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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Women & the Earth: Awakening Eros

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Women…we need to be here, all the way here, on Earth.

We need to come all the way down into our bodies, breathing all the way down and in. We must choose to come in, choose to inhabit our bodies, bodies that can, and do, only exist here on Earth. The spirit and soul is not of this place, but the body is. And it is in our bodies where our greatest gifts can be given. Where our deepest yearnings and desires can unfold. And when we do this, when we come in and give voice and expression to our deepest yearnings, we come into direct relationship with Mother Earth.

In these times, it is imperative we choose to be here, all the way here, on Earth. This can be hard. Many of us have experienced trauma. For most of my life I haven’t wanted to be here. Not in a way where I would do something to myself, but more in the subtle, underlying pervasive sense of being uncomfortable in a place where my body isn’t safe, where my gender represents what is considered terrifying to those in charge, and so deemed as weak and inferior.

As women, the culture does not treat our bodies well. We often don’t treat our bodies well. We live in bodies that are threatened, most often subtly. These bodies. Creature bodies. Beautiful bodes. Bodies with deep feelings and sensitivities, as well as the capacity for great joy and aliveness. Yet, we are needed to be here on the planet, connected to our Mother Earth for the full potential of our souls to be realized.

Mother Earth. Your body is Her body. Her body is your body. And at this time, the Earth is calling for us to be fully home in her embrace.

We are living in the times we’ve come for. The work we came to do is needed now. Many of us know this. That what is being called for is exactly what we have to give to the world. This isn’t about changing the world. We cannot change anyone else. But we can give what we’ve been given, we can offer the essential nature of our own being into the world as a form of love to a world so hungry for love.

We’ve forgotten that all of life is sacred and we are not going to get out of the problems we’ve created without coming to physically know this again as our own experience.

What does it mean for flesh to be sacred, for the flesh of our existence to be sacred? How does the sacred live in you? How does the sacred feel when it is alive in your body? How does the sacred feel when you are in your body and you know everything is sacred?

To bring the holy, the light, and love to all of life’s mundane moments and things that can frighten us so. To do our best and be in integrity. To realize where we are responsible to this world in a way that enlivens us and the world. To bring the wild Source of our nature into structure so the wild Source can come all the way into our lives…all the way down and into our world, our lives, and our creations.

Yes. This is it. The hot holy. The blinding breath. The cosmic presence. The delighted spontaneity. The impish bliss. The lightness of depth.

Soften your rigidity, your striving and pushing, your need to control, with breath, breathing all the way down and in, from the front to the back, and head to toe, especially in the belly that is breath-starved. Full, deep, slow breaths. Fill your body with cell nourishment and aliveness.

Breathing is a sensuous experience. Our wild and tender animal bodies are starved for breath, plump rich oxygen laced breath that softens our flesh into the Earth.

Soften and striving and judging others will slow and spontaneous movement and deep love for everything will flow. We are Spirit-infused creatures of the wild when we breathe deeply and fully.
Life is spontaneous and playful when we inhabit our bodies and our lives like the bliss-plump creatures we are created to be. High on the gift of our own existence, we stop trying to control and negate the existence of our fellow creatures.

This is Eros. A sensuous love. A rapturous delight. A primal push out of the seedbed of creation.

This is Eros. Life enthralled with its own gift of becoming.

Eros is the force we must awaken and we do this through a direct relationship with Mother Earth, a direct relationship between soul and Mother Earth. We do this together. We do this in community. We do this in the realms of our vast inner world, while together in circle, together and rooted into the Mother.

If you’ve been longing to bring something you can‘t’ quite name but know exists into the work you are IMG_7872doing in the world, I offer that Eros might be this something. It is love. It is aliveness. It is the lived gift of your own existence.

Come awaken Eros.

Join me and a circle of twelve women for a journey into Eros, a journey down and into your body, a journey of coming home. Awakening Eros will change who you know yourself to be and what you believe you are capable of.

We begin October 18th. Twelve women. Deep circle. Awakening Eros.

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A Woman’s Fire and Desire. Spreading Ourselves Across the Land.

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Standing on Kīlauea Caldera, a powerful, sacred place on Mother Earth.

