Conscious Feminine

I am nothing if not Truthy.

As it was happening that I was developing a group opportunity for women, on Cultivating & Activating PERSONAL TRUTH for January 2019, I was carrying a Truth that I didn’t know how to share.

 

I didn’t even know if it was fully mine to share. I didn’t know what would happen if I were to share it, when to share it, what to do with it. So in all that confusion, I started to question the Truth itself.

 

Read: I questioned myself. Because Personal Truth is Self.

 

This Truth was handed to me by the Universe, by Source, by my Soul. I shit you not. It was the biggest Truth I had ever been handed. It was a recognition of a bigger Truth rather than something that I thought up. In other words - it just was.  It blew me away. And it came in one of the most outstanding packages of unfortunate circumstances that you could imagine. This Truth changes lives.

 

Because I was so taken aback by this Truth, and because of its magnitude, I was unsure what to do. You can not deny a Truth like this. Actually, I will say this: I, personally, will not deny a Truth like this. One that involves my Soul. I will not. That is a vow I hold unto myself. And yet, others would not approve. This Truth is certain to evoke judgement.

 

Others would not approve. There I was in an old pattern of seeking that approval. I was familiar with this pattern, but sometimes it catches me off guard.  I worried and focused on the impossible task of navigating this Truth in the world of others. I spent months navigating how to bring this Soul Truth into the world, attempting to do so consciously.

 

And then I woke up. Again.

To the pattern. Oh. I saw what I was doing. It went like this:

  1. Know a Personal Truth

  2. Truth is uncomfortable (I seem to have a soul contract to be a big noisy being in this world and #2 is not uncommon for me - see below.)

  3. Look for a way to make the Truth comfortable for everyone else and feel a shit ton o’ shame and the pain of hiding for even having this Truth in the meanwhile.

 

But step 3 does NOT work. That’s where I was off. That’s where we commonly go wrong - the approval seeking. We know a thing so deeply inside of ourselves and then we look outside of ourselves to approve of our knowing. This is an old, patriarchal trap. And here I was in it - again.

I was looking for approval and hence seeking to prove:

I am a good person.

I am in integrity.

I am a loving person.

I hold myself accountable.

I do not ever intend to hurt others.

(These are some of my Truths. But you see, here, I was trying to prove my Truth. Ick.) There is a difference, a mighty difference, between inherently knowing your Truth and trying to prove your Truth to others.

 

What I was handed was a righteous, unbelievable Truth. Honestly. One day, when it is told, some of you will believe it and some of you will not.

 

I heard myself say at one point, “I understand that what I am asking you to believe is unbelievable.”

 

Another friend who both loves me and holds me accountable said to me, “Even some seers won’t be able to see this Truth.”

 

How do you get approval for a Truth like that?

 

This Truth, THIS Truth - in its gift and in all its challenge and in all its splendor - it taught me something huge. APPROVAL SEEKING FOR YOUR OWN TRUTH DOES NOT F*ING WORK. It’s like I needed the most impossible set of circumstances, sure to evoke judgement from one angle or another, to remind me, hopefully once and for all, that the approval for my Truth comes from me. In fact, it doesn’t even need approval, because it just IS. What our Personal Truth needs, is to be honored. And here I was, organizing a women’s group around Personal Truth. You see how life delivers the finest of lessons, albeit in complex packages?

 

Change Step 3, Sarah. You inherently know this.

3. Let your Truth be your own. Let your Truth be your Power. Let owning your Truth be your Journey. Let everyone else have their Truth (becomes everyone’s Truth is capital T). We all get to have our Truth. Your Truth is your Heart and your Soul and your Authenticity. It is You.

 

My friend Seppi was talking to me about the question of “What’s your kryptonite?” I’d have to say - the judgement of others.

 

When other people don’t like me, I have performed various tragedies of self neglect in the name of gaining approval. I have attempted to mitigate people not liking me by approval seeking. Over and over and over again.

 

I stand out. I just do, and I struggled with this for a long time. I tried hard to play by the rules but it didn’t work for me. I tried over and over again to get it right according to some truth (little t) outside myself.

 

This summer, I was at a Soul Fire retreat. It was night four and it was supposed to be a ceremony where we “married” our Soul. Well, I’d just baptized myself as Sarah Poet naked in a river and danced my ass off in a field in order to reclaim my wild feminine Soul to the degree that needed to be reclaimed on that day and I was tired. I was beat. I had just earned my Soul barefoot on the ground in the summer heat, moving body and limbs as I expelled the trauma and judgement trapped therein. And so everyone was getting showered and dressed for this ceremony - in beautiful gowns and glitter, and my Soul was like, “Eh, fuck no.” And I wore jeans and my black bikini top and put my dirty hair up under a sun hat. It was the truest thing in that moment to not wear what everyone else was wearing. And I did the back and forth of “Is this okay?” and of course it was. It just didn’t fit in. Because that’s me. Apparently I came to wear jeans to my ceremonies and fuck some shit up around here. But dear me, my heart, it gets more and more fierce the more I honor my Truth. My Truth is pure. It was always pure.

