Alchemy in Body Work

I feel it is time to acknowledge some shame I have been carrying around because it is heavy on my heart and I am ready to set it down and heal with Love instead.

I have shared a little bit about how my husband and I are taking some time at the end of the year now to figure out what our relationship with food as a family will look like going forward. When little bubby started eating solids we realized real quick there would not be a point where we suddenly say, okay let’s feed him fat, sugar, and sodium. This means my husband and I, who are well meaning but not completely intentional, needed to make changes to meet little bubby where he is and join him in healthy eating.

In August I had a health scare. I had some kind of gastrointestinal episode that was very painful and found me in my doctor’s office the next day. Labs and testing done came back negative so I assumed it was something I ate and moved on. Two months later, almost to the day, I had another episode but this time it was much worse. I was debilitated by it. I will not get into the details but I was very sick. Again I found myself in my doctor’s office and more testing was ordered. Results have not come back yet, and based on these findings the spectrum of intervention could be from dietary change to surgery.

It is clear to my husband and I though that at the very least we will be applying the dietary change, in fact we already have. My body is literally telling me it is time.

I have gone full vegetarian with most of my meals being fully vegan. I have been off dairy for a while but I do still eat fish. My husband is practicing this with me for the meals he eats at home but for the time being still takes a sandwich for lunch that includes deli meat. Little bubby is eating this way with us because we are the ones preparing his meals obviously but we are not against him having lean meats such as poultry when we are with family.

So here is where my shame has been weighing on me; I caused this. I have been using food to hold my pain for most of my life. It started as the example set by my parents but as an adult I had the choice to parent myself better and that is not the option I have been choosing. I have been sitting in shame while I process the fact that now my body is struggling because of the damage I have caused with my choices. I am ashamed I did not Love myself better. This feels like self-harm. I knew better and continued to make these choices from a place of victim mentality, scarcity, and fear.

Love was always a choice here, and it still is, I just wish I had made this choice sooner.

Here is where I call in grace; I am here. The darkness that came before was then, this is now, and I am here, choosing Love. The pain that I experienced in that darkness still yearns to be felt which is why I think I was still having a hard time choosing Love. I recognize now though that I can go back and touch without actually being there. I am not there anymore, now can be different. It is my choice, I have the freedom of choice now and I am choosing Love. I am choosing connection. I am choosing me, and my family, and peace.

I choose gentleness and healing. I choose to be kind with myself as I pick all of myself up and walk my path home to Love.

I close this with gratitude. Gratitude for my body and the way she has always held me.

Thank you for all you have done to care for me, everyday, never stopping, never failing, no matter how bad it got, no matter how many times I abandoned you, no matter how unloved you must have felt. You have showed me the most unconditional Love just by doing exactly what you do, going on. I Love you. I Love you and going forward I am going to speak to you with Love, I am going to nourish you with Love, I am going to hold you Sacred with Love. It has always been you and me and it will always be you and me. I Love you and I am grateful without end for all the wonder that you are.

We Don’t Have to Rush

This post is inspired by a memory that surfaced from elementary school;

Sometime during 4th grade, after the death of my Nana, Mom and I had a hard morning.

We were running late getting me to school. I do not know if my Mom was working at the time, so I am unsure if this feeling of rush and force was bigger than just me not getting to school on time, maybe there was more at stake than I knew.

Let me set the scene for you;

None of the clothes I want to wear are clean so Mom has forced me into a pair of jean shorts I am mortified to be seen in and some dumb shirt I do not like.

Here is the thing about these shorts;  first you should know when I was kid money was tight so Mom got resourceful at times. She had a talent for sewing, she made both mine and my cousin’s first communion dresses and you would never have known they were not some expensive store bought dresses like the other girls. What my Mom created for me did not always line up with what 9-year-old fashion was at the time.

These shorts had been jeans that I ripped the knees out of while playing outside the prior summer. We could not afford to throw away clothes that still fit so Mom attempted to transform them into shorts and the end product fell short. I gave it little thought because I had another pair of jeans and a pair of shorts I could wear and re-wear so no one at school ever had to see my Mom’s creation anyway.

This particular morning my Mom had decided I would not re-wear my jeans for what was probably the 11th time in a row, with no other clean bottoms to wear she told me to put on the hacked up shorts.

So I was already sitting in dread of what the day would hold for me, I would surely be a target in these awful shorts, while I frantically tore up my closet floor looking for my sneakers as my Mom yelled we have to leave now!

My sneakers were no where to be found! How was I going to go to school shoe-less? Guess I would just have to stay home.

My Mom was having none of it. She shoved my fancy white church shoes (which were covered in scuff marks from climbing on everything in sight) over my colorful tube socks and told me to head for the car.

I was stupefied. What was she doing?! My protests were fierce and immediate; Mom I can’t wear my church shoes, I have to wear sneakers for PE or they won’t let me participate and I will get in trouble!

