memoir

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.


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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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.

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The grief at the core of me.

It’s important we allow ourselves to feel our grief.

When I lost my daughter at birth at the age of nineteen, I grieved alone. And in fact, grieving was not talked about. Succeeding was emphasized.



Get up. Do what needs to be done. Make something of yourself.



And this was the formula that I used for over thirteen years, until I consciously realized what I was doing - I was in a perpetual state of striving for proof of “being enough.” A state of inadequacy.



Nothing could fill it, as inadequacy at the core goes, although I kept trying to succeed. I kept trying to get it right in order to prove my enough-ness.



And this core wound that most of us carry, it dies hard. Actually it doesn't die, it transmutes when we face it. And this takes some conscious action indeed. Awareness is just the beginning. Undoing the traumas and the wounding and the automatic patterning is an effort in consciousness. But one worth making, as one takes back their life from the myth of inadequacy.



Last year, as soon as I stepped out to go full time with Embodied Breath, my deep love relationship ended. I had loved this man. I didn’t understand some of the circumstances, and he left in a hurry after I’d experienced the deepest love relationship I’d ever known. I could see some of the karma, some of the Soul reasons why it was happening, but here’s what I realize now - I didn’t grieve.



I did not let myself grieve, because I had just opened a business. So what did I do? I hid my grief, from others especially, and I kept on going. I kept on “doing it.” I kept on toward success and making it happen. I was putting myself “out there!” I was building something! And so I was striving to get things done, and to financially survive, actually, and so I took a “show no weakness” approach. I got to the fall and I realized what I had been doing, because I was tired, and I didn’t feel any different than I had in my career. I was hustling and not fully honoring my own Soul and Soul’s journey, which says, ultimately, that I should live out loud.



So I started a business originally for women, about reclaiming the feminine, and there I was… doing the striving thing. Which is an unhealthy masculine trait, inherently.



It’s the one most women are in.  (Whoa, defenses, it’s true.) I know because I live it and because I deeply observe. When we grow up in a society where our femininity is repressed, systematically, we learn to “act like men.” To get it done. To keep going.



Our entire society is currently built on these premises.



I love the path of the Soul. I love the mystery and the learning and bearing witness to the unfolding. I believe we are here on a Soul path, or I know I am, and that each “thing” that happens is my own Soul mapping it’s way. Sometimes this happens consciously, and most times it’s a damn mystery.



So another man comes into my life. Takes me by storm. Unreal scenario. Cosmic awakening. Difficult to embrace but we do it. We say Yes. We know it’s a Soul Union. We love one another deeply. And then, BOOM. I find myself within one week going from happy assumptions of a future together to an ending so similar to the last relationship that I’m not even as shocked. And I’m the common denominator here, so my Soul is clearly trying to give me some lessons.



What I’m sharing with you is vulnerable, and undone, because we are in it. This man is not connecting with me, sweet man, but we are in it, each in our own ways. Because we each triggered the Core Wound in one another, so far as I can tell.



When we trigger the Core Wound, it’s actually an opportunity. It hurts like hell right now, but I see where our Souls are, and I’m praying for each of our Souls’ evolution.



And so here I am, at the very beginning of 2019, where I did not think I was going to be repeating anything from that rollercoaster of a 2018, and then, BOOM, I am.



I am. Soul love, My King. Relationship identified TO US by the cosmos, one realized and recognized by our Souls before we ever felt anything emotionally. We said the bravest Yes we’ve ever said, and we said it again and again such that when it came to this point (because surely it would if the relationship is THE one - when two souls come together to learn together and grow past the Core Wound) - when it came to this point, and we broke, I never saw him pulling away.



And then he’s gone. Death.



And I’m sitting in my Core Wound of loss, of fearing loss of love, and especially loss of love when I voice my own truth. And something is pulling at me, when I’m telling myself to get up and be resilient and learn the lesson and just bear it, damn it, another harsh fucking lesson. Something is saying… just grieve.



Grieve as you grieve. Fall apart. Feel.



Writhe. Wretch. Die for a minute. Or a week. Or as long as it takes.



Don’t hide, don’t go away, don’t hide the grief, and don’t strive. Don’t force something that is not.



You see, loves, for eighteen years, I’ve been fearing this moment, in every action, in every decision. Loss. Loss of love, loss of love for my own inadequacy, loss of love beyond my control.



I feared it and again, I’ve received it. (See how that works?) I had all the self protections meant to ensure against this, but in the end, those were the very things that helped cause it. Our self protections are what keep us separate.



Such that I helped to trigger these events because of my own fear. (I am a Soul seer, so some of it I see, and again, some will be revealed. Other aspects, I’ll never know. And while it reveals, my job here is to not go to my head, to the story, to the rationale and the “well THAT was the lesson there,” and “Onward in resiliency!”



No. It’s not about that this time. And I’m writing this to model what it is that I am talking about all of us doing - I’m being raw on purpose, I hope that is clear.



I’ve been fearing this loss for eternity.



I know who this man is. It literally felt like parts of myself were in him, like I knew him, Soulknew, like we were made of the same stuff. He felt it too. We knew who we were to one another. So the BOOM, the BOOM is a divine BOOM. And the divine in my Soul is saying, grieve it. Grieve it and know what you know, love him, believe in each of you, but cry hard for as long as your body wants to.



And I’m not covering it up this time. I’m not making myself stand up and get it done. And guess what, this IS the process. This IS the feminine. This IS honoring what is. This IS what I’m offering in Embodied Breath - not the perfection, not the striving. I always say, “We go through.”



This man’s “Yes” turned into his “We don’t go through.”



We signed up for this. Our Core Wound karma, we believe, began with one another. We’ve come for this opportunity. We came for this. And we are in it.


My love, we are. We are going through. We are in the Core. I pray we each honor it for what it is. I love you.



I grieve that you can’t hear me.

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You were worthy then, You are worthy now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

I was worthy then, I am worthy now. 

You were worthy then. You are worthy now. 

Things just got a little fucked up along the way. 

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

July 2000

July 2000

My moody opinion on the needlessness of comparison

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Immense. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As. Is. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

June-iversary

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

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

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

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

With these flowers, I honor it all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New. Vibrant. Here. Now.

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June 2010