Clue/Pssst: The secret is hidden in a woman’s body
This is our month. March goes beyond International Women’s Day on March 8th. It includes for the rest of the world both the celebration of spring and Mother’s Day. It is a time for celebration of the beginning of life, and within that women’s power while lies in her life force energy.
For the majority of the year, women are forced to fight. To protect ourselves and our families. To battle for equal footing with men. To simply carve out space to exist.
Yet this month, I offer women an invitation to sheath our swords and shift tactics. Because if we want safety, if we want peace, if we want equality, we need to learn to use our strongest weapons—our bodies.
In speaking of women’s power, it can seem counterintuitive to focus on women’s bodies. After all, many of us fight so hard to be seen as more than our bodies, our faces, and the pleasure we might give to others. Yet pleasure isthe key to women’s power. But it’s the pleasure we might give ourselves, to allow ourselves to open to and embrace, that will invite us to come into our true power. It is this lack of attention to women’s pleasure and in some cases the purposeful suppression of women’s pleasure, that has brought us to where we are—the literal brink of destruction.
Women’s wisdom, intuition, and seemingly inexplicable means of deep knowing, of connection with the rhythms and messages of nature—it is all seated in the body. Extensive research shows that the body is a compass towards decision-making.
Women, think of a moment when your body knew before you knew. For me, it was one day when I was on my way to Fallujah in Iraq. It was still early days—2003, when the only reason this city was on the map was for its awesome kababs. It had not yet become a major extreme resistance stronghold. Yet when we got to Fallujah, I was physically sick. My back hurt, my stomach hurt, I was constantly nauseated. I couldn’t explain why I felt that way, but I felt so terrible I had to turn back. As soon as we were back in Baghdad, instantly I felt better. That night we heard that major riots had taken place in Fallujah. If we hadn’t turned back, we surely would have been caught in them.
Back then I attributed it to luck. Or perhaps it was my mother’s prayers. But now I know exactly what it was—my body’s guidance system was in full alert telling me to turn around. Thank God I listened.
It’s not always so dramatic. Maybe it’s a tightness in the stomach or tension in the shoulders. But if we think about it, women all have that story when our body warned us. If we paid attention, we were grateful. If not, we looked back with a promise to pay attention next time.
Our bodies hold knowing. Secrets. But these secrets cannot be accessed through willpower or force. Pleasure is the key. When we shut women out of their sexuality, we’re shutting down their God-given GPS system. They don’t have access to their full resources. They also undergo the energetic drain of struggling to achieve quality and build a better world without the full breadth and depth of their own innate wisdom.
A woman only understands her full power and understand herself completely by living in wholeness, which requires a connection with her life force and, therefore, an understanding of her sexuality. No matter how far we’ve come in thinking about women’s leadership, a red line still exists, and that line must be crossed. I’ve spent more than 20 years working in and out of war zones—whether the fighting is with bombs, laws, or words—and of this I am sure: Women’s sexuality is the Rosetta Stone to peace building.
The times of women initiating women into the mysteries of female sexuality have disappeared. That’s one of the reasons I created Across Red Lines, because we need more tools to know how to cultivate the guiding system the body offers.
I want to be clear that I am not asking women or anyone to ignore the very real threats women face every day, and the constant assaults on our bodies, minds, and hearts. But all over the world from Nigeria to Afghanistan, I have seen that when women have to spend so much of their energy fighting, it creates a tragic disconnect—one for which we all suffer.
Women are born whole and then broken apart so thoroughly that we don’t even know all of the pieces that are missing. Learning pleasure and our bodies helps us to reintegrate; to uncover strength and wisdom we never knew was inside us all along. That’s what will allow women to show up fully, and that’s what’s missing from discussions about world peace—women’s true capacity. We haven’t known how to call on it because we haven’t even spoken it. But we must now.
The Quran says that our body will testify – it will bear witness. Why not turn to the body now – to use it to your advantage now to guide you through your decision making. Turn it into an ally, that reminds you through the power of feelings and tension where you stand. Understand that each body part holds an ancient wisdom of knowing beyond your lifetime. Though the genetic codes passed down in your ancestry – that wisdom will not only guide you – but remind you none of us our alone.
Manal Omar is the founder of Across Red Lines.