Body Sovereignty

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photo credit: Walter A. Aue Bloody Secret via photopin (license)

Content Warning: sexual assault.

Well, my love, I want to share something with you.

Body sovereignty.

My love, my love, my love.

What a sad, sad world, where you could ever think it was your fault, or somehow your own shortcoming, that you once lived in a state of wholeness, where you did not suspect that someone who seemed to care for you was actually plotting to violate you?

My beloved, beautiful daughter,

Your body is holy, your womb is sacred, and your wholeness is sacred. It is a terrible crime for anyone to come into your sacred space uninvited. It is a violation that should be rare and horrifying, and swiftly and seriously punished.

Somehow, that is not the case. Somehow, it has become almost the norm, to the point where people would dare to blame a woman for not expecting it to happen to her. Because you went for a walk with him, Because you let him kiss you. Because you went to sleep in his bed.

My love. My love. I love that you did not expect that someone would do that to you. It means that you were living your birthright: that you were in a state of wholeness and innocence, that you did not see the world as a dangerous place, and that you trusted people when they said that they cared about you. That is a beautiful thing. I want so badly for all of us to have that back. That is the way that the world should be.

It is incredibly sad that we no longer trust. That we jump when someone walks behind us. That we hesitate to meet someone who seems nice online. That we do not believe that someone really cares about us when they say they do. This is not “being smart”. This is trauma, resulting from violations of the trust that we once had. No one should have to live this way. No one should be expected to live this way.

My love. Your womb is holy. It always will be.

It is filled with power. Filled with light, and with nourishing darkness. It is the place of the primordial presence. Your dark cave within, where insight grows. It has been telling you of it’s distress for a long time. It has been twisting and turning, sharing it’s agony with you, telling you that something has happened, that it was wrong.

It is not a punishment. It is not a mistake. It is a cry for help. It is a cry of pain. “Someone has hurt me!” “I need help!”

My love, we are here now. We are here to bear witness to what has happened, and what was wrong. We are on your side. We believe you when you say that you did not want it. We believe you when you say that you were confused, that you did not know what to do, that you froze, that you went along with it because you did not know how to make it stop. Perhaps you didn’t even know that you had the right to make it stop. Maybe you did not know that your body is your own.

We cry with you. We know that you were set up for this. That you were taught to doubt yourself, to be “nice”, to follow someone else’s lead.

My love. We cannot undo what has happened. But we can honor the truth of it. We can take full stock of what has happened, and the effects it has had. We can grieve them, we can honor them, we can give them voice. And we can heal. We can grow stronger now, for ourselves, and for others who have experienced the same things. We can tell our truth loudly and clearly. We can take ownership of our bodies, and insist that they are respected, from the major event, to the seemingly inconsequential;

NO, YOU SHALL NOT TOUCH MY BODY!!!

It is mine. It is all, all mine. From my toes, to the ends of my hair; from my skin, to the deepest depths; every part of it, is mine, and mine alone. I live within it, I occupy it completely, I am living here. This is my home.

My love. My sweet one. My daughter of light. I am with you always. I am within you, always. I speak through your body. And I know the truth.

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Dear Beloved: Let Love Fuel The Fire This Time

Very powerful words!

The Well Examined Life

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Dear Beloved,

Don’t Forget to Breathe.

The misplaced shame, fear and greed of few rich and powerful people is threatening to suffocate us in an ocean of hatred. In this onslaught of executive orders and dog whistles we are drowning in the ghost of enslaved past, the violence of our imperial present and the premonitions of a bloody future. We are struggling to find the space to open our mouths without oil from the Presidential gas lighting we are receiving filling our bodies. Yet we must breathe. We must take the time to remember what we fight for. We must breath in the visions of a new world that rise from the shell of the old in times of resistance.  We must let the life giving oxygen of our desire for liberation fuel the fervor in our bellies. We must let the remembrance of the lives we desire to live…

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Come Home to Your Soul.

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photo credit: Philippe Put forest boy via photopin (license)

Real, live, white supremacists are being chosen for the white house.

People who are proposing a registry of Muslims.

Many of us remember another group of people who were forced to register on a list, based on their religion. And many of us remember what happened to them afterward.

This news popped my “maybe it won’t be so bad” bubble again.

So I went to the river in the woods, and I cried.

