A paradigm shift or a culture war. We choose.

It’s not an either/or, masculine or feminine, man or woman.

As a culture war threatens, or maybe it’s already here, I urge us to consider another way.

When a women’s movement sprung up, and women rallied, “Me Too!”, men were whispering, “Well what about me? I’ve been abused too.”

At the time, I was one of those women that said, “Shh, not now. This time is for women.” And that felt really true, but that also perpetuates a polarity. Why wasn’t I allowing space for men to share their stories of abuse? Something inside me was saying, “This is not just about abuse, this is about evidence of a shifting paradigm. Let the women show they are rising.”

And I get that if we are looking through the eyes of a “men vs. women” scenario, that we would see most often “woman = victim” and “man = perpetrator.” And there are plenty of examples of this. But we are humans, and so not all men want to fall into the perpetrator category, and there’s a fear response within many men that they will be assigned this label. They don’t know if they will be called a perpetrator or if they deserve it, and there’s a surge in defensiveness as well as a massive quieting of men right now. I get that. And, yes, sometimes men are victims too.

What Ford/Kavanaugh symbolized to me was another step in the paradigm shift, and this time, about women’s voice. No matter what, Dr. Ford was going to tell her truth. In doing so, she reminded many, many women that this is a noble path, regardless of reception. In fact, we even saw less tolerance than ever before, historically, of a culture willing to defer to the judgement of men over a woman. We all knew what the GOP was really doing and we knew it was BS. And women know what Ford was doing. And a lot of us appreciate it and find some new resolve within ourselves as a result of her bravery.

Then, on the tales of this, inevitably, there are also attempts by men to say, “But wait, us too, our voices are suppressed to.” I’ve been involved in quite a few of these conversations, meanwhile navigating my own resurfacing of memories and lived experience, and my own stories that I’ve silenced or didn’t even know I could tell.

I hold space for men as well as women in my work, for all humans regardless of gender, and so I’m watching my own “stuff” come up meanwhile trying to stay open to what my male friends are saying. “We don’t feel like we can tell our truth either.”

I know. I know there is a repression of authentic male voice and that we are also collectively yelling about “toxic masculinity” at the same time we commonly don’t want to be holding space for men to do much about it. We want men to go do their work and yet we aren’t very tolerant of hearing about that work or creating space for it in our culture.

And so, when this conversation comes up, we question whether or not men are trying to steal women’s thunder if they also say, “Uh… I’m hurting too right now.” It’s messy. It’s especially messy when the focus is “winning” or proving that one gender has it better or worse.

Truly men, I think it’s actually indicative of a legitimate core problem with masculinity that men immediately want to go to women to “solve” their problems with masculinity. There’s nothing simple about this, right? But hear me out. Men often carry what Jung called The Mother Wound, and to ask the women in your life, in the middle of a women’s movement, to also hold your own victimhood, whether legitimate or not, is indicative of this wounding where men think that women are going to solve it for them, like Mommy would. The collective “Mommy” right now just might need a minute. And, go to a men’s group and talk about this. Please. We need men in this conversation checking their own shit and showing up having done some work. Because if you’re doing your personal work to heal your masculinity, we can have this conversation. I will have that conversation with you. But I’m not responsible for providing you with your reassurance right now, and I find it difficult to do so in the middle of a collective women’s movement when my own trauma responses are active.

When my trauma responses are active, and men attempt to prove that they’ve had it as bad as or worse than women, I feel tired.

That’s just real. I’m human. And! I don’t want to perpetuate a divide. So I keep showing up, questioning myself, talking to my male friends, and writing about this at 5:30 in the morning.

I don’t want to send or perpetuate a “You’re broken, go fix yourself, we’re having a women’s movement over here” message to men.

And at the same time when I’m “in it” as a woman, and a man says, “Yeah but we don’t feel we can speak our truth either,” the first thing I want to do as a woman is attempt to recount why I think I had it worse. (Stick with me here...)

So I start in with my automatic replies, “Yeah but you don’t know what it’s like to live feeling suppressed by the other gender your entire life.” And then I think - I don’t know that that is absolutely true. That’s not actually fair to say. I know plenty of men who were actually suppressed by women their entire lives.

So I try another route, “Yeah but I have stories that I couldn’t share and my tongue felt caught in my throat until I unstuck it with all my might.” And then I think - I know men who this is absolutely true for.

So then I try, “Yeah but my body. My body lived the horror of an over-taxed nervous system and I felt like I was in fight or flight for most of my life for living in fear.” And then I think - this is not female exclusive.

This week, as a woman, I reactively wanted to really prove the differences, in order to prove why it’s important that we really allow space for women. But I can’t prove the differences on a human soul to human soul level. And my focus, now that I’ve reflected, is that it is not my work or interest to do so - to prove differences, or to perpetuate a divide.

I don’t want to compare wounds. It is no longer my interest.

I don’t want us to prove who had it worse as a result of the repression of the feminine - because THAT’S WHERE ALL OF THIS COMES FROM. There are two main archetypal energies in all of us - masculine and feminine - and guess what: the feminine has been repressed in all of us. ALL of us. That’s what this movement is. A bringing back, a reclamation, a re-integration of the feminine, AS WELL AS rediscovering what healthy femininity and masculinity truly is. We need to rediscover and rebalance that within each of us, individually. And, we need to do it collectively in the culture. The only way we are going to do this is together.

It’s not triggering for me to hold space for men who also have pain right now. It’s triggering for me to compare stories, to attempt to one-up the pain. And reflexively, this is where we go.

Let’s stop it. Reroute.

Ask questions. Seek understanding. Assume positive intent. Forgive. See how the people you love are trying. Reach out. Apologize. Listen to a story. Lean in. Go to a place where this conversation is happening to bridge a divide, or start one.

This is how we shift this old paradigm. This is the work I want to do and the way I want to live - in masculine/feminine union.

S Shoemaker Spring '18-22.jpg


To the men who are scared:


Men are scared right now. With each public case highlighting a man’s previous mistakes against women, men are scared that it could be them next. And the honest truth of it is that yes, if we are moving forward in this accusatory culture, then every man, or damn near every man, could expect to be at risk for prosecution.


I suffered at the hands of men, and starting at a young age. Too young. And then, when a teenager, I had a group of boys from the soccer team show up at my house, my boyfriend among them, and the rest of the boys stand outside the door while the expectation was that I would give him oral sex. When I exerted just a bit of push back, my head was pushed downward. First I bit him. Then I did it.


I am a woman in America. Of course I have a story like this. I have countless stories of male dominance - sexual, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It is because I have done much trauma work that I can state this directly, but I do want to say it. I get it. I know what it is like for the nervous system to live in self-protection and fear - I did it for the better part of 35 years. In fact, that’s a lie. I still, on dates with men, feel it in my body, the immediacy of the self-protective response of my body, even though countless healing sessions, trauma release, a meditation practice, and knowing all about this stuff. Still. My body knows because my body has grown a woman in America. It is that widespread. Do not think it isn’t. Every woman knows this story in her body.

But I don’t want to look up this man now and tell him he was wrong. I don’t care to, personally. I get that other women are having a host of various responses with their associated memories coming up from this public case, and I support each woman’s choice.

I don’t want to make sure he knows that he was wrong in that specific instance. What I want, is to call to men both near and far to be brave now, amidst the fear that every one of you might have a reason for some woman to come out with a story against you.


Relatively recently, I tried to have this sort of kind but honest conversation with two specific men in my life. They ran in fear, even though I was not talking about prosecution. They ran, they used their positional power, and the issues were never resolved. As a woman, I was left to deal with their choices. I lived an experience where because men still do have positional power-over, they could both choose to run due to their own fear. I was left, again, feeling the feeling that women know of unresolve, of cleaning ourselves up after a man has his way with us.


Because a culture of fear got us here, right now, we are only moving in the direction of more collective fear, as I see it. When what we really need is more bravery.


Yes, it is brave of a woman to tell her story. I am all for it. But men, my god, we need your bravery now too. We need you to come toward rather than back away.


I get that the reasons that many of you are currently unable to do this have to do with not knowing how. Men have grown up to assume that what they say goes. And now we have a culture of women saying that this is not okay anymore. It’s true. It is not okay anymore.


So here’s what you do, men. Come to the table. Come and sit down and say, “Help me to understand.” Say to the woman that you love in your own house, “Can you tell me how you feel as a woman when you hear this story in the news? What do you think that I, as a man, can do?”

A friend told me this week that when she told her male partner about her dreaded high school experience locked in a room with a man, he wanted to go hunt down that man and “make him pay.” And so she had stopped communicating to her partner, meanwhile she was reliving a visceral trauma response. Men, that is not exactly what I mean by bravery. Use her feelings of safety as a measure of bravery. If she feels safe as a result of your actions, and it creates more trust, you’re on the right path.


Men, you’ve been taught to think that you need to perform, know exactly what to do, fix it, or save us. We’re not asking for that now. We want you to ask questions, listen, check your self-protection, say an out-loud apology even if that woman isn’t in the room - say it to any woman. Admit that you don’t know what to do right now, and that you didn’t know what to do then. Ask a woman you trust for help. Not all women want to take you down. Some of us will hold you accountable meanwhile allowing you to rise into a more embodied, emboldened version of man. That’s what I want to do. That is what I am demanding by being the woman that I am in the world today. I will love the hell out of men, and, I will naturally demand the best of you. I will simultaneously no longer allow power-over to exist when I see it, and also, I will help to explain what I see with kindness and compassion. It’s up to you to step in, to not run in fear.


We are creating a new way. We need to do so together, even though our traumas are real, even though we don’t yet know what to say, even though we feel fear. We all want to feel bravery and love, in our bodies, in our men, in our women.


Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”


I’ll meet you there.

Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 8.44.29 AM.png



I don't care if you believe me. I am a woman. So is she.

Perhaps the bravest thing I’ve ever seen is a man leaning into the feminine mystery. Because the feminine mystery, if I must spell it out, is the most powerful force in all of nature.

The forceful conquer and control of men is not the most powerful force in nature. It is a farce the world has fallen for.

With all the examples of fear we’ve got, with all the men who have told us to stay small, attempted to discern from some perceived vantage point whether or not a woman is credible, I am also experiencing the opposite.

