Smooth Sailing. Until it’s not.

And then it happened!  I made a Covid 19 memory bigger than toilet paper!  And there was dancing!  And my heart was full!   Yesterday I hosted a social distanced parking lot dance party.  Most of you saw the pics on my FB page.  I am sure there are people who didn’t approve, and that’s ok.  I wasn’t looking for approval.  I was looking for connection.  Friday was a hard day.  Some days are.  I’ve had plenty of down days lately.  I know we all have. Friday was my worst.  I woke up that morning and went downstairs to my fortress of solitude.  I sat on my cushion to meditate, but instead I cried.   I cried a lot.  A thing to know about me is that I am not a crier.  But I couldn’t help it and I couldn’t stop it.  I’m sure it was necessary and I get that crying is good.  I love when my students cry in yoga, and I love when the women in my circles cry.  I’m just not the one to do it.    I was THIS close to jumping on the blog and writing through it, but that seemed like a stupid option.  So instead, I stayed stuck in it.  And I cried.  I haven’t cried like that since September 9th 2018.  I can’t remember why I cried, but I remember that it started at home and continued during the yoga class I went to that morning.  I was hosting a teacher from Florida in the studio and I was in her class, bawling my eyes out the entire time.  Pretty impressive that I have a timeline, right?

This is where I stop to tell on myself.   Because I live my life on social media and share so much from my heart, I was guessing there must be something posted that day to give me a clue as to what that was all about. I had to make the connection back to the date that teacher was here.  A quick search pointed out the date and down the rabbit hole of my activities log for September 2018 and BOOM.  Here it is.  Of course I was crying.  Also,  I was probably due for another good cry on Friday.  2018 was a LONG time ago.  I should cry more.  You know, if I was down to play that “should” game.  I did have a big crying episode on January 1st during sunrise meditation on the beach.  I bawled my eyes out and even pointed it out to my friend who also doesn’t cry.  I was proud of it and wanted to share it with her.  But, that was all gratitude and full heart stuff.  Quite different.  But sooooooo good.  For the record, I am down to cry gratitude tears any time.

The unhappy cry is the crying I have an aversion to.  Back to Friday where I cried for the first time in a L O N G time.  I think every emotion I have experienced over the past 6 weeks caught up to me.  It was a tough day.  After the tears came the anger.  I’m not exactly sure why I was angry, but I suspect it’s easier for me to be angry than it is for me to be sad or fearful or fully feel all the grief that we are collectively feeling.  And by I suspect, I mean that’s definitely it.  This afternoon I talked with a friend on the phone who spun her woo woo therapist magic on that situation.  She pointed out that my inner “kid” likes to get angry and rebel against…….well, she rebels against all kinds of things, but she definitely doesn’t like to cry.   So she gets angry. I knew that being angry around my family for no “real” reason wasn’t going to be helpful, so I stayed in my fortress of solitude.  My husband came down to check on me.  He NEVER comes into my fortress.  Ever.  He asked if I wanted to walk to the beach with him.  We live 15 streets away from the beach and while it’s totally doable, I didn’t want to do it.  I’m not much of a beach walker anyway.  I’m more of a sitter.  My husband isn’t a beach walker either nor is he the kind of guy that wants to walk 15 streets because it’s good for his health.  Bless him.  He wanted to fix me because all of my emotions made him uncomfortable.  He just wanted me to be ok. Because he loves me.   I eventually got past the anger and settled into a nice, comfortable funk.  I stayed there the rest of the day.  Ice cream and music in the bathtub that evening helped, but more than that, sleeping and waking up to a new day was the real trick.   Saturday was the first time I have seen real people outside of my home, not counting the grocery store, in six weeks.  I know I’m not alone in this and that we are ALL right there.  I know that for me and the women who either showed up to dance in their own (appropriately spaced out) circle, or just sit in their car and watch, it was so uplifting.  Dancing for me is ALL about connecting to that inner child.  That girl needed to let loose and have fun.  Saturday was the soulgasm I needed to carry me through another 14 day week. Who knew quarantine days were gonna be 48 hours long?  I’m really looking forward to the day that quarantine and Covid 19 doesn’t come up in my thoughts, in my blog and in every fucking conversation I have.  Today is not that day. Tomorrow is not going to be that day.  This is where we are.  Doing the best we can. Adapting and overcoming.   I had an amazing 10 am writing group Zoom meeting with fabulous women today.  I’m happy to be writing again. For now. Even if it’s just a bunch of rambling.  It feels good for me to connect in this way.  Last week quite a few new readers found my blog.   The toilet paper blog.  People who have never read my blog somehow stumbled onto that one.  I need you to read that again, slowly,  in my southern accent.  People who have never read my blog somehow stumbled onto that one.   What the hell?   I was almost embarrassed.  Almost, but not quite.  I was dealing with too many other emotions to be bothered with embarrassment.  This week is gonna be smooth sailing.  I can feel it.  Until it’s not.  LOL

