In 2018 I chose the word “learn” as my one word mantra. This has been my year to learn on so many levels. With all of that learning came a lot of leveling up. This was my year of cacao, kirtan and dancing. Opening my heart more, connecting to something greater than myself and being FREE. This was my year of the inner child. Listening to her and helping her feel safe. This was my writing year. So. Much. Writing. A year of finding my voice. A work in progress, but I have made giant leaps. This has been a year of healing old wounds. An ongoing process I am sure. This is the year I learned that I am an artist simply because I allow the creator to create through me. I am always creating. This was my year of connection and community. I have a full understanding of how important community really is. This is the year I learned to truly get out of my own way and stop doubting myself all the time. My year of listening to my intuition which doesn’t seem to steer me wrong. This is the year I allowed myself to show up and be seen in my ALL of it. This has been a powerful year full of learning and lessons simply because I was paying attention. A year of soul growth. The year my faith grew by leaps and bounds. A beautiful year. A difficult year. This is the year of learning to love some people from afar. Boundaries. Something I am still learning about. Most of my big learning moments are right here on this blog and I can see the growth this year brought. Writing has connected me to some amazing people this year who have reached out to me as they began their own “journey to wholeness.” A testament to how powerful our stories are. People are seeking connection and community. I love to watch people grow. I suspect a lot of you love to witness my growth. People are mostly good I think. Sometimes I think my world isn’t actually reality because it’s so magical and full of so many loving and supportive people. Healers of all kinds and spiritual seekers. People who always strive to be the best version of themselves. But it IS my reality and I have worked hard to build that reality for myself. Also, I am deserving of all the blessings that flow my way. I’m not sure I believed that on this day last year, and it is still kind of hard to say out loud, but I believe it. What’s even more special is that I get to share so much with so many. That’s the true gift. My heart is overflowing with gratitude this morning. I will be carrying all the lessons, all the growth and all the gratitude with me into the new year. And I will build on that. New Years is my favorite! I thought long and hard about what my one word would be for 2019. Last week as I was making vision boards with a friend, it became crystal clear to me that my word is “Allow.” Not in a passive or weak way, but as a spiritual practice. There’s not a thing wrong with having a vision, but what I know is that when I ALLOW the creator to create through me, anything I want to manifest, create or experience will show up in my life as it is meant to. I allow things to happen without having to control and manipulate people and situations. When I can do this, the Universe always delivers something more amazing than I could have planned. 2019 is going to rock. 💥
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
5 Sober Years
I love when people reach out to me after reading my blog or a particular social media post that I have written. I love when people connect to my words. Last week I wrote THIS post full of “classic one liners” from my old therapist. A few days later I received this text that’s too good not to share. I saved this screenshot because it’s THAT awesome and I laugh so hard every time I read it. It’s become a mantra for me this week. I often tell my children when they are leaving, “make good choices.” Well, “don’t fuck the monks” has played on repeat in my mind since I received that text. It’s the same. But different. It’s “Make good choices” for grown ups. I laugh so hard at the shit that goes through my head. I even told my therapist “don’t fuck the monks” last week as I walked out of her office. She loved that so much. I mean, how could she NOT?
All that silliness aside.
I didn’t write yesterday because I was too exhausted from all of the exciting things happening in the studio and in my life. There is always something new and exciting coming my way and some days it’s just too much and I crash. Which is what I needed yesterday. And I allowed myself to do that. At the beach.