She did not budge and with that I was off to school in my rag tag jean shorts, dumb shirt, colorful tube socks and fancy white scuffed up church shoes.

My Mom dropped me off and left. I was so ashamed my eyes were burning before I got out of the car. I did not know how I was going to face the fourth grade, I did not know how I was going to survive the day.

This was my first walk of shame. I was late, the car ramp was empty. Alone I walked through the vacant halls, the little heels on my fancy white scuffed up shoes clacking an echo all the way to the brown metal door of my classroom. I peeked in the slatted window on the door, everyone was in their seats, class had started. I knew the moment I opened that door all eyes would be on me.

It must have been bad because I lose my memory here.

I pick back up maybe 30 minutes later; I am at my teacher’s desk, I am crying, I am asking to go see the guidance counselor. I have become close with our guidance counselor this year, I have spent some time talking with her between Nana dying and my cousin and first best friend being removed from the family and living in a group home.

In the counselor’s office she listens as I cry. She knows my Mother and thinks fondly of her, she tries to balance my feelings for me. There is no balance to be struck, I am wounded and I have no room for whatever my Mother’s truth might be. In my mind she made me prey and then abandoned me  in the lion’s den that was the 4th grade.

The counselor has a pair of sneakers from the lost and found she offers me so I can participate in PE. They are only a small step up from my fancy white scuffed up church shoes. I see another pair, some black Keds with cool mesh sides, I ask for those ones instead – Maybe I can survive the day in those, maybe the kids won’t notice my Mom-sewn-shorts and instead they will just see my cool sneakers. The guidance counselor explains that those shoes are too small for me. I know she is right but I am desperate, I plead and she concedes. I wedge my tube socked foot into the too small shoe and blissfully ignore my cramped toes as I walk back to class.

I know that I do not know this story in full. I know what my scraps of memory tell me, I know what my feelings tell me, but I do not know what I am missing due to dissociation and I do not know what my Mother’s truth is. I can make conjectures and try to fill in blanks based on what I knew of my life at that time but to what end?

This was not one of my big traumas in childhood, it was a hard day. I think the reason this memory has stayed with me is to serve as a reminder now.

I am the adult, he is the child. What will moments like these look like for us?

There are so many times when I have a plan in my head for how the day will go, every minute for the next three hours planned out, then he wakes up from nap and takes an extra long time eating his yogurt because he really wants to work on holding the spoon today. Or we are going to the playground but a few feet outside the door he decides he would rather sit in the driveway and play with sticks.

Here are some things I know;

The first is that I have something now that my Mother did not have when I was 9, security.

Financial security that allows me to be home right now and not working on someone else’s schedule where our mornings would be rushed and potentially stressful.

Security in who I am as a Mother. I am so connected to my truth of infinite enoughness, his and my own, that no part of me can be shaken into believing we are less. Even when I get it wrong I know I am enough. When it is  hard, we are enough, this is enough, all of it is enough. This truth goes beyond my role as Mother, it is woven into every part of my being. This level of security within myself keeps me from falling into places of scarcity where I would value being on time over him or our connection in a moment. It keeps me from valuing “doing” over “being”. It keeps me right here where I am meant to be, in the moment with him.

Of course there are times where we make plans and try to keep a schedule and of course I balance what is going on with him with that schedule. I would not dishonor someone else’s time because he wants to continue playing blocks. What I am very clear on is this; if one day my nine year old child is having a hard morning because we are running late and the clothes he wants to wear are not clean, and he cannot find his sneakers, and maybe I am even running late for work or another important adult commitment… I will pause.

I will be with him, as long as it takes for us to find our way through and out the other side. We will take the time to find the shoes and we will talk about his feelings of anxiety or disappointment, if any, around not being able to wear what he wanted to wear to school. I will put everything else down if that is what it takes to hold space for him.

The way I, together with my husband, love him is the way he will learn to love himself. And if I am willing to do this for him, I have to be willing to do it for me too. That is the other thing I know, my Mother has never fully known how to hold space for me because she does not hold herself sacred.

We, all of us, you, me, our babies, our parents – we are ALL worthy of time. The world will continue to tick away while we exist inside of our pause taking care of ourselves and each other.

I am grateful that my inner nine-year-old has been sitting here next to me riding shot gun and guiding my heart as I parent this sweet soul who chose me.

I am grateful for all the ways my Mother failed me, therein giving me so much opportunity to build the resilience needed to become the human I am meant to be.

I am grateful for my ability to hold space for myself, it creates capacity for me to hold sacred space for those I love most, which is sometimes the stranger walking next to me and sometimes my sweet little boy.