 

The story goes that… 

Eve – you know, the one in the garden with the scaly close confidant – bit into a big, red, juicy apple – based on advice from said confidant. I know it was a big one; not the apple, but the bite.

Eve wanted that apple. She had a big desire. She wanted to bite down hard. She wanted to devour that apple.

How do I know? Because I am Eve – a woman who desires.

The juice. The red. The big fat bite.

 

I used to think…

there was something wrong with desire and having the kind of appetite desire requires. I used to think that I needed to hide it. I used to think these things until I met myself in the crater of a volcano and began to let it sing to me of the truth of hot rock, undulating lava, and brand new earth. Something happened there on the lava bed, there on the floor of the southern edge of Kīlauea Caldera on the big island of Hawai’i when I visited a few weeks ago.

A caldera is formed by the collapse of an emptied large underground pool of liquid rock, a liquid that snakes its way along, voraciously devouring everything it runs across. Can you imagine the hotness of this heat? Can you imagine that is the hotness of your heat, too, of your desire? Because this same underground pool of liquid rock is what forms out of your own existence, the same lava that snakes its way up and out of the ground of your own erupting desire.

When I feel my desire, I feel waves rolling up out of the deep ground into the sonorous caverns hidden deep under the surface sense of my body. And, when I ride these waves, sensing their exquisite rhythms, what I see and know and feel is the overwhelming desire to bite down into life I want to bite down into life – just like Eve, just like the volcano. We aren’t that different, Eve and I. We aren’t that different, you and I.

My appetite for life is big and full and healthy – when I am in touch with it. But, often that’s problem. Often, I’m not in touch with it. It can disappear in the blink of an eye when I tell myself it is wrong. I can grow cold in an instant, muscles tightening like lava cooled for centuries.

In the past, I’ve often…

felt embarrassed by my desire, like it is something to be ashamed of – after all, I am Eve. It is my relationship with desire, my physical, somatic experience of the potency of desire itself, that most frightens me. Desire in my body feels too big, too much, too out of control. Desire itself feels dangerous. And then it’s a fast track to sensing that if I desire I am dangerous. Like a volcano – a mix of beauty, heat, fire that both destroys and creates. Often we as women are more comfortable with water, air, and earth, but fire? Fire can wreak havoc on the world, bringing down structures that no longer serve and never did serve.

Exactly.

Ultimately, under my embarrassment, fear, and shame, like under the dirt of the earth, is this real, alive, vital connection to the source of creation. Just like lava flowing into the ocean creates new land, hot desire flowing through my life creates new territory, a new expanse of land and life yet unexplored.

The volcanoes in Hawaii are different than ones in other parts of the world. They are Shield Volcanoes. They flow. Like the Feminine. They have broad gentle slopes. They are built almost entirely of fluid magma flows – highly fluid lava, which travels farther than lava erupted from Strato Volcanoes. This low-viscosity lava travels great distances; spreads itself out across the land, creating these broad gentle slopes out of this brand new earth.

This is how I feel…

I don’t erupt when I express – in the bedroom or otherwise. Instead, I flow. I spread myself across in broad strokes. I become larger and more connected to this earth. I become a more fertile field. I am like a woman giving birth, the womb expelling new life, new ground, the new flesh of a human being, into this world, not sure at all just where that new life will travel.

But I’ve allowed my own flow to be constricted and restricted. I take up way too little space. The expanse of my soul is yet to be known. I feel cramped up, reigned in, contained.

 

Something’s got to give…

This mountain of flesh and blood and bones has got to give. I’ve got to give what I’ve been gifted with – the capacity for fire and the cycle of destruction and creation, for to have the creation of something new, something must first be destroyed. We don’t like that word, but this is truth. Destruction can come in small ways. And it can come in big ways.

Often life does it for us, leaving us in the wake of destruction where we find ourselves in a new fertile bed of possibility.

Desire is the force of creation, the creative force of the universe. It is the seed in the seedbed of Eros and when the seed splits open desire pours forth and creation creates the blueprint at the heart of each desire. It is power. No wonder we are taught, as women, not to desire.