 

And that realization is my strength. My power. Approval seeking sucks the life out of you. I’ve done it. I’ve done it for so long, over and over, and I’ve felt the judgement of standing in my Truth, and I’ve felt the inner conflict when I denied it. Denying my Truth is actually my kryptonite. And damn it, here’s what I know.

I did NOT walk out of the hierarchical job structure of the Patriarchy and create my own empire in service to raising consciousness on this planet in order to find myself once again in that shit-eating Patriarchal pattern of approval seeking from powers outside of myself. We’ll do it to ourselves if we allow it.

I did NOT walk out of a job just last year where one day my male boss shamed me, in a leadership position, in front of my peers as if I was a little girl and in a way he would never have spoken to a man, demanding subordination, in order to go unseen now. Fuck no. FUCK no.

I did NOT give away a baby to adoption as a young woman who believed I wasn’t enough to raise her child and spend the subsequent fifteen years realizing the myth of inadequacy in my bones so that I could stay silent when things get uncomfortable now. In fact, quite the opposite.

I did NOT walk the path of my Soul to get here and then deny my Truth because it’s difficult to walk it. No. I walk it.

 

Shoo. You feeling me?

 

I will have any conversation, I will face anything, I will consider, I will love. I will live my TRUTH.

 

But I will not go quietly, silently denying my own Truth. The time for that is over. That is why I am here. I now allow my Truth to be mine. I stand tall. I take in the energy of fearing my kryptonite, fearing a loss of approval, and I turn that energy inward. My Truth fills my Heart. In fact, my Truth comes from my Heart.  This Truth makes me who I am. It allows me to take ALL of the energy that I leak when I’m in approval seeking, and that then becomes the energetic embers of my inner fire.

 

Approval seeking is dead to me. You may or may not approve, and loves, I do not care.

 

That’s not an insult. In fact, if you can see it, it’s empowering AF.  I support you in whatever your Truth is as well. You WANT me to be fully in my Truth, fully supporting yours. We each need this for and from one another. Because our Truth is heartfelt.

 

Because when I am in my Truth, I love you more.

Because when I am in my Truth, I honor yours.

Because in order for me to know and honor my Truth, I have to know my Heart.

And I will not deny my Heart.

 

Let us be unwavering.

 

Let us be stoking our own fire, so that we can stoke the fire of the world.

 

Your truth is not about anyone else. If you are directing even a portion of your energy toward approval seeking, or hell, giving or denying approval, take it back.

 

This is your life force.

 

Your Truth is your life force.

 

If you are denying your Truth, you are staying smaller than you are meant to be. You know I’m right. I know I’m right because I did it. I did it when I wanted to leave that job and was scared to. I did it when I wrote the letter addressing the problem and was dismissed from the job and felt deep shame for all the disapproval. I did it when I let my baby go. I did it when I knew how to yell but not how to speak from the heart. I did it when I stayed married, hell, when I got married.

 

I denied my Truth a million times, because that is what we’re taught to do as women.

And I have also regained it, now no less than a million times.

It has been the walk of my lifetime, honoring my Truth. I am here to support you doing the same.

We learn to hear it, then we figure out how we want to honor it. It is all your choice. Just do not deny it.

I am here. Embers are burning. 20 women. We begin this sacred circle January 4.

Schedule a free consult here. Sign up here.

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A little tattoo tale...

I got my first tattoo in a friend’s basement. I don’t think my mother knows that to this day. It was a simple butterfly, that I had drawn, with women’s lib symbols in the wings. I was 17.
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When I was in my late twenties, I covered that tattoo on my left shoulder with three large poppies. And, the guy doing the cover up thought it would be a nice ode to the old self to include a new butterfly. I’m glad we did.
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Just a year later, I got the peony on the other shoulder. My mother’s original rules for a tattoo were that I could only get one where no one could see it if I needed to cover it up for a job. So I was thirty two years old, a school principal, with largely inked shoulders. They barely showed.
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That same year, I was taking a tarot class on the side, trying to remember my intuition as a woman. I was a school principal that constantly lead with heart and was constantly “too much.” Criticized for taking intuitive leaps. Ha ha ha, the wild witch awake in me now laughs. My intuition is my craft. But I didn’t know it then. Where is a woman to find this until she nurtures it back to life in herself.
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I was always nervous. But a badass. I WAS a badass, authentically, I just always felt I had to fight for it, or fight, period, for me. My nervous system was fighting for safety my whole life and I was the intuitive woman following the rules of successful engagement, but never feeling myself. For example hiding these tattoos that were authentic expression.
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And so I was in this tarot class and something happened and I realized, holy shit, I’ve given myself armor. I have given myself self-protective, black, badass, don’t fuck with me armor. How’s that for #resiliency.😉
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I love my tattoos. But I don’t want armor and I don’t need protection. Not anymore. So I just kept decorating my body with more and more expression, letting out more and more skin, leaving the profession and creating a life that is 100% my own creation. My next tattoo is on the way. I’ll show it to you.❤️

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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.

