Hello Dearest Ones,
I hope you are all well and finding ways to minimize the effects of the current tensions in the world on your hearts and nervous systems. It’s been a while. I’ve been very quiet lately, as well as a little shy of sharing my thoughts. However, ...
I love it when people ask me for my take on something they are contemplating in life. It’s such a great opportunity for personal inquiry. This blog is in response to a fabulous question a dear friend posed about how we can know if our intuition is accurate, that we are indeed connected to the wisdom of the Universe, when we are also navigating emotional turmoil. Because it is such a juicy, satisfying way to live, I hope the response that has come to me will help you all to find a clear intuitive path through your daily lives, as well as during any emotional upheaval.
Intuition can be tricky. At least until we overcome our distrust of and societal myths about it. The most common of these myths is that our intuitive voice is something we must dig deep to discover. The truth is, from the onset of life, intuition is the most vocal of our inner voices. Unfortunately, we spend a large portion of our lives tuning it out. Since in our society we are taught to distrust intuition, when we do develop a trusting relationship with our intuitive abilities in early childhood, we often abandon it to align with the world around us and feel more at ease in our daily environments.
This is especially true if we are exposed to unsavory behavior by our early caretakers. That experience explicitly teaches us to distrust intuition since our intuition is so often saying the opposite of what our parents or caretakers are telling us (think gaslighting). Consequently, our intuitive voice is often replaced by the frightened-by-life voice of the superego that doesn’t trust anything other than tyranny and guilt. Whatever the cause, social conformity or childhood trauma, most of us arrive at adulthood wary of our intuition. Many of you will have noticed how life challenges throw you off and make you question the trustworthiness of any intuition that is coming through. Even my choice of words “coming through” highlights our cultural myth that intuition is an otherworldly, non-human phenomenon, rather than an inherent part of who we are.
Some of us are only now beginning to perceive that voice within, for others, we are in the process of learning to trust our intuition. Even when we have a long-standing relationship with intuition, it is very common to have misgivings and doubts about following our intuitive guidance. This is partly because we immediately, sub-perceptibly, go into rational thought about how we should approach the challenges in our lives. Oddly enough, rational understanding of a circumstance rarely jives with intuitive wisdom. Secondly, especially in the case of childhood trauma, we will often unconsciously reach for the guiding system that supplanted our own early in life, instead of exploring our intuition. Sadly, this is indicative of how separate our lives have become from the intuitive, organic flow of the Universe.
This gift that comes to us naturally has become denatured and made suspect to our egoic minds. When we receive intuitive guidance, even if it has been altered and/or replaced by the reason of an external guiding system, we will still put that information through more filters before we allow it to land in our body and heart. These filters start at the most external. The first filter is social: which deals with how society views the information we are getting or the action we are being guided to take. It might also move through the familial, gender and race filters. Simply put, that tidbit of intuition has been evaluated and put into question on many levels before it arrives at the part of us that can receive it and follow its guidance. At this point it would be prudent to question the accuracy of the message. A bit like in a game of telephone, the intuitive message has surely been scrambled, misinterpreted and expanded upon by the time it reaches our conscious mind.
The easy, fool proof way to access intuitive information is to gather it before it moves through all those filters. I call this rooted intuition because, whether navigating strong emotions or not, to make sense of intuitive messages we must be in contact with our roots, with our connection to our body and the Earth. Intuition is a thing of the body-mind. For most of us it must be felt in the body to be accurately interpreted. With intuition we are being called to notice these subtle body cues: Observing whether the received message is creating tension in our body or peace. Below the surface of fear, can we feel the strong sense of knowing that tells us we are on the right path? We may notice a feeling of self-betrayal when we ignore the guidance. We sense that we are settling for something that feels safe and familiar. Do we feel our heart deflate with that awareness? This is how rooted body-wisdom guides us. We go inward, expand our inner luminosity and observe what is happening in the stillness of our core, our body. This is especially important when our emotional weather is too turbulent to decipher the truth or the way forward.
There are times when our intuition is heightened. For example: In men I have noticed that intuitive messages are more likely to register when they come in the form of kinesthetic awareness. In this case we may simply have or not have the enthusiasm and energy for an endeavor. Also, we are more likely to heed this intuition if it is telling us to do something rather than if it is telling us to not do something. We have all learned the cultural lesson ‘busy-ness is good, stillness is bad.’ It feels uncomfortable to not do something. It feels irrational, and lazy. In this case, men may need to pay even closer attention to their body cues.
Women are more likely to notice intuitive guidance when we are in what I call a hormonally heightened state. This could be a life stage like adolescence and menopause, or it could be cyclical like menstruation, PMS and pregnancy. I find there is extra acuity to a woman’s intuition at those times. This could be because we aren’t suppressing our emotions. As hard as it may be to navigate emotional waves, they can often create openings into our intuition. It becomes extra important to know how to navigate and trust our intuition in these hormonally heightened states because this is often when we get more intuitive hits.
