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Get right with your darkness.

Has anyone ever told you to just get out there and FEEL?
FEEL loudly?
WEEP uncontrollably?
RAGE like an angry lioness?
HOWL like a bitch in heat?
SCREAM your head off?

What women have been trained, taught and conditioned, their whole lives, is to turn down the volume and velocity of their emotions and emotional responses.
With dire consequences.
Most of us have no idea how to navigate our brilliant, beautiful, important, and dazzlingly perfect emotions.

We feel something deeply and…poof!…we think something is desperately wrong with us. Our balance is gone. We are lost to the abyss.
In fact, for most women, our highest goal for ourselves is a plain vanilla emotional life.
But there is nothing plain and nothing vanilla about a woman.

Here is a question from a subscriber that moved me so much:

I find the idea of loving rupture extraordinarily hard to connect to. I was raised to be a strong, independent woman who does not EVER let negative stuff get in the way of forward movement. Love the sadness and the pain? I can’t see how. But these feelings DO get in the way of my ability to move forward. Especially when I try to avoid them. After a life lived by the rule of “keep on keeping on,” how do I stop and feel? I just simply don’t know. I don’t know what is really getting in the way of my doing the actions needed to feel the pain and sorrow so that I can move on. Dance? It doesn’t feel right. Scream? It doesn’t feel safe.

Or, in a similar vein:

I’m not happy, I’m not depressed. I feel numb. I want to know what I need to do to get out of this state.

When we are taught to disconnect from our feelings, we feel just that: Disconnected.
Disconnected from ourselves, disconnected from life itself.

And when we practice disconnection successfully for 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 years, then we can’t even find the outlet, much less the plug. And the whole world loses its color and just becomes a mass of depressing grey.

So, what to do? What to do?
To restore your beautiful, magnificent natural balance?
Which you might not have experienced since you were toddling around in diapers.
What to do to begin to feel again?

In The School of Womanly Arts Mastery Program, I teach women how to not only locate their darkness, but to speak it, and, most importantly, to embody it.

You cannot experience your emotions with just your head.
We jump for joy for a reason.
Joy cannot be contained or expressed by thinking.
You gotta jump or it just ain’t joy.

And have you noticed, when you jump for joy, that it is not permanent? You kinda jump for a few, leap around for a bit, and then go on about the business of your day?
You are not attached to it.
It comes, it goes.
Easily, naturally.

And the dark emotions are the same.
Each of them has a life cycle, a timeline, a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Just like joy.
We just don’t ever have the opportunity to give in, surrender, explore, and experience darkness. We only green-light light.

What, I wonder, is the physical form of agony? (Certainly not a jump.)
And what shape is despair? Bent? Straight? Immobile?
How does bottomless grief look?

When I was first studying the body of work that eventually evolved into the School, I studied the indigenous cultures, and the ancient goddess religions.

I learned that when the feminine divine was in the house, every facet of the human experience was celebrated with equal gratitude.

Death and birth were gifts of the Divine. The sun, the moon and the stars all contained Divinity.
And I extrapolated from there, that if darkness and light were perfect, then the darkness and light within myself was perfect.

And I started a practice of embodying my feelings, wearing the inside on the outside. So, for example, when I was in a bad mood for no reason, I put on a garbage bag. When I felt like garbage, I wanted to look like garbage. It felt good to not hide from myself anymore. I listened more deeply.

I learned how to move an emotion through my body, how to drop to my knees before the feeling I was having. 

I stopped pretending I wasn’t having an emotional response, when I was.

I don’t expect you to head for work in a garbage bag today, even though I can guarantee you would have an amazing day with powerful consequences. But, what I recommend, as a first step, is to notice what you feel.

For 24 hours, keep a journal, where every hour you jot down your feelings, just like this:
10am: I feel bored, and that is a right way to feel.
11am: I feel frustrated with my boss, and that is a right way to feel.
12pm: I feel jealous of my co-worker, and that is a right way to feel.

And then, when you get home, slip into that garbage bag.
See how it feels.
See what comes up.
It is time for rupture to take her rightful place at the banquet table.

After all, it is the tears of your grief that provide the water for the soil of your unfolding and evolving storyline.

Follow this simple exercise, or create one that feels right, and tell me what comes up for you!

If you have tools that have helped you connect and release your dark feelings and emotions, I’d like to hear about them. Please share them in the comments below. It just may inspire and help someone get through their own experience.

With so much love and pleasure,

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8 Comments / Leave a Comment

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  • Michelle March 3, 2017, 10:20 pm

