Memoir & reflection

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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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

My moody opinion on the needlessness of comparison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immense. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As. Is. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

The way I create.

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

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

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

Good grief. (Insert self judgement.) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of it. 

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

All perfection. Because here I am. 

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

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

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

Was I? I was even confused at times.

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

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

Yes. Every time, yes. Every time. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Mirror love

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

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

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

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

If I can remind you of that, I will. 

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

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

It's actually my superpower. (Wink.) 

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

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

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

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

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

And oh my god do I love the depths. 

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

All of us. 

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

 

 

My name is Sarah Poet

My name is Sarah Poet. 

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

Arriving, arriving.

The time is now to name myself. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Within us. 

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

Reclamation. Of life itself. 

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

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

Much love, 

sp 

 

 

 

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June-iversary

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

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

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

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

With these flowers, I honor it all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New. Vibrant. Here. Now.

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June 2010

In it: The Evolution of Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Arrival.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three months!?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Big love, 

s

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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) 

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)