What's Missing by Katherine Baynton
The civilization we were born into and the philosophies we were taught to live by are all created constructs descending from patriarchy and the Holy Roman Empire. They are, therefore, not good models for women to fit into, even though we have tried hard to do so. Our society is now governed by corporate America in a manner that goes against our very nature. It pushes us to perform, produce, achieve, put out, keep going and keep doing. Anything that hinders production or achieving is ignored or dismissed, and hidden out of sight. We are bombarded and hypnotized by distractions conjured by professionals to manipulate our needs and desires. Then we are offered solutions by the manipulators; all we have to do is just give them our last twenty-nine ninety-five. But the solutions are designed to be temporary so that, once again, we will need to turn to them for our next fix.
Examples are everywhere plain to see in the ordinary arenas of life. Corporations push denatured food from plants grown in tired soil, from Frankenstein seeds that produce no offspring—plants laced with chemicals and zapped by radiation. Undernourished, and trying to keep up with the demands of this modern life, we self-medicate: coffee to get us going, alcohol to help us relax, and chocolate to mimic the embrace of love. If these simple drugs don’t work, prescription drugs are made available, manufactured by the same companies that created the need for them.
Although modern life affects everyone, it’s a patriarchy—and as women, we are hurt much more. We are kept in the shadows of ourselves. We are forced to move at a pace that’s against our nature, to use the tunnel vision of linear thinking and to live a dry life, not unlike a once-wild horse, now harnessed to a heavy wagon, forced to move forward by the sting of the reins while wearing side-blinders.
This once-upon-a time strong, soulful, wild creature, who ran self-directed, proud and free, is now reduced to obeying the whims of someone else, someone who taps her energy and keeps her from full knowledge of herself because he wants her power.
Somewhere dormant, deep within her—maybe manifesting in dreams—lies the truth of her full potential, but as it is, the harnessed life is all she knows. Maybe, too, she is restless and disturbed, her wild nature like a thorn under the saddle, nagging at her for attention. Should she be medicated to conform and fit in? Or is it in the undefined genius of her restlessness that her freedom and her birthright lie?
Is there a thorn of restlessness in you as you go about your daily life? Do you long and yearn for something more, but can’t find the words to describe what it is? Do you ever feel like you are on the verge of remembering something?
What has been hidden from us and muted is the mystery of who we really are, and the empowerment that belongs to each of us through it.
Fairy tales, stories and myths about this have been told through the ages: they can awaken us to our inner worlds and deeper realities. Many of them share how women have been separated from themselves, put to sleep or kept prisoner. As children, we liked the “happily-ever-after” endings, but as grown ups we unhappily tell ourselves that was just a fairy tale, not the real world, and forget about them. Some though, like Clarissa Pinkola Estes, who wrote Women Who Run With the Wolves, use stories as medicine.
To become whole and fully empowered, we women need to awaken to who we really are. Like Dorothy in OZ, we also hold the answer: we each have the ruby slippers, the power within ourselves—not to go home to Kansas, but to come home to ourselves, to dance to our sacred rhythms, to tap into the healing that’s there, and to teach it to our daughters.
Katherine Baynton currently attends college and lives in Eugene, Oregon, with her daughter, Shawna.