She is a powerful force

I was having breakfast with my daughter recently.  We were having one of those hard conversations that ended with me telling her that hopefully, one day, she would end up on a therapist’s couch processing that.  She told me she was actually ready to do that now.  I immediately pointed across the street to the office of a local therapist that I recommend to everyone.  I asked her if she wanted me to make an appointment with her or if she preferred to go back to the one she had worked with previously.  She chose the familiar therapist.  I was so excited.  I was excited for her to have support from a professional that I know isn’t going to steer her wrong.  It doesn’t hurt that the therapist she picked is a bad ass, spiritual gangster. I wasn’t exactly sure what she needed support for, and I didn’t need to know.  I was happy that she chose a healthy way to deal with life.   The two of them connected and my daughter went to her first appointment last week.  She texted me that evening and said that she was supposed to “talk to her inner child with compassion.”  I asked her if that had been explained to her.  It had.  It all made sense to her.  Then she asked if I had any books about inner child healing.  I did.  Of course. I got the book to her right away and told her to process it with her therapist.  I was immediately excited for her.  I mean, how amazing to start the inner child healing process at 18 instead of at 40.  Wow.  Then, two minutes later, I was terrified for me.  Because sometimes I still think everything is about me. Inner child healing is all about re-parenting yourself in healthy and loving ways.  In my mind this is going to bring awareness to every mistake I ever made raising my daughter.  And there were A LOT.  My daughter was 12 when I got sober.  I wasn’t a raging alcoholic all of her life, but for a few years of it, I definitely was.  There are so many things I missed because I chose alcohol over my children.  I didn’t see it that way at the time, but today, I do.  There’s a lot of shame in that.  I can have compassion for myself, and I do, but I also realize that I wasn’t there when I should have been.  I was drunk. Then I was in treatment centers for months at a time.  I was in hospitals and psych wards.  I once jumped out of a moving car with my children in the backseat, my husband was driving.  My daughter has told me that one was the worst for her.  The worst one for me was one of the occasions when my husband had taken my liquor away.  I had a bottle hidden away at a friend’s house.  I took off walking down the street. Stomping really.  My daughter was following me and begging me to come home.  She was crying.  In that moment she was standing between me and the most important thing to me. My alcohol.  I turned around and told her to stop following me.  Then.  I told her I hated her.  Fuck.  Fuck.  Fuck.  If there was just ONE thing  I could take back, that is the one.  I would do anything to have a do over on that moment.  Because there is no doubt that no matter how great our relationship is today and how sober I am, that moment will be with her forever.  We have talked about this incident so many times, and she promises me that it’s ok and that she knows I was sick, but nothing about that moment is ok.   This is how alcohol destroys families. We were fortunate to have a lot of love and support from grandparents, friends and other family members through that period. So, yeah, inner child healing work will be good for her.  I didn’t get to be that mom who broke the cycle before I had children.  I am fortunate that I do get to be that mom who shows her children what recovery is. I am truly grateful for that.  I admire my daughter so much.  She is strong and independent in a way that I never was.  I spent years projecting all of my fears onto her.  She isn’t me.  She has shown me that time and time again. She has been successfully adulting since she was 16 years old.  Hell, this child was born responsible. I’m not sure where that comes from. Of course inner child work will be good for her because she grew up so quickly.   I texted her to tell her that she will probably be mad at me and hate me for a while through this work.  She assured me that it will be fine.  I know it will.  It’s not about me anyway and I can’t allow myself to stay stuck in the space of all the things I did wrong.   She is thriving in ways I couldn’t have imagined at 18 years old.  She is on her own journey.  She has been all along.  My job is to love and support her in any way I can.  When I take myself out of her process, I am nothing but excited for her to do this work.  Maybe she gets to be that mother who breaks the cycle by doing the inner work before she has children.  She makes good decisions.  She is capable.  She is a powerful force.  She is amazing in so many ways.  I love watching her grow into all that she is and I am honored to be her mother.  I am convinced we picked each other in another time and place because we have so many lessons to learn from each other.  She teaches me so much.  ♥️

Pure Joy!

