“The symbol of Goddess gives us permission. She teaches us to embrace the holiness of every natural, ordinary, sensual dying moment. Patriarchy may try to negate body and flee earth with its constant heartbeat of death, but Goddess forces us back to embrace them, to take our human life in our arms and clasp it for the divine life it is ― the nice, sanitary, harmonious moment as well as the painful, dark, splintered ones”.
Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter
Women Behaving Badly is the third of five levels of the women-only courses that Shakti Tantra runs. This was the level I was most looking forward to even if I had no idea what it entailed. After all, who can resist a workshop entitled ‘Women Behaving Badly’?
You see, back in my early twenties I put my ‘badly behaved’ self in the proverbial bag. Over the years, my bag has steadily grown and has now evolved into ‘baggage’; or, to be more specific, an innocuous looking, hand-luggage set that had been stored at my parents’ since 2007. When mum wheeled it into the centre of the bedroom she was redecorating (the irony of the symbolism isn’t lost on me), it seemed like the right time to take it home, empty it out, and wash it off ahead of a new set of adventures. When I discovered a notepad in it, though, with a piece of writing which forms Part One of this blog, I was shocked to say the least. Seems it was really was time to get my issues back out of the bag. Fate, it seems, isn’t without a sense of humour.
The difficulty I face in writing about these workshops, however, is that I can’t disclose our exact shenanigans. Our work is of a similar ilk to the ancient Greek Eleusinian or Dionysian mysteries in that it’s a Mystery School ― a Mystery School that helps you discover your inner mysteries; a Mystery School that helps you unfold, blossom, be all you can be while surrounded by the love, care, tenderness, encouragement, and support of the most inspired, generous, and courageous women I’ve ever known.
I’m a heady person. I’m a writer and scholar of depth psychology. But the thing about these workshops is they challenge you experientially. They draw you down from the lofty, abstracted, disassociated heights of your head and into ― what is for most folk ― the unknown quantity that is the body.
Many of us ‘think’ we’re consciously connected to our bodies. We may ‘think’ we’ve got our bodies sussed, know what they’re up to, what they like to eat, how they like to be exercised, are aware of the issues in the tissues. But once you’re in a workshop like this, you fast realise you haven’t got a clue about the shame, guilt, loathing, fear, [insert issue here], you’ve been lugging around for years, perhaps even decades. And the thing with issues is they stick. They stick to our bodies. And they hurt. They also numb. And they eat away at us. They eat away at our relationships with others, too. Worst of all, they eat away at our authenticity. You want to get real with yourself and others? Then do this work.
So what did I get out of this particular workshop? I tell you what I got ― I got permission. I was celebrated. I, and my fellow Shaktis, got to be funny, powerful, deliciously wicked, curious, awesome, total, magnificent, playful, commanding, sexy, naughty, expressive, mischievous, magnetic, mothering, nurturing. We rocked it. We had presence, we were outrageous. Beneath the light of the (almost) full moon, we frickin’ ripped it up.
Yeah, we kicked ass.
To buy a copy of Running into Myself, visit Amazon UK, Amazon US or, better still, order a limited edition signed copy direct from her publisher here (also ships worldwide). Also available to download on Kindle.
“Thea’s personal journey is utterly compelling. I couldn’t put her book down. Thea manages to make Greek mythology not only understandable, interesting, and relevant to our lives today, but shows how it can be utilised as a tool for self development. She introduces ideas and ways of thinking that broaden your mind, and lights the way for others to follow.”
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