Cross-posted from Brave New World:
I am in the midst of a palpable Facebook conversation. I love those! People show up and share their hearts & minds, from all over the world. What a great way to hold the pulse of the world.
Being inspired by Samhain, my question this morning was “what does it mean to remember, to embrace and to embody a Feminine lineage?”
One woman responded: “I love this juicy question. It means that we follow our wild hearts, that we dance with Mother Earth, that we stop apologizing for our tears, that we tell new and old stories, that we sit with juicy questions, that we throw our arms around each other in circle… and so much more.”
Another one wrote: “it’s time to return home…” There are certain images, words, teachings that once I have a contact with them, I have this sudden knowing, innate resonance that “this is true!”.
For example this image:
When I first read Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ phenomenal book “Women Who Run with The Wolves”, I was awestruck how much of these deep feminine truths were hidden from my psyche. It was like uncovering a part of me – of the deep feminine psyche – forgotten, hidden, left alone for one’s safety.
“Within every woman there lives a powerful force, filled with good instincts, passionate creativity, and ageless knowing. She is the Wild Woman, who represents the instinctual nature of women. But she is an endangered species.”
― Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype
Wild Woman is an endangered specie. What a revelation this has been for me. It literally defines this big body of truth and when I hear this statement, my body goes “oh, yeah…” I know this because the wild woman of me has been tamed since my birth. We come from generations and generations of women severed from their instincts and knowing, with amputated psyches who had to bare execution, misogyny, torture, rape, ignorance, gendercide…
Let us listen to Dr. Estes again:
“So why, if this is all so and too true, do women keep trying to bend and fold themselves into shapes that are not theirs? I must say, from years of clinical observation of this problem, that most of the time it is not because of deep-seated masochism or a malignant dedication to self-destruction or anything of that nature. More often it is because the woman simply doesn’t know any better. She is unmothered.”
When I look at the world I see a lack an “unmothered” world. The world is in the state it is right now because women’s mothering capacity was severed over the past 5000 years. This is a tragedy.
But the pendulum swings back and forth. It is now that time when the pendulum is swinging towards the Feminine and something extraordinary is happening in our world: The Wild Woman is waking up, stretching its long and slender arms and limbs to shake off the numbness dust – “It is safe to come back to the world. We are not going to be extinguished, exterminated, crushed utterly.” – she’s starting to sing again her powerful songs, life-songs, and we her mystresses are coming back to life with these songs we begin to hear from the depths of the Earth. Underground, we put our ears and bellies on the earth and listen, in awe of remembrance, that we are larger than life and that we have been made small and powerless by an infatuated patriarchy.
We do not obey any longer.
We do not make ourselves small.
We do not backstab one another.
We are entering another era
with song and dance
emanating from our bones, from our cells.
Our collective memory is being activated
and we shall not live like the zombies anymore!
We shall not. We are coming back to life. Wild Woman is calling us sweetly, seducing us to get naked in truth, come out of hiding, dark corners, dusty closets, damp caves, even from our graves where we laid down dead before we died…
Come out and play!
The wolf is calling, the hummingbird is calling, the river is calling!
One by one, the healers, the dancers, the courtesans, the priestesses, the empresses are showing up by that river that is flowing very fast now. We drop our robes and enter the river of life naked like the day we were born. There’s no turning back. We now swim together – not against the current – but with the furious rapids longing to take us home…
Let this be the time of remembrance. The songs and the dance will bring us back to life.
The wombs will be healed to mother the world again.
*The photo with the wolf and the woman is not mine. I do not know the photographer unfortunately.
I was born on the west. on the west end of this beautiful bountiful land called Anatolia. Which means East, or more literally sunrise.
I wanted to go Eastward. But I always ended up moving further west. When I finally landed on the farthest west point of the world, I stopped. I found home in the West – the home of Mystery, shadow, dreams and visions, Soul, self-discovery, descent…
Oceans, mountains, deserts, tall trees, bigger, larger, wilder than I have known on my homeland, called me fiercely. I could feel it in my body across the ocean and landmasses. This longing to be there, the longing to wash myself free in the waves of Mystery. To call my soul back.