I am not here to write about trauma today.  Yay! I am not here to talk about being sober even though that’s always an amazing topic.    I am here today to share what feels like some serious healing.  Three nights ago I dreamed I was getting ready to teach a writing workshop.  I was in a giant building that was obviously NOT my studio.  There were tons of people there.  There was a little kitchen where I went and made myself a cup of coffee.  In the kitchen there was a small child.  A tiny toddler who was probably 18 months old.  She was dancing and she was beautiful.  I walked over to her and put my hands out to her.  She took my hands in her tiny hands and let me dance with her.  She was looking up at me with the biggest smile on her face.   After a few minutes of dancing, I reached down and scooped her up in my arms.  She snuggled into me.  She loved me.   She was beautiful.  She had blonde curls and blue eyes.  I loved this child even though I had no idea who she was.  I carried her around for a while because I just didn’t want to put her down.  She fell asleep in my arms.  I couldn’t stop looking at her and I wasn’t about to put her down.  By this point in the dream, half the people who were there for the workshop I was teaching had left and the other half were restless because I was so late getting to it.  But I didn’t care.  The only thing that was important to me was this child.  I went into the room and taught the workshop as best I could without putting the toddler down.  She slept in my arms the entire time. I’m sure the quality of the workshop suffered, but I didn’t care.  I’ve learned that dreams have messages for me and while this one is super obvious, it took me a few hours after I woke up to understand that she was ME.  It wasn’t until I told a friend about the dream that I understood.  Saying it out loud helped me make the connection.  It felt a lot like some serious healing and it brought tears to my eyes, which doesn’t happen for me often. She was me and I loved her so much.  I could feel that love in my dream and when I woke up I still felt it.  Powerful.   My therapist refers to “the inner child” as that part of us that is untouched and unharmed by outside influences.  The part of us that is pure joy.  That’s exactly who this child was and exactly what I felt while I was holding her.  Pure love.  The exact same love that I feel when I am with my own children.  I am certain it’s the dancing that’s bringing her out.  We danced together in the dream.  I *think* I am getting ready to go a bit deeper into that journey of healing my inner child, but I know that it’s all the play time that connects me to her.  Get ready world because I am about to take a trip to Michael’s and get crafty!  My child wants to create for some reason and I am going to let her!  Should be interesting since I am the least “artistic” person I know.  But, if you know me, you already know that I will put everything I have into it. I will be the craftiest person EVER!  LOL  Get ready to see some shitty art on the internet and tell me it’s beautiful anyway! 😊

All the Feels

I am in that weird space of having a million things to write about and yet nothing comes up for me.  My thoughts are scattered here there and everywhere.  The “problem” is that more and more people are reading my blog and I get in my head about it. Am I oversharing?  Will my readers like this?  The truth that I need to remember is that this blog is for me.  It’s a great tool to look back and see how things are unfolding for me.  So here I go.
Yesterday was such a weird day for me emotionally.  I joked about everyone crying in yoga, and maybe they needed that, but it was me who I was really talking about.  I was on the verge of tears all day.  But they didn’t come.  I have written about repressed memories coming up for me in the past.  And I processed those the best way I could.  I really figured that was it and I was done with that.  Life is great.  Things are flowing my way effortlessly and easily. I AM connected and divinely guided.  So when more shit from my past pops up, it knocks the wind out of me.  Last week I sat on my therapist’s couch with my journal of “all the amazing things” that are going on in my life.  The amazing things are always the things I want to talk about.  When our time was almost up, I blurted out “want to do the therapy now?”  And of course she did, because that’s her job.  I told her that I have had more memories of childhood sexual abuse surfacing.  When she asked me if I could talk about it, I just looked at her and said nothing.  We both chuckled a little and she told me that “was an invitation.”  My response to her was that I obviously couldn’t talk about it.  Because nothing was coming out.  So weird because I do trust this woman so much.  I have spent some time on this and perhaps it’s the office and the couch that get me.  Like “white coat syndrome.”  Maybe I should ask her to sit on the floor with me.  I bet she would.  She’s cool like that.  Since I wouldn’t or couldn’t talk about the memories with her, she offered up some suggestions as to what I could do to move through it.  Dance it out, write it out, yoga it out.  The things she knows I am comfortable with.  The first time, back in the spring, when she suggested “dance it out” I thought she was nuts.  And now, well, we all know how that ended.  What I was looking for was a definitive answer about why this is happening again and when will it end.  The why is simple. She’s explained it before, but she explained it again.   Because I am strong and healthy and have all the support in the world.  And because I have everything I need to look at these things when they come up and then let them go.  The when will it end isn’t as simple.  I read everything I could find about this subject, but there are no concrete answers.  Unfortunately we live in a world where this is fairly common.  I reached out to a friend who I am able to be completely open with and talked to her about it.  She has her own experience with this exact thing.  Which is what I needed more than anything.  Someone who has been where I am.  Someone with personal experience.  This is what I gathered from our conversation.  Something in my present moment experience triggered these memories.  They are there to teach me something.  And I guess as the healthy adult that I am, it’s not really a big deal.  But, it feels like a big deal to me when it happens.  Talking to my friend helped more than anything. She told me there really is no specific end date.  No magic time. Healing is a lifetime process.  More than anything, just knowing that I am not alone in this experience was helpful.  The specifics aren’t important and I don’t need to share with everyone or maybe even anyone.  My plan is simply to honor the path that got me to where I am today.  I keep telling myself to write it down and burn it.  A ritual.  I love ritual.  Not that I have done it yet, but it’s coming.  The gift in this is that it never crosses my mind to hide from it.  It never crosses my mind to numb myself.  What I have done is take 1,000 baths.  Maybe I am subconsciously trying to crawl back into the womb.  Whatever.  It feels good and it soothes me.  The bathtub is where I spent all of my free time when I first got sober.  It’s still a go to when I am emotionally triggered.  And honestly, I have been super sensitive lately.  OR, maybe I AM super sensitive and I have been allowing myself to experience that. I don’t know.   What I do know is that I am human.  A human with ALL THE FEELS who doesn’t have everything figured out and probably never will.  The good news is that I am surrounded by healers and sensitive souls who will hold my hand when I need that.  The reality is that I really do have everything I need already available to me and I can handle whatever comes my way.  So I lean in to the uncomfortable until it passes because I know for sure and certain that joy is waiting for me on the other side.  I AM a warrior.
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She’s Getting Closer

