We are all so sacred.
Sometimes we know that, sometimes we forget.
Know what I mean?
We just forget.
For long stretches.
Can even be for thousands of years, sometimes.
I was on the subway, last week, and it was packed.
Those of us city dwellers know this moment: the subway has been delayed. It pulls into the ridiculously crowded platform. We all know not all of us are getting on that thing. But I am with Maggie, who is driven to get home. She shoulders in and I follow. A red-haired woman follows me. It’s iffy. She is teetering on the edge of being all the way inside the car. She presses gently into the crowd to gain an inch but meets resistance. So she steps out of the car!
Immediately her scant spot is taken. By a man — easily 50 pounds heavier and 5 inches taller. But he claims his space. He doesn’t ask the crowded train, his body language announces to the crowded train: “I am on board.” We pull out of the station, leaving the redhead on the platform, waiting for the next one.
“He was holier than thou,” I think to myself, as she recedes.
That spot was hers. She had it.
She just did not know. He had all the ‘certainty’ cards in the deck.
She did not know she was queen.
Why? Women are scared. Scared of others’ disapproval. Scared we won’t fit in. Scared there won’t be a spot for us. Scared of making waves. Scared of being seen as selfish. Scared of being in the way or doing it wrong.
Yesterday, as spring began to catch fire, I was riding my bike through Central Park.
I was feeling pretty friggin’ hot and holy because I had just had a fun flirt with my periodontist. Damn he is hot. (Flirtation pops a woman right back into her sacred.) Signs of spring were showing themselves off — the first daffodils; purple, white, and yellow crocuses; tiny buds budding everywhere. I was alone, and as I rounded the hill by the Harlem Meer, I nearly crashed into a large Hawk standing in the middle of the road.
Hawk was unflappable.
She just stared at me, kind of obstinately. She knew there was no way I was going to f*** with her. She knew she was in charge. I squealed to a halt, at her feet. We regarded one another. She took my breath away. I was so fan-girl excited to see her and so overwhelmed that I just stared, probs hyperventilating a little.
A young couple from Italy biked up next to us, and took out a huge camera and started clicking, laughing delightedly in Italian. Hawk had enough and decided to take off. She flew right in front of my bike, so I got windswept by her passing, and picked a nearby tree where she settled, facing away from me. I watched her closely.
She swiveled her head around, yup, an even 180, and she regarded me further.
I knew I was in the presence of that which is greater — God, the Divine, Holy, whatever name you prefer.
And actually, I have to restructure that sentence: I was present to that which is greater.
Because I was present to my own holy, my own sacred — I saw her. And in so doing, saw myself.
And she also saw me seeing her, and was unafraid. The connection that always exists between birds and people and trees and daffodils was felt in real time by all of us.
The joy I felt in that moment was like ecstatic sunshine inside of me.
I felt so blessed. Like I was exactly in the right place at the right time. That yes, it is true, miracles happen every moment — if we pay attention.
And when a Hawk drops by, I take notice.
Hawks are raptors, birds of prey.
I learned that the word raptor is from the Latin, rapere, which means “to seize or capture.” Their eyesight is 8-10 times more powerful than human eyesight. They can rotate their heads 270 degrees. They can dive 150 miles an hour and catch their prey in flight or on the ground, meaning they can even eat other birds, like pigeons or gulls. They are one of the most intelligent, innovative, awe-inspiring birds. In many cultures, the hawk represents a call to view situations from a higher perspective. She is considered the messenger of the spirit world, encouraging us to see clearly and connect more deeply with our sacred awareness and intuition. She wants us to know that we can spiritually fly, and reach the skies, effortlessly. She is magnificent.
Here’s where I went with all this.
Women are like raptors. Raptors are like women.
We see things from a higher perspective. We have sacred impeccable intuition. We just know.
But we don’t always behave that way.
Living so long in a patriarchal world culture, we have forgotten ourselves.
We are taught to disconnect from our power, our intuition, our ability to hunt, seize, lay claim, take what’s ours. Outstretch our full wingspan.
We are birds of prey who sometimes behave like timid starlings.
That red-haired woman on the subway had no idea she was a majestic raptor. She thought she had no right to that spot on the train. Women are taught to back away when we meet resistance. Taught to defer, deflect, demure. Who and what does that serve, sisters?
This is the age, the time, the moment to lay claim to all you are, all you possess, all you have to contribute.
To step on in and take that spot on the train. To make yourself heard. To grab what’s yours. To disrupt expectations with your unique extraordinary perspective that sees and knows what she wants and needs.
To capture what you require.
And that’s what happens when the holy is alive in a woman. Her scared becomes sacred. She remembers she’s a raptor.
Regena Thomashauer, aka “Mama Gena”
The School of Womanly Arts
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.