The beauty of the trees as they shed their leaves, their clothes, their masks, might we say, is stirring something in me. They stand resplendent in their tallness and might, as the leaves gather in piles at their feet. They are naked and strong. As I see them through my windows or while I go for a walk, the question for me becomes how do I embrace my own beauty and power while being naked. Because I have been feeling very naked lately. The #MeToo campaign + some financial stuff have left me pretty vulnerable. Yeah, the sex and money thing… having its grip on me…old stuff…new stuff…shame.
I have attended and led enough trainings and workshops to know and understand the havoc shame can create on one’s nervous system, really on one’s soul. It is said that shame shrouds the soul. I know this to be true from personal experience as well as by working with many women over the years. I have tools and I use them…. and I have felt more vulnerable this fall than I have in a long time. Shame is sticky and one needs to have a regular ritual of cleansing to unwind it. Maybe that is why most trees release their leaves every year so they can let go of what they no longer need. A full letting go and releasing for a complete compost. In other words – Alchemy.
I love the word Alchemy. It feels magical, potent, maybe even dangerous, as well as benevolent and tender. What we know for sure is that it is Transformation full on. The kind you feel while in ceremony, via your sweat or your “purge”, full body, full emotional release. And on the other side, there is a new you.
My process this past month has not been quite as cathartic as a sweat lodge or an ayahuasca ceremony and yet the alchemy of the process is having its way with me.
Like many women, since early October with the Weinstein abuse was made public, I have re-lived too many abusive and creepy situations, from deep cutting mockery to rape, from an uncle molestation to letting boys not necessarily friends go too far, from an OBGYN spending way too much time checking out my breasts to waking up in a bus station with someone’s hand in my pants, from tongues pushed in my mouth to groping and pinched body parts, starting at age 11. So much shame associated with these situations and events. Shame brought on by a nurse after I was raped, shame brought on by a family member changing the story, shame for not understanding what was happening and why.
There. I said it. Publicly.
Some years ago I realized I had never learned to say NO to a man’s requests. I thought it was in great part due to the French patriarchal culture I was raised in and partly from the lack of a strong matriarchal line in my family. Reading all these posts and testimonies in the past few weeks, it became apparent to me that, for us women, for us Fucking Powerful Women, saying NO is not necessarily an easy thing. I wonder why. Is it because we have said NO so often and no one cared? Is it because our NO has been mocked and trampled for eons? I wonder.
As more and more is revealed, the balance is shifting, and the wheel is turning. The shame that has stuck like superglue for so long is becoming undone. The patriarchy is getting shaky. Women’s voices (and men’s) are being heard and believed by other men and women. The story is changing. Yes, there is still much that needs unraveling and we can say for certain that it will never be the same. We are moving from “How might your life have been different if you had been heard and believed”… to “How different is your life now that you are heard and believed”… to “I hear you saying no and I respect it.” Yes times are changing, the wind is picking up and the leaves are falling and this time it is the patriarchy that is standing naked… at least beginning to. And we know that once the process begins it cannot be stopped…. like a flood, a raging fire, a tornado… it is happening.
Today, I watch my beloved trees shed their leaves, allowing the nakedness of their beings to bring about their beauty, and I wonder. Will I be able to feel, to know my beauty in the same way? Will the shame finally dissolve fully and recycle itself completely as compost, as medicine for myself and others? Will this alchemical process also transmute the shame I have around my financial mismanagement and personal bankruptcy? I am saying Yes to letting go of the heavy weight I have been carrying; some of my doing, the other NOT of my doing. I am claiming my YES fully.
As a Modern Day Priestess, my charge in this world is Authenticity. And so I show up today as authentically as I possibly can, speaking my Truth, composting my shame, claiming all of who I am and allowing the deep Remembering of this Truth to shine forth: I am ME and I am not giving it away anymore. I am Priestess. I am Light. I am Magnificent. I am Strength. I am Freedom. I am Wholeness. I am Love. And so it is.
What is being transformed in your life? What alchemical process are you experiencing now? What are you claiming for yourself? What is Your Soul remembering? What are you saying Yes to today? And tomorrow and the rest of your Life?
Christel AnRa, Priestess, who walks with wolf, owl and raven.