This week I went to see a healer.  There’s a shocker.  I went to see our island witch.  I was expecting some time on her table while she worked her woo woo energy magic on me.  What I got was a guided visualization/meditation, a lot of talking and working through my shit.  Not what I wanted, but exactly what I needed.  Isn’t that how it always works?   In that “getting what I need” what I got was a visit from my inner 3 year old.  At least I think she was three.  I didn’t even mention it during the session because it didn’t seem relevant.    During the guided visualization I was asked to find a pedestal to sit on.  A pedestal of my choice and my design. I tend to go with a giant mushroom because it has an Alice in Wonderland feel to it and Alice is a bad ass.   I was completely safe and comfortable on this pedestal.  Then she brought in a storm.  A tornado began to swirl around me.  A storm of chaos if you will.  I was safe in the center of this tornado and nothing could reach me.  I was asked to just notice what was swirling around me.  I don’t remember exactly what I saw, but when it was over, this sweet little girl came to me.  “To me” might not be exactly right, but she was THERE.  I could see her.  I remember exactly what she was wearing and exactly what she looked like.  She was happy.  She was beautiful.  She was probably the MOST relevant thing that happened during that session, so my choice not to mention it during session means something.  I’m just not sure what.  Perhaps I felt the need to protect her by not talking about her.  As much as I share with the world, some things are just for ME.  And some things are just for me until I am ready to share.  It was suggested to me that I go home and write.  Writing is my process.  All of my healers know this about me.  Guess what I wrote after that session?  Not a fucking thing.   The next day I saw my therapist and shared this information about that little 3 year old with her.  She smiled and said “She’s getting closer.”  I’ve been doing this inner child work for a while now without a lot of success.  And as I type that, I’m not entirely sure that’s true because what would success look like?  My therapist said that little 3 year old is the part of me that is joyful and playful and impulsive.  I prefer the word spontaneous because I think impulsive gets me in trouble.  At least it used to.  But, that’s neither here nor there.  “She’s getting closer.”  I am still trying to figure out exactly what that means.  Is she going to talk to me?  Does she have things to tell me?  What does she want?   My therapist kind of, sort of pointed out (by having me figure out on my own) that this little girl was me at the age I was right before my sexual abuse started. And dear God that session rolled all over the place from that to my drug addiction to the guilt and shame I still carry and back around.   When our time was up she suggested that I go home and write and write and write some more and guess what I wrote?  Not a fucking thing. After that session, with the full moon vibes in effect, I went straight to my studio to DANCE.  Because that is what I needed.  I needed to be in my body.   I needed to connect and I needed to move.  I am not sure what my aversion to writing has been this week, but it’s been strong.  I’m inclined to think that strictly because someone (2 someones) suggested I write, I automatically didn’t.  THAT would be the inner 15 year old that I know all too well.  Even without writing, I have had amazing insights this week.  I have been in 4 different women’s circles in the last 7 days.  Always a great place for me to be.  In one of these circles there was a woman who was surprised to learn that my “dancing career” is just three months old.  In her mind, I had been dancing for a lifetime, since it’s THE thing she sees me share about most.  During our conversation it occurred to me that dancing IS the joyful, playful and spontaneous part of me coming out.  And just maybe this is what’s bringing that little 3 year old closer to me.  In fact, I’m sure it must be.  Dancing has brought about a shift in me that allows me to let my guard down in a way nothing else does. I fully intend to keep at it and bring that little girl home.

There was one circle this week that I had absolutely no intention of going to. It was the same day as my therapy session and I was just done. But there I was. Exactly where I needed to be. The discussion took a turn toward the Patriachal society that we live in and there was (or more likely I felt) an attack towards the women who “allow” this type of behavior by “being whores.” I felt the need to jump in and defend these women. Which I did. My immediate thoughts and my response was that those women were once children who weren’t allowed to say no. Who weren’t allowed to be in control of their own bodies. I know those women. Those women were me. And then it happened. Another woman felt the need to defend “those women.” She opened her mouth and my story fell out. A story of being sexually abused from a young age and learning that’s what love feels like. A woman who was taught from a young age that this kind of attention is good attention. A woman who didn’t know that she didn’t have to give her power away or that she even had the option to live another way. A woman who thought her worth was based on her body. She had never been allowed to say no. It was so powerful, and as I sat there listening to her share exactly what I have never said out loud, all I could do was cry silently on the inside and touch my heart as I nodded my head at her, so she could see and know that I felt her pain. It was so incredible to see her own the ALL of her “story” and give a voice to her own inner child who was never allowed that voice. Equally incredible was the love and support she received from the circle. Nobody shamed her. Everyone witnessed and held her with compassion. Our stories, when shared, have the power to heal. I never doubt that. She reminded me of just how much truth there is in that. I told her that night that I wanted to write about her, without using her name. I asked her permission and made sure she felt ok about it. She responded by saying that I always write about her, I just didn’t know it. Again, blown away by the power of our stories and the connections we all share. I write to heal my own self and in doing so sometimes I help others along the way. The best.

