Coaching

To see your own shadow, an invitation.

Years ago as a new school administrator, I was tasked in my job description with supporting school improvement by coaching teachers on the annual goals that they had crafted. In this progressive model, we shaped the traditional “teacher evaluation” into a growth tool. The feedback loop was supportive and the teachers and I reflected and made next-step, achievable goals together. I was also tasked with supporting teams of teachers in developing action steps toward school-wide improvement goals.

One teacher in particular wanted to appear grandiose, be the best, but they didn’t actually want to participate in the growth based systems that we all operated under - that were the norm. They wanted to do things their way. They were inherently spiteful, I’ll say, and their resistance to the process and to me, personally, caused stagnation in the advancement of the school improvement goals, as well as the attitude of the teaching team that surrounded them.

The school had a model for change, and as a new administrator, I couldn’t understand why in the world this wasn’t working for one when it was working for the rest. Why had this one painted me so negatively and the majority had nothing but love? This one spent their time actually resisting goals and attempting to prove superiority, and sometimes very passively. It was horrible.

It wasn’t the first time there was this aversion to me, because their aversion was to me, not to the process. It took me years, all the years of my life, to be okay with how I will repel some people. Because I will naturally repel some people. I was still learning then.

For the last six months of this year, I kept pulling this one card from the Isis Oracle Deck more than any other card. And I knew that it was showing up for a reason but my goodness, I was almost wishing it wasn’t, because I really could not “figure out” what the true message was being offered me. The card is “Power Over Seven Scorpions: Power to Conjure the Lower Vibrational Forces.”

It’s not a particularly pleasant looking card, nor does it have a particularly pleasant wording. I mean, I bet readers feel it, this, “Ooooo, wait, ‘conjure?’ Yikes. And ‘Lower Vibrational Forces’ doesn’t sound so appealing.” I seriously had to look up the word conjure because I am NOT interested in dark magic.

So this week I pulled it again, and I again read the little book that comes with the deck, and I again set it up in plain site for me to contemplate why it keeps coming up, and I’m getting closer and closer.

Here’s what I’ve got so far. Lean in. This is a lifetime of watching myself and this little card coming up to tell me to own this. Directly.

You will not know me and not know yourself.

By nature of me being me, you will see you. I am a mirror. And I will reflect back, naturally, as in “conjuring,” what is both pleasant and difficult to look at.

By nature of being me, I bring about what is existing as dark or “lower vibrational forces” or what I will also call Shadow, and I bring it up to be healed. We go through the shadow to get to the light.

I am not into conjuring darkness as any sort of witch, which is why I resisted this card. But I own and honor the message now. It is a large part of my gift to offer this planet. (I am a believer that we need to actually own the gifts we’re sent with…)

I will see the dark, the subconscious patterns, the unseen. I will see what is kept in shadow, and in my vicinity, you will see yours as well. Or we will see it together. Some people don’t like to see their shadow. And those people probably won’t like me, as they project their discomfort with their shadow onto me.

And I get, too, that this could be misconstrued as egotistical. It’s not, but go ahead and think that if you need to. ;) (That was a little shadow joke.) I do my own shadow work - goodness me, read my blog if you question that. I have my own trusted friends, coaches, teachers to offer me conscious feedback. And when you all criticize or judge me, I run that through my process as well to check it out. I do.

I just don’t let the shadow go unseen - by nature of who I am. Even before I recognized this as a gift, it would happen that some people say, “I can tell you EVERYTHING” and other people want nothing to do with me. I was born on the Day of the Soul Searcher, and I read this in some astrological book on a table in Barnes and Noble at the age of fifteen and I felt this sweet relief of understanding myself - because even then, I knew that I would go places others didn’t always want to go and in fact it is impossible for me not to go there. I GO to the depths. In my previous education career, and especially in the South where I live, I would get into some trouble (directly or indirectly) for naming what did not want to be dealt with! I just could NOT not name the elephant in the room! It is impossible for me to not see and not name.