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To the father whose child I denied you

Eighteen years ago, our daughter was born. She was large, nine pounds three ounces and round, so round, and so beautiful. So wise. As a child in my womb, as a new born, she was already wise. Of course she was. She came through us.

You never got to place your hands on my stomach or witness the pregnancy. You wanted to come close and yet, my family and I pushed you away. Everyone was terrified that I was pregnant at eighteen, and you, dear man, were made to be a monster. Truths were falsified against you. Your child was being denied you, you were panicking, but you didn’t receive acknowledgment for that.

Not until I sat in front of you seventeen years later and began my apology.

We were young when we met, and I remember you first on the back porch of a cabin, in an oversized sweatshirt, jumpy in a nervous and athletic body, but your tenderness certainly apparent and your dimples deep. You were a speech pathology major in college. I believe I was fifteen and immediately had a crush on you. A few times a year, we volunteered at the same camp for kids with disabilities, and when I got to be there with you, something ignited inside of me. I finally confessed how I felt about you my senior year in high school, and you, already twenty three, took me up on it. We traveled the summer before I moved away to college. I remember feeling both loved and smothered by you - it was too intense in some ways for a young girl, and yet part of me loved the intensity. I know it was real love.

When I went to college, nine hours away from home, you wanted me to call nightly. I was missing out on college life. I remember I was opening in brave new ways, like moving my body for the first time, uninhibited, to the drums in the African Dance class. But I’d have to pull myself away to make sure to catch your phone call. I started to feel conflicted.

When we got pregnant over fall break of my freshman year, unplanned, I knew by Thanksgiving. I remember I started puking early in the pregnancy, and in the dorm toilets, gagging daily at the site of shared showers and clogged drains. I subsisted on plain bagels and orange juice. My first thought upon hearing I was pregnant was, “No one can know.” I went to the college counselor and cried and cried that my mother was going to hate me. She gave me the information on abortion. I knew somewhere deep inside that there was no way this child was not meant to come into the world. One way or another, for everything it meant, this pregnancy was happening.

As I write this, I call you to ask you to tell me the details, because my brain only begins to remember my pregnancy and my experience with my pregnancy and not many details of our relationship from the moment I found out. It was as if my head went down and stayed down, with a mix of protection and shame. You remind me that yes, you drove nine hours the day after you heard, and we spent the weekend together. You urged me to connect with you, to make a plan. When you left to go home, you said I called my parents, and after that, our relationship became disconnected.

I moved back home to Pennsylvania, into my parents’ house, at the end of my first semester of college to have this baby the following July. You wanted to help. You wanted to be a family. It terrified me. My parents were so angry. I allowed myself to ignore you. I allowed the distance to be enforced, and heavily. My father took over. Law enforcement was involved.

You were losing your child.

My family brought home information about adoption, and yes, I’ll say that they pushed it, though, ultimately, all responsibly is of course my own. It’s why I have to write this letter.

I didn’t speak to you for at least the last half of the pregnancy. The social worker from the adoption agency was your point of contact. We chose a family in New Jersey, a state with a “once and done” signing of surrender seventy two hours after the birth. After her birth, still in the hospital, the social worker told me that three weeks prior, your house had burned to the ground while you were working the night shift. Your two best friends, animals, and all of your belongings were lost in the fire.

My mind couldn’t grasp the depth of this loss then. I knew it was devastating and I still didn’t reach out. There was so much confusion. By this time, I believed you were dangerous. How did my heart turn so ambivalent to your condition? To this suffering? I called you when our daughter was two, for the first time. You told me later that you actually answered the phone high as a kite, you were so lost in drug use by that point.

You had been working the night shift to make extra money to support your child, should I change my mind. I never really knew how badly you wanted to show up for us, how prepared you actually were to make it work. My parents told me that I could not depend on you, and I believed them. I spent my entire life believing that no man really did want to show up for me. You sat across from me seventeen years later and explained how you so, so deeply had wanted to.

This is a letter of apology. I know that I was young, that I was far too impressionable, and yet, I denied you your child.

Women can do that. And they often do. And, it’s wrong. You are one man in a sea of men who have been denied their rights, openly shamed, and forcibly pushed out of their child’s lives.

