There was this piece of me—a young, vulnerable, desperate piece of me—who begged for someone to finally just tell me who the hell I was supposed to be, or do, or what my life was supposed to be about. Every time life intensified, waves of hysteria would swell from deep within me, the fear that I’d get it wrong… that I couldn’t trust myself to know what was true for me. I felt terrified that, without external guidance, my life would be wasted.
But then I started to explore what one of my early teachers called “the spirituality of the self”. I studied the way I reacted to the world around me, the way I allowed certain relationships, circumstances, and experiences to affect me. I learned I was powerful, far more powerful than I’d ever imagined, and that I could change reality by changing the way I was showing up in the world. In time, I released what no longer served me and made space for my truth to become my life. The artist, the lover, the priestess, the mother, the healer, the dancer, the writer . . . one discovery at a time, I hosted a reunion of the pieces of my soul.
This transformation was possible because of the supports I cultivated for myself along the way. My blog is an extension of my journals. I use it to share the lessons I’ve learned, powerful resources, and inspiring stories of my clients’ transformations. Dig in and find the information and inspiration you need today and keep coming back when you need another dose! If you can’t find what you’re looking for, email me your question and I’ll see what I can find for you.
“Prepare them to travel lightly through what lies ahead by releasing attachments to things and old wounds.”
(Slow down. Take a deep breath and read that sentence again. Maybe even a few times. This message is important. If it sparks something inside of you, keep reading, figure out what you need, and do it.)
I’ve been saying this for five years. Five years. This week is the beginning of what lies ahead. Yes, I said the **beginning** and I mean it. We must heal our homes and hearts in order to be free enough to be what we came into this world to be. We must prepare ourselves, so we can do what this election made clear we are going to have to do.
What is it we have to do? There are many, many wise ones who are prepared to lead us to the political and social action now required. I’m not them but they are rising up now and we’re seeing it all around us. We must find the ones who resonate for us and let them lead us to the action that is TRUE and purpose-aligned for each of us as individuals.
I’m writing today because I’m clear about my role in all of this. Many people are finding me and my ideas for the first time (and others who’ve been around are paying more attention). I need to speak into My Thing clearly, so that you will know if it resonates for you. (Because if it doesn’t, FIND YOUR PEOPLE!) If you know your purpose and you’re ready to roll, go do that. The world is waiting for you.
If you feel confused about your purpose in all of this, or if you feel too stuck to take action, then my gig is to help you release the barriers within and around you, so you can go rock Your Thing.
Here’s my way: We need space in our lives to figure out and move into alignment with the one we came to this planet to be. To connect with our tribe, to serve and support minorities and marginalized people, we have to feel FREE to be ourselves. To rise up and make our country a safe place for everyone, to be able to support ourselves and our families, we have to release our attachment (obsession?) to things. To be who we long to be, who we came here to be, we have to heal the thousand old heartbreaks that cultivate the emotional intensity that nearly consumed us this week
(These months? These years? I can’t even tell when all of this fear and hatred and corruption started eating us alive. Privileged, I know. Fear has been eating us alive since from the beginning of “us” and it took me too long to figure it out but I’m waking up, too.)
Our old way of life–the chaos and overwhelm, the extreme self-sacrifice, living in reaction instead of heart-centered action, the fear, and old wounds that keep us from living our truth–must be over now. This is the call to a personal revolution, a call to change the way we show up in our own lives, so we can be clear and confident and FREE enough to do what needs to be done for our selves, families, communities, country, and the world.
(I know. This is big. Focus. You were made for this.)
There is no more time for waiting. The time is now. We can feel the pressure in our hearts. The weight of misalignment turns our stomachs. We can no longer pretend that there’s time to tend to our bullshittery on a more convenient day, the never-gonna-come day after everything everybody else needs gets done.
SPACE HEALING is the first step, taking back our homes. It opens us to heal the HEART HEALING, releasing the emotional triggers tied to old wounds. That work frees us to say yes to our life purpose, the individual CALL to action that makes our hearts ache for a meaningful life.
I know it feels too hard but is not too hard. We are never called to be something we cannot be. I promise you that this is possible. There is a way, a healing journey, that you haven’t heard about before. I wrote it down, the space healing piece at least (below) and I’m writing the triggers book now. I teach workshops (also below). Hell, if we can figure out how to finance it, I’ll come to your house and help you myself.
This has to happen. We have to be able to say YES to our truth.
I believe in you and it’s time for you to believe in yourself.
Here are the ways I can support you:
1. Buy “Is Home Your Happy Place?” now and start reading.
2. PM or email me through the contact page of the website above if you want in the next workshop. I’m working on dates for the next one, as I can see that this must happen again STAT.
3. If you’re a local in Minneapolis, Spirit Gatherings are a deeply healing and helpful place to begin. Attend a community SG or contact me about hosting one yourself. You can learn more here: http://theunrulywoman.com/pages/spirit_gathering.php
4. Schedule a private session for support with space healing or triggers or whatever else has you paralyzed. (We simply cannot stay paralyzed anymore.) I’m here. You deserve support.
5. Also, you can “like” (and choose to receive notifications) this page on FB for inspiration and information moving forward.
Also, thank you for sharing anything that resonates for you. Together, we are stronger.
**This is the beginning of an extraordinary transformation in our country, and in our own lives. I am not saying this to scare you. That is a marketing tactic that I deplore and I refuse to use it. In fact, I have some concerns that I’ve been too passive in communicating the importance of this work because I was afraid you would find me aggressive or sales-y. If I’ve given you the impression that it doesn’t matter when you do this work, I’m revoking that today. The time is now.
Image credit: dawolf- via Flickr
This is about reality of this situation (which is an actual situation that will need to be faced and dealt with) PLUS **triggers** from old unprocessed/unhealed wounds. This candidate and this election and those who voted in his favor have come to represent some of our worst old pain. He’s showing up in the energy of those who molested or hurt us, those who betrayed us, those who made us feel unloved or unsafe, those who put their own needs ahead of ours, those who oppressed us.
And those parts of us, because we were probably very young, may not have had the support to heal properly. This intensity is rising now, because of the election triggers, which allows us to feel what needs to be felt so we can heal.
We feel powerless today because we were powerless when we were little children but we are not powerless today.
We are adults now.
We can support ourselves in healing these wounds. We can support our country in learning and growing from the reality we created. We can support one another.
We can, and we must, extend love and support to one another at this tender time. This is how we bring love. This is how we perpetuate that light we are so desperately seeking.
If you feel afraid, feel it deeply, and then find a way to be shelter for someone with less political power than you. If you feel sad, feel sad. Feel it deeply and cry the big ugly cry. And then hold space for someone else who feels sad. If you feel angry, allow the anger to rise and find a safe way to get it out of your body. Lock yourself in the car in the garage and scream until you cannot scream anymore, punch the pillows on your bed, or swing a hammer over and over and over again into a tire or piece of wood, anything that can receive it without more pain. And then find someone whose anger threatens to consume them and show them how to heal without perpetuating more violence into the world.
We’ve been training for this. We are ready. Let us take space to heal these old wounds because we have a lot of work to do and we can no longer afford to be paralyzed by our emotional triggers.
If you need support, I am here. And don’t just “know” that I’m here. Reach out, schedule a session, read these messages from TVIMH, actively seek healing. DO something to get what you need. The world is waiting for you.
the art of silence
the art of stillness
the art of pause
the art of being
to find out
the act of writing
the act of space making
the act of picking up the fucking pencil
the act of being
to write it
down and risk
looking like a fool
the pursuit of creativity
the pursuit of expression
the pursuit of purposefulness
the pursuit of being
to cultivate light
in a world that
is so damn dark
the gift of inspiration
the gift of healing
the gift of truth telling
the gift of being
to deliver the
in my veins
Photo by Dennis van Zuijlekom under CCL.
It’s been three months since Michael died. When The Beautiful One returned from her last visit with him and his devoted life partner Jody, she knew much more intimately the nightmare that is dying the way Michael was dying. ALS had ravaged Michael’s body and stolen his ability to speak. He could no longer easily express his needs or desires. He was able to operate the machine that spoke mechanically for him but it was incredibly slow. Something to drink or eat was difficult to request, not to mention the challenge of getting it into his body if the communication went well, and I couldn’t imagine how far down the list of “things important enough to struggle to communicate” — requests like change the tv channel — had fallen.
We joked about how she’d be wonderful if it were me losing my ability to communicate because she knows me so well. She reads my mind with relative ease and often perceives my hunger or headaches before I even notice the signals in my body.
We agreed I would be disastrous at that aspect of care giving, the attempts to understand what she was thinking. I’d probably guess us both into fits of hysteria without ever coming close to what she really needed. My desire to give her the.very.best.care. would be desperate and I’d drive us both mad.
Suddenly, she sobered again, tears filled her eyes.
Me: What is it, love?
Her: There would be so many things I would want to say to you.
Me: I know. Me, too. I simply cannot imagine.
(Tears poured down both of our faces.)
Me: Maybe we could go ahead and think about the things we would want to say and say them to one another. You know, in case we can’t later?
(Many more tears fell.)
Her: I would want you to know that I love you.
Me: Yes, I love you.
Her: And I would want to thank you.
Me: Yes, I would want to thank you . . . for all of . . . for everything . . . for all of this.
Her: And . . . I don’t know. I think the rest is okay.
Me: I think so, too. Just that I love you and I thank you for everything.
Her: I love you and thank you for everything.
So every night we say these things. I love you. And thank you for this day. Sometimes, in a moment of deep joy, we will say it in the middle of the day. And occasionally, we say it in a moment where life feels really, really hard. It helps us remember that it’s an illusion, the hardness I mean, because we are both still here.
It’s Find Your Voice* month here at The Unruly Woman and last night when I said these words to her I thought, “This is a moment when I truly covet the ability to use my voice.” I am writing to invite you to use your voice for something this important today. Because love.
*Registration closes Wednesday (8/10).
desperately seeking self
truth pulsing, pounding
calling you into the storm
the past rises to meet you
old hurt churns and swells
pushing into the sacred space
where the silence once lived
be brave enough to let it leave
eyes burn and stomach turns
be still and open your soul
lean into the waves
sing the old, sad song
breathe in, breathe out
dive deep into intensity
surrender to the waves
as they crash within you
the little one cries
you taste her tears
her hurt echos in your ears
stay with her and witness
be the one she needs
hold her as the old tears flow
teach truth, love completely
gift her the magic of laughter
the storm rises now to leave you
it has come to free you
to allow you to be you, completely
united again with the little one
where the silence once lived
your heart now opens in the world
one truth, one voice, whole again
Find your voice and use it to speak
Once, our hearts were broken and we’ve carried those wounds inside us for many, many moons. When those old emotions rise up and threaten to carry us away, it is tempting to fight, or disconnect, or numb, but we are stronger than that now. We are waking up to our spiritual selves and learning to live in alignment with our integrity. We are ready to heal the old hurts, to free ourselves, to find our voice and use it to align with the truth of who we are.
In August, the Unruly Essentials theme is FIND YOUR VOICE. We have fallen silent for a thousand reasons — mostly old heartbreak from early abuse, sexual assault, abusive partnerships, etc. — but it doesn’t have to be this way. This month we will dig into the source of your silence and take back your power. If this feels true for you, if it’s time to find your voice again, join us.
Learn more and register here:www.theunrulywoman.com/
Image Credit: Christina Xu via Flickr
We are going to read my book Is Home Your Happy Place? together. I know, I know. How exciting might it be to read a book about clutter? Well, it’s not actually about the stuff, so I believe you’ll find it all surprisingly enjoyable.
1. You’ll just have to join the private The Unruly Woman *Private* Facebook group since we’ll be having conversations between calls in the group (for privacy).
And make sure you turn notifications *on* during the book study to stay connected. I’ll pin the newest prompt to the top of the group so it’s easy to find, so click on “view pinned post” at the top of the group if you’re on a mobile device.
2. We will be having group calls on Thursdays at 1:00 pm Central on June 9, 16, 23, and 30, 2016. (Recordings will be made available to those who are unable to attend.)
3. And if you don’t have #happyplace yet, you’ll need to get it! You can do that here.
4. Please share this invite with the Unruly Women in your life. We are stronger together and I’d love to have your soul sisters join us, too.
5. If you haven’t yet found your way into my address book, I won’t be able to send you updates on the books we are reading. You can make it possible for me to send you love notes here.
Note: We made it through the introduction and first four chapters of Women Who Run with the Wolves last month and we are taking a little break from the intensity. We will return for another round in a month or two, so stay tuned.
“What’s your problem? You on the rag?”
I was in seventh grade the first time a boy dismissed reality by saying that I was having a fit of hormone-driven hysteria. He was teasing a classmate and being hateful to everyone who crossed his path, and when I stood up to him, he tried to shame me into backing down.
Clearly, he didn’t yet understand how hormones work. Nor did he know about my near obsession with getting The Last Word, or my astrological advantage (Taurus), or that I was in the early stages of my training as a verbal assault weapon. He was ill-prepared and I came undone. It’s mostly a blur now but I can still remember yelling at him, in front of many of our peers, “I might be on the rag but when that ends, you’ll still be a jerk!”
For the record, I was not actually bleeding at the time. I have no idea why, long before I could actually call myself a feminist, I felt the need to defend my menstruating self, but I did. I had a strong need. At the time, I knew almost nothing about myself, about what it means to be a woman and still, the idea that his cruelty could be washed away in a river of my blood infuriated me. It was a profound betrayal of truth and fairness, and I wasn’t, as they say, going to take it anymore.
Recently, a woman I’m connected with on Facebook posted something very thoughtful and respectful about a political trend she finds disturbing. The conversation quickly spiraled into an exchange between her and a man who was, in my opinion, being disrespectful. She stayed engaged, again very respectfully, and stood her ground. As I watched it unfold, I felt impressed by her ability to be so firm and clear but still keep it clean, especially when he was not.
Finally, he offered a long-winded conclusion, hurling himself onto the metaphorical sword, and left the conversation. The conversation continued in his absence and as everybody started to calm back down, I was mortified to watch it take a very old, painfully predictable turn. A full 25 years after that first school yard experience, I watched as that important and empowered dialogue/debate got chalked up to the woman’s raging hormones.
So, I’ve had enough time to grow up; educate myself; discover my life purpose; make, grow, birth, and mother children into their teens; figure out my sexual-orientation and learn to live in alignment with my integrity around it; start a business helping other women do the same; and still we continue to dismiss women who are standing strong in their personal power as being too hormonal to be taken seriously. That made me feel sort of crazy inside.
When I protested–yes, more articulately than I did all those years ago–the woman explained, “I don’t like that either, because I believe that hormones fluctuating just give women a keener sense of what is in alignment and what is not – it gives us less toleration for what is not. However, if you’ve been through fertility treatment, you know that the extra hormones do make you WAY less tolerant of BS and whatnot.” I clarified that being “way less tolerant of BS” does not cultivate it. This woman and her intensity, her unwillingness to tolerate BS, did not make that man behave badly. He behaved badly and she didn’t let it go.
There is a world of difference between me not putting up with your pushy antics and me causing you to act that way. And there is a great deal of violence against women that occurs in the gap between the two. I’ve seen this with my own eyes, heard it with my own ears, and the metaphorical she did not actually have it coming after all. To blame the monthly shedding of the lining of a woman’s womb for the violence, aggression, or simple ignorance that she encountered during those couple of days (or any other time that you need someone to blame) is a BS move if there ever was one.
So yes, around the same time every month, my tears are more accessible, as is my anger, but I don’t believe that means I am suddenly wildly out of control. Quite the opposite, in fact, those are the times when I am at my best. I see more clearly, feel more powerfully, and more easily take action from a place of integrity. The intensity makes me more real–not mean or harsh or impatient–just real.
I believe in my heart that that is the best of me. And over the years, I’ve noticed that the more I honor myself during that tender and powerful time, the more access I have to those parts of myself when I’m not bleeding. I want access to my feminine power on all of the days, not just four or five days out of each month. I’ve found that menstruation is a very grounding time for me, and I strive to be that aware and that connected to my body all the time. I want to feel as deeply and listen as carefully as I do when my hormones surge like that. I want to have the strength to be true to myself every single day.