I cried for the loss of the future I was imagining, the loss of the plans I had been making, for the next steps in my life. I cried, thinking of that upwelling of hope and strength I had had, for the ways I wanted to express my true self even bigger, even deeper in the world. The ways I had planned to make my life even better, happier, more fulfilling. The ways I had wanted to help others reach higher levels of fulfillment in their lives, by re-connecting with the truest things inside them, and inside the living world.

And I cried for my love of the planet, and the people, and all of the living beings who will suffer, and who I wanted to be healthy and happy.

And I also cried, because I was afraid. I let the fear move through my body with my tears, and I let myself see into the bottom of it. The thing I am afraid of, is being in a concentration camp. Being imprisoned, raped, tortured. I let myself imagine those things, and I let the fear move through me.

And then, I came to a sense of calm at the bottom of myself. And I asked myself some questions.

If I cannot guarantee to myself that those things will not happen to me, then what can I do? What do I actually have control over?

And I saw that all I can control is the integrity of my own actions and intentions, for however long I am alive.

I cannot control how long I live, or what conditions I may live under. But I can control how I live. Deep inside myself. I can choose to align myself with goodness, with the love of living beings, with the love of the living world. No matter what happens, nobody can ever take away my soul.

And I found some basic sense of safety in that.

Of course, I want to find a way to affect the outcome of things. Of course, I hope that I can do something to protect people, to keep us safe, to make our lives better.

But I don’t know what will happen. I don’t know what the ideal response will be. I don’t know how I can best affect things for a positive outcome. I don’t know if I will end up making a big difference, or a small difference, or hardly any difference at all.

So that is why, I must rely on something deeper than that. I must rely on my soul, and my intentions, and my choices. Like the choice to pick up the piece of broken glass near where the puppies were playing. Like the choice to re-direct the spider away from the road. I have already made a difference.

Of course, I want to live! Not only live, but thrive, and be happy, and fulfilled. I want good things for myself, for my loved ones, for strangers. I don’t want anybody to suffer.

But I can’t control that.

Of course I want to live. But when I get down to the bottom of things; what really matters?

Is it having the longest life possible, at any cost?

No. I know that it is not that. I even remember those conversations with good friends, where we say: if I am ever in such-and-such physical state; if I am on a feeding tube, in a coma, with little hope to wake up again: do me that favor: pull the cord. The goal is not the longest life at any cost. The goal is quality of life. And that applies to this situation, too.

Maybe standing by and doing nothing, while others suffer enormous pain, is like being in a coma, on a feeding tube. It may prolong your life. But it may not be a life worth living.

Death will come sooner or later, anyways, and I do not believe that it is something to be afraid of. What I do fear, is squandering that time that I do have here on Earth. Living meaninglessly, selfishly, cowardly.

That is why I will not run. I cannot see a meaningful life for myself, running and hiding in another country, and doing nothing for the people I grew up with, The people that I come from. I don’t see a life for my soul in that.

My soul shines bright here, with the people I love. And I know that there is something I can do for them. Even if it doesn’t ultimately “save” them. Even if things get really bad here, and I cannot stop it. I know that I can help people remember their humanity, their hearts, their souls, in the midst of whatever situation we are in.

So that is what I am going to do.

I am not rich, I am not trained in combat, I do not have a brilliant technical or political mind. So those are not things that I am best cut out to provide. I hope that someone else with those gifts will contribute them where needed, and I hope that we can all join together and help each other. But what I do have, is soul. And so that is what I have to offer.

I wanted to offer this soul on a higher level of the hierarchy of needs: I wanted to help people find deeper fulfillment in their lives, and find deeper happiness, and care for the planet.

But our lifestyle in this country may be turning toward a lower rung on the hierarchy of needs: survival, safety, shelter. Love. Love will always be there, at the center. And I will offer it at whatever level I can.

So please take courage. Please reckon with your soul, with your own meaning, with your own gifts, and what you have to offer to your fellow living beings. And please, prepare yourself. Your soul is the only thing that cannot be taken away from you. So please, come home to it, in whatever way you can.

Light Up Your Lamp

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I am afraid to sit on the comfy couch. Collapse.

Instead I gravitate toward the bright light over the glass desk.

I need to create.

And I need to keep creating. Because that is what I can do.

The past few days I have been sewing, and baking, and cooking, and writing, as if I could sew the world back together, feed the hungry, and tell the story of our souls. I can’t.

But I can do something.

I need to keep these channels open, so that I don’t collapse into despair and apathy.