I denied you participation in conversations about her fate. I denied you connection that our bond actually deserved, as our love had been real. I denied you meeting your daughter in the womb, or in the hospital, and the way you were framed has lead to you not yet meeting your daughter, now eighteen. I denied you your place in her childhood.

I allowed myself to believe that you were a monster that I needed to protect my child from, where for the life of me, in the last five years as I look back now, I can not find any evidence that this was ever true.

How do I ever apologize? I have tried. You have said that I am forgiven. I know this is true, and I am blessed by your graciousness. Your genuine nature. Your love. We know that life shapes us. We know that this is all for reasons far bigger than you or I alone.

How many men are called monsters and denied their own children? You and I both know a few. And that is why I write this now. To all the men, on behalf of all the women who also find themselves with a relatable truth through my story. We live in a world of women’s liberation, and yet, it is not healthy if women are using their status as Mother to overpower the decisions of Father. We need to invite men to the table. Mothers will always have that special protective role, and yet, you wanted to help. You wanted to be there. What we believe is protection of our children is sometimes harmful, harmful denial and projection.

Our daughter, therefore, was also denied access to you. When she went with her family at birth, I sent written letters, stories, and pictures. I know I sent the one of you in the tree on the hill at Warren Wilson College. I don’t think she ever saw it and I don’t know why her parents would not have shared that with her. As I share an open adoption with her family, when she was sixteen, her family and mine were on the beach together. My son, then, six, playing with her in the waves, her mother said, “She has some questions about Jeremy.”

I only ever really offer information when she asks, which is hardly ever, but am always happy to do so. She wanted to know your last name that day, and I asked her if she was going to look you up. She was getting curious. I realized she hadn’t seen pictures. I asked her if she knew who you were or how we’d met, and she said no. I was shocked. She was a sixteen year old young woman at the time, and I said as my mind swirled to realize she didn’t know, “Oh my, oh my. You, my dear, were conceived in love.”

By that time, you and I had begun to talk again, to find healing. I knew that you were safe and that that old feeling of guardedness had largely subsided. I told her there on the beach that day everything I could in the moments that I knew would be too short. I told her how we met, of your good heart, why I had fallen in love with you, that you were an artist like her. I told her about your dimples and how handsome you are. I made connections to her athleticism and yours. I tried to begin to restore your honor. I said, “These are your stories. You can ask for them whenever you want.”

You and I both are still waiting for her to ask for more.

I know you love her. I know it broke you to lose her, and I carry your heart in my heart now, because that’s how I love you. We talk. We became friends again. You support me in my unabashedly risky endeavors to start a business aligned with my soul purpose, and you honor how this has all shaped me too. We text one another on her birthday, reaching across that heart space of two birth parents with our own version of the story of that day.

We sat across from one another last year in a conversation that was such a gift, it changed my life. And I would venture to say that it changed yours too.

You have land now, you build things with your hands. You escaped the early self-sabotaging behaviors in the years after her birth where addiction could have taken you down, thank God.

You pull yourself up. You do what you have to do. You find heart. You are beginning to create again. You are planting orchards and have dreams of opening your animal farm up to children with disabilities.

Every morning, I put a spoon into the honey that you send to me now from your hives. The sweetness is profound. That I am standing here, back for the last decade in the mountains where our daughter was first conceived, with your forgiveness blessing my heart and your honey in my mouth, is more a gift than I can say.

I am sorry.

I am sorry and I am grateful that we both understand that this imperfect and wounded life can also bring eventual healing. I am grateful that you allow me to tell our story such that it might also allow for others’ healing.  

She’s in college now. She doesn’t know it, but she picked your original major. I see in my mind a vision that I trust will come true. The house you are building is finished on your wide open acreage. Your orchard is producing. You are painting again, those incredibly talented portraits and landscapes; I imagine the final evidence of your heart’s liberation. And she and I drive up. We walk through the orchard, the three of us. The sweetness of truth and life and honey on our tongues.

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The Facebook Post with the Most.... reactions that is.

Posted Nov. 7


Women were never meant to be understood by men.

From the time Yeshua approached Mary Magdalene beyond the tomb after his death, the men were jealous.

How could this magnificent being, this man, approach a woman?

So they called her a whore.

And they wrote a story that called her a whore.

But do you know what really happened?

She sourced his strength. His ascension would have been impossible on his own. Union created this alchemical ascension.

❤️

Women were never meant to be understood by men.

Women are the life givers, the vast sea, the source of energy needed to sustain.

❤️

Women, depleted in your bodies now, this was a trap.

You've been set up.

Your bodies were not meant to house this much stress, to multitask, to combat adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance.

Ever since that story was written, we've been compensating for something that was lost - and it is such a deep and profound loss that it has caused the chasm that we all now feel.

