Impressions and Depressions

Sink down and depress into the Earth; feel your shadow reflected against Her gnarly roots.

Breathe down and out, empty the lungs, and feel into the chaos at their depth where breath ends.

Push… release… let go… drop.

Collapse into Earth’s embrace.

Shudder, diaphragm

Ache, heart.

Churn, belly.

Sob and heave.

And then come back to center; the channel.

Breathe and breathe and breathe and breathe.

Let the Earth reflect the impression that body makes upon Her.

Let the perineum and solar plexus and diaphragm and heart mirror reality and what is so for the body.

The central channel represents the Earth, but inside.

Inside me.

It is the root, the trunk of who I am and the chakras are its knots.

Inasmuch as I allow peers to impress themselves upon me, I also do this with my self and my channel and the Earth.

As I feel who I am and trust that felt sense, I can more vulnerably and powerfully impress my self upon other people.

The manifestation is that much more clear because the Earth has already shown me an image of who She sees me to be.

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Surrendering to Impression

Surrender doesn’t seem to be a very popular practice around here. We avoid it, actually. Fight it. Demonize it. We don’t want to surrender, and especially not to reality. Because the reality of this world often involves losing; our autonomy, our agency, our power, our bodies, our opportunities. It hurts. In this corner of the galaxy we’ve been taught that surrender hurts because it’s almost always at the losing end of an imbalanced, vicious, structural power dynamic. One that’s designed to punish huge swaths of Us just for being alive.

There are those with power and those who surrender, we’re taught. Be one, not the other.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been presented with chances to view surrender through a different lens. I find myself at the intersection of somatic meditation, peer counseling, and technical phone screens. And the feeling I’m most aware of, the action that keeps calling my attention is breathing; the motion of my breath as it suffuses my body and then whooshes back out. How it impresses itself upon me, my breath. I repeatedly surrender to it and allow it to permeate my parts, organs, and cells all the way out to the edges.

My breath and I are seeking a balance of power. How far will I allow it to touch and impress itself upon me? How deeply will I surrender to my breath and allow my shape to change as I accommodate and then accept its pressure on my muscles, bones, and cells?

How far will I exhale? Can I follow the breath down into the place where it accommodates me? That place where I empty my lungs fully and drop beneath the air line to inhabit the space where cells do all the breathing. Where chaos takes the form of a heavy energy ball in between my solar plexus and sacrum, suspended between inhalations.

Paying attention to my breath at this level strengthens my embodied sense of Self, which I also refer to as my intuitive or subtle body. It anchors me inside my awareness so that I can better feel the undercurrents of conversation. The tiny ripples and streams of unspoken desire for validation and acknowledgement that are present whenever two humans communicate.

I can better hear the subtle voice behind the speaking voice when someone tells me about an experience they had. When they’re nervously laughing about having done something they regret, I’m feeling inside my body and asking the question “Where do I feel what they’re saying?” What part of me vibrates or lights up or aches when I hear their nervous laughter? When I laugh nervously, which parts in me are trying to hide behind that laughter?

There’s a whisper or a scream or a wail beneath almost every spoken word. But your ears can’t hear it, your body feels it. What that wounded part is trying to convey isn’t a word, it’s an experience. A felt sense, like an impression.

Tapping into that awareness helps guide my response, it helps me feel that other person. I can remember what it felt like the last time I nervously laughed after having acted regretfully; using that as a reference point, their experience now makes sense to me. And so I actively seek to receive their impression of regret; I want to feel them because it not only helps me empathize and connect with them, I also get a sense of their Self-ness.

The brilliant, funny, warm, lovable, caring person whose behind all the complaints, stories, and blaming. The passionate, amazing human who is part of my community, whether that community comprises peer counselors, co-workers, or beloveds. Sometimes that person is applying to join one of my communities.

Part of my day-job involves phone-screening new engineering candidates. In addition to reading their resume, I have a set of questions whose answers are supposed to give me a sense of the candidate, a feeling of who they are and how they might fit into my team from a technical qualifications perspective. So I ask the questions and furiously type out their answers to the best of my ability, seeking to log only the pertinent pieces, the pieces that answer the question most fully and accurately.

