Birthing isn’t logical or reasonable, nor is it necessarily practical.

by Julie on November 17, 2012 · 26 comments

 

 

I am sharing something that I am excited about, and something vitally important to me, with someone I know.

He listens. Then, he says, “What you are saying is so abstract.” “What does this mean?” “What are the practical implications of this?” “How do we do this?”

None of his questions are wrong. He is seeing what I am saying from a practical viewpoint, a viewpoint that is about putting things into action. Yet, alongside his questions comes a feeling of frustration within me. I know this feeling well. His words take me back decades, back to when I was very young…

I am excited and want to share what I’m excited about with my parents. I try to say it in words. I try to share what I see and feel, and the complete joy of it all. And when I do, I am met with a look of tightness and almost a kind of disapproval. I can see they want me to calm down. They want me to package all of this joy into words and sentences that ‘make sense’, ways that are logical.

Then I hear these words, “That’s not logical.” and my heart drops to the ground.

The effect of these words on this little psyche is profound: the little voice dries up, the throat quivers, and the tongue becomes tied in knots. I’ve shut myself up tight and there’s no getting me to say another word. I go silent. There is a giving up that happens, a giving up because it feels, emphasis on feels, impossible to take this young one’s heart and soul’s fire and put it into logical words that adult people will get.

 

It is amazing how we can be taken back to old times so quickly, how the stories stuck in our bodies are coded with the time and place where the story unfolded.

As I sit with his questions, an ages-old fear comes up that there is someone on the other side of what I am going to share and they do not get it. They want me to put what I am saying in terms they understand, terms that are about doing, about how, about it being practical. They want me to take this abstract and make it practical. It feels like I come up against this hard wall on the other side, a very literal, very rational mind that doesn’t get it.

It’s like there is this big beautiful fullness and I fear that I don’t know how to get people to understand. Just feeling this makes me go mute and want to turn away.

I see images and visions. I see them often. They are beautiful. Beautiful images, and deeply intense feelings fill my heart. And yet, this world seems to have this logical, rational mindset that wants me to fit all of ‘this’ into a ‘how to do it in 10 easy steps’ world. And then I see it…

 

Kapow.

Bammo.

Hell yes.

The rational mind cannot fathom the irrational. It cannot understand that which is beyond the scope of what cannot be explained with reason and logic. It is like trying to fit the vastness of the heart into the tight structure of the rational mind. It cannot be done. The mind tries to know in the only terms it can grasp. It does this all the time, especially with the vastness that is the divine.

 

And, I see my own internal struggle with this same translation process. The heart is vast. It sees and feels things that cannot be proven, and cannot be put into words without losing the qualities of what we experience. I see the relationship. I see the richness on one side, then the strict structure on the other – the desire to take something multi-layered and condense it down to one.

The feminine, or yin, is multi-layered. It is feeling and knowing. It is rich and mysterious, dark and watery. It is intuitive. The masculine, or yang, relative to yin is straight and clearly defined. It is angular. It is logical. It is linear.

These are actually distinctions to try to help the rational mind understand the relationship between yin and yang…because it’s always about relationship. We can’t know one without the other. Something is only mysterious in relation to something that is clearly known and defined.

 

As I write this, I can feel, literally feel, life pulsing through my cells, images and visions in my mind’s eye, and emotions fluttering through me. None of this can be put into words without losing richness, texture, and fullness.

Words themselves are definitive. They define.

As a young one, I learned to shut down the feminine mystery, the vast symbolic realm where so many layers exist that it can only be represented through images, poetry, and symbols. I shut my own voice down. I knew the spigot well, and when things got tough, when I felt that old familiar feeling that I must turn something so profoundly beautiful into something logical and practical, I felt this familiar frustration and shut the spigot off. I became quiet. I squelched my voice. And, I gave up trying to paint when it became clear from teachers that they wanted something representational. They wanted things to look like ‘real life’ – whatever that is.

 

What is so remarkable about this moment, though, is feeling the spigot in my throat, feeling the place where I shut down because I’m feeling a sense that it’s not in terms the man will understand. I haven’t felt this so clearly before. I feel frustration at having to translate to get him to understand what I am saying and fear he will not understand.

In going back to this early experience, I see something clearly. I see old patterns, old beliefs, old messages that tell me I must make things ‘make sense’, must take the vastness that is my heart, take the multi-layered awareness that is my soul, and pare it all down to logical steps.

The struggle I feel within myself is the same struggle I see in the outer world. This finding our way to balance, a balance that brings the masculine tendencies so woven into our cultural institutions together with the under-represented feminine nature I share above, isn’t easy. What we struggle with within our own psyches, are the same things we struggle with as a collective.

