trauma

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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My faith journey... short version

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


Woman, it wasn't you.

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


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


Oh, my sister, it wasn’t you.

You did nothing wrong.

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

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

He may have even convinced you he was.

He wanted to be.

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

He wanted to see himself as worthy of that.


And this could have been.

You both saw it.

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


Between him and his own soul, my love.


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


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


The declining of the invitation.

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


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

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

You just thought you wanted a yoga teacher training.

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


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

Here to claim yourself,

In this moment,

And in this therapy session

And in this training

And in this meditation

And in this relationship

And in this stand you take

And in every moment down the line.


Your responsibility is to shine.


Shine anyway.

Shine without him.

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


This is the work.

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


It is impossible work and you will do it.


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


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


And then to love again.


Woman, I see you,

Recovering while rising

Healing your trauma after you were just reminded of it

Because you have to

Because you won’t not.

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

Choosing to go ahead and shine not for him,

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

But for you.

Because you know it’s your time.


Women are rising.

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

It does not have to be this way.

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

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


In love and for conscious union,

Sarah


I am still claiming the whole of my Truth.

A Soul Truth Unfolds

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are yours?

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

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

Women are walking this disentanglement still.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such that I nearly immediately apologize for being messy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

❤️

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

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Coming undone

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



I know something about that. I recently came undone.



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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



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

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fallow woman poem

Fallow woman

On Sunday she cooked chicken for the family,

and while cleaning up,

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

she poured it into a glass and drank it back.


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


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


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


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


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

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


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


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

Is it not their right? They assume.


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

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

“I was just so thirsty!” she said.


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


Replenished.


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


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

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

She was unable to walk forward.

And he saw,

he saw how he had been taking.

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

He had been taking from depleted ground.

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

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

How do we replenish a collective of women?

Thirsty, nursing, depleted, hungry queens.

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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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Not hiding. Nope.

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

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

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

The 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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Conscious Women's Rage

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


To the father whose child I denied you

Eighteen years ago, our daughter was born. She was large, nine pounds three ounces and round, so round, and so beautiful. So wise. As a child in my womb, as a new born, she was already wise. Of course she was. She came through us.

You never got to place your hands on my stomach or witness the pregnancy. You wanted to come close and yet, my family and I pushed you away. Everyone was terrified that I was pregnant at eighteen, and you, dear man, were made to be a monster. Truths were falsified against you. Your child was being denied you, you were panicking, but you didn’t receive acknowledgment for that.

Not until I sat in front of you seventeen years later and began my apology.

We were young when we met, and I remember you first on the back porch of a cabin, in an oversized sweatshirt, jumpy in a nervous and athletic body, but your tenderness certainly apparent and your dimples deep. You were a speech pathology major in college. I believe I was fifteen and immediately had a crush on you. A few times a year, we volunteered at the same camp for kids with disabilities, and when I got to be there with you, something ignited inside of me. I finally confessed how I felt about you my senior year in high school, and you, already twenty three, took me up on it. We traveled the summer before I moved away to college. I remember feeling both loved and smothered by you - it was too intense in some ways for a young girl, and yet part of me loved the intensity. I know it was real love.

When I went to college, nine hours away from home, you wanted me to call nightly. I was missing out on college life. I remember I was opening in brave new ways, like moving my body for the first time, uninhibited, to the drums in the African Dance class. But I’d have to pull myself away to make sure to catch your phone call. I started to feel conflicted.

When we got pregnant over fall break of my freshman year, unplanned, I knew by Thanksgiving. I remember I started puking early in the pregnancy, and in the dorm toilets, gagging daily at the site of shared showers and clogged drains. I subsisted on plain bagels and orange juice. My first thought upon hearing I was pregnant was, “No one can know.” I went to the college counselor and cried and cried that my mother was going to hate me. She gave me the information on abortion. I knew somewhere deep inside that there was no way this child was not meant to come into the world. One way or another, for everything it meant, this pregnancy was happening.

As I write this, I call you to ask you to tell me the details, because my brain only begins to remember my pregnancy and my experience with my pregnancy and not many details of our relationship from the moment I found out. It was as if my head went down and stayed down, with a mix of protection and shame. You remind me that yes, you drove nine hours the day after you heard, and we spent the weekend together. You urged me to connect with you, to make a plan. When you left to go home, you said I called my parents, and after that, our relationship became disconnected.

I moved back home to Pennsylvania, into my parents’ house, at the end of my first semester of college to have this baby the following July. You wanted to help. You wanted to be a family. It terrified me. My parents were so angry. I allowed myself to ignore you. I allowed the distance to be enforced, and heavily. My father took over. Law enforcement was involved.

You were losing your child.

My family brought home information about adoption, and yes, I’ll say that they pushed it, though, ultimately, all responsibly is of course my own. It’s why I have to write this letter.