Sweet relief.

Neither trying to dominate or diminish or run - a man who wants to explore the mystery. Who bows to it. Who asks to learn more.

Lusty women are forever being told that we’re too much. Men, really, you are still trying most often to shame us for our sexuality or conquer it. You’re bullshitting yourself if you disagree, I’ll debate you on it.

Or, you often run and don’t even try. Or you dominate in such a way that the true power and lust never comes out of her. So sad for us all. So sad for this world.

If any of you try that conquering bit here, and some of you have, what you find is a mirror so clear that your own fear will conquer you. And you never even touch the mystery.

I’ve seen it. Oh have I seen it. It's so sad.

Until I was surprised. Until a man stood steady, acknowledging his shaky knees while coming ever closer to the ocean of me.

Ask me what I’ll do for a man who has leaned in to whisper: I am here to ensure that you, woman, come completely unleashed.

Unleashed.

The ocean of me. Invited into as infinite a space as needed. He will hold me.

This is the place the masculine holds for the feminine, if he is able. Men, take some lessons here.

His intimidation he acknowledges, but exhilaration replaces any fright. Seeing and valuing the role of the feminine at this time, and not only believing her, but holding her up. Creating space for her to be bold in a world that so often does the opposite.

Unleashed.

He craves to swim in the waters of the feminine unleashed.

You all do.
Men, I promise you, you all do.

And you repressors, you men who think that you can control this wave of the feminine divine rising, you stand no chance. Your tight brains and your wild dicks inside your expensive suits will be your own destruction. You will die in the house of your own fear. Do your work. Do your damn work. I still believe you can. I believe you must.

I have offered to help. I've got an ocean of feminine receptivity. But that sounds wild to you, doesn't it? You must be able to find yourself in the waters untamed.

It requires being brave enough to stand in the ocean of the feminine that, yes, is bigger than you. Wider, vaster, and different. You have another value. There is another way. You will never find it so long as you spend your time attempting to control this ocean.

Unleash, Women, unleash. Be wide. Be vast. Be your lusty, uncontrollable selves. If there's not a man around who can hold that for you, be that with other women. Be it now.

We will teach the men how to come along. We need them. Some of you are showing you are ready. Thank you.

Perhaps the bravest thing I’ve ever seen is a man leaning into the feminine mystery.

I am looking for the examples of men who are encouraging the mystery now.


IMG_3680.jpg



You were worthy then, You are worthy now.

As a nineteen year old woman, I laid in a hospital bed just having given birth to my first child. I was holding her and keenly aware of all of the other eyes on me. Our relationship, the depth and authenticity of it, happened in silence, in the psyche, in the womb. Judgement and shame existed outside of this space.

This child of mine was strong and robust in spirit and in all of her nine pounds three ounces. She was a deep thinker, wise and attuned to the Universe. I knew this because we spent countless silent hours together while she took up residence in me, while I took up residence in my parent’s basement, where a little nook had been created for me after I came home from my first semester of college pregnant. I knew how she would move about the world before she even came into it. There is still nothing about her personality that surprises me to this day. I knew her then. The gift of deep, soulful insight given to a woman who knows she will not raise her child. 

Her adoptive parents picked her up at the hospital less than 48 hours after her birth, according to the time stamp on the photos I have in an album. I thought it had been longer, but she was born just after midnight on the 22nd, and they came the evening of the 23rd. During the time I had her in the hospital, a steady stream of visitors came. It was sweet of everyone, and I’m sure I invited it, appreciative of the level of support of close friends and family. But I was silent while the world moved around me. 

I was smiling for these damn pictures when I should have been asking for quiet time alone with her. Indeed, I stayed up all night long studying her, talking to her, making agreements, making amends, making apologies. 

Her face was perfectly round, she was pure beauty. Pure perfection. I had done it right - the pregnancy. I had followed all rules, but beyond that, I had read Ina May Gaskin and I had nurtured myself and my pregnancy with a wisdom that was both beyond my years and not present physically in the influences that surrounded me. I tucked away in that basement, waitressing and taking a few classes otherwise, and I listened to the experience. I felt it. I talked to her, and to God, and I didn’t even think I believed in anything like that. I’d run adamantly from the church at the age of 16, which was when my father finally cut me loose from obligatory attendance. My rejection of the Methodist Christianity in which he partook and we accompanied every Sunday began long, long before. However, he made me go until I was sixteen. Looking back, I’d say that was generous of him. I’m surprised he didn’t make it longer. But he did continue to warn me of the hell I’d burn in for decades to come. 

(Flash forward interlude: perhaps this helps to explain my lusty eighteen year old self getting pregnant…eh hem.)

So I didn’t want God, I didn’t ask for it, and I don’t even know that that was what I found there in that basement, solo with my baby in my belly. But I did find faith, enough that I sent it with her as her middle name. Anna Faith. 

But her parents named her Phoebe and I negotiated that Anna had to stay with her, so that became her middle name, and Faith was dropped. I also forgot about faith for quite a few years, as a concept. I stopped believing in what I’d discovered there, and thought it was up to me to go make something of myself after the pregnancy. Do you know this kind of striving? It’s perpetual, unrelenting. You imagine that you can control the outcome by performing well enough, but that’s a recipe for disaster. 

I’ll have to dig a little deeper to remember the true discoveries of faith that happened then, but it was significant. I understood that I was fulfilling some sort of role, bringing her through. I knew that it was in her best interest, ultimately, to live in a family ready to provide a life for her free of struggle. I was living in my parents’ basement for God’s sake. With me, she would struggle. I struggled. I told myself, “Look what a failure you are. Look at your surroundings. Where is the crib going to go?” But mostly, I didn’t want her raised under that roof of my parents. I knew that to be true. I felt powerless. It was a familiar feeling. 

There was no door on the room I slept in in the basement, and in the mornings, I’d hear my parents in the shower, and my dad would walk down the basement steps to get his clothing naked. Yelling, “Don’t look!” 

I’m still working on the words to describe the feeling of combined disgust, defeat, being overpowered, and constant sickening that I still feel when I think of being a young woman in a basement, growing her daughter, cut off from her lover, forced to turn her head so as to not see her father’s dick flouncing by. 

But you get me. I’ll find all the words by the time the book is written. 

Flash forward to now. I’m thirty seven. I’m diving back into this story to write this memoir, and I’m looking at the topic of self worth, that fucking thing that plagues so many women. Lack of self worth. 

Recently, I’ve been in multiple circles of women who are building businesses, as am I, and here’s what I’m noticing. 1. High frequency of women going it alone, doing that perpetual striving thing. And I wonder, is this still the same game we’re playing with ourselves? 2. High frequency of powerful women not asking for help while striving. And I wonder, would we turn our heads now if our father walked by insisting to be naked? I for one would tell him to go the fuck away. I am also better at asking for help, though there’s still the silence of not speaking up when I need something, too. 3. High frequency of powerful women struggling to actually make a lot of money in their business, or even enough money. And I wonder, what is it about women’s self worth because I am looking around at powerful-ass women, myself included, and the money needs to be in women’s hands. (Seriously, PSA, support some women-owned businesses right this very minute.)

So I do, I look at where my self worth went down the tubes, if the tubes were ever full to begin with, which I don’t believe they were. And today, I had an Aha. A major AHA. 

As I looked at these photos of a younger me, holding a child in a hospital bed, I realized something. Me, then, was looking at my first child, this perfect child, this daughter of flesh and body created of the resources of my body, this promise to the world, and I simultaneously believed myself unworthy of her. Clearly, and that’s why adoption. As I looked at the greatest love, the only thing I longed for, I was reminding myself that I wasn’t worthy of her. 


I want you but I can’t have you, I’m sorry. I fucked up.

I was making promises, saying apologies, and those sounded something like, “I’m setting you up for something better than I can give you. I’m sorry that I fucked this up and this is how you’re starting your life. I love you. I’ve been talking to the stars and you’re cared for, little one, have faith.” 

She gets it. The adoption was always open, and I see her now at least once a year, with the geographical distance between us. She just gets it, no grudges that I can detect. She’s appreciative. Tells me she loves me, how lucky is that. She’s healthy. 

And I’m thirty seven, a mother of a beautiful son, a home owner, a business creator, a healer, and I love my life. And all the time, still, fucking still, I struggle to accept that I am worthy of the beauty that I am looking at, and worthy of all the beauty I still do desire. And I do not, anymore, want to hold it at arm’s length. I want to welcome it all in, now more than ever. All of it. 

Because here’s the thing we’re not taught to say as women, but it’s the thing I know and attempt like hell to embody now: I am worthy of it all. 

I was worthy then, I am worthy now. 

You were worthy then. You are worthy now. 

Things just got a little fucked up along the way. 

(The spacing of this blog post is also fucked up. It just is that way sometimes. We roll with it.)

 July 2000

July 2000

Look for the evidence of your RISING

It is amazing to me how I will find myself in a loop of perceived inadequacy, after all of the years of awareness of this pattern.

Perceived: The way we interpret something to be, the way we regard a particular person, thing, or situation.

Inadequacy: Not enough.

I have been in some degree of suffering from or rising above this pattern all my life. Recently, I found myself in it again.

I have goals in my business, as a mother, as a community member, as a writer. All of a sudden, in this perfect storm, I felt inadequate in every single area of my life. There were ways that I imagined that I should be succeeding, and when I noticed some evidence to the contrary, I spiraled.

Here’s the thing. When I slow down, which now, thankfully, I have, here’s what I notice. There is evidence in every single category I mentioned above that I am actually kicking ass. Rising. Doing it better than ever. So why do I notice the “not enough” voice and let it throw me?

Inadequacy is so ingrained in so many ways - I believe it’s a widespread, cultural phenomenon that keeps nearly everyone stuck for the bulk of life unless we consciously, actively, and apparently repeatedly, liberate ourselves from it.

I lived in a pattern of inadequacy that was so deep, so entrenched, after having placed my first child for adoption because I believed I was too young, too poor, too unwise, too unworthy, too inadequate to be her mother. I propelled myself forward to find success. I went to school, went to school again, forced a relationship into a marriage where I could have the opportunity to be a mother again, etc. I went for it. And I never felt adequate. Nothing satiated my inadequacy.

