I have sometimes felt I had to carefully curate my expression, hold my words in certain areas. The reasons were manifold. Being dismissed for being a woman, or “too angry.” Being accused of being “too sensitive.” “A kook.” “A dreamer.” “Out of touch.” “A space cadet.” Not wanting to “sound crazy,” and thus, be tuned out, have my feedback be dismissed as “the words of a crazy person.”
Not wanting to be put into any of the usual boxes by the usual suspects, which would allow listeners to discount or outright dismiss my words, I would censor myself. There is and was good reason for this path. My fear of being discounted or dismissed because I am a woman is rooted in factual history.
Regardless, in a world where the president of the U.S. declares “Grab her by the p—y,” (and on and on, ad nauseum…) I don’t hold back anymore, not when it comes to speaking the truth about what I see evolving and happening on our planet; our planet as a complete living thing in and of itself, what I see happening to the biosphere of our planet, to even the wind and the rocks and the crystals, (which urgently call me to return them to their home in the earth, by the way, but that’s another story for another time,) to the humans of our planet.
Straight up, here’s me blatantly saying in no uncertain terms what you already know: The patriarchal model is no longer working, a new way of being is breaking through, the sacred feminine is coming to the fore, and it is going to continue to be a bit of a bumpy transition. In many ways and for many reasons, this is not always going to be smooth and comfy. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. More than worth it, it is an absolute necessity whose time is long past due and we can’t keep this winged being in her chrysalis any longer. It’s not up to us to decide how powerful universal energies arrive, at any rate. It is our job to welcome her.
Many great teachers from many of the world’s traditions have been speaking of this need for gender balancing for centuries. From our own Jewish tradition, I can cite rabbis for you such as the Arizal, and if this subject interests you, I highly recommend Sarah Yehudit Schneider’s book on his work on this topic, Kabbalistic Writings on the Nature of Masculine and Feminine.
I wish I could share some ancient texts written by women for you. I can’t, not because they weren’t imparting their knowledge, but because many of the teachings that came from female sources have been lost to the ages. It’s important that you realize that women have always had things to say on this topic, but much of this is unavailable to us.
There is so much to say on this gigantic topic, and it is far more than I could ever cover in one piece. For now, I will provide a short list of examples (from my learning, understanding, and experience,) referring to energy shifts currently taking place:
Circular > Linear
Inclusion > Exclusion
Celebration > Repression
Spherical > Vertical
If these feel like a whisper in your ear from a song you heard long ago and faintly remember the melody to, please allow me to speak directly to your ancestors, both genetic and spiritual within you:
Thank you. We hear you. Thank you for all your hard work. We are doing our best to keep unfolding this expansive evolution toward light.
Speaking of light, that brings me to my next point. I believe that healing trauma is some of the greatest and most important work we can do on this planet. I believe that if we could magically snap our fingers and have every trauma be healed instantly, poof, we would be in the garden.
In my never-ending quest to get myself together, (literally,) I have gone on various journeys both within and without to try to integrate and de-compartmentalize myself and live as a whole human, all parts of me worthy of existing.
So that I may bring light to myself and all those who encounter me.
There we go, with that light thing again.
So, light is great. It is. But darkness has its value too.
Part of this journey to try to heal myself, grow spiritually, and do my work to heal the world and the creatures who live upon it took the form of an in-depth shamanic apprenticeship under the guidance of a wise and masterful teacher, my mentor, Sita. Now, this is a whole other story for a whole other time, but I want to discuss what happened when I worked with a plant called Piñon Blanco.
My apprenticeship was in the Shipibo lineage, and one of the most fundamental parts of the work, absolutely central to the work, is the relationship with plants. Cultivating strict one-on-one relationships with plants. This process is called dieta. Please know that I am woefully oversimplifying to give context. To enter into dieta with a plant, you take on many restrictions in your devotion and to foster the relationship with whatever plant you are working on.
For the sake of crystalline clarity: I do not at all recommend undertaking this work on one’s own. Please only do so with a master teacher.
