Resilience

My faith journey... short version

Eighteen and a half years ago, I was laying in a twin bed in the old playroom in my parent’s basement after I’d come home pregnant at the end of my first semester of college. I watched my belly grow and I attuned to the little being inside of me. She was a powerful soul. And while I was laying there, a voice told me to name her Anna Faith.


I argued with god that day. I would NOT be naming this child Faith. I had adamantly rejected my father’s Methodist Christian religion, and I’d yet to discover the difference between that religion and spirituality. And yet, my child would be adopted. I wouldn’t raise her. I had chosen her parents, but I wouldn’t raise my first born child (for many reasons I’ll explore and write elsewhere.) If you are going to hand over your beautiful and powerful little baby to a big ol’ world, you need to have some faith.


I made a pact with whatever god was showing up for me then, the one I didn’t have a name for but all of a sudden I could feel. I trusted the process with a wisdom beyond my 18 years. I knew, absolutely knew, that she would be okay. Indeed, as a college freshman now herself, she’s amazing.


About two years ago, I realized that after her birth, I didn’t maintain that same faith, I didn’t know how to rediscover or access it. After her birth, I had tried hard, incessantly, to get it right, and striving took the place of faith. I thought I had to make everything happen.


This past week, I reached a point in my life where something had to give. In so many ways, I’ve had certain patterns of striving for eighteen and a half years that I’ve been healing consciously for a long time, but here I was staring the worst and deepest of them in the face. I got the hell out of town. And I went to my daughter’s father’s land in Pennsylvania.


Too much happened to detail here. I start a book writing program in two weeks, and I’m pretty sure what I experienced last week was the closing chapter of the book I’ll write on what it’s been like to be a birthmother, how the beliefs that I was not enough (to be her mother, but then everything thereafter) penetrated and affected the last two decades of my life. Things are different now.


As if an act of god, this beautiful young woman who is my biological daughter sent me an album to listen to the day before I hit the road. This was unusual. I listened to the album, and it is absolutely spiritual, the whole way through. I didn’t know that she had any spiritual practices. But the album was the soundtrack on my quest, more important than I even realized it would be - a journey to reclaim faith wholeheartedly.


Faith is our natural condition, and our fears are induced, perpetuated by a suffering society and the messages we receive. I’ve experienced plenty of miracles, an astounding amount, truthfully. I choose to notice them now. I choose to trust. I choose faith over fear. I choose the mission and to follow the vision. I choose life and to live it fully. I choose to dance, to love, to risk hurt, to smile, to look in your eyes.


My loves, it is my honor to work in the real space of what it means to be authentically, faithfully human. I am here for you, as a coach/healer/guide, on your journey to walk back to your greatest self. Schedule a call with me. Tell me your story. Tell me the journey you are on. I’d love to hear from you, and I’d love to support you.


Woman, it wasn't you.

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


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


Oh, my sister, it wasn’t you.

You did nothing wrong.

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

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

He may have even convinced you he was.

He wanted to be.

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

He wanted to see himself as worthy of that.


And this could have been.

You both saw it.

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


Between him and his own soul, my love.


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


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


The declining of the invitation.

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


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

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

You just thought you wanted a yoga teacher training.

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


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

Here to claim yourself,

In this moment,

And in this therapy session

And in this training

And in this meditation

And in this relationship

And in this stand you take

And in every moment down the line.


Your responsibility is to shine.


Shine anyway.

Shine without him.

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


This is the work.

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


It is impossible work and you will do it.


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


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


And then to love again.


Woman, I see you,

Recovering while rising

Healing your trauma after you were just reminded of it

Because you have to

Because you won’t not.

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

Choosing to go ahead and shine not for him,

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

But for you.

Because you know it’s your time.


Women are rising.

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

It does not have to be this way.

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

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


In love and for conscious union,

Sarah


Operation Tribe Formation.

Embodied Breath Tribe

WHOA, THAT WAS CRAZY. 
Please read for important updates. Thank you. ❤️

Hello dear one, 
As we close out the week, the first quarter of 2019, and a mercury retrograde, it is clear to me that my life and how I run it is changing. For the better. It affects you if you want increased opportunities to access to my content, work, and what's next. #nextlevel

Back story....

Here's what I know: If you follow your Soul, you are in consistent initiation. We can call these "invitations to grow" in nice-speak. It can be like that or it can be an ass kicking.

I have a pact with my Soul that I honor it. I had no idea what this would truly mean in terms of some hard learning! I was always willing to do the deep thing. The speed at which I learned about what was unresolved in me in 2018 was like a firehose to the face.

2018 was a RIDE and my first year of full time entrepreneurialship outside of my education career. The launching of Embodied Breath was so sacred, and my soul lead me here, but now looking back, I see that I was in fear so much of that first year. It began with massive falling away of the old with some difficult lessons.

I was leaving behind a career that I'd built an incredible resume in. I was running a school with some of the most innovative approaches to Autism and Education integrated in a therapeutic model. I was giving that all up and had to consciously and consistently allow myself to own more and more parts of me that I had kept hidden and kept out of my work as an educator. For example, all reiki and Priestess craft! Integration of my whole self and my whole Soul mission was necessary. This was a wild and necessary process of honoring my whole Truth, as I understand it to this point.