Surprise surprise.

Because the hole was on the inside and it’s unfillable by the outward achievement. I had to learn self love. So, if I’m applying my own medicine here and now as I find myself finding evidence of my perceived failure, and I choose to apply this medicine, I needed to dig deep. I require it of myself.

My business is actually doing great - I onboarded four new clients last week alone and more are in the wings - this is so exciting. I am in love with my current clients and all is in alignment. It was an awesome week. And, it’s in growth stages. (Hello, entrepreneurial life is always in a growth stage - I’m just still getting used to managing how it affects my good ol’ habit of perceived inadequacy). My child told me mid week that he actually felt more connected to his father at this point in time. (Hello, totally age appropriate, but I heard “Mama, you’re doing something wrong.”) I’m trying to organize my thoughts for my memoir and while I’m gaining great insight, the entire thing is so overwhelming to me that I freeze and feel inadequate. (Hello, getting some solid help from a professional like a book coach on how to tackle such a big project would help. It’s not inadequacy if it’s a new skill, Self.) Then, I heard of a child that I absolutely loved when I was his middle school principal actually being in an unexpected situation without adult support, and I went forward full blast willing to even take this child in if I needed to. And my help wasn’t wanted, which finally was the icing on the cake. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t make it happen. I couldn’t save him. (All in my mind, you see this.) And I had a glass of wine (or two) and a good cry in the shower and I realized, “Oh, I feel powerless.”

Powerless. It is such a deep concept, and I’m so grateful that the pattern revealed itself to me. And… the reflection from a friend calling me “Type A” may have also mirrored to me that my deep pattern that I have a difficult time catching sometimes may not be so hidden to the rest of the world. Oh, bless this messy and beautiful life.

So, I needed to interrupt the pattern. I needed to sit with my (perceived) powerless, fragile self (which partially happened at two in the morning that same night - sometimes insomnia is a spiritual knock at your door.) I needed to cradle my own fragility, to greet myself gently.

When we notice ourselves in old patterns, we often go straight to beating ourselves up. I now like to self-nurture those old parts. Imagine, I learned so long ago to believe that I was not enough. How unfortunate. How sad. To beat myself up about it now would be further abuse on my own psyche.

And I don’t choose that.

I choose to notice the evidence of the rising. My own rising. Sometimes, when I’m in this old pattern, I can’t even see the evidence of the rising. I can’t see how far I’ve come or all the years I’ve unpacked these beliefs and traumas, because I am just in it.

I share my personal story and process because I imagine that you might have beliefs that don’t serve you, patterns that sweep you away before you realize you’ve been swept. I write because I am here to model process, not perfection. By the way, perfectionism and inadequacy are two sides of the same coin. Been there.

Noticing your own rising is a gift - one worth giving to yourself. It’s letting yourself be human, letting yourself off your own hook of self-judgement and inadequacy and striving for perfection.

Appreciate your choice to rise. Appreciate every time you have chosen to feel an emotion instead of repress it, every choice to unpack a trauma instead of allow it to rule you, every time you catch yourself and choose love over everything else.

I am not inadequate. Not in the least. Neither are you. Notice the evidence of your choice to RISE, dear human. It helps. I’m here walking this walk that I offer to help you on - it’s something we are all doing.

I love you. Keep going.

s


Look for the proof of your RISING. (1).png

The necessary embodiment of men.

I'm not a man and I'm not in the body of a man. But I do love men and observe them closely. 

I've studied men, and, for reasons only my Soul knows (in other words, I'm not aware of all of them yet), I am here to be of service to men. (And women. And everyone in between. Of course.) 

But men, and white male men, are suffering. They are. I happen to be born a woman amongst mostly white middle class men. It is said that these men are the most privileged, the ones with the most power. However, 7 out of 10 suicides in the US are committed by white males, mostly middle aged. 

So, we're not getting it right. And here I find myself, advocating for the group that is supposedly the most privileged and the least wanting... because who is going to advocate for supposedly privileged white men? It's not emotionally safe for white men to advocate for themselves most of the time. If they do, can you imagine the backlash?

"You're the most privileged and yet you want more. Oh POOR you." For example. 

When #metoo was happening, and a male friend was adamant that men should be included in that movement, himself having experienced sexual abuse at the hands of his father, I insisted he was wrong to say that men were being left out of that movement. Yes, be acknowledged, be uplifted, but not immediately upon a women's movement. My thinking at the time was that we needed to allow women to have that movement.

Maybe I was wrong. Because when are white men going to get a movement? 

Right. They're not. 

I love men and I have NOT had an easy life with men. I want to make that clear. I am not daddy's girl. That man is a blessing in my life but he's not easy. I have an ex-husband. After I got divorced, which was really something I felt needed to happen as I was walking back into reclaiming what had been lost of my own feminine and soulful nature, I spent a year alone. I was so traumatized in my body from a lifetime of held trauma, anxiety, nervousness, and lack of esteem that I went to Hakomi (somatic) therapy every week. 

A year later, an old friend of mine saw how tattered I still was, and he extended to me that if I needed a safe space to "come back," he would be that. You could laugh at this - see it as a man saying he was willing to get laid - or you could see the healing gesture in this. That's what it was. I said yes, and through the way that man puts his hands on my body, meanwhile also of course holding a safe emotional space, I was able to realize safety in ways that my traumatized and fragile self never had. 

Over the course of a year with him, in the hands of a man, I was able to heal. 

I really want both men and women to hear me say this. When I opened to a man, who was present to my process, I learned a greater depth of me. So often we stay separated from other humans and true trust based on our previous traumas - and this happens even if we're married and functionally having sex with someone for years! True leaning in is another story. 

Fast forward years later and here I am advocating for men. Why? 

The suicide rates. Men tell me that they think of suicide more often than most people going about their ho-hum lives ever know that men are considering. 

And I could go on about a million other ways that men are suffering, but today, this one really hit me: 

Being someone who has personally learned that my body is central to my healing, as someone who can say #metoo and has a trauma history that made it difficult for me to be comfortable in my body for a long time, I don't think that we have made it safe for men to be in men's bodies either.

Generally speaking, we haven't made it safe for men to have wants, urges, anger, emotions, rage, sexual desires, silence, voice, or to utilize their own bodies in ways that express all of the above. I wonder what men have to say about this. 

I was getting all of these Facebook requests over the last few months from men wishing me "love and light" and I started asking myself what in the world was going on. I do embodiment work and shadow work. I do deep archetypal work with men and hold space for them to explore their Sovereignty and masculinity. We don't find the archetypal masculine through love and light, so what is going on? 

Oh. 

Because we don't have healthy cultural rites of passage for men, or elders who understand true masculinity to teach our younger boys, and because we have a culture that doesn't build men up but then tears them down for being who they are, it's not safe to be a man. It's not safe to be in a man's body. It's not safe to have wants and needs like those listed above (sex, rage, voice or no voice, etc). 

I spent the last year in a relationship with a strong man. He looked like a Warrior. He was a Lover. He loved the mystery of the Magician. He desired the King. Our souls danced. Our bodies were like magnets in ways that I never knew bodies could be. We explored the depths of eros. And then, it got too real. (My words.) It got too real. There wasn't safety in eros, he seemed to realize. There wasn't predictability, and to stay with me would have been to allow himself into uncharted territory, and sometimes uncharted feels unsafe. And in his 48 years on this planet, he had set up a lot of safety. 

He desired physicality. He desired the embodiment we experienced. I will say that in our relationship, embodiment was central. Being in the body was required and incredibly joyful. And yet it seemed to be too real, too much proof of something he couldn't turn himself fully over to, because to do so would have meant getting in touch with deeper parts of himself. I think the relationship was too much of an invitation for him to lose control, and loss of control felt unsafe. And in the end, he shut himself off to it, finally saying to me, "I choose to be a simple man of God." 

And so I experienced this retreat, from safety found in the body, back to the safety and predictability of God, of "love and light" over human connection. And I'm no wild woman, so really what was offered in that relationship was simply Real. 

I believe that culturally, we haven't made it acceptable for men to lose control, to be fully sensual, to want what they want, to know their bodies, to not fear their own desires. We haven't made it safe for men to express themselves, be angry, or simply want to get fucked, without also being a culture that shames men, tells them to put away their desires, and have it safely all under predictable control. 

For example, my son is nine, and for years, his impulse is to play and pounce, and for years, he's been told to keep his hands to himself. It starts young. 

And so instead we have a culture of men who take refuge in some god or spiritual practice, and we have a culture of high suicide rates among men. Or they turn to alcohol, or porn, or gaming, or other means of shutting themselves down. Surely, spirituality is preferred to all of the latter, and I still advocate that we look at the escapism inherent in all of it. 

I want to invite men back into their bodies. Back into their truth. I believe in you. We need you, strong and embodied. Our boys need you to show them a new way. When you are embodied, you can access your truth, feel more resilient even while vulnerable, you can access these archetypes if you choose, and you know better how you want to conduct your whole self in the world. When you're embodied, you don't just want to fuck, you want to feel. 

What could this look like for you? When do you feel strongest in your body? Is there a race you can train for, or a pick up sport you can join? How can you get into your body every day? I believe that there is possibility there. 

Screen Shot 2018-08-25 at 7.16.49 AM.png

 

 

Back to school...

When I was eighteen, I got pregnant during my first semester of college. I was nine hours away from home, with a long distance boyfriend, at a college that I longed to attend. I didn't fit in in my home town, and my heart had taken me to the mountains of North Carolina to a progressive college, but I'd have to return home again to have this baby. 

The pregnancy and all that it entailed will be chronicled in other places at other times. This is the story of going back to school. 

I was pregnant October of my freshman year of college through July of my nineteenth year. She was born July 22, and I was back in school three weeks later (maybe two) at the beginning of August, my first born child adopted into another, older, more responsible, established family.  

The formula, simply put, was to go back to school, succeed, make something of myself, make money, find a man, get a job, buy a house, and THEN I could be a mother again. 