The chasm between feminine and masculine. Between what we call Man and Woman but that which is not actualized feminine and masculine consciousness. Between effort and ease. Between power and submission. Between predator and victim.

The story gets to be rewritten now.

❤️

Women are not meant to be understood by men. When men began to seek to understand with only their minds, repressing the right brain, the sea of emotion, the wonder of the feminine - half of our potential was lost. Actually, more than half. Because to shut off the feminine resulted in a wounded masculine. It is the root of what you call "toxic masculinity."

Men are meant to cherish the feminine, protect and adore. They are meant to get lost there, to source strength there. HOWEVER. Most men do not yet know what this is about, because they are still looking to their women to source strength as a mother would source strength. This is not that. And truly, most women do not understand how to provide in this way, because they are depleted and tired.

You will not fully understand with your cognitive mind. It is impossible. You will have to be willing to lose yourself. You will have to bring your power and lay it down before her - if she herself is worthy of it.

We are at the precipice of a new paradigm. We do not cross over by fighting between men and women, by establishing who is dominant or not. That way is old. It is dead. It is fear of what is not understood, and it's ruling you - until it isn't.

❤️

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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


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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! 

 

 

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 

 

 

 

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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

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#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.

♥️

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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.

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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) 

A new kind of feminism.

I am interested in empowering women. Absolutely.

There are a lot of powerful women out there that have not yet actualized the potential of their own badassery. It’s true. And, this is necessary for our collective evolution on the planet.

AND… I am also interested in a new kind of feminism altogether. I believe that all interpretations of feminism thus far have served to further divide men and women; focusing on violence and fight. Yes, I said it. Even a “fight to be equal” is still a damn fight. It’s not going to work. It’s not even a feminine approach.

Women are RISING, but many men don’t know what to do with these powerful women in their lives. So, they shut them out. Or put them down. Or cower. (Top 3 I’ve found.)

I have experienced all of these my entire life, and it’s been absolute trial by fire these last two months as I’ve stepped full time into Embodied Breath – which symbolizes a woman thinking and speaking and creating on her own. That’s hard for some to take. I get it now. You get it. If you’re a woman, you’ve lived it. If you’re a man willing to be honest with yourself, you can admit that at some point you have gotten nervous as a woman in your life grew stronger.

Here’s the thing:

I want to allow space for men to also rise into their most divine selves. In our power-over culture, most women become immediately nervous when I say this. It is not a bad thing to want our men to be in their innate power – we just don’t have a culture that has encouraged appropriate power in the masculine! There is another way! We also want men in their own sovereignty, women, trust me. THAT’s when you get the divine love, consideration, protection, and trust that you’re craving in a counterpart to match that growing Goddess that you are!!

We want men to not be threatened by the true power of the feminine – which is a fucking force! A FORCE we’ve all been waiting for! I use the word “force” on purpose here – it is not a power-over force, but a force of nature. In her own right, the feminine is powerful in a different way.

Feminism serves no purpose if it is another rendition of power-over. If we seek to trump, master, manipulate, be better than, then guess what: that’s not true feminism because it perpetuates divisiveness.

We don’t even really want “equality” because we are not happy with the dominant masculine culture that we have! I don’t want to be equal to a man that has to climb a hierarchical structure just to prove his worth. Women, WE ARE DOING THIS. Stopping this is crux. We do NOT want equality!! We want the feminine to be honored and to have Her place.

A true feminism calls each person to rise into their own best selves, through love and receptivity, connection and exchange. A true feminism isn’t male/female, because both of these masculine/feminine forces exist in each of us. The repression of the feminine has hurt women, clearly, but it has also hurt men.

It is the feminine we’re actually all craving.

I hope that this serves you. Please reach out to me if you’d like to have conversations or work with me as a client:

As a woman, let’s talk about your own empowerment or your DISempowerment and what you’d like to do about it.
AND, as a man, if you’d like to better understand what I’m talking about and potentially explore how your own biases keep you protected and at odds with the feminine, reach out.

And, forgive me if my binary language has been too exclusive. It serves to illustrate, not to box in. This is, of course, a fluid and flexible topic.

Much love,
s


(April 9, 2018)

Go get it. Differently now.

For so many years of my life, I went after what I wanted. And, I got it. Can you relate?

When my son was one, and I was working in a therapeutic boarding school (with many problems), I thought, “I can see this whole big picture! I’m going back to school for school admin. One day, I will run this show.”

So I got a second Master’s degree while he slept.

When he was three, I thought, “I want to work at Asheville’s best charter school, so that I can witness education working differently, make a contribution, and so that my son can go there.” And by the time he was in kindergarten, I was the administrator of the upper grades.

That same year, as I was separating from my husband, I had a significant adrenal crash. Here I was, supposed to be a powerhouse, and I was actually really sick from trying to be a powerhouse. I didn’t really ask for help, though, at all. I kept going being a powerhouse.

