Singing Bird Holistic Health Coaching

The Magical Story of Sophie’s Mystery Illness

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When I was sixteen, about midway through my sophomore year of high school, I stopped eating. It perplexed me almost as much as it did those around me, and I still don’t fully know WHY.

I simply refused to eat. Refused to nourish myself. Became anorexic.

I have spent the last five years of my life healing from that experience. For the decade+ before that, my version of healing was pretending the whole thing never happened. (As it turns out, that is not super effective nor healthy…)

Much of my process as of late has been excavating that old way of being that I tried to bury, and seeing where it is popping up in my present life.

Where is it hiding in the darkened nooks and crannies of my psyche?

Where do I desire to control in order to assuage an inner anxiety? Where do I still hold those nagging and unloving beliefs towards my body or the feminine body in general? Where do I see restriction, in any form, as holy? Where am I afraid of appetite and desire?

My dog Sophie, who is my spirit animal and one of my greatest teachers, had knee surgery a couple of months ago. Without realizing it, I fell back into many of those old patterns when it came to managing her healing process.

Control.

Anxiety.

Lack of trust.

Not wanting my husband to walk her. Not wanting to leave her in the house by herself. Watching her every move. Managing every single facet of her environment and mitigating as many risks as humanly possible. I convinced myself that this was noble and necessary! And I had a whole team of western veterinarians who supported that belief.

A week before she was set to go in for her eight weeks post-operation x-rays (which would show once and for all that the surgery was a success and that she was healing nicely), she slipped when I was playing with her. Slipping was the biggest no-no. I had laid her ball down on the rug, afraid to throw it to her, and in her exuberance she ran towards it and her whole backend went out from under her.

My eyes went wide. My pulse raced. This couldn’t happen. She couldn’t slip now. Not this close to being cleared. Not on my watch. Not because of me.

She was fine. Her leg was fine. She wanted to continue playing, but I was overcome with concern.

“Is she okay? She’s okay, right?” I pestered my husband on and off for the next few hours.

“Babe, she’s fine. Stop worrying.”

Later that night we took her for a walk. The sidewalk was a little wet from the rain we had earlier (you know where this story is going, don’t you?). We walked around the block and at the end of our street, there was a little boy skateboarding. I crossed to the other side of the street because Sophie doesn’t particularly like skateboarders.

Out of nowhere, comes Devil Cat. Okay Devil Cat is a little much, I know, but it seemed an apt name at the time. Devil Cat likes to protect the little boy and strolls right up to Sophie and hisses. Naturally, Sophie freaks out. I freak out. I am yelling and trying to pull her away. She slips again. It’s a whole fiasco, as I am cussing at the cat and attempting to drag my giant and strong dog down the street.

When I get home, I am livid. There is no poetic way to say this…I completely lose my shit. I hate the cat. I am furious at the owner. How are aggressive cats like that allowed to be outside off-leash? I storm and stomp around the house. Eric goes to pick up Indian food and in the quiet, I am hit with a startling realization.

This feels really familiar. Fuck.

This is an old, old pattern of mine. Constrict, tighten, control, until…you can’t anymore. There is always that one thing that pops up unexpectedly, the X factor that you can’t predict or control. The proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. And that’s when I fly off the handle.

Because there is no room for it.

I try SO HARD, and yet I come up short anyhow. I hold on SO TIGHTLY, that eventually everything erupts.

Thank you, universe for showing me that. For the consciousness to see my pattern in new light. Gratitude and grace.

Except…the universe was not done with its lesson. And neither was Sophie.

Three days later, Sophie stopped eating. She vomited three times, and then refused to eat or drink. For seven straight days. I could tell how nauseated my poor girl felt by her excessive drooling, swallowing, and grass eating.

I took her to two different vets. They ran all the blood work, twice. They took x-rays. They did a full ultrasound. They recommended “exploratory surgery” (a definite “no” in my book). They tested her for Addison’s Disease. Everything came back perfectly normal.

I even spoke with an animal intuitive, something I have never done before.

