Often I've been told, as a business owner, that I need to create content for my audience. In newsletters, Social Media posts, etc. Share things to help others on their path. Share my gifts, simple steps and encouragement. Not too much. Keep it concise. I can share from my lived experience, but only after it's been processed.
Only when it's neat and tidy.
Each time someone shared this... mentors, friends, colleagues, other content creators... I'd cringe. My whole body contract in rejection of this notion.
I used to think perhaps it's because I hadn't "grown up" enough yet. Maybe I'm too self involved. Maybe it's because I want to buck the system, but I'm actually shooting myself in the foot.
But I'm realizing... this IS my medicine.
This IS my gift being shared.
My lived experience... in the moment.
My messy humanness.
I also realized.. this isn't about you, the reader.
It IS about me.
About my healing.
About seeing myself.
My instagram posts are my sacred mirror.
From me to me.
This is a love letter for me.
When I write something I will gaze at my own picture.
Read my own words over and over.
Early on I'd do this to catch "mistakes" or edits.
But I'm realizing I'm doing that less and less..
Instead I'm reading and rereading, reveling in my own brilliance.
My healing journey.
I see my beauty.
I see my tender heart.
I see my courage.
I see my curiosity.
I see my questions.
I see my quirks.
I see my pain.
I see my challenges.
I see my heart break.
I see my growth.
I see my expansion.
I see my humor.
I see my humanness.
This love letter from me to me.. what a gift.
And I thank you, dear reader, for witnessing my journey. It matters. You matter here. Within this web of connection. My prayer is that there IS something here for you too.
A shaking of your soul.
Here you are too.
Look within your own sacred mirror.
Remember who you are.
What you desire.
What you long for.
What you lost.
What you grieve.
What moves you.
What ignites you.
My prayer is that we each find our way back home.
One step at a time.
Remembering our inherent brilliance. Our wholeness.
Just as we are.
Our purpose to simply, yet profoundly BE ourselves....moment to moment.
Creating and destroying.
Inhaling and exhaling.
Truths and lies.
Living and dying.
Cycles ever turning within seconds, minutes, life times.
Who else is here?
What part of me wants to be seen right now?
What does it mean to live the FULL Spectrum of my existence?
Neither one or the other... instead all of the beautiful, intricate nuances in the spaces between here and there.
What a gift... to just BE me.
Just over a week ago I stepped through a portal. This wasn’t any easy one. The weeks leading up to it were wrought with fears, anxiety, doubt & every reason to NOT take this route...
The pandemic: taking into account the impacts of my personal choices on the collective.
Leaving family & friends: what if I can't get home? I get stuck overseas & never see my family again?
Is this escapism?
Am avoiding the work to be done in my own country?
This is a pretty privileged thing to do on many levels... is it ok to still choose this path?
Should I be focusing on something else instead?
Will I be safe? or even be able to get through?
And so much more...
The week before I left it started to shift.
I began to call my energy back to my core. Calling back my power. Literally using my breath to gather & anchor IN. It was incredible how quickly things began to shift. As I began to consciously gather myself & root down… the fear dissipated.
I had a couple key conversations that reminded me who I am & why I’m here. I aligned with the ideal timeline specifically using the audio created by IG @peathefeary called “Timeline Jumping”. Powerful!!
I kept getting the message to FOCUS.
The path is clear & while the opening is narrow, I can get through IF I focus.
IF I’m present and can pivot in a moments notice.
I had this image of me navigating through an overgrown forest.
One foot in front of the other.
By the end of that week I felt like I was in the middle of a fast moving river. Things were shifting & aligning so fast ~ there was no longer any efforting or doubt that I’d make it to my destination. I just needed to let go & Keep my head above water.
I flew through London & on to Athens, Greece. Incredibly smooth. Spacious. I was greeted by Kostas who drove me to my new little apartment, just minutes from Acropolis.
I had picked this neighborhood because it was where I’d stayed 2 years ago. Little did I know it was a block away from my old place. It felt like I was coming home.. my heart leaped with joy.
I am home.
The point here isn’t about living in another country. Or even traveling. This is about making that choice that changes the course of your life. The one that you’ve been afraid of or skirting around your whole life. The choice people may criticize or not understand.
But you know the truth.
This leap of faith activates something deep in your cellular memory & you remember… who you are & why you’re here on this planet.
You come ALIVE with remembrance.
Last week I was at the beach with my love and Willow watching this incredible sunset.
We were bundled up with coats and blankets as it was cold and windy, eating our dinner. We were eating in silence but my head was far from silent. My deepest desire was to polar bear plunge into the ocean. My spiritual mentor @madrinadellaterra had also planted the seed of this cleansing for the new moon in our call earlier in the day. But in my mind I kept talking myself out of it.. it’s too cold. I can’t swim. The ocean could carry me out. What are you going to do afterwards? It will be freezing to be wet. What will all the other people on the beach think? Am I drawing too much attention to myself? Do I need to do it now? I’m comfortable sitting where I am.