When we are very young and the purity, innocence, and truth of our love is questioned and mistrusted, we come to question and mistrust and eventually fear the intention behind and the safety of our own love, the love that is the flowering of what we really are. We come to no longer believe in the innocence and purity of our true nature. Eventually, though, we can come to see that this is where we erred…that the light within that we fear never did lose its luminosity and brilliance – never did lose its fire. Indeed, this fire is the radiance of our love.

We come to fear what is at the heart of what we are here to offer and create. This fearing brings great grief; we must then grieve the loss that comes with fearing our own nature in order to remember and touch back into the purity of desire itself, the innocence of Eros, the longing that is at the heart of love.

 

To take back your pleasures,

to take back your sensuality and eroticism is to take back your power, joy, fulfillment – and fire. To take back your appetite is to take back your ability to feed and nourish your soul and quench the thirst in your own heart. To take this back is to remember that it was never anyone else’s.

You belong to no one. You belong to life. And it is the life in you that is the source of your fire and appetite for life.

Desire wants to spread itself out across the territory of life, consuming experiences that expand the soul’s capacity to be here, fully. When hot lava pours itself across the land, it does destroy, but in the path of that destruction, virgin soil appears, seeds crack open, take hold, and grow. In the fire of desire is an intense love for this world, for the earth, and for all of Creation.

***

May there be kindness in your gaze when you look within. — John O’Donohue

JulieRonnaBadgeWe will work with desire at our “Writing (and Trusting) Your Heart” writing retreat at a beautiful retreat site in Lake Elsinore, California.

Desire is a fire that can ignite your writing. Desire felt fully in the body, for yourself and your own creativity, is a gorgeous threshold into yet unknown places in your creative world.

This isn’t just for writers. It is for women who’ve longed to look within and find that it is easier and more pleasurable to do so surrounded by other women who long for the same.

I will be co-leading the weekend with my friend and fellow-writer, Ronna Detrick. In our work with women, we both work from this perspective – that it is through kindness that we best come to know ourselves as we truly are. When our gaze toward ourselves is filled with tenderness and acceptance, everything changes. It doesn’t make it easy, but it becomes simple. And it is easier surrounded by women who also hold you in this gaze.

We still have space and I would love to have you there. I feel it is going to be a remarkable weekend.

It’s in Southern California from 9/30-10/2. If you’ve been considering coming, now is a good time to think it through as flight costs begin to increase.

If I can answer any questions you might have, please reach out.

 

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Desire Seated in the Lap of the Deep-Knowing of Self as Holy

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photo by https://unsplash.com/@sebamolinafotos

 

Because of our wisdom, we will travel
Far for love.
All movement is a sign of
Thirst.
Most speaking really says
“I am hungry to know you.”
Every desire of your body is holy;
Every desire of your body is
Holy.
Dear one,
Why wait until you are dying
To discover that divine
Truth?”
― Hafiz

 

 

Last week, I spent two days away with a dear friend.  We had hours to talk while sitting on her porch, eating our meals, and walking at the beach that is just down the road from where we were staying. We talked about many things, yet everything circled back to one topic: pleasure and desire.

If you’ve been reading me for a while, you know I write often about the erotic and Eros. I’ve been exploring this capacity we have as human beings to feel deeply, and especially how the erotic is experienced by women. The deeper I go into my body, the deeper I go into this work because the erotic is about feeling and we can only feel if we are present in our bodies.

As we become more and more embodied, becoming conscious in these places that have been numb for so long, we must feel the old feelings that have been held hostage there. The journey into my body, consciousness awakening in the cells, has brought me deeper down into the root and into the place where our sexuality and creativity rise up out of. I discovered a great amount of grief was stored in my body, most recently in this sacred place where our sexuality stirs. This isn’t surprising considering the world we must inhabit as women, this world where women are denigrated and shamed for being sexual creatures, while at the same time being objectified in a way that tells us our sexuality (and the erotic) is for men yet not for ourselves.

Bridging this gap between our sexuality and our sacredness, this place where we know our desire and our journey toward love is holy, can feel like such hard work. There are many feelings that caused this gap in the first place, feelings we often name shame, guilt, and fear. To bridge the gap, we must feel these feelings. I’ve spent the past five years as a single woman doing this work. And now, I am beginning to date again, beginning to enter back into this world. There is great joy in being in my body and feeling Eros stirring. And, I am watching and listening for those old stories of shame and fear about what and who I am.

