Sexual Imprinting and Emasculation
Recently, in a dream, I encountered a physically-focused being, proud host to a genital abnormality. The outer appearances are that of an old man, gnome-like with big ruddy cheeks, a pot-belly and short stocky legs. He is wearing earth-soiled trousers with braces over a chequered shirt with sleeves rolled up. I say it is a man because that is how he introduces himself to me, coming close up to me, almost face to face. He wants to share his enigma with me.
- I am a man with something special.
- Could you say more?
- Would you like to see it?
- Yes, I would!
I am not alone to meet him. There are many others surrounding me, standing close behind me in a glutinous mass, leaning on to me or grasping my shoulders – hungry ghosts, indeed, drifting around me. I am aware of a man standing close to my left side, a sharper silhouette. He stands out from the amorphous mass formed of relatives and parents, friends and foes, ancestors and deceased parents, many lifetimes barely known to me, scarcely discernible in the shapeless bulk of humanness hovering behind me. This other man is significant for me; he stands strong in his manhood. His presence is necessary for me to meet the enigmatic engendered being, manifesting from another dimensional reality, facing me. Neither have a name. The enigma needs me to understand who and what he is.
The leprechaun figure starts to pull down his trousers and underwear to show me his deformity. He is talking all the time, explaining his gestures and his anatomy. He starts by telling me that his belly is not a pot-belly it is a pouch, similar to the one that marsupials have for carrying their young ones. In his case, the pouch serves to hide his deformity, to conceal what cannot be seen by others, what should be tucked away and out of sight. At that point, his nether parts remind me of my dolls, genderless, perhaps something even more radical: gender-erased. When I was a child playing with my dolls, there was nothing there to see, nor to discuss. Gender had been conveniently erased from my world, allegedly, for my own safety and protection.
The gnome-like man inserts his right hand into the pouch and starts to pull out the contents. At first, there is a small child-sized black penis. It looks very poorly and off-colour with bluish tinges and a flaccid looking consistency. He holds on to it tenderly and fondles it with great care, letting me know that it does not like being pulled out in this way. He warns me that there is more to come and that it might be unpleasant. Then, after some tugging and straining, which looks excruciatingly painful, he pulls out two huge testicles, red and glistening, two oversized citruses that have been peeled of their bark leaving the delicate inner contents barely contained in a wafer-thin translucid skin. He is struggling to hold on to all of this with his two hands, the flaccid penis and the two huge skinned testicles slithering and wobbling between his fingers. There is something horrendous in this disclosure as waves of disgust and repugnance fill the space. The amorphous mass of humans behind me is frozen: icy-cold, not a movement, not a twinge of life. The fragility of what has come out of the pouch, now twisting in the light gasping for life, is unbearable. He knows it and, with a resigned smile on his face as he looks at me, he bends over slightly, pulls in his belly and with a well-practiced gesture scoops up his entrails and tucks them back in, where they belong.
When he has finished, he pulls himself up straight, leaving his trousers and underwear around his feet. I now see him for the first time, differently. He is a castrato or a eunuch. He has been deprived of his manhood or required to hide it. Where he comes from, this is not a problem, and he has a place in a world that does not so sharply divide people according to gender. Here, in the human experience, his presence is disturbing, to say the least, and most unwelcome. I slide out of the dream with the impression of having got in contact with the energies of emasculation. The image of the well-practiced gesture of dissimulating what must not be seen haunts me. I am not sure where I stand in these swirling energies.
A Visit from the Past
Upon waking up, I resorted to journaling in order to apprehend the essence of this night-time encounter and, through wording, to tame the energies tickling and teasing my inner senses. Having done that, I sat down for my morning meditation, during which I received a visit from the past: André.
André is someone I cared for when I was working, from the early 80s to the mid 90s, in psychiatric institutions with an adult population presenting a wide range of unaccountable mental disabilities. André died some time ago, but he reappeared in my meditation space, fresh and alive, as I knew him thirty-five years ago. He was here to remind me of his life-trajectory and to share something of his dilemma in that lifetime. André looked very like the gnome-like figure who had manifested in my dream and, most importantly, he had been surgically castrated as a young man.