“I’ve been long looking for you. I am ready now.”
When the Soul calls, you obey and go. It doesn’t always call you to the other side of the world, like mine did. It could call you from any direction, you need to beware. And once you heard the calling, give up all your excuses and projections, and get ready. Once you felt that mysterious longing, you can only honor it by listening. Don’t fight, don’t resist, only listen. If it seems crazy, ridiculous, impossible, outrageous, just surrender to it. Your Soul knows the right time, the right place and the right people. All you need to do is to listen.
“Many are beginning again to hear the soul’s call and want to follow it into the unknown. But there are fears. What will happen to me? What will others think? There are few societal practices or values to support us on the journey. When the soul is heard but not engaged, we fall into a type of sorrow, a soul depression”
Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft, pg. 43
I listen to mine. That’s why I dropped everything, packed my bags, my new expensive camera and computer and flew to America last fall. Did I know what was going to happen? No, of course not. Did my Soul KNOW? Yes, my Soul KNEW.
You must know that your Soul is in ongoing conversation with the Mystery. They are partners in crime that love you dearly and constantly conspire for you to come Home. They don’t judge, they don’t punish. They are more compassionate than Buddha. More patient than Jesus. More loving than your mother. Take my word.
So, when it’s time, take that call. Don’t mind the trembling, the fear of unknown, the fear of darkness…not only the darkness is sweet and fertile but you will also find the light eventually. Your personal myth lies in you making that journey.
“Many people fill their days with a thousand and one distractions in an attempt to muffle the cry of their souls. Often these distractions become our addictions – consumerism, eating disorders, substance abuse, compulsive sex, pornography, workaholism, religious fundamentalism, obsessive thrill-seeking or gambling, and excessive TV watching – all of which contribute further to the deterioration of the world.”
Bill Plotkin, Soulcraft, pg. 43
On this new moon, say YES, say yes quickly to the voice that’s been whispering your name…you don’t only have a responsibility to yourself but to a world who longs and needs for you to fulfill your birthright of living your Soul’s purpose.
To go into the dark with a light is to know the light
To know the dark, go dark, without sight,
And find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
And is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.
Wendell Berry, To Know The Dark
*Photos by Doug Ellis
the veil is getting thinner.
coalescence of two worlds.
maybe many worlds.
confluence of human tribes.
circles and networks.
grief and celebration.
death and rebirth.
all at once…
I have to write what I know. I feel invited, compelled and empowered to do that. Trust my intuition, to trust the Feminine power rising within me that wants to be expressed through me (and you) in the world.
It doesn’t matter what we know; it matters that we speak, write, dance, sing, move, embody, live, be what we know. If we all lived from that place, what would this world be like?
What does your heart know? What does your belly know? What does your toe know? Have you tried asking?
Last night I was walking in downtown Oakland doing the First Friday Art Walk with two friends when one of them asked me where I see the shift happening in the world.
Of course, primarily the shift is happening in human consciousness that is the reflection of an intelligence universe. Geographically speaking, Western world or the more material world – the visible world, the one we see, touch and taste – will shift literally from the very West, exactly where I’ve been in the past 6 months. West Coast of US, the epicenter being the Bay Area.
Europe, where things are painstakingly complacent (except the edges of the continent) reminds me of an old king in its death-bed. With its old energies and heavier institutions, Europe will only follow the shift that will come from the West, it seems to me.
Spiritually, things are shifting from all directions: here indigenous peoples and women are taking a lead. The Earth energies are helping us to finally connect our consciousness with our hearts and bodies again. Women are re-memebering & re-empowering their bodies and bringing us – literally – back to Earth. Our ascend and living in our heads mostly needs to be re-balanced with a descend and rooting our feet firmly into the ground. A time to descend to find the riches in dark, fertile soil of the Earth and our Souls. Bring back the Sacred.
