[Interview] Miriam Ropschitz: Coming home to feminine essence

Mai 15, 2018

When I met Miriam Ropschitz in Thailand in the beginning of this year, from the very first moment I was fascinated by how she embodied both strength and grace. I hardly ever met a woman who seemed to rest in herself completely and at the same time radiated such a vibrant feminine power. But as for many women, in her life too there was a time of disconnection from the body and a deep yearning for living in alignment with feminine essence.

Miriam, please tell us about your personal transformation from exhaustion and struggle to loving selfcare and deep respect for yourself and your body!

Like all transformations, mine grew out of a dark place. I was 25 and living in Brighton. My father had recently passed away unexpectedly. I was working nine-to-five as a magazine editor in a company staffed by unhappy people, and I was miserable.

My escape from this was partying. Hard. My body was exhausted, desensitised and inflamed by food allergies I didn’t know I had. My intimate relationships were strained. My family line had much unresolved ancestral trauma and it was bubbling up through me. My menstruation was characterised by agonising pain and emotional instability. My mental health was crumbling.

I felt that the life I was living was mostly one of pain and struggle. I felt distant from those in my closest circle. I felt like my sensitivity made me an alien in a place where it was cool not to give a shit. On the surface, I was beautiful, successful and healthy, but deep down, I was severely depressed. I was exhausted from the struggle of feeling different.

I made a radical decision. I left my job and everyone I knew, and moved to Thailand. I knew I needed distance between myself and the unhealthy habits I was continually stuck in: unhealthy eating, drinking, drugs, people, thoughts. Everything had to be burned to the ground.

In Thailand I took a lot of time – two years – for myself. Getting to know myself again, forgiving myself and others, letting go of judgement for my mistakes, I began living life from a deep inner-calling rather than the social conditioning of what I should do and who I should be.

I went deeper into the meditation and yoga practices I began as a teenager. I sat for extended periods in silent retreats. I drank ayahuasca. I received yoni massages from trusted space holders. I spent a month in meditation alone in the Thai jungle. I let go of the need to control everything in my life. I spent a long time in India living alone in the foothills of the Himalayas exploring yogic practices. Slowly – with love and patience – my body and mind became very clean. The habits and automatisms I had thought were me began dropping away when they were no longer required to cover my wounds. I began to listen to my body. She told me there was pain to be healed, to be loved, held and nurtured. I accepted that I was no longer able to live my life cut-off from the magic within me and I vowed to live in truth, in nature, in freedom and authenticity.

Surrounded by tropical nature with the space to follow my heart, there was time to dive into the essence of who I am. I found there were distinctly feminine parts of myself which could no longer be ignored and required gentle tending.

Surrounded by beautiful nature of Koh Phangan

Surrounded by tropical nature Miriam was diving into the essence of herself and femininity.

I realised I had been going against my nature for a very long time. I’d been ignoring messages from my body to slow down, rest and let go of unhealthy relationships and habits. I saw that I had been living from the fear of not being successful and had been pushing myself in a very forceful, masculine way, thinking this would keep me safe, when in fact it was slowly crushing my beautiful spirit. I’d masked one of my most special qualities – deep sensitivity – in an attempt to fit in, and this had cut me off from the gift of intuition.

Over the last five years, I’ve learned how to take care of myself, how to worship my body like a temple, how to touch myself and others with fine-tuned presence, to live out my days to the rhythms of my menstrual cycle, and to treat myself with respect and love so that others know how to respect and love me.

Our modern life in the West with all its linearity, achievement-orientation and daily hustle disconnects women from their cyclical and receptive nature. Still, most women try to cope with these circumstances and feel like there is something wrong with them. How can we gain trust in our feminine wisdom, intuition and power again and fall in love with our essence instead of suppressing or even fighting it?