That belief system took up residence in me like only a trauma reaction can. It became the absolute belief of my entire system. Everything, and I mean everything, became about success, in order so that one day I might be able to be a mother again. In the back of my mind existed a formula for acceptance, motherhood, and success that I didn't really question. I was given this formula, as most of us are. I didn't yet know to question it. 

The rhetoric and belief system of "not enough" is incredibly damaging. And, it's the belief system that is sadly underpinning most of our educational systems, and systems for perceived success, in our culture. We are a culture deficient of personal worth, and we focus much of our perceived value on the external circumstances of our lives - our job, education, the facts we know and can speak to, how much money we earn, what car we drive, how much monetary wealth we have accumulated. 

We're enforcing the wrong narrative, the wrong formula of success. Pause for a moment and just begin to feel into how this has played out in your life.

I worked, feverishly, in education for fifteen years, making a career of doing education differently. I wanted to connect to the hearts and souls of each child, first studying emotional & behavioral differences in Special Education and then broadening my approach to school-wide character and mindfulness initiatives. How do we raise the WHOLE child? How do we instill a sense of purpose and wonder inside of children? How do we allow them to feel and deeply know that they are so much more than their grades or their achievement in just that realm? 

Eventually, I had to break free, which I still have unrest about, as so much is needed inside of education. But eventually, my own integrity was in question when I had realized, deeply, that it wasn't the education that I cared about anymore, and perhaps it never had been - I wanted to work to nourish the human soul. A school principal that has lost her light for academics is just not the best school principal. I hope to still serve education in authentic ways, as I'm invited and called to do. 

But this isn't a blog post about what education is not. 

Rather, I simply seek to tell a story, share reflections of a woman in process, a woman with deep concerns about what is lost when we focus on achievement. 

That's an answer I don't even actually have, but I know that the loss of my own sense of Self, my own Soul, through this rhetoric of "not enough," through the conditioning that the answers were outside of myself, has been something I've been recovering from since it began. 

Since before I even knew how unhealthy it was, something inside of me struggled to find my own worth and value in a system that demanded effort while it assumed my inadequacy. 

In the way we raise children now, in other words, we raise them to believe that the answers are outside of themselves. We have, most all of us, been raised this way. It is no one's "fault" - it is the common assumption and patterning and that's what's not working for anyone anymore. 

I could go on, but I suppose blogs are supposed to be shorter. 

I'll say this. This is what is really on my heart. 

My daughter, my first born - she went to college this past weekend. Since her freshman year of high school, I've been hearing her family speak of the importance of honors classes and what to major in in college. It's an open adoption, and so while I don't know her family well, I get glimpses. They are wonderful parents, deeply fine people. It is the generalized societal pressure, the assumption of this success formula, that I take issue with, and not against her parents at all, but for the whole of our children. Does my daughter know how inherently wonderful she is, how knowing, how worthy, regardless of achievement? I don't know. 

I do know that I'm more ready than ever to have these conversations. Young women are coming to me as clients, right after graduating college, saying "My anxiety is off the chain, and I know that this is not who I am meant to be, nor can I continue this way." Listen to how powerful that is - the voices of these women waking up. 

I am a mother, having both believed the damaging inadequacy rhetoric myself, having worked inside this system while I myself efforted like hell to achieve inside of it, only to find that it is false. I never would find in the external world what was all along internal. This truth that nothing is inherently lacking. We are each inherently whole, inherently worthy, inherently knowing.

Of course, to eliminate education altogether is not likely the answer. I have a son who starts fourth grade tomorrow. He attends a public charter where I was a school administrator a few years ago. I support it. Aspects could be better, but they do a lot really well and better than most. 

I want children to know who they are. I want us to question the formula for success, laid out before us in this assumptive "this is how you make something of yourself" rhetoric that leaves so many feeling empty. We have too-high rates of anxiety, depression, addiction, and suicide, which I believe would absolutely all decrease if our systems also were built to tether us to something unquestionable. Something robust and profound. Something unflinchingly true and meaningful. 

Ourselves.  

Today's Lesson_.png

My moody opinion on the needlessness of comparison

Today I'm pondering comparison. The reason, is, in fact, because when I share openly with the public, I often receive comments that demonstrate comparison. I have found it to be curious, for months now. And apparently today, I'm writing about it. Something boiled over. I think what happened is that I moved from the place where I am triggered by it into the place where I want to advocate that we pay attention to it. 

Ahh... that's evidence of the process right there. 

I am just going to allow myself to say something first that is true for me and yet simultaneously edgy today, with an air of defensiveness. I'm sure it includes some of my own shadow, and is egoic in nature, and yet I have to say it just once. And then I'll likely not need to go here again. 

I didn't start this life of authenticity just yesterday, or six months ago, or even this lifetime. Just because I recently made big changes in my life does not mean that I just recently started being bold, or being me. Nope. When folks decide to respond to what I write or put out there by congratulating me or showcasing some comparison of "I've been there once on my journey, aren't you so cute for having decided to do this now," the truth is that I immediately begin to analyze you and feel annoyed. Today, specifically, and to absolutely no one in particular, I just want to say fuck off. (With love, of course.)  Just allowing myself that just once. 

Let's look at it honestly. Why in the world do any of us feel a need to compare our process to someone else's? This is insane, and yet, it's so damn common! We think that there's some ideal place in which we are all "going" and we generally want to compare our way of getting there to another's. But I actually don't want to do that - like, backing-up-waving-my-hands-in-front-of-my-face don't want to do that. 

Each of us have a soul, and our soul is on our soul's journey, and for the love of all things divine and holy and soulful, don't compare that shit. Just don't. It's just not healthy AND it shows where we need more light shown on our own soul's path if our first reaction to others is to compare. 

So stop it. I mean, I'm putting myself out there, and so I suppose that I am not really able to get choosy about how others respond to what I share. Okay. But really, comparison is not ultimately serving you, or me, or the greater conversations the world needs to be having.

In the same regard, it also does not serve you to say "I wish I could do that, she's so strong...." Don't put me over or under you. Don't put you under or over. Get it? Comparison does that. It feels shitty regardless of whether your over or under, honestly. 

And Love, as an aside, you can. You can do this. That's the very reason why I share. I'm just one example that you can too be as authentically You as you'd like to be. You can be the you that you want to be, despite the old pressures of parents or that it doesn't fit your reputation at work or that you're a full time parent or that you tell yourself you are broke AF.

You, too, can be wildly intelligent and choose to say fuck all over the internet because it serves your Soul to finally break free and do so. ;)  For example. 

I support YOU BEing YOU. I'll BE me. Supporting the authentic nature of each is DIVINE intention. 

You know what kind of responses I love when I share authentically? Those that engage. Those that share a personal story. Those that simply express love from human to human. Those that go deeper. 

Okay, so yes, my own fragility. That's the other side of this coin. Since I care enough to feel it, I know that it's also inviting me to look at something in me. (I would say this to my clients. Dose of my own medicine.) 

And it is - it's my fragility. It's where I doubt myself that allows me to be triggered by any feedback of comparison. 

I do not share in order to get your approval. I do not share for your acceptance. I used to, but I needed to dig through that hell and I do believe I've damn near come out the other side of it. That's been my process. It peels in layers. I used to hide most of my light and allow others to just call the shots, and now, I show most of my light and still feel a twinge of yuck when you compare my process to your own apparently all-knowing one. (Battle of the egos.) But truthfully, you don't know the path that I've been on, and so when you read anything I write, just reflect on your own path. That's the point. 

I live a PATH. I live a JOURNEY. I do not live to an end-goal. I do not live to model perfection. (Another reason we compare - to evaluate who is closer to some ideal. Horseshit.)

If you'd like to know more about a recent unfolding I've given you mere snippets of, ask. But if you compare now, I might start laughing like a witch. 

I share story because here is what I know: My fight for my own voice has been the work of lifetimes. Lifetimes. My soul remembers MUCH silencing, and the trauma in this lifetime alone around needing to discover, stand up for, believe in, reclaim, and own my own voice has been immense. 

Immense. 

So when you respond with "aw, isn't that cute," right now, I pretty much want to explode. That's maybe the wacky hormones and the pitta and the retrograde planets talking, most likely. Because usually I don't go to straight to rage. 

When I own my weakness, it is not an invitation for you to position yourself above me. If you do this, look at your shit. 

When I own my story, and own that I am a work in progress, and you position yourself as being "further" on a path, look at your shit. 

When I own my trauma or pain or struggle, as an example of authenticity and process, and you want to give advice, look at your own shit. 

I have zero problem with where I am. I do a lot of personal work. I do not desire to engage in the details of comparison because I don't need or desire to - we are each on a personal path.  I am exactly who I am. To be here, owning my shit, owning my process, owning my voice, is absolute privilege. It took bravery and years of walking back to myself on purpose. It is a journey I will continue forever. I have zero problem with that, and, here's the thing, I fucking love my Soul and my Soul's journey. That being said, I love my simultaneously completeness and incompleteness - I love myself as is, and I love where I've been and where I'm going. 

So maybe I'm a little defensive that even though I share, you truly don't know the half of it, and if you are spending your time worrying about putting me into a box, shit, I'm just going to wish you well for all the opportunity you have in front of you to do your own work. 

I will not apologize, I will not play small, I will not compare mine to yours. 

I am not interested in comparisons. I am interested in connection, in sharing, in supporting one another. I am interested in honoring each individual path, for exactly where you are on your journey. If anything, that's what I am "modeling" by being me and by sharing in the way that I share. Even this semi-ugly blog post. 

As. Is. 

I will ask you to share your story. I will sit with you and encourage your own path. I will advocate that we all continue to lean closer to the voice of our own soul's whisper. And that we answer. 

This is what I do for my clients, essentially. I help you to answer your own calling by just being your sincere support. I have tools and can teach you things to accelerate and ground your path, but I'm here to officially encourage your authentic path. Your healing. Your reclamation of Soul from trauma and all that made you feel small. 

I want your truth and I want mine. It's raw. It's real. It's the only way I know. 

Sometimes my process looks loud, and always, it's wildly introspective. Wildly. To the point where I find it difficult to carry on in extroverted or even mildly social situations. 

