Singing Bird Holistic Health Coaching

Standing Strong Isn’t Enough…

Let’s talk authenticity, hardening, and the quest for wholeness…

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I recently devoured Brené Brown’s new book Braving the Wilderness.

It was ALL good, but one line in particular resonated with me: “Strong back, soft front, wild heart.”

My own personal journey, and the work that I guide other women through, is deeply rooted in the feminine soul.

Unearthing the wild essence. Giving birth to the wise woman within. Embracing the wholeness of your being.

Shedding layers of patriarchal programming and good girl patterns like perfectionism and pleasing, to get to the root of what is you. What is really you. Who are you?

While that question is a lifelong exploration in itself, it is only part of the work.

It is not enough to unearth your wildly feminine soul; you must also embody and express it in the world. Take her out for a walk. Have coffee with a friend.

Practice what it feels like to be truly authentic. To come from soul. To stand in your truth. To say what you actually believe. To be honest about your feelings.

For recovering pleasers, this is very difficult. There might be conflict. Someone may not like you. They may get angry or upset. Pulling back our responsibility of another’s emotional state makes us want to squirm.

So there is a lot of strengthening the back that needs to happen in order to share what is true for us, especially when it means many people may not like or understand what we have to say.

Personal boundaries need to be honored.

We practice saying no.

We walk tall and stand firm in who we are.

This too is a lifelong learning in itself. And yet the work still isn’t done.

Because then there is this softening piece. The soft front.

It is easy to think of authenticity as simply shouting your truth from the rooftops. Not giving a shit what other people think of you. And that is authenticity, and yet…

There is still this softening piece.

Softening the front can be equally as hard or harder than strengthening the back.

Sharing creatively from our truth moment to moment means being really honest with ourselves about how we feel, and then choosing to share that truth with another. Even when those feelings make us feel vulnerable or small or weak.

It is allowing someone to see the sadness that lurks behind the anger.

The doubt that exists right alongside the trust.

The love that feels so tender and searing that letting it penetrate you fully opens you up to a whole new depth of emotion and vulnerability.

This softening happens right along with the strengthening. You can’t have one without the other. We need to integrate them both.

This is the path of the wise and wild woman.

Leading with our wholeness.

Embracing and owning our light AND our shadows.

Getting to know ourselves really well, and being okay with what we find. Accepting our inherent contradictions.

Then practicing intimacy in relationship by allowing another to witness and experience the full range of who we are. Allowing another to truly know us as well.

The deep dive into unearthing and embodying your wildly feminine soul is the work that I do with clients in my Wise Woman Mentorship. I will ask you the questions that you have been afraid to ask yourself. I will introduce new ideas, perspectives, and practices to breathe energy into your soul life. I will challenge the beliefs that do not serve nor belong to you. I will hold sacred space for you to explore all facets of yourself, to excavate the bones of who you are, and to embody your truth and the wholeness of your being in your life.

If you are interested in the Wise Woman Mentorship visit my online calendar to set up your free 30-minute consultation call or email me at singingbirdhealth@gmail.com.

Me Too.

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When I logged into Facebook yesterday morning and scrolled nonchalantly through my feed I came upon a seemingly endless string of “Me too” status posts from my female friends. I scrolled until I found the explanation, but I had a sinking feeling of what it was referring to.

“If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.”

As I read those words, my heart grew heavier and the fire in my belly hotter, but I couldn’t say that I was surprised. I don’t think any women were surprised.

Sexual harassment and assault are so commonplace in our culture; it’s the air that we breathe. It’s like how if you live in a city with high air pollution you don’t realize how blue the sky really is until you leave. Sometimes it’s hard to see the shit when you are in it. When you have been living and breathing in it your whole life. You believe that’s just “how things are”.

But more and more we are beginning to wake up to that bullshit. Questioning how it got this way and how we change it.

#Metoo calls reference to the news that came out about Harvey Weinstein this past week. Story after story came out of the women that he harassed, assaulted, and raped over the last 30 years. Courageous women stepped forth from the shadows, one after the other, whispering or shouting “me too”.

