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A Sacred Kind of Defiance

I gathered with an incredible group of women during this recent last full moon. We shared a span of ages forty years wide, a multitude of experiences and backgrounds, and a wild brew of curiousities and fascinations. And there was something about these women, you know...

A sacred kind of defiance. They were sacredly defiant, each in their own way, in honor of their own hearts.

In fact, every woman I've ever gathered with has proven herself to be at least a little sacredly defiant. We each find a way - despite every perceived obstacle or hurdle - to heed the callings of our own hunger, no matter how seemingly difficult, no matter the labyrinth we must navigate, no matter if we have to crawl sometimes through narrow and tricky passages. We trust ourselves more than we realize. We do it far more than we ever give ourselves credit for. We do it out loud and we do it in quiet. We do it even when we're not looking. We do it while we try to explain it or apologize for it. We do it in the going towards, despite all they said. And the walking away from, despite all the pulls. And the going in, despite the noisy world outside. And the going out there, despite the unsettled fears within. We do it because we're courageous. We do it because we have to.

(Villa Sumaya Dock at Retreat, Photo: Kathleen Sumpton)

One woman in our circle shared a story with us about how she had taken the role of "peacekeeper" as a child, within the context of her family dynamics. I've heard several woman share this childhood experience - about fading into the background, keeping quiet, mediating, not provoking, care-taking for adults, often sacrificing her direct experience of her own emotions, feelings and expression. I've heard women share how they cast themselves in the role again and again, and wish to break out of it. Later in the week, this very same woman shared a story where she remembered that through many subtle choices and small acts, she had still however managed to navigate her childhood and years after in ways that consistently defied the perceived expectations of others, or paths they tried to lay out for her, to instead carve and claim her own. Sometimes she had to be sneaky or a trickster, but she did it. She followed her own internal pulls and rejected the pushes. She didn't learn the instrument she never wanted to play, even if she had to fake reasons why. She did follow the path she herself wanted to study, even if she had to be strategic about it. She was secretly playing peacekeeper - despite it all - of her own heart, by returning again and again to allegiance with it, and refusing to fold.

(Mayan Fire Ceremony, Photo: Ann Kimbrough) Sometimes, playing peacekeeper to our own hearts calls for showing a sacred kind of defiance.

I feel we practice a sacred kind of defiance whenever we follow our own hearts, despite the perceived expectations of others (lovers, friends, family, religion, culture, society), whenever we realize that the one person we cannot afford to disappoint is ourselves.

Like when a woman ran back to love, despite the odds or opinions. When a woman walked away from a seemingly picture perfect marriage, because she needed to. When a woman broke the trappings of a toxic relationship, despite all the threats of what she was giving up.

Or when a woman made it all work with the family, despite the extra hands that were no longer there. When a woman took the path that was trivialized by everyone around her. Or when a woman took the path where men alone had left footsteps. When a woman stepped away, all for herself, if only to remember the pulse of her own being. Honoring our own need to stand sacred in our defiance means honoring other's need to do this too, even when it defies our expectations. We learn this, again and again, as we remember to honor our own truths.

But little by little, as you left their voice behind, the stars began to burn through the sheets of clouds, and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, that kept you company as you strode deeper and deeper into the world, determined to do the only thing you could do -- determined to save the only life that you could save. (Mary Oliver, from The Journey)

(Yoga at The Yoga Forest, Photo: Tamia Hurtado)

In the spirit of our sacred expression retreat, this woman could stand in the truth of her own sacred defiance, as a girl and woman that has shown up to keep peace foremost with her own heart, honoring and protecting its guidance. It's in her to do so. It's evidenced as part of her rich and nuanced narrative.

In the spirit of our sacred stories retreat, her inner Vesta showed up in her commitment to honoring her own internal fire. And her inner Athena helped her to envision and follow through on creative and strategic action toward her true desires. This a powerful partnering of the divine feminine energies alive in all of us. Tell me, in what ways have you practiced a sacred kind of defiance, to keep peace with your own heart? I hope to meet you in the circle. Much love xo Aimee

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