And yet underneath all that talking and typing, I’m breathing deeply into my belly. I’m trying to feel that person on the other end of my headphones as transmitted through their spoken voice. I’m trying to tap into and feel their conversational undercurrent. Using my breath as a vehicle, I’m asking my body to surrender and make enough space for their Self to impress upon me.

The thing about impressions is, they hang around. Like a ghost or the whisper of an exhaled breath. After doing a phone screen or counseling session, that person stays with and haunts me. I continue to hear their voice. I can feel what I perceived to be their Self.

In the hours after surrendering to someone’s offered impression, I feel genuine love for them. I can feel them inside my body, such a small and tender thing. Potently at first, held in the transitional nest I’ve carved out for them, and then slowly fading away.

I surrender to their leaving and I surrender to their impression. There is great power in my choosing to do so.

The Snail Priestess

I am deeply grateful to Chani Nicholas for the following incantation, which speaks so directly and clearly to my current focus. I seek to embody the pace of the snail. My energy is slow and purposeful, not rushed or urgent. It’s focused on the breath moving inside my body, always in awareness with the ground, feeling the Earth.


Virgo

I break the spells that keep me busy doing nothing. My time is sacred so I keep a watchful eye on it. I break the spells that keep me wasting energy where I don’t need to. I use the space in my days to work on my skills of constructive daydreaming. Giving myself some time and space to just be can be revolutionary. I use this new moon to break the spells that have me thinking in the same way about a problem, opportunity or situation. I use this new moon to refresh my way of seeing what I am looking at.

I am dedicated to seeing solutions.

If I can worry about my problems, then I can imagine their solutions. I can conjure up the understanding, the strategy and the wisdom needed to find my way around anything that life throws at me.

This week offers me a unique opportunity to benefit from my commitments. Especially the ones that I make to my home, family and healing my relationships with parents and childhood issues. No magic is made without a serious commitment to the elements that I work with. This new moon can help me to see that I have all the ingredients that I need to make a stable, sound, solid place to land, root down and grow from. This new moon can help me to see how much easier healing can be when I am willing to meet my life where it is.

snails

The Origin of All Things

Meditation awareness: Inside my pelvis there is a portal to primordial space, the origin of all things. I feel gravity and allow it to pull me down toward the portal. It is my cervix. And on the other side is spaciousness, creativity, possibility. My womb is an ocean of space and it holds awareness of the infinite.

I use my awareness to seek this point and embody it. I come back to it over and over with my breath, with focus, with my mind’s eye. I imagine the portal’s heat and pressure, how it burns when opened. I practice inhaling my breath from the womb space, through my cervix, and then exhaling my breath back into the space.

I imagine my lips gently making contact with my cervix as the breath moves into and out of my body. I imagine exhaling hot, moist air into the rich compost that makes up the origin of all things. The blood-rich pocket deep inside my body that creates life.

I inhale from the origin that is my womb, and my lungs are filled. I exhale into the origin and my lungs are emptied. I am a recursive bellows, simultaneously breathing into and out of my own body with each breath. I attempt to follow my breath into the space so that I may feel its vastness, so that I can be surrounded by space that is aware of itself.

I inhale from and exhale into a space in my body that I am aware of at only the most primal and cosmic level. The origin of all things.

origin-of-all-things

Olly Olly Oxen Free

You know the bittersweet feeling that comes from being an Awesome Hider? You’ve found this great spot and you fit inside perfectly and you’re concealed so well you may as well be invisible. You can hear your It-friend walking by and they don’t even get a whiff of your presence. You feel so proud because you’ve found a Great Hiding Spot.

After a while, you can hear more, and then all of your friends running back and forth, yelling for you, but they can’t find you. And you get a thrill down your spine because you’ve actually found The Best Hiding Spot. You want to see how long it takes them to find you. So you stay put and breath through your mouth, and don’t dare to move.an.inch.