So much of my process happens in the soul realms, it looks like following the next breadcrumb, even if that's into a dark place. It's mining for the truth. It's sitting for hours a day in meditation if that's what I'm called to do. It's sharing what I find and extending a hand. Honestly, when I'm in it, I often forget to look up. I'm potentially insanely selfish by definition. (There's probably research out there on soul-searching introverts and perceived selfishness. I don't care to look that up, but I'll leave my speculation here for you in case you relate and want to look it up for yourself. But guess what, IT DOESN'T MATTER! Be you.) 

Do you see that I truly don't give a fuck about the comparison? I just want us to share from the most authentic places within us. That's all I've ever wanted.  I want to share that with you, and you with me. Join me or not, but that's what I'm over here doing. I'm taking it all in. I have my son and my people and my clients all in my heart - I am mama bear that way, always. I don't go away. I don't stop listening and feeling for truth. But this is how I live - in this cycle of inward exploration, listening, discovering, resolving, offering, serving... As is. 

Just doing my best to be my best human on this soul ride. 

Thanks, bitches, for putting up with my sass and my dirty mouth. ;) 

I love you. Even if you compare. You know that. 

 

 

 

Trauma & SOUL

Trauma can honestly make you scared of your own soul.

I've seen it deeply, and I've experienced it myself.

When you've experienced trauma, or have a "trauma-brain," you exist in a primary state of fight or flight (1). This also means that you are constantly protecting yourself (2). This leads to the denial of self & soul (3).

1) Now, I'm talking to more of you than you think. I'm talking to the masses. In our culture, we are existing somewhere close to fight or flight most of the time, unless we're consciously not (by intentionally breathing, practicing embodiment, healing the soma/energy/mindset/the whole).

Trauma can be acute or it can be longterm, and while I won't write all that here, I invite you to consider that if we live in a society that requires the consistent output of cortisol, that that in and of itself is traumatizing. In fact, the body's systems react as if that is so. This can look like anxiety or panic attacks or adrenal fatigue, or depression, for example, because we just can't "keep up" with the implicit demands of the culture.

2) When the brain is in fight or flight, oversimplified, all of your resources are going to survival.

Survival.

What are the implications of that in our relationships?? The implications are astoundingly vast.

That means we are NOT connecting, not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, not able to create connection.

3) Denial of self & SOUL

Holy shit, I wish I didn't have to write this. It's so damn sad that we do this.

When we imagine that we won't be safe in this world (for whatever reason, because our brain is habitually patterned to this belief), and also believe we need to protect, our energy is also not going into the cultivation of SELF, which is SOURCE. Our own soul is the source for all the knowledge, all the safety, all the wisdom we truly need. Having a relationship with the soul is an incredibly safe foundation, and yet we often run from the soul while we're running from the conditions of life. We don't realize we're abandoning our own self/soul.

At this point, it is dangerous, in my opinion, to turn to Spirituality in and of itself, because this bypasses the *traumatized body system* that carries the beliefs in the cells.

So, someone can be highly spiritualized, however, still be running. From everything. From themselves.

The answer, in my opinion, is creating safe spaces for us to allow space for all the truth, even the trauma, while bringing the body on board and cultivating connection - first with self, then with other.

This is central to how I support my clients. If this speaks to you, please send me a private message now. I am taking a few clients now who are truly ready to turn lovingly but wholeheartedly toward their patterns of protection and disconnection. When you do that, your system relaxes (comes out of fight or flight), you cultivate Self love, you are clearer on what you really want, are more boundaried, and so much more able to CONNECT! (As in, for example, a love relationship! This is the very stuff that cultivates ultimate depth and connection.)

Keep going. On YOUR journey. Let me know if I can support.

I love you.

s

Screen Shot 2018-08-14 at 9.24.41 AM.png

The way I create.

Two years ago, I had a premonition that I would have another baby. I was single at the time, had a seven year old son, and my daughter, who had been adopted (by someone else) at birth was 16. So twice, I'd gotten pregnant and given birth without being married.

(And then I got married. And then I got divorced.)

I had a lot of old pregnancy shame. Because if you look at that side of the story - two unplanned pregnancies, one child living at home, starting having babies at the age of eighteen, now divorced - I looked to the outside like a bit of a shit show. Perhaps. Perhaps not. But at the time, I cared, and my thought as I had this premonition was, "Wait, three babies, 17 years apart, three daddies?"

Good grief. (Insert self judgement.) 

As premonitions go, I am not exactly sure where it came from or where it's going.  

Part of me would have loved to have had a third baby, with the man of my dreams, living happily ever after after, finally. That was actually a fantasy at one point. 

I did have a miscarriage last August. It started while I was on the last day of silent retreat at the Garrison Institute. I realized the day before that my boobs hurt, and then I cried while reading a table tent in the kitchen and thought, "Oh fuck. Boobs, moved to tears with these advertising words of nourishment. I could be pregnant." And then, the nausea started. Deep nausea, and the blood, and then, then I had to get into a car with a driver and get a flight from JFK out to Seattle for a friend's wedding. And I was sick. 

The driver that showed up was from the Bronx. Tatted and rough, the defended sort. I got into the hot back of his smokey car and immediately had no idea how I was going to make it through this car ride. Halfway through pregnant and not. And he said, "nice lines," pointing to the tattoos poking out of my sleeve. Sweet relief. 

Brother had never sat his ass on a cushion at the Garrison Institute, though I was there for an educator's training and he knew a thing or two about failures in education and articulated them with heart. We started to bond. I told him I was sick, that I would need to stop. He escorted me off the bumper to bumper freeway, and through the Bronx, knowing where to stop. He escorted me into the doughnut shops and gas stations and he stood by the door making sure I was safe. He invited me into the front seat. I took it that was a big deal and sign of respect. He knew what was going on. 

I wish I had gotten his name and number. When I told my then-partner about it, he said he was likely an angel, in his Jesus-loving heart. 

I was in a relationship with a man with a Jesus-loving heart. I totally loved him. And that would have been the sweetest-skinned, plump little baby I could ever imagine, but that was not the fulfillment of the premonition. 

We were in a silent relationship, meaning it was kept secret, as he was going through a divorce, and after this oops, he said, "I would have let everything come out if you were pregnant." Huh? I should have walked away right there, but I suppose there was more to learn (like, a fuck ton more to learn). You would have loved me out loud if there was an accidental pregnancy outing us? Thanks but no thanks. Not the love I'm looking for. 

And exacerbation of old pregnancy shame, none the less, and fear of acceptance, and fear of failure. 

Why do we allow our creations, the things that want to leap forth in this world, be judged through the eyes of general expectations, when those are not healthy in the first place? 

Why am I talking about this other pregnancy now? I don't know. It's pouring out of me, and, I set out to write a different blog post, actually, so I'm going to reroute. 

Last July, 2017, I had a business baby. I birthed Embodied Breath into the world. I sat at that same place in Garrison NY (go to the Garrison Institute, holy shit) and purposefully traveled a day early in order to sit a day to myself and get in touch with this Embodied Breath baby and what she was all about. I was still a school director/designer/teacher, and this baby of my Soul was tugging at my sleeve, saying, "Make me. Create me. Love me. This is your path." 

I sat in the window seat of the third floor library in the empty Garrison Institute and closed my eyes. The intention was to devote that day to hearing what Embodied Breath had to say. It was raining, and I sat in that window seat with the rain and opened my laptop and out she poured. Out she poured and didn't want to stop, so thankful, apparently, for the opportunity to be seen and heard. 

My coaching platform was born that day, this breath-based guide for personal transformation, and I love this story of how she was birthed. I don't do things by the book. I don't do things in order. I don't have coaching certifications, though I do have loads of credentials, and allowing her to be birthed in the mess of life instead of going out and making it perfect first was the perfection of this birth.

It's stories like this that make me trust in the unfolding. 

Stories like the perfection of that day in the library and even stories like the perfection of that divinely supported car ride to the airport. 

All of it. 

Stories like I got pregnant at eighteen and I got pregnant again at twenty seven and stories like I still never, never felt good enough. 

All perfection. Because here I am. 

When you do things out of order in this world, the judgement is fierce. I'm thick-skinned and resilient because I felt I had to be, but fuck, that was to protect the shame that I had already allowed in. 

And then this year, my business baby was in the world. And I was still working as a school director/designer/teacher, and things went to shit there. My business baby really disrupted the hopes of others that I would be there for a longer time, and then I knew in my heart that I had to leave my job before I thought I would. I had to leave and and be with my business baby and make a go of her. 

So I see now that I tried to force her to grow up a bit fast. I wanted her to be bigger than she was, before she was. And I wanted to look like I wasn't fucking up, wasn't failing. 

Was I? I was even confused at times.

My dad sure thought I was, trusting a birthing process instead of a steady paycheck. 

I would turn inward, consistently, consult Soul and Her and the course of life itself. "Am I on the right path?" 

Yes. Every time, yes. Every time. 

I do things out of contemporary order. I do things that I feel called to do. And, it doesn't always look clean. But when you birth with Soul, you birth beauty. I am more sure of this now. More confident. 

This week, on another retreat, I walked a labyrinth. I had learned this summer that the labyrinth was actually affiliated with the Sacred Feminine at the time it (labyrinth) was first conceived, and so I entered it as if it itself were a womb. I entered it a woman whose womb has birthed, whose spirit and Soul have birthed, and who sometimes needs a reminder that this path of trust is a birthing process in and of itself. 

I stepped forward on top of that mountain, one slow step at a time, a dragonfly circling me, the sun setting, and I heard these needed words, "Your babies are beautiful. Your babies are not ever the source of shame. Your babies are thriving. You do not birth failures and you are not a failure. You birth beautiful creations. Beautiful creations. Look at them. They are smiling. They are happy. They are playing. They are strong and full of Soul and you know it. You create Soulful and important contributions, not failures. When have you failed? Look at them. They are thriving." 

And this woman's womb felt wrapped by that mountain Herself. I got to the tree that stood in the center, pulled up my skirt, and offered her my own blood. 

It is from here that we create. We birth. This messy place of body and Soul. 

