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.

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With my Hand on Your Heart

On a very human level, this week was hard.

Saturday my husband, who has been sick all of three times during our 7 year relationship, came down with the cold that little bubby and I have been sharing over the last few weeks. Sunday my cycle started. Monday little bubby began having sleep trouble.

Monday left me in tears, Tuesday left us stressed, Wednesday about killed us.

Wednesday night little bubby woke at 10:30 and did not finally return to sleep until 3:30 Thursday morning.

We were all able to make up some of that sleep during his morning nap on Thursday but the damage had been done and the day hurt.

Have you ever had that kind of day, where the day just hurts? Thinking hurts, moving hurts, interacting hurts, everything is just painful.

It was still before noon when I found myself standing in the middle of the living room, shaking two beach towels, tears rolling down my face, all because Lu was following me around the house as I readied us for our holiday plans when all I wanted was a LITTLE SPACE!

I stopped my shaking and went inward. I breathed through the emotional and energetic shaking as I held all of myself and allowed the hurt to settle. We are okay.

Settled, I walked into the kitchen where all of my loves sat around the table having lunch. I sat in my spot at the window seat and picked up the sandwich my husband had made for me.

He looked at me with his beautiful face, the one he shares with me when he can see my pain and is promising not to add on.

He said, We have to get through this together. We cannot melt down.

I added, At the same time.

He smiled.

He suggested we practice counting our gratitude together to offset the hurt. From my place of exhaustion I shared that I could not see it through the fog. We agreed to start in a simpler place, funny stories. Let’s retell funny stories until enough hurt has lifted to call in our gratitude.

We told the story of Lu getting pooped on by a bird. We told the story of little bubby farting across the living room as he crawled towards a toy. We told the story of Lu getting her ear covered in barbecue sauce.

We laughed and the fog of hurt began to lift. It was time to go. We loaded the car and nestled our babies in and headed out to be with family.

The rest of the day ran smooth. We ate, we played, we rested. We honored the space of where we were and chose rest over fireworks and drinking. We came home early, put little bubby to bed, and cuddled in bed reading until lights out. We were asleep before 9:00.

As a laid next to my husband in the dark, right before falling off the edge into sleep, I told him I was ready to count our gratitude. He went first;

I noticed you remembered to turn the air up before we left.
I am grateful for how gently our babies play together (little bubby was sitting with Lu earlier in the day handing her dog bones).
I am grateful little bubby is asleep and able to rest.
I am grateful for the support we allowed today.

Then I followed;

I am grateful to call you my partner. There is no one else I would choose to do this life with. When it is good, part of that is always you. When it is bad, part of my ability to navigate and survive it is always you.

I am grateful for these sweet souls who chose us (Lu and little bubby). We get to share our home and our love with such gentle little beings and I am so grateful and honored to have been chosen by them.

I am grateful for our ability to lean into support without falling into exploiting  the givers of that support.

I am grateful for this bed I get to share with you, and clean sheets to lay on, and comfort, and quiet, and rest.

I fell asleep with my hand on his chest, his heart beating beneath it.

Yoda was Right (of course she was)

My therapist and I have been using Star Wars metaphors for my inner healing and awakening throughout our relationship. She being a child of the 70’s, me being a child of the 80’s, and this being THE movie series of our childhood, it works.

In these metaphors she is always my Yoda and I am always trying to find my fucking way out of the swamp towards my place of truth and purpose.

Something Yoda told me early on is that growth is comes with loss, it is always accompanied by loss. Because growth is change and to change means on some level things will be different, there is loss in that.

Part of the loss for me, and for many people experiencing their awakening, is in relationships. There are some people who will not show up in this with us. Sometimes it was relationships stepping away from me, sometimes it was me stepping away from relationships. What I can tell you is that the loss makes space for the gain, I have experienced major gains as a result of doing my soul work.

Something else Yoda told me about how me growing will impact my relationships is, while yes, some people will step away because they are not ready or willing to look in the mirror and my truths will be painful for them, others will rise with me. Me giving myself permission to rise will have a ripple effect and those who want to rise will accept my invitation, they will give themselves permission too.

