growing out of the darkness

growing out of the darkness

 
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Here is a truth I have come to know for myself:

Awakening is a pretty word for a messy experience. Because awakening, in its earliest days, is really a descent. It is plummeting into your deepest, darkest, softest places, the places where you are most vulnerable, and realizing you do not feel safe. It is recognizing that things are no longer okay being how they've always been. It is sliding into the places where you ache and ache and ache because all is not, as you once believed, well.

But awakening is also the stirring. The fortifying. The deep, sacred, sincere acknowledging. The recognition and reclamation. The reaching out, the growing, the rising from the darkness into new light/life.

Here is another truth I have witnessed:

There are too many women who are breaking down, down, down and never giving themselves permission to begin to break through. Instead? They entrench. They wallow. They resign themselves to the darkness.

For these women, the darkness becomes their comfort zone. They think that by suffering longer, by enduring more, somehow they are ... well, I don't really know. Earning a more glorious reward? But the question I find myself asking then is: What reward is there in — willfully, needlessly, stubbornly — choosing to feel bad?

Shadow work has its place. But it is not THE place. Shadow work is where we till the soil, get our hands on our own landscape, ground into our own realness, and plant the seeds for new growth.

Are you planting seeds? Are you asking questions? Are you taking yourself seriously? Are you giving yourself room to discover new things about yourself, to know yourself?

Or are you using your darkness as an excuse, as self-fulfilling prophecy, as evidence of the story you are telling yourself that you are broken, damaged, that there is something wrong with you, that no one understands you? Is that what you want to believe? Is that how you want to feel?

You know what it feels like to experience the dark. Now let yourself have an experience of reaching out of the darkness. You know how. I'll give you a hint:

Ask deeper. Ask truer.

it's my way

it's my way

 
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Before I began to wake up, I thought I knew what my way was. I thought I knew myself. I thought I was this independent person, this hidden rebel, this free spirit. I thought I was sooo above the societal expectations and the herd mentality and the pop culture influences.

Waking up, for me, meant having to face some harsh realities about myself, number one being I genuinely had no idea what I was 'allowed' to like and not like as a modern woman. Translation: I had no idea how I actually felt about anything important.

I had bought into the biggest lie of all: I thought I was being myself because of the few little socially-acceptable quirks I gave myself permission to express, and all the while … not only was I following the script to the letter, I was totally emotionally invested in it.

So when I got married to my fella, my catalyst blind-sided me. I had thought marriage would save me. Not literally, of course — emotionally.

I thought marriage would validate our relationship somehow, would make me feel secure for the first time in my life, would finally make me feel like an adult, a woman, a queen in her own castle. But I was just a little girl in psychological rags trying to write herself into an inherited idea of happily-ever-after.

(What I have since learned: only patriarchy sees marriage as this kind of 'ultimate fulfillment' for a woman.)

I was finally facing the fact that I had never learned to be okay with myself, to trust myself, to actually really seriously know myself, much less how to be myself. And that meant I had to start breaking down all the things I thought I'd thought ... and believed and known and valued and felt ... and begin look to myself as a woman whose own feelings provide knowing, whose knowing provides experience, and whose experience is v a l i d.

Do you trust yourself? Do you know yourself? Do you see and acknowledge and embody and experience yourself? You can, you know. You don't need anyone's permission or validation.

Trust. Yourself.

That is our way.

instinct-injured women

Instinct-Injured Women

 
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Too much domestication breeds out strong and basic impulses to play, relate, cope, rove, commune, and so forth. When a woman agrees to become too “well-bred” her instincts for these impulses drop down into her darkest unconscious … She is said then to be instinct-injured.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Women Who Run With the Wolves

 

many women are instinct-injured.
they literally cannot see that things can be any different.

it’s easy to feel angry at them.
and it’s easy to want to expect ‘better’ of them.

but we will never reach them with anger, blame, or shame.
some, we will simply never reach. ever.
(that‘s a bitter pill to swallow.)

i feel such grief for women.
in so many ways, we are in such an unwinnable situation.
we’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.

i feel such compassion for these women.
for many, it’s a matter of emotional survival.
a matter of love, approval, security.
this f—ed up system has stockholm sydromed them.

and then there’s the issue of ...
no woman is obligated to think how i think
or believe what i believe.
if i want this freedom, i have to allow it in others, too.

most of all ...
women have to stop blaming women.
we, most of us, so many of us ...
are doing the best we can.

i see you doing the best you can.
keep doing your own work.
that’s all any of us can do.