Last week was an amazing week in the life of me. I turned 5 years sober 6 days ago. There was no parade, but you probably saw the sparkly medallion on social media. What a ride that’s been. Each year I look back and each year gets better. Year one was all about not drinking. Anything extra I learned was a bonus. Each and every day I practiced not picking up a drink and that was enough. Yes, I meditated and practiced yoga, but the NOT DRINKING was where all of my focus was. Those other things were simply ways to pass the time and carry me through the day sober. I’m sure there was plenty of growth involved, but I wasn’t feeling it. During my second sober year, I began the journey of becoming comfortable in my skin. I learned how to properly love and care for myself. I had no idea how good I could feel. During that year I learned how to fuel my body with nutritious foods. I kicked up my yoga a notch and began to move my body in new ways. I always assumed that since I wasn’t overweight, the whole exercise thing didn’t apply to me. Who knew that Dr’s weren’t just being assholes by suggesting exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. This girl LOVES some endorphins! Early in my third year of sobriety, I completed my yoga teacher training. Sobriety introduced me to something I was more passionate about than drinking. I decided I needed to share that. I found my light and my purpose. Not that my purpose is to be the greatest yoga teacher the world has ever seen, because that is definitely NOT it. But my purpose is absolutely to help others heal. Teaching yoga has been a launchpad out into the world of helping others find their own light. Year 4 was my Rebel Soul year! The best year yet. I opened the studio on November 6th 2017. I spent my 4th sober year growing community and growing ME. I entered therapy (again) last year in November. Just a few days before I opened the studio. This time I entered therapy as a strong, sober and healthy woman who wanted support through my journey. And damn. There was a lot more to work through than I ever imagined. From what I can tell, “working through shit,” is a never ending part of life. That weekly session has been a great resource for me. I have grown more this past year than any previous year. On EVERY level. This is the year I learned to sing and dance and pray with my words. That little yoga studio of mine is such a safe space for me to try ALL THE THINGS that bring about a deeper level of healing for me and my community. So freaking amazing. To say that I am grateful for my sober life is an understatement. I talked to my AA sponsor on Saturday and shared with her how magical my life is and how I am in love with every minute of it. She reminded me of a time, that first year, when she and others were just trying to convince me that things would get better if I stayed sober. All I wanted in those days was for my life to not suck. That was it. I wasn’t asking for joy or magic or anything great. I just wanted my life to not suck so bad. Never could I ever have imagined that not only would my life not suck but that I would be happy and that I would wake up excited about life every day. And really, it happened in such a big way and it happened so quickly. One skillful choice after another. In AA they call it “doing the next right thing” however, in my mind it will forever be “not fucking the monks” one day at a time. You’re welcome. 😂 If I can do it, anyone can. I promise.
Everything is a Practice.
I have landed on a consistent, weekly writing practice. I say practice, because that’s exactly what it is. The more I show up and do it, the better I get at it. Like everything else. Everything is a practice. That phrase used to piss me off like no other when my therapist would say it to me. Because I couldn’t understand what she meant. I would come to her freaking out about one thing or another and her words to me would be “Remember, everything is a practice.” I am sure my practice at the time was to yell “What the fuck does that even mean?!” at her. She was very patient. Or she wasn’t and she just had really good boundaries and a strong sense of self. I am guessing it’s the latter. My consistent writing practice has been taking place on Sunday mornings as of late, and even though I didn’t write this morning, here I am, showing up for myself. I didn’t write this morning because I went to yoga church instead. Yoga Church is the practice that grounds and centers me for my week ahead like nothing else. It connects me to my past and roots me in my present. The same therapist who taught me that “everything is a practice” is my Yoga Church teacher. If you are familiar with my story, you already know I had a love/hate relationship with this woman. I could always count on her to call me on my bullshit like no one ever had. And I hated her for it. But I paid her good money to (in my mind) be mean to me every week. The reality is that she was honest with me in a way nobody else would be. She didn’t sugar coat the truth and wrap it in a pretty package either. I would have certainly preferred that. I have a head full of her “classic one liners” that were both absurd and hilarious. But spot on too. Nothing is hilarious unless there’s a bit of truth to it. When I first started going to the Buddhist Temple to look for peace and clarity, I mentioned this to her. She looked at me without batting an eye and said “Please don’t fuck the monks.” In my mind that was absurd, but in reality, I understood why she would say that to me. The me I was on that day anyway. I am sure I wasn’t even truly offended until I got in my car to leave and I am equally sure I called her and let her know how awful I thought she was. That was the standard procedure. I would spend an hour on her couch. She would piss me off. I would think about it on my drive home and upon my arrival I would call her and complain to her. About her. Or I would call her in the middle of the night, on the office emergency line if need be, because I needed something. Her.