I name it nicely. Gently. But how in the world can we move forward unless we name everything in the room?

For some that’s a relief, and for some, do NOT name the elephant. It’s fucking risky. It is fucking risky to talk about the things we prefer not to see. I get it. Our entire lives, we have built up identities, or as organizations, we have built up identities…. Or as governments… and to name the metaphorical elephant causes disruption.

I am not here to cause unnecessary disruption. I am here to invite us to look into the shadow.

A few months ago, I was at a local co-working center and we were playing an “authentic game” and (just like me to do this) I raised my hand for the first hot seat, which meant that this circle of people was going to fire authentic questions at me, some of which may be difficult to answer, and I could choose to answer directly or pass, but I couldn’t tell a story about any answer. I agreed. A man I didn’t know, very early in the game, asked me a personal question about habits of my sexual relationship to myself and I passed.

My friend Gina said after the game, “I had a story in my head that said there was nothing that Sarah wouldn’t share, and it surprised me that you passed.” I shared that the reason that I passed was not because I was uncomfortable with the truth, but because I didn’t appreciate the trickster intent. In other words, what Gina knows about me is that I will investigate the shadow and I will discuss what I find there - my own, the collective, or my clients’ with them in session.

I will share with purpose and the intent to grow. Always. There is a lot of psychology out there about sharing for the wrong reasons or “oversharing.”

I share to bring the shadow into the light. For damn sure. But I won’t be irresponsible or flippant with it. The shadow is also sacred territory.

When I sit with you, this is what we do.

When you read me, this is what you read.

When you become my client, this is what you’re signing up for. Lots of big ol’ loving space for truth to be held.

It is not always pleasant, but we have to go through the shadow to get to the light.

The shadow, again, is what we prefer not to look at within ourselves. This mirrors the collective - by which I mean - our culture.

What do we gain by looking at what is difficult to look at in ourselves?

Our soul.

Everything.

We gain everything.

What you do with my mirror nature is up to you. Truly.

If you want to avoid your shadow, I’m not the woman to follow or to hire.

You can even be pissed at me for what arises when I do, but I will name the elephant.

I will call you to both investigate, to own, and to move through.

I will do so with love in my heart and holding the intention that collectively, we become stronger.


To know me is to see things about you that you potentially preferred not to see.

Some people are confused, because they feel challenged by what they call “me,” but what they are challenged by is the confrontation of the shadow, the mirror, I naturally hold.

For someone who wants to stay in a comfort zone, blaming other people for their condition, I will be uncomfortable. Back then, as a young administrator, I did not recognize this in a way that I knew what to do with. I couldn’t figure out how, even though I was following the coaching protocol and doing things with loving intention, I was still getting this reaction. Well, it was because I made that person uncomfortable. Because they loved their comfort zone and I was the one tasked to be up in it, which is a place I am actually comfortable being and so it felt natural for me.

We can operate in the comfort zone, but I don’t prefer it. And neither do most of you.

Gain your Soul.

Know that your resistance is your potential. Know that your blame is a distraction. Know that what you are dissatisfied with in your life has everything to do with what you have avoided looking at - not with any other person or condition.

Our relationship to our shadow matters. It makes the difference between a life of avoidance, suffering, and blame, and a life of truly knowing oneself and truly loving what you discover.

In my work, we go there. Safely, but we go there. I look forward to hearing where you want to go, and helping you through the parts you’d rather not traverse, but you know you’ll be more whole if you do.

I love you, and your Divine Soul. I see you and your potential. I will love you through it all and we will celebrate when you’re through. When you’ve gained another piece of your Soul.

Screen Shot 2018-11-21 at 8.15.47 AM.png



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

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! 

 

 

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.

Mindful Coaching

I coach through a lens of mindfulness. Let me explain what that means.

All the time, we have flitty little thoughts in our heads, repetitive thoughts, resistant thoughts. Most people have repressed emotions that feed these habitual thoughts.