And then it gets really quiet. You can’t hear your friends anymore. And you wonder where they’ve gone. They wouldn’t stop looking without telling you…would they?

And the longer you sit there, pondering this turn of events, the stranger it feels. Maybe you start to wonder whether you CAN be found. Maybe you disappeared. Maybe you aren’t real anymore. You realize that no one is going to find you here.

I’ve been hiding all my life. From monsters both real and imagined. From disappointment and failure. From other people’s emotional outbursts, manipulations, and fits. From pain and grief. I’ve created an internal life that’s perfectly suited to all my patterns and preferences. I’m well adapted to living inside my head. All. By. My. Self.

When I was 4 and then 14 and then 24 (and then 34), suffering through growing up, hating people for dozens of reasons, living inside my mind seemed like a perfectly reasonable thing to do. I learned how to perform normalcy, a semblance of happiness. But now I’m 44 and in a relationship with someone whose trying desperately to See Me. He wants to connect with me. Has wanted to do so for the eight years we’ve been together.

And I’ve come to realize that my perfect hiding spot is actually a prison. A prison that’s exactly the same size as my body. A Christina-shaped prison. I can’t move in here. It’s hard to take a full, deep breath. My solar plexus trembles when I do. I’m 500 feet down inside a cold, dark well and I can’t hear my friend’s voices anymore.

The more I use somatic, breathing meditations to grow my awareness, the more this becomes clear. My breath is forcing me to bump up against the walls of my prison. And it hurts. It hurts being this alone. Alone in the dark with my breath and my shame.

Because it’s shame that keeps me here. Shame who tells me it’s better to be “safe.” Better to remain hidden. Better not to try. Better not to breathe fully or lean into creativity. Better not to risk being seen. Don’t call attention to yourself. Don’t let them see you. They’ll eat you, rape you, kill you, hate you. The monster will find you.

Shame is the monster. And while I didn’t put it here, inside my body, down deep in the crevices of my chest and pelvis and heart; it’s my monster to battle. I’m the only one here. The only one who can climb up and out of this well.

I have to give up this hiding place. It isn’t actually safe here, isn’t healthy. I’m suffocating, smothered by my shame.

I found me. I’m right here, breathing. And I’m coming out.

I Didn’t Know

I didn’t know how numb I was. I didn’t know that my intuition and body were deadened from decades of abuse and disease.

I didn’t know that I was having one set of feelings in my head and another, completely different set in my body. That I’d been ignoring, devaluing, and medicating away my true feelings for so long, I no longer knew how to recognize, let alone feel them.

I didn’t know that it would require years of focused, intentional excavation to find the core of my self. I didn’t know how wounded I actually was. I didn’t know that once I found my core wounds and felt *everything* they had been saving for me, I would then be alive.

Actually alive. No longer afraid or anxious, but certain and filled with new purpose. Feeling all the parts of my body. Even the ones I didn’t know could be felt, like my toes and the tips of my labia. My urethral sponge.

I am now expressing and feeling my emotions throughout my entire body whenever they occur, simultaneously, in concert. Instead of stifling them or making them more appropriate for polite society. Instead of feeling scared and saying I’m not. Instead of lying.

This is what it means to “do the work.” To “reclaim one’s self.” This work takes a lot of practice. These new parts of mine are like any other muscle; they need to be worked often, felt often, seen and acknowledged, loved and cared for.

This is how it feels to be alive. This is tantra. This is holistic peer counseling. Reclamation, embodiment, felt truth. It’s all possible. Even if you don’t know it’s possible. It is.

Surrendering My Silence

On this, the longest night of the year, it is helpful to remember that we too are being called into our deepest dark. Down into the places we hide from view; where we store our grief, where we brace and hold, where we are ashamed and unforgiving too.

When we speak of the ‘returning of the light’ it isn’t just a grace that this threshold season provides, but the call to our own revealing. We are being asked to acknowledge our untruths, to surrender our silence, to bare our fragile stories in the open. These are the acts which connect the fabric of our lives to the whole of truthfulness.

