How do we honor personal truth inside partnership?

It really matters to me that we be able to tell the truth to one another. Like, it reeeaaallly matters to me. One of my oldest friends said to me this year, “No one wants real more than you.”


That might be true.


I seek truth. I speak truth. When I can’t speak a truth, it eats at me. I help others navigate how to speak their truth. And first knowing your truth and then speaking your truth is honestly some of the most challenging and also most significant work we can do as humans right now on this planet.


We need to challenge the status quo. We need to come alive in new ways. And this happens by owning our own truth.


And it happens most significantly, most impactfully, first in our most intimate relationships.


Because if we can’t be real there, then where can we be real? If we can’t be real in our partnerships or with our parents, siblings, or best friends, then in my perspective, anything else we are putting out on social media or in our board room or sales calls is just facade. It’s just pitch and marketing of a false life.


I don’t want a false life. And I don’t want to have to hide myself in personal relationships. I have done that for a lifetime and I know that it doesn’t ever work, to hide parts of yourself in order to appease someone or reduce consequences.


Because there are and will be consequences to you owning your own truth! If you have a truth and your partner doesn’t share it, there could be argument, discord, or the relationship could even end.


I like to invite readers to pause and ask themselves, “Where do I do this in my life?” Where are you keeping quiet about something that matters to you in order to avoid another person’s reaction.


I’m sure that took about three seconds for you to think of an example.


So how do we do it? How do we honor personal truth inside of relationship?


I have a lot of ideas and experience with this, and I coach individuals and couples how to live into their authentic truth, their authentic selves, and also maintain healthy relationships. Here are a few introductory tips. Contact me to learn more about longer term support options.


  1. Spend time training your own mind to know your truth. Ask yourself multiple times a day, maybe even setting a timer to remind yourself to do this, “What is my truth in this moment?” When you have your answer, honor it. You don’t yet have to speak it or do anything with it, but my first question to you is - can you allow yourself to have it?

  2. Watch where you manage truths - yours or others. If someone tells you a personal truth, how do you respond? Do you want to negate what is true for them? Or do you honor it? One way to honor another’s truth is to repeat back to them what they’ve said, “I hear you saying that…”

  3. Before you decide to share a personal truth, check where you are in your body. Is there tension? Is there relaxation? Do you feel like you need to fight or prove your point, or do you feel poised and centered? Only share your truth when you are solid and centered. This will greatly reduce your reactivity in a potentially heated exchange.


I love supporting individuals and couples in gaining the confidence, clarity, and sense of embodied ease in sharing their personal truth with the world. Contact me when you’d like support!

My couples co-regulation ebook is free for the month of July! Head to the products page to download!


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Are you running victim consciousness?

All of us have had something happen in our lives that we didn’t prefer to have happen. Perhaps that event was a one-time thing, or perhaps it was ongoing. Yesterday at an outdoor coffee shop, I watched a mother continually threaten to hit her son to control his behavior. That boy is certainly experiencing some ongoing trauma that is going to affect him throughout his life. This is what I’m talking about - the things that we didn’t ask for, and the things that by definition, we fell victim to.


Can you allow yourself to think of some of those things now, painful as they may be, either short term or ongoing?


Now here’s my next question: how do you identify with them now? How have they stuck with you? And how do you bring those situations forward as a basis for how you relate with the world now?


Looking at those one by one:


How do you identify with them now?

By “identify,” what I mean is how have these associations become part of your actual identity? Everyone does this, so you can’t breeze over this question. How have the things that have happened to you become a part of how you see yourself? Is this negative, positive, or neutral?


How have they stuck with you?

We could call the bad things that happen to us “traumas.” Traumas impact the brain both consciously and unconsciously, and they impact our ability to connect, our emotionality, our perceived sense of safety, and our future relationships.


How do you bring those situations forward as a basis for how you relate with the world now?

Not only is there a question of how you see yourself in association with those traumas, but how do you actually relate to the world differently because of them? Let’s take the little boy from the coffee shop. If his mother parents him this way daily, which I presume she does from what I saw for over an hour, then he will grow up with a mother wound and an inherent distrust of women. This will affect how he attempts to please women but feels he can not ever connect with them, probably for many years to come. This will play out in his relationships and in his sense of self worth.  


Sound familiar? I imagine that for many, it does.


We all bring our patterning forward, subconsciously, until we bring it into consciousness. It will likely be up to that little boy to work out what has happened to him, sadly.


All of the above being very understandable, the degree to which we identify with what has negatively impacted our lives is called Victim Consciousness.


I have recently been unpacking these words in my life. A series of events happened early this year, and I realized that I was behaving afterward in certain ways that were associated with very old trauma patterns - ones that had subconsciously become part of my identity because it had been with me for so long. As I was working with the beliefs and behaviors that had set in during childhood, I realized that the degree to which I identified with these traumas, and the degree to which I continued to behave under that subconscious programming, was the degree to which I identified as the victim. And then I began to unpack what effects this might have, and what to do about it.


Getting conscious:

If you have a story that you tell yourself in regard to gender, relationships, or safety, that impacts how you relate to others, I imagine that you might have some victim consciousness running. Again, it’s understandable. Recognizing you are doing this and asking yourself if this story that you are telling yourself is really your own belief, or one developed as a result of interactions with others, is a first step.


Get help:

The things that have happened “to” us, the actual times we were a victim, are often sad, traumatic, and difficult times. Some of these circumstances have to do with ongoing negative relationships, like the scenario I outlined above for the little boy. These imprints can take a long time to repattern - it can actually be the work of a lifetime - but it’s worth it in order to gain your autonomy. Hire a therapist or a coach to support you in doing this work. I recommend therapists for going back and unpacking the childhood programming, and a coach for when you are ready to watch these patterns and take action in present time to change your life. Both can happen at the same time.


Practice mindfulness:

Daily mindfulness practice allows you to watch your thought patterns, your judgements of yourself and others, your somatic responses, and your intentions. Begin breathing on purpose and inquiring about your inner world. Practice acceptance of what is, in this moment, even if you are in victim consciousness. Denying or judging what is will only prolong your suffering.


Practice forgiveness, responsibility, & autonomy:

As adults, we are now responsible for how we interact with our lives and others. If we are running a script in our minds associated with victim consciousness, then we are not free, and we are not practicing the necessary degree of responsibility to evolve as an adult. We are each responsible for how we interact with the world. Owning that personal autonomy and practicing forgiveness principles are healthy and necessary behaviors for moving forward.


You are not the things that have happened to you. Weeding out who you are, underneath, is again, the work of a lifetime. And it is worthy.



Over-Identification = Longer Healing

YOUR DEGREE OF IDENTIFICATION WITH YOUR TRAUMA WILL DETERMINE YOUR DEGREE OF POTENTIAL HEALING

Trauma is real and it is in the body more than it is in the mind. Read that again. Your body remembers more of your trauma than your mind does, because the mind has mechanisms to protect you from the reality of your trauma as needed.

You can sense something in your body, or have a fear or strange aversion to something, and not know why. It could drive you crazy. You have choices.

Our culture stresses talk therapy because we live in a culture that suggests we mentally understand in order to conquer through understanding. This is not healing. You do not heal by understanding, you heal by shifting. You authentically heal with a combination of somatic, cellular, energetic, mental, biological processes.

But it doesn't need to be as intense as we make it. I know because I have made it intense, and I have experienced also how it does not have to be intense. I have identified with the trauma and I have made it worse, and I have blocked my own ability to heal, and the pace of my healing, in doing so. I watch people do this ALL THE TIME. You create your reality with your mind.

Over-identification = longer healing.

There will be a choice point, or thousands of choice points along the way, in how you handle your next trigger in relation to old trauma patterning. You are likely close to one in your life right now. And even though there is the history, the story behind you, you have a choice in this moment.

And that choice, which is how to align in the mind with which part of the story you choose to align with, will determine your path forward.

Think string theory. Think free will. Choice is everything.

Make it conscious. Every effect of the existing trauma may not be conscious, because it's in the body, it's in your cells, and you carried it in from your DNA, but your CHOICE can be conscious.

Even though there is trauma, even though you are not going to bypass it and you are going to do everything you can to heal it, the degree to which you IDENTIFY WITH your trauma will be exactly proportionate to the degree to which you heal.

Keep repeating the same stories = stay in the trauma.

I have unpacked trauma from my body. It still comes in waves sometimes. This past week, I received information that pretty much confirmed conscious hypothesis I had for the last 22 years about sexual trauma based at first on body aversions, small snippets of memory, and how the trauma played out in my body. For example, there were years when I could not be far from a bathroom for fear I would pee my pants for lack of safety. As an adult, in every day life. No one really knew this. I kept it quiet, but I identified with the active trauma response daily.

During that time, not knowing exactly why I felt that way (in the mind), I started to somatically, emotionally, mentally, energetically really heal that trauma and over the last 5-8 years especially, and so when I got this new information this week, I knew had a conscious choice.

And I watched myself make it (meta-cognition = when the thinker watches itself). I could choose to identify with the trauma and go down that road (one string) or I could acknowledge the story as the story and honor the path that my body/soul have already taken down the healing road (another string) and continue there. Continue as the woman I have become. One path would be back through hell and back, and another would be to honor my feminine soul and exactly where I am. The STORY and identification with it could literally determine the course I took, and honestly, the next few months or years of my life. If I were not being conscious here, the default would be identification with the story, the fear, and the trauma.

Do you see what I'm saying? I share my story as illustration.

YOU DECIDE.

Trauma can feel like being engulfed in an ocean. You have NO IDEA what is under the waves that you can't see.

But you can put your feet down in the ground and sand. You can get wise as to how that ocean moves. You can feel your body even though you're inside the water, and you can realize that you and the water are the same, and that you actually are the one that determines the height and impact of the waves.

You are powerful. You are the creator of your life. You are not what happened to you. You have started on this trauma-healing path and are realizing this now.

It served to identify with trauma for a time, and you learned how to be resilient. But you are moving beyond that. If you identify with resiliency, you still identify with trauma.

Be the creator.

I work with empowered women who have experienced trauma in their past affiliated with religion or men and are breaking the patterns of trauma and victimization now. These women are rising. They are taking back their bodies, their love for self, their power as the creator of their lives. They are making loving and active decisions during times of intense awakening about how to shift the social programming of patriarchy and separation within their own bodies, their own relationships, and their own families. We are accelerating the healing of the trauma that has been a result of these patterns, and she is no longer interested in identifying with the reasons why NOT anymore.

OWN YOUR TRUTH. OWN WHAT HAPPENS FOR YOU NEXT.

I have space for two such women in my practice now. If this is you, I would love to support you now. PM me to set up a call if you feel in your BODY that the time is right, and tell me what that body clue was that let you know.

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The perpetrator doesn't get to decide

The perpetrator doesn’t get to decide how long the victim should grieve. The process of grieving is inside each individual. Everyone will be affected differently.


