The divine feminine within us offers compassion and nurturing to our frazzled being. She brings welcome and comfort to the places within ourselves which we can not welcome. She desires to hold those places and aspects of ourselves which we blame for our troubles, those places which carry shame, those places we cannot accept and she lets us know just how precious we are.
As we open to the embrace of the divine feminine within we set in motion the internal alignment of ourselves. Then, rooted in a more whole place we discover a different way of relating with others around us. The embrace of the divine feminine within, met by the divine masculine within, brings about a scared union. This sacred union lets us experience our sovereignty, knowing we do not need another person to complete us, but rather we become free to let love flow with another without grasping for the other or pushing them away.
Some of us live in painful self-imposed exile tormented by negative internal voices and judgments about multiple aspects of ourselves. These voices, these internal criticisms reinforce internal stories of abandonment, loss, why we don't belong, why we are not welcome. These voices, these stories are false, created internally many years ago in some fashion to protect ourselves or imposed upon us by family or society. The internal protective stories helped us survive at one point, but they no longer serve us. The external negative messaging never served us.
The loving divine goddess is here now, reaching her arms to us, offering her assistance, her love, her compassion to unburden us from this self-imposed exile. She longs to come into contact with us so we can experience the grace of her compassion, teaching us how to hold compassion for ourselves. She desires to teach us about healing self-compassion bathed in her love.
As we start to welcome all the banished parts of ourselves, letting go of the judgments with compassion, we can enter into a state of loving curiosity, becoming friends and allies of ourselves. Surrounded by her love, we come to realize we belong, all of who we are, and enter into the family of creation sharing our unique and necessary gifts.
Her gift of compassion, which we internalize into self-compassion, calms our anxiety, tells us deep inside we are OK, and gives us the opportunity to arrive more as who we really are. We are not our internal negative stories, we are much more glorious and fascinating. Take the risk to open to divine compassion as a path to self-compassion.
What do I mean when I say “Divine Feminine?”
I am not a problem to be fixed.
I am a glorious mystery to be embraced.
Too often we define ourselves by one experience. We are not one thing, one feeling, one trauma, one failure.
The last 10 years of my life have been a journey to accept all the parts of who I am. The insecurities, the defensiveness, the part who fears abandonment, the poet, the lover, the good man, the wild man. All of who I am.
"Can you welcome that part?" was a favorite question my brilliant mentor and therapist Francis Weller would often ask when I described a defensive reaction or a shameful part of me. "Where is that story located in your body and how do you feel towards it?" a favorite question from my current, soulful, insightful therapist Angela Agenlian-Neuert. "Welcome the outcast brother" is a favorite refrain in my men's circles as we encourage each other to welcome the parts who were cast away so many years ago.
These aspects of our selves which confound us the most present the greatest potential source of our healing. The addictions, the depressions, the shameful feelings, repeated patterns in relationships all can be teachers, pointing to parts of our selves which need compassion, not blame.
For too long I defined myself by my wounds or the vicious internal criticisms which said “Oh if you only weren’t so sensitive, or if you only weren’t so insecure... You would be happy, you would be accepted….” I wanted to get rid of being sensitive or make myself into some macho confident facade. Anything other than what I was feeling.
Embracing all of who I am, the stories, the glorious parts, even the critical parts, has been a huge theme and learning for me. It continues to be an ongoing, perhaps lifelong, practice. We need to look within with love rather than with blame. We need to welcome these wounded parts rather than trying to get rid of them because we think they get in the way of our happiness. As wise people before have stated, “What is in the way is the way.”
Accepting all of who I am is not saying, “I eat chocolate chip cookies 'till my head starts buzzing, oh well, I accept myself”. Accepting all of who I am is being compassionately curious and holding all these parts with respect. “Hmm, I’m eating a lot of chocolate chip cookies, what’s that about? It’s probably not the most healthy for me, but I’m not going to shame myself. What story is happening here?”
Accepting ourselves and holding our brokenness is easier if we have a community who can also hold our brokenness. We weren’t built to do things alone. We need each other and we need to do our own work as well. A balance can be established. We can’t just let someone else fix us or love us into complete wholeness, we need to participate in that loving. The community holds us and our higher adult selves hold ourselves as well. I view the poem at the end of this writing expressing both holding each other and holding ourselves.
