When I first started reading Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ outstanding book Women Who Run with the Wolves I was but two pages in before I read a word that made my stomach drop and my heart stop for a minute.
Women, she said, have become domesticated.
The word is purposeful, and biting. A conscious likening of the modern woman’s plight with caged animals … a stark contrast with the wild, mysterious creatures that graced the book title.
It hurt me so much because somewhere within me I knew it was true.
I had an image, at that moment, of how many times I had sensed within me a longing for something… which I could never quite understand. And, void of creative expression and with my inner spark dulled, I would pull out my lap top, or clean the kitchen or sit mindlessly in a cafe or go to the shops. Activities so habituated in my muscle memory that in those moments of space or boredoms, I would return to again and again and again despite knowing that they would know quell the restlessness within.
I have felt the stirrings of a need to express more freely for some time. At first, whispers. And now, loud shouts.
The stirrings come as impatience, frustration, feeling stuck, a lack of lustre, a barren mind void of creativity, anxiety, desires to be free in nature, to be wild. Rememberings of a childhood spent exploring, roaming, climbing, exploring, creating – where, as a child who was home-schooled until I was 12, I was allowed to express everything.
Until I started to grow up and listen to culture.
Culture that told me to close my legs and put on a top when I would have preferred to remain naked underneath the gentle pitter patter of sprinkler water – feet churning up freshly cut grass and mud below.
Culture that told me to get good grades and be quiet in class and stifle my spontaneous urges to laugh.
Culture that rewarded me for working extra hard, for excelling at certain subjects and choosing to follow those over deeper passions.
Culture that, as I became a mother, taught me to be guilty and anxious and a martyr – to sacrifice my own needs for those of my family and to put up and shut up when the going got tough.
Culture that told me to be ‘zen’ and to fix all the imperfections I perceived I had.
Culture that didn’t allow me to question my frustration, my anger or my truthful (and sometimes hurtful) words, so that I could understand how to live with my shadow, to harness my anger and to understand that it is the big, harsh emotions like anger, shame and guilt that propel us to connect, to expand and to evolve.
This is the woman constructed by men in power. The woman constructed by capitalism, by patriarchy and by our own suppression of whisperings.
Disconnected from our intuition.
Disconnected from our connection with mother earth and the feminine energy … a disconnect that has allowed us to defile and pollute the resources that allow us to live.
Disconnected from our common humanity bred by competition, racism, sexism and a purposeful positioning of ‘other’ for political gain.
Disconnected from love, and therefore from connection with others.
Disconnected from our wild natures – that allow us to freely express emotion.
Disconnected from presence and being – from simply allowing – qualities suppressed by cultural guilt and rising anxiety caused by a scarcity mindset that has us believe there is never enough time, love, money or things.
Disconnected from our innate desire to nurture – first ourselves, and then others when our container for love becomes so strong that our cup literally overflows.
Disconnected from passion, from creativity and from sexual expression.
Disconnected from our BODIES – bodies that creak under the weight of expectation and self criticism. Bodies that shout to us through symptoms to reonnect, to re-embody. Bodies that house our souls, our purest, highest selves and the inner spark of unconditional love that we once had for ourselves and all others.
The over-reliance on our rational, logical, right-brained minds and masculine energy (which is what we have been led to believe will lead us to success) has literally starved us of the nutrients that we need to survive and allowed us to disintegrate into parts.
Nutrients that we have forgotten we need but which once remembered we cannot un-know.
The nutrients of open-hearted connection, of heart-led purpose, of passion-fuelled conversations and intimacy, of fluid, rhythmic movement, of fresh air and sunlight and bare-footed connection with earth. The nutrients of emotional expression and evolution and challenge and learning. The nutrients of space and time and freedom to just BE.
If those nutrients were flowing through our bodies, and we were connected to those bodies in an integrated manner, how different would our world be? How different would we be?
What I endeavour to help clients to do, above all else, is to EMBODY evolution – whatever it looks like for them.
When growth and evolution is stifled, we begin to shrink into ourselves. We literally BURN OUT because we cannot balance out the wild fire of criticism, judgement, guilt, over-working and over-giving.
Becoming embodied requires a reconnection with the feelings, bodily sensations and thoughts that we spend a good proportion of our time numbing with food, shopping, alcohol, unfulfilling sex and worrying.
But once we re-establish the connection with self – through the language of our bodies – we can understand which nutrients we require and slowly, carefully and with awareness, start to re-nourish ourselves.
Like rain falling on a desert plain – at first, unable to penetrate the earth. And as the molecules of sand and soil start to absorb the water they allow more and more and more to be absorbed. Until those particles are able, spontaneously, to give life.
I spent a good amount of the last 4 years believing I could ‘think’ my way out of my troubles.
If I read and intellectualised enough, I would come up with the solution.
What I now understand is that I must embody change at a cellular level.
I must FEEL the change. I must first listen and bring awareness to MY experience – and THEN look outside for confirmation of the truth. I must trust and accept my experience. I must express my truth, and from that I give others permission to do so too.
When I closed all my personal development books and unfollowed blogs that didn’t feel truthful and cleaned up my social media and just focused on living in and witnessing MY BODY, I was able to block out all the noise and create my very own unique vibration that allows me now to hold space for others to do the same.
It is for this reason that every workshop, every coaching session, every retreat that I run has running through it one theme – how to allow women to experience what space, connection, creativity and freedom feels like in HER body. Once there is that experience, she can remember it. She can access it. And she can re-create it in her own unique way again and again and again.
I’m pretty excited about a weekend women’s re-wilding retreat that I’m working on for March 2018 that will explore this wisdom further (to be held in the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria). If you’re keen to be notified when places become available, send me an email for your email to be placed on the VIP list. There’s also still places available at my Yoga for Burnout and Picnic at Hanging Rock: A Vision Workshop events – book your tickets here.
Want a bit of one-one love? My Beyond Clarity session has been designed to help you work through relationships, career or health issues – so together we can develop a roadmap of what nutrients you would like to bring in and where we can source them from. Book your session here.
May this week you trust your own wisdom, remain connected to your body and know that you’re doing the very best you can right now. And that, my loves, is more than enough.