“I am comfortable sitting where I am.”
This. This sentence. Has kept me in places, in situations, in relationships, in friendships, in business, in boxes where I don’t actually want to be... my entire f*cking life.
There is part of me that wants to stay safe. That wants to mitigate risk. That wants to stay in the known. That doesn’t want to rock the boat. That doesn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. That doesn’t want to argue. That doesn’t want to be alone. That wants to settle into the delicious, warm blankets of the known. Even at the cost of my heart and soul. At the cost of my wild freedom.
I’ve blamed parents, family, partners, friends, society, religion, etc but it’s really about ME. I’ve done so much harm in not stating my truths. I’ve done more harm NOT saying what’s real and true for me rather than when I’ve actually said the truth. This is humbling.
How many more times am I going to abandon myself? Abandon my deep inner knowing? Abandon my deep desire to LIVE fully? To push my edges? To feel the fear and do it anyway? To stay seated comfortably in the known?
Then I stood. Stripped down the my leggings and bra. And ran down the beach. Past all the folks clamming. Past all the folks with cameras capturing the sunset. Past all my fears. The energy rising in my body. Tears flooding my eyes. Sobs rising in my body.
Simultaneously feeling the need to scream, sob and sing at the top of my lungs. Feeling waves of grief and joy all at once. Then the cold water hit me. I’m alive. My feet. I’m alive. My legs. I’m alive. My hips. I’m alive. My waist. As the waves hit my body I could feel my heart beating, my blood pulsing.
I. AM. ALIVE.
I sank to my knees. Plugged my nose and let the waves cover my head. I felt hot and cold all at once. Numb and tingling. Tears and laughter. Fear and deep peace. It was a baptism unlike any I had ever known.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. May I forever remember this day deep in my bones. In my cells. In every breath of my existence. May I continue to say yes to life. May I continue to unravel these layers. May I continue to surrender to the wild Unknown, to sink deeply into the seat of discomfort. To find the pulse of life just on the other side of fear. May I continue to cultivate a courageous heart. With immense humility and gratitude for this opportunity. Thank you to all that is. ❤️
#baptism #healingwaters #sayyestolife #courage #wildfreedom #soulsjourney #innerchildhealing #unraveling #sheddingseason #scorpioseason #rebirth #truthspeak
I need to take a moment to express my deepest gratitude to those who have guided me this last year and half.... these are just a few!
I am eternally grateful for these incredible teachers, coaches, mentors and friends who have come into my life. I'd highly recommend following them on instagram, checking out their podcasts or signing up for their Patreon pages (Also, keep in mind to compensate these folks for their time, educational resources and emotional labor.)
Trudi Lebron is an all around incredible human, she has a huge heart and is (in my mind) a true world leader for change. She's a Business & Leadership Coach for coaches and entrepreneurs working towards diversity, equity impact, and anti-racism in their life and work. Also her podcasts: That's Not How That Works and Business Remix. Trudi has been my personal and business coach for the last year and I'm also part of her Amplified Impact Mastermind (she's currently enrolling new folks for that program ~ if you're a biz owner who's already on the journey and you'd like to be in a diverse community where building an Impact and Value driven biz is of utmost importance I'd HIGHLY recommend applying!) She also led a Workshop Called Show Up and Serve for White Coaches/Biz Owners back in June and the replay is still available for purchase. So Good!!
Leesa Renee Hall is an empath and highly sensitive person. She specializes in helping folks unpack their bias in a gentle environment. She leads Inner Field Trips via Patreon which are a series of daily writing prompts and the next one starts Oct 14th. Highly Recommend!!
Sonali Fiske a friend and mentor. She specializes in amplifying the voices of Black, Brown, Indigenous Women and Femmes of Color who are ready to share their revolutionary messages. I'd highly recommend checking out her TedX Talk. If you're BBIWoC who's ready to step onto the world stage she's taking applicants for her upcoming program!
Katina Castillo at Earth Purpose. I had an astrology session with her on my birthday last year that rocked my world and I currently support her via Patreon, which I highly recommend or find her on YouTube!
Jessica Denise Dickson a friend and colleague who is an Enneagram specialist. I had a 1:1 Enneagram session with her that was amazing!! She also has specific programs for both Black, Indigenous, Women of Color seeking true liberation and White folks doing this deep internal dive. I'd highly recommend following her on instagram ~ she's a brilliant speaker/writer and honestly just a beautiful soul.
Madrina della Terra is a spiritual mentor who I'm currently working with who specializes in Shadow Work and Ancestral Healing. Check out her bio in her instagram to find some incredible articles on genealogy/antiracism work and environmental justice.
Dr. Frantonia whom lead a potent 8 week series with a Sacred Council of other Black, Brown, Indigenous Women of Color which I joined called "The Evil Behind Your Love and Light" ~ this was such a transformational and eye opening experience, conversation and learning. You can follow her instagram here for more powerful truths.
While checking out these folks and their work my hope is you find some delicious insights, ah ha moments and perhaps find someone to further support you on your own journey.
