Tag Archives: rejection

Authentic Connection

I noticed that last week’s blog on authentic feminine power  quickly became my most read post to date, perhaps confirming my suspicion about how hungry women are to reclaim real power.

This week, my partner shared a short video clip with me that talks about manufactured consent.

This morning, as we cooked breakfast together, My partner informed me about the new trend of buying dirty jeans  at $425 a pair.

As usual, I feel painfully out of step with the culture. I feel angry. I feel lonely. I feel flawed in some deep, irrevocable way because of what I want. I grieve for the loss of connection with what I can touch, smell, taste, look at, hear and be held by.

Yet there was a significant response to last week’s blog, which indicates to me I’m not as alone as I feel.

It seems to me we’re increasingly distanced from one another, increasingly divided. The culture says we’re more connected and have access to more information than ever, and in a manner of speaking, that’s true. We’re more technologically connected than ever. We’re more connected with word and symbol than ever. In fact, our heightened connectivity is creating new languages of emojis, emoticons, like and dislike buttons and shortcut language that accommodates tweets and texts.

Yet we live in technological enclaves that are every bit as rigid as physical neighborhoods and districts in a city. If, like me, we don’t have a cell phone—well, we’re out of the texting conversation. We’re invisible. We don’t count. We’re silenced. Ditto if we don’t have access to internet or aren’t on social media, or don’t have an email. If we don’t play on the technological playground, we’re depersonalized and disconnected–literally.

But words, pictures, profiles and emoticons can lie. Language includes communication that only occurs with physical presence. Without physical presence, we can’t discern lies from truth. Our power is so damaged that we routinely swallow just about everything the culture, media, advertising and our “friends” tells us.

For example, professional women can’t succeed if they don’t adhere to social standards of businesslike attire, clothing and makeup. If you don’t believe me, look it up on any of your tech devices. It’s not hard to find this “fact,” both directly stated and implied. Let me just repeat that, to make sure you got it.

If we’re a woman who doesn’t buy and use makeup, we can’t succeed in the business world. Everybody says so. Everybody believes it. Everybody makes it true by enforcing it each and every day with words, buying choices, advertising, blogs and articles, all courtesy of technological connectivity and manufactured consent. In 2015, the United States was considered the most valuable beauty and personal care market in the world, with a market value of 80 billion dollars.

(Reference https://www.statista.com/topics/1008/cosmetics-industry/ )

I’d say that’s pretty successful manufactured consent, wouldn’t you? Pat yourself on the back if you wear makeup, because your hard-earned money is somewhere in that 80 billion dollars. Well done. Do you feel successful and powerful now? Someone does.

If we’re on Facebook, we have friends, a community, a popular vote of “likes.” We don’t have to deal with morning breath, a wet spot on the mattress, different schedules and rhythms, dirty bathrooms, greasy stoves, or any of the small idiosyncrasies and habits that real people have. We don’t have to reveal our physical bodies, our insecurities and our wounds. The worst rejection we risk is being blocked or unfriended. We don’t have to learn how to accept, live with and perhaps even appreciate (perish the thought!) different points of view or opinions. We don’t have to be challenged, stretched, or have our dearest beliefs threatened.

Pressing a button is so much easier than all the messy consequences of authentic connection.

We never have to risk being real at a technological remove. No one can blow our cover. We never have to face ourselves; take responsibility for our words, views or choices; or endure the difference between the way we wish to be and the way others actually experience us. Or, alternatively, we can come out of hiding, feel safe behind the screen, and finally allow all our hate and rage off the leash.

Our culture tells us power and success equal armor, distance, carefully constructed profiles, pseudo self , façades, masks, the latest technological gadgets, social media accounts, likes, followers and “friends.”

The culture teaches that power and success are achieved by buying things and the possession of money. Now there’s a circular game of empty addiction we can never win and sellers never lose!

Power and success are ours if we participate fully in manufactured consent. Would anyone like to buy a pair of dirty jeans? Guaranteed power and success!

Yet how many of us truly feel powerful and successful? Are we there yet? If we’re not there, we will be after we buy just one more thing, right? Or perhaps we need to make just a little more money, or lose a little more weight, or finally find the “right” mate.

If we’re well connected technologically, our needs are all met, yes? We have a tribe, a community, a place to laugh, cry, celebrate, mourn and share our authentic selves. We have physical reassurance and bonding. Our relationships are based on authenticity, reciprocity and respect. We feel seen, heard and known.

I don’t think so. I don’t think tech meets all our needs for authentic connection. I think it more often swallows us up and absorbs us. It’s a toxic mimic for the real thing because it’s more controllable and less risky, and we the sheeple have been groomed to buy every toy that’s put in front of us. We’ve forgotten to look up and notice there’s another human being in the room, in the bed or at the table. That’s the power of manufactured consent.

It doesn’t surprise me that Baba Yaga spoke to so many last week. We’ve sterilized what she represents right out of our modern culture. All her outrageous, provocative, profane, rebellious, insubordinate, irreverent, passionate, authentic attributes have been pushed underground, where her spirit lurks, watching, cackling, stirring her cauldron, sucking on bones and waiting for us to remember her and summon authentic power and connection again.

Authentic connection has a scent of living tissue and breath. It’s texture and heartbeat. It communicates with word, action, and the silent language of the body. It doesn’t allow us to shut our eyes, stop our ears or press a button and dismiss uncomfortable tension.

