Veiled, by Patti Agapi
Veiled, by Patti Agapi

Reverb10 Day 05
Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

This is a rambling post, and I’m rambling, trusting that where I end up will bring us full circle…in some way.


Today I read Tia Singh’s post for reverb10, wherein she wrote these words:

…write as if I had a million in the bank, and nothing to gain from my writing.

Bammo. These words hit me hard. They zinged me, I mean ZINGED me!

I have learned to allow myself to write deeply here. I still sometimes get the occasional stomach tightening when I hit ‘Publish’, a good thing because it means I’m uncomfortable with something being seen, but for the most part, I realize I’m now a little too comfortable…most of the time.

I’ve pushed myself this year. I’ve shared things I thought I wouldn’t share. It didn’t kill me. In fact, it was freeing. Freeing to unveil myself here, to the women and men that read me on a regular basis.

I still have a ‘thing’ about writing about my personal life. About sharing my stories. I’ve told myself for a long time that others don’t want to know stories of my life, that telling things about my daily life is a little too narcissistic. And yet, I know how important it is for women to share their stories.

I’ve been swimming in the shallow end with a book I’m writing. I’ve dived in the deep end a number of times, only to climb out of the water and sit by the side of the pool, to grab air, to sun myself, to feel the comfort of the ground beneath me. The deep end seems to be where the juice of the book is. Yet, I resist. I come up for air before big chunks of work get done. The scramble and chaos of writing something about these parts of my life, these parts of me, churn me around, so I surface for long periods on end.


Like Tia’s words, Patti’s image spoke to me the moment I saw it. Recognition. Half the face light and beautiful, full of color and life, sort of like the shallow end where the light pierces more readily. The other half dark, chaotic, unknown. She’s veiled. I’m veiled.

What’s inside here? inside of me?

Veils can be beautiful. They can create an aura of mystery, of exotic sensuality. But, perhaps that’s mainly in the movies. The veils I see in the real world seem to hide women. I don’t know what it is like to have to wear a veil…a burka. I don’t know that experience.

I do know what it is to be veiled in my own way, for I fear exposure.

I fear exposure, and yet, I have a choice. No one is veiling me, except myself.


Somewhere, the dark holds promise for me. I’ve been told often enough in spiritual circles that shadow work brings light.

I’ve been in the dark enough times to know it can be a fruitful trip. But then there I go again, expecting a gain. Can I dive into the deep end without expectation of gain? Can I unveil myself, not only to me, but to you, without expectation of gain…or expectation that you’ll like what you see…that I’ll like what I see?

This book that’s been lurching around inside me now for far too long feels very deep and raw. Now I know that’s a good thing. And, it scares the crap out of me.

But it has to come out.  Tia’s words, especially ‘nothing to gain’, spell freedom to write. When I read her words, I realized I’ve been holding on to the idea that there will be something to gain if I get it right. Not just personally, but also collectively. I’ve put a shitload of pressure on myself to ‘get it right’. And in the pressure to get it right, nothing comes out, nothing gets written.

If I am true to the writing, if I write what wants to be written, then I must give up my expectations of gain for me, of being understood, of being liked. What wants to be written isn’t about me. It’s the me that holds back, not what wants to be born.


I’ve had a vision for some time now. I see something that feels hard to explain to people. I see a land where women come out of the dark, out of the shadow of men, out into the light so they can see themselves as they are, as beautiful sacred beings. We are different than men. We have been told we are less than, second-class. Women all over the world are being treated in ways unimaginable, right now.

Women, whom these atrocities are being acted upon, are sacred beings. We bring life into life. We are sacred beings because the soul of a newborn life enters the world within a woman’s body. I’ve experienced this. I’ve given birth. I’ve witnessed my daughters both give birth. I’ve watched death come and take those I love. I’ve experienced the love that is present at both moments of birth and moments of death.

As Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee writes,

“The light of the soul of the world needs the participation of all who are open to this work. But part of our redemption of the feminine is to acknowledge that certain work can only be done by women. The interconnections of life belong to the wisdom of the feminine and a woman’s body holds the knowledge of how the worlds interrelate. Masculine consciousness imaged a transcendent divinity—the feminine knows how the divine is present in every cell of creation. Women know this not as abstract knowledge, but part of their instinctual nature—in the womb the light of a soul can come into physical form. Life is standing at the edge of an abyss of forgetfulness waiting for the light of the world to be born. This birth needs the wisdom of the feminine, and women must take their place in this time of great potential.”

Spiritual Power, page 62

Life is standing at the edge of an abyss of forgetfulness waiting for the light of the world to be born. This birth needs the wisdom of the feminine, and women must take their place in this time of great potential.

An abyss of forgetfulness.

Am I willing to remember? Am I willing to take my place? I KNOW, from my own experiences, that the divine is present in every cell of creation. I KNOW this. I FEEL this. I’ve seen many deaths and births, and know how the worlds relate.

I know these things of which Llewellyn speaks, because I’ve lived them. We women all know these things. They are in the stories of our lives.


We’re waiting for the light of the world to be born. We are in darkness already. There is destruction, war, greed, torture, passivity, unwillingness to feel. And it’s all right here in my unwillingness to stay in the deep end, until something new emerges.