The perpetrator doesn’t get to decide how quickly they should be forgiven, as if when they are finished thinking about their action everyone else should forgive them too. No. They do not dictate when they should be forgiven. They do not control another person’s forgiving process.


The perpetrator doesn’t get to decide the short term or long term actions or reactions to a victim’s healing process. This is where we see an increase of manipulative behaviors or outright threats when the victim begins to realize that they have inherent power to do something for themselves. The perpetrator’s power relies on stealing power from others, complacency, and silence.


The perpetrator doesn’t get to have a say over their victim’s psychological process. They do not get to dictate where the trauma gets stuck or how long it takes to work it out. Often in relationships when this happens, mention of the trauma is uncomfortable to the perpetrator, and therefore the mention of it or symptoms thereafter is often met with more attempts to control or suppress.


The perpetrator doesn’t get to go on being the perpetrator. Each and every one of us has at times been perpetrator as well as victim. And each and every one of us has the responsibility to own our own behavior. We need to do the mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical processes. We need to attone. We need to understand that healing does not come through more demand or through a means of escape (religion included).


We live in a dominator culture, and thankfully the awareness of that is on the rise now, but we still have a long way to go. Men have historically been more violent, but it is the repression of authentic masculinity and femininity, and the emphasis on domination and control in the patriarchal system that has lead to this, and women are not exempt as we have learned to adopt dominator methods to attempt to gain control and power in this model.


This is so pervasive that unless one truly wills himself to change, and does the work to become aware of their patterns of domination, they will by default perpetuate. In my experience, it is uncomfortable to admit that you have been the perpetrator, but only while you are clinging to the dominator model as the only way.


bell hooks says in her book, The Will To Change: Men, Masculinity, & Love, “No man who does not actively choose to work to change and challenge the patriarchy escapes its impact. The most passive, kind, quiet man can come to violence if the seeds of patriarchal thinking have been embedded in his psyche.” I will add: the most loving man, the father, the man who is aware of his shadow, the man who goes to the men’s groups, the man who is aware of his mother wound - even these men will come to violence. It will happen, because this is the dominator culture we are rewriting now. It is default. Let’s make this conscious.


It also is important to note that over-identification as a victim will not help to rewrite the cultural narrative. This is where we get “all men” and “all women” finger pointing. Each person is responsible for how they have behaved and how they have moved through it. Each person is responsible for unpacking both the trauma that came before an event of perpetration and the event itself.


This past week, I co-hosted an event where the men in the circle were asked to write held judgements of women down on little slips of paper, and women were asked to write down judgements of men on little slips of paper. Then we put all the slips of paper into one basket. As we read each one aloud, we asked every person in the standing circle to take a step forward if they had ever been the perpetrator of what was on the slip of paper, and nearly every single time, nearly all of the men and women all stepped forward. Both. All. Taking accountability and meeting together to find a new way.


We are here in a new time, where personal responsibility is allowed, where your healing is welcome. If your shame of your perpetration is clouding your behavior, change it. Own it. If not, you will, by default, continue domination regardless of any attempts to subdue, avoid, or deny.


If you are not happy with how you’ve behaved or the feedback people are giving you about how you’ve behaved, you can, and need to, take action. When you do, you break the dominator model in your own life. Thank you for doing that. It benefits the whole.


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My exs are among my best friends, and here's how we do it.

My exs are among my best friends. Most of them. But those that are, we are the legitimate, “I’ve got your back, call when you can’t tell other people this shit, no judgement here, I love your next partner because you love them, you know you can be honest with your heart in this space, gives the best hugs ever” kind of love.



I am talking about my exs. My lovers, some of which at one point we thought we were going to spend our lives together (because aren’t we always trying to fit into that old trend!) and one of which I birthed his daughter. These are people that, when the relationship ended, it was sometimes messy, and it always took time to come around. And then there was eventual healing. Because love is love. Because when a soul mate is recognized, the value of that person doesn’t change because your relationship does. Because it takes way more effort and a whole heap of unhealthy to hold that person at arm’s length in disdain than it does to just open up your heart.



My son’s father and I were middle school lunch table buddies. We were in relationship for fourteen years, and divorce wasn’t easy. And we are currently co-parenting this boy with more intention than we ever have. Now when we’re on the phone, I’m surprised to hear him open up and tell me about his parents or his job, but I like that he now will. I don’t know that we’ll ever make it to best friend status again, but there is love. We are rebuilding trust.



I don’t want to harbor resentment, because I don’t want to be a woman with resentment of men. I’ve been that. I don’t want to name the ways I’ve been disappointed by men and retell those stories and wallow. I don’t want to see any man fail because I couldn’t get from that person what I thought at one time I had wanted to get.



Within the last few months, as I was in a rough spot, these exs were among the friends that had my back, the ones that I could tell the whole truth to, the ones who help me become a better woman as I learn and make mistakes and grow. They are the ones I check my judgements with and the ones I ask to hold me accountable.



Two of them have recently asked me to hold council for them and their current partners. I have held every one of them in their own struggles since our relationships ended as significant others. I had a hard time finding the last words of that last sentence: since our love relationship ended…. No…. we still have a love relationship. Since our intimate relationship ended…. No… because we still have an intimate friendship. This is not to mean that I have been intimate with them, that we have remained or become lovers again. It actually means the intimacy of the heart. The deepest intimacy of friends. I am not polyamorous, have no interest in that, and neither are these men. No lines are crossed. It’s boundaried and beautiful, because we are clear with our words and intentions.



I go to them for help, love, and friendship, and they come to me. That’s my point here. The trust is sometimes beyond that of other friendships, perhaps because we have this past and we decided to honor one another anyway. In that choice, we have gained some of the best friends of our lives.



I have two exs that left without saying a proper goodbye to me or to my son. And actually, these were the last two partners I had. These were deep loves, these were men who would never have wanted to behave in the way that they ended up behaving, and while I hurt like hell afterward, I am not angry.



My son has been having a difficult time, because the second time this happened was just five months ago. When I told him that this man was not coming back, he said, “Mom, I am seriously never trusting another man that comes into this house again.” I’m sorry, son. It reminded him of the last man he loved, and to attempt to simultaneously explain to a nine year old boy why men we both loved and honored would treat him or I this way, while he sorts out the confusion of what his mother also must of had to do with it, is nearly impossible. Because I can explain it, but it’s incomprehensible. It’s poor behavior. This week, as I was finishing a personal shamanic shadow-work practice of about 5 weeks, and my ex from a year ago showed up at my ex husband’s workplace. They had met only once.



He asked my ex husband if he wanted to be friends. He joked and said that that would really piss me off. He asked my ex husband to apologize on his behalf to our son for never seeing him again.



This man had long hair and a very warrior-eque persona. I realized just last week that my son has been growing his hair long ever since this man left our lives. It affected a place deep within him that I didn’t know had been affected. And I had recently begun to realize it as we worked with his therapists and as his father and I try to figure out his increased lying and sadness.



When I got this information about his visit to Rowan’s father’s workplace, I sent him a text. I had just finished a shadow work practice that left me feeling much more clear headed about what I will and will not continue to allow to fester in my life; in our lives. I said, “No one here will be apologizing on your behalf. You are responsible for your own actions. You did not say goodbye to this boy who loved you, and it hurt him.”



He was upset and uncomfortable. He was quick to remind me why he left, that I had become dangerous in his eyes, that my writings, my truth telling, “hurt people.” He told me I was a snake, like the tattoo on my left arm, and that I “suck as a human.”



When he calls me hurtful, he’s talking about my choice to tell the truth. He’s referring to choices just like this, where I write openly about my life, and where I choose with my words how to advocate that we all do better. That we be better. I use my story to illustrate my point, and believe me, I’ve protected the truths of a handful of men plenty of times and I have still been deeply, emotionally, and financially threatened by scared men as they didn’t want my words out in the world about them, because they themselves are uncomfortable with their own behavior.



If you have to silence a woman, it is your own shame that is behind that. I’ll make it personal, actually. If you have to threaten to silence me, it is your own shame that is behind that, because I am clear that my intentions are not to harm. I texted him to tell him that the reason I scared him is because I represented the parts of himself he’d rather not look at. This is the shadow that we either embrace or run from.



There are quotes out there that say, “If you don’t want anyone to know about it, then you should have behaved better.” I do not write in order to hurt people. I write to claim my story, to advocate, to uphold. If I am inherently a threat, it is because someone is unwilling to own their own behavior and they carry shame. And, honestly, I am also sensitive to that. I have not really written about this man until now. I have kept my mouth shut. I have protected men that have mistreated me. And I don’t care to take revenge, but I also don’t care to be threatened by a behind-the-scenes narrative that I am a snake, or that I should be sued to be silenced, as threatened by three men in the last two years, when the cause behind these threats and insults is their own shame.



I am a woman with a heart, with a body, with a home and a son, and if you want into this life, then by damn, I get to speak on it when it becomes my story.



I think, to the dear few that fear my words, that if you truly look at my work and comb it, asking yourself if I have actually chosen to demonize or threaten you, if I have actually told intimate and threatening truths, you will find that the answer is no. You will actually find, if you have the eyes to see, that I advocate for men, that I love men, that I want everyone, you included, to come forward in vulnerability of what you have done in your flawed humanity. I am not entirely innocent. Of course not.



But we must be willing to risk connection when connection seems impossible, to trust again when we want to flee, because there in that space is liberation. If you can hurt someone else and then that person forgive you - that’s liberation. If you can say you are sorry and press forehead to forehead and each say, “I forgive you,” that’s liberation.



The reason my relationships with all these other men and exs are the deepest friendships of my life is because we both took accountability, over time, for our flawed humanity. It is evidence that two people, with a lot of history and hurt and baggage, can do the work of navigating the spaces between, of healing, and of enjoying a life of love.



When I was talking to a male friend and colleague a few months ago, telling him about a recent journey I’d taken to stay on my daughter’s father’s land, to reacquaint in that space, and of the deeper healing that took place there, he said, “Wow, so you are really genuinely friends with your exs?” I said, “Absolutely, some of them!” He said, “You should put that on your website or your resume. That’s some of the hardest and most genuine healing we can do. That’s the real deal.”



Authentic. That’s the word. To acknowledge, to admit mistakes, to come back to the table and not run, to refrain from blame and slander, to say, “I’m sorry” - that’s authentic living. It’s vulnerable. It’s real. And it’s required.



….



I have lived my life in deep reflection and I make offerings of the heart through my practices in Embodied Breath. If you are a man who longs for deeper connection, to face your shame in love, to practice vulnerability and accountability in a safe space, and to practice self forgiveness and self love, I have a twelve week men’s online offering beginning June 12. You can see my website home page for more details.

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Acknowledging self protection is critical for connection

We all self protect. We are built that way, as mammals. We have mechanisms in our brains that scan the environment for threat and allow us to guard against that threat. This is helpful, but how does it impact our relationships?


