Choosing to Stay and Be Human

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Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

 

“Eros is the drive of life, love, creativity, and sexuality, self-satisfaction, and species preservation. Thanatos, from the Greek word for “death” is the drive of aggression, sadism, destruction, violence, and death. At the conclusion of C&D, Freud notes (in 1930–31) that human beings, following Thanatos, have invented the tools to completely exterminate themselves; in turn, Eros is expected to “make an effort to assert himself in the struggle with an equally immortal adversary. But who can foresee with what success and with what result?” ~ notes on Sigmund Freud’s theories by Professor Easton in UMN 221 notes

 

This is where we are at right now. We have a huge, powerful wave of aggression, violence, and an incredible drive toward death as a species happening on our planet. But, Eros is making ‘an effort to assert himself’…the impulse to live, the drive to life, the force of creativity, sexuality, and species preservation!

About six months ago, I went through a really hard time in my life. I had been doing some deep work and uncovered something that had always been present in my life, but up until now, I knew it as more of a general sense of not really wanting to be here — like a withholding of myself from life, from relationships, from truly entering into life unbridled, unmasked, and no longer afraid to speak and create as my heart wants to speak and create. But at this moment, for the first time in my life, really, the impulse to end my life appeared out of the blue. It was only an idea for a moment, but the power of the desire toward death was what was shocking. It was truly an incredibly strong energy. I am grateful that I have the ability to reach out to a few people in my life who could hear it and could hold me as I needed to be held. I never was going to do anything, but that impulse is what began to teach me about life and death and how we dance between these two powerful energies, Eros and Thanatos, all the time.

Before this moment, I had been totally engrossed working with ‘Eros’ and its importance to our world. I had started a podcast called, “Awakening Eros” and felt so compelled to talk about it, research it, share it, and to really understand what Eros is. And then, my feet grew cold. I held back. I wondered if anyone would understand. Heck, I didn’t even fully understand the intense drive within them.

But after this moment happened, I was now very aware of the power of Thanatos — the drive toward death. And over these past months since this moment, I’ve come to see how — in both little and big ways — these two drives fuel much of the unconscious ways we inhabit our lives. And how Thanatos suppresses our own impulse toward living a full, joyous existence. I was killing my own drive to explore and express everything I sensed inside around Eros and love and being human.

Thanatos does not have to appear as taking one’s life to be present in our lives. It is present all the time. It is the drive toward death, just as Eros is the drive toward life. But there are many ways to kill our life drive without dying. We kill our joy. We kill our own impulse to create. We kill the power and desire for true sexual expression.

The Poet, David Whyte, speaks of the single malt essence of one’s not wanting to be here. In reading his words for the first time a few years ago, I was able to bring to light this deeper desire within me to run away. I have both stayed in and left situations when I wanted to leave. Leaving isn’t always running away. And sometimes it is.

As I’ve contemplated this dance between Eros and Thanatos, I’ve wondered if I (and any one of us) can truly make a full choice to stay, can truly choose this once, or if it has to be chosen over and over and over again. And I’m not just saying this in the large sense of life or death, but in the small moments where it feels like you will die if you stay and can only survive if you run, or when it feels like you will die if you run and can only survive if you stay. Moments in relationship with others, with yourself, with your work, with a creative project.

Whyte writes,

“Strangely, we are perhaps most fully incarnated as humans, when part of us does not want to be here, or doesn’t know how to be here. Presence is only fully understood and realized through fully understanding our reluctance to show up. To understand the part of us that wants nothing to do with the full necessities of work, of relationship of doing what is necessary, is to learn humility, to cultivate self-compassion and to sharpen that sense of humor essential to a merciful perspective of both a self and another.”

This impulse to live, the impulse toward life, the fear of entering into the mysterious realms of creativity, sexuality, vulnerability — being human, really — requires us to acknowledge the depth of our not wanting to be here, and perhaps the pain that life underneath it. That is what I needed to see and it is what brought me more present to my life and to a kind of humility and self-compassion I am only beginning to crack the surface of. The sense of humor is a glimmer I spot every now and then.

We often read that 80% of life is just showing up. You’d think that this would be so simple. Just show up and life handles the rest, so many say. But now I am thinking this isn’t so easy for many of us when we have this compulsion to run. And in the case of facing what’s here on our planet right now? What if 80% of this right now is showing up? I mean, though, REALLy showing up. Not running. Staying even when “part of us does not want to be here, or doesn’t know how to be here.”

I know for me that being here brings great grief when I long to feel so deeply connected to others, to touch and be touched, yet I fear the same as well. I long for it and I fear it. I long for a human world where we care about each other and each other’s welfare. A world where all people of every race, class, orientation, ability are seen as of equal value and worth, where all people have the chance to be happy, successful, loved, and known. A world where all creatures are seen as of equal value. A world in which the Earth is loved just as she loves us.