I can’t know what will emerge from my own dive. It is mine to take. Exposure. Chaos. Nothing to be gained. Everything to be gained.

How can I know what I am capable of unless I let go and see?

How can I know what women can offer, if I’m not willing to see what I have to offer?

I’d be foolish to believe I have let go of this. It’s a process of letting go. And letting go. And letting go.


Marianne Williamson says we no longer have time to preach or sing to anyone but the choir. I know you beautiful women and men know all of this. What I know I now am asking for is a community of women and men to walk with, side by side, as we do whatever is being asked of us by that which wants to move through us, by that which wants our freedom, by that which is dying to be born.

Will you join me? Can I join you?


Veiled is by Patti Agapi. You can see more of Patti’s work on Flickr. Thank you, Patti, for permission to share your work here.

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32 Replies to “UnVeiled”

  1. I will join you! I want to join you!

    As I felt your words move threw me I realized that my intention for 2011 of being FREE requires me to allow what I write to be free from my head and flow from my heart. It wasn’t until I read your words that I got this message from within that although I thought my writing was coming from my heart, it is usually being intercepted my my mind to ensure it’s “perfect” or “right” in the eye of the ego.

    Thank you for your beautiful words, they have inspired me and warmed my heart.

    1. Dear Kate,
      Wonderful! We’re on! I’m glad the words resonated with you. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. i can see we’ll spend our time prying that last finger away from the edge. at least i hope so. for you and for me and for women everywhere. walking arm in arm, side by side. stepping out of the shadow, into the darkness, into the light – we will go wherever we need to go. the main thing is: we go. starting now. now. right now. and we won’t worry about the number of comments or the number of followers/friends. we won’t count the dollars or the number of pairs of shoes in the closet. we won’t even count how many steps we take, we will only count ourselves strong and valuable and together. we will only count ourselves power full and sure and (cap)able. we will only count ourselves ready.

  3. Yes! Yes! I will join you – please join me!

    Julie, tears poured down my face as I read this. I, too, understand that the deep has gifts – but what you said here about exploring them without expectation of gain: “Can I dive into the deep end without expectation of gain? Can I unveil myself, not only to me, but to you, without expectation of gain…or expectation that you’ll like what you see…that I’ll like what I see?” This blew me away!

    Marianne Williamson says we no longer have time to preach or sing to anyone but the choir. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa (that’s me warming up – let’s sing it, sister!!)
    I am sitting here stunned…and yet I RAN into the other room to get a book because there’s something in it I want to share with you and your readers (this seems related to what you’re saying — related, like a cousin – not a twin — but somehow, for me, it fits) this bit by Annie Dillard:

    “One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now… These things fill from behind, from underneath like well water.”

  4. I will walk with you. Messy, terrified, veiled, exposed, raw, diving into the chaos. Yes, I will walk. Holding hands, here, in this virtual space and with the warmth of flesh on flesh, we will walk. Drinking in your courage – and that of so many others – spurs my own. There are so many of us walking this path – how can we help but change the world?

  5. Julie – what I hear you saying is you are taking a stand to be in service of your soul. You are taking a stand in service of that which has chosen you through which to be born. Knowing that, how can you not move forward in full faith? You are a co-creator now, not the inventor. You knew that all along. That’s why Tia’s words got you. Like Karen said, let go of that last finger dangling on the edge. Fall. I will fall with you –

  6. Yes and yes. Joining together. Fellow-travelers are so sacred to me. It’s the whole deal, to me. (When I finally do my blogroll, that’s what I’m going to call it.) As @whollyjeanne says, as fellow-travelers we…count ourselves strong and valuable and together, power full and sure and (cap)able, ready. Yes.

    You are absolutely one of my much-beloved fellow-travelers, Julie.

    As for the dark being a fruitful place – of course it is. It’s fertile, it’s fecund. It is your word for 2011. Of course it’s fruitful. Like seeds sprouting, like bears hibernating (which isn’t a true hibernation, they’re awake in there, not like a frog or something that goes into a controlled coma to hibernate – and in that interior darkness that’s when the mama bear gives birth to her cubs). It isfruitful down there.

    Given that, I think that hoping for gain is healthy. The question is, though, what is the gain that we’re really hoping for? Is it the growing fertility our soul truly thirsts for? Or is it an external gain that we don’t actually bring in all the way, but hold at arm’s length as if it’s a shield, as if it will keep us safe?

    Because this is something I definitely know about the darkness. There is no safety down there. The attempt to turn the fruit which the darkness bears into an external kind of safety will inevitably fail. There is no safety. There is transformation, exactly the process of dying to be born. And it’s a real death. Not (usually) a death of the body, granted, but a real death. There’s no avoiding that. It’s terrifying and painful, and there’s no cutting it short. There’s no shield that can stop that. There is no safety.