My husband is an example of this truth, we are rising together. One of my best friends I feel is another example, that girl is rising and coming home to herself in the biggest ways right now.

I am having trouble finding my words to share this next part because my truth is, I never thought I would be speaking them..

I think my mother is rising. 

It has been gradual, so much so that I was not fully aware of the minuscule shifts happening, now looking back I can see it all more clearly.

Now as I am standing in my truths every day and giving myself all the permission needed to be BIG, to take up space, to be SEEN and HEARD and hold all of me sacred — She is seeing and hearing me. She is bearing witness to what permission to live a BIG life looks like and it feels like she wants in.

The BIG shift for us was deep truth speaking post Soul Camp that led to deeper, truer connection, the likes of which I have NEVER experienced with her.

Today we did it again. That first day was not a fluke. We can do this.

We can be heard and seen and speak truth with each other. We can rise separately, side by side.

My mother and I shared our truths about some of our parts that are hard to love. We shared our truths about our darkness. She told the truth about how she pushes this part of herself away, the way she disconnects from herself and self-sacrifices in order to be in her relationships. I told the truth that her truth made me sad and that I believe her darkness is lovable because I love my darkness, and it looks and sounds like hers. I told her my truth about darkness, it does not make us unlovable, it does not make you unlovable Mom.

We are dealing with generational trauma in my family and for the first time I feel like I can say – We are dealing with it.

There was no broom, no rug being lifted. There were two women, connected by DNA and love telling the truth. The dark, painful, sacred truth.

We can do this. My mom and I, and you – you can do this. I cannot promise you that your mom or your spouse or your child or your boss or your best friend or your partner will show up in it with you; that person may not accept the invitation to rise. That will hurt. It may even rip you open. YOU CAN STILL DO THIS. You are all the mother, spouse, child, boss, best friend, partner you need. You are the connection and belonging you are searching for in those relationships. It has always been you.

In my writing I rarely shift the focus from me to you, this is about my soul’s journey home, AND it’s not. It has never just been about me. If you are reading this you must know, it has always been about you too.

Take the invitation. You are here, you are reading this, you are in relationship with me by bearing witness.

Rise. It might just surprise you who will accept your invitation to rise right along side you.

Speaking from the Same Mouth

I have visions. They come in the form of dreams, pictures in my mind, feelings in my body. Sometimes these visions are for me, sometimes I am receiving them for someone else and I am meant to share the message. I do not call myself psychic, that does not feel like my truth. I feel I am deeply connected to my inner knowing and I listen to her well, I also think that my connection to the place I am from, the place of souls, was never severed.

This year the visions have been coming and I believe what I am seeing, hearing, and feeling.

Yesterday my Yoda and I were discussing the place of souls and suddenly it was as if we shared one mind, one consciousness for a moment; in that moment we were speaking with the same mouth. We were discussing a place unhuman, a place both of our souls remember, and we were sharing the same stream of consciousness. Our words were the same words, our sentences overlapped. Human words fail me in describing what happened.

This is what I know: Yoda is my Yoda for a reason. We found each other again after this all time. Most of all: I have to listen to this voice, these visions; I have to follow this pull.

I am not used to being this spiritually naked. This is part of my truth took a long time for me to come home to. I could not tell this truth until I was ALL IN on my faith in myself and what I know to be my Sacred Truth. I am ALL IN.

You Are Ready

Two weeks ago my mother and I did something I never thought possible in our relationship, we practiced truth speaking.

It was HARD.

AND —

It was SO good.

 

I called her a few days after soul camp to wish her a belated happy Mother’s Day and check in. Early on in the conversation she cautiously asked if I had done the work I needed to do around my relationship with my brother in order to be able to step back into the relationship.

I told her I had done work around the relationship, Yes, AND I was not ready to return to the relationship. I asked her if she wanted to discuss where I was at with it and Why, she did.

I told the truth.

