Worth repeating: Relationships with the Feminine [entry-title permalink="0"]

I wrote this almost one year ago, on Feb 18th of 2011.. its worth repeating.

I have some pretty amazing women in my life, women I can be myself with…all of me.  Five years ago, I didn’t really understand the power of the feminine and their ability to hold me. I had not experienced a loving feminine in my childhood and my mother often kept us isolated from visitors. I didn’t grow up cooking, dancing, and sharing with other women.  I didn’t grow up with the experience of women as safe, loving and trustworthy. In fact I experienced the very opposite.

As a sixth grader, I remember being annoyed by a particular girl who would come in every morning and kiss her girl/friends on the cheek to say hello. It is of course how I greet my girlfriends now, but back then, I felt like an outcast, like I had been left out of some secret language between girls. I wasn’t one of the girls she kissed hello and I could not understand this way of being with each other. I hated this girl so much, that somehow I ended up in a fight with her in the lunchroom one day. It was a small fight, she slapped me, I punched her in the stomach. That was that. I can’t even remember what started it, but I am sure my hatred of the feminine had something to do with it.

As I grew older, I excluded myself from having any real long term relationships with women. I had one friend from JHS, we talked for hours at a time, for approximately 3-4 times a year. And that was enough for me. It was as close as I could allow myself to be with another woman.

The healing for me came in many ways, perfectly timed.  I really believe I was gifted with exactly what I needed to heal when I was ready to heal.  These gifts came in different forms. First I developed some friendships when I was a teacher that I truly valued. I was able to witness women of integrity and I felt a kinship to them.  I soon found out that most women actually liked me. This was huge for me, because I did not feel loved or liked by the woman who gave birth to me and so I internalized that I was not likeable or loveable. I really didn’t even know I could be liked.

Of course there were women who didn’t like me and who I gave myself the right not to like. I quickly became attuned to women who were out of integrity with themselves. Women who were not consistent. I remember them well. I needed at the time to be able to say no to certain women, despite the fact that I so desperately wanted to be liked by them and by everyone.

Later when I started attending retreats at Shalom Mountain, it would be a woman, who would lead me into my inner child work. She would become like a mother to me. She would hold me, in my sadness, and walk with me in my rage and she taught me that I could trust her. I felt extremely cared for by her. I felt safe. She was a survivor like me and she knew exactly what I needed to feel safe. I can’t imagine this healing journey without her and the work we’ve done together throughout the years.   In her I learned to completely trust the feminine energy and to begin to trust my own.

Over the last few years, I have developed friendships with women I respect and love. I have experienced the power of groups with some of them and been able to show them even my deepest shame. I have also facilitated groups of women, who I hold very close and their courage to show up and trust me with their wounds, has further healed the feminine rift.

And then there are women, who I have felt a kinship to and later found that I could not trust them, that they really did not trust me and thereby kept me at distance, in a box to protect themselves from who they perceived me to be.  I’ve learned that these relationships tend to come together too quickly, never giving either of us enough time to really get to know each other and decide whether in fact we truly do like each other. Inevitably we find out that we are not compatible as friends, that perhaps we don’t really like each other, or resonate with each other. These are the ones that still pain me as they remind me so much of my relationship with mother; that love/hate dance, the not knowing where the other stands, feeling as if they keep shifting, feel so very rejected by them and not knowing why.

It is a dance and the very young wounded part of me is pained by it, and considers it an unfortunate dance, but the truth is, it is also healing the rift. These are the relationships that teach me about loving myself regardless of where the other stands. They teach me about setting boundaries when the actions of the other do not jive with my values of kindness, loyalty, safety and truthfulness. These relationships, just like the ones with my sisters, teach me so much about me and where I stand and what still needs healing. They are perfectly timed too.

Life heals you. Relationships heal you even when they break your heart and especially when they fill your cup.  They teach us what we need to know about ourselves, about what is left to soften and open, about what is okay and not okay for where we are in the moment. They teach us about the many forms of love: the holding, the being carried, the offering, the receiving and the letting go.

I am grateful for each woman who has left their mark on my path.

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February 2013

I realize more and more that my own relationship with the divine feminine within me is in the midst of a great healing. The rift with myself is the next very important, all important relationship, I am healing. I am learning how to honor myself, love myself, even my moods as they swing to and fro, even my anger, even my tears, even my shame and my imperfections and flaws. I am making my way home to myself with each relationship I have, with each woman I hold space for, with each painting, with each written offering here on the blog, with each stroke of the pen or paintbrush, with each picture I take of myself, with each course I offer, with every little step I take toward the home of ME.