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.

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.

Spiritual Undercurrent

I am writing from my husband’s old laptop that for quite sometime acted as my primary writing device. That is, until that sweet man bought me my very first, very own laptop at graduation because he knows how much I love/need to write. He was thoughtful in his choice and picked me a device that is matched to my needs. Now being back on this dinosaur I am really feeling the difference. Still, there is a familiar comfort to this old keyboard and right now I am so happy to be writing I would take a stick to cave wall if that was my only option.

I am exhausted. I am exhausted on almost all levels. It has been a week, not a bad one mind you, exhausting though. Spiritually I have been sitting with some big stuff and processing, then on a more human level it has just been – well exhausting.

In terms of my practice I had moments this week of real connection, mainly with my clients and a former colleague turned friend that I met for lunch. I also experienced a bit of disconnection that I handled better than previous versions of myself would have, yet was still unpleasant.

To elaborate briefly; I find that for individuals who are quite traditional and conservative my approach to practice along with my general way of being, is maybe (I am not quite sure what word to put here..) – confusing- too much- unnerving.. Nothing feels quite right. What I sense is that they do not know what to do with me. This does not always feel negative necessarily, it is just an energy shift I notice. One minute I have them and the next I don’t.

I felt this shift twice this week for sure and while I would prefer to be understood both times it gave me the opportunity to practice what my therapist and I discussed earlier in the week: allowing myself to be seen as I am and not retreating when others do not understand it.

It is not a matter of misunderstanding or miscommunication. That is not what I am talking about when I say I feel misunderstood. It is more a feeling of them seeing me and not valuing my way or my words or who I am authentically. This is where I am practicing being seen without expectations from those around me. This is who I am and who I am belongs to me and I value my ways and my truth, I do not need to be understood to feel worthy and valued.

Them not understanding me is for them to sit with and figure out, that is not my work. My work is holding myself worthy to be seen and know my value inherently exists.

 

 

I Choose Shadows AND Light

shadow work

Last night I was having a conversation with my husband and this morning there it was, my exact feelings put out into the world by another. You can read the post I am referring to here.

I strongly identify with this writer’s perspective on spirituality and life in general because what she is talking about is the AND. I had a hard time in my younger years with my experiences in formal religion because there was no AND allowed, even then I knew that was not my truth.

There are times even now where I struggle in interactions with individuals who claim to be spiritually enlightened. I show up with my shadows AND light and I feel shunned. I have been made to feel on occasion that there is only one right way to experience myself this way, and again, I know that is not my truth.

My version of spirituality, my whole life, will always include both. I will always choose my shadows AND my light. All parts welcome, no parts left behind. That is how I will love and how I will heal and that will be my life’s work.

Carrying My Brick

This morning I sat in a rocker in the sunroom of our home with a mug of decaf and my thoughts. I was thinking about some of the women that inspire me. The women whose books I have read and said to myself Me Too. Brene Brown, Glennon Doyle Melton, Cheryl Strayed. Women who were lost and found and hurt and loved and honest.

My husband and I listen to a podcast that is all about story telling. Week after week we listen to people across the nation, and sometimes across the world, tell their story on this radio show; and week after week I wait for a story like mine, a story that will allow me to say Me Too. This weekend while we were driving to my parents house we decided not to listen to the podcast and instead road in silence, each of us with our thoughts. It was in that 30 minute car ride that I had my epiphany, maybe I am the one who is supposed to tell the story. I am waiting in the sidelines for someone else to tell it, maybe I am that someone.

I don’t know what that will look like yet. Maybe it will be me sharing it here on my blog, maybe it will be me standing on a stage, maybe it will be me finally standing in my truth in front of my family, maybe it will be leading a support group for women like me. I don’t know.

I do know I am scared. The very thought of truly allowing myself to be seen is terrifying. That is what brought me back to these women, Brene, and Glennon, and Cheryl. These women paved a path by sharing their stories, a path for the next woman to walk down. Each woman who brings her brick to this path and allows herself to be seen in her truth and share her story extends the path one brick further for the next woman who will walk the path and bring her brick. I understand now that we are all connected, this path belongs to all of us and it is important that I bring my brick in love, without fear so the next woman will have the courage to bring hers. This is the path of women, the path of love and worthiness, the path of connection and infinite enoughness. This is the path we are called to walk and with courage I will pick up my brick and place it on the path in the spot that was created just for me knowing that one day my brick will support future generations of women bringing their bricks to claim their rightful place on this path of love.