There are a hundred reasons to bow out when things get rough. Especially when you may not be directly targeted. (yet.)

Even as a white cis woman who appears straight (but isn’t), I spent the first few days in horror, thinking of the ways that rape culture could be magnified under the reign of someone who was voted into office whilst being on trial for child rape.

And as a Jew, haunting images of prison camps floated just outside my vision.

But after a few days, I got the chance to cuddle and eat delicious food with my boyfriend, and I started to relax.

It is too easy to get caught up in the overwhelm-burnout-apathy spiral. I choose not to do it this time.

It’s too important. Not just to the world (although it may depend on us), but even just to myself.

This is the life that I want to live. I want to be awake to my own heart and the hearts of others. I want to be connected to Life. I want to walk a path of love and wisdom. These are our times.

This is what we have been training for. If we have been meditating, practicing yoga, painting, playing music. If we have learned to strengthen and balance our bodies and minds. This is what those practices are for. Use them.

We don’t know exactly what awaits us. We may not know exactly how we can help. But what I do know, is that it will need to be done with a strong spirit, a vibrant body, a fiercely loving heart. It will involve connecting to others in ways that may be new and may not be comfortable. It will involve giving of our soul-selves. It will involve fierce loving that encompasses all beings on all sides. Most of all, it will require unfailing devotion to the light that shines within all of us.

Light up your lamp, the darkness is coming.

The darkness is what lamps are for.

I’m Back/Who am I?/Samhain

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Honestwanderings 2016

So.

What’s the point of writing, if I don’t write from the heart?

I miss my own voice.

I miss saying what is true for me, and making sense of the world through my words.

And I miss the gift of sharing what I’ve learned with others who can walk the same path, and draw inspiration and courage from what I have learned.

Why did I stop?

There are so many obstacles to a woman using her voice in the world.

Many of them start off as messages from outside, but they become internal: being told all her life that she’d be better off listening than speaking. That she doesn’t know how it really is. That she’s not smart.

For me, it becomes especially difficult once I enter into a relationship.

I become so afraid to come across as…well…other than what is wanted.

That wears thin eventually, though. Because I start to miss myself.

Thank God, I have developed a Self to miss. There didn’t use to be much of one.

This is a brand new pursuit, however, because I am attempting to reclaim that Self while still staying in the relationship. Normally the reclaiming happens once a relationship ends; with promises of new strength and independence, only to be challenged by a new love interest.

But I have every hope of this relationship continuing to grow and flourish, even as I grow and flourish, myself.

So how does that happen?

By saying yes to myself, which sometimes means no to others.

It’s much easier said than done.

And by using my voice. By practicing every day. So that I once again become familiar with what it sounds like.

What is it like to be a full person, embodying my truth, while being close to another human being who is—gasp—not exactly the same as me?

I have no idea. But I hope to find out.

So. Who am I? What do I believe in?

I believe in healing. I believe that it is a necessary process for myself, because I am constantly bumping up against limitations caused by wounds from my past. I have such a strong desire to live an open-hearted and full life, that I am constantly motivated to heal whatever is getting in the way of that.

And I believe it is a process. I realized after several years of this healing work that there is no end in sight. And that if I am walking this path with my eyes fixed on the summit of the mountain, not resting until I arrive there, it is going to be a very long, tiring, and frustrating journey.

I have learned to love the process. Even the sweet pain of holding an old wound in compassion, when it suddenly surfaces with stark clarity of a way that I have been hurt. When the old pain wells to the surface like thick, dark molasses, and yes, with that taste of sweetness mixed into the irony tang of blood. I have learned to love the sticky journey of becoming free.

What else?

I believe in love. My most consistent pursuit in this life is to love ever more deeply; myself, my friends, my family, my partner, my aquaintences, strangers, those who have hurt me. Even as I learn to set boundaries to protect my beloved self from harm, I believe in doing my best to understand why a person would act in the way that they do. To hold them in wisdom and compassion in my heart, even if only from a safe distance.

This isn’t a purely altruistic pursuit. I do it, in large part, because I feel that it frees me from my own self-hatred.

The more harshly I judge others for mistakes that they have made, the more I find myself in a prison of my own judgement. If I hated my teacher for abusing her power, I find myself having a hard time becoming a teacher, myself: for how could I ever live up to my own expectations? To never have a moment of weakness, in which I served myself at the expense of someone else? If I slip up, have I become hate-able? Should I be banished, in the way I have thought that she deserved?

