Undam(n)ing the River of Intuition

wicket-dam-ohio-riverIt is not intuition which is broken, but rather the matrilineal blessing on intuition, the handing down of intuitive reliance between a woman and all females of her lines who have gone before her – it is that long river of women that has been dammed. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves

It probably comes as no surprise that when I read (and aggressively highlight) this text, I am thinking of Eve. The ways in which the telling of her story throughout time has caused us to lose the blessing that is ours, to break the beautiful and bountiful line of woman to woman, to cause us to distrust our own birthright and brilliance. And it probably comes as no surprise that this gets me all riled up. I’ve talked of it before, written even more.

But rather than name, yet again, how this has happened, I want to talk about how to change it; how to bind up your (personal and historical) wounds; how to step forward in the power and strength that is already yours. So, three things:

1) Heal the line to heal yourself.
2) Find the women – past and present – who long to bless you.
3) Undam the river and let your too-often-damned intuition flow.

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1) Heal the line to heal yourself:
One of the most powerful ways forward for women is to go back, to do the work of unearthing tales told (or not) in harmful, silencing, shaming ways and invite them into the light; to track down our lineage, to know and love the stories (and the women) who have shaped us, to find a sense of “home” and solidarity in all those who have gone before. When we can heal their past, we are the ones who are transformed.

2) Find the women – past and present – who long to bless you.
When we re-imagine, re-tell, and redeem these women’s stories, we are able to be blessed by them. Eve, yes, and so many more. Sojourner Truth. Emily Dickinson. Virginia Wolff. George O’Keefe. Frida Kahlo. Audre Lorde. All these and then some who long to share their wisdom, their perspective, their voice, their comfort, their companionship. And what of your great-great-great grandmothers and the rich female line that runs right through you? Can you imagine their words on your behalf? Will you? Even in places of deep, unwarranted pain (sometimes at these very women’s hands), will you imagine the words they would have spoken if they could; if they had been blessed? And who are the women in your everyday world who would readily and willingly offer you the same if only you would ask? If only you would tell them that you need them. If only you would trust that they are trustworthy and at your beck-and-call for support, kindness, encouragement, and yes, the blessing you most deeply long to have.

3) Undam the river and let your too-often-damned intuition flow.
When you stand in the river of all the women who have gone before you, in the ever-tugging current of those who swirl around you even now; when you let the rapids carry you; when you float in a place of buoyancy and ease – supported by the stories that make up your legacy and the faces that smile on you every day - it is far more likely that you will be able to trust that you already know what to do, what to say, how you feel, what you want.

Really, who are you not to trust your intuition when standing in such an illustrious and stunning stream of women; when soaked to the skin with the stories of women – past and present – who just wait to be seen, known, heard, and honored and who long to honor you.

Your intuition is not broken. It can and will flow when you release the tide of history, the tied tongues, and the dammed/damned stories (your own and others’) that have the power to strengthen, transform, heal, and save.

And just in case you need a bit more encouragement, I’ve included a soundtrack – one of my all time favorites: India Arie singing River Rise. Let the water – and the women – carry you back home. Click to listen.

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