“Parasite. I am getting parasite,” she said. “Western medicine is doing all it can, but it’s not working. It’s going as far as it is able to. Her condition might be more energetic in nature. You can and should be a part of her healing,” she told me.

I was at my wits end, and yet…somewhere a little voice in me said, “There is a lesson here for you.”

I could feel it, but I struggled to find it, like a light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Five days after the symptoms started, Sophie had to spend two nights at the emergency hospital hooked up to an IV for fluids. When I went to visit her in her kennel I couldn’t help but notice the sign on the glass, hand-written in purple marker:

“Sophie. Pit bull. Anorexic.”

Go figure.

That was Monday.

On Wednesday, a full week after she stopped eating, I spoke with the vet. They were still not having any luck with feeding her, and not for lack of trying. They attempted to give her every goody under the sun. She just turned her nose away.

Western medicine. It was doing all it could, and it was getting nowhere.

“I think I want to take her home,” I said, “and see if she will start eating there.”

The vet seemed uncertain (and to be honest, so was I), but we made a deal. I would take her home and see if she would start eating within 24 hours. If not, I would bring her back and they would put in an intranasal feeding tube.

We agreed that I would go get some rice, ground beef, and cottage cheese, and then come back to pick up Sophie. I also had a call with my coach that I was desperately looking forward to.

I told my coach the entire story.

“Do you find it interesting,” she asked, “that out of all the symptoms out there, Sophie stopped eating? Especially given the work that you have been doing around your eating disorder?”

“That is definitely not lost on me,” I replied. “AND, I have been seeing an acupuncturist over the last few months and one of the main things we have been working on is that my stomach energy moves up instead down. She has told me on several occasions that it surprises her that I am not nauseous more of the time…”

There was silence on the line for a few seconds.

“Linda, do you think Sophie may have taken on some of your healing for you?”

The goose bumps rose along my legs. The fact that the symptoms were so similar couldn’t be overlooked. And then it dawned on me.

The potential energetic parasite that the intuitive had mentioned…

Was it…? Could it be…?

ME???

Part of me sensed the truth of it deep down in my core, while another part (the rational part) resisted. How could this be?!?

Directly after my call with my coach, I went to pick up Sophie. My friend came over that night and did Reiki on her. She tested to see which of Sophie’s chakras were out of balance: heart and solar plexus. Then she tested me as well. At this point the results weren’t too shocking when my unbalanced chakras were identical to hers.

As Sophie slept (which she did for seventeen hours straight), I wept and petted her soft gray fur. I smelled her ears and her paws and expressed my gratitude.

“Thank you for holding this for me, baby girl. Thank you. But you can let go of it now; it’s not yours to hold. I am strong enough to hold it myself.”

I told her the story of how she picked me from the beginning. How I was meant to foster another pup in her litter, but that pup fell asleep on my co-worker while Sophie attacked my shoelace. How she got her name (it was my “French name” in 4th grade). How she has taught me so much and opened my eyes to the world of energy and magic. How I wouldn’t be who I am today without her.

How she is one of my soul mates.

How she is my guardian angel.

I ugly cried and snot ran down my face and I didn’t care. I just wanted her to be okay. I wanted her to know how much I love her and how much she means to me and how grateful I am for her.

I kept one hand on her lean body the entire night, feeling her breathing and listening to her rhythmic snores.

At noon the next day, I was supposed to call the vet and report back. At 11:30am, she still hadn’t eaten a single bite of food. Mostly, she had just slept.

I made white rice and ground beef, and fashioned them into little balls with cottage cheese. I did Qoya and danced while she lay on the futon watching me. The clock ticked away. I was conscious of every minute.

I picked up one of the balls, still dancing. My dance was my prayer. My hope.

“If you eat a single one of these rice balls, little girl, I will not take you back to the vet,” I told her. “I promise you that.”

With as much positivity and faith as I could muster, I tossed it to her.

She caught it. And chewed it. And swallowed.

I pumped both of my firsts in the air, and smiled bigger then I can remember in a long time. I tossed her another one. She ate that one too.