    Thank you for such a simple suggestion for journalling how I feel, its a safe place, I don’t need to share it, burden anyone else with it, for so long now I’ve stuffed my feelings deep, contained, pushed aside for so long, I’ve lost myself and how I feel and what I want to do and I’m just existing by basic human functions.
    Whenever I’ve shared in the past I’ve been ridiculed, dismissed, ignored, abandoned, and even when I thought I found a few safe places to be myself and share, it led to being avoided, too hard to be around, I didn’t say hello one day to another and was thereafter dismissed like an annoying mosquito.
    In the last 8 years, I lost my first son before birth, my second son was born (healthy), my husband had a back operation which lead to time off work, depression and suicidal tendencies, my third and fourth sons were born (healthy), my husbands parents both passed away and there after his family fell apart (though all but one have reconciled), parenting and fatigue have frustrated, exhausted and consumed what was left of me, my own family are ghosts in my life and just over 2 years ago, I had an unknown ectopic pregnancy after a failed tubal ligation, which lead to the loss of another child, an emergency caesarian due to blood loss, to save my life but ironically I no longer have fallopian tubes, I’ve lived but the gates to life are gone.
    I’m lucky, so very fortunate, please know, that I know that.
    I’ve done this mostly alone, not knowing how to do, other than by sheer grit, getting up when I have to, doing what I have to, I’m hiding, staying out of the way, don’t burden anyone, I don’t contact anyone, I gave up chasing people some time ago, I constantly move, don’t sleep well or much at all, sitting still is hard and brings tears, I would rather neglect than nurture myself, I move to keep busy, though I don’t even have the energy to smile anymore, find my joy, too scared to talk for fear of what will come out, too much has been stuffed down, I’m full of stuff I didn’t want, didn’t know how to handle, stuff that wasn’t mine and I’ve taken what’s been thrown at me, I’ve accepted what’s come to me because I know it could be worse but at the same time, its hurt, deeply.
    But my experiences have not kick started me, not put a fire in my belly, pushed me to fight for a better version of myself, weight, too much stuff to sort through, decluttering on any level is difficult for me and I’ve struggled no matter where I go for inspiration, but you have been different.
    Your words have been poking me, getting into my head, maybe I’m not as neurotic as I thought, or made out to be, maybe I’m okay, maybe it is alright, to be me, may be I’ll be courageous enough, just not yet.
    Thank you for giving me a safe place.
    Journal entry No 1
    Sat 4/3/2017 10:51: Tears, sadness, overwhelmed, hopeful.

  • Sara March 3, 2017, 10:15 pm

    Move it through my body, stomp, cleanse my tears in the floor of the shower completely letting myself come undone and reborn!

    Whether I’m in the middle of cooking dinner or any time it’s completely inconvenient….I try to allow the feels to pass through…good or bad…comfortable or uncomfortable…bliss of suffering….the goal is to allow them all…to be whole…to be human…to be free!

  • Threza March 2, 2017, 10:51 pm

    This couldnt have come at a better time. Im feeling depressed, hopeless, angry, despondent, deeply disappointed, doubtful, confused, a thick clay like feeling in my chest…… today. I put on Alanis Morrisette, Iwas hoping, and let my body fling around as she would. I felt instantly movement and a knowing deep down that all these feelings are right and appropriate to feel. Mama Gena confirms this and celebrates the feeling self. Rock on!!!!

  • Barbara March 2, 2017, 4:41 pm

    I have found Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping) a helpful way to connect with what I’m feeling. This week the Tapping World Summit – a free series of presentations and meditations – is available if anyone wants to check it out.

  • Jasmine March 2, 2017, 12:22 pm

    I love this. My favorite way these days to let out anger and icky energy is to get in my car, drive somewhere that’s at least an hour away, and scream my head off for much of the drive. I turn on the Rage Against the Machine Pandora station and let the crazy intense music guide me. I feel like the car is the only safe place to scream, yell and moan without causing disruption or fear/worry in others. It’s awesome! It feels like a big release and at the end I wind up laughing at the whole thing.

  • EJ Ogenyi March 2, 2017, 11:16 am

    Thank you for sharing this. Especially today.

    I used to have the capacity to feel both the dark and the light fully. When I wasn’t feeling good about life, I would turn out the lights and listen to evanescence or linkin park and just cry. But since finishing college, getting married, and becoming a mom, I haven’t been doing that. That’s almost 10 years of pushing away the “bad” emotions because I had nothing to feel bad about.

    I had a good job through the recession, I now have a son to love and enjoy. Why feel bad?

    And now I find myself being overwhelmed by all the years of shoving the dark deep, deep down.

    I’ll be trying this exercise today.

    Thank you Mama Gena

  • Jane Evans March 2, 2017, 11:14 am

    I have been STUCK for many years in other people’s expectations of me concerning dysfunctional family members requiring all of my emotional, financial and spiritual energy to the point that I don’t have anything left to give to myself or others. My body has been processing my deep grief, anxiety and pain in the form of illness, both physical and mental. The main perpetrator has just released me from his selfish manipulation because he recognized that I can no longer support his “problems” and has moved on. I feel like I need to process the PAIN in order to heal myself now. It’s been over a 20 year downward spiral, so it may take that long to recover. It’s good to know that there are others who are learning how to take back their power and learn to enjoy life again. Thanks for your inspirational messages of hope and love.

  • Holly Kemery March 2, 2017, 11:04 am

    I have three Goddess circles and they are places of deep communion and authentic sharing for both shadow and light. To be deeply heard, held and loved in bringing my shadow has been profoundly transformative. I have spent a lot of time learning how to stay embodied, present and in my heart. I now notice when I am numbing out and know I have a choice. I have learned that the shadow dissipates if held and over time it gets easier. Meditation, prayer, exercise, and play all help me to stay present in my body and allow emotion to rise and move through. This is courageous work! Rock on sisters!