relationship

How do we honor personal truth inside partnership?

It really matters to me that we be able to tell the truth to one another. Like, it reeeaaallly matters to me. One of my oldest friends said to me this year, “No one wants real more than you.”


That might be true.


I seek truth. I speak truth. When I can’t speak a truth, it eats at me. I help others navigate how to speak their truth. And first knowing your truth and then speaking your truth is honestly some of the most challenging and also most significant work we can do as humans right now on this planet.


We need to challenge the status quo. We need to come alive in new ways. And this happens by owning our own truth.


And it happens most significantly, most impactfully, first in our most intimate relationships.


Because if we can’t be real there, then where can we be real? If we can’t be real in our partnerships or with our parents, siblings, or best friends, then in my perspective, anything else we are putting out on social media or in our board room or sales calls is just facade. It’s just pitch and marketing of a false life.


I don’t want a false life. And I don’t want to have to hide myself in personal relationships. I have done that for a lifetime and I know that it doesn’t ever work, to hide parts of yourself in order to appease someone or reduce consequences.


Because there are and will be consequences to you owning your own truth! If you have a truth and your partner doesn’t share it, there could be argument, discord, or the relationship could even end.


I like to invite readers to pause and ask themselves, “Where do I do this in my life?” Where are you keeping quiet about something that matters to you in order to avoid another person’s reaction.


I’m sure that took about three seconds for you to think of an example.


So how do we do it? How do we honor personal truth inside of relationship?


I have a lot of ideas and experience with this, and I coach individuals and couples how to live into their authentic truth, their authentic selves, and also maintain healthy relationships. Here are a few introductory tips. Contact me to learn more about longer term support options.


  1. Spend time training your own mind to know your truth. Ask yourself multiple times a day, maybe even setting a timer to remind yourself to do this, “What is my truth in this moment?” When you have your answer, honor it. You don’t yet have to speak it or do anything with it, but my first question to you is - can you allow yourself to have it?

  2. Watch where you manage truths - yours or others. If someone tells you a personal truth, how do you respond? Do you want to negate what is true for them? Or do you honor it? One way to honor another’s truth is to repeat back to them what they’ve said, “I hear you saying that…”

  3. Before you decide to share a personal truth, check where you are in your body. Is there tension? Is there relaxation? Do you feel like you need to fight or prove your point, or do you feel poised and centered? Only share your truth when you are solid and centered. This will greatly reduce your reactivity in a potentially heated exchange.


I love supporting individuals and couples in gaining the confidence, clarity, and sense of embodied ease in sharing their personal truth with the world. Contact me when you’d like support!

My couples co-regulation ebook is free for the month of July! Head to the products page to download!


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My exs are among my best friends, and here's how we do it.

My exs are among my best friends. Most of them. But those that are, we are the legitimate, “I’ve got your back, call when you can’t tell other people this shit, no judgement here, I love your next partner because you love them, you know you can be honest with your heart in this space, gives the best hugs ever” kind of love.



I am talking about my exs. My lovers, some of which at one point we thought we were going to spend our lives together (because aren’t we always trying to fit into that old trend!) and one of which I birthed his daughter. These are people that, when the relationship ended, it was sometimes messy, and it always took time to come around. And then there was eventual healing. Because love is love. Because when a soul mate is recognized, the value of that person doesn’t change because your relationship does. Because it takes way more effort and a whole heap of unhealthy to hold that person at arm’s length in disdain than it does to just open up your heart.



My son’s father and I were middle school lunch table buddies. We were in relationship for fourteen years, and divorce wasn’t easy. And we are currently co-parenting this boy with more intention than we ever have. Now when we’re on the phone, I’m surprised to hear him open up and tell me about his parents or his job, but I like that he now will. I don’t know that we’ll ever make it to best friend status again, but there is love. We are rebuilding trust.



I don’t want to harbor resentment, because I don’t want to be a woman with resentment of men. I’ve been that. I don’t want to name the ways I’ve been disappointed by men and retell those stories and wallow. I don’t want to see any man fail because I couldn’t get from that person what I thought at one time I had wanted to get.



Within the last few months, as I was in a rough spot, these exs were among the friends that had my back, the ones that I could tell the whole truth to, the ones who help me become a better woman as I learn and make mistakes and grow. They are the ones I check my judgements with and the ones I ask to hold me accountable.