My babies are in the world, my blood is still flowing, my Soul is speaking. I have much more to birth. Happy first birthday, Business Baby, Embodied Breath. You are here with a big mission. A big purpose. I gave my first baby the middle name Faith. I'm reminded now more than ever why that name Faith had beckoned me forward in the first place. 

 A photo from that labyrinth day. You can see the Soul intensity in my eyes. Soul Fire 2018! 

A photo from that labyrinth day. You can see the Soul intensity in my eyes. Soul Fire 2018! 

 

 

Mirror love

To the older woman in the coffee shop just now, with the tight lips when you looked at my bare shoulders and black tattoos in judgement, I love you.

I love you to the heart of your judgement. I love you, the pure, true, compassionate kind of love. Because I know that to purse your lips and look down your nose at me, for standing comfortably, means that you do not. And dear, sweet woman, I know what that means. 

You have shut something off in yourself, of living, of feeling, and for that, my heart reaches out of my chest, aching, and sends you love as you walk out the door. 

To the young husband last night at the show, so embarrassed of your loud, drunk wife, I felt how many times you allowed your eyes to attract to the mystery of me, and I love you. I love you to the heart of your struggles, I love you to the heart of the temperamental and rigid sex you all are having, I love you to the center of your "I know there's something more."

If I can remind you of that, I will. 

I will. Not with fury or flaunt or directives. No. 

By being. By being, I invite. By being, I mirror. 

It's actually my superpower. (Wink.) 

To the wide-shouldered, long-haired, tender-hearted warrior man that I most recently loved. You have been in my heart these days - my bursting, expanding, ripening heart, - and I love you, too. I love you for the places you couldn't go, for the invitation you couldn't accept, I love you. I love you with my compassionate heart because I know that when you rejected my mirror, you rejected the part of the mystery you just couldn't go to. 

I'll pause my writing and breathe. This is tricky territory. The assumption will be that I am judging, and hear me, I am not. 

What I am saying is, my soul loves your soul, dear one. And as it was that that time, I was invested in the reflection, I also see that I was offered so many gifts in your rejection. To be able to stay in that place of safety for and with you would have meant the denial of my own next steps. It would have meant that I was not standing here now. I love where I am now, and I love you for your role in it. Thank you. 

I send you love in the mystery of how your soul must be unfolding. And I trust, I trust, and I send love. 

This is the opportunity of soul union - authentic reflection. Regardless the depth of time or investment - a coffee shop moment or while we watch beautiful music a few rows from one another, or if we allow ourselves to actually drop into the passion of opening bodies and hearts and love. The opportunity for the mirror always exists. The opportunity to go deeper always exists. It always exists. 

And oh my god do I love the depths. 

My soul loves your soul. Each of you. When we talk, or when we pass, however long our meeting, I see your soul. I see the heart of you. I see the places you want to go and the potential. The invitations you will and will not accept, but I love you unconditionally.

All of us. 

I accept that I am the mirror. I accept that you are too. Because all I want is truth. 

 

 

My name is Sarah Poet

My name is Sarah Poet. 

I have been a long time waiting, stalling, anticipatory, fearful, cultivating, arriving.

Arriving, arriving.

The time is now to name myself. 

Shoemaker is a fine name, and my son carries it, as does my ex-husband. He is a fine man, but the name is his, not mine. Reinholt was my father’s name. I held it for a long time. Names carry so much, and therefore cultivate and carry so much in us. They can stagnate us, cause us to carry stories that no longer serve. 

My name is not an act against men, against Patriarchy, hear me now. It is not an act against, but an act for.

My claiming my name is to hallmark and celebrate the reclamation of this female mind, body, and soul. All three equally important. All three vital. All three alive and hungry to grow into the greatness of this name. 

I am Sarah Poet, and I have been all my life. She is the little girl with skin in the sun, silently collecting rocks, knowing this was her name. She is the daughter and the wife, all along. She was the whisper I always heard, and sometimes ignored. She is the woman who healed, the woman who walked forward, the woman who showed up for every soul opportunity because it is not an option. It is true that She will become more than I can even imagine now. But She also presents an ongoing and living invitation that I vow to answer. 

She is a channel. She is a Soul, alive and eternal. She is MY soul. She is a Creatrix and the Divine. She is this flesh, reclaimed, this body, my own. She is mystical and witchy. She serves and leads, she is both fierce and tender. She is the fire and the water. She is space holder and guide. She is knowing and she listens. She gives and receives, penetrates and welcomes. She is hungry for real life. She has a story to tell, that reaches and recollects much farther and wider than this space and time. 

She is mine. I am hers. She is the mountain and the water, the ocean and the serpent. She is the body and the sex and the Mother. She is wise and I honor her. 

I would not change a thing about all that lead me to Her. In fact, I do believe I chose it all, to arrive in this very place. So when She presented herself this month, in this powerful time in history, at this spectacular season in my life, what could I do but honor Her and bring Her in? To deny Her now is out of the question. To allow myself to own Her is to signify that I answer the call of my own Being. 

I stepped my bare body into the Ivy River, walked to the center. Stood in the heat of the Sun, the Woman between the Feminine Earth and the Masculine Sun, I sat my body into the rush of water, first feeling the choice presenting between resistance and surrender, and choosing to experiment with both. And then surrender. I went under. A baptism. A reunion. I sat up Her. Poet. Embodied and Eternal. 

I put a river stone in my mouth and tasted the Earth. I sat in the sand and the water massaged the flesh of my belly. I gathered a bouquet as I walked back up the path, and I offered it out to all women. Throughout time, space, and dimension. 

All of life is an invitation. There is an invitation much older than this time, and when we answer, we walk back to ourselves. It is mysterious and painful and the most fucking beautiful path. I know this to be true. She knows this to be true. She beckoned me ever-forward and I am in service to Her. 

Each Woman who answers this ancient call rises, simultaneously stronger and softer, and each Man who answers this call does the same. And each Human who walks back to themselves does so for the encouragement and healing of the collective, of that I am sure. 

On this path, along this path, we lay down what has harmed us, traumatized us. We stop pointing. We recognize the pained places and learn to be tender with ourselves. We recognize that no one did this to us but us, and that the opportunity to be fully human is in front of us. We experience the forgiveness and rebalancing of both masculine and feminine forces within us.

Within us. 

This is the call of the Soul, of the heart, of all that came before and all to come after, of community, of life, of Earth and elements, of love and of truth, of authenticity and emotion. It is the only call worth answering, the only truth worth walking. This, the path of Sovereignty. 

Reclamation. Of life itself. 

In love, I am Sarah Poet. I am eternally humbled and grateful to be here now, like this, tasting this life, feeling and leaning in, and baring my ancient soul, in an invitation and plea that you feel safe enough to do the same. 

I welcome you, I dance for you, I offer you this bouquet. But the invitation is truly not mine to make. It is for each of us to listen for and walk our lives toward an answer. The whole of our lives and our Being-ness. 

Much love, 

sp 

 

 

 

IMG_3168.JPG

My Power

If I stand in my power, what does it do to yours?

If you pause and notice, when you look at this picture, what is your reaction? You are free to share below, but only after you have reflected on what I am about to say.

Whatever your reaction, it is about you.

If you want to congratulate me for standing in my power, it is about you.

If you want to shame me for standing in my power, it is about you.

If you want to put me down and imagine that I am not in my power, it is about you.

If you feel threatened by my power, it is about you.

If you want to fuck me in my power, it is about you.

Do you want to go toward or run from?

Does your heart open or restrict?

This is information about you.

As I step further and further into my sovereignty, the projections are fascinating.

As I show up as a sovereign woman with something of value to offer, some have a personal need to exert power-over knowledge.

My power is fucking beautiful. It is mine. I am happy to share it, but you have to come with your own clear heart. I’ll meet you there. I’ll inspire you there. I will listen to you there. I promise you, I will be as clear as I have ever been and you may not have met many like me before. But if you bring your projections, love, I’ll have to call you on it. Because I just won’t hold them anymore.

I am here to love and to live in truth. I am here to honor my soul and to be of service to you as you do the same.

How we each react to the “other” is but a reflection of ourselves. As we learn to open to this way of living, we notice and observe how we tend or need to respond to how others show up.

Notice that reaction, and notice what it’s here to ultimately teach you. I am over here watching my own, I promise you.

IMG_2522.jpg

June-iversary

I wasn’t an awesome wife. Maybe my intentions were good, but I wasn’t actually very good at it.

I wanted things from him, but I didn’t actually believe in him. How shitty is that?

We had a baby after nine years together, got married when he was one, and divorced four years after that. I deeply appreciate the time we spent together, as tricky as it was. June is the anniversary of our marriage ceremony, and we separated on July 4th - “Independence Day,” he joked.

Every summer, late June, I go to the farmer’s market and buy a big bouquet from the farmer who provided the flowers for our wedding - sunflowers and poppies and amaranth. I bought this bouquet this week, and then tonight, I was reminded that I hadn’t been the best wife. We do a lot right as co-parents, and sometimes, we still find ourselves in a stand-off. Old patterns die hard.

With these flowers, I honor it all.

Sarah Kurt1548_2.jpg

What he doesn’t know, what he may never know, is what a different woman I am now. I walked into therapy (who am I kidding - I collapsed into therapy while the adrenal fatigue took hold and the dam of emotions broke) that first October. What I said to her was, “I never want to be that kind of woman again.”

I knew that I had been wrong in so many ways, but what was playing out in my marriage was my own belief in my own inadequacy. My need for safety went so deep, from so much untreated trauma, that I was grasping and bossing and forcing, trying to make it so. Trying to make safety and completeness happen. It doesn’t work that way.

I was emasculating. I had seen generations of women do the same thing and I didn’t yet know another way. I wanted him to go out and earn more, but I was the primary income earner, and I resented him for it. When he asked me why I was never satisfied, I never considered that I could be satisfied with the resources we had - I always wanted more. As a teacher and avid researcher, I told him how to parent. He stayed home two days a week with our child and loved it, but I wanted him to go out and provide for us differently. I didn’t appreciate him enough. I didn’t stop what I was doing when he got home from work at 9:30 and go greet him. I didn’t ask him to bed.

I had been striving for “enoughness” since forever, and since my first child was born and placed into adoption when I was nineteen. At that point I took up striving as a way of life, and that poor man, I just drug him along. I was really serious about getting things done. And I wanted him to be too.

