Friday, July 13, 2007

Notes on Eros and Power

Until now I have resisted learning about radical feminist theory in-depth. Perhaps it was my preoccupation with postcolonial subjectivity; now I have been invited to widen the fences yet again and see what lies within and beyond. As with my previous experience of how knowledge is constructed for me, my intuition is always my first teacher. My feelings, desires, dreams -- seem to lead me and then one by one they come -- books, music, poetry, friends, places, childhood memories, even Death -- as if summoned by something yet unnamed until that moment of recognition: EROS!

The feminist Eros encompasses the "life force," the unique human energy which springs from the desire for existence with meaning, for a consciousness informed by feeling, for experience that integrates the sensual and the rational, the spiritual and the political. Eros is both love and power. This is Adrienne Rich's "thinking through the body" and Audre Lorde's suggestion that women learn to trust and act upon the "erotic...an assertion of the life force of women which can infuse their lives with a creative energy. For Lorde, the erotic is the sensual bridge which connects physical, emotional, and psychic expression of what is deepest and strongest and riches within each of us, being shared: the passions of love, in its deepest meanings." (Trask, 94).

When I first wrote about how I came to recognize the primal wound in my father as a colonized subject and how I saw glimpses of his wholeness, I didn't know that he was going to die on me before I could speak to him about this. This is my grief that I wake up to each morning since his death a month ago. Slowly, I feel the recovery from anger, fear and shame about this wound and now comes the awakening of a deeper kind of grace and love. And I find that it is my Mother's love that I reach out for. Eros.

You have responded with your own stories of recognition. We call her "babaylan." You told me that my story about my father made you understand your own father's "fixity." You told me that you were moved to do a healing ritual on your Mom and Dad so that their woundedness and yours can be healed. You told me that you met someone who must have had a "sacred contract" with you to deepen your connection with eros. You told me that you are still in search of healing from the sexual trauma of your childhood. You told me that you wish for Filipino indigenous rituals that we can do together so that we can return to our bodies. What is the equivalent of Native sweat lodges in Filipino culture? you ask me.

You told me that this summer you were visited by a koan that challenges your stubborn mind to empty itself. You told me that I should expect to feel differently about my body and my emotions - to notice the expansiveness, the tenderness, the fragile strength, the openness to receive and give Love. You told me to notice the falseness of historically and politically constructed boundaries intended to keep the sexual understructure of patriarchy and capitalism in place. You told me that Eros is a threat to these narratives.

What a mouthful, my old self sighs. Sigh.

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