The Gatekeeper

I settled in for my weekend morning routine: cup of tea and a good book while lounging in the back yard. The book Aphrodite’s Daughters: Women’s Sexual Stories and the Journey of the Soul by Jalaja Bonheim, had been on the bookcase for several years, sitting there in the “someday” section. A couple weeks back it began calling to me, it’s time… read me next.

The opening sentence, speaking of women and story, immediately pulled me in. Although these topics—and the central focus of the book: sexuality—feed my soul, I found myself hesitant to read beyond the introduction.

I knew by doing so I would be triggering, or perhaps tickling is a better choice of words, my own sexual exploration; an adventure that will undoubtedly find its way to these posts. Curiosity about these women who have so bravely spoken up won out over a good—i.e. safe—left-brain read, like building better blogs, so I settled in…

In a way I’m disjointed. I’ve written my own sexual memoir Reclaiming Magdalen, in which I boldly share many of my deepest sexual journeys, and yet I’m still guarded about what comes next in my own life’s exploration.

Several pages into one of the brilliantly written stories the following quote yanked my attention back to self:

“Life, she realized with amazement, wanted, to use her and dance through her and had only been waiting for her invitation.”

Staring into the distance, watching the butterflies and bees flit about pollen rich flowers, I began to doubt I’d come very far on my quest for wholeness. Have I fully opened to life’s invitation? Or have I simply scaled a peak—aka published a book—and then hibernated for the winter and spring? Am I ready for the rest of the journey which stretches out far before me in the form of peaks and valleys I couldn’t see or didn’t think about from the other side of the mountain?

Knowing all-too-well the games of my mind and its ability to distract, I went back to reading. A couple of pages further on, this popped out:

“She found she was able to direct energy within her body, channeling it through her pelvis or her heart, and that she could visually perceive her energy body.”

While I wouldn’t say I visually perceive my energy body, I’m certainly aware of its presence and its influence on others. And I’m definitely able to direct energy in my body, moving it freely through my pelvis, heart, arms and hands, legs and feet. In fact, moving life force through my feet, which allows me to bless and connect with Mother Earth, is a favorite form of prayer.

As I sat and acknowledged where I do have a flowing alignment with life, creativity, and spirituality—which to me adds up to sexuality—it dawned on me that my mind is the one lagging behind; it’s the gatekeeper.

I’m always thinking; planning; organizing; mapping. Like most of us, my mind is one big “make meaning” machine. And when it comes to anything remotely related to sexuality, the area previously infused with trauma, the system responds with yellow caution lights.

When I meet with these adrenaline increasing warning sign of past fears, or indiscretions, or detours—if you believe in that type of thing—I typically back down or veer away from the perceived danger. I’m grateful for this natural defense system. It serves me well.


I’m also grateful for my natural bliss system; the one that slips in when the mind isn’t watching.

These moments occur while I’m wandering through my garden, marveling at the vast diversity of summer blooms. And they roll through me when I hear a song with a stellar guitar riff or drum solo. They often get diverted when my mind realizes what’s happening, but that’s okay, my heart understands, my body remembers. Slowly, gently, and with compassion, I’m re-patterning my capacity to hold bliss.

And what about the mind: the gatekeeper? Well, she’s learning to trust, to not only go-along-for-the-ride, but to explore new routes—to go for the good.


The Gatekeeper — 1 Comment

  1. As a woman, I’ll second the sentiment that reading stories about other women’s journeys to reclaiming their own full sexuality is empowering. To that end, I would recommend that you read, “Women Who Love Sex: Ordinary Women Describe Their Paths to Pleasure, Intimacy, and Ecstasy” by Dr. Gina Odgen. This book isn’t about dealing with the effects of abuse, but rather with unlocking the pleasure centers that we all have within our bodies. An interesting and eye-opening read.
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