I needed her.
During the time she was my therapist, I landed in a psychiatric hospital. I was allowed to make phone calls and I called her.
Because I needed her.
She reminded me to “practice my skills.” She was referring to the communication, emotion regulation, distress tolerance and mindfulness skills that I had been learning in my DBT Group. It seemed a little late for me to practice those skills since I was already in the hospital, but I went with it. I practiced my skills and did what I needed to do to get out of the hospital. But I stopped practicing when I got out. I was an emotional wreck, fueled by alcohol. Within a few months, I landed back in the psychiatric hospital. And I called her.
Because I needed her.
She reminded me to “practice my skills.” “Everything is a practice” she said. I was so pissed because nothing about anything seemed like a practice to me. This was my LIFE and I was losing. I screamed into the phone “what the fuck does that even mean?!” She simply repeated that it’s all a practice. Life is a practice. I hung up on her. I practiced my skills, did what I needed to do and got out of that hospital. But when I got home, I stopped practicing. Again, I was an emotional wreck, fueled by alcohol. A month or two later, I ended up in a psychiatric hospital. Again. This time I was committed on an involuntary basis. This was a different hospital. This was a hospital where the steel doors were kept locked and I couldn’t leave if I wanted to. I was “a danger to myself and others.” I saw what real mental illness looks like in this hospital. I was terrified. I called my therapist.
Because I needed her.
She did not tell me to practice my skills. She did not remind me that everything is a practice. She said “Oh. You’re in the Ha Ha Hospital. Why are you calling me?” This was not the response I was expecting and I honestly didn’t know why I was calling her.
I just knew I needed her.
She told me there wasn’t a thing she could do for me. I told her bye and we hung up. She was right. There wasn’t a thing she could do for me. There wasn’t a thing anyone could do for me. I did what I needed to do to survive that hospital. It wasn’t a pleasant experience. Locked up. Terrified. I practiced my skills. I was there for 10 days. I was released from that hospital and eventually I started to “practice my skills” on a more consistent basis. I wish I could say this is the moment I got sober, but it’s not. It took more terrifying experiences to make me understand that alcohol was not helping me and was, in fact, destroying my life and killing me. It was destroying all the things I loved as well. I went back to therapy, and eventually I did get sober. When I rooted myself firmly in AA, that therapist let me go. She had given me all the tools I needed. She had pointed me in the direction of a skillful path. It was my turn to do the work. I was terrified.
And I needed her.
But I knew, it was time. I began the long, difficult process of becoming a sober person. And it sucked. So bad. I kept in occassional contact with that therapist just to let her know my progress and make sure she was still there.
Because I needed her.
Eventually, I needed her less and less, but she was always there when I emailed her, and that helped me let her go. I got sober. I grew. My life changed. Our relationship changed. I don’t need her today, but I am grateful for her presence in my life. She has been a wonderful teacher to me in so many ways. She gave me what I needed at the time even though it was never what I wanted. Today in “yoga church” as she was giving a dharma talk, she made a reference to a scientist who was so ahead of his time, that he was thought to be crazy. Isn’t that always the way it is with scientists? She told the class how this particular man “ended up in the ha ha hospital.” I laughed out loud and flashed straight back to the day she said that to me. I remembered exactly the way it felt and the person I was back then. But then I came right back to the present moment. I sat up a little straighter and beamed a little brighter because I am NOT that person today. That one little phrase made my practice that much sweeter. That one little phrase reminded me why I was there. I was there to practice. Everything we do is a practice.
