I realize it’s been many, many moons since my last Body Part Series post, and that going from the shoulders and the neck & back right to the genitals may seem like quite the jump... but I figure we've gone on enough dates in the span of a year... and don't pretend the subject matter didn't pique your interest ;)
All kidding aside, although I've chosen to officially categorize this as a Body Part Series post with info about the consciousness and symbolism of the genitals, this is most definitely a hybrid Musing, and a major one at that. What with a year of experience now as to how each of my posts have come to find the page, I understand that they truly happen in their own timing, and always in right timing. I can go for weeks without anything in mind and then it's like I go from empty to full in a flash, and need to get it out. Of course, I always hope that what I have to share is relevant and of value to you, but regardless of what you or what anyone else thinks, this blog is therapeutic for me in my own process as it helps me to synthesize aspects of my life experience, the subject and content always pertinent to my personal path and to my current stage of evolution. If you've been following my blog, you know that throughout the past year I've shared various layers of my healing journey, namely in Awakening to Authenticity through the Heart, Transformation and the Power of Community, and Inspiration and the Role of the Muse. Each of those posts reveal a different facet of my journey and what I've distilled through contemplation of my life, in retrospect. This post today is no exception, offering up yet another facet for your discovery.
Somewhat like my latest Musing, the idea for this post was initially sparked by a conversation with a dear friend. Our recent experiences had us discussing the concept of life as a spiral and had us looking at the Saturnine power of 7-year cycles and how those cycles of growth are really coming into view for us in a big way. Since my birthday last October, and starting a new 7-year cycle at 35, I'd already had several revelations in terms of these cycles... but what is unfolding now in my life has suddenly jetted me down the proverbial rabbit hole and is asking me to step out of my comfort zone and to step up into myself, once again, in a whole new way. Some of you know that recently I've been insanely inspired to create art - visual art - which is new for me as I've always been naturally inclined towards writing as my artistic medium. However, inspiration shows up in a myriad of ways and despite not having any technical skills or expertise I went with it and began to create images exploring the concept of mirroring, a theme which seems to be playing a vital part of a sacred journey of mine and which has been drawing me deeper and deeper inwards for “reflection” and for "integration".
Interestingly, as I delved further into my creative process, sudden memories surfaced and I realized that the art I was inspired to create was entirely reminiscent of artwork by a colleague I encountered at a BodyTalk Members’ Conference in the late summer of 2009... SEVEN YEARS AGO. This influx of memories brought me back to what was happening in my life at that time - both the sweetness and the suffering - opening a giant door to connect the dots and piece together something profoundly significant, and then in turn, to make complete sense of my entire life, a storyline revealed in methodical 7-year cycles, which, despite starting at birth, I could clearly make out and account for from the age of seven to thirty-five. You may be asking yourself what all this has to do with the genitals, but by now you surely know that I’m a storyteller and that, through all the twists and turns, just like with life, we will always get to where we need to go.
That said, those of you who have read my bio know that from early adolescence into my mid-twenties I suffered with chronic health issues. Though stated in the first line of my bio both on my site and wherever else it can be found on the web, I have yet to ever really elaborate on those issues in a public way, which is what I’m feeling called to do now as a next step in my personal and professional growth. Like I mentioned in my very first blog post last June, I have found much comfort and safety in working with people one on one but despite any fear or insecurity, it's time for me to expand further, and with confidence, into the public arena. This call to be vocal about what I will share today is not so much about being loud as it is about being true; true to myself, to my path, to my calling, and to my tribe. Though extremely personal, I know that my story is to be shared. More than ever I’m being guided to remember my purpose and how it weaves into my destiny, fully grasping the gift in the wound, understanding that what I am here to learn is also what I am here to teach. So, this post, although centered around the consciousness of the genitals and how one's sexual development and subsequent experience influences the health of the genitals, is even moreso about giving a voice to something powerful within me that seeks expression, about finding strength in vulnerability, and about restoring innocence in myself and in all those whose lives I touch.
Now, without getting too much into the details of my sexual development between 7 and 14 years of age - something I will save for future work I will be doing - there is still a good part of my story to be told here. What I will say about that time is that, like in any child’s life, it is a very normal time to be learning about one’s body, a time of innocence and discovery. Though I was never sexually abused and though the shadowlands of my experience surely pale in comparison to those of many, what unfolded for me as I was learning about my body generated an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt, and destroyed an innocence I didn’t even know I’d lost until long after it was gone. Little did I know that what I experienced during the course of those years was a trauma, only to fester and manifest into chronic symptoms which, though stemming from a place of protection, ultimately became a prison. At 14, as I was coming into my womanhood, and as all my friends were starting to hook up and explore their sexuality, an onslaught of gynecological problems began which not only alienated me from my peers but drove me into a deep state of depression and anxiety, from which I could only truly escape through a world of projection and fantasy, and subsequently, through substance abuse. What started as chronic yeast infections then morphed into various types of viral and bacterial infection - every time I was treated for one thing it would shapeshift into another so that all my free time outside of school was spent at the doctor’s office. Pills, creams, ointments, shuffled from specialist to specialist to no avail, I was on display, showcased as a grotesque example for groups of medical residents - a mystery, an anomaly; I just wouldn’t heal. The worst part, and my greatest source of suffering, was that each and every night in my sleep, I would scratch my genitals, often to the point of bleeding all over my sheets. Sometimes I would sleep right through the violence to wake in horror to the result of my self-mutilation whereas other times I would wake during, forced to bear witness as I inflicted searing pain upon myself, only to put an end to the unbearable itching by which my body was held hostage. For a girl who had once been so connected to her body and who had enjoyed so much magic in self-discovery, the weight of this experience and the secrecy it entailed to keep up appearances was inhuman. Isolated in my suffering, in agony every day, and terrified to go to sleep every night, I was revolted by my body, revolted by what I had become, revolted to be living a complete lie.