Universe was like: Get ALL of you on board!!! My ego was like: But what does that safely look like??? (Because egos like safety.)

A good friend says, "There's no courage without fear." He also says, "Scared and Sacred are only two letters swapped." I take this to mean that right on the other side of our courage when we are scared is the Sacred. Our Sacred Mission.

And if you don't have fear, actually, you're either bullshitting yourself or you're hiding. Because authentic living is fucking scary.

You might have a heart's desire, and you might have a business idea, but if this is your true and actual calling and you dare to answer it, initiation is the name of the game. Because I can not offer what I'm meant to offer if I haven't touched it, or been willing to touch it. Courage is required.

It's like the Universe asking, "Are you sure? Let's see if you're for real."

On the last day of 2018, I spoke a truth that resulted in the end of a soul-level relationship that had required incredible risk in the first place, resulting in incredible trial. I don't really want to talk about it anymore because I don't want to stay in that energy anymore (choice), but this is to say, that's where I've been the last three months. Inside the examination of the Core Wound that that tapped.

Soul Searching. Diving those depths. Thankfully, I've authentically resurfaced, and not without some real self-examination, I promise you. (See blog for more examination of the depths if you want to take the time to read about my life. And bless you if you want to spend your time that way.)

I was pissed that I was learning about relationship and men one more time in the examination of the rubble. Sad for the loss and sad for how we all struggle collectively with what I was experiencing. I'm still standing before God and asking to integrate what has happened here, for the greater good. I was so mad at this man for doing what I judged as walking away and he said, "Use this, use any of this." I took that to mean, use it for my work. Honestly - I didn't want to have to! I was having a hissy fit in response to the non-preferred conditions. My resilient woman self was tired in deep ways. I didn't want to study men from the standpoint of disconnection anymore. But then I realized with a foot-stomping humility that I am also saying to God, "Use me." So integrate it I must. Right now, I have the willingness to examine it all through love and to move on allowing for integration of even all that is hard, but I don't have answers. And that's maybe all I need. I trust it's all happening according to a bigger plan.

An open and loving heart. Asking the deep questions. Willing to come back to the heart of the mystery.

I'm in.

And the way this all broke me open in everything it touched, combined with where I am on my Soul's journey, really has resulted in something quite beautiful.

A courageous heart, a boundaried life, and embodied Soulful woman. I'm smiling, I'm connecting, I'm shaking the fear and inviting the sensual back into my body. I am so grateful for where I am, the depth of the exploration I've touched, and the soulful encounters I've had on this leg of the journey. Life is rich. In the intimacy of the space we touch when we are willing to be real and vulnerable with one another, we touch what is most real. And, to be very clear, it's hard as fuck, this path. (Enter that is why I coach for a living - to offer this depth of support to YOU!)

In the rubble, we are given the opportunity to see ourselves laid bare and decide if we like ourselves there. We stop pretending. We sit with the ego. We have little else to prove. We have the choice to pretend or commit fully to an authentic life. I've chosen the latter.

This was life inside the uplevel. Inside the initiation.

And here are the changes on the other side:

❤️ I am diversifying my offerings to make some of them more affordable but also simultaneously strengthening the core of my work. (See below.)

❤️ I am sick of Facebook feeds, lost time & energy spent on distraction, and bullshit comments. I want real conversations. I want solution-finding. I want raw and real and gritty.

❤️ I want to pull together this tribe of people saying to me often: "I know the time is now to balance the feminine and masculine. How do we do it?"

❤️ I have SO much to say but I am not satisfied with doing that here anymore. I am NOT currently motivated to put that on FB because it gets lost, trolls are real energy sucks, and the engagement is inconsistent.

❤️ I value my abilities and content, and I am now simultaneously more generous and more willing to expect reciprocity for my contributions. This is self-worth. There is a distinct and important difference between generosity and giving oneself away energetically.

❤️ I want to hone the quality of what I contribute so that it is always worth your time.

❤️ I want you to benefit from my actual work more easily. #soulmission

❤️ I want to get gritty with real people who want to hold the inquiry about how to build the bridge between masculine & feminine. How to heal our bodies through our traumas and into the connection humans crave. How to heal gender-associated cultural ills. How to love ourselves in body & spirit.

Therefore! Structurally and energetically:

🌙 I am launching a membership program next week! This is where the BULK of my content will go. I am going to LOAD YOU UP with quality content, interviews, conversation starters about ALL THINGS Embodied Breath, bimonthly coaching calls, instructional videos, meditations, masculine/feminine, and more. It will be affordable, and you will be seriously compensated for your investment there, and you will also be contributing toward this woman's valuable work in the world. 😉 Thank you.

🌙 This is also where my energy will go first. No longer to FB feed. No longer writing for free for others' groups.

🌙 You need to be on my email list, too, for juicy stuff. Again, less on the FB feed. #tribe Go to my website and sign up.

🌙 More group options, because holy alchemy happens there. (Women's Truth group forming to begin 4/4.)

🌙 And... allowing myself to step more fully, with more dedication than ever, into my soul mission of serving relationships and conscious union. I needed to step away for a bit because projection is a real risk as humans and I was working out my shit! I needed to allow for integration, and now I can come back to this service, knowing ever-more deeply the necessity of this work, being divinely guided to do it. We need to be able to connect even through our fear and do the work of evolving into greater Union through conscious relating. Through evolutionary love. It's the only way.

