Julie Daley: The Sacred Realm of a Woman’s Body

I’ve only met a few of the contributors to this Wisdom Series in real life. Julie Daley is one of them. I met her in New York, at my very first social media event – Jonathan Fields’ ‘Tribal Book Author’ workshop. The class was small – about 20 people, in a hotel conference room – and it was wonderful. One of the reasons it was wonderful was Julie Daley.

She’d come from California. We didn’t really ‘meet’ until the last day of class when we fell into an informal group headed to the delicatessen down the block at lunch. As we talked, I knew I’d found a kindred spirit. There is a deep warmth in Julie’s eyes – and a patient presence that allowed me (and others in our group) to relax and open up. It’s the same warmth with which Julie welcomes and supports her followers on Twitter and visitors to her beautiful blog. That warmth  – and a deep wisdom – also infuses and informs Julie’s words, as you will see.  Julie’s is the wisdom of a woman who has mined the rich vein of the feminine – a deep, full, body-centered wisdom that celebrates the juicy, luscious, earthy and glorious experience of being a woman, vitally alive.

I am pleased and proud to introduce her to you:

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I sit here poised to write. My good friend Amy has asked me to contribute a post on wisdom to her spring collection of works by bloggers she loves to read.

I feel honored. I value and respect her work. I want to write something good, something fresh, and something alive.

So, I sit still and listen to my body. I close my eyes and ask my body what wants to be shared. This is where aliveness is, not in my thoughts about what I am feeling and desiring, but in the direct experience, in the cells of this body. Alive. Light. Numinous. Awake.

My body speaks of fertility, of abundance, of the rhythms of nature. My body knows these rhythms, even if my mind has forgotten.

I am aware of how much our culture fears the wildness of women, our wild nature. So much so, we have all but destroyed the home where we live, our beautiful Earth, in our quest to control and dominate this wild nature.

Feral and fertile, women’s creativity and sexuality are intertwined, like a long, long braid of gold. We know this deep in the center of our cells.

As Isadora Duncan wrote, “You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.”

The body knows this.  It knows we were once wild, and it knows we believe we’ve been tamed. Old traumas and unwelcome emotions are trapped in the body, trapped until we realize the soul’s longing to be free.

::

As I begin to write, I can sense my strong sexual energy and a passion for creation. I feel deeply and I am happiest when my body is set free to express this passion through movement and dance, when I paint and the colors run freely on the paper, when words, whispered from someplace unseen, come to rest, together, in a way I could never have planned.

Women are different than men. Yes. We are different. It is not only okay to say that, it is imperative we see this. Why? Let me share a story with you.

A while ago, perhaps six years or so, I took a class called mess-painting. Mess painting is a kind of process painting, where you use tempera paints, brushes and wall street journal pages to burn through layers that keep you from your deep creativity.

In the six-week process, I painted in my own apartment, in a tent of plastic sheets that I hung from the ceiling. This is a very messy process. I painted six days a week, at least twenty paintings in a session, where each painting was created in the span of two minutes.

In mess painting, the process is to cover one full sheet of Wall Street Journal paper (the ink used doesn’t run) with paint using brushes and any of eight specific colors. That’s it.

It’s a very physical process. You have to move quickly. There is no time to think about what colors you want or how they should go on the paper. There is only enough time to move the brush to the color then to the paper, allowing something more present than thought to choose which color and where to place it.
About four and a half weeks into the process, I suddenly felt a very different energy begin to move through me. It felt wild and untamed. It felt animal and soulful. I had the overwhelming urge to drop the brush and dive in with my body. I painted with my fingers, hands, and elbows. I couldn’t get enough of my body into the process.

I painted until the energy quieted. And then I wrote this:

When I mess-paint, I come alive. I can’t wait to pull out the colors and begin. When I am painting I am totally engrossed. I love to see the colors mix together on the paper, to see what transpires in a given session. I find I can’t get enough of me into the mess – hands, fingers, fingernails – I am so taken with the paintings that I keep watching them as they dry, dying to see what beauty is there. What are the qualities of my painting? There is an energetic pulse to it. I can feel my soul coming through me. Does it come charging through me like a tiger? Does it spread itself on the paper with love and softness, or even reckless abandon?

