It feels like there’s a lot going on right now.
I’m consciously pushing myself to be better, trying out different ways of doing and being, existing much of the time outside my comfort zone, feeling afraid of failure or just plain confused.
I’m finally learning the importance now of self-care as I try to learn and grow. (thank you to all my friends who remind me of this constantly).
The week before last was super emotionally turbulent, and I felt like I was in a transformation period. I could *feel* old habits and ways of thinking and believing slowly loosening and dislodging themselves from my psyche. I felt like I was getting ready to step into something new, to sprout wings, and have a new stage of experimentation ahead.
I wanted help and guidance, and so turned to one of my healers, Eileen O’Hare. Eileen is trained in a lineage of Andean Peruvian shamanism, and uses various indigenous techniques (inquiry, dialogue, song, art, visualization) to aid people in their personal growth and healing. I went to her last Sunday for a session. It was supposed to last about an hour and a half, but we ended up going for nearly 4 hours. It was a powerful experience I’d like to share, with the intention that it inspires a path to healing or self-inquiry for you.
The session started with some dialogue around what was going on with me. I said I was exhilarated and full of optimism, that something massive feels like it’s happening….. many many people from around the world beginning to wake up to themselves and each other. Gathering. Connecting. Federating. Building new infrastructures. I’m a part of it. (i guess we all are). I feel pressure. I want to contribute. I want to help. I feel like some people are counting on me…. or are at least curious to see if I will really be able to pull off a role like “servant leadership.”
Will I be able to raise my awareness around the impact of my words and actions, and to be mindful? Will I be able to listen acutely, both at what is said and what is unspoken? Will I be articulate and clear in intention, and make choices that always consider the highest and best interest of all? Will I remember to be both humble and grateful to serve in this capacity?
I feel performance anxiety. I feel pressure. Everyone is watching. If I fail, they’ll all know. I won’t be able to pull it off.
This was the gist of the conversation. The next step was to face the fear directly, consciously, and with kindness and compassion to myself.
We embarked upon a soul retrieval – a kind of visioning process where the practitioner provides guidance with prompts, and you yourself use the imagination to construct scenarios that enable you to look at your issues in a constructive way and then resolve/dissolve them effectively – by being honest with yourself and then showing forgiveness.
What happened next was not what I was expecting, but then it never is.
Laying back with eyes closed, I was asked to go back to the earliest time I could remember feeling pressure or anxiety to perform.
My mind started skimming: Talking in front of an audience, getting good grades, performing on stage, caring for my mother when she was dying, trying to fit in with other girls, being a good big sister, and then….. a little boy.
I hadn’t thought about this in a long time, but there was a little boy who was my playmate when I was around 4 years old.
I used to go to my grandmother’s house every weekend, and the boy would come over and we would play. He was my best friend.
One day, we were in my grandma’s basement, and I asked if he wanted to play house. He said yes. I said ok, I’ll be the mommy and you be the daddy. Then we pretended we were in bed, getting ready to go to sleep. I asked him if he would give me a kiss. He said yes. I don’t remember if he kissed my cheek or my mouth, but I remember he kissed me.
I was happy… but then terrified. Was this wrong? Was I going to get in trouble? Am I allowed to do this? Am I going to get a spanking? There were already mixed signals in my home about love and touch and intimacy and safety. Where did this behavior fit?
After he left that day, I stormed over to my grandmother and told her that the boy had kissed me, and that I never, ever wanted to see him again.
She couldn’t understand why I was making this choice. Why would I push away my best friend? She told me she talked to the boy’s father on the phone, and that the boy was crying and devastated. I was so sad and hurt too, but I was scared. I didn’t know if I crossed a boundary that was unsafe, and so I ran away.
That was the end of my friendship with him. I think I saw him several years later at some event, but it wasn’t the same.
(At this point in the session I’m crying, feeling that this pattern has been playing out my whole life. I pull people in, cross a boundary, and then destroy them.)
I feel guilty and ashamed. As I experiment with my own construction of reality, I hurt people.
Eileen asks if we can heal this memory. I say we can.
She acknowledges that the little girl that I once was didn’t want to hurt the boy, and that she herself was hurt. We both make choices in life, and we both walk away with lessons.
She asks me to imagine a safe place to bring the boy, where we can forgive.
I remember a clearing in the woods behind my house when I was little. I used to play back there all the time, exploring. The woods were deep, and I would always explore just a little further, until the fear of getting lost set in. But it was magical and I lived in many worlds in those woods.