In September I was in a circle with this same woman. That night we ended the circle with a little bit of dancing. She stood in that circle and said she would absolutely NOT be doing that. She even told us she might sway her hips a bit, but that would be the extent of it. A week later she showed up at the studio for ecstatic dance. She pushed past that fear and she has been dancing ever since. Four separate events in just over a month. I am pretty sure it’s her new favorite thing too! What I know is that she has connected to her inner child through dancing. That’s exactly why she loves it so much. Another shared connection with this woman. What a gift she has been to me this week. She has helped me sort out and make sense of some of my own shit. She’s a mirror. A teacher. I am grateful for her strength, her courage and her presence in my life.

My Voice

Warning. I fully intend to talk about monster phlegm today. If you are tired of hearing about my monster phlegm or have an aversion to the term, this post might not be for you. Here we go. Last week I hosted a moon circle. Like I do. It was fabulous as they all are in their own way. During the circle I was leading a guided meditation. I don’t practice or have a script, I just lead from my heart. I let spirit flow through me. Sometimes it’s smoother than others. This particular evening was extremely smooth. I was connected and divinely guided. I led everyone out of their heads and into their hearts. I asked them to drop the protective walls that we put in place and just allow themselves to FEEL whatever is in their hearts. For the first time, maybe ever, I felt my wall drop and I sat in that circle feeling wide open and vulnerable. It felt really good and as I noticed it, my throat suddenly closed up and I had an attack of “monster phlegm.” This is never a good thing when leading meditation because the next few seconds are spent clearing my throat loudly. It sucks, but I’m human. I was well aware that there was a connection to what I was feeling and that sudden attack to my throat, but the circle wasn’t the place to figure all of that out.  Or maybe it was and I just didn’t. And then I kind of let it go and moved on. Then, on Wednesday, it happened again. This time I was with my therapist who I trust completely. She said something I didn’t necessarily want to hear and my heart got hurt a little. Immediately, my throat was attacked by monster phlegm. This woman is smart.  She asked me what I wasn’t saying. Because she knew. I acted like a 5 year old and said “nothing.’ She asked me to go into my body and feel what was there. Again, I acted like a 5 year old and said “nothing is there, and there’s nothing I’m not saying.” I hate that I did that. The reality is that there was something I wasn’t saying and I knew my heart hurt. I wasn’t ready to talk about it and she completely respected that and gave me the space I needed.  I was so aggravated with myself on the drive home and for the rest of the evening for not being better at expressing myself.  I am my own worst critic and I can still be harsh with myself at times.  I did send her a text to tell her the thing I wouldn’t say while I was on her couch, which made me feel better, but the whole choking in the moment episode really bothered me. I was determined to love myself a little harder the next day. I called a friend who is an amazing healer and told her about the two instances of monster phlegm. She completely understood and explained it to me so simply. Simple if you are into chakras that is. I happen to be into chakras. Our Sacral Chakra is our center for emotions. When I supress emotions (which is always), it manifests in my throat. The two chakras are connected. I am blocked from speaking my truth because somewhere along the way, I received the message that it’s not safe for me to express my emotions. This is why I suppress my emotions in the first place. Makes perfect sense. I took my new knowledge and went to my Artist’s Way group. I shared this knowledge with them and when I had a monster phlegm attack and couldn’t share some of the triggering things I had written for the course, they understood and loved me just the same. The beauty of this Artist’s Way course is that it’s connecting me to my happy inner child.  Almost everything that comes up as I remember her is the joyful stuff.  This particular exercise that triggered me was a letter from my 8 year old self to my today self. My 8 year old had a lot to say, but the one thing she really wanted me to hear was “Find our voice.” With all the trouble I have had with that this week, it broke my heart. After the group I went to lunch with two friends. I dissociated a few times during lunch and they kept bringing me back. That’s the awesome thing about hanging out with people in recovery. They never even batted an eye or acted like it was a big deal at all. I guess it wasn’t really a big deal, but I did think I was past that. I was hoping so anyway. It bothered me to be in that space and to have people notice it.  I taught yoga after lunch and it put me right back in my body. Always a good place to be. Friday I got over myself and decided to love myself even harder. I accepted that this is just where I am right now and it’s REALLY not that big of a deal. I spent the day with a friend doing awesome things and spent the evening ecstatic dancing in my studio with people I love. So much fun and such a healthy way for me to move emotions through my body.  Saturday morning I taught an 8 am class. I had everyone in class pull an oracle card. My card hit me right in the feels. “As I express my thoughts, feelings and ideas, they are welcomed and easily comprehended by others.” BOOM. And just because I am not constantly “working on myself,” I rested like a boss the rest of the day.  This morning I went to yoga church and an amazing thing happened. I found my voice. I was able to speak up and speak my truth when I knew I needed to. Confidently. With no monster phlegm. Wouldn’t it be nice if this was all behind me now and everyday for the rest of my life I could easily express my emotions. The reality is that I have this beautiful new awareness and something to practice. It will get easier and I WILL find my voice. It might not happen this week, but it will happen. Awareness is everything.  It IS safe for me to experience AND express my emotions.