Indigenous peoples are opening their circles for those who are willing to step into authentic relationships with Self, nature, Cosmos. They have been protecting their prophecies and Sacred Wisdom since the massacres took place all around the world and now it’s time for reconciliation and coalescence. A time to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. A time to bring all of our gifts into the sacred circle of life. I feel South America, I feel Africa – the rituals, ceremonies, rites of passages, sacred songs and prayers all coming back to our everyday life! We are each finding our place in this sacred circle of truth, forgiveness, grief, celebration, vision, collaboration, reverence, communion. What is my gift that I am bringing into this circle that is so needed? What’s yours?
It feels like the early hours of morning, the twilight-zone right before the sunrise. We, all peoples of the Earth are waking up to a new day. I hear all the languages, morning prayers, that timid yet anticipating energy of early morning in this massive heart-warrior council.
I hear the song of brave Ones…
Blessed are the men and women
who are planted in your earth, in your garden,
who grow as your trees and flowers grow,
who transform their darkness to light.
from The Odes of Solomon
I am in a very sacred process these days: I am unraveling.
I could have never imagined the process of unraveling as “beautiful” but it is. In its heart-wrenching sharp turns, unexpected ups and downs, there are so many gifts hidden. In fact, it does feel like a treasure hunt at times…
Throughout this process of unraveling – I define it as becoming present to what is beyond the judgment of good and bad – I am holding a conscious space for myself. This particular journey is dangerous in the sense that it is unpredictable, full of emotions and powerful insights. And it might change everything.
Fine, I am game. I feel equipped and ready to face the darkness – my darkness – as it swirls and whirls and takes form before my eyes. Distant yet painful-as-yesterday memories are bubbling up one after another in this grief fest.
The words “healing”, “healthy” and “holy” comes from “whole”. I feel my longing for wholeness – to be in touch, in communication, in communion with all parts of me which I feel helps loosening the tight grasp of “personality” and opens up space for my essence to shine through. The more space I feel within, the more space I feel to unfold, evolve, express that “essence” freely. But essentially this is opening space within – to exist, to live fully, to be.
My sight is getting wider, my sensing sharper in this process. Facing the darkness or shadow doesn’t only mean meeting one’s nightmares, unpleasant emotions, painful memories; it is also reuniting with those unseen and unacknowledged gifts, finding treasures lost in childhood, forgotten laughters, joys and magic…
I am determined to take this underworld journey with as much humility and grace as possible and not shy away from it. And I am doing it with the soft gaze. No rush, no rush. I am turning my soft gaze on my insides and the softness spreads like the morning warmth on my skin, through my ribcage, in my organs, in my bones and joints, stiff muscles. I am liking this softness and slowing down.
This is all happening in a safe container. Here are the conditions that creates this safe container for me to unravel:
- I feel supported: first of all by a divine presence which I call Great Mother. The Holy Mother archetype who looks after Her children. I feel held, loved and nurtured by Her, even through the darkness.
- I have witnesses: I have at least three committed witnesses accompanying me in my descent to meet my soul. Especially when it’s hard to access my emotions, they hold space and witness me go to those raw places, to unravel a little bit more and then some more and they listen to me as I piece my meaning together.
- elders: Not only do I have witnesses, I also have elders by my side. These are people with grandmother energy, who having walked the Path themselves listen spaciously, smile compassionately and most important they hold the belief of my highest potential and remind me of that. This is very empowering. Because sometimes we forget. These elders are near and far. Some of them I know personally, some of them from a distance and I drink from their wisdom and God bless them for being there for all of us!
- I listen to my body: Ultimately what I am experiencing is being present to and releasing unexpressed emotions stuck in my body which cause self-limiting patterns and addictions. My body speaks. I am learning a new language that I have forgotten. The body is a wise temple that contains my personal truth and authentic wisdom. I am learning to trust it.
- changing my diet: The whole thing got kickstarted by changing my diet 6 weeks ago. I have been following a gluten-, dairy- and sugar-free diet which pretty much eliminated all food items I used to numb myself with. Specifically starch which turns into sugar in the body. The outcome? well, you’re reading about it…
- ceremony & ritual: I create my own rituals and ceremony space to step into between worlds where the veil is thin. Labyrinth is the ritual container for me these days. As I step in, I surrender to what is, I become present, prayers come out of my body as I walk on this fine line between the visible and invisible world.