Hello beautiful people,
Wow ~ what a year! I feel we are being asked again and again to learn to ride the wave. The wave of change. The wave of viewing our most shadowy bits. The wave of new information coming to light. The wave of last minute changes. The wave of no planning ahead. Moment to moment. Day to day. Show up in the best way you can. Shifting through all the noise. Be as present as you can. Some days are better than others. Breathe. Pause. Move. How are YOU doing riding this wave?? I'd honesty love to hear from you.
For me some days are definitely better than others. Some days I've buried my head in the sheets. Some days I've cried for hours. Some days I've laid in the sun and found beautiful moments of grace. Some days have pushed all my edges. Some days I've confronted parts of me I thought I'd worked through years ago. Some days I've courageously stepped IN. Some days I've connected deeply with friends or loved ones. Some days I've found it hard to be in my body and others all I wanted to do was touch my body. It is indeed an amazing time to be alive.
It feels like now more than ever we need to have such a level of grace and compassion for ourselves and all those around us.
That being said I feel it's also very important for me acknowledge and share the deep dive I've been immersed in this last year and the path I'm continuing to take. It feels important to further clarify my stance on the topics at hand (if it wasn't understood already) as well as the community I desire to cultivate moving forward. This newsletter is a call IN ~ I hope you will join me!!
Through these last few months I've witnessed a lot of harmful acts in the wellness/spiritual/healing community where folks don't want to bring the current state of affairs into those circles. Where some have felt these topics were "political" and don't have a place in healing communities. Where specifically white practitioners and space holders didn't understand the level of harm that was being done to black, indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) while in their spaces due to their lack of education, understanding and not yet unpacking their white privilege, bias and racism. It was awful to witness, especially the reaction of these practitioners when called out or in to this deeper work.... IN HEALING SPACES. IN TRANSFORMATION SPACES. Is this not what we all are working towards??
And it was humbling. Knowing I had also done some of these things. Knowing I myself had more work to do, more to unpack and more courage to cultivate.
Black Lives Matter.
Black Lives more than matter, they are in fact Sacred.
And this doesn't mean that other lives aren't important, yes all human life is important, but right now black lives are disproportionately at stake... every single day and this is nothing new. It's been happening far too long. My black friends don't feel safe. Every day. It's a stress to leave their homes, watch their children grow to be black men and women. Whats going to happen when they are pulled over by cops? walk down the street? sleep in their own beds? go jogging? imagine what it would like to feel this level of stress, every day, in your body?
The bottom line: this isn't politics ~ we are talking about peoples LIVES being at stake on a daily basis.
I have been on a deep journey this last year and a half learning and studying specifically with/from black, brown and indigenous womxn of color. It is SO important we follow their lead at this time! It is SO important we amplify their voices and their movements at this time. To listen deeply. There is a wellspring of deep wisdom, connection to the earth, rootedness, truth speak, connection to the ancestors and true healing that I rarely witness in ANY white spaces. Including my own. Yes, READ THAT AGAIN.
Here is the deeper awareness and message that keeps landing on my heart:
You cannot be on the healing or transformation journey and NOT do antiracism or personal identity work. These call outs and call ins are actually a soul calling deeper into your humanity. Calling you deeper into your divinity. They are incredible gifts.
Into why you are here on this planet. At this specific time. We are all needed NOW more than ever. With our eyes and hearts wide open. You will unravel truth and more specifically YOUR truth and authenticity. You will realize all the ways this oppressive system we all live in is hurting ALL of us.
AND you cannot do Anti Racism work without also doing your own deep dive on shame, inner child and ancestral healing. Because these are things contributing to reactions, flailing, defensiveness, immobility, more harm and it's keep folks stuck in a spin out.
I know. It's happened to me and it still does sometimes because this journey is that of a lifetime. Will you join me??
With love and infinite gratitude,
Last week when I walked down to the water here in Hoodsport, I was struck by this simple truth: The tides are ever changing. When I left Washington almost three months ago, the tide was high most of time, at least in daylight hours. There wasn't much beach to walk on, but today it extended almost all the way to the floating docks. There was lots of space to wander and sweet little tide pools to explore.
As I stood next to these soft rolling waves another truth struck me: the earth keeps on spinning. This foundation on which we stand ~ while feeling solid it's still moving and it's cycles continue. So I ponder: how do we nourish this foundation within us? Our bodies? While everything is moving and spinning around us?
For me it's reconnecting to my breath. To my physical body. Laying claim to my energy system. Taking the time to deeply and intentionally connect with loved ones through phone or zoom chats. Going to bed early. Walking outside at least once/day. Doing simple exercises each morning. Remembering to eat my breakfast. Taking a shower and dressing for the day. Nurturing my inner child. Create, write, play with art. Limiting my online time, even my phone/computer time. Listening to new music that inspires me. Dancing ~ moving my body! Touching my own body, being fully WITH myself. Taking time for sacred sexual practice. Taking my vitamins. Meditating each morning at least 15 minutes. Drawing an oracle or tarot card. Lighting a candle and taking time for prayers at night.
