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!