[This post was read at #Chalewote2016 as part of Timehin’s contribution to the panel readings and conversation. Thank you Timehin for your incredible contributions to the Spirit Women session.]
It’s a bit ironic that I feel most in touch with my spirit, the spirit of my femininity and womanhood, the spirit of God within me, when I am grounded in my physical body. There is something truly transportive about dancing, running, swimming, the sensation of overflowing life that is the result of my mind being centered in my physicality.
This knowledge that my path to God starts in my body is actually fairly new to me. Growing up Christian, my body and the things it could do were a source of conflict and shame. Further, God and my spirit self were completely external to me and my access to them was limited by rituals and dogma that I had inherited and had no control over. I was always full of a confusing longing, always missing something that I had never even had in the first place.
Having fallen pregnant at twenty after only just starting to love the body I had always lived in, the new body that I got after my baby deepened the disconnect. I had performed one of the most amazing feats of strength that a human body can achieve by carrying and birthing another human, and yet the aftermath of that was alienation from my body, and by extension, from my feminine self and spirit.
It is only recently that I have realized that prior to having my daughter I had never actually been in touch with my spirit self, the divine feminine that has always resided within me; instead I had performed a feminine power that was prescribed for and to me by masculine rules. I had wielded my body irresponsibly and ignorantly, offering my self for consumption by men rather than for habitation by God.
And how do I know God? I’m not sure, entirely, but I know that I am in touch with her when I dance. Naked, alone, touching and moving the body that no longer fits as neatly as it used to into men’s lusts, I feel simultaneously at my highest and my basest form. I am situated in my spirit and the Spirit that has chosen to manifest in this world through me when I dance alone, but also when I dance with women.
When there is a sister circle of protection and pleasure, with our hips and hands moving in unison and/or synchrony, the power of our spirits through the bodies housing them is undeniable. The energy that comes from focusing on my waist and hips, spreading through my thighs and torso, upwards and outwards, that is my liberation.
My spirit self has always grown stronger with loss; loss of my certainty of my place in the world, the deaths of my mother figures, the loss of the carefree childless child I was, loss of my inhibitions in public. Water calls to me, as does insistent percussion, as does solitude and quiet reflection. I have been guided sleepwalking through upheavals and restorations by both my ancestors and my intuition, the female intuition that I was taught to distrust and ignore. Now I know better, that my Self is part of a cohort of sister spirits with an endless supply of wisdom, love and healing. Settling into this knowledge is a journey, an awakening, but there are signs all around to guide me and the more I surrender myself, the more clarity I receive.
I live at the midpoint of a trifecta that is myself, my mother and my daughter, and inside of this is an eternal power that both propels and protects me. I no longer need to look outside myself for wisdom or guidance; I have been touched by God, am inhabited by God, carry God with me everywhere I go. She is within me, and I am within her. I thought I was looking for her, meanwhile she was always there, waiting to take me by the hand and introduce me to the self that she had always intended for me to be.