The first scene that popped into my mind was me as that little girl standing next to my grandmother, tucked a little behind her, my arm wrapped around her thigh. The little boy and his father were standing across from us. I took a breath and stepped forward, and offered both my hands. He took them. We stood there smiling at each other, holding hands. There was a warmth in his eyes that communicated sincerely “It’s ok.”
Then we were transported to that clearing in the forest. The light was warm, with a kind of lazy pixie dust quality to it. It was a safe place I wanted to show him. We were allowed to be children, free-spirited, without fear of punishment. (there was a phrase I repeated out loud, i can’t remember now, but i forgave myself for hurting my friend. he smiled and i knew that he accepted what had happened as well, and it was healed).
I put my arms around his neck and we gave each other a big, loving hug. We gave each other kisses and giggled. It was like puppies or kittens playing – there was no shame in it. We held each other’s hand and ran off through the woods, exploring the mysteries together……..
Then it was just me again in those woods.
Eileen asked me to identify with my young self. To celebrate the embodiment of the wild child and her impulses and yearnings.
I imagined the young me stark naked in the woods, hair long and filled with bits of leaves and twigs. Some kind of tribal markings painted on my face and arms. I was running through the woods blissfully, freely, slapping trees as I ran by them, dirt on my body, loving the soft crush of pine needles under my toes. Totally embodied, present, and in wonder and delight. I found a feather on the ground, and weaved it into my hair. I tossed myself down into a bed of leaves, rolling around and laughing. It was sensuous to just be alive.
Next it was time to bring the beauty and innocence of that spirit back into my self. To feel integration with the undomesticated feminine, not fear or aversion or shame.
I was asked then to imagine my current self, walking into those woods and approaching my little wild self.
I walked up to her, and I was naked too. We both looked at each other, smiling. It felt like a mom and her daughter. She was rambunctious and slightly defiant, and I was amused and appreciative of her easy nature. I reached out my hands to her and she took them. We swung our arms back and forth, our shoulders bouncing as we giggled at ourselves. We are both beautiful and free.
Eileen prompted me to now integrate the little girl into myself, in whatever way I imagined it to happen.
The girl and I kept holding hands and smiling…. then she slowly began to dissolve into a swirling sparkly fog. The fog surrounded me, made spirals around my body, and then slowly pulled itself into me, crossing in through every pore.
Suddenly, I was looking at the forest again, feeling like the little girl, but looking out through my own eyes today. She is here with me.
It’s only been a week since then, but I feel an ease and grace in myself that was knotted anxiety before. I feel a lightness of being.
I feel aware of my femininity, sexuality, and capacity to love. I feel a kind of reverent respect for it and mindfulness of its power, but not guilt.
It didn’t seem to have anything to do with the “problem” I came to the session with, but our issues seem to express themselves in curious ways. The root of our pain isn’t always where we think it is.
I wonder how this very fresh aspect of feminine confidence may begin to dissolve my other anxieties.
I wonder how many women out there are struggling with how to “show up” in the world in this way, to reclaim their undomesticated feminine, and to celebrate who and what we are, joyfully.
I wonder how important it will become for us to be comfortable and powerful in embracing our essence, and how much more positive transformative impact we can have on the world around us when we choose to do so.
image via scoopit
Eileen O’Hare is a shamanic practitioner and teacher in the Andean Tradition; a legacy carrier in the Peruvian medicine way. Eileen is a Chakaruna – a bridge person. She helps herself and others heal by accessing wisdom, power, guidance, healing, light and love from etheric realms. She is committed to helping herself and others reach ever higher states of consciousness and is grateful to have sat with many teachers in the US and Peru. She is in the lineages of Don Manuel Quispe and Don Benito Quoriwaman. She works out of her home, The Healing House, in Beacon, NY with a private practice in NYC. Eileen travels and teaches at private homes, yoga centers and Wellness Centers. She taught families at Omega last summer. She’s recorded a CD, Love and Gratitude to the Water which she gives away in love and service. She leads sacred chanting every Sunday night. Holds meditation circles every Thursday night. And a Women’s Manifestation Group every Monday night. Her next shamanic intensive class starts this Sept. She offers QT classes as well. 845-831-5790. http://www.medicinespiral.com. firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Tavitian said:
This was powerful…thanks for sharing your experience. I could so relate to this!!
Marie Fredriksson Karvelas said:
Thank you for this post, Venessa.
