So, what do grief, sex and self love have to do with one another? As I started working with women around exploring their sexuality, this came up consistently…
When we cultivate & experience channels of our sexuality that haven’t been touched on in a while or ever, this inevitably opens up all the currents of emotionality that have been repressed as well. I am noticing, contributing to, and appreciating the way that women’s sexuality is becoming more visible.
How baffling it is that women’s sexuality, the very source of life, is something that needed to “become” more visible in the first place. Yet, undeniably, for all generations, there has been a social veil around the arousal & pleasure of a woman. As we start to reclaim this, it feels radical to give words to our pleasure practices; To talk about the wholeness we experience through touching our own bodies, and to encourage each other to do the same. And it is.
Often, though, as things become “cool” they gloss over the social reform they intended in the first place. We are left with a hollow embellishment to the patriarchal beliefs already in place. This has disappointing and possibly violent implications.
The work I do with women has centered around the Sacral Chakra. The Sacral Chakra gives an opportunity explore the connection between creativity & sexuality, as it is the energy center which houses our reproductive organs and is said to be the chakra of our creative energy. The connection seemed straightforward to me – sex is a creative act, whether alone or with another, that has the ability to bring forth that which did not previously exist. Yet, this energy center is also the place of raw emotionality, which could be considered the undercurrent of the creative & sexual nature. The element is water and I use the analogy of a river & this quote from Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes…
“Be wild; that is how to clear the river. The river does not flow in polluted, we manage that. The river does not dry up, we block it. If we want to allow it its freedom, we have to allow our ideational lives to be let loose, to stream, letting anything come, initially censoring nothing. That is creative life.”
This quote felt relevant because it gave the feeling that there was nothing that needed to be fixed; That our inner river’s ultimate goal is to continuously flow – nourishing, growing & enlivening our creative lives. All we need to do is remove the obstructions.
It also offers the element of unconditional acceptance of ourselves as a way to clear the river. Which I think is the sentiment behind the hyper-focus on self love that we are doing nowadays.
I do believe that self love is absolutely the fertile ground from which everything else in our lives springs from. Yet, I see us dropping it as a one size fits all remedy for everything: “You just need to love yourself more”, “Nobody can love you until you love yourself”, “10 ways to love yourself ”, without ever creating space enough to question what that means.
Self love starts to feel like something that must be obtained within a certain timeline.. And I see this reflected in the women’s empowerment movement as well. There is this push to be a sexy, confident, powerful, multi-orgasmic, goddess as the answer to all of our problems.
In this way, what is an earnest attempt at liberation & self-cultivation becomes a covert way of asking of ourselves and each other what the patriarchy has always demanded: to be turned on and oozing with fertility all of the time. This expectation of the feminine has had violent impacts on not only women but the very Earth itself, our shared Mothership.
We have seen ourselves as disconnected from nature – from our own nature – and when we are disconnected from something, we ask what we get from it without concern about what we will give.
Our bodies and our mother’s bodies are the first Earth we know. As we have done with our Earth, we have forgotten what our relationship is to our bodies. And, as an attempt to come back into contact we need to shift the conversation from what we can get to what we can give.
The thing with this flow of self love & sexual empowerment is, like the river, it must flow. This is the nature of the clearing. Whatever it is that has been dammed up, festering & fermenting must begin to move. Yes, this often returns energy to us that we left in traumatic and formative moments, yet it also comes with whatever that energy got caught up in in the first place.
We are meant to feel, to be human, to let it move through us, “initially censoring nothing” as Estes said, yet without space for real grief we end up holding onto things for much longer than we need to. We end up fearing the act of grieving itself because we haven’t practiced much the earthly art of going deep into the darkness of something and letting the healing happen.
In my journey with self love, the art of grieving has been an absolute requirement. One that I still fear and avoid in a big way. There is this unspoken ideology that can come with self love if we don’t approach it in an authentic way: Once you love yourself enough everything will feel great all of the time and if it doesn’t then you are doing something wrong. Not to mention, you must be able to do this in a society which banks on how much girls and women hate themselves.
I don’t mean to say that self love is a cumbersome, unachievable thing. It is our birthright and my prayer is that all people feel at home in their bodies. And I feel that in order to foster this we need to be more communicative about what it really means to love ourselves.
To talk about how many times you will be asked to decide to love yourself over and over again; that there will always be more monsters in those hidden corners. And that your relationship to self is under no obligation to feel good all of the time; that it will go through challenging times, ugly times, suffocating times and it will learn how to breathe underwater and participate in it’s own repair..
Let’s talk about the low places you will need to meet your body just to get it to let you back in. The way you’ll need to tend to it. The sickness you’ll need to witness and the callouses you’ll learn to soften with presence and willingness.
Article written by Marissa Correia.
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