It is akin to intimacy – when there are no longer any barriers between another and me: when clothes are off, small talk is quieted, distractions are gone, and there are only the two of us in conversation. The language is intimacy. The “words” are infused with love and deep meaning. There is a direct channel open where truth and soul are shared without reservation, without holding back. Passion, desire, and love all come pouring forth into this conversation between two beings. That is the incredible connection and intimacy that I long for. That is the juice I find in painting. When I create art, it is an individual act. It feels like connecting with myself in a deeply intimate way.

As I read again what I wrote then, I can feel the joy I felt in the liberation of this fiery self. I can feel the love and aliveness, and my soul’s desire for connection and expression. The direct connection between creativity and sexuality is right there and so plain to see.

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I’ve been taught to fear this power, to fear my feral side, my passion, my fire, my ferocity and uncontrollability. I’ve been taught well to fear chaos, yet it is from chaos that anything new is born. And while I was taught this, it is me that keeps it under wraps.

Chaos was wildly singing during that painting session.

Chaos is here, right now. Chaos is ushering out the old and inviting in the new. The old way is dying. Something new is coming. And we have no idea at all what that is.

It is time.

It is time to open deeply to this wild nature as woman. It is time to know it, to invite it out, to welcome it to express. It is time that we see the feminine cannot be reawakened by only knowing the feminine principle in both men and women. We must also honor the spiritual nature of women, the nature that flows through women’s bodies in ways it simply does not in men.

I’ve struggled to articulate my deep knowing that we women have this precious opportunity to come to know the sacred within the cells of our own bodies, how our bodies serve spirit in ways men’s’ bodies cannot, and what this direct experience and realization might do for the evolution of human consciousness.

And in my struggle to write about this, I happened upon an article written last year, by one of my favorite authors on this topic, Hilary Hart.  Hilary writes,

“This spiritual insight into the created world inquires into the nature of women’s bodies, and asks if the receptivity of the vagina, the spirit/matter-integrating capacity of the womb, the nourishment of our breasts, reflect an esoteric dimension that receives energy, serves the infusion of spirit into the physical world, and feeds life in a way men cannot.

Do our bodies show that we offer different gifts and have distinct roles in our collective spiritual evolution, just as they have different roles in the material realm?

While answers to these questions are not easy to come by, asking them opens us to an intriguing and compelling line of inquiry into an entire new spiritual territory – the spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”

I know the spiritual nature and power of this physical world by direct experience.

I know it because I’ve experienced it by way of the body’s cycles, by way of menstruation, pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding my daughters.

I know it when I remove myself from the places where I tend to be most in my head and go into the places that call to the wild succulence of my body.

I know it through the direct witnessing of the deaths of those people in my life I have profoundly loved and the births of those bright angels who are now vibrantly part of my life.

I know it because I have witnessed the cells of my own body come awake again, after a long, long sleep.

It is not mirrored in the collective consciousness, yet that does not negate it one damn bit.

It is neither valued nor protected in the linear, masculine-centric institutions of our culture, whether they be political, medical, legal or religious, yet we know this way down deep in our cells.

When I read Hilary’s words, clarity flows from the connection between my own knowing and her clear articulation. A gap that had been is now bridged.

It’s as if I have been hovering above my own knowing, not quite ready to drop down in all the way. It’s as if I’ve been held up by old beliefs that still infused my awareness, beliefs that kept telling me that the sacred is somewhere else, somewhere up there, and certainly not in this female body.

We don’t need to transcend our bodies to know the sacred realm. And we don’t need to look out there for our power as women. All we need to know is here, right here, within us. It’s already here.

My body has guided me through this writing. It has taken me on the journey of discovering something wholly new.

