The Goddess in Your Vagina.

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The Power of the Yin Principle is Already Inside You, Literally.

As I walk out of Planned Parenthood, I think that I must be the only woman in the world who can see an IUD insertion as a spiritual experience. But then I question that, because the feeling of communion with women throughout time is no small part of the strange, connected feeling coursing through me.

I am literally stopped by the hydrangeas blooming in front of me as I walk out the door. I can’t take my eyes off them. Mesmerized, I reach out to touch them the way I would stroke the curve of my lover’s jaw and feel tears rising to meet my touch.

There could be a lot of reasons to cry walking out of Planned Parenthood including pain, loss, or unwelcome news, but for me it is gratitude. In part, I am grateful for the women I have just encountered who join scientific precision with social activism and basic, human nurturance. I feel safe here. And yet what is filling me is far deeper than this more ordinary gratitude.

As I lie on the examination table, draped knees bent with feet in stirrups, I flash on the countless times that I and other women have been in this same, somewhat compromised state. I think of the midwife who examined me during my first pregnancy, simply and straightforwardly on her living room couch. I think of my psychotherapy client relating to me her frozen terror at being examined like this after a long history of sexual abuse.

My musings are interrupted by the practitioner down by my feet. “How are you doing?” she asks kindly between every pause in the procedure, and I notice how she meets my eyes when she asks just as the receptionist did at the front desk.

Mostly, though, as I return my stare to the ceiling, I think of giving birth to my two daughters, at home on all fours, my cervix opening wide to become that sacred gateway between the divine, unmanifested world and this one.

In my meditation practice, I work with breathing into the lower Dan Tien, a term borrowed from Chinese healing to reference the area that must be just about where the womb sits. As I open and soften in my meditation, I discover a gateway inside me to another world that is size-less and utterly ungraspable. My awareness drops deep into the earth, beyond all boundaries until I find that the essence of earth is actually space—warm, nurturing space.

Experiencing this directly, viscerally, I find that it is no mystery where life comes from; it comes from here, from “Her.” In this meditation I bring my attention to a spot equidistant between my navel and my pubic bone and then travel back, toward the spine, until suddenly there is no “there” there, and I drop down and back and out into the fathomlessness. I surrender back into where I came from, and into what I am.

To me, it feels like satin—seamless and whole and beautiful. Finally, I experience it as a deep out-breath of relief to finally be home again, back in my Mother’s lap.

Now, lying in this office in Planned Parenthood and splayed into unnatural openness, I listen to the practitioner’s explanations. In order to insert the IUD, the cervix must yield. She tells me that this can take time, that it’s a dance between herself and the cervix as she gently prods, waiting for it to relax and open. As she explains, images dance before me—a flower yielding to sunlight, a pod of seeds bursting with the gentle touch of a child’s finger. She says that one can’t force it; she has to take her time; and that sometimes it just isn’t possible and she has to try again on another day.

I reflect on how her surgical know-how softens into a gentle dialogue with my body in order to accomplish this task. As I lie here, bared and feeling vulnerable, I am glad that I trust this woman whose hands are inside me. I don’t think that my cervix is likely to yield to someone whom I do not trust, and it strikes me that the power of the feminine is paradoxical. You cannot force a flower to open; it requires “not doing” rather than a “doing.” I notice how my attendant’s calm demeanor and years of experience convey a sense of safety. This is her real instrument for this procedure.

I feel vulnerable being held opened by the metal speculum, feeling the sting of the anesthesia injected into my cervix and cramping from the pressure of being prodded. But it is a vulnerability entirely unlike what I felt in giving birth. While in labor my openness was contained inside of me, away from the sight and cool air of the outside world.

In giving birth my attention was pulled inside forcibly by something naturally wild, hot, raw and primitive—something so powerful that my only choice was to surrender.

Here I feel almost flayed.

The sensations and fear are sharp around the edges. I am being touched and pierced by cold, metal instruments, seen and felt and pushed on. Relaxing into this kind of surrender is a conscious act of will. Then with a long, slow out-breath I imagine dropping through the lower Dan Tien and deep into the fathomless. Consciously, I yield.