Dancing is my favorite thing. This week.

With all the inner child work I have been doing, I forget that child wants to play. This week I let her do just that. On Sunday, I met up with friends and danced at the Buddhist temple. At least for a bit. On Tuesday I played on the beach, chanting, singing and not giving a fuck what anyone thought. I’ve been busy levitating everywhere. That’s really fun to do. Wednesday I locked the studio and had the BEST solo dance party ever. That’s really what I came here to write about. Who knew dance could be so healing? Except, my dance teacher friends and therapist friends. I know they knew. I always did love to dance. When I was drinking. I stopped dancing when I stopped drinking. The dancing stopped because the going out to bars and clubs stopped. The parties on my top deck stopped. It never occurred to me to have a sober dance party in my living room. Until recently. Living room dance parties have been a thing for me all summer long. And the singing! LOL My husband told me last week that all I do is sing and dance these days. How freaking awesome is that? Of course, he’s wrong, but I do A LOT of singing and dancing. Pure joy. That’s my inner child at play. I told the Universe (and my friends) that I wanted to dance and guess what happened? All the dancing. All the time. The Rebel Soul schedule is FULL of all kinds of dancing! Ecstatic Dance. Belly Dancing. Dancing Mindfulness. Qoya. I’m guessing you’ve never heard of Qoya, because I hadn’t either. Let me tell you, I love it already and I haven’t even tried it. Tonight I am leading a moon circle and you can bet your ass that we will be dancing. I have always known that movement heals. It wasn’t until I took a trauma informed yoga training in January that I understood why. Then I read “The Body Keeps the Score” and just WOW. Mind Blown. Really. Then, because I am who I am, I read everything I could find on healing trauma through movement. I struggled to get sober and I’ve known since day one that I needed more than just a 12 step program. 12 Step programs are great and I am in no way knocking them. 12 step programs do a great job addressing the mind and spirit piece, but they don’t address the body. We are whole beings. Mind, body and spirit. To truly heal, we have to address these all. My yoga journey began in a treatment center. Most of you know how much I hated yoga in the beginning. Maybe for the first year. Nobody explained to me why it made me cry, and if they did, I wasn’t listening. I just know that I hated crying in front of people and I felt like such a freak. I thought something was truly wrong with me. Today I understand that I was releasing years of trauma and emotions that were locked in my body. It all came flooding out in tears and anger and sadness and even rage that I didn’t know what to do with. So I sat with it. Holy shit did I sit with it. In reading an old blog post, I realized that this was the beginning of repressed memories resurfacing for me. Only I wasn’t ready to deal with them back then, so I filed them away and completely forgot they were there. Aren’t humans fascinating? I live in my head way more than I probably “should.” My therapist reminds me every week to try to feel my way through things. You might assume I would be good at that by now as much as I practice and TEACH yoga and meditation, but it’s not my natural state. I am forever trying to figure everything out in my mind. And honestly, sometimes I get busy and forget to get on my mat and drop into my body. Dancing has been a great way to do just that and it’s a nice compliment to all of my other practices. Plus, it’s FUN. When I said I had a dance party on Wednesday, what I really mean is that I experienced myself from the inside out through movement and music. A personal Dancing Mindfulness practice. I closed my eyes and connected to my breath. I witnessed my mind and let go of judgement. You feel me meditators? Then I began to move to the music. The intention was to stay focused on my breath and my body and for the most part I was able to do that. Emotions came up and I was able to move them through my body by feeling them rather than thinking about them. It was very similar to the way yoga works for me, but it was dance. No alignment. No sequence. I danced for two hours with a few breaks when I needed to rest. In no way did I solve all the worlds problems, but I had peace, clarity and serenity when I was through. So beautiful.

Also, hair flipping and booty shaking fucking rocks.

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It’s always about the inner child.