For the past sixteen years, I’ve been clearing away and liberating all of the old, stuck stuff that I took on when I was young – old feelings, beliefs, and tyrannical inner messages that caused me to really hide my sensual and sexual nature. I am sure you can relate. I feel it is the journey so many of us are taking as women alive on the planet today.

Now I’m getting down to the real essence of what my soul has been guiding me toward, and I sense I am getting there because I’m finally much more alive and conscious in the cells whose job it is to offer me the amazing experience of being a sexual, sensual, and yes, erotic woman. There is something about finally bridging this gap between the sacredness of life in a woman’s body and the inherent dignity of our sexuality – bringing the awareness of love into down into the realm of the deeply-layered flesh of my female body.

Even though we’ve been taught differently, the erotic is so much more than sex and sexuality. Audre Lorde wrote:

“The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feelings. In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression in our history must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed (for instance within our culutre as women) that can provide energy for change. For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered soure of power and information within our lives.”

This is my real desire – to be so keenly awake to this erotic energy within that it blossoms and grows organically, and that it guides me to know and live the power that is inherent within me as a woman. The erotic is our lifeforce. It is the source of great wisdom and power. And, it is the source of great joy.

Pleasure and desire are, and feel, good. This is something to celebrate. And when desire is seated in the lap of the deep knowing of self as holy, it is a gorgeous force for healing, a powerful force for awakened creativity, and a source of knowing.

In touch with our erotic nature, a kind of self-confidence is born out of one’s core. It’s a confidence that knows that this force that blossoms out of you is rooted in love. This confidence can flourish knowing that this power has no desire to be used over others but rather in service to life itself.

THIS is the shift in awareness, expression, and choice that we must make as women right now in our world.

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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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tiger


“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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Dignity and The Fire of Your Holy Knowing

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photo (28)

her fire burns hot.
flames lick through me.
but, there’s no stake holding me here.
no, here she burns for me,
the goddess of fire,
to remind me that
deep in my belly a fire should be raging,
burning,
consuming.

~~~

the women of my line,
did they fear this fire?
was fire too close to the history of this line of women immemorial?
i see them, their faces dark,
no firelight in their souls,
no burning in their core,
no fuel to fire longing and desire, to give volume to voice.

after 1,000 years of loving watch,
Brigid’s flame was extinguished by those determined to deny the Goddess’s light.

how powerful was this message?
put out your light, woman.
by fearing our own fire,
we douse our own flame.

this fear of fire,
how deep does it run?
I see them,
a line bleeding back into the dark bowels of centuries past where no flame burns.
dark faces, tightly drawn skin reminding me of my own jawbone.

I was taught to leave my own interior,
but dignity knew something different.
dignity said, “No, I will not forget.”
dignity did what was necessary to keep this pearl of consciousness whole,
like the crown jewels of the monarchy sanctioned away in that dark old tower.

~~~

a red sun at the center of the earth’s heart.
deep in the hollow of the oak,
flames lick through.
fire in my breast, fire in my heart,
i travel down to her core, to the red heart that fuels life.

she beckons me to her.
she lays me down across the altar that rings around her heart.
i’m not the only one here.
sisters all around me drink in what they’ve come for.
she pours me a vial of liquid heat,
so hot it is pure blue.
she lifts it to my lips.
and with her own eyes aflame,
she pours this offering into my soul.
you, my love, are me in human form.
you, my love, need fire in your heart, your belly, your womb.
drink.
you cannot live without my fire burning at the center of your being.
can you imagine me,
your mother,
the source of your nourishment,
without fire in my core?
can you see how quickly life would die here in my garden
if there were no fire in my belly,
no flame in my heart?

~~~

We cannot live what we are here to do without fire.
Instinct tells us something is off, something is wrong.
Instinct, bright and vivid, must be deeply felt, acknowledged, and lived.
Fire is an element of life, as natural as the sun.
We are fiery creatures as much as we are of water, air, earth, and spirit.

Something has to wake us up to the fact we are dying while there is still time to live.

Something has to ignite our spirit again before the next inhale becomes our last.

This something is our holy knowing.

We are all in this together.