When we are fully rooted, we can easily receive intuitive messages before they make their way to the egoic mind. On the other hand, when we are habitually in the ethers, in our thinking mind, our ego will spin intuition into fear and doubt before we even notice what has happened. As ever-present as intuition is, once we learn to recognize our intuitive voice, we will often still have strong resistance to its messages. Intuitive messages are rarely comfortable to accept and even scarier to act upon. This is because we cannot un-know something. Once we feel the truth in our body, we will no longer be able to behave in a way that is not aligned with that truth. This can be very scary. As humans we like to keep our options open, and given the opportunity, intuition will forcefully close the door on any un-dharmic (unaligned) choices we might be entertaining. This is our soul’s way of exposing untruths to our heart, and its intention is to make it painful enough that we will not be able to overlook it. As scary as it is to follow our intuition, it is downright painful to ignore it.
Interestingly, when we reject our emotions and interpret emotionality as something that clouds our ability to discern intuition, the rejection is what ultimately muddies our vision. Intuition is emotionally charged. This is because of what I said above about it being very scary to follow intuitive guidance. Emotions will almost always be present with intuition; however, intuition only engages with authentic emotional responses. Feeling a little scared and excited about something (an authentic emotional response) is different than feeling paralyzing fear (an adapted emotion). Fear is an adapted emotional response in the way that most of us experience it. It is an ego based, socialized response. We will always need to look below the fear to identify the filters that are coloring it and clouding the view of our authentic emotions and intuition. It is this dynamic that causes all the inner arguments between intuition and the logical (socialized) mind.
I was reminded recently that Carolyn Myss sees intuition as the nagging voice that never goes away and won’t let you live in peace when you’re not on your path. Intuition often sounds like the voice you don’t want to hear or heed, because it is the voice that requires you to look at things honestly and make changes. She says, you know you are off course when you must betray yourself to stay on the path or in the situation you are currently navigating. When we are fully rooted and connected to our body, we can confidently put our intuitive gifts to work in our lives. Demystification of the intuitive process and building trust in our intuition come directly from experience. When we follow our intuition and have positive, life enhancing results, it helps to build the trust we need to follow our intuition in the future. In more complex and important circumstances. To practice this skill, I ask for guidance and follow my intuition in small ways every day. I enjoy the exercise. Maybe you will too.
Sending you so much love,
With my last blog I seem to have hit the connection button. That is to say that the responses I got from you all were all about connection. Some of you felt a strong resonance with me and my words, some felt willing to try to meet me in that “opinion-less” place to further our connection, and some felt our bond was being threatened by my present point of reference, and that I might want to soften that stance because we are “interconnected after all.”
It feels like many of you heard, and in turn reflected to me, what was at the heart of the blog. My longing for connection. My longing for deep emotional connection. Maybe for a simpler, more authentic connection. I suppose that is the startling part of my desire to be alone so regularly. It seems counterintuitive to want to be alone when I also long for connection. Or maybe it isn’t so unusual at all. It would be interesting to know how many of us seek solitude when we long for connection. I have noticed that solitude is less irritating to my system than, for example, connection that is in some way not particularly satisfying. I believe that kind of ‘connection’ is the perfect breeding ground for loneliness. For the moment, it still feels incredibly soothing to my system to exist in a bubble of opinion free space. My life-long and current longing for human connection seems to be taking second fiddle to my desire to not have to navigate so much. To not have to be so alert, and considerate (honestly).
My personal astrology and birth card both point to responsibility as a big topic in this lifetime for me. Finding the balance of taking responsibility for the things that are mine to care for and learning not to feel responsible for that which isn’t mine. I feel that I have spent most of my life (up until a little over a decade ago) honoring my responsibility to others while neglecting my responsibility to self. I tend to be a diligent student, and at a young age I learned and took to heart the lesson, with its expectations of me as a female in patriarchal society, that everyone else’s needs always come first. Hence, I feel my current lessons around responsibility have to do with learning to be more responsible to myself. (I’m sure what I just said will have pushed some of your buttons. I too used to judge people in my life, who were better about taking care of themselves than I was, as selfish.)
Challenging the status quo pushes our buttons. More so when we question some part of it that many of us still align with. I push my own buttons all the time when challenging certain structures and precepts of the white patriarchal society we live in. Especially when I push up against the more subtle and therefore more accepted parts of it. I have learned, however, to trust that there really is an oppressive mechanism at play when something makes me feel like I am stuck in a corner and must fight my way out.
Like the sharing of opinions, which to me often feels like a rigid form of communication that has very specific rules, to enable very specific outcomes. It doesn’t feel authentic or connective. Since I need something from life that isn’t permissible within that system, I’m challenging the status quo of its social structure. If I can make visible the cracks and incongruencies in it, then I feel justified in bucking the system. So that ultimately, I can honor my own needs without feeling like I am misbehaving in some way. And then openly turn (with a clear heart) to the task of meeting my own needs. Like my need to not have to wade through so many opinions.