Much better for me if I can see my mistakes in the light of compassion. If I can see myself in the mistakes of others, and see others in the mistakes that I make. And if I can give us all some room to learn from what we’ve done wrong, and to grow, and to move forward. Not everybody will. Those ones, I can do my best to love from a distance.

And I believe in the Divine Power. Call it what you will. I often go with Mama, in my private journals. Whatever one likes to call it, I feel that there is a divine power, great spirit, or God who dwells within all life as the animating intelligence and primordial energy. And furthermore, I believe that my life goes best when I turn my will over to this larger intelligence, rather than trying to make everything go my own way with my own small mind and my own small will. I believe in dedicating my works to this source, drawing my inspirations and marching commands from Her, and in expressing gratitude to Her for the beautiful gifts that are constantly being bestowed by her upon me. I talk to her in my journals, and she talks back. So if all that hasn’t scared you off, then maybe we can be friends.

So, today was Samhain. What do I know about it? As much as my small self wished for a tradition, for rituals, for magic, for wisdom, for familial customs that tie us to the mysteries, I grew up without all that. As a young teenager I read books about Wicca and I experimented in my basement with circles made of salt. I have been lucky enough to meet people with wisdom and connection to different traditions that hold magic and reverence for life and it’s cycles. I am still reinventing, finding, discovering, reclaiming rituals and prayers and ways of connecting with those cycles and flows in myself and in the world. But this is one that I have always felt the most strongly. Who can deny that magical feeling of walking among the dry leaves after dark on Halloween night?

Trick or treating isn’t a part of my life anymore, but still, tonight I found myself crunching over those dark leaves with a basket in my hand.

The basket was filled with statues of Goddesses and a God, a pomegranate, some candles, and some dried herbs.

The feet were going to the closest nature place by a river.

My young self got it’s old, cold thrill of being out in that brisk October 31st air. I walked past laughing, costumed college students to a quieter place, where I set up my sacred objects.

I have been told that this night is traditionally about connecting with, and honoring, one’s ancestors. Ancestors? We don’t think about them too much as Americans, do we? One’s family members who are dead?

My family history is largely painful and largely unknown, with half of the tree stretching back to the flight from the genocide of Jews, and half of it stretching into Amish country and brutal physical abuse.

I hardly knew any of my grandparents, let alone anyone who came before them. So what do ancestors mean to me?

Well, they mean healing. I do believe that I hold much of their strengths and sorrows in my cells. So I focused on this perspective as I burned sweetgrass, sage, and mugwort, as I scattered pomegranate seeds, as I lit candles, I spoke to them. With compassion, I told them that I forgive them, that I thank them, that I wish them to free from their suffering, and that I wish for myself to free from their suffering as well. I don’t know them very well, but I think that they know me, and it felt good to acknowledge them and what they have been through, while still choosing to free myself from the constraints that they lived under.

And I spoke my wishes for the new year. I wrote them down and burned them. I sang them. I imagined my body changing on a cellular level, as I become a 30 year old woman, a free woman, a woman who walks a new and different path than she, or her ancesters, have ever walked before. It is a new year, and a new time, to be a woman on the planet. And I believe it can be good.

Metamorphosis

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Honestwanderings 2016

 

A cicada pops
Out of her old shell.
Back-bending, Gracefully;
Surrendering
Into her new life.

Heart-upwards,
Completely open,
Vulnerable,
Quivering,

Trying out
Her strange new legs,
And then with one, enormous
Feat of strength,
She does the sit-up of a lifetime;
Pulls herself up and over
Her old shell,
And stumbles out, drunkenly.

Her swollen body glistening,
Soft, and new, and awkward,
Her wings crumpled like scraps of wet lettuce,

Will they really carry her?

Yes, somehow, they expand,
Unfold,
Slowly,
Gloriously,
Into the real stuff of flight.

Stiff, and strong, and transparent.

Her fresh skin hardens,
Her body suddenly lean and graceful,
She finds her feet,
And begins to crawl upward
With new confidence.

She will never fit
Inside that old shell
Again.

 

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Even Patriarchs Need The Mother

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photo credit: Mother’s Love – Unconditional ! via photopin (license)

While I am in the middle of setting up my chair massage booth in the morning, daydreaming about how I am going to bring connection to the sacred feminine into my sessions for the day, a man walks up and tells me he wants a massage.