Threats can be real, or they can be perceived. If your mother used to turn into a frenzied tyrant when guests were coming over and she wanted the house clean, and later in life your wife asks you for help in preparing the lawn for guests, you might become guarded while helping with these tasks. You’re guarded because your brain and body remember the wrath of your mother, but in real time, the threat is only perceived because your wife activated the memory.


Stop and think of a time when you were threatened by a current or past partner, when really it had to do with a memory or event that had taken place before that. Maybe you blew the situation way out of proportion. Maybe you had no idea why you were so mad then, but now you can see that you were self protecting based on something that happened previously. Maybe you have never considered this before and see now that this is what was happening! Well done!


This affects relationships in large and small ways every day. Partners are frequently upset about something that is causing them to feel emotionally threatened that has roots in the past. The threat otherwise truly wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a prior trigger that we were just consciously or subconsciously reminded of. Previous threats, or traumas, make imprints in the brain whether conscious or not, and we move forward in life guarding against those threats until we bring them to consciousness and heal them.


If we are hardwired for this type of protection, and we naturally scan for threat, what can we do about it so that it doesn’t sabotage connection in relationship? This is key, because, unchecked, it will sabotage your relationship, rest assured.


When I work with couples in my coaching practice, I teach them about present moment awareness, tracking sensations, and speaking to one another in moments of tension from a place of noticing (rather than mental analysis). I will give you an overview of these tools now, so the next time you notice yourself in protection-mode, you might pause to practice the following:


1. Present moment awareness is something that we cultivate over time, but a simple mindfulness practice to begin daily would be to take five minutes, twice a day, and breathe while purposefully noticing that you are breathing. It’s that simple. Count the breath to anchor your attention to it. Count an in-breath of 6 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, and an out-breath of 9 seconds. This is a triangular breath technique that invites the parasympathetic nervous system to active, which is helpful when you do not want to overreact. You will notice a relaxed breath pattern, a relaxing of muscles, and maybe a relaxation of tension in the stomach when you have breathed for a few moments and activated the parasympathetic system, also known as the “rest and digest” part of the nervous system. The more you practice this, the more you’ll train your brain to default to this internal sense of regulation, which feels pleasant and enforces a lower chance of emotional reactivity.


2. Sensations associated with self-protection include clenching muscles, tight jaw, withdrawal and caving in of the chest, or erratic movements as if you want to fight. These are all associated with the fight or flight response, and I’m sure you can think of more. How does this impact your body when you feel threatened? When you have a practice of noticing the present moment, you can then also notice your body’s sensations associated with any emotion. As a culture we are not used to noticing sensations first, so this is something to practice. Notice when you want to run, fight, flee, and what the associated sensations are. This is incredibly empowering, as then you are more likely to respond to a situation less reactively and more mindfully.


3. As individuals cultivate the above practices, they are able to upgrade their communication skills to move from the common accusation or assessment strategies often employed in conflict, and move to a personalized account of present-moment notices. This might sound like, “I’m noticing that I want to run away, that my chest feels tight and my breath is short.” A few things happen when a couple begins to speak this way. First, arguments are completely diffused. Second, compassion and empathy naturally grow between them. It is difficult to hear someone’s present moment experience and deny the truth of it, as often happens in arguments where two people are trying to prove a point. An added bonus to speaking from present-moment awareness of the body and breath sensations is that you do not have to name your emotions. Many times in various therapies, we try to train our brain to memorize emotional language, but when we are triggered, it is much easier to notice and report what is going on in real time than it is to identify an emotion word to label the experience. The latter brings us back into our analytical minds, and I am advocating that we stay in present-moment awareness rather than analysis when we are in self-protection.


These tools are worth cultivating, because what each and every person wants, regardless of age, previous history, various diagnoses, etc, etc, is connection. We all want connection. And, we know that when we default to self-protection, then connection is harder and harder to achieve. In the modern world, we seem to have more separation and self-protection than ever. And you may see it right there in your closest relationships - an ongoing lack of authentic connection, often due to the self-protection that you are both maintaining.


The good news is, you can safely train yourselves out of this tendency as a couple. You can own your own tendencies to self protect, you can learn to safely share your vulnerabilities with your partner, and you can both learn to respond safely so that connection is achieved - hopefully the deepest connection of your lives.






Masculinity & Soul

I had the pleasure of going to hear Michael Meade speak a few nights ago when he visited Asheville, NC. Mr. Meade speaks on the topic of the human soul like no other, in my opinion, and if you haven’t listened to it, his weekly podcast called Living Myth is exceptional.


While sitting in the audience, listening to him talk about the need for us to be willing to acknowledge our emotions in order to access our soul, my curiosities wandered to how this impacts men and masculinity in the current cultural context.  


The language of soul is not especially mainstream, though Meade and others - I’d count myself among them - do our best to bring this concept and language to the forefront in our work. Carl Jung was of course the pioneer of this inquiry of soul.


What the soul is is not easily defined. James Hillman said, “soul is a deliberately ambiguous concept.” It is a mysteries realm that, to me, involves the depth of a human, the psychological history and what is both conscious and unconscious. The soul is what makes us ourselves, what beckons us forward, what allows us to deeply feel and interact with life.


The intellect alone can’t touch the soul. Living solely in the body can’t touch the soul. The soul is accessed only through the conscious interaction of mind, body, emotions and spirit, as I see it. When we don’t integrate all of these aspects into our lives, as many people do not, there can be what is called “soul loss.”

The soul wants us to reach our potential - not the kind of potential we reach when we get an MBA, but the kind of potential to be who we really are as an integrated person. What do you care about? What wakes you up at night? What is the deeper calling that you’ve always had but didn’t follow? What kind of love do you really want to experience? These questions point to what the soul is really wanting from us. Too many people simply ignore that inner voice and persist forward in intellectual or career pursuits, hoping for fulfillment but likely not authentically finding it. Ignoring that voice can have significant effects.


Symptoms of soul loss include feeling lost, feeling disconnected, isolating yourself from others, feeling as though you don’t have a purpose on earth or wanting a purpose but unable to define it, you have difficulty identifying what is positive, you have low self esteem, you picked up defensive behaviors after a traumatic event, you check out with mind-numbing behaviors, you feel unworthy and unappreciated, and daily life is task-driven and mundane.


Is anyone else reading that list and also making the connection to common conditions in modern men? If you didn’t get that on the first take, go back and reread that last paragraph and ask yourself if these are also common difficulties of modern men. In no way am I making a case that this is a problem unique only to men, but I am saying that there are almost certainly correlations between soul loss and the pressures, problems, and stigmas associated with modern masculinity and men.


Perhaps it is a bold claim, but it’s one I’m willing to make. As a woman, I have been studying men through the soul lens for a long time. I am a deep soul searcher, and in my close relationships with men, both professional and personal, there inevitably comes a time when there is a question of soul. A deeper opportunity, if you will, to step into the more vulnerable sphere of the soul and to claim hidden aspects of self. And time and time again, I have witnessed men denying this invitation, even if they so desperately want what their soul is showing them. A man can want to be a more connected leader, for example, but when the opportunity is before him will require him to lead with greater vulnerability, does he take it?


When I see a man deny the invitation to go vulnerably in the direction of his own soul, I see it as having abandoned himself, and I feel absolutely heartbroken. Every man that I have ever seen falter, in my judgement, it was due to a denial of his own soul. And when this happens, we can not feel him - the authentic him. He goes on upholding his ideas of how he must behave in order to maintain his authority, for example, and personal connection is often lost.


On the other hand, when I see a man accept this invitation, that is where I actually have increased hope for humanity and masculinity. It is that important. This is the space in which we can connect, problem solve together, lead with compassion, and understand one another authentically.

To come to know the soul is a process that requires a continual acknowledgement of one’s own vulnerability, and of the shadow, or the unconscious. Men’s groups like The ManKind Project incorporate shadow work into their initiatory experiences for men which bring glimpses into the wide world of the unconscious, and this is so important in order that modern men have the opportunity to acknowledge the masks they’ve been wearing and that they engage in ongoing personal inquiry of this inner realm.


Accessing the soul requires an acknowledgement that imperfections exist, that all the bravado in the world will not, in the end, save you. The Hero’s Journey itself is an invitation into the soul, into the inner realm through facing challenge and overcoming obstacles. If the obstacles are always on the outside and a man learns to succeed and function in the world by conquering them externally, his Warrior essence is essentially false as he has not met the obstacles within. He will defeat under any challenge that tests his soul strength.


Meeting those obstacles internally is essential for our authentic existence - each of us individually but also collectively. I wholeheartedly believe this, and I would encourage all of us, regardless of gender, to get a little closer to the nudging, authentic voice of our soul today. When we do, we have access to our own inner truth, and we can lay down a lot of the facade that most people carry.


As a woman, I do not want a false bravado or mask presented to me when I talk with a man. I want to see his soul, and I want to know that he knows himself in that space. So many men are afraid of their own soul as they focus their attention outward to pleasing others. It is my goal to offer, both personally and professionally, opportunities for accessing the soul as a point of strength.


Michael Meade is a storyteller and collects ancient myths from around the world and then tells them while he also plays a drum. He told a story from China on the stage, and he asked us when he was finished, “What was the part that was the most significant to you?” He said that the part of the story that impacted us the most was the most important part to our own soul and how we live in the world.


The line that stood out to me, without question, was, “I will not let you abandon your own self.”


Dear men, that is how I feel about you. I will not let you, whenever possible, abandon your soul. The world needs you, and your soul-infused masculinity, now. I believe in you, but more importantly than what you can accomplish or prove, I believe in your soul.  

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You can heal the Mother Wound in your relationship

Every boy wants to be held by the mother.

Every man with an UNresolved mother wound wants to be held by the mother, and projects this onto women, often angry for what they can not give him.

Every man who has Resolved his mother wound knows what it truly is to be held by the Feminine, The Divine Mother, and realizes that this is what he truly yearned for all along.

The feminine, giving freely, as she was always meant to.

Every woman wants to hold her child.

Every woman not initiated into her femininity will perpetuate, willingly or scornfully, the attempted nurturing of adult boys into men, but she can not. This arrangement will hold both hostage. If you make snide comments about having to raise your husband, you are both in this pattern.

Every woman has the responsibility to reclaim her own true feminine such that she recognizes the honor of the Divine Mother within her, and then she can stand beside a man, she can watch him crumble and hold him nonetheless, she can invite him into the space of her nurturing when necessary, and this is a man who knows the unmistakable force of the feminine which he is blessed to reside beside.

I can take your relationship through a mother wound pattern and together we heal it. If you are in therapy talking about issues of responsibility and emotional compatibility, it may be time to say "fuck this" and get to the heart of the issue, which is likely an imbalance in the archetypal energies in the relationship. This can and must be healed for healthy actualization of your relationship potential.

