Could decision paralysis be a symptom of internalized patriarchy?
What do these questions have in common?
Do I study XXX or YYY?
Do I relocate to LA / Tokyo / Shanghai / Paris / quiet place in the middle of nowhere?
Do I have a baby? Or a subsequent one?
Do I marry this person?
Do I quit my office day job in a cubicle that pays fairly well and begin a new career in permaculture?
I don't mean to diminish the importance of the process of making these decisions, but these decisions can't possibly ever be "right" or "wrong". And when we cannot reconcile the "rightness" or "wrongness", we experience anxiety and confusion, because we have been trained to believe there is always one right answer. Somewhere deep within us, at a cellular level, many of us hold the view that making a wrong turn in life can lead to catastrophic ruin. We aren't only afraid of the unfamiliar, or our love of homeostasis, we've also inherited the belief that choices can lead to punishment and death. Looking back to our personal history and generations back, the stories told by authorities (church, state, culture) often share a theme that is so deeply ingrained in our psyche.
The theme is: There is ONLY one "God". “The Father”, he created Man (coming directly from the Divine), and Woman was created from Man’s body (thus, not directly from the Divine) for the sole purpose of being his “helper”. “Father God” is jealous, angry, and punishes those who have disobeyed. If you obey him, your reward will be granted to you after you die (entrance to heaven).
Well, isn't that a convenient story to tell if you're in power: They told us that "God" put men in power; they must know what’s best for us.
I would argue that while many of us are living fairly secularized lives, and don't necessarily believe in the idea of 'sin' and 'hell', but we are, at a cellular level, terrified of punishment via a poor decision (disobedience). And lo, what's a poor decision? Well, basically everything natural and life-giving according to patriarchy. This "God" does not like competition.
Who would have guessed that any of the following are decisions that could lead to death?
For being in relationship with plants.
For being in relationship with animals.
For understanding that we are stewards of Earth, and not her pimp.
Who would have known that our ancestors were killed for:
Looking to the Moon and her phases to understand our biology?
For finding pleasure in their bodies outside of procreation?
For loving humans rather than loving gender?
For creating art in the name of the Goddess?
For dancing & drumming?
For remembering their ancestors ?
For listening to their dreams?
Who would have known that we could be killed for:
Refusing to marry or for refusing to have sex.
For having a different skin colour than those in power.
For eating a fruit that leads to wisdom.
For talking to a Snake.
For simply being a Woman.
Whether you are a Woman, a Man, or non-binary, the fear is that we could potentially make a choice that reveals we are aligned with Spirit rather than the Machine of Patriarchy. And should you choose Spirit and her sacred Dance of Life, then you and your ancestors were told that you are a witch, a heathen, a whore, a nasty woman, stupid, corrupt, or any other name that harms your credibility, and often, were killed.
I was having a conversation with a dear friend, who is currently going through the agonizing process of evaluating and considering having a baby. (She's given me permission to share this, in fact, asked me to!). I offered her my opinion: yes, it may be helpful to write down a list of pros & cons. Have a weighty spreadsheet of ideal astrological times to conceive. Biohack to immortality with the hopes that your child will escape illness. We can plan, plan, plan. But when we become enslaved to it, it's the Machine that's the master. The Spirit will move in ways we cannot predict. There will be infertility, miscarriages, infant health issues, learning disabilities, bullying, racist classmates and their racist parents, shitty teachers, shittier in-laws, video game addiction, bros texting your daughter, BUT, no one can plan for falling in love, for the healing of our own internal child, learning from the younger generation, new friends, building a legacy, emerging out of outworn archetypes into brilliant new ones, leaning into others, letting go of perfectionism, bedtime giggles, and just having fun.
Do you dance to music? The kind in front of your mirror when no one is looking. Would you agree that how you move your body is dependent on how the music is sung, played, mixed, and feels? So in essence you are dancing because of the music? Would you stop and analyze the BPMs of the track, need to accurately define the genre, ramble on its related trivia, and agonize what would happen if you danced a misstep or two? Or do you just feel and move in ways that feels natural?
So if life is a sacred dance, how about just being in flow? If you knew that you aren't going to be punished or die for making decision B rather than decision A, and your heart had its way, what would you choose? Because the paralysis is hurting you. Choose Spirit, your Spirit. And when you do so, the Goddess will cheer, for you are sovereign and free.
Also cheering you on,
founder, shamanic medicine teacher + ritualist
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