What If One Woman Told the Truth....
A few years back, as I was birthing a project that has, since, been named The Global Culture of Women, I stumbled across the poem 'Kathe Kollwitz' by Muriel Rukeyser. There is a line in this poem that changed my life, much the way Margaret Atwood did when I was just 13. The line reads: "What if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open."This became my love affair. I fell in love with the simple beauty and profound medicine of female truth. All truth really, but for some reason it felt more within my purview to cultivate safe landscapes within which women would sing their truths to the world, as if all life depended upon it, because it most assuredly does. This was five years ago now, and I had forgotten this powerful quote that had been the impetus for what is now a glorious organization.
Then just last month, in the process of packing up all our belongings and moving into the Earthquake Man's home, I came across a piece of paper, torn at the edges and filled with push-pin holes, on which were written Muriel's words, "What if one woman told the the truth about her life? The world would split open." Right there, as I was hunkering over half-filled boxes amidst a chaos of belongings, these beautiful words spun into the most efficient arrow and pierced my heart. Tears began falling onto the paper, a silent promise. Somehow when I read this poem years ago, I heard a call to create cross-cultural world-wide invitations for women to speak their truths, no matter what. This time, reading Muriel's words, I realized she meant me.
This will be interesting for several reasons. I make my living as an educator, guide and counselor. And though I've taken my practice about as far off the map as I know how, my success is likely based, in part, on the projection that I have answers. In the process of telling the truth it will be obvious to everyone that I have no answers. I have only questions, questions that multiply with each day. And while I have tremendous certainty, I also have extraordinary uncertainty, insecurity and fear. I am in a constant discourse with the World at large as to whether I am qualified to be claiming anything at all, sitting with people as I do and listening to their most intimate fears and revelations, loves and longings, as if I have a clue. I dance with my demons daily, and some days they lead, as we whirl in a frenzy of darkness that allows me to forget what is so exquisite about this life, about living in general.
This blog will now be a place in which all of it gets shared, exposed to the air, offered up as medicine, as encouragement, and simply for the sacred act of telling the truth. I believe the only way to truly honor a thing is to tell the utter truth about it. I practiced this with my mother in the years just before she died. I practiced standing in front of her and telling her everything that was in my heart about her, both the darkness and the light. After we'd settled into this new way of being with each other, she told me that at first she didn't think she could do it. She didn't think she could handle truth or speak her own truth. But then, she admitted, she trusted me so deeply because of this practice we shared. In the wake of losing her, an on-going process from which I will not emerge in this lifetime, I feel an urgency to make truth-telling the practice - fully honoring this life I have so generously been given.
May this be an offering of celebration and prayer to my biggest love, The Mystery, which has, in her infinite beauty and imagination, dreamt the entire universe and each one of us into being.