It made such a great impact on me. I have a memory from childhood, quite resemblant to yours. I wish I will be able to re-construct and integrate it in my present life the same way and with the same wonderful results as you have been able to.
All my love!
Laurence J. Victor said:
Very impressive, your personal emergence, more than transformation. You are gifted in being able to do what you did, and will continue to do. Are we capable of sequential metamorphoses? Yes, but in conjunction with social metamorphosis. We become more than a morphing of our prior forms. Thus, we must be always open to what is totally new.
You called attention to my own issue: not asking others to join me on projects because I fear I will leave them short. Actually, it has happened many times, I initiate a collaborative project, but it doesn’t gel. I initiate a complementary project and slowly forget about the earlier project – still necessary, but abandoned (temporarily?). I don’t know whether others were “hurt” – I expect more disappointed as we never reached the stage of extensive commitment. This is a decades long process, and I guess I have learned to avoid further attempts at organizing.
I have sought counseling, which clarifies but doesn’t fix. One issue is that I am of a small percent of people lacking the ability to visualize – a condition many helpers are unable to accept. So many processes depend on visualization.
Venessa, in comments on other posts I have requested your specific attention. I don’t expect much attention at this time. What I will do is not dependent on you, but I would be pleased to be included in the swirl of emergent action around your “strange attractor” (chaos theory).
Louise Altman @ The Intentional Workplace said:
A bold and powerful piece. I appreciate your willingness to share at such a deep level.
This wild and often unexplored (consciously) place within us is what dominates our dreams, desires and struggles. These deep places within us are far too “dangerous” for the cultures we live in – still. They’re acted out constantly, often with little satisfaction because these real, true places within want full expression – they want to live.
I think this is particularly so with women – but in general, with feminine energy, from either gender. I look around at what so many people describe as the “chaos” of the world and I see on one hand, this great midwifery to that energy being birthed, and on the other, a violent desire to keep it submerged.
This post speaks to me from that place.
oh wow. thanks for going there…this is such an unacknowledged crux of our personal and cultural shortcomings–the Wound, the harm and barricade, the anti-patterns of contorted love…
Had a thought yesterday that was a bit more than a tweet’s worth, but could be summarized thus: what if our deepest dissonance and suspicions against Abundance thinking/being/doing is based entirely on our experience and entraining of Love as a limited / dangerous commodity?
Such a heavy load of history. And while I think I’ve done a good job looking around through other eyes and suppressed thought for an ‘objective’ understanding of sociology of desire and fulfillment, I am just beginning to imagine what it’s been like for the feminine to be forced into a packaged version of that commodity ‘love’ and be in the default role of defense and discrimination herself, so long…needing to act in an unnatural, reflexive way (as in the story you share ere), because of cultural demands and definitions of her ‘limited’ capacity to appropriately offer such gift.
There’s so much more to this story…we’re all feeling it. I am literally physically ill of it at this point, and goodness knows there’s a lot worse cases and casualties around where the ‘wound’ became a very physical and permanent devastation. It’s a really tough issue to bring out wide open because there’s an avalanche of putrid reprehension and conditioned response (internally, as well) ready to smother any tentative courage. Not a lot of support readily available to process well and fully yet. Thank you for being gentle, honest, personal, direct, inviting the slow conversation and conversion to continue…
And I also want to say to all, be careful–be full of care in this place of rawness and deformation, there are so many ways to slide into venal habit (yours or others’) and exploitation of vulnerability, anguish, perversity, that will serve to reinforce and perpetuate. Or? maybe it’s time to drop pretense a little faster and face feelings, *feel* feelings, in this new time of transparency, reckoning, re-kinning.
Which leads me to a great book recommendation, The Translucent Revolution by Arjuna Ardagh, who was also a prime mover behind an interesting and very relevant video call / response / call that says so much about how this will play out–
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/22/dear-woman-will-ferrell-funny-or-die_n_882305.html …there’s a third vid too, best of the bunch.
Heartfelt strength and gratitude~ for & with YOU!
Todd Gailun said:
I am wondering whether you have contacted that boy who is now obviously a man to sort through the feelings? Aren’t you empathically curious to see how his life has been impacted to the degree your’s has by that incident? You asked him to kiss you, but it sounds like that kiss was initially ostensibly only part of the game of playing house. Therefore, there was no emotion behind it. He played along. And he got punished. Presumably, that kiss had meaning only when you subsequently placed it in the context of what your family thought was right and wrong. After the fact you dissolved the context of the kiss as a sign of affection and heart. I believe society and family have values that must be questioned. Most of them are static for lack of a reflective society. So, upon completing your reflection and introspection don’t you think you should reach out to this boy and explain how you let your head and all those artificial constructs of right and wrong get in the way of your continued genuine love and affection for your best friend?