AND, here’s the thing. These habits of mind that you have are absolutely instrumental in whether or not you are able to create the changes in your life you are looking for. If you’ve got the hamster wheel of thought, emotion, reaction - we need to witness that before moving forward.

You can pick these things apart intellectually. It’s an option. But it's ineffective in the long haul. You can figure something out and say, "That's it! I'm done with THAT now!" only to have that very thing come back again and again.

When you work with me, we are going to witness what arises, and with the breath, with a gentle mindfulness practice (and other tools I’ll introduce to you), we will actually INTEGRATE what arises.

What? If it’s difficult, why would we integrate it?

Because what you resist will chase you forever.

Read that last sentence again.

Most people are running from what is chasing them, from what has happened to them, or from the patterns that went into play after a traumatic event. It’s real.

It all needs to be felt, witnessed, moved through. 

And here's another fantastic tidbit - if something is coming up for you, then it IS the thing that is ready to be healed. 

And when we’re ready to stop living with the suffering of the hamster wheel of habit, we have options. My services are but one available to you.

Mindfulness allows you to sit with what is difficult, come out of that frightened brain, and to live a more grounded and embodied, less frenetic, wholly inspired life. This is the basis of my individual work, couples work, group work. We BREATHE so that we can regulate into our own experience and speak/live/BE from a centered place.

Doesn’t that sound appealing?

My services are mindfulness-based, but that’s not all we do. Oh no. It IS, however, where we start. From there, once you notice what arises and stop running from it, you are so much more naturally able to integrate, cope, and embody resilience in your daily life. I use other tools, body-based awareness, and a lot of encouragement and actualization exercises to stretch and grow you into the next level of your better self.

I love that so many people are currently hungry for change. I love that I get to be of service when you are ready. Honestly, there is nowhere I’d rather be.

The things you know you need to address that scare you - they don’t scare me. You can be scared, but the gold and glory of hiring a coach is that I HOLD THAT SPACE FOR YOU to have your experience, AND, I will encourage you to grow. Safely. At the next level appropriate for YOU, individually.

We start with the breath, with mindfulness, and then we RISE into our true potential.

I'm interested in hearing from you. How does this land? What are you interested in changing in your daily life? Maybe it's your mindset, maybe it's that nagging anxiety, maybe it's your relationship with your spouse.

Set up a free 30 minute call with me at the link below to discuss how mindfulness-based coaching might be right for you!

Much love, 
s

EB3.png

Freedom at last

We were told to look into one another’s eyes. Partner A studied partner B without speaking, knees to knees as we sat cross legged facing one another, and then, when the time came, she was to reflect to me what she saw in me.

And then she said, “I see in you freedom. You are free.” She said it with longing and that she desired it too.

I told her in the brief moment I had, “I was just recently an educator too, like you, and I left it to follow my heart. Now I work with (mostly) women on their own journeys. Thank you for your reflection.”

My dear sister, you have just given me a great compliment. You have seen something in me that is newly embodied, this freedom. And so it is with celebration that I now allow myself to claim it.

This freedom is the result of consistent commitment to growth. It is the result of deep soul work, again and again.

S Shoemaker Spring '18-22.jpg

It is eventually learning to ask for help, when I always thought I had to do it on my own and that others were simply not safe to rely on. It was a commitment to allowing my heart to open again, and maybe for the first time.

It is consciously letting go of safety, embracing risk, learning to trust and soar. It is laughter found in unexpected places.

It is sitting on the meditation cushion, day after day, learning how to breathe again after years of perfectionistic tightness. It is loving my belly that lost a child at 19 and struggled to digest food or feel at ease every moment after.

It is consciously deciding not to hold onto resentment, especially with the masculine. It is having finally trusted a man enough to let him break my heart wide open when he left abruptly, such that I finally understood that my wholeness does not come from another’s reflection. It is a determination to love instead of resent. It is the result of active forgiveness of self and other.