Literally USING the tools I have gathered over the years. It's funny how the mind can complicate things and talk us out of these simple truths. My ego or pride can sometimes just keep me from stepping in ~ to myself. I am personally learning I can no longer bypass these things. I can no longer push through or put myself on the back burner. I HAVE to listen to my system or I will be taken OUT. I felt this when I was in London and when I returned home. If I bypassed these things I'd feel exhausted, passing out for hours at a time or feel the weight of depression settling in and finding it hard to simply function.
These may seem like simple things, they are... AND they're not. It can be such a challenge not to get pulled into social media, news, fear, depression, stories in our mind, thinking and worrying about all the unknowns, trying our damnedest to figure out solutions ~ all of these being massive energy leaks and depleting our systems. I am NOT saying to force positivity or not feel the full spectrum of what this experience is. What I am saying is:
Find the Balance & Learn to ride the Wave.
Notice where your energy is going. Notice where your mind is going.
Notice what you feel in your body when you're doing something.
Does this nourish or deplete?
Notice if there is any resistance coming up at the thought of simply caring for yourself. For me this has been a powerful inquiry. Then adjust accordingly. If you can.. invite curiosity and playfulness. There is no right or wrong. No should's. And what works for me may not be the things that work for you. It becomes a daily, moment to moment conversation with your body and your nervous system. This is a dance and I'm in right there with you. The learning never ends. I am continually humbled and in awe of this process that's unfolding both within and around us.
We need to have some foundational pieces in place, whatever they may be, even if it's just one. THEN build from there, no matter what your life looks like. To me these speak to nurturing pleasure, creative energy, listening to the internal landscape AND having your basic bodily needs met, something that unfortunately not everyone has access to nor the privilege of time to step in to.
I personally have struggled with these foundational pieces over the years... skipping breakfast, staying up late to watch "one more episode" or finish that last chapter, jumping into the project that I'm wanting to create without allowing it the time to percolate, burning hot and burning out quick, skipping a walk outside to finish something for work, staying in the grind and...
it doesn't work anymore. It honestly never did.
So these are my Five Foundational questions I have been asking myself each day, especially if I feel a little off:
1)Are you hydrated?
2)Are you fed?
3)Are you well rested?
4)Have you moved your body today? walk, dance, exercise?
5)Have you connected with nature?
What are yours? I love you,
This is the book I've been reading by John Bradshaw. I'm only partially through and I will always say when I recommend or mention a book: take what resonates, leave the rest behind although be curious about what is dissonant or what invokes reaction. This book was recommended by a dear friend and it's put many puzzle pieces in place about my childhood, my relationships and a more recent conflict. It seems shame has been binding me for years and fear others finding out my dirty little secret has kept it in place - in fact I've been carrying it with me in the form of a small grey cloud that has been with me ever since I was very young. I never fully understood it but it was a heaviness in my system that felt similar to depression, but I never understood where it came from or what the story was - until now.
I'm going to speak about my childhood, my parents and experiences I've had with different people along my path (no names or specifics). I will do my best to only speak about things that are mine to speak on, my feelings and acknowledging this is only my perspective, there are always two sides to every story and I do NOT wish to shame anyone in return for the shame I felt or feel currently.
This writing and sharing is about ME taking responsibility for ME, not blaming any one or any one situation. I am in fact incredibly grateful for these lessons.
Speaking specifically of my childhood: I've already done a lot of healing with regards to my relationship with my parents and experiences that happened in my youth. As Bradshaw mentions in his book: Unfortunately as children the things that imprint on us the deepest are usually the times when our parents are struggling as well as when their own shame may be coming out based on their belief systems, religion or upbringing. Passing the shame from generation to generation.
For any parents out there currently reading this: YOU ARE AMAZING. Period. I can only imagine the personal trials, challenges, patience, resilience and endurance it takes to raise another being, while you yourself are also growing and changing. Thank you for doing what you do. You are doing the best you can each and every day. For those who are going to one day be parents, myself included, this doesn't mean we need to figure out how to do it perfectly - it's just going to happen anyway, we WILL mess up. We sometimes say and do the wrong things - in any situation. Don't let fear of failure or mistakes bind you. THIS is what I'm unraveling. The power of owning your mistakes and saying your sorry is so powerful to a child.
Speaking of my own parents: I love them both deeply - I hold them with the utmost respect, knowing they provided and loved me in the best way they could with the tools they had and as I've grown I see them more as the humans they are in all their messy brilliance - I can love and cherish that always. I also sincerely appreciate all the other people, lessons and challenges I've had in my life up to this point as they brought me HERE with you.
Part One: Toxic Shame Imprint
There are three main events in my life that triggered this sensation of deep shame. While there have been others when I felt immense shame I'll just speak on these three through a three part series, but it should be noted that all the other major or minor instances in which I've felt shame came bubbling to the surface after this most recent incident. So I felt I was drowning in the shame of my childhood, past failed relationships and present conflicts moving me into a state of near immobilization and isolation. But I didn't fully realize what was happening in my system until I began reading this book and unraveling my own shame story.
