Written By Ashley Shenk

Hush. Listen. Calm your mind and steady your breath. Bring your attention down, down, into your lower belly, the place where your creativity lives, where your life force awaits. The place where your feelings rush in and flow out, where truth and wisdom reside.

The place, very same place, we have been told is unclean, impure, illogical, hysterical, and worthless.

For centuries, women have been silenced. Eve picked the apple from the tree of Eden; it is because of women that we have sin in this world. They are the reason that men feel lust. Women were property; they were owned, controlled, traded. Even today, the ever-present feeling of duty and obligation of sex permeates our cultural understandings.

“Well, he paid for dinner.”
“Well, he got that far, might as well let him go all the way.”
“I’m his wife, and it’s my duty.”

“I want to feel loved, so I will endure this.”

How did I get to a place where I put a man’s pleasure over my pain? How could I offer up the most sacred of acts to someone who I barely know, who wants to use my body for his own purposes? How could I betray myself so fully, without even being conscious of the betrayal?

Why did I not use my voice?

Because I couldn’t hear it.

Our truth lives in our bodies, and when I am disconnected from my body, I am disconnected from my inner knowing. A fully aware and empowered woman, especially groups of these women, can change the entire world. Think of Rosa Parks… with a simple “No,” she shifted the consciousness of the entire population at that time.

So it is no wonder we have been separated from our bodies, told that they need to be different, that they are dirty, that we should have less hair here and have a smaller waist and bigger breasts, different eyes, fuller hair. Think of all the businesses profiting off of the idea that a woman’s body is imperfect. Our culture is seamless, really, in silencing us with our own shame.

A woman disconnected from her body is incapable of reaching that state of deep inner knowing. It is the place where our true purposes in this life are, our fury at the injustice of the world, our grief for the losses we have endured, our compassion for all beings, our bond to the Earth as our mother, our connection to each other as sisters. The place where magic flourishes, where we manifest our lives and become the creators of our world, not the victims of it.

And so what is most important is not just the speaking of our truth, but the knowing of it. And for that, we need to get into our bodies. We need to feel our feelings, even the uncomfortable, dark, shadowy ones. Especially the dark ones. This is absolutely essential to understanding ourselves. I am not just happy, kind, and agreeable. I am not only a nice girl. I am the full spectrum of womanhood, and I refuse to give up my aliveness so that you can feel comfortable. I embrace everything about me, because all my feelings have something to teach me; they are signposts, pointing me further down the path of connecting to who I truly am.

So get down, get low. Relax. Bring you consciousness into your belly. When I have a feeling, I want to ride it like a wave, but not get lost in it. I want to be fully present so that I can understand it, and know where it came from, and what it means. Then I want to express it, get it out of my body and into the world, so that I can shape my reality with it. Because when I align my internal world to my truth, the external world cannot help but fall into place as well. I draw to me that which matches my vibration, and anything that doesn’t falls away.

Going into my darkness can be quite scary at first; I’m not sure what I’ll find in there. But the deeper we go into our shadows, the higher we can ascend into our light, our beauty, our connection to the divinity within us. Once I express the truth of my dark feelings, I am propelled into a state of clarity, calm, and sweetness; I have aligned, I have connected to me, I have taken myself seriously.

This is a practice. It may not be easy at the beginning, but I don’t want to live an easy life. I want to live a profound life. I want to embrace every aspect of myself; not just the joy, light, and love, but the anger, grief, jealousy, frustration, doubt and everything in between. Loving my darkness instantly transmutes it to light, and the process is deep, real, and true. It’s the greatest adventure of my life.


Recently, I was experiencing feelings of jealousy, doubt, and loneliness, and my mom asked me, “How old is that girl – that girl inside of you? The one that’s feeling all of those things?” And I said, “She’s young, and she’s crying.”

My advice to you – write down everything that this part of you is feeling, let all the judgments and self-doubt and dark thoughts out onto paper. Everything. Get it out.

Then write back to your inner child, teenager, early-twenty-year-old, or whatever part of yourself is calling out to you from your higher self, that enlightened place of unconditional love, that full embodiment of your power and purpose.

Understand that that piece inside of you is probably acting from a place of protection. Love her. Love her for trying to protect you. Then tell her that this way of thinking and behaving no longer serves you – and release it.

Ashley Shenk is a woman on a mission for the rise of the divine feminine in us all. For the past year, she has been living in intentional communities, learning about the many facets of sustainability, cultivating a deep connection to nature and the power of ritual, and embarking upon the journey inward to know her truth; the magic that enters her life when she embraces that awes her every day. She loves writing, dancing, singing, meditating, open-hearted connection and creating sacred space for transformation. Oregon is and has always been her home, and her roots there grow deeper every day.