Nearly one year ago to the date (in October of 2016), I published a post on “locker room talk” after Donald Trump (the man who but a few weeks later would be elected the president of our country) was caught on a hot mic bragging about exactly this same thing: How his power gave him permission to grab women by the pussy. How they “let him do anything” because he was a “star”.

Let’s make one thing real clear here: these two things are RELATED. Harvey Weinstein and Donald Trump are cut from the same cultural cloth. This is a problem that runs like an undercurrent beneath our surface politics.

This is patriarchy. This is rape culture.

Here I am, writing about it again, a year later with hands shaking and tightness in my chest. I don’t want to write about this. Who wants to rehash old stories of victimization? Who wants open themselves up to further criticism and shaming?

To claim the “victim” label feels uncomfortable and weak.

And yet, it’s a part of me. A part of my story that gets shunned into the dark and disowned. A part that when revisited is accompanied by voices of shame that tell me “You should have said no, you should have kicked him in the balls, you shouldn’t have laughed it off, you should have told someone…”

Because as the victim, you internalize that YOU were the one who did something wrong.

But true power doesn’t come from disowning our stories or pieces of ourselves that feel vulnerable; true power rises from the reclamation of our wholeness.

So with that said, here are a few excerpts of my “me too” story that I feel comfortable sharing…

When I was in high school, I worked as a hostess and QA person at a restaurant. I wore loose khaki pants and button down shirts to work (not that it matters, but many men AND women sadly still seem to believe that what you wear somehow determines whether you are harassed/assaulted or not). One day, I was cornered by a cook in the walk-in refrigerator who asked me how I was doing. Grabbing a giant, several-gallon tub of tartar sauce, I responded, “Good.” “Really good?” he countered and walked closer, pushing me into the back corner of the freezer, his body uncomfortably close to mine. Leering. “No, not really good!” I answered hastily, dropping the tartar sauce, and running past him.

I laughed it off later when telling friends and family. A fellow co-worker told me she never went in the walk-in fridge alone. It was common knowledge. I was terrified of that cook after that day and always watched my back when I had to get something from the fridge.

Years later, I had a boss who routinely called me “babe” in emails and asked me to feather-dust the conference room. I was a marketing administrative assistant at the time.

I had my ass grabbed by the head of a department of corrections at a work conference while standing in a circle of laughing men. Some of which I still called “friends” back then. I tried to laugh along, feeling embarrassed.

The examples above all happened at my place of employment. Where everyone had to sign off on all that beautiful paperwork on sexual harassment is wrong. I am not even going to mention the times when this happened while out at bars or clubs.

And I still consider myself one of the lucky ones, because I know that it could have been worse. What does that say about our society?

It says that a woman’s body does not belong to her. That our humanity is somehow worth less. That our bodies are commodities. Objects. That someone else has a right to them just because they want to.

If you happen to be drunk or wearing a short skirt or low-cut shirt, the impetus to stay quiet is strong. As a woman you know your character will be called into question. Someone will say “she was asking for it”. Why is a woman’s personhood determined by our inebriation level or our clothing choices?

My body belongs TO ME, whether I am dressed like a nun or butt-ass naked.

I am SO OVER these old stories of how men cannot control themselves and it is the responsibility of women to not stir “impure” thoughts within them. By wearing yoga pants. Or going bra-less. Or swinging our hips when we walk.

Patriarchy’s answer to rape culture is always to make women even smaller. To contain and take ownership of the feminine. Don’t want to get raped? Don’t wear that. Don’t go out by yourself after dark. Don’t have that last cocktail.

But women aren’t the problem here.

THE MEN WHO ASSAULT AND HARASS US ARE THE PROBLEM.

Patriarchy is the problem. Imbalance of power is the problem. Hierarchy is the problem. “Me over you” mentality is the problem. Objectification and dehumanizing others is the problem.

