K C Bhanumathy

Bhanumathy Vasudevan

Sacred Cave for Women

An experiential tool

To step on to: your courage, faith in yourself and your own self- authority work on the voice of the internalized misogyny : your internal oppressor- judge:
(time required 2 -3 hours)

Before you start, gather a sangha of likeminded women at least 4 of them or minimum 2 to do this work with you.

Step 1-Prior reading and discussion:

From website:  www.kcbhanumathy.com  – under teaching – comprehending roots of internalised misogyny. (Please note the backdrop is women at large and not just you alone). Some may apply to you too. 

Prior to the start of activity, read together or alone and share your understanding. Keep your mind open. Share with each other what stands up for you from the reading about your own life?

Step 2-

  • Sit in pairs and share with each other 2 instances in your life where you wanted to take a leap/move forward and you somehow couldn’t do it. Share a specific thing in your life you want to move forward and the internal judge/oppressor voices did not encourage/allow you.
  • Also share: Think of instances where you strongly felt the influence of internal judge giving you- should, must, dos, don’ts, rules and the chatter discouraging you to keep following the statuesque and not to change. What does it keep communicating to you? What are the ‘should’ and ‘must’ it keeps giving you? What methods the voice uses to influence and convince you?

Step 3 to step 6, both partners or the group do silently and individually

Step 3: this step is done alone in silence – (important that you don’t distract yourself)

Now put on a soothing instrumental music or drum – for a backdrop and ambience for your inner work. Seat yourself comfortably for next 20 mts.

Step 4: Keep A3 sheet or ¼th of chart paper white and wax crayons, sketch pens, punching machine if available, an elastic thread and please keep some props- paper ribbons, thin sticks, big beads (if available, balloons, whatever you can gather intuitively).

Step 5: sit in a comfortable position or lie down and close your eyes. Just observe your breath with gratitude and love, without changing or controlling your breath. Your life long friend, always caring for you, connecting you, cleansing you, vitalising your life force and always there for you – your true witness and dear friend like none other.

Now gradually turn your attention to your internal judge/oppressor/chatter and visualise the features, face, overall shape, is it human or animal or a mix, the colour of the features/face- nose mouth, hair, teeth, etc. Pay attention to each of the details as if you are standing facing this ‘being’ and seeing him/her/being outside of you. When you sense you have an idea of how this being looks, slowly come up and sit with yourself in silence. Wait for others to complete in silence.

Step 6: Take the chart paper and drawing & colouring materials and draw/create a large enough face of your internal judge/oppressor/chatter. You don’t have to be an artist for this and this has to make sense only to you.  Give it all you can. Run with your spontaneity in creating this fully get into it with all your masti( fun). As you work on it, you will get ideas for using the props – stick them/pin them/paste them. You need more props, get them. Once you are satisfied you have got the true image of your judge, make it into a mask- give slits for eyes. Make holes on right and left and attach an elastic to it so that it becomes a mask.

Until now all are working individually.  

Step 7: Now choose the same partner to do this work and sit with her. Share with her about your internal judge/oppressor and your process of drawing out the mask of your internal oppressor.

Also decide who will go first for the activity and who will go next.

Share with her a recent incident/event/a yearning/desire/ that you very much wanted to go ahead and do and how the internal chatter stopped you.

Share the typical ways this ‘being’ stops/constrains you from moving ahead and the ways it convinces you to retreat. Partner listens very carefully because you need to know this for your task with your friend.

Step 8: You and your partner stand up facing each other.

The task of the person doing the work: Handover your mask to your partner. She/he is now out of you and you can see her/him.

 Partner now wears it and you are meeting your judge/oppressor outside of you. Your task is to convince the judge/oppressor – ‘you have served your purpose when I was young keeping me safe. Now I don’t need you in my life because you have become too big for your boots and constraining and oppressing me and my yearnings, advancements, my potential and brilliance, etc. your chatter has become so automatic and nonstop that I am not even able to listen to my guiding loving inner voice.

You are not to give up at any time during the discussions, however persuasive the judge is. Use all understanding and arguments how you don’t need the being in your life anymore. Your purpose of the discussion is to make sure the internal judge is out of your life. When you feel no arguments/facts is making any sense to the judge/oppressor, you decide the moment what you want to do with the mask of the oppressor, (carried by your partner). You are the boss and feel free to do it. And do take time to convince, argue, fight however much time it takes.

Take time and go through the process of dialogue and finally take the call and do what you want to do with the mask and the masked person. (Do no harm to each other) Feel free to do it.

The task of the person wearing the mask for the partner:

You have now understood about your partner’s internal judge/oppressor – its voice phrases and language, the ways of convincing and enticing, etc. Your job is to wear the mask of her judge and be that.  Your task is to convince her what a good job as the oppressor you are doing for her, how you care for her and want to protect her etc. never give up. This judge is centuries old and is very shrewd. You be the voice of ‘being’. Use all methods ( sama, dhana, bedha and dhanda) to stay put and use combination of threats, love, ridicule, criticism, sympathy, seduction, etc to stay put in her life. Finally, she has all the power and strength to do what she wants to do with you.

Most important task of both partners

Through the long exchange, she refuses to give into the voice of oppressor and stating her resolve to get her out giving reasons. The exchange continues until she finally decides and take agency to say ‘I JUST DON’T NEED YOU IN IN MY LIFE SITTING INSIDE ME. Your work is finished. Just get out.’ (she may catch hold of her mask and tear in to pieces or do something else)

Step 9: the one who worked to get the oppressor out of her writes ‘notes to herself’ – just spontaneous writing- letting the heart flow through the hands for 5-10 mts in silence.

The partner also does spontaneous writing of her experience of being the judge/oppressor for her partner and her insights

Then sit with your partner, thank her and share with her how you are feeling now?

Step 10: reverse roles and the other partner does her work similarly

Step11: once both of you have finished doing your work, either tear mask to unrecognizable pieces, or do a small fire and give to it, all the time with gratitude.

You can put a drum music with wild beats and dance around it.

Step 12: Lie down comfortably in shavasana or sit in a comfortable posture, close your eyes; just watch your breath as it is; not changing, not controlling, just as it is, watching with gratitude and love.

Step 13: 

Gradually shift your attention to your heart centre and invite your ‘inner friend’– your own brilliance- who just loves you without judgement or criticism, and speaks to you when you are very quiet and when you sincerely invite her. Inform her that you need her most now and all the intuitive all-knowing guiding voice that comes up when you are still. Give her a name and hold her in your heart. Her voice is life giving and accepting.

Note: For women facilitating women’s leadership/ women’s work and for self-learning. Master classes can be offered when you gather a group of 8+ women in person. For more information: connect@kcbhanumathy.com

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