You know the moment when you’ve met someone, things are going great, you’re excited about each other, all the newness creates a veil of mystery, you are enthralled with getting to know a new person. But then, something shifts. It could be an unanswered text, short responses, a change in the intensity, and intuitively, you know when a shift has occurred in a person. This is not strictly romantic either—you can feel this with friends too. People stop prioritizing you, the new connection feels static, it had exponential growth the first little bit and all the sudden it feels like a soggy TV dinner. You’re pushing that shit around but it suddenly doesn’t taste as good. That’s intuition. We can feel when things change, when energy changes, and whether or not we want to accept it also correlates with listening to our intuition. In the practice of Aikido, which I have been exploring this semester as both a martial art and an academic approach, intuition is where your true power lies. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba (O Sensei), talked about, what is accepted in Japanese culture, the concept of the hara. Meant to represent the abdomen but also the source of our intuition; the “gut feeling.” The saying is, “the place of courage and seat of earthly consciousness, of one’s mind and spirit.” In a western tradition we say, follow your heart. Follow what feels warm. But I think we feel intuition in our gut for a reason. It’s the reality check. It’s the drop of bad news you already knew. This is why I have had the hardest week digesting this goddess and all she is asking me to look at.
When things weigh us down it can be hard to see outside the pit we’ve placed ourselves in. And I realize, saying we have placed ourselves there can be unfair. We all have choices, right? Everything we do is a choice. However, sometimes those choices really put us on the god damn spot and we choose the lump sum over the long-term payments. We aim for longevity. Maybe, that isn’t the best example. What I’m trying to say is that we often choose what serves us now without the consideration of the long-term effects. The cigarette or not. The double shot of tequila or not. The port-o-potty or home. By the way, it’s incredibly hard to find metaphorical comparisons without considering the ways in which we are all traumatized by universal things. Nietzsche once said, “anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” I make this long segue way because I feel this to be a universal message in which we are all experiencing in one way or another.
It’s week three, and we have all embraced this or we haven’t. The Voxer is buzzing, women are sharing the deepest of their hurts over a recorded walkie-talkie. We are at the other window, as if with a tin can, listening. Hearing our sisters spill their truth and hearing our hearts explode as they do. Because we all recognize something in each other— the willingness, the openness, the desire to connect with one another and excavate these fossils that have lived within us and through us, perpetuating old and negative behavior. But now, we must hold ourselves accountable. What this group has taught me is that people really do care. That WOMXN want to carry a community for each other and we just need a reason to connect. The ways in which I have been able to listen to incredibly strong, resilient, creative, and honest women share their deepest truths in such a trusting way has shown me that these fulfilling relationships are possible. It requires effort but it’s there when you can, and cannot give it. As we enter the Goddess Inanna/Ishtar, or rather, ask her to enter us, we are reminded of the dark qualities of how we view relationships but also how we view the relationship within ourselves. The sensual side of knowing our own power, pleasuring ourselves, and not worrying about gaining that pleasure from another person. There is something in the practice of loving oneself, sensually, that we find personal power. The power to pleasure our self, free of another person. We call in her power of sexuality, sensuality, being brave, being raw, being ALIVE. But it’s hard because we can often feel the dark qualities of jealousy, promiscuity, and manipulation to ultimately serve ourselves through another person’s qualities and reactions.
I wasn’t ready to take the call on Monday. Our 3rd call, so crucial, the beginning of the end of our journey together (at least on paper). I was hesitant to show up. I was feeling drained, exhausted, like I had nothing to offer the group except my dark silence. Rae reminded me: this is when we need sisterhood the most. I couldn’t agree more. But I was scared to bring my down energy to a group of women so excited to be there and trying their absolute best and I perceived myself as being less. That my energy would bring the group down, that wouldn’t have anything to add, but I was reminded that is not what I was asked to do. I came on the call late and stayed for almost an hour. I felt guilty to leave these women whom I feel a care for but I also don’t want to let them down. Ultimate self-care is acknowledging what you need in the moment. It is recognizing what you need, right now. As we call Inanna into our lives, we realize and experience what we need right now. What I heard from the call, from the Voxer throughout the week, is that we all need support and encouragement to embark on this Goddess and her power. It’s asking all of us. To do everything we can. Can we? Will we? How are you going to awaken that Goddess of sensuality and feel good in our bodies? We have the capacity…so..can we? Yes, we can. And yes, we will. Watch.