This is the result of thousands of years of mistaken understanding of what femininity and masculinity truly are, their potential, and in turn, your potential.

In relationship, in Conscious Union, your partner and you have the unique potential to help one another rebalance polarities. It's an inside job, which is why we work with all three of you - each partner (2, & gender matters not here) and the relationship (1).

Schedule a consult to see if this is right for you. Couples link here to read more.

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You can heal your trauma & evolve your intimacy at the same time

The year after my divorce, I went to therapy weekly. I had so much to unpack. All I knew was - I never want to be the woman that I was in my relationship ever again. That woman was judgemental, emasculating, and not in touch with herself.


And truth be told, I was terrified of actually living in my body. I had lost a child right before the beginning of that fourteen year relationship, and I realized how much of a safety net this man had been to me, and so I also started to unpack the trauma in my body. I pretty much couldn’t even imagine letting another man into my physical or intimate space.


There are a LOT of stories I could tell you about that year - how deep I dove, how the somatic therapy taught me to unwind the trauma in my system, how I took my mindfulness and spiritual practices to next levels. I dove into my personal work like I was the only project that mattered - because, determined - I was going to get my Self back.


When I started to date, it was terrifying, and it brought up all the ways that I was still holding trauma in my body - physically, emotionally, spiritually. Trauma memory gets trapped in the soma and whether we remember exactly why or not, other people trigger our habitual trauma responses. Intimacy brings up SO MANY trauma responses for so many people.


And SO MANY people are trying to go ahead and be intimate meanwhile suppressing the trauma responses. Check yourself - you feel fear and suppress it in some way before sex. You back away ever so slightly emotionally or physically when someone approaches you intimately. You fear all the ways you’ll get hurt when entering into a relationship or when bringing up something vulnerable. It’s really common, but not so much talked about. (But I'm talking about it.)


When I started to date, therefore, I was not getting anywhere close to intimate, because it just didn’t feel safe to do so. It literally felt terrifying to expect myself to share connection with someone else. Many people are simply not intimate or they are bypassing their body's warning mechanisms that tell them to stop, turning off their hearts and the potential for deep connection.


What ended up happening is that I spent the second year after my marriage, after a year of working out the trauma on my own, in an absolutely safe relationship that taught me how to go to the edges of my vulnerability, and what it felt like to be met there. When you have trauma in your body, you shake, quake, feel anxious in the presence of another - even if when you’re at home on your meditation cushion, it would appear as though you’ve got it all worked out of you.


But intimacy is just going to reflect the CORE of our wounding. You can do some work alone, and then the truest available healing is in the safe and intimate connection with another. To be met there is something incredible.


Because of all of the blocks that humans have to experiencing their own fear and vulnerability, I fear and I know that all too often, humans are not accessing this potential. I talk to couples ALL THE TIME that are coexisting without actually ever touching these most important places of the heart and healing. (The body plays a HUGE part in this!)


I am who I am today because of my dedication to my own healing and to my Soul, but also I am who I am in my body because of this man and his ability to safely, steadily, and willingly diffuse my energetic shaking and quaking until I could come to safety, ease, and stillness. Only then is actual intimacy and connection truly available - when our whole systems are available to access it.


To be a woman carrying the trauma of women - intergenerationally, ancestrally, sexually - as we do, and to be met safely in the hands of a man, is life changing. It is life giving.


Relationships have the potential to heal the deepest rifts to intimacy. I can teach you this. Men, I can literally teach you how to hold this space and invite her true sexuality forward. And I can teach her how to soften out of her perfectionist and emasculating tendencies that are also barriers to connection.


Through my years of deep exploration and training of trauma recovery, presencing, intimacy, and gender relatedness, I have developed coaching for couples that actually heals trauma, by teaching you both to meet one another in the vulnerable spaces, and to do so differently than anyone has ever counseled you before. This is not a methodology of talking it out, or hashing out the past. This is learning to be present in the moment, watching what arises, approaching vulnerable topics (including trauma in the body) with safety, and committing to the exploration. In this method, both partners are called to their best, compassionate selves. In this method, your trauma heals, separation heals, and connection skyrockets.


After you’ve reviewed my website, please contact me for a consultation to see if my in depth couples coaching is for you. It works when both people are committed to healing the disconnection because you desire so deeply to experience the fullness of your relationship’s potential.

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My faith journey... short version

Eighteen and a half years ago, I was laying in a twin bed in the old playroom in my parent’s basement after I’d come home pregnant at the end of my first semester of college. I watched my belly grow and I attuned to the little being inside of me. She was a powerful soul. And while I was laying there, a voice told me to name her Anna Faith.


I argued with god that day. I would NOT be naming this child Faith. I had adamantly rejected my father’s Methodist Christian religion, and I’d yet to discover the difference between that religion and spirituality. And yet, my child would be adopted. I wouldn’t raise her. I had chosen her parents, but I wouldn’t raise my first born child (for many reasons I’ll explore and write elsewhere.) If you are going to hand over your beautiful and powerful little baby to a big ol’ world, you need to have some faith.


I made a pact with whatever god was showing up for me then, the one I didn’t have a name for but all of a sudden I could feel. I trusted the process with a wisdom beyond my 18 years. I knew, absolutely knew, that she would be okay. Indeed, as a college freshman now herself, she’s amazing.


About two years ago, I realized that after her birth, I didn’t maintain that same faith, I didn’t know how to rediscover or access it. After her birth, I had tried hard, incessantly, to get it right, and striving took the place of faith. I thought I had to make everything happen.


This past week, I reached a point in my life where something had to give. In so many ways, I’ve had certain patterns of striving for eighteen and a half years that I’ve been healing consciously for a long time, but here I was staring the worst and deepest of them in the face. I got the hell out of town. And I went to my daughter’s father’s land in Pennsylvania.


Too much happened to detail here. I start a book writing program in two weeks, and I’m pretty sure what I experienced last week was the closing chapter of the book I’ll write on what it’s been like to be a birthmother, how the beliefs that I was not enough (to be her mother, but then everything thereafter) penetrated and affected the last two decades of my life. Things are different now.


As if an act of god, this beautiful young woman who is my biological daughter sent me an album to listen to the day before I hit the road. This was unusual. I listened to the album, and it is absolutely spiritual, the whole way through. I didn’t know that she had any spiritual practices. But the album was the soundtrack on my quest, more important than I even realized it would be - a journey to reclaim faith wholeheartedly.


Faith is our natural condition, and our fears are induced, perpetuated by a suffering society and the messages we receive. I’ve experienced plenty of miracles, an astounding amount, truthfully. I choose to notice them now. I choose to trust. I choose faith over fear. I choose the mission and to follow the vision. I choose life and to live it fully. I choose to dance, to love, to risk hurt, to smile, to look in your eyes.


My loves, it is my honor to work in the real space of what it means to be authentically, faithfully human. I am here for you, as a coach/healer/guide, on your journey to walk back to your greatest self. Schedule a call with me. Tell me your story. Tell me the journey you are on. I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to support you.


Woman, it wasn't you.

We were networking and immediately dropping in like some women do, and she revealed she’d just lost love. “As soon as I signed up for my yoga teacher training, he was gone. I have no explanation.”


Her eyes searching. I recognize a woman having to pick herself back up.


Oh, my sister, it wasn’t you.

You did nothing wrong.

You are on your path and for a moment, he matched it. Your energy.

You called to him, he was enticed to think that he was the man for you.

He may have even convinced you he was.

He wanted to be.

He wanted to see himself this way, believe it could be him walking beside you.

He wanted to see himself as worthy of that.


And this could have been.

You both saw it.

But when he declined the invitation, sister, it was between him and his own soul.


Between him and his own soul, my love.


What he’s called to do and what he will do may not match.


We see his soul, we see his intent, we believe his Yes, and we never see it coming.


The declining of the invitation.

The declining of what you didn’t even see coming as the offered initiation.


And you, my queen, in your rising, you heat a fire.

One he desires and yet does not know how to stand in when it starts to ignite.

You just thought you wanted a yoga teacher training.

What you want, my love, is your whole life.


You did nothing wrong, you beauty, you kind-eyed mystic of a woman,

Here to claim yourself,

In this moment,

And in this therapy session

And in this training

And in this meditation

And in this relationship

And in this stand you take

And in every moment down the line.


Your responsibility is to shine.


Shine anyway.

Shine without him.

Shine your forgiveness that you will find, shine it forward and woman do not guard your heart.


This is the work.

To rise anyway, to shine, to forgive, to grieve, and to come out unguarded.


It is impossible work and you will do it.


He couldn’t do it. Ache, and then recognize, that this is all the more reason for you to no longer remain small.


You will grieve his choice for what it means for you but also for him, for love, for the world, for this lifetime, for sadness, for women, for men.


And then to love again.


Woman, I see you,

Recovering while rising

Healing your trauma after you were just reminded of it

Because you have to

Because you won’t not.

Choosing forgiveness again because you’ve learned that this is your freedom

Choosing to go ahead and shine not for him,

Not ever because of him (though it’s shitty he had to remind you this way)

But for you.

Because you know it’s your time.


Women are rising.

Women are telling me over and over again that the choice they feel is often grow and lose him, or stay and stay smaller than they want to be.

It does not have to be this way.

Men, if her growth is a threat to you, reach out and I will help you. You don’t want to deny this. She is rising. She is going to thrive. Don’t deny the opportunity to do this by her side.

I help couples survive the uplevel. You love one another. Your souls are in this Union in order to ignite the fires of initiation. The answer may not be to bail. If you are in this tension and want help and guidance, PM me.


In love and for conscious union,

Sarah


Operation Tribe Formation.

Embodied Breath Tribe

WHOA, THAT WAS CRAZY. 
Please read for important updates. Thank you. ❤️

Hello dear one, 
As we close out the week, the first quarter of 2019, and a mercury retrograde, it is clear to me that my life and how I run it is changing. For the better. It affects you if you want increased opportunities to access to my content, work, and what's next. #nextlevel

Back story....

Here's what I know: If you follow your Soul, you are in consistent initiation. We can call these "invitations to grow" in nice-speak. It can be like that or it can be an ass kicking.

I have a pact with my Soul that I honor it. I had no idea what this would truly mean in terms of some hard learning! I was always willing to do the deep thing. The speed at which I learned about what was unresolved in me in 2018 was like a firehose to the face.

2018 was a RIDE and my first year of full time entrepreneurialship outside of my education career. The launching of Embodied Breath was so sacred, and my soul lead me here, but now looking back, I see that I was in fear so much of that first year. It began with massive falling away of the old with some difficult lessons.

I was leaving behind a career that I'd built an incredible resume in. I was running a school with some of the most innovative approaches to Autism and Education integrated in a therapeutic model. I was giving that all up and had to consciously and consistently allow myself to own more and more parts of me that I had kept hidden and kept out of my work as an educator. For example, all reiki and Priestess craft! Integration of my whole self and my whole Soul mission was necessary. This was a wild and necessary process of honoring my whole Truth, as I understand it to this point.