In this stage of my journey, I am being challenged to practice responsibility to self. It has never been so apparent before now. I have always been a champion of the so-called underdog. I am quite good at fighting for other’s rights and fair treatment. It is newer for me to be such a vocal advocate for myself and my rights. It feels strange to buck systemic structures on my own behalf. I’m guessing, based on my past experiences with learning a new skill (especially anything to do with boundaries), that I have come on quite forcefully with my first public attempts to ask that my needs be met. There is always a lot of built-up energy behind something that we are just learning how to do, especially when practicing it with others for the first few times.
My tone will likely soften and feel less forceful at some point in the future. Once I have truly mastered this new skill. I ask for your patience. And yes, I still want to connect with all of you, in all the ways possible. Especially when we can both arrive with an open and curious heart, to simply share in each other’s love and companionship. Basking in our individual and combined beauty. Floating on each other’s divine opinion-less grace when possible and peacefully navigating our human grace when that is all that is available to us.
Sending you so much deep, juicy, unconditional love,
P.S. Be sure to check out our upcoming class. Dates and times have been finalized. I look forward to stretching myself out of solitary life, to connect and commune with you all about our self-soothing patterns and their origins. As you’ve seen, seeking solitude is a strong self-soothing pattern for me.
I was describing to someone today how I feel socially as of late. I specifically said, “I’m in a place of sometimes startling introversion.” I find it fascinating that I used the word startling to describe my deepening lack of interest in interacting with the outside world. It’s not that I don’t hold others in cherished esteem, or that I don’t treasure who they are, but more often than not, I really don’t want to interact with these beings I love so much. It’s a strange phenomenon. And ultimately, it is a bit startling.
I am deep into the menopausal journey. Modern medicine would say I’m not menopausal yet because I haven’t gone a whole year without a period. But for me, this is menopause. I have only had one period in the last 5 months, and I have finally stopped spotting for the most part. That was a relief. I feel like my body stopped ovulating quite a while before all of that. It seems to have taken it a little time to release the habit of bleeding. Like most habits, it is a bit challenging to let it go. For my physiology that is. Maybe for my spirit as well.
My mother likes to call it “mental pause.” Because of the mental sluggishness that she, and many others, experienced during menopause. That's not exactly how I am experiencing it. Yes, my mental processes have shifted. And yes, they do seem more labored. However, that doesn’t seem to be the essence of how I am navigating this fork in the river. My mind longs to work differently. (A good friend of mine described it as her mind relaxing.) Nowadays, my mind doesn’t feel stimulated by a large amount of external input. In fact, it feels overwhelmed by the typical encounters with different personalities and communication styles. My body too. It feels overstimulated, almost attacked, by the usual physical, visual and auditory stimuli in life.
Because of this, I have turned fully inward. My whole being yearns for silence and solitude. I often feel I struggle in my interactions. It can be exhausting to talk to people. Partly because I feel I won't make sense to them. My perspective has shifted so much that my words seem to land on uncomprehending ears, framing concerned eyes. As if to say, I don’t speak that language. You don’t make sense anymore. And maybe it’s true. Maybe I no longer appear to have reason or logic. Maybe I don't take the shape that I once did, when I would first put myself through translation and interpretation service before I exposed myself to others. This new, uninterpreted, unfiltered me doesn’t want to have to work that hard. She doesn’t actually care if she makes sense. She is simply enjoying getting to know herself. She is all the company she feels she needs. Startling.
I have been collecting opinions since before I was born. My parent’s opinions, my friend’s opinions, my romantic partner’s opinions, my children’s opinions, society’s opinions. Worst of all my own opinions. Essentially, I have been drowning in opinions my whole life. I would really like to float in opinion-less grace for a while. I suppose another way of saying it would be that I’d really like to spend some time with Spirit. With the part of me that is able to release her need to judge and have an opinion.
She is quiet. Startlingly quiet. She even scares me a bit. And yet, the idea of spending good quality time with her, in this state of opinion-less grace, is calling to me. I am being called home to myself. And as much as I love my parents, my children, my friends, my partner and you; I find I don’t really want to know any of your opinions. Not even the ones that substantiate my life and my choices. I don’t just long to be rid of my own opinions. I want to be free from all opinions.
It’s tricky. As humans, the exchange of opinions is one of our main currencies. We believe that when we share opinions, or even better, show deference to someone else’s opinion, we are confirming to that person that we value them. We are ‘paying’ them a compliment. We interpret that as love and respect. Imagine how much love we need to have for someone when we respect them even if we don’t hold the same opinions. What does that look like? If validating other people’s beliefs is a deeply imbedded love language in our society (maybe our species), how do we love while at the same time withholding our own opinions and allowing others to theirs? No common ground required. Sounds radical.
Even more radical, is the ability to value myself without having to agree with my own, or anyone else’s opinions. That is the grace I want to float in. The liminal space in which opinions don’t exist. At the moment, I’m finding it difficult to inhabit that space with others. It’s challenging enough to find the opinion free nectar within myself. Hence, the strong desire to be alone. To close myself off from all input. All opinions. I’ll apologize in advance. In case it offends you when I do not choose to use that form of currency in our interactions. As an early warning, I am, more than usual, likely to actively reject any opinions you share with me. Just out of principal. Simply for the practice of not collecting opinions. As a precursor and entryway into that opinionless state of grace I so long to visit.