For many years in my life, I went after what I wanted. I manifested with might.

Around the same time, I started to significantly wake up to my own femininity – what had been lost, what had been sacrificed to this world of “succeeding.” I worked in education, where every answer is supposed to come from a book, where what you know is measured by the letters behind your name. And, if you don’t have certain letters, then you haven’t earned your right to talk about certain things.

I woke up to much. Too much for this post. I remembered intuition, for starters. I remembered the dance of being a female in relation to a male, thanks to one divine being who woke me up. And then I realized, that to go after, to force manifest, to endlessly give away my energy and life force was actually draining (I was already sick) and was not innately feminine. I realized that how we operate in this whole culture is not innately feminine. It’s not the foundation we were built on, even though we are all born of women. We’ve lost our balance.

It is a dance – the feminine and masculine, the receptivity with the action. Each of us, if we intend to, can learn it every day. People in relationships can learn this dance, too.

I still went on to craft and lead one more school, and what a beautiful transition that was into what I am now doing. “Leadership” in our culture means the one in charge. I am interested in dancing with different definitions of leadership. Ones that look a little bit more like “organizer” or “space holder.”

As I heal myself, as I watch my clients step back into their feminine, as I watch couples attune to this simultaneously new and ancient knowing, I trust that this is what we need in order to heal ourselves, and to heal the world.

We can’t heal the world with force, damn it.  It’s taken me a long-ass time to learn that, and I intend for the rest of the journey to be very different.

(April 3, 2018)

Expression over Repression: A weekend with Jen Pastiloff & Lidia Yuknavitch

Two weeks ago, I sat across from a friend at lunch and said, “All signs point to – get your ass to Portland.” You see, I had the coveted workshop ticket, purchased last summer the morning they went on sale, and I had the Airbnb reservation (a property of a friend’s friend, my only connection to Portland, and conveniently located one block from the workshop – evidence of the magic already in progress), but didn’t yet have the plane ticket. He agreed and was even willing to support it by buying the plane ticket: You need to go to Portland. Yes, now. Now of all times.

I had left my day job four weeks prior. My love relationship had fallen away unexpectedly a week later. I had left my job to be fully IN my business – embodying all it stands for. But I was in TRANSITION, to say the least. Was it “smart” to fly to Portland? Was it “reasonable?”

Although this post is more about what happened IN Portland, I will interject here a reminder, that there will be moments in your life where you have a hunch that you need to do something, and you can either say a big YES and buy that expensive plane ticket or you can say a weaker “meh” and pass it up, only to realize later (or never) that that may have been your gig. Portland taught me, among other things, to say YES.

Lidia Yuknavitch wrote a memoir called The Chronology of Water, which was monumental in my life two summers ago and remains a favorite. It is her story, written, and yet I saw myself in it in big ways. She also lost a daughter in her early years, and she writes “from the body” the story of how that shaped everything thereafter. Her organization is called Corporeal Writing and this workshop; Writing and the Body. The workshop is offered at least once annually and is co-designed and led by yoga teacher/writer/activist/human Jen Pastiloff, who, years ago made an impression on me with her “ENOUGH” messages to women. She also has a blog where she showcases other women’s voices. Here is my own story on the Manifest Station from late last year.

So, wow, these women are amazing humans.

Yes. I needed to be there. Yes. I needed a swift ass kick into fully embodying this transition in my life. Yes. I needed to witness a room full of women dancing, doing yoga (while singing), owning their fears, owning their regrets, and TELLING THEIR STORIES. Yes. I needed to witness the strength of Jen & Lidia holding space. Yes. I needed to trust new friends. Yes. I needed to say YES.

I said yes. The whole trip, I said yes.

I practiced surrender, practiced not making plans. I practiced setting intentions and saying yes when all the different doors opened. I said yes to owning exactly what was going on for me. I said yes to raising my hand, when Lidia asked if there was anything that needed to be spoken in order that we feel complete, and I shared a story I’d written about this last love relationship, the one that had been so sacred yet had also been, in hindsight, repressed. The relationship had not been public for reasons I tried to support, and therefore, the secrecy had also seemingly afforded him permission, in the end, to disrespect me, the relationship, and the feminine (inside me, inside himself, inside all of life itself), by abandoning it. And of course, that also meant that I was abandoning and repressing myself and the feminine as well. That story was living inside of me, hidden and confused and so mixed up with all the emotions of repression. Women know this feeling – there are things we have agreed not to speak, and I believe, collectively. So with a shaking voice, I read it, and a room full of women witnessed it. And in that moment, I understood in my bones the power of creating safe space to share stories, something I have been trying to incorporate as a part of Embodied Breath. I trusted before that it is needed, this permission, and now, I have experienced it.