He makes himself at home, takes off his over-shirt, and drops it onto my stool (that’s for me to sit on!).

Not just a man, I think; One of those men.

The type of man who reminds me of my uncle, the judge, at his most intimidating.

A patriarch.

50’s or 60’s, balding hair shaved off, tall, broad, and stiff body, serious expression, commanding demeanor.

I am immediately put on the defensive, as my automatic response to this kind of imposing male energy is to shrink.

A part of me feels like a small girl, suddenly: A servant girl, even. I feel all the power leave my body.

He tells me what he wants, and an irritable, reactive part of me resents him for being here, for talking to me this way, for not seeing me as the powerful and compassionate yogi that I am here to be, but as, I assume, just a girl; a set of hands for hire.

I automatically help him get into the massage chair; helplessness and frustration battling invisibly inside of me, and all of it covered up by an air of politeness (I hope).

And now it is time for me to center myself, connect to my intention, and be of service to this person for 45 minutes.

Frustration. Resistance. Exasperation. Helplessness.

What is he doing here? Doesn’t he know I’m here to serve the sacred feminine? What am I supposed to do with this brash man?

And then I let go.

I accept. This is how it is right now: This man is in my chair, for 45 minutes.

So, what am I going to do about it?

I reach out to the Divine Mother in my heart, as I begin walking my hands up and down his back.

First I focus on grounding and empowering myself. As I connect to that sacred feminine energy, I feel the tremble leave my hands; I feel the slow, gentle strength and assuredness settle back into my body. Then I begin to connect to him.

This man is here, in my chair. He came to me for a reason. He needs something.

I suddenly realize that it’s a brave thing, after all, for a man to submit himself to receive the nurturing hands of a woman: in public, no less. He admits his vulnerability by doing so. Many men who look like him would never sit down in my chair.

My heart softens, as I realize that his initial gruffness may have been an attempt to compensate for this vulnerable feeling, in the same way that my irritation was a compensation for my feeling of powerlessness.

I begin to feel more genuinely caring feelings toward him, and I being to become curious about him; what does he actually need right now? How can I be of service to him?

As I work into the tight places in his muscles, I also feel into him emotionally. I feel the tightness. The hardening around what is vulnerable. I feel the restriction that is a part of his masculine embodiment in this culture.

I remember that he, too, is a prisoner of patriarchy, in a way that I will never fully understand. I realize how hard is must be for someone like him to ever be fully himself, when that self includes tender emotions, colorful inspirations, poetic yearnings, and soft places.

I realize that this massage is a precious time for him to be free: face-down, receiving caring touch, letting go, and opening, into his private, internal space.

I begin to touch him in a way that acknowledges, honors, and cares for those tender parts that I sense in him.

Especially when I find that one place, in his mid-back, where he flinches upon deep pressure. A tender place.

I step my pressure and speed way back, and bring great care and attention to this place.

I work into it as carefully and gently as I would for a small, soft-bodied woman. I don’t cause any more flinching.

He seems to open and yield more deeply into the chair, and suddenly, I remember that he, as all men, was once a small boy. Once a small enough boy that he was allowed to be vulnerable; and to be treated with tenderness. I realize that his being must remember those times, remember being cradled in the tender embrace of his mother, and soothed by her nurturing, feminine presence.

I realize that we all know and love the sacred feminine, somewhere inside, because we all came from Her. And we all need Her sometimes. And I feel honored to offer this back to him now, in his full maturity, in his current incarnation, in a body and in a time when he likely has little access to it.

This may well be what he came here for.

Somewhere along the way, I start to hear soft snores.

And soon, we have reached the end of his 45 minutes. I finish by massaging his bald scalp, gently pulling his ears (a move that feels rather audacious in it’s tenderness), and then, as I make the final sweeps down his back, I become a little worried.

Looking at his profoundly relaxed form, I wonder; how will he reconcile this apparently deep opening, once he has to face the world again? Once his “in charge” persona returns to lead him through the world? Will he have a back-lash? Will he feel shame toward his vulnerability? I feel protective of him now.

I encourage him heartily to take his time getting up, and I give him plenty of space; physically, energetically, and with my gaze.

He slowly begins to move, and mumbles words of thanks. I say emphatically that I am happy to help, not knowing how to else to share my support of his vulnerability.

Once he regains full consciousness, and begins to get up, he stops to look at me and tell me how much he appreciates it, he says that he could feel something as soon as I placed my hands on him, that it was helpful. I say to him that I’m really glad. We both don’t know how to say what we want to say, but it comes through anyway, behind our words.

