blog (aka wisdom bombs)
here's where i drop 'em like it's hot, from my Feminine Genius to yours.

Navigating dark nights of the soul

Have you ever been — or are you now — in a time of your life where you felt you were in a dark night of the soul?  Emotions so intense, crazy-making, and dark that you just don’t know what to do with them?  And that your disorienting, lonely experience is made even worse because the dominant culture doesn’t have a place for darkness?

Today I want to open the pages of my diary, as it were, and share a personal story about my own journey into the dark and the surprising, wildly-helpful things I took from it.  I trust it will support you along your own journey, and reintroduce you to the wisdom and power inside even the darkest of nights.

So, here goes …

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An Oracle between my thighs? What?!?

For millennia, as you may know, an Oracle was a person — or sometimes a place like a spring or tree or shrine — that was assumed to be the source of infallible guidance and spiritual authority.

So that when you had a question — like what to eat (and when), when to pray (and how), and whom to marry (or not) – you went to the Oracle and asked.

When I say that the Oracle isn’t “out there” in another person or shrine but is actually within you, you can probably agree fairly easily with the concept.

However, an Oracle between your thighs?

When I say the “between your thighs” part, people either nod knowingly, smiling that secret Mona Lisa smile, or they look confoundedly scandalized.  Or both.

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What your doctor won’t tell you (as he doesn’t even know)

As a young teenager studying dance, I would spend hours scrutinizing my reflection in the mirrors that lined the dance studio walls, using a mental knife to slice off my “extra” curves.

At the height of my anorexia and at my lowest weight, I secretly rejoiced when my periods stopped.  While this was a sign that my body was in dangerous distress, I was happy to have one less piece of evidence that I had a female body.

I saw my female body as messy and unruly, a wild thing that craved foods that I thought would make me gain weight, felt anxious when I needed to feel confident, and needed more sleep than I could ever get while auditioning by day and bartending by night.

With all my curves, cycles, cravings, and feelings, I was sure my body was against me.

I was convinced if I didn’t tightly control my desires and continually whip my body into shape, I would become undesirable, unlovable, a joke.

My warped teenage views about women’s bodies and womanhood (ones I spent the rest of my life happily leaving behind) are unfortunately shared by many and are insidiously stitched into the fabric of the dominant culture.

(To go more in depth, check out my new book, Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning On The Wisdom of Being a Woman, now available for pre-order with hundreds of dollars in free bonuses).

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I wanted to just throw it all away

Over 500 pages written, pored over, worried over, improved, cut in half, re-arranged, loved … and I wanted to just throw it all away.

Don’t get me wrong, writing my forthcoming book, Feminine Genius: The Provocative Path to Waking Up and Turning On the Wisdom of Being a Woman, was mostly euphoric.

I wrote like a woman moves through her day, circling, spiraling, undulating, advancing, retreating, and occasionally breaking out into song.

I wrote like a meditation, a prayer.  I wrote as the last snowflakes fell on the cold ground of winter.  I wrote as the first unapologetic blossoms of spring burst on the scene.  I wrote wearing a thin mini dress, trying to beat the smothering summer heat.

It was all a euphoric honor, a hard but rewarding creative supernova experience … Until … Editing.

My editor was kind and shrewd, discerning and experienced.  A consummate expert.  She ripped my tender pages and reorganized them so I could no longer tell what the hell I was trying to say.

She cut out my favorite stories – stories that reached out off the page to tongue-kiss you – and urged me to head back to my client files and personal journals to add better ones.  She questioned my concepts, scrutinized my theories, and examined my exercises.

With my editor’s chopping and nipping and questioning, I started to doubt.

Is this book any good?  Is it trite and tired?  Should I follow her advice?  What the heck do I know about editing a freakin’ book?

Demons curled out from the sides of the pages and slithered over my keyboard.  They shook the windowpanes with their howling and it became so noisy I couldn’t hear my inner knowing – that still, quiet, but sure voice that always knows whether to go left or right, stay or go, cut that section or keep it.

I was miserable, while editing a book about reasonless joy.

My inner voice was mute, while editing a book about finding and listening to your inner voice.

I was stuck behind a computer screen, while editing a book about being in your body.

I stared at the editing task ahead, calculated how many hours it would take me to incorporate all my editor’s suggestions, and ended up with a number close to five billion.

And then I closed my eyes, prayed to the great Feminine Genius in the sky, and visualized in the manner of all great and virtuous visualizers … of throwing it all in the trash.

Really.

I mean I’m the one who decided to write the damn thing in the first place, no one said I had to finish it if it was making me miserable.

I had vowed to myself to write the book with the same juju that the book would help women find in themselves – embodied delight, deep inner knowing, rooted confidence.

So if I had to choose between keeping that vow to myself and keeping to an editing deadline, I would choose myself, and myself would choose to throw the damn book in the trash.

But.  I didn’t.  And here’s why.

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Ever feel trapped in your head?

The warning to “get out of your head” (from yourself or someone else) often sounds something like this:

Stop thinking so much.  Quit over-analyzing.  Just enjoy and go with the flow.  Be more spontaneous.  Go with your gut.  Stop over-thinking things.  You’re too much in the future and not in the present.  Stop dragging your past into the present.  Worrying is like praying for what you DON’T want.

That’s a hefty list of well-meaning warnings, even if they are a bit bossy.  But when you do get “out of your head,” what do you get into?

Why, your body, of course.

And I’d love to share with you why I think getting “into your body” is a very smart move.

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