Universe was like: Get ALL of you on board!!! My ego was like: But what does that safely look like??? (Because egos like safety.)

A good friend says, "There's no courage without fear." He also says, "Scared and Sacred are only two letters swapped." I take this to mean that right on the other side of our courage when we are scared is the Sacred. Our Sacred Mission.

And if you don't have fear, actually, you're either bullshitting yourself or you're hiding. Because authentic living is fucking scary.

You might have a heart's desire, and you might have a business idea, but if this is your true and actual calling and you dare to answer it, initiation is the name of the game. Because I can not offer what I'm meant to offer if I haven't touched it, or been willing to touch it. Courage is required.

It's like the Universe asking, "Are you sure? Let's see if you're for real."

On the last day of 2018, I spoke a truth that resulted in the end of a soul-level relationship that had required incredible risk in the first place, resulting in incredible trial. I don't really want to talk about it anymore because I don't want to stay in that energy anymore (choice), but this is to say, that's where I've been the last three months. Inside the examination of the Core Wound that that tapped.

Soul Searching. Diving those depths. Thankfully, I've authentically resurfaced, and not without some real self-examination, I promise you. (See blog for more examination of the depths if you want to take the time to read about my life. And bless you if you want to spend your time that way.)

I was pissed that I was learning about relationship and men one more time in the examination of the rubble. Sad for the loss and sad for how we all struggle collectively with what I was experiencing. I'm still standing before God and asking to integrate what has happened here, for the greater good. I was so mad at this man for doing what I judged as walking away and he said, "Use this, use any of this." I took that to mean, use it for my work. Honestly - I didn't want to have to! I was having a hissy fit in response to the non-preferred conditions. My resilient woman self was tired in deep ways. I didn't want to study men from the standpoint of disconnection anymore. But then I realized with a foot-stomping humility that I am also saying to God, "Use me." So integrate it I must. Right now, I have the willingness to examine it all through love and to move on allowing for integration of even all that is hard, but I don't have answers. And that's maybe all I need. I trust it's all happening according to a bigger plan.

An open and loving heart. Asking the deep questions. Willing to come back to the heart of the mystery.

I'm in.

And the way this all broke me open in everything it touched, combined with where I am on my Soul's journey, really has resulted in something quite beautiful.

A courageous heart, a boundaried life, and embodied Soulful woman. I'm smiling, I'm connecting, I'm shaking the fear and inviting the sensual back into my body. I am so grateful for where I am, the depth of the exploration I've touched, and the soulful encounters I've had on this leg of the journey. Life is rich. In the intimacy of the space we touch when we are willing to be real and vulnerable with one another, we touch what is most real. And, to be very clear, it's hard as fuck, this path. (Enter that is why I coach for a living - to offer this depth of support to YOU!)

In the rubble, we are given the opportunity to see ourselves laid bare and decide if we like ourselves there. We stop pretending. We sit with the ego. We have little else to prove. We have the choice to pretend or commit fully to an authentic life. I've chosen the latter.

This was life inside the uplevel. Inside the initiation.

And here are the changes on the other side:

❤️ I am diversifying my offerings to make some of them more affordable but also simultaneously strengthening the core of my work. (See below.)

❤️ I am sick of Facebook feeds, lost time & energy spent on distraction, and bullshit comments. I want real conversations. I want solution-finding. I want raw and real and gritty.

❤️ I want to pull together this tribe of people saying to me often: "I know the time is now to balance the feminine and masculine. How do we do it?"

❤️ I have SO much to say but I am not satisfied with doing that here anymore. I am NOT currently motivated to put that on FB because it gets lost, trolls are real energy sucks, and the engagement is inconsistent.

❤️ I value my abilities and content, and I am now simultaneously more generous and more willing to expect reciprocity for my contributions. This is self-worth. There is a distinct and important difference between generosity and giving oneself away energetically.

❤️ I want to hone the quality of what I contribute so that it is always worth your time.

❤️ I want you to benefit from my actual work more easily. #soulmission

❤️ I want to get gritty with real people who want to hold the inquiry about how to build the bridge between masculine & feminine. How to heal our bodies through our traumas and into the connection humans crave. How to heal gender-associated cultural ills. How to love ourselves in body & spirit.

Therefore! Structurally and energetically:

🌙 I am launching a membership program next week! This is where the BULK of my content will go. I am going to LOAD YOU UP with quality content, interviews, conversation starters about ALL THINGS Embodied Breath, bimonthly coaching calls, instructional videos, meditations, masculine/feminine, and more. It will be affordable, and you will be seriously compensated for your investment there, and you will also be contributing toward this woman's valuable work in the world. 😉 Thank you.

🌙 This is also where my energy will go first. No longer to FB feed. No longer writing for free for others' groups.

🌙 You need to be on my email list, too, for juicy stuff. Again, less on the FB feed. #tribe Go to my website and sign up.

🌙 More group options, because holy alchemy happens there. (Women's Truth group forming to begin 4/4.)

🌙 And... allowing myself to step more fully, with more dedication than ever, into my soul mission of serving relationships and conscious union. I needed to step away for a bit because projection is a real risk as humans and I was working out my shit! I needed to allow for integration, and now I can come back to this service, knowing ever-more deeply the necessity of this work, being divinely guided to do it. We need to be able to connect even through our fear and do the work of evolving into greater Union through conscious relating. Through evolutionary love. It's the only way.

Questions? Suggestions? Recommendations? Pop a comment below. Thank you for reading this far and thank you for supporting. Any comment below is welcome. If you want membership site info, comment "I'm In!" Below.

Onward. Into big things. ✨🔥🙏

I love you, 
Sarah

#embodiedbreath #uplevel #consciousevolution #consciousunion#soulfamily 
Photo credit Nicole McConville Photography

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I am still claiming the whole of my Truth.

A Soul Truth Unfolds

Your Truth does not have to be pretty
Flow sweetly
Or be packaged neatly

Your Truth may spit at first
Stumble
Get stuck on the grit of things still working their way through to grace

Your Truth does not have to be polished
Or perfectly presented
Or pleasing 
Because, woman, you have done the pleasing. 
And in your meekness, 
A meekness you didn't even intend,
In your efforts to not upset, 
To avoid reaction
You know you’ll always find you haven’t claimed all you know to be true about a thing.

Systemic oppression of women’s voices lives in your throat and mine.

And I wish we could say we’ve overcome it 
And goodness knows I’ve been trying
But when My Truth I hold
Proved to be powerful enough this past year
That before I knew it, I had become a threat to three men close to me 
And they had each threatened to sue me to subdue my story, 
I know that we have not.

Two of them wanted full access to my body, 
But they were not okay with me having full access to my story 
For fear that I might share what happened and how they saw themselves there.

A fear of betrayal that projected fear unsafely onto me
Unwarranted
Without justification other than I speak Truth
To cover up their behavior 
They made me the enemy

Men who said they loved me and I believe they did, who knew my child
Who once planned a future with me
Threatened my security

And I don’t know physical abuse
But I know the effect of betrayal and threat of survival as it takes hold of a woman’s body
To allow men trust and access to be seen as the threat 
And then directly oppressed,
I know the silence that comes from such threat
And I know it’s taken me three months to find the courage to break it. 
This time.

Or maybe it was a lifetime. 
Or maybe it was more.

And I know that some women never do break it.
So that’s why I do. 
So that you can give yourself permission to be messy too.

When a woman’s Truth is something others prefer not to hear, and they can’t bear to think of the true things you might say, they seek to control the woman.

I know this because I am a truth teller and so I would be challenged this way. 
I am done with the karma that allowed me to get into situations 
Where my Truth could be subdued 
Never Again.
My Truth, My Body, My Words, My Choice.

But there are more subversive threats of silence, women, 
Some self inflicted
Some from other women

What are yours?

This is not new
This is embedded
And we are breaking cycles now

And don't pretend that if you've allowed yourself to raise your voice
You are somehow living your whole Truth 
We are all walking this still.

Women are walking this disentanglement still.

The default of silence or fear of suppression affects how we even know our own Truth.
How we access it at all
Such that we don’t even know ourselves as well as we could.

As a woman I know how my voice
Lodges in my throat
How my Truth stagnates if I don’t free it
How it has been rarely asked for or respected in this lifetime

I know my father won’t have a relationship with me because I’ve chosen to tell my story.

I know what it is to be a professional and to have the qualifying letters behind my name and still lack the confidence to speak my Truth as I see it in a room of men.
I know the way men can choose not to listen to a woman
Or disconnect wisdom when presented in a woman’s tone.

I know how boys hear male voices differently, regardless of what is being said.

I know what it’s like to assume that all wisdom will fail you 
When the spotlight comes on
To choke on your own self doubt

To watch men with less to say 
Say more and say it clearer and earn more 
And with the confidence handed them with their privilege, 
To wonder what it would be like to unleash my Voice in the same confident way. 
All I have inside me to say.

I imagine that it would be a force powerful enough to shift the tides, 
Women’s voices confident as we rise.

I am a thirty eight year old woman who has quested
My entire life
To lend myself personal permission to live in my own Truth,
And I still know every single one of these things and more to be true. 
The reasons we deny our own Truth.
I still know the fear of pissing someone off. 
Of being perceived as emotional first 
Dismissed entirely
Of sending the imperfect email full of raw request 
And Truth as I see it 
And fearing in my entire being of another of his disconnected, hurtful replies.

Such that I nearly immediately apologize for being messy.

And then I watch that apology and that fear and that inability to speak my Truth and be heard and I think, Oh. 
Oh. 
Oh woman, stop speaking to deaf ears.

Our Truth, Women, does not have to sound pretty. 
It does not have to be pretty.

It can be unclear
Unformed
Winding
Emotional
Exploratory
Raw
Liberating
Sensitive
Messy
Inappropriate
Cutting
Angry

You get to be angry
To tell an angry Truth
And it would not surprise me if you’ve never allowed your rage to speak
Because where could you?
Did you even think to?
We can hold it for you now. With you. Beside you.

Your Truth does not have to be sweet
You have enough reasons that it wouldn’t be.

All the permissions are yours now
You get to have your Truth, know it, claim it, speak it when the time is right. 
YOU DECIDE.

You decide to give yourself the permission
To untame the Truth of yourself
To claim the truth of your body and story
To open your entire being WIDE.

❤️

If you give yourself this permission now, and it feels aligned, I am inviting you to participate in a Women's Truth Activation online circle. We begin 4/4. You will own and gain your Truth here in this safe, powerful, beautiful container. 
Connect with me. You know what to do when it is time to rise.