Two of them have recently asked me to hold council for them and their current partners. I have held every one of them in their own struggles since our relationships ended as significant others. I had a hard time finding the last words of that last sentence: since our love relationship ended…. No…. we still have a love relationship. Since our intimate relationship ended…. No… because we still have an intimate friendship. This is not to mean that I have been intimate with them, that we have remained or become lovers again. It actually means the intimacy of the heart. The deepest intimacy of friends. I am not polyamorous, have no interest in that, and neither are these men. No lines are crossed. It’s boundaried and beautiful, because we are clear with our words and intentions.



I go to them for help, love, and friendship, and they come to me. That’s my point here. The trust is sometimes beyond that of other friendships, perhaps because we have this past and we decided to honor one another anyway. In that choice, we have gained some of the best friends of our lives.



I have two exs that left without saying a proper goodbye to me or to my son. And actually, these were the last two partners I had. These were deep loves, these were men who would never have wanted to behave in the way that they ended up behaving, and while I hurt like hell afterward, I am not angry.



My son has been having a difficult time, because the second time this happened was just five months ago. When I told him that this man was not coming back, he said, “Mom, I am seriously never trusting another man that comes into this house again.” I’m sorry, son. It reminded him of the last man he loved, and to attempt to simultaneously explain to a nine year old boy why men we both loved and honored would treat him or I this way, while he sorts out the confusion of what his mother also must of had to do with it, is nearly impossible. Because I can explain it, but it’s incomprehensible. It’s poor behavior. This week, as I was finishing a personal shamanic shadow-work practice of about 5 weeks, and my ex from a year ago showed up at my ex husband’s workplace. They had met only once.



He asked my ex husband if he wanted to be friends. He joked and said that that would really piss me off. He asked my ex husband to apologize on his behalf to our son for never seeing him again.



This man had long hair and a very warrior-eque persona. I realized just last week that my son has been growing his hair long ever since this man left our lives. It affected a place deep within him that I didn’t know had been affected. And I had recently begun to realize it as we worked with his therapists and as his father and I try to figure out his increased lying and sadness.



When I got this information about his visit to Rowan’s father’s workplace, I sent him a text. I had just finished a shadow work practice that left me feeling much more clear headed about what I will and will not continue to allow to fester in my life; in our lives. I said, “No one here will be apologizing on your behalf. You are responsible for your own actions. You did not say goodbye to this boy who loved you, and it hurt him.”



He was upset and uncomfortable. He was quick to remind me why he left, that I had become dangerous in his eyes, that my writings, my truth telling, “hurt people.” He told me I was a snake, like the tattoo on my left arm, and that I “suck as a human.”



When he calls me hurtful, he’s talking about my choice to tell the truth. He’s referring to choices just like this, where I write openly about my life, and where I choose with my words how to advocate that we all do better. That we be better. I use my story to illustrate my point, and believe me, I’ve protected the truths of a handful of men plenty of times and I have still been deeply, emotionally, and financially threatened by scared men as they didn’t want my words out in the world about them, because they themselves are uncomfortable with their own behavior.



If you have to silence a woman, it is your own shame that is behind that. I’ll make it personal, actually. If you have to threaten to silence me, it is your own shame that is behind that, because I am clear that my intentions are not to harm. I texted him to tell him that the reason I scared him is because I represented the parts of himself he’d rather not look at. This is the shadow that we either embrace or run from.



There are quotes out there that say, “If you don’t want anyone to know about it, then you should have behaved better.” I do not write in order to hurt people. I write to claim my story, to advocate, to uphold. If I am inherently a threat, it is because someone is unwilling to own their own behavior and they carry shame. And, honestly, I am also sensitive to that. I have not really written about this man until now. I have kept my mouth shut. I have protected men that have mistreated me. And I don’t care to take revenge, but I also don’t care to be threatened by a behind-the-scenes narrative that I am a snake, or that I should be sued to be silenced, as threatened by three men in the last two years, when the cause behind these threats and insults is their own shame.



I am a woman with a heart, with a body, with a home and a son, and if you want into this life, then by damn, I get to speak on it when it becomes my story.