Beautiful question. First of all to truly know our feminine wisdom, intuition and power we have to experience it. This is an initiation and comes in many forms. For many of us it comes when our bodies scream ‘no more’, by becoming mentally, spiritually and physically unwell, and our entire being rebels against being forced to exist within a structure which defies its instinctual, primal, cyclical nature.

Once we’ve experienced our feminine essence, it’s time to tell other woman about it and build community. With the support of our sisters, we can do anything. We realise that we’re not alone – that there really is magic in our bodies; that we’re not crazy for being so sensitive or feeling something is seriously off.

By creating women’s circles and women-only events we come back to the old ways of gathering and appreciating the very special medicine of Woman. Only together can we rise. Not through competing, but collaborating; honouring that we each have different skills and talents and each is deserving of celebration.

To do these things, we need to wake up. We need to recognise that the systems in place are not working in our favour and, with courage and love, we need to begin to speak up and take these systems apart, then piece them back together again in ways where connection to nature, love for each other and respect for the spirit are sought above profit and control.

I believe an established and regular practice is vital in regaining trust in our inner-magic. A practice does not have to be just one thing, it can involve both movement, stillness, ritual and celebration and be constantly evolving with us.

In your weekly ‘Yoga Moon’ workshops you teach embodiment and cycle-alignment practices that help women to connect to their body and its rhythms. Where do those practices come from, and how do they work?

 These practices are forgotten wisdom. Now they are packaged with spiritual lineages attached to them, such as Taoist, Tantric, Yogic and Mayan, yet, they are – very simply – ways of connecting to the feminine energy centres and natural cycles.
Embodiment practices encourage us to respect our mind’s wisdom, and yet to see it as limited and bring our intelligence down into the body, into the breasts, into the heart, the womb and the yoni.
The practices include conscious touch, visualisation, sound work, yoga asana, mudra, meditation and energy work.
Rituals are part of women's circles

Rituals and ceremonies are part of women’s circles.

Women change throughout the month. For menstruating women, cycle alignment practices teach us how we can attune our daily lives to our moon cycles and the varying energies they bring. Different phases of the menstrual cycle are better suited to certain activities: creation, strenuous exercise, rest, manifestation, love-making and planning – to name a few.
When we find alignment between daily life and the menstrual cycle, we have more sustained energy levels, better health, increased productivity without burning out, more satisfying intimate relationships and an overall better quality of life. We learn how to flow like the tides of the ocean, guided by the moon.

Many ancient wisdom traditions recognise the yoni and womb as a woman’s inner temple, where their power resides. Among other techniques you share is the Yoni Egg practice, which can help to heal and release tension in the yoni and to re-connect to its power. Can you tell us something about this practice?

It’s a very powerful practice of learning to become more present with our yoni and is another path of embodiment.
Many of us women are used to making love without full-presence and rushing to the finish line of a clitoral orgasm. We’re so often in the mind, when, to enjoy deep intimate connection, our presence would benefit from being in the body.
Egg practices teach us to have more consciousness inside the yoni and to be patient and kind to her. When she is ready for it, we can place a small egg-sized stone inside –usually made from Jade, rose quartz or obsidian – and then there are techniques and different points which can be physically and energetically stimulated.
The intention of the practice is to release pain in the yoni, increase sensitivity and presence there, leading to better whole-body connection, more easeful menstruation, deeper intimacy with ourselves and our lovers and improved general health.

How can healing our emotional selves, our connection to our bodies and to our female essence influence our relationships? Do women’s circles and gatherings also help us to heal our relationship with men?

When we are balanced, vital and stimulated we radiate these qualities to others. From a place of balance we enjoy a higher quality of relationship. Being in relationship is challenging, no matter how grounded you are, but from a place of balance and understanding we meet these challenges with greater ease.
Woman’s Work is also Man’s Work and vice versa. 
 