 

Then I realize that perhaps that is why I am feeling such an urge to reclaim the artist in me. Sometimes things must be created with something other than words, with media that lends itself to many layers, rich textures, feeling states and mystery. So many people I know are trying to reclaim the artist within.

I have a sense many of us are seeing things in symbols and images, visions of a new way of being in the world, and perhaps even visions of a new world.

A new way is coming into being. It is being born, and many of us can see images of this new way. Many of us can feel this new way. Many of us know something in our bones that is not at all, or at least not yet, linear or logical.

Birthing isn’t logical or reasonable, nor is it necessarily practical.

 

It is time to fully re-member the artist within, to share what we see and feel, in whatever way we can. Yes, others may question it, but I also know that we all long to know the mystery, we all long to feel the depth of our humanity, and on some level perhaps we don’t want ten steps to this, or five reasons why.

Perhaps we just create and speak what we know, regardless of whether anyone listens or understands. Perhaps creation simply wants to happen, perhaps it is simply trusting the vision and putting it into form, regardless of the reception it receives.

So many women are writing, writing, and writing. So many are painting and dancing. So many are expressing their voices in ways that aren’t even close to logical and practical.

New worlds come into being through creative acts. The tender shoots of the new world come up through dark rich soil that’s been tilled and fed. Creation rises up out of the void in the belly. Creation comes into form by way of a dark, moist birth canal. It comes in contractions – messy contractions.

It is good for me to remember this when my voice feels tight, when I shy away from speaking because I don’t quite know how it will come out. Something does know what is longing to be created and voiced.

Maybe we say to each other, “Show me what you see. I am listening.”

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Ronna November 17, 2012 at 8:20 am

I. Love. This.

And you. Everything in me felt everything you are articulating here: the nearly palpable excitement over what I can see and understand in my bones AND the ache of trying to articulate that to those (often men) who can’t see/understand in the same way; the tendency to discount my ideas as illogical (and therefore invalid); and the YES that rises up and pushes on…that takes over, just like birth.

I am deeply grateful for your voice; for the reminder that I am not crazy; for a woman and friend who models the gorgeously impractical miracle of birthing herself, her ideas, her words, her heart.

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:01 am

thank you, love. i know we can all help each other remember and expresss these beautiful, illogical, impractical knowings.

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wholly jeanne November 17, 2012 at 8:33 am

Oh yes! Like I said yesterday, I grow very tired of dealing with this whole masculine/feminine thing because I am both, and I need both. There are times when I need the masculine (the more rational) side of me to give me the traction I need to move forward with projects I am birthing. There are also times I need it to shut the hell up and go find something to do, like organize the sock drawer (it’s own sock drawer, mind you, not mine) or something. It’s also true that too often I find “the masculine” a convenient hamper for things I don’t like and don’t like to do. You do realize, by the way, that the first time you called me was when some woman left a comment about how tired she is of hearing everybody talk, talk, talk about this stuff, and she asked when are we going to do something besides talking – remember that? Never did find out who she is, but like I said then, Whoever she is, she has a point. It’s time to stop labeling and start living. Time to knock the rational, logical, formulaic off its throne . . . or maybe built a second throne that’s maybe softer and even at least a teensy bit bigger, one bedazzled with glorious symbols to drive the other throne occupant batshit crazy. Time to live a new way, drawing from the masculine well when it serves us, and drawing from the feminine well without apology or explanation.

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:02 am

;-) they certainly can hang side by side, can’t they!?

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Chris November 17, 2012 at 8:33 am

Ah yes, my dear friend and sister of the intuitive heart,

You have once again put into words the sacred ineffable and the holy unfathomable. And the struggle that those of us who dance with those energies on a regular basis have in articulating those realities and being understood.

I know this place all too well. And so appreciate your gorgeous, relentless desire to birth this new way of being into the world. Thank you.

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:03 am

thanks, dear. you have helped me to do this. many thanks and love to you.

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Julie November 17, 2012 at 8:37 am

I love this post and I am experiencing this as well. The landscape of bliss is not linear: I seem to increasingly rely on musical expressions of what I experience and am spending the day listening to old choral works because I can literally feel my cells drawn to them and blooming. I’m drawn to the ecstatic writings of Hildegard as a trail of breadcrumbs on how to communicate an ecstatic state of creation – and you’re so right. It’s not logical or practical but it blooms within us nonetheless. Thanks so much.

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:05 am

thank you, Julie. and, thank you for the reminder to go back to Hildegard. i love these words: “how to communicate an ecstatic state of creation”. with love, julie

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Tanya November 17, 2012 at 10:33 am

Love this. Tbose of us who write with our heart need to give voice to our inner longings. Thanks for expressing that voice so clearly.xo

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:05 am

Thank you, Tanya.

