What We Resist Persists
Heal Your Life Blog
What We Resist Persists
Today I got a funny email from my colleague Lissa Rankin, M.D., who is on her book tour for What’s Up Down There. I wrote the foreword for this book and love Lissa’s very fresh, very saucy approach to all things gynecologic. Because I’ve broken trail for her as a pioneer in helping women reclaim their inner wisdom—and their vaginas—she keeps me in the loop about what’s going on with her book tour, her Web site, and her ongoing campaign to wake up the culture.
Today’s email was about the fact that CBS.com posted and then immediately removed her piece called “15 Crazy Things About the Vagina.” They had asked her to do this because their piece on “15 Crazy Things About Sperm” was so well received. Not so with the piece on vaginas. You can barely SAY vagina in the mainstream media, let alone celebrate it.
Why can we have all kinds of ads about erectile dysfunction, a Viagra car on NASCAR, etc., but we can’t say the word vagina in a tampon ad? I’ll tell you why. Because women haven’t claimed their power in the world the way that men have. Sure, we don’t have a penis, but we’ve got some powerful stuff down there none-the-less. The minute women realize how much power is in their pelvic floor and their pleasure, the whole game will change. And mark my words, the game is changing.
But what do we do while it’s changing? Well, here’s what I wrote to Lissa today after reading her hilarious blog on her experience:
Guess what, sister? The harder you resist something, the bigger it becomes. That’s right. What we resist persists. I remember, years ago, reading the work of the famous feminist Sonia Johnson (From Housewife to Heretic). She was a Mormon who got excommunicated from her church for supporting the Equal Rights Amendment. Anyway, when she talked about Patriarchy (which you could also call the Dominator model or the Addictive model), she illustrated it with a very powerful image: Patriarchy is like a bunch of guys in a castle on the top of a hill. When you try to attack them, they just erect bigger and more powerful defenses against the attack. In other words, attacking them makes them STRONGER! You try to bludgeon down the door and they put a stronger deadbolt across it.
And that is why, confronting what you DON’T like head on is so exhausting and counter-productive. Think about it. How long have we had a “war on cancer?” President Nixon instituted that one! How well is it working? And how about Breast Cancer Awareness Month? Has that particular move decreased the number of women with breast cancer? Has it soothed anyone’s heart or breasts? What’s the first answer that pops into your head? No, right? I thought so.
So here’s what you do instead. Make an end run around what you don’t like. Turn your attention to what is working. When it comes to the word vagina, for example, let’s hear it for Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues! This amazing play goes up every year at thousands of locations worldwide. My daughter was in it when she was in college. All the proceeds go to Ensler’s V-Day charity, which is working to make the world more vagina-friendly. I took my daughter to the V-Day launch on Valentine’s Day in New York City when she was 13. The Vagina Monologues were performed by Glenn Close, Whoopie Goldberg, Calista Flockhart, and special guest singer Phoebe Snow—to name just a few of the luminaries there that night. There were no censors. Instead there were buttons that said “Vagina Friendly” and lots of V-Day t-shirts. The event, which was hosted by Gene Shalit, was a sell-out and a complete success.
You also need to laugh a lot. Nothing defuses an angry situation like laughter (or a puppy or small child). Lightening up gets the angels on your side. And be cheeky. Lissa is doing a very good job with that. I told her to keep up the “too saucy” part, because it always makes me laugh.
Andrew Weil, M.D., taught me something very valuable about 20 years ago when we were having breakfast together at a meeting of the American Holistic Medical Association. Andy, as you might know, did the first (and only) double blind controlled trial on marijuana. (It’s in his book From Morphine to Chocolate.) That study made the-powers-that-be angry. But he took it all in stride. Here’s what he told me, “You can say almost anything if you're not angry.” (Well, except fun things about the word vagina in the mainstream media.)
Please remember, my dear readers, the patriarchal “Dominator” model of reality is disintegrating all over the planet, along with the Newtonian, linear view of reality. Despite what you hear on the news (which is the old model just trying to keep you continually in a swivet, so that you’re not available to change anything), ALL IS WELL. And besides, we are eternal beings. (That’s the part that always gets me through the night.)
Have a ball with whatever is bugging you. That energy of anger (which lets you know what you don’t want) is powerful. It gives you great material! It’s jet fuel for your passions.
Keep on keeping on, sister. And that means YOU!