In my interpretation of Bradshaw's book, between the ages of 1-3 a child is pushing boundaries, saying no, being defiant and resisting anything and everything. Thus the term "terrible twos". (Please read his book for further definition of the stages of growth in a child). In a toxic shame household the child is being told it is "bad" or "wrong" for simply carrying out this childhood process of growth. Put on top of that conservative religious principles and beliefs of "sparing the rod, spoil the child" or "children should be seen and not heard" as well as the belief of inherit sinfulness we're born into as humans, not to mention women, aka Eve, being the temptress - well it's a toxic shame fest. There is a tampering of any sense of self or identity. Put on top of that the need for children to have healthy mirroring from a parent or caregiver in order to create or feel identity. Then if a parent or caregiver is absent, emotionally detached, unavailable for interaction and/or attention the child is then left with very little sense of self as they grow. The imprint bottom line: there is something wrong or "bad" about you for simply being who you are as a child.
Sometime around the age of 12 or 13, as I was reaching puberty, my father was triggered by something I said or did and had (from my perspective) a verbal/emotional break down. My mother and I became the forced space holders - being told not to speak. Only being able to sit and listen as he unraveled all his fears and concerns about me. Who I was becoming as a person, my character, my spoiled attitude, my disrespect, my lack of being part of the family, etc. Apparently there were other people who voiced concern about this to my father as well - which he mentioned. Essentially he was telling me who and what I was. Then setting some hard rules about working for the family business when I was not in school and my mother no longer being able to buy things, toiletries, etc for me. I'd have to earn my keep so to speak.
I sat for 3 hours listening to this, crying and watching my mother cry in silence. Looking back I can see this scenario with immense compassion for my father. He was clearly very distraught, worried about the integrity of his daughter, her soul and her life. Perhaps even questioning his own actions as a father. I have no doubt some of the things he said were in fact true - that I was being disrespectful and probably ungrateful. I feel immense compassion for my mother, for whatever fear, shame, and guilt she may have felt during and after that situation. I also, and most importantly, feel immense compassion for that young girl who was just being a prepubescent teen, pushing against rules and structure, who was also struggling with depression, being a highly emotional child, empathic and completely lost in her own world as she slowly was shifting into becoming a woman. From my perspective, much of this completely unknown or unrealized by my father or even perhaps my mother - no one asked what I was feeling or struggling with internally before or after this incident. I certainly didn't realize what was happening.
This shame situation imprinted on me that:
1.) There is something inherently wrong with me.
2.) I am a bad person.
3.) I have poor character.
4.) I have a lack of respect and integrity.
5.) Other people know it and see it too - not just my father.
Again imprinting that I am inherently a "bad" person simply for being me, a young teen.
WHEW... yup that's a lot and it's heavy. Take a few deep breaths. Again - no blaming or shaming my parents. This isn't really about them, but me unraveling my own patterns and wounds. Finding the root wound and finding freedom from there.
Needless to say from this point on I held immense anger towards both parents. Feeling completely abandoned and itching to get out of the house ASAP. Internalizing my pain, shame and anger, under which was deep grief and sadness - feeling utterly alone, lost and sure there was something very f*cked up about me. So I spent years covering that "ugly" part of me. Being the nice girl, putting on a smile, listening to everyone else, holding the space, not speaking up much, always holding the fear that if anyone got too close or if anyone REALLY got to know me - they'd see that ugly self, all those things my father said I was and all of my shame. All of this was a pretty sub or unconscious effort.
I moved into being a full on "man hater" so to speak in my late teens and early twenties - it obviously leaked into relationships showing up as resentment and anger towards partners - even without reason. Inevitably choosing men who were emotionally detached and unable to connect similar to my father. Always "needing" from men but never really getting what my heart desired. Nor even ever fully opening my heart to partners. Even in friendships, never fully allowing my true self to come forward. Becoming angry at girl friends because I often felt unseen or heard, not because of them, but because I never fully shared or showed up. Ending friendships because I didn't know how to communicate my needs or even feelings, let alone even knowing what I needed to begin with. Then feeling immense shame for not being a good friend. At one point feeling like I just should not be friends with people because I inevitably hurt them. And the cycle continued in varying ways throughout my twenties and even early thirties.
Even as an adult who has unraveled and healed a lot of this painful past throughout the years, I always felt a weird sense of not wanting people to see "who I really am" - I wasn't even sure why or where it was coming from. I also never really knew fully who I was. I always felt a bit lost and unsure - like I couldn't fully connect to my core essence. Even now it takes everything in me to really feel into what I truly want and who I am in any given moment. I am just now putting together all these puzzle pieces and bringing breath into these unconscious patterns. While sometimes I feels quite terrifying it honestly now feels more like freedom. I know there is a path ahead, which will undoubtedly uncover more but in this moment it feels more exciting than daunting... who AM I? what ARE my deepest desires? what IS my heart longing for? what DO I want in this moment? and the next? who are the people I choose to open my heart to? what will happen when I do? how will this deepen my connection to others and creating community? my curiosity is peaked. Anything feels possible!!