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Mahala Mazerov November 17, 2012 at 11:47 am

Thank you. I continually struggle to find words to express the unspeakable beauty I know in the world.

I long for a day when I can say “Show me what you see. I am listening.” And we’ll touch foreheads and some secret universal language will pass between us, fully understood.

Until that time comes, Julie, thank you for your beautiful writing. For your exquisite heart.

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:06 am

some things cannot be expressed with words. i am finally getting that… it’s been a long road. i look forward to the day of our foreheads touching. with love, julie

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NamLeah November 17, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Julie!
I See You!

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Patty/Living Deep Studio November 17, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Oh Julie, did you write this just for me? I’m doing art every day month, turning toward my artist, reclaiming her as you say. Still, my art is messy, confusing, non-linear, imprecise. What I call “unconstructed.” And when I first look at it I wonder: will anyone *understand* my art? Will they get it? But then I come back to what I’ve created, hold it in my hands, and try to listen to and see what my art is showing me. It’s all there.

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:08 am

Patty, Maybe I did! Unconstructed is perfect. And, it is whole, already. Guess it can be whole and unconstructed, because it is. So much wisdom there.
Thank you for sharing that, Patty. With love, Julie

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Sharon Eden November 18, 2012 at 3:04 am

Dear Julie…

Great blog post!

Experienced the self same thing last week being asked by a very mentally identified business consultant what I did. At one point in the conversation I said, ‘I’m bored!’ She said, ‘Well, I’m just trying to understand what you do.’ And then I softened, and talked in metaphors which perhaps she might understand. Then there was better communication between us.

I believe we women are spearheading the paradigm shift in human evolution that is happening as I speak. And, if we are to spearhead it, we need to learn to communicate the unspoken things that are known to women. It’s no good hugging them to ourselves and having them be unknown. It’s no good shutting down and reliving our history when the collective unconscious demands of us to be peaceful warriors in creating the new.

We need to harness our feminine power and our ability for logical thinking and speaking to create those metaphors, those pictures, those stories that will be understood by others if we are to create a better world!

Let’s stop being victims and start being victors!

Sharon

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Sarah November 19, 2012 at 7:36 am

Yes. Yes. Yes. YES!!!!

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:10 am

Sarah, thank you. I love your site. with love, Julie

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Melody November 20, 2012 at 6:15 am

God, how I love this! Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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Julie November 20, 2012 at 7:09 am

thank you, Melody. you are welcome, from the deep place in mine. with love, julie

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Susan T. Blake November 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm

I add my thanks to the others here. I also have, and need, both the rational and the non-rational, and have gotten frustrated with – and fearful of – people who ask for a translation to the rational, the measurable. Who, it seems, use that need for translation as a barrier, a judgment. And sometimes it is, but perhaps sometimes it is honest need to understand in a way they are used to. And sometimes perhaps it is curiosity they don’t know how to satisfy any other way.

You have given me new insight into the times my voice tightens, and it occurs to me that perhaps when I notice this, it might be helpful to wonder, What would happen if I not only sang the explanation, but danced it instead? Even if just in my head?

XO

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Charlotte Rains Dixon November 28, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I’ve experienced this before–as a writer, I’ve had to learn to let my ideas for stories dance inside me until the time is right to share them. I loved this take on the situation!

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Mel November 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm

I came across your site today via Amy Kessel’s. And your words fill me like delicious red wine / music / good food and a dance – I love your writing. Thank you for sharing.

I recently read Sue Monk Kidd’s book, “The Dance with the Dissident Daughter”, which made me more aware of and confident in a journey I have been going through for some time – and now your site is doing this for me, too.

Well there is lots I could say – but for now, I just want to say, Thank you! and I will keep reading :-)

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alyson December 18, 2012 at 9:47 am

The feeling I yearn to express exists in the now. When I choose words, I get carried backward or forward–out of now. For almost half a century words have been the way I navigated through the world. They do not adequately reflect the beauty I see everywhere. I’m drawn to color, patterns of light and shadow, juxtaposition of old and new, growth and decay, embraced and discarded, natural and man made. A dream world of images that speak the language of my soul. It delights me to be in such good company.

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Aime Miyamoto December 31, 2012 at 7:32 am

Alyson and Julie,
Alyson your words are so ripe with truth – ironically… I too have been feeling the limits of words to adequately capture the multidimensional spectrum of new energy that is echoing in and out and through all that is right now. I too am drawn to color and image and symbols and texture at this time to only begin to scratch the surface of what is unfolding in and around and through me… ;)

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Terri September 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm

You write exactly how I’ve been feeling.

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