I sink into the perfumed waters of the bath: jasmine and sandalwood. The full body of a woman, lambent weight in the deep tub. I even am a woman: fervent and distinct and lioness. And yet there is an outer edge or limit to that womanhood—at every frontier of my body there is a girl. She has outsize steel blue eyes, golden hair and soft flushed cheeks. She looks into your face and reads your depths, your secret dreams and unspoken fears. Silent, she watches. Can you bear it? Can I?
The girl I was visits me this way: in old photos and in new moments of tension. When I feel I cannot bear the life I am birthing, dilate to encompass the oncoming future, she rises into the panorama of my heart and says nothing. She looks at me.
For so long she came rising and rolling into and through my psyche, and I did not recognize her. I felt her as a vague unnamed anxiety, and I reacted to this fear by constricting my life: I stuck with physical health issues, low-paying jobs and customary frustrations rather than venture into the wilderness of radical change. I wanted to send my girl away for good. Of course she would not go. If there’s one thing I know about girls, they remain and make trouble and remain. Green shoots in the hard rain. Those owlish eyes watched my every move, every pain.
I realized that if my girl would not go away, I would need to accommodate her. Make her a bed of moss and fallen stars. Through writing, breath, counseling, movement and a Hawaiian spiritual practice called ho’oponopono, I learned to look into her eyes. And see, the thing is, when I looked her in the eyes enough, when over and again I refused to turn away, I saw how much I loved her. I loved what was wild and slow and silent between the two of us. I loved her absolute vulnerability, her tender skin, and her eyes born to behold beauty and mystery. This girl was born to be held, and so I hold her when she gets scared. And I listen when she grabs me by the hand and whispers. More and more often, I am asking her what she wants: she led me to the beautiful island of Kaua’i, through lomilomi massage training, and now on the journey to become a birth doula. When I experience her fully and expand to protect and nurture her, I feel deep joy.
In the alchemy of inner nurturance, I am both mother and child. To me, this is the magic place where the revival of personal and interpersonal spirit begins.Eve Ensler tells us about the “girl cell,” the place within each of us (male and female) that holds compassion and uncanny vision. The movement to recover and nurture this girl cell is a courageous and joyful one for the individual, as well as a service to a world sorely in need of this gentle energy. As an adventurer journeying along the girl-spiral to our center, I can encourage you wholeheartedly to meet, cradle and love your girl today.
A girl sanctuary: I want to know: how do you nurture your inner girl? How does she play, what does she need, and what does she know? Email me (email@example.com) with a photo of yourself as a girl, and anything she has to say or you have to say to her, and I will post it here on my blog.