Love

On how your story shows your projection....

IF YOU ARE IN A RELATIONSHIP BECAUSE OF A STORY, YOUR PROJECTION IS AT PLAY.

If you have constructed a story around your soul mate relationship meaning one thing or another...

If you see their story as one of having overcome something, and you want to honor it....

If you have a story about how this partner is different than all your other partners....

If you feel like you have unfinished business with one another and so you stay....

If you think one of you can't live without the other...

Your projection is at play.

Projection is when we have something within us that is unresolved, such as a hope or a fear, and we place it onto/into someone else instead of resolving it inside of us.

All relationships have projection going on. The question is really how much, and are you conscious of it?

I've done all of the above. The stories I can come up with are amazing. The meaning I can make about why two souls need to be together is fantastic. And here's what I truly now think: when we're telling a story about why we need to be together, our projection is at play.

Fine. Tell your story. Just know what's up.

However, when you use the relationship not as a place to unconsciously satiate the places in you that are unpleasant, the places of unresolved hope or fear, and instead, consciously use the relationship as a mirror, or feedback tool, to heal what is unresolved within you, now we're getting somewhere.

That's a MAJOR element of evolutionary love, of next level commitments - where you commit to relationship not because you're willing to tolerate or expound on the stories to rationalize your actions and your relationship, but instead, to evolve the two of you, consciously, together.

Are you in a relationship that is consciously evolving together? 
Or are you stagnating?

I have a twelve week program for couples that is based in conscious presencing, attunement to self and other, and relating in ways that brings your relating into present time. Trust me. You are "in it" every day. When you bring me in, I see where you're projecting and together, we do something really unique. And effective.

Old looping patterns stop, because we heal the energetics of the projection patterns. This is an alternative or compliment to traditional talk therapy - because this is not that! This is presence-based, action-oriented, and connection is the ultimate result. You are welcome to PM me for more info. I am scheduling now for the fall.

To evolutionary love. To your Union,

Sarah

❤️

Embodied Breath: Conscious Relating Within & Between #evolutionarylove#consciousunion #soulunion

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

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



….



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

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Woman, it wasn't you.

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


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


Oh, my sister, it wasn’t you.

You did nothing wrong.

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

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

He may have even convinced you he was.

He wanted to be.

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

He wanted to see himself as worthy of that.


And this could have been.

You both saw it.

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


Between him and his own soul, my love.


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


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


The declining of the invitation.

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


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

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

You just thought you wanted a yoga teacher training.

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


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

Here to claim yourself,

In this moment,

And in this therapy session

And in this training

And in this meditation

And in this relationship

And in this stand you take

And in every moment down the line.


Your responsibility is to shine.


Shine anyway.

Shine without him.

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


This is the work.

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


It is impossible work and you will do it.


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


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


And then to love again.


Woman, I see you,

Recovering while rising

Healing your trauma after you were just reminded of it

Because you have to

Because you won’t not.

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

Choosing to go ahead and shine not for him,

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

But for you.

Because you know it’s your time.


Women are rising.

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

It does not have to be this way.

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

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


In love and for conscious union,

Sarah


A Life Purpose Reminder. For you. For me.

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

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

❤️

Coming undone

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



I know something about that. I recently came undone.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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

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

Life is one divine opportunity, one right after another.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Get after your own Soul.

Adoption decades later

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


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



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



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



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


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



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



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



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



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



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

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Shame comes to remind us how we will engage

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



It triggers self worth and it triggers shame.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



If I have hurt you, I am sorry.



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

Photos by www.NicoleMcConville.com

Photos by www.NicoleMcConville.com



Not hiding. Nope.

When you’re an early entrepreneur following your soul, and life takes you down….

You process it. Because it’s what we do. We go through.

I go through with you, I go through with me.

The turners of the tide

On being a woman and rising

Woman do not make excuses for him.

He is showing you what he can do.



Woman do not make assumptions of him.

You are sure to underestimate.



Woman do not heal for him.

You have been waiting on you your whole life.



Woman do not wait for him.

He knows where you are going and he’ll go with you if he chooses.



Woman do not carry him.

Not when the weight is disproportionate.



Woman do not threaten him.

He carries the fear of mothers’ threats forever as it is.  



Woman do not chase him.

It only leaves you further from yourself.



Woman do not betray him.

When you do you betray half of yourself.



Woman do not shame him.

Surely we do not need any more fear between us.



Woman do not give up on him.

If you do, your sons will feel it.



Woman do not lay down for him.

Not anymore. Not like this.



Woman do not stop loving him.

The heart of the world needs your love and he is in it.



Woman do not stereotype him.

You know better than to be unfair.



Woman do not hide your eyes.