- creative expression: Accessing the unconscious requires and feeds all of our creativity. The words, the images, the music, the sounds – everything comes from the Source of Creation that invites us to remember and align. So I let this creative flow emerge out of me, I write, I draw, I sing, I dance. And as images and sounds and words come into being, they begin stirring me towards the center of the image I was born with*.
- bigger picture: There is an archetypal quality and universality to my journey of unraveling. Not only that, it also reflects the collective unraveling of humanity at this time. Joanna Macy calls it the Great Unraveling – basically, shit hitting the fan, the world as we know it falling apart, the suffering of the Earth we carry whether we know it or not. Well, that’s not the end of story, of course. At the same time, the Great Turning is taking place. And for that to happen and create the new paradigm we’ve been so looking forward to, there needs to be a process of becoming present to what is, coming to terms with the Great Unraveling and living the grief of loss, destruction, conflict, injustice. Within those wounds lie our love and care for this Earth and all of life, the fire of creativity is to be found within that darkness. Integrating and owning the collective shadow is the only way if we want to create something different. Connecting my personal story and journey to the collective’s, helps me embrace the suffering with compassion and accept that it is there for a reason. It is the spiraling path of healing and evolution.
- gratitude: When I can see the larger narrative of my life and keep track of the red thread throughout different phases and shifts of my life, I feel deeply connected to the Mystery and clearly on my path. Even when I might feel I am off and misaligned, I know that in longer run, what is is perfect for my evolution.
My inquiry dances between vulnerability, receiving and the sacred emptiness within which I am going write about next.
* Adapted from a David Whyte poem, All the True Vows
* The first photo is by David J. Bookbinder at http://blog.beliefnet.com/flowermandalas/
I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
Of death and birth.
I began my descent. A little while ago.
For what feels like a long time, I had not been able to write. Writer’s block? I don’t think so. Both my imagination and imagery have been active and juicy during this time. Yet, I was not able to translate any of my experiences in writing, except journaling for myself. What was going on?
The sudden urge to write coincides with the deepening and quickening of my descent into the “swamplands of the soul”.
“We are asked to bear what is often felt to be unbearable. This is the task awaiting us in the swampland of the soul we call loneliness – to bear the unbearable. But in doing, by “going through,” one breaks the hold of the primal fear that holds sway over much of our lives. To go through it with the insight and courage of an adult, to make friends with it, somehow, breaks that tyrannous hold.” (Hollis, Swamplands of the Soul, p. 64)
To bear witness the unbearable… When I cannot any longer avoid the unbearable …. (fill in the blank: fear, despair, anger, self-hate, resentment, etc), in a way, the mind gives up. That’s our moment of opening to grace and possibilities, to surrender to what is. A moment of truth and reconciliation.
“First we need to accept that we are broken. This initiates the “emotional alchemy.” If we can hang in there with grief, it changes from a feeling of being “hemmed in” by life to a feeling of expansion and opening.
When we don’t turn away from pain, we open our hearts and are more able to connect to the best part of ourselves and others — because every human being knows pain. I’m not sure what enlightenment is, but I’m sure it has something to do with turning pain into love.” (Miriam Greenspan, from an interview titled Through A Glass Darkly)
What a paradox to live through! Both descending into the darkness of one’s soul while opening up to immaculate love and unimaginable possibilities at the same time. Walking a thin red line where the veil gets thinner and thinner with each step.
The way through the swamplands for me is to practice vulnerability. This is a new practice for me and it has to do with letting myself seen by others, sometimes through the dark, raw and scary. It’s taking the invisibility cloak and showing up as real as possible. It’s embracing the fear of rejection and taking the mask off anyway. This is still so new for me, I am not able to elaborate on it much.
