Men’s enlightenment is hard. Women’s enlightenment is hard, squared. Like Obama said about Hillary, “She has to do everything I do, only in heels.” Women have to do everything men do, only in love. We can’t merely non-attach. We have to face our shadows and demons in the context of a living, breathing relationship. The mountain top is not a viable option for us. It’s down here, drowning in a sea of obsession, possession, jealousy, and hope, searching for validation and approval, trying to prove that we are good enough. Pretty enough. Worthy.
Until one day, the trying stops and we rest.
Where we’ve been knocked around, we release our grip. We don’t reach for power. We don’t achieve power. It rises up from the ground beneath us.
And you’re going to try to tell me that women aren’t resilient? Strong? Capable?
No. We are just making the journey with a thousand pound backpack, snickers from the peanut gallery, making lunch for his journey.
You see, I love men. This isn’t my weakness. It’s my strength. It’s what makes my training more high altitude than any mountain one could climb. I can’t just leave that part behind.
And I love my sisters. And have to make stops on the way because one of our parents died or one got a diagnosis or one got dumped. So my journey to the light involves a lot of darkness. It’s a marathon not a sprint. It’s slow but it’s thorough. I don’t drop or cut anything off to get there. My demons and my angels come with me.
I was speaking to a Lama about heartbreak and he said, “If you keep doing x you’re going to have a lot of heartbreak in your life”.
That’s like saying, “If you keep inhaling and exhaling you’re going to have a lot of breathing.” Of course you are. But as a woman, on the path of love, the heart breaks open again and again. We get space from that opening, not from amputating. As with birth, a woman learns to continually dilate through the contractions.
But you also get the inspiration of being your best for another. Every leg of my journey has been in order to become better for another. In my case, often a man.
I was called to tend to him, to share with him. He was doing his path. I had to take on his path if I was going to be close to him. My engagement with the path was the byproduct of love. My nature is to delight. To exude. To radiate. If he loved enlightenment, then great, so did I because I loved him.
In Eros, we call this an assigned author, the excuse to become great for another. To say I love you because that’s what I do. As neither transaction nor duty. My love is free. And so am I. That’s how it works.
But it’s also deeply personal.
And mutuality, here on the ground, is where the magic that the skies promise, really happens.
I have mine already, I was born with it; creative power. Every woman is. We are wealthy beyond imagination. Realizing that we have it, that we are born with it, is the key to the lock.
I tell male teachers that I love them but I cannot have a teacher. It will interfere with my knowing. I get absorbed and forget that I already have it. I’m here in the highest capacity—to share, to exchange.
I do joyously listen to and receive the teachings. But perhaps with a different motivation. I want to see the world through their eyes, through the eyes of those who follow those teachings so that I might more effectively offer by knowing their language and vision. I want to understand the quirks and idiosyncrasies, the “why they do what they do.”
What someone in that role gives me is an opportunity to practice standing in what I know so that I can see how to offer it. That I might bring in the absent feminine. That I might say with conviction, “Oh that’s not how it works for a woman,” while demonstrating what a woman’s presence looks like and feels like—how suddenly when she merely radiates, the world around her changes. People feel better. They light up. They make contact. They feel the intimacy they didn’t know they were seeking. Everyone falls a little in love.
But, it’s like fog; you can’t point to it or touch it or even really speak about it. It doesn’t wear robes or titles. The highest rank is woman. Just suddenly, without realizing it, you are hydrated. What was dry, arid, and tight inside is now moist.
I believe this is the feminine form of the emptiness I read about in Buddhist texts, this place where there’s nothing to push against, where there is this hydration. Where there is just love that wants only to love and spends lifetimes perfecting the offering.
During what most people would consider a time of duress, I was with a group in the forest in Mongolia, looking out at some trees.
Sitting there, I felt in love with the people I was with, in love with my friends in the US, in love with a man. In Love.
The Lama instructed us to look at a tree as a means of relating to the dharma.
Just beyond that though was an early summer splash of yellow wild flowers. I could not follow the instructions because the flowers radiated something, some force that drew my eye to them.
Between the flowers and my eye existed living, breathing space. The flowers blurred into a yellow illumination that made the space, and in turn my body, glow. What exists in separation, an anxiety perhaps, was absent. In its place came joy. Flower, space, Nicole….all were inseparable. Indistinguishable. I reached down and touched the earth. Something elemental rose up from the soil in affirmation. This is what I felt, in this time that could seem constraining, from flowers simply exuding. I was happy.
That to me, is Eros. Life force. Woman. It can’t be taught. It must be met. First by its keeper. Then, if we are fortunate, by another who has the faculty of sight. The flowers weren’t doing it for me. They were doing it because that’s what they do, but I can say, and perhaps I was a little too far out, they were happy to be noticed.
As we walked back to the ger camp, having not said a word about my experience, the Lama leaned down, picked a yellow flower, and gently placed it behind my ear.
Yellow in Tibetan Buddhism signifies Increase. Radiance. Noble gold.
To be woman is to be defined by accommodation, the unconscious and acquiescent adherence to non-native habitats, or the unconscious swing of the pendulum of backlash that is the predictable result of any animal living in a state of perpetual adjustment, lost in translation.