This week in the “I went to a healer and this is what happened” saga. I have been seeing an Integrative Energy Medicine Therapist for a while now. I find it’s a nice compliment to therapy. I call her an energy healer, but she’s all the things. She’s very loving and sweet. She’s also a Shaman. She’s one of the few healers in my community that I didn’t really know before I started sessions with her. Which is exactly why I picked her. It has taken me a while to get comfortable with her. I’m mostly there. As open as I am when I am writing, or even in a circle (if I am leading), I am actually quite guarded one on one. I even notice it with my therapist when we talk about uncomfortable things and I trust her completely. This week I had a Soul Retrieval session. I was online reading all the cool things that Shamans do, looking for the next new thing that is going to heal me when I came upon an article about Soul Retrieval. What I read wasn’t exactly what I experienced, but what I experienced was incredible. I was expecting to lie on the table while this healer did all of her woo-woo magic and brought back every little piece of my soul that escaped each and every time I dissociated throughout my life. Again I was surprised that it really wasn’t woo-woo at all. Maybe slightly, depending on the world you live in and how open you are. I’m wide open. Rather than her doing a bunch of magic while I relaxed, we started with a seated, guided meditation. She spent a long time guiding me through each of my chakras. This particular woman has an amazing ability to guide me into that sweet space between sleep and consciousness. I love it there. It feels like sleeping while I’m awake. Maybe that’s her woo woo magic! After that I did get onto the table where I am sure she put some crystals on and around me. Then the magic happened. Not really, but kind of. She guided me back to the memory of little girl me. The inner child that I have always felt so disconnected from. The little girl who was full of joy and light. The little girl who was whole. From there we moved on to the moment things changed and that little girl became “broken.” I was there with that little girl in that first moment she gave her power away. I was able to connect with her, hold her, love her and nurture her. I was able to tell her that she was not broken. I was able to be there for her and give her what she needed in that moment. It was quite powerful. I was able to do all of this without being verbal throughout the process. She held the space and guided me while I did what I needed to do. The whole experience was beautiful. I went to an inner child healing workshop two weeks ago hoping for an experience like this, but it didn’t happen for me. Funny that I wasn’t expecting to connect with my inner child during this experience and the entire session was just that. Two and a half hours of just that. We get what we need exactly when we need it and I guess two weeks ago wasn’t my time. Ultimately what I got from my Soul Retrieval session is the understanding that whether or not I picked the specific circumstances to learn the lessons I’ve learned in this life, they are the lessons I needed to learn. I am here to share and teach and I have always had everything I need right inside of me. I am a seeker and a searcher and I have been looking for the person who would wave that magic wand to make me what I already am. WHOLE. I keep getting directed back to this again and again. I teach this regularly. I KNOW it in my head and just maybe it is starting to sink in to my heart.
One more little tidbit of information that I want to share, because I find it fascinating. Most of you know that I am facilitating an Artist’s Way group. I am doing this because I need the accountability of a group to finish it. Never have I ever made it past week nine on my own. A friend recently asked me what week nine is about. Why do I jump ship at week nine? I honestly had no idea, nor had it ever occurred to me that there might be a reason I couldn’t get past that week. Each week has a theme. I peeked ahead in the book. Week 9 “We will undertake healing the shame of past failures. We will gain compasssion as we reparent the frightened artist child.” Mind. Blown. Everything keeps coming back to the inner child.

Honoring ME

I saw a Facebook status yesterday that read “Living in process opens you up to constantly seeing connections.” I loved that so much and it resonated with me in the biggest way. My therapist recently said to me that she “loves how I continue to process hours after our session.”  That statement made me laugh so hard, because my life is a constant state of processing. I live there.  It’s the air I breathe.  I love it. I am my favorite project. I spent so much of my life asleep and numb and if I’m honest, blacked out that I love being awake and living with awareness. I love learning about myself and how I work. That’s why I spend so much time “working on myself.’ Not because I am so fucked up. Because I’m not. Most of the time, I am pretty happy with myself. This week I had three separate healing sessions. Because if one is good, three is better. I am wired to be ALL in or ALL out. I know that about me and I’m good with it.  There are others out there. I am NOT the only one. As always, I had a therapy session. My therapist is a spiritual gangster. I got my weekly dose of “where spirituality meets psychology.” My favorite. On Friday, I had a “practice” LifeLine session with a friend of mine who is studying to be a practitioner. I know a few LifeLine practitioners and I LOVE them ALL. But, I wasn’t sure it would be for me. I am always resistant to the unknown. It seemed a little too Woo Woo for me and I had my doubts. But, since I love and trust my friend, I went in with an open mind and an open heart. I didn’t investigate it at all before I went and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Which isn’t like me at all, because I am all about doing the research. I was a complete LifeLine virgin. And I loved it! She hit on some things that blew my mind. And, she did it through kinesiology which is science, not Woo Woo. Who knew?  LifeLine also focuses on aspects of Chinese Medicine, aromatherapy, epigenetics, EMDR, which we all know I’m the best at 😉 and tons of other really cool techniques. I’m guessing most of you are also unfamiliar with the process. You can check it out here.  I also went to an inner child healing workshop this weekend. Inner child healing is something I’ve been working on for a while now and it’s another thing I don’t seem to be the “best” at. Yet. Probably because I disconnected from that child. All of those little children. I went to this workshop on the down low, without telling people and kept it a “super secret” so I could have that space for myself without anyone I know being a part of the group. Wouldn’t you know when I pulled into that parking lot and stepped one foot out of my car, I heard my name being called. There are no super secrets in the healing community. And I hope this woman got what she needed out of this group. My jury is still out. But, I did spend the last two nights with some serious dreaming going on. Or, processing in my sleep, because that’s what it really was. So, maybe I got something from the group. This week I am going to take that child to play. Because she needs that. I had a mini melt down last week. It could have been the full moon/eclipse energy combined with all the celestial happenings. It could have been the PMS I was experiencing. It could have been that I was tired from the bazillion things I do. OR, it could have been that they all hit at once and I was just DONE. Only I wasn’t done because I had things to do. I know we have all been there. We push ourselves and we go and go. At least I do. Until I don’t. Which is exactly where I am. I took a day off to look at my schedule and made a few changes. I am cancelling my Monday and Wednesday 8 am classes so I can have those mornings for myself.  I’ve been on the fence about that for a while now, and I realize it was my soul telling me to let them go. Only I wasn’t listening. If you practice in the studio with me, be on the lookout for those schedule changes. I am down to 6 classes a week and I feel so good about that. I feel good about knowing what I need and honoring that. I have plenty of classes on the schedule and amazing teachers who love being there as much as I do. It’s a great feeling to know what I need and to be able to give that to myself. That comes from a lot of practice and doing the work. That comes from being mindful and intentional. Maybe next time I won’t even have to have the mini meltdown and eventually I will just listen to my soul as soon as I hear the whisper.  Before it yells at me. Practice!

