The healing work of Chancy Deanna, one of my former students who has dedicated her life to enabling women to awaken their feminine consciousness (see, www.chancydeanna.com) reinforces my awareness of the sacredness of women and their vast role in transforming a society. I first met Chancy, now a Shamanic energy healer and women’s empowerment coach, in 2006 when she participated in the intensive six-week college-level study abroad summer program on “African Spirituality in the Caribbean” that I had co-organized and co-directed, and which involved site-based learning experiences in Jamaica and Belize.
It is her passionate devotion to womb-healing and her extensive training over the years that has kept me intrigued. As Chancy explains it, the womb holds energetic memories from emotional and physical wounding of the past, including stored energies from ancestral or cultural patterning. All this can greatly limit the life of a woman. The process of women’s empowerment, therefore, involves clearing out those deeply buried layers of feelings and stories that are withholding women’s intuitive wisdom, and creation center from blossoming to its fullest potential.
When a woman has experienced wounding from relationships, sexual experiences, abortion, rape, or miscarriage, the creative life force of the sacred womb is violated. Not to mention the religiously validated oppressive culture of male dominance and the social conditioning which has taught women to judge their physical appearance in relation to European standards and hate their natural selves. The result of all this is confusion, shame and sadness, which suppresses a woman from acknowledging, embracing and expressing the tremendous power that she has within.
Blockages in women’s energies from past pains also greatly restrict their ability to deeply give and receive love, and experience peace and happiness. Quite often a lot of this pain can originate from childhood, passed on from the pain of their parents or ancestors and accumulates over time. Unresolved, these blockages could also affect the quality of a woman’s relationships with her children, spouse, family members and others. Behavioral manifestations can be anger, depression, apathy, greed, hatred, irritability and resulting physical illnesses. If this dynamic is not understood, the cycle can be repeated to result in more suffering for self and others. Consequently, when a person is too damaged, they cannot realize their spiritual potential; first, they need to be healed.
Womb healing is especially potent for healing blockages from the root, for clearing one’s personal and ancestral karma, and for rebuilding trust and loving relationships with self and others.
For better or worse, the physical, psychic, intellectual and emotional quality of a women’s life, therefore, will impact that of her children and future generations. Hence, women (or womb-man as Belizean author Olatunji Balogun aptly refers) must always be respected, and protected from all forms of abuse and violence.
In Belize, one of the most destructive forces that has contributed to the deep emotional wounds of women and their families stems from the high incidence and increasing abuse of alcohol, especially among men. Within many homes, mothers and children often quietly bear deep pains of abuse and violence by drunk fathers, husbands, sons or other relatives. Drinking by parents and other family members have also resulted in the neglect as well as physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children. The resulting broken relationships from alcohol have often left mothers the burden of individually salvaging their families.
There are also financial costs, including the loss of hard earned wages that is spent on drinking, which deny impoverished families the ability to purchase basic family necessities such as food and school supplies for the children. In several communities, the gloomy sense of apathy and hopelessness have turned many to drinking in rum shops and bars that continue to economically prosper from the emotional misery of the populace.
An increasing number of families still bear the pains from the loss of loved ones whose lives were cut short by reckless drunk driving. Violence, such as chopping and shooting deaths that have resulted from drunken quarrels have painfully wrecked families in several Belizean communities, in many cases leaving mothers and children economically devastated by the loss of their sole breadwinner.
Not surprisingly, drinkers themselves are often the first to stubbornly resist change and argue against the effects of their habit on others because they themselves either do not perceive the effects or live in denial. Such denial blocks healing and transformation for themselves and for the benefit of their families.
Despite all these painful impacts, Belize continues to be a heavy drinking nation with an increasing number of Belizean youths including young women starting to drink at an earlier age. There are major media houses that seem to have largely remained insensitive to these realities, as they prioritize money over the well-being of the nation in their aggressive marketing of alcohol consumption.
Ironically, as more women and their families suffer the devastating impacts from alcohol abuse, the beauty and attractiveness of women’s bodies, with all its curves and edges, as naked as possible, are objectified and exploited as a marketing tool to entice men to purchase and consume more alcohol. The marketing psychology is simple: connect the sensual pleasure of men’s visual attraction to women’s bodies to alcohol. The assumption: some women will expose their bodies for their self-affirmation and this will encourage more men to drink. The objective: increased alcohol sales and more money. “Hamodilihayoun ma” (see how they model), the late Andy Palacio gleefully sang.
In the end, who gets richer? Who gets poorer? For those who benefit, nothing else matters. Not the medical costs from the health impacts from alcoholism; not the psychological, emotional and social costs to Belizean women, children, families and communities; neither the loss of productivity at work from the after-effects of alcohol abuse. Unfortunately, women’s organizations in Belize have remained silently compliant to this.
If women really want to flaunt their bodies for advertisement, there are many positive initiatives to pursue instead of desacralizing their bodies for products that have proven to be potentially destructive. For example, they could promote healthy lifestyles through the use of whole, non-processed foods and regular exercise. Or why not promote the importance of keeping Belize’s rivers, forests and reefs healthy and free from pollution or from such destructive impacts as the dangerous levels of mercury now present in the Macal River from the Chalillo dam.
Women could also model how beauty could be maintained naturally when there is respect for all women, or how life could be healthfully enjoyed without the abuse of alcohol or other drugs. Women could also model how beautiful the body and emotions can be for themselves, their children and the society when there is love and no violence. Modeling can also be done amidst young black males, to appeal against police brutality and social neglect and to show that “our men really matter to us.” Young black males could be encouraged to value the life of men and women.
Promoting the same products that in the end destroy the body and soul of others and internalized in the womb makes absolutely no sense.
As Lewellyn Vaughan-Lee’s wisely reminds: “Women carry the sacred substance of life in their spiritual centers and understand how to give this quality of light to life. In their ability to give birth, women have the natural capacity to bring the light of a soul into the physical world of matter and thus awaken the spiritual potential of matter.”
“Women also understand the connections between people and the connections within life; at this time women are needed to bring a seed of pure light into life where it can create new forms and new patterns of interrelationship that are essential to the healing and transformation of life.”
If Belizean women are to continue to play a vital role in transforming our society, they must also re-awaken those qualities. The wounds that they have endured from past wrongs and the blockages that restrict many from loving deeply and living in peace and happiness must be healed. An important step in this direction must be to refrain from promoting and participating in lifestyles that will result in further pain and destruction to self, family, and community.