In that moment, I knew that she was going to be okay. That she had needed to rest. To be given permission to lay down what she had been holding. To roll in the grass and lay in the dirt and soak up the sunshine. To be in her home with the people she loves, sleeping in her own bed (aka our bed…). That too is a form of nourishment, and it should never be underestimated. And despite the best of intentions, that kind of nourishment can never come from an emergency hospital and a feeding tube.

I called the vet.

“She is eating. I won’t be bringing her back in.”

Whenever I tell this story, I can hardly believe it myself. It has such a ring of the mythic. The magical.

It feels as if one of life’s portals opened and revealed a layer much deeper than I ever knew existed. It makes perfect sense that it was Sophie who opened it. My sweet little creature has much to teach me yet.

 

My Growth Edge This Summer

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Slow down to feel more.

This is one of the mantras of Qoya.

Slow down…to feel…more.

{Pause. Inhale through your nose, now sigh the breath out of your mouth.}

Slow down to feel more.

In our modern lives, we have a tendency to rush through everything. We rush to finish one task just so that we can move onto another. The pace is hectic and the energy is frantic.

We are never really here. Savoring is out of the question. Because when we don’t slow down, we forget to even feel.

In my journal several months ago I wrote in the top margin, “The soul is never rushed.” I circled it several times for emphasis because it is a reminder that I need on the daily. It goes so against the grain of our culture, which is built on productivity, quantity over quality.

I have found that even when I don’t look at those words scrawled in my notebook, I receive the reminder none-the-less.

With Sophie’s ACL recovery and then her mystery illness and then the brutal Texas heat, she has been inviting me and showing me how to slow down. There are many mornings when I rush out the door to try and squeeze in a walk with her before the summer sun has its way with us, the sidewalks too scorching hot for her paw pads.

But on a good number of those mornings, my early walk intentions are cut short when we get to the end of our yard and Sophie lies down. And refuses to move. And that’s the end of our walk.

This is not new; she has played this game for quite some time. Before, I would attempt to drag or cajole her down the street with the promise of treats, feeling frustrated and on edge.

“Please, let’s at least go around the block,” said in a pleading voice I am not proud of.

Now though, more often than not, I sit down with her. My neighbors always wave and sometimes come for a visit when they see us out there. We sit on the lawn for twenty minutes or so, until she gets too hot or I can’t stand the mosquitoes. I won’t have my phone or anything to distract me. We just sit (and occasionally roll…Sophie, that is…).

We feel the warmth of the coming summer day, folding in gently but persistently. We listen to the coo of the white-tailed doves and the strange crackling of the grackles. On a good day, a cooling breeze will rustle the leaves on the pecan trees overhead and provide a brief, refreshing respite from the humidity. Sophie sniffs the air. I sniff the air, though begrudgingly I have yet to catch any scents of interest

{Inhale…Exhale, letting go of any tension in the shoulders. Slow down to feel more.}

I also recently started Rochelle Schieck’s course “A Call to Create.” It is a nine-month course that takes you through the entire creation process, from conception to birth (whether you are birthing a baby, a book, a new program, etc.). It was designed with such purpose and intention, with beautiful worksheets and meaningful rituals. Calls for every new moon and full moon.

In the first month I noticed my ingrained pattern of rushing immediately when I could not for the life of me wait until the full moon to listen to the second recording. Always the A-student, I did pretty much the entire month’s worth of content in less than a week. I like to work ahead!!

For a “quick start” like me, who goes from idea to action in no time at all, this course has presented quite a growth edge. Nine months to create anything seems like an awfully long time, but I can also see this is another invitation to slow down. To allow things to marinate and develop in their own timing. To dance with possibility and unfolding.

I am beginning to see how creativity doesn’t need to be this crazy burst of activity. It doesn’t need to be frantic. When I trust in my own flow, I can allow it to flow.

When I trust that everything that desires to be created will be created in accordance with divine timing, I can slow down. I can relax. I can sigh out a big ol’ exhale.

{Try that again now. Inhale through the nose, sigh it audibly out of the mouth.}

So every day, and in all the ways, this summer I am learning to slow down to feel more. It still feels strange sometimes, but I am taking it on as an exploration. A deepening embodiment of the feminine.