Owning It

I have no intention of spending my entire adult life healing from my past, but I do have every intention of doing the work as thoroughly and deeply as I can for as long as it takes because I AM worth it. In the rooms of AA I have often heard it said that at 5 years the “real work” starts. I have to assume that means 5 years is around the time people start figuring out what the Hell happened in their lives to cause them to seek solace in a substance to begin with. There are those who strictly feel that nothing happened and they were born with the gene. That may be true for them. I am certain I was born with that gene. My family is full of alcoholics and addicts. Throw some “complex trauma” into the mix and I really didn’t stand a chance. Gene or no gene. As many times as I have been in therapy in my life, never have I ever addressed that complex trauma. Until recently. The complex trauma I am referring to is ongoing childhood sexual abuse. Things that were never my fault, but affected me for a lifetime. I’ve eluded to it here before but never came right out with the words. Because they are hard words to write about. I know the statistics, and I know that I am NOT the only one. Not even close. I am not writing about it for sympathy, I am writing about it because sharing my truth with the world is the best thing I can do for ME. I won’t go into details, but I will say that it seemed to me like I grew up with a stamp on my head indicating that I was the one to be used in this way. I was the one. It was OK to do these things to me. And I always wondered why. I thought something was wrong with me. I KNEW something was wrong with me. Today I know that this is just the way it goes with a child who has been sexually abused. We are either stuck in the vibration of being a victim or our body language changes in such a way that we are an easy target. And it happens again and again. To so many children. I’ve always been resistant to processing it in therapy, because I am an adult and these were things from my childhood. It seemed silly for me to go back and dig shit up. Especially since I didn’t necessarily think it was still affecting me. But, then those repressed memories started flooding back and I really had no choice. I have talked about EMDR therapy before and the fact that I suck at it. I wish I could process that way, because it seems like a quicker solution to me. I always say I suck at EMDR, but the reality is that I don’t suck at it, I just don’t seem to process that way. I happen to be really good at psychodynamic therapy. Maybe I’m even the best at it. Because that’s important. 😉 Two weeks ago my therapist and I were talking about some things that were “heavy.” That’s the only way I can describe how it feels to process those events. It feels like heavy energy weighing down on me. It’s shame. I know that today. I still have a lot of shame associated with that abuse. Intellectually, I KNOW that it’s not mine to carry and that I didn’t do anything wrong, but emotionally, it’s still there. Sometimes more so than others. This was one of those days. I left her office feeling bad about myself. I didn’t share that with her at the time. I drove myself straight to the tattoo shop. I just knew I needed a new tattoo right then and there. I was so disappointed when the tattoo shop was closed. This ended up being a blessing in disguise. I didn’t see it at that moment. It gave me an opportunity to figure out exactly what that need was about. At first I thought it meant I felt the need to hurt myself. But, now I realize that I just wanted to feel something different than what I was feeling. I have spent a lifetime wanting to feel something different than I was feeling. I am in no way against getting more tattoos, but I do realize impulsivity is something I need to be aware of. I really thought I was past that need to escape and I was good to go with “sitting with my feelings.” That experience was an eye opener for me and a reminder of what recovery is all about. It’s about healing on every level. It’s about being with uncomfortable experiences and staying present. I am not sure when those feelings of shame go away. I have read every Brené Brown book. I have read John Bradshaw’s books. I have a full understanding of how shame works. I just haven’t quite figured out how to completely move past it. I do all the reading, writing, meditating, energy work, therapy and body work. It isn’t a feeling that’s constantly there. But, when it hits, it hits hard as feelings of unworthiness. That’s a feeling that’s hard to sit with. I’ve heard the phrase “feelings aren’t facts” and it rings true here. I am worthy, simply because I AM. My hope is that sharing my truth is a step toward letting go of shame and a step toward empowerment. Empowerment is where it’s at.