However there is someone who brought vulnerability to the world’s attention. Brené Brown is a research professor who for years researched about shame, vulnerability, courage and authenticity. She poses these questions that fully resonate with me in this moment:
How do we learn to embrace our vulnerabilities and imperfections so that we can engage in our lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness? How do we cultivate the courage, compassion, and connection that we need to recognize that we are enough – that we are worthy of love, belonging, and joy?
Here are Brené Brown‘s two powerful TED talks on vulnerability and shame. If you haven’t seen them yet, it’s a great way to dive into the subject. As I develop an embodied practice of vulnerability, I will be able to say more about it myself.
The Power of Vulnerability
Listening to the Shame
March 16, 2012
The well of Grief
Those who will not slip beneath
the still surface on the well of grief
turning down to its black water
to the place that we can not breathe
will never know
the source from which we drink
the secret water cold and clear
nor find in the darkness
the small gold coins
thrown by those who wished for something else
Today is my 37th birthday.
Rain is pouring and an incredibly dense fog is filling the space outside. Lots of water coming down right now.
How is it that the weather is so much like my inner-experience right now?
It’s quiet in here, I, me and myself. It’s kind of weird to contemplate on grief on my birthday but that’s what present for me right now.
Yes, I have finally found the well of grief within.
No, I could not go there before even though I feel like I’ve been late to get here. I probably tried. I hit the bottom before, quite a few times and it’s different. In fact, I am not at all hitting the bottom; I am actually at quite a high in my life right now. And apparently this is the right time “to slip beneath the still surface on the well of grief”.
I do have an understanding that this happens for the best of us. It’s part of being human, probably a very elemental part too. So, let’s see, I know I am not alone here…In fact it is thanks to those people who take a step toward me to witness my dance with grief and hold space for this process that I am able to go there now.
I am circling around this well. First of all, there is awe for having stumbled upon it, metaphorically, in the middle of a meadow full of flowers. It’s right here, it’s been right here all this time, in bright day light in front of my very eyes. I must have passed by it many times before.
Now I am intrigued. I am circling around it and peeking down into this deep, seemingly bottomless dark void. What is in there?
That deep, seemingly bottomless dark void is within me. Inside my belly. This void is both empty space – emptiness – and home to all of the unpleasant experiences, emotions and aspects of my personality that I’ve been rejecting all my life. I’ve been hiding them here ever since I was a very young child.
This void is also death. what eats away my life if untended and ignored. I am hitting my deadline. Cannot be ignored any longer. It’s time to dive in. I only can imagine what awaits on the other side.
This void is also full of gifts. The gifts that I know of but don’t know about yet. The void is the mystery that slowly enchants me with its elusiveness.
Am I afraid?
Are you kidding?
What if die in there? What if I get lost and cannot find my way back out? What if the monsters that I cast away eat me alive?
You know what scares me most?
To actually fall in love with myself. What that might mean in my world, how it might change everything.
It will change everything. That’s why it’s worth risking everything.
There is more than one synchronicity that is helping with this opening.
More than a month ago I changed my diet. I stopped eating dairy, sugar and gluten. I stopped eating starch. Which is what I do (or did) when I feel a dis-ease, a difficult emotion, a disturbance in my field. I now understand that it was a habitual act of numbing myself through food. Yes, food addiction. A few weeks after I stopped eating the food that’s been numbing my emotions, I had to confess to myself that I’ve been a food addict for most of my life. Desperately and unconsciously trying to fill an emotional hunger which was unknown and invisible to me. This is the dirty-secret the billion dollar diet industry do not tell the people struggling with their bodies, sometimes throughout their lives.
It’s pretty simple. When I stopped numbing emotions as well as my physical body, I started noticing a level beneath the self-limiting patterns as well as really allowing these emotions to be expressed. If it’s frustration, it’s frustration. If it’s anger, it’s anger. If it’s grief, it’s grief. The one and only thing I can do, let them come, be present,witness and let them pass. The only way is the way through.
With all of this came truth-speaking. First and foremost, to myself. And then to people around me.
Yes, I am a food addict. Yes, I have unexpressed anger and grief within me. Lots.
Yes, I did internalize all the criticism and blame directed at me and recreated it for myself over and over again.