Plain and simple, that intensity that we experience just before and during menstruation is power. It’s not our only source of power but for many women, it is a sacred time during each month that our power rises up to meet us.
But if we want to feel empowered, we have to stop dismissing ourselves as raging lunatics when we bleed. We are all working so hard to cultivate equality and yet, we continue to perpetuate the myth that we can’t be trusted to be reasonable for a few days at a time, twelve or so times each year. And while it’s always good to bust this myth to the non-menstruating population, to cultivate the change we desire, we have to shift the way we perceive ourselves.
There are a great many resources available to help us explore this topic but for now, I just want to invite you to pause and notice the relationship you have with this tender time of the month. Now that you’ve read this, pause to take it in. Perhaps you can email it to yourself and read it again when you feel the intensity building. Just notice how you’re showing up in the world.
Maybe you can share it, invite the women in your world to talk about how they feel about this part of being a woman. If you have children, think about how what you’ve taught them. Do they know that bleeding isn’t a curse and that the emotional intensity is sacred? Pause to consider whether you’re stepping into your power or shying away from it, and if you’re pulling back, dig deeper into that impulse. The need for feminine energy is strong in all corners of the world. Now is the time to heal, to reconnect with our true strength. Once we access it, the shadow cannot outrun our healing, loving, creative light.
(This post was originally featured on Care2 on Sept 19, 2012.)
Once a year this country celebrates motherhood with an over-commercialized parade of bullshittery. Lots of the women in my world are triggered by Mother’s Day (read: all the holidays). It’s a perfect storm of unrealistic expectations, being stretched too thin, grieving the loss of those who mothered us well, and the great resurrection of old mom-related heartbreaks. For many, Mother’s Day cultivates a great deal more pain than joy.
If all you can summon Sunday is to hate Mother’s Day, then hate it. Suffer through it. Wallow in the pain that rises. Sometimes that’s what we need to choose for ourselves. And I say, just do it! Hate Mother’s Day. Hate it for whoever it was or is that’s making your heart ache like the six year-old inside you. Hate it for the one who rejected you, the one who abandoned you, the one who hurt you, and the one who betrayed you. Hate it with your whole heart.
But if you’re done feeling that way, take back Mother’s Day.
Stop allowing things you have no control over to wreck you.
Beat a drum. Read poetry. Touch the earth. Get some peace and quiet. Dance your ass off.
Do anything you can to release this pain by cultivating love for yourself, giving love to others, and finding something new to honor.
If nothing else, just consider the possibility that there is a powerful rebellion in refusing to treat yourself like the women before you treated you. You simply cannot bear to keep perpetuating this same old tired violence against yourself.
Choose love. Choose you.
****Trigger Warning**** This post contains information about recovering from sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.
“Going to the dentist cannot be part of my self-care because it triggers memories of being orally raped. I have not been to the dentist in 15 years and I’m afraid my teeth are going to fall out.”
Dear Unruly Woman,
We all have our stuff, you know? Literally, every single person I know has something they’ve resisted doing because of old wounds. You are not alone in this struggle and you don’t have to be alone on the journey back to health.
If you were my friend, I’d grab your hands, lean in real close, and tell you that it doesn’t have to be this way. I would promise you that there’s a way to make dental care feel possible if that’s what you want. We would talk about the trauma, how much healing work you’ve done, and what it would take for you to feel safe in a dentist’s chair.
I would ask if you know any dentists that feel safe. If not, I’d ask if you would be willing for me to ask around to find one who is sensitive to your needs. (I have oodles of women in my community who are rocking life after trauma, so referrals like this are usually easy to find.) I’d make calls and find a list of just right providers to consider.
We’d meet again to talk about the list of options. I’d tell you how they responded to my inquiry, why I felt like they could be trusted, and what all they were willing to do to help you feel safe. If any of them resonated for you, I’d ask permission to make an appointment for us to visit them to talk about what’s possible. If it felt true for you, we would go check them out — share your concerns, ask questions about what lies ahead, and listen to their ideas about how to help you feel safe. If it went brilliantly and you felt ready, we’d make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned.
We’d make a plan for that day. I’d go with you if you wanted. Hell, I’d gather an Unruly village to go with you, if that’s what it takes to make you feel safe. I’d go back with you. I’d hold your hand. The dentist would explain their every move before they made it. If at any point you felt even remotely unsafe, the dentist would stop and wait for you to be ready to proceed. If you were unable to continue, we’d leave and come back when you are ready to begin again. We’d do this as many times as it takes for you to heal these wounds and meet your dental needs.
(There’s also something called sedation dentistry, which allows you to be asleep while your dental work is done. If the trigger is so extreme that it couldn’t be released with less intense approaches — and assuming you could feel safe under those conditions — that’s another option we could explore.)
If you were my friend and you lived here in Minneapolis, I know exactly where I’d take you. Our family dentist and her extraordinary team would give you as much time and energy as necessary to help you feel safe enough to proceed with treatment. I know this because they held my hand off and on for the last year. Before we found them, it had been nearly 10 years since my last dental visit.
If you can make these calls and have these powerful conversations with dentists, do it. If you can’t, ask someone who loves you to help. If you can’t bear that, email me and I’ll help you figure out how to find a safe place to secure dental care in your city. I have no idea how all of this will land (or if you’ll ever even read it) but I want you to remember the most important part.
You deserve this. Yes, I’m sure.
You deserve to fully recover from this pain. You deserve to feel safe. You deserve to be supported. You deserve to release every single thing that keeps you from loving your body. You deserve to have your needs and desires met. You deserve to say yes to you.
I can feel that you have already healed hundreds of little pieces of the fallout from this trauma. When you’re ready to tend to this one, you will heal it too.
Love and truth to you,
Christy, The Unruly Woman
Click here to submit your Unruly Confessions & Unsigned Mail. Some Unruly Confessions and Unsigned Mail (with my responses) will be published in Incite, my (ideally) daily attempt to incite unruliness in our community via email. Go here and register to spice up your inbox or ask questions without the cloak of anonymity.
Can a relationship recover after infidelity?
Dear Unruly Woman,
Yes, a relationship can recover after infidelity. Plain and simple: Yes, you can do this. But YOU means both of you and no one person is “enough” to heal this kind of betrayal on their own.
Deep down in the core of my being, I believe that two people who are in love and want to be together can heal any wounds that have come between them. You two will need to listen like you’ve never listened to one another before. You’ll need new tools. You’ll need radical honesty. You’ll both need to fight for your future.
(You’ll may even need professional support. I’m here.)
You’ll need to open your heart and share all of what you left unspoken in the past, the very things that left your relationship vulnerable to The Other One is now what you most need to share.
This affair — whether it was a one time sex act, an emotional betrayal, or a full-on scandalous affair — is not The Problem. And although it certainly feels like it, The Other One is not actually The Problem either.
The Other One simply occupied space that appeared between you and your beloved. The space is The Problem. Your sleeping-bags-zipped-together-in-a-cozy-tent-for-two partnership changed over time. It’s not a crime. All relationships evolve, because the people in them evolve, and if we are not careful, we grow apart while we’re growing up.
The untended heartbreaks and unresolved conflicts left you two feeling cautious, retreating from the battle lines and into the safety of your own inner worlds. Instead growing up together, you pulled away a little at a time and soon home had two distinctly different sides. Retreating cultivates more conflict, which all too often makes you want to retreat even further from the one you love.
Infidelity can be the thing you blame for destroying your relationship but it can also be a wake up call, the life-altering reality check you needed to heal the old wounds. The Other One can be the final grain of sand tumbling into the lower half of the hourglass to tell you that it is time to flip your relationship on its head and begin again.
Again, the space is The Problem that exists between the two of you and The Other One is but a mere distraction. If both you and your beloved want to have a future together, evict the distraction and get busy building a new life.
This is a deeply shattering time. Allow yourselves and your old broken relationship to be completely destroyed. And then, be bold enough to bring your true self to the table and brave enough to allow your partner to do the same. Speak the unspeakable. Forgive like you want to be forgiven. Open your heart and invite the love of your life to enter once more. Touch. Look into one another’s eyes like there is no such thing as time.
Say yes to today, to a beautiful new way of being together, and then recommit to your togetherness every morning when you rise. And if you rise and yes doesn’t feel true for you, you owe it to one another to speak into it. Yes, ask every single day. If you both choose to embrace this invitation, you can give birth to a brand new love.
Love and truth to you,
Christy, The Unruly Woman
Click here to submit your Unruly Confessions & Unsigned Mail. Some Unruly Confessions and Unsigned Mail (with my responses) will be published in Incite, my (ideally) daily attempt to incite unruliness in our community via email. Go here and register to spice up your inbox or ask questions without the cloak of anonymity.
I’m sitting here, fingers poised on the keyboard, knowing there’s a message about the workshop that needs to come through. As always, when it matters this much, it scares me to be the messenger. But I’m putting on my big girl pants because it’s just so damned important. Ask for guidance, wait, and type what comes. No judgement. Just type the freaking words.
It’s been 10 years since I was last at a weight doctors say is healthy for a woman of my height. Even at my goal weight, I still had self-loathing thoughts about my body. I became thin by restricting my food, but could not bring myself even the most basic levels of self-love… things I would never hesitate to do for my children or spouse or friends.
I simply could not, not matter how much everyone told me it mattered, be loving with myself.
The control I gained over my food was not enough to turn my life into a place where I could live my truth. Everything inside of me was falling apart but others saw my shrinking body as a sign I was better than ever. I was not okay.
I was torn between the shell of the woman I’d been on the day I said yes to a new marriage, home, and family and the other woman, the real me, who was blossoming from deep inside.
Each new women’s studies class, self-help book, and therapy session fed the real me and it grew. Every time I spoke my truth, asked for what I needed, or stood up for myself, the real me got larger and stronger. My truth swelled against the the life I’d built when I didn’t know who I really was. The pressure nearly destroyed me.
Once, while driving down the highway, I had a vision of driving my minivan into the concrete barrier. “I just need a break,” I heard in my head. That would let me take a break. That’s what the squeeze did to me. In that moment, I knew my truth had outgrown my shell. I needed to leave. I needed to leave on my own terms. I didn’t want to have to burn down my own life in order to escape it.
What I’ve learned is that to love me is to hold me loosely enough to shed my self. A thousand times I will die and emerge again as a more true version of the woman I came here to be.
Through each evolution, I am returning to myself and the days of disconnection are becoming more and more rare. When it aches, I lovingly tend my heart instead of stuffing the pain back down. When I feel restless, I support my body with the movement it craves. When I feel overwhelmed, I cultivate the quiet and stillness that help me find my way back to the truth of who I am. When I feel lost, I pause and ask my higher self for direction… and then I wait for the answer.
I can’t love myself well when I am a stranger. Self-love becomes possible through self-discovery and self-acceptance. We have to figure out who we are, what we ache for, and we have to pursue it as we do for all of the other people in our lives.
I’m not promising you a workshop about crafting the perfect body. It’s not going to be about strong-arming yourself into all of the things you “should” be doing. It’s not going to be about learning my super secret, trademarked method for making your body sexy enough to love.
My qualifications include flossing my teeth almost every day, drinking nearly enough water, walking to client appointments at the coffee shop instead of driving the car, having my dream job, and doing physical therapy homework for not one but TWO injuries most of the time. Also, I breathe, deeply and repeatedly, to help myself calm down instead of throwing chairs (most of the time). I use water, movement, and laughter to wake up my body instead of sugar like I did for the first three plus decades of my life. I find my distinctly overweight body to be beautiful, sexy, lovable, and worthy of the time and energy it takes to treat it well.
I’m not trying to fix you because you’re not broken. I want to help you reconnect with yourself so that loving your body will come naturally.
Learn more and register today…
Workshop: The One About Loving Your Body
Space healing isn’t about making your place pretty or zen or whatever else “they” say a home “should” be. It’s about making your home your happy place.
Here are 10 surprisingly honest reasons my space healing graduates say yes to this workshop. We hope it helps you decide if this path is right for you. (FREE book giveaway at the bottom! Keep reading…)
1. My space makes me sick to my stomach.
Because I literally feel sick (nauseated) when I open my eyes and really see the disarray, disorder and discord in my home and I feel like it’s all my fault. Doing the 27-things thing and listening to and participating in the calls quells that. Basically you are my Alka-Seltzer. – N.D.
2. My space is kicking my ass.
Because I’m tired of feeling like my things control me. – M.L.
3. Healing my space heals my heart.
Somehow my space is a virtual mirror of my spirit or inner life, I think. When I do even small things to fix/heal my physical (outer) space, it has a magical way of healing or easing some tension internally. I know that I am not my space, but seeing that I can improve even part of it gives me hope for improving my inner things that need healing. Plus, it makes me happy! – T.W.
4. Sanity is more important than stuff.
Because I feel better when my efforts can go into taking care of me instead of stuff. – L.S.
To bring clarity and calmness to a chaotic life. – D.B.
5. I need a fresh start.
Right now, it is to begin again. When I relocate, what do I want to take with me? P.D.
6. I want to feel better.
It just feels really good. Kind of the difference between a sunny day and an overcast day. – A.M.
7. I need to be more productive.
So that I can have the work space to get done everything I want to get done – L.W.
Because it’s not about expectations or clean, it’s about creating a space I can walk into without feeling bad about all the stuff I wish I did. – S.M.
Because otherwise it’s non-functional. I can’t find things I need when I need them, I waste time looking, it’s frustrating. I deserve support. I deserve to be able to do what I want to do in the house without having to wade through a pile of clutter and not be able to find what I need to do it! Because I deserve to be in a beautiful home that reflects what’s important to me. Because I deserve to be inspired by my space. Because I don’t want my energy dragged down by an environment that I trip over every time I try to thrive. Because I want to thrive. Stop me anytime… – T.H.
8. I want love, not stuff.
To make room for relationships in my life that matter – A.C.
9. This is a righteous act of rebellion. I want to heal my space because making it happen will be the best way to say, “F*CK YOU!” to the people who say I can’t do it! Those are the same people who criticized me until I was totally depressed, which is how things ended up a mess in the first place. These folks think I can’t be healthy and get my stuff in order. I have already proven them half wrong by coming out of the depression – I am literally happier than I have ever been! Now I am going to reward myself by getting rid of the junk that depression forgot to take along when it moved out, so I have a welcoming place for myself and the people who have loved me all along. – L. R.
10. I want to be me. . . the real me.
Because I know it’s not the real me, and I’m tired of hiding behind the clutter. Because it’s exhausting… mental, physically, spiritually. By the way, I’m making great progress (greater than the past). It’s not completely visible to the naked eye yet, but it’s getting there! – M.M.
Now, it’s my turn.
When I started this space healing journey, I knew it was important but I could not have conceived of the radical ways this work would change my life. Looking back, it’s as though I emerged from childhood with the jigsaw puzzle of my identity filled with pieces I’d acquired from the world around me. Parents, peers, the education system, media, and the rest told me who I was and what mattered and how I was supposed to act. It wasn’t all that bad, it just wasn’t true. Not for me. But I didn’t know to challenge any of it, so I stumbled through early adulthood without an authentic connection to myself. My life was full and chaotic but I had no real relationship with myself to guide me.
Space healing allowed me to unpack the assumptions and dig into the truth of who I am.
It continues to allow me to recognize and challenge the things, thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and relationships that no longer serve me. And now that I have the confidence and tools to release what’s untrue, I make space for the beautiful, dynamic, unconventional experience that I came here to live.
And with all of that bullshittery out of the way, I feel free to live my truth… to live my dream. Every day, when I say yes to this journey, I make space in my life for me.
WORKSHOP NOTICE: The current “Is Home Your Happy Place?” workshop is free to anyone who is ready to free themselves from the bullshittery. We’ve already begun but there’s still time for you to join us before registration closes on Friday, January 22, 2016.
BONUS: All participants will be entered into a drawing for your very own signed copy of my new book, “Is Home Your Happy Place? The Unruly Woman’s Approach to Space Healing.” Say yes to you today! Click here for workshop details and see the FREE registration instructions at the top.
