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  • Writer's pictureBari Shamas

Coconut Ritual at the River

Bear Witness Story Time


 

Bear Witness story time…

Last week I stumbled upon the movie The Tale, a memoir by Jennifer Fox, who is in looking back in time to her first sexual encounter. The movies is about a whole lot of questions arising. It was the first movie, I have ever seen, which in anyway approximated my first sexual encounter. Seeing it got me looking at my experience, which raised questions for me.

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A few days after contemplating the questions, like - was it rape, how did the 1970’s influence me, do I feel shame, guilt, what were the differences between mine and Jennifer Fox’s experiences, I was gifted with a beautiful coaching session with Harmony Scott.

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One of the great benefits of having trained in Sex, Love and Relationship Coaching, with a group of 160 badass women, is I have sisters, with amazing skills to work with me.

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Lo and behold, during our session, shame and guilt, that I did not know I had, became clear. Not only that, I knew exactly where it was living, because that spot, my left ovary, which had been calling for attention for several years, was calling again.

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Harmony asked what I could do for myself to support me in this new understanding that I was not guilty. That what I felt - was ok. That creativity lives inside that place, my left ovary, and it wants to be uncovered, unbound, released. As Harmony asked what can I do next, I heard, very clearly, “do a ritual of throwing a coconut into the river as an offering, as release, as a metaphor for my ovary floating in the long current of life.”

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Two food stores later - I had my coconut nuzzled next to my left ovary. We drove around doing errands - listening to Harry Nilsson sing one of my all time favorite songs, Coconut. In the evening, my trusty companion Madison and I drove down to the Connecticut river. We picked a secluded spot, down the bank for my ritual. Down at the water’s edge I gathered ground and connection on some rocks.

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Finding stillness and beauty to down river, up river, across river. I adorned the coconut with lavender essential oil. Sat it in a nook. I smoked some herb and graced the coconut with the smoke from the herb. I admired its balance as it sat in the nook. I held the coconut and marveled at its hairs. Felt them in my hands, as they grazed my palm, I found gratitude in feeling the sensuality of the moment. I smelt the lavender at one side of the coconut and the earthen smell at the other end.

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I considered, how can I document this? With my trusty phone of course. I enjoyed photographing this newly acquired object that reflected an ancient wound of guilt and shame. For sex. Held in my ovary. This hairy, object with a face and a little tongue that poked out, mocking and teasing me. Even though I was clear that I would toss this coconut into the river, there was hesitation at the thought of letting it go.

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Yet, that is what I came to the river’s edge to do. I needed to release that coconut - into the river. Let that river carry away the guilt and shame. The long felt pain, in my side.

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I held the coconut in my left hand. I wanted to video the tossing, so that took a little practice. How to toss. Practice, try and try again. When I felt ready I released the coconut into the river. It floated away. Fast and steady. Down the river it went.

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The pain in my left ovary. That has gone too. I don’t know if it will return. For now it is gone. If it returns I will have this ritual experience to relive, as a reminder that holding, releasing, gratitude, presence, and sensuality will offer relief.

Shared with love, 

Bari

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