Do you think you might be willing to meet me there? On the outskirts of ‘opinionland.’ I know it looks a bit dark and uninhabited, a bit startling, but I really think we might like it there. The shadowy parts of the landscape might finally lose their somber tone if we move in and commune with them. Acknowledge their importance, not at the margins of the inhabited ‘real world,’ but central to us. Our intuition, gut instinct and subconscious engines already drive our every move. Once we become familiar with these uninvited aspects of ourselves, you might find you want to live in this liminal, opinionless grace land as well. Do you think you would be willing to meet me in that place? Interact with each other in a state of grace? I think that’s what is called infinite unconditional love. The menopausal me longs to be infinitely unconditionally in love with me. And with you too.
With all my silent love,
I seek sovereignty. I am engaged in the pursuit of my own life. I long for absolute authority over my actions and my being. At least my head and my heart. And hopefully my hips.
I do get it, I realize that the fact that I can have sovereignty as a central concern in my life, leaks and oozes, and maybe screams, privilege. I am aware that I don’t have to be concerned about my next meal, that I don’t have to fear that I will be egregiously violated, or worse, murdered, for the color of my skin or the shape of my eyes. I am acutely aware that I don’t have to risk a dangerous border crossing to feed my children and that I’m not in peril of perishing in one of the many genocidal currents of modern ‘society.’
I get it that the mere fact that I sit here contemplating sovereignty, implies that I have a roof over my head, my belly is full, and my toes are warm. It implies that I am educated, that I have time to read, and that no one will be busting down my door in the middle of the night to drag me away, never be heard from again; simply because I have opposing beliefs to my government, my family or my society. Or because I have more melanin in my skin.
So, from this place of privilege, I conjure, and I incite. I yell and I scream. I push as hard as I can against the misogyny, racism and bigotry in the world. In hopes that by doing this I somehow create just a little more space. That I start to weaken some of the barriers. I punch holes in the glass ceiling. I plant seeds for our children. Maybe even help our privileged, and sometimes rigid, elders to learn to cultivate new crops. So that we might share some of the risks, so that you may be able to find more safe places in which you might contemplate your sovereignty.
I do it for the young Mexican woman who recently lost her life at the hands of her boyfriend (American unfortunately). I do it for my daughter and her new wife who must work so hard to make a life for themselves. I do it for my son and my brother and everyone else who is plagued with the modern affliction of anxiety. I do it for my partner so that he might be able to let go of any feelings of regret and inadequacy he holds. I do it for myself. So that I might permanently disavow the ogre of perfection in my head that still sometimes finds her way in to badger me. Thankfully, I’m no longer inclined to listen, but it would be lovely if I simply no longer heard that voice.
I want to live a sovereign existence. I finally believe in my ability to live in alignment with my higher self. I trust myself to make human decisions that feel appropriate, healthy and true for me. I know myself to have strong ethics regarding the wellbeing of other humans, the non-human inhabitants of this world and the Earth herself. I have become more adept at disallowing any dictatorial tendencies and corrupting influences that want to worm their way into my person-dom. Afterall, this is my one precious life. Only I can live it.
Thank you all for sharing your one precious life with me. And here’s to your sovereignty in 2023!
All my love,
About six months ago I moved in with my partner in a new city. In many ways it has been an easy transition. I feel at peace with the direction life is taking me. Yet, it hasn’t been particularly comfortable. My life is very still, and I often feel disoriented. I went through a similar transition when I moved to Pueblo six years ago, and although I remember feeling the stillness and disorientation, I don’t recall feeling so unsettled by them.
The quieter collective pace of Pueblo likely made for a more easeful transition; however, I think the critical piece is that there were no witnesses. I was in a new town, I didn’t yet have friends or clients there, and I lived alone. I engaged with people and the process of establishing myself in the community when I felt capable of it. If I didn’t feel capable of it, I didn’t require myself to do so. I was the only one observing the details of my transition to that community, so I was much more able to calm my critical mind and simply surrender to the process.
In my interactions with the people in my new community, it feels prickly when I am faced with opinions and beliefs that may not align with how I’m choosing to live my life. I notice I feel ashamed when my behavior in some way goes against the grain of those observing me. Now, I assume people will think I am intentionally misbehaving when I am still or disoriented. Is it because this move challenges my resolve to live a quiet life? Possibly. Or maybe it’s simply because we are socially encouraged to feel shame when we go against the grain.
Because I have been nurturing a very quiet lifestyle for the past decade or so, I feel rather out of place here. This community is accustomed to moving fast and living at a high level of intensity. That fast pace makes me acutely aware that I am not moving at the agreed upon tempo. With many of my daily choices I feel the rub of that friction. Since my partner is well established in this community, I seem to associate him with the local norms. As unfair and inaccurate as that may be, it’s hard to feel safe allowing him to witness my struggles. I suppose I worry that I am going against ‘his’ grain as well. That concern makes me want to ‘get with it’ and embrace the local flow. But ultimately, I just don’t want anyone to witness my ‘going against the grain’ behavior so that I don’t have to navigate the potential judgement that comes with it.
