Life flows tidally.
It seems we’re always navigating
incoming or outgoing waves of change.
In my just-before-sleep reading these past few nights, I’ve been settling my roots into the paradigm-shifting goodness that is Sharon Blackie’s book If Women Rose Rooted. It’s one of those books, you know? Where one reading only scratches the surface.
Anyway, while she makes many quote-worthy points in her 1st chapter, she brought me to a thoughtful stop with this:
“…the stories that we tell ourselves about the world and our place in it, and the stories that are told to us by others about the world and our place in it, shape not just our own lives, but the world around us. The cultural narrative is the culture.”
Not an entirely new idea for me, but powerfully concentrated here. And, considering the sometimes uneasy, sometimes downright poisonous effect on women of the culture in which we live, that’s quite the thought to roll over and sleep on.
“…the fundamental message of the sacred texts of the world’s largest religious grouping, which for 2000 years have supplied the foundational beliefs of our Western culture, is that men should not trust women, and that women should trust neither themselves nor each other.” Sharon Blackie
Think about that for a moment – or two. For at least 2000 years women have been told stories that taught us not to trust ourselves, or each other. Stories that wove themselves so tightly into the fabric of our culture, they appeared enough like truths that we kept on telling them to ourselves and other women.
This corrosive myth of mistrust is one of the most insidious lies insinuated into the collective feminine consciousness. It causes women to hesitate taking on responsibility or leadership roles, and to distrust the validity of our own innovative ideas or paradigm-shifting insights.
It also effectively isolates us from two potent sources of support and resilience:
1) the company of other women, and
2) our sense of kinship and belonging with wild nature (because our innate, intuitive connection with the earth is made through the bodies and senses we’ve been taught to mistrust.)
It has stopped us telling ourselves stories about how magical we are, how powerful, how creative and potent we are. We very nearly entirely stopped telling ourselves and each other stories about how we are this planet, she is us, and how, together with our more-than-human kin, we guide the tides of world consciousness along paths of resilient thriving for all life.
With this as the cultural background noise of my life since childhood, I’ve told myself stories about being too broken, too different, too weird, to woo-woo to be part of any community.
I tell myself stories about being too much, or not enough, or not belonging. I specialize in either/or stories, effectively cutting myself off from part of myself. Either I’m a business coach or I’m an aromatherapist. Either I’m a Mother or I’m a Crone. Either I’m fat or I’m healthy. I’ve heard other women tell similar stories about themselves. And, sadly, I’ve had women tell me these stories about myself.
That, to me, it one of the deepest griefs of this myth. That we – I – have been, even if unconsciously, complicit in this endless debasement and re-wounding of other women. Because it’s the cultural water we swim in.
As my wise feminist coach friend Jen Pavich says, “The lie that we’re buying here is that if we can just learn to hate ourselves enough, we can force ourselves into being what the world expects of us.”
One of the keys to breaking the hold of this lie? Take a leap and risk entrusting our stories – unfinished, disjointed and unpolished as they are – to other women.
When we do it creates more than a sense of relief at having finally spoken – at finally having been witnessed by another woman who knows intimately what it feels like to live under the weight of this culture – it opens a door to a budding sense of belonging. And….it sparks us to begin envisioning new stories.
In her book, Blackie notes that it’s important to find the cultural stories from our past that tell stories of empowered women, then it’s equally important to discover and claim new stories that will catalyze growth, change and forward momentum.
For me, discovering and claiming our new stories is the really key piece, here. Because when we tell our new stories we are literally shaping possibility. We are creating our culture and laying the foundation for other women to discover and speak their new stories.
To take things a step deeper, when we share our new stories by speaking them aloud, we weave the creative power of sound & vibration with language’s ability to conjure and shape and enliven the thoughtforms moving in our hearts and bodies.
When we speak aloud the stories we have freed from this mythology of mistrust, we are reweaving ourselves back into creation’s essence and once again taking our place among those who are guiding the tides of world consciousness along paths of resilient thriving for all life.
So, here’s my invitation to you:
Become aware of the stories you’re telling…
… to yourself.
… about yourself to others.
… about other women.
What do you notice?
Is the myth of mistrust taking up space?
Is it driving your narrative?
What is the new story you can tell?