Image: Corie Howell via Flickr
Every now and then, two people hire me to support them both through a tender time in their relationship. We work on whatever feels true for them and the intentions vary a great deal. One topic that almost always bubbles up is conflict resolution. Recently, I “heard” to ask one couple to work with me to create a list of rules to help them make better choices during times of conflict.
What I love most about this list is that these aren’t my ideas about what’s best for them. I asked each of them to write me their (unedited) wish list of ways to bring their collective best at times of conflict.
Partner #1’s ideas
Partner #2’s ideas
These 13 house rules are the final product of our work together:
Are you bringing your best self to the conflicts in your home? Do you think a process like this could help? What do you need from your partner? What do you need to remember when the going gets tough?
Image: Andrius Petrucenia via Flickr
I’ve had affairs. 2 of them. They went on for a long time. I feel really bad about them. I needed to connect. I needed a connection without baggage or resentment. I have no excuse. I do feel bad about them. Except when I don’t feel bad about it. For a while, those moments were the only moments when I felt remotely ok about anything. Is there any way that an affair can be considered self-care?
Dear Unruly Woman,
We typically think of self-care as soul-nourishing, sanity-cultivating, inner-peace-supporting activities like eating healthy food, taking hot baths, meditating, or a having a night out with the girls. These kinds of activities leave us feeling rested, restored, and more ready to face whatever lies ahead. Self-care is important. It keeps a little bit of distance between us and the ledge. It helps us be at our best while we maneuver the realities of every day life.
Self-care makes us feel better and when we are in crisis — trust me, you are in crisis if you’re in a committed monogamous relationship and are having an affair — self-care becomes even more vital. So at the time that you’re most in need, you’re choosing to fill that hole with behavior that will likely dig your hole a big bit deeper.
When you are feeling so out of alignment that a lover’s embrace is the only place you find relief, you have a problem. Let’s just say that it is not so much “self-care” as an alarm system that is going off, loudly, over and over. Beep Beep Beep. Houston, we have a problem!
Are there elements of your affair that make you feel better? Yes, the stone cold truth is that taking a lover is a damn fine way to feel better. But it comes with epic consequences and you’d be hard-pressed to find me a situation where it was actually the best solution.
How easy it is to escape into those “moments” and ignore the reality of your life? Well, I can tell you that it’s too damn easy. And we must be conscientious about the choices we make at these tender times. We all know that in a period of darkness, an affair can bring back the light. But it’s like illuminating a warehouse with a box of matches — each one is way to short, they only let you see the tiny space right before you, and eventually you’re probably going to burn it down.
Yes, an affair absolutely can be — in theory, at least — part of a self-care plan. But what’s it going to cost you?
Do you have to lie to your partner to hook up with your lover? Is the affair creating more conflict at home? Are you telling your suspicious partner that he or she is out of their mind (because that’s a great way to earn my wrath) instead of admitting that things are not okay at home?
Are you talking to your lover when it’s your partner you really ache to be connected to? Is this person taking up sacred time you could be using to be honest with your partner about how you feel, and what you need and desire? Would you be more well served to use this time to respectfully leave the committed relationship that no longer feels true for you?
Ask yourself how an affair truly affects you. Does being with your lover make you not want to go back to your real life? Does that fling feel so good that you’re pulling away from work, family, and home? Do you leave your lover’s arms feeling further from your truth? If so, then an affair may not be worth the cost, even in the name of self-care.
Self-care efforts need to leave us feeling more aligned with the truth of who we are, not less. Let us say YES when the benefits give us more it costs us. Give yourself TRUE support — not half-assed, backfiring, make-it-worse-than-it-was-to-start-with bullshittery. You deserve better. In fact, you deserve the best.
So is a lover really what’s needed in these powerful moments? If yes, fine, do that. But if not, get yourself the support you really need to live your truth and stop fucking around.
Love and truth to you,
Christy, The Unruly Woman
Click here to submit your Unruly Confessions & Unsigned Mail. Some Unruly Confessions and Unsigned Mail (with my responses) will be published in Incite, my (ideally) daily attempt to incite unruliness in our community via email. Go here and register to spice up your inbox or ask questions without the cloak of anonymity.
Image: Bogdan Suditu via Flickr
When I was young, an adult in my life explained the reasons she was leaving another adult in my life. She noted three qualities about him that made staying together feel impossible for her. The Voices In My Head (before I knew anything about them) noted that these were the three exact same qualities that made him attractive to her when they first fell in love. She’d grown to loathe and resent him for what was once desirable.
I’ve been in and out of love enough times in the last forty years to make sense of this. We are drawn to partners who embody that which we ache to have in our own lives. The one who doesn’t play picks a partner who is playful. The one who feels a little too carefree picks a partner with a strong work ethic who pays all of their bills on time. The one who holds back picks a partner who goes all in.
At first, it is exciting to be with someone who brings to the partnership that which we crave. We enjoy having a light shined onto whatever we’ve hidden away in the shadows. The fearful one finds out they are brave. The worker bee finds out that sometimes it’s really nice to just be. The talkative one learns to enjoy the sacredness of silence.
Our togetherness invites us to expand and grow.
In the early days, our togetherness is supported by the passion and excitement of falling in love. We lovingly explore one another. We patiently listen. As we bump into them, we joyfully embrace one another’s wounds. We respectfully analyze conflicts. We carefully hold our partner’s heart in our warm, gentle hands. We expose ourselves and protect one another. We are brave and united.
Love heals all things… until it doesn’t.
Time passes and things begins to get complicated. Our togetherness calls forward all of our old wounds, seducing us with illusions of our earliest heartbreaks, fun house mirrors projecting the qualities of those who hurt us decades ago onto the one we call beloved today.
We can allow our togetherness to heal us, or we can allow it to destroy us. We can accept Love’s Invitation, or we can close our hearts and alienate the one we treasure the most. We can celebrate our differences or we can make enemy of the very aspects that made us ache for our lover in the beginning. We can do our work or we can perpetuate against our partners the very violence we experienced when we were young.
Our togetherness invites us to expand and grow. Let us accept the invitation.
Bring the truth with love. Seek connection. Support one another in all of the ways that feel true. Play together. Take responsibility for what we bring to the table. Stay unless it feels true to leave. Laugh and cry. Learn one another. Touch with gentle hands. Make mad passionate love. Know what matters and do it together. Leave space for bullshittery. Watch the moon rise and count the freckles. Nourish the heart, mind, and body. Choose tenderness, even if we don’t understand. Ask for forgiveness and give it. Dream and remember but know that this moment is the only one that really matters. Say yes. Be brave. Open our hearts. Lay the stepping stones we can choose to walk together tomorrow.
Our togetherness is a choice we make every day. Can we accept Love’s Invitation?
If you’re hunting for the perfect sofa to nap, lounge and roll around on all weekend long, go for the couch with a depth of 36 to 42 inches. – Joann Pan, How To Make Your Home Your Happy Place on Oprah.com
Oprah, this article makes me want to pull my hair out. This is 2015 and you are still talking about how buying more stuff is the way to cultivate happiness in our lives. Still. STILL.
How is this even possible? Look around.
We’ve been buying more stuff (and the containers and systems to try to live peacefully among it) for years (MANY YEARS) and the search for happiness continues. Most days, it feels like we are further from it than before.
If stuff could make us happy, we would have long ago burst into flames from the intensity of it all. We are overloaded with stuff. Still, not happy.
No, it’s not the extra deep couch, nor is it the layered rugs, or even hotel room bedding trickery that can make home a happy place. And it’s damn sure not the hard corners that will make or break us.
And yes, plants can bring a place to life as little else can but please — for the love of all things glittery — please bring me the person whose home was wildly happy EXCEPT for their crappy lighting. Please. Because I want to meet the person who lives one set of recessed lights short of conquering their happy threshold. Bring them to me and I’ll buy the lights myself!
Now, I’m not saying that these six tips are completely useless. Who doesn’t love a little softness thrown into nice square space. But is happiness what you’re pitching here? Because it feels more like pretty or warm or welcoming, or even magazine-ready.
Oprah, is this what the women you came to this planet to serve really need to know about cultivating happiness in their lives?
Maybe it’s time for you to hop back into that sweet bus and tour the humble homes of some of the regular folks in this country?
Too long, O. It’s been too damn long.
While you were holed up at HQ making advertising deals with Stuff manufacturers, I’ve been out here trying to pick up the pieces with the women who are drowning in this bullshittery. And let me reassure you, we’ve got ourselves the makings of a crisis here.
They are up to their eyeballs in dishes and laundry, carpool and co-op, homework and holding their families together. Paper is kicking their collective asses. They are numbing with trips to the mall and Target and the thrift store, convinced it’s nothing like when “addicts” do whatever they use to attempt to feel better.
(Lots of them are numbing with the stuff “addicts” use, too, so don’t go thinking this is not a big deal.)
These women are struggling. Like *really* struggling. They turn to you for guidance because you’re OPRAH. And you keep giving them one more round of buy-more-shit-and-then-you’ll-feel-complete.
I’m dying here. We’re all dying here. Our planet is dying here.
Please just give me one issue about releasing what no longer serves us. Show us how to discover the real reasons why we keep doing so much harm to ourselves and our planet, and then show us how to heal those wounds. Show us how to reconnect with ourselves so we can see what’s true for us, and how the rest is simply holding us in old patterns of the people who no longer want to be. And please, really please, help us figure out how to keep from teaching our children that Stuff will make them happy or this is never going to end.
Oprah, you can do better than this. Let’s have the courage to get REAL with one another. Let’s admit that what we’ve been doing is not working. Let’s admit that we’ve already bought the stuff that was supposed to fix us and we are not yet fixed.
Call me, or read this. We need to cultivate a real solution. Together.
At other times, I seriously feel like I’m going to lose it. An old, violent, wounded part of me rises up and tries to take over.
I feel like yelling and the words that fill my mouth are hateful and unproductive. I want to hurl them, like hot coals, at the source of my rage. It feels like my blood is boiling inside my veins. My thoughts are dark and angry, the life that was dreamy just a few minutes ago suddenly feels hopeless. The anger tries to consume me.
Newsletter love from 11/15/15. Click here to join the mailing list!
“You deserve to heal and it’s completely unacceptable for your healing journey to be held hostage by a person who will not do The Work with you. Those who broke our hearts cannot be trusted to heal them.” – Christy, to a client, today
The Unruly Woman is a safe space for you to heal old wounds, discover your truth, and open your heart. Are you ready?
Sometimes I find myself searching for more Unruly Women to “help” — someone who is suffering and is ready to heal. That’s a slippery slope and it’s too easy to drown in a the pool of desperation eagerly awaiting my fall.
It used to always be fear about not having enough money. Because every time a women says yes, I get to keep doing this work and if they stop, basically, I won’t! But I’m realizing that there’s something else… something much deeper at play here.
It is easier to be working with someone outside of myself than it is to work with what’s going on within. When I don’t have “enough” work (whatever that means), it means “The Invitation” at hand is mine to accept. In the space that appear in the lulls in my business, I get the opportunity to do my own healing work. When you add in the aforementioned rise in old, tired money fears, it catapults the potential for healing to record breaking new heights.
If I resist the temptation to numb and instead choose to stay in the tenderness of stillness, doubt inevitably begins to rise and unhealed wounds leap into action.
Am I doing what I came to this planet to do?
What if I can’t pay the bills?
Is this line of work actually the best expression of my purpose and passions? And what will I do if it is not?
Am I worthy?
Is there enough?
Am I enough?
The bullshittery spins into frenzied tornado with enough intensity to make me want to flee. It’s easier to do My Thing for someone else — to support your journey to heal, reconnect with your intuition, and align with your highest self — than it is to be that powerful force in my own life.
I had no idea that this any of this was true until the words came falling out of my fingertips just now. On one hand, I’m relieved to see that my fears about money aren’t the deepest, most paralyzing wounds. But on the other, where in the world do I go from here?
More stories, more processing, more healing… It’s more of the same journey home to the truth of who I am, only deeper. I love this work. Not just for you but for me, too.
For today, I choose to heal. I choose love. I choose to stay.
Trigger Happy Holidays are coming Nov 1st! Learn more here.
“Every person around me warned me about you and sadly THEY were correct and I was blind.”
The little girl inside of me feels shattered. I’ve been thrust out of another sisterhood, banished from a teacher’s community. It happened quietly. I wasn’t warned that my participation (in our friendship or the community) was at risk, nor was I notified that she’d deemed me no longer worthy. It was like going home to find my key no longer opens the locked door.
The adult in me can’t begin to guess who “every person” is but know that the letters arranged in this particular pattern become the stuff from which nightmares are constructed. Not only was she a fool for believing in me but nobody else in her world believes in me, either.
The little girl in me is petrified that the world around me is filled with people who secretly loathe me and warn one another about collaborating with me.
The adult in me knows that it doesn’t matter how many people operate in this way. If they don’t have the courage to speak to me directly, nothing about the way they are showing up in the world is for me. Saying this to me is simply abusive. The words serve only the woman who hurled them at me.
“Christy, because I’m done pretending that the way you describe your work is not a blatant affront to my work. That’s why. I won’t play that game anymore. Integrity, Christy.”
The little girl in me wants to cry and beg for understanding. It feels almost unbearable to be so misunderstood. I am not teaching dance. I am not a dance teacher. I do not strive to be. Nothing about what I’ve offered is even in the ball park of her work. My business is about collaboration, not competition. No one who is ready for this dance teacher will feel complete with 90 minutes of sacred movement once a month with me.
The adult in me knows that I’ve never hidden my gratitude for the doors opened by this teacher. I’ve sent to her every single woman I met who is seeking to reconnect with her inner dancer. To a potential client, I’ve been perfectly transparent about my history, inspiration, and actions. A blatant affront? No, my work is not an outrage or offense. She may feel outraged but that’s for her to explore, heal, and release. It’s not for me.
The Voices In My Head just whispered, “Integrity is a gift we live by, not a weapon we use to shame and bully people into submission.” Integrity has been my guiding light for many moons and while I’ve fallen short repeatedly, I do my best to bridge those gaps with profound transparency. I’ve never claimed I was dancing when I wasn’t. I don’t pretend I’m in perfect health. I am real, dreadfully human at times but I’ve never hidden that from myself or my community.
“I told you it pissed me off. I was CLEAR about that boundary and you still did it. Because you don’t have a solid self so you just take.”
The little girl in me feels ashamed by this scolding. Yes, I remember her saying that she didn’t feel like I was ready for this work. I knew she would feel that way when I heard the call to do it. Her disapproval was anticipated, dread of her judgement nearly paralyzed me, but I followed my heart. I was brave and open about my intentions and the limited personal experience from which I extended this invitation.
I did not hide. I faced her anonymous Facebook bashing like a champ and allowed her later kindness to stay hidden in the vault of our private message exchange. I honored the teacher’s ill-informed rejection of a new layer of my sacred work. I understood that she was simply unwilling to honor me because my choice did not align with her way. I was brave and honored myself. The little girl in me wants to scream that the very fact that I continued with my plan proves that I do have a solid self.
The little girl is shaken deeply by the accusation that my entire life’s work has been stolen from others–bootleg copies of the work of those the teacher deems worthy to teach.
The adult in me knows who I am. The divine path I traveled to this moment was guided by my experiences and paved with really hard work–really, really hard personal work, plus my professional collaborations with others.
“I’m sure my wrath is nothing compared to how you actually feel about yourself. Anyone who bullshits so much and lies and changes their colors constantly…”
These words literally took my breath away. The little girl in me wanted to flee, to run to my bedroom and pull the covers over me and sob until a black hole opened up to swallow me.
The adult in me knows that all of this is incredibly powerful, that her accusations are an invitation for me to do the work. From time to time, we all hear stories about ourselves from others. Far more often, this sort of violence is perpetuated within in our minds. We have to have a way to check in and see if what’s been offered to us resonates as true.