    But what the darkness does promise, though, is trust. That’s precisely why I chose the URL I did. And that’s a very powerful and fruitful gain, and I don’t think it’s at all wrong for us to want that. Because when we learn to trust ourselves, when we learn to trust the darkness, we find that the darkness herself is a round lap, strong and tender arms, breasts suckling us with life. We find that the darkness loves us deeper than death, and nurtures us from the infinite well, upwelling from underneath. That the darkness will be there for us, always, even when the light isn’t.

    With a rooted enough trust, a trust rooted deep into darkness, I am finding that the difference between being veiled or unveiled is less significant. Not any less scary, mind you. But the fear is about the whole process, not which side of it we’re on at any given moment. So if I can surrender to the process, supported by trust and held by the darkness’s love for us, it may be terrifying, but it’s also, somehow, okay.

    1. Karen, fellow traveler,
      Thank you for your wisdom. I’ve been in the dark so many times. This one feels different, but I know it is and it isn’t. Yes, trust.
      Blessings to you, dear one,

  7. MAN! Between the post AND the comments, I am left utterly speechless…which is amazing for someone who calls herself “the chatterbox.” I am in awe and with a full heart that is screaming YES with each beat!

  8. Ah, Julie, your words are such poetry and I love the way you gather threads a create a quilt that I can fall into with an joyous sigh. Thank you.

  9. Hi Julie,
    I’m just meeting you and I love what you wrote. I literally just wrote about overexposure. I’m fairly new to blogging and what makes me not write or afraid to hit publish is overexposure – revealing too much about myself. But I reveal a little more, day by day, and it isn’t so bad. I’m learning to let go….of many things.
    Thank you for your post!

  10. Ok so it’s 240 am and I’m back to say thank you Julie. For honouring the spirit that lives within you, me and all of us who ache to live our truths, to be a part of a collective whole as individuals. I’m with you, you’re with me.

    Thank you for allowing my post to move you, for being in the right place at the right time so you could unleash your knowing with gentle force. I’m so stoked!

    And get this – in one of my responses to a comment on the post, I wrote about testing the waters all year and how I’m now diving in and going underwater till I’m up gasping for air with every fibre of my being.

    That’s what this unveiling feels like to me. Holy awesomeness!! xoxo

  11. “No one is veiling me, except myself.” This should be on a poster, or a little card that we/I carry around in pockets. Brava, Julie. This post is powerful. And yes, I am with you. Yes. A quiet, solid, confident yes.

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  13. To unveil the veiled – how difficult that is. Thank you for this post. I enjoyed walking in your circle and joining in with reckless abandon.
    Cheers… Elizabeth

  14. Here I am, starting to write this comment at 11.35pm, after I had decided to go to bed early, after reading the blogposts in my Google Reader… alas, going early to bed will not be the case! I’m here, reading and responding to your posts. (I first read the one on eros and sexuality and now this one on unveiling – three more previous ones to read in my reader).

    I know the feeling of this deep urge to write. Not just a blog post, now and then about my private stuff, but a real book, a whole body of thoughts, ideas, models, experiences… but from the feminine viewpoint… talking about the collective, about the subtle, about beauty and allurement, about not-knowing and so much more. I know the experience of not going there, of doing another kind of task first, not leaving enough time and space to go deep… to stay on the surface…

    but I can’t reach the real feminine knowing when I don’t spend time enough, and space
    and intention

    Right now I feel the emotional juices going round in my body, I could name it scarry or fear, but from another perspective I feel I am ALIVE! I think/sense/know that that is what we are expressing in our writing, in what we do: we want to be alive in every cell and muscle of who we are. I don’t know about men, but I know some of them feel the same, the artists who have taken their profession to a sacred level. I see some signs of that.

    I know the words of Lewellyn Vaughan-Lee, they have inspired me too. And what I have learned over the years is that the resistance that we feel is not just our individual resistance. It is from the collective, it is systemic, it is old… and what we need to overcome is not just ours, but has a history of ancient stories, of witches and more… that is what is keeping us on the surface. We need each other in this, we need our women’s circles for this to understand and to know inside the importance of doing this.

    I promise to publish this comment also on my blog, and I don’t know how much time I will need to do it – no need to promise anything – and maybe it will be the start of a new blog that I have in mind since some time… On Collective Presencing…

    My body feels like making love, all senses open, all juices flowing… I love it! And instead of looking back at 2010, I will look forward to 2011 and promise myself to go and look for this feeling, this sensing, this aliveliness again and again! I’m just understanding that life and evolution is to celebrate, to enjoy the abundance, to experience the magnificence! That’s what we are to do. I know.

    You to.

    Thanks for being present on the net, where I could find you (all).
    If I could I would post a picture of a drawing here, but the system doesn’t give the opportunity, so please go here to see it: http://www.flickr.com/photos/51691575@N00/3495963426/in/set-72157617460411815/

  15. “I fear exposure, and yet, I have a choice. No one is veiling me, except myself.”

    this post def made me think deep… it resonates so much.



  16. Happy to be the first right here in 2011 to say YES! to joining you all.

    You say: “No one’s veiling me, except myself”. So true.
    I now say: “No one can unveil me, except myself”. My new mantra for 2011.

    Thank you for the sisterhood, Julie. What a wonderful group of women to join with, walk alongside and share this deepening experience with.

    Love be with you all.

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