Memoir

The way I create.

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

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

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

Good grief. (Insert self judgement.) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of it. 

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

All perfection. Because here I am. 

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

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

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

Was I? I was even confused at times.

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

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

Yes. Every time, yes. Every time. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

In it: The Evolution of Purpose

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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