Thankfully, in living alongside a collective whose values differ, the Divine Universe has given me occasion to finally uncover the shaming mechanism that I have bummed up against many times since I chose to live this quiet existence; and have been awkwardly rubbing up against since my move. It is an ancient, deeply internalized social tool that targets transgressive behavior. Its sole purpose is to keep me, and you, in line. It diligently and forcefully tells me that I am misbehaving in some way. As a result, I have created a belief that my cherished ones will see me as unlovable when I do anything that violates a socially agreed upon norm. It was created to encourage me to choose to conform in order to avoid those feelings of alienation.
I believe that releasing my own judgments about my choices will allow me to consciously withdraw my participation in the workings of that oppressive mechanism. It will also help me to repattern my beliefs around the intention and the consequences of going against the grain in the first place. Going against the grain has been essential in creating a sustainable existence that honors my truth and allows me to live a well-balanced life. I value the life that I have fought to create, and I will continue to protect it. Even if it means that I must go against the grain.
P.S. It was remarkably difficult to write this brief little blog. As I was struggling with the process a lovely poem of appreciation, for my dear friend and benefactor, Mother Earth, flowed out of me quite effortlessly. It's a nice example of how the Divine Universe tends to work in my life.
Hello Dear Ones,
I don’t tend to be political in my blogs, or my life, because it can be so divisive. For me, politics too often emphasize difference and nurture conflict. For some, that contentiousness builds energy and passion, but for me it only creates an oppressive weight on my heart. I choose to approach others in ways that feel connective. I try to build relationships, understanding, and compassion. At least that is my intention. I know there are myriad beliefs in the world. I don’t need a political conversation to build that awareness. What interests me, is how we can be in loving and kind relations with one another even when we hold divergent beliefs.
Having said that, I want to talk about oppression. I will start by saying that I believe oppression to be an ideological, systemic, interpersonal and internal phenomenon. This can be expressed as the four Is of oppression: Ideological, Institutional, Interpersonal and Internalized. We experience oppression when we are governed in an unfair and cruel way and prevented from having opportunity and freedom (online Cambridge Dictionary). Being “governed” is something that doesn’t solely happen through our official governments. For me, it includes how we are governed within our families, relationships, workplaces and institutions. It includes how we govern ourselves. Our inner tyrant can often be the worst of them all.
Oppression is a tricky and complex topic. It can appear to be subjective because it is so closely tied to how we individually live and perceive life. On the other hand, it is totally objective. If an individual or group doesn't have the freedom and opportunities that they desire, that is oppression. It’s not for the outside observer (or the oppressor) to decide if it’s truly oppression. Only the oppressed can claim it as such.
I have been curious about oppression my whole life. It probably has a lot to do with a rebellious streak that I have. My rebelliousness can be exaggerated in the face of imposed authority: When I don’t feel the person or institution has earned my respect, or I simply don’t believe they should have authority over me. As you can imagine, it’s quite the conundrum when that imposed authority is my own inner critic.
My interest in the mechanisms of oppression began to be a more conscious inquiry when I got divorced and I was trying to unearth the control mechanisms (internal and external) within that relationship. Up to that point, how I reacted and responded to oppression in my own life had been an instinctual thing. I didn’t yet know what I was rebelling against. My curiosity intensified when Donald Trump was elected president.
When it was revealed that so many white women voted for Trump, I was at a complete loss for understanding how that could have happened. From my perspective (as a white woman), Trump has a misogynistic and predatory relationship to women. Regardless of political leanings, I believe that no self-respecting woman could ever vote for Donald Trump to be our president. Simply because his actions and policies are oppressive to women. I don’t want someone like that to make decisions on my behalf, and I have a hard time understanding why any woman would. That is my bias, I won’t intentionally support people and systems that I know to be oppressive.
The topic comes up again with the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe Vs Wade, thereby threatening a woman’s right to be the sole decision maker over her body. I will point out that for me, this doesn’t have anything to do with being for abortion or not. It has to do with being anti-oppression. I don’t see how we can claim to be a free country for women if we do not uphold that ultimate freedom. Overturning a law that specifically protects women’s rights is a misogynistic and oppressive act. And many women are in support of this legislation. For me, this clearly points to the internalize aspects of oppression, and its perpetuation.
It is important to note that although I am specifically speaking to the oppression of women, I am fully aware of how deep and broad the oppressive tendencies of western patriarchy run, and that women are only part of a millennia old and tremendously diverse heap of oppressed humans. And, that women of color suffer more direct and severe oppression than do white women. I could get carried away talking about how we oppress non-humans and Mother Earth herself, but we can easily extrapolate these same ideas to understand other forms of oppression. Those based on race, gender fluidity, sexuality, class, neurological and physical diversity. The list goes on.
Having worked a lot with trauma and trauma recovery, that is the lens through which I will attempt to better understand how and why oppression continues to be so prevalent in our societies, and why we sometimes perpetuate it ourselves, as the oppressed. To better understand this dynamic, I will use a victim/ aggressor analogy. Admittedly, it fits, the oppressed/ oppressor paradigm is a sufferer/ assailant relationship.
