The Soul of The World, An Oak Tree, A Core Wound and a Little Girl
The last 10 years of my almost 20-year journey as a therapist have found me slowly peeling away the jargon and rules, looking carefully at what serves the process of our human ReWilding and what most certainly does not. I've looked at who I am to be doing this work and how my unique vision necessitates that I claim an individual form and style. I've done this while prioritizing my clients' optimum health and wholeness, all while honoring what Jung called the Soul of The World, which remains my ultimate devotion. So, in offering more of my process while continuing to speak about the work we are each called to, I want to talk about core wound and sacred wound, of claiming what is each our individual gift to the world, our unique way of being in the world. I want to speak about the particular - and beautifully original - way each of us sees and honors the world. I will do this by offering a personal example of how a core wound can become a sacred wound.
By the time I was 8 I had already realized I was a sexual, sensual very-much-alive being. We are born sensual beings, fluid in our erotic connection with the world and ourselves. Most often, in this culture, we make it to about 3 before the full-on assault on our eroticism and sensuality begins. We receive shaming from parents and other family members, from neighbors, from community and from the culture-at-large. It is one of the primary processes of acculturation into Western Society to shame us out of our wild and instinctual sexuality; to shame us right out of our bodies and the wisdom that lives in them.
For me, as a little girl (and still, as a woman), I connected the world, the earth, nature, the woods, trees, bees, the blue sky and all things wild with this force within me that I would later learn to label my 'sexuality'. There was, and is, no separation. My pleasure was the bridge between me as an individual and these Others who I knew to be my family and my home. Even at the innocent age of 8, I was certain that my pleasure was a way to honor all that felt Holy. My pleasure felt like my religious expression, the only thing that could reflect the love I had for The World itself. I longed to connect with these wild places and things, and spent a great deal of time in the rich wet leaves of the New England woods behind our home, bringing myself to orgasm and the listening...orgasm then listening... (not knowing this activity had been given a name - it was simply what I did with the earth and the woods).
But one day, rather than take myself out into the woods, I chose a spot on the lawn behind our house. Out I went to a secluded (I thought) spot beneath the beautiful tall Oak tree in our backyard, slightly obscured by a full Douglas Fir. I laid out my blanket and perched my confidante, a pink stuffed hippopotamus, in the corner. Face down on the blanket, I pressed my ear to the earth. Immediately I was met with the buzz and hum of life itself, with the fullness of a dark hidden process I was desperate to understand more intimately, desperate to become part of. I began moving my hips the way I had discovered was most pleasurable and before long I was in the ecstasy of deep connection to the All, the Wild, to Earth, to the Great Mother Herself.
When, from out of the clear sky (to my 8 year old mind - the Heavens), a deep booming ANGRY masculine voice said, "Go.......to........your.......room!!!!"
I was beyond flustered. I was incredulous. I felt under attack. I looked up, expecting to see a bearded old man in robes floating in the cloud-scape, scowling angrily at me and pointing his finger. But there was no one there, which angered me even more. 'Coward!' I thought to myself. But, despite it being disembodied, the voice was alive in the air, ringing...penetrating. I quickly picked up my hippo and my blanket and raced to my room. I slammed my door and threw myself in my chair. Staring out into the thick pines, but clearly addressing the pink hippo, "if that is what God the Father thinks then we will have to search for God the Mother!" While my response was strong and protective, there was a core shattering for me, a betrayal by the masculine, a clear message that who and what I was was not acceptable in the eyes of Man/God.
The search for a benevolent Father/Mother God has directed much of my life. In the last ten years I have worked to reclaim this core wounding, understanding that it is part of who I am to see the world in a way which includes a distinctly terrestrial, fierce and primal spirituality. I stopped running from this traumatic experience I had when I was 8 and instead, have turned to face it, reclaim it and use it as a source of sacred identity. As I turned to face it, inviting it to become part of how I am identified, I began to see how this experience empowers me to attend to the archetypal female wounding and to the masculine wound as well. It continues to inform and nourish the direction, power and success of my work, my mothering, my intimate partnership and all else that I hold dear.
We are all wounded and our core wounds are precious resources. Each of us has been blessedly cracked open by the world. Our culture tells us to learn to survive and keep a stiff upper lip 'despite' these wounds. Yet the sacred cracks we all contain are the very way in which the world has imprinted us and the very way through which we have the opportunity to be called into deep service. The reclamation of our core wound makes us simultaneously and paradoxically powerful, instinctively wise and utterly vulnerable. I have witnessed, over and over, that buried within our wounding hides the unique gift we are here to offer the world.