Monday, 10 May 2010

If the entry point is the top of the head where is the exit point

I said I would write a little more about our feminist theology group with Anne Ramoni last week but I've been hesitating about doing so because of a particular word and because some things are quite personal (oh dear me I do sound terribly English don't I!). Anyway I've decided to give it a go and to try to find the right tone for writing about this. And as I do that I can't help noticing how the act of writing makes me more reflective, Dr B would say more angelic ("fools rush in where angels fear to tread"). In speech I am rather (too - pace Dr B) raunchy and impulsive on occasions - I find it hard to leave a good line unsaid - in writing I am for the most part slightly better behaved.

First of all here again is what I wrote following Anne Ramoni's invitation to each of us to write something we felt strongly about concerning voice and words and then say it aloud, first seated and then standing:

Hors du silence la passion de la parole et de la voix est en moi;
elle monte en moi;
elle me motive;
elle me met en route;
elle me soutient ...

Out of silence, passion for the word and for avoice is in me
it rises within me
it motivates me
it sets me on my way
it supports me ...
(How wonderful that in French passion is she and not that boring English "it")

I said my phrase sitting down and said it powerfully. It was true and "me" as Ria commented at the time, strangely when I later stood to say the same phrase, it was very different and the energy was different too. I was too much the professional pastor, very "in role" - and this was completely the opposite for nearly all the others who grew in confidence and voice when they stood to speak. I admitted that I am better walking and speaking and loved the way Anne described the voice as something fluid and in movement.
Anne got me to try and talk about where the energy was when I was speaking the first time - sitting in my comfy chair and I said that that I felt the energy was going straight through me from top to bottom. "Where to where?" she asked, "where does the energy begin?" "At the top of my head", I answered "And where does it come out" she pursued. I did pause but then I said what I realised was the truth "du vagin - from the vagina". Anne was writing all of this on the flip chart and because she also trained as a nurse asked whether the word perineum would be a correct description but I decided to stick with what I first said and then, after some considerable laughter, told this story of my first multiple sclerosis attack.
My first MS attack gradually rose and rose over several days from the tips of toes up my legs and stopped just above my pubic bone. It was not a pleasant sensation - I was still able to move my legs but I remember saying to my neurologist that I felt I had lost sensuality of feeling. My pubis and legs felt as if they had been to the dentist and were not recovering from the injection. My voice broke slightly as I said with some feeling that to be able to name and feel the place where the energy of my voice had part of its plumbline within me was both a liberation and also a reason for thankfulness that I was able to "feel" and "sense" that part of my body, that it's sensuality had returned.
Nearly a week later as I mull over this I think about how voice and the voice is part of the body, about how we give birth to words as physical things almost. For someone like me who has no children my speaking and writing are part of what I sow - the "way" I have taken has been a childless way perhaps because of the "voice" I have found and because of the voices I have chosen not to listen to.
I also wonder whether it is easier for women to have this kind of earthy bodily conversation than for men. I hope not. Yet I also wonder how I would respond to a man saying something similar about the energy of the word within him. There is perceived to be a completely different power dynamic around male and female sexual organs and yet ... surely our sexual identity has to be part of the energy of the word that is within us and which we seek to give voice to: falteringly and coherently, stumblingly and beautifully, hesitatingly and flawlessly, in womanly and manly ways, sensually ... ahhh the sensual word.
May we all find plumb lines of energy we can rely on, allowing us to speak and stay silent in right measure, finding our voice and finding our way. Anne reminded us that each of voices is unique.