Meet his. Meet mine.



Woman do not give up on love.

Your bitterness serves nothing.



Woman do not forget your divinity.

You know how to heal and nurture and forgive and rise again.



Woman do not stop. Do not stop.

Do not worry and do not stop.

Surely, surely, we know we are the turners of the tide.

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You are enough. You are enough. You are enough.

There is a myth of inadequacy at play until we heal it.

Until we realize that we’ve given over a piece of our soul to it, or plenty more than one.



In fact, it’s the lesson we’ve been forever learning, right?

With mantras of “I am enough” even tattooed on some bodies I know.



My love, you, by your very nature, are divine.

There was never anything lacking in you, there was never such a thing as inadequacy.



When you believe this way, “I am never enough,” your life is robbed of any richness, because you’ll always be trying to prove, more and more, that you are enough.



You spend your life attempting to prove something that doesn’t need to be proven.

Because you already are.



You are more important than your accomplishments or your bank account or what approval someones gives.

When this whole game was set up, you were made, as we all were, to feel like you could never beat it.



The way to beat it is to beat the game at the game.

To blow up the myth.

To look it in the eyeballs with that look reserved for things you’ll no longer tolerate and tell it that it was never real, this thing you’ve been believing forever.

It robbed you. A belief.

Get it back.



Because, my love, how could you be lacking?

When you are everything?

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Conscious Women's Rage

What does it look like when women take back their power in conscious ways?

We have rage pulsing in us. We have been overpowered. For damn sure. And we have repressed our own rage.

Dangerously, we may end up seeing our male partners as the perpetrator. And to some extent, if they are not consciously awakening to the fact that they have been the perpetrator, they still are and will be. But this is shifting. Give it room to shift.

We’ve watched generations of women depend on men while slandering them. Screaming “I don’t need a man!” meanwhile lonely. Speaking ill of the very men that fathered their children.

I’ve done all of the above in my life.

Sister, we need to stop these patterns. But we don’t surrender to remnants of the Patriarchy at the same time. No. We do take our power back, consciously.

We take it back while loving our men. While teaching our men. While holding high standards of our men and believing that they will reach it. (And men, you need to recognize your own role and meet her here rather than assuming that I am saying this is all her work to do. If you assume that, you’ll be left behind.)

We walk a line of tolerance and ferocity, woman. We own our rage and we love with a fierce and unapologetic heart. We admit what we don’t know and we simultaneously stand in our knowing. We learn our masculinity beside our femininity, appreciating that neither have been actualized in any of us, so there is no one to blame and there is now our own investigation to pursue.

We practice our power. We know ourselves as women. We find ways to cultivate our power from within, among sisters, and among our brothers too. We find ways to lovingly take our power back. We find ways to alchemize the old rage.

We play with power with our men. We play with what it looks like to explore penetration of power in both directions. We know what it is like to hold space and have it held for us. We do not manipulate or abandon, self or other. We love and we dance the dance of masculine and feminine, between and within us.

We work the rage out of our bodies in embodied practice, in dance, in safe vocal, somatic, and emotional release. We proactively create the safe spaces we need. We learn to unburden our body’s trauma patterns and we learn to take back the seat of our power - our physical, feminine selves. We move our bodies and we move our emotions that have been repressed for so long. We teach our men how to bare witness to this. Where to touch or not touch and where to hold the space or move aside.

We rage consciously, and we meet our own rage. We teach the world to meet women’s rage without creating further wounding. We investigate our own shadow, our own repression, so that we can unleash, heal, and transmute it.

There are also men who know how to hold this. In fact, we need to radically heal among our brothers in safe space so they can see and honor the feminine wounding. We all need this release. We heal as a collective, as these burdens have been all of ours. It does no good for us to rage against men now, because these men are our brothers, our sons, our lovers.

It does no good to teach our daughters, another generation, our passive rage. Reclaim yourself righteously, and all her to witness your strength. Teach her fierce love, for self and other.

We take back our power because power is Sovereignty. It’s what no one could actually ever take from you, so it is yours to reclaim, and you don’t need to fight anyone to get it. It is yours. It is right there, beside your hurt, your rage, your anger, woman. Look within. Consciously bring back what you yearn for.


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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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

Back to school...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ourselves.  

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Mirror love

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

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

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

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

If I can remind you of that, I will. 

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

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

It's actually my superpower. (Wink.) 

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

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

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

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

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

And oh my god do I love the depths. 

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

All of us. 

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

 

 

My name is Sarah Poet

My name is Sarah Poet. 

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

Arriving, arriving.

The time is now to name myself. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Within us. 

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

Reclamation. Of life itself. 

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

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

Much love, 

sp 

 

 

 

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