In the weeks leading up to my 21st birthday, after having endured 7 years of that madness with minimal stretches of reprieve allowing me to engage in relationship and to explore my sexuality with relative trust, I hit rock bottom on one of the days the world will never be able to forget: September 11th, 2001. As the attacks went down in New York, I lay there helpless, cutaneous ulcers covering my buttocks and spreading down my thighs, so scratched up from vagina to rectum that I couldn’t get up off the couch, let alone go to the bathroom without sobbing from the excruciating pain.
Despite my evasiveness surrounding the nature of my chronic symptoms, the first paragraph of Awakening to Authenticity through the Heart, the article I had originally written for JOYAH Magazine in the winter of 2013, says it all:
It was truly in that moment, as I was about to turn 21 and start a new 7-year cycle that I was propelled to bust loose from traditional Western medicine and probe into the world of alternative health in search for answers and relief. From 21 to 28 I was initiated into many original methods of healing, a new career in the field, and a set of opportunities which would one day prove to be the gateway to discovering gifts of mine and a passion I never knew I had. Although those years were filled with a great sense of hope in certain ways, they were filled with a sheer sense of hopelessness in others. Despite occasional breakthroughs in healing and despite the healthy professional hat I wore by day, I was still far from being healed and struggled heavily with alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs by night in order to cope. It was in my other epic post, Transformation and the Power of Community, that I opened up about the duality I felt within and the giant steps I took in terms of nutrition and fitness, steps that began in the fall of 2007. Though I did not discuss it in that post, those first steps were also aligned with my basic training in BodyTalk, culminating with my professional certification in the months leading up to my 28th birthday in 2008, which was to start yet another 7-year cycle.
As a new chapter began from 28 to 35, I was shuttled through major life changes with my Saturn Return. Unexpectedly, I got involved in what would become my first long-term relationship, moved to a different part of the city so that we could be together, and left my job of 7 years to launch my private practice. Somehow, in the spring of 2009, stars had lined up in such a way that I was healed to the point of being confident to finally enter this new relationship. After so many years of suffering and so many years of living in a fantasy world to escape the pain, I was grateful and beyond ready to find myself in a grounded, nurturing, and stable relationship where at last I could get back to exploring a side of myself that had been hidden away and shut down for too long. In my eagerness, however, a new apprehension arose; having been so traumatized and hung up on the perils of the past, as I began to engage anew in sexual intimacy there was something nagging at me, an adjacent issue that kept reflecting my underlying lack of self-acceptance and persistent self-loathing. In addition to all of the gynecological problems I’d endured, at around 18 years old, during one of those rare episodes of reprieve and while involved, I discovered I had a Bartholin’s cyst. In consulting with my doctor at the time, I was told that it was quite common, that besides the occasional discomfort and swelling experienced upon arousal that there was no harm as there was no abscess, and therefore no need for intervention. Yet... all these years later, after all I’d been through, this new relationship which defied my typical pattern in every way seemed almost too good to be true. And so, I decided that in order to be truly deserving of this relationship, to deserve this love being offered to me with sincerity and respect, to be able to allow myself to receive pleasure and to be fully seen, that I must aspire to be a woman with PERFECT GENITALS. Despite all of the healing that had taken place, despite the fact that I no longer dreaded the night and sharing a bed, I still felt defective and told myself that if I only had perfect genitals, there was no way I could be rejected, no way I could feel unloved or unlovable ever again.
Thus, in my cosmetic crusade, obsessed with my quest, I went on a wild goose chase and wound up agreeing to a somewhat unethical procedure in hopes to rectify the issue. I was so excited to be free of this unsightly lump, this lump that I felt was holding me back from true happiness and fulfilment... but upon submitting to the procedure, I was anything but convinced and suddenly feared that I had made a terrible mistake. What with my wariness impossible to conceal, I was told to relax, to give it a few days, to bathe in sea salt. To my surprise and delight, after a few days of sea salt baths it did seem to show signs of minor improvement and life went on.
