Healing Across The Board

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“Even though I grew up in a village where I knew everyone,” said a young Palestinian woman, “I couldn’t tell a soul on the day I got my first period. I felt completely alone.”

Miles away, in a European capital, a different woman grew up experiencing similar isolation: “My Mom was at work. She was always working. I got my period and I didn’t even call her. I felt so alone…”

Over the two decades I’ve been traveling and listening to women’s first blood stories, I came to be deeply familiar with the estrangement women felt when they came of age. In cities and in villages, in Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist or Atheistic homes, girls have been growing up for many decades feeling dis-empowered, un-welcomed, and lonely. Disconnected from their own body, and from their womanly heritage, girls had to fend for themselves, endure cold, scientific explanations from Moms, mockery from siblings, or internally generated embarrassment and shame.

Indeed, not everyone did. Luckily there are women today who experienced a welcomed and pampered transition into womanhood. Certainly more and more of today’s girls are being acknowledged and empowered. However, it is striking to realize how similar the stories of lack are: across cultures, religions, countries and customs.

Women typically bury the experience of their first period somewhere in the cellars of their consciousness. An experience that was less than desired, that produced a string of periods which felt like anything from mere bother to excruciating pain — is not an experience a woman wants to relish. When faced with the concept of her ‘Inner Maiden’ – a woman typically would say to me: “I forgot all about it. It doesn’t matter anymore. I just want to give something different to my daughter.” And herein lies the true pain, that never surfaced to be healed…

The flip side of lack is its fulfillment. And since this lack is so universal among women of various cultures and upbringings, indeed so is its healing balm!

It starts with the recognition of a shared wound. When women of different cultures sit in a circle and hear each other’s first blood stories, the similarities alone start to have a healing effect. An experience that was carried for yeas as a solo occurrence, is all of a sudden discovered as a universal one. There is tremendous relief in that, and women often express it with tears of pain and joy: the shared pain brings the joy of relief.

Beyond that, the healing journey of the Maiden inside each of us, who more often than not wasn’t welcomed or empowered when she transitioned into womanhood, carries a universal healing power across the board. It addresses the lack experienced by women anywhere on Earth: in rural or urban environments, in traditional or ‘modern’ households, in religious or secular homes. Healing this universally shared wound is the gift we can give ourselves, and the girls growing up in our midst!

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© DeAnna L’am , 2012 – All Rights Reserved

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