Singing Bird Holistic Health Coaching

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.

The Trick to Being Unflappable…

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My family gave me many nicknames growing up. One was Singing Bird, which as you already know became the inspiration and name for my business.

Another related, but perhaps less flattering version, one was “The Siren”. As in a police siren. Or something very loud that comes on suddenly and then fades out rather quickly.

This is because from my tender beginnings as a young girl, I have been a feeler. My whole life I have felt things very deeply, and when I was younger I expressed those feelings with wild abandon.

Joy, excitement, sadness, anger – it all came out.

But somewhere along the line, around my mid-teenage years, I didn’t like the feelings as much anymore. Especially the ones that felt painful or made me feel small or insecure. They began to seem overwhelming, and like a burden. I didn’t like that I couldn’t control them and they would arrive unbidden.

So I started developing ways to not have to feel them as much. I controlled what I ate. I numbed them with alcohol. I strove endlessly for perfection. These were all ways that I steeled myself against vulnerability because I wanted to be UNFLAPPABLE. I longed to feel strong and independent and in control.

Those pesky feelings were just getting in the way.

I saw life as being black or white, either/or. I could choose to embody my deep feeling nature OR I could be unflappable. And for many years I chose the latter because it felt like the safer (and more rewarded) option.

When I started down my path of embodiment and feminine awakening a few years ago, I came face to face with all those feelings that I had long tried to bury. No longer wanting to steel myself against them, I allowed myself to feel them, while secretly fearing that this would make me seriously flappable.

I still didn’t understand that I had the option of being able to feel deeply AND also be rooted, grounded, and centered. That emotions didn’t have to completely knock me asunder. That I could be BOTH.

It is through Qoya and working with my mentor on embodying my own Wise Woman energy that I have begun to see that our lives and our being doesn’t have to be either/or. We don’t need to choose one or the other. The work is to integrate two things that at first glance appear to be polar opposites and mutually exclusive.

For me, one of those paradoxes was feeling deeply AND being unflappable.

I love metaphors, and they can be so insightful. I have begun to think of my Wise Woman like a tree in a thunderstorm, where I am the tree and the thunderstorm is the emotion.

I, tree Linda, feel the water coming down on my leaves; my branches sway back and forth in the wind. I rumble right along with the thunder. I allow myself to feel the energy of the storm moving through and I allow it to MOVE me (now quite literally thanks to Qoya). I also know instinctively that each storm carries its own form of cleansing and nourishment.

And yet, I also trust that my roots are grounded enough, and my trunk centered, that this storm, no matter how intense, will not topple me over entirely. It will not uproot me. I can stand firm, but not brittle. Strong, but not hardened.

I can feel deeply AND be unflappable.

This is the work and the energy of the Wise Woman. Wisdom is paradoxical. It integrates. It has the power to hold truths that feel diametrically opposed to one another.

And that is how we begin to reclaim our wholeness as women.

The Wise Woman Mentorship is an ongoing one-on-one relationship where I work with you to shift into your own Sovereign Feminine energy. Moving from distrust and insecurity into confidence and trust. To schedule your initial 30-minute Discovery Call, visit my online scheduler. The Discovery Call is free and a time for us to connect and see if the Wise Woman Mentorship would be a good option for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not concerned about you…

But I do care, and there is a BIG difference.

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This is a tough pill to swallow. I know, because I have had to swallow it and it took a while working with my mentor (the amazing Lianne Raymond) to get it down.

Here we go…

Caring and concern are not the same thing.

We live in a society where the most common way to show that we care about somebody is to be concerned about them.

We worry; we fret.

It is how we express our love: through concern.

But if we peek underneath the covers, we will see that this energy of concern is really quite murky. It is usually boiling in a lovely stew of fear, insecurity, and control.

When we are concerned, we are not grounded in the present moment, but rather broadcasting our fears into the future. It’s an anxious state. Then, in an effort to show our loved ones how much we care, we spew our own fears onto them.

Don’t be fooled, they are usually well disguised. When we are on the receiving end of concern, we typically accept it because we know it’s “coming from a good place”.

“They just want me to be happy and are worried I won’t have a good support network if I move to another state.”

“He is concerned that if I quit my job I won’t have financial stability or security in my life.”

“I know she just wants the best for me.”

We accept it even though it never feels good to be on the receiving end. We feel small. We take on fears that are not our own. We begin to worry that if we make a “wrong decision” in our lives we will disappoint someone we care about.