Questions? Suggestions? Recommendations? Pop a comment below. Thank you for reading this far and thank you for supporting. Any comment below is welcome. If you want membership site info, comment "I'm In!" Below.

Onward. Into big things. ✨🔥🙏

I love you, 
Sarah

#embodiedbreath #uplevel #consciousevolution #consciousunion#soulfamily 
Photo credit Nicole McConville Photography

BREATH-37.jpg




I am still claiming the whole of my Truth.

A Soul Truth Unfolds

Your Truth does not have to be pretty
Flow sweetly
Or be packaged neatly

Your Truth may spit at first
Stumble
Get stuck on the grit of things still working their way through to grace

Your Truth does not have to be polished
Or perfectly presented
Or pleasing 
Because, woman, you have done the pleasing. 
And in your meekness, 
A meekness you didn't even intend,
In your efforts to not upset, 
To avoid reaction
You know you’ll always find you haven’t claimed all you know to be true about a thing.

Systemic oppression of women’s voices lives in your throat and mine.

And I wish we could say we’ve overcome it 
And goodness knows I’ve been trying
But when My Truth I hold
Proved to be powerful enough this past year
That before I knew it, I had become a threat to three men close to me 
And they had each threatened to sue me to subdue my story, 
I know that we have not.

Two of them wanted full access to my body, 
But they were not okay with me having full access to my story 
For fear that I might share what happened and how they saw themselves there.

A fear of betrayal that projected fear unsafely onto me
Unwarranted
Without justification other than I speak Truth
To cover up their behavior 
They made me the enemy

Men who said they loved me and I believe they did, who knew my child
Who once planned a future with me
Threatened my security

And I don’t know physical abuse
But I know the effect of betrayal and threat of survival as it takes hold of a woman’s body
To allow men trust and access to be seen as the threat 
And then directly oppressed,
I know the silence that comes from such threat
And I know it’s taken me three months to find the courage to break it. 
This time.

Or maybe it was a lifetime. 
Or maybe it was more.

And I know that some women never do break it.
So that’s why I do. 
So that you can give yourself permission to be messy too.

When a woman’s Truth is something others prefer not to hear, and they can’t bear to think of the true things you might say, they seek to control the woman.

I know this because I am a truth teller and so I would be challenged this way. 
I am done with the karma that allowed me to get into situations 
Where my Truth could be subdued 
Never Again.
My Truth, My Body, My Words, My Choice.

But there are more subversive threats of silence, women, 
Some self inflicted
Some from other women

What are yours?

This is not new
This is embedded
And we are breaking cycles now

And don't pretend that if you've allowed yourself to raise your voice
You are somehow living your whole Truth 
We are all walking this still.

Women are walking this disentanglement still.

The default of silence or fear of suppression affects how we even know our own Truth.
How we access it at all
Such that we don’t even know ourselves as well as we could.

As a woman I know how my voice
Lodges in my throat
How my Truth stagnates if I don’t free it
How it has been rarely asked for or respected in this lifetime

I know my father won’t have a relationship with me because I’ve chosen to tell my story.

I know what it is to be a professional and to have the qualifying letters behind my name and still lack the confidence to speak my Truth as I see it in a room of men.
I know the way men can choose not to listen to a woman
Or disconnect wisdom when presented in a woman’s tone.

I know how boys hear male voices differently, regardless of what is being said.

I know what it’s like to assume that all wisdom will fail you 
When the spotlight comes on
To choke on your own self doubt

To watch men with less to say 
Say more and say it clearer and earn more 
And with the confidence handed them with their privilege, 
To wonder what it would be like to unleash my Voice in the same confident way. 
All I have inside me to say.

I imagine that it would be a force powerful enough to shift the tides, 
Women’s voices confident as we rise.

I am a thirty eight year old woman who has quested
My entire life
To lend myself personal permission to live in my own Truth,
And I still know every single one of these things and more to be true. 
The reasons we deny our own Truth.
I still know the fear of pissing someone off. 
Of being perceived as emotional first 
Dismissed entirely
Of sending the imperfect email full of raw request 
And Truth as I see it 
And fearing in my entire being of another of his disconnected, hurtful replies.

Such that I nearly immediately apologize for being messy.

And then I watch that apology and that fear and that inability to speak my Truth and be heard and I think, Oh. 
Oh. 
Oh woman, stop speaking to deaf ears.

Our Truth, Women, does not have to sound pretty. 
It does not have to be pretty.

It can be unclear
Unformed
Winding
Emotional
Exploratory
Raw
Liberating
Sensitive
Messy
Inappropriate
Cutting
Angry

You get to be angry
To tell an angry Truth
And it would not surprise me if you’ve never allowed your rage to speak
Because where could you?
Did you even think to?
We can hold it for you now. With you. Beside you.

Your Truth does not have to be sweet
You have enough reasons that it wouldn’t be.

All the permissions are yours now
You get to have your Truth, know it, claim it, speak it when the time is right. 
YOU DECIDE.

