I Am Woman

During Science of Mind Principles class, Dr. Chris invited us to make enough room inside of ourselves to consider that the impossible dream just might be possible. He was talking about that dream that you can’t shake no matter how much you despair of ever realizing it.

I knew exactly what dream he was talking about. Simply put, my dream is to help heal the divisions between people that keep us separated from each other around race, religious belief, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and gender expression. I also want to help heal the wounds we carry within that keep us isolated from others, that keep us from knowing the beautiful truth about ourselves.

So I gave it that little bit of breathing room Chris requested. I even shared it with a few of my friends. I actually opened to the possibility that it could indeed really happen–and I felt excited about it. Then I drifted back to the business of living my life, my dream still there breathing quietly, just not the center of my attention.

Our focus at CSL this year is on making change happen in “real life” through our spiritual practice. One of the women in our spiritual community was asked to give the talk at a Wednesday night Real Life service. Bruce Jenner had just done the interview on being transgendered with Diane Sawyer, and the CSL team wanted to start a conversation in our own community about what we could do to help make the world big enough to welcome people who are transgendered.

Madeline came and spoke about her journey to womanhood. The morning after she shared her story, I woke up filled with a new awareness (again) of the privilege the world affords me because I am a white woman whose body parts match up with the commonly held expectation for women. I was touched by Madeline’s story, by her openness, her deep presence, her hard-won self-acceptance. Her talk opened up a rich vein in me that I have been sifting through ever since.

One of the things that has surfaced is that I have realized that I, too, have struggled to embrace myself as a woman. I have not had to deal with having body parts that most people believe make you a man, but buried inside my struggle to accept myself as a lesbian, there has been this equal discomfort around embracing myself as a woman. I have stayed on the periphery, as if it would be presumptuous to include myself, as if being a lesbian disqualified me from participating in the larger tribe of women. When I really looked at it, I could see that I had been acting from a place of feeling that I needed to be granted permission (to whom do you even go to ask for that?) as if I were not already a woman.

And to claim my place within the circle without apology . . .?

Well, when I put it like that . . . (my whole face just smiled).

Ain’t I a woman?

Oh, yeah. Me and Madeline, too.

I’m Going to Get This

I just hit my phone. That hurt. I’m frustrated. My blog post sucks. My phone won’t clear the notification it just received. I hate having my phone hijacked by . . . whatever makes it not work like it’s supposed to work. Siri was not one bit helpful. Right at the center of all that turmoil is a text from a friend inviting me to her kid’s graduation – in four hours.

I immediately went into guilt, like I was bad or wrong for not rearranging everything to make room for this very important celebration. I felt stuck between one obligation and another. I’ve been working so hard to clear this pattern of mine to protect people from their own feelings–of inadequacy, disappointment, not mattering enough–as if it were essential to their well-being, as if my actions had that kind of power. With one little text, I was sucked back into trying to prevent feelings that I was presuming would be gnawing away at someone else.

As that first burst of “fix-it, dammit,” washed through me, I stopped for a moment and just let myself breathe. I felt what I was feeling and left off on the judgment. I realized I was disappointed for not being able to attend the celebration. In truth I realized that, in addition to judging my own reaction, I had judgment about my friend “putting me in this situation.” I also saw clearly how I do not automatically lead with what I am feeling; my initial awareness is of what other people “must” feel.

It occurred to me in that pause that I had options. I could continue to be upset about the conflict between attending the graduation and my previously scheduled plans or I could simply recognize that attending wasn’t a possibility and move on without getting all riled up. If I got really esoteric about it, I could even feel grateful that I was being provided an opportunity to gauge my progress–or the lack thereof–on my goal of creating a new pattern in my brain (and heart) for living my life. I could take it as a gift of awareness with the accompanying opportunity to renew my focus on making that change. Any of these options would be okay. But then, really, so would being a total whack job, blaming other people for my feelings, and punching my phone.

The Gift

You may underestimate the intensity of your longing for continual transformation, but the universe doesn’t. That’s why it provides you with the boundless entertainment of your ever-shifting story. That’s why it is always revising the challenges it sends your way, providing your curious soul with a rich variety of unpredictable teachings.
From Rob Brezsny’s May 5, 2015 Astrology Newsletter

I have been played. By the Divine Trickster no less. I can’t stop laughing to myself as I tip my head. Namaster: The Trickster in me recognizes and honors the Trickster in you.

A couple of weeks ago, this woman I met awhile back stepped out of my peripheral vision and engaged me in conversation. New life sprang up inside me just like the primal bamboo in my back yard–not slowly pushing it’s way up through the resistant soil, but bam, here I am–knee high before you can blink your eye. (Please forgive the rhyme; that was not intentional.)

I was not expecting that. I mean seriously, I’m working on three goals, and I’ve got a waiting list five deep, with love and desire right at the tail end of those. So maybe a year or two and I’m ready.

But these feelings are lovely, and now I’m shuffling the stack to make room in my world to enjoy them. Who wouldn’t?

I know that these feelings are mine, and though they have been triggered by this particular woman, it doesn’t mean that she will have any interest in me, nor does it mean that she will be someone that I will want to share them with. I finally get that, and I love that I do. But why not take a step forward and see what there is to see?

When I have been attracted to someone in the past, my mind has tended to go blank, my tongue to tie itself in knots, and my feet to head me anywhere but in her direction. Nonetheless, I determine that the next time I see this woman, I will ask her if she’d be interested in grabbing a cup of coffee sometime. (I don’t drink coffee, but I’ve got my Virgo need for detail accuracy in check, and I have rehearsed this simple line used without qualm by normal people everywhere, until I can recite it in any blanked out state my brain might throw at me.)

As the next possible opportunity to see her approaches, I’m hearing Chris Michael’s voice from prayer class in my head–“people usually turn to prayer as a last resort”–so I accept the invitation and I claim the courage to speak this one measly line, the faith to know that my life is unfolding perfectly no matter what, and, well, what the hell.

The Universe, recognizing my keen ability to talk myself out of anything at the last moment, starts strumming leftover remnants of songs in my mind to help bolster my resolve: “What would I do if I were brave.” Then a whole brand new song: “You can’t touch the sky from inside yourself. You cannot fly until you break the shell.” Then comes the challenge from Mike Irwin, CSL’s spiritual co-director: “What would you do this year if you were brave?” Whatever on this year. What about today?

So next chance I had, I asked. It wasn’t even hard. The line came out almost smoothly. She accepted–but not for a specific sometime. I didn’t get the feeling that she was particularly interested in doing so.

That’s when it hit me that God in It’s infinite wisdom was playing me just the way It needed to–getting me to open up, to release some of my old stuff and to really get clear on what I want–and that I want for that matter. And the real gift for me in this (besides these dreamy feelings) is that I get to see that I have become a woman equal to the lover, and the lover experience, that I want to have.