More than thirty years ago I began a journey that would change my life forever, a journey that blessedly continues. For it is a journey of discovery in which the traveller learns how to negotiate the inner as well as the outer world of relationships, and their meaning, on this physical plane of existence that we humans call Earth.
The first major transformation presented me with spiritual experiences that opened my consciousness to the recognition that our earthly dimension is not the only existing dimension. Whatever language one chooses to apply – spiritual or scientific – let us simply say that multiple levels of energy exist, on Earth, in the Cosmos, and beyond, that the human species is only beginning to understand.
This blog post, however, focuses on a second major transformation that, once again, shifted my consciousness unexpectedly, following a decision to explore the origins of outer world inequities in social justice. At that time, twenty years ago, I embarked on an interdisciplinary graduate university program in Global Transformation Studies.
But something else was beginning to awaken within me. A tiny voice was hearkening – the inner voice of intuition. It began to nudge, increasingly, my intellectual awareness that global transformation could not happen without personal transformation. Little did I know that that voice would grow into a roar that would reverberate through every cell of my body in coming years.
Little did I know that my intellectual journey, to dig more deeply into historic origins of cultural racism – and conclude that the systemic consciousness of Western culture is fractured – next would propel me into a very personal discovery of what a fractured consciousness or `soul woundedness’ actually means, and the healing required. So, the deeper digging eventually morphed into an inner archeological excavation of my own psyche.
My second `transformative’ shift, metaphorically speaking, was like an inner tsunami in slow motion, shifting the layers of my psyche, – yet each layer subsequently re-stabilized – similar to the readjustments essential following the shock waves that accompany a planetary tsunami. Another way of describing it, experientially, is feeling one’s head – that is, intellectual mind – drop into one’s physical body, not just with one resounding thud but instead through a process of rather unsettling reverberations through various layers of the unconscious.
Doing so is what I call “awakening the feminine.” Believe me, folks, it is quite the trip. The good news is, what I describe is the nature of the `death and rebirth’ process that Marion Woodman so eloquently relates in her own life story in the documentary film Marion Woodman, Dancing in the Flames, the topic of my previous blog post.
This news is important to recognize, namely that authentic transformation requires the death – or letting go – of something that needs change, even release, in order to make space for something new that supports life more healthfully – whether personal or planetary.
The dictionary definition of `tsunami’ identifies it as “a very large ocean wave caused by an underwater earthquake or volcanic eruption.” Added to that is the declaration that the event is massively destructive and, yes, of course, that is tragically true – yet only a partial truth. Note, once again, the force of nature here is `under the surface’ and `invisible.’
Therein is the dilemma of today’s growing number of natural disasters around the world, and the tendency of news reporting about them. The focus is on visible dramatic conflict and the resulting destruction. But, these news stories illuminate what is so out-of-balance with mainstream storytelling today and popular culture. They focus, respectively, yet sometimes simultaneously, on the negative and on the extremes of bad behaviour.
Such negativity feeds fear and influences people to regress into insular, out-of-date thinking and reaction. We need to reconnect with the deep, innately holistic, human yearning that is calling us to develop new ways of thinking and creative response to our troubles.
The physical body of the earth, including its many – and, again, invisible – underground layers that descend to the core of its being, is communicating a powerful message that humans continue to ignore, at our peril.
Whether within the body of our planet, or within our individual human bodies, we tend to ignore a key quality of the feminine principle – what resides beneath the surface and is invisible is namely that which bestows both life-giving and death-wielding as well as regenerative powers.
Tsumamis, for example, repeatedly are telling us, visibly and materially – because that seems to be the only language to which human beings will pay attention – that something profound needs to die. What needs to die is the selfish, exploitative abuse of everything that sustains life on this planet.
What needs to be birthed by us, as fellow human beings – and some among us, bless each and every person, already, are dedicated to the task – is a new, more respectful, way of existing on this earth, as a biological/spiritual species.
The orientation of human thought that needs to shift radically is our collective mentality of control. This is true in every walk of life, whatever we do and whatever we believe. Instead, how can we acquire the lessons of humility, so essential through our life journey in order to access, through ongoing efforts, deeper levels of spiritual maturity?
As film story consultant Tom Schlesinger pointed out at his June workshop in Toronto: “As earthlings we like to control things.” For that reason, he also emphasized that the first thing that a good storyteller must be willing to do is to let go of the linear, analytical control of trying to force a story into a certain shape. Instead, develop awareness of where the real power of the story resides by opening intuitively to one’s muse, to enable the `invisible’ layers of the characters’ unconscious to be expressed through their emotional truths.
In the real day-to-day world, we need to pay attention to the voices, and the stories, that the earth and all life forms on it, are trying to tell our species, in order to help us remember that we depend on the health of all earthly forms of life to survive.
That fact, physiologically and psychologically, is why our ancient stories and mythologies hold so much importance today, to relearn the messages they have been telling since initially created. For the original ethos of stories resides in their role to awaken the human heart and spirit to make meaning of everything that befalls us, no matter how daunting.
Therein resides the reason why ancient epics remain so popular, such as in Hollywood movies, and why documentaries that show the tenacity of the human spirit in confronting adversity similarly win our hearts, and inspire us – viscerally and psychologically, through awakening the feminine aspect of our consciousness.
The feminine and masculine aspects of human consciousness are innate within every single person regardless of gender, or any other forms of identity and category that the human mind has constructed since our earliest ancestors created images on rock.
But even stone – and whatever images have been carved into it or painted on it – have an invisible energy that continues to provoke the `awakened’ human mind to try and understand the meaning of images in new and different ways. Some archeologists today, for example, are more open-minded, in recognizing that what initially was assumed by earlier scientific investigations now is being rethought, more holistically.
Please read two of my blog posts published earlier this year titled, Environmental Wisdom Shown in Ancient Symbols and Unearthing the Feminine – Marijas Gimbutas’ Work. In my ongoing research to understand human consciousness, I continue to find other thinkers and practitioners who appear to concur with my own conclusion made two decades ago: The `fractured’ consciousness in Western culture has a long history. Indeed, the fracture resides in the split between the feminine and masculine principles.
I once heard an Indigenous friend refer to the rocks as “our grandfathers,” because they are the oldest form of life on the planet, and contain knowledge still to discover. Is it not interesting that in the sacred sweat lodges of Indigenous peoples, rocks are placed in the central fire, their energy transformed into heat, while smoke rises toward the Great Spirit from matter that originated from the earth – from the sacred feminine, evoking a natural, transformative process interrelating elements.
Is it also not interesting that a common expression in Western culture, “written in stone,” implies that anything `written in stone’ is permanent, rigid and static. This expression definitely is in contrast to the examples that I provided above. It raises the question, where does the expression `written in stone’ originate?
In my next blog post (after Canada’s Thanksgiving weekend), I will make an educated guess, based on a fascinating book that I am plowing through. I invite your suggestions.
By the way, I hope that no one feels as if you want to run screaming into the hills because you perceive that `awakening the feminine’ is comparable to riding in the centre of a psychic cyclone. Not at all.
I intentionally chose a focused, long term journey to grapple with, and transform, counterproductive relationship patterns, moving through a series of emotional layers that took seven years. This period included interludes of reflection to make peace with each layer of newly revealed psychological material, as well as dealing with the inevitable and the unexpected, as day-to-day life unfolds. With that experiential knowing, I felt equipped to be a more holistically awakened helper for fellow travellers.
I thoroughly enjoy facilitating workshops and teaching courses about, and based on, my model of transformative learning that integrates the feminine and masculine principles. Please look up my workshops, to see the diversity of what I have offered, while I develop further offerings through the future.