Here I am. Being vulnerable AF.

 But look at that position – in between those two supportive warriors, with the eyes and love of each woman in the room holding me. Lidia Yuknavitch herself had her hand on my back, y’all.  Women supporting women in expressing themselves instead of repressing themselves.  Yes.  Yes. Yes. YES.  At one point on the first day, after this vulnerable moment, Lidia is talking to us and she says something like, “We are every woman. We are ALL of us. Telling the story IS the thing that will bring you back to life. It is the thing that someone else needs to hear. There is a woman right behind you that needs your story.”  And then I burst into tears.  Because I got it – all of these “yeses” and this trip to Portland. I needed to hear Lidia Yuknavitch tell me what she knows about story sharing – what her book did for me. I needed to remember, deep in my core, that this story of my life is the one that needs to be shared. Among others – among all the stories. This story, of placing a daughter for adoption, of never believing I was enough, of striving like hell for approval outside of myself, of wanting love so badly but guarding myself protectively against it, of remembering my own femininity, of continually fighting against the repression of voice such that now I am prepared to stand behind any woman going through the same process – Yes. This story needs to be shared.  How do you know if a story needs to be shared? If it feels repressed, that’s how. If it’s begging to be let out.  My daughter (the one I surrendered in an open adoption) starts college this fall. For years, all the talk has been about what she’s going to decide to study. In the last few years of working as a school administrator, all the time, I gave less and less and less fucks about what we were studying and put more and more and more emphasis on the people we were raising and becoming. Until eventually, I had to let go of education altogether.  My daughter, and your daughter, and your sister, mother, granddaughter – THEY are the ones coming behind us. THEY need a NEW STORY. In sharing our stories NOW, we create a new story. And we live into a different future, where voices are expressed rather than repressed. Where the feminine herself is expressed instead of repressed.  And then, I said one more yes, to a big ol’ tattoo in dedication to this purpose – I will no longer perpetuate repression, be afraid to hold space for what is difficult to speak, or deny any of the parts of the feminine divine. I will integrate shadow and light, I will look at what is difficult (and help others do the same) in order that we might grow, I will celebrate what arises from the shedding of skin. (That was a tattoo hint right there…)  This is Embodied Breath, this is the work of my life. I am here. This transition these last six weeks, this trip, has birthed me anew. Death, rebirth. In order that we get to the rebirth, we need to say Yes.  I will spend my lifetime encouraging this YES in all who feel the desire to step into themselves more fully, more divinely, to share their story, to celebrate their own becoming. I will tell the story, because I am a woman with a voice, who holds a continual and close examination of this life, and I know that we are generations of women (and men) who need to hear more truth.  Thank you Portland, Thank you Lidia & Jen & all the women, Thank you, dear opportunity to say Yes.  YES.  (March 29, 2018)

But look at that position – in between those two supportive warriors, with the eyes and love of each woman in the room holding me. Lidia Yuknavitch herself had her hand on my back, y’all.

Women supporting women in expressing themselves instead of repressing themselves.

Yes.

Yes. Yes. YES.

At one point on the first day, after this vulnerable moment, Lidia is talking to us and she says something like, “We are every woman. We are ALL of us. Telling the story IS the thing that will bring you back to life. It is the thing that someone else needs to hear. There is a woman right behind you that needs your story.”

And then I burst into tears.

Because I got it – all of these “yeses” and this trip to Portland. I needed to hear Lidia Yuknavitch tell me what she knows about story sharing – what her book did for me. I needed to remember, deep in my core, that this story of my life is the one that needs to be shared. Among others – among all the stories. This story, of placing a daughter for adoption, of never believing I was enough, of striving like hell for approval outside of myself, of wanting love so badly but guarding myself protectively against it, of remembering my own femininity, of continually fighting against the repression of voice such that now I am prepared to stand behind any woman going through the same process – Yes. This story needs to be shared.

How do you know if a story needs to be shared? If it feels repressed, that’s how. If it’s begging to be let out.

My daughter (the one I surrendered in an open adoption) starts college this fall. For years, all the talk has been about what she’s going to decide to study. In the last few years of working as a school administrator, all the time, I gave less and less and less fucks about what we were studying and put more and more and more emphasis on the people we were raising and becoming. Until eventually, I had to let go of education altogether.

My daughter, and your daughter, and your sister, mother, granddaughter – THEY are the ones coming behind us. THEY need a NEW STORY. In sharing our stories NOW, we create a new story. And we live into a different future, where voices are expressed rather than repressed. Where the feminine herself is expressed instead of repressed.