He collects his things, and pays, in a slow and softened state, and I keep wondering what I can do to support his opening.

All I can muster is a heartfelt, “I hope you have a really good day,” as he walks away; and I mean it.

Watching him go, I feel that we both are different than we were before.

Sophia Blaze

Sophia Blaze
Honestwanderings 2016
“I, the highest and fiery power. have kindled every living spark, and I have breathed out nothing that can die…
I flame above the beauty of the fields; I shine in the waters, in the sun, the moon and stars. I burn.
And by means of the airy wind, I stir everything into quickness with a certain invisible life which sustains all…
I, the fiery power, lie hidden in these things and they blaze from me.”
-Hildegard of Bingen

We-Are-One

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Riding in front of me in traffic, there is a piece of construction equipment on the back of a trailer; it’s shovel arm tucked up under itself and chained down, like some giant, defeated, prehistoric bird.

I look at it’s pathetic, captive form and I feel sad, then turned on, then amused.

Yesterday I saw a fox. All of a sudden, it appeared, and just as fast, it was gone; like a shooting star (and just as rare).

I had been standing in the river, in my underwear, singing and dancing and worshipping and being free. I was still on festival time, festival mind. I brought it back home with me, to my river here at home. I wanted to prove to myself that it’s all the same world. The festival never ends.

Like how, right after I got back, I walked down the sidewalk by my barista, who smiled at me, and as I approached him I put my hand out for a high five, which he returned to me; a joyful, satisfying clap! Of camaraderie, and I grinned, and continued on my way without a word, and everyone was happy. I felt assured that this world is the same as that world.

These things happen every day.

And today, in my dazed and stumbling re-entry, when I went to the grocery store without enough money, and the cashier and the bagger chipped in to help me buy my sandwich ingredients.

This happened here, too.

Back to the river, when I got closer to naked than I ever got at the festival, more intimate with nature than I had been for a long while, I stood there and let myself be beautiful, and I soaked in the golden twilight sun, I let the wet sand massage my feet, and my mind was open to the sky, too open to grasp conceptually how this could all be. I felt into the fear that holds me back, just wondering, gently, what it’s about. Why it doesn’t feel good to be seen as beautiful, as sexy, as amazing. Why I would bother to make myself smaller, why exert that energy to constrict, rather than expand. I played at the edge of that shore for a while.

I went right up to the edge of it, the night before, dancing at the festival, at the edge of the stage, I knew, I wouldn’t cross that line, not tonight. But I would go right up to it. I would feel into the edge of it, and I would wonder, what exactly is it that keeps me here, on this side?

I told my boyfriend that it felt like a splinter through my whole body. I meant to say, my torso. As I crouched in the cool, dark grass, I could see/feel it, resting inside of me, the widest part occupying the top of my head, and the point of it down near my pelvic floor, I could feel its edges press against my edges on the exhale, when my skin settled in toward it.

It was there, as it always has been.

The splinter I was referring to was the fear, the anxiety, that comes from listening to my father, king of my small world, shout his hatred out in the next room over. The tension of what they call hyper-vigilance; that careful watching that never goes to sleep, even far beyond what’s good for it. The device that is inserted into the body and psyche of a small child who learns that there is a way to be okay, and there is a way to be very, very not okay, and staying on the right side of that divide is a lot of work. A lot of vigilance.

This was father’s day.

There has been so much release in the past 6 years, since my father’s death. But I still keep finding new levels to it. Uncovering deeper geological layers of what I always thought was me, and come to find out, it was actually him.

What was he doing here in my closet(chest?) all this time!? Nobody ever invited him there. It was the nature of the situation.

Anyway, what would it look like to live a life without the fear of being hated? What would it be like to feel free, and open, and to live guided by love, instead? How would it be different?

It’s clear that it would involve a release of a great deal of energy spent worrying, which sounds like a lovely thing. It is a lovely thing, but it is not just as easy as that. That is a very old occupation of mind. Old habits die hard, as they say, and also, retirement is the leading cause of death.

Meaning, my mind energy has had a job, for a very long time, and it is not about to just stop doing it. Nobody has ever guaranteed me that it would be safe to stop, anyway. This energy’s understanding is that it is what has kept the sun rising every morning, kept my heart beating every second or so, and most of all, kept me from being cast out in the cold by the ones who made me, and the loss of everything I know.