Listening to the pace of my body.

Allowing my soul to lead.

Reveling in every step of the dance with life.

Now through the end of August, when you complete one month of coaching (minimum two sessions) you are eligible for a free one-on-one 90-minute Qoya class with me. Are you in touch with your body? Do you know how she desires to move? What she’s hungry for? Do you allow yourself to embrace her rhythm?

Coming back home to your body is the first step to reclaiming your feminine soul. When you combine the magic of coaching with gentle, feminine movements that allow you to move from your head into your heart, something alchemizes in your soul.

I wish I had the words to explain it, but I don’t. And even if I did, it might strip some of the magic away. Part of the beauty of the feminine is allowing yourself to have the experience. To tap into the bodily knowing.

To take advantage of this limited-time offer, schedule your free 30-minute initial Discovery Call now.

 

 

Hungry for Freedom?

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For those of you in the US…Happy 4th of July!!

The upcoming holiday has had me thinking about FREEDOM, and I invite you to take a few moments to ponder how you might begin to feel more freedom in your own life.

When I was studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition a few years ago, I completed a plethora of health histories. The health history was the initial consultation call where I would speak to the person about their health goals, what was going on in their life, etc.

The majority of people I spoke with were women, and I soon started to notice a couple of trends that felt significant…

First, when asked what they wanted to feel more of or what they longed for, the most common answer was by and far FREEDOM.

And second, when asked about something they used to do (and love) when they were younger that they no longer do, the answer was almost always DANCING.

(Do I believe there is a correlation there? Heck yes I do! For information about more dancing opportunities, click here).

For many of us women living in the US at this time, despite the political climate, one of the most common barriers to us feeling more freedom is not outside of us. It’s not the government or the system or men.

It’s us.

While we like to believe that someone or something external is keeping us caged and trapped, the easiest – and simultaneously most difficult – part to change is ourselves.

And that’s where we must begin.

You may have some resistance to this idea at first, but the most insidious part of patriarchy is the part of it that we have internalized.

It becomes so ingrained that we don’t even see it anymore. We know of nothing else, so the voice of culture becomes the voice of reality. A piece of us that doesn’t really belong, but that has seeped in and taken root.

This holiday weekend as we celebrate our freedom as a nation, I invite you to contemplate how you can more fully embody freedom within yourself. It is very difficult to stand for something outside of yourself that you haven’t yet embodied within.

How you live your one precious life makes a difference. By you embracing and embodying freedom in your own life, you will be able to stand for it on behalf of others as well.

  • Where are you restricting your freedom? Where are you shackling yourself? We often shackle ourselves through addictions to pleasing and perfectionism. Through wanting our bodies to be somehow different than they are now. Through not taking responsibility for our own lives and identifying as a victim of our circumstances.
  • If you had total freedom – no constraints, all the time and money in the world – what would your life look like?
  • What activities make you feel free? What is it about those activities or places or people that tap into that sense of freedom for you?
  • What does freedom feel like in your body?
  • What does the opposite of freedom feel like in your body?

Often freedom can be this overblown concept, like happiness, that we are always yearning for and yet never achieving. That is because it has a tendency to be out there, rather vague, and often lifted from other people’s notions of what it entails.

So get personal and get specific. What is it for you? How can you give yourself more of that right now? What do you need to stop doing in order to feel a greater sense of freedom? What do you need to give yourself permission for?

Navigating the waters from Little Girl to embodied Wise Woman gives women the freedom to be themselves. To hear their own intuition and heart yearning. To dance to the beat of their own beautiful, internal drum. To speak their truth.

Unshackling ourselves from our Little Girl patterns, which tell us that we need to please others first and foremost, that our desires don’t matter, and that to be a “good girl” we need to fall in line, is key to uncovering our feminine wholeness and freedom.

My one-on-one coaching is an intimate mentorship where we discover the places your Little Girl patterns are surfacing in your life, and begin to shift them into the calm and confident energy of the Wise Woman. The initial Discovery Call is a free 30-minute conversation where we will uncover if coaching is right for you. Schedule yours by clicking here.