We need to walk to know sacred places, those around us and those within. – Abenaki native poet Joseph BruchacWe
What is the real thing, the thing for which [woman] longs? The love affair with her own spirit, the inner marriage that commits her to her destiny, the rituals of soul that feed her deepest hunger, and the sense of being pregnant with her Self, her creative essence –Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick, Coming Home to Myself
In the past few weeks, we’ve been reading “Sealskin/Soulskin” in Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ book The Women Who Run with Wolves. Our conversations have led us through so many subjects. We land again and again in the knowledge that learning the sound of our own inner voice in important to know where to go, what to do. In the story, seal soul of the selkie travels across the ocean to find hers. She hears who she is through ocean waves, years away, and cruel words thrown at her in anger. There is a lot standing between our writers and the sound of their inner voice. A writing practice can be a method to get that voice in on stereo. Below, you will read the work of women engaging in that practice and we all hear them, loud and clear.
In the End, It was I…
In the end, it was I
with my chin to the sky,
my head held high,
feeling like I could fly
can’t bring back the past,
what’s done is done,
when I didn’t have the strength.
I found it within myself.
I did it all alone
and I didn’t ask for help.
It breaks me in two
but I’ve gotta be strong.
As history tells it,
the pain won’t last long.
It’s an empowering sense
to stand on your own two feet,
get the crowd roaring,
not a soul left in their seat.
I know that I need nobody,
the future is to be told.
I may still be a child but my soul
is very old. I count the cost
of losing but life is a losing game,
can’t take luxuries with you.
What’s the use of all you’ve gained?
Try to remember to be subtle.
Don’t exert yourself.
Courage is not spoken,
it’s an energy that’s felt.
Take your God-given talents,
share them with the world.
Don’t keep those secrets bottled up.
Let them all unfurl.
Worshipping yourself, you were too busy to see me, too busy loving yourself and all your wicked imaginings to notice how weak or how strong I was. I was delighted and content with disturbing thoughts of yourself, you didn’t have the time left to be delighted and content with the blessings and offered your own power and abilities pleased you so much. You looked around you and everything in your life that was real paled in comparison. Rather you were chasing moons or chasing butterflies. The results were all the same: so exhausted chasing dreams and always too tired to embrace reality. A fool is what you are – walking a million miles to get a single cup of water simply because the gentle stream in your own forest bored you. Now with clothes tattered and blistered feet, I ask you: Did that one single cup of water satisfy your thirst? More than that endless stream? Foolish man the one who is never truly satisfied.
The Deep and Dark
A deep dark cave, no light, no air.
What lurks in the shadows beyond?
You only find out if you dare enter
and take the journey into the lost soul.
Worn down paths lead to hidden rooms
that have not been visited since the dawn of
time. Filled with cryptic messages written
on the walls in a language only she understands.
What you don’t know is that there is much more meaning
the further down you go.
The only thing you feel in this darkness
is the tangible pull toward something
unspoken, a heartbeat heard from miles away.
It leads to the center of this dwelling, a place where only
one has existed. Wrapped in light, soft as silk
is the boy who gives the wings to the fallen angel.
She hides him within to keep him safe…
although her presence is gone, it resonates.
So much time has been taken away.
Will I still be able to grow?
Will I remember how to develop
being me again?
Living here is like a bad relationship,
one that sucks you dry
like the bad situation
you thought you could escape
but ended up here.
You have come full circle
and you are still at the same place.
Time to begin sensing what you want,
not being told what you want,
having feelings that are your own.
Will I know what to do
when that time come?
I will, I can,
no one will ever kill me slowly again.
My home, my world, my life
will begin again.
I will survive this.