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On Power, Beauty and Sovereignty: Transmuting the Wounds of the Past into the Gifts of the Present
Posted on February 27, 2018
Clearing the Mother Line: Suffering for Beauty and Fighting for Control
In my blood mother line, the adage “You have to suffer to be beautiful” (not just in concept but in words) has been passed down from generation to generation.
Is it any surprise that girls who were torn from their parents, brothers, sisters, and friends and thrown into work camps (or worse) under the word of “cleansing the species” … yielded women whose worlds became hinged on their relationship to suffering, to unworthiness?
Is it any surprise that girls who barely survived abject poverty and war would grow into women who struggle with “not enough-ness” in life? Any surprise that girls who witnessed first-hand the pendulum swing from 1950’s Stepford wife subservience to the 1980’s “power woman” way (in a man’s world, in a man’s way) would ask to be honored for their role in what needed to be a fight for the most basic of rights which we, their daughters, now take for granted?
Is it any surprise that we who have our own wounds from our own childhoods (on the playground, at the dinner table, in the pews, or elsewhere) have held onto what was whispered into our ears, written in a TV script, echoed by a priest, or modeled by a respected mentor?
As I trace this pattern back in my lineage … this wound of the need to suffer and fight to merely stay alive, I honor all who came before me — way, way, way before me. I hold them in respect and compassion for all that has been endured in the name of beauty, power, and sovereignty. And with my intention, I transmute the wound of “I have to suffer to be beautiful” and “I have to fight for control” to the gifts of “My beauty and my power radiate out from my open heart” for my ancestral lineage before me and to come.
Sovereign Privilege: Fuel for Social Change
I recognize fully that the Western white woman’s journey only pales into comparison to the plight of women of color, and to all the women of the modern-day, high poverty, war-torn parts of the world. My words are not to be confused with self-centered spiritual woo-woo and social passivity. We are obviously standing in a time begging for sacred activism. I am clear that there is a place and a space for the fire of rage to burn within as fuel for change.
I am reminding myself to fully experience my own rage and guilt (facets of fear) that they may be witnessed, honored, and intentionally transmuted back into love in order to keep my heart clear and open. And that sovereignty, while an energetic state of being available to all, has also manifested in the form of privilege for me in this lifetime. And so I sit with the duality of my identification with what all women have ever faced and the gratitude for what I have been blessed with. And I sit with the feelings of confusion about what it all means and what my role is or should be. This confusion often becomes a mental loop that keeps me in inaction.
As I trace this confusion back to its source, I come back again to the open heart. I honor in me my mind’s desire to know, dissect, categorize, analyze, and synthesize. And with my intention, I transmute counter-productive, blind privilege into the core practice of traveling through my emotions back into love (for inner guidance) and listening (for perspective), moment by moment, of how I can be of service in the world, in my sovereignty.
The Incredibly Shrinking Woman: Be Gone!
Remember the comedy movie from the 80’s (“The Incredibly Shrinking Woman”) about a women (Lily Tomlin) who kept getting smaller and smaller and smaller? Could this movie be any more potent as a metaphor? This flick in and of itself didn’t create any sort of traumatic wound in me … but combined with other standards of beauty set by the entertainment media and the supermodel culture of the 90s, I was bombarded with images of shrinking women, causing me to believe I needed to literally make myself smaller.
Thinner. Get thinner. Be thinner. Shrink. Shrink. Shrink. As no experience is physical alone, or emotional alone, this notion of becoming physically smaller programmed me to keep my whole self small in the world.
I am in full awareness of what this social marketing ploy has done to generations of women: eating disorders, quiet belittlement, sheer terror in the face of possible/actual harassment and assault. And a dear sister/mentor said it best when she pointed out that the flat stomachs on the magazine covers (not only as images but as verbalized goals to attain) are literally in place, even if only on a subconscious level, to erase the power of the womb. Shrink your belly, shrink your womb wisdom.
And again my sadness turns to rage.
Breathing. Breathing. Breathing through it.
As I hold this wound of the incredibly shrinking woman in my heart, I witness my inner child who knew deep down she was a warrior priestess, who remembered her divinity and blamed herself in the gap of not knowing whose fault it was that she couldn’t shine, grow big, or be big. Of not growing her own voice. And with my intention, I transmute the wound of keeping myself small, quiet, and closed to the gift of ever-expanding belly wisdom, heart-opening, and giving voice and form to my essence.
Safety, Sisterhood and Sovereignty
Cultivating the bravery to allow this expansion to happen does not come effortlessly to me. Years of staying hidden and being closed make old patterns easy to slip into. The safety provided by sisterhood is what has ultimately allowed me to walk through the discomfort of my vulnerability and to ask for accountability to be who I know I truly am, in a safe space. Maybe we are all strong enough to “do it alone,” and have indeed had to do so in this lifetime. But the first time I sat in sacred circle with sisters (strangers, not friends) and I felt the deep connection, deep love, and deep remembrance of their presence and having lived in this way before – I knew that going at it alone was an uphill battle, the longest way home.
“Witches” were burned at the stake. Women – and their wisdom teachings — were erased from history books mostly focused on warlords and kings (and sometimes their wives or daughters) unless they were undeniable figureheads in an otherwise patriarchal culture. And did anyone guide us as little girls on how to be together, to protect each other, and to honor one another in true sisterhood? Or, have the hallmarks of childhood as a girl been cliques, gossip, and bullying?
More rage. Missed opportunities over and over again for divine feminine wisdom to shine.
Breathing. Breathing. Breathing through it.
Sisterhood was and is the structure within which we grow our sovereignty and power. Sisterhood helps us deepen our relationships as women as we simultaneously access, explore and define our spiritual selves. How is this different from friendship? There are subtle and not-so-subtle distinctions:
- Sisterhood, for me, traverses many lifetimes – to the point to where we can literally remember in our hearts that we have been together before. (Friendship happens in this lifetime.)
- Sisterhood, for me, is spiritually based. (Most friendships are primarily socially based, and can also be spiritually based.)
- Sisterhood, for me, allows us to remember our divine feminine essence in union. (Friendship allows us to be girls together.)
- In sisterhood, for me, we witness each other, hold space, and offer council. (In friendship, we listen and provide opinions and advice.)
- In sisterhood, for me, we unpack and rewrite our mythic stories. (In friendship, we talk about our daily happenings and dramas.)
- With my sisters, for me, I sit in empty, quiet presence and do sacred activities. (With my friends, I chill and do social activities.)
- In sisterhood, for me, we align in resonant frequency to raise the vibration on the planet. We primarily connect energetically and emotionally to do so. (In friendship, we connect primarily mentally and emotionally, and are not necessarily concerned about planetary vibrations!)
I love and cherish my friends. I love and cherish my sisters.
As I hold this wound of the lost sisterhood within me, I release all anger and disappointment. And with my intention, I transmute the wound of dis-empowerment — feeling lonely, unsafe and left behind — into the gift of the unconditional support of sisterhood as I sit on my sovereign throne.
So be it, so be it, so be it!!!