You decide to give yourself the permission
To untame the Truth of yourself
To claim the truth of your body and story
To open your entire being WIDE.

❤️

If you give yourself this permission now, and it feels aligned, I am inviting you to participate in a Women's Truth Activation online circle. We begin 4/4. You will own and gain your Truth here in this safe, powerful, beautiful container. 
Connect with me. You know what to do when it is time to rise.

BREATH-8.jpg

A Life Purpose Reminder. For you. For me.

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

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

❤️

Coming undone

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



I know something about that. I recently came undone.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

IMG_5229.JPG



self judgement does us no good

Help, forgiveness, grace

For my birthday this year, I gave myself some gifts.

First, I asked for help.

Second, I let myself be fully seen by those that love me.

And third (I’m still working on this one), I decided to love myself anyway.

I would have said that I loved myself, but then a wave of deep “Who am I and how did I get here?” swept in. A coming undone, if you will. Stay tuned for the blog post.  

Have all the decisions I’ve made in the last year been wise? No. Have all the decisions at the time been made with best intention? Yes.


I have messed up before, for certain, as we all do, and grappled with the judgement of others. This time, the judgement was primarily my own. I’m not sure I messed up, but maybe I did along the way, and how do I sit with myself when I mess up?

Did I have integrity when I made the decision to leave my job?

Did I have integrity when I decided to speak up or not speak up about injustices?
Did I have integrity when I made the decision to risk my family’s home if my business wasn’t sustainable?

Did I have integrity when I allowed myself to say yes to a complicated love?


Yes.

I think so.

But I’m still wading through all that and back to self love.

I was talking with a close friend last week about this process (the asking for help part) and I said, “I had good intentions.” To which he jokingly replied, “Well you know what they say about the road to hell.”


I love a friend who will sit with you in your mess. And dear me, I’m blessed with many. While I work out my own relationship with my self-judgement, and self-acceptance, and the mess in between, I look around to see that I have tribe and that perhaps this is the very richness of life.

I am blessed to be witnessed and loved anyway. I am blessed to have women who spend my birthday witnessing me shedding layers of woman shame and claiming my soul. To have those friends that listen to every decision I’ve made and remove their judgement from their response, and to genuinely reflect back to me even the things I don’t want to hear. I am grateful to be seen.


I recently answered an exercise in B School about what people often thank me for. I realize, it’s all of that in the last paragraph - it’s my willingness to “go there,” to hold a space for the deepest of truths, to leave judgement at the door, to sit with someone in the mess, to support the authenticity and transformation. Now I just get to really practice on myself.


All of you is welcome here.

All of me is too.


Be gentle with yourself. If I can support you in and through your mess, it is my honor to do so. Set up a free consultation here.

black-and-white-cry-crying-18494.jpg



Get after your own Soul.

Adoption decades later

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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


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



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



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



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


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



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



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



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



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



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

abstract-art-colorful-942317.jpg



Shame comes to remind us how we will engage

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



It triggers self worth and it triggers shame.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



If I have hurt you, I am sorry.



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

Photos by www.NicoleMcConville.com

Photos by www.NicoleMcConville.com



Not hiding. Nope.

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

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

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

The turners of the tide

On being a woman and rising

Woman do not make excuses for him.

He is showing you what he can do.



Woman do not make assumptions of him.

You are sure to underestimate.



Woman do not heal for him.

You have been waiting on you your whole life.



Woman do not wait for him.

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



Woman do not carry him.

Not when the weight is disproportionate.



Woman do not threaten him.

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



Woman do not chase him.

It only leaves you further from yourself.



Woman do not betray him.

When you do you betray half of yourself.



Woman do not shame him.

Surely we do not need any more fear between us.



Woman do not give up on him.

If you do, your sons will feel it.



Woman do not lay down for him.

Not anymore. Not like this.



Woman do not stop loving him.

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



Woman do not stereotype him.

You know better than to be unfair.



Woman do not hide your eyes.

Meet his. Meet mine.



Woman do not give up on love.

Your bitterness serves nothing.



Woman do not forget your divinity.

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



Woman do not stop. Do not stop.

Do not worry and do not stop.

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

BREATH-1.jpg





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

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

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



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

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



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

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



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



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

Because you already are.



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

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



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

To blow up the myth.

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

It robbed you. A belief.

Get it back.



Because, my love, how could you be lacking?

When you are everything?

Screen Shot 2019-01-02 at 6.24.20 AM.png




Conscious Women's Rage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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.

S Shoemaker Spring '18-24.jpg



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.
..
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.
..
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.
..
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.
..
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.
..
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.😉
..
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.❤️

IMG_4290.jpg

To see your own shadow, an invitation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You will not know me and not know yourself.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When you read me, this is what you read.

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

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

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

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

Our soul.

Everything.

We gain everything.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Gain your Soul.

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

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

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

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

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



A paradigm shift or a culture war. We choose.

It’s not an either/or, masculine or feminine, man or woman.

As a culture war threatens, or maybe it’s already here, I urge us to consider another way.

When a women’s movement sprung up, and women rallied, “Me Too!”, men were whispering, “Well what about me? I’ve been abused too.”