I AM a channel
This morning I found myself reading bible quotes on the internet. This is NOT how I usually spend my mornings and if I am honest, it made me laugh a little. At myself and my openness. I call that smiling out loud. Earlier this week I heard myself use the phrase “I am a channel.” I know I am a channel although I didn’t know exactly what that meant when I said it. This morning I have a full understanding of what that means. It means I am a channel, not a reservoir. This is what I learned from the internet bible. “If you sow abundantly with a good (cheerful) attitude, then God will bless you. Why? So that you can bless others. Being a channel for God’s blessings means passing them on to others.” That doesn’t exactly sound like a direct quote from the bible to me, but I’m not willing to go dig and I am happy with what the internet has to say about being a channel. Makes perfect sense. I am well aware that one of my gifts is my enthusiasm. Remember? Enthusiasm means to be filled with God. I am FULL of enthusiasm and love nothing more than to drag others into that space with me. And I have this wonderful internet platform to do just that. I always think the internet version of me is “my best self.” People love internet me. I have pretty yoga photos and the best inspirational quotes. I can (and I will) write an entire bog about that one day. Back to being a channel. People connect to me and to my words. It’s truly a gift and I am grateful. I am always amazed at the people who reach out to me and ask me about my”story” and about recovery. I am always willing to spend time sharing my “how it works.” Everyone’s version of “how it works” is different, but I can tell you this. Pick a path and STAY on it. The path doesn’t matter and there are a million ways to the top of the mountain. My path seems to be constantly changing and evolving as I grow. There are some constants that keep me grounded. Yoga, Meditation and AA. These are the three that I never stray too far from. But here’s a little secret. Those things aren’t for everyone. Most of the other sober bloggers I read are anti-AA. They either don’t like the idea of calling themselves alcoholics or they don’t like the old school patriarchal feel of the literature. Some people don’t like the idea that they have to go to meetings for the rest of their lives. There have been many times in my sober journey that I have felt like AA isn’t for me. Probably as recently as yesterday. But I also don’t feel like I have to go to meetings. I choose to go. I enjoy being around other people who are “like me.” People who don’t look at me like I have two heads when I talk about that time I wanted to hang myself. Those people have been there and they get it. Also, like me, those people have found a solution and a better way to live. I am all about surrounding myself with positive people. I’m not saying that AA is full of positive people, because it’s definitely not. I have just managed to do that thing they call “sticking with the winners.” I take what I like and what works for me and I leave the rest. Isn’t that how life is supposed to work? We are all different and have different needs. I had no idea who I was when I began my recovery. I am still learning and growing and changing every day. I have no problem saying out loud that I am an alcoholic. I have friends who think I shouldn’t put that out into the Universe because everything is energy and what we put out is what we get back. Being an alcoholic isn’t a negative thing to me. My life has only gotten better since I began affirming to the Universe that I am an alcoholic. The Universe has sent me the tools and people I need in my life to help me along the path. In return, I get to give it away to anyone who wants it. I know what it’s like to struggle. I also know what freedom feels like. It hurts my heart when people reach out to me who are SOOOO close to grabbing a lifeline but are also too scared to actually do it. It’s not my job to save everyone, but it absolutely is my job to be there when someone reaches out. It absolutely is my job to share what works for me and it absolutely is my job to share the things I am enthusiastic about. I AM a channel, not a reservoir.
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.