There is sometimes a misconception that women’s circles and women-only events are going to deepen any disconnect between men and women, but this will only happen if we get lost in the caricature of masculine and feminine, rather than the real, soulful essences of these polar energies. And we are talking beyond gender here.
When it’s sincere, woman’s work is a time for us to gather together and create a container of feminine energy with the power to do shadow work, ancestral healing, to co-create and be in joy – and the distinct flavour of this power is not possible when men are present.
Within this container, magic happens – whether the women have gathered with a clear spiritual intention or not. From this container, a woman leaves in a better way than she started and the reverberations reach her partner, family, friends and community.
When we are rested and at home in ourselves as women, everyone benefits! We are able to participate in the world with more clarity and authenticity and share our gifts more widely.
 
Likewise, men need their own spaces sometimes to meet with fellow men, to share wisdom and collaborate.

Then when men and women meet in mixed groups (which is basically what we are doing 99% of the time!) interactions, relationships, creations and community are going to be more easeful for all.

You decided to leave your life in UK in order to live a life that reflects the calling of your soul. Which changes did moving to Thailand bring? How would you describe your everyday life today?

Today everyday, simple life is a blessing. Of course, it’s possible to have blessings wherever you are in the world, you don’t have to be in paradise, but right now that is where I am, living on Koh Pha Ngan for the last three years.

 

Life is daily yoga practice, time in nature, rest time, reading, reflection, creation, food, love, beach, swimming, teaching, ceremony and community. And of course it is also watching TV, occasionally over-eating, experiencing emotional turbulence and worries – because this is what happens in human life; times of balance and times of imbalance.

What is your wish or vision for the world? What can women contribute beyond old stereotypes of service, motherhood, etc.?  

So many women right now are waking up to the untapped power within them and it is tremendous to witness and be working with them.
Sometimes we forget we had to fight for the vote; that we still are not all paid equally to our male coworkers; that a couple of hundred years ago tens of thousands of women were slaughtered and burned as witches for the very gifts we are waking up to now. There are unspeakable crimes being committed around the world against women, and against our mother – planet earth.
My wish is for us all to wake up. It’s time for us to be angry. Not to hold onto an anger that hurts us, but to sit with and meet the way feminine wisdom has been driven underground and use our anger as a catalyst to empower ourselves for change.
Disempowering women creates a very powerful smokescreen for great injustices to take place.
Women are here to hold space for the evolution of mankind and while we’re getting stuck into that we will be needing equal rights, equal pay and whatever else is rightfully ours.
My retreat company Raw Essence – founded with two dear friends and fellow yoginis – was created with the intention of offering transformative containers for women waking up to their gifts.
From my own discovery, coming into alignment as a woman is not rocket science. A little bit of peace, healthy food, support, movement and touch is enough to catalyse an awakening. Raw Essence’s retreats impart empowering tools for women waking up to their magic in a world which tells them it doesn’t exist.
Waking up to magic

Miriams vision is to contribute to women’s waking up to their magic in a world which tells them it doesn’t exist.

In the future, I’d like to help make this wisdom accessible to those who are not able to go on retreats. It’s not surprising that many of the countries where woman experience the greatest disparity are also those where menstruation is deeply taboo.
I’d love to live in a world one day where women in India didn’t die from infections caused by putting rolled up newspaper in their yonis because menstruation is not considered an important issue. I’d love to live in a world where women in London didn’t have to sneak a tampon into their clenched fist on their way to the bathroom during works hours. In fact, I’d love to live in a world where tampons were illegal and menstrual cups were given proudly to every girl who begins her menstruation.
I’d love to live in a world where we honour our home the earth and we honour men and women as equals and live in harmony together.

Divider Gold

Miriam Ropschitz was born in 1988 in Somerset, UK. Formerly working as a writer and editor she dived deep into  Taoism, Plant Medicine and Classical Tantra in order to reconnect to her feminine essence.  
In July 2018 you can join Miriam on her Embodiment Retreat for Women in Koh Phangan, Thailand. For retreat details please visit www.rawessence.co

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