Is it true that offering my workshop is out of alignment with my integrity? No, absolutely not! She may not understand what I’m offering and maybe she does but she believes there is no value in it. But I know there’s value and my clients do know exactly who I am and what I have to offer. They are informed and they are in choice.
Is it true that her wrath is nothing compared to the way I feel about myself? There was certainly a time when self-loathing was my thing but I have done a tremendous amount of self-discovery work in the last 20 years and I accepted almost everything I found. What I didn’t accept, I’ve either changed or am in the process of changing. I’ve only recently begun to explore the embodiment piece of this journey–as opposed to relationships, education, and space, which I’ve been deeply invested in for years–but I am completely transparent about what I bring to the table.
Is it true that I “can’t commit to ANYTHING”?
I’ve been mothering relentlessly for 18 years tomorrow. I’ve been working on having healthy relationships with the people I love since I first went to therapy 25 years ago. I’ve been committed to my personal evolution journey for 20 years. I’ve been committed to my clients for 7.5 years. I’ve been committed to living gently on this planet for 30 years.
Talking about commitment is a tricky thing. It’s one of those areas where humans find it difficult to resist projecting their own beliefs and heartbreaks onto others. I suspect that wasn’t this much heat about dance this dig. It was about the fact that last spring I ended a marriage that no longer felt true for me. To be clear, I am wildly opposed to commitments that are untrue… for me. I make no secret about that. I’ve written at length about my beliefs around this and answered to anyone who asked. Also, I don’t force that belief on others.
Again, I employ radical transparency to maneuver the realities of humanness. Also, I have a deep understanding about how one might project their own heartbreak onto a woman who is willing to break another’s heart in order to remain true to herself. But we must learn to question our own triggers and seek internal healing instead of perpetuating the hurt back out into the world disguised as an attack on professional credibility.
We can’t change the people who share these stories about us but we can use the tenderness of an assault like this to check in. Does this hurt? Why does it hurt? Is it true? If so, what do I need to do to support myself now that I have been gifted this insight into beliefs or actions that are untrue for me? If it’s not, what do I need to do to release this energy from my body and move on with my day?
This is the sacred nature of a moment like this, the invitation. Is there a way to lean into it, to use the pain to penetrate another layer of heartbreak and heal these old wounds?
When this conversation unfolded today (see below for the entire exchange), I suddenly felt eight years old again. Judged, rejected, and outcast in the childish social circles of an elementary school. But also, another part of me felt alive. I am affirmed that this teacher is not the one for me–not for dance or anything else. I see that she cannot be trusted with my heart. These messages are not truth. They are violence. And aside from the beauty of a check in, they are not for me.
The little girl in me was hurt but I took this day to show her deep compassion, tenderness, and love. I helped her look for any truth in these messages and when we were done, I reminded her/myself that the rest was not about her/me. They are merely a reflection of the hurt and shadow that pulses within my accuser. And just like that, I felt willing and able to send her all of the compassion, tenderness, and love that filled me up in the hours since these messages arrived.
*I mentioned the invitation repeatedly throughout this piece. If you want to know more about this, see Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s beautiful poem and book called The Invitation.
Me: Hey [teacher], I just went searching and found that I’d been removed as a Facebook friend and kicked out of (teacher’s Facebook community). I’m surprised and hurt to say the least but wanted to ask you why you’d made that decision before I got carried away by the feels.
Teacher: Christy, because I’m done pretending that the way you describe your work is not a blatant affront to my work. That’s why. I won’t play that game anymore. Integrity, Christy.
Me: That’s what I was hearing and I wanted to reach out before assuming. I wish you’d had the courage to do the same. You would have seen that I can’t touch what you do. I wouldn’t dare try. But if I can do an active guided meditation with a handful of women who otherwise can’t bear to move and it inspires them to be willing to be in their bodies for even a little while I am shocked you’d resent it. This is not about you. Your approach didn’t work for me*. I know you saw that when I was there. It took me more than six months to even turn on music again. I’m finding my way again finally and I’m going to invite others to do the same. It’s exactly in alignment with my approach to every single other offering I’ve had for the last seven years. It’s my way. This takes nothing from you. In fact, now I can’t even send my people to you when they begin to once again ache to dance, when they seek a dance teacher. What a huge loss for all involved. Best of luck to you…
Teacher: Courage. Don’t you talk to me about courage. I told you it pissed me off. I was CLEAR about that boundary and you still did it. Because you don’t have a solid self so you just take.
My approach didn’t work for you!? YOU WHO SAID YOU WANTED TO MOVE HERE?!
And GET YOUR OWN FUCKING PRACTICE BEFORE YOU DARE TO TEACH OTHERS.
Oh, right, you can’t commit to ANYTHING.
Exactly in alignment is right — the lazy, easy path of least resistance.
Every person around me warned me about you and sadly THEY were correct and I was blind.
Teacher: I’m sure my wrath is nothing compared to how you actually feel about yourself. Anyone who bullshits so much and lies and changes their colors constantly…
*It’s worth noting that by “didn’t work for me* I meant that it didn’t inspire me to move my body. I’d been idle for nearly 40 years and when I could summon the willingness to move, your method was brilliant. I was searching for a way to be inspired to move and dance.
“You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
As a fiercely hardheaded woman, I grew up on a steady diet of that quote and requests for me to calm the heck down. Strangely, this post is about what appears to be the flip side of that coin.
If you want a drink, for the love of all things glittery… go to water.
I recently mentioned that I’d been making my way through “E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality” by Pam Grout. I’ve learned that I had a big black hole where my manifestation superpowers were being wasted. (Update: Yes, I got every single one of my 24 yeses in that 48 hours! That means both this and this are a go! ) Several of the women in my community asked to hear more about my journey through the book, so here goes.
The first experiment was pretty straight forward. Just show me a sign! Within the 48 hour experiment, I had a couple of positive work things come together, plus one breathtakingly lovely surprise. I was headed out to the grocery store for a bunch of things we needed but, at the moment, couldn’t really afford. When I checked the mail, there was an unexpected $200 cash gift from a beloved family member.
While I’d been working the professional angles for… well, seven or so years, we had no idea that love offering was coming. It was a huge relief and left me feeling incredibly supported. I believe that this was exactly the point of the experiment, to reconnect me with the knowing that we are all woven deeply into the fabric of the universe. We are held. Our needs and desires matter and when we express them, the universe (or Glitter or whatever) conspires to make it so.
The first experiment felt good and left me excited to continue but the second experiment was like taking a brick to the forehead.
My commitment was to look for green cars for 48 hours. I already knew that if tuned my attention in a specific direction, I’d find what I intended to find. Still, when I realized that the 48 hours had lapsed, I got out my notebook and reread my declaration.
I hadn’t seen even a single green car in 48 hours. Not one. No green cars. For a fraction of a second, I was crushed. I felt like I’d failed. I was only on the second experiment and I hadn’t even remembered to look for the damn green cars! I thought, “Clearly, this was never going to work!” and I raced down a familiar path of self-destructive thinking at breakneck speed.
But then something wonderful happened. The Voices In My Head tackled me and whispered, “Don’t freak out. Let’s think about this. What happened? Why didn’t you see any green cars in the last 48 hours? What did you do? Where did you go?”
Where did I go? Nowhere. That’s right, my friends. I didn’t leave the damn house for two days.
Now, before you get all distracted by that, remember that I work from home and live at home. Dyani goes to work and the children (who are nearly adults now) get themselves almost anywhere they need to go in the city on bus or bike or foot since the Jetta accident rendered it useless. But when we aren’t out and about as a family, I’m here with this laptop and phone working my magic and it’s easy (far too easy) for me to act like I’m snowed in all year around.
I wanted a metaphorical drink but I wasn’t even paying enough attention to notice the absence of water!
Technically, that experiment was unsuccessful but the wake-up call was so real that I didn’t even take time to repeat it. Message received loud and clear! I’m moving on to the next one as we speak.
How many of us are wishing for stuff at the exact same time that we withdraw from the very experiences that might make our wishes might come true?
Can you see how that might be at play in your life? What can you do differently to give yourself a chance? Where do you need to be showing up, or with whom do you need to connect? Are you asking for what you need and desire? Once you do, are you giving yourself the opportunity for it to flow to you?
I’m reading a new book. It includes several manifestation experiments to help us see that much more is possible than we currently realize. For the fourth experiment, I declared my bold intention to get 24 yeses in 48 hours. It’s not the first time I had my world rocked by one of these experiments but this work is too important to not share. (Maybe I’ll share the first one, too.)
The first thing that I found worth noting is that it felt *so* scary to write down my intention!
I felt afraid that I would be disappointed if I didn’t get them and afraid I’d end up further doubting my own power/ability to attract what I need and desire. I felt especially afraid because it’s a big week here with the 4th Anniversary Tame Your Space workshop starting Saturday and I really, really, really want more people to join us. This work is crazy powerful and it means so much to be able to do it and people not saying yes has, in the past, been all manner of hard on my heart. Basically, it felt like I was backing myself into a corner with only one (really hard to believe) way out.
But I took a deep breath and committed anyway.
In my notebook–The Notebook, the one write in every day-ish, as opposed to an index card or piece of paper I could just recycle if the outcome was something I wanted to forget–I declared my intention to get 24 yeses in 48 hours and listed the numbers 1 through 24.
Then I stretched beyond my oh-so-tender-big-girl-pants commitment and boldly shared my intention with The Beautiful One (my partner, Dyani). I didn’t do that on the first three experiments. (Yes, that’s me admitting to being a closeted manifestation experimenter.) I wanted to share it with her because it felt so intimidating and she’s masterful at holding space for me and my dreams. I wanted to be seen and supported. It was a little push back against the bully in my head who was already whispering about the impossibility of all of this.
Last night, nearly halfway through the 48 hours, Dyani asked if I’d gotten all of my yeses. I said that no, I’d only gotten two so far–one Tame Your Space registration and one commitment for a private Spirit Gathering for a group of girlfriends.
She called bullshit.
I said, “No, seriously. I only got two and I have only 27 hours to go!”
She called bullshit again.
I paused, realizing I was missing something, and asked why she was calling bullshit. She clarified, “Are these only professional yeses?” No, I welcomed all yeses, both personal and professional. What follows is a copy of our conversation (via text because she was at work).
Me: Did I miss yeses?
Dyani: I said probably 10 today.
Me: Tell me one.
Dyani: You asked me if you misunderstood something. I said yes.
Me: That’s TRUE! And I asked if I could have a hug and you said yes.
Dyani: You asked if I was I ready for dinner.
Dyani: You suck at keeping count.
Me That’s true. I’m adding these to my list right now.
The second epic reality check for me is obvious, right?
I suck at keeping count! I didn’t even freaking notice YESES rolling in!
It’s like that thing I experienced when I bought my first Jeep. Suddenly, I saw them everywhere. It happened again when I bought my Jetta. Every other car on the road was magically just like mine. When I bring something new into my awareness, all of the “like” things rise up from the land of invisibility and into my line of sight. I recognize what I know and now that I tuned my vision to see yeses last night, I’m seeing them everywhere.
In fact, when I started that late night conversation with The Beautiful One, I recognized only two yeses but by the time I woke up this morning, I had 12! I’ve received two more yeses to the Tame Your Space Master Class workshop while writing this blog post. And those are BIG yeses since I wasn’t even planning to offer that workshop in September but one of my graduates requested it in the night and three more grads immediately said yes! In seven hours, I had half of the eight people necessary for me to offer it.
So right now, I have sixteen hours and 10 more yeses to go. I no longer feel afraid of coming up short. In fact, it would be pretty easy to double my goal at this pace.
Once again, everything feels different now. I want to collaborate on a much larger scale and it’s clear that I get what I want. So look out, Unruly Woman! The various invitations have been extended and your YES has been requested. I’ll just be over here collecting my yeses until yours arrives!
Note: The book in question is “E-Squared: Nine Do-It-Yourself Energy Experiments That Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality” by Pam Grout. You can find it here on Amazon. I really enjoyed reading it and it absolutely shook up the way I see what’s possible. Mission accomplished.
I have this belief that, plain and simple, people do what we want to do. And if we don’t do what we claim we want to do, it means that we must not actually want to do it after all. That might mean that part of us wants to [clean house, do yoga, live the dream, etc.] but a larger part does not and it’s winning the battle.
For example, I used to say that I wanted to lose weight and went on to not release the extra weight. It was reasonable to conclude–especially given all that I knew about calories coming in and being burned–that I didn’t actually want the weight off. Or at the very least, I didn’t actually want to eat less crap and move my body more which is what it was going to take to make it happen.
This mental position feels empowering. This “put your money where you mouth is or just stop talking about it” approach helps me hold myself accountable for the way my actions speak to my true intentions. And it works well. It helped me return to a regular writing practice because I was absolutely unwilling to stop saying I wanted to be a writer.
But there was something else, very possibly a deal breaker, something that I simply couldn’t fit into the “actions speak louder than words” model method of calling bullshit on myself.
I want to dance. I ache to dance. I’ve wanted to dance since I was a girl and forty years later, dance just keeps calling my name. My want to dance has a capital W. It might even be an all caps WANT to dance.
But I don’t dance. Not regularly, not anymore.
Two years ago, I danced wildly for several months. It was a very dark time and dance saved me. It helped me reconnect with myself and gave me the strength to end a difficult relationship that no longer felt true for me.
But then I stopped dancing. The light returned to my life, more light that I’d ever experienced before, and I stopped needing to dance to survive the darkness. It’s been more than a year since I strayed from my dance practice.
But the want to dance never left me. It continues to feel incredibly real. I still haven’t had a day that dance didn’t matter to me, that I didn’t feel like a woman who needs to be dancing. I just haven’t been able to make myself dance.
One day last week, I played music while I wrote in my notebook and the urge to dance bubbled up. My regular impulse to throw my pen and notebook in a bonfire (which happens basically the entire time I’m writing most days) was replaced by the impulse to stop and dance. It had been months since I felt open to dancing and it thrilled me.
Blessedly, my too-long-without-dance paralysis was strong enough to allow me to be still and keep writing and the feeling continued to grow. I studied it, searching for the difference between what was happening inside me compared to my every day “want” to dance which resulted in nothing. I wrote for several pages trying to put words to the new sensations in my body.
I realized it went far beyond want. This was a deep, vibrating drive that pushed me into action. This was a true desire to dance.
Desire bridged the gap between the flat, emotionless, mental “I want to dance” and actually dancing. The cognitive commitment of months’ worth of my most sincere want was dwarfed by the desire for my body to surrender to the music in that moment.
Instead of having to drag myself into dance, the desire was pulling me in!
And then I danced. It felt incredible. The urge was actually impossible to resist. I was awakened, like a fire in my core fueled me into motion. After all of this time, I finally had enough energy to dance! My body responded to the rhythms like it was the most natural thing in the world and the barriers that had paralyzed me for nearly a year splintered into nothingness.
I finally freaking danced.
Since that day, the more I dance, the stronger the desire becomes. I feel like I’ve been plugged back into the source of all divine energies. A whole new paradigm is being shown to me–making connections between passion and breath and movement and sex and art and health. It’s almost too much to digest. I hardly know how to begin to process it for myself, let alone how to share it, but I’m crystal clear it starts here:
Dance and write. Dance and write. Dance and write.
And so I am… more to come.
“What if I take the workshop and find out there is no light in me?” – Anonymous Unruly Woman, just now
We weren’t talking about light, like good vs evil light, but rather her magic/purpose/call/whatever and whether or not it feels true to participate in my upcoming Find Your Purpose workshop. I paused for a moment, took a deep breath, and offered her my (scary) truth.
I understand feeling afraid you won’t find your purpose. (dramatic pause) Aaannnd I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t a little afraid, too. Sure, I’ve done this work with people one-on-one many times in the last seven years but not like this. I’ve made a big promise (insert mutual laughter) and I don’t know what will happen if someone doesn’t figure it out but I can tell you this: Every single person who has ever been willing to do this work with me has “found” it and recognizing it changed their life.