Our way is the way of the body. Our bodies are sacred and pure. Our creativity and sexuality are physical manifestations of the creative power of the sacred. Whether or not we ever physically give birth to a child, our bodies are vessels for new life. This is the “spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”

* * *

Julie Daley, PCC, CPCC

Transformational Coach

Creativity Catalyst

Writer

510.644.9442

http://www.unabashedlyfemale.com

http://www.creativewellspring.com

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey

I’m another huge Julie fan … what a dream, to meet her in person! This essay, Julie, takes my breath away. You write so gorgeously about the body, which is where I too know the truth lives, though I am often confused by my head. You words move with a steamroller intensity and I can’t stop reading; I feel what you write in a physical way. Thank you both. xox

Reply

Julie Daley

Lindsey,
Thank you. I understand about the head. Our heads can really confuse things. Sometimes, for me, the head is afraid of the realm of the body. I know, too, that they can come into a more aligned relationship. I continue to move toward that. I also know that it is in sharing our experiences with each other that we will open to this realm.
I’m glad you feel the words. It’s a way our bodies connect.
Someday, we’ll meet in person. I look forward to that day.
Love,
Julie

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Andrea Maurer

What a powerful post. I am just beginning to learn to listen to the wisdom that my body holds. I had no idea how smart she really was! I thought my brain had the corner on that market. It is, for the me, indeed a pleasant surprise and the next frontier.

Geneen Roth wrote… “Our minds are like politicians; they make stuff up, they twist the truth. Our minds are masters at blame, but our bodies… our bodies don’t lie. Which is of course why so many of us learned to zip them out at the first sign of trouble.” (Women, Food and God)

Thanks so much for yet another reminder to unzip… “We don’t need to transcend our bodies to know the sacred realm. And we don’t need to look out there for our power as women. All we need to know is here, right here, within us. It’s already here.” Um… yeah, that about sums it up.

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Julie Daley

Andrea,

You and me, both. I always (and still do) love the intelligence of my intellect. And, I know it can so get in the way of my soul as I move into this realm. The intellect is a great servant to the body, but doesn’t really do so well as the master. (Einstein)

I love Geneen’s work and this metaphor is such a great way to say what we’re trying to say.

Thank you for your generous words. I loved your post in this series. It is such a pleasure to drink in the wisdom of so many delicious women.

Love,

Julie

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Renae C

Lindsey said it – the part about feeling what you write in a physical way. It feels like I’m just beginning to uncover, pull the lid off, this bubbling cauldron of chaos that is the deep feminine with all it’s power and creativity and sexuality and intensity. And the fear of even looking in much less sinking into such a realm keeps me frozen. But I feel the steam rising from the depths in the heat of your words. Maybe, eventually, things will thaw enough to move me further down and in.

Texas is halfway between the coasts… I could facilitate a meetup (Lindsey and Julie) and then I would get to live the dream. ;-)

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Julie Daley

Dear Renae,

Isn’t it lovely connecting with each other this way?! I know it feels like being frozen, yet I can hear that you are also feeling the steam, the heat. Check in with your body. What is it feeling? Sometimes, the most lovely way to invite an opening is with exquisite tenderness and kindness to you, to your body, to your desires. Nothing needs to be crowbarred. This is a natural process and we are being so lovingly supported in this from all of life. And, we can support each other in this return to loving ourselves, our whole selves.
I would love to meet you in person very soon. Let’s hold that and it will happen.
Love,
Julie

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Bahieh K.

Love it. So powerful.

The first part reminds me of my own words, a few days ago:

“We’re not told that in our very own belly lies the source of all life and joy.”

http://bahiehk.com/2011/03/20/life-crisis-and-the-velvet-like-beauty-of-life/

loving you both.

Reply

Julie Daley

Bahieh,
Your words are so beautiful. Yes, this is it.
Love,
Julie

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Heather Plett

This post left me with a feeling down deep in my stomach – my body knowing and responding to what you say before my head has time to process it.

I love to paint with (and on) my body too. It frees up something that can’t be contained in a paintbrush.

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Julie Daley

Heather,

What a wonderful invitation to explore that feeling in your stomach. As you say, it knows and responds as we communicate through sharing our experiences.

Love,

Julie

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Sally

Good morning Julie!

I have yet to experience Body Wisdom as you so beautifully describe it ~ creativity aligned with sexual energy, every cell of your body vibrantly alive — I’ll state honestly, and awkwardly, that it all leaves me feeling rather uncomfortable.