I didn’t speak to you for at least the last half of the pregnancy. The social worker from the adoption agency was your point of contact. We chose a family in New Jersey, a state with a “once and done” signing of surrender seventy two hours after the birth. After her birth, still in the hospital, the social worker told me that three weeks prior, your house had burned to the ground while you were working the night shift. Your two best friends, animals, and all of your belongings were lost in the fire.

My mind couldn’t grasp the depth of this loss then. I knew it was devastating and I still didn’t reach out. There was so much confusion. By this time, I believed you were dangerous. How did my heart turn so ambivalent to your condition? To this suffering? I called you when our daughter was two, for the first time. You told me later that you actually answered the phone high as a kite, you were so lost in drug use by that point.

You had been working the night shift to make extra money to support your child, should I change my mind. I never really knew how badly you wanted to show up for us, how prepared you actually were to make it work. My parents told me that I could not depend on you, and I believed them. I spent my entire life believing that no man really did want to show up for me. You sat across from me seventeen years later and explained how you so, so deeply had wanted to.

This is a letter of apology. I know that I was young, that I was far too impressionable, and yet, I denied you your child.

Women can do that. And they often do. And, it’s wrong. You are one man in a sea of men who have been denied their rights, openly shamed, and forcibly pushed out of their child’s lives.

I denied you participation in conversations about her fate. I denied you connection that our bond actually deserved, as our love had been real. I denied you meeting your daughter in the womb, or in the hospital, and the way you were framed has lead to you not yet meeting your daughter, now eighteen. I denied you your place in her childhood.

I allowed myself to believe that you were a monster that I needed to protect my child from, where for the life of me, in the last five years as I look back now, I can not find any evidence that this was ever true.

How do I ever apologize? I have tried. You have said that I am forgiven. I know this is true, and I am blessed by your graciousness. Your genuine nature. Your love. We know that life shapes us. We know that this is all for reasons far bigger than you or I alone.

How many men are called monsters and denied their own children? You and I both know a few. And that is why I write this now. To all the men, on behalf of all the women who also find themselves with a relatable truth through my story. We live in a world of women’s liberation, and yet, it is not healthy if women are using their status as Mother to overpower the decisions of Father. We need to invite men to the table. Mothers will always have that special protective role, and yet, you wanted to help. You wanted to be there. What we believe is protection of our children is sometimes harmful, harmful denial and projection.

Our daughter, therefore, was also denied access to you. When she went with her family at birth, I sent written letters, stories, and pictures. I know I sent the one of you in the tree on the hill at Warren Wilson College. I don’t think she ever saw it and I don’t know why her parents would not have shared that with her. As I share an open adoption with her family, when she was sixteen, her family and mine were on the beach together. My son, then, six, playing with her in the waves, her mother said, “She has some questions about Jeremy.”

I only ever really offer information when she asks, which is hardly ever, but am always happy to do so. She wanted to know your last name that day, and I asked her if she was going to look you up. She was getting curious. I realized she hadn’t seen pictures. I asked her if she knew who you were or how we’d met, and she said no. I was shocked. She was a sixteen year old young woman at the time, and I said as my mind swirled to realize she didn’t know, “Oh my, oh my. You, my dear, were conceived in love.”

By that time, you and I had begun to talk again, to find healing. I knew that you were safe and that that old feeling of guardedness had largely subsided. I told her there on the beach that day everything I could in the moments that I knew would be too short. I told her how we met, of your good heart, why I had fallen in love with you, that you were an artist like her. I told her about your dimples and how handsome you are. I made connections to her athleticism and yours. I tried to begin to restore your honor. I said, “These are your stories. You can ask for them whenever you want.”

You and I both are still waiting for her to ask for more.

I know you love her. I know it broke you to lose her, and I carry your heart in my heart now, because that’s how I love you. We talk. We became friends again. You support me in my unabashedly risky endeavors to start a business aligned with my soul purpose, and you honor how this has all shaped me too. We text one another on her birthday, reaching across that heart space of two birth parents with our own version of the story of that day.

We sat across from one another last year in a conversation that was such a gift, it changed my life. And I would venture to say that it changed yours too.

You have land now, you build things with your hands. You escaped the early self-sabotaging behaviors in the years after her birth where addiction could have taken you down, thank God.

You pull yourself up. You do what you have to do. You find heart. You are beginning to create again. You are planting orchards and have dreams of opening your animal farm up to children with disabilities.

Every morning, I put a spoon into the honey that you send to me now from your hives. The sweetness is profound. That I am standing here, back for the last decade in the mountains where our daughter was first conceived, with your forgiveness blessing my heart and your honey in my mouth, is more a gift than I can say.

I am sorry.