My mother in law, a few years ago, said this gift of a thing to me when I was feeling terrible about how I hadn’t loved him right. She said, “Don’t ever forget that you both said yes. Your souls both said yes.”

I can’t think of what I was trying to do in that marriage other than get it right, and forever getting it wrong.

We had grown up together, from middle school on. We were hippie friends in high school, he drove me to Warren Wilson College during our last year of high school and we both fell in love with it - I went but he didn’t. He held my hand when I was a pregnant-too-early teenager (who’d left WWC) and we went to see the Allman Brothers, even though this was not his baby. We had fun when we were younger. At one point during the divorce he said, “I knew who you were on the inside. I always thought you’d remember, and I was waiting all this time for her to come back.” But after my daughter was born, I just spent my life living as though every action had to prove I was enough - enough to be a mother again, enough to prove my worthiness. And so, that was the pressure I held over him too. I had stopped having fun by the time I was 20 years old.

I did remember, who I had been. Ironically, (or not, as life works this way), it was in the backyard of Warren Wilson College where we lived the years our son was a toddler that I began to come back to myself. It took walking out of that old life to remember it, though. I started to change and remember, and I suppose our marriage couldn’t survive it. Or that’s just one side of the story. One day I’d like to hear the other version.

I celebrate June 26th, for what we tried to do, for all we tried to do, by buying these flowers and honoring the journey. I also bake a pie on his birthday, like his grandmother taught me, though I mostly eat them myself.

I’m grateful, and I’m sorry, and I’m completely satisfied with life as it is, all at the same time. The past four years have changed me in a way that only this exact path could have. I have arrived, over and over again, to deeper understandings of love. Each man on the path the next soul to help ignite the next-layer-deep of me. Re-dedicating myself, a thousand times and more, to honoring my soul’s journey. Trusting that what I am living is the exact right thing to be living, and that there’s always some learning left to do.

I am no longer the woman I was in my marriage, even if he remembers me that way. And then I stare over at the flowers, fresh and not the exact flowers of my wedding day.

New. Vibrant. Here. Now.

032 (3).jpg

June 2010

In it: The Evolution of Purpose

I have one Master’s degree in Special Education and another in School Administration. My entire career, I loved the “tough” kids and worked primarily in the behavioral/social/emotional support realm. I love adolescents and their inherent mystery as they individuate. I have trainings and certifications in mindfulness and trauma. I can run a school, relatively easily, and I work with only the most innovative educational modalities.

And then I walked away from it all. It wasn’t as though I ran away from it all, it was more as though I walked toward the calling that is Embodied Breath. It started to knock at my door, this soul’s calling, about eight months after I’d created a school. It felt early to walk away from that project, but I began to name it publically by last summer as the school turned a year old.

The process of naming this and walking toward it has been a combination of faith and fear the entire way. I absolutely have the skill and resume to excel in the field of education, and yet, I am not on a journey of career ladder ascension anymore; I am on a journey of purpose. And after a while, the academics, to me, were a distraction. There is soul work to be done. I only wanted to work with the heart and soul of students, and did not have enough interest in the academics to really serve any school wholeheartedly anymore.

You know what I was really good at in education? Getting a pissed off kid to soften to the truth of the hurt under their anger. I was really good at seeing through an act of aggression to the true heart’s desire underneath. I was really good at showing kids that they had an ally, that they were believed in. I was really good at helping to break the cycles of shame that kids who struggled felt as they were told, day after day in classroom settings, how wrong they were, such that they had begun to believe somewhere along the line that they themselves were bad. I was good at sitting with kids and helping them to identify how it was that they were going to continue to put one foot in front of the other such as to reach toward just the next part of their goal, and I was great at helping them anchor in their success when they made it. I incorporated mindfulness, gratitude, even quantum-style meditations that showed them it was possible for them to shift their mindset and shift their felt perspective.

I never fit into any mold, and did things out of the box my entire career. Here I am now - no box.

A few years ago, I was a school administrator, and there was a struggling student that had become the one student taking up 90% of our time, as she was struggling severely. In a meeting, I said what I felt that she needed, which was outside of the scope of how a public school could respond, and I was criticized for often taking “intuitive leaps.” I’ll never forget that day. I felt the judgement of the criticism, but actually knew that it was a strength of mine. Five months later, I would be proven right as this child took the road I’d predicted.

Intuitive leaps. They have a place. I know that now.

Sit a person in front of me, allow me to feel, engage, and assess how they feel, believe, and act, and you know what? I’ll nail it. Most of the time, I’ll simultaneously see the big picture, backward and forward, and have a spot on recommendation. I’ll at the very least give a solid suggestion and start a conversation, and it will be one that engages on a real, human level. I engage more deeply than most.

I walked away from the structure of education, walked away from a paycheck and predictability, to follow my desire to create a thing where I directly serve the hearts and souls of my clients.

Hearts and souls. That is the work. So many hearts and souls are suffering their own experiences of disconnection and perceived inadequacy. It truly comes down to those two things in my book.

Is this life coaching that I’m doing? It’s bigger than that. I don’t know what to call it, and I won’t know yet, because the truth is, it is still being shaped.

My heart longs to do the deep work of healing human connection. A man reached out to me a few weeks ago and said that he just imagined, having watched me on Facebook, that I could see his true nature, hold him accountable, and help him to succeed toward his goals. He said he was always average and wanted to feel what it felt like to excel. He wanted to get organized to start a business and wanted help with confidence and accountability.  I had zero doubt, immediately, that I could help this man. It was as if he were a grown up version of how I’d supported my students, but here he was, so ready. You show up like that in front of me, and I’ll put my everything into supporting you. Heart and soul - mine and yours.

When we go to school for career preparation, follow the rules of progression, which I did for quite a time, the path is laid before us. I started looking at the payscale of teachers a few years ago - an assumed reality of every single person participating in the public school system - thinking, “Are you kidding me?” Why is this okay? Why is there an assumption that this is all there is? I’m not saying I do this work for the money, I AM saying that we don’t often question why we participate in the given structures. It’s often not a box I’m looking to fit into.

The truth is, when your soul calls, there may not be a box already designed for you.  I remember this same feeling of “this doesn’t make sense” when I was sitting in the guidance counselor’s office as a high school senior, being asked to choose a career. Why choose a box? It just doesn’t make sense. I tried to choose, I did. And it served me well. But I’m saying, it wasn’t for me.

Is it logical to walk away from a paid position? I don’t know. It’s not logical in the sense that it’s not linear and it’s certainly not the norm. But is it logical to work in a job your entire life while your soul is beckoning something bigger? I say no. That is not a logic that I can agree with.

I’m in this in-between space, where my heart is grieving - not the leaving of a career, but a deeper level of realization now, three months later, that I am truly leaving it behind. And at the same time, I am stepping into an unknown, which is fear-inducing, to be true. It is also exciting, meaningful, and tests every bit of faith that I have. It actually requires new levels of expansion as I traverse both faith and fear.

If we live and work in soul purpose, and we answer a call, I am assuming that there is support to live in that kind of bravery, that kind of alignment. But there is no assuredness. This is incredibly shaky at times. I look to examples of others and listen to their stories. I watch the synchronicities and I watch what happens when I take action out of pure intention and alignment with Purpose. Purpose with a capital P. It sounds magical and it is. And it feels a lot more true than what happens within the walls of a school. To say that breaks my heart for children.

I’m in this in-between space. In the space before, I knew my place, and I could predict my impact, relatively speaking. In the space now, some days I might pray for impact and talk to absolutely no one throughout the entire day. I might write something and have no idea what the impact is out there in the world. This confuses me. I notice my heart longing for ever-greater truth, ever greater connection, and I trust that if I follow it, Purpose will guide me to the right spot.

And guide it does, this Purpose, this mysterious pull that ever-expands me from the place of my heart. Every time I greet the fear of the next step into the unknown, I am stronger. Every time I am able to meet someone’s heart and soul and watch them take another step of their own, I just know that I am where I am meant to be. In that space, where humans let their guard down, get vulnerable, get honest, get emotional, and then break through their own stuff and heal because it’s safe to do so - it’s everything. It’s service. It’s Purpose. It’s my offering, dear humans. There is no where I won’t go when you are ready to go there.

For the fun of it, here I am, teaching mindfulness in a circle of students last year. And here's to all the circles to come. 

Shoemaker_Teaching_Image 2.jpg

Leaning into Resistance

He was encouraging me to go deeper and I wasn't having it.

I told him he was wrong, I told him that I was tired of men telling me what I am feeling or not feeling, I told him I was sure that he was also doing that to me right at that moment.

And he sat, paused, looked at me kindly, and reflected that while it was ultimately my decision, he thought that there was a deeper layer we hadn't hit yet.

I looked at his face and knew he could see what I couldn't see. I had hired this man to be my "coach," and he was helping me to heal, and by this point at two months in, I knew I could trust him.

I said okay. And with his help, I went deeper into my resistance.

It sucked. It was uncomfortable. I didn't want to look at what I didn't want to see. (That's what resistance is after all.) A moment before, I had been HOT and mad at him and fighting like hell to prove that what he was saying wasn't even true! I could not even SEE it! And to step in and trust him and the process was uncomfortable AF. There were tears, to say the least. There was feeling things I hadn't felt and didn't want to admit.

And in that space, of total vulnerability, he leaned in and affirmed my greatness. He told me that he saw the true potential underneath. And I knew I could believe him. And I broke through. He's amazing like that.

(I do this coaching thing but I also live this growth work. Live it.)

Resistance is everywhere. It is in each of us, because we've put up walls and mechanisms for not wanting to feel what hurts. We're embarrassed of our patterns. What we're doing is working for us - but we also know deeper down that it's not. That's when you call someone like me - we guide you through the resistance.

My client said to me today, "Do you have people resist like I am?" Oh, I had a career in education - I know about resistance. You can hate me in the process of your own resistance if you need to. I am not going anywhere.

Your resistance is okay, just as mine was (and will be the next time). We all have resistance! What we choose to DO with the resistance, and how we choose to allow someone to help, is everything. It can mean the difference between years and years of stuck, or breaking through.