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Authentic Connection

Sunday I had an experience that left me feeling more disconnected than connected. Yesterday after another miss at connection I took time to build my connection back up.

This morning I woke up feeling more balanced in terms of inner connection AND still rather disconnected from the outside. Then I read an email from one of the women on Sunday, an email that came with an energetic invitation to stand in my truth about my experience on Sunday.

She and I spoke by phone for about an hour this morning and that missing connection found its way home again. She was open to my honest feedback about how the group impacted me in both a positive and negative way and together we brainstormed the next steps of this group and what needs to happen for it to move forward successfully.

This is what authentic connection looks like. When speaking today we both understood that our feelings and reactions to different aspects of the group and even the group’s members belong to us. My triggers, my feelings, my judgements, they are mine to hold. I can express them to give a perspective without the other person feeling responsible to do anything with it. The same goes in reverse, anything she shares with me belongs to her. I am not responsible for her stuff.

This woman is relatively new to my life, she was called to me at Red Tent. It was really nice to be able to have an honest conversation where boundaries were clear and nothing was taken personal. I think there is something special here.

I am grateful that this conversation happened. I feel so much better about my experiences from Sunday knowing that she was triggered as well. My work is my work and this group is absolutely bringing me my work. There is something to be said for that and after the conversation from today I think I am more open to seeing where this group goes. We’ll see, I could also change my mind again.

It is nice to be moving into a place where I am having more authentic interactions with others. It feels good to be heard and seen in my truth. It feels good to be responsible for myself. It feels good to see parts of my future manifest right before my eyes.

Odd Woman Out

I attended another women’s circle today, it was my first time with this group, and it was not the experience I hoped for. So far I have had good experiences with the different circles I have been part of, even when feeling triggered or sitting in one of my shadows they have all been good experiences because of the work they have brought me to focus on. This one brought me work as well so I am grateful for that AND I know I will not be returning to this particular group.

There were a few things that did not fit for me and by the end I was feeling disconnected from the group and myself.

One area where I am uncomfortable is the structure of the group. For me to feel safe to do this kind of work with others I need someone (like a trained professional) whose sole function is to hold the space and facilitate. The group is tackling a very big, emotionally charged topic, which invites the members to go deep, without a set facilitator. I think it is great this group exists, it is important work and the fact that there is a group in the community that holds space for this work is beautiful AND I know this set up will not work for me.

The woman who started the group and held the first meet up today made it clear that she wants us all to be equal members with no formal leader. I love that idea for some work but for me this work is too deep, I need that anchor that exists when one member is only there to hold space for the work and not actually do the work.

One reason for that is projection, which  I saw happening a bit today. I think for the group to truly be healing you need a way to hold space for things like projection, which did not happen.

Another piece that did not speak to me at all was following a book. There was a lot of talk about books in this group. I am a reader, that is a big part of who I am and how I take care of myself AND I am not willing to read something out of some false sense of obligation (this did not include my text reading in college, I absolutely did obligatory reading in college).

My truth is I read what I feel called to. My therapist gently suggests books all the time because she knows I am a reader and there are some I do end up reading but not because I felt like I had to because she brought it up, because I knew it was time.

With this group because there is no formal leader they are following this book that deals with the topic the group was formed around. I think it is great to reference a book that is relevant but in order to be part of the group they are making it feel like you have to read this book.

I call bullshit on that.

Between the feeling of pressure to buy/read  this book in order to belong and how they plan to structure the group around the book it started to take me to places in my life where I have been injured by religion.

By the end of group so many names and titles had been tossed around that my head was swimming. It was exciting to be in a room filled with women who read AND it was too much. Everyone had a book that the rest of needed to read to heal this emotional wound or that one. There were a few women who were furiously writing all the titles down the entire time and I was just not into any of it.

I will not follow someone else’s word. That is not how I will find my truth. My truth is an inner knowing and it is sprinkled in world all around me; as much as I love to read no book is going to heal me, unless it is my own story written by my own hand.

I know I am sitting in some judgement right now. I am definitely experiencing my own self-righteousness about the group thinking this is wrong and my ideas about how to do it are right.

This group did not speak to me AND there were moments of true connection AND there were moments of discomfort and disconnection AND I have a lot of judgement about my experiences AND it is so important that this groups exists for those who do feel called to do this work this way.

The last thing I will say is that this group taught me the importance of diversity in groups. Every other women’s circle I have been part of up to this point has been made up of women from different cultures, women all across the age spectrum, women who have varying identities, from different socio-economic backgrounds, who have different belief systems..