Born in the late 20s, André came from a well-thought of family with money. He was the eldest of five siblings and expected to take over the family domain of prestigious vineyards. I don’t know much about the details that led to his castration, only that it happened when he was in his late teens: war time. He had told me himself about his attraction to children and a constant need to talk about sex and walk about in nature, flashing at by-passers, preferably children. Due to his family’s influences, these compulsive behaviours were, supposedly, nipped in the bud by interning André and calling in eminent psychiatrists to find a miracle cure that would eradicate, or at least curb, his undesirable tendencies. Nothing had worked and since, in those days, chemical castration did not exist, surgical castration was suggested. André had consented to this because, as he told me, his life had become a nightmare dictated by attention-grabbing thoughts that he struggled not to act out. He did not want to harm children and feared that he would reach a tipping point where he would do something hurtful and highly reprehensible, dragging as a consequence his whole family into intolerable shame. He was assured that, although radical, castration was the solution and would overcome all cravings. He would be able to live a normal life and would never be bothered again by the compulsive thoughts. He was an intelligent boy so could hope to enjoy a meaningful life stewarding the family domain. Finding himself in an impasse, André signed the consent form and underwent surgery. None of the promises were fulfilled and, all his life, castrated, André was still plagued by the compulsive thoughts and the need to show the world his childlike penis.
I met André when he was in his mid-sixties. He had recently joined the institution on the death of his parents. His siblings had needed to find sheltered accommodation for him because he had developed a heart condition and, with his other medical history, he was only admissible in an institution caring for the mentally disabled, which was not his case. I remember him as being a grumpy man who deeply resented having to live with incapacitated misfits, and being forced to take part in activities which clearly were not suited for him. His joy and pride were in gardening, and he brightened up when we managed to secure a plot for him to start a vegetable garden. Practically all conversations with André contained sexual allusions, those nagging thoughts were never far away and they would be expressed in a childlike way, using the terms and vocabulary of prepuberty. He was constantly threatening to show the staff and the inmates his mutilated genitals. The other inmates always seemed indifferent to these threats; the staff were horrified and wondered if neuroleptics should not be prescribed to deal with this.
André was not a pleasant person to be with and, in many aspects, he showed up as a dirty old man. His sniggering and salacious talk pushed people away, leaving him much to himself pottering around his garden. And there were times when he did come closer and was prepared to engage in less hostile forms of relational intimacy. In those moments, he was a delightful person to sit with, willing to share something of his story and love for nature. It was during those softer times that he confided precious pieces of his story, the pieces that were not on file and had slipped through the medical narrative. On one such occasion, I asked him why he was continually sneering at us. What was prompting all these distasteful smirks? His answer left me conjecturing. He told me that he was no longer holding back on the constant flow of sexually connoted remarks, since he knew that he could not physically abuse anyone. He was not aware that sexual offences go beyond physical contact and penetration. I wonder how his story would fit in today’s context and understanding of sexual assault and harassment.
I remember that short conversation as being a window potentially leading on to something more, that, for the time being, needed to remain deeply concealed in the darkness of humanity. At the time, I had no idea where this was meant to lead me and I did not feel equipped to explore those particular swamplands of the human experience, and beyond. That morning, in my meditation, André came back to lead me over the threshold into the realm of sexual imprinting.
“Sexuality is the domain of perhaps your deepest imprinting.” (p. 190)
“He is harmless. You have nothing to fear.” These supposedly reassuring sentences swirl around me when I get closer to the mutilated man of my dream, and the same applies to André. Deep down within me, I know this not to be true. There is nothing harmless here! Both stories are recounted from the point of view of a child, around five years-old, who has witnessed a real event and who has been told that there is nothing there to see. Pass your way. Look away! She also knows that, should she continue to speak, she will find herself alone in a very hostile environment. She must abide with the story of harmlessness. A shockwave from childhood reverberating from the past into current times? A family member reappears in a different way. He is stepping out of the fog of oblivion and denial. Maybe he was not as harmless as I was told to believe! This is the truth that I have always known. I am remembering.
