The old, masculine definition of fierceness has to do with “ferocity, severity, violence, strength, power, savageness, viciousness.” These are some of the synonyms for fierceness that come up in the Thesaurus. But there is a new definition arising among some women I know, having to do with standing up for ourselves, protecting ourselves, being loyal to ourselves, to our intuitive wisdom, to what we love, to what we know is right for ourselves – no matter what others may say or think. This is so important, and I feel it must be grounded in another kind of fierceness.
This aspect of fierceness is the courage to face the inner truth, to be with whatever is arising within, and ultimately to express and share the truth we have found by doing so. With this fierce inner courage, we know who we are without illusions, and so can trust and stand up for ourselves, our truths.
Developing inner fierceness has been a big part of my inner journey. Looking back, I see three main ways that helped me develop this kind of fierceness.
I learned to listen to what characters from my dreams or inner visions have to tell me when I write dialogs with them, even when they are cussing me out, or telling me things that go against my beliefs or intentions.
For example, here is the beginning of a Dialog with the Basilisk of Inertia:
“Hello, Basilisk, I see you lurking there. You are always undermining me, telling me that whatever I want to do will not succeed. You seem to want to only sit still, never move, and lash out with your nasty tongue at any creative impulse, branding it unoriginal, boring, worthless. What is your problem? What are you doing lurking down there in the darkness?”
BASILISK: “Narrrggghhh! Nyet! No! I hate moving. One move and it all changes. Never a moment’s rest. Go, go, go. THAT is the problem. Nothing is ever good enough. Always got to get more, do more, see more, learn more, grow more, create more, be more, be better, be stronger, be more spiritual. Yauuurrrgghh! Disgusting! I hate it. I hate the light that makes you see there is somewhere to go. Here in the darkness, I can’t see anything so I can’t move. Peaceful. Quiet. Aaaahhh!”
From this dialog and other inner work with the Basilisk, I learned to pace myself, and the Basilisk stopped hindering me from my creative work. (More about that process here.)
Through various forms of therapy and meditation, I learned to sit and be with whatever feelings, thoughts, images or desires are arising, and inquire into them, rather than identifying with and indulging in them. For example, the Focusing approach to therapy taught me how to attend to whatever murky feelings or sensations were lurking in my core, without judging or resisting them, but instead to inquire into what message they are trying to tell me. Once I get the message, I experience a shift, a relaxation of my whole system, because I have faced and listened to my inner truth.
My training in sandplay therapy and expressive arts therapy taught me to allow myself to create whatever is arising, whether it is ugly and mean and horrible, or beautiful and inspiring, or mysterious and unexplainable. This is not easy. I have to allow myself to ignore or break all the “rules” in my head, such as “those two things don’t go together,” or “that subject is taboo.” From practicing expressive arts for nearly 20 years, I am learning ever more to let go of control and trust my inner being, my intuition, my right-brain self, and let her express her knowings in her own way.
Trusting my inner process, being brave enough to face whatever arises from deep within, this I call inner fierceness. It is what allowed me to write a quite fierce story – a story of both that old, savage fierceness, and of the inner fierceness to endure and heal from that old kind of fierce brutality. If I had not developed inner fierceness, I would never have been brave enough to write my fantasy trilogy, The Star-Seer’s Prophecy, or to get the first book, Dark Innocence, published.
This path of developing inner fierceness has led me always closer to my true self, and that is what brings me joy. Here are some questions and resources for developing more inner fierceness of your own. I’d love to hear your responses to this post or to these questions.
- When you think of inner fierceness, what do you feel?
- What does it mean to you?
- How have you developed inner fierceness?
- How has doing so affected your life?
Art for Awakening: Gems from My Journey on www.soulplay.com by Rahima Warren
The Jungian-Senoi Dreamwork Manual, or Dreamworking by Strephon Kaplan Williams
Focusing by Eugene Gendlin
The Creative Connection by Natalie Rogers
Painting from the Wild Heart Workshops & Retreats Chris Zydel www.creativejuicesarts.com