By Lasara Firefox Allen
Throughout recorded history women have been striving for equality. We have not yet achieved it. Often our focus is turned out, and we present as a unified force pointing out the ills of the patriarchy and the dominant culture – rape culture, war, unequal pay, lack of access to healthcare – and the blindness of male privilege.
This is important work.
And, there is other work that needs doing now as well. Deep work that may be more challenging and perhaps more intimidating than circling with our backs protected by one another, facing out. What happens when we turn our focus, our fury, our questing for conscious equality, inward? Inward onto ourselves, but more importantly perhaps, inward toward the circle of women?
A few years back I had the experience of woman after woman coming to me and telling me about another woman and how she was a problem to the women in the community. Usually this was due to the woman I was being talked to about being openly sexually expressed, or strongly opinionated, or both. This happened a lot over a number of months.
The request was that I confront these women, because the women of the community were afraid to. I chose not to accept this task. I chose instead to lean into the pattern and feel my way through it. These are some of the threads I experienced, in many cases (but of course not all cases) to be true:
* We, as women, are afraid to confront one another directly.
* As women, we are part of the structure holding women to certain standards of behavior, and not all of those are examined.
* We do not have a language for healthy competition.
* As women, even in the “conscious communities” that we all are so privileged to be part of, we are expected to carry gentle, passive energy – the lunar expression as it is often called – and not the strong, proud, loud, “solar” expression.
* We are expected – by each other and the community at large – to embody the mother archetype, not the warrior archetype. We are expected to be conciliatory, collaborative, accommodating, as opposed to outspoken, strong, oppositional.
* As in the dominant culture, we are expected to take up as little space as possible. With our bodies, our voices, our stories, our opinions, our self-expression.
* As has been the case even in the world of feminism, ostracize women who don’t toe the line. If a woman’s expression of self falls outside the arena of what is “acceptable”, she is put outside the community of women.
All of this added on to the work I have been doing for many years; the work of reclaiming our bodies, our sensual and sexual expression, our individual power, our self-definition and power of self expression.
In this work I have also explored the shadow side of how we express, process, and inhabit our identities as women. We have patterns of self-shaming as bonding. We shame ourselves and one another for how we are in our bodies, how we show up in the world, how we express our sexuality, how we parent, how we are in leadership, how we conduct our personal relationships.
We have healing to do.
Our internal and shared patterns and dynamics are part of the problem. Until we examine our beliefs and our actions, we will continue to perpetrate the systematic wounding of women. And until we can create a new relationship with power, expression, competition, and vulnerability, we will continue eroding our trust in one another, and in ourselves.
In the work that I do, I offer women the space to come present in, and with, our whole selves. Out on the edges of what is “appropriate”, we step into our deepest truths. In the container of shared desire for honest and right relationship in the community of women, we create together a new way of being with one another, and in ourselves.
As we face our deepest fears – the fear of rejection, the fear of harming one another, the fear of isolation and ostracization, and ultimately the fear of taking responsibility for our own healing of the wounds of woman-on-woman oppression – we open the ways to move through them. And as we move through them, we step into a new realm of power and empowerment.
In this new and precious void created by our willingness to leave behind the known, we find the opportunity to embrace shared power and individual power. We lay claim to the realm of graceful and honest, positive competition. We allow ourselves and each other to share stories of wounding, stories of victory, stories of desire. And together we weave stories of healing.
If you are attending Lucidity Festival, come to Embracing the Red Queen: Renewing the Weave of Sisterhood, Claiming Our Voices, and Speaking from Our Whole Selves, Friday at 10:30 AM in the Goddess Grove, and enter into a space of deep transformation. In this, the healing of the world.
If you are not, see my upcoming events for opportunities to explore these subject with me!