One of the ways consensual culture is growing within me is our essential design of feeling belonging to ourselves and each other- a central thesis to this body of work.
As I deepen my relationship to my needs and limits; a muscle that eluded me for most of my life and early adulthood, a desire for more intimacy, connection and emotional depth has emerged.
As I consider my relationship to belonging, and its bane I know as isolation, I realize that much of my trauma responses has stemmed from the need to be witnessed and loved for my deepest truth and expression.
To be raw, messy and vulnerable.
To be sensual, soft and forthcoming.
To be edgy, dramatic, teary.
Inside of that need to be witnessed and loved is a need to feel safe to exist and take up space unapologetically for all my ways of being.
And relationally, safety isn’t something we might all know how to access and/or create.
I may have more access to my erotic essence when I’m by myself, and depending on who I’m with, that dynamically shifts and changes.
The nature of relational healing is that alchemy happens when two bodies are in relationship with one another. We receive and respond to emanations of our shared energetic field whether we know it or not.
If we’ve been hurt or harmed for showing our vulnerable heart, our innate desires, our identity expressions, we might experience shame that isolates us from intimacy.
“Intimacy is a way of being alive.” – Geneen Roth
Intimacy our practice of deeply relating to and connecting to our truths in every moment. To be as spiritually, energetically and emotionally naked as we relate to one another.
And because our present culture within the white supremacist colonial capitalist patriarchy (wsccp) tends towards shaming, punishment and making ourselves and each other wrong – how many times have we heard ‘shame on you’ in our movement spaces? – we continue to perpetuate the belief that we have to be “perfect” within or in proximity to wsccp standards in order to be loved and accepted.
We’ve forgotten how to soften our hearts and connect from our center because we’ve been hurt and harmed over and over again, especially when things get hard.
We might not have been equipped with the relational skills and capacities to really drop in with one another, speak our needs and desires, honor our own limits and capacities and show up with integrity.
And when we do, the responses we receive might not always be safe, loving, compassionate and kind because of the subconscious, irrational ways trauma shows up.
Understanding that trauma responses are internalized, embodied narratives and behaviors in our nervous system that are incomplete emergency threat responses, we can’t always choose how we want to show up for ourselves and each other.
When trauma responses get activated in the face of real or perceived threat (to our safety to be intimate, to belong), our cognitive, linear processing capacities go offline.
Before we know it, we’ve hurt ourselves and those we love.
We close our hearts once more, building walls of protection against being shamed, gaslit, misunderstood, rejected lest we do that unto others.
Maybe we take off, turn away and avoid.
Maybe we defend and force an outcome before we’re ready.
We might also appease and people-please, overriding our limits and capacities for the sake of creating a false sense of safety. “Maybe if I made you happy, you might see and love me?”
Cue an endless cycle of isolation and pain.
This begs the question, what are the skills and conditions we need to feel safe enough to share our intimacy as means of belonging?
This is where consensual culture comes in.
We want to create the spaces for us all to know and accept our relational and emotional needs, and grow our capacity to receive them.
We want to empower us to slow down enough so that we can feel for our limits and capacities. Can we normalize pausing, breathing, feeling when relating?
We want to practice relating from our integrity, our center, our inner knowing, our responsibility, and our accountability, rather than projecting our fears and insecurities.
It takes time to heal our heart when we’ve been hurt for showing it. And consensual culture exists as a space to do so.
We’ll be moving slowly and developing our muscles for practicing intimacy and belonging.
We’ll practice moving away from models of fixing, overriding, shaming, forcing, rushing in.
And instead, we’ll be moving towards models of deep listening, unconditional acceptance, steady witnessing, subtle shifts and emergent truths. Gently, as we go.
Why? Because we are worth it, dear ones.
We have experienced enough pain for not being loved as we are. For not feeling like we matter. For believing our truths need to fit the model we’ve been sold and then exploited for.
It’s going to take a movement. It’s going to ask us to be patient, to practice, to be persistent in creating consensual culture.
And we begin in our rootspace : a foundations program for leaders, activists and healers- those we turn to as we imagine new ways of being.
Support consensual culture. We need funds to create and birth this body of work. We cannot do it alone. If any part of this spoke to you, do you have $10 to share?
Join us on May 8th at 12pm PST for an introduction to the values and praxis of consensual culture – open to all (yes, you.)