Upon returning home, still high from all the connections and learning, I was greeted with much anticipation and of course, still being in the honeymoon phase of my new relationship, was greeted with lots of loving as well. Confident that my gland was on the mend, it came as a complete shock and disappointment when suddenly, what had reverted to a small lump, started to swell. At first I believed it was simply a result of my heightened sexual activity but it became increasingly clear that there was something more to it than that. Despite the signs, I told myself it was surely part of the healing process following the session at conference and fought to keep the truth of my discomfort under wraps. By that Saturday night though, as I entertained dinner guests and drank wine with a smile, the reality was that I could barely concentrate, the swelling so great I could literally feel the gland pounding with exponential pressure under my jeans. That night, as I got undressed for bed, I discovered that the gland had swelled so much that it was almost the size of a grapefruit, and looking at myself naked in the mirror I cried and cried, horrified by the ironic result and consequence of all my vanity and desperation for some ridiculous idea of perfection. Notwithstanding the dire state of affairs, I was still in denial the next morning, writing frantic emails to John and to one of my greatest mentors in healing for help to no avail. That night, it was decided, in the face of all my resistance and dismay, that the next morning I would go straight to Emergency.
So, just shy of 7 years ago, on August 24th 2009, after an eight-hour wait in excruciating pain, I was admitted for surgery. Once again, I cried and cried, laying there on the gurney before the operation, feeling like a complete failure and utterly resentful that, after all the trauma I had endured at the hands of doctors in my younger years, here I was again looking like a freak on display and about to be butchered. I cried for the pain of my present experience and for the brutality of what I felt I’d been carrying around for lifetimes. In those moments, before the anesthesia, ancient lessons flashed before my eyes and suddenly, I understood why it had to happen this way, and that sometimes, healing, like inspiration, comes in many forms. Before I knew it, I was waking up in a hospital bed on intravenous antibiotics, with over 100 ccs of fluid having been removed from my freshly marsupialized gland.
That said, here we are coming full circle - or shall I say full spiral - winding this post down with the memories which recently resurfaced from the art I’ve been inspired to create. Looking back, I realize the great extent to which the past seven years have been instrumental in helping me move through the shame of my past and to experience a major phase of healing on all levels. My story is a prime example of how trauma can lead to dis-ease, demonstrating how consciousness affects the physical form. It was in having been held and met with such love and acceptance during some of my darkest hours that I was able to start the process of loving and accepting myself, of integrating my inner masculine and feminine, a process which continues and now blossoms with radiance, as illustrated by my current state of health and by the fruits of my creative journey. To be fully healed physically and to be so comfortable in my body - not only in terms of changes brought about by fitness but in terms of reconnecting with and embracing the innocence of my sexuality - is nothing short of a miracle. I am so very grateful for all of the love and support I have received along the way, and having synthesized so much and outgrown certain structures, am now feeling ready for the next level of exploration and healing that awaits as my 7-year biological, relationship, and career cycles converge and prepare for imminent rebirth.
Some consciousness themes of the genitals include:
- Sexuality and sensuality
- Strength and empowerment
- Acceptance of self/others
- Connection to Earth
- Fear of rejection
Granted, not everyone’s wounding revolves around this area of the body, but there are so many people, more than you know, who:
- Have had trauma linked to the onset of puberty
- Have been victims of sexual violence and abuse
- Are living with infection or disease of the genitals (sexually-related or not)
- Suffer from sexual dysfunction
- Struggle with their gender and/or sexual orientation
Also, lest we forget the powerful impact of pornography on our bodies and minds - how that can leave a deep impression as to what is considered to be “normal”, “attractive”, “desirable” both in terms of body image and of sexual performance. By the same token, much shame, guilt, and self-loathing can arise in rejecting or denying the feelings of arousal that pornography is intentionally designed to create in the body and mind. It is all too easy to internalize what we see and to then blame ourselves and judge ourselves, the beliefs and emotions triggered wreaking havoc, consciously or not.
Although the information I provide does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied upon as a substitute for qualified medical intervention, I have seen enough with my own two eyes to know what becomes possible when working from the perspective of consciousness and observing what the body has to say at that level.
In addition to my personal success in healing something I believed I would suffer with for the rest of my life, throughout my journey in the field of holistic health I have witnessed people with all kinds of dysfunction and illness - from erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction, to herpes, to stage 4 cervical cancer - heal when underlying issues are addressed. I have also seen great healing with clients finally able to live their sexuality in a healthy and loving way within themselves despite whatever circumstances may prevent them from doing so openly.
Typically I enjoy leaving questions for further reflection but I believe enough has been discussed in this post to spark deep contemplation in those who are so inclined, not just in terms of the genitals, but from a myriad of perspectives. I trust that each and every person who takes the time to read this will get from it whatever it is that they need.
Whatever your story, whatever secrets you may keep, I can only hope that my sharing might give you extra courage, if needed, so that you, too, may find the peace, freedom, and healing you so truly deserve.
The divine light in me honours the divine light in you
With gratitude and blessings,