~~~ bafonbadge300px

I’d love to guide you to relight that fire within – that holy knowing that lies at the heart of your instincts as a woman.
Becoming a Force of Nature is my course designed to do this!

When I asked graduates the most important thing they received from Becoming a Force of Nature, they responded with:

  1. Tapping into our fierce feminine power from the inside out with a renewed central focus being…the body’s intelligence.
  2. Trusting your Self and your feminine nature.
  3. A path to discovering or rediscovering one’s true self and how to embrace and nurture who you are…embracing both the feminine (and masculine) within. The course teaches that you don’t have to apologize to anyone for who you are.


This will be the last time I offer Becoming a Force of Nature in its current format. We begin on June 9th.

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Mother Tongue, Part 5: Eyes and Instincts, Knowing and Soul

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womenincolor

This is part five of a five-part series on rediscovering, and speaking in, our mother tongue.

How many languages do we ‘speak’ as women?

What streams of wisdom do we have access to?

What is our true mother tongue?

::

“I like you; your eyes are full of language.” ~ Anne Sexton

Eyes Full of Language

We speak many languages. All of us. Women and men. And, for some time now, I’ve been curious about the languages I know that I do not speak, languages that women do not speak because we’ve been silenced for centuries, and ultimately still silencing ourselves.

I am curious about languages of touch, of breath, and of taste. Languages of knowing and instinct. Languages that bring place, feel, and depth into rhythm, cadence, and (perhaps) words.

Words aren’t the only vehicle of language. The eyes speak volumes. Look into your own eyes. Really look, and you’ll find you never reach the end of their infinite offering.

When I first meet someone, I listen to the language of their eyes and the texture of their voice. I feel their presence course through me. I meet them on many levels. We all do this. We may think focus mostly on the words being spoken, but our whole system is soaking up others through the many-layered nuances we ‘speak’.

Our Mother Tongue is instinctual. Our paws meet the ground, our eyes take in the scene, and our hearts take a pulse of what is here. The Mother Tongue knows how to respond, all cells alive, heart open, blood coursing, and knowing flowing.

Everyone, women and men, are most powerful when we simply are what we are, and we are soulful animals, critters with paws… and skin that needs to know it is not alone.

 

Sometimes, we teeter then choose.

When we speak what we have to speak, telling the truth in whatever language suits it best, we settle into ourselves in a way that is just so. No hiding. No covering up. No trying or attempting. Solely a vessel of life.

When we try to be something we are not, we cover ourselves up, and we lose our power. Veiled, we are much less creative, alive, and impactful.

When we water down our words, they lose their vitality. When we translate in order to soften the impact or change the meaning so others won’t be challenged, what truly wants to be expressed dies.

What happens when we know something so profoundly alive and true within ourselves, and at the same time we know it is not valued, honored, trusted, or wanted in the culture. What happens as we stand between worlds, knowing what we know and teetering on the fence of whether or not to speak it aloud into this culture that seems to have no appetite for our words, this culture that seems to find any way it can to denigrate what it is the Mother Tongue must say?

When we know we have something profoundly alive inside and important to express into the world, it is our responsibility to our own Soul to do that. That is the most important relationship that we can honor. It might be that ultimately no one understands what we say. It might be that people judge and shame. It’s no fun when that happens, yet the feeling of trusting yourself, your Soul, and your own voice, and standing tall in the expression of that trust is much more full and ultimately nourishing than the pain of any negative feedback we could receive.

The Mother Tongue is where we women ‘know what we know’. It is outside of cultural conditioning. This is a very important place. It is here we are able to see and know what is true for ourselves, and to hear our own voice, the voice of the Soul. Here we know. Here we see. Here we come to feel the power of our own being, and our own creativity, sexuality and vitality.

 

We know we know.

Put your ear down close to your Soul and listen hard. ~ Anne Sexton

Sometimes, we just know. Many may try to convince us otherwise. But we know what we know. We might not know how we know it or where we know it, but we know we know.