The same holds true for the treatment of women, people of color, the LGBTQ community…anyone who is considered “less than” when measured up against the yard stick of the straight, white male.

We need to do better.

We need to do better by both our daughters AND our sons.

I want our daughters to grow up feeling safe, able to enjoy life in and through their feminine bodies. Knowing their intrinsic value as human beings. Boldly embodying their truth and their gifts with confidence and vitality. Relishing in what it means to be a girl and a woman.

And I want our sons to grow up with heart. To stay connected to that soft core within themselves, that vulnerable part that connects them to all the other people and souls on this planet. That allows them to feel the effects of their actions on others. And the courage to stand up for what is right, even when it’s not popular or easy.

Though I wish this wasn’t the case, it seems that because these patterns have gone unseen or unsaid for so long, this unraveling starts with those who are not at the top of the hierarchy. In this particular case, women. This means revisiting painful memories and sharing our truth openly and unapologetically and vulnerably, if that feels right and true for us. Stories of weakness and strength, love and hurt, victimization and power.

Standing up, standing together, and whispering “me too”.

 

 

My Issue with Social Media

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Before I left for the Qoya intensive in North Carolina I made myself a promise: to allow myself to fully be there, to be present in the experience.

I was an art major in college who specialized in digital photography. My friends often commented how it was funny that I was a photographer who rarely took any photos.

That is because I knew something back then that I forgot (or overlooked) when I started my coaching business…

Taking photographs is one way that we step ourselves out of our own experience. Via the camera lens we detach from the moment and from our lives.

As a business owner though, I bought into the commonly accepted story that in order to run a successful business I need to post on social media at least once per day. The more the better!

Occasionally this left me grasping for content. I put this pressure on myself to say something profound every single day. I would no longer take a nature walk simply for my own enjoyment, but rather to photograph and share it with my followers.

Right before I left for the intensive, my body began to reject this paradigm. I longed for presence. For experience that I could hold simply for myself.

After sharing this insight with a few other women, I realized that I am not alone, particularly among entrepreneurs.

So if this resonates with you, whether you are a business owner or just a social media maven, I have an invitation for you:

Give yourself the gift of PURE EXPERIENCE.

Just for you. Allow yourself to sink into the moment, to be fully immersed.

I have noticed, both within myself and within the collective, three common ways that we separate ourselves from simply having an experience. Practice awareness of when you do any of the following and experiment with how it feels different in your body when you let go of these behaviors (at least temporarily).

  1. Taking pictures. Okay I know we all love to take pictures, especially of beautiful scenery or sacred moments. But by documenting the experience, we take ourselves out of it. We position ourselves as an observer as opposed to the person within the experience itself. Play with leaving your camera or phone at home. Trust that even if you don’t have photographs, you will remember.
  1. Making meaning out of the experience. Again, I love to make meaning out of everything. With that said, when we try to make meaning out of the moment while we are still in it, we remove ourselves from the pure experience of the moment. We move into the left half of our brain, where we judge and analyze what is happening as opposed to experiencing what is happening. Allow moments to simply be what they are. Enjoy them. Be in them. Afterwards, go back and dig into the underlying meaning.
  1. Share the experience. This often goes along with the other two. In our fast-paced culture, we document and then make meaning of every moment so that we can share them with others in real time. This forces us to view our experiences in a specific light. We step out of ourselves and out of the moment and begin to frame it for someone else. Our perspective shifts from having the experience for ourselves and becomes about how another person views and interacts with our experience.

So put the camera away. Leave the phone at home. Stop drafting your facebook post in your head while you are walking on the beach feeling the Divine breathing in your cells.

Wherever you are, be all there. – Jim Elliot

Pure experience is a gift. You are worthy of it. And only you can give it to yourself.

Is the way that you have been living not really working for you? Have you followed what you thought you were “supposed” to do, and yet aren’t feeling the deep level of fulfillment that you are yearning for?