I could tell her that bit about it being life changing because I know it first hand. In fact, the life I lived before figuring out my purpose basically sucked. Or (perhaps more accurately) I sucked the life out of life before I understood my purpose. Please bear with me while I stumble through an explanation of why I believe discovering my purpose in my mid-30s put a permanent end to years of deeply dysfunctional behavior.
More than anything, I remember the ache–the deep, insatiable ache–to be someone . . . worthy. I wanted to be worthy of love, security, and a good life. I wanted to be important in the world. Not recreationally important, not famous for the sake of being famous, but truly, deeply important. You know, the kind of important that allowed me to be useful in the world. I wanted to make a difference. I was desperate to make a difference.
There was this emptiness inside me and that big black hole affected everything I did for many, many years. It was a dark time. I was emotionally and physically (and yes, even sexually) hurling myself against anything/anyone I found roaming around in my (far too small) world. I was dying to find the person, activity, or thing that could make me feel whole.
But nobody could make me feel whole and not a single activity left me feeling like I was worth a damn. The search left me more empty with each “failed” relationship, job, and membership that was supposed to fix me. My heart was in a perpetual state of brokenness.
When the children were born, mothering gave me a taste purposefulness. My love for them (and my commitment to parenting them in a loving, connected way) got me out of bed every single morning. Mothering showed me how to be a better version of myself, but it was clear from the beginning that being their mom wasn’t the only thing I ached to do with my life. I knew that they would grow up someday and I anticipated having lots of life left to live.
The ache persisted.
Discovering my purpose profoundly changed the way I was showing up in my own life every single day. And it wasn’t that I figured out something new about myself and then decided to try to become it. I simply recognized a powerful aspect of myself that had always been there. It was easy to believe this “self-discovery” that I was here to empower women (Those are the words that came to me during the exercise that first day.) because I’d always been driven to help women reconnect with their true power. I could see this thread woven throughout my entire life story.
I’ve had the makings of The Unruly Woman written on my bones the whole time–supporting girls and women as mother, friend, co-worker, neighbor, volunteer, teacher, professional organizer, etc. Each life experience (the fabulous, the devastating, and everything in between) allowed me to unfold into the woman I am today. This wild road helped me become the exact woman I needed to be to guide and support my clients as they step into their personal power.
Yes, the whole freaking time I was “suffering” with the longing for a purposeful life, I was actually being purposeful. But I didn’t know. I didn’t understand how purpose and passions worked and I didn’t know how to find mine.
(And even if I had figured it out, I damn sure didn’t know how to do it for a living!)
Once I had those words–a sacred label for my magic–they began to illuminate the darkness within me. And they radiated powerfully enough to see and experience my world as a place where I have a very, very important job to do with other very, very important people for whom the world is anxiously waiting.
Like a compass, my purpose helps me understand which direction is true for me in all areas of my life.
Everything is different now. Everything about who I am makes sense to me. I know why I am this exact one–every heartbreak and misstep and “fail.” Plus, I have the clarity to harness every ounce of this badassery to cultivate more love, healing, and magic in the world… one Unruly Woman at a time. These are the gifts of knowing my purpose and I am elated to spread that magic around.
If you’re ready to connect with your magic/light/call/purpose, join the Find Your Purpose circle in August 2015.
A woman currently enrolled in my triggers workshop left the following comment and the response from TVIMH rocked my world:
Christy, when you ask about our childhood and what was done that filled those fuel tanks in the first place.. it kinda triggers me, because I’m raising kids, and I’m totally afraid that I’m screwing them up. Like… my gosh, what am I doing to teach them their triggers? Argh.
The message from The Voices In My Head was strong but deeply freeing:
I don’t know anyone who grew up with zero baggage. Maybe it’s that they don’t exist or maybe it’s that there’s just no reason for them to make their way into my garden. Either way, it’s clear that any time, energy, emotion, money, etc. that you invest strategizing or worrying about how to get your children to adulthood unscathed is a sacred resource entirely wasted!
Your kids deserve to be empowered by their own life journey in all of the ways that you have by doing your work and tending to what you carried into adulthood.
Does that mean you don’t need to do your work? That your aren’t responsible for shattering the cycles so the heartbreak of previous generations won’t vibrate into your children and grandchildren’s lives? Nope, that’s not what I’m saying.
Do you work. Heal your wounds. And teach your children–through your breathtakingly beautiful living example, sharing the tools, and cultivating the support they need from outside your family as needed–to heal their heartbreaks, too.
This is your home. Clean it up. What your kids inherit will certainly need to be cleaned up again. Blessedly, all of your hard work is not lost. You do your part and you’ll gift them a radically different experience than the one you inherited… and the tools to do what they need to do with what remains.
Reclaim Your Space & Take Back Your Life!
The Tame Your Space workshop is a great option for those who are new to The Unruly Woman’s clutter-clearing/space taming ways or anyone who wants to begin again. Go here to learn more and register…
Details: 6 weeks, private sessions optional, begins August 29, 2015, fee $99, group calls at 9:00 am Central on Saturdays.
Trigger Happy Holidays!
Find Your Purpose!
This new workshop will help you discover (or rediscover) and move into alignment with your life purpose. We will explore purpose and passions, and the ways that you can harness yours to bring more joy, energy, health, and abundance into your life. Go here to learn more…
Details: 4 weeks, includes one private session, begins January 2016, fee $99, group calls at 10:00 am Central on Saturdays.
I tell my clients that starting your own business is like going to boot camp for your money issues. Well, motherhood brings up every single thing that remains unhealed within us. It’s like going into battle against all of our old baggage. And from what I can tell after almost 18 years of training, it lasts… well, basically, forever.
It started the day I found out I was pregnant with Romeo. Yes, literally the first day. I’d had a miscarriage the year before, a tender experience that started when I found blood on the toilet paper after using the bathroom. Still quite high on my expectant state, I was shocked to realize that, once moistened, the pretty little flowers on my toilet paper looked far too much like blood. I panicked.
Yes, I actually panicked in the racing-heart-echoing-in-my-ears-and-room-spinning-around-me way. It was as though the heartbreak of that moment (where I found blood on the toilet paper) was just hanging out in my body waiting for the perfect moment to pop up and scream for attention. I’m still here! Even after I’d cried a thousand tears about different aspects of the loss, that particular piece was still waiting inside me.
That moment happened more than 18 years ago, long before I knew the word “trigger” or what it meant. It shook me, deeply, and it happened many times–my body flash flooding with fear each time–before I was brave enough to mention it to my midwife. She lovingly encouraged me to buy white toilet paper for the duration of my pregnancy. And so I did.
I’ve been doing this work too long to ignore the fact that every time I need to teach something, I am prepared for that experience by living the learning. I’ve been putting off offering this workshop for four years and I’d be lying if I said this inevitability hadn’t occurred to me. (Also, it’s just a really tricky topic to cover and it wasn’t time until now.)
So naturally, I (finally) scheduled this workshop for July and my very own Trigger Happy June kicked into high gear. It peaked on Saturday when I was watching the fourth nurse make the sixth attempt to get an IV started in my (nearly 16-year-old) baby’s arm. She’s always been terrified of needles and had been so very brave for the first six attempts, but she was finally coming undone.
She was clinging to The Beautiful One (my partner, Dyani), sobbing and calling out that the vein search was hurting her. That was my own personal version of hell on earth but that still wasn’t the thing that triggered me.
It was the way she never moved the outstretched arm that nurse was digging around in. It was the way my beloved daughter–already a week into the throat pain, 24 hours since she’d eaten any solid food, and hours since she’d gotten any measurable liquid past the abscess in her throat–was falling off the edge of reason and still strong enough to give this nurse an actual shot at finding a vein.
Couldn’t cope. Honestly, still can’t. Even recalling it to share here brings tears to my eyes and leaves my heart aching. Later, Dyani and I were talking about it and both admitted that we wished we had stopped the woman sooner. Heartbreaking. And to be honest, I’m not sure what exactly did me in. Was it all of the times that I was stoic when I should have said that whatever was hurting me needed to stop? Or was it that I didn’t say no, or that she didn’t say no? I can’t even tell… it’s too soon. More work to do on that one.
This is the way triggers work. A present day experience feels (to the physical body) enough like an old, untended experience to drag it up from the depth of wherever we store old heart breaks, fears, and the rest. We experience today’s situation as it appears but all of this old emotion rises up, too. It makes the situation feel far more intense. It makes something that’s a little scary feel terrifying, a little frustration feels maddening, and a little bit of anger feels like the kind of rage that leaves a woman (me) wanting to scream vulgarities, shove a nurse out into the hall, pick up an adult-sized human, and run for as many miles as it takes to ensure she is safe.
It happened a million times in the middle of these two experiences. And I know it’s happening to other mothers because I hear the stories from my clients every day.
When our daughters turn the age that we were raped, we lose our minds and we don’t even know why. It does not matter how many times we vowed we would never hit them, when our kid talks back, the impulses rises hard and fast because that’s what we experienced as kids. When our kids won’t clean their rooms or do their homework or send thank you cards, we rant and threaten without even realizing that the parenting line is blurred by our own bad habits.
It happens over and over again. It feels never-ending. And the intensity is real.
But the invitation is real, too. It’s the invitation to heal these old wounds, to live without all of this history haunting us and our children and the rest of the people that we love. That’s why I’m teaching this workshop. Everybody deserves better… including you.
Join us for Unruly Essentials. We’re going to Reclaim Our Chill.
I hold the past against the woman I love.
There was lots of leaving when I was growing up. Divorced parents left me constantly leaving one for the other. Their U.S. Air Force careers meant that my brother and I not only traveled between them but between their respective assignments. I lived around the world and in many places here in the states. It was great in lots of ways but, of course, that lifestyle was also hard on my heart.
I learned early on that saying goodbye was unbearable. My young, unruly mind crafted coping mechanisms that included faking fights with my friends when it was time to move so I didn’t have to say goodbye. I knew many, many people in my early years and I’m not connected to any of them today. Needless to say, I made it to adulthood with some baggage around goodbyes.
I’ve written about this before (Leaving With Oprah and Getting Good At Goodbye) but as I prepare for the Trigger Happy July workshop, I’m flooded with awareness about my own triggers. Even after all of these years of working to release them, they keep popping up. Maybe it’s just good practice to get me ready teach these techniques? Yeah, let’s call it that… instead of me being a 40-year-old wrecking ball.
When we have conflict and The Beautiful One decides to take a break (so she doesn’t do anything she’ll regret), I lose my mind. I wish I could put lipstick or glitter on that to fancy it up, but plain and simple, I come undone.
Her exit is the lit match that proves I’ve been walking around this whole time with gasoline pulsing through my veins instead of blood. I catch fire.
Sometimes the fire is contained. The panic consumes me but I (somehow) keep my feet planted and my hands glued to my sides. While it rages inside me, I watch and wait. My true self pounds sanity back into my consciousness with the soles of her feet against the earth as she dances wildly around the fire within me.
She’s not leaving. She’s taking a break. I’m okay. This is okay. Pause is good. We always work through these. I’m okay. We are okay. Conflict is okay. Hysteria is not okay. Breathe. Breathe deeper. Okay… that’s right… breathe again. What’s happening here? What is gong on in my body? What do I need?
Sometimes it goes better. If I’m grounded enough–or aligned or connected or in my Priestess self or whatever it is “enough”–I take a few steps back. The heat that rises is real but it isn’t enough to set me afire. She takes a moment to return to center. I take a moment to return to mine. We reconnect and talk through the conflict until we find an understanding. All is released and another layer is healed.
But other times… it goes much, much worse.
That’s when I lose my mind. That’s when I do the same barbaric maddening crap I sincerely believed I would never ever do again. I throw whatever defenseless thing I have in my hand. I slam doors. I scream like a mad woman. I say terrible things to the one I love.
It feels unforgivable. I loathe feeling that way, even for just a moment. Dreadfully human. Completely triggered. It’s rare that my triggers unfold in this way these days but it is still alive in me. I know it is and I know it isn’t about her. It isn’t about us. It isn’t even about “now” in my life. It’s about a thousand old heartbreaks. And I know that I owe it to her and to myself to continue this healing journey.
In fact, owe it to myself and everyone–family, friends, clients, and even strangers–to accept the invitations they gift me when the old bullshittery rises from deep within.
So yeah… triggers. This workshop is one I will teach from a deep place of knowing. I’m ready to free myself. Are you?
Sometimes this healing journey feels impossible. One minute, I think I’ve got this and then it shifts again and (once again) I feel afraid. And I’m talking about deep fear, like all security is gone and I’m exposed… at risk in a way that makes it hard to breathe.
Part of me wants to run and hide. Another part scrounges around in the depths of my soul, searching for that knowing I held so easily only a few hours ago. Still another part is so fucking angry that I’m here. Again.
I’ve grown weary of feeling afraid.
I just want to feel like a grown woman who has her shit together and gets done what needs to get done.
This little girl inside of me has no use for anything that my adult self employs when I’m in crisis. Breathe, I say to myself, and I try. I go within and watch every single one of those hauntingly shallow breaths vibrate high in my chest. Deeper, I say, and the weight in my chest shatters into a million little pieces, splintering in all directions.
I keep breathing. Deeper, I say, and the little girl tells me to get away from her. It’s as if she doesn’t want to be okay, or she doesn’t believe it can be okay. I don’t know how to soothe her and the panic begins to rise again. Keep breathing… deeper. Again and again and again.
This always goes one of two ways. Sometimes my throat tightens, tears fill my eyes, and the breaths become deep, aching sobs. Or I breathe myself back into human form and I figure out what action I can take. Either way, breathing through the release of the old wounds or finding a way to move more into alignment with my truth, I’m cultivating a sense of security for that little girl inside of me.
That’s my job now. I’ve got to love her, protect her, and make sure she feels like my life is a safe place to be. This work is vital, not just to get through the paralyzing moments, but to the overall quality of my life. That girl is the one in charge of play, creativity, joy, and so much more.
When she’s afraid, everything stops flowing.
I don’t want to live that way, so again today… I breathe.
I had a *really* hard day on Tuesday, like who-the-hell-am-I/I’ve-never-felt-this-bad-before/something-is-terribly-terribly-wrong hard. I didn’t want to get out of bed, and by that I mean that I almost couldn’t get out of bed. My limbs ached and my heart hurt. All day. I didn’t have many words and was feeling far more deeply than is normal for me.
Deep gratitude for the picnic lunch and bike ride The Beautiful One organized for us gave way to deep feelings of disconnection, grief, and sadness as the day progressed. We went to bed at 10:00 pm which is at least two hours before our normal surrender schedule. I was barely able to walk myself up the stairs and when she offered to go back down to fetch my charger, I let her because I just couldn’t bear to do it myself. I felt like I was moving through wet concrete. Everything seemed impossible even as I was doing it.
If I would have believed what my brain was telling me, I never would have made it out of bed that day. The entire experience was surreal.
The Voices In My Head are telling me that is what depression feels like. When the kids were young, I took meds for depression and anxiety and although I can no longer recall what that version of depression felt like in my body, I can tell you it was nothing like what I experienced Tuesday. To be honest, I don’t know how people survive that feeling for more than a few days.
And now I understand how everything falls apart when this kind of depression hits. Perhaps that was the gift of Tuesday. I’ve recently had more people in my workshops and private sessions who either have spells of depression or love someone who does. Maybe I just needed to experience the impossibility of it for a day, so I could better understand how to support my Unruly Women.
Lately, every single learning opportunity comes back to the same thing: Support
When I was freaking out about the very fancy, very public ceremony around the completion of my year-long Priestess process, I spoke into it with my partner and with my Priestess sisters. They helped me unpack the resistance and release it. It’s support that helps me move through the maddening moments when my business isn’t cultivating enough income to do what I desire for myself and my family. It’s support that makes it possible to heal my body. It’s support that makes it possible to have healthy relationships with the people I love. And Tuesday was survivable because of support.
In fact, late Tuesday night, I laid in bed and wept and told Dyani that I didn’t know what was happening to me but I’d like to give it a little time to resolve itself. I told her that if I wasn’t myself soon that she shouldn’t believe me if I said I didn’t need to go to the doctor. She asked how soon. I thought for a minute and said I thought that Friday (at the latest) seemed reasonable. (Yes, it was that kind of serious.) I asked if she agreed and she thought it seemed fair.
