Celebrate and radiate the feminine, without apology.
One of the messages I learned early on as a young girl was “Don’t be so full of yourself.”
I remember hearing these words. I think many parents in the 60’s valued modesty, yet this was a false modesty. Instead, what this message really taught me was to hide myself, to not trust myself, to tone myself down and my light.
The verbal message came from many people I knew, including my parents, yet it seemed to be communicated non-verbally in some very insidious ways by the both the men and women in my life. I’ve always wondered if this stemmed from wanting me to be polite, to be modest, to be something that wouldn’t cause jealously, but most importantly something that would keep me safe. I don’t really know all the underlying messages but I do know the effect on me, even to this day as a grown woman – that it is not okay to adorn myself with beauty and to be fully beautiful from the inside out, to glow, to radiate to be full of the life force that is constatnly wanting to move through me.
As I type this, I feel a sense of something akin to shame. After all, at my age I should be over this. Right? How could I, a mother and grandmother, still feel these feelings?
For one thing, we swim in a sea of these feelings, beliefs, and ‘rules’ that we aren’t supposed to be our full and radiant sensual creative selves. We live in this fishbowl of women’s sexuality as something that is here for the enjoyment of men, rather than a core aspect of our own sacred radiance.
Don’t call attention to yourself, and don’t dress in a way that will call attention to yourself. The underlying messages are also that I am not safe if I do dress in a way that is adorned, beautiful, sensual, alive…light-filled.
To celebrate this body is to celebrate life and the sacred.
To celebrate all that moves through me is to celebrate the sacred.
Why is it hard to…?
I’ve wondered why sometimes it is so hard for me to adorn myself with beautiful objects. It’s something to do with these messages…and they seem to be all tangled up…the messages that is.
The word adorn has a couple of meanings, and when I looked it up I was surprised to find the implication that to adorn something means ‘to enhance the appearance of something by adding something unessential’.
Enhancement of appearance isn’t what I am talking about. No, not at all. What I am talking about is celebration. Remembering beauty and its sacredness. Remembering the life force as something to honor.
One of my strongest memories of my time in India was seeing the women dressed in their saris and jewelry. They were completely adorned in brilliant color, sensuous fabrics, and all manner of jewelry. As they walked alongside the roads with baskets on their heads, they cut such a beautiful image on the landscape. As they rode on the back of bikes and motorcycles, their clothing draped then in beauty. They were covered, yes, and absolutely sensuous in the beauty of their form.
Just a few weekends ago, I bought a new pair of flip-flops. They are very plain and all black. Except for a big (albeit fake) diamondy kind of bling. They are fun! And when I wear them, I can feel just a squeak of something left over from my early conditioning. It’s as if there is still a ‘mismatch’ between the sparkle of that bling and a leftover part of me that feels anything but light-filled. I notice that this part is much smaller than it used to be, which is fabulous. And, noticing what is still remaining helps me to heal it.
I have no interest in wearing stuff to cover this radiance. Sometimes, I think we wear a bunch of shiny stuff to hide our feeling of ‘not-so-shiny’. Or sometimes we can pretend to be light-filled with lots of words and bravado. The place of stretch for me is to notice when I feel, even in the slightest, that I owe somebody something when I embody my full self, when I am ‘full of my self.’
Think about how we tell ourselves to breath deeply, taking in the Self that is Spirit, that is breath. Can we breath so deeply that every cell remembers what it is, remembers it’s sacred nature? We can only do this if we are willing to be full of our selves in the most basic sense of the words.
There’s a reclaiming happening within me of the fullness of myself as a soul and as a soul in a woman’s body. I feel a very real and palpable instinctive desire to adorn this female body with beauty and beautiful things.
Can we be full of the Self in celebration for what we really are – sacred, beautiful, creative, sensual, erotic in all the ways life truly is? There are many who want to shut this female power down, and they are trying to find very definite ways to control it. Yet, it continues to want to make itself known. Of course it does. Life is longing to be in balance, to honor itself in all forms. Can we serve life in this way, honoring and adorning the sacredness of the feminine as it moves through us, and as it is manifested in our world?
This image touches me deeply. Two women (one old and one young) are exchanging something beautiful…flower petals. To me, this symbolizes an offering of wisdom, an exchange of beauty, and most likely something more symbolic.
This image also shares something about passing down this wisdom from those of us who have lived long enough to realize life is too short to honor anything that does not feel right in the body, does not feel right and good and loving to the soul.
Can we help young women know what it is be full of themselves without apology, and with the direct knowledge they owe nothing to anyone?
This image moves me to offer my hand in forgiveness to you for all the ways I’ve helped keep the lies alive that continually tell us that our wholeness as women is something to keep in, to be ashamed of, to hide, to be jealous of…and ultimately to owe somebody something for. It is not. It does not belong to anyone, nor is it here solely for anyone else’s benefit or pleasure. It is the Divine’s gift to us to be alive in these bodies of sacred expression.
Can you own your sexuality, your fullness, your beauty, your attractiveness and know that you do not owe anybody anything?
Can you celebrate all that it is to be woman?
Can you adorn yourself in whatever way truly allows you to celebrate this flesh, these bones, these cells?
For me, this is a practice – a practice of adornment and celebration.