Yes, I’ve been numb emotionally and shut down for a long time. A really long time.
This list goes on and on.
And these tender wounds that open and open themselves to me,
they break my heart open to the grief in our world.
and there’s only one thing that rushes to fill the opening…
who knew unraveling could be a great gift for one’s birthday? that one can be grateful for finding the well of grief within?
and this is only the beginning.
This piece was shared at my current project website Brave New World. Happy 2012!
10, 9, 8…
My belly is pushed against Hers, my arms wrapped around Her body,
my face leaning into Her chest
7, 6, 5…
I hear the humming, I hear the clapping,
I hear the fireworks
4, 3, 2…
I smell the bark, I smell the sap,
I smell the soil.
H a p p y N e w Y e a r !!!
This is how I entered 2012. My belly pushed against a giant cypress tree in the middle of a park in San Francisco. 20 or so other people around me doing the same thing. Then we spontaneously formed a circle and started toning, ringing in the new year.
2 0 1 2
“In 2012 be prepared for the peripheral to move toward the center at high velocity. Curve balls will come from all sides. The shadow world will rise but so will evolutionary leaps: highly conscious new leaders will emerge but so will dangerous extremists; new spirituality bringing forth the collective soul will spark communal imagination as never before even as some reach greater influence as merchants of spiritual snake oil. Where on the periphery of your own awareness is the new light pouring in with vast energy to transform and where are the old seductions ready to take you on a detour? The game is accelerating, be ready.”
I am aware of the myriad prophecies around 2012 but I did not study them in depth. Yet when I look around me, when I really look with my heart’s eye to our World, I know we are in a profound transition.
And when I listen deeply, I know we are in a profound transition.
And when I dance and sing and this sacred body opens up to the oneness of Life, I know we are in a profound transition.
There are so many ways of knowing and we are remembering them.
There are so many ways to love and we are remembering them.
”Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls.”
Do you believe in miracles?
I do because I am living one.
And I don’t mean the miracle of being on Earth in human form in these amazing times of transition and consciously participating in the evolutionary process.
I mean The Miracle of the journey unfolding beneath our sacred feet. The spiral movement that carries us to our destination and calls our participation each moment – that meandering path which sometimes takes us right to the Source of our being, to the heart of the matter and sometimes throws us hastily to the edge of our existence. What a dance of co-creation between our awakening each day, setting intentions, letting them take off and receiving blessings, then hitting our toe into the little bump on the road, our hearts sinking into our grief, our unconscious grasp on our beliefs and illusions to feel secure, our loneliness and isolation from the rest of Creation.
Soaring high and then crawling low. And then learning to embrace it all. Learning all the time. Human experience.Read More»
It was early morning and I was staring at my croissant and cafe latte as I waited for my train to Montpellier. I was sitting at a cafe at the train station in Southern France and wondering about why I was experiencing abundance in certain areas in my life and why scarcity in other places. Mine was a life abundant in diversity, meaningful work, amazing friends all over the world, creativity, travel…on the other hand I was experiencing scarcity in terms of personal finances and intimacy and somehow I was sure that they came from the same source within me. I’ve been working freelance for five years now as a community organizer in Turkey in sustainable living field. True, this wasn’t ever going to be a high paying occupation however was that really the reason for feeling depleted (even a burn-out once) and unrecognized? Suddenly it all seemed very absurd to me. I truly believe life organizes itself towards well-being and abundance naturally and here I was, feeling underrated despite all my efforts, after years of meaningful work that I believed in.Read More»
Who essentially feeds you?
Who quenches your thirst?
Who warms you up?
Who gives you breath?
Who cleans your body?
Who sings for you in the morning
from tree branches?
Who adorns your path with blossoms
Today is Her day.
What better day to express my love for Her?
What better day to offer gratitude for Her ecstatic beauty,
for Her unconditional love and abundance?
Even when She is fierce, when She roars, trembles and pulls the ground from underneath our feet…
even when death comes through Her waters, She keeps spreading seeds of life as this is Her nature.