Not surprisingly, henceforth, inquiring into sexual imprinting is the last place I would want to go to, and I am fully aware of this. I first discovered this when I was editing the material that was to become Book One of the Guidance for Life on Earth series. Section 31 of chapter three invites us to remember ourselves in sexuality and to, gently and lovingly, embrace all sexual imprinting so as to restore awareness and conscious intent in sexuality. Not an easy prospect for me, and not one I felt prepared to take on. Each time I sat down to work, I found myself, inexplicably, burning and sweating abundantly, my hands shaking over the keyboard, waves of nausea inciting me to run away.
It has taken me several months of intense engagement with the material in relational practice spaces with trusted companions for me to be able to return to this line of inquiry and, even now, as I revisit that particular section, I can feel my body shaking and I presence strong inner movements of wanting to turn away and to withhold myself from such explorations. Why would I want to go there? Today, I will stay and I will consent to this inquiry into the depths of sexual imprinting, none other than my own. I will tease out some of the threads and weave them together. The dream of the man with a sexual deformity put me in contact with emasculation, and André’s visit in my meditation space reminded me of the consequences of compulsive sexual impulses. I am of both these forms of energy. Will I be able to re-birth myself in sexuality as I release the grip of imprinted inner structures? What will I unearth as I travel through the swamplands of human experience, beyond the imprinted material and the habitual narratives that litter our Earth plane?
Allow me to offer what I have uncovered from my own archaeology into my life circumstances. The expression still feels raw and crude, and the languaging remains clumsy since the words themselves are so heavily imprinted, similar to André who could not express himself otherwise than through salacious and colourful language. Several voices accompany me as I pursue the elusive, which slips through the words: childlike rebukes, shameful tones, arrogant responses, unexpected insights. I shall welcome them all. They have a purpose. I am left feeling that I have touched on a place of utter tenderness and palpable soreness that hesitates to expose itself to such a blast. Dare I jump into the mêlée? Here I am.
I am the result of compelling sexual urges that brought together a woman and a man, my parents. Their story is one of a sex-driven marriage that made of them parents who paid little attention to their off-spring, so absorbed were they in exploring their own sexuality, a sexual intimacy that came with a cost, casting aside their children. I am born to very young parents who, understandably, were only too eager to discover sex. As war time children, they emerged from the desolation and poverty of the war carrying many scars buried under the rubble of the bombing. Throughout my childhood, I repeatedly heard my family members say, “Nothing happened in the war. It was dreary. Best to forget all about that and to move on.” Both my parents climbed out of the rubble by winning prestigious scholarships that provided them with a good education and access to university, a major achievement for my mother who was the first woman to be able to go to university. They met at university in London. It is thought, although it has never been openly discussed, that the compelling drive to have sex pushed my parents into a secret engagement in Edinburgh, secret because they were both under age and, in those days, even for an engagement, they would have needed the consent of both their parents. They got married two months after my father had reached the age of twenty-one. They had not had sex: my mother was a virgin and I don’t know about my father. I arrived exactly ten months after their wedding.
A Portal to the Larger Context
The morning after my dream with the apparition of the sexually abnormal man from elsewhere, I zoomed into this story as I know it and then zoomed out, placing the circumstances of my birth in a much larger context, accepting that this is how I arrived into this life. From this new perspective, I could acknowledge how my parents had respected some of the conditions imposed on them by the cultural and social norms prevalent at the time. They had chosen not to jeopardise the advantages gained through their education and to play it by the rules. Were they disappointed that I arrived so quickly, further stirring up, well-planned intentions? My swift arrival must have felt like a spanner in the wheels. As I tuned into the precise circumstances of my conception, the sexual act through which I am born, I began to receive more information as to my life-purpose in this incarnation. It feels slightly arrogant in its formulation and I feel embarrassed to share this. Nonetheless, I am gently prompted to step forward, here. This is what I was shown.