At the time, I was one of those women that said, “Shh, not now. This time is for women.” And that felt really true, but that also perpetuates a polarity. Why wasn’t I allowing space for men to share their stories of abuse? Something inside me was saying, “This is not just about abuse, this is about evidence of a shifting paradigm. Let the women show they are rising.”

And I get that if we are looking through the eyes of a “men vs. women” scenario, that we would see most often “woman = victim” and “man = perpetrator.” And there are plenty of examples of this. But we are humans, and so not all men want to fall into the perpetrator category, and there’s a fear response within many men that they will be assigned this label. They don’t know if they will be called a perpetrator or if they deserve it, and there’s a surge in defensiveness as well as a massive quieting of men right now. I get that. And, yes, sometimes men are victims too.

What Ford/Kavanaugh symbolized to me was another step in the paradigm shift, and this time, about women’s voice. No matter what, Dr. Ford was going to tell her truth. In doing so, she reminded many, many women that this is a noble path, regardless of reception. In fact, we even saw less tolerance than ever before, historically, of a culture willing to defer to the judgement of men over a woman. We all knew what the GOP was really doing and we knew it was BS. And women know what Ford was doing. And a lot of us appreciate it and find some new resolve within ourselves as a result of her bravery.

Then, on the tales of this, inevitably, there are also attempts by men to say, “But wait, us too, our voices are suppressed to.” I’ve been involved in quite a few of these conversations, meanwhile navigating my own resurfacing of memories and lived experience, and my own stories that I’ve silenced or didn’t even know I could tell.

I hold space for men as well as women in my work, for all humans regardless of gender, and so I’m watching my own “stuff” come up meanwhile trying to stay open to what my male friends are saying. “We don’t feel like we can tell our truth either.”

I know. I know there is a repression of authentic male voice and that we are also collectively yelling about “toxic masculinity” at the same time we commonly don’t want to be holding space for men to do much about it. We want men to go do their work and yet we aren’t very tolerant of hearing about that work or creating space for it in our culture.

And so, when this conversation comes up, we question whether or not men are trying to steal women’s thunder if they also say, “Uh… I’m hurting too right now.” It’s messy. It’s especially messy when the focus is “winning” or proving that one gender has it better or worse.

Truly men, I think it’s actually indicative of a legitimate core problem with masculinity that men immediately want to go to women to “solve” their problems with masculinity. There’s nothing simple about this, right? But hear me out. Men often carry what Jung called The Mother Wound, and to ask the women in your life, in the middle of a women’s movement, to also hold your own victimhood, whether legitimate or not, is indicative of this wounding where men think that women are going to solve it for them, like Mommy would. The collective “Mommy” right now just might need a minute. And, go to a men’s group and talk about this. Please. We need men in this conversation checking their own shit and showing up having done some work. Because if you’re doing your personal work to heal your masculinity, we can have this conversation. I will have that conversation with you. But I’m not responsible for providing you with your reassurance right now, and I find it difficult to do so in the middle of a collective women’s movement when my own trauma responses are active.

When my trauma responses are active, and men attempt to prove that they’ve had it as bad as or worse than women, I feel tired.

That’s just real. I’m human. And! I don’t want to perpetuate a divide. So I keep showing up, questioning myself, talking to my male friends, and writing about this at 5:30 in the morning.

I don’t want to send or perpetuate a “You’re broken, go fix yourself, we’re having a women’s movement over here” message to men.

And at the same time when I’m “in it” as a woman, and a man says, “Yeah but we don’t feel we can speak our truth either,” the first thing I want to do as a woman is attempt to recount why I think I had it worse. (Stick with me here...)

So I start in with my automatic replies, “Yeah but you don’t know what it’s like to live feeling suppressed by the other gender your entire life.” And then I think - I don’t know that that is absolutely true. That’s not actually fair to say. I know plenty of men who were actually suppressed by women their entire lives.

So I try another route, “Yeah but I have stories that I couldn’t share and my tongue felt caught in my throat until I unstuck it with all my might.” And then I think - I know men who this is absolutely true for.

So then I try, “Yeah but my body. My body lived the horror of an over-taxed nervous system and I felt like I was in fight or flight for most of my life for living in fear.” And then I think - this is not female exclusive.

This week, as a woman, I reactively wanted to really prove the differences, in order to prove why it’s important that we really allow space for women. But I can’t prove the differences on a human soul to human soul level. And my focus, now that I’ve reflected, is that it is not my work or interest to do so - to prove differences, or to perpetuate a divide.

I don’t want to compare wounds. It is no longer my interest.

I don’t want us to prove who had it worse as a result of the repression of the feminine - because THAT’S WHERE ALL OF THIS COMES FROM. There are two main archetypal energies in all of us - masculine and feminine - and guess what: the feminine has been repressed in all of us. ALL of us. That’s what this movement is. A bringing back, a reclamation, a re-integration of the feminine, AS WELL AS rediscovering what healthy femininity and masculinity truly is. We need to rediscover and rebalance that within each of us, individually. And, we need to do it collectively in the culture. The only way we are going to do this is together.

It’s not triggering for me to hold space for men who also have pain right now. It’s triggering for me to compare stories, to attempt to one-up the pain. And reflexively, this is where we go.

Let’s stop it. Reroute.

