Here’s a short tale on how this works within my psyche, and how the two identities are wonderful teammates.
I’m a wild woman.
I admit this to you openly. My heart is a flaming fire and I want to take you into this fire and become something together…something completely other.
I will let you in on a secret. I have been this wild woman with many people all over the world. And I love the adventure of this flame burning its way through the darkness of mystery, the lightning storms of existence.
I will admit this now to you: I am an all-out heretic. Here, look at my photo, the image of me diving into the chaotic interior without fear.
Yes, there I am creating a whirlwind of joy, a maelstrom of delight. And all of my ecstatic friends, all of my joyful companions are dancing around me. Want to see them? Here they are.
Look at this next image, where we collectively enter the fire burning day and night within our hearts…the fire that pierces you from my eyes…the fire that inhabits every chest…the fire I am on this planet to bring forth in myself and in others!
Do you see my face in this photo above (I’m in green). Look at that wide open mouth. Now look over at the other faces. We are possessed in this photo, completely filled with sacred energy from the planet and the stars and those endless inner spaces.
I’m a heretic because I want to lead others away from a lifeless society that chains them and into an experience of the joyful animal, the trees whipping in the high mountain wind, the cresting wave that is so high your heart misses a beat as you dive through it. That’s who I am.
I’ve learned how to consistently bring this wild woman, this sweating mammal, this sun-drenched beaming face, into the limelight over and over again. Deep within I have another being—a quiet, tidy fundamentalist. She’s a good girl. And she’s keeping watch on when I go to sleep, on how many teaspoons of herbs I put in the steaming water, on how much of myself I pour into others, on what I choose to eat and who I choose to sleep with.
This organizer within me, this bespectacled purveyor of “quality control” is providing the foundation for my wild woman to have everything. She is watching my back. She says, “Yes, you can totally give 1000% in the bright sun on that distant shore with 5000 people because I laid you down to sleep at 10pm last night.”
She says, “Yes, Hema, you can dance for 7 hours straight tonight because I gave you sustaining herbs this morning and laid you down for a four hour siesta in the cool shaded bungalow this afternoon.” She says, “Go flirt with that lusty guy over there because I’ve made sure you are covered in every way.”
Is there a time when fundamentalism is good?
The wild woman, the heretic within me, says, “Hell yes, it is awesome!” Every risk-taking CEO is grateful for the highly organized PA & CFO. Yes, I have always thought of myself as an open, easy-going person—that hedonist who loves pleasure.
I travel frequently, meet new friends, and am spontaneous, after all. But I also like to control certain areas of my life—like to be in charge of how it happens. There are areas of my life where I tend to be a little bit more rigid, steeped in fear, and I prefer to call this ‘rigidness’ by another name: self-discipline. And that’s the fundamentalist Good Girl within me who is toeing the line.
I asked myself, where am I a fundamentalist good-girl?
An area where I am deeply fundamentalist is self-care. Over the past 15 years, I have prided myself on self-care and rituals in the name of balance. I have watched others in this practice as I have worked and traveled. Many of the movers and shakers in the global community need self-care and rejuvenation the most!
It takes a lot to break the norm and create big changes in the world. Change-agents do become exhausted! The output of energy is so strong that there’s a constant state of depletion. Busy cities and fast travel can precipitate disaster. I’ve blown up a few times while on whirlwind tours being that wild woman! And this is why I am such a fundamentalist about my self-care/discipline.
1. When at a festival with thousands of people, I take little breaks every few hours to go lay still, eye pillow on and plug in my ear-plugs, to focus on breathing in the quiet of this moment. Then the wild woman steps refreshed out of the cave to shine, share and connect with other beautiful souls through dance, laughter and play.
2. My fundamentalist in me religiously oils her hair with a deeply nourishing Ayurvedic herbal oil to relax the mind (and support healthy hair), so that I can bounce, frolic and be merrily inspiring.
3. The fundamentalist in me demands at least one meal per day with a lot of greens in it to be super powered for healthy conversations, travel and a radiant healthy glow as I shine in the world.
What does the fundamentalist good-girl get from the heretical wild woman?
Here’s one of the deepest feminine mysteries. And I don’t mind sharing it. When that careful identity within has planned for ecstasy, when she has carefully made the fresh bed, when she has lit the towering candles around the circle, she gets very excited!
Why? Because she will get to cast off her uniform for a few hours and lustily bounce with the heretical wild woman! In fact, this is the powerful interplay of a duality within every woman—preparing the ground for being earthy, for experiencing the flame, for safely tossing in the waves. The weave between these two identities within is one of my greatest pleasures. I am so grateful for both!
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Travis May
Photos: Provided by author, top image by Jeff Skeirik