...and in this moment I choose ME.
I choose to open my heart to me.
To really show up for me.
To take off the masks for me.
To let go of the security blanket and facades for me.
To be brave and courageous for me.
To be tender and compassionate for me.
To deepen my self awareness for me.
To love me.
As I am.
Shadows, mistakes, wounds, failures and all.
Because in doing that
I'm also loving the brilliant, radiant, messy, beautiful human that is me.
I have always struggled with the term "self-love". At times it even angered me. It felt like a term just thrown around the spiritual or self help community, sometimes flippantly, but what did it REALLY mean and how do you REALLY feel it in your system??
I feel like I'm finally starting to understand... and FEEL it.
Thank you for witnessing my process. My deepest desire in this moment is that my sharing inspires, invites reflection and/or leads to putting some of your puzzle pieces into place. Part Two of this series will be coming when the time aligns. We will see how this shame fest was triggered later in my life and what led to the ultimate unraveling of this long, twisted pattern and story - placing me on the path to freedom and self actualization.
With deep love and gratitude,
Take a moment.
What does your body feel like in this moment?
What is the first thing you notice?
What does your breath feel like?
I invite you to use your breath and that tactile sensation to connect to this present moment. To connect to the chair or bed you're sitting on.
To come fully into the room you're in.
To come fully IN to your body.
What do you notice now?
Throughout my eight years as a massage therapist. I've noticed one similarity in most of the clients I work with (including myself). We are constantly operating OUT of body. We are in our heads. We are operating in the past or in the future. We are operating within the stories we create. Our energy bodies are OUT of our physical bodies, maybe by a few inches or a few feet. I realized this first hand during an energy session with a local chiropractor a number of years ago, but nothing quite like my experience with tobacco in the jungles of Peru brought me fully and completely IN to my body.
The brain loves loops. A pattern starts and the brain eagerly goes into autopilot. At some point we get stressed, move into fight or flight response and our muscles contract - getting ready to take action or protect. This is incredibly useful during certain situations where finding safety is imperative but what about when that response gets triggered during a stressful day at work? during a hard conversation with a spouse? during a tough time in life when hard decisions need to be made? A death? A birth? Driving to work in traffic? The problem then lies in the fact that we are often stressed (in varying degrees) ALL the time, without even realizing it. The muscles contract and often just stay contracted all the time. A constant feedback loop to the brain. It sometimes isn't until I touch a client and begin a massage that they say:
"Wow, I've been holding my breath!"
"I didn't realize how my sore my neck, back or body was until you touched it."
"I can't or I have a hard time relaxing my body."
Then what do we do with all that build up of stress? What do we do to numb out or disassociate from ourselves? What do we eat or drink? What activities or patterns do we repeat in order to simply cope or survive? To NOT feel what it is to be IN this body? Because it's too uncomfortable, too painful and too overwhelming. And what about all the external stresses all of us in western society deal with on a regular basis due to all the over stimulation of our nervous systems: through social media, obsessive amounts of screen time, news, politics, fear based media, simply NOISE, and so much more. Constant stimulation. Our systems are constantly trying to regulate. Our systems and bodies are also trying to get our attention. Sometimes its a gentle whisper, sometimes a bang over the head.
Are we going to listen?
The humbling thing to admit is: this is me too. Yup, me the massage therapist. Me the Breathwork Facilitator. Me the human. Perhaps you've heard the quote by Richard Bach: "You teach best what you most need to learn."
Over these last two years of my life as I've gone through some major life changes and I've realized first hand how stress builds up and shows up in my system. How it drains my vitality and effects my body in an incredibly tactile way. Even when I don't "feel" stressed, how it's actually still running on autopilot in the background of my system. How pushing myself to be better, do better and know better was in fact even a stress.
In October of 2017 I went into the Amazon jungle of Peru to do a deep personal immersion and work with plant medicines. One of the plants I worked with was Tobacco. This is an incredibly healing and sacred plant for many indigenous cultures. The Shaman we were working with came from a lineage of healers who had a sacred connection with tobacco and started any plant medicine work with a tobacco cleanse.
Our full first morning in the jungle we skipped breakfast and went straight to the Maloca where the ceremony was to take place. The Shaman opened the space, started the ceremony and handed each of us a "World's Best Mom" mug full of a tea which had been made of tobacco leaves, a bit of Nescafe and sugar - which was supposed to help the taste. We were to drink the entire thing! Even in this moment I shudder and cringe to think of the taste and sensation in my body as I gulped it down. I remember feeling proud of myself - I did it! that wasn't so bad. My stomach was turning and my body was responding but it was doable. Then came the second mug full...