I feel so connected and open on so many levels ~ yet clearly there’s an aspect of living and Life that is unknown to me. Perhaps the word is Passion? I am passionate about certain beliefs, certain truths, certain realities as I see them and experience them ~ but having just sat here for at least 10 minutes trying to decipher my reaction to your post; I think I may lack Passion as a verb.

I remember feeling this way after reading a post you published some time ago ~ involving Wolves. I definitely remember the word Feral there too. Feral – NOT a word I’d EVER associate with the Feminine, let alone my Self. Wild and Untamed – two more words that would not be associated with me as I am now and have created my Self to be.

I will be percolating with all this for awhile. I honestly have no idea how I feel about it all. There’s no resistance, no judgment, no derision, AT ALL. It’s a concept I’m more than willing to entertain and as I do so (in my head, of course) ~ I’m suspecting bits and parts may leak out into the rest of me … because honestly, the mind can really only grapple with what it knows or seeks out to learn, right?

Thank you for this – in the sharing of your Wisdom you have led me to an Ingenuity Gap of my own ~ and as I see the Prismatic Paths now presented to me, I’m going to sit for some Time and feel what my next move will be.

Again, thank you …

Reply

Julie Daley

Sally,

How I love your beautiful honesty. Wow. I totally know what you are saying. I’m not hearing resistance, but merely a gap, as you so aptly wrote.

I never want to say the right way is my way. I only know what I have experienced…and what wisdom guides me to see.

I love that you are going to sit with it and feel. I’m curious about your next move. Perhaps allowing the body to move as it wants, to music or simply to silence. Perhaps curiosity about the relationship between the mind and the body. Are they open to knowing the other intimately? Body sleuthing?

Love,

Julie

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Square-Peg Karen

Julie, your relationship with your body touches my heart (hmmm. sounds like I’m going to launch into County-Western lyrics)…

I spent many years dissociated from my body – a walking head – and somehow, reading people’s words about body-freedom – deep connection with their body – often brings up jealousy for me. Your words though – feel like an invitation. I’m drawn toward all that you talk about and your words fill me with gratitude for finally meeting, living in and loving my own divinely feminine body. Thank you!

Love you!!

Reply

Julie Daley

Karen,

I love that is feels like an invitation, because that is what I have felt from my own body – an invitation to come down into it, to get to know it and to live from within it.

We each hear the invitation in our own way, and choose to accept it (or not) in our own time.

Sharing with each other is so beautiful, because we get to learn what it’s like for each other and somewhere what is mirrored also helps us know ourselves.

I’d love to hear the rest of the lyrics to that song…

Love,

Julie

Julie

Reply

Square-Peg Karen

p.s. That NY meeting – ohhhhhhhhh, how lovely that must’ve been! Amy, this series is SO wonderful – thank you!

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Amy

Karen – Little did we know how wonderfully it would turn out. Hope that we will meet you one day, too! (PS Thanks for being a part of this circle of light and wisdom.) :)

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Marjory

Wow Julie. I want to dance to the rhythm of your words. I want to sing this declaration of woman to the winds. Song that springs from spirit in my womb, in my belly, in my heart, in my whole body. Love how you spell out the nature of woman:

“This spiritual insight into the created world inquires into the nature of women’s bodies, and asks if the receptivity of the vagina, the spirit/matter-integrating capacity of the womb, the nourishment of our breasts, reflect an esoteric dimension that receives energy, serves the infusion of spirit into the physical world, and feeds life in a way men cannot.

yes Yes YES “this is the spiritual nature and power of the incarnated world.”

Reclaiming our wild nature infusing our oh so feminine power.

Love you and your voice succulent wild woman!

Reply

Julie Daley

Marjory,

Thanks for your juicy words of love.

Julie

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Bridget

Why do I feel such a desire to not see a difference between men and women? I feel like if I do that, I deny the very beautiful, passion-filled gorgeousness that is my partner.
When I work with clients, energetically, the energy is only very subtly different.
And I’m wondering if the energy that you’re describing is tamped down in both genders, not given that voice of the creative force. And that’s why it comes out as violence in men (violence inflicted outward) and hysteria in women (violence inflicted inward).
I love that you give voice to this experience of this force rising within you!

