She comes to me as feelings of neglect and fear morphing into body image alterations before settling into my gut, waving red flags and burning bitter. This doubt is powerful. I often cannot recognize from what distant memory she has traveled in order to disarm and send her into that box of ashes forgiveness has already slain. Where is she rooted I wonder and investigate, getting tangled and torn, enraged, bound naked to walls made of carpet and steel with smells of sulfur lingering? What does doubt want with me, such a gentle soul only craving to love and be loved?
Is she the devil that fills me with dread who rapes and pillages, or perhaps she is my intuition, this voice of doubt alerting me to some danger I have yet to identify or notice? If she be the devil then I shout:
“Get behind me sweet devil! You are not welcome here, you cannot adulterate my heart, you have no power here!”
I almost believe in this declaration then I my intuition says, “And what if she does?” Then I must listen and follow and find the putrid root in order to excavate the sickness I have been ignoring in order to heal and change and grow.Is there a difference between these two voices I wonder? Poor fool am I to be mystified. Do I commit blasphemy not knowing this answer?
Weeks on end I struggle as this doubt has taken anchor. I take inventory of my closest relationships working to cut out the fat, then sweat it out on the mat in hopes of liberation from the searing pain of this emotion. I pray at night for illumination and launch myself headlong into dreams I hope will enlighten. When all of this fails I then try to ignore it, this lingering sensation of something awry.
There are times that I plead with her this vixen of doubt I beg and cry and thrash. Defeat follows, then comes more pain.
If thoughts become reality then it goes that every ounce of energy I spend conversing with this doubt the larger she becomes until she eats me alive, heart and soul. However, she is coy and cunning and hides in the spaces related to my intuitive self, leaving me with disturbing questions of what is real and what is not.
Mind wheels spinning, I wonder if these doubts are leading to good questions that need to be addressed. Then I wonder again if this is a stealth attack by forces larger than governments. Targeting and terrorizing and removing me from involvement in the things that matter this doubt keeps me from the energy that heals, that pleases, that reigns supreme: love.
Thunder rolls as I type that line and it seems perhaps an omen from above.
Am I really lonely, I think, or is that just the stillness, which is good and calm and offers reflection and space to absorb the effects of my practice? Am I asking too much of my lover for needing words of reassurance, an unsolicited touch?
If I’ve been fooled by doubt, then in doing so I chip away at the foundation of friendship that is supposed to exist between two who share their bodies. Perhaps that is its mission. Maybe that is why the church teaches us not to share so much of ourselves until a deeper commitment has been made.
Is there anything more in life I will ponder or have I reached my peak, is this as good as it gets? Why such recriminations and defensiveness, my intellect says? Get a grip!
With the intellect singing that everything in my life is just fine, why then such strong and forever streaming waves of doubt from an emotional landscape I am meant to trust? Conniving devil I will say. Weak woman I will hear. Poor lonely wounded good for nothing pretender of love I will think. Can’t even love yourself hear I.
Then I must be good for nothing.
Splashing water on my face and shaking myself loose I conclude that these doubts are of the devil trying to tear apart what God has strung together; beautiful, sacred, loving and kind. Two spirits that have the potential to bring forth new life who are sharing space who are knitting the edges of existence together and perhaps will commit to being forever partners in the flesh.
I conclude that of course my life is on the right path! I am vibrating on the proper wavelength and there is proof in the dimes that continue to show up at my feet in places of worship and affection.
A few days and moments pass and that lingering whisper rises again as I burn sage that if she be my intuition, that voice of doubt, then I best heed these alarm bells going off inside warning me to cleave no longer to this man who clearly must not see me, will not hold me, does not dance with me. Surrendering again to tears I will plead to the skies, how can they not know that deep inside my heart there is a yearning for something deeper?
Where, dear Lord, does this emptiness come from? It goes on and on in circles for weeks. Hot. Cold. Damp. Tragic. Which is the voice of truth I beg to know? Dear Lord, forgive me for I cannot hear you through these plagues and I repent and acknowledge that my faith has been tested to its limit.
Stillness comes once more and I wonder if it’s been worth it to travel down this rabbit hole with doubt instead of ignoring her all together? Could the pain of ignorance compare to this enduring heartburn?
Am I listening to the she that is trying to be helpful or have I been ensnared by the she that is a murderous bitch bent on tearing at the threads of my spirit destroying what is emotional & powerful within a woman’s heart.
Doubt keeps attacking my heart. Stupid c*nt.
No, no, no. “Vagina is Beautiful,” says Eve Ensler, so why would I rip at my injured self with such a term? Are not my body and mind undergoing enough without using that most precious of portals as a verbal snare to degrade myself further?
Sneaky little bastard devil.
As the mind wonders and wanders I remember that they say to follow the middle path, breathe into the edges of discomfort and to see the truth.
They say to set your gaze at a single point and to practice sense withdrawal in order to move closer to the core of our essence beyond all judgments and expectations. Move past the illusions of this life by prayer, by devotion, by service and therefore be embraced by the all-loving, all-knowing, all-caring and sustaining God of our Fathers.
Screw that I say stomping up and down temperamental and hysterical. Your practice and your God have forsaken me, I am sure of it. If one more yoga teacher in spandex tells me that the answers are within then I am going to quit this introspection on the mat bullshit because clearly it is not working! Oh Lord, why hast thou forsaken me? Soft-skinned, glowing, loving yearning, starving and ravenous for love little girl. What is wrong with me?
What about the God of our Mothers drifts past once I’ve exhausted myself on the cold tile laying wet eyed peering into no place?
She that swings with the cycles of the moon and is tender and kind and compassionate and all of the things I find so very hard to offer myself in these times of drought. Where is the Goddess of nurture, the receiving lap, a nourishing breast, that cooing voice of the comforter?
There is no use here for the redeemer of the patriarchy, thank you very much, for I am in need, desperate need, to lay my head down in soft fields of clover tickled by salty breezes with my hair curled round fingers and whispers in ear of futures secure in body and soul and I realize in this moment it is not my doubts that I feel but the deep desire for all women to feel safe and encouraged in friendly seas.
I realize there is nothing wrong with my relationship to the man in my life but that there is something deeply flawed with the relationship of man to woman. I realize I want all women to feel something other than pain and sorrow and regret and insecurity and fear and doubt. I realize I need to know that it is possible to throw over the repression and the mutilation and the
extravagance that is paid for at the expense of our bodies and that there is truth and love and light accessible to all.
I believe that this deep desire that exists in my body is a beacon that has been sent out by sisters across the world who have been truly forsaken. I realize there exists a momentum beyond my wildest imagination and with a willingness to work together we can be One Billion Rising dancing with ourselves, healing, nurturing, seen and empowered.
If I turn off my phone and stop answering emails, If I get back to my mat without the trappings of tradition or destination, if I quit scheduling sixty hours of appointments for those who are seeking, if I sit in the stillness of my living room staring at the faded pink walls that match the tattered painting of towers of flaming vaginas I painted last year much to my surprise, the ones that remind me of the deep well of divine light within emanating from my second chakra…if I get still then I realize that there is a great task at hand.
The doubt is there to make me feel small and helpless and I am not small or helpless. I am a woman of talent and energy, of privilege and voice. I am one woman of the billion women on this earth that will stand up together and say enough! I say get behind me doubt for we have had enough!
Want to join the fight?
Editor: Seychelles Pitton