The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, November 21, 2013

A healthy female animal

There are a tiny number of core ideas or techniques most germane to the concepts of growth and balance.  Three of them are:
1) “Love and Fear compete for the same place in your heart.”
2) The “Chakra” model that suggests that a healthy human being without fear barriers will automatically evolve toward higher expression.
3) The “Ancient Child”  model is a “sigil”—a “symbol of power” constructed of overlapping symbols.   A sort of conceptual mandala.   While there are probably about ten different powerful concepts overlayed one with another in an elegant fashion (and no, I won’t talk about all of them.  Your conscious mind just gets in the way) there is one core aspect that I find most fascinating:

a) Human beings are genetically programmed to feel protective toward children.  Not an absolute, of course, but those big eyes and round faces just kill us.
b) All human beings experienced love and protection at some point in their lives.   Whether you can consciously remember it or not, is irrelevant.  Humans who are not nurtured in infancy wither and die.   “Failure to thrive.” Period.
c) Most of us will accept conditions and associations we would NEVER want for our own children, or people we love

Combine these three artfully, and you can create magic.

Therefore, if you can imagine reaching out to the “child” part of yourself, and make that emotional/conceptual connection, you begin to feel self-protective on a level most don’t experience.


Both men and women fall into this pattern, despite the perspective held by some of each group that “they have it worse” or are more deeply programmed for denial and sacrifice.  That just reflects their own partial understandings.

I remember one example of this that came to me starkly while teaching a women’s self defense workshop twenty-five years ago.    (Please NOTE: the following only worked because I had established rapport with the members of the workshop.   They knew I cared about them, and loved them.  I would NEVER have tried this without that connection.)

I was holding a kicking pad for a woman who had been abused terribly. Came to the workshop in drab colorless clothes, no makeup, hair cut asexually, shoulders hunched. Could barely meet our eyes.   She just couldn’t hit the shield.     Was afraid to “hurt” me (afraid to anger me, thereby triggering retaliation.)   Was crying and shaking and just barely tapping it.   Blubbering that she couldn’t.

I had an inspiration.    “Do you have a daughter?”  I asked.  “No,” she sobbed.
“Do you have a kid sister?” I asked
“Yes.” She said, and her eyes brightened, just a bit.  GOOD.  That told me she had heart-space association with her sister.  
“And you love her dearly?”
“Yes,” she said.
“All right,” I said. “Listen to me.    If I get past you, I’m going to rape her with a broken coke bottle.”

She froze.  Her entire body language shifted. She narrowed her eyes.  Her face tilted forward into “predator” mode.  She was no longer worried about what anyone thought, or what I might do to her.  Her entire focus was on hurting me.

Her next kick slammed into me and damned near knocked me through the wall!  She hit again and again, in “controlled maniac” mode, letting out the pain and fear and rage and anger she had bottled up inside herself from childhood.   Knocked me off my feet.  Stomped me on the ground.  Then, shocked, looked at what she was doing as if standing outside herself, witnessing a miracle.

“THAT!” I screamed, leaping up.  “That!  That moment, that feeling, THAT switch in your head!”  I squeezed her hand, “anchoring” that state that feeling.  “Make a fist”  she did.  “Close your eyes”. She did.

“Go to that place.”  She breathed like a dragon, tapping into some place inside her head and heart she had never known.    “THAT is your guardian.  THAT is who and what you really are, and you need to know that.  Out of your pattern.  Mask OFF, dammit.  No one.  NO ONE has the right to touch you, or step into your space ever again without your permission.  Do you understand me?”

Sobbing, tears streaming down her face, she nodded. 
Opened her eyes transformed.

“I love you,” she said.  And hugged me tightly.  The entire workshop had stopped, stunned, watching, and burst out into applause for this little woman who had discovered who and what she really was, for the first time in her life.

My ribs ached, but the sheer joy of that moment, of helping one of my sisters find her strength, has lasted for decades.

She knew how to master her skill.   How to protect herself.  Which gave her permission to love.  Which opened the door to growth and evolution.  

She showed up at the workshop the next day with color in her clothing.  Her hair somehow softer around her face.  A touch of makeup.   Shoulders squared.  Smiling.  Eyes bright.  Radiating more of her aliveness…dammit, she was suddenly “sexier.”

She took me aside, and quietly said: “you changed my life.”

No.  She changed her life.  I just got out of the way, and let nature work through me.  She was now a female human animal, with her hands on the controls of her life.

I love my work.


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