♥︎
 

See Also: book: "Women Who Run With the Wolves"
writer: Clarissa Pinkola Estes

would you like to read "a woman's worth" with me?

Would you like to read A Woman's Worth with me?

 
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You might know I treat reading as an important part of my awakening practice. I just finished up a book at Thanksgiving and have been thinking about what my next read will be. With the holiday season upon us, I knew I wanted to choose something that would be a fairly easy read, something quick and uplifting. So ...

I’ll be reading A Woman’s Worth by Marianne Williamson, and thought I’d invite you to read along with me!

I'll be sending an email each week with some thoughts, questions, and other prompts for reflection as we read together through the month of December. This will be super low-key: no reading schedule, no homework, and definitely no such thing as being 'behind' with this — just an intention to engage with our beliefs about womanhood on a deeper level.

If you’d like to read A Woman’s Worth along with me this month, sign up below. And then ... find yourself a copy! You can find the book at Amazon SmileBarnes & NobleGoogle Books — or maybe even your local library.

 
 

NOTE: Signing up for December's read-along emails will also subscribe you to other regular letters from me as well.

 

Tagged: Read-Along

See Also: book: "A Woman's Worth"

things I wish I could go back and tell myself

Things I Wish I Could Go Back and Tell Myself
at the Start of This Journey

 
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Dear Awakening Woman,

You are seeking, searching, striving for answers to a question about what womanhood is, what it means, what it looks and feels like when a woman is ‘natural’ — unrestrained and unprocessed by patriarchy. For all intents and purposes, these answers you seek do not exist. There are no answers to find. There are only answers to live.

You will feel outraged, betrayed, foolish for being so naive. You will learn things that will blow your mind and crush your spirit. You will wonder how there is any way to change patterns that have thousands of years of heft behind them. You will sometimes wish you could unknow what you have come to be aware of, that you could unawaken from the world you now see.

My love, I wish I could tell you that the way out is through, but the truth is: there is no ‘out.’ This is the culture we have inherited and for better or worse the world we live in, so please, please, please just do your best to be here in it. To be present for it. To be engaged with it.

Know, too, that your ‘best’ will look different on different days. Give yourself the grace to acknowledge yourself for doing your best even when it doesn’t feel like enough, and give yourself the motivation to do better when you know you haven’t leaned in as much as you could. Be gentle, but be fierce.

If I were given the opportunity to bring you forward in time, to skip the coming years and arrive here where I am now, I hope you can understand why I wouldn't take it. I wouldn't, for anything in the world, spare you the opportunity you have now to learn everything you will exactly the way I did: one day, one shock, one heartbreak, one fluttering open of the eyes at a time.

Above all, in the moments when you feel ten thousand miles and at least a few dimensional planes away from the nearest woman, remember that while the way you are experiencing your awakening is unique, the fact that you are awakening is not.

You are not alone. Far from it. You are in such good company.

awakening without falling apart

Awakening Without Falling Apart

 
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Can we experience new catalysts, go through new periods of ‘waking up’, without sabotaging other parts of our lives, without neglecting them or letting them fall apart or be forgotten?
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Maybe you know how to do this. Me? I struggle with it. And I am self-aware enough (now) to be able to recognize the pattern: I experience something that feels Big (capital B) and then I go into a period of withdrawal into myself and away from ‘out there’ while I am processing it.
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It’s so funny … Less than a week after opening the doors to a new community — which is founded on the intention of simultaneously normalizing the experience of awakening AND the fact that no woman’s awakening(s) look the same as any other woman’s — I had a whole new experience of awakening that left me feeling … not normal and very much ‘by myself’ all over again.
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It started as a casual comment to my husband about a sexist moment in a stupid movie. And then it became a wave of thoughts + feelings that had been on my mind and on my heart, growing stronger and weighing more + more heavily as they went unexpressed over time. Outrage, sadness, confusion, conviction …
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I woke up the next morning with an EPIC vulnerability hangover and more new questions + thoughts to process. I had brought new things to the surface and I had a very heavy sense of fatigue knowing what I was in for, knowing I was going to have to start sorting through all of these new confessions + revelations, because now at least I’ve been through it before to know how hard it is. Because it is hard. This work takes courage. It is never-ending.
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I believe, I really do, that there is a way to allow our catalysts to change us, to affect us, to reprioritize things for us AND not to let our lives (or ourselves) fall apart while that changing + affecting + reprioritizing happens. But I’ll be honest: I haven’t figured it out yet. I’ll keep trying, though.

Because the work is to keep doing the work.