Needless to say my body went into a full body purge of EVERYTHING. I could feel things releasing that I had eaten years ago. Not only physical things, but I felt a purging of energies and emotions. I wept. I felt immense fear. My body shook and I went from hot to cold to hot. I had to place my hands under my tail bone to stay fully present and fully IN my body. My mantra was "Be here now". I just kept repeating it over and over. It would have been the perfect time to in fact leave my body - but I stayed. In a way I have never done before. I felt all the ugly, the uncomfortable, the lies and the truth of what I constantly did to myself, to my body, to my being, to my own heart - whether conscious or unconscious throughout my entire life. The ways I pushed myself, forced myself, neglected myself, rejected myself, contained myself and put myself last. I wanted to scream like I'd never screamed before. I felt such a rage and incredible deep grief all in one. What had I done to this sacred body? What was I doing to this temple that houses my spirit?
I could feel the connection/energy of the people and places which cultivated the foods I had eaten throughout my life. The hands through which it had passed. The sun or the rain that had effected that plant. The soil it had been in. The store in which I bought it or the restaurant. The energy of the hands which prepared it. It was overwhelming. And no, there where no psychedelics or additives involved in the ceremony - just tobacco. I felt the immensity of how everything in our environments affects our systems. Sound. Smell. Sight.
At the end of the ceremony the Shaman did an energetic healing with each of us individually then sent us back to our Tambo (the place where we slept). I felt incredibly weak and delirious but I still had contained this scream. As I left the Maloca I spoke with one of the assistants about this need to scream - she encouraged me to leave it with the jungle. I was blessed to be in a Tambo that was nestled deep in the jungle, away from most of the rest of the facility, about 1/4-1/2 a mile away. As I hiked back I felt the weight of my body, my feet on the earth and I screamed... I screamed until my voice was raspy. I felt the jungle listening and holding me. Then I wept like I'd never done before. This was no longer grief but immense joy and connection. I felt free. I felt there was no separation between me and the trees, the plants or even the air around me. Everything was connected. I felt immense love for this beautiful being that was me. It was absolutely incredible. I felt grounded but light as if a huge weight had been lifted. I began singing to the trees as tears began to flow.... this is what it was to feel whole, free and INbodied: an integrated spirit and physical form, connected to all that is in this world we know and beyond.
I am humbled and deeply thankful to Tobacco for this eye and body opening experience.
So where am I at now? Do I have some ideal diet or regimented life style? Do I constantly control my environment and the people I surround myself with? Do I always make the "right" choice?
But I make more aware and aligned choices. My body and spirit will longer "let" me be on autopilot.
The real medicine and journey started when I returned back to my life here in Washington. It was putting into practice what I had learned about my body and my being. It started with being more gentle with ME. Not pushing so hard. Not having such harsh expectations. Making aware and conscious choices instead of simply living in patterns and old routines. If an old pattern comes up and I reach for a numbing mechanism - first ask myself why? do I really want to? and if I go for it. I simply live it. Accept my humanness. Not beat myself up. I notice how my body physically feels throughout my day. I connect to my breath. I speak and listen to my heart more regularly. What is she desiring? What is she trying to share with me? Am I pushing? Am I holding? Am I here.. in this moment?
To me, this is what it is to be INbodied.
It's not about some perfect meditation practice or yoga regiment or workout routine or constantly being happy or eating a perfect diet or doing regular self care. But to simply be here now. Take one step at a time. One breath at a time - consciously and notice the difference. Act with awareness and compassion towards ones self and others. We are all doing the best we can, moment to moment. Day to day. We have a choice every day - how do you want live THIS moment? IN this body?
Just another human finding her way.
It's interesting... I've tried to write this post multiple times this year, but couldn't quite find the words. Now it seems to be time as I reflect on what was happening this exact day last year:
November 29, 2017.
I was on Thanksgiving break, taking a road trip with my brother, Tyler, around the peninsula. This particular day I walked from our Airbnb down to the coffee house in Port Angeles, Washington. When I arrived I decided to call my husband to check in. I remember turning around and seeing this view of the Olympic Mountains.
He proceeded to have one of the most honest conversations with me about his life, struggles and desires. It was a fairly short, simple, yet heart felt share. I felt honored to hear and witness. I thanked him, we hung up. I went in to the coffee shop, got a coffee and muffin, then walked back to the place I was staying.
After checking out, my brother and I drove over to the Elwha River Valley just west of Port Angeles. Neither of us had been there and it was absolutely beautiful! A gushing river, beautiful trees, a waterfall and the light in the sky was magnificent. We noticed the road to go further up the valley was closed, which seemed odd as there wasn't snow around. Tyler and I decided to walk behind the barrier and check it out. About a mile up we were greeted with the most incredible site. The river was raging! It had split into multiple paths and days before had taken everything in it's way. We walked closer, over a remaining bridge and into an area that had clearly been completely covered. The road was buckled and wavy. The mud and silt was thick on everything. The picnic benches were nearly covered. The energy and vibration of that area was tactile. It felt immense and powerful! It was a little unnerving, but we continued walking. The rushing water got louder and seemed to be on all sides of us.