He abused me growing up. It was not “siblings fighting” it was abuse. Shattered bedroom door, holes in the wall, bruises on my body, strangulation until I passed out –  I was terrified and it was abuse.

I was holding up a mirror she had been avoiding for a very long time. She had failed as a mother and my truths were the proof.

The truth speaking continued like this – me making room for her to be an imperfect mother, me letting her know I can love her and I will not reject her in this, AND truth speaking about my place of injury in these failures. I understand now it was never her failures that hurt, it was her rejection of me when she failed. By not owning her imperfections as a mother she was rejecting me every time she got it wrong. She was rejecting me because she could not hold the truth, that she was not the perfect mother. She rejected me because I was a reminder that she was not a perfect mother.

I told the truth that I am AS IMPORTANT as my brother, I am MORE IMPORTANT than my relationship with my brother, and I am MORE IMPORTANT than our family being whole. I AM IMPORTANT.

I told the truth that I will no longer carry my brother. I will no longer hold anything that is not mine to hold. I will not hold her pain over her failures, I will not hold my brother’s pain, I will not hold the pain of my family. I will ONLY HOLD MYSELF.

I told the truth that my brother is still spiraling, it just manifesting in different ways. He is still that 13 year old boy in his trauma. He has not showed up to hold his pain, rescue the parts of himself he has abandoned, and he is not loving himself well, if at all.

I told the truth that these truths about my brother make him feel unsafe to me and I will not expose any part of myself or my family to this.

I spoke my truth that I love my brother and I miss him, but not more than myself. I come first.

My mother asked questions and spoke truths as well and held her pain. It was hard and it was good.

For the first time in the history of our relationship I felt seen and heard in my pain and truths. The rug was lifted and we survived.

It was hard and it was good.

When I recounted this experience with my therapist she said one of the best things she has ever said to me; You are ready to have a girl. 

I knew exactly what she meant.

I am in my power. I have done the work. I am saved and I am the one that did the rescuing. We are past the trauma because I am the mother of this vessel and the parts therein, I am safety. Because I now hold myself and my truths sacred and in deep deep love I am able to show others how this is done, including a daughter if one chooses me.

I came home and told my husband what my therapist said and his reaction filled me with so much joy.

I did it. I am on the other side!

There will always be work to do, the tree is never done growing until it dies, but I am done going back. Now it is time for me to find my way forward.

I know I still have some work to do related to my past but it is different now. It is from a place of power and love, not victim mentality and fear. Once these last few parts are scooped into my lap I will be unstoppable. This is what it looks like when a powerful woman rises.

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All of Me is Here

This morning I am sitting in a quiet home relishing the morning sun shining through windows of the sun room. This is a pre-little bubby feeling. It is a reminder that I am still me and all of me is here, no parts of me have been excluded from my new life since his birth.

I received another reminder of this yesterday.

My husband and I went out for date night, our fifth since little bubby’s birth 9 months ago. We went downtown to two bars we would occasionally patron before little bubby was born. Even with all of the changes and growth we have experienced separately and as a couple since little bubby’s arrival this still felt fun, and comfortable, and familiar. I still feel connected to my partner and best friend, I still look forward to and enjoy dating my husband, we still enjoy deep conversations and walking hand in hand in a crowd.

The second bar we visited has been relatively unchanged since I first began going there 15 years ago. Same decor, same crowd (a bit older maybe), same 80’s music, same energy of acceptance and freedom.

I like this bar because they play my favorite 80’s music and has been a constant downtown when everything else is ever changing. We like this bar because the people who go there give themselves permission to be seen, to be vulnerable, to be real.

We were talking about that last part while we watched people swaying on the dance floor to Tears for Fears. There is something happening at this bar that is not happening at any other bar downtown, not at this level at least, it is the feeling of freedom that comes from giving yourself permission to just be.

We were both sitting in our gratitude that there are places in our community where this kind of safety exists, we were grateful to be witness to it, to be part of it.