And then, I said one more yes, to a big ol’ tattoo in dedication to this purpose – I will no longer perpetuate repression, be afraid to hold space for what is difficult to speak, or deny any of the parts of the feminine divine. I will integrate shadow and light, I will look at what is difficult (and help others do the same) in order that we might grow, I will celebrate what arises from the shedding of skin. (That was a tattoo hint right there…)

This is Embodied Breath, this is the work of my life. I am here. This transition these last six weeks, this trip, has birthed me anew. Death, rebirth. In order that we get to the rebirth, we need to say Yes.

I will spend my lifetime encouraging this YES in all who feel the desire to step into themselves more fully, more divinely, to share their story, to celebrate their own becoming. I will tell the story, because I am a woman with a voice, who holds a continual and close examination of this life, and I know that we are generations of women (and men) who need to hear more truth.

Thank you Portland, Thank you Lidia & Jen & all the women, Thank you, dear opportunity to say Yes.

YES.

(March 29, 2018)

Rebalance the Masculine/Feminine to Heal... an intro.

I'm just going to say it.

In this culture, women are wounded and confused because they (we, y'all) are acting like men.

What?! We are not "acting like men!"

Here's what I mean:

In this culture, what is rewarded? Glorified?

Hard work, getting things done, achievement, earning more, more education, knowing more, persistence. To name a few. Would you agree?

Where does that leave room for valuing emotionality, perception, intuition, nurturance, relationships, instincts, love?

Regardless of the attention grabbing way I began this post, I think that we can agree that we're lacking, collectively, in appreciating and actualizing the qualities in that second list.

 March 2018

March 2018

 

We need the first list, right? So there's nothing inherently wrong with it, but, what is in that trait list is inherently masculine. The second list is inherently feminine. Where am I coming from with this? A lot of resources outside the traditional box, archetypal analysis, and, you know what? My own life.

A few years ago, as a woman and a mother, I was suppressing my own inherent feminine. In fact, I'm not sure, as a woman in this culture, I'd ever really even met her. Even when becoming a mother, while I tapped into these traits of nurturance and breastfed my child, for example, I still conducted life in a very fast-paced way. Very structured, very controlled, very task oriented. This looked like, for me, working ceaselessly, valuing only the knowledge found in books, looking to be in charge (I was a school administrator), being edgy in conversation, and inflexibility. It also looked like, when I was married, bossing my husband around.

Sound familiar?

In a culture that is built in valuing male traits, it is no wonder that we are a bit confused as women. I actually woke up to remember, a few years ago now, that women actually had this thing called intuition. And then, I set out to rediscover it for myself. What I found was far more deep and wide, but it'll take more than one blog post to tell you about all that.

That walk back to myself (because that's what it was) involved a rediscovery of what is inherently feminine and what is incredibly undervalued in this culture. My former boss, a woman, one day dismissed my input, saying that I took intuitive leaps. Well, that's right. I do. And now, I'm proud of it. There. Is. No. Other. Way.

(And, by the way, I proved to be correct in that very "leap," time would tell, and it was in regard to a child's wellbeing. We KNOW beyond the cognitive capacities that our culture traditionally values! Women, I know you feel me here.)

Women do, generally speaking, possess some valuable traits that are generally undervalued in our culture. Because, well, our culture was built on masculine, patriarchal values. I am not here (directly) to "smash the patriarchy," as that is a little radical for my tastes, but I do want to get this information out to hardworking, tired, professional, confused women. Because, a few years ago, that was me. This problem is real - it is, it has turned out, the answer, the code, to every mystery of every relationship with others and with myself. Seriously. We must work to rebalance the masculine and feminine archetypal energies (habits) within and between us. It is everything.

I was working so damn hard for so many years that in fact, I caused an adrenal collapse that I'm still working to rebalance four years later.

Women, how many of you have an energy depletion issue, or a hormonal mystery, or an endocrine imbalance. Our perpetual DRIVE, when it is not actually our nature, is at least partly to blame, I guarantee you.

I am also not here to discredit men or these valuable masculine traits. We need healthy men too. Actually, this is about an acknowledgement of the feminine in all people, regardless of gender identity. Men must heal the feminine in themselves too. We are walking around a wounded collective of people.

We must, must, admit the inherent flaws in the design of continual repression of the feminine, for everyone.

My coaching model is inherently feminine in that it values that second list, and nurtures it. We slow down, we attune, we use emotions as guidance, THEN we identify goals and purpose. Most coaching models would identify goals first, because, again, we are enculturated to do so.

You don't have to be "girly" to be feminine, by the way - I am not!

Does this conversation confuse or trigger you? Contact me! Let's have it! Does it engage you and make you think, "Oh, I never thought of it that way!" Great! Let's continue the conversation about how you may have been unknowingly repressing your inner feminine.

We need to remember our innate, valuable feminine capacities so that we can be our best selves and stop wondering why we are so damn tired. This is also the route cause of the crisis of not enough.

More on that to come.

In the meanwhile, much love and nurturance,

s