I had her support, wholly and completely in that moment, but we both knew that if it didn’t lift, we would need much more support. We would need to call on other people and their expertise to figure out what was happening and help me heal.
The feeling came on so hard and so fast that I could both notice what was happening in my body and still remember how I’d felt just one day before. I knew that being able to hold space for both of these realities was short lived and someone (not me) had to be willing to take over if this thing was going to stick.
She wrapped herself around me for a long time, patient and loving, holding our shared intention that I’d wake up the next morning feeling like myself. She asked a few questions about what I was experiencing and listened to my confused rambling. She let me be–the sacred perfection of being allowed to just feel what I fucking felt–and gifted me exquisite gift of hope, holding space that whatever had come over me while sleeping the night before would leave me just as easily when I journeyed again.
Tears soaked my pillow, without me having any real understanding of their source, until I fell into the healing darkness of the dream world. Some time around dawn I woke up and took a deep breath to check in. I could feel that it was gone. I felt like me again.
Support makes it possible to face life when life feels too big to face on our own. I deserve support. You deserve support. If you need it, I’m here. It is my job to listen and help heal your stories, to co-create what’s next in your journey, to help you cultivate simplicity and peace in your head, heart, and home. When you can’t figure out how to get there on your own, say yes to support. You’re worth it. Yes, I’m sure.
I rented this body. I don’t really know much about it.
I find it endlessly difficult to use this thing that makes me human.
I don’t know how to explain it but I’m in this place where I love my body, I accept that this is my size, but I know this isn’t my truth. I know this is not the size or shape that is true for me. I want to be stronger. I want more energy. I want to feel alive in a way that I don’t right now. Right now, I feel like I’m underwater, moving oh so slowly. Everything takes longer and requires more energy than it needs to take. And not just my body but my mind too, leaving me accomplishing a fraction of what’s possible with each day I am gifted.
Plain and simple… this isn’t efficient. I can’t possibly accomplish what I came here to do if I’m operating at fraction of my potential. This has to change. It’s needed to change for far too long. Now is the time.
Now. Is. The. Time.
This is the season of my life when my relationship with body, food, and movement are healed. (I just heard that this shift will blow open my intuitive abilities, too, and my mind.)
But what does this even mean? Where do I begin? What must change? What gets to change?
Choice is everything. I am in choice.
It’s clear to me now that I wasn’t really in choice before. At least in that I didn’t have what was necessary to be here in this space having this awakening at this exact moment. I was choosing other things to heal, that which was accessible to me at those times.
This is deeper. This body is the aspect of myself of which I have the least understanding. I’m stepping into this space at this sacred time, as I enter the second half of my life, as I awaken my inner priestess, as I have the love I’ve always dreamed of and a profession rooted deeply in my heart. The children are nearly grown and all three of these beautiful people can be my teachers during this awakening, as each one of them deeply understands the body.
Food and movement–these are the aspects I know well. But also healing touch and strength and breath and the way that energy pulses through me. My mind is swirling with the pieces I know–Katy Bowman, massage, physical therapy, my DANCE, living foods, core muscle development, stretching, and reconnection to earth. So much to learn… the overwhelm tempts me to turn away but I want to stay. It’s time to stay and play. I wanted to host a reunion of all of the pieces of my soul and I did it. Now, it’s time to come home to this body, to occupy the temple that’s been gifted to me.
Deep breath… What’s next?
Ready to Tame Your Space and Simplify Your Life? We begin soon… learn more here!
I have this new website and these life-altering workshops and two really awesome promotions to celebrate my 40th birthday, all of which we have been creating and planning for months. It’s all supposed to be launching this week. I meant to announce the promotions yesterday. The workshops are ready for enrollment but haven’t really been seen. The new website is pure badassery and I wanted you to visit and swoon and reach out for the support you deserve.
I can’t stop watching and everything I was so freaking excited about now feels pale by comparison. Yes, even mentioning the birthday I’ve been counting down to for years feels so damned privileged I can barely stay in my skin as I type this.
Do you know how hard it is to nearly sever a man’s spinal cord? Can you imagine how afraid of losing your son to police violence that you would hit and scream at that same coveted child in the middle of a crisis with national media coverage? How many times does a community have to suffer the same tragic loss before they are given the legal leeway to lose their fucking minds?
When will “us” and “them” myth splinter into a million bits so that the truth of our oneness can finally emerge?
I’m walking in circles, mostly mental, through all of the things that I was encouraged to do the last time an unarmed black man was killed by police and I nearly lost my mind with the need to do something… anything.
Educate the teenagers? Check.
Protest? Yeah, we did that! Well, we went to that one protest.
Organize? No, I didn’t. But I meant to.
Read the books? Where did I put that list?
Give money? Donate my time? My energy? My skills?
Damn it. I didn’t do the things. And it keeps happening. The truth is that, for a split second, I felt powerless. But I’m not powerless, not in this scenario. Not even close.
Now what? (Again.) Now I watch in horror, lean into my discomfort, and use this energy to remember how to be a light in all of this darkness.
And yes, somewhere in all of this rambling is the point of this divine timing. I’m not suggesting that The Great Glitter Maker arranged the collision of my birthday celebration and the homicide of Freddie Gray, but merely that I can find purpose in it. We must find purpose in it.
We must have the courage to allow life-changing experiences to alter us.
Maybe the 40 pick-your-price sessions I meant to offer existing clients is exactly what those women need to process the trauma or brainstorm solutions or heal old heartbreaks. Maybe the $40 sessions I meant to offer to 40 new clients are exactly what those women need to say yes to the support they deserve.
Yeah, all of this brilliant marketing just fell away and I’m back to looking for ways to be useful when the world feels unbearable to Unruly Women. It always comes back to this, the boomerang that is my heart’s work.
What I know is this: What came to life this week in my business has been in the works for nine months (and 40 incredible years) and it finally came to life now, the very week that all the feelings and all of the tragedy and all of the loss bubbled up.
So here’s my invitation to every Unruly Woman:
Let us collaborate. Let us heal. Let us cultivate the love and light and truth. Let us journey back out into the world as our connected, empowered, unruly selves. It’s clear that what the world needs most is for us to bring the best of who we are to the table. Now.
Nepal. We finally looked. It’s heartbreaking. No, that doesn’t even touch it. It’s… Oh, goddess, I don’t have words. They are not enough.
What’s the word for sitting in your completely secure home with your completely healthy family watching complete devastation unfold on the television screen?
What’s the word that explains the relief that I feel when my seventeen year old son overhears the CNN anchor reporting the murder of Freddie Gray and he says, “It happened again?!” My efforts to protect them from this news were overridden by my need for them to be awake enough to be part of the solution. Is that “right” or “wrong”? I don’t even know anymore. And I don’t care.
Ignorance is a weapon in the war against decency, so I’m dragging them into the fire… an opportunity I have because they aren’t busy trying to learn to appear non-threatening enough to keep from being killed by a cop while unarmed.
What’s the word for that ache that rises in my chest every time I see that mother in my community speak (so incredibly bravely) into the seemingly endless pain her young son’s death? Or the way my stomach drops every time I think of the woman whose young daughter just died last week, knowing damn well that two or ten or thirty years from now, she’ll still have that hole in her heart?
Life is over for many and for those who remain, life will never be the same. Meanwhile, I get to do business from the sunlit end of the couch on this beautiful Sunday afternoon because electricity and wifi remain uninterrupted. We can seek medical care if we get hurt or fall ill, enjoy our family dinner tradition, and bond over lengthy bike adventures. We can create art and connect with the people we love, and do all manner of other things that seem unspeakably luxurious when I imagine an unknown woman in Nepal desperately digging into the rubble that used to be her home in search of her children’s lifeless bodies.
No words. Or perhaps too many words. I can’t even tell anymore, so I’ll just breathe and be still until I figure out how to use who I am to be useful to those whose hearts have been broken.
“I am so grateful the children aren’t coming home this afternoon. You know… just the peace and quiet?” – whispered by me, just now
Dyani and I are working at our dining room table. She is shoulder deep in studies and I have priestess/journal/work/website vision/notes spread out in true mad scientist form. I’m creating something. A new website? A new life? A new me? The true versions of all of those bits?
I’m not really sure but either way, we’ve been at it all day and it is going brilliantly. I realize it’s almost time for school to end and was flooded with relief that both teenagers have plans and won’t be home until curfew.
To be clear, I love them. Endlessly.
But also… silence.
I ache for silence and stillness and the sacred space to do the deep visioning work that’s required today. I ache to connect with myself and with the one who has my heart. I ache to catch up communication with my clients and soul sisters.
I ache to tend to my heart and my truth and my business. And that’s hard to do when the children are here.
It scares me a little to speak it. Guilt starts to rise and I whisper, “There aren’t many places where it feels safe to admit that.” I feel flooded with gratitude that Dyani totally understands the sacred dance between my mothering and the rest of me. I add, “I suppose that means I should say it to the Unruly Women?”
She said, “Yes, it does.” I went to post it in the private Facebook group I created for Unruly Women to connect and support one another.
But why only a secret place?
I’m afraid people will judge me. I’m terrified my children would be hurt if they read it.
And so, I’ll share it here instead. Because truth. Bold ass, scary truth.
I’m saying (typing) it out loud (here on my blog) because… well, I am me and shining light on the oppressive darkness is what I do.
Much love, Christy
The Unruly Woman
Seth and Kira, if you ever read this, I hope you’ll remember these four things:
I fell in love with Dr. Martens when I was in high school. I’m now a few months shy of my 40th birthday. It’s been 24 years and I’ve never stopped loving them. I live in Minnesota now and just in the last couple of years, I’ve looked at hundreds of pairs of boots. Every single pair has been held up against the only boot I’ve actually ached to have on my feet.
When I met my children’s father, he wanted Docs, too. I bought him his first pair one year for his birthday and years later, I introduced my not-even-remotely-prone-to-wanting-Docs second husband to them. He learned to dig them, so I bought him a pair, too. While I was in my third marriage, I celebrated as my ex-wife bought herself Docs.
(There is an obvious temptation to wonder off into a conversation about my many former spouses and the variety of pronouns used to discuss them–two males and one female, if you’re counting–but that’s not the point of this blog post. Stay with me, people.)
Even with all of that boot giving, as you may have seen coming, I still never had a pair of Doc Martens to call my own.
The one who has my heart recently asked if I had brown Docs. I told her no, that I had no Docs, that I’d never owned a pair. I told her the story I shared with you above. As I was thumbing the ridiculous story into my phone, the series of texts made my heart ache.
Twenty two years of desire–frankly, regardless of what it was a desire for–remained unmet while was doing whatever I could to make sure that the people I loved had the exact thing that I desired.
I even spent about six years trying to teach my daughter to love them before I finally gave up because she grew frustrated with my persistent denial of her not-even-remotely-prone-to-wanting-Docs nature.
Seriously. What the hell was wrong with me?
Damn codependency. Again. It’s always Cody when the stories suck like this. (I’ve written a great deal on the subject. I can’t bear to go into it again here but if you need support around that, let me know.)
I spent two decades of my adult life (and many of the years of my childhood) obsessing about other people’s needs and desires being met. Or, worse yet, my perception of other people’s needs. Yes, I was not just helping people eat and have shelter and whatnot, I was making sure they had just about anything they want and what I wanted, too!
My love fabulously replied, “Wait. What??? I thought you sent me a picture of four or five pair?” Oh yeah, that.
Almost seven months ago, when we first reconnected, we were exchanging war stories, lessons learned, and things we enjoy, and I sent her this picture… of my dream boots. Apparently, she thought I actually owned them.
I looked back in my history and I still had the picture, still had a picture of boots that I hadn’t made possible for myself all of these years.
She replied, “Well, I know what you’re getting for Valentine’s Day.”
I actually wept.
The tears were not that I was finally getting the boots of my dreams. It was that I’d denied myself something so very accessible for such an incredibly long time. Dr. Martens were the metaphorical representation of all that I’d denied myself. And even in that moment, after that epic realization, it was hard for me to keep from telling her no. It was difficult to accept the gift of something I’ve wanted for more than half of my life.
The whole thing left me spinning. I felt overwhelmed by old stories rising from deep within about being unworthy, plus a flood of sadness and shame that I’d found all of this anchored so deeply inside me.
I’ve gone without so very much. Some of that sacrifice seemed… I don’t know… maybe more honorable? There were times when I honestly couldn’t do the things I needed and desired and feed the children. But there were many, many times that I could have made those boots possible for me. (And clothes and dental work and… oh hell, never mind. There’s a list. It’s long. I’ll leave it at that.)
And then today. This conversation. This wake-up call. This invitation to check those old, tired, oppressive beliefs, thoughts, and actions. I promised to put an end to this madness.
Plain and simple: I am worth having my needs and desires met.
I laid down all of that martyr crap and declared that it is safe to allow myself to experience desire. It’s okay to want that which will help me stay warm but also what helps me feel beautiful and strong and sexy. It’s okay to want Doc Martens, to want a freaking rainbow collection of Doc Martens… just as I have since I was a girl.
It’s okay to want this business to leave behind the “survival” stage and into a place of powerful abundance. It’s okay to want a damn near utopian relationships with these teenagers in a world that keeps saying it is not possible to respectfully co-exist. It’s okay to want to travel and invest in myself both personally and professionally. It’s okay to to want love that’s open and honest and breathtakingly beautiful every single day.
It’s safe to want to live my truth. It’s safe to want to really live.
Speaking of that love… before the sun could even set on the day that all of this unfolded, the beautiful one appeared with a most unruly love offering.
And just like that, 24 years of longing comes to an end, and my codependency journey is suddenly reminiscent of a fairy tale from my childhood. You remember it, don’t you?
I am basically Cinderella. Except that in my story that prince charming is a beautiful, soulful, remarkable woman, our castle is a tiny apartment in the heart of Minneapolis, the mice are a couple of fabulous teenagers who can’t sew the first stitch of a ballgown… and those glass slippers are actually a perfectly badass pair of brown Doc Martens.
Letting go of stuff can be hard.
Letting go of people makes releasing stuff feel like child’s play.
In addition to the oodles of physical clutter I’ve been writing about releasing in this series, I’ve let go of a lot of people throughout this Clean Slate journey. Now, don’t get me wrong. I didn’t line up everyone I know so I could vote a bunch of them off the island that is my life. That’s not what I’m talking about.
Okay, maybe that island thing did happen a time or two but I reserve that kind of dramatic action for very specific situations where I feel that a relationship with someone is no longer true for me and the other person loses their ever-loving mind and brings mental, emotional, or physical violence into my life. Be nice or leave is a powerful guideline to help with this sort of decision making.
I can now see that most of the people releases are about letting go of my expectations of others, giving them the love and space to be themselves, and asking them to do the same for me.
I finally stopped expecting my children’s father to show up in the ways that I thought mattered. Instead, I gave him the space to show up in their lives however it felt true for him. I stepped out of the circle between him and the children and allowed him to be in action (instead of reaction) with them. He also gets the blessed opportunity to experience the natural consequences of his actions instead of me thrusting myself into the middle and manipulating outcomes.
I released my friends from any expectations I had about how they should be with me. Instead, I invited them to be as connected to me as felt true for them given the very natural ebb and flow of life. As time passes, our interests, energy, availability, proximity, and dozens of other factors shape how we show up in the world. The passing of time is doing the exact same thing for the people around us. Instead of clinging desperately to the way my friendships used to be, I let go and allowed them to grow and change with me. This helps everyone involved release the guilt, celebrate the love that lives between us, and deeply enjoy the times when togetherness is true for us.
I’ve released my children from the expectations that they become any of the millions of things I thought they “should” or would be. I will continue to do it every single time I feel the squeeze of their truth being pressed against my expectations. This one is so hard. Also, releasing them to live their truth is one of the most important pieces of this work I will do.
I’ve released what feels like an endless line of expectations I discovered that I had of people in my community about my business. I expected them to do a great many things that would have resulted in the successful execution of my business plan–hire me, refer others, keep promises, like my ideas, reach out for support, etc.
