I am an insatiable learner. I don’t do memes or news bites. I have to read articles, do research and listen to really good investigative journalism like Joshua Johnson on NPR’s 1A, go deep with the spiritual inquiry offered by Rev angel Kyodo Williams, Adrianne Maree Brown and other Wisdom teachers of liberation and justice.
I am always in an ongoing Continuing Education of some sort. I hold the bar high for myself as someone who teaches and facilitates for a living to both broaden and deepen my own knowledge and my own inquiry into life.
That being said, so much of the learning I engage in as a yoga teacher and Healing Arts Practitioner focuses on where information lands in the body. What does it feel like in my body to do anti racist work as a white person? How can I learn to sit with discomfort so I can invite awareness of where my own shit shows up and I can face it without defensiveness, fragility and guilt? Or at least work through that shit without shutting down and turning away from this truly necessary work.
So, whatever the teachings, the learnings, the self inquiry, I have worked to cultivate the habit of awareness of sensation in the body as a result of a stimulus, to understand this physiological process and the nature of the thoughts and beliefs associated with the felt sense in the body.
I have this practice of learning and living through my body rather than exclusively the head. This felt sense in the body doesn’t betray me but conveys a deep and embodied wisdom that goes way beyond what I intellectually know in my mind.
So that brings me to my uterus.
I am 52 years old and my body is taking it’s own sweet time in moving towards The Wisdom Years. I am at this point, very curious and open to this transformation and energetically channeling the energy from my cycles that are slowing down into Wisdom, Intuition and Fierce Compassion.
There is way more to say on menopause and I will eagerly offer you thoughts and words on this transition but want to convey what my uterus wants to share right now.
She has spoken! (of course my uterus is female!). please listen to what she has to say to all of us.
My cycles are unpredictable. I skip months at a time only to have a period show up when my uterus still wants to shed and bleed.
I had not had a cycle for 3 months. I was co leading a retreat in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia in September and felt my cycle the week before although it never emerged. I was blissfully disconnected from the news, social media and even texting and email at the retreat center and this felt great. I turned on NPR right around Berkeley Springs, W. Va. and began listening to the breaking story around Dr. Christine Blasey Ford sharing her experience of being sexually assaulted years ago at a party by Brett Kavanaugh, the candidate nominated for the Supreme Court.
The more I heard of her story, I had such a visceral response in my own body. Fragmented trauma memories flooded my psyche. I felt triggered constantly by the collective response of the patriarchy which included many women.
I am a Survivor of childhood sexual assault and have worked for years on healing from those experiences and the challenging family dynamics that played a part in living in chaos during many of my formative years, However here, I relived over and over again my own experience of being assaulted by someone I thought was a friend who took advantage of me at an overnight at another friend’s house after a concert. I believe if this individual was nominated to be in such a position of power that it would take everything I had to do what Dr. Ford did.
I couldn’t keep myself from listening and reading. I had nightmares. I cried. I bled.
I started bleeding on September 22 after much cramping and spotting a week earlier when the news of this was constant . I continued all the way through the end of the month. Heavy. Cramping. Blood. Flowing Freely,
My sacred blood as an act of resistance. As a symbol of my power. The power of the feminine that allows us to bleed with no wound. That releases and sheds so much blood, but yet I live, not diminished by this loss, but fortified.
Witnessing the courage of Dr, Ford, I recalled Anita Hill and her experience of being grilled and thrown under the bus by the patriarchy, That Witness was a huge part of shaping feminism for me.
So, recently again, with the onslaught of the war against women, with so many men ( and far too many women) having little to no knowledge of female anatomy and basic biology craft laws about women’s bodies. This landed hard in my body.
Who has the right to freely and safely navigate in their bodies as they show up and who does not? This is obviously not only women here but there are many intersections with race and gender expression.
The draconian nature of these laws that not only eliminate a woman’s choice in the circumstances of rape or incest but has greater penalties for a woman’s choice than a rapist.
I can’t breathe.
Again, despite having a cycle a week before these laws pass. Again, I bleed.
I bleed but have no wound. I bleed. I bleed. But yet, I do not die.
Instead I rise. I rise with renewed respect and awe for my body, my femaleness. My power that cannot be legislated and taken from me. My body that will not be shamed although boundaries have been crossed and some have tried through force and violence with actions and with words to make me small and manipulate me.
I bleed. With no wound I bleed like so many before me, this ancient experience of being in rhythm with the planet, the moon. My blood is sacred, my blood is powerful. I bleed and bleed and yet, I live.
I rise. I rise. I rise.