I am sorry and I am grateful that we both understand that this imperfect and wounded life can also bring eventual healing. I am grateful that you allow me to tell our story such that it might also allow for others’ healing.  

She’s in college now. She doesn’t know it, but she picked your original major. I see in my mind a vision that I trust will come true. The house you are building is finished on your wide open acreage. Your orchard is producing. You are painting again, those incredibly talented portraits and landscapes; I imagine the final evidence of your heart’s liberation. And she and I drive up. We walk through the orchard, the three of us. The sweetness of truth and life and honey on our tongues.

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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

Trauma & SOUL

Trauma can honestly make you scared of your own soul.

I've seen it deeply, and I've experienced it myself.

When you've experienced trauma, or have a "trauma-brain," you exist in a primary state of fight or flight (1). This also means that you are constantly protecting yourself (2). This leads to the denial of self & soul (3).

1) Now, I'm talking to more of you than you think. I'm talking to the masses. In our culture, we are existing somewhere close to fight or flight most of the time, unless we're consciously not (by intentionally breathing, practicing embodiment, healing the soma/energy/mindset/the whole).

Trauma can be acute or it can be longterm, and while I won't write all that here, I invite you to consider that if we live in a society that requires the consistent output of cortisol, that that in and of itself is traumatizing. In fact, the body's systems react as if that is so. This can look like anxiety or panic attacks or adrenal fatigue, or depression, for example, because we just can't "keep up" with the implicit demands of the culture.

2) When the brain is in fight or flight, oversimplified, all of your resources are going to survival.

Survival.

What are the implications of that in our relationships?? The implications are astoundingly vast.

That means we are NOT connecting, not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, not able to create connection.

3) Denial of self & SOUL

Holy shit, I wish I didn't have to write this. It's so damn sad that we do this.

When we imagine that we won't be safe in this world (for whatever reason, because our brain is habitually patterned to this belief), and also believe we need to protect, our energy is also not going into the cultivation of SELF, which is SOURCE. Our own soul is the source for all the knowledge, all the safety, all the wisdom we truly need. Having a relationship with the soul is an incredibly safe foundation, and yet we often run from the soul while we're running from the conditions of life. We don't realize we're abandoning our own self/soul.

At this point, it is dangerous, in my opinion, to turn to Spirituality in and of itself, because this bypasses the *traumatized body system* that carries the beliefs in the cells.

So, someone can be highly spiritualized, however, still be running. From everything. From themselves.

The answer, in my opinion, is creating safe spaces for us to allow space for all the truth, even the trauma, while bringing the body on board and cultivating connection - first with self, then with other.

This is central to how I support my clients. If this speaks to you, please send me a private message now. I am taking a few clients now who are truly ready to turn lovingly but wholeheartedly toward their patterns of protection and disconnection. When you do that, your system relaxes (comes out of fight or flight), you cultivate Self love, you are clearer on what you really want, are more boundaried, and so much more able to CONNECT! (As in, for example, a love relationship! This is the very stuff that cultivates ultimate depth and connection.)

Keep going. On YOUR journey. Let me know if I can support.

I love you.

s

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The way I create.

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

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

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

Good grief. (Insert self judgement.) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All of it. 

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

All perfection. Because here I am. 

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

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

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

Was I? I was even confused at times.

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

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

Yes. Every time, yes. Every time. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Rest, Listen, Act, Repeat.

By the time I was 33, my adrenals had crashed. The "why" of that is a long story, but long story short, I had been kicking my own ass, striving, and thinking that I wasn't enough for my entire life. Especially since the age of 19, when I birthed a daughter but wasn't ready, by society's standards, to raise her, and then I went to work ensuring that, by God, I would be enough and worthy of a child one day. Add to that - worthy of a child, money, husband, love, career, etc, etc, etc.

I didn't know my own worth then. And so I worked my ass off to try to attain and to prove it. My body was sending me warning flares but I didn't stop until I crashed.

This post is about the over-extension of ourselves as we're trying to prove something. So many are in this trap. No matter how far we've come, we can still find ourselves in this trap - the trap of not enough.

Trauma exacerbates this habit of perpetual action-taking in many cases. We experience something, and we run like hell from ever experiencing it again. Who feels me on this one? Get honest with yourself.

You take action upon action to stay afloat, to keep from feeling the shame of not succeeding, to finally "get to" where it is you imagine you must get to in order to feel you've made it.

You just keep taking action. It is wearing you the fuck out. You know it is not sustainable and your body is giving you clues, and yet, you power through. Why? It's time to get really honest with the "why."

I realized what I was doing, in part, when I crashed. I simply could not GO any longer. Coffee started to have a completely adverse affect, and instead of being a crutch, it became a hinderance (because my endocrine system could not handle the additional cortisol). I simply could not metabolize stress anymore. My body wasn't having it.

