Diving Into Feminine Darkness: An Unexpected Invitation During Quarantine
This past week I had been feeling so much pain and suffering. Feeling really depressed and wanting external validation and longing for tender loving care and consideration. I trembled at the thought of what would happen if I were to reveal how vulnerable I feel right now. Being seen in my vulnerability has been an especially delicate balance because of the nature of the work I do — my perception of the work I do with people. I experienced my thoughts, about what ‘who I am’ should look like, confining and imprisoning me. Psychologically and spiritually quarantined.
I am a mother. My life consists primarily of meeting the needs of my children, and all the tangential time-consuming tasks related to their well-being. During the time I carve out for myself I focus on continuing my growth as an embodied spirit. For over a decade, I have been working with the themes of Trust and Control — and how these pertain to both my inner world and my relationships.
Years later, I am still working with Trust and letting go of Control — even after studying and becoming a practicing minister, psychospiritual therapist, womb awakening mentor/priestess/facilitator, mindfulness meditation teacher, and essentially being a perpetual student of mind and body and spirit. All of these defining descriptions about who I am do not really matter. Except that they impose limits on the limitless possibilities of being and becoming me — as long as I think they do.
An evolutionary shift out of this powerful spiraling downward journey in quarantine occurred as I chose to move toward pain and suffering, and be seen by friends in my community and online circles. I dove in, felt it all, surrendered to the Divine Feminine, removed my mask, embraced my self, and then I felt better. This is what happens when we face the monster rearing its ugly head (there is so much judgement and fear in that well-known metaphor): the monster and the fear are transformed and transmuted. No longer viscerally frightened about fully being seen, here I am and this is my experience…
I had a dream that preceded these feelings. In it and upon waking, I laughed at myself, my inner voice saying, I am a “disaster”. But now that word is reverberating negatively inside of my being. “I am a disaster”… Living through a time of disaster such as this COVID-19 crisis, I am beginning to identify the current “other” within me. I can clearly see all that I name out in the world as a disaster mirrored within my psyche. Intimately familiar with these subtle inner processes, I am aware of being on the precipice of transformation. It always feels most dangerous and frightening, as I look into the depths of the gaping abyss dizzyingly rising up to meet me, just before that expansive feeling of growth and renewal cycle around again. Another big layer of ego and conditioning getting ready to dissolve and be shed feels like hell.
Observing my thoughts over the years, I’ve identified so many self judgements, about natural imperfections, about my intelligence, about my ability. All the things that were criticized during my upbringing in the name of helping me be better. Without the usual interruptions and noise of the world as I remain quarantined at home, I have had time to do more mindfulness practices and gardening. What I am free-falling toward in the absence of external distractions? As I look and listen closely to the thoughts and noise within (and tend to the soil) what surfaced from the depths within me now is the layer of “I will never be good enough”. I want to take this heavy cloak off immediately but it’s wet and heavy and forces me to be with it, to know it, feel its pain and listen to what it has to say. At first, even though I am doing so many beneficial, productive and healing activities while being supportive to my family, connecting with the earth and meditation practices, I feel completely defeated under its burdensome weight.
I guess usually I have a certain amount of energy dedicated to burning through this dense ego energy fabric. That fire burned in the way it has to help me get to where I am in life this far, but it has also been an effect of my upbringing. The drive to excel itself has been cloaking limitless resources of energy available to this body to create in this existence. This current experience has brought me face-to-face with the root of suffering, the heavy ball and chain whose enduring existence under my skin I can’t ignore. In the moments (days) of this current resistance, it feels so painful. If I had felt the poignant depth of this pain at the root of which I spent my younger life numbing and avoiding (seeking pleasure, opting out of pain through cavorting, getting high and having sex — I’m sorry, please forgive me, I love you, thank you), I might never have chosen to have kids who now must endure their mother revisiting hellfire. This is how blue I felt in that moment. I know it’s dark. This is my darkest shadow. I also know from experience and training alchemy transmutes this energy into gold.
I decide to embrace even this part of myself, and dare to be seen fully in this vulnerability, this naked aspect of my personal humanity. Can I be fully myself and not be judged? No, I don’t think so, the world of people being as we are. Am I able to surrender to the unconditional love of the divine within me and the universe? Yes. Might I feel this unwaveringly? I don’t know. Not yet. Maybe never. Probably it will always be in ebbs and flows of natural cycles. Even if I become fully self-realized in this lifetime? I don’t know yet. But this exposure is part of the process of shedding the constraints of who I think I am.
This is the deepest dive I’ve taken in almost a decade. I am grateful for the hidden gift in this diminishment of distracting errands to be able to sit this deeply within the being of my personhood. I am grateful for the experience. I am grateful for the friends and community I am blessed with to hold and witness me in my HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) human three-dimensional cycles of joy and pain.
I am removing the final mask. I share it publicly to reveal the naked truth of our shared humanity. Here I am, mothering myself. Validating myself because I know I will not find what I seek “out there” anywhere (every time I feel that longing to seek it from another, I stop myself knowing the answer rests within me). Letting go of control of how I am perceived, I begin trusting I will love myself unconditionally even with or without these protective layers that distract me from my complete well-being. To be well is to have all inner parts of my psyche be in alignment with myself, true to the marrow of my bones and essence of my soul. These layers are the external raiments put upon me by societal expectations of what I should be resulting in polished masks covering all of who I am. As with theater and spiritual and religious rituals and customs, some masks may even serve to energize an archetypal aspect of myself but they, too, are not the whole of consciousness. And some of these masks do not belong to any part of me or anything which serves life in the multi-verse. The “I am not good enough” does not belong to the truth of my soul. “There is not a bit of truth in it” as my teacher, Julie Winters has quoted. It has become a mesmerizing illusion of someone else’s perception and value judgment which I began to believe about my selfhood.
In being revealed I am liberated of the weight of that heavy wet cloak of illusion. An unexpected gift of this unexpected invitation to explore the depths of my psyche has been a deeper connection to my womb. She is showing me even more ways she has not had her needs met by my distance. I am learning to listen, again, with new ears. I sense new nuances of her expression within me. She is happy to be removing these shackles. She wants to dance naked in the woods and sing and laugh and cry out to the open sky and embrace trees. For now, I will share this experience, from my vulnerable womb in quarantine.
In the scope of the world, I am one of the fortunate and blessed, privileged in my comfort and health and circumstances. As an empath, I cannot help but feel the pain and suffering in the world move through me — and with the guidance and reminder of my teacher I have made it a practice to transmute this heavy energy into light. My own, and that of others in the world. I take it in through the chambers of my heart and release it as flowers, seeds and light back out through the fourth chamber of my heart into the world.