I am born to very young parents, traumatised from their childhood during the war, hosts to much unconscious and deeply buried material in the layers of human devastation and, for all these reasons, they are ill-equipped for parenthood. I am the one who will show the way and reveal the path to wholeness. I will lead the way from my essence, through love emanating from Source. I will clear and clean the sedimented messiness concealed under the rubble, a chaotic state that has been deemed inaccessible, therefore left to rot and to disintegrate, under the veneer of a new life. I will bring us through from helpless childhood to responsible adulthood.
As this information came through, I was able to see, for the first time, something of the original imprint, which can be simply framed as ‘she who clears up the mess and picks up the energetic trash littering the Earth plane’. Often, I have judged my attraction to cleaning and tidying up as a compulsive, almost obsessive behaviour that is more likely to irritate others than to be acknowledged as purposeful. Throughout my life, I have been involved in several highly chaotic situations, and have met and worked with many very messy people. Silently, guided from within, I have followed my calling to clean and bring order to the chaotic clutter. I have endeavoured to bring beauty and harmony, where chaos and bitterness reign, so that we all walk, together, in beauty and in love. Somewhere, in the entangled bundle of my imprinting, there are elements of compulsive behaviours, a compelling urge to bring beauty and clarity to places that are marred by human experience, peculiar beliefs around the messiness of sexuality, and the use of emasculation as a way to protect myself from the intrusions of compulsive impulses that intend to conquer and intimidate me.
My strange, and somewhat mysterious because ambivalent, relationship to messiness finds is most powerful expression in sexuality and, now, I can open up to what has presented itself to me in my intimate relationship with John, the crucible of love that transforms everything. I only have to look back at the first time John and I had sex to realise all the treasures that surfaced in that first intimate encounter, one that would form and inform my/our path to wholeness and our journeys into the realms of higher consciousness. Our first sexual act can best be described as clumsy and decidedly messy. Clumsy because of years of wilful abstinence of the part of John and numerous uncertainties about engaging in sex on my part. The crux came just afterwards when we both dragged ourselves to the bathroom. John thrashed his penis into my mouth asking me to clean it. An impulsive and totally unexpected act, which knocked both of us off balance revealing layers of sexual imprinting that had just exploded in our faces and, now, laid shattered on the tiles of a bathroom floor on the Isle of Skye. At the time, I had no idea what I was looking at. I could only feel the disgust and repulsion at being forced into something I did not want to do, something that had blemished what had just happened. Yearnings, aspirations, hopes and desires to be nurtured and kept safe within intimacy were now amongst the shattered pieces strewn on the floor. It took me a long time and some courage to share with John my utter astonishment and sense of powerlessness when it happened, the need also to dissimulate my disgust, for fear that I should hurt him and cut off the flow of love. For a long time, the only thing that stood out was that I had been coerced into cleaning up the mess, yet again.
A Dip into the Past
The more I engage in what I perceive as the messiness of sexual imprinting, the more I am able to discern threads weaving themselves inexorably through my life, threads that speak of sexual abuse, compulsive behaviours and piles of mess that need cleaning up. Admittedly, the contours of these imprinted structures remain blurry, but my night-time explorations, as well as my writing, are softly clearing the haziness, revealing treasures glistening in the layers of the ambiguous past.
