Shit I Have Noticed, Or, My Love Letter to the World
Hello dear one,
I’m working on a series of writing that I am calling “Shit I Have Noticed, Or, My Love Letter To The World.”
It has been three years now that I have been working under the name Yarrow Healing Arts. In that time, there are things that I have said to person after person among my 100+ clients. These are the things that I will be writing about. I happen to think they are quite deeply fascinating. You may not. Calling these pieces of writing “Shit I Have Noticed” gives me internal permission to say it like I see it. And at its core, it is “My Love Letter To The World” because here we are, all of us doing the best that we can, hampered as we are by unexplored belief systems, when all we really want is to know on the deepest cellular level that we are loved exactly as we are. I am not a counselor or a psychologist and what I say is not necessarily backed up by research or a conventionally recognized method of inquiry. But, I do see things clearly and they come together sometimes into understanding. This is the Shit that I am talking about.
As I said, there are some things that I end up saying to client after client. I recently began declaring these out loud to my clients under this same title of “Shit I Have Noticed.” Usually this is met with a snigger. What I mean when I say this is: this may not exactly apply to you, as your situation or your belief system around this is specifically yours, but what you are experiencing falls into this category of human phenomena, so there may be grains of truth here in the larger context for you, too.
I invite you, dear reader, to find out if there are grains of truth here for you. And if you are one of the clients that I have said these words to, I give you my gratitude for the learning that I have had from you.
Shit I Have Noticed #1: Wanting What You Want.
This one comes up most frequently when I am looking around someone’s Sacral Chakra. Located in the lower belly, this energetic centre is solidified for the first time in life between the ages of approximately six months and three years. It has to do with feelings, sensuality, duality, separation, Self and Other, and desire. I often refer to this centre as the “sacred bowl” because of where it sits in our body nestled within the pelvic bones, and also because it is the place in us that gets to hold onto disparate elements and grow deep dreams into their fullness, like rainwater collecting in a bowl.
This beautiful sacred bowl, the place where we get to contain ourselves and know our deepest desires, is unfortunately easily damaged, or at least skewed in its expression. And, frankly, we have a lot of accumulated social baggage that falls here: sex, our relationship to the feminine, feelings and their expression, and so on. This is one of the most common places to see the roots of addiction, and honey, we can be addicted to anything. An addiction here is anything that we turn to in order to fill up the hole within that was created when space was not held for us by the adults in our lives to express what it is that we were feeling in that moment.
It is here - working within someone’s sacral chakra - that I have so many times paused with my hand resting lightly on the belly just below the navel and said, oh so gently but firmly, “You are allowed to want what you want.”
And I let the silence roll around that statement. “You are allowed to want what you want.”
There is no applying logic to this wanting: “I want this because…” Whatever reason you might come up with here is so completely not the point. I’m talking about desire, about simple wanting, about that push from within that urges us outwards from ourselves. This is movement-from-within at its most primal, and YOU NEED TO HAVE INTERNAL PERMISSION TO WANT WHAT YOU WANT. How else are you ever going to explore the elements that might possibly come to make up your life and find out if they belong in your life? How else will you be free to choose?
Not many of us are allowed by our learned internal dictates to want what we want, no matter what it is, even in the imagining and exploring stage. Our parents and the society around us have curbed many of our wantings. This curbing is normal and natural and useful when it happens kindly and with openness. To pick something pretty inane, imagine a two year old wanting a glass of straight vinegar. Like really, really wanting it in the undeniable way that two year olds are famous for. Clearly this would have some undesirable results from the adult perspective. It matters greatly here HOW the bigger humans in the picture address the desire. Is it a flat-out no? Is there explanation? Is there a chance to explore vinegar safely to find out that it’s not good by the glassful? Is the child shamed? Called names? Punished? Banished? Does the child get to stay connected to the adult through this experience?
“You are allowed to want what you want” speaks straight to the sacral and lets you draw a deep belly breath of relief. It does not mean that you ACT on your desire because there is a chance that it would actually not be a good idea, or indeed a very, very bad or harmful idea; but you still get to want it, and even imagine it, and hopefully let it go again if it turns out not to be a good fit.
There are loads of things that are not workable to want AND TO ACT OUT within a society where we try to get along (which doesn’t mean that they don’t get acted out, by the way, as we also, as a society, have pretty immense damage on the level of assessment before action). So we walk around putting automatic limits on many of our desires, even though if we dragged them out of our unconscious we would find that most of the ones that we automatically limit are benign to act on, sometimes even laughably so.
We are, of course, allowed to want some things that have been ok’d by our growing up, and by the society that we live in. Some things that are harmful to us and to others are actually ok’d in these ways, as any bullied or belittled or harmed or self-loathing person of any persuasion could tell you. But I’m not talking about following through on these desires here, or where your limits of acceptable treatment of self and others lie, or your morality. I’m talking about it being ok for you to have a desire, big or small, a longing, something that was never before overtly, visibly wanted by someone in your family or another adult around you, AND WANT IT, AND FEEL THAT DESIRE, AND KNOW THAT IT COMES FROM YOU.
I’m asking, in short, was it ok for you to WANT while you were growing up?
Because, let’s face it here, desire drives life. If you never wanted anything from your deepest core, why get up in the morning? If we don’t have this, we spend our lives chasing after the myriad things that we are told that we want: relationship, or at least sex, good hits of food and excitement, a career that is meant to be satisfying and bonus if it includes a pension, nice clothing, tight abs, and so on.
Needing permission to want comes up for people even when they come to me looking like they have their shit more or less together by our generally accepted standards of what a good life looks like: they have a partner, maybe some kids, a reasonably supportive job, probably they own a home. But they have a vague (or intense) sense of standing in the centre of their life wondering who it was who chose this? How on earth did they get here with these being the particular concrete details that make up their life? Who was it that wanted this? And if it wasn’t them who wanted this, what on earth do they want, anyway?
The most intensely frustrating period in my life was my early-twenties where I went through my days indulging in many things consumable, travelling and living in different places, going to university in a fairly undirected way, and being generally unsure of what the hell it was that I wanted. This was underscored by having people repeatedly say to me, “Well, Rachel, what do you want?” or, “It’s up to you," or, “C’est comme tu veux.” I tell you I was ready to punch the next person who said it was up to me. I had no capacity to contain my own life force, no way to ask it what it wanted, no real way to feel my own feelings and know that they were actually mine. So how could I possibly know deeply what it was that I wanted? It was a period of trying many things out in the real world and finding out disastrously that they did not fit in my life. It was messy.
And now, almost two decades later, I lay my hand upon one beautiful human belly after another and declare, “You have permission to want what you want.”