I dance most Sunday mornings and still haven’t really gotten used to walking into a large room full of people I don’t know. If I feel fear or nervousness, I don’t suck in my gut and soldier on, I say to myself, “I’m scared” and then envision who is scared inside and let them tell me a bit about their story, what they believe, what they think will happen. I welcome this part (usually a very young one), I listen, I say “I understand where you are coming from, it makes sense and you know what? We’re going to be OK” I may then dance with that part for a couple of songs and then let my adult breathe into the greater dance. In this exchange I understand a little more about the wounds and stories which used to unconsciously drive my behavior and interactions. I bring the wounds and stories into a compassionate conscious awareness. My relationships benefit from vulnerably sharing this awareness which in turn creates greater intimacy.
We need each other
To model accepting ourselves
To love each other
To be held
As I reflected one day on accepting and holding our brokenness the following poem emerged:
Being Held, Being Loved
I attended a community gratitude ritual last weekend. I've been going to this ritual on and off for years. It's so sweet to reconnect with loving people who have been there for me over the years.
I was struck on Saturday morning how the sharing turned to the losses in our lives and how many people spoke of the loss of a mother or father and the grief they were experiencing in the midst of a weekend dedicated to gratitude. This sharing dropped the room down into a soulful, sacred space and people supported each other with compassionate eyes or a gentle hand on a shoulder.
Grief and gratitude walk hand in hand. Our lives are complex and our souls hold many dichotomies simultaneously. Life is rarely all one or the other and actually, our work is to hold the seeming polarities and see the whole; love and power, light and dark, joy and sorrow, grief and gratitude.
Which brings me to a particular piece which has been working in me. The loss of my father. Not just his death many years ago, but the absence in my life as he struggled with his own alcohol fueled demons. Fatherloss - the absence of that father energy and archetype in our lives as we grow up. The absence of a strong, loving, guiding, mentoring, wise man in a child's life. Some of us had this presence and some did not.
I think there is a particular grounding afforded to a person when this energy has been imprinted on our psyche. A sense of a north star, a trust in myself, a rudder to sail on life's turbulent oceans is gifted to us.
In the absence of the father, a wound is formed around belonging around a right sense of who I am. I know for my own situation, I have searched for my own north star, my own rudder, too many times deferring to others to define who I am. A recent awareness has been the shame I felt for wanting things to turn out right as the child longed for his father to stop drinking. The drinking didn't stop, so what the child wanted did not turn out and a shame crept in and stuck to the longing for connection. The adult in me knows that was then and now, a different path can open up.
I have been blessed by wise mentors, Francis Weller being at the top of the list. As well as my clan brothers who alternate between brother and father. Through their love and wisdom I have started to put the pieces together.
Since my Father's death, I've had conversations with him, offered apologies for the anger I held towards him and have tried to reclaim what was lost. This is rich territory.
I've used poetry to work this terrain. I offer the two poems below as part of my own healing and perhaps a piece for you.
Father and Son
Abrazan (Reaching Out)
I wrote the following about three months ago. A melancholia wraps itself around me from time to time. Feelings of overwhelm arrive, hope grows thin and I withdraw from my friends. Thankfully my friends love me and provide a safe container for whatever is present. I have come to recognize the darkness as another teacher, not to be feared or blamed, but to be curious and perhaps bring to art. Write poetry with it, dance it, engage it in loving conversation. I write this right now from a loving witness place. When I'm possessed by the darkness, it's a whole different ballgame and a post like this sounds like airy-fairy embrace your pain shit . Grace, love, small embers of faith, something - pulls me out. We all need help digging our way out. What pulls you through?
...I've hit another bottom in my life and as I look around, the thought comes - now what?
I've searched so much in my life for the answer, for purpose, to make sense of it all (or even some small part of it - life).
I gather wisdom, friendships, insights, connections and then I find myself at the bottom again. Tempted to toss it all out and declare everything I have learned as just so much bullshit.
Then something, perhaps grace, a song, a poem, a friend, a sunrise comes along and I start digging myself out of the pit.
by David Whyte
I want to write about faith,
about the way the moon rises
over cold snow, night after night,
faithful even as it fades from fullness,
slowly becoming that last curving and impossible
sliver of light before the final darkness.
But I have no faith myself,
I refuse it the smallest entry.
Let this then, my small poem,
like a new moon, slender and barely open,
be the first prayer that opens me to faith.
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Jose Enciso is an engineer by profession, a poet by necessity and a seeker of spirit and soul. He brings a gentle presence and deep respect for the interior journey as expressed through creative and expressive arts. Jose is a skilled group facilitator who is committed to the spiritual and psychological growth of those around him. He trained under Francis Weller to lead men’s initiation groups doing deep soul work and is equally comfortable in managing complex technical projects. Jose is devoted to the emergence of the divine feminine, supporting women and men claiming their voice and power, and rediscovering the soul of masculinity. He is currently working on multiple projects including a book which seeks to encourage everyone to write their own poetry as a discovery of their own soul's truth.