André’s visit took me back to the 80s, the years when AIDS appeared, unsettling the age of sexual freedom which had come with contraception that had not been available for my parents. Paradoxically, AIDS also supported the recognition of homosexuality and, in the institution where I was working, and where André lived, we were to discover a thriving community creatively and openly exploring sexuality in same sex relationships, under the slogan of ‘safe sex’. Sexual licentiousness and promiscuity were prominent amongst colleagues to the extent that I thought I ought to wear a T-shirt stating that I am heterosexual and not interested in ‘free love’. Many sexual impulses were acted out within the premisses, supposedly adding to the spiciness of so-called creative sexuality, whilst being completely out of bounds. These were not the only illegal conducts on the work place; other hedonistic pleasures such as alcohol and recreational drugs were being openly consumed in an anarchist attitude, and there were those who helped themselves abundantly to prescribed neuroleptics for the patients. Pleasure-seeking activities became the norm, and everyone was coerced into silence. To speak up would have been considered the ultimate betrayal, leading to painful exclusion. In those years, sexual abuse on mentally deficient patients was wide-spread in many institutions. No case was ever reported where I was working, but I found it hard to believe that we were innocent such was the weight of the lead blanket that concealed the debris of human experience running wild amidst us. During my thirteen years of work in the field, I struggled between condoning the despicable in order to fit in, and wanting desperately to speak up for those who had no voice and who might be abused. A difficult place to stand in for truth-tellers like me and, on several occasions, I ran into some challenging situations which did not end well for me.
Compulsive behaviours were at the centre of the relationship with my first husband who had many addictions including sex, which was weaponised and used to coerce me into subjugation and pacifying strategies when he exploded. He was an ambassador for the hedonistic movement prevailing in the institution, which further pushed me into the impasse of a double-bind. Reluctantly, I applied myself to covering up his despicable behaviour in order to avoid his immediate dismissal for inappropriate conduct. I was the one to bear the shame, whilst I struggled to cling onto what I valued as ethical and respectful of the lives that we had been entrusted with.
I came across the same messiness and relational bewilderment when I finally extracted myself from psychiatric institutions and went to work in higher education. Here again, I was showered with colourful and imaginative relationships involving a lot of sex in the most inventive nooks and crannies of academic buildings, something that David Lodge, himself an academic, has brilliantly described with humour in his novels. I experienced those years as dodging the sexual predators lurking in the dark corners ready to pounce on me and to make of me a collectable trophy to boast about over drinks at the next cocktail party.
I came to the conclusion that there was no way I could escape a sex-driven culture that was not prepared to question its compulsive behaviours, even less to inquire into sexual imprinting and how it ripples out into our cultures, forming and shaping all relationships. At one point, I decided that celibacy was the only way out, or at least a way to avoid further entangling myself in the quagmire of disowned sexual patterning disguised as new emerging cultures of sexual freedom, only accessible to those who are able to disregard morality. I am still there having given up on my sexuality, grieving my tumultuous journey through the swamplands of sexual imprinting, pondering on the possibility for me to realise myself in my sexuality as part of my essential nature. Again, many belittling beliefs shut down the pathway to wholeness and tether me to my imprinted inheritance, one of domination and subjugation, threading its way through eons of human experience and eternities of clouded relationships between men and women. I am but one small dot on that line, looking at a big pile of mess to clear up. So, where does emasculation fit into this dismal landscape?
Desires of Emasculation
I have needed time to acknowledge my affinity with the energies of emasculation, lower-vibrational forms and energies that arise when I feel threatened by other people’s voracious sexual appetites, men in particular, but not exclusively, or when I feel overpowered by figures of authority and, as a consequence, belittled. The intense feeling of contempt and utter disgust for those who had betrayed me when I was working in psychiatric institutions, finally, guided me deeper within the layers of energetic residue strewn on the planet. These were supposedly intelligent people in charge of incapacitated adults who deserved our respect and loving care. Instead of being trustworthy and caring, they indulged in sickening activities desecrating life. Impostors, indeed! Can I allow my contempt to swell and to become outrageousness? Am I not also trashing my contempt, disowning my rage, adding thereby to the energetic litter we walk upon?
My ambiguous rapport to emasculation started to surface from semi-consciousness soon after the celebration of the union between John and myself. Again, it is within the crucible of love, and the vows brought to the altar of matrimony, that alignment between all lower-vibrational energies with higher-vibrational emanations of life began to unfold. I speak of the limbo of semi-consciousness, because I was aware, then, that I could, more often that I would care to admit, be very sarcastic and dismissive of men, castrating in my sharp remarks and hostile comments, but I had no idea of the origin of these patterns, nor of the energetic signature that resides beneath my pugnacious actions and belligerent relatedness.
