Truth

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


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.

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Coming undone

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



I know something about that. I recently came undone.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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fallow woman poem

Fallow woman

On Sunday she cooked chicken for the family,

and while cleaning up,

the smell of the fat in the pan filled her nose and when no one was looking,

she poured it into a glass and drank it back.


It could easily have been described as a gulp. Or a guzzle.


And then she recognized how truly hungry she had once again become.


The fat sliding in her throat and into the body not nearly enough to fill or truly nurture her feminine soul.


She steps back to look at herself, touching her fingers to her lips, her craving having just surprised her, to wonder how she found herself here again.


How she allowed herself to have been drunk from, and to be then again laid fallow, by a man.

A mother of two boys says to me, “You know, they just crawl all over your body, take from it, like it belongs to them.”


And I wonder, is she really referencing the young boys, or adult men?


She is the body of the mother, after all, and while we hope to wean them, babies turn to boys turn to grown men.

Is it not their right? They assume.


Ah, my woman, I am so sorry you have to turn to the kitchen, swallow the fat, and keep nursing the majority of them.

A wife in session alone with me turned on the imaginary waters above her head to cleanse her energy body, and gulped it instead.

“I was just so thirsty!” she said.


The water, the light of god, the body so hungry to be satisfied.


Replenished.


That is the potential of fallow land, after all, if not further depleted.


That is the potential IF the woman’s body is recognized by all as sacred ground.

A woman stood facing her husband in the connection exercises I provide, and in the safe distance between them, her body began quaking slightly.

She was unable to walk forward.

And he saw,

he saw how he had been taking.

And in her, every day, a fear of having to give over what was not meant for him. And finally she did not have to.

He had been taking from depleted ground.

And he stood, seeing his part in this responsibility, stood with his guilt and shame as it turned to care and concern. He saw, and he would not do it again.

The woman, the mother, each woman’s body, is the source of life.

How do we replenish a collective of women?

Thirsty, nursing, depleted, hungry queens.

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Shame comes to remind us how we will engage

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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



It triggers self worth and it triggers shame.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



If I have hurt you, I am sorry.



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

Photos by www.NicoleMcConville.com

Photos by www.NicoleMcConville.com



Not hiding. Nope.

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

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

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

I am nothing if not Truthy.

As it was happening that I was developing a group opportunity for women, on Cultivating & Activating PERSONAL TRUTH for January 2019, I was carrying a Truth that I didn’t know how to share.

 

I didn’t even know if it was fully mine to share. I didn’t know what would happen if I were to share it, when to share it, what to do with it. So in all that confusion, I started to question the Truth itself.

 

Read: I questioned myself. Because Personal Truth is Self.

 

This Truth was handed to me by the Universe, by Source, by my Soul. I shit you not. It was the biggest Truth I had ever been handed. It was a recognition of a bigger Truth rather than something that I thought up. In other words - it just was.  It blew me away. And it came in one of the most outstanding packages of unfortunate circumstances that you could imagine. This Truth changes lives.

 

Because I was so taken aback by this Truth, and because of its magnitude, I was unsure what to do. You can not deny a Truth like this. Actually, I will say this: I, personally, will not deny a Truth like this. One that involves my Soul. I will not. That is a vow I hold unto myself. And yet, others would not approve. This Truth is certain to evoke judgement.

 

Others would not approve. There I was in an old pattern of seeking that approval. I was familiar with this pattern, but sometimes it catches me off guard.  I worried and focused on the impossible task of navigating this Truth in the world of others. I spent months navigating how to bring this Soul Truth into the world, attempting to do so consciously.

 

And then I woke up. Again.

To the pattern. Oh. I saw what I was doing. It went like this:

  1. Know a Personal Truth

  2. Truth is uncomfortable (I seem to have a soul contract to be a big noisy being in this world and #2 is not uncommon for me - see below.)

  3. Look for a way to make the Truth comfortable for everyone else and feel a shit ton o’ shame and the pain of hiding for even having this Truth in the meanwhile.

 

But step 3 does NOT work. That’s where I was off. That’s where we commonly go wrong - the approval seeking. We know a thing so deeply inside of ourselves and then we look outside of ourselves to approve of our knowing. This is an old, patriarchal trap. And here I was in it - again.

I was looking for approval and hence seeking to prove:

I am a good person.

I am in integrity.

I am a loving person.

I hold myself accountable.

I do not ever intend to hurt others.

(These are some of my Truths. But you see, here, I was trying to prove my Truth. Ick.) There is a difference, a mighty difference, between inherently knowing your Truth and trying to prove your Truth to others.

 

What I was handed was a righteous, unbelievable Truth. Honestly. One day, when it is told, some of you will believe it and some of you will not.

 

I heard myself say at one point, “I understand that what I am asking you to believe is unbelievable.”

 

Another friend who both loves me and holds me accountable said to me, “Even some seers won’t be able to see this Truth.”

 

How do you get approval for a Truth like that?

 

This Truth, THIS Truth - in its gift and in all its challenge and in all its splendor - it taught me something huge. APPROVAL SEEKING FOR YOUR OWN TRUTH DOES NOT F*ING WORK. It’s like I needed the most impossible set of circumstances, sure to evoke judgement from one angle or another, to remind me, hopefully once and for all, that the approval for my Truth comes from me. In fact, it doesn’t even need approval, because it just IS. What our Personal Truth needs, is to be honored. And here I was, organizing a women’s group around Personal Truth. You see how life delivers the finest of lessons, albeit in complex packages?

