(originally posted on michellepowell.me)
Few times in life do women actually get total approval for being any way we want to be. Where anything goes and we get a “free pass” if you will. I think of being pregnant, being an infant or young child and those with medical issues. There is total acceptance of whatever we want to say or do during those times and all guards are down. We feel taken care of with compassion and are completely free to be our true selves (no matter how unattractive, crazy or emotional we get). Nothing we do is “too much”, people adjust around us and we are seen with pure eyes. Isn’t that interesting?
I had simply accepted this as a fact until recently. Two weeks ago I attended a spiritual feminine luxury retreat with 9 other women in Palm Springs. We were to have no technology, dive into ancient feminine teachings, conduct sacred sister circles and be initiated as a “Queen”. Archetypes like the Queen or Warrior are a huge part of spirituality. They hold the role to play when seeking to embody truth and power. Little did I know, though, that this was a half-silent retreat. That meant every night after circle we would go into silence until lunchtime the next day.
For someone who has never done anything like this before, I was scared and shocked which is an understatement. How were we to communicate? How will we pass the time? We were sharing rooms and bathrooms, how was this going to work? I had to put full faith in my mentor and myself to trust the process, which I have been working on in my life lately anyway. This was a powerful opportunity to put this trust into action. It was time for me to step up my spiritual game and accept whatever came up.
As with any first time, it was a little awkward. I wanted to connect with the lovely women around me! I wanted to ask questions and laugh! I wanted to talk about what we just learned. When I was left to myself, in the actual presence of the other women, I didn’t know how to handle my emotions or feelings. I felt the energies of everyone, but was forced to be with only mine. What I realized was that I had been denying myself for so long.
Part of being a Queen is honoring her own time, space and body. She doesn’t seek attention, acknowledgement and social activities when there are decisions to be made or deep learning to understand. She knows what she needs and never has to explain herself. She knows she holds the power for change in herself and her Queendom. With great power comes great responsibility. She sets strong, healthy boundaries.
That silence was a boundary to protect our process of everything we had just learned and felt. It kept us incredibly present and created space for the information or whatever feeling that came up to ‘land’. It allowed us to be in our bodies, not in our heads, to embody our truth we intrinsically are as women. It was permission to feel and be any way we wanted to. There was no judgement and no criticism from ourselves or the others. There was only love, acceptance, compassion and freedom. This is where we, as women, are safe to shine.
Instead of succumbing to the belief that we only get a few chances to be completely free and authentic, I now understand that once we sit with who we are without distractions, we find our safety. In that safety, we have freedom. It is when we let our minds or outside circumstances take control that the perception of safety is absent and we aren’t able to claim our power. Our power is in our being and our body, not our doing or intellect.
When women feel safe, anything is possible. When we create our own safety through silence and space, we allow our full self to completely emerge. Our unique power is ignited and people around us will adjust to it. Just like a pregnant woman, baby or ill patient, everyone else will see us with pure eyes and compassion. They will either accept our power and be led by it or be repelled and go the other direction. Our needs are served when they are felt and honored by ourselves first. (TWEET THAT)
With that gift of silence, we were all able to see ourselves easier, to let things truly sink in and understand what it means to have power as a woman. All the logistic awkwardness worked out, too. You can still communicate in silence. Who knew? ;)
Technology such as phones, Facebook, TV, music or apps as well as engagement with others can be a distraction from what we really need to thrive, and inevitably keep us stuck. There is a time and place for it - I’m not suggesting to go all hard-core no technology. However, l invite you to give yourself enough space and time to discern when healing and processing need to be honored. You can have this whenever you need. Trust the process.
This concept has changed my life. I believe it has to experienced before one can fully understand it. I’ve heard about going off the grid my entire life, but not until 32 years in did I accept the challenge. Oh, and Sacred Sisterhood helped.
Have you experienced going off-the-grid? If so, I’d love to hear all about it in the comments! If not, how and when can you create some off-the-grid silence in your life?