Without proof, we trust that a way will be born then in the dark, out of nothing, by this braving forward. And we are rewarded with the dignity of a life which emboldens the poetry trapped in the silence of others, and tenderises us for a more articulated quality of love. — Toko-pa

What does it mean for me to have intentional sex?

To acknowledge and feel into my body’s authentic desire; I feel Her thrum deep beneath my skin, like a vibration coming up from the ground, an echo of things remembered.

To acknowledge that I’m bleeding; the fourth day, after the transition, when cramping discomfort and fluctuating emotions have given way to want, need, and heat. I can feel that Her fire is kindled, can hear its crackle.

To acknowledge it is the darkest day; the day when the veil is thinnest and the spirits are close, desirous of experience; my ancestral and child parts looking for release. It has been a year since he and I began this work of physical sovereignty.

I trust that I am a goddess of the Earth; my grounded trance experiences over the last year confirm it, my double Virgo-ness adds delightful corroboration, and my ever-developing masculine simply nods Hir head, gazing deeply into my third eye.

And so with this awareness, I stand in front of him and begin to breathe, planting my feet and feeling them slowly merge with the imagined soil beneath me as I open a channel. A channel that runs from my sacrum and yoni and womb; the combined energies of red goddess seeking connection with her sister, her lover and consort, her center.

We breathe together, he and I, as we sway from our centers and slowly writhe; hips forming an infinite cradle, noses inhaling one another’s breath, lips brushing one another’s face. Grounding down, opening out, connecting through his cock; bringing him with me to mingle in molten lava before coming back up and into Us.

Building desire building erotic building heat. And then I need his face in Her; now. Need and want his deep devoted attention to awaken Her fully, to call Her forth. His exquisite tongue and lips; they speak to and see Her in ways like no other, honor Her, coax Her, sing to Her.

Then begins my focused breath work. His face buried, my right hand on second chakra, my left hand on third, lovingly pressing; deep breath down and into my pelvic bowl, my awareness following. Breathing slowly breathing deeply breathing intentionally. Over and over and over.

I become aware that my third, second, and first chakras are now connected, aligned, an extension of one another forming the backbone of my psychic cock. I breathe into and hold gently tense the muscles surrounding that sinuous ridge. An inch underneath my skin I can feel Hir arise; the sacred androgyne.

From my gut through my womb down into my clit and out into the cosmos, Hir cock extends and unfurls, a flower, a sword, a tongue. Caressing his face and throat and lips, adoring his touch and devotion, penetrating flesh and seeking his deepest tender, raw place. Feeding and being fed.

I ask him, Does She feel like She’s ready for Him to fuck Her? Yes. Gooood; whenever you’re ready. Slowly slowly slowly he enters me, on top of me, bringing his bloody beard and mouth to press against mine. Yes; this is good; there is power in the blood, to kiss the blood acknowledges I accept its sacred power. That I’m not afraid.

More urgently, faster, harder. Surges of energy now coming up through Hir cock, filling my fourth chakra, bursting through the fifth. My pleasure requires a voice, demands a voice, it will not and cannot be silenced; She will be heard.

The Hitachi gives Her waves to ride; deep vibrations that pull Her up and out, they help me process what She has to say. The vibrations are the closest thing I have to match Her intensity; I intuitively match and mimic them, humming and growling and babbling, keeping pace. These are the scales and arpeggios that will allow me to sing Her song.

I’m scared and thrilled and filled with scalding waves of intense pleasure pain. I’m fighting to hold balance of attention with her song; the release that’s coming is ancestral and dark, unbridled and powerful, filled with rage and grief and elation. It burns and encompasses me.

I scream, Coming She’s Coming, and then I’m wailing sobbing gnashing laughing undulating. I’m channeling bloody anger and generations of grief, mixed with elated embodiment; She’s here I’m here She’s here I’m here! This body right now here in this moment. She’s here. I’m here. Tears of relief and gratitude and joy.

All the way up, all the way down; I am the Hierophant Reversed and all the Goddesses Elemental, and this pleasure is my right. I claim it with my sovereign authority and with my voice. The fifth chakra has awakened and I have surrendered my silence.