People often ask me to speak in Hebrew, and are deeply touched by listening to the music of it, without understanding a word… When I started teaching in Europe, I too was greatly touched by women’s sharing in languages I don’t officially “understand”. Feelings seem to be conveyed with no need to pass through a cerebral realm in order to be understood.
I find this to be true particularly in women’s circles, and even more so in Red Tents. When women share the story of their first blood, when they speak of the profound aloneness they felt as coming-of-age girls, of confusion, fear, or shame — the meaning of their words ripples over their faces, dances through their hands, shines through their body. There is no need for a dictionary. No need to intellectually “Understand” — it is enough to “Stand Under”… It seems that the key to understanding is encoded in the word itself: ‘UnderStand’, or Stand Under.
You can understand a tree by standing under it. You can understand a woman by standing in her field of emotion. Have you ever tried to understand a woman speaking in a ‘foreign’ language? As long as you ‘try’ to understand with your mind – you will likely strain, struggle, labor, and get nowhere. Yet switching to ‘Standing Under’ the feeling of what is spoken — immediately sends you into a different sphere. You are now able to swim in that stream, you groke the meaning of what is spoken with something other than your mind…
I invite you to switch your mind off next time you are in a woman’s circle, a Red Tent, or spending time with a dear friend, your spouse, your child, or anyone you feel safe experimenting with in playful ways. Allow yourself, and those around you, to communicate through movement, dance, sound, or gibberish! Divide into pairs and play with communicating without a common dictionary-based language. Take turns conveying to each other something that is on your mind or in your heart, without speaking in your everyday-language. Open your ears, your eyes, and your heart. Each time you feel that you struggle to understand, let go of the struggle!
Give your mind a rest and feel how different your understanding becomes. Sense the bridges you build through your senses. When you each had a turn conveying something non-verbally to the other (or to the circle) — check out what you understood, and compare notes with what was intended. How far, or close, were your interpretations? How well did you understand, by Standing Under? How well were you Understood?
As cycling women – we have a meta-language. The cyclical rhythm of our body is a language, and a universal one at that! Our body and its rhythms speak to us in a wordless language, which we need to Stand Under in order to flow with. In the same way that you can likely understand another human being’s non-verbal communication, you can surely understand your own body’s messages, sent to you by physical sensations, rhythms, feelings, or moods. These are not essays to be deciphered intellectually. They are messages to be Stood Under, to be danced with. Messages for you to receive rather than struggle to understand! The more you listen to your body’s rhythmical Meta-Language, the more fluid and harmonious your life can become, whether you still cycle or not!
Thank you DeAnna.
What a beautifil & sacred truth.
I was wondering if you have ever had the chance to conduct a red tent ceremony in the mikvah at the well springs, in sacred Ashland, OR. Jerry Leiberger, a friend of my family bought the property & turned a spring of these hot springs into a private mikvah with constantly running warm water & white beautiful algae growing in it.
There is also a goddess temple & a red tent there placed by RaEl (named GraEl recently) and friends there.
I can remember when I was in Paris, france some years back & would each night visit the Notre Dam where there were many who would gather under the stars making music & dance & conversation far into the early morning hours.
There were many Algerians who visited there & spoke french as well as often large groups of Italians speaking very loudly with passion.
I would sit among them & somehow understanding what thsy were saying even thoigh my french is conversational level & I speak only a couple words in Italian.
This happened night after night in this area of quartier latin in Paris & so much love & sharing was offered. It was the first time I felt this deeper understanding emerge.
I was only about 23 years old but very touched by European & other peoples feelings brought forth through language.
My dog was my main teacher of the Language of universal Love. He taught me that this is the way all Animals communicate & which holds us all together in the energy universe soup of life.
After he taught me this language, I fully began to understand just how powerful this language is that it truly breaks any barriers to communication & I am able to fully understand anyone, np matter their language.
In fact, this universal language of Love is underneath all languages.
I absolutely agree with everything you say DeAnna, I experienced what you describe here so many times and have always been fascinated by listening without understanding the language, it so much more interesting as you are obliged to use your other senses, rather than always your intellect.
Thanks for sharing this!
P.S. I like the severing of the verb understand as Stand Under which is what happens if one sits in a circle and the speaker stands! One gets showered with the energy of the speaker who stands, a different perspective altogether!
¡Es tan sincrónico leer tu reflexión! Esta semana estuvimos hablando en un taller de narración oral (cuentacuentos, )sobre toda la información que traen las palabras en otras lenguas, que no es necesario traducirlo todo, pues la música y el ritmo que entregan esas palabras transmiten todo lo necesario que necesitamos para comprender la profundidad del relato.
Abrazo desde Chile!
Something has opened in me reading this post, a deeper understanding, thank you