(That is a short sample of the expectations and yes, it feels ridiculous now that I’m typing it all out. Still, it’s true that I felt these things and I had to let them go.)
I let go of the idea that a suffering-riddled Facebook post means that someone is ready to do the what it takes to feel better. Funny, right? Well, it’s true. It took me years to release the people around me (both distant relationships and deeply intimate ones) from my expectation that they want to cultivate change in the ways that I am trained and guided to do that.
This is my job but I finally realized that, much like their misery is not my problem, my work is not their problem.
All of this releasing of expectations (or entire relationships when it comes to that) frees my family, friends, peers, and others to live their lives/truths and enjoy (or not) the consequences of their choices but even more importantly, it frees me to live in peace.
When I release them, I free myself. I get to spend my energy playing in my own damn sandbox. Not only is it as clean as I left it, but it’s MINE. Every ounce of energy I spend playing in the sandbox of my own life is effective because this is the only place that’s actually mine to tend.
All of these messy, old, codependent behaviors are being released which puts my power back to work for me. In my life, my energy goes a long way toward building dreams and being a force of love in the world. When I keep it here, instead of wasting it trying to get other people to act (my version of) “right,” truth reins and everybody wins.
Clean Slate: Moving from Chaos to Clarity begins on October 27th. Register here: theunrulywoman.com/cleanslate
I recently heard to share my own “letting go” stories for a series called “The Heart of Clean Slate” about the deep personal evolution I’ve experienced throughout the three years I’ve been offering this workshop.
I started strong with this, this, and this and last night the words came to a dramatic halt. Was I afraid to continue to show my heart, to tell you my stories? Maybe so–I’m always open to that–but it honestly doesn’t feel like fear.
I’ve been digging into the depths of memory to find particularly intimate, powerful, or even painful (so desperate) Clean Slate stories. And I just realized that the fact that I’m having a hard time recalling them actually tells far more about the power of this process than the stories would.
And when I let go of that stuff I let go of the stories they represented.
Years ago, The Voices In My Head showed me an image of us toting around trunks filled with souvenirs representing old untended fears, heartbreaks, and other unresolved matters of heart. Some of us drag them behind us, others strap them on our backs, and still others search for emotionally over-competent (read: codependent) people to manage ours for us.
The work that I do with my clients is about unpacking their trunks and, of course, I have my own to unpack. I’ve done a great many things to unload the emotional baggage that was weighing me down when I started this personal evolution journey–writing, studying, dancing, therapy, coaching, energy healing, body work, etc.
And because I wholeheartedly believe that the state of my inner world is reflected in my physical space–Yes, I said that my emotional and mental well being are reflected in my home–tending to my physical space was vital to that healing journey. I had to practice what I preached to my clients.
I had to release what no longer served me.
I did it. I’ve been doing it for three years and I will continue to do it as I evolve into newer truer versions of myself. I do it because I know my space can hold me where I no longer want to be or my space can be the kind of environment that calls me home to the truth of who I am.
Does that mean I don’t have any more Clean Slate stories of my own to tell? No, I’ve found a few to share with you. But they may not be as sexy as I’d hoped they would be. I released the stuff that no longer serves me and the pain and heat and heartbreak are gone, too. My space is simple and powerful and full of truth… and my heart is finally free.
Clean Slate: Moving from Chaos to Clarity begins on October 27th. Register here: theunrulywoman.com/cleanslate.
Letting go of my fat clothes was hard.
I felt afraid.
What if I gained back what I lost? What if I failed? What if I couldn’t keep the promise that I made to myself?
O.M.G. SERIOUSLY?! Was I actually willing to be afraid that I was so out of alignment that I’d allow myself to sit (as in be idle) and eat (read: overeat) my way to nakedness? Hell no! I decided that I am no longer that woman.
In one visit to the closet, I released every single thing that was too big for me. Since that day, I’ve released everything else that became too big as I make my way back to my true body.
Releasing the dreamy Skinny Christy Myth took far more work. No . . . courage. No . . . healing. Yes, it took far more healing. It took three years of trips to that closet to let go of all of the clothes that belonged to the thin woman I once was.
Have I released the idea that I will once again be that size? Absolutely not. But I’ve released the one I used to be. I’ve released the idea that who I am today is somehow unworthy of being embraced, celebrated, accepted . . . loved by me and those around me.
I realized that I am on my way to something new with this body. I’m loving it more than ever before. I’m dancing and walking and actually USING this body in ways that I never dared use it before. I’m eating in a way that honors this body. The calories burned and taken in (plus whatever other factors are at play at this exact moment in my personal evolution) cultivated this ever-changing, bass-loving, curvy, strong 3-D awesomeness and I’m no longer willing to will my body to be anything but what it is.
This letting go took time. I went into that closet again and again searching for that which no longer served me. The first layer was all that I wouldn’t wear even if I was that size. Yes, much to my surprise, I owned and was storing clothes that were too worn or didn’t work for me because of the shape or color or style.
The next time I went searching, I found others that survived the first cut but suddenly seemed like they were taking up space. The next time, having lost a little more weight, I starting trying on everything. If it wasn’t something that I thought I could reasonably get into in the next season or so, I let it go.
This release session was quite intense for me. I had to slide my “favorite” jeans just past my knees, be with the reality of that being as far as they would go, and then choose to accept that it would take an act of congress to get me back into them.
I made the choice to let go.
I did this, in part, with the realization that if I was ever that size again, I’d have the most amazing time buying myself a new pair of favorite tiny jeans.
During that session, I saved back one paper box of clothes that I truly loved and would want to have when I got back to that size. I moved them to Minnesota last summer. This summer, I integrated into my closet what finally fit and I released the rest.
Every single thing in my closet fits my body . . . the body I love and have a beautiful relationship with TODAY.
Clean Slate: Moving from Chaos to Clarity begins on October 27th. Register here: theunrulywoman.com/cleanslate.
My 15 year old daughter recently became upset when I released a sweater to which she believed I still had an attachment. This did not come, as one might assume, from her projecting her beliefs about keeping stuff upon me or that she’d given it to me as a gift or that she wanted it for herself. No, those reasons would have been much easier for me to face. Her alarm was about something deeper, something that hurt my heart a bit.
For the last several years, my daughter watched me release and release and release to try to make space in myself in a home where there was far too much stuff. I was sincerely overwhelmed by the possessions that felt (at least to me) as though they exceeded the capacity of the space we had to contain them. And while my daughter and I were prepared to live more simply, the other two family members were not. So I did all that I knew to do to cultivate sanity for myself.
Every time I felt like I was going to go mad, I got rid of more of my stuff.
In this moment of reflection, I can see how this was alarming to my daughter. I would go into my super stuffed closet and come out with three bags of my things to donate but nothing belonging my (now former) wife. The books piled up around the bookcase would suddenly have space to be shelved and two boxes of my books would be taken to the used book store. Each trip to the donation center had us dropping off mostly things that had belonged to my daughter and me.
I did not realize that she even noticed how clutter-clearing went down at our house.
And I damn sure did not realize that she’d archived it as me sacrificing my stuff because other people wouldn’t do their part.
At first, I cringed that this was not what I wanted her to learn about maneuvering relationships but you know what? Maybe it’s perfect.
I took back my inner world one external world thing at a time.
I released furniture, household decorations, art, pictures, clothing, books, linens, recreational equipment, and more paper than you can imagine. No corner of our two bedroom condominium remained untouched during this period of time. It didn’t happen all at once but every time I taught Clean Slate my belongings shrank more and more into something that honestly represented who I am. As each new layer was released, I began to feel more free.
I don’t miss any of that stuff.
Through three years of intense clutter-clearing, there were only two things I later wished I had back. One came back to me for free and the other I replaced for $30. I understand the temptation to keep everything just in case you need it some day. I’d been living that way. But the truth was that I felt too crowded and too overwhelmed to live each day I was actually experiencing because of the chaos in my physical space. I was sacrificing joy, peace, creativity, and sanity on any given day because I was unwilling to let go of the past and the future.
I was always in choice. Always.
When I couldn’t control what my ex-wife did with her stuff, I focused on my relationship with my stuff. When I felt frustrated about the stacks of clothes that my ex-wife wouldn’t or couldn’t wear cluttering up the closet, I found everything that I couldn’t or wouldn’t wear and let it go. When her art supplies and instruments sat unused, I turned my attention to my own neglected creative debris. When stuff piled up around her side of the bed made me want to scream, I turned my attention to making my side of the bed as simple and clean as possible.
Was it the same as her tending her stuff? No, of course not. But in the three years I’ve been teaching this workshop, I took back my life by releasing EVERYTHING that no longer served me.
This spring I ended my marriage. There were many, many factors that led me to realize that divorce was what felt true for me but this Clean Slate piece was one of the most empowering experience of my life. I know that I couldn’t have cultivated this truth without dealing with myself and my stuff in this way.
Yes, this is decidedly what I want my daughter to know about the way “stuff” and life intersect. I want her to know that no matter what relationship or situation she finds herself in, no matter how far away from her truth she finds herself, she can make it back. She needs to be willing to face the truth of her situation. She must tend her business. She can let go whatever is keeping her stuck and the journey begins not by obsessing over everyone else but by facing the woman in the mirror.
Clean Slate: Moving from Chaos to Clarity begins on October 27th. Register here: theunrulywoman.com/cleanslate
I decided to write to you each day with a little Clean Slate treasure, something to help everyone understand the invitation at hand. I thought about tips or lessons or a number of other goodies I’ve gathered up over the last three years of sharing these methods. None of those felt right.
I asked for clarification a few minutes ago and heard “stories” from TVIMH. I thought, awesome, I have lots of remarkable stories from my students that I can share. Still no. I asked again for clarification. I heard “Where is your heart?”
Yes, I did all of the decision making about offering this again. I worked hard with Web Guru to update the new website. We opened registration. I told about it. I’ve been waiting.
Where is your heart?
Yes, where is it? For a few days, I’ve been dealing with some health challenges which have had my in my body. I’ve been working with lots of clients, which is head and spirit work. But my heart. I’ve disconnected it seems.
As soon as I reconnected to my heart, the years started to pour down my cheeks. I don’t even know what all they are about. Dyani asked me what was happening and I explained all of this to her. She said, “Why haven’t you been in your heart?” I said that it was probably because all of these tears were in there. She smiled and held me while I let some of them go.
I realized that I have to tell MY stories about releasing that which is no longer true for me (read: simplifying, clutter-clearing, etc.). I need to tell you about how I let go and what changed when I found the courage to face myself in this way.
So tonight while she works the night shift and the children sleep, I will put pen to paper and tell you one of my stories, the stories I’ve only barely whispered to those closest to me. I will open my heart to you and then–and only then–will it be true for me to ask you to do the same for me as we journey through this extraordinarily healing Clean Slate experience.
Deep breath. I’m going in.
“You can’t be a good enough mother to undo the pain of your own childhood.”
You can mother in a way that feels true for you. In some moments, you may even find it to be a deeply healing experience. But mostly, you’re going to be triggered. Just like when you partner, your old shit is going to rise. These intimate experiences are invitations to heal. That’s what’s beautiful about life. But there are no do-overs. Period. Being an obsessive mother will not make your childhood wounds disappear. It will exhaust you. It will erode your relationships with your partner, your community, and yourself. It will teach your children they cannot be whole without you. It renders them powerless. Trying to cover your pain with “good” mothering is going to perpetuate more pain in your life and the lives of your children.
The exact same thing is true about all of your relationships. You can’t be “good enough” to undo the pain of your past. Heartbreak has to be tended. Wounds have to be healed. Shadows must be released. Do your work and then you’ll be able to show up in the lives of the people you love in a way that’s honest and open and in alignment with the truth of who you are.
Flying solo while trying to keep the flock together . . .
This is the squeeze I find so many women experiencing these days. They are running their lives and their family’s lives, doing all that the flock needs to thrive, while struggling to tend to their own needs in isolation.
That’s a bullshit strategy. Stop doing it.
Teach the people in your flock what how to support and celebrate you. And for the love of all things glittery, ask for what you need.
Those who love themselves seek only the truth. They have no desire to win. Find someone secure enough in their own love, the one who will not judge the shadowy pieces between you as right or wrong. For it is only when we mirror the truth that the hidden parts of ourselves can be exposed. And therein lies the greatest gift, the magic of true love.
Love notes… from Dyani and Christy
Dear Boy Who Loves My Daughter,
She is a Wild One. She may not even realize it yet but she is. She comes to you from the womb of a woman who can not bear to be possessed.
She is not yours to keep.
She is her own possession, the center of her sacred universe. She belongs to only herself and the Mystery that flows through her veins.
Her spirit is intact and she has already fallen in love… with the truth of who she is. There is no hole for you to fill, at least not within her. Just walk beside her and enjoy the magical nature of wholeness.
She loved others before you. She loves others today, even as she is loving you. And she will continue to love wildly. Her love for her family, friends, learning, and herself sustain her.
Her love is a gift. Wallow in it for as long as it is true for her to share it with you but focus on your heart and your life and your future because her heart and her life and her future are hers.
She is a force of nature and she will not be tamed. Every day, she is in choice about all things… including you. Be wise enough to treasure her, but dare not try to own her. She won’t have it.
Since my separation/divorce, I’ve been disconnected from what was once a pretty solid relationship with my dance, my writing, and my time in my studio creating art. I wanted to do these things—activities that used to be the most sacred pieces of my daily life. I can’t claim that I was doing every one of them every day, but I was doing some combination of them on most days. Before everything imploded.
I simply couldn’t figure out what the hell happened. Until last night. When my (insert yet unidentified perfect title for the magical woman I’ve been spending most of my time with for the last almost two months) lowered a BOOM on me. (Swoon.)
She asked why I wasn’t doing these things, and what needed to happen for me to get back to them. I’d spoken freely about how much these things meant to me. Yet, she saw me not doing them most days. She wondered if there was anything she could do to support me.
We talked through it. And, as we did, I realized I had used my dance, writing, and art to escape. I had used them to retreat into my inner world because my outer world (including my marriage) no longer felt true for me. But I also used these things not just to hide, but also to process and to heal. I used these things to help me stay rooted in my truth when it felt that, in other parts of my life, I was slipping away.
But I don’t need to hide anymore. I feel absolutely free to be me—my whole self—at any hour of every day. (Much of that is still unfolding, but I have cultivated the space and relationships and courage to move in that direction.) There is still much to process and heal, but I’m processing and healing with my people, instead of doing it in secret with myself.
I realized last night that I need a new relationship with my dance and my writing and my art. (The art I already found. Co-creation in the studio rocks and produces inspiring results. Go see the new stuff at Bold and Earthy Goods: Tetanus Art – Minneapolis!) The low-hanging fruit of my heartbreak has been picked. Now, I need to climb a little higher on the ladder to find a more aligned inspiration.
Wait. That’s not quite it.
My dance is a ladder. My art is a ladder. And my writing is also a ladder. Each one is a rung on the larger ladder that guides me back to my wholeness, to the place where my head and my heart are working together, to a place where I am living as my true self.
I did so much of “the work” in the old ways that it’s no longer a useful motivation for me. It’s time for me to dig deeper, to find a new relationship with those sacred acts.
It’s time, as I’ve always said to you, to release what no longer serves me, to make space for what’s new. Instead of dancing to escape, I must dance (and write and create art) my way to what’s next. Instead of writing about what I was going through, it’s time for me to write about this phase in my ongoing journey of self-discovery. Instead of retreating to my studio to hide, it’s time for me to bravely go there instead to create what my new way of being inspires.
What about you? Do you still feel called to that which reminds you of who you are? If you find yourself disconnected from the truth of who are, can you dig deeper and find the new way to get there?
Your higher self is the one that calls to you from deep within. It’s the voice that speaks so clearly that you sometimes fear that it’s not your truth, but rather your brain crafting whatever convenient messages you really want to hear. It’s tempting to dismiss this gift of your own intuition, especially when it calls you to take actions that make you squirm. But this is your voice. This is your ultimate knowing.