Ask questions. Seek understanding. Assume positive intent. Forgive. See how the people you love are trying. Reach out. Apologize. Listen to a story. Lean in. Go to a place where this conversation is happening to bridge a divide, or start one.

This is how we shift this old paradigm. This is the work I want to do and the way I want to live - in masculine/feminine union.

S Shoemaker Spring '18-22.jpg


To the men who are scared:


Men are scared right now. With each public case highlighting a man’s previous mistakes against women, men are scared that it could be them next. And the honest truth of it is that yes, if we are moving forward in this accusatory culture, then every man, or damn near every man, could expect to be at risk for prosecution.


I suffered at the hands of men, and starting at a young age. Too young. And then, when a teenager, I had a group of boys from the soccer team show up at my house, my boyfriend among them, and the rest of the boys stand outside the door while the expectation was that I would give him oral sex. When I exerted just a bit of push back, my head was pushed downward. First I bit him. Then I did it.


I am a woman in America. Of course I have a story like this. I have countless stories of male dominance - sexual, emotional, mental, and spiritual. It is because I have done much trauma work that I can state this directly, but I do want to say it. I get it. I know what it is like for the nervous system to live in self-protection and fear - I did it for the better part of 35 years. In fact, that’s a lie. I still, on dates with men, feel it in my body, the immediacy of the self-protective response of my body, even though countless healing sessions, trauma release, a meditation practice, and knowing all about this stuff. Still. My body knows because my body has grown a woman in America. It is that widespread. Do not think it isn’t. Every woman knows this story in her body.

But I don’t want to look up this man now and tell him he was wrong. I don’t care to, personally. I get that other women are having a host of various responses with their associated memories coming up from this public case, and I support each woman’s choice.

I don’t want to make sure he knows that he was wrong in that specific instance. What I want, is to call to men both near and far to be brave now, amidst the fear that every one of you might have a reason for some woman to come out with a story against you.


Relatively recently, I tried to have this sort of kind but honest conversation with two specific men in my life. They ran in fear, even though I was not talking about prosecution. They ran, they used their positional power, and the issues were never resolved. As a woman, I was left to deal with their choices. I lived an experience where because men still do have positional power-over, they could both choose to run due to their own fear. I was left, again, feeling the feeling that women know of unresolve, of cleaning ourselves up after a man has his way with us.


Because a culture of fear got us here, right now, we are only moving in the direction of more collective fear, as I see it. When what we really need is more bravery.


Yes, it is brave of a woman to tell her story. I am all for it. But men, my god, we need your bravery now too. We need you to come toward rather than back away.


I get that the reasons that many of you are currently unable to do this have to do with not knowing how. Men have grown up to assume that what they say goes. And now we have a culture of women saying that this is not okay anymore. It’s true. It is not okay anymore.


So here’s what you do, men. Come to the table. Come and sit down and say, “Help me to understand.” Say to the woman that you love in your own house, “Can you tell me how you feel as a woman when you hear this story in the news? What do you think that I, as a man, can do?”

A friend told me this week that when she told her male partner about her dreaded high school experience locked in a room with a man, he wanted to go hunt down that man and “make him pay.” And so she had stopped communicating to her partner, meanwhile she was reliving a visceral trauma response. Men, that is not exactly what I mean by bravery. Use her feelings of safety as a measure of bravery. If she feels safe as a result of your actions, and it creates more trust, you’re on the right path.


Men, you’ve been taught to think that you need to perform, know exactly what to do, fix it, or save us. We’re not asking for that now. We want you to ask questions, listen, check your self-protection, say an out-loud apology even if that woman isn’t in the room - say it to any woman. Admit that you don’t know what to do right now, and that you didn’t know what to do then. Ask a woman you trust for help. Not all women want to take you down. Some of us will hold you accountable meanwhile allowing you to rise into a more embodied, emboldened version of man. That’s what I want to do. That is what I am demanding by being the woman that I am in the world today. I will love the hell out of men, and, I will naturally demand the best of you. I will simultaneously no longer allow power-over to exist when I see it, and also, I will help to explain what I see with kindness and compassion. It’s up to you to step in, to not run in fear.


We are creating a new way. We need to do so together, even though our traumas are real, even though we don’t yet know what to say, even though we feel fear. We all want to feel bravery and love, in our bodies, in our men, in our women.


Rumi says, “Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.”


I’ll meet you there.

Screen Shot 2018-09-29 at 8.44.29 AM.png



You were worthy then, You are worthy now.

As a nineteen year old woman, I laid in a hospital bed just having given birth to my first child. I was holding her and keenly aware of all of the other eyes on me. Our relationship, the depth and authenticity of it, happened in silence, in the psyche, in the womb. Judgement and shame existed outside of this space.

This child of mine was strong and robust in spirit and in all of her nine pounds three ounces. She was a deep thinker, wise and attuned to the Universe. I knew this because we spent countless silent hours together while she took up residence in me, while I took up residence in my parent’s basement, where a little nook had been created for me after I came home from my first semester of college pregnant. I knew how she would move about the world before she even came into it. There is still nothing about her personality that surprises me to this day. I knew her then. The gift of deep, soulful insight given to a woman who knows she will not raise her child. 