I only began to remember my mother tongue when I listened to my Soul telling me I had to turn away from the culture. As I began to trust in my own creativity, I began to trust the words that were coming through me. The trust didn’t come easily. Every time I would allow this Mother Tongue to come out on the page, I would shiver a bit with fear about what others might say or think. I was afraid I would be thought of as weird, just like the professors had indicated with their shaming responses. But something inside me kept pushing me to listen and to write. Something was pulsing within, guiding me to remember.

I was listening to something other than what I had been taught was worthy of speaking. The listening was to me…and in all my years in school, I can’t say that I was ever truly taught to value my own deepest expression – my creativity.

There is something important in our fear that we will not be heard, that we will be misunderstood, even shamed. We know our wisdom and truth, and we know the beauty of it. To know it will be not valued, and perhaps mocked, is painful.

 

“I have a piece that I wrote about how the movie Pollyanna affected my life. I’ve only shown it to one friend because I feel that it would be misunderstood. To be a Pollyanna has such a derogatory meaning, yet I have a different take on it. That piece comes from my mother tongue. Big aha here.” ~ Kim Manley-Ort (shared in a comment on post 2)

Kim speaks about something many of us experience. We know what we know, and what we know is different than what the culture says is valuable. This is the disconnect. Somewhere we know that it will be misunderstood, and perhaps worse.  That is painful, especially when deep within we love the Self that knows this ‘different take’. We love it, so when others misunderstand, it hurts.

It just may be they will misunderstand. There are many who would like to keep us from remembering who we are. Sometimes, this fear might mean we are not meant to share it. Some things must be kept close to the heart, especially if they are still working on us, still revealing themselves to us. This is when being quiet is serving us and the Soul.

And sometimes, we must speak. Last night, I was listening to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ audio program, Mother Night (which by the way is a fabulous program). In it she speaks about how we heal from enculturation. Something she said really struck me – because I was thinking of this post. I’m going to paraphrase: Sometimes we feel like we are very strange, very different than others. We feel there is something so different that we don’t dare share whom we know ourselves to be with this world that can so quickly misunderstand and judge. Dr. Estés explains that when we see this it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t share, but that what we have to share is what is missing from the culture. The very realization that we don’t see ourselves in the culture means that what we have to share is what will fill that hole.

When I heard this, it made so much sense. Of course. No wonder we look out there for something to match what we know and feel, but if we are the ones that are to bring it to the world, then we wouldn’t see it because we haven’t brought it in yet. Isn’t that fabulous?

 

Settling into Your Mother Tongue:

Listen to Soul

To settle into your mother tongue, begin by separating two things: listening and speaking. Separate the listening to what wants to be known from the act of speaking/expressing it, because sometimes what causes us to not hear is the fact we are already thinking about saying what we haven’t even yet heard – and we are afraid.

Just the act of listening to the voice inside is incredibly important. It takes courage to not turn away from what your Soul is saying. It takes a letting go of one’s own desire to control. It takes faith in the very nature of your being. To open, develop, and deepen this relationship is so important and so beautiful. The speaking and expressing might come later. It might not. But this relationship between you and your own Soul is so beautiful. To open your inner ears and eyes, and to open your heart, to your own Soul is life-changing.

To listen, we must get quiet. Very quiet. We must want to hear. We have to open the channel. Sometimes, I meditate with my journal, and actively ask to hear. The question is important. Whatever question is burning, whichever question is ripe, is the one to ask. We have to be willing to receive what we don’t yet know, and don’t even know we will want to hear.

Sit, open, ask, then be still, quiet, and listen. Be receptive. Soften. Breathe.

To listen, we must come down into the body where we hear, feel, and sense so much more than just our thoughts. It has been my experience, that the Soul doesn’t speak through the crazy monkey-mind. The body is the gateway to the Soul. If we avoid it, we may not hear the Mother Tongue. If we don’t trust in our whole being, we cannot hear what Soul is saying.

 

Speak Soul

She can sense a language
With her whole body
That only her soul can speak
And only her heart can feel.

 

Next, we speak. We can find a way to speak that which feels unspeakable. We can find a way to do this; first to ourselves; perhaps, next to our girlfriends, or sisters, or partner. Maybe we start by speaking aloud to ourselves. Just to hear your own voice speak in your mother tongue is healing. Eventually, as we begin to live this real, alive relationship with our own Soul, we find a way to speak.