I think, to the dear few that fear my words, that if you truly look at my work and comb it, asking yourself if I have actually chosen to demonize or threaten you, if I have actually told intimate and threatening truths, you will find that the answer is no. You will actually find, if you have the eyes to see, that I advocate for men, that I love men, that I want everyone, you included, to come forward in vulnerability of what you have done in your flawed humanity. I am not entirely innocent. Of course not.



But we must be willing to risk connection when connection seems impossible, to trust again when we want to flee, because there in that space is liberation. If you can hurt someone else and then that person forgive you - that’s liberation. If you can say you are sorry and press forehead to forehead and each say, “I forgive you,” that’s liberation.



The reason my relationships with all these other men and exs are the deepest friendships of my life is because we both took accountability, over time, for our flawed humanity. It is evidence that two people, with a lot of history and hurt and baggage, can do the work of navigating the spaces between, of healing, and of enjoying a life of love.



When I was talking to a male friend and colleague a few months ago, telling him about a recent journey I’d taken to stay on my daughter’s father’s land, to reacquaint in that space, and of the deeper healing that took place there, he said, “Wow, so you are really genuinely friends with your exs?” I said, “Absolutely, some of them!” He said, “You should put that on your website or your resume. That’s some of the hardest and most genuine healing we can do. That’s the real deal.”



Authentic. That’s the word. To acknowledge, to admit mistakes, to come back to the table and not run, to refrain from blame and slander, to say, “I’m sorry” - that’s authentic living. It’s vulnerable. It’s real. And it’s required.



….



I have lived my life in deep reflection and I make offerings of the heart through my practices in Embodied Breath. If you are a man who longs for deeper connection, to face your shame in love, to practice vulnerability and accountability in a safe space, and to practice self forgiveness and self love, I have a twelve week men’s online offering beginning June 12. You can see my website home page for more details.

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Acknowledging self protection is critical for connection

We all self protect. We are built that way, as mammals. We have mechanisms in our brains that scan the environment for threat and allow us to guard against that threat. This is helpful, but how does it impact our relationships?


Threats can be real, or they can be perceived. If your mother used to turn into a frenzied tyrant when guests were coming over and she wanted the house clean, and later in life your wife asks you for help in preparing the lawn for guests, you might become guarded while helping with these tasks. You’re guarded because your brain and body remember the wrath of your mother, but in real time, the threat is only perceived because your wife activated the memory.


Stop and think of a time when you were threatened by a current or past partner, when really it had to do with a memory or event that had taken place before that. Maybe you blew the situation way out of proportion. Maybe you had no idea why you were so mad then, but now you can see that you were self protecting based on something that happened previously. Maybe you have never considered this before and see now that this is what was happening! Well done!


This affects relationships in large and small ways every day. Partners are frequently upset about something that is causing them to feel emotionally threatened that has roots in the past. The threat otherwise truly wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a prior trigger that we were just consciously or subconsciously reminded of. Previous threats, or traumas, make imprints in the brain whether conscious or not, and we move forward in life guarding against those threats until we bring them to consciousness and heal them.


If we are hardwired for this type of protection, and we naturally scan for threat, what can we do about it so that it doesn’t sabotage connection in relationship? This is key, because, unchecked, it will sabotage your relationship, rest assured.


When I work with couples in my coaching practice, I teach them about present moment awareness, tracking sensations, and speaking to one another in moments of tension from a place of noticing (rather than mental analysis). I will give you an overview of these tools now, so the next time you notice yourself in protection-mode, you might pause to practice the following:


1. Present moment awareness is something that we cultivate over time, but a simple mindfulness practice to begin daily would be to take five minutes, twice a day, and breathe while purposefully noticing that you are breathing. It’s that simple. Count the breath to anchor your attention to it. Count an in-breath of 6 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, and an out-breath of 9 seconds. This is a triangular breath technique that invites the parasympathetic nervous system to active, which is helpful when you do not want to overreact. You will notice a relaxed breath pattern, a relaxing of muscles, and maybe a relaxation of tension in the stomach when you have breathed for a few moments and activated the parasympathetic system, also known as the “rest and digest” part of the nervous system. The more you practice this, the more you’ll train your brain to default to this internal sense of regulation, which feels pleasant and enforces a lower chance of emotional reactivity.


