By guest blogger, Joey Walters.
“And then the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom…” Anais Nin
Blossoming requires us to open. It’s an act of courage to open to feeling our vulnerability, to receiving, to re-Sourcing and to flourishing in our potential.
I have come to see from my own experience and that of the many women I’ve had the privilege to mentor, that our capacity to ‘hold space’ for ourselves; to allow ourselves to fully sense and feel what’s present, is one of the primary ways our feminine power has been suppressed. It shows up as dissociation from our bodies, as a sense of disconnection from nature and ultimately in the mistrust of our intuitive guidance and wisdom. Perhaps the greatest irony for us as women, is that we have learned to override our own needs for well-being and lost touch with our essential feminine capacity to receive the deep re-Sourcing we need to sustain ourselves, as we continue to birth and sustain life around us.
I believe that true healing of this ‘wounding of the feminine’ (I.e. a sense of disconnection from the Earth and from the Source of life itself) is where our power to create real change lies
What’s in the way, is the way. We need to ‘hold space’ for the Great Inner Turning.
Our ‘wounding’ is not a problem in itself; it’s a doorway to our power. When we learn how to reclaim our innate capacity to feel and witness our pain with love, we can begin to see and relate, with greater empathy, to what is happening in the world around us. This is one of the greatest leverage points we have in responding wisely to our challenged, climate changing world. It’s the shift from reactivity which repeats the past, to response-ability, which generates a new future.
One of the most significant, yet unseen challenges we face in society as a whole, is that we have become entrenched in a cultural malaise of ‘resistance’ to feeling and witnessing what is truly present ~ within and without. We’ve become addicted to whatever helps us to avoid what we don’t want to acknowledge. Though this apparent denial or ‘numbing’ of difficult emotions is at one level personal, we can also see it through a cultural lens, as a collective suppression of the fear, rage, shame and grief we have been carrying for generations. We tend to either avoid feeling these ‘difficult’ emotions or become overwhelmed and victimised by them, projecting blame (and consequently our power) onto others. We hold some feelings acceptable and reject others as shameful. We have forgotten how to hold witnessing, honouring, unconditional space for all our emotions ~ for the totality of our human experience.
We know that, at some point, this ‘dissociation’ and splitting from our wholeness, was an intelligent survival response to trauma that the nervous system couldn’t handle. However, continuing to skip over this pain, is a flawed long term strategy as it also keeps us from accessing our joy, our inspired creative guidance, our love and our ability to attune to one another – all the essential ingredients needed to co-create the future we want for our Grandchildren.
Many women are feeling a powerful awakening out of this collective trance. It often begins as a deep yearning to contribute our feminine wisdom and gifts ~ a call to feminine leadership. Yet as we open to feel and act on our heart’s desire, the unresolved personal and intergenerational trauma that has been handed down, perhaps, through many generations, naturally begins to surface for healing.
Our conditioned response to this emotional turbulence is to treat it as resistance that we must push past or get rid of; a strategy that continues to exile the very parts of us that need to be loved and included, keeping us enslaved to repeating cycles of reactivity. However, if we embrace the principle ‘what’s in the way is the way’, we’re given permission to meet our difficult emotions and their narratives with awareness and care, so they can be safely felt, acknowledged and integrated. In doing so, we’re not just healing ourselves and our past, we’re restoring the natural flow of love and wisdom from our ancestors, which is our birthright. We’re restoring our capacity to respond whole-heartedly to our environment with integrity, love and inspired decision making about our future.
Climate change needs culture change. Culture change starts from within.
This rigorous inner training to ‘hold ourselves with love’, is a necessary feature of the beautiful Great Turning we are in – a critical moment in history where the collective bud of humanity is awakening to the choice we have to blossom together.
Holding a loving, respectful and accepting space for ourselves is the birthplace of culture change. It’s the essential foundation needed if we are to foster an intelligent culture of compassion and respect for humanity and for the Earth.
Holding ourselves this way, gives us access to a deeper field of wisdom and love that enables us to hold a generative space for others to discover their wholeness. Imagine what it would be like if we created a ‘field of relationship’ in which we could all express our authentic voices and be shamelessly present with our vulnerability (and therefore our power) as a natural part of our culture? What might we be able to co-create in that environment?
The Two Sacred Laws,* ‘All things are born of women’ and ‘No law shall be passed that will harm the children’, remind us of this innate quality of feminine presence; our capacity to hold the sacred birthing space in which life within us and around us can truly blossom.
