Birth

Creation & Receptivity - A Divine Exchange

I recently said the words, somewhat strongly, “I am birthing my creation.” I said it and then I felt it - it was one of those eruptions that comes out like you mean it. And because I felt it so strongly, I began to think about this: my creations, I give birth to. 


It got me thinking about the relationship between receptivity and creativity, specifically in three contexts: 

  1. As an entrepreneur

  2. As a woman and a mother

  3. As an energetic exchange


Creations are powerful. I created and birthed two beautiful humans. And something has to SEED a creation. And something has to be received. Something divine has to be received. 


A true creation is divine. It’s unique. It hasn’t been done before. It arises up and out of you, and a true creation can not be stopped, nor should it be. 


I was thinking about this in terms of my son a few days ago and I had one of those moments as a mother of the deepest love you can ever feel in your life and I cried hard for a few minutes, in awe of the creation of him. I could have never, ever planned him in all his glory - he is a divine creation. 


We are all walking creations. 


And so often, we walk around do-ers, not creators. We are in the habit of doing, achieving, completing tasks, and not creating. If there is an expected outcome and we set about to achieve it, we will be in “do” energy, which will squash creativity. Or, we want to be creating, and we’re stuck, because maybe we are in the energy of do-ing, which has no receptivity and so therefore can’t lead to a true creation. Or, we don’t know how to receive. Or, rather, we struggle to receive. Which often leads to more doing. 


If I am making something for my business, and I do this from doer energy, my audience will feel it. If I make something because it wants to be made, because I’ve received the divine seed of inspiration for it, and I’m creating from that divine flow, my audience will feel that and be much more jazzed. 


Think about the creation of children through women. We must receive in order to birth creation, and in this case, it is the divine seed of a man. We must take in this literal seed and receive it. We are the vessel in which life is created. 


We create life. 


Only, only, only in the interplay of receptivity and creativity is life created. 


But very often, it’s not been safe to receive. As women, we are the embodied expressions of the feminine receptive vessel. In other words: we have vaginas. When there has been sexual trauma or abuse as a woman, she will close down these centers, either literally (closed sign) or energetically. As we have a culture of traumatized women, we also have a lot of women walking around with an altered capacity to receive. 


This could mean they are less able to receive love, or less able to receive a man/partner, or, they could just be less able to receive in general. This is so, so common. And because we all have both feminine and masculine energetic expressions in each of us, and the feminine has been repressed systemically, all-gendered people, men included, could have trouble receiving. The feminine receives, unless “she” can’t, because something has blocked her from receiving. 


In a culture of independence, we have a trauma of separation. There is an impetus to do, achieve, succeed, and we are competitive. We carry traumas and fear of not receiving what we need from others, or from the divine, and so there is more individual doing. To create requires receptivity. To receive requires healing and trust. 


If you are looking to heal your traumas of abuse and separation so that you are better able to receive and create, I can help. It’s what I do. You can schedule a consult on my website. 


Your creations are divine, and depend on your capacity to receive. I hope you allow it, and I hope you invite it from one another. 


Love, 

s

You can heal your trauma & evolve your intimacy at the same time

The year after my divorce, I went to therapy weekly. I had so much to unpack. All I knew was - I never want to be the woman that I was in my relationship ever again. That woman was judgemental, emasculating, and not in touch with herself.


And truth be told, I was terrified of actually living in my body. I had lost a child right before the beginning of that fourteen year relationship, and I realized how much of a safety net this man had been to me, and so I also started to unpack the trauma in my body. I pretty much couldn’t even imagine letting another man into my physical or intimate space.


There are a LOT of stories I could tell you about that year - how deep I dove, how the somatic therapy taught me to unwind the trauma in my system, how I took my mindfulness and spiritual practices to next levels. I dove into my personal work like I was the only project that mattered - because, determined - I was going to get my Self back.


When I started to date, it was terrifying, and it brought up all the ways that I was still holding trauma in my body - physically, emotionally, spiritually. Trauma memory gets trapped in the soma and whether we remember exactly why or not, other people trigger our habitual trauma responses. Intimacy brings up SO MANY trauma responses for so many people.


And SO MANY people are trying to go ahead and be intimate meanwhile suppressing the trauma responses. Check yourself - you feel fear and suppress it in some way before sex. You back away ever so slightly emotionally or physically when someone approaches you intimately. You fear all the ways you’ll get hurt when entering into a relationship or when bringing up something vulnerable. It’s really common, but not so much talked about. (But I'm talking about it.)


When I started to date, therefore, I was not getting anywhere close to intimate, because it just didn’t feel safe to do so. It literally felt terrifying to expect myself to share connection with someone else. Many people are simply not intimate or they are bypassing their body's warning mechanisms that tell them to stop, turning off their hearts and the potential for deep connection.


What ended up happening is that I spent the second year after my marriage, after a year of working out the trauma on my own, in an absolutely safe relationship that taught me how to go to the edges of my vulnerability, and what it felt like to be met there. When you have trauma in your body, you shake, quake, feel anxious in the presence of another - even if when you’re at home on your meditation cushion, it would appear as though you’ve got it all worked out of you.


But intimacy is just going to reflect the CORE of our wounding. You can do some work alone, and then the truest available healing is in the safe and intimate connection with another. To be met there is something incredible.


Because of all of the blocks that humans have to experiencing their own fear and vulnerability, I fear and I know that all too often, humans are not accessing this potential. I talk to couples ALL THE TIME that are coexisting without actually ever touching these most important places of the heart and healing. (The body plays a HUGE part in this!)


I am who I am today because of my dedication to my own healing and to my Soul, but also I am who I am in my body because of this man and his ability to safely, steadily, and willingly diffuse my energetic shaking and quaking until I could come to safety, ease, and stillness. Only then is actual intimacy and connection truly available - when our whole systems are available to access it.


To be a woman carrying the trauma of women - intergenerationally, ancestrally, sexually - as we do, and to be met safely in the hands of a man, is life changing. It is life giving.


Relationships have the potential to heal the deepest rifts to intimacy. I can teach you this. Men, I can literally teach you how to hold this space and invite her true sexuality forward. And I can teach her how to soften out of her perfectionist and emasculating tendencies that are also barriers to connection.


Through my years of deep exploration and training of trauma recovery, presencing, intimacy, and gender relatedness, I have developed coaching for couples that actually heals trauma, by teaching you both to meet one another in the vulnerable spaces, and to do so differently than anyone has ever counseled you before. This is not a methodology of talking it out, or hashing out the past. This is learning to be present in the moment, watching what arises, approaching vulnerable topics (including trauma in the body) with safety, and committing to the exploration. In this method, both partners are called to their best, compassionate selves. In this method, your trauma heals, separation heals, and connection skyrockets.


After you’ve reviewed my website, please contact me for a consultation to see if my in depth couples coaching is for you. It works when both people are committed to healing the disconnection because you desire so deeply to experience the fullness of your relationship’s potential.

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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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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