2. Sensations associated with self-protection include clenching muscles, tight jaw, withdrawal and caving in of the chest, or erratic movements as if you want to fight. These are all associated with the fight or flight response, and I’m sure you can think of more. How does this impact your body when you feel threatened? When you have a practice of noticing the present moment, you can then also notice your body’s sensations associated with any emotion. As a culture we are not used to noticing sensations first, so this is something to practice. Notice when you want to run, fight, flee, and what the associated sensations are. This is incredibly empowering, as then you are more likely to respond to a situation less reactively and more mindfully.


3. As individuals cultivate the above practices, they are able to upgrade their communication skills to move from the common accusation or assessment strategies often employed in conflict, and move to a personalized account of present-moment notices. This might sound like, “I’m noticing that I want to run away, that my chest feels tight and my breath is short.” A few things happen when a couple begins to speak this way. First, arguments are completely diffused. Second, compassion and empathy naturally grow between them. It is difficult to hear someone’s present moment experience and deny the truth of it, as often happens in arguments where two people are trying to prove a point. An added bonus to speaking from present-moment awareness of the body and breath sensations is that you do not have to name your emotions. Many times in various therapies, we try to train our brain to memorize emotional language, but when we are triggered, it is much easier to notice and report what is going on in real time than it is to identify an emotion word to label the experience. The latter brings us back into our analytical minds, and I am advocating that we stay in present-moment awareness rather than analysis when we are in self-protection.


These tools are worth cultivating, because what each and every person wants, regardless of age, previous history, various diagnoses, etc, etc, is connection. We all want connection. And, we know that when we default to self-protection, then connection is harder and harder to achieve. In the modern world, we seem to have more separation and self-protection than ever. And you may see it right there in your closest relationships - an ongoing lack of authentic connection, often due to the self-protection that you are both maintaining.


The good news is, you can safely train yourselves out of this tendency as a couple. You can own your own tendencies to self protect, you can learn to safely share your vulnerabilities with your partner, and you can both learn to respond safely so that connection is achieved - hopefully the deepest connection of your lives.






You can heal the Mother Wound in your relationship

Every boy wants to be held by the mother.

Every man with an UNresolved mother wound wants to be held by the mother, and projects this onto women, often angry for what they can not give him.

Every man who has Resolved his mother wound knows what it truly is to be held by the Feminine, The Divine Mother, and realizes that this is what he truly yearned for all along.

The feminine, giving freely, as she was always meant to.

Every woman wants to hold her child.

Every woman not initiated into her femininity will perpetuate, willingly or scornfully, the attempted nurturing of adult boys into men, but she can not. This arrangement will hold both hostage. If you make snide comments about having to raise your husband, you are both in this pattern.

Every woman has the responsibility to reclaim her own true feminine such that she recognizes the honor of the Divine Mother within her, and then she can stand beside a man, she can watch him crumble and hold him nonetheless, she can invite him into the space of her nurturing when necessary, and this is a man who knows the unmistakable force of the feminine which he is blessed to reside beside.

I can take your relationship through a mother wound pattern and together we heal it. If you are in therapy talking about issues of responsibility and emotional compatibility, it may be time to say "fuck this" and get to the heart of the issue, which is likely an imbalance in the archetypal energies in the relationship. This can and must be healed for healthy actualization of your relationship potential.

This is the result of thousands of years of mistaken understanding of what femininity and masculinity truly are, their potential, and in turn, your potential.

In relationship, in Conscious Union, your partner and you have the unique potential to help one another rebalance polarities. It's an inside job, which is why we work with all three of you - each partner (2, & gender matters not here) and the relationship (1).

Schedule a consult to see if this is right for you. Couples link here to read more.

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

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

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A Life Purpose Reminder. For you. For me.

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

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

❤️

Coming undone

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



I know something about that. I recently came undone.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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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.

#MeToo, and I'm deciding to love men anyway.

I am a woman.

I can say #metoo.

And I love men. I am actively choosing to love men.

I am survivor.

I am ex-wife.

I am the hated daughter.

I know sexual harassment. I know sexual abuse.

I have been physically assaulted by male students.

I have been lied to and cheated on by some men that I have allowed into the space of my soul.