In the days after our marriage, John and I hosted a small gathering with Stephen Busby exploring higher frequencies of consciousness. We were blessed with a reading in which the inner guides Stephen works with offered a large panorama of the potentialities we could draw upon as we transformed the old farm-house we had purchased into an educational centre for higher consciousness. John was the one asking the questions wanting to understand his purpose and path in the larger landscape at our feet. The responses were generous, highlighting new perspectives in terms of hospitality and radically new approaches to teaching and learning, that we were invited to apprehend differently, familiar concepts and notions being turned inside out as we ventured into pioneer waters. At one point, an image came in, that of John walking and flowers blooming in his footsteps. Because of this image offered to John in particular, at first, I thought that the guidance was addressed to him and not to me. I was puzzled, and also distressed, because the vision offered corresponded to my deepest longing and aspirations in this life-time. I felt deeply sad and baffled, also jealous that this had been offered to John and not to me. A very mean and miserable voice started shrieking in my head, “It’s not fair! What about me? Where am I in this? Am I expected to serve my husband’s aspirations in life? Am I expected to help him realise himself at the cost of my own self-realisation?” It was then that I became aware of bitterness and anger brewing within me, a strong resentment at needing to sacrifice myself for my husband in the name of deeply embedded cultural beliefs that ordain relationships between husband and wife. Despite considerable advancements for women, the underground current was running strong and firmly within me; and this was not new. This is when I realised that I could emasculate rather than submit to what I recognised as male supremacy that plays out in so many unconscious and subtle ways in our cultures. Because we were newly married, I believed that I needed to suppress these angry voices, not spoil the party, and certainly not overpower my husband with my fiery energies.
For months, my suppressed anger stayed very close to the surface erupting regularly. We have a transcript of that reading. I read is several times and brought it up in a dyad with my friend Margaret who was present at the time. We were both puzzled by what felt like a misalignment between the guidance offered and the recipient’s name, John. It took me several readings before I could see that the ‘you’ addressed here was not a singular ‘you’, speaking exclusively to John; it is a plural ‘you’ and the guidance is addressed to all of humanity. It suggests a wide range of potentialities all awaiting our loving attention and our sovereign choice. These options are available to everyone and, should we choose to follow the path opening in front of us, we will be resourced and replenished as we walk on, ploughing the path as we step forward and show up. Flowers will indeed bloom in the foot-steps of whoever consents to that choice and affirms themselves as a higher-vibrational expression of life. This is the true meaning of flourishing and flowering, unfolding movements of life that are not exclusively reserved to a small selected few, and least of all to men over women.
This incursion into the lower-vibrational forms and energies of emasculation has helped me unearth a very entangled bundle well embedded within me, entrenched in historical layers of relationships between spouses. I now understand why it could only resurface in the cauldron of our marriage, where, for the first time probably, it could be met with conscious intent and loving attention. How else could I have discovered, within me, the energies of emasculation erupting when men are given responsibilities over me and then expect me to clean up the mess? How else would I have unravelled my disappointment and frustrations when the protection and support I am expecting from my partner, having given up my own powers, are denied? How else would I have acknowledged the ferocity fuelling my attachment to the energies of emasculation as I wield the axe of castration ruthlessly? Am I able to welcome my desire to emasculate for my own safety without compromising tacit agreements woven into the cultural fabric? This is me, too. This is of the human experience, also.
More crucially, I come to understand that nothing is personal and that the guidance for life on earth received is not a customised and personalised life-pathway accessible to a selected few who diligently follow the teacher, or who are in need of precise instructions from a benevolent teacher. I am beginning to sense the deeper meaning of my collective nature and how, by offering my personal life-trajectory, I can access the whole world and the whole of humanity nestled within me. Our individual experiences, including the most painful and glorious life-changing events, such as marriage, are but portals leading on to the vast realms of multidimensional realities that await us in higher frequencies of consciousness.
