After publishing 'Flower of Life' I received some commentary on my choice for the word vagina rather than the technically correct term vulva, I wrote a short essay and poem in response.

Ingredients of Language

To understand the heart of the ingredient, we have to taste it in its raw pure form. Then we will know which seasoning will elevate and express the layers of the ingredient.

When we stop at the threshold of the added human layer, we do not experience reality fully. To name something and to understand it for just its name is to only taste its human flavor, its seasoning. The ingredients are left untouched, unsavored. 

However when we manage to season the essence of the word with its vibration or aesthetic, it makes the ingredient more digestible to us. When the ingredient and the seasoning are symphonic and we their togetherness penetrates us, we can not only speak it - we can be it. 

Essence of Language

We have laid our experience and understanding of life in the hands of language. We have allowed language to hold our lives for us. Our mind names things before we get the chance to truly sense what it is we see and feel. Our childlike nature, mesmerized by the smallest gush of wind or a drop of rain has lost its enchantment because we think we know it. We think we know it because we can name it. 

Language is but the title of a song. It possibly describes what you are about to hear but until you hear it, experience it, you can only intuitively guess the melody and the depth of its sound. Poetry makes language move beyond its form. Words are given a vivid fullness and can open us to a profound inner truth. 

But if the word can’t exist without the use of our voice, without the writing of our hand, if the word can not be without us… What is it?

Layers of Language

For practical purposes naming things is convenient but language is alive, we should always remain flexible and re-evaluate if the name we have given something is still the most fitting. What we currently name our genitalia in our agreed upon language is not simply reducing them but it is putting them into a category they do not belong to. We should communicate about our bodies and our origin in a more whole and natural way. Language that expresses the beautiful mystery that we are.

For our Flowers of Life project we opted to use the word vagina since it is the most universally understood definition of female genitalia. Flowers of Life stretches beyond words, it uses the language of art to unveil and communicate the many layers of the vagina. It is a creative doorway for dialogue so we can rewrite our meaning and re-imagine our relationship to her. It is about perception rather than what we call her.

In our opinion our genitalia have been labeled without much consideration. Naming her vulva or yoni, even if it is technically the correct term, will not change our relationship to it. We feel that ‘Flower of Life’ is the closest and truest definition but we had to make the bridge between old language and new understanding.

the curves of your words can tell stories beyond you
they can also convey nothing at all

yet here I am 
writing you
you live through me
and I live through you

my eyes use you to make sense of what I see
you have grown inseparable from the idea

language, what do you mean?
are you the truth of all things?
or just the title of a song?

as the mast of my memory
the translator of my heart
the narrative of my dreams
you have painted a world of words for me
you have given my tongue sounds of knowledge  
but without you,
would I bow with gestures of universal knowing?

language, don’t just teach me how to speak
teach me how to understand the voice of the wind and the trees


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