Dancing Naked in a Group of 50 Women
When we trade self-consciousness for reverence we set ourselves free.
This was my personal insight from this past week and it hit me deeply.
I was in Mexico for an intensive training and I spent most of my time naked...
Naked, as in naked-naked, not just emotionally naked (though that was true, too!)
I've done so much healing work around body image that I truly enjoy being naked alone, but naked around others?
That's never been a part of my cultural experience! And being a Christian woman and all that emphasis on "modesty" there has been no safe place for communal nakedness in my life.
(I just got a memory of myself at LA Fitness hunched over and trying to awkwardly hide my naked body as I dressed with a towel pinched between my neck and chest.)
But in Mexico I got naked....in a group of 50 women, no less!
Dancing naked with strangers is a daring way out of self-consciousness, but it worked for me.
At first I felt the shooting shame pangs of cultural conditioning and I then I felt something else (something marvelous!)...
I felt the naturalness and innocence that existed underneath the layers of what I had been taught.
- My body was not disgusting.
- Nakedness didn't have to be sexualized.
- Self-consciousness could give way to reverence.
Swimming naked felt so natural. Dancing naked felt so free. Having a conversation with another naked women felt so real and honest.
I've always wondered why I've spent so much of my life fearing being known in a group of women. Now I think I know: A lot of times it's isn't safe to be fully known and it's okay to honor personal boundaries.
I have the classic fear of being too much and not enough.
Leading up to this experience in Mexico I was feeling all the anxieties.
Would these women judge my breast implants? Would they consider me vain and superficial and not enough of a "real" woman?
How would they take the fact that I am lover of Jesus? Would they lump me in the category of all the other Christians they know and would my spirituality be too much for them to handle?
Having breast implants really makes me feel "too much" in a group a women with natural breasts. Being Christian sometimes makes me feel "not cool enough" for the uber-progressive gals.
Nervous how the week would go, I set my intention:
To stay connected to myself and my body, and to give myself permission to experience new sides of who I am as a woman.
It was important for me to stay connected to myself because I tend to lose myself in a group. My M.O. is to shut down or withdraw.
It was also important for me to give myself permission to experience more freedom where it felt safe, because it's not doing God, or me, or anybody any good for me to hold on to shame.
In a group of 50 I was the only one with breast implants and the only woman that identified as a Christian.
I could have felt absolutely alone and unworthy of belonging.
Instead, I felt absolutely at home.
And I found out these awesome new things about myself:
- a real love for going bra-less
- swimming naked
- walking barefoot on the earth
- complimenting other women on their physical and spiritual beauty in one breath
- feeling enough
- feeling I am okay-- no matter how/what I'm feeling
- knowing I know how to honor healthy boundaries in myself
- finding the soft, sacred presence underneath the surface layer of anxiety and resistance
- not being afraid of being seen-- discovering the very thing I'm afraid makes me unlovable and unworthy is the very thing that a safe group of women honors and celebrates
How did this happen?
What divine force allowed the full range of who I am as a woman-- from my sexuality to my spirituality-- to belong in a group of 50 strangers?
I can't prove it, but my gut (or my womb, rather!) tells me it's the sacred feminine.
For those of you who, like me, come from a Christian tradition without a strong narrative of the divine feminine, you may be wondering what exactly the sacred/divine feminine is.
I get it. You may feel drawn to learning more about the divine feminine and you may feel fear too. (Like will this make me a heretic???)
With so much respect and love for all of our different background, experiences, beliefs, hopes and fears, I want to invite you on a journey with me to explore the sacred feminine.
For the next month, that's what I'll be focusing on in my Tuesday love letters (sign up below for free!). Sharing with you my own story and experiences and offering it to you for your own self-reflection.
So my encouragement to you this week is this:
- It's okay if you don't feel safe around all the women in your community. You aren't bad. There may be a reason you feel unsafe. Not all women have gotten the chance to do their own healing work so they can hold deep safe space for the feminine in the full range of who she is. Find communities, like the Sophia Sessions, where you can be held in safety, love and belonging as you continue your journey to wholeness.
- Dance naked alone (or with others if you can!). Fall in love with your bones and your soft curves. Trade self-consciousness for reverence.
- Roll these words around your tongue: Sacred Feminine. Divine Feminine. Sophia. If these words make your cringe, journal through these questions: What bothers you? What annoys you? What is real for you? What scares you? If these words make you come alive in some away, journal through these questions: What intrigues you? What do you want to know more about? What hope does the Divine Feminine hold? What is real for you in them?
If you want to be heard, hit reply and share with me. I'm so honored to be on this journey with you.
I think being a woman is so awesome! And it's amazing to come alive in this feminine body, and to share the joy of this journey with other women (you!) whose ears are also perking up to the call.
Grace & Peace & Booty Shakes,