Her adoptive parents picked her up at the hospital less than 48 hours after her birth, according to the time stamp on the photos I have in an album. I thought it had been longer, but she was born just after midnight on the 22nd, and they came the evening of the 23rd. During the time I had her in the hospital, a steady stream of visitors came. It was sweet of everyone, and I’m sure I invited it, appreciative of the level of support of close friends and family. But I was silent while the world moved around me. 

I was smiling for these damn pictures when I should have been asking for quiet time alone with her. Indeed, I stayed up all night long studying her, talking to her, making agreements, making amends, making apologies. 

Her face was perfectly round, she was pure beauty. Pure perfection. I had done it right - the pregnancy. I had followed all rules, but beyond that, I had read Ina May Gaskin and I had nurtured myself and my pregnancy with a wisdom that was both beyond my years and not present physically in the influences that surrounded me. I tucked away in that basement, waitressing and taking a few classes otherwise, and I listened to the experience. I felt it. I talked to her, and to God, and I didn’t even think I believed in anything like that. I’d run adamantly from the church at the age of 16, which was when my father finally cut me loose from obligatory attendance. My rejection of the Methodist Christianity in which he partook and we accompanied every Sunday began long, long before. However, he made me go until I was sixteen. Looking back, I’d say that was generous of him. I’m surprised he didn’t make it longer. But he did continue to warn me of the hell I’d burn in for decades to come. 

(Flash forward interlude: perhaps this helps to explain my lusty eighteen year old self getting pregnant…eh hem.)

So I didn’t want God, I didn’t ask for it, and I don’t even know that that was what I found there in that basement, solo with my baby in my belly. But I did find faith, enough that I sent it with her as her middle name. Anna Faith. 

But her parents named her Phoebe and I negotiated that Anna had to stay with her, so that became her middle name, and Faith was dropped. I also forgot about faith for quite a few years, as a concept. I stopped believing in what I’d discovered there, and thought it was up to me to go make something of myself after the pregnancy. Do you know this kind of striving? It’s perpetual, unrelenting. You imagine that you can control the outcome by performing well enough, but that’s a recipe for disaster. 

I’ll have to dig a little deeper to remember the true discoveries of faith that happened then, but it was significant. I understood that I was fulfilling some sort of role, bringing her through. I knew that it was in her best interest, ultimately, to live in a family ready to provide a life for her free of struggle. I was living in my parents’ basement for God’s sake. With me, she would struggle. I struggled. I told myself, “Look what a failure you are. Look at your surroundings. Where is the crib going to go?” But mostly, I didn’t want her raised under that roof of my parents. I knew that to be true. I felt powerless. It was a familiar feeling. 

There was no door on the room I slept in in the basement, and in the mornings, I’d hear my parents in the shower, and my dad would walk down the basement steps to get his clothing naked. Yelling, “Don’t look!” 

I’m still working on the words to describe the feeling of combined disgust, defeat, being overpowered, and constant sickening that I still feel when I think of being a young woman in a basement, growing her daughter, cut off from her lover, forced to turn her head so as to not see her father’s dick flouncing by. 

But you get me. I’ll find all the words by the time the book is written. 

Flash forward to now. I’m thirty seven. I’m diving back into this story to write this memoir, and I’m looking at the topic of self worth, that fucking thing that plagues so many women. Lack of self worth. 

Recently, I’ve been in multiple circles of women who are building businesses, as am I, and here’s what I’m noticing. 1. High frequency of women going it alone, doing that perpetual striving thing. And I wonder, is this still the same game we’re playing with ourselves? 2. High frequency of powerful women not asking for help while striving. And I wonder, would we turn our heads now if our father walked by insisting to be naked? I for one would tell him to go the fuck away. I am also better at asking for help, though there’s still the silence of not speaking up when I need something, too. 3. High frequency of powerful women struggling to actually make a lot of money in their business, or even enough money. And I wonder, what is it about women’s self worth because I am looking around at powerful-ass women, myself included, and the money needs to be in women’s hands. (Seriously, PSA, support some women-owned businesses right this very minute.)

So I do, I look at where my self worth went down the tubes, if the tubes were ever full to begin with, which I don’t believe they were. And today, I had an Aha. A major AHA. 

As I looked at these photos of a younger me, holding a child in a hospital bed, I realized something. Me, then, was looking at my first child, this perfect child, this daughter of flesh and body created of the resources of my body, this promise to the world, and I simultaneously believed myself unworthy of her. Clearly, and that’s why adoption. As I looked at the greatest love, the only thing I longed for, I was reminding myself that I wasn’t worthy of her. 


I want you but I can’t have you, I’m sorry. I fucked up.

I was making promises, saying apologies, and those sounded something like, “I’m setting you up for something better than I can give you. I’m sorry that I fucked this up and this is how you’re starting your life. I love you. I’ve been talking to the stars and you’re cared for, little one, have faith.” 

She gets it. The adoption was always open, and I see her now at least once a year, with the geographical distance between us. She just gets it, no grudges that I can detect. She’s appreciative. Tells me she loves me, how lucky is that. She’s healthy. 

And I’m thirty seven, a mother of a beautiful son, a home owner, a business creator, a healer, and I love my life. And all the time, still, fucking still, I struggle to accept that I am worthy of the beauty that I am looking at, and worthy of all the beauty I still do desire. And I do not, anymore, want to hold it at arm’s length. I want to welcome it all in, now more than ever. All of it. 