Because concern is also rooted in control. We subconsciously want to control someone else’s life because concern often comes up when someone’s life doesn’t go how WE expect it to. (This is especially true if that someone is making a conscious decision that we don’t agree with or can’t understand.)

We also accept concern as caring because it’s the only thing we know. Often, when I speak with women, they believe that they can either express concern or be cold and uncaring.

But there is another way to show our love, another way to empathize…

The Wise Woman Way.

The Wise Woman, the Sovereign Feminine, comes not from insecurity, fear, and anxiety but from presence, trust, and confidence.

I can be empathetic when you are going through a rough time, and still have full confidence that you will make it through. I can know that even though it is hard right now, everything will be okay. You will be okay. No matter what happens. I trust that you know what is the best decision in your life right now, even if you can’t access that space yet.

When you are on the receiving end of that Wise Woman caring it feels so different.

Instead of feeling small, you feel empowered.

Instead of stressing out about what the future may hold, you ground into how you feel and what you can do right now.

Instead of taking on new fears that don’t belong to you, you allow your own fears to take a backseat to your heart’s yearnings.

Caring about someone in the Wise Woman Way invites them into the energy of trust.

This is what that feels like:

Oh, you are thinking about making a huge life move that seems risky and everyone is questioning your sanity? Well then, let me say, yes, it is safe to trust yourself. Yes, it is safe to trust the universe. Is everything going to turn out sunshine and rainbows, or exactly how you expected? No, probably not. But I still trust you’ve got what it takes to handle whatever comes down the pipe.

And if/when things get hard, or life sucks (as it does occasionally for all of us…no one escapes unscathed), I will sit with you in the suckage. I won’t try to change it or say any version of “I told you so”. I will sit with you in your descent, and even then, in your darkest moments, I will trust in your power to rise.

My passion is to support women and to hold them in the Wise Woman energy throughout their journey. I am confident that you have the answers within you. I will not shower you with concern, but will be a loving guide as you unearth and embody your own Wise Woman – she who is grounded in her truth and is not afraid to walk the path that is truly hers. With confidence, conviction, and compassion.

The Wise Woman Mentorship begins with a free 30-minute Discovery Call (visit my online scheduler to schedule yours now).

To change the world, we must start by changing ourselves.

 

Why I am Dancing On a Mountaintop!

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In preparation for the Qoya intensive this week, I was asked to write about my experience tuning into my feeling nature through the practice of Qoya. I wanted to share my answer with y’all because I feel like it helps to explain why this practice is so meaningful for me and why I am spending a week on a mountaintop in North Carolina dancing and deepening. (Okay let’s be honest, they had me at “dancing” and “mountain”, but I digress…)

I also want to share it as an invitation for you to find a way that really resonates with your soul to come home to your feminine body and begin to honor your feelings.

My Personal Experience Tuning Into My Feelings Through Qoya

I am a feeler by nature. For a large portion of my life I wasn’t comfortable with that part of myself. My ability to feel things so deeply – whether it was joy, sadness, rage – would overwhelm me sometimes. I’d get lost in this vortex of emotion.

So Qoya for me has been less about tuning into my feelings and more about allowing them. Giving them space. Giving them healthy expression. My feelings no longer consume me, and because of that I am also no longer afraid of them.

Qoya taught me that it is okay to feel things deeply. And not only just “okay”, but that it is actually a strength.

As I have sunk deeper into my Qoya practice, I no longer use my old techniques of steeling myself against my feelings. I am a recovering perfectionist. I was uncomfortable with vulnerability. I tried to starve away my feelings. Numb them with alcohol.

I no longer have to do that.

In stark contrast to my old modus operandi of wanting to get rid of my feelings, Qoya gives me a way to honor them. Both the light AND the dark. I am now able to honor the full spectrum of the human experience, and see and FEEL the beauty and meaning in all of it.

I will give you an example. A few months ago, my dog (that word really does not even begin to encapsulate who this creature truly is and what she has taught me) got very ill. She was in and out of the vet. Refused to eat. No one could figure out what was going on with her. Western veterinary medicine was unable to find a cause of any kind.

This was a really terrifying, heartbreaking, and frustrating moment.

But instead of trying to numb myself from it or check out by watching TV or drinking, I danced with it. With all of it.

I danced my fear of losing her.

My anger at the doctors who couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

My desire to want to control the situation and my frustration of the reminder that many things are entirely out of our control.

