Taking A Stand For Love
Today is V Day! Valentine’s Day! Validation Day! Self-Love Day! I’m celebrating the power and strength of the love in my heart and all around the world! Let us honor and validate ourselves and one another all day and every day. Let us sing the healing songs of Occupy Love: The Revolution to our best ability.
“Enthusiasm and thankfulness are infectious, deepening trust and connection. Positive energy provides the most generative base for whatever comes next. Look for the good in what’s happening and who people are, then work from there.” Image from a set of 91 cards called Group Works, developed by Tree Bressen, Dave Pollard, and Sue Woehrlin. The deck represents “A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings.” In the Relationship segment there are 10 cards. The second pattern in this segment is labeled Appreciation.
I am a stand for LOVE and the end of violence against women. I rise and dance with One Billion Rising today and tomorrow. I KNOW the rigors of a lifetime of recovery and the scorching pain and internal wounding of Survivorship, having been subjected to sexual and emotional abuse through my childhood and young womanhood. I also know the deep, abiding joy and liberation of thriving into health and wholeness with the recovery of self-love.
How Do Girls Survive? How Do Women Survivors Heal?
I survived by putting my beautiful child’s heart in a steel box in my chest when I was about four. I didn’t remember to take it out again until I was on a trip to co-create a Hawaii Spring Gathering for Network for a New Culture on the Big Island in 2003. It was my 45th birthday. That day, we swam with the dolphins. We were surrounded by turquoise sea, warm ocean breeze, watery sparkly air, vibrant flowers, green lushness, bamboo, beauty and peace. A dear friend and spiritual guide who knew more about love than anyone I’ve ever met helped me gently take my heart out of that old box. To assist us in this healing journey, a friend on the island had given me red foil hearts containing dark chocolate mixed with psilocybin mushroom as a gift.
What I remember most about this healing was that I saw a long, long line of people stretching out from the open door of my heart. Light was streaming out of my heart and holding everyone there in light. At the front of the line were people who I thought were my enemies — the people I had felt hurt by in one way or another. The love and space in my heart felt infinite, and the light was blessed with an essential for-giving. There was room enough in my heart for all. No need existed to possess, control or demand anything from anyone or to resist. And afterward, I felt a psychic, gaping hole in my chest for many weeks; but it slowly healed. Now I feel a sense of wholeness. It is good to remember this today.
Like many other women, I survived by also…
- becoming a silent, fragmented, disassociated ghost of mySelf;
- encasing myself within thick, impenetrable armor;
- creating my own inner reality and nurturing a rich imaginary life;
- not allowing anyone to get too close to see my shame and low self-worth;
- compensating by being a good girl, working hard, striving for perfection;
- attempting to write myself whole in journals, stories and poems;
- turning my life into art.
I am a work in progress surrounded by sacred Source within and without. I am still in recovery and walking a path of healing; this may always be true. Sometimes I grieve for what could have been had I been fully supported, cherished and nurtured. Deep acceptance and honoring of this truth sets me free to dance with infinite possibilities in wholeness.
“I began writing when I was a kid. And I was writing to break silence. I think in growing up our feelings are very simplified. You’re either quiet or loud. So writing was kind of a quiet way to be noisy. I could get things in order out of chaos. I was trying to find a crack into something… into some other world.” ~Ferron
The Real Wealth of Nations: Creating a Caring Economics
What would our world be like if every woman were whole and empowered? What would your life and the lives of future generations of women look like when we put an end to violence against women by dismantling misogyny, patriarchy and the dominator culture? How would it feel to live in a world that was free of domination? How do we accomplish these aims?
We can start by loving and fully supporting our precious, womanly, resource-FULL Selves and the sacred voice in every woman we meet. We begin by putting an end to competition, sizing one another up, devaluing and dismissing women. We do the challenging, inner work of healing ourselves into wholeness and peace. We embrace our sisterhood. We stop objectifying women as sex objects. We read books like Rianne Eisler’s The Real Wealth of Nations to educate and awaken ourselves to our glorious power. We live from our visionary heart-minds (instead of from our damage) and do the concrete actions steps toward co-creation of our visions. We stop hating our mothers. We share and preserve our personal stories and our collective herstory! We come out of the dark and lonely closet of shame. WE STOP THE F***ING WAR ON WOMEN!
TURNING A TRAIN OF THOUGHT UPSIDE DOWN (or What We Learn)
…as a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman, my country is the whole world…
Under the bottlebrush tree the lovers sit,
circled by each other’s arms, all alone
right in front of us all
on our walks around the city lake,
their kisses blind to the afternoon
breathing down on them and us.
I think of my own first love,
how a woman can learn not to take
but to give, how not to gain a self
but to lose one inside another—
natural as breathing, to be in exile
under her own skin, colonized
without knowing she was occupied.
Long ago, women in my family
carried bundles of wash on their backs
down to the creek bed to scrub it all clean,
later balanced books on their heads
for good posture and the possibility
of a cover shot on a fashion magazine,
having been fed a diet of Cinderella,
Sleeping Beauty, the Snow White tales.
Just look at the statistics—how many
of us have sported the split lips,
bruised eyes, broken limbs,
how many assaulted and betrayed,
how many isolated and afraid,
our homes gone up in flames
from so many hearts afire.
Yet we have resisted and rebelled,
conquered enemies, negotiated peace.
We have also had our feet bound,
bodies girdled and gagged, some buried
beneath layers of cloth. We have been
overthrown, dispossessed, imprisoned,
enslaved, burned wholesale at the stake.
We have also been venerated and feared
as Congolese leading warriors into battle
with shields and spears, as Mongolians
riding steeds armed with bows and arrows,
as Seneca ruling the land and the clan
drumming and healing, as Balkans singing
in the company of women just for the song.
Some of us now build muscles in our legs
and take to running for the thrill of the race,
work them in our arms wielding swords
and wrestling whatever might confront us.
We grow strong enough to carry ourselves
to our own shade tree, dream beneath its leaves
in the kiss of our own breath, learn to love
ourselves deeply and with great abandon.
—Andrena Zawinski (from her Anthology of Women’s Poetry, Turning a Train of Thought Upside Down, published by Scarlet Tanager Press and reprinted with permission)
Girl On A Road
Does this road of recovery go on forever? I’ve wandered my whole life seeking to fill an inarticulate longing for wholeness in Self and running… running from unknown phantoms of a lost little girl. As I heal into wholeness, I find myself facing those phantoms. They are vanquished in the light of my awareness. Finally, I am ready to stop running, settle down, and co-create home wherever I am in the NOW within my own open heart. Ferron’s song Girl On A Road speaks to this healing journey (click on picture to listen).