I have been the woman on the side.

I have been talked over, mistreated, and isolated by men.

I have been rejected and outcast.

I have experienced trauma at the hands of men that I've spent years, and lifetimes, unraveling.

And I am deciding to love men anyway.

Because:

I have also healed in the hands of good men.

I have seen my own reflection in those men that could hold a clear mirror, and I am a better woman for it.

I have grown from my forgiveness of men and the liberation is sweeter than any resentment.

I have held men as they've cried and healed together as we've made love.

I have brought wounded men back to life again.

I have seen the shattered and silenced inside of the male heart, a story so rarely given voice.

I have seen the depth of the potential between two beings in sacred union and I value the masculine's place in that. I crave it and call to us that we all might know it.

I have been raising young men my entire adult life, I have seen and heard them cry at the pressure of being male, and they are half of our human population.

I have sat with male-born teenagers who wanted to escape being a man and change their sex for what it meant to them to conform to common notions of masculinity.

I am the mother of a son.

#metoo

And I'm going to decide to actively love men. And I will decide it as many times as it takes.

I'm going to own what's mine, and ask that you do the same.

I am going to embrace both the masculine and the feminine inside of me.

I am going to watch where I point my fingers.

I have been hurt at the hands of men, and I can see in every instance that it was because of the wounds of men that they actively or unwittingly hurt me.

I choose compassion. I choose love. I actively choose not to feed or fuel more aggression or opposition.

I am deciding to believe in men. And I am deciding to believe in women.

No more opposition now.

♥️

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Love like you've never been hurt

Love like you've never been hurt. Is that how that saying goes?

We stand guarded. Most all of us, most all of the time. We present our guarded and protected selves to the world. In so many ways, it's societally necessary, or at least, subliminally demanded. We are constantly expected to be that which does not feel natural to be.

Recently, I watched the movie "The Mask You Live In" with my teenage male students. (Watch it.) The movie uses the metaphor of the mask to discuss the formal presentation that we often put forward, meanwhile, what is on the under-side of the mask is usually something far different.

This movie discusses one of the most important topics of our time, in my opinion: the pressure on young men to develop into an idea of masculinity that is ultimately harmful and actually juxtaposes the inherent male sensitivity to the expectation that males be tough and emotionally removed. It is damaging, damn it, in utterly corrosive ways. I am the mother of a son, I've spent a career closely engaged in the development of teenage boys, and I've paid very close attention to the men in my life. I'm no expert, but I've got vested interest.

There will be more blog posts on this topic of masculinity (and femininity), rest assured. I could write a book at this point. I bring it up here in order to attempt to nail down that our attempts to hide our true nature and protect our vulnerability is as old as.... well... they are very old.  And guess what. Women, we didn't escape this either. I like to examine our collective pain through the lens of the masculine and feminine, but it's just one lens.

We are a society of hiding and shaming. We have wounds that we perpetuate because it isn't safe to admit them, bring them to light, and therefore heal them. We have very few safe places to do so, and one has to be pretty brave to even step forth. We shame those who have been victimized. We keep silent when we need help. We don't dance, so often, like we are comfortable being seen. It took me over three decades, and still, it's not likely I'll hop on the dance floor without looking around to see who's watching first.

And, sadly, we are often so confused, hidden, and protected when it comes to love - love of our partner, love of our students or coworkers or the guy bagging our groceries, and love of ourselves.

This is a blog post. I can't write the book on the examination of all of this and how to climb the hell out of it in a blog post. Here's what I want to say.

I want to love like I've never been hurt. I think I may finally be able and ready - a truth so amazingly sweet, and one I truly never knew when I was spending all of that time guarded. I was guarded for a reason. Trauma is real and never, ever, will I tell someone to just get over what they are going through. We don't just snap out of the reasons that we guard ourselves, because the memory (cognitive, emotional, spiritual, or somatic) of it makes it feel like staying guarded is necessity. Until we bring it to light. And we need to co-create safe spaces for us to do this.

We learn to love unguarded when we show up for one another. When, step by step, we are able to courageously admit that we are vulnerable, but that we'd like to step forward letting a bit more of our old story go, in order to create a new one.

May we start now, today. May we extend an unguarded hand. May we begin to know another way.

May 2017