First of all, I loved everything about the inauguration.
I replay those fireworks, that song, the Biden/Biden hug, those bright hopeful coats, the dancing flags, our gleaming, reclaimed Capitol building – over and over in my imagination.
I love that our President reveres his wife, and that there is mutual respect and regard between them. I love that we have Kamala Harris as our VP, opening the door of leadership and possibility to Black and Brown women and girls everywhere. I love that A-list celebrities and music legends wanted to perform for this White House, and we got to see the magic of Lady Gaga, and Katy Perry, and John Legend, and Bruce Springsteen, play out on the same stage, for the same patriotic purpose.
And how about Amanda Gorman? Her words? Her love of words? Her glorious desire to be president? I am kvelling. Beyond.
In fact, this blog is dedicated to our National Youth Poet Laureate.
This blog is dedicated to the glimmer of light that each of us has held fast in our hearts – tending it the best we could – especially in this last year.
It is dedicated to those of us who have lost the trail of light, over these last years, living in a world that has not honored it, supported it, or even seen it.
The dictionary definition of light (noun) is: “Something that makes vision possible”.
The intransitive verb definition is: “To become light: to brighten.”
The etymology of the word comes from liehtan (West Saxon): “To ignite, set on fire,” also in a spiritual sense, “To illuminate, fill with brightness.”
The invitation inside Amanda Gorman’s poem is for each of us to continue illuminating our own pathway, and the pathway of others, by our sheer willingness to shine.
So, sisters, after all we have been through, how do we answer Amanda’s call to be “brave enough to be” this luminating force?
The experience of light inside the body is a consequence of being connected to one’s divinity.
And being connected to that hopeful, prayerful place has been so challenging in 2020.
Seeing light is a practice. Being light is a spiritual practice.
Embodying light is not an intellectual occurrence. It is not something someone else can give you. It is a bodily experience that – for a woman – is activated when she is turned on.
Turn-on happens when she takes pleasure from her own body, which is an experience that women have been taught to avoid for the last 5,000 years. We’ve been held hostage by a patriarchal culture that devalues turn-on and uses women’s erotic brilliance in service to the masculine. Yet the erotic is where a woman’s confidence lives, where her power is sourced, where she connects to her deepest feelings, longings, and sense of aliveness.
Every course we teach at the School of Womanly Arts is carefully designed to turn a woman on, and to make her experience of turn-on sustainable. We teach her how to source and embody her light long-term, so she can shed that radiance on others.
Light inside a female body is hard to describe. Like all things feminine, it largely defies language. It is an experience, a feeling, that comes from being taken inside the mystery of life itself.
But perhaps I can give you an experience of it right now.
First, stand still. Take a breath. Find your center.
Now read carefully as I shower you with words. Let them hit you like raindrops. Let them transport you the way the slant of a sunbeam sometimes can. Here they are:
Swooning from self-acceptance, self-love, self-celebration.
You are a line of perfect poetry.
There is beauty everywhere in you.
You are magic.
No right, no wrong, no shame.
The unbearable, magnificent, fleeting gift of this moment.
Ecstasy for no reason.
The sparkling collision of death, of life, of rebirth.
Owning your light is having all of these feelings. About yourself.
There is no right or wrong sunset; each is just a different experience of overwhelming, drop-to-your-knees beauty. Every single night. Light is unique to you; it is the feeling of the Goddess in your body.
Do not fear if these paltry words fail to open the portal and take you there. Your light lives in you, whether you feel it right now or not.
Turning on your light is the space where you choose to know the perfection of your being – that it’s a privilege to be a woman, to be alive, to be given the gift of feeling pleasure with your body.
In order to feel it, you have to be willing to turn on. And most of us have been taught to run from the feeling of turn-on as if it were the devil. So many have had that connection broken – as I did – by abuse or violence. Others lose their turn-on to self-doubt, devastation, aging, hurt, disappointment, or humiliation. Whatever the reason, many of us stopped looking for the light switch a long time ago.
You have to be brave to connect to your divinity in a world that excludes the feminine.
But, notice this – the door is held open for us now, as never before. We each have an even greater opportunity to power up and shine. Amanda Gorman has opened the portal wider than it was. Wide enough to step through.
We owe it to her – to all the girls of today, and the women of tomorrow – the courage to shine our light so bright, right now.
Now is the moment, this is the time. Shine on, sisters!
With so much love and pleasure,
Regena is a feminist icon, a teacher, a speaker, a mother, a best-selling author, and creatrix and CEO of The School of Womanly Arts.