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A Life Purpose Reminder. For you. For me.

it’s good to remind ourselves of life purpose & our WHY

I believe in a world where men are kings and women queens. 
I believe in a world where we are not sacrificing our authentic nature to be in partnership. 
I believe in a world where the feminine and masculine are valued in all people. 
I believe in a world where men can stand in a healthy power. 
I believe in a world where women can flow in a healthy feminine. 
I believe in a world that recognizes the beauty in polarity but at the same time holds the tension and exists in Union. 
I believe in authentic connection that heals. 
I believe in bridging divides. 
I believe in alchemizing trauma. 
I believe in living as true to ourselves as possible, and writing the end of our own stories. 
I believe in a world where touch heals our traumatized bodies. 
I believe in recognizing the body as holy, the breath as holy. 
I believe in love relationships that heal and grow through divine alchemy. 
I believe in relationship upgrades on this planet. 
I believe in a world where we live with a courageous heart inside of each of us. 
I believe in inherent wholeness and our ability to regain it. 
I believe that humans can upgrade consciousness on the planet by creating divine union both within and among one another. 
I believe in a world that values edge walkers as leaders and rises above excuses that prevent change. 
I believe that we do not have to learn through loss and overcoming adversity, that we can also elect to learn through love, connection, and vulnerability. 
I believe in soul union. 
I believe in love. 
I believe in love. 
I believe in love. 
I believe in you.

❤️

Coming undone

I recently read, and then reread twice, an excellent article in Buddhadarma by Angel Kyoto Williams that had this powerful line: “You are not doing the work of liberation if you have not come completely undone. That’s where it begins. I have no idea where it ends.”



I know something about that. I recently came undone.



It wasn’t intentional or in pursuit of liberation. It was accidental and caused by a few things, among them a pursuit of shiny ideals, my own tendency to put pressure on myself when I’m afraid to fail, and a messy death of a soul-level love relationship.



It was the messiest I’ve ever been in my life. In certain moments, I still am. I cried yesterday on the way to the Courageous Heart church service, and cried there, and cried on the way home. After all that crying, I decided that what I needed was some soup and so went to the grocery store for the ingredients. While in there, a sweet stranger said, “Excuse me, are you Sarah Poet? Thank you for your contributions and vulnerability.” Why, yes I am. And to affirm your sentiment, look into my puffy eyes, kind man.



I have no idea how I’m being perceived. I have little idea what I managed to hold together over the last three months while coming undone and getting used to it. I said to a friend last week, “I’m back,” and he said, “Well, sister, then you bring quite an away-game.”



I sometimes wait for this to be the best thing that ever happened to me. By which I mean that I find myself anticipating some damn merit for doing this work of liberation. Oops. I watch myself in old habits expecting the big reveal of why things happen the way they happen, the meaning that makes it all worthwhile. The story with the beautiful ending.



I think that’s what got me into this mess and I hope now I’m wise enough to know better. I was thinking that if I worked hard, that if I behaved with integrity according to my soul’s purpose, that if I took big risk, I would be somehow rewarded. It would all work out. Love would win (you know, in just the way I thought it would and of course God would agree with my plan). Isn’t that what hard work and manifestation is all about? Wink.



I believe that the Soul does align us with the circumstances and partnerships that we need in order to learn and grow. At one moment it can look like one thing (bright, shiny, alluring) and the next moment it can look like the greatest challenge of your life. And then we have all those added personality and traumatic histories to add to the cocktail.



In this case, at one moment my life looked like my life partner and I had discovered one another and were both soul-level aware that we had come to do the stuff of soul-union together, complete with past and future life visions and affirmations from a shaman on our mutual soul purpose, and the next minute it looked like massive triggering and poor choices and loss. This as I was still in my not-yet-sustainable first year of business and stress was pretty high.



His voice that I loved so much started to yell, threaten, block. His care turned to power-over, betrayal, dismissal. He abandoned his Yes and then he was gone. It threatened my core, my core wounding. My body. Even my assets.



This is not a post about a man. This is a post about my coming undone. That was just part of the cocktail.



Soul-level relationships will challenge you, because your Soul came to grow and evolve. You might meet under the most incomprehensible conditions, you might see the potential way your life is going, and then, you might see that something else was in store. Or someone makes a choice that changes everything. When you want a romance, have a romance. When you want something real, be with a soul mate. And I will warn you now, get ready. It’s an initiation.



He had asked me one time, as friends, how I knew what I knew about men. From studying them, and studying my interactions with them, I had replied. And then I told him the stories of the men who had come before, who had touched something deep inside themselves in my reflection, and what happens as a woman when men are confronted with themselves, even in non-threatening ways. So over the years, I learned about how to tiptoe around men, how to listen and how to love, and I called it coming into my divine feminine. But that wasn’t how I described it to him. Back when I told him that, I didn’t realize how much I had been tiptoeing.



So I tiptoed, tripped, and fell right into this relationship with him. I was counting on him, in part, to hold me up.



I realized so many things in my coming undone. I realized that I actually had thought subconsciously that if I showed up as best I knew in front of a man, that I wouldn’t get hurt anymore. I actually thought that I if I said yes to following the Soul as it calls to two people in the same way, that it would inevitably mean we could work through anything. I thought that because he saw it too, and actually saw it first, that I could trust him fully, that he would be a safe man. I knew and trusted his Soul, and so I opened myself fully.



What a body does in a coming undone, a traumatic one, is worth noting. As a woman in a body, in MY body, I froze. I have done the fight, and the flight (though I’m mostly a fighter), and this time, there was no more fight. My nervous system didn’t have it. My feminine didn’t have it. I collapsed under the betrayal I felt. Under the loss, the grief, all the things it brought up in my life.



You want to know how I know what I know about men? I’m a woman in a body and I know what happens when a man begins to see you as a threat. From my father forward. I know what it is to trust and to open and to then find yourself susceptible to misdirected male anger, fear, and shame. It can be scary as fuck.



You want to know how else I know what I know about men? Because over and over again, I’ve chosen to forgive them. I grow because I transmute, heal, and learn. That’s the only reason this healing could happen as quickly as it did. Not my first rodeo.



The freeze response took hold in my head, neck, face, and shoulders. It took hold in stillness, confining me to bed and staying inside to process, process, process. In this trauma response, something I thought I’d healed, back came all the feelings of lack of safety. I didn’t keep moving like I probably knew to, because I was inside a trauma response. I wanted to be in water all the time, sometimes two or three hot showers a day. My hips clenched up, this sacred center confused by the sudden mistrust.



Today I danced in the shower, finally. Finally. It’s late March and bees are back to pollinating the flowers and my sexuality just came back online.



I went for orthobionomy and cried on the table. The invitation to unwind in safety is so important. A friend hugged me last week and I just asked him to stand for extra moments while my system took in the touch. Wondering, how did I become this woman again?



My body understands lack of safety. Inherently. It understands the work of unwinding trauma. I didn’t know what lived in the memory of my nervous system would be woken like this again.



All the understanding in the world, all the skills in relating or all the intentions won’t override the nervous system that feels the threat. I know what I know and bring it to Embodied Breath because I am a woman in a body. As a woman in a body, a woman who has lost a child and lost lovers and also found myself in the touch of others, I know that the body is really what’s in charge.



My coming undone was a pile, a mix, of body and emotion and loss and resolve. Of wonder and mystery and sorrow and shame and forgiveness. An identity crisis. A shame shit show. An initiation and karmic unfolding. Another opportunity to explore my own fear of speaking my truth. A humbling. Sometimes all at the same time.



We were told, he and I, that our mutual soul mission was to live in the courageous heart. (And yes, there happened to be a local spiritual movement with the same name at the same time, as I mentioned above.) For six weeks, I was in complete trauma & fear and couldn’t access my heart, let alone be courageous. In that fear, I watched some fo the constructs I’d built to protect myself and build up my world fall down. Because they were weaker than I’d thought. I stood in the rubble. I recognized that I’d asked for all of it, in one way or another.



And then I found my way back to my heart. Through deciding, receiving support, clawing for my own liberation, pounding the floor, wailing when needed, and doing what needs to be done. The trauma needs to be set free, healed, and then we can breathe again. But moving past the resiliency of trauma, and coming into our wholeness, we also access our hearts. A heart broken wide open, who loved another soul purely and has no more space for resentment or futility, is a beautiful space to witness.



It is the most beautiful space I’ve ever experienced, perhaps. I like myself better Undone, at this depth. I like myself better now, with so much less to prove, with such a humbled understanding of how we all try to get it right and how we don’t always win.



I am not blaming a man. I am saying that there was a catalyst in the form of a man I actually miss very much. A situation I chose, my Soul chose, and I participated in, and was designed for my evolution. I hope his as well. Brandi Carlile sings so damn beautifully in the song Every Time I Hear That Song: “By the way, I forgive you. After all, maybe I should thank you, for giving me what I’ve found.” That’s a little of how I feel. He would love that song.



I was still trying to hold up too much, to prove too much, to prove successful in ways that I didn’t even realize I was striving to prove, until I came undone. You’ve heard the phrase “a beautiful mess.” That’s this. I remember what I knew, why I came, what I’m doing. I believe in my mission and I’m regrouping to deliver something I couldn’t have delivered before. Something stronger and more real than ever. My client relationships have benefited from this. My heart serves my relationships now more than ever.



Liberation. It’s not a word that was on my mind before reading this article I mentioned above. But I think that’s this liberation of the heart. A liberation into truer and truer love. And freedom from expectation or condition. Freedom to live into an opening.



I used to have judgements about people who gave up. Now I know what it feels like to consider it. I used to have subconscious judgements about people who couldn’t pick themselves up out of their sorrow. Now I know what it feels like to stay there longer than you expect you might. I actually bought a book on sorrow in December thinking, “I need to better understand this in order to serve my clients who have trouble pulling themselves out.” And… queue life.



I’m sorry if you’ve come undone. Please ask for support if and when you do. The cracking open could be the opportunity for liberation. The way that my community wrapped around me in these months is nothing short of divine. Each of you is a divine gift. Thank you. The blessings that each of you provided are enough to bolster me for a lifetime (but keep them coming, because I want us exchanging our gifts for the rest of this lifetime). I came undone alongside some of you and our conversations have deepened. Our love expanded. I want to live this way.



I will also say that I love to look around right now and see that publically, I saw so many women owning their undone-ness. So many female public figures owning the mess. Right on time. Queue life. I don’t want a one of us to think that we’ve got it more together than another, or that another woman doesn’t suffer like we suffer. One woman said to me last week, “You owning your mess allows me to own mine.”



I always thought that I did this, owning my mess, as a person, as a woman. Then life served up one big ol’ mess to see what I was made of. The thing is, I still don’t know sometimes. It’s an investigation, a witnessing of Self. Sometimes I know I’m here and worthy and ready, and other times I hide because I’m still scared to bring my all. Sometimes I know how much I have to offer and I put it out there, and sometimes I still wait out of fear. Sometimes I remember my courageous heart, and other times I have to be reminded of it. I will continue to share the walk, the mess, the liberation.



