Shame to me is the most damaging experience of the female collective. We carry imprints of shame underpinning the most divine aspect of ourselves: our bodies.
The wounds around female body image run deep in our psyche from the relentless, bombarding images of women in our media. Of bodies, faces, limbs, breasts, bellies that do not reflect our womanhood. These images saturate our unconscious self and shame insidiously creeps in.
I recall as a child a heightened awareness of my own soft folds, valleys and ripples of flesh. I remember looking at my body and feeling that the softness was misplaced; it didn’t belong. As a teenager this awareness manifested in an obsession with correcting my body through food restriction and dieting. I harboured an inner dialogue of self blame, I was not enough, parts of me were shameful. The self loathing that accompanied became a soundtrack to my life, constantly looping behind my outer expression of a vibrant, fun, confident girl.
Behind the veil, however, was a girl hiding from the world and herself. Her fullness masked by the discomfort of being in her own skin.
Shame closes our bodies to the inherent pleasure found within each soft, voluptuous cell. Shame shuts down our instinctual energies. Our salivating, pulsating, wild, soft, loving vulnerability. We fear opening, yet opening is the gift of embodying shakti, our feminine essence. When we open and surrender to her, we are deeply f*cked by life. We feel wholeness. We pervade radiance. We attract and invite. We cannot merge with these states if shame is enmeshed somewhere within.
The doorway remains ajar.
The shame I carried as a young woman meant that I was unable to open to my own fullness, my own pleasure and self expression. I spent years hoping someone would unlock me, see me, find me. I was suspended in the yearning to be fully realised.
The paradox of shame lies in a woman’s body being the portal to all life, a powerful gateway to the mystery of spirit. We birth through our bodies, we feed and nourish life. Our bodies can entice and allure the masculine by the sensual sway of our hips. A woman’s body, through her sexual energy, can propel her into transcendental states. She has the capacity to lead men to higher states of consciousness through her body in lovemaking. Her body inhabits powerful channels of pleasure and ecstasy.
The deficit of body reverence and self love, however, means these channels remain untapped, unable to fully embody the power within our physical form and feminine expression. Shakti resides at half mast.
Ways to eradicate shame:
Be conscious about your engagement with mainstream media. Every billboard, magazine, advertising feature reinforces a generic body, notice this. Adopting conscious awareness around what you view, read or watch limits the unconscious reinforcement of an ideal woman. The “celebrity” culture that permeates our media is fuelled by shame inducing ideas of weight, diet and beauty; switch it off.
Surround yourself with women who harbour shamelessness. Find qualities in women that you desire, see it lived. Observe the different embodiments of women when out in the world. Women who are living in their bodies with great ease and comfortability, owning their curves, softness and sensuality. See the wildness in these women.
See real women naked! This helped me so much, actually seeing real bodies. A Beautiful Body Project is a website dedicated to truthful stories and bodies.
Make self pleasure a regular practice, touch your body everyday and feel what is alive within. Breast massage is a beautiful ritual of coming into relationship with deep femininity. A woman’s breasts are the centre of her sensuality and open heartedness. Massage your breasts in gentle, circular motions using organic essential oils. Breathe in self love and feel the smallest sensations that arise. Honour a self pleasure practice without guilt, be truly present with yourself.
Dance. Dancing opens our bodies, moves energy and unlocks our sexual expression. Make dance a regular practice, turn yourself on through your hips, close your eyes and allow your body to move you. Choose music that stirs and arouses and let go into the flow of movement. Feel into your body deeply, it doesn’t matter what you look like—just move.
Most importantly, extend this to every young girl blossoming in this world:
Talk about shame, about bodies, pleasure, name it all.
In deep reverence for all women, and our power to heal and transform.
Author: Winter Icely
Editor: Emily Bartran