I danced my hope and my prayers that everything would be okay.

And most of all, I danced my love. My love for her. My gratitude for everything we have experienced together and everything that she has taught me thus far.

It helped me to cry both tears of sadness and fear, but also tears of tremendous joy.

I am so grateful that I have this practice that helps me to stay present with everything in my life. That helps me to be in relationship to what is happening and how I am feeling.

So yeah, that’s been my experience with Qoya. Truly life changing in the best possible of ways.

If you are in Austin, I will be teaching weekly classes starting this fall and have several amazing workshops and retreats in the works! If you are hungering to deepen your relationship with yourself, your body, and your feelings, OR if you are looking for amazingly authentic sisterhood OR if you just love to DANCE and don’t do it nearly enough, make sure you sign up for my special Qoya email list to stay up to date on all things Qoya in the Austin area.

If you are NOT in Austin, check out the Qoya website to find a teacher near you!

 

My Beef with Leaning In…

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You know that book Leaning In that was really popular a few years ago? I must admit off the bat that I never read it. This article isn’t about the content though; it’s about the title.

I have beef with the title. I have beef with the underlying energy of the whole concept it conveys.

Much of my work is body-based. Paying attention to your body language, tapping into the ancient wisdom that often lies dormant, waiting to be recognized in our flesh and bone.

I was speaking with another coach a few weeks ago, and I asked her which way her body moved in a particularly triggering situation. Was she leaning back, afraid or not wanting to get involved? Was she leaning forward, wanting to get into it, pushing her way in? Or was she standing firm and confident in her own power, grounded in the earth on her own two feet?

She was leaning forward and we talked about what that meant, what the underlying pattern was, etc.

“This paints the idea of leaning in in a totally different light…” she said towards the end of our call.

We both grew quiet as we digested what this meant.

Leaning in, which was created as a way for women to rise to equality in the workplace, is predicated on women still being OUTSIDE. Like moths drawn to a flame, we are meant to lean in towards the men in power. Once again prove ourselves to the masculine power structure to hopefully get a little bit more of our fair share.

That’s not true feminine power, and the body language alluded to in the idea of “leaning in” says it all.

True power is standing up straight. Not leaning in or out, forwards or backwards.

But speaking, living, acting, and creating from a centered, confident place where you are the flame in your own life.

Where your power isn’t found by latching onto someone else’s, but sourced from deep within you.

For women to reclaim true equality we must cease to be the moths, circling from flame to flame; we must realize that the light we seek is already within us.

And it is time to start shining.

Woman, it is time for you to stand firm in your own power. Share your truth with confidence and conviction. Embodying your Wise Woman, your Sovereign Feminine, isn’t only important for entrepreneurs; it is crucial for every woman. It will shift how you show up at work, in relationship, in friendship, and most importantly, with yourself.

Schedule your 30-minute free Discovery Call to see if my Wise Woman Mentorship would be a good fit for you. To schedule your Discovery Call, visit my online scheduler. Cannot wait to speak with you!

 

Reclaiming the Dark Goddess

DarkGoddessBackBlack_VignettePhoto by Jeana Marino

For years I had this nagging fear, this felt sense of the darkness that brewed within me. A bottomless pit of despair. A torrent of grief. Rage that lay in wait like a dormant volcano.

I longed for the sweet relief of release.

I created fantasies around it, wishing for the straw to break the camel’s back so that I could let go of my tight gripping.

And yet, I was terrified. I feared that was within me, once unleashed, would swallow me whole. Take down anyone who was within striking distance.

What’s worse is that I thought I was alone in feeling this way, which only served to deepen the fear that there was something wrong with me.

That this darkness was NOT normal and needed to be kept under wraps and tightly controlled at all costs.

It seeped out every now and again in highly dysfunctional ways and I would be reminded of how it was not wanted. It wasn’t pretty or acceptable.

It was grief that had no home, rage that hadn’t found its place.

And it was stuck. Buried deep within my body where I tried to keep it contained.

Over the years of studying the path of the Divine Feminine, I have come to realize that I am not alone. I am not alone in the darkness. I am not alone with my yearnings for wholeness. I am not alone in my deepest and smallest fear that there is something terribly wrong with me.

Instead, I see now that this was the calling of the Dark Feminine. She who has been repressed and holds all that which we do not want to see.

She was inviting me to her. To look her straight in the eye. To not only feel her pain, but dive into it and not leave my body.