Begin to…

1. Trust in yourself that you do have a mother tongue – a mother tongue that is your native tongue.

2. Know that no matter what, there is a place inside of you that holds what it is you long to speak.

3. Find a place, perhaps to yourself first in a journal, into a recorder, even in meditation, where you can ‘speak’ these words.

4. Begin to get a feel for what it feels like to speak in your own mother tongue. What is the experience of it? Does it speak in words, movement, grunts, silence, paint, images, symbols, touch, or sparkle in your eyes?

5. Listen to your body. Feel what it is saying. Listen to your longing.

6. Notice how much judgment you have toward your own mother tongue and the words inside of you. Is this the judgment you fear you will receive from others? Work with these parts of you that are judging you.

7. Find people to whom you can say what you long to say. Find people who will listen without judgment, people you trust, people who honor your expression.

8. Trust that those men and women whom you fear speaking your Mother Tongue to the most are actually hungering to hear it, to feel it, and to know it themselves. Trust that what you must speak is exactly what the world needs.

9. Check to see if it feels right, and if so, find a way to speak the words you know in a way that others can hear, without losing the heart and soul woven through them.

10. Know that sometimes we never get to the feeling that people will understand. And, we have to speak anyway. Sometimes, people won’t be open to hearing what you have to say. And you say it anyway.

 

Offer Yourself Dignity

Ultimately, is it you who must learn to listen to you, to listen with respect and dignity rather than denigration. We want others to listen to us and to understand us. The first step is to learn to honor your own Mother Tongue and what it wants to say. If we are afraid of it, others will be, too.

Can we honor it within ourselves, and honor it within other women, too?

Maybe we have to leave the boardroom and the cubicle, the florescent lights and the plastic ‘containers’, to rekindle our relationship with the big mother, Mother Earth. Maybe our Mother Tongue is spoken through her. Maybe she is always whispering in our ear, imploring us to sing our own song, asking us to speak from the belly.

Maybe then we can come back into the parched places of our culture, these boardrooms and cubicles, and perhaps even the bedroom, with the instincts and language we’ve rediscovered.

Maybe then our world will be filled with the language of the Mother, the instincts and senses, the fierce beauty of the heart – the Mother Tongue.

 

Posts in the series are:

Mother Tongue Part 1: Has Your Mother Tongue Been Lost in Translation?

Mother Tongue, Part 2: Speaking Without Translating

Mother Tongue, Part 3: Calling You Home in a Language Long Forgotten

Mother Tongue, Part 4: She Doesn’t Pay Lip Service

Mother Tongue, Part 5: Eyes and Instincts, Knowing and Soul

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Mother Tongue, Part 4: She Doesn’t Pay Lip Service

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This is part four of a five-part series on rediscovering, and speaking in, our mother tongue.

 

How many languages do we ‘speak’ as women?

What streams of wisdom do we have access to?

What is our true mother tongue?

::

She sits looking Into the ancient pool of Wisdom that is Woman.

The way is dark Yet the light is bright.

Something calls to her. She knows she must Turn within To look, listen, and sense To remember.

She can sense a language With her whole body That only her soul can speak And only her heart can feel.

::

A Different Kind of Language

My friend shared this after reading the series so far,

“I think you are on to something here – the mother tongue isn’t a language with different words – it’s a different kind of language.” 

According to our culture, language is primarily speech. The word language itself comes from the Latinlingua, meaning “tongue.” Its original meaning is “that which is produced with the tongue.” ~ Mario Pei, What’s in a Word? But as Michael Frante sings to us in Speaking of Tongues, the tongue is for so much more than what we sometimes think:

“But a tongue is so much more than a vehicle for greed A tongue is for washing fur Or for licking wounds Or for welcoming newcomers into a room Or cleansing those fresh from the womb Without a tongue there would be no croons Swoons, Junes under the moon No bees pollinating no flowers in bloom No recitation of words at the foot of a tomb Or wills read aloud of the family heirlooms You probably couldn’t even blow up a balloon And that would be a shame Because to exhale’s the name of the game Exhale from the heart Not from the lungs Exhale from the heart Not from the tongue.”

His words bring us into the full richness of life. I sense he is speaking in his Mother Tongue.