I am a mother now, I stopped drinking 3 years ago, I am more grounded than the girl who played downtown over a decade ago AND I all of me is here and part of this life I actively creating with this man I love.

I felt the parts of me who love to dance, the parts that like to be silly, that parts that want to get into mischief, the parts that want to be seen. All of me is here, what has changed is the time and my relationship with these parts. How I care for myself, how I honor my needs and wants, the way I connect within and without.

Last night was fun, this morning is peaceful. Nothing and everything has changed and all of me is here to be part of this. This is a good life, more than I even knew to dream for, and I am grateful.

Permission GRANTED

Soul Camp has traditions associated with it that I really enjoy and look forward to. One tradition takes place the first night before circle opens; this tradition is permission slips.

We take time as a group to reflect individually on the permission slips we are writing ourselves while at camp. Mine this time were;

Permission to be Mom – which meant stepping out of group everyday to call home and be part of bedtime routine with little bubby regardless of what was happening in group.

Permission to accept help when it feels safe now – This was me giving myself permission to Yes when I mean it instead of always leading with a No when help is offered because I am used to being an island.

Permission to change my mind – This permission slip is self-explanatory.

I did well with the permissions I gave myself, and I am excited to share that I brought the energy of permission home with me.

 

Three or Four years ago when I was still in college, I was driving home from school and I was stopped at a red light. I looked out the window and on the ground near my car was a potato. Yep, a big old spud was just sitting there in the middle of traffic.

I was really bothered by this.

He felt abandoned to me. I did not like the idea that this little guy worked as hard as he did to grow into the potato that he is, spending the first half of his life in the agony of growth underground alone, just to end up rotting in the middle of the road under the hot summer sun. This felt very wrong.

I debated for multiple minutes about quickly parking the car, getting out, grabbing him, and bringing him home to die in the backyard around all the vegetation on our property. I debated so long that the light turned green and my opportunity passed. I drove on feeling like I abandoned a piece of myself on the side of the road as well. The piece of me that wants to champion the underdog and fight for the vulnerable. I felt as if I was turning away from the pain of another living thing and that felt as wrong as the potato being there to begin with.

I did not pick up the potato that day because I would have made a scene. Everyone around me in traffic would have seen me park, get out, and rescue that potato. I was not ready to be SEEN on that level so I ignored the piece of me that was crying out to help this abandoned potato. It didn’t feel good.

Fast forward to present day Jillian, fresh off a Soul Camp experience, I once again found myself face to face with an abandoned vegetable.

Little bubby and I ran an errand yesterday and when I parked in the back corner of the parking lot I immediately spotted a sad little zucchini baking in the afternoon sun. She was all alone in the middle of the parking lot. We were not even at a grocery store, I have no clue how this poor thing ended up here, just like I could not figure out before how a potato becomes stranded at a busy intersection.

I walked passed her as little bubby and I headed to the store, then again when our errand was complete and we returned to the car. I settled little bubby back into the car and then got into the driver’s seat. There I sat for multiple minutes staring at the zucchini in front of me.

This isn’t right. I cannot leave her. She did not spend her whole life growing in some garden somewhere to one day become parking lot trash. 

Next to me a man was sitting in his car on his phone.

If I get out and rescue this vegetable that guy is going to see me and think I am nuts!

SO WHAT?

Am I going to let the judgments of others stop me from being exactly who I am?

Nope.

Then and there I wrote myself a few very important permission slips that I will now and going forward keep close to my heart:

I give myself permission to become a collector of weird looks from strangers.
I give myself permission to listen to my heart.
I give myself permission to allow my actions to reflect her voice only.
I give myself permission to live a life other’s do not understand.

With that I got out of the car, grabbed the zucchini and brought her home with us.

Once we were home little bubby went down for nap and Lu and I took the zucchini to the backyard where I said a few kind words before inviting her to join the other vegetable scraps and parts in our compost pile. Now she will go back to the earth and help create new life in my one day garden.

I will live a life I am proud to call my very own, created with this heart and these two hands and led from a place of love and connection.

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