Of course her eye was my own, and the pain that she asked me to dive into was mine as well.

In order to unearth my own feelings, and with them, my feminine power, I had to come face to face with the pain that I had tried to push down. Starve away. Control to the point of oblivion. Numb out.

I had to face how many times I had betrayed my own soul. I had to hear and listen to those cries. Shed the tears. Bear witness to myself. Descend and dance with the darkness.

The feminine path to wholeness isn’t neat and pretty and clean and perfect. It’s not a straight line. It is not up and out of the body into bliss and transcendence.

It is crooked and gnarled. Down and in. Into the densest parts of our bodies, into the dark and fertile ground of Mama Earth.

It asks of us to dig and dig. Dig until our fingers are raw and there is dirt caked in under our nails. Dig till we have unearthed the truth of ourselves, the bones of the matter.

And by singing over those bones, by crying and dancing and wailing and raging over those bones, we slowly bring them back to life. Out of the shadows and into the world. Reclaiming the depths of our darkness as part of our sacred gift.

The gift of feeling deeply. The gifts of intuition and instinct. The gift of bodily knowing.

And with that, we can stop running. We can stop distracting or numbing ourselves, for we are no longer afraid of seeing the truth.

Of seeing ourselves in our totality. Giving both the darkness and the light reverence.

Finally giving our wholeness a safe haven, a home.

 

 

Getting Schooled in “Using” Gratitude…and other things

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Over the last couple of months I have been receiving a deeper level of education by Mother Nature and the universe, particularly when it comes to the energy of using and getting.

In the Western world, we are quite predisposed to this energy. It is so interwoven in our culture that it frequently flies underneath the radar.

This came up for me when I read the following passage from Martin Shaw’s Scatterlings:

“The spiritual seeker who seeks nature ‘to get some healing from it’ is, surely, a subtle manifestation twice removed of those who continually use it for financial gain. We have to give up ‘to get’. No river creek responds to ‘to get’. They’ve felt the lash of that tone before.”

It stopped me in my path because I felt the sting of truth. I saw how often I go out into nature simply to get something for myself, be it peace, healing, or inspiration.

When one party uses the other simply to get something for themselves it’s not a true relationship.

Recently I have been shown how this energy of using permeates how we interact with stories, dreams, nature, animals, you name it.

But today, I want to talk specifically about our proclivity to use GRATITUDE.

The dictionary defines gratitude as the quality of being thankful. I see gratitude as being an offering of our fullness, a sacred pause, a moment to celebrate everything that we have in our lives, and to express thanks for it.

Gratitude for this body that you have been given. The skills that you were born with and those you have acquired. Gratitude for that which you have overcome. Gratitude for all that you have in your life.

At its core, gratitude is an expression of FULLNESS.

But gratitude has become this “thing”, this buzzword, and is often wrapped up with the energy of using.

For example, when gratitude becomes a step in a formula for manifestation, then it can cease to be an offering of your fullness. Instead it can become a tactic that you use to get more.

Or let’s say you have a gratitude practice and you use gratitude to shift out of feeling crummy, or you use it just to shift your vibration, you are still USING it to get something. It’s not coming from a state of fullness or even acceptance of what is. Again, it becomes merely a tool to achieve a specific outcome.

Like I said, this is something that is recently unfolding and deepening for me in many areas of my life. I am becoming more aware and more conscious of how insidious this energy of using is.

Using things and people solely for our own betterment…

Using nature to get healing…

Using our dreams to get information or meaning about our lives…

Using stories to get people to like us, to put ourselves out there, to elicit a specific response, to get people to buy something from us…

It’s the old, profanely masculine hierarchy in a better costume. It’s not being in true relationship to the world around you. There is an inherent lack of reverence.

I’d like to offer you the same invitation that I have been sitting with myself: When you are expressing gratitude, check in with yourself and see: is it coming from a true place of fullness? Or do you have an agenda for it? Are you using it as a tool to get something else that you want?

See if you can approach gratitude with the intention of allowing it to exist for its own sake. Allowing it to be a sacred pause, an expression of thanks, an offering from your fullness, with no strings attached.

The Wise Woman Mentorship is a one-on-one coaching relationship where I will help you to reclaim your sovereign Wild Feminine energy. Become that woman who lives and breathes from her fullness. The one who knows what she stands for and is rooted firmly in her own truth. The woman who embodies her creative energy.