An important part of an aggressor’s strategy, in perpetrating their violation, is to convince their victims that they in some way had it coming to them. This creates a complex psychological situation in which the victim feels responsible for the violation. That sense of responsibility is further reinforced by the victim’s own mind, which would much rather believe that they are somehow at fault, than believe that there is absolutely nothing they can do/ could have done to prevent the violation or protect themselves. The human psyche will not opt for helplessness. We will do almost anything to avoid feeling powerless.
I believe it is this frame of mind, or psychological state (helplessness avoidance), that is the set point for a victim to eventually identify with the perpetrator; by aligning themselves with that person/ institution and their interpretation of reality. When we align ourselves with our abusers, we confirm our belief that we are somehow responsible for what has happened/ is happening to us.
Of course, with the above option, healing is not part of the equation. It can’t be. The moment we start to heal from our trauma, we start to see the violation for what it is. And our toxic perception of the experience, and ourselves as the responsible party, start to break down. It is deeply painful to hold the incongruency within us. As we more clearly see how we were violated/ abused/ oppressed the harder it is for us to align with those who have violated/ abused/ oppressed us. If we are to maintain our allegiance and alignment with the aggressor, we must be careful not to poke holes into the distorted version of reality they have created for us. Hence, no healing occurs when we remain in the victim role. This is our way of maintaining the agreed upon perception.
When we have been oppressed, we feel helpless, and disenfranchised from the system, institution or individual that oppresses us. If we have not had the opportunity to heal from that oppression, we will likely subconsciously align ourselves with the oppressive mechanism, and then internally perpetuate that oppressive belief. It is a beautiful self-perpetuating design. Quite brilliant, really. That is how an oppressive system is built; the original oppressive act is perpetrated on the individual (with the manipulation of placing culpability onto the victim), the victim internalizes that sense of responsibility (to avoid feeling helpless), and the next time the individual reaches for an act of freedom they will automatically self-censure and oppress the desired action. Now the oppressor must only gently reinforce the systems and beliefs that reaffirm the self-oppressive act as appropriate and beneficial to the individual and society.
Finally, if we somehow created enough space within ourselves to recognize something as oppressive, if we have healed enough to know that our alignment with the oppressor is false and contrived, we are able to break free of the oppressive belief. Unfortunately, breaking free of a believe is not the same as breaking free of a behavior. Partly because of the difficulty of re-patterning within ourselves and partly because the system will inevitably resort to more overt mechanisms of oppression, if we overthrow the internalized mechanisms, and start to challenge the belief in the supremacy of men, especially white men.
When we do finally overthrow our inner tyrant, successfully re-pattern our behavior based on a new, liberated sense of our place in society, and throw off the bonds of the systemic oppressive apparatuses, we are a little closer to true freedom. Once the oppression is finally lifted, because we have resisted and challenged it adequately, we must grab hold of and embrace the freedom that takes its place. It takes a lot of courage to claim our freedom. Freedom can be very scary. We may very well be more comfortable allowing others to control us and run the show. It feels less risky. What if we don’t do any better than the patriarchy has?
P.S. I do believe highly evolved (or aware) individuals are able to recognize the act of oppression as it is moving through us toward ourselves or toward another person or group. This is an important concept that will be necessary to fully unravel the internalized practice of oppression that is so present for many of us. And it will be helpful for exploring how we, as individuals and as a society, can move toward being less oppressive in our daily lives. However, this topic is for another day.
P.P.S. There is support for the shared believe in civilized society that some behaviors should be oppressed. I don’t have time to go into that topic in this exploration of oppression, however it is acknowledged.
P.P.P.S. If any of you have a different understanding of Trump and why you chose (as a woman) to vote for him, I would love to hear about it.
Hello Dear Ones,
I don’t know about you, but I use the expressions “finding my center” or “staying in my center” all the time. Lately I’ve started to wonder what exactly I mean when I’m saying those things. In essence, I think I’m saying that I am trying to live my truth, and not let life derail me from my truth. Or, that I’m looking for my essence, and once found, trying to honor my essence. So why do we call it our center? I know it has something to do with our hearts. But what else? And why is it so important?
In the energy medicine tradition in which I was trained, there is a theory about the importance of what we call midline injuries. The midline roughly follows the spinal column, and it is because of its energetic importance that chiropractors traditionally focus on the spine. Although the spine ends with the sacrum and the sacrum with the coccyx, and even the Shushumna nadi ends just beyond that, the energetic midline flows down to the heels and a bit beyond. Just as it continues to the top of the head and beyond. Therefore, we can feel grounded or ungrounded depending on whether we are truly inhabiting our midline or not.