I am now somewhere comfortably undone. I feel the fresh breeze of liberation. Freedom. As my body begins to release the tension, as the nervous system lets down and begins to heal, I feel a space again. A space to move my hips, a space to remember to do neck rotations, a space to breathe into what’s next. This is the space that allows for connection. I look forward to opportunities to share my heart, and again in time, my body. I am preparing to shift my living arrangements to allow for more space to come more fully, more willingly, more beautifully undone. The future is wide open. Liberation, freedom, is our invitation. As Angel Kyoto Williams said, “I have no idea where it ends.” Maybe that’s the point, to ever-more willingly release our grip on life.



Thank you for reading. Thank you for stopping me in the grocery store and reminding me to keep writing. Thank you for your hands on my back in warm embrace. Thank you for loving me even when I mess up or am a mess. Thank you for your humanity. Please, let’s keep extending it outwards to all. It’s the stuff of living, of doing the hard, good work of living and having a place to land. May I be such a space for you when you need it.

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fallow woman poem

Fallow woman

On Sunday she cooked chicken for the family,

and while cleaning up,

the smell of the fat in the pan filled her nose and when no one was looking,

she poured it into a glass and drank it back.


It could easily have been described as a gulp. Or a guzzle.


And then she recognized how truly hungry she had once again become.


The fat sliding in her throat and into the body not nearly enough to fill or truly nurture her feminine soul.


She steps back to look at herself, touching her fingers to her lips, her craving having just surprised her, to wonder how she found herself here again.


How she allowed herself to have been drunk from, and to be then again laid fallow, by a man.

A mother of two boys says to me, “You know, they just crawl all over your body, take from it, like it belongs to them.”


And I wonder, is she really referencing the young boys, or adult men?


She is the body of the mother, after all, and while we hope to wean them, babies turn to boys turn to grown men.

Is it not their right? They assume.


Ah, my woman, I am so sorry you have to turn to the kitchen, swallow the fat, and keep nursing the majority of them.

A wife in session alone with me turned on the imaginary waters above her head to cleanse her energy body, and gulped it instead.

“I was just so thirsty!” she said.


The water, the light of god, the body so hungry to be satisfied.


Replenished.


That is the potential of fallow land, after all, if not further depleted.


That is the potential IF the woman’s body is recognized by all as sacred ground.

A woman stood facing her husband in the connection exercises I provide, and in the safe distance between them, her body began quaking slightly.

She was unable to walk forward.

And he saw,

he saw how he had been taking.

And in her, every day, a fear of having to give over what was not meant for him. And finally she did not have to.

He had been taking from depleted ground.

And he stood, seeing his part in this responsibility, stood with his guilt and shame as it turned to care and concern. He saw, and he would not do it again.

The woman, the mother, each woman’s body, is the source of life.

How do we replenish a collective of women?

Thirsty, nursing, depleted, hungry queens.

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self judgement does us no good

Help, forgiveness, grace

For my birthday this year, I gave myself some gifts.

First, I asked for help.

Second, I let myself be fully seen by those that love me.

And third (I’m still working on this one), I decided to love myself anyway.

I would have said that I loved myself, but then a wave of deep “Who am I and how did I get here?” swept in. A coming undone, if you will. Stay tuned for the blog post.  

Have all the decisions I’ve made in the last year been wise? No. Have all the decisions at the time been made with best intention? Yes.


I have messed up before, for certain, as we all do, and grappled with the judgement of others. This time, the judgement was primarily my own. I’m not sure I messed up, but maybe I did along the way, and how do I sit with myself when I mess up?

Did I have integrity when I made the decision to leave my job?

Did I have integrity when I decided to speak up or not speak up about injustices?
Did I have integrity when I made the decision to risk my family’s home if my business wasn’t sustainable?

Did I have integrity when I allowed myself to say yes to a complicated love?


Yes.

I think so.

But I’m still wading through all that and back to self love.

I was talking with a close friend last week about this process (the asking for help part) and I said, “I had good intentions.” To which he jokingly replied, “Well you know what they say about the road to hell.”


I love a friend who will sit with you in your mess. And dear me, I’m blessed with many. While I work out my own relationship with my self-judgement, and self-acceptance, and the mess in between, I look around to see that I have tribe and that perhaps this is the very richness of life.

I am blessed to be witnessed and loved anyway. I am blessed to have women who spend my birthday witnessing me shedding layers of woman shame and claiming my soul. To have those friends that listen to every decision I’ve made and remove their judgement from their response, and to genuinely reflect back to me even the things I don’t want to hear. I am grateful to be seen.


I recently answered an exercise in B School about what people often thank me for. I realize, it’s all of that in the last paragraph - it’s my willingness to “go there,” to hold a space for the deepest of truths, to leave judgement at the door, to sit with someone in the mess, to support the authenticity and transformation. Now I just get to really practice on myself.


All of you is welcome here.

All of me is too.


Be gentle with yourself. If I can support you in and through your mess, it is my honor to do so. Set up a free consultation here.

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HOW YOU INTERACT IN PARTNERSHIP IS HOW YOU INTERACT WITH ALL OF LIFE.

HOW YOU INTERACT IN PARTNERSHIP IS HOW YOU INTERACT WITH ALL OF LIFE.

Life is one divine opportunity, one right after another.

How open you are in love relationship is how open you are in the world.

How receptive you are in your most intimate partnership will reflect in how you relate in the world: do you take, do you defend, or are you able to receive?

Where you resist in your love relationship is where you resist with the entire world.

Where you learn to open in your love relationship is then how you learn to interact openly and lovingly with the entire world.

How you balance your heart and your head in love relationship, you will do throughout your life.

How you hold on to blame and struggle in your intimate relationships, you will do throughout all relationships - it will be how you interact with the entire world.

How you rest in the heart of divine love in your intimate relationship, you will take to the rest of the world.

Blessings. I love serving union - helping you take your relationship from old, co-dependent, and blaming - to new, inter-dependent, and alive. This is how I serve your Union when you are devoted to embracing this potential.

When we invest at home, in our most intimate relationship, the quality of our entire lives improves exponentially. This is why I do this work - because love relationships, in true divine union, can be the basis for all the change we desire in the world.

Get after your own Soul.

Adoption decades later

When I called my mother from ten hours away during my first semester of college and told her I was pregnant, she let out a sound so guttural, so raw, that I’m pretty sure my father probably thought someone had died. Telling your mother you’re pregnant when you’re supposed to be a kid going off to college, well, that’s shame inducing.



Going home from college pregnant after the first semester at age 18; that’s shame inducing. Going back to the small town, back to the place you wanted to get away from in the first place, back to the methodist-infused judgement, literally growing evidence of your lust in your belly.



Shame shuts down things like lust and sexuality. Shame shuts down most things and makes rule-followers, hustlers, vigilant watchers out of us.



There was an Indigo Girls song, “Fugitive,” that I listened to in my old boxy black Jeep Cherokee on repeat that fall while I was packing up from the college I was ashamed to be leaving, an innovative hippie school in Western North Carolina. The song started with the words “I’m harboring a fugitive, defector of a kind, and she lives in my soul, and drinks of my wine, and I’d give my last breath, just to keep us alive.”



I listened to the song again just now and cried my eyes out. Happens every time I play it.



I carried that little fugitive. Or I was the fugitive, or we were, I’m not sure. I put my head down, let the other adults duke it out, and I grew that girl. I knew she had to be here. I knew this mess was somehow the most sacred thing I’d ever experienced.



I cared for her like the doctors told me to, and I also discovered, somehow following my instincts, Ina May Gaskin and Caroline Myss and Christiane Northrup. On my 18th birthday, I went to a small diner in rural PA with my grandmother, visibly pregnant, and meanwhile Ina May Gaskin was on my nightstand. Actually I didn’t have a nightstand. I had a bookshelf behind the head of a twin sized bed that was put in the basement for me when I came back from college. A bed in the basement was also shame inducing. I’d revisit that in therapy to unpack more than once in the subsequent decades.



But I found god in that bed, with that baby in my belly. Rather, now, I think I found my own Soul and Mary Magdalene and Sophia. I touched the Sacred. I knew my child’s Soul. I felt her so deeply. I knew her personality. There is nothing she has ever done that has surprised me, because I knew her that deeply. But I actually only got to see her grow up in pictures and twice a year visits if I was lucky. She was adopted three days after her birth.



I knew my job was to get her through. I just knew it with the knowing that I now call Soulknowing - when you don’t know how you know other than you know it in your core. She was meant to be here. She chose to come through me. There was only one family I would have chosen out of three states worth of families looking to adop through that agency. I chose them a few months before her birth, so I knew where she would be going. I didn’t know what it would look like. I couldn’t predict. And yet, I knew she would be okay.



When you’re laying there in a solo twin bed at 18 and pregnant, and you find a different kind of God than the god you’d been given, the god that made you go to church and the god that shamed you for being a lustful woman in the first place, you find faith. Or I did anyway. But faith is a different story. It goes hand in hand with this story, but this story is about shame.



I found God (or Sophia or Mary Magdalene or my Soul - whatever She was) and I put all that faith into that divine little baby, and then when I had handed her over, what does a girl filled with so much shame do? She kicks her own ass.



The prescription we’re all given, as women, is to make something of ourselves. I pause here because I don’t think I need to actually even say more about this to women who have read this far in this post. You know the pressures, teenage pregnancy or not. Women know the conflicts. We know the narratives. We know that the path of achievement can derail us from our Soul real damn quick and real deep if we’re not careful. And sadly, we don’t know to be careful. Because the inherent prescription looks and sounds like, “succeed at all costs, the answers are outside of yourself, go prove you are good enough.” And then we lose our Soul, or disconnect from it further, or don’t even know what we’ve lost, we just know it’s something big.



Gaining back one’s Soul is the work of a lifetime. Following one’s Truth is the work of a lifetime.



I’ve been walking back to myself, on a windy road, for nearly twenty years. Thankfully, I didn’t stop looking under the rocks on the path. I also worked like hell to prove myself and prove achievement and prove prove prove prove prove prove prove my worth.


Because nothing strips self love and self worth like shame. And nothing ever fills a hole when shame dug it in the first place. And we don’t ever prove a damn thing if what we really want is to love ourselves and feel worthy just to be alive.



You have to choose yourself. You have to choose your Soul. You have to get it back, and this is an active choice. Others will not understand this choice when you start to choose it. It looks like rule-breaking. The further you go, the more it looks like crazy, in my experience.



This choice will not make sense and will go against the grain and you will be misunderstood and you will have to confront all of the parts of yourself you never wanted to even admit were parts of yourself and you will have to claim claim claim claim claim your own Soul.



I want to say this again. YOU will have to choose you. Mom and Dad and husbands and bosses and friends turned not friends and lovers turned not lovers will never do for you what this active choice to choose yourself will do for you. It is not selfish, to know yourself. It is not unimportant.