We then realized the road ahead was completely washed out. Gone. Now the river was running through it.
This was the end of the road.
My heart sank.
What I didn't yet share was that this exact same experience had happened TWICE before in the last three days. Once as we were trying to drive to the Staircase Trail head, out by Lake Cushman. Once as we were driving to Port Angeles on 101, past Lake Crescent, (thankfully this had already been on the mend, so we could get across through a narrow makeshift road). And now this was the third complete road wash out.
What is the saying about if you see three signs of similar substance you better be paying attention?? Hmm.. well I do often pay attention when "signs" or synchronicity happens, but I usually take it with a grain of salt. We see what we want to see, yes? Or perhaps it's my inner skeptic. But to those of you who have experienced this, you will know - this was such a visceral sensation in my body. The knowing of change.
Unavoidable, Life altering - Change.
I wasn't 100% sure what or when, but I knew. It was a terrifying, unnerving feeling, the rest of the day I was riddled with anxiety.
Three days later my husband and I came to the mutual decision to get a divorce.
It was December 2, 2017.
To be honest this "change" was one of many that have been happening since 2016. In these last two years my business changed, my clients and friends shifted, my home situation changed, my relationship changed, my relationship to love itself, my connection to myself: my body, my energy, my awareness, my desires have all changed. And I know this period of change is not yet complete. Perhaps it will never be "complete" but this deep shedding, grieving, processing, going to the depths hopefully won't last too much longer. It has been incredibly humbling. Eye opening. Soul expanding. Through this process I've begun coming back home to me, my truest essence, my heart. Finding my authenticity and my truth. All while clearing a bright path for the way forward - shifting the way I show up for myself, my community, my family, my relationships and the world community as a whole.
I've always been a seeker and perhaps I always will be, but in this moment I know I have found what I've been searching for. It's been within me all along. It had just gotten covered by stories and beliefs that weren't mine or ones that I had held on to for safety and no longer served me. It was covered by my efforts to please others for fear of hurting, upsetting or most importantly... not being loved if I followed my own path.
A truth I've struggled with all my life: as a trailblazer and truth seeker you have to be okay with upsetting people or rubbing them the wrong way.
Hello - this is me.
Trailblazer. Lover. Medicine Woman. Light bringer. Light bearer. Traveler both in Earthly & Cosmic plains. Spiritual. Artist. Dancer. Starseed. Empath. Healer. Guide. Earth Warrior & Guardian. Goddess. Truth Seeker. Human. Mother.
I am incredibly grateful for this life, this body, this breath, this never ending soul and this human experience. The challenges, the tears, the grief, the heartache, the loss, and the friends, the family, the unknown ones who assisted me on this path. Whether through support or challenge I'm grateful for them both. For the love, the beauty, the joy, the simplicity, the awe, the magic, the power, and the gifts I've been shown amidst this journey - I am forever thankful.
Change is unavoidable - it is a constant. But when you truly call in life change and take the leap - change is what you get. Perhaps not in the way you dreamed or intended or prayed for it. But it will happen. And it will be the most challenging, heart breaking, beautiful, magical, unexpected and heart expanding thing you do in your entire life. Be ready to surrender. Come to your knees. Pray like you've never prayed before. But you won't regret it.
These are all energy. Energy must go somewhere. Energy doesn't disappear. Even if it's bottled for years - one day it will release. It will move. It will take on forms of its own. So how do you wish you navigate your energy shifts and releases? How do you wish to navigate change? What do you wish to create? Are YOU really ready for your entire life to change?
I humbly ask: Will you join me?
Are you ready to break free from your cocoon? We, humanity, need you to come back home to yourself. To remember why you came here. Now. Not tomorrow or next year or when it's more convenient. This world is burning and drowning around us. Families are being pulled apart. Atrocities on humanity continue to happen. Entire species and ecosystems are completely disappearing. We need change NOW and we all have a part. No matter how big or small. Even the smallest pebble creates a ripple. But you don't have to do it alone. We can go through this transformation TOGETHER.
There is no one way - I definitely do not claim to know your path or have the answers. Raising awareness, being mindful, healing your heart, sharing your gifts and/or shedding light for your own path ahead doesn't mean you have to be spiritual or religious or new age or anything. It's simply about coming back home to YOU. The YOU you were before fear set in, before restriction and "adulthood" set in, before the should's and should not's, before you felt unsafe, before you were told you can't, before you were told you should be something or someone else, before someone else's story became yours. But the YOU you return to will be all that was before and more... because the challenges, wisdom and lessons you've learned along the way. It's like meeting the 2.0 version of yourself!
I know many of you are already in the midst of big or small shifts. If you desire someone to walk with you or to shed some light as needed - I'm here. If you have no idea what I'm taking about, yet you feel led to reach out - I'm here. If this resonates even the smallest amount - I'm here. And I'd be honored to be of service.
I love you,
Terri Lynn Hays
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Ellinor Grace is a Dreamer, Visionary, Creator of Sacred Spaces, Healer, Artist & World Wanderer