Unlike menstruation and childbirth, this dilation of the cervix is not natural, yet still I find that the opening becomes a gateway to the world behind this world. Maybe it is because the cervix has deigned to open, or because I have given myself over to this woman’s capable, kind hands, maybe it is because the very nature of my woman’s body is itself a portal, but I notice that my mind widens as my cervix does. I feel floaty, wide and yet very present. I hear her say how copper IUD’s have been used since ancient times, the copper being a natural spermicide. The IUD does nothing but sit there in the mouth of the uterus, its natural ions interfering with the sperm’s motility. She informs me that studies show that typically with this simple “T” shaped piece of copper in place, no sperm can be found in the fallopian tubes where fertilization typically takes place.

My thoughts wander to images of women in ancient Egypt fashioning early, copper IUD’s, then passing themselves into each other’s soft, strong hands for insertion in order to procure a sexual freedom that they could not otherwise enjoy. I feel so touched by female sexuality and the fortitude that women have exercised to keep it.

Then I begin to touch this strength in myself, the strength to open, utterly vulnerable, into another person’s hands.

To yield honestly and wholeheartedly, present and fearless, for the sheer love of freedom, in this case the freedom to commune with my beloved in every possible way without holding back in fear of pregnancy. The dignity of yielding, the power of the Yin principle, pervades me.

The delicate act is finished so quickly. “It was very straightforward this time,” she says, adding, “Now, I don’t want anything in your vagina for 24 hours.” I notice an intimacy here that belies her professionalism and have a moment of wanting to cry with gratitude. Not gratitude for her performing this service, or even because I am now miraculously protected against pregnancy. That is secondary. No, I feel gratitude because in this moment I am open to her and to the divine feminine. I can see, can feel, how women are conduits for what is real and open and raw—how we offer ourselves as gateways to men through our love making, to children through giving birth, and perhaps most beautifully to each other through our trust and intimacy. I see how we unwittingly invite the breeze of stillness to pass through us every time we open.

As I get up to dress, I want to pour love all over her. I thank her, and as I walk out of the building I am stopped dead by the incomprehensible white and purple hydrangeas that greet me with far more depth and silence than they ought to. And in their presence I feel the winds of stillness from beyond blow across my own face, thanking me back.

(Kristin Luce)

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anonymous Nov 29, 2013 4:21pm

Thank you for this Natalie. Obviously the piece was simply about the insertion and how it illuminated the feminine for me. However, your good information is wonderful! Like immunizations, I will do my research now that I realize that there could be significant problems related to them, and I feel grateful that you are bringing this up to other women as well. Thank you!

anonymous Nov 28, 2013 12:04am

Not to throw a wrench in the lovely point of your story- but id be VERY wary of the copper iud. I had one for 6 years and am now dealing with copper heavy metal toxicity which has caused a host of issues in my body (that took me a while to figure out what was going on). Definitely not worth it. And i think the new ones release even more copper. I am part of an iud support group on yahoo and i read pretty much horror stories every day about them. Adrenal fatigue, daily fatigue, depression, racing / repetative thoughts, melasma , zinc deficiency, ridges in nails, detox bumps on my fingers, super dry skin, estrogen metabolism issues(ie. the melasma) because of hindered liver function(which also now leaves me with killer hangovers anytime i want to imbibe)…… And other women have it worse. Just a heads up. Dont leave it in for too long. I found a non-hormonal BC thats good- FemCap with ContraGel. Mark my words, there WILL eventually be a class action law suit on the Copper iud. And worst of all- most drs tell these women that it cant do that. That copper cant do that. They have no idea- heavy metal toxicity anyone?? Did u learn that in school or, no?

