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Archive for October, 2016

When I first heard the infamous Trump tape I felt a self protective recoil. Even though the intended threat had long passed through time and space it viscerally sent me shrinking in terror to a deep, dark hiding place of shame. My personal evolution is an ongoing recovery of the Feminine. As each woman adds her voice and shares her story the power of the collective Feminine grows. This excerpt from the forthcoming “A Feminine Path to Enlightenment” speaks to the national conversation currently taking place on the sexual violation of women.

These are times of great evolutionary change as we move from a pervasive patriarch dominating our consciousness to a remembering of the force of our feminine. Balance of our feminine and masculine nature is fundamental to bring balance to the planet on which we live.

This domination has taken deep root in our psyche and is obvious when we see the rights of women publicly thwarted the world over through culture, religion, politics and law. Yet for those of us who may believe we are liberated from oppression, this insidious weight shackles the voice of our feminine in covert shadows beyond the bounds of our own awareness.

I did not expect the weight of this oppression to reveal itself while making love to a man I trusted. After a climax of intense pleasure an ache to feel my lover deep inside was met with his command that he was going to make me wait for him. This made me want him even more.

Slowly he began to enter and once inside he could not hold back from thrusting deeper. He seemed precipitously close to getting off. My throat choked in disappointment. He said he was going to wait. Now I wasn’t so sure. I numbed my heart and silently waited for him to come. He pulled out, delaying his own gratification, to let me know I was worth waiting for.

His unexpected action seemed to release eons of emotions. What began to crystallize through my tears was a feeling of being used by men for their own satisfaction. His act of pulling out meant I was more than a body to gratify his physical urgency. It was a deep bow to the Goddess in a way I had never felt before.

This awareness of being used by men resided deep within me as a collective knowing. Somewhere in our cellular memory a woman knows what it feels like to be used, manipulated, oppressed or violated, whether it is ripe in her consciousness or not. And what was more painful than being used was what lay beneath.

For in order to be used I had to deem myself worthless. My needs held less value than the love or security of a man. The voice of my own feminine held less power than that of the masculine. To sacrifice our soul for a misaligned belief is painful. The revelation in my bedroom seemed to open the doorway for another feminine voice to unleash itself a few days later.

A patient I worked with had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). After being hit with a second bout of pneumonia I had her sit forward, propped on pillows to work the muscles in and around her shoulders stressed by the very act of breathing.

“Why does this pain on the left side of my neck nag me all the time?” she asked.

She had no idea what a big question she was asking. I could feel her bitter heart twisted in pain. I knew much of her pain had to do with the relationship of her own feminine and masculine energies. How could I language what I felt in order to answer her question? At 68 years old what was she ready to “see”?

“Has there ever been a man in your life you felt you could completely count on?” I asked her.

“Never. I have felt more like a slave.”

She began to recount stories of relationships, including one marriage, that felt more like prison sentences than partnerships.

“Nobody taught me anything about life. When I got married I didn’t know what to expect. I had no idea sex was part of it. I didn’t even know how you got pregnant. I had to figure everything out myself.

Every man I was ever with wanted me to wake up at 5 am to make coffee and get his breakfast ready. I was never allowed to sleep in. While he relaxed it was my job to clean up. Every meal was like this. Me fixing the food. Waiting on him. Cleaning up while he rested. I wasn’t allowed to watch television. I could never do anything I wanted to do. Every day I had work to do. I had to paint, fix up the house, keep everything clean. One man had a camper he used for hunting. I would not be allowed out until I cleaned up the whole thing for him. Blow jobs were expected whenever he wanted them. Sex always made me feel dirty.

I still think about relationships. I would like to have someone to be affectionate with but I have gotten so bitter. It’s just not worth it. When I see young women catering to men I tell them to stand up for themselves. I try to help them.”

Not every situation is so extreme. And women the world over are subjected to much deeper abuse and oppression. Whatever the level of suffering, whether obvious or hidden, the stories unravel to the same thread of powerlessness. It insidiously weaves the collective matrix of the feminine through personal threads of oppression. How the feminine has been held within us is how we have held the collective feminine around us. We are part of, therefore, cannot be separate from, this collective wounding.

I was not sure what would happen when I opened this conversation yet I stood in awe at her understanding and awareness. I honored her courage to share and her strength to endure. For the first time she felt heard.

There is much more work to be done but from what I see we are waking up I told her. Every time you stand up for yourself you are influencing your circle of the world to wake up.

She beat herself up for not seeing things sooner. I don’t know if we were ready for this conversation sooner but one thing is certain. We are ready now.

Of course the answer does not lie in a bitter heart. The solution is not to cut yourself off from relationships to save yourself from pain. She knows the work is in learning to love herself.

She learned this she said from watching TV.

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If you know me or follow my blog you might remember I was lost on a mountain last year with my dog Jethro. Oddly enough, through that formidable ordeal, there was never a moment of fear. What I am terrified of though are my feelings, the intimate ones that ache when hurt, the tender ones that fear rejection.

Thirty years ago I bent backward over a bioenergetic stool in the Upper East side office of Alexander Lowen. Lowen was a pioneer in body mind psychotherapy and the father of Bioenergetics. He instructed me to breathe. A spontaneous convulsion of sobs rocked my body. He summed up my condition with this phrase.

You are scared to death. 

I had no idea what he was talking about. I never felt afraid. As a matter of fact, before the insurgent sobbing, I was numb to feeling anything in my body. I scoffed at his diagnosis.

Somehow he saw, deep in the shadows, a little one buried in fear. One who believed she would never be loved. This is the bedrock I have built my life upon, a misguided truth that I am not loveable. A truth born from voices outside that shamed my feelings into submission until the outside voices became my own.

Yes I am scared to death. Not the specific kind of fear that is scared of snakes or heights or small, dark spaces but a nameless fear that has seeped into every cell, tightened every muscle and twisted every thought in a relentless drive to find security.

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There is a shape that fear has. Fear contracts us to the smallest denomination of ourself so we cannot be seen. Fear builds a fortress of protection around our heart through a contortion of muscles that keeps pain out and insures nothing gets in.

Somewhere inside another voice whispers. One too faint to hear beneath the armor. It is the voice that brings my head to the floor each morning in my practice of yoga. A voice that can only be heard once the armor melts.

Yoga changes the shape of fear. Little by little, ancient tensions bound in bone and sinew lose their grip. Truth is found when the armor cracks. Demons hiding in darkness tumble awkwardly through an opening leaving us existentially naked in the dawning light of truth.

Yoga opens our most vulnerable heart in a deepening dance between the retreat in to darkness and the revelation in to light. Yoga changes the shape of our heart. A shape that learns to let the love in.

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