The world is a rich, many-layered reality, that holds numinous wonders that could never be put into words. Never. No matter how hard we try, words cannot capture this essence of life. Between the words, Michael’s lyrics are filled with this fullness.

As we stay connected to our hearts, to our bodies, to the earth, to each other, to the children, and to all the furry and winged ones, we stay connected to life. It is here, sitting in the swirl of life that we realize we know what we know.

It is here, when we are connected deeply to life, that this knowing can be expressed through language.

Language is a way of communicating, and we have so many ways and layers with which to do this. Sometimes, our touch speaks volumes, our eyes pierce hearts, our radiance infuses wordless conversation.

When words come forth, so much else does, too. Our bodies ‘sing’ something into being, an accompaniment to the words, making them more full, more real, and more alive.

Mental chatter by itself can simply feel half-dead, only metallic; but words infused with life, with wonder, with the sacredness of this moment come alive. As we sink down into the raw stuff of life, we sink down into a soup concocted and infused with the rich flavor of everything.

One Woman

This being immersed in the raw stuff of life also opens us up to a collective wisdom that is here, always, waiting to be known and heard. Our matrilines – our female ancestors – weren’t so different than us. Just like us, like any human being, their souls needed to express, to speak, to touch and be touched. And, so many of them were silenced.

Just prior to beginning this series  I shared a poem (in fact, that poem was the impetus for this series) that came up out of an underground stream of forsaken voices. That poem was poured into me when I drank from this stream. The poem tells us that there’s a deep well of wisdom voices waiting for us to listen.

Like a river
deep underground
pushed down into the depths
where they can’t be known
in the light of day
these forsaken voices
like clear-pooled water
collect together
woven in rivulets
meander through time
waiting for something
waiting for someone
waiting…

Clear-pooled water, collected together, woven in rivulets, meandering through time, waiting…waiting. I can feel these voices, unheard, collected,  and ready now to speak. It’s not as if they need a mouthpiece. No, that is not it. It feels as if the silencing of women has created a fog of forgetting. It has disconnected us from each other, from the single thread that weaves all women together, since the beginning. In attempting to put words to this, I find it hard to capture the depth of feeling and image I see, so I tune into the Mother Tongue. The thread is here. It has always been here, this thread that weaves Woman together. It is here, in our remembering, our tuning to listen, our seeing with open hearts that are no longer willing to shut out our mothers, sisters, and daughters – the whole of our ancient lineage of women  –  that we bring this thread back to vibrant health.

Every woman.

All colors, races, nations, clans, classes, religions.

All of time.

One Woman.

Infinite Facets.

The wisdom of the ages is here, within, and we can reconnect with it. This sacred creativity weaves its way through Woman in this weaving of rivulets, a fluid depth of creative wisdom.

I am the river
my sisters and I pool together
our collective voices now ready
to irrigate our parched world
with deep blue love from
aquifers too-long guarded
underground.
It is time to speak of
moisture
cool waters of knowing
deep rivulets of wisdom
flesh plump with blood.

This is the Mother Tongue. She ‘washes fur’ and ‘cleanses those fresh from the womb’. She is the Mother and she speaks through all of us, and as we women come home to our native Mother Tongue, the very first language we knew, we will give voice to something that feeds, welcomes, nourishes, cleanses, pollinates, and ‘exhales from the heart’. We will offer to the world what it is truly hungry for.  This language is outside of the culture. She holds the culture in love, yet She doesn’t pay lip service to a world that has silenced this wisdom. She brings moisture to a parched world, fire to a world too complacent, air to oxygen-starved cells, and sustenance to a world hungry to live with touch rather than ‘stuff’.

::

In the final post of the series, part five, we’ll explore how to discover and speak in your Mother Tongue. Posts in the series are:

Mother Tongue Part 1: Has Your Mother Tongue Been Lost in Translation?

Mother Tongue, Part 2: Speaking Without Translating

Mother Tongue, Part 3: Calling You Home in a Language Long Forgotten

Mother Tongue, Part 4: She Doesn’t Pay Lip Service

Mother Tongue, Part 5: Eyes and Instincts, Knowing and Soul We will discover much together. Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

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