anonymous Nov 27, 2013 2:50am

These have to be some of the most insightful yet tender words I have read in this genre.
Well written too Kristin 🙂

anonymous Nov 27, 2013 2:12am

Really enjoyed reading that.. thank you! I have used IUD's for a long time and next time I get mine changed, which may in fact be the last time, I will be there with greater presence than I have ever been. Anything can be filled with such beauty… each moment… this was a lovely reminder of that.

anonymous Mar 6, 2012 12:23am

[…] I only now realize that this woman is waxing my vagina. She is putting hot wax on my vagina lips and ripping the hair out. I am paying her to do this. She unfolds my labia and begins to work on the inside. Now I am moving from humble to a deeply vulnerable state. I don’t know if my partner touches me where she is going. She asks me to help by keeping the skin taut. […]

anonymous Nov 27, 2011 1:28pm

Excellent article! As a man, I certainly cannot relate to much of what you wrote in terms of specifics, but I felt strangely connected to some of your descriptions of the process. To be more clear, I found myself reading an article not about a medical procedure, but rather one about surrender, connection, trust, and intimacy. Mostly about surrendering gracefully – intentionally as an act of will. At that level, I could most certainly relate. So much of life, and the act of living-in-a-body seems to create a kind of ping pong between control and learning to flow. Sometimes we try so hard, and then after the last 99 "last" ditch efforts, we finally give up. Then the miracle comes! How beautiful to intentionally move into a high-energy moment of your life, with the intent to flow right from the beginning…

anonymous Jul 19, 2011 5:31pm

Thank you, your article really touched me. Lovely to hear the joyous, womanly side to what is normally an unpleasant and intrusive experience!

anonymous Jun 1, 2011 12:07am

This was so very beautiful and moving. Thank you so much for sharing such an intimate experience — and sharing the joy and empowerment of the experience. What a lovely article. I will follow your writing. Thank you.

anonymous May 29, 2011 10:04am

[…] Ashley led us through flow sequences that ignited our inner fires through pranayama (and lots of goddess […]

anonymous May 16, 2011 6:52pm

[…] Read the full article on Elephant Journal This entry was posted in Kristin, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← The Goddess in Your Vagina […]

anonymous May 10, 2011 5:24pm

Breathtaking- beauty filled – amazed and in awe of your depth and strength – thank you for sharing.

anonymous May 10, 2011 5:23pm

I might've entitled it the goddess in the depth, rather than vagina, but otherwise a great reflection on what it means to be female….in a country and time that allows for free femininity. There's an abundance of both strength/power and vulnerability/submission in being female….a delicate dance between the two. I wish more women were aware of their femininity rather than afraid of it.

anonymous May 5, 2011 11:05am

Beautiful!!! five stars!

anonymous May 2, 2011 3:17pm

[…] have many resources and options when it comes to contraception, so there’s no reason not to make an informed decision that’s safest for you — and the world around […]

anonymous Apr 29, 2011 9:01am

[…] In giving birth my attention was pulled inside forcibly by something naturally wild, hot, raw and primitive—something so powerful that my only choice was to surrender. Here I feel almost flayed. […]

anonymous Apr 26, 2011 11:14pm

What a beautiful description of what it means to be a woman. I love how you tied us all together with the ancient ones who first discovered the effectiveness of IUDs. Wonderfully written piece in more ways than I can say. Thank you. 🙂

anonymous Apr 26, 2011 7:51pm

As much as I appreciated the beautiful language telling of connectedness of all of them joined in the rites of womenkind, I feel a reluctance at the whole idea of an IUD. Having had an experience with an IUD induced infection (which is not uncommon), I prefer other alternatives to preventing conception — preferably vasectomies by partners. Once a man has fathered his children, there is not functional reason not to have that very simple and very reliable procedure. Certainly the complications of vasectomy are much much much lower than those of an IUD.

    anonymous Apr 28, 2011 2:13pm

    I agree completely. My (now) ex-husband and I agreed on this point, and a vasectomy worked great after we had children and before our divorce. My own experience with an IUD has been very positive, and, for me, has the fewest down-sides. There are of, course, down-sounds to every female contraceptive. My article isn't particularly a "pro-IUD" piece, just literally my experience of the insertion. Thanks for your post!

