What We've Always Understood
The energy of this group was gentle but strong, and we all felt connected. Ten women and one man. I was grateful, and in that ‘thin space’ that feels open to insight and understanding.
We began with a discussion question, “What are some of the words that have power over us?” I chose a phrase I first heard from my mother, and have repeated to myself so often that it's become like a personal mantra. A directive, floating in my head since I was a little girl…
“You must have misunderstood.”
This mantra has led me to question everything I've held to be true. Over and over again. Always fearful of some angle overlooked, to be discovered by looking harder or longer. I could feel the weight of the energy I’ve spent in questioning myself, and how much space my doubts were taking up inside me. I wanted to cut the cord with that mantra, and made that a conscious desire.
The experience of our morning breath session left me with the realization that my mantra was based in fear, rooted in oppressive falsity. The greater truth, hidden beneath my circular thoughts, lay in its opposite - “I’ve always understood.”
I felt released. Relief. “I’ve always understood” applies not only to me, but to all women who have been led to question themselves and their experiences.
The Sound Retreat is nestled on the edge of a nature reserve, and during the eco therapy session I walked alone by an active stream, and came upon tree, rooted precariously along its banks.
The roots of this tree had reached between rocks, finding their way through little crevices. Tracing their path with my hands, I discovered the roots had also reached across the stream, partially exposed, gnarled and reddish-brown, as the current rushed around them. The roots of this tree were soft and pliable. The roots of this tree were all these things, yet they were also strong. Because they connected with the earth and with every thing they touched.
It occurred to me that this is what we do, as women, emerging - Even though our roots may be soft, when we connect and intertwine, we are strong. And together, we can grow in any direction. Together, we are not precarious.
I returned to the group feeling renewed, and left the mud under my fingernails as a reminder.
The final session, a sound meditation using planetary gongs and crystal bowls, invited us to experience what felt like a vibrational stream of audible images from the collective unconscious. The image I held closest was a maternal archetype I will call Lotus. Through the sustained, overlapping tones of the gongs and singing bowls, I felt her gently repeat the phrase, “Believe what you know to be true...”
Believe what you know to be true. It sounds so simple, but for too many women this is no easy task. So many of us have been led to question ourselves and our experiences. Just imagine if we took all that energy spent on questioning, and applied it to believing - We would have enough power to put our Selves back in our histories, and rewrite those histories from a grounded place of personal truth. Rooted together, believing, and giving voice to what we've always understood, but never had the confidence to speak out loud.