It’s taken me years to learn how to welcome my darker moments with love; how to be present with and accept the messiness of being human. I’ve needed courage to see the ways that I have devalued and suppressed my power as a woman, and to hold space for the fear, rage and grief of the unspoken feminine in me.
My journey has taught me that feminine leadership is as much about tending to the courageous inner journey of our blossoming as it is the action we take to make a difference. The two cannot be separated. Each time I take a step in my leadership which requires me to be more visible, I find myself being stalled by a younger, more vulnerable part of me that doesn’t feel safe being seen.
This isn’t just my story. It’s the collective story of woman ~ our challenge to be seen in our vulnerability; to speak up about something we care deeply about; to hold firm boundaries; to share our anger and shame; to lovingly challenge behaviour that’s out of integrity ~ these are all ways of being authentically visible that can be terrifying if we haven’t learned to embrace the part of us that’s carrying fear from the past.
We don’t have to learn to do this alone. In fact, we can’t.
None of us can blossom alone. We need a c ircle of midwives, like our ancestors had…
In the last 15 years, I’ve learned how essential it is for women to share their experience together. Knowing we are not alone gives us the strength and courage to keep moving forward. But more importantly, my experience over many years that I’ve been holding Women’s Circles, has lead me to a deeper understanding of the power of being seen in a safe, sacred container.
In these circles, we are recreating an affirming culture of love and respect in which women can show up in their authentic power, which necessarily includes vulnerability. Being seen, witnessed and welcomed in this way is profoundly healing, imprinting a new experience of being received, just as we are, with love and non-judgement. This ‘holding field’ of the feminine, was likely missing from our early experiences, as it has been eroded and devalued in our culture over many generations. Bringing that archetypal Mother energy into the Circle creates a warm incubator for the emerging Feminine Leader in each of us; for the bud that needs tender nurturing and resourcing as it opens and births itself into life. It teaches us how to re-create that incubator within ourselves.
The truth is that none of us can heal our wounds of separation alone. In this time of The Great Turning, we need one another to hold, witness and validate both the pain and the beauty we are experiencing. We need a circle of ‘midwives’ to help us to trust our feminine wisdom and find the courage to express it though our leadership. Perhaps this is the wisdom of interdependence that our ancestors have been whispering to us in our dreams.
Earth Wisdom Teacher, Ohki SImine Forest said: In re-creating the women’s clans, the mother’s clans, we’ll be able to stand for what is right, not isolated as we have been for thousands of years. In solidarity to one another, this journey will be less painful. For it’s together, in our women circles, that we’ll find the way to lead powerfully along side with men.’
If can we receive this message from our Grandmothers to re-create our Women’s Circles, we can learn how to hold this nourishing, birthing space for ourselves and for one another. We can re-member, together, the Sacred container that each one of us carries and bring the power of our womanhood not just back into our own lives but back into our lineage and forward into our future.
As we hear the Earth’s call for balance and envision the future ‘climate’ we want to create for our Grandchildren, perhaps, our primary role as Feminine Leaders is to weave our deepest respect for the Sacredness of all life back into our culture. If we can become midwives for The Great Inner Turning of consciousness taking place perhaps, hand in hand with our brothers, we can hold the Sacred space needed for us to move through the pain of this great birthing of interdependence, with love and trust.
Now is ‘The time of the Grandmothers’. For the sake of our grandchildren and our beautiful planet, let’s embrace it together.
* The Two Sacred Laws were held by a lineage of indigenous Earth Wisdom Teachings (originating in Mexico and then spreading through North America) known as ‘The Origin Teachings of the Delicate Lodge.’
Joey Walters is the Founder of Awakening Feminine Leaders (http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/). Her work brings nature~based wisdom teachings to contemporary leadership creating a soulful, authentic pathway that allows Feminine Leadership to emerge. She is a gifted mentor and Circle Teacher, fostering women’s Wisdom Circles that awaken personal and collective transformation. Joey is completing her first book based on her successful international series “A Call to Stand.” She will lead a circle at CCC19 to explore the leadership role of women in response to climate change.
Joey, Deborah Jay-Lewin, Margaret Elphinstone and Stephanie Mines, all of whom are involved in CCC19 will speak at a TEDx Findhorn event in the Universal Hall, Findhorn on October 5th, 2017 (See http://tedxfindhorn.com/ for more details).
Joey is also hosting The Women’s Council (http://awakeningfeminineleaders.com/council/), a retreat to be held at Newbold House, near Findhorn, on October 6th-8th, 2017, as a forum for women to draw on their collective feminine wisdom and re-Source their leadership at this challenging time of The Great Turning.