A work in progress
“I sat with my anger long enough until she told me her real name was grief.” I first read that quote several months ago and it hit me right in the feels. I knew I had an entire chapter to write about this subject. I’m not writing it today, but it’s there. There’s so much truth in that quote. I went to an AA meeting on Friday night, which isn’t something I normally do. I got called on to share my “what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now.” Let me just say that I hate being called on to share. I pretty much hate sharing at meetings in general. My what it was like and what happened are FULL of anger. That’s who I was. An angry, raging girl who didn’t want to be sitting in meetings with coffee drinking old men. An angry girl who was fighting the entire world and the world was definitely winning. There was a woman at the Friday meeting who had been there all those years ago when I first started coming around. She chimed in after I shared that she remembered those days and what I was like. “My story” is such a visible transformation that the people who remember me before I got sober love to hear me share. This woman confirmed to the group that I wasn’t lying or exaggerating and that I was indeed, FULL of anger and rage. She said they were scared of me and didn’t want to talk to me. I found a bit of comfort in that as it explained why maybe the women didn’t reach out to me and circle me in love and support. I wouldn’t let them. I was angry about everything. I was angry that the people in my life thought I needed to stop drinking. Drinking WAS my life. Also, I was way too young to be an alcoholic. I was angry that nobody could do it for me. As hard as I tried, it seemed this was something I was going to have to do on my own. That might sound crazy, but until that point, someone had always been able to rescue me and do the work for me. I was angry that my life hadn’t turned out like I thought it should have. I was angry that my life was over. I was angry that not drinking meant I would have to deal with my reality. I was angry about my entire life up until that point and underneath all of that anger was fear. I was terrified to stop drinking and start feeling. I’ve shared this before, but I ‘ll share it again. I didn’t get sober for a long time after I got to AA. The people around me thought that since I was going to meetings, it meant I wasn’t drinking. They were happy and proud of me. I kept drinking for the next year and a half as I continued to go to meetings. But, I failed at hiding my drinking. I was failing at life in general. I’ve heard it said that “we get to the bottom when we stop digging.” On November 13, 2013, I stopped digging in a treatment center. I completely surrendered to a power greater than myself. I was an atheist. The power I surrendered to was the power of meditation. I sat with myself. I sat with my anger. I sat with a lifetime of bad choices. A lifetime of being a victim. I sat with a lifetime of grief. I sat with the ALL of it. I sat by myself. I sat in groups. I sat in retreats. I sat until I learned to be ok with me. But just ok. Not great. I was so uncomfortable in my skin. Even breathing was hard. So many emotions flowed through me. I can remember wishing I could physically rip my skin off. And yet, I learned to stay. I’m starting to notice now that as good as all of that meditation was and still is for me, there’s a part of me that was still using it to numb myself. Often when I meditate, I feel pain in my heart. Physical pain. If I tune into that pain it will creep up into my throat. There are memories stored away in my body and brain that still need to be processed. I know this, I feel this. When this pain creeps in, there are two things I can do. Explore that or find my breath. I have always been one to take the breath route and move past that pain. Until recently. This past year, with every new moon, one of the intentions I set is to remain open. I have really been working on that and it’s proven quite difficult for me. I may never be the woman who sits in a circle and cries in front of everyone. Not because I wouldn’t love to be that woman, but because I don’t feel safe doing that. It’s a trust thing. And that’s ok. I don’t have to sit in a circle and be that woman. In fact, since I facilitate 90% of the circles I sit in, it’s best that I don’t. See how I set that up in a way that works for me? It’s hard for me to allow myself to show up and be seen in all of my vulnerability. I’m getting “better” at it. It’s easy to write from that vulnerable place. I’m protected behind the computer screen. I am a work in progress and I’m sure I always will be. This past year I have gained so much knowledge about myself. Blogging regularly and allowing myself to be seen in that way has been huge for me. Therapy has been an amazing tool which you already know if you read anything I write. Yoga is my life and is always there to save me when I remember to take the time to get on my mat for ME. If you follow me on social media you will surely know by now that singing and dancing are my new favorite things. If you want to talk about inner child healing with me sometime, it will involve singing and dancing. And who knew? I don’t necessarily mean the kind of inner child connection where you just let that child come out and play. Not that playtime isn’t important, because it is and I love it. I’m talking about knowing when I am triggered, tuning in and responding from a place of love. I once had a therapist tell me “You’ll have to grow your own self up.” At the time, I had no idea what she meant by that and I’m not even sure why that’s something that stuck with me, but it did. And suddenly it makes perfect sense. She meant that I would have to heal and “raise” my own inner child. Hold her when she’s sad. Let her cry when she needs to. Let her express herself by dancing and singing through me. Let her tell her story through writing. Let her be seen and heard because that is all she wants. Be with her and acknowledge her. Powerful stuff. My meditation practice has changed quite a bit lately. Rather than turning away when my heart starts to hurt, I tune into it. There’s rarely anger but there is often grief. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I don’t. Up until very recently I have been afraid to cry because I believed that once I started, I might not stop. But, sitting through the tears has taught me that it will pass. And when it does, I feel so much lighter. Hence all the levitation I’ve been doing. 😊 A wise woman told me that “you’ll know you’ve resolved the conflict when you can tell your story without crying.” I’m not there yet. Instead, I’m sitting, singing, writing and dancing my way through a lot of unresolved shit and oh so grateful to have so many tools and so much support.