I would hedge a bet that very few of us, if any, truly know how to be here at this time on Earth. How does one be here in the face of what is happening? But this is where humility comes in. We’ve been an arrogant species for a long time. But to be here now, facing this, staying in this human relationship because we know it is where we can grow and evolve both individually and collectively — that is the invitation.

Staying because the love that we are asks this of us.

We stifle our fullest self-expression on so many fronts. We hide our hearts. We hide the bigness of spirit and the depth of the soul. We hide the true desires that fuel our sexuality and creativity. But most importantly we hide our tenderness and our fear that our not knowing how to be here makes us weak, that our reluctance to stay makes us somehow broken. Instead, I think they are what makes us human.
At a time when Eros is challenging Thanatos, and when love is trying to make a full emergence onto our planet, it is our humanity we must come to be present to. The seemingly incoherent mess that we see ourselves to be. Being human is messy. To be human is to be awake to one’s own vulnerability in the face of all of this and NOT KNOW what to do or how to do it. Being human requires us to feel, to ask for help, to realize our own powerlessness even as we engage with the creative strength and power that flows from within us. Being human is existing in contradiction and paradox.

Eros is inviting us to engage — to live — to create — to relate. To choose to stay and to live, together. It is up to us to become present enough to listen for the way, to listen to what life can teach us.

Come visit me at JulieDaley.com to discover more about how I might support and guide you as you travel this deep and sacred journey to awakening your erotic, creative nature.

 

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Courage, Sexuality, and the Chaotically Sacred

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The heart is fluent in the language of courage.

I slept for ten hours last night, but during the night I awoke with tears more than once. Some deep and old energies are moving out of me, energies that settled into my muscles, flesh, and bones many, many years ago. I’ve cried more tears than I remember crying in a long time. And with each instance of tears, a kind of simple, yet palpable, release came. And with each release came a little less fogginess and a little more clarity.

These are deep old patterns of holding myself back for fear of being too much and hurting someone. They are patterns around trust, sexuality, intimacy, boundaries, secrets, and shame. These patterns come out of old stories of imagined responsibility, silent and shameful betrayal, and sudden loss that seemed to bring about a future of chaotic unsafety. (Yes, this is a word. I wrote it because it fit so well, then had to check its validity…not in my experience, but in the ‘supposed’ authority of cultural acceptance. Ha!)

It’s amazing what a child will do with her experiences…how she will explain them through her own agency, since to do otherwise would blow apart any sense of much-needed solidity in her environment.

We create stories of conditionality. We want something firm to stand on, even though it is that very conditionality that causes us so much suffering. In our families, we trade in conditional love.

After a night of tears and release, I see the path of the unconditioned, the path of unconditional love. That is the realm of the heart. For the heart is fluent in the language of courage.

But to truly walk in courage, the way becomes much easier when we no longer place any conditions on others. Those conditions are obstacles that close the heart to its own courage. When we lift those conditions, something entirely within the realm of our human heart’s capability, suddenly courage is simply the courage to be what we are, and to express this being in the world. Suddenly the courage is no longer tied up with trying to get anyone else to do anything at all, or be something they are not – which are really impossibilities anyway.

This is the realm of the unconditioned…it is the realm of the deep heart. And when we drop these, the way opens before us. It is an unobstructed way, because it has always just been our conditional love that placed those obstacles there.

My sexuality, my vital life force, is a beautiful gift that is sacred, chaotically sacred.

I told myself many things about the chaotic beauty of my sexuality in order to somehow manage the chaotic world I lived in.

My sexuality is a force of nature, and it is a force FOR nature.

In these times when our controlling actions as human beings are coming back to bite us, perhaps what we must see is that life is chaotic and unpredictable and mysterious.

Gabrielle Roth said, “Where the feminine and masculine come together…that always creates chaos.” 

Feminine and Masculine coming together within, and outside of us, too, creates chaos. But that is life, real, alive, mysterious life, and to touch it is to touch the chaotically sacred.

We humans (at least most of us in the industrialized world) have spend hundreds of years trying to hold up a world with unbalanced hands where the mystery of the feminine has been sliced and diced into a few ‘acceptable’ ways of being. Our hands embrace the masculine, and shy away from the feminine.

But life is the chaotic mix of masculine and feminine, and in trying to live it any other way, we are trying to live in a world of conditioned love – which we all know isn’t really love at all.

To walk the path of courage is to walk the path of chaos, while grounded in the stillness of the unconditioned heart.

As I sat this morning sipping my tea and feeling just how much I desire to simply live the fullness of my soul in the world, with all of the soul’s chaotic yearnings and knowings, including the truly primal force that is my sexuality, I heard the loud, deep call of a Raven. My eyes were closed and I sat and listened to this call, a deep rumbling call, much deeper than a crow’s call. When I opened my eyes, I saw this wide-winged Raven circling around my apartment windows. I live on the third floor and have windows on two sides. This raven swirled and swooped around my windows, coming closer than I imagined was possible for such a large bird. On the last circle, she looked right in my window as she voiced a loud call.

