I am a person who has spent her life trying to heal the hurting places in women. Starting with myself.
I want women to feel powerful. To have agency in their lives.To be full of their own light and shining goodness. To bring that goodness out in the world where it can be celebrated and responded to with respect and joy. To dance. To laugh. To create their lives in the way that makes them feel most fulfilled. To be free.
On a very core level we are not broken. We can never be broken. Our spirit and our essence is inviolable and always whole.
But our human selves are a whole other story. Our hearts can break, our bodies can be injured beyond repair, our minds can fragment under unimaginable stresses or illness.
And when we are only focused on the wholeness and the light, that part of us that lies in a shattered heap can feel abandoned, neglected even betrayed.
I have been struggling for a while now with my body. Going to various healers, upping my self care practices, drinking my green smoothies, giving up chocolate, getting more help with my business, going on vacations, taking time to relax and read trashy novels and watch bad TV. But in some ways things keep getting worse. My body just keeps breaking down with new and often incomprehensible symptoms.
So I finally decided that instead of trying to make things better, I would simply listen.
What if my body is not being stubborn and a problem child but has all along been communicating with me? By refusing to be healed in the way that I keep envisioning, maybe it is actually saying to me something like: "Pay attention to what's broken. Don't try to fix it. Don't try and triumph over it. Just BE with it."
I realized that in order to address this question I needed to create a ritual. To consciously choose to let myself fall into the brokenness.
I began by creating a safe space for myself, finding a sheltered and comfortable corner of my home that was soft and nurturing and could hold me as I began this journey. Then I put on some music that transported me inward. Lit some candles. Said a few prayers. And waited. Listening patiently for what my body and soul wanted next.
And what I heard almost immediately were two words.
Which kind of freaked me out but also felt so incredibly right.
Luckily I have been collecting some powerfully healing perfumed essences that were created by my dear friend Shelly Henry, also known as The Gatheress. I chose the fragrance she calls Wild Beauty, opened the bottle and let the gorgeous scent fill and surround me.
And then I began the process of anointing my body. And not my body as my powerful goddess self. But my body as vulnerable. As human. As broken.
I began by touching all those places that are painful or problematic. The places that cause me anguish and despair and shame. The parts of me that I want to repair and change and make better. The parts that make me angry and howling with agonized frustration.
I slowly and with shy tenderness began the practice of anointing each of those places that I so often fear with love. With compassion. Holding each of them as holy. Sacred. Precious. Deserving of my care.
I found myself becoming my own priestess, lighting candles of mercy in the temple of my body. Opening the door to the energy of the Great Mother, she who heals all wounds with exquisite tenderness and melting kindness, and allowing her to mother me.
As I anointed each distressed area the tears began to flow. Each touch of the fragrant oil on my skin unlocking floodgates of grief from years of trying to be better than I am. Crying for all those times of ignoring my fear and vulnerability in the service of achievement or accomplishment or looking good to the outside world. Sobbing in response to those many remembered moments and hours and days of pushing aside need and hurt and what I thought of as weakness because I felt ashamed to be so messily human.
And then it went even deeper.
I began to feel and see how those patterns of self neglect and harshness were an outgrowth of so many internalized messages that I received about being a woman as I was growing up. Memories of feeling oppressed, denigrated, victimized and powerless because I was female came rushing into my awareness.
All those beliefs that I was intrinsically second class, that I wasn't good enough, could never measure up, lit up in me as if powered by neon. The assumption that I had nothing important to say ( because women aren't as intelligent as men), no voice, no sovereignty over my choices or my life, that I only had value for what I could provide to another, that my role was to be used and taken from with no concern for my well being, flooded me with ancient anguish.
But these were no longer beliefs that lived only in my mind. I was feeling them as energies that had taken up residence in my flesh, my cells, my bones.
Even though I have spent my entire life proving to myself and others that NONE of those things are true for me or any other woman on the planet, even though I had done millions of years of therapy and felt those feelings of rage and sadness many times before, I had never HONORED the impact that those messages had on my psyche, my spirit and my soul. And my body.
I hadn't brought those seemingly damaged places into the temple of the goddess where they could be bathed in beauty and sanctified. Where they would be seen and blessed and revered as the seeds that were the source of who I ultimately became as a woman.
I can't say that my body was miraculously healed after this experience. But there is a lovely sense of peace in my heart and a deeper understanding and respect in my mind for how I have come to this place of difficulty and struggle in my life.
I will continue to drink my green smoothies and visit my many talented healers. Because those things help tremendously. But one thing I know for sure is that I need to add to my practice of self care and self love many more visits to the temple of mercy and sacred anointing.
And I invite you, in your own way, to join me there.