What I have found in my practice as a healer, is that any energetic disruption or injury along the midline has an exponentially adverse effect on our wellbeing. This disproportionate relationship between midline blocks/ injuries and the severity of symptoms is because of the disruption of the pranic flow (life-force energy) in the main energy channel of the body. Called the Shushumna nadi in the yogic tradition, it is the largest energy channel and the biggest source of light within us. It is where we find balance between the right and the left sides of the body. It is where light meets dark and inner meets outer. It is where the feminine and masculine come into equilibrium and see themselves as one. You could call it the ‘androgynous’ zone ;-). It will light you up physically and spiritually (just like an erogenous zone), and it will turn your lights out when there are blocks or injuries within this main energy channel.
There is another energetic midway point in the body that has a similar role. And injury and imbalance in this part of our body will impact our wellbeing just as dramatically as a midline injury. The physical structure that might delineate it, is the upper ribcage, and it continues out into the arms. You could call it the human horizon. It is the horizontal midline of the human body, the heart of the matter. Our lower and higher selves coalesce here, and from this space we move out into the world through the shoulders, arms and hands, in order to honor our dharma. To live out our life purpose.
The Anahata chakra (energetic heart center) is the meeting place of Divine Masculine Will and Divine Feminine Will. This is the space in which we find alignment and balance between the material and spiritual worlds. We commune with the Divine through this threshold chakra, and we commune with our human nature, with our humanity. If energy is not able to move up into the spiritual realm from our heart, we feel cut off from divine support. If energy is not able to move down from this horizontal midline, we feel paralyzed and disempowered in our lived experiences. Because it makes apparent whether our heart is opened or blocked, we will always feel this alienation more profoundly.
You could say that the energetic spine (the midline) and the energetic heart (the human horizon) form a grand cross within us. This point of intersection is a crossroads, a threshold, the meeting place of who we truly are. It is where we “find our center,” and our essence. And it must be sound, grounded and accessible to enable us to face the ultimate adventure of the human experience: Unconditional Love. Also known as awakening. Unlike traditional crossroads, from this grand cross it is necessary to move out in all directions if we are to truly understand our place as a spiritual being in a human body. We must not only move up toward the Divine, out toward other humans, in toward higher Self or down toward lower self. We must become adept at living in all these realms. We learn to embrace all at once: Divine wisdom, humanity, Self-discovery and material expression.
Being able to find and maintain our center, that place at the crossroads between the midline and the human horizon, is of critical importance. It is the place/ energy from which we tap into our true power. It is from here that we engage with the world in a humane fashion, and we heal ourselves and others. Being in our center is an indication we have become at home in that interstitial space and are ready to move out into the world with sound, grounded humanity. Keeping our essence with us wherever we go. Or stay.
Living from our center is a powerful pathway to our truth, to our health and to our dharma. Living from our center will show us whether we feel whole and valued (loved), or whether we feel inadequate and disregarded. It will ultimately show us our humanity, or our cruelty. A deeply wounded, or vacant center, has difficulty accessing its spirituality and humanity. And it may very well be at the heart of everything that ever causes us to struggle in life.
Staying in our center will be helpful as we talk about freedom and the mechanisms of oppression in the next blog.
Until then, sending lots of centered love,
P.S. Read an article HSE was recently featured in. I am placed with Cyndi Dale, a well-known healer. Pretty cool.
I’ll try not to make you dizzy, as I zigzag between intuitive insight and intellectual musing. The analytical part of me is excited about this blog. She is brilliant at dissecting things and shining a light on their inner workings, but she doesn’t always get the intuitive stuff. I have had to do some unlearning from my intellectual training, to reclaim it from the patriarchy, however, my inner analyst is a true ally. I feel whole when I let her into the conversation. (This topic probably merits its own discussion at some point.)
Dreams: When they manifest in our lives, are we able to recognize them? In the last few years, many of my lifelong dreams have come true. With that, a strange phenomenon has occurred. As they are coming true, I have questioned whether these are still my dreams. That experience has me wondering whether we can recognize our dreams when they finally arrive in our lives? Or maybe, whether I have that capacity?
I woke up this morning dreaming of sitting at my kitchen table writing, as I am doing right now, but at my house in Mexico. It was a sweet and vivid vision. Even as I was loving how the fantasy made me feel, it occurred to me that I didn’t fully trust that this was my dream. Is living part-time in Mexico what I truly desire?
Blessedly, I’m having this contemplation because I am in a stage of life in which many of my dreams are coming true. Still, there exists within me a deep hesitancy to call what is happening, the manifestation of my dreams. I’m starting to think these divergent perceptions have to do with my belief that I had given up many of my dreams, deciding they weren’t accessible to me, and moving on. It seems we do this to ourselves a lot, talk ourselves out of our dreams. And society certainly encourages us to give them up; in favor of more ‘realistic’ goals.
My other suspicion is that it has to do with my tendency to be overly achievement oriented. For much of my life, I have noticed that I tend to feel some dissatisfaction once I have finally accomplished something I had been working toward. Or I move on to the next goal without much acknowledgment of the current achievement. Is not stopping long enough to appreciate my own accomplishments the same as not being able to recognize and trust my dreams as they manifest in my life?