And then she was gone, but her message stayed with me.

Raven knows the power of the chaotically sacred, and so do our hearts.

 

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Wise Woman Wednesday – Lone Mørch

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Wise Woman Wednesday

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

The wise woman: Lone Mørch

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

Seeing Red

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

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

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

 

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

The Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

:::

Lone Mørch, in her words:

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

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Closeted & Chained

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

What keeps us from being fully expressed?

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

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

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

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

A while ago,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

::

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

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

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

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Begs the Question – part two

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Orchid

So Beautiful. So, so beautiful. And yet…

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

About the same time I took this picture, I came across this article by Eve Ensler, Over it. If you haven’t read it, do. And, after reading that post by Eve, I came across this one, and these words jumped out at me:

“Vagina is the most terrifying word, the most threatening word, in any language of any country I have ever been to. Even when the vagina is worshiped in theory, as the yoni is in India, it is denigrated in practice. It is more reviled and feared than words like plutonium, genocide and starvation. In many countries the word for female genitalia is so derogatory or disgusting, it cannot be spoken in public. In a few places, there is no word in the language for vagina at all.”

A Big Fat Lie

There is a big fat lie of a story in our world, a story that says the feminine is evil, bad, not to be trusted.

We could ask, “Why?”, for the rest of our lives. As Durga points out, dwelling in the negative robs us of our power:

I had secretly followed the “Goddess of Negativity” into her empire. She is a goddess of illusion, seducing us to complain about our life circumstances. She walks into our nights and grows in our dreams of worries and fear. She rules the space. She is a master of pretending to be something different.

She brings up stories and secretly turns optimism into negative magnets. She is a possessed collector of experiences we refuse to consciously digest. Instead we pin them on a fame wall inside a forgotten room of ourselves, and then we leave forever, leaving it alone and unprotected. Negativity knows these rooms and turns our secrets into fearful memories. And because we have left this room to her, she owns our power.

Staying in the place of wondering why keeps us locked in undigested places where we don’t know why we are stuck…

I know I’ve stayed in this place of “Why” for a long, long time. And, remarkably, I don’t move forward when I wait for an answer. The only part that would want to know is the part that does take it personally, because it is the part that believes it is separate from the whole of life and wants to stay separate.

This part doesn’t consciously want to stay separate. And, it’s desire to continue to stay in the illusion of the big fat lie comes from wanting it to change, wanting others out there, most certainly men, to acknowledge it isn’t true. Yet, they can’t tell me what is true. That’s just giving power away, again.

If someone else could tell me how worthy I am, then that same someone else could also take that worthiness away by simply stating something else. I no longer have any willingness to give another person permission to tell me what I am worth.

The only truth is the truth of life, known by way of my experience.

Only I can know what is true, and I can only know that by living what I want to know. By being it, by paying attention, by realizing I am not simply an object but a soul with a female body.

I am unlearning the lies I was fed, by paying attention to my experience, and by feeling the wisdom shared by others to see if it resonates with me. I can no longer take others’ words as truth, and I can feel for resonance with their words, as I did with Eve and Durga’s words.

The Power of Creation

The only truth is the truth of life, known by way of my experience.

Only I can know what is true, and I can only know that by living what I want to know. By being it, by paying attention, by realizing I am not simply an object but a soul with a female body.

Can I settle down into my body and begin to be aware in these cells that are the vagina?

Can I come to know myself without this story of evil and disgust?

How long will I continue to tell this story? It is buried deep within where I don’t have to feel its effects on my body, my heart, my psyche.

In reality, this place within my woman’s body isn’t even really a vagina. It is simply life.

The word itself carries so much.

Can we reclaim the word and not get lost in the word?

Can we be in the body, really BE in the body?

Beingness is love. Simply being in the body, is being the great love that we are in this female body, without the big fat lie.

This female body holds a great power. It is time to once again know this power, love this power and live this power, for it is not power over another, it is the power of creation and life.

::

I’d love to know your feelings and thoughts. Please share them here in the comments.

This post is part two of a three-part series titled, “Begs the Question. You can read part one here.

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Begs the Question

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Orchid

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

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

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

Absolutely gorgeous.

Stunning.

Oh my goodness. Made my heart jump.

Very vaginal in the best way ever.

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

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

And this begs the question,

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

::

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

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The Sacred Realm of a Woman’s Body

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

::

I sit here poised to write.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As I begin to write,

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

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

A while ago,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve been taught

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

Chaos was wildly singing during that painting session.

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

It is time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I know…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

::

And, you?

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

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Love and the Nature of Women

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Dancing in the Flames, (c) Holly Friesen

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

On this Valentine’s Day,

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

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

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

Life is erotic.

We are enrobed in these glorious robes of feminine flesh.

Our flesh and bones are sacred.

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

Somewhere deep within,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yes,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Socially unacceptable.

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

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

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

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

On this Valentine’s Day,

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

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

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

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

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

This is about love.

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

::

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

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

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

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