anonymous Apr 26, 2011 12:30pm

[…] deepergoddessshopThe Goddess in Your VaginaShareWe came across this article by Kristin Luce at elephantjournal.com, an important and brilliant read about how a pelvic exam can be a spiritual practice. Here is an […]

anonymous Apr 23, 2011 11:48am

Your tapping into the Divine Feminine through your procedure was so tenderly beautiful. Thank you.

anonymous Apr 23, 2011 11:45am

This is absolutely beautiful, I am so grateful for your intimate and private sharing of something we women have all experienced, or if we haven't, we will now become more aware.

anonymous Apr 19, 2011 9:10am

[…] to mat. Knees spread wide. I fully embraced the release and comfort of child’s […]

anonymous Apr 18, 2011 8:12am

Stunning writing. Got yourself a new fan!

anonymous Apr 17, 2011 9:41am

Insightful!

anonymous Apr 15, 2011 8:26am

So beautiful Kristen!! love all of your work it is very healing to hear your RAW faith…. you go girl '@;—"– even some men are getting it!! spread the LOVE!

anonymous Apr 15, 2011 7:51am

Thank you, Kristin, for another piece that dances between the worlds: the human, the divine, the sexual, the profound. Indeed, its dance makes clear that these worlds are all one, and I am ever grateful to be a woman, in touch with this oneness through my own experiences giving birth–both to myself and to my daughters. The art I am stunned by and grateful to in your writing is the ability to put this vastness into words, contained in the lovely vase of the page.

anonymous Apr 13, 2011 1:36am

Clitorius was a mystical goddess of the vagina .Men loved her,women wanted to be her.

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 10:59pm

What a beautifully written, truly vulnerable work of prose! How courageous and well done.

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 8:58pm

I certainly did not have the same experience getting my IUD, but was beautiful to read!!

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 7:38pm

Your volunerability so exquisitely stated through your writing is incredibly awe inspiring and impressive and brave. amazing 🙂

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 6:47pm

This ROCKS! Loving your Elephant articles. Sharing them with my Women's Spirituality class. Thank you for speaking the sometimes rendered unspeakable.

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 6:39pm

Kristin is a bad ass! thank you for your words lovely lady 🙂

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 6:34pm

This is wonderful–and very relevant to me at the moment. Thank you for shedding a little more light on this subject, especially that of non-hormonal birth control as well as the modern and historical power women can have over their physical selves. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Truly beautiful to read.

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 12:21pm

Deeply touched by the beauty and intimacy of your writing, Kristin. Thank you for sharing your articles and your heart.

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 12:20pm

wow thanks kristin. i'm feelin' it in the dan tien

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 12:11pm

What extraordinary writing, I am truly touched… Thank you

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 9:44am

[…] is deep. Opening to the fullness of acceptance is a multilayered process. Think of one thing you wish was different […]

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 7:58am

[…] Read the full article on Elephant Journal This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. ← All I Really Need is a Good F*ck & Someone to Pick Me Up at the Airport. […]

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 7:39am

Wow. Thank you so much.
Beautiful.

anonymous Apr 12, 2011 7:38am

Wow, Kristin. I am touched by both the strength and vulnerability expressed through your beautiful writing.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 11:56pm

Well written, however I just wonder how folks would respond/react if there was an article titled " The God is in your Penis"
Feels like it is ok to go one way, but not the other.

    anonymous Apr 12, 2011 7:21am

    If it were posted on Elephant, I don't think it would phase me actually 🙂 And, I hear what you are saying. My thought is that there has been an inequity between the male and female (Yin and Yang, God and Goddess) in terms of recognizing the power, strength and healing power of these different energies. Using "vagina" here, for me, balances this somewhat, whereas "The God is in your Penis," doesn't. Interesting post, thanks!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:44pm

This is magnificent. Thanks.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:43pm

Refreshing, and beautifully written. Thank you for the many sweet insights….