Sitting in a room of women who all felt overly similar, and where I did not feel I fit in, intensified this feeling of otherness for me. I felt like the nobody in high school sitting at the lunch table with all the cheerleaders.

When I got home I texted my Soul Camp sisters and shared with them this minor epiphany I had around my gratitude for the diversity in our group.

When you are in a group of people you tend to look for someone like yourself. This makes you feel safe, and comfortable, and understood. I did this when I started with my Soul Camp women and this woman I found is my roommate every time we go to Soul Camp because we help anchor each other after group. I am so grateful for the diversity amongst the other women in my group though because if every women there was my age, with my story, and my background, how much work could I realistically get done? You need people who are similar so you can experience yourself from the outside but you need people who don’t necessarily reflect you back images of yourself as well. That is where the balance and perspective and true healing and growing happens.

So yeah, I was disappointed that this group was not for me. The topic is important and it is absolutely part of the work I have been doing for years, this is just not the space to hold that work for me though. That is okay. I had a lot of important take aways none the less. Sometimes you have to experience things you don’t want to know what things you do want.

clique

Social Work Sister Circle

The more I do my own work with other women the more I keep feeling everyone should have this! I know part of my work as a therapist is going to be holding therapeutic space for women in groups. This kind of work is so healing, I know I want to bring that energy to others in my future therapeutic work.

When I was driving home from my session today with a client I was hit by a bolt of lightening: Social Work Sister Circle.  The words flashed across my brain and suddenly I could see it all. What about a sister circle of fellow social workers where we are able to hold sacred space for ourselves and each other as we do this emotionally charged work with others? I could see the circle, and the candles, and the rose quartz. I could see the vessel we pass around in order to share our story, I could even here the stories. Maybe it starts with me in my home because energetically I am ready to hold space for this, maybe it grows past my home once others feel energetically ready to hold this work in their home.

Social work is a female dominated field, there is absolutely a need for emotionally support as we navigate these emotional demanding careers and the pressure of our lives as women.

I need to work this out a bit more in my head and really meditate on who I feel is called to this work right now before I take next steps. I am excited though. This feels right, it feels powerful. I am ready to see how this flower blossoms.

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Coming to Consciousness

consciousness

I am a page and a half into the introduction of The Handmaid’s Tale and already I am so inspired that I had to put it down to write.

First I can already tell I like Margaret Atwood the author. I do not have an answer for why, it is just a very strong feeling of  Yes. She feels honest. There is something about the way she is writing even just the introduction, she feels like someone who has to write. I identify with that. Some people choose it and work at it and become good. Some are just naturally gifted and they can choose to use that gift or not. Others do it because they have to, much like cave men banging rocks for fire, they would not survive without it. It is not about being good or gifted, it is just about the sheer need to get that fire started by any means necessary. I feel her urgency and I know that feeling.

On the first page of the introduction she talks about when she was born and then when she came to consciousness, two separate dates. You hear people talk about awakening to their life; some call that adulthood, for some it is spiritual, others their might be a right of passage involved. Whatever consciousness means to you really. For me it was 2011.

I remember my very first spark. I was sitting across a room from a man who told me that in everything that happens in our lives there is only one common denominator and that is you. You are the connecting thread between everything that will ever happen to you, good or bad, which means that no one ever leaves this life with clean hands.

I would say my true awakening came some years later, maybe closer to 2015, but it would have never happened without that spark.

There are a lot of wonderful and unfortunate truths about experiencing your awakening.

One is that you don’t get to go back after. For better or for worse once you cross that threshold that is where you are. Like Neo and the choice between the red and blue pill, once the red pill is chosen that is it.

Another is the level of clarity you experience in terms of yourself and others. You are suddenly given special glasses that allow you to see beneath the surface. You can see shadows where others (as well as yourself) try desperately to project only light. You are able to see truths that are completely hidden to others. It is like emotional x-ray vision.

Another wonderful unfortunate truth is that with great power comes great responsibility, this translates into LOTS AND LOTS OF WORK. You no longer get to be a inactive bystander in your life, you have to take action and the work is never done. It is the truest labor of love there is though which makes the heaviest days feel worth it. Mud suddenly is every bit as beautiful as crystal clear water, and everything you thought you valued shifts right along with that truth.

I am excited to read this book. I am excited for the messages it holds for me. I am excited to see how her consciousness shows up in the story she tells. I am open to receive all inspiration that I am quite certain is on the horizon.