Walking down the street in Portland, I was nervous, excited, and unsure about what to expect. Six weeks earlier, I had found the book Wild Feminine by Tami Lynn Kent. It had stopped me in my tracks and helped me to take the path less traveled. Now, I was in Portland waiting for my appointment with this healer.
But, let me fill out this scene a bit…
I have done work in the area of sexual abuse for more than twenty years, both personally and professionally. The healing I have witnessed in my life and others’ lives is astounding. And yet, until I met with Kent, I didn’t have a sense of how my body, specifically my pelvic bowl, had not integrated the work I had done.
Years earlier, I had broken my tailbone, and it had not healed correctly. So at this point, I was in constant pain and never wanted to sit down. I had tried everything that the medical community had to offer, and nothing worked. Since I sit for a living, I was frustrated and was not sure how I was going to proceed.
Finding Kent’s work was a breath of fresh air. Reading her book, I learned our pelvic bowls are memory keepers. Our stories, trauma, and lineage are carried in the very tissue of our pelvic floor.
Our bodies hold our story of what it means to be feminine in this world.
My work with Kent shifted my body, my pain, and my relationship to my body. I now believe the pelvic bowl is a place of power, creativity, and deep wisdom.
In my training as a therapist, I heard a lot about how the brain and psyche must heal from trauma but little about how our bodies need to heal from trauma too. Our bodies must release trauma and find balance again. Bessel van der Kolk’s amazing book The Body Keeps the Score tells the truth even in its title. Our bodies, including our pelvic bowls, know and keep a record of our stories for good and ill. Therefore, we can find even more healing by listening, honoring, and releasing patterns in our body.
For example, how have our pelvic bowls been marred with shame and disdain? Most women I meet are disconnected with this space and only try to connect when they want to have sex, have a baby, or during their menses.
In this society, we downplay the importance of our menses and often call it “gross,” which is an insidious way of defaming the feminine. In truth, our periods connect us to the cycles of the earth and bring balance. They guide us through times of movement and rest. It is a time when we release all that the month has stored in our bodies in order to have renewed energy for the next month. I have come to see my bleeding time in a different light and welcome it as a way my body releases what she no longer needs.
Since learning from Kent, I have experienced God in a different way as I engage God in this quiet inner sanctuary of my womb. My pelvic bowl is a space to meet the Sacred. By being intentional about what I grow, tend to, and release, I have found a new way to engage and speak with God.
One result of this pandemic is the invitation to all of us to return home, back to our feminine selves, restoring balance and dismantling patriarchy. Humanity is meant to live in harmony—we all have masculine and feminine inside of us. No one is more important than the other. The masculine moves and takes action. The feminine intuits, nests, gathers. The masculine is the out breath while the feminine is the in breath—both are just as important. They balance and inform each another.
The rise of the feminine is not to be over and above but equal to. If either the feminine or masculine is out of harmony, both suffer. Our task in healing is to move towards balance, listening anew to the feminine and offering honor in the places we have dishonored her.
In this time, may we find balance in ourselves and value the feminine cycles within us. May we honor the extraordinary way God has made our female body to reflect God’s self. And may we honor all parts of God and humanity.
Laura Wade Shirley is a wife, mother of three boys, therapist, and teacher. She lives in Seattle where she has a counseling practice and is a Holistic Pelvic Care practitioner. During summer she enjoys camping with her family, hiking, and gardening. She loves being outside, though sitting in a quiet house reading a book sounds delightful too.