Christine Capra said:
Great post Vanessa!
This topic of what you call the undomesticated feminine (which I call the primal or sacred feminine) and how it fits into civil society is, I think, one of the most important topics of our time.
This aspect of the feminine (yes – in men as well as women) has long been excluded from “public life” (or rather, demonized, objectified, controlled, and commodified in public life). I believe that is so because this part of the feminine realm is intrinsically opposed to and inherently undermines hierarchical power structures. That is it’s power (among others) and it’s threat.
It takes a great deal of courage to claim it openly, and I believe that doing so is crucial to the transformation of public life you are so clearly committed to. So – Kudos!
I love your blog (it’s the only one I read regularly), keep up the great work.
Oh, wonderful to be free. And for the undomesticated masculine as well. Keep soaring with your formation.
monika hardymonika hardy said:
lovely … thank you for sharing.
oh.. for the lightness of being.
Michelle Holliday said:
Thank you, Venessa. Your story touched on deep emotions in me, as well. And coincidentally, I went to a healer this weekend, too, to explore the sacred feminine through a 3 1/2 hour sweat lodge, filled with native rituals. One thing that struck me in my experience was the message that women are the “keepers of the fire” in our families and in our communities. I think this is a big part of what you do in the world, and what I aspire to do as well. There’s intrinsic value in that role of holding space for conversation, reflection and communion. In shifting my attention/intention to that ongoing service, I feel more power and less performance anxiety. (The anxiety isn’t completely gone…but it’s better.)
Thank you for keeping the fire. .
Olaf Lewitz said:
Thank you for sharing:-)
Cassandra Rose (@casrose10) said:
Wonderful conceptualization Venessa of bringing this Emergence that Benjamin said
” We are all feeling” into basic terminology !! Undomesticated Feminine !!
The Domesticated Female is only a contrived ideology from the Industrial revolution years.
Which has not only been killing the females but the males as the males feed off the female.
This misunderstanding Sierra Bender has done brilliant work on showing is the cause of
Dis-Ease and behavioral problems and having happiness and peace etc.
Proven scientifcally each sex has both equal male/female qualities in them.
Why going back to Our Source natures… is imperative at this point to find balance…
The female can lead the procession by claiming her Goddess within.. the Peaceful warrior Princess so the males find it safe to claim their Peaceful warrior Prince in themselves…
Early 1990’s as a Preventive Whole Person therapist in a suburban world I did story for local newspaper about what happened to the female… Saying things like;
if she is Professional she is educated but expected to have sharp hairdo/
If she is Health Conscious she is aware of pesticides, radiation but EXPECTED to produce Quick Gourmet Meals../
If she is Physically fit she also has raging hormones but is expected to have size 10 body/
if she a wife she is supportive but expected to be sexy all the time and on and on….
I called it Gumbitizing… Woman had lost their core selves and were adapting to all this silly crazy Standards that were only ideologies… The way human nature is set up, if the woman who gives life, is Not actualized then the men feeding off the female is not actualized nor the children etc… That Life has to become centered on reclaiming Our sexual vitality natures of being ONE… with ourselves and each other….Embracing and accepting the male/female aspects of Our Organic Natural Natures.
I was really happy a few yrs ago Lisa Citore ( erotic spelled backwards)
in Santa Barbara CA wrote this wonderful Poem that really says the Truth
“If you want to change the world… love a woman”
We Humans have let ME-D-I-AM and Corporate world dictate to Us Who We are !
It is Time to fight back !! I have been the undomesticated female all my life. I can comprehend physics simply easily but I cannot make head nor tail out of cook book !
So I was constantly told I was a failure as a Woman !! As I have no desire to Keep a Home.
A few months ago a Man came into my life. After the first week he said Why do You keep making excuses to me about Yourself !! He said I Love Your body, your shape, your curves.
It is Not bad or wrong that you are size 14 not the size 10 you want to be or once were !!
What a revelation !! For all Woman to hear !! Just Be Who You Are at Your Essence !
LOVE oneself whole heartily and take Joy in that ~
Brave girl! Thank you for sharing this. There are so many things I could say… but I am me and so I will reserve those things for someday when we can meet in person.