’t feel relevant here. What feels relevant is my relationship to the power of this presence itself – I keep myself from it. Nothing I could ever have done would change the nature of what I am; but the beliefs absolutely shifted my connection to it. I turned my back on it. I came to believe, and then pretend, it wasn’t there, so that I wouldn’t be ‘too much’.

Imagine the beautiful tiger above coming to believe that its power was too much, and then finding some way to disconnect from that power. Crazy, huh!?

It’s been a few weeks between the part one of this series and this second part. It’s been a time of experiencing great shifts in my relationship to this power, this presence. It’s had to do with coming to see, and ‘understand’, how our childhood years, no matter the nature of our family life, are about trading in conditional love. As a girl, I learned to turn my back on my own soul, the source of this firestorm. Soul that is wild at its core. I made that choice. Painful. Painful to see. Yet, I made it to survive in that family life, in this culture. But, now, it is no longer offering survival. Instead, it is a painful loss of life force.

Ultimately, though, I am responsible for the choice.

Soul is animal. Soul is body. Soul is where body and Spirit meet. Soul is instinct and appetite, and wilderness.

God and Goddess are not above earthly life. They are infused through every part of earthly life. When I cut myself off from soul, I cut myself off from the wilderness in my flesh. And coming back into right relationship with this powerful presence means coming back into the deepest, darkest places within my flesh.

Can you relate? I write about my experience rather than trying to tell you how things are. It’s the only way that I feel in integrity – by staying with my own experience, and in doing so, coming to honor my experience as real and valid, and offering a lens for you to also know that your experience is as well – real and valid, and so important to make known.

::

This is part two of a three-part series.

Read part onehere.

Read part threehere.

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In the Flesh: Where Wilderness and Spirit Meet, Part 1

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“Above all, the world needs passionate people: not people who are passionate about this political cause or that religious teaching, this candidate or that guru, this project or that movement, but passionate about Being, about Awakening, about this very Breath, this miraculous gaze into the eyes of a Friend. The only power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt, is passion for Presence itself. It is the Serpent Fire in your spine, the Beloved in your heart, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence. This is the passion that will transform the earth.” ~ Fred LaMotte

 

Three nights ago, I was messier. Last night at dance, I was messier still. Messier than how I usually am on the dance floor. Not messier as in sweatier. Sweat happens when I dance, no matter what. No, messier as in real. Messier as in following the desire in my body, the wilderness that prowls and stalks just below the surface of my skin, skin fashioned from words I ingested and digested and metabolized into cells that hold and tow the line. The line of good girl, good woman, contained woman is held by my skin.

Except, now, my skin is longing for something else. It is longing to express what is beneath it, swimming within it, firing up from below it.

It is longing to touch, and be touched by, the miraculous – the wild spirit in flesh.

Three nights ago, I gazed into another dancer’s eyes. At the end, in stillness, we were prone on the hot planks of well-loved wood, so still in stillness that the only movement was our breath…and a slight movement of our bodies as they settled down into the floor, each muscle finding its own way to being held by the bones, the bones held by the floor. As the teacher called us into the ending circle, this dancer looked at me, deep into me, and I held his gaze with mine. My own wild gaze felt like it came straight from the depths of beyond-black space.

Last night at dance, I danced against another dancer’s skin, close enough to smell his scent, close enough to feel the emotional sea roiling within him. Our skin met, then moved away, then met, again. Wilderness oozed from beneath my skin, tracking him with its natural predilection for breath, gaze, and the miracle of knowing another in stillness and movement and silence. The wilderness of my flesh explored the nuances felt through my skin, through hands that pulsed with heartbeat and feet that moved with the sensuous.

Something in me has been dying to come to the surface, dying to make its way into expression. I’ve kept it under the tense and taught derma-sheath that pens it in, pens me in. I am not this body, and I am this body. I am known, and I am this never-to-be-fully-known wilderness, too. I am this passion, the Dancer who whirls a double helix of stars out of your silence.

And, I am not just the thinking mind that keeps referring to myself as I, the thinking trying to keep messy at bay. We all have our own ways we don’t like to get messy, and it’s our over active minds trying so hard to contain life, contain this wilderness we can feel within.

***

I’ve been on the fence about dating. On one side, then on the other, then back again, finally just setting my ass down on it to stay. For a bit. Until now. Now I can see what the until has been about. I want to be physical, sensual, sexual. I’ve been alone for four years. I’ve been happy and content, but also desiring companionship and intimacy. I want to be connected, flesh to flesh, heart to heart, soul to soul.

I learned that the real wild self should only come out in the bedroom, although she often prowls on the dance floor where ‘behavior’ like that is more acceptable. But, the real wild self? I’ve been waiting for just the right time, just the right partner, just the right…

But, there is no, and there will never be,  just the right anything.

Yes, it is exquisite to experience this wilderness in connection with another, but it doesn’t need to wait. I don’t need to wait for anyone or anything. To pretend I have to wait for him and a bedroom is to give my power away, continually. To believe this is just about sex and the bedroom, is to believe the lies I’ve been taught that I’ve used to keep myself contained.

To continue to contain it is to deny what I am. A woman’s wilderness is frightening to many, but especially to herself. When a woman wakes up to this  ‘power that will not fade, will not be exhausted or shadowed by doubt’ there is nothing that can stop her. 

This is a ‘passion for Presence itself’. It isn’t passion for a partner, nor is it passion simply for sex. When we know passion for Presence itself, all else flows from this.

It’s not personal.

It is in this flesh where wilderness and Spirit meet in Presence.

It is the wilderness beneath your skin.

***

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Belonging – 21 Days to Find your Way Home.

I’ve opened registration for another round of Belonging: 21 Days to Find Your Way Home

For 21 days, you’ll receive a daily email that will guide you through to a new way to see belonging and practices for you to begin to find it in your own life. We’ll have two calls together, and a secret Facebook group where we’ll share what we are discovering through this journey of belonging.

This goes deeper than trying to fit in. This is about belonging to that which never left you, will never leave you.

We belonged the moment we were born.

We can find our way back home…together.

The cost is $59 dollars, and increases to $99 on October 20th. We begin Oct. 22.

Read more and register here.

 

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