It is so important. It is what leads you to be so damn fine with yourself that you have nothing but integrity. And when you make a mistake, finally you learn to recognize the sabotager of shame and you embrace it, you embrace you, you apologize, you get right with yourself, you decide what parts of yourself you’ll judge and what you’ll forgive and fix and you’ll do your best. The fight, the need to prove, the incessant running from shame - these things only lead to more fights, more combativeness between us and life.



I recently had another deep bout with shame. Thankfully, shame came to be a teacher, as emotions and conditions do. I know that many people worry that they will lose themselves to these unpleasant emotions. You will not lose yourself if you continue to choose yourself, and continue to ask for growth.



I sat with shame, this teacher, and I saw how it had always been there, under the surface, whispering in my ear that maybe I wasn’t actually good. Wasn’t actually okay, for all my trying and all my proving.



Shame is not You, You are not shame. You are not the things that society told you were wrong but you did anyway because of your Soulknowing. There is a SoulYou to claim. You are Yours to claim. And the world needs SoulYou, not another rule follower. The world needs you Whole.



I’m going to go ahead and be radical - that’s but one of the things I’ve come to after these first intense weeks of 2019. I’m going to operate through a radical love. I’m going to tell the stories that don’t get told. Talk about sexuality and the gritty work of Soulgaining. I’m going to take leaps and do things that don’t fit the mold.



Thank God. And Sophia. And Mary Magdalene. Thank Soul. I didn’t come here to be or please anyone else. Neither did you. We came to be whole. Get after your own Soul.

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Shame comes to remind us how we will engage

On the phone with my 89 year old grandmother this week, she said, “Still have your man?” I inhaled to brace myself and said, “No, actually, it’s been a really difficult month. I’ve been exploring what’s really going on by focusing on me and I’ve been working with two different therapists and coaches on growing through this.” Sometimes I wonder why I say these things to her, and she wonders why I call her less often. It’s because rest assured, our conversations will trigger my shame. I think I share honestly with her both to attempt to open these doors and also to see how much shame can still be triggered.



She said, “Ha, I thought you were a coach, now you have to hire a coach too?”



What’s the implicit message? That’s right. You don’t have it all together yet? Are you weak? And, of course, you are weak for being imperfect.



Of course she doesn’t consciously intend to cause harm through judgement, but it happens. This could be a post about my grandmother, but it isn’t. I started out with that story to bring it home that messages of perfection and shame of not having it all together yet are all around us.



And this post is about me, because, if I tell you a story about someone else’s mistakes, I’m not really looking at my own, and I’m avoiding my shame.



Shame is the lowest emotion. When emotional frequencies are measured, it is actually the lowest of all emotions as compared on the megahertz scale. That means it feels the worst.



And what would trigger the worst feelings but the most profound of our crap. Our wounds. Our deepest stuff.



This month, this first month of a brand new year, kicked my ass. It brought up all my stuff, honestly, in a way that showed what I really needed to learn at this time. I’m still learning (and always will be.) This could be a post about how on a soul journey, a soul mate relationship will do that, but it’s not that post either. This is the post from the inward examination of shame. And it’ll be incomplete. And imperfect. And I’m learning more and more to be in full acceptance of that.



I really try to get it right and good. I think we all do, inherently. I really try to be brave and tell stories and help people. I intend to live in my truth and put myself out there in vulnerability and be strong in order to withstand any sort of reaction. I forgot, as I do so that I can remember, apparently, what our friend Brené Brown tells us, that if we live courageously, we will fall. We will fail. And it’s at that point that we get to decide. Whether to blame and point, or whether to integrate our experiences and grow.



I certainly dabble with the blame and point. I have to watch it, be mindful not to act from it. Sorry not sorry if that’s not enlightened enough yet. (Ha. You see what I did there? A joke about hiding shame.)



I’m a natural integrator. Living the soul journey and being willing to “go there” is kinda my gig. I also just sometimes want to avoid getting my ass kicked. Because it hurts. And I want to inherently be good. Be enough. When I see the outward world reflecting to me that I didn’t get it right, I think, well F, then I must still not be good enough and getting it right.



It triggers self worth and it triggers shame.



I think we live in a pretty interesting time where this idea that we can actually come to a point where we don’t feel these things anymore or that we are above feeling them is pretty rampant. I think that in the past year, putting myself out there as a coach after having worked in education, I definitely was worried about getting it right. I didn’t always admit vulnerabilities, even though I am this truth telling person. Even though I started Embodied Breath specifically to look at the “not enough” patterns that we all face, I was still doing it! Of course I was. They are engrained.



The aim is not perfection. The aim is authentic and wholehearted living. The aim is essentially love.



I told my grandmother, after a deep breath, that yes, of course I would be willing to hire my own coach if that’s the same help I hope to provide. My clients need to be willing to hire me when they want to self-examine something, and I don’t pretend to be above that. I told her that it’s okay to need help and that it is not weakness. We’re not culturally used to asking for or needing help, but that sets us up for a lot of high and unmeetable expectations. I told her this on the other side of a significant river of shame I’ve been crossing. Not the full other side, but I’m on the banks again enough to see where I’ve just been.



I don’t know where exactly I went wrong. It’s not entirely my story to tell, and so I won’t tell it here, out of respect for others involved, and because it’s still active. But I behaved in what I believed was honesty and courage, and yet I still messed up, somehow. People are still pissed. My character is apparently in question for some people. In fact, I’m starting to hear about it through a grapevine - stories that are partly untrue and giving negative descriptions of my character being told about me. A friend of mine told me that she heard some gossip and could say; I know this person, and what you are saying is not true. Thank god for friends like that.



I thought that in telling my own story for a living, I would somehow avoid people telling false stories. I thought that in authenticity, I would be protected somehow from criticism. I thought that if I stood up for soul and love, that love would conquer all and that we wouldn’t get hurt. These weren’t conscious thoughts. These were assumptions made while I was doing the good work of hustling forward and showing up best I knew how. And then, I made choices that ended up hurting people. And gained me criticism. And there’s nothing I can say or do or be to change minds. I can’t please my way out of this. And meanwhile my own heart aches, and precious few are asking me about my own heart. (Thank you if you are. Dear me, from my heart, thank you.)



Another friend called me to say he was there for me no matter what. He said, “Sarah, maybe it’s just time for you to tell your own story. It’s what you do.”



That same day, I pulled the Truth Be Told card from my oracle deck and thought, Oh crap. I sat with this, wondering what it meant. And then I was preparing to sit in a circle of women. Women who had paid me to be my clients in a… get this… Personal Truth group. And I got the loud, incessant cue from above to tell the whole story. All of it. Even the parts that people could judge. And I wanted to run. And I sat sweating up until the moment I told it. But I told it. I asked only for it to be heard. That there was a truth in me that needed to be spoken and not kept silent. I said I would accept judgement. I would accept the consequences of reactions. Whatever they are. I braced myself for more shame or for people to even quit working with me. And when I told it, I heard, “Thank you for modeling what truth telling looks like. Thank you for living what you say you live.” I heard, “I would not imagine walking away from you or this right now.”



A few days later, I was collaborating with a male colleague and he knows the whole story. I also worked with him and his wife with some couples coaching. I again braced myself for rejection and more shame, and he said, “I don’t judge you.”



On this man’s computer I noticed a taped piece of paper that read “In the Arena!” Brené Brown and all of her shame research and all of the books with all my notes in the margins were in my hands this month. What did I forget? How did I get here? What is this terrible feeling I’m feeling? Where do we go from here with shame? Brené tells story from Theodore Roosevelt’s speech “Citizenship in a Republic” that my friend’s personal reminder was referencing - be in the arena. It is more important to be in the arena of life, engaging with it heart and soul, than to be avoidant on the periphery. And when you are in the arena, you will mess up. You will fall. You will fail.



I had the distinct opportunity, consciously, at least a hundred times since I started Embodied Breath to either walk forward into this arena or walk back out again. Walking forward, engaging with life, following my Soul, and to do it with as much integrity as possible, is the only option. I was recently reminded that sometimes I will fail. And thankfully, this has also lead to renewed realizations that there is relief in my imperfection.



There is a kind of resilient fighting that comes from determination to prove perfection and avoid shame. I know that fighter. She’s in me, and you all have heard her tell stories if you’ve been watching for any time at all. There is a more genuine form of authenticity that comes from your heart being cracked open, having to choose whether or not to keep loving yourself and other people in spite of imperfections, and humbly standing up to say that I’m sorry I hurt someone, and I’m sorry I abandoned aspects of myself. Standing in front of my mirror and my creations and humbly offering personal forgiveness inward has been profound. After all this hard work of getting to this point, leaving a career I’d achieved a lot in, creating Embodied Breath, what, I thought I wouldn’t stumble?



If we stay in that frequency of the emotional state of shame and it survives, it will take us down. Guaranteed. We will not walk back into the arena of life for as long as we let it rule us. We can work hard and get promotions and seemingly be successful from this place, but we will not be living authentically. Wholeheartedly. I am not here to school you from a pedestal. That’s kinda the whole point. I’m here to remind us all. I’m here to walk with you. Haha, it’s more like I’m pulling at your shirt hem from my knees right now than having any pretence of pedestal.



Brené  Brown found in her research that in order for shame to survive, it needs secrecy, silence, and judgement. In my walk this month, especially this week, I discovered these antidotes. I broke my silence, my secrecy, and my own personal self judgement and the judgement of others. Friends and helpers were gracious enough to help me break it. And the shame feels much less intense.



The absolute antidote to shame is empathy. It’s what we need to be kind enough to extend to one another, even when we’re hurting. When I’m hurting and accepted my colleague Gina’s offer when she said, “Spirit is telling me to offer you this coaching,” it was amazing. Gina is helping me to hold space for all parts of myself. It is some of the most powerful personal work I’ve ever done. I can hold myself empathetically in this space and it resonates outward.



When we are willing to look at all of ourselves, we grow the most. Not that it’s some race or something, but it also feels the best. Self-forgiveness and self-love feel good. Relaxing the pressure on myself allows me to be a better space holder for others, more loving toward all, more empathetic. I am a better mother, a clearer coach, and better steward of Embodied Breath as a result of having gotten in that arena of life, gotten my ass kicked (again), and learning to be vulnerable and present with myself and others in still-closer ways. I am more authentic than ever. I am more myself than ever.



If I have behaved in a way that perpetuated a notion of perfectionism in the coaching industry, I am sorry. I do the work that I do because I want you to have a space to own your whole truth, your vulnerability, to feel your shame if you need to, to move through whatever arises, and to see yourself as beautiful and whole. My work is an arena itself! It is what I am inviting.



If I have hurt you, I am sorry.



I pray that we may all stay in the arena with ourselves and with one another, so that we may experience the wholehearted, connected, ever-conscious possibilities on the other side. I will go through, with you. Beside you.

Photos by www.NicoleMcConville.com

Photos by www.NicoleMcConville.com