Holding space for myself tonight meant writing this story down because this is the moment it was ready to be shared. Holding space for myself tonight meant asking my husband if he would be willing to hold a little space for me tomorrow by getting up with little bubby so I could catch up on the sleep I will miss to be here with myself and share this story.

As I close I am holding the energy of deep gratitude is for my husband, who holds space for me with so much love, and for every other person in my life who holds space for me and allows me to feel what it is like to be held sacred.

A Distant Echo

In the early months of little bubby’s life I was feeling deep longing for connection with other mother’s. I was in a new relationship not only with him but with myself in the role of mother. The whole experience had upended my life in many ways and I was feeling very alone.

I did not find the friend I was looking for. I know now there are reasons for that.

  1. I was not really wanting a friend, I was wanting to be saved. Only I can do that.
  2. I wanted to experience belonging. That is always an inside job first.

Support is welcome and necessary in a big life transition like this but I was not seeking support.

I was scared and I wanted someone to hold me and rescue me from it. I was playing small because I was not willing to look in the mirror and claim the power of my truth – I am the belonging I am seeking, I am the HERo of this story.

Don’t worry friends, I got there. I figured this things out and picked myself up in a BIG way.

Now I marvel at the growth not only I have experienced, but my whole family. We are in a season of growth over here and I am living for it!

Once I stopped playing small, the companionship came. I have three mommy friends who I feel deep connection with, the kind of connection that can only come through feeling truly seen.

The acceptance goes beyond knowing I am enough in these relationships, it is knowing that three is enough. I do not have to have a large social circle, I do not need to have a play date scheduled for every day of the week. My needs are met through having three women, who I can show up with and who will show up with me in return.

 

I was with one of my friends this week and she reflected something to me that has been echoing around inside of me all week. She is a social worker as well and she asked me, what will returning to work look like for you?

We discussed this for a while, my truth is; I do not know yet AND I do know I will be playing by my own rules.

What she reflected to me in the course of the conversation is an idea of my work taking place somewhere in spirituality.

I feel like when the words fell from her mouth a gong was struck inside of me and I have been feeling the vibrations ever since.

Of course I have no idea what spiritual work would look like, just like I have no idea where my writing or art will take me. All I know is that this is who I am, this is the Light I bring, and as Glennon Doyle says, I will just do the next right thing until I get where ever it is I am going.

 

Untethered Soul

I have begun my final rescue mission of myself from my trauma.

This last rescue is all about bringing home the mother, her babies – all of them. The babies who chose me, and all of my inner babies who have experienced the pain of my life.

I did not know it at the time but I started this rescue months ago when I cleared my closet. I donated/gifted away more roughly 3/4 of my wardrobe leaving me with just the essentials; and by essentials I mean, just the clothing that brings me joy. In the process of this clearing I took every single thing out of my closet and cleaned it, top to bottom.

Last weekend I returned to the attic and brought down all my boxes. All of the dust covered memories I have been tucking away in the darkest corners, with lids shut tight.

I opened every lid, emptied every box and found all of my abandoned parts in the heap. I separated myself from the mess and performed a cleaning ritual to cleanse my sacred bits and invite them home to belong to a whole again.

I brought down five boxes, my sacredness fits into one. When I took the lids off and find my special parts they were in poor shape. They had spent years crammed into small, dark dirty spaces, surrounded by junk and other people’s stuff.

You see the message here right? This is not just literal. This is what we do. We tuck away our pain and hurts into the furthest corners of our dark spaces and leave them there surrounded by garbage and other people’s crap that was never ours to be holding on to. Then we spend our lives weighted down by all of it.

It took me 35 years to go up into that darkness, face the truths I was afraid of that caused me to create these boxes in the first place, and rescue myself from all of it.

Now I in the process of tossing the trash, returning everything that is not mine to those whom it belongs to –  I am no longer willing to hold anyone but me- , and holding my truths sacred again. That includes my pain and darkness, it is ALL sacred.

Now my sacredness is held all together, in one transparent box. It has a lid, which sometimes I choose to take off in order to let myself breathe. On that lid words are written. Sacred words. Names. Truths. This is what is holding me now. This box is in my closet, in the space I created for it before I even knew that is what I was doing.

I have allowed myself to be guided by my intuition, my inner knowing, the wisdom I came to this life with, and brought me exactly where I am meant – home in my truths, in love, in connection.

This is what whole looks like for me. This is what healing looks like. This is the BIG LOVE. My capacity to LOVE has grown in a way I do not have human words for. I have a relationship with the dark now which means I will never again be consumed by it; my own or anyone else’s. This is freedom.

Calling In

My husband and I are still in our clearing out process, we have not quite reached the other side. The functionality of our home is much improved and the extra space that has already been created is so welcome.

I think we can agree that we are feeling so much connected to ourselves, each other, and this life we are creating.

Now that we are making room for what comes next, what comes next is starting to come.