When I see my clients lean in and push through their resistance, and allow themselves to trust themselves and me, I swear, my heart could just rejoice. THIS is the stuff of change, loves. It's not always easy, but it's DAMN REAL. It gets you closer to where you long to be, in leaps and bounds.

Rest, Listen, Act, Repeat.

By the time I was 33, my adrenals had crashed. The "why" of that is a long story, but long story short, I had been kicking my own ass, striving, and thinking that I wasn't enough for my entire life. Especially since the age of 19, when I birthed a daughter but wasn't ready, by society's standards, to raise her, and then I went to work ensuring that, by God, I would be enough and worthy of a child one day. Add to that - worthy of a child, money, husband, love, career, etc, etc, etc.

I didn't know my own worth then. And so I worked my ass off to try to attain and to prove it. My body was sending me warning flares but I didn't stop until I crashed.

This post is about the over-extension of ourselves as we're trying to prove something. So many are in this trap. No matter how far we've come, we can still find ourselves in this trap - the trap of not enough.

Trauma exacerbates this habit of perpetual action-taking in many cases. We experience something, and we run like hell from ever experiencing it again. Who feels me on this one? Get honest with yourself.

You take action upon action to stay afloat, to keep from feeling the shame of not succeeding, to finally "get to" where it is you imagine you must get to in order to feel you've made it.

You just keep taking action. It is wearing you the fuck out. You know it is not sustainable and your body is giving you clues, and yet, you power through. Why? It's time to get really honest with the "why."

I realized what I was doing, in part, when I crashed. I simply could not GO any longer. Coffee started to have a completely adverse affect, and instead of being a crutch, it became a hinderance (because my endocrine system could not handle the additional cortisol). I simply could not metabolize stress anymore. My body wasn't having it.

At that time, I also started to recognize that I had been completely out of touch with what is innately feminine inside of me. This action-orientation that I had been living in, the career ladders I had been climbing, the mindset of success - all of it aligned with more masculine characteristics than feminine ones. My feminine told me to pay attention to my intuition, to rest, to incubate, to follow my heart. I had NO IDEA what to do with this at first, and had to allow it to evolve in me.

It was not without difficulty. I was a school principal and I would close the door, sometimes multiple times a day, and lay on my back with my feet in the air like the ayurvedic doctor had encouraged me to do. My anxiety was through the roof. Crowds were making me panic. My body was freaking the fuck out, begging me for integration.

And then I spent a period of time heavily tilted toward inaction and rest. Part of me (bless that evolving part of me) thought that to regain my "feminine" meant to sway heavily to the side of inaction and spirituality. The pendulum had to swing for me until I could find my center. The balance of action & rest. We call in the guidance, and then we act on it. If we act without the guidance - well, we could crash.

Culturally, collectively, we have been in action-mode. We have been heavily in the masculine energy of forward motion. Rebalancing our lives involves a reintegration of the feminine into our consciousness - body, mind, soul.

We find her when we begin to honor cycles. Men, you need her as well. We find her when we listen to the voice that says "slow down." We honor her when we listen to her wisdom as she shares it.

Action steps in my life now are divinely directed. Rest and periods of integration are essential. This is no longer because my nervous system can't handle it (thankfully there has been much healing and bolstering of reserves) but because it is the ONLY way I know to trust my next steps.

Action & rest. Masculine & feminine. I love them both. I need them both. I AM them both.

I hope this serves you. If you are interested in creating more divinely-aligned action in your life, I am here to support you now. I support your own growth and goals through a mindful and soul-based approach to coaching. I work in a very personalized way. We target your goals, but we do it by incorporating rest so that you can access your own divine wisdom. This is intuitive, real, loving, and we don't fuck around. You can be beautifully fierce and action oriented AND nourished and restful. You can achieve balance, and nothing feels more "successful" or whole than that. Contact me for a conversation about any of the above.

In love, 
s

Aligned action.png

Ask me.

I found this little gem I'd written July of 2017 when a friend commented on another website of mine (Patreon). I'm moving it over here to be seen in the light of day. 

...

Ask me what it was like, to clean the birth off of her and then have the nine pound weight of her body leave my hands thirty six hours later.

Ask me, ask me what it took to suppress that ocean of loss for moments, months, and years after.

Ask me. Ask me what fills the void left by the absence of a daughter. Ask me all the things you'd try if it happened to you.

Ask me what I know now. Ask me what it means when your body recoils in the presence of a man. Ask me how I had to claw and be held, sometimes simultaneously, to unearth that knowing from my soma.

Ask me how most everyone is living in a sorry combination of fear and placation, and how I know my tribe when a person has the courage to sit with a story of loss.

Ask me how my mind, body, and emotions were not permitted to be my own and the story of my own reclamation. The story of learning to listen to the whisper of deep soul.

Ask me, because I'm ready to share. A story of body, of shame, of healing, rising, motherhood, sex, and love.

#MeToo, and I'm deciding to love men anyway.

I am a woman.

I can say #metoo.

And I love men. I am actively choosing to love men.

I am survivor.

I am ex-wife.

I am the hated daughter.

I know sexual harassment. I know sexual abuse.

I have been physically assaulted by male students.

I have been lied to and cheated on by some men that I have allowed into the space of my soul.

I have been the woman on the side.

I have been talked over, mistreated, and isolated by men.

I have been rejected and outcast.

I have experienced trauma at the hands of men that I've spent years, and lifetimes, unraveling.

And I am deciding to love men anyway.

Because:

I have also healed in the hands of good men.

I have seen my own reflection in those men that could hold a clear mirror, and I am a better woman for it.

I have grown from my forgiveness of men and the liberation is sweeter than any resentment.

I have held men as they've cried and healed together as we've made love.

I have brought wounded men back to life again.

I have seen the shattered and silenced inside of the male heart, a story so rarely given voice.

I have seen the depth of the potential between two beings in sacred union and I value the masculine's place in that. I crave it and call to us that we all might know it.

I have been raising young men my entire adult life, I have seen and heard them cry at the pressure of being male, and they are half of our human population.

I have sat with male-born teenagers who wanted to escape being a man and change their sex for what it meant to them to conform to common notions of masculinity.

I am the mother of a son.

#metoo

And I'm going to decide to actively love men. And I will decide it as many times as it takes.

I'm going to own what's mine, and ask that you do the same.

I am going to embrace both the masculine and the feminine inside of me.

I am going to watch where I point my fingers.

I have been hurt at the hands of men, and I can see in every instance that it was because of the wounds of men that they actively or unwittingly hurt me.

I choose compassion. I choose love. I actively choose not to feed or fuel more aggression or opposition.

I am deciding to believe in men. And I am deciding to believe in women.

No more opposition now.

♥️

S Shoemaker Spring '18-38.jpg

Arrival.

At the turn of the year, I treated myself to an astrology reading, and in it, I asked her about the timeline of the year. It was to be, for sure, a year of transition. But when we were talking about how Embodied Breath was truly me living out my life purpose, I walked out of that appointment, and I said, “Now Please. Not in one year. Now.”

Do you have those goals you'd like to see happen... some day? What about NOW? 

And then, voila. Transition was delivered at an accelerated rate between January and March. (Did you know you could have that kind of influence?) 

I thought I’d stay and transition slowly out of my day job, but it happened quickly. 

I thought I’d be growing in my love relationship, but that ended too. 

It. Was. Hard. To say the least. And it was purposeful.

There I was, being given full blown permission to step into Embodied Breath, but I had some healing to do. 

I dug in. I don't think that I'd ever been through such a transition before. Sure, I'd changed jobs, but this move involved me doing more SOUL work than I had done before in three months time. 

Three months!?

That's how long I work with my clients! Oh now I see how truly powerful that amount of time can be! 

I don’t recognize myself from three months ago in so many ways. Who was that woman compromising all over the place? Who was that woman who was too tolerant, too sacrificing, overly hopeful in relationship? Who was that woman who was afraid to leap? Who was that woman that was still on some level, after 36 years of learning this lesson, afraid to use her voice for what she might lose?

Honoring every part of the process is so important to me. In fact, it is one of the major premises of my coaching. How is what we’re going through actually creating an opportunity for us? There is ALWAYS an opportunity.

Like I said, I took the opportunity. I took it deep into my soul, and I am changed for it.

What do you think you could accomplish in three months? I've seen my clients change their resiliency, how they show up at work, how they feel about their own abilities, their ability to speak up for themselves, their ability to LOVE themselves, their ability to BELIEVE in themselves, and the list goes on. 

You can experience a major life transition, and come through it a changed person, in three months. I just lived it. (Hey, thanks Universe for the experiential understanding!)

But you HAVE TO decide to say a big YES to getting as much out of life as you're meant to have. You HAVE TO be ready to choose you. 

And choosing you is hard. When we're parents, when we're hardworking, when there's not a lot of money in the bank - how are we supposed to choose to invest in ourselves?? I'll tell you how. When you decide that you want to put yourself on a different path altogether, you have to choose you. I mean that in the healthiest of ways. You have to say YES to what YOU desire. All this pleasing everyone else is not going to allow you to arrive where you want to be.  

Here's the honest truth. I wanted this. All last fall, I drove to work wondering when would be the perfect time to finally take the leap full time to my own work. I was enthusiastic about working with the people, but again, the paperwork and the focus on the things other than soul work were just mundane as hell. I tried to talk myself into it. I tried to look at the bright side, practice gratitude, be responsible, and on and on. I was putting my soul on hold. 

In these three months, I hired my own coach, wrote daily, woke up daily at 5AM to exercise and meditate, took on new clients and learned from them as they learned from me. I healed so many layers of my heart and soul. I let go of people (yeah, I said that.) I went to sound healings, acupuncture, yoga, dance, you name it. 

And you know what? I have arrived - in the place I wanted to be and wondered how I would get there, and now I walk forward from this place. Challenging myself, growing, and having a sincere-ass time being a personal coach to some amazing individuals. 

I'd love to know what your dreams are. What you're sitting on, waiting for that perfect time. When you're ready to go, I will help you arrive. 

Big love, 

s

S Shoemaker Spring '18-24.jpg