 

Change Step 3, Sarah. You inherently know this.

3. Let your Truth be your own. Let your Truth be your Power. Let owning your Truth be your Journey. Let everyone else have their Truth (becomes everyone’s Truth is capital T). We all get to have our Truth. Your Truth is your Heart and your Soul and your Authenticity. It is You.

 

My friend Seppi was talking to me about the question of “What’s your kryptonite?” I’d have to say - the judgement of others.

 

When other people don’t like me, I have performed various tragedies of self neglect in the name of gaining approval. I have attempted to mitigate people not liking me by approval seeking. Over and over and over again.

 

I stand out. I just do, and I struggled with this for a long time. I tried hard to play by the rules but it didn’t work for me. I tried over and over again to get it right according to some truth (little t) outside myself.

 

This summer, I was at a Soul Fire retreat. It was night four and it was supposed to be a ceremony where we “married” our Soul. Well, I’d just baptized myself as Sarah Poet naked in a river and danced my ass off in a field in order to reclaim my wild feminine Soul to the degree that needed to be reclaimed on that day and I was tired. I was beat. I had just earned my Soul barefoot on the ground in the summer heat, moving body and limbs as I expelled the trauma and judgement trapped therein. And so everyone was getting showered and dressed for this ceremony - in beautiful gowns and glitter, and my Soul was like, “Eh, fuck no.” And I wore jeans and my black bikini top and put my dirty hair up under a sun hat. It was the truest thing in that moment to not wear what everyone else was wearing. And I did the back and forth of “Is this okay?” and of course it was. It just didn’t fit in. Because that’s me. Apparently I came to wear jeans to my ceremonies and fuck some shit up around here. But dear me, my heart, it gets more and more fierce the more I honor my Truth. My Truth is pure. It was always pure.

 

And that realization is my strength. My power. Approval seeking sucks the life out of you. I’ve done it. I’ve done it for so long, over and over, and I’ve felt the judgement of standing in my Truth, and I’ve felt the inner conflict when I denied it. Denying my Truth is actually my kryptonite. And damn it, here’s what I know.

I did NOT walk out of the hierarchical job structure of the Patriarchy and create my own empire in service to raising consciousness on this planet in order to find myself once again in that shit-eating Patriarchal pattern of approval seeking from powers outside of myself. We’ll do it to ourselves if we allow it.

I did NOT walk out of a job just last year where one day my male boss shamed me, in a leadership position, in front of my peers as if I was a little girl and in a way he would never have spoken to a man, demanding subordination, in order to go unseen now. Fuck no. FUCK no.

I did NOT give away a baby to adoption as a young woman who believed I wasn’t enough to raise her child and spend the subsequent fifteen years realizing the myth of inadequacy in my bones so that I could stay silent when things get uncomfortable now. In fact, quite the opposite.

I did NOT walk the path of my Soul to get here and then deny my Truth because it’s difficult to walk it. No. I walk it.

 

Shoo. You feeling me?

 

I will have any conversation, I will face anything, I will consider, I will love. I will live my TRUTH.

 

But I will not go quietly, silently denying my own Truth. The time for that is over. That is why I am here. I now allow my Truth to be mine. I stand tall. I take in the energy of fearing my kryptonite, fearing a loss of approval, and I turn that energy inward. My Truth fills my Heart. In fact, my Truth comes from my Heart.  This Truth makes me who I am. It allows me to take ALL of the energy that I leak when I’m in approval seeking, and that then becomes the energetic embers of my inner fire.

 

Approval seeking is dead to me. You may or may not approve, and loves, I do not care.

 

That’s not an insult. In fact, if you can see it, it’s empowering AF.  I support you in whatever your Truth is as well. You WANT me to be fully in my Truth, fully supporting yours. We each need this for and from one another. Because our Truth is heartfelt.

 

Because when I am in my Truth, I love you more.

Because when I am in my Truth, I honor yours.

Because in order for me to know and honor my Truth, I have to know my Heart.

And I will not deny my Heart.

 

Let us be unwavering.

 

Let us be stoking our own fire, so that we can stoke the fire of the world.

 

Your truth is not about anyone else. If you are directing even a portion of your energy toward approval seeking, or hell, giving or denying approval, take it back.

 

This is your life force.

 

Your Truth is your life force.

 

If you are denying your Truth, you are staying smaller than you are meant to be. You know I’m right. I know I’m right because I did it. I did it when I wanted to leave that job and was scared to. I did it when I wrote the letter addressing the problem and was dismissed from the job and felt deep shame for all the disapproval. I did it when I let my baby go. I did it when I knew how to yell but not how to speak from the heart. I did it when I stayed married, hell, when I got married.

 

I denied my Truth a million times, because that is what we’re taught to do as women.

And I have also regained it, now no less than a million times.

It has been the walk of my lifetime, honoring my Truth. I am here to support you doing the same.

We learn to hear it, then we figure out how we want to honor it. It is all your choice. Just do not deny it.

I am here. Embers are burning. 20 women. We begin this sacred circle January 4.

Schedule a free consult here. Sign up here.

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