Saturday, May 31, 2008
That Voice In The Back Of My Mind
When a woman is strong in her instinctual nature, she intuitively recognizes the innate predator by scent, sight, and hearing ... anticipates its presence, hears it approaching, and takes steps to turn it away. In the instinct injured woman, the predator is upon her before she registers its presence, for her listening, her knowing and the apprehensions are impaired -- mainly by introjects which exhort her to be nice, to behave, and especially to be blind to being misused.
"Women Who Run With the Wolves" by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
I am a child of the 50’s, and like most women of that era, was raised to be ladylike, sweet, and to please; to judge my own self-worth by my perception of how I was viewed by others. I was raised to be the perfect daughter and wife , first and to follow my own aspirations only if they did not interfere with the desires of others, most especially my family’s. I was taught a lot of "rules" or "shoulds" all aimed at educating me as to what was expected of me and how I was to behave. And, if I strayed from the path, family and society were there to let me know how ashamed I should be, and that repentance and a return to the proper course were to be my only salvation. Oh, and lest I forget, they would be ever vigilant in reminding me of past transgressions.
Oh, I tried to be good ... I really did. And, when I took an ill-advised course as a teenager, in a last act of rebellion, the results were dire, further reinforcing in me that "they" were right. With this as my back- ground, it was small wonder that I found myself, in my thirties, in an abusive relationship and not having a clue as to how bad my situation was, nor how to extricate myself from it. I had long ago learned to martyr myself for others... after all, wasn’t this a noble thing for a woman to do? My life appeared to outsiders to be that of the perfect person. I remember when a friend asked me what it was that made me happy and, I responded when those around me were happy. "But", she asked, "what makes just you happy, what is it you want just for you". I realized for the first time that I could not answer this question. I had denied my own feelings so long that I barely felt at all. I just functioned as a mirror of the feelings of those around me. When they were happy, I was happy. When they were upset, then I was upset and would do everything I could to make them happy again. My happiness??? What was that?? I was so out of touch with my feelings, my intuition had been silenced, and I had lost the ability to make the decisions I needed to make for me.
Fortunately for me, there were a series of occurrences that were so traumatic, they broke through the shell I had formed around myself and forced me to feel. And, as excruciatingly painful as they were, this renewed ability to deeply feel allowed me to begin to get in touch again with my intuition ... my inner voice.
Intuition ÷ This is the voice that men laugh about, calling it superstition or female overreacting. This is the voice that speaks to us at the back of our minds warning us about things we cannot "prove" in the physical world. It is the voice that caused millions to be burned and slaughtered. It is the hand of our dark sisters/brothers guiding us through the unknown.
It has been predominately granted as women’s sight, though many men also have such gifts. They, however, have been more stringently taught to suppress it, to deny its existence. We are taught that the only valid form of decision making is to rationalize, yet look at what this "rationalization" has done to our world. When we reclaim our dark siblings, and embrace them, our inner voice begins to return and we begin to again understand the truths contained in the darkness. Our eyes begin to penetrate the masks that are used to deceive.
I have finally learned to listen carefully to that inner voice. I travel with excitement into the dark recesses, searching through the bones, digging in the earth and using the lessons of the past to fertilize the seeds of the future.