The Tiniest of the Russian Dolls
This challenging inquiry, for me, into the energies of emasculation and sexual imprinting has long been awaiting my presence. Section 31 in chapter three of Book One of Guidance for Life on Earth helped me navigate the treacherous waters of sexual imprinting and to engage, more fully and consciously, with the material offered there. I also worked with Practice 13 in Book Two – Clearing Lower-Vibrational Energies – and the affirmation of sovereign selfhood (p. 152) was constantly by my side as I delved into the swamplands of humanity, and beyond, releasing my attachment and affinity to lower-vibrational energies re-surfacing in the furrow of my footsteps.
Within the sedimented layers of the human experience, I have discovered that the sexual act which birthed me is highly imprinted with significant material for my life-trajectory. There are sexual aspirations seeking expression within the limitations imposed by culture. There are compulsive behaviours that cannot be curbed. There are disowned sex-driven cultures imbued with domination and pacification, and both are perpetrated and endured indifferently by women as by men. There are forms and energies of emasculation that pertain to curtail unacknowledged and unrecognised expressions of sexuality. There is the sword of castration that is wielded when the personality experiences threat. I am yet to realise that, beyond all this messiness and the energetic trash of the human experience, sovereign selfhood resides unscathed, not needing protection in the ways I experience protection. A different world awaits me.
The most amazing of discoveries is that the intimate relationship with John is a safe place for me to be unsafe, as are many other relational containers that are forming within the field of higher consciousness. They are providing me with new experiences of intimacy, imbued with forms and energies of Love that I know so little about and that are not framed according to my habitual thoughts and beliefs. I, as others, am uncovering this through our inquiries and relational practices. Most of all, I enjoy the paradox of ‘safe to be unsafe’. Here, I can relinquish all heroic attempts to protect myself. Here, I can brave the wilderness and welcome all imprinted structures that are coming loose in the softness of loving attention and radical presence. I am aware, for instance, that openly publishing my explorations is important for my own unfoldment. I need no longer seek to keep safe amongst like-minded people confining my writing to seemingly safe containers with nurtured audiences. The time has come for me to step out more boldly and fearlessly.
A few days before our wedding, my friend Yuko tapped into energies of integration that were to be intensified through our marriage. She brought in the image of Russian dolls being put together, different layers incorporated and integrated to form a whole. Immediately afterwards, I reassembled the Russian dolls brought back from Leningrad on my visit to the USSR in 1983. For me, this was an important ritual of gathering together what had been scattered and appeared fragmented and dislocated. For two years, the dolls have been stacked together, tightly knitted and embedded in each other. Then, two days ago, I followed my impulse to take them out of their hiding hole, and to have all ten dolls on display, even the smallest which is a foetus, the size of an elongated grain of rice with three dots representing the eyes and the mouth. The outer doll is cracked revealing the layeredness within and the impulse to crack the dolls open put me in contact with my fear of losing the smallest doll and my reluctance to play with the dolls with others, lest she be trampled all over and lost forever. The core doll is a representation of the most vulnerable aspects of myself, those parts which I feel I need to keep safe from the asperities of life, part that are so vulnerable and defenceless, like the skinned oversized testicles of the man in my dream, that I cannot possibly reveal to the world. Thanks to the paradox of ‘safe to be unsafe’, I have been able to unpack the dolls and I now pour my loving attention into the speck of wood with three dots that represents both my vulnerable core and my sovereign selfhood.
My deepest gratitude goes to my friend Carol who generously and lovingly commented the first version of this essay. She received and welcomed me, in the rawness of all that was surfacing. She then gently pointed to those aspects still hiding or veiled by shock waves echoing from the past, consenting to venture, herself, boldly and vulnerably into her inner sanctuaries. Here, we both found truth and clarity.
 Stephen Busby (2020). Guidance for Life on Earth. Teachings and Practices from Inner Guides. Book One – Reality, Humans and the Earth. Self-published.
 Stephen Busby (2020). Guidance for Life on Earth. Teachings and Practices from Inner Guides. Book Two. Being Human, Being World (Part 1). Self-published