(Photo taken at Ephesus, a Greek and then Roman city that flourished around the time of Christ)
I have been exploring Dan Siegel’s Wheel of Awareness in which he describes the hub of awareness as the center of ourselves and the spokes and rim as the things we take in from the outside world: our senses, our mind thoughts, our relationships, our body sensations.
Practicing this for several days I became interested in my hub, the essence of me that is me — the center.
This is a new variation on many practices of I have tried over the years. I have always found some resistance to going into the center of myself. In the past I have thought I was afraid of how little would be there, that I would find that I am really just made up of everything going on outside of me. I am very ‘other’ focused.
This time I began to notice something new stir in the center of my being. The word feminina came into my consciousness. It is a word my husband uses to refer to me often. The word means feminine in Portuguese. I have noticed that I have a slight aversion to him calling me this name.
This aversion, as I really explore it, contains a lot of strong emotions and is a microcosm of myself as a sexual woman — fear, shame and lust. In the center of my being I find my sexuality as an integral part of the essential me!
When I was becoming a woman at age 14, my mother was becoming a man. She had a radical mastectomy and then took hormone treatment which made her voice lower, and hair grow on her face. This was horrifying to me and I understood — this happens when you are a woman. I also knew that for women there was another type of danger, whispers of pregnancies, getting in trouble, being a bad girl.
My own budding sexuality, although active, went into hiding, laced with shame and isolation.
This may be a common experience for women even though my coming of age experience with my mother was unusual. The photo above depicts Medusa looking very ambivalent herself, some 2000+ years ago. It adorned a wall of a home in ancient Ephesus.
If I am Feminina, what does that mean? Pressure to be something, the receptacle of endless need? I have not had many positive associations. AND that is changing!
My husband and I have been working with sexual fantasies and preferences in a new way in our teaching . Of course it has been so healing for us as well.
Sexual fantasies and sexual preferences are a great way to find a view into the center of yourself. Our sexual fantasies are working underground on very above-ground issues. The main issue for each of us is how to resolve the inherent conflict between two of our most basic needs; arousal and safety.
Through fantasy we can have our arousal in a safe and private place. Our fantasies are also busy resolving other issues. Inside our fantasies we find our deepest wounds. Some of our fantasies are direct. I was used as a child so my fantasies are about being used. Others compensate and are indirect. These fantasies provide us access to what was denied us as a child, power, importance, admiration etc…
Finding your sexual preferences by exploring pornography can also be so helpful. I was always put off by pornography – above it all. But now I see images of women like me. Doing things I like to do. I always thought there was something wrong with me. I am normal after all! I feel my shame lift and freedom take its place.
I love this quote from The Autobiography of My Mother: A Novel by Jamaica Kincaid. She is describing a young women who turns 14. “And so, too, the smell of my underarms and between my legs changed, and this change pleased me. In those places the smell became pungent, sharp, as if something was in the process of fermenting, slowly; in private, then as now, my hands almost never left those places, and when I was in public, these same hands were always not far from my nose, I so enjoyed the way I smelled, then and now.”
What if each of us could embrace our sexuality with all it’s bodily manifestations in this way? What freedom awaits each of us as we can feel normal and accept the fullness of our feminina. For men I am sure there is an equivalent experience of isolation and shame around sexuality. Let’s all come into the light that is our own unique yet normal sexuality and see what a beautiful vehicle it is to work our our deepest issues and come into contact with the deepest center of ourselves.