After I shakily hit publish on my Awakening post my inbox lit up. Women writing to share with me how they were stepping into their own awakenings and desperately wanting to free themselves from the voices that have kept them outside of the ease of pleasure inside of their own skin. The women tend to be right around my age and have moved into a knowing with their bodies that was not present before. They are opening, stretching and gliding into a deeper sensuality, sexuality, pleasure and knowing of self – an opening that often comes with great struggle and confusion preceeding – and they are embracing being in community with other women who are wrapping words and experience around these awakenings.
Sarah sent these words to me after reading my own and I knew that I could carve the space for these voices to unite and expand out our definition of sensuality and awakenings. In these guest posts I am seeking out the awakening woman and I will share her voice with you.
Please welcome my sweet friend Sarah as she walks us through a piece of her journey into her awakening.
What My Body Tells Me
Body-mind-heart-spirit connection. All that I’ve ever experienced in this life – and maybe even before – lodged, held, and expressed in my cells, tissues, bones.
Hot flashes. Night sweats. Years of yo-yo-ing hormone levels. Periods just about gone for good. I’ve gone from denial to despair to annoyance and back again, searching for the perfect cure for these symptoms every time they flare. But lately, I’ve decided to go deeper, to ask my body – what is this all about? What are the lessons for me here??
And I’ve paid attention. The days – few and far between now – when my period does show up seem to be momentous ones. The final day of our anniversary trip to Central America, a time-out-of-time celebration of our marriage. The day the lights came back on post-Sandy. Both times, coming on the heels of intense stress, these were days of great relief/release/restoration of how I truly wish to feel.
The hot flashes. I’ve always wondered why they come when they come. One night recently, I wrote down any conscious thoughts I was having as the heat began to rise. The pattern was clear – 7 out of 7 times, the root of the thought was that I was somehow not measuring up to other people’s expectations. It was a shame-flash that turned into an extended, sweaty hot flash. Whoa.
There are so many deep lessons in all of this. So many echoes of my life showing up in my body. How deeply I’ve internalized the need to please, the need to have someone else validate my worthiness. How much I’ve held inside this body.
Every time my protective self springs into action…because that’s what she needed to do from so very early on…I recoil, retreat, put up the walls. I throw a thick blanket over my desires, my vibrancy, my sexuality. Only in very specific circumstances does that blanket get lifted.
The parallels exist. I feel them. For the past 5 years I’ve been in a process of unravelling, of uncovering, of touching into deeper spaces. At the same time, I’ve needed to retreat and protect. In order to be vulnerable. In order to heal. Everything happens for a reason, and this is the way my healing needed to happen.
So is it a coincidence that the past 5 years of my life have been shadowed by peri-menopause? Deep pockets of shame reflected in flashes of heat? That thick blanket of protection reflected in ovaries who have declared themselves dying or dead? The full extent of my sexuality walled off and kept at bay, reflected in a body gone dry? It hurts me to recognize the shades of truth in all of this.
Now. Knowing all of this, I’m not ready to hold a funeral. Not yet. I do not accept that the way things have been is the way they will continue to be. I know that my body, my spirit, my heart are more resilient than that. My true life, the one I was born to lead, starts now. In every moment, in every choice I make, from this day forward. Until death or the next awakening.
What’s next? I don’t know. I didn’t even know this post was coming until it came. I live right here: releasing expectations – my own, those of others. Releasing old patterns, protections that are no longer needed. Releasing all I’ve ever identified myself to be:
the one who has no sex drive
the one who is old beyond her years
the one who holds it all together
the one who needs to be perfect
the one who’s in control
the one who’s scared, frightened, and 4 years old
the one who doesn’t deserve to feel desire
Release, release, release.
I’m Sarah J. Rubin. Wife, mom, yoga teacher, reiki master and accidental entrepreneur. Co-creator of Warrior Rising, a yoga and strength training studio for women. I support and hold space for women who are awakening to the truth of their bodies, while exploring deeper and deeper layers of my own “body of knowledge”. For me, the practice of writing and the practice of yoga are lovingly intertwined. Yoga invites me to go in and in, beyond words, into feelings and sensations. Flip the coin over, and my writing practice invites me to flow with those feelings, into story and meaning and truth. For the benefit of all beings (and especially those I live with), the work of my life can be summed up by this quote from Gabrielle Roth: “If you want to give birth to your true self, you are going to have to dig deep down into that body of yours and let your soul howl.”