When I met my partner, something similar occurred. I was so excited that they were in love with some of the same things I am in love with, yet it was so unexpected that I thought ¨uh-oh, this is a problem, I don’t have those dreams anymore.” And I was truly convinced that I didn’t have those dreams anymore. For the first time, I was with a person who had similar dreams, who was looking for similar things in life, and my response was to suspect that I no longer had those dreams.
I’ve always thought of myself as realistic, but never cynical. It’s curious to me that I would have such a cynical perspective; that my dreams would only arrive once I no longer dreamed them. And, energetically speaking, it is counterintuitive (and completely contrary to the laws of the universe), that I would have arrived at a moment when many of my dreams could come true, only to discover that they no longer appealed to me.
In the dream, I am in awe of the fact that I am actually there. Living in Mexico, breathing the ocean air, and loving life. Because it feels so comfortable, homey and full, it makes me realize how strange it is that I think this is no longer my dream. My visceral understanding of intuition and the energies of the universe tell me clearly, that if it feels that good, it is absolutely in alignment with me.
I thought I had given up on my dreams. Maybe because they weren’t really my dreams, or maybe because I didn’t think they were attainable, or maybe because others devalued and discouraged me from them. Now I’m discovering that I didn’t give them up at all, that I probably just set them aside for a while (to satisfy a person or situation in my life). Upon further investigation, I believe what I truly did, since I couldn’t see a way forward with those dreams at the time, was surrender them to the Divine Universe. (Read our blog about surrender here.)
And now they have come back around to me, in their mature form, after making their way through the cosmic sieve of desires. Oh, the manifesting magic of dreams! So much more powerful than my personal will. I really should know by now, that how a dream makes me feel, is all I really need to know to confirm it is actually my dream. When we experience the energy of the Universe, taking our wishes and sprinkling them into the void, there is no denying the light fuzzy feeling it places in our energy field. The magic is palpable.
By this time next year, I will likely be living part-time in Mexico. Hence, I woke up dreaming this dream today. I dream of sitting at my kitchen table, at my house in Mexico, writing a blog to share with you all. This really is my dream, and I’m so thrilled to watch it come to life. And to remember that I have had this dream for a very long time. Maybe I am even finally learning to acknowledge and enjoy my dreams and achievements as they come to fruition.
Surrender versus letting go or giving up...
A dear friend, and sister light seeker, recently spoke about surrender with me. Then she gently said, maybe you could write about that some. I would like to know what you think about it, because surrender is not the same as letting go. It turns out that was just the seed that wanted to be planted in my mind. Once placed there it immediately started to grow.
In my experience, we all struggle to understand and recognize the subtle and sublime energies of surrender. It is an elusive idea that we don’t often experience, or that we don’t recognize when we do experience it in our lives. I believe that is because we equate surrender with non-action, and therefore miss it, when we instinctively sense the spiritual/ energetic activity that is always present in surrender.
There is tremendous trust in the act of surrender, in fact that might be what makes it surrender. Letting go is more like giving up. It doesn’t hold a powerful vibration because it contains the energy of resignation. There is a feeling of: I don’t know what to do with this so I’m letting it go. I give up.
Surrender, on the other hand, is a powerful statement to self and the universe that we are handing it over to divine will, with the understanding that the universe always acts in our best interest, and that we can completely trust the outcome. As unconscious as we may be about making this statement, it is as active in intention as it is inactive in doing. It is always ushered in with at least a subconscious knowing that it is the appropriate step and that it will produce a divinely driven outcome. Even though that outcome is unknown to us, and likely not the be the one we would have tried to orchestrate on our own behalf.
With surrender, our desires and intentions don’t go away. Surrender isn’t the act of putting something in a non-place. It isn’t like putting the thoughts you wrote down on a piece of paper into the trash bin, to never be seen again. It is however, like placing that paper and those thoughts into the creative void, into the hands of God/ Goddess, into the higher intelligence of the Universe. When we place thoughts into that realm, they are not forever vanquished from our lived experience. Instead, they are put into the creative mill of the Universe, to be transformed into the exactly appropriate form, before being reintroduced into our lives.
If looked at in this way, what we are surrendering is not a desire, hope or dream. What we are surrendering is our own will, ego, and our belief in what is right and ‘should’ be. It is saying (again, maybe unconsciously), I recognize that I don’t understand and perceive this situation accurately and I surrender it to the higher intelligence that is available to me. If this is the case, then surrender is both the giving up of individual ego/ will and the handing over of our hopes and dreams to the divine. With a trust that everything is always as it should be.
In that same conversation, my friend spoke of conversing with the Universe and stating exactly what she wanted and needed for a specific situation in her life. She mentioned she had never done that before, so specifically. She also recognized that the Universe had, in turn, given her everything she had asked for. I forgot to ask her if she recognized that as the moment in which she embraced surrender.
I surrender my heart to you all,
P.S. I would love to hear about your thoughts on and experiences with surrender. Comment here.
Tawa Ranes has a very curious mind and has always been interested in the nature of consciousness and the workings of the Universe. Since healing has been a big part of her own personal journey, much of her curiosity focuses on understanding how and why healing occurs or fails to take place.