But I can play at the edge of it. I can keep that splinter like a bungee cord while I feel out to the edge of how far it will let me go…

And then, maybe that is why there is a snap back.

A woman guided me deeper than I have gone on my own, at this festival, just in my time of need, she told me, bring your depth of awareness, of acceptance, into your movement, and let it be. Let it connect. To self and to other. And rest. Rest back in awareness without judgement. Looking into someone’s eyes can be just as restful as sitting with eyes closed. What is the difference? Only mind activity. Only habits. She has eyes just like mine. She is consciousness. I don’t owe her anything. I am not in danger. it’s safe to look. It’s safe to be seen.

And she asked us to invoke a moment of challenge, which was close by for me, and to follow the thread of it’s sensation back into an earlier verso of myself. That is when I connected to her, the wordless one, the suffering one, and I let her move through me like a shaking, thrashing, fish out of water, gasping for air, writhing in agony, really, of not having what is needed just as badly as air, she gives a silent scream, and then,

I hear words encouraging me to integrate. Connect back into the present, into the love and power of my adult body, to allow my present body to move again, to let myself hold this younger self, let us dance together in a dance of mothering, of soothing, of nurturing that one who always needed it, that one who I know so well, in this way of giving love that I have learned, that I have practiced, that I have made into my living, and I move with her in my arms, until she quiets.

Not from being silenced, not from sheer exhaustion, no. she quiets because she can finally rest. It is the quiet of calm, of peace. She rests.

And a warm glow is filling me, while we move on to the next bit, which turns out to be, a circle of love that fills up the rest of me, any spaces that were left. A safe, careful, coming together, in which we all support and are supported, and heads rest on chests and on backs, and hands rest on knees and on shoulders, and breath syncs with breath, and it feels almost like we are all just where we belong, like we are all twins, in the womb together, wordless communication of touch, simply saying, we are connected. We are one.

And I danced with we-are-one the rest of the night. We-are-one allowed me to move in ways I hadn’t moved before, because in we-are-one, there is no room for being hate-able. Who could hate who? There is no one to hate when we are one.

She Danced Alone in Public, and Lived to Tell the Tale.

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License: (license)

I’m practicing being slippery, being whole, being alive. I get to do what I want, and not do what I want. I get to be an introvert. A happy introvert.

I didn’t dance with anybody. Not a man, not a woman. I hugged a couple people I wanted to hug, then walked away. I didn’t stay listening to Ms. SAD who wanted to talk my ear off about her seasonal depression. I said, “good luck!” and walked away. I ignored the people who tried to dance with me. Even the organizer. Because I wanted to. And I didn’t stay for the closing circle. I snuck out.

Yeah, I felt the tension of their expectations, and the old guilt that whispers that I have to fulfill them.

But it finally hit me, how obvious it is. That my right to simply exist in a space, without being bothered or harassed, takes primacy over someone else’s percieved “right” to have access to me.

That my feeling of freedom and safety is more important than their feeling of being rejected. They can live with feeling rejected. I cannot, and will not, go on living with feeling unsafe and unable to make my own choices about who touches my body, and who takes up my time and energy.

I didn’t sit with that guy who asked me to at the cafe, either. I do what I want! I’ve got a date with the sun and the journal and the latte. I’m busy. You can’t make me!

Something is getting stronger in me. That I feel comfortable dancing alone, that I can actually prefer it, defend and protect it. That I can choose journaling in the sun over sitting with some guy. There’s some kind of security in myself that wasn’t there before. How wonderful!

It’s amazing how much I have to say “no” to other people in order to say “yes” to myself! And as long as I have an arbitrary limit on how many times I’m allowed to say “no,” I’m going to keep getting stuck with people and in situations that don’t feel good to me. But not now. Now I am allowed

UNLIMITED “NO’S”!!!!!!!!!!

I can say “no” as many times as it takes. Whatever it takes to guard my sanctity. I’ll say “no” all day if I have to. And I will be safe in my sanctuary of peace.

Like any good guardian, my “no” is always ready. These sacred things don’t just happen, the space needs to be taken for them.

And, again; my right to my own self, to my own body, to my own time, takes primacy over anyone else’s perceived right, or desire, for my time, my body, my energy. This is what I’m learning.

This is what I’m un-learning. My mother taught me that it’s not okay to say “no.” I am teaching myself that it is.