Authentic connection reveals us to ourselves and to others. It isn’t muffled, sterilized or distorted by keyboard or touchpad. It’s defined by visible action and choice. It demands priority and time. It requires real participation, with heart, body and presence. Authentic connection makes us weep. It makes us bleed. It makes us laugh. It awakens our rage. It heals us and makes us whole. It’s messy, unpredictable, confusing, demanding, imperfect, and reminds us at every turn of the limits of our power. It forces us to communicate and then holds us accountable for what we say—and what we don’t.

Most of all, authentic connection is not something we can buy—ever. No one and nothing can give it to us. Our only access to it is through ourselves. We’re a nation of prostitutes, viewing, clicking, scrolling, buying and surfing, but the only ones profiting are the pimps who cash in on our hunger for something real and our addiction to everything not-real.

Yet Baba Yaga is on the move, sowing seeds of divine rebellion into the cancer of manufactured consent and patriarchy, deprogramming one woman at a time.  Even now she’s flying on the spring wind in her mortar, using a pestle as a rudder, searching for all those women who long for something real.

All content on this site ©2017
Jennifer Rose
except where otherwise noted

Boundaries 4: Blessing the Ground Between Us

The late John O’Donohue, a wonderful Irish poet and mystic, wrote a book of blessings titled To Bless the Ground Between Us.  I discovered O’Donohue via Anam Cara, perhaps his best known work, more than ten years ago, when he was still living.  This idea of blessing the ground between us has stayed with me, especially this summer as I’ve had the opportunity to work with boundaries.

http://www.johnodonohue.com/

It’s a beautiful fall day in Maine, and I found myself alone, which rarely happens.  An old stone wall borders one perimeter of our 26 acres here, and I decided to walk it.  Mindful of poison ivy, I suited up, got my camera, and went out to play.

The wall is really just a hump of stones now, covered in moss.  It runs through thick growth, so there was a lot of dead wood to maneuver around.  The neighbor has posted signs on his side of the wall on a tree every few yards, yellow signs saying “No Trespassing.”  The relentless message followed me all the way down to the river.

The ferns are golden now, responding to the diminishing light.  Leaves are falling and the brush and bracken are a mixture of dried flower heads, sprawling vines and gold leaves.  It’s been very dry here, so the numerous small stream beds are empty, but I could see where water runs when it’s present.  I slithered and bushwhacked all the way down to the river, where a handy fallen tree makes a bench above the water.  The river is hardly moving right now, low and clear, and I sat for a time watching leaves fall onto the surface of the water.

The ground between one person and another, one property and another, can’t exist unless there are defined boundaries.  I appreciate our neighbor’s desire to keep his land inviolate.  Even without the signs I wouldn’t have trespassed, not being that sort, but something about the repeated warning above the old disintegrating wall disturbed me in the context of the patient trees, the turning season.  The wall, like a hedgerow, is probably home to many.  It’s a beautiful boundary, that wall, much more interesting than a fence, and at this point much more organic, too.  You might say it’s a beautiful blessing.

I’ve been in relationships where the ground between us was perceived as a threat, or even a rejection.  This particular boundary issue quickly damages connection if I intend to keep that sacred ground between us and the other tries to eliminate it.  I don’t want to trespass, but I also don’t want to be trespassed upon.  Yet I don’t want to live in an armed fortress.  I don’t want the ground between us to be a military zone, seeded with landmines, soaked in blood and tears, noisy, dangerous, ugly and foul.  I don’t want the ground between us to be a fence with glass and razor wire.  I don’t want the ground between us to be a toxic dump, or filled with the shattered shards of broken integrity and betrayal.

Then there are relationships where lip service is paid to the ground between us, but the phenomenon I call boundary creep comes into play.  Slowly, inevitably, a tide of invasion inches over the boundary.  It might be in the form of noise, or in the form of things like clothing, mail, dirty laundry and personal possessions.  It might be in the form of toothpaste in the sink, hair in the drain and grease on the stove.  It might be in the form of detritus generated by an addiction, like beer cans, cigarette butts or drug paraphernalia.

I’ve also been in relationships where I’ve tried to make dates with people, with the two-fold intention of being fully present and available at a certain time and place for connection and managing my own time and energy effectively, but this can be very problematic.  Some folks are chronically late or intermittent no-shows.  Others are highly offended at having to make a date, preferring to have access to me whenever and however they want.  Then there are people who only want connection on their terms.  I’m not allowed to reach out in any way and can only wait for them to initiate contact and set the terms.

When I think about blessing the ground between us, I envision a park, or maybe a garden.  I think of a place with trees in it, and birds, and leaves and maybe some moss.  I think of a place we both create and care for, a safe and sacred space in which we experience reciprocal respect and affection.  I like the idea of a stone wall or some kind of fence, but I want a gate in it.

At this point in my life, after years and years of confusion and pain around boundaries, I’m finally getting crystal clear.  I know what I want, and I know what I don’t want.  Observing how people handle boundaries and the ground between us speaks volumes about their priorities, their choices, the state of their integrity and self-esteem and their level of functioning.  Notice I say observation, not listening.  Actions are always more telling than words.  Someone with broken boundaries is certainly not going to help me maintain mine.

I can’t control what others do with the ground between us, but my choice is to bless it with growth and kindness, respect and safety.  I intend my boundaries to be both intact and beautiful.  My boundaries have doors and windows and gates so the light of my healthy relationships can bless my life, but those doors and windows and gates can be locked if the need arises.

I am not you and you are not me.  Together, we are greater than we are individually.  We can choose how to create and decorate our boundaries.  We can choose to bless the ground between us.

All content on this site ©2016
Jennifer Rose
except where otherwise noted