Because here’s the thing we’re not taught to say as women, but it’s the thing I know and attempt like hell to embody now: I am worthy of it all. 

I was worthy then, I am worthy now. 

You were worthy then. You are worthy now. 

Things just got a little fucked up along the way. 

(The spacing of this blog post is also fucked up. It just is that way sometimes. We roll with it.)

July 2000

July 2000

Look for the evidence of your RISING

It is amazing to me how I will find myself in a loop of perceived inadequacy, after all of the years of awareness of this pattern.

Perceived: The way we interpret something to be, the way we regard a particular person, thing, or situation.

Inadequacy: Not enough.

I have been in some degree of suffering from or rising above this pattern all my life. Recently, I found myself in it again.

I have goals in my business, as a mother, as a community member, as a writer. All of a sudden, in this perfect storm, I felt inadequate in every single area of my life. There were ways that I imagined that I should be succeeding, and when I noticed some evidence to the contrary, I spiraled.

Here’s the thing. When I slow down, which now, thankfully, I have, here’s what I notice. There is evidence in every single category I mentioned above that I am actually kicking ass. Rising. Doing it better than ever. So why do I notice the “not enough” voice and let it throw me?

Inadequacy is so ingrained in so many ways - I believe it’s a widespread, cultural phenomenon that keeps nearly everyone stuck for the bulk of life unless we consciously, actively, and apparently repeatedly, liberate ourselves from it.

I lived in a pattern of inadequacy that was so deep, so entrenched, after having placed my first child for adoption because I believed I was too young, too poor, too unwise, too unworthy, too inadequate to be her mother. I propelled myself forward to find success. I went to school, went to school again, forced a relationship into a marriage where I could have the opportunity to be a mother again, etc. I went for it. And I never felt adequate. Nothing satiated my inadequacy.

Surprise surprise.

Because the hole was on the inside and it’s unfillable by the outward achievement. I had to learn self love. So, if I’m applying my own medicine here and now as I find myself finding evidence of my perceived failure, and I choose to apply this medicine, I needed to dig deep. I require it of myself.

My business is actually doing great - I onboarded four new clients last week alone and more are in the wings - this is so exciting. I am in love with my current clients and all is in alignment. It was an awesome week. And, it’s in growth stages. (Hello, entrepreneurial life is always in a growth stage - I’m just still getting used to managing how it affects my good ol’ habit of perceived inadequacy). My child told me mid week that he actually felt more connected to his father at this point in time. (Hello, totally age appropriate, but I heard “Mama, you’re doing something wrong.”) I’m trying to organize my thoughts for my memoir and while I’m gaining great insight, the entire thing is so overwhelming to me that I freeze and feel inadequate. (Hello, getting some solid help from a professional like a book coach on how to tackle such a big project would help. It’s not inadequacy if it’s a new skill, Self.) Then, I heard of a child that I absolutely loved when I was his middle school principal actually being in an unexpected situation without adult support, and I went forward full blast willing to even take this child in if I needed to. And my help wasn’t wanted, which finally was the icing on the cake. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t make it happen. I couldn’t save him. (All in my mind, you see this.) And I had a glass of wine (or two) and a good cry in the shower and I realized, “Oh, I feel powerless.”

Powerless. It is such a deep concept, and I’m so grateful that the pattern revealed itself to me. And… the reflection from a friend calling me “Type A” may have also mirrored to me that my deep pattern that I have a difficult time catching sometimes may not be so hidden to the rest of the world. Oh, bless this messy and beautiful life.

So, I needed to interrupt the pattern. I needed to sit with my (perceived) powerless, fragile self (which partially happened at two in the morning that same night - sometimes insomnia is a spiritual knock at your door.) I needed to cradle my own fragility, to greet myself gently.

When we notice ourselves in old patterns, we often go straight to beating ourselves up. I now like to self-nurture those old parts. Imagine, I learned so long ago to believe that I was not enough. How unfortunate. How sad. To beat myself up about it now would be further abuse on my own psyche.

And I don’t choose that.

I choose to notice the evidence of the rising. My own rising. Sometimes, when I’m in this old pattern, I can’t even see the evidence of the rising. I can’t see how far I’ve come or all the years I’ve unpacked these beliefs and traumas, because I am just in it.

I share my personal story and process because I imagine that you might have beliefs that don’t serve you, patterns that sweep you away before you realize you’ve been swept. I write because I am here to model process, not perfection. By the way, perfectionism and inadequacy are two sides of the same coin. Been there.

Noticing your own rising is a gift - one worth giving to yourself. It’s letting yourself be human, letting yourself off your own hook of self-judgement and inadequacy and striving for perfection.

Appreciate your choice to rise. Appreciate every time you have chosen to feel an emotion instead of repress it, every choice to unpack a trauma instead of allow it to rule you, every time you catch yourself and choose love over everything else.

I am not inadequate. Not in the least. Neither are you. Notice the evidence of your choice to RISE, dear human. It helps. I’m here walking this walk that I offer to help you on - it’s something we are all doing.

I love you. Keep going.

s


Look for the proof of your RISING. (1).png