I saw a man a few months ago whom I haven’t seen in about 10 years.
It was significant to me because he was one of the first people who helped me realise the power of my 'being'.
(Even if the first thing I did with that power was shut it down).
He was one of the first men ever that I learnt to ‘read’ that he wanted to kiss me. It was in his eyes, in his body movements, in his face. He didn’t say anything, but I knew.
That day, instead of celebrating the fact that a guy wanted to kiss me, I moved very, very fast out of the way and out of the situation.
Instead of wowing the fact that my 'being' - not doing anything, just being myself - inspired a guy to want to show me affection and love, I learnt to shame myself.
I shamed myself for the thought I had that I must have ‘given him some kind of signal’ which meant he would do that. (I didn’t ‘do’ anything).
I was fearful of having led him on.
I was fearful he would be angry (because I didn’t want to go out with him).
I was fearful that I would be labelled as frigid or manipulative.
I would spend subsequent years censoring my actions and my speech (and my texts) to ensure I could never be accused of starting anything... so no one could say it was my fault.
Instead of learning how to verbalise what I did and didn’t want - using my voice - my ‘yes’ and ‘no’ as I meant them and as I experienced the feeling in the moment (whilst also checking in with my brain), there began the great disconnect between body, mind and soul.
Patriarchy and religion require a woman to negate her bodily feeling and experience in favour of belief in spiritual ideas of a (male, ‘sky’) deity’s authority over the physical body that we inhabit.
How a woman is feeling or experiencing herself is irrelevant in the eyes of the patriarchy. Feelings and emotions, they say, are dangerous.
The body cannot be trusted, they say.
She therefore learns how to suppress the instincts and signals of her body in order to focus solely on the mind.
She will even take on this negation herself, in order to self-regulate and self-censor according to the rules she has been given. These rules have (usually) been created by men who have a different physical set up and no experience of being a woman.
She may have been taught that bodily expression and function is dirty, sinful and unclean. That her body can ‘lead a man astray’. That her body is responsible for ‘mistakes’ made by other people.
She learns therefore that her body is dangerous and not to be trusted.
She then defaults to only ‘thinking things through’ rather than using the soul’s prompts through her body as a guide and the mind as the support. Without this partnership (maybe we could even call it a ‘trinitarian structure’ 😂) - the soul‘s voice - the expression of the earth, the sacred, the joyous, the spirit, is crushed, lost underneath all the noise.
Please note, I do not mean ‘make feelings into facts’. But a woman in touch with her body has within her a highly sensitive communication system - which will lightly send all kind of signals to her... in a way that only she knows and understands.
But not for a woman who has been abused under the patriarchy.
She restricts herself in order to avoid confrontation. Lays low, assuming the fault is hers.
She will hold herself back, withholding authentic self expression because she’s afraid of punishment.
She takes a ‘mistake‘ by someone else as her own wrong-doing. She must have 'misread' the situation and couldn’t get out of it.
She silences her own cry of anguish arising from that scene because she knows there is danger.
There is danger, that, if she objects, she will be silenced further: the menacing threat of the aggressor, whose slave dares question his actions.
Not any more.
For a woman in alignment with herself, the body is her sensory guide. When she listens to the cry of her womb, the warming of her heart, the flutter of excitement and pleasure, the deep, calm stillness of her bodily knowing, she knows what to do.
She then moves in accordance with her logic, using her mind to put the right structure in place for that guidance to play out.
And she moves, and it’s magical.
When people, religions, leaders, men - and the women who subscribe to the patriarchal ways, deny you the wisdom of your body, don’t listen.
When they say it’s not relevant or you’re wrong or the body is dangerous, check whether they are a man, or subscribe to the 'wounded masculine' approach
Or whether they have a male (wounded masculine) perspective (most Western religions).
We have been taught THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE of what we need.
The complete opposite.
Our body wisdom tells us exactly what we need to know.
Whether we trust that person, or that one.
My perspectives: the church abuses through the teaching of mental patterns that do not allow for freedom of expression.
I learnt, or rather, what the church taught me, damaged my relationship between me and my pelvis. Me and my womb.
Me and my sexuality.
My pelvis is mine. Not theirs. But they treated it like theirs.
The men and women who taught me this, taught me this on the basis of the bible, a book which I learnt we must take "on faith" as the infallible word of god (or bits of it anyway 😉).
It told me - threatened me with death (hell)- that my body was only available for sexual pleasure in a heterosexual marriage. And that if I did not get married, my sexual activity should be nil.
Oh, and I should consider that a gift.
To deny a normal, natural function of your body. The bodily function that creates life!
The denial of pleasure.
The denial of expression.
The denial of giving joy to self and another.
The denial of experience of sacred, physical intimacy.
In other words, the underlying message is:
“If you don’t find a man who wants to marry you, you don’t get to have that experience.” (and note, this particular approach assumed choice of the man, rather than a mutual experience of creation of partnership).
I taught myself to deny myself.
I self-censored. I watched what I read and wore and who I dated.
It’s taught as protection from dangerous, 'sinful' men (I understood this to be any man who wasn't a committed christian).
My experience is that easiest way a woman can honour herself is through:
1) learning to tune into her intuition
2) leaning into empowered sisterhood and
3) learning to use her voice.
Because then she gets to CHOOSE what she wears (and it may be very 'modest' but it doesn't HAVE to be).
She gets to CHOOSE which man (or woman) feels good to her.
She gets to CHOOSE how she expresses her sexuality, her sensuality and how she lives her life.
And she gets to voice her experience, her desires and her needs and the world is better served.