For more information on the Wise Woman Mentorships, click here. I currently have three spots available for the mentorships now through September (if you sign up before August 31st you are also eligible for a free 90-minute personalized Qoya experience with me). Or set up a time to learn more about the work that I do by visiting my Online Calendar to schedule your free Discovery Call.

 

Are You Afraid of Conflict?

WaterGazing_BoundariesVignette

Some of my articles and blog posts seem to write themselves. My fingers dance across the keys and after a whirlwind 30 minutes I have a beautifully crafted article ready to go! This has not been one of those times.

It has been riddled with starts and stops. Multiple drafts. Getting up and walking away, and coming back days or weeks later.

Perhaps this is because for me personally, learning to creatively honor my boundaries has been one of toughest aspects of stepping into my Sovereign Feminine energy.

By “creatively” I mean standing up for them directly, in the moment. Brené Brown defines boundaries as “what is and is not okay” for us. To creatively honor your boundary is to say, “hey, that is not okay with me” in the moment when the boundary is crossed.

It’s not about staying quiet as your resentment silently grows. It’s not about pushing the responsibility onto the other party, as if it were their job, and not yours, to uphold your boundaries. It’s not about bitching to your friends later about how that one friend never values your time.

I mean, we all do those things. We do those things when we are stuck in our unhealthy Little Girl energy.

The reason that boundaries are such a sticky area for many of us is that they often involve direct confrontation and conflict.

Most of us know where our boundaries lie and know when they have been crossed. It doesn’t feel good! It feels like we are being used or taken advantage of or lack the ability to make decisions in our own lives.

Thus the biggest issue isn’t a lack of having boundaries, but rather the inability to communicate our boundaries to other people (aka the boundary-crossers) with confidence, clarity, and compassion.

Standing firm in our sacred no. Acknowledging our inherent worth, and the worth of our time and our energy, and living that truth through our relationships.

But to honor our own boundaries in the present moment goes against everything that we have learned about being good, nice girls, and the importance of pleasing others. Instead we take responsibility for other people’s emotions and feel guilty if we “make” them feel bad. We don’t want to rock the boat.

As Danielle LaPorte writes in White Hot Truth, upholding your boundaries inherently causes conflict, and that makes the Little Girl within us VERY uncomfortable. She doesn’t want others to be upset or mad at her.

And therein lies the conundrum.

Sometimes the Little Girl goes so far as to opt for the run and hide technique, choosing continual avoidance instead of the potential for confrontation. Meaning that she would rather allow the entire relationship to fall apart than to state what is true for her and communicate her boundaries.

Here you can begin to see the irrationality of this fear! If it seems like a tolerable (sometimes even inevitable) option that the relationship will disintegrate anyhow, what is the worst possible outcome of stating how you truly feel? What do you fear will happen if you clearly communicate your boundaries?

If the relationship is destined to end regardless, there is only one option where you get to walk out with your integrity intact and your head held high.

But maybe that relationship isn’t actually destined to end. Maybe that other person had no idea how you felt because you never told them. If you did, they would at least have the opportunity to show up differently.

It all seems so obvious when I write it down, and yet I know from personal experience how real that fear of conflict and confrontation is, and the great lengths our Little Girl will go to in order to avoid it.

Honoring our boundaries takes practice, and, like all aspects of stepping into our Wise Woman, is a continual process. It won’t be neat and tidy. You won’t always show up in your fullness. You will occasionally still cower in the face of conflict.

And that’s okay. We are all human.

But the first and most crucial step is this: Truly own what is your responsibility and let go of the rest. Taking on someone else’s emotional state is not your responsibility. However, communicating and upholding your boundaries rests firmly on you. No one else can do it for you.

I have found in my own life that even the smallest steps that we take in this area can be some of the most empowering. Because the most painful thing is not having someone else trample on your boundaries. The worst part is that you know, deep down inside, that you didn’t honor yourself or stand for your own truth.

And that is the most painful betrayal of all.

I have three spots remaining in my Wise Woman Mentorship program this fall. AND through the end of August, when you sign up for the Wise Woman Mentorship you are eligible for a free 90-minute personalized Qoya experience with me (can only be redeemed after completion and payment of your first month of coaching).

If you are a chronic people pleaser who is afraid of confrontation or conflict, and therefore have problems standing in your truth, owning your worth, and honoring your boundaries, the Wise Woman Mentorship is an amazing program for you. To learn more visit my website or to schedule your free 30-minute Discovery Call, click here.