One of the biggest acts of clearing I have performed has been with relationships; specifically with my brother. I am going to be honest with you friends, I do not remember how much of this story I have shared so please excuse any redundancies.

Over a month ago, not long after returning home from Soul Camp, I unpaused my relationship with my brother and officially stepped out.

I hit pause on the relationship back in January with the mutual understanding that when we speak again it would be to discuss what our relationship will look like moving forward on the other side of my healing.

Once I got to the other side that question was easily answered. There is no relationship to go back to because I am not going back. I am going forward, without him, as our souls agreed to. I am keeping a promise our souls made in another time. A time his soul no longer remembers.

We spoke about this and from his human place he appeared confused, frustrated, and in denial.

One fact is clear; even if your soul does not remember these promises made, and even if you do not understand my soul speak, you DO know that you abused me. From a very human place I have no room at all for you acting as if you do not understand why my healing was needed or judging the ways in which I am doing it.

What I made clear is that I am not cancelling our relationship, I am just not going backwards to be with him. I am over here, in this new place that exists on the other side of healing. There is space for him here too, I see his place being held for him. This is where our relationship is, if and when he ever finds his way here, I am waiting for him with Love and open arms.

 

Now that I have finally set down my brother and all the pain that was never mine to hold there is SO much space in my life for new beginnings. Me creating this space energetically Calls In whom I am meant to be with in this next phase. The Universe responded without hesitation.

A very clear message came through about someone whom I do not actually know but rather know of, and how I am meant to have connection with her. So I listened and then I do that thing I do where I set down all my human fears and insecurities and allow myself to be guided by my intuition. I reached out to this woman via email, practiced soul speaking, and made her aware of this message that came through about this connection I believe we are meant to have.

If this our time I believe her soul will know and she will respond accordingly. Either way I have lost nothing and already experienced gain in the very act of once again trusting my inner knowing and allowing myself to be guided her.

I am grateful for the opportunity to practice allowing myself to be seen in this way. With each opportunity to take these kinds of risks the vulnerability of doing so lessens.

I am grateful for the clearing and the calling in.

I am grateful to be here, in my life, ALL IN, showing up.

 

Creating the Path

Now that I have performed all my rescue missions and I am on the other side of the hurt, it is time for the RISE.

This bird has created a nest of safety and now she is ready to LIFT and see just how far these wings can carry her.

Through my visions I have seen some of the road ahead. The places where the path are clear make goal setting easy, this is good AND I am not looking for easy. My focus now is on the challenge.

I have been writing my story since I was 9. I have been sharing my story since I was 28. The time is coming for how I will fully OWN myself, and my story, and all of my sacred truths OUT LOUD. It is time for me to pick up my brick and carry it down the path. It is time to lay it down and take my place in the collective stories of women who have risen when their souls called out for it. I have to take my place where it has been saved for me. My brick will call the next woman to carry hers. We cannot get to where we are going, we cannot return to love without these bricks, without this path.

The time is coming and I am making myself ready.

On the other rise of trauma therapy is about the rising. It is about clearing the way to follow my truth home.

With my hand at my heart I thank you for being here, if these stories have touched you I am grateful – now go pick up your brick.

Making Space and Counting Gratitude

We are in the process of doing a deep cleanse of our home; we have been going through rooms one by one and taking inventory of our “stuff”, anything that no longer holds meaning, or a purpose, or serves us in some way is being released to make room for what comes next – whatever that might be.

We are also creating a home that works for us as we currently are. That means having a dedicated play area for little bubby that is separate from where he sleeps, a guestroom that has room to store baby things for possible next baby, a living area for adults (namely my husband and I) that is clear of baby things, and a dedicated art space for momma and family to create in.

We are getting there.

Tonight my husband is re-purposing a bookshelf from the guestroom as a toy and art supply storage shelf in the sunroom turned playroom and art studio. I am looking forward to setting up this room officially and finding a spot for everything.

While I create art throughout the week as I have snatches of time – during little bubby nap time, in the evening before bed, on the weekends when my husband is spending daddy time with little bubby – Friday night is my dedicated time for art each week. My husband plays table tennis every Friday night once little bubby is in bed and I have the house to myself for 3 or 4 hours to set myself free quietly creating.

I look forward to Friday night each week. I love that my husband and I both have something outside of each other, outside of parenthood and the responsibilities of life, that belong just to ourselves.

I am sitting in a lot of gratitude this morning. Gratitude for the ways in which little bubby’s arrival into our life and our home has created such intention in the way my husband and I are living as well as how we are choosing to show up in the world. His birth put so much into perspective for us. I am grateful for my husband who is always ALL IN with me. I may lead the charge but he is always ALL IN and we have experienced so much amazing growth together as a result. I am most grateful for this life I get to call my very own. I cherish it and all the love it holds. It is a good life, so so good.