Joy in the Healing Process An Interview with Marion Woodman, by Kris Steinnes
I spoke with Marion Woodman just as she had just returned from a long walk with her husband and she realized the possibility of death has moved her into life in a profound way. She spoke of this paradox as she found the beauty as she went outside – the cherry blossom tree in front of her house and the apple blossoms in her back yard were in full bloom, filled her with tears at the beauty and awe at the cycle they’re going through, eventually bearing fruit.
“Such a harmonic to live in, this all has its own particular rhythm, and we have our own particular rhythm and to bring those together, and take the time to see these trees in blossom. Knowing this isn’t going to go on forever, and the sheer miracle fills me with delight and awe.”
I asked her when one is going through the pain, such as she just experienced, how can you find joy in the healing process?
“I think for me I had to turn in, become deeply introverted, recognize where I am, and at the same time recognize how dearly I love my friends and family, so there’s a terrific wrench between staying and leaving.”
Marion, a Jungian psychologist, views life through her Jungian material, and she knows every situation brings through the opposites. She realizes the way she has loved nature, friends and family has given her a foothold that allows her to look at that beauty, knowing that it’s not going to be there always, so she can move into the positive side, as well as the negative side, both together. She says you have to embrace the negative too. You have to be able to recognize the truth and recognize whether you really do believe you’re moving onto a new dimension of life.
“For me I believe there is another dimension and I just won’t be in a dark casket in a dark hole, and it’s that sense that there is another life on the other side. I have a feeling that I have come from another life into this life, and now will be moving on into another dimension.”
When Marion first realized how ill she was, she felt defeated, frightened, and sad beyond words, because she could not quite locate herself in the positive side. She hadn’t gotten a hold of the possibility yet that she really believed in eternal life. As the weeks went on she had a strong sense that yes, there is another life on the other side.
And that’s the mystery.
In Marion’s life she has had many experiences through music, nature – the sheer glory of nature – and through people that she profoundly loved and they have loved her, where there is that mystery that elevates the life. That two beautiful cherry trees in bloom, would be outside her window when she and I talked is a mystery. She feels that she is part of that mystery. That cherry tree will go into a different phase tomorrow, change to deep red leaves and eventually there’ll be cherries on that tree, and that is such a privilege to watch and participate in.
I responded how that’s like a child being in wonder at seeing things for the first time. She feels we all have that. The beauty, glory and excitement, the mystery – children get it. Then the shades come down at some point and that sheer excitement of that spiritual dimension is lost. It’s possible to re-experience it with our children and grandchildren, if we listen and walk with them. Marion has experienced that through working with many adults, that they have a knowing there is another dimension at work and will go on working after the breathing of this life stops.
How can she be so sure? Her answer simply is – “there is an eternal presence that floods our life, while we are on this earth if we give it a chance to speak to us. Most of us are running around trying to make this life work and we don’t take the time to feel in our body. Our culture has become a heady culture; it doesn’t have time for the body to just tremble with the glorious beholding.” The body is speaking to us and she feels it is extremely important to keep quiet and let it speak.
She states to just allow the experience to come into your body, so that you feel a shiver of a divine dimension. There is a shimmer that accompanies this – if you are in harmony with that cherry tree, or a person that you really like and your souls recognize each other in one glance. She’s aware there are people who have the same sense of the other dimension and can recognize it, and others think you’re crazy!
“There is a dimension that makes this world and life a miracle!” You just know that that’s there between you, just as when she’s planting her garden. If she’s doing it with the love that is coming through her hands, it’s going to be a different garden than if she hires someone who doesn’t care much about tulips. There’s a harmonic that goes on with nature and human beings, and it’s very healing. It’s Mother Earth, and it brings out Mother Earth in your body and that whole feminine dimension of being home – your body as home, the garden as home, the tree as home, it’s not crazy. We live in this body for however long, and if we don’t sense it as home, it won’t respond the same way as when we accept it.
Our body that is being lived in will carry various tensions and various sounds, and its vitality – vital meaning life –is powerful even if it’s an old person, you can feel the vitality that has kept them on the earth this long.
You can inherit this as well, if you’re brought up where the garden is important, and has been home for you. You are at home in Mother Earth and that vitality, there is life in there, there is life in the earth – leaves and flowers. Living as we do in our cities – we walk on cement, drive on cement – we are cut off from the vitality of the soil. Marion says this is the loss of the feminine in our culture; she’s talking about the fundamental loss of the feminine, the rhythmic heartbeat of the earth, the vitality of the soil.
“Nature is to be lived in, cherished, there’s the feminine.” What happens to the body when it lives in a foreign environment, living on cement? The body needs to go back to the earth, the garden, and feel the vitality that is in the soil. If you’ve experience this, or the loss of it, you know that it is true, even if you have a small garden.
This article was first published in Aspire Magazine at
www.aspiremag.net in June, 2010.
Kris Steinnes, spiritual leader, meditation teacher, and author, is the visionary founder of Women of Wisdom Foundation and for 19 years has produced a life changing, empowering conference for women in Seattle. She is the author of the Amazon best-seller, award winning book: Women of Wisdom, Empowering the Dreams and Spirit of Women. Kris is the host of Voices of Women on www.transformationtalkradio.com every Friday at