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:43pm

This was so beautiful, Thank you!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:42pm

Beautiful! Jai Ma!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:42pm

I loved this! As a woman who has given birth and as a woman who has chosen contraception as freedom to love, I embrace your lovely writing and your openess. Thank you for sharing your experience.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:29pm

Thank you for this wonderful post–especially important considering the budget cuts Planned Parenting is facing. Women need a safe place. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/apr/08/news/la-h

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:27pm

A beautiful truth Kristin! Keep it going lady!!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:23pm

Inspiring!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:23pm

Brilliant!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:18pm

What a great piece of writing… it gives me a glimpse, as a man, into the sacred power of the feminine within my own being. Too bad that I feel a bit corny even saying that… but, its true… thanks for this insight!

    anonymous Apr 11, 2011 10:36pm

    *love* your post. Thank you. I am at the feet of the Divine Feminine, as well.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 6:28pm

Kristin, your article has in my mind at less revealed a very spiritual side to an otherwise personal and private situation for young ladies and women. So, as a man I found the article to be interesting and very relevant. Keep up the good work.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 4:37pm

wow wow wow. beautiful!! thank you for sharing, that was so moving and inspiring. I don't even have words to describe. thank you.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 4:03pm

Nice, rich, sensorial article. Thank you. I don't know if you have control over the photos used but I found the picture of the pre-pubescent (seemingly) hairless woman to be incongruous with the maturity of the reflections in the essay. Would have liked to see illustrations to match the fearless experience-as-felt prose, rather than ones that pander to contemporary pornographic moves towards sexualizing pre-pubescent girls. Having never experienced an IUD insertion, this was interesting stuff to know!

    anonymous Apr 11, 2011 4:21pm

    Thanks for your feedback about the article and the photo!

      anonymous Apr 11, 2011 11:34pm

      yes, I find it interesting that the photo which is likely not pre-pubescent but a (mostly) hairless female a little contrary to the embracing of the Divine Feminine with it's representation of a very sanitized view of women and the photos is also a sexualization of a woman….. which adds a bit of sensationalism to the article unfortunately …but EJ seems to do that in general….

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 4:01pm

Awesome!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 3:47pm

Your utter courage and openness cut through me right to my heart. The naked intimacy of your story brings me to that exhilirating knife edge where one walks a tightrope of possibility over an abyss of fear.

While the general tenor of the article is one of empowerment of women, as a very straight man in a cherished relationship I also find it extremely empowering. I think most relationships that fail do not do so out of malicious intent, but out of lack of understanding. By allowing me into your very private experience, you shed more light onto what it really means to be a woman. And that knowledge feels helpful to me in my ongoing efforts to be a better man.

Thanks for sharing your gifts.

    anonymous Apr 11, 2011 4:50pm

    "By allowing me into your very private experience, you shed more light onto what it really means to be a woman. And that knowledge feels helpful to me in my ongoing efforts to be a better man."

    I couldn't have said it any better myself Marty!
    Thank you very much for this Kristin.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 3:41pm

Thanks Kristin. Beautiful.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 3:36pm

I bow to your openness and creativity.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 3:29pm

Lovely piece, thank you

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 3:25pm

I posted it on my page. Love it.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 3:24pm

You are a great writer Kristen. I like how you go "there" and bring sex back into the sacred and discussable. Brave and important!

    anonymous Apr 11, 2011 3:32pm

    Glad you see it that way too, bringing the sex back into the sacred. Thanks, Christophe.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 12:42pm

this is gorgeous and potent. thank you.

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 8:45am

Another fantastic read!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 8:44am

I am SO reposting!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 8:44am

You should write an article about putting on a condom!

    anonymous Apr 11, 2011 9:01am

    Always a good idea, but not my area of expertise!

    anonymous Apr 11, 2011 3:24pm

    thats where i find the goddess, foe show!!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 8:43am

Great article Kristin! You're 3 for 3!

anonymous Apr 11, 2011 8:13am

thanks, …this is oddly relevant for me right now.

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