It is allowing myself to love and be loved in spite of the old wounded habit of self-protection.

It is the result of dedication, this freedom, because I have said yes to learning every lesson that this path brought me. This is the freedom of having not bypassed. This is the freedom of knowing myself so well that I am at home here, finally, in this skin.

This is resiliency. There is little left that I fear. This is the result of the alchemy of present moment awareness and the breath. All the nights, sister, in the walk of healing my own trauma, that I have spent in the throws of my own grief, tears pouring down my own cheeks as I felt it. I felt it and by allowing it to be felt, I learned that it could not rule me. I can gently allow all parts of me to coexist. When we stop fighting ourselves, sister, worlds open.

This freedom is having come into relationship with my own body, to unlock the patterns of trauma, to learn safety, to know my own resourcefulness. Many, mostly women, sat across from me on my journey. They held the mirror, they believed in me so that I could believe in me.

This freedom is ceasing to allow men to light the path of my own discovery any longer, and I’m talking about sexually as well, sister. Take it back, that meekness we are taught, and know your own body, claim it, prioritize pleasure, know your boundaries, know your desires. This freedom is the reclamation of knowing what you want.

This freedom is a lifetime of giving my own self permission to step into the power of my own voice when we do not live in a world that grants women this permission. This freedom is me being willing to say my truth anyway, and suffer the losses, and celebrate the gains. This freedom is having earned my own voice.

This freedom is intentionally integrating the emotional and spiritual realms into my way of being after being raised and working in a field that valued intellect and book smarts. It is the conscious reintegration of the feminine into my once overly-masculine approach that had been the majority of my life. This is the freedom that comes with remembering, and then honoring, my own femininity.

This freedom is the result of not allowing life to destroy me. When I gave away my child, my beautiful nine pound child birthed of my body, because I thought I wasn’t yet worthy of her – I got my ass back up. My mother, bless her, modeled this. I survived that loss and I survived having overachieved every day thereafter until, finally, I could accept myself and didn’t need to prove myself any longer. The striving to overachieve in and of itself can kill you, sister. My adrenals are still healing now, the stress was so vast.

This freedom, woman, unfortunately takes work, but it is not granted by anyone other than each of us; ourselves. WE must be the ones to say we will claim it. And then you walk, one foot in front of the other, answering the call of your own soul.

This freedom is owning my choice to walk out of the job that provided the esteemed position in the hierarchy and the steady paycheck in order to sit across from you now and remind you that this freedom is yours too. I will live my life in service to our remembering, sister. It is owning that my work is actually to align with soul’s purpose, to foster opportunities for authenticity and reintegration with our true self. Sister, this is everything.

It is the choice and the ability to live, embodied and alive, free of conditions.

This freedom I feel now, I think it’s a taste of why I have been answering my soul’s call my entire life. It is the other side of suffering, and yes, I’ve reached it. I did not get there by following any prescription of success, although it is true that in doing that, I did take this winding road. But the true discovery was in listening to my own self, my own internal knowing, the whisper that we so often and for so long ignore. It is courageous to listen to that whisper. And, to be true, sister, when the time really comes, the whisper becomes a roar. Are you listening now?

When I show up in front of you now, I do not take this for granted, this freedom. I am still learning to recognize myself here, and I humbly tell you, it is the best place I have ever known.

But I didn’t bypass. I didn’t stay stuck. I actively chose love, forgiveness, trust, and hope when it didn’t seem to make sense to do so. Along the way, I fucked up, I hated myself, I felt like a victim, and I did not know what to do at so many points. I was alone at times and I didn’t always appreciate those around me. This path of authenticity is not an easy path, sister, but it is calling you.

What I’m saying, sister, is yes, you see freedom. Thank you for that reflection. I’m both proud to be wearing it now, and, I also want it for you. I believe in you. Take my example, or ask for my hand – whatever you need – I will support you in my heart all the way.

(May 18, 2018)