We live in a world where we are taught to operate and submit to the polarities that exist, favouring 'light' and 'white' over 'shadow' and 'black'.
In an age of spiritual awakening and a global energetic shift of consciousness (yea, okay, so I sound a little woo-woo. Stay with me...), I often hear and see a lot about 'love and light', 'stepping into your higher self', etc. And even if you don't swim in the more spiritual pools of society like I do, you'll know that yoga has become a fad, and mindfulness & meditation are more popularised.
While I appreciate that attitudes and behaviours like this are contributing to a LOT of positivity and social change in the world, I sense that if the other side of the coin continues to be neglected, we will continue to perpetuate violence, greed, racism, religious dogma, and 'othering'.
Embracing the Shadows
If you receive my juicy e-tribe mail, you'll know that I've been reading an incredible anthology called Yes Means Yes, Female Sexual Empowerment & a World Without Rape by Jessica Valenti & Jaclyn Fiedman. It's full of incredible essays written by people from various gender identities, sexualities, ethnicities and backgrounds.
I want to share an excerpt from an essay by Toni Amato (who's gender identity I am not certain of, so will refer to with the pronoun 'they/them/their'). In their essay titled Shame is the First Betrayer, Toni writes about the experiences of (what they refer to as) the LGBTIQQA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Intersex, Queer, Questioning, Allies) community's experiences of social shaming and the under-riding belief that anyone who identifies as LGBTIQQA is 'wrong', 'shameful', 'bad', etc because they are different from the heterosexual 'norm'. They say,
"...If a little girl is made to understand that it is unsafe and inappropriate for her body to be uncovered, unbound, and uncontained, how can that soon-to-be young woman discover and relish her own sweet sexuality, the inherent pleasures and sensual joys that her body is capable of giving her? And what if that young woman is queer? What if that little girl grows up to be a man? If a small boy is permitted to express his desires and longings, his feelings and dreams, only in rough touch and angry words, how will that young man grow to be able to express the tenderness and compassion at the core of his intimacy?
If that pretty boy has learned that all the sticky, steamy things he would like his lover to do to him are degenerate, disgusting, and worthy of punishment, that he should expect to be assaulted by the boys in the locker room, on the streets, in his platoon, then how will he know when the things his lover does to him are abusive? If that little girl has learned that her queer longings and desires are sinful and slutish, perverted and dirty, and that she should expect to be beaten and raped by the upstanding citizens who are protecting their wives and children, then how will she know when the things her lover does to her are abusive? If that non-gender-conforming child has never even been allowed to name hir own body, and has learned everyone but hirself has the right to name, manipulate, and modify hir body, then how will ze know when touch is invasive?" (p224, Yes Means Yes)
The link between what we've been taught (subtly and not so subtly) as a society and the violence & abuse that happens in society, particularly around sex, sexuality, etc. is SO strong.
As I've been digging into this more, especially since the recent rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon in Melbourne's Princes Park, I'm seeing the undercurrents of why experiences like this happen. Not that I can answer all the questions... but the dots are starting to connect for me.
The dots in my business are also connecting, and I'm currently alchemising and brewing something so potent to offer the world very soon. Click the link below and sign up for my e-tribe newsletter to stay up to date with the next delicious offerings I'll be sharing with the world!
When we can examine the 'darkness' of our own inner beings, we begin to live the veil of shame, secrecy and hiding. When we accept ALL parts of ourselves as worthy of love, acceptable, and permissible, we give ourselves permission to THRIVE and stop projecting the rejection of ourself onto what we see in others.
In plain words, if you can accept that your dark, dirty desires are actually ok, you'll be less likely to shame yourself, and more likely to make space for all parts of others to exist without the label of 'good' or 'bad'. This cycles back into a bit of 'woo-woo' Oneness, but honestly, if we can stop judging the parts of ourselves that we see as 'bad', 'wrong' or 'shameful', we free ourselves up to more power, love and liberation. And at the same time, free ourselves from the toxicity of judging others.
As humans we are complex, multi-facetted and full of contradictions. We are often pulled between our desires and our obligations, our pursuit of freedom and our sense of responsibility.
In living a life as fully human, I welcome every aspect of myself to be acknowledged, heard (at the very least by me), and accepted as part of me. I shun no part of myself, but instead lean in with curiosity when internal judgements or critique arises. 'Why do i think I should do this...?' 'Why am I afraid of what people will think..?'
When I allow every thought, every desire, every criticism to be permissible as part of being human, I can then ask myself "is this beneficial?" "am I a slave to this?".
For example, smoking cigarettes isn't inherently 'bad' or 'wrong' (it's permissible), but if I was going to smoke a cigarette I'd ask myself "Is it beneficial right now?" or if I'd been smoking for years and was judging myself for the habit, I could let go of the judgement knowing that it's permissible, and then ask myself "am I a slave to this? do I have control of this or is it controlling me?".
If we go even deeper than this... into the murky, shadows of what we've been taught to believe as 'bad'... we find things like kinks, fetishes, pedophilia, etc. But what if these things were brought to light with a curious acceptance of the multi-facetted complexity of being human?
I'm certainly not saying that interacting with a person without their consent is healthy, beneficial or condoning.
Please hear me... what if we took a step back and looked a little deeper?
Things like rape, assault, murder happen for various reasons, but I believe that underneath is an undeniable lack of meaningful connection - firstly to Self, than to Other. If we look at these experiences phenomenologically (meaning without emotional interpretation), we might see that rape is the pursuit of a desire without the consent of the other. That desire is likely not 'wrong' or bad (it's permissible), but the way in which that person has sought to have that desire met is not beneficial (and obviously harmful).
Perhaps instead of viewing pedophilia as 'wrong', we can see that all people have various types of attraction, and maybe being attracted to younger people / children is a natural attraction. I understand this may be incredibly triggering for some people to accept, as you may have experienced the abuse of an adult when you were a child (as have I). You might feel many objections rising up in you right now... but let's look deeper. The attraction itself may be nothing to be ashamed of (permissible), but it's how that attraction is dealt with and carried out. Obviously it's harmful to interact with people who's intellect, cognitive functions (ability to reason), and mental & emotional characteristics are not mature (children or those with a disability for that matter).
Can we separate feelings/emotions/desires from actions/behaviours? And see that much of the harm that exists in the world is because we haven't created safety for the full acknowledgement of what we are capable of as humans. We haven't given permission for all feelings/emotions/desires to be valid, and have thus shunned, shamed, demonised them, which has actually resulted in really dysfunctional ways of being.
I don't view things as 'good' or 'bad', but rather as 'healthy' and 'unhealthy', 'beneficial' or 'destructive'.
Every emotion you feel is valid, as part of being fully human.
Every thought you have is acceptable, as part of being fully human.
Every desire you have is permissible, as part of being fully human.
It's what you choose to do with your emotions, thoughts and desires that matters.
It's how you choose to create your reality that determines the kind of life you will live.
Everything is permissible. Not everything is beneficial.
bringing my fullness to the light,