At that time, I also started to recognize that I had been completely out of touch with what is innately feminine inside of me. This action-orientation that I had been living in, the career ladders I had been climbing, the mindset of success - all of it aligned with more masculine characteristics than feminine ones. My feminine told me to pay attention to my intuition, to rest, to incubate, to follow my heart. I had NO IDEA what to do with this at first, and had to allow it to evolve in me.

It was not without difficulty. I was a school principal and I would close the door, sometimes multiple times a day, and lay on my back with my feet in the air like the ayurvedic doctor had encouraged me to do. My anxiety was through the roof. Crowds were making me panic. My body was freaking the fuck out, begging me for integration.

And then I spent a period of time heavily tilted toward inaction and rest. Part of me (bless that evolving part of me) thought that to regain my "feminine" meant to sway heavily to the side of inaction and spirituality. The pendulum had to swing for me until I could find my center. The balance of action & rest. We call in the guidance, and then we act on it. If we act without the guidance - well, we could crash.

Culturally, collectively, we have been in action-mode. We have been heavily in the masculine energy of forward motion. Rebalancing our lives involves a reintegration of the feminine into our consciousness - body, mind, soul.

We find her when we begin to honor cycles. Men, you need her as well. We find her when we listen to the voice that says "slow down." We honor her when we listen to her wisdom as she shares it.

Action steps in my life now are divinely directed. Rest and periods of integration are essential. This is no longer because my nervous system can't handle it (thankfully there has been much healing and bolstering of reserves) but because it is the ONLY way I know to trust my next steps.

Action & rest. Masculine & feminine. I love them both. I need them both. I AM them both.

I hope this serves you. If you are interested in creating more divinely-aligned action in your life, I am here to support you now. I support your own growth and goals through a mindful and soul-based approach to coaching. I work in a very personalized way. We target your goals, but we do it by incorporating rest so that you can access your own divine wisdom. This is intuitive, real, loving, and we don't fuck around. You can be beautifully fierce and action oriented AND nourished and restful. You can achieve balance, and nothing feels more "successful" or whole than that. Contact me for a conversation about any of the above.

In love, 
s

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Ask me.

I found this little gem I'd written July of 2017 when a friend commented on another website of mine (Patreon). I'm moving it over here to be seen in the light of day. 

...

Ask me what it was like, to clean the birth off of her and then have the nine pound weight of her body leave my hands thirty six hours later.

Ask me, ask me what it took to suppress that ocean of loss for moments, months, and years after.

Ask me. Ask me what fills the void left by the absence of a daughter. Ask me all the things you'd try if it happened to you.

Ask me what I know now. Ask me what it means when your body recoils in the presence of a man. Ask me how I had to claw and be held, sometimes simultaneously, to unearth that knowing from my soma.

Ask me how most everyone is living in a sorry combination of fear and placation, and how I know my tribe when a person has the courage to sit with a story of loss.

Ask me how my mind, body, and emotions were not permitted to be my own and the story of my own reclamation. The story of learning to listen to the whisper of deep soul.

Ask me, because I'm ready to share. A story of body, of shame, of healing, rising, motherhood, sex, and love.

Trauma is a brain game.

Trauma creates a brain game. In the system with trauma, the brain is always asking, "Am I safe? In this moment, am I safe?" 

The thing about a trauma-brain is that the answer is often no. Based on previous personal experience and memory, one does not feel safe in that moment, even though, outwardly, all signs might point to actual safety. 

This is why you get a student in school who absolutely refuses to listen to a teacher when the teacher actively tries to love the student. The student's brain is already programmed against school. 

This is why you find that a lover just may not be able to connect to you, and says things to you that aren't true about you, but they're bringing up their past. 

This also might be you that does this. 

I know it's been me. Scanning for "Is this really safe? Is this relationship going to prove all of those old theories?" 

I'm watching right now as women play out their traumas against men, and vise versa. It's a long walk ahead of us, collectively, as we learn to pause to assess true safety of the actual moment versus projected threat. 

Trauma is a fucking brain game, of assessing threat on a constant basis. 

The beautiful thing, is that with continued healing, the patterns become clear. The little places we keep ourselves locked up in order to stay safe - they present themselves. When we greet those places, continually, with love, gentleness, and understanding, as we would an innocent child, those places heal. Safety is restored. 

And then, a beautiful thing happens. We live from the heart instead of the trauma-brain head. And therefore, I really believe, that healing trauma is the route to true connection. 

You can't get out of the head and into the heart until your head will allow you to. But then, when it does, and you find it doesn't rule you anymore, your heart is online and the connection that traumatized system wanted all along is available to you. 

So often, in an effort to remain safe, you stay disconnected. If trauma is a scan for threat, it is a scan that is blocking love, connection, and intimacy. 

Keep going. Keep healing. You can do it and you are beautiful. 

 

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