Unearthing your Wise Woman means unhooking from the “shoulds” and “supposed to’s” of patriarchy. It means taking your compass back and placing it firmly within yourself, where it belongs. It means questioning what have you learned to truly discern whether it resonates with your heart and soul.

It is not for the faint of heart or those set in their ways. You must be willing to be curious about yourself and the world, to look at both with fresh eyes and a seeking heart. If this is you, and you know who you are, I would love to speak with you about my Wise Woman Mentorship. Click here to view my online calendar and schedule your free initial Discovery Call today.

Are You Afraid of the Unknown?

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Our masculine, goal-oriented, fact-focused society doesn’t do so well with the unknown. The darkness. The pieces of life that are wholly and utterly outside of our control.

The unknown is the realm of the Goddess, the realm of the feminine, which the dysfunctional masculine desires to define and conquer.

She is mystery. The unconscious. The magic of that which the logical mind cannot comprehend.

She has the power to be awe-inspiring or terrifying. In reality, those emotions aren’t all that different. They feel quite similar in the body. It is the story the mind tells that set them apart from one another.

Awe is rooted in trust, reverence, and love. Terror is rooted distrust and fear.

That is why when we move from fear into a space of love and trust, those very same pieces of life that frightened us can begin to inspire us.

When we dance with the feminine, when we take the darkness by the hand, we find that the unknown approached from a place of love and trust is ripe with potential.

It holds all of the options.

Understanding this intellectually and truly embodying it are two different matters entirely, though. The UNKNOWN when seen through the objective eyes of an observer, from a distance, feels much less threatening than facing the unknown in our lives. When it is deeply personal. When we are smack dab in the middle of the darkness and we have no idea which way is up.

When we are unexpectedly let go from a job.

When we don’t know where rent is coming from next month.

When a loved one is diagnosed.

When a relationship comes to a sudden end.

The unknown comes to us at certain points in our life, bidden or not. When we approach it from a place of distrust and fear, we often try to grasp onto control anywhere that we can find it, which only leads to greater anxiety (I may have tried this approach…several times).

Because when we are in the unknown, thick in the darkness, we cannot think our way through. We can’t analyze our way to a solution or develop a strategic plan to plot our path out. Our usual reference points are removed.

We can only drop into our bodies and feel what is true for us. Discern the next right step and trust that after we take it, the one thereafter will appear.

If we allow ourselves to surrender to the power of the unknown, to stop fighting it or orienting ourselves in ways that have worked in the past, we begin to see that it is actually the true creative space. The past and the future both become obsolete. We see them for what they truly are…a mental construct. And we cannot rely on them.

We must rely on what is present and true in the moment. Deeply trusting the wisdom of our bodies, our own capacity to remain grounded despite external circumstances, knowing that we are divinely held and supported.

When we can sink into that truly confident space, there is no gripping or freezing, no fight or flight. We no longer need to rely on our limited reserves of control. Instead we are grounded and open, and allow life to flow with grace and ease.

On December 2nd, I am partnering with equine therapist Kelly Jones to bring you DANCING WITH THE UNKNOWN. In this full-day retreat featuring mentoring, Qoya, energy work with horses, sacred community, and quiet time spent in nature you will explore and shift your relationship to the unknown.

What does it feel like to embody trust, confidence, and leadership in the face of any situation?

Versus what does it feel like when you approach from fear, insecurity, and a need for control?

What would be possible in your life if you shifted your relationship with the unknown from one of fear to one of possibility? What heart longings would you follow? What would blossom open in your life? What would fall away?

These are but a few of the questions that we will be exploring and unearthing during Dancing with the Unknown. And we won’t only explore them mentally; you will go home with a visceral, embodied understanding of what this does and doesn’t feel like in your life. You will know what is possible because you have experienced it. While held in sacred sisterhood. Surrounded by wild nature and energetically in-tune creatures.

There are a limited number of spaces and we are currently offering a limited early bird registration. This event will likely sell out, so don’t wait! To reserve your space today, click here.