Restrictions include: no salt, no garlic, no sugar, no citrus, no dairy, no stone fruit, no sunshine, and many more, including—when you get deep into the work—no human touch. It’s serious business and it’s not for everyone. That’s an understatement. But it totally is/was for me.
On New Year’s, 2016, in sacred ceremony, I embarked on a months-long dieta with Piñon Blanco. I was really looking forward to this. In the Shipibo cosmology, (as with many, if not most, cosmologies,) everything has a light side…and a dark side. Piñon Blanco is unique because it is known to have no dark side, only light.
Sounded great to me! I am picturing sparkles, white glitter, heavenly purity, the final scene of All That Jazz. And it was.
But, you know what else is bright white light? A police flashlight in your eyes. A dental exam. An interrogation room. Catch my drift?
Suffice to say, Piñon Blanco shined a light on everything inside me, and I mean everything, including many things I had repressed. One of those was a rape.
Yes, a rape. One I had repressed, not once, but twice. I’d force it down with everything I had, and if it did pop up, I would try to shunt it into the box of “really bad sex.”
Which may sound extraordinary to you if you have never experienced trauma. Or even if you have experienced trauma, but you too have put it in a box somewhere inside you because it feels like too much to process.
For goodness’s sake, who could blame me/you?
We know all the reasons. (Do we?) It can be a matter of survival, not unlike an induced coma. It can be triggered by years of dissociative muscles built up during childhood traumas wherein we are powerless to do anything but check out.
But also, not only do we need the space within us to process these traumas, we need a world which has space for us to process these traumas.
Right now, it is hard to find these places, where you are safe to feel and release these traumas, to grieve and cry and scream and get in your body. To be calm and still and quiet and feel. To be held. Whatever one needs at any given time.
Part of my work in this world is trying to create these spaces for people.
And I feel optimistic that we are collectively getting to a better place. I believe that. Only because I believe we must, or it is 100% curtains for this human bloodbath we have created. So I believe we have no choice but to step into this new model.
All this to say, (and there is so very much more to say,) a lot of what you are seeing in the world right now is a collective re-triggering of old wounds, in a constant onslaught.
Not only that, but some of these past violations have been framed in the mind of the survivor as a “bad sexual experience” rather than a violation. Again. Please hear me. It is often a matter of survival.
So all these women, and all these men, and all these humans wherever they are on the gender spectrum, who have been victimized or violated and placed it in the “bad sex box,” and this whole society—which has traditionally supported such framing—and that is an understatement…is having a huge reckoning and has some huge inner reconciliation work to do. And it can be painful.
And please know that this piece doesn’t even come close to touching on the issue of Hollywood, the media, the box women are asked to fit in. I have lots to say about all of that.
I have a lot to say about the men who feel confused about this, who feel that romance will disappear if they must verbally ask for consent, for example. About a culture that encourages men to be sexually opportunistic, and the fact that some are confused by this “pass” being taken away.
But—for now—I want us to stay focused on this:
When you are frozen, you are numb. When the blood rushes back, and the nerves reawaken, it is exceedingly raw and painful.
We are going through a collective reawakening…to what we always knew to be the truth, but was suppressed, because the cognitive dissonance was too much to hold in our brains. We couldn’t see the contrast so blatantly, so clearly, and simply continue on in our lives as if this society were just fine.
Many in this untenable situation make the choice to survive, and to shut down parts of themselves to do so.
Well, now, the system itself is collapsing, so now, collectively, we have to take a look at what we have been suppressing, how we have been complicit, what we have been filling our brains with to avoid the screaming truth.
We are listening.
We are speaking.
It is good, but it won’t always be easy, and it will sometimes be dangerous, and it will oftentimes be painful.
So here’s what I am really saying: be gentle. Be gentle to yourself, and to others, because there’s a really good chance everyone you interact with is processing some gnarly PTSD at the moment.
It’s just a good idea to be gentle, anyway.
When in doubt, be gentle.
I send you love.
PS I offer these pieces in prayer that they may bring some healing or clarity.
My piece about “forgetting” (repressing) a rape…not once but twice.
I believe Queen Vashti deserves a #MeToo moment and #TimesUp is a few millenia late.
Photo: Where The Sidewalk Ends by Justin Kern