This week in the book The Artist’s Way I came across the word Enthusiasm and its definition. The word enthusiasm is derived from two Greek words, en and theos. Theos is the Greek word for God. Enthusiasm literally means “Filled with God.” How freaking beautiful is that? Anyone who has spent any time around me has felt my enthusiasm for the things I love. People tell me all the time that my enthusiasm is contagious. I get excited! I get excited about the things I love and I want to share those things with others. Now I know why I get so damn excited! I KNEW I was connected and divinely guided. So what am I excited about this week? EVERYTHING! I’ve mentioned before that I’m not like “normal” people. Whatever that means. This is a big week in the studio. You know how musicians and movie stars excite people? Well, I am not that girl. Healers who do awesome work excite me. And authors. I love healers and writers. And, really, some musicians. So, I’m most likely not that weird at all. Whatever. This week a psychologist who is doing awesome work and has written 5 books is coming to the studio! What?! I am already about to jump out of my skin with excitement. Here’s the backstory on that. Because social media spies on me and knows what I like, a book about EMDR and Mindfulness came to me in a FB ad. I am sure it was because I had just written a blog about EMDR therapy. You can read it here. Basically, the blog was about how much I suck at EMDR. When I saw this book, it occurred to me that while I may suck at EMDR, I am really good at mindfulness. I thought maybe the book could help me be better (the best) at EMDR. I bought the book, but it wasn’t for me. The book was written for professionals. I knew the book ended up in my hands specifically so I could give it to my therapist. She was so excited to get the book from me. She showed me her calendar and had the weekend blocked off to take that particular EMDR and Mindfulness training from Dr Jamie Marich, the author of the book. Synchronicity! Unfortunately, circumstances beyond her control made it impossible to make the training and she had to cancel that weekend. But, she had the book! I then began my social media stalking, like I do, and friended the psychologist/author. I bought two of her other books and kind of fell in love with her. I sent her a message and awkwardly told her way too much about myself, again, like I do. Sometimes I still lack a filter. I explained to her that I am not a therapist, but I l have spent tons of time IN therapy. 😊 I told her I had bought her EMDR book and how much my therapist loved it. I invited her to come teach something, anything at Rebel Soul Yoga. And she responded immediately with a YES! We made a plan, put it on the calendar and it’s finally here! AND it’s DANCING! You can check out Dancing Mindfulness here. Soooooooo freaking excited! While the rest of the world is paranoid and pissed off that social media is spying on them, I’m over here loving it. Spy on and keep connecting me to great things and people!
But wait there’s more………..
I have a beautiful friend in Wilmington who wanted to bring her healing energy and help our community. We put our heads together and Mental Health Monday was born. Next week we will be co-facilitating a two hour healing session for those who are feeling the post-Florence trauma as a gift to the community. I will be leading us in a yoga practice to bring us into our bodies and open us up to feel our feelings and then we will roll right into a group therapy session to process together. (She’s a psychologist.). How freaking amazeballs is that? I am most excited to observe her group process. She inspires me in so many ways and I am honored to co-create a beautiful and healing event with her. Enthusiasm is an understatement.
I love my life and the people in it. I can’t say it enough because I am constantly amazed. My gratitude game is strong! The right people cross my path at exactly the right time. I might not always recognize it immediately, but I am getting better at paying attention. I am connected and divinely guided at all times. I know I am being guided in a direction that I’m not quite ready to share with the world yet, but my soul knows. It’s just a matter of pushing the fear to the side, or most likely, doing it scared. I am getting closer every day. In the meantime I will just be over here being Enthusiastic about every single thing in my life. Starting with the cacao ceremony and kirtan I am going to today!