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Julie Daley

Bridget,

How I LOVE that you shared this. I love it.
I know what you are saying, and yet I continue to be asked, over and over, to explore this.
I feel a great deal of fear around speaking it because I can feel the push against it.

For me, in my experience, honoring diversity is never dishonoring another. His ‘passion-filled gorgeousness’ is just as important and glorious as yours. Honoring yours doesn’t deny his.

Yes, energetically, the Spirit is the same in each of us. For much of the past, sacredness has been seen in terms of the transcendent. And know, I feel we are being asked to wake up the cells of our bodies to the sacredness that exists in this world of matter. If we are to heal into wholeness, both individually and collectively, we must come to know the spiritual realm in the incarnate, and we are living and breathing in different gendered bodies. In fact, there are more than just two, but that is another conversation.

I am so curious about your feelings. So curious.

With gratitude,

Julie

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Julie Daley

Bridget,

I’m trying to put into words what I see and feel. For some time, now, there has been a denial of both the feminine (as a principle in both men and women) and of the creative power of women. There has been an attempt to control this power by controlling women. If we are to be authentic, and live the fullness of both Spirit and Human, the bodies we express through are part of that authenticity and integrity. Both are passionate. Both are creative. Both are vital. It is so important for both genders to reclaim passion, soul and a full lived experience in the body, a sacred body. And, there is a difference in the functioning of a woman’s body versus a man’s. Yes? Can that difference be celebrated? Enjoyed? Expressed? How might that change how the genders relate to each other, because right now, there is a great deal of healing that needs to happen between the genders, (perhaps not for you and your beloved) but on the collective level.

Love,

Julie

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Amy Palko

Oh Julie, whenever I read your words I feel like I take a step towards my own embodiment as a woman. So often, when we read and engage with words, we move into our heads and into the transpersonal, into the abstract.

You take me into the visceral, the tangible, the physical – and you remind me of the sheer ecstasy that comes from embracing the language of the body.

Thank you thank you.

Interestingly, today is also the day that I stumbled across this photography project which honours the sacred beauty of the feminine form – thought you might appreciate : -)
http://www.thenuproject.com/site.php

Much love to you, Julie, for writing your words, and much love to you too, Amy, for sharing them here in your wonderful wisdom series. Inspired.
Amy
xx

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Julie Daley

Amy,
“the sheer ecstasy that comes from embracing the language of the body.” so beautifully said. love this. and you.
Julie

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kelly

“All we need to know is here, right here, within us.”
And we don’t listen to ourselves as much as we should. I love the questions you bring up in my mind, this makes me wonder if we have lost our intuition, buried it, abandoned it.
This makes me want to get a shovel and start digging for that treasure.

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Julie Daley

Kelly, Oh, yes, that treasure is right there within. It’s not lost at all. Nothing is ever lost. It was just put away. I can tell you know that, ’cause you know it is there, otherwise, you wouldn’t want to dig. Right?

Love,

Julie

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Noel

I love this post. If I ever have daughters, this is what I want them to learn. Not Barbie, not Disney Princess, not Reality TV star.

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Julie Daley

Noel,
I’m glad this resonated with you. It will be a beautiful day when we all, women young and old, know this about ourselves.
Many blessings,

Julie

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Haumea

Julie…your post brought me back into my body wild and undulating and Alive again. I’ve been in a stupor for the past several days, deep in grief over the knowing that the dream I held about the life I wanted with my partner…is over. I can no longer deny what is…and isn’t. I know not what is to come – but at this moment have stopped running away from the Truth of what is not. In your writing I find myself awakening once more to the deep feminine yearnings I have to truly express myself. Drench myself in paints and explode in exploration and pure expression of the Mystery. Perhaps it is my Sacred Self that needs…and wants…my partnership, trust, attention. I thank you for sharing your deep self which helped bring me back to mine.
In appreciation,
Haumea

Reply

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