Workshop 1: Speaking Ourselves Into Power

Judith Series:

In our process of human becoming, we deeply desire to be witnessed and seen in our unfolding. With this in mind, as a collective, we insisted on creating a culture of sisterhood to help us excavate the fullness of our internal landscapes that we so often hold tucked in. We created a space, on the fringe of society, where we could come together to validate, affirm and mirror back the beauty, vulnerability and courage it takes to manifest and permit more of ourselves to be seen.

We kicked off our Judith series, exploring the problem of othering and otherness. Through guided visualization, we revisited the times in our lives where we knew we were being sized up, objectified and limited in our human experience and perceived capacity. Moments where the multiplicity of our personality and our potential was not given the space to breathe, unfold, or be respected in its process of unraveling. We wrote these experiences into short monologues, putting words and voice  to these times when our voices felt muted and at times foreign to ourselves. Finally, we performed these anecdotes by interweaving them, sharing one narrative in solidarity and strength.

By revisiting these moments of discomfort we created a safe container to hold all of our stories. Finally the yelling, crying, anxious, desiring, silly, mischievous parts could come out.

We came together as sisters to serve as witnesses to each other’s process. By showing up to listen to each other more closely we created the spaciousness within ourselves for empathy and curiosity to see and hear each other into being.  To let our eyes see without judgement within this safe container.. We expressed our fears, our longings, quirks, ugliness - anything that wanted to come out that day to play. We welcomed all of it, transmuting the fear and discomfort into courageous openness. And though we began the days as strangers, through performing our stories we began to know each other and let ourselves be known.

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Othering, is this strange and instinctive human behavior that enables us to make sense of ourselves in the world. Put simply, it’s a way we come to identify- what is me and what is not. As feminist theorist, Simone de Beauvoir puts it, “the category of the Other is as primordial as consciousness itself. In the most primitive societies, in the most ancient mythologies, one finds the expression of a duality – that of the Self and the Other”.

When we other-ize,  it is often a way we formulate to ourselves who is on our side-- who belongs to us and with whom do we identify. Instinctively we other-ize, because without doing so we have a lot to negotiate; like how to compassionately exist alongside those we don’t understand.  

To resist the isolating estrangement of othering and being othered we courageously express our authenticity in community. We show up as witnesses for each other’s unique experiences without a doubt for their validity. When we seek out and create the spaces in which we can share, struggle, celebrate and inhabit ourselves more fully, we come to compassionately invite others to do the same.  We realized we couldn’t underestimate the transformative power of having compassionate eyes in this process.

What We’re Reading This Week:

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-The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir, 1949
-Beyond God the Father, Mary Daly, 1973

-The Coming of Lilith, Judith Plaskow, 2005