Listening to your higher self, honoring the whispers of your own intuition, is how you commune with the Divine within you. This is how your higher self and your human self co-create the life that you came here to live.
That voice speaks your truth.
Every day, align your human experience with your truth, then the rest of what you need and desire will unfold before you. This is the path we are on, the journey back to wholeness. Anything else is a distraction for which we do not have time.
Living your truth may run counter to all of the training that you have received up until now. But those stories are not living your dream. They are about other people’s dreams for you. That’s not what your life is supposed to be about. That’s not for you.
Your life is yours to live. Your truth is waiting for you.
And you are worth it. Yes, I’m sure.
Some of the women in my world have begun to see the pieces of themselves that are missing. They are not lost, just hidden. We are not broken, just disconnected from our wholeness. Most often, it’s the most sacred and coveted parts of ourselves. It’s the parts that allow us to live our dharma—the one who creates, heals, writes, loves, dances, leads, etc.
When we are young, and these pieces of ourselves begin to emerge, our experiences greatly influence what comes of our relationship with those parts. How our parents, siblings, teachers, friends, etc. responded to their first glimpse of our sacred truths affected us. We grew either closer to, or further from, ourselves. Our childhood environment either supported our personal evolution or it made us feel doubt or fear.
All too often, our childhood landscape was not the nurturing garden from which we could blossom into our true selves. Few of us reached adulthood with our heart/mind oneness intact. We experienced heartbreak or insecurity of some kind in our childhoods. We experienced profound pain and trauma. We may not have had the inner resources and external support to process/integrate/release those experiences from our body, mind, and spirit.
So, those experiences are archived in the space between our hearts and our minds. They became the metaphorical baggage that left us operating from either the heart or the mind, sometimes bouncing back and forth between the two, but never a healthy union of the two. It created the one who searches for her truth in relationships—often relationships that are untrue for her—or operates solely from the thinking place. She may appear successful, but feels unfulfilled without the passion, love, and creativity that flow when she lives with both her heart and mind intact.
Blessedly, we have adulthood to journey home back to our true selves. That’s what this is all about. This path we have chosen—this thing I call personal evolution, this way we show up in our own lives—it’s a beautiful, mysterious journey back to wholeness. We are making our way back to that that place where our heart and mind worked together as one.
We watch movies, listen to music, read books, study the offerings of those who came before us, collaborate with therapists, healers, and intuitive guides (like me). We use essential oils. We receive Reiki and acupuncture and massage and other body work. We take to our yoga mats, running trails, and dance floors. We create—singing, painting, writing, drumming—or by collecting and assembling whatever paper or fabric or rusty metal needs to tell a story.
These experiences reach into the space between our heart and mind, the storehouse of a thousand old heartbreaks, and finds something we’re ready to release and carries it away. This release closes the gap within us. We grow more powerful with each step, each moment where we accept the invitation to release what no longer serves us. Every courageous exploration in this space heals us and allows us to reconnect with ourselves.
Yes, this journey is tender at times. Yes, we may be tempted to shrink back. But it is your truth that you ache to live. This is your art, your love, your sacredness. It’s your real life that is on the line. Everything you came here to do flows from this. Nothing else matters more. That relentless pounding in your ear—that’s the rhythm of your own heart. Lean into this dance.
We live in a powerful time. This work, these sacred collaborations, transform not only you, but also me and all that we touch with our respective lives. Whether it’s an article that you read, a book club you join, or private sessions that we share, we co-create the experiences we desire—ones that send ripples out into the world.
The further I lean into these co-creative experiences, I find that they fit less and less into the traditional business model that this business was originally built upon. I do have a fee structure, but often much of what I do is a love offering from me to you. While this new way of being together feels true for me, there are still financial realities to which I must tend: shelter, food, and the care of two remarkable teenagers. Many “experts” keep telling me that I can’t do this—that I can’t just show up and serve, and then expect my needs and desires to be met with ease.
I’m not willing to accept that. I will not accept that our support of one another has to fit into the traditional business model upon which this business was originally built.
If you have been moved by the power of our collaborations, or if you simply want to support the work that I am doing, and want to make a love offering, I would welcome and celebrate that. I will use your gift to continue to do this work. I will make sure that my needs and desires are met, that my children are provided for, and that I wake up every day looking for ways to use who I am to remind others of their wholeness.
How do I find my way back to my truth?
Ask questions, even the simple ones that you already know the answer to, and notice how it feels to ask and receive those messages. Notice your breath, your heart, the feeling in your stomach. What does your mind do with the information once it bubbles up? How does the truth feel in your body?
Then, ask questions that are less obvious, but for which the outcome holds modest consequences. Do I want pizza or pasta for dinner? Should I call this friend or that one? Is it better to schedule this appointment for this week or next? Again, notice your body, notice how it feels to make these decisions for yourself, and then to follow through on them.
Watch what consequences arise from your decisions.
When you live in alignment with your truth, asking and acting on those intuitive answers, you are guided to choose more powerful experiences. An intuitively guided life is, quite simply, a more magical life.
When you’re ready, begin asking the big ones: Is it time to release this job? Do I want to have another child? Is this relationship true for me?
Don’t be afraid to ask, or to open yourself to the answers. This information does not command that you take immediate action, although sometimes that will feel true. Just ask, and then be still until you hear what’s true for you. Sit with that knowing. Action is a separate step, one that will be taken in good time, but you mustn’t allow it to keep you from asking.
Your heart will speak the truth, your brain will rise up to keep you safe, both always serving you out of love. Never let your brain disregard your heart from a place of fear. Never let your heart disregard your brain out of a place of fear. No true action is ever taken from a place of fear. Act from love . . . always.
Until your heart and mind speak to you as one again, be aware of their separateness, and patiently wait for a response from both. As you release and heal those old wounds, you’ll find that it’s easier to remember to ask for guidance. The answers that you seek will come to you more swiftly, loudly, and clearly. The self-doubt that used to settle over you, that would discourage you, will begin to fade away.
Most importantly, Wild One, remember this: The most effective way to increase your intuition is for you to honor its messages. When your gut says leave: leave. When you hear that it isn’t true: don’t do it. When it bubbles up that you miss someone, call them. When you feel called to take that class, go to that event, or connect with that particular individual—for the love of all things glittery—do it.
Take that action, for it is the sound of your heart and your mind guiding you home.
A Wild One wrote to me that she’d buried both of her parents in the span of a couple of weeks and that she was reeling. She asked me if I had a message for her and the following came through. I’ll put it here just in case you need it today.
Also, feel what’s coming up… as much as you can bear at a time.
Make a point to connect with the earth. Many of us are experiencing swirling, disorienting sensations right now. I’m hearing that it’s about the sudden shift of all that we’ve just released (the ends of relationships, seasons, jobs, and even the lives of loved ones). We were weighed down by those things, but not actually grounded, and their release left us floating about. This is the time for us to intentionally ground ourselves.
Move your body every day. Dance or do yoga or walk… something.
Drink lots of water and eat living foods.
Love. Love yourself. Love others. Surrender to the healing powers of the healthy connections between you and those you love.
These are the things I hear to share with you tonight. If they resonate for you as truth, and you’d like to schedule a private session for more guidance and healing, I have space and would be honored to collaborate with you in that way.
I woke up anxious this morning. Sometimes it just comes for me: the collision of my reality and the way I think things should be. It’s a mental train wreck that keeps me stuck. I cling to the dreams, the shoulds, the appearance of a gap. I worry that I’m not doing enough, that I’ve screwed it up, that I’ve kept myself from manifesting the thing (truth?) in my head. And, what the hell, maybe I have. Maybe I missed a message. Maybe I didn’t have the courage to do what needed to be done. Maybe I wasn’t ready.
Either way, here I am. The choices I made are the choices I made. This is my reality. The dream I had for today doesn’t match my truth. There is a gap and, now, I’m anxious and it’s not helping anything. Period. It does not serve me one bit to obsess about it. I need to shift my focus. I need to accept what is. I need to celebrate what there is to be celebrated, and immerse myself in all of the beautiful things in my life.
And breathe. I need to breathe. That grounds me… holds me… a strong, loving, embrace from the Divine within me. There is much to celebrate today–a beautiful life, breathtaking love, health, and a business that allows me to touch and change lives–even if it’s not the way I always thought would be. I choose that. I choose me.
When the intensity of life overwhelms you, it’s an invitation to be more loving with yourself.
I can imagine the look on your face as you read those words: When things are at their worst, you want me to be more loving with myself?
Yes, that’s what you have to do. That’s how you heal, how you get through those tender times. And I know that you mean to, you really do, but you just keep not doing it. You keep making choices that serve others and leave you with nothing to spare. You do so much, but you don’t know to be loving with yourself. I get it. It happens to me, too.
The following is an invitation. It’s a mind game that you can use to help guide you back to a more loving relationship with yourself.
Imagine that I’ve called to tell you that I know a woman who needs support. I have a place for her to go to heal from the traumatic life she just fled, but that the place cannot receive her for another week. I ask you if she can stay with you until then. You agree and I bring her over.
Imagine that while talking to her, you find that she’s lived as many years as you, and her childhood looked just like yours. She has loved as you’ve loved, and she’s worked jobs like the ones you’ve had throughout your life. She’s lived like you—not just the good stuff, but the heartaches and traumas and pain, too. She is you. Just yesterday, before coming to be with you, she was living like you. She too received the diagnosis (or left the relationship or experienced whatever it is) that has you realizing that now is the time to be more loving with yourself.
What would you do with her? How would you treat her during this week, the first week since she broke away from the life she was living, the very life that was threatening to overcome her?
You’d be gentle with her. You would listen to her stories with an open heart and undivided attention. You would speak to her with a loving voice. You would prepare foods that would nurture and heal her body. You would make sure she had water to drink and a safe place to sleep many, many hours. You would offer her whatever support you have to offer, and you would connect her with healers who can also support her. You would play music and do art and try to make her laugh.
You would be her friend. You would be loving with her. You would love her.
You would do these things. I know you would. Your heart is full of love—love that you extend endlessly to those around you.
This is the same love you need today. Do it. Give it. Love yourself as you would this guest. You are worthy. Yes, I’m sure.
I want you to know that you are worth listening to. Your intuition, your gut, your higher self knows who you really are. It offers you guidance all day, every single day. Your only tasks are to ask, to listen, and then to act accordingly. You need only to believe that this is the truth when you hear it—your truth.
In the beginning, you were one. Your brain and your heart were intact, a true partnership, supporting you to make decisions, guiding you along the path that is most true for you. This is the truth. One whole, complete, and powerful creature is the way you were in the beginning.
But this isn’t the way that you are experiencing life right now. You feel uncertain when you’re faced with making decisions about your direction. You feel disoriented. You feel as if you can’t actually tell which option is true for you. You ache to live in alignment with what is true for you, but you feel overwhelmed by uncertainty.
Know this: Your truth is known by you—not by your partner or your friend, an expert, or a guru. Your truth is an endless natural spring that bubbles up from deep within you and nourishes you always.
Your truth lives and thrives within you. It’s there even if you’ve forgotten to listen to it or have turned away from its whispers for months or even years. It lives within you, even if you don’t believe it, even if it seems you’ve ever met it. You cannot outrun your truth, even if you try. She, who is you, will never give up on you.
It takes only setting your intention to return to her, to your true self, for your world to shift in that direction.
What interferes is the past. Because you didn’t have the resources to heal them properly, the old wounds have built up layers of scar tissue between your heart and your mind. The baggage occupying the space between your thinking self and your feeling self interferes with the communication between them, creating doubt and confusion.
You may have leaned too heavily on your heart, searching for your truth in relationships that did not serve you. Or you may have turned away from your heart, looking for answers in your mind, searching so logically and reasonably for that which could make you make sense. Alone, neither the heart nor the mind are enough to sustain you.
Fear not. This is not broken, or lost, to you forever. You will release that which no longer serves you and, in time, the gap between the two will be less and less. Answers will come with ease, for clarity is your nature. You are journeying back to the truth of who you are.
I love it when life goes off the rails enough for me to be up in the night writing.
I don’t always want it to be this way. Goddess knows I love peace and sleep, too. But I welcome this healing experience.
I welcome this time in the sacred silence of moonlight.
I honor that I need to make these connections and explore these feelings. I celebrate that facing myself right here and right now means freeing myself. It is in these moments that I journey home to the truth of who I am.
I’m saying yes to me and to that which has bubbled up for me to heal. And I’m grateful for the courage it takes to continue to show up for this dance, especially at this hour when true darkness has settled over my world and I have only myself to follow.
Gather around you a small group of sane, deeply committed brothers and sisters. They needn’t be normal, but sanity that is anchored in the high end of the recovery spectrum supports all of you a great deal.
Find the courage that it takes to reveal your truth to them. It needn’t be your entire truth, at least not in the beginning, as you will not have access to any more of it than has been revealed on any given day. Once you know who are, though, show them. As you discover more, show them that too.
Ask them to mirror back to you that which you’ve already discovered about yourself at the times when you forget. Trust me, sometimes we just loose our damned minds. You won’t want to be reminded, but they will show you. Try your best not to behave badly.
If you do behave badly, allow them to take a few steps back and watch from the safety of the outer edge of your life. It’s cruel and unusual to ask them to stand in the fire with you. If you must once again dance at the hellish center of your fire, go on and do it, but leave them out of it. Your fire is yours. They have their own.
Do all of these same things for them. Do them to the best of your ability. Sometimes, this will be absolutely dreadful, because that’s the way it works. Sometimes we just suck at this. We’re too triggered or distracted or human to do the right thing. That’s okay. Do your best.
Laugh together. It may help to count the laughs when you’re going through a particularly challenging spell. Cry together, too.
You will each show up in whatever way is most true for you. Some will make their journey more publicly than others. That’s perfect. Balance is a magical thing. You cannot cultivate it intentionally, but if you allow into your heart those who are open and mostly sane, and who wish to be there, you’ll find yourself with a blissful balance of all of the things that you need to be for one another.
Love them and, perhaps even more important, allow them to love you. Consider yourself warned, though: It’s usually harder to receive love than to give it. Stick with it. Their love will heal you, and your love will heal them. It’s a beautiful thing.
This soul family will ebb and flow throughout your days. Accept that flow, even if it terrifies you. Release those relationships, even the coveted ones, when they no longer feel true for you and you will make space within your circle for those who resonate with your truth.
This gem has been floating around the Internet for years. Like a good love song, I’ve still not gotten over it. I want it here in Camp Christy because this kid’s affirmations remind us to give thanks, believe in ourselves, and for the love of all things glittery… PLAY.
How far are you willing to go to make space in your life for your truth?
I think that if we could see how much we would ultimately release, we’d turn away from the personal evolution journey and never look back. Maybe everyone wouldn’t, but I’m standing here, watching yet another major transition in my life unfold. I’d bet the farm that if I’d seen this coming, I would have fled this path years ago.
This path we’ve chosen returns us to our true selves. It begins subtly—a hairstyle change or an interest in a new hobby. We take that step and think, “Ah, yes. That’s better. This is who I am.” That place is such a party. We can breathe there . . . and then the next thing is revealed.
Our relationship with food shifts. We visit a new place, fall in love with it, and long to live there. We make new friends, find spiritual teachers, or do something radical to take back our health. We write and we dance and we create. We do it because we must—because we feel the truth of it written on our bones.
Over time, a thread of courage weaves together these bits of truth, strengthening the fabric of our souls.
The intensity builds with every new layer. What is required of us to live honestly both shrinks and expands over time, welcoming more of what’s true and releasing that which is not. We must have the courage to both open our hearts to the new and let go of the rest.
Do we have the courage to let go of the love? Will we sacrifice the financial security of the safe and steady day job to pursue a true professional dream? Can we choose other than the perceived safety of modern medicine and lean into healing methods that hold more truth for us?
I don’t know if I have the strength to keep going, but I’ve come this far. It’s impossible to turn back now, and I wouldn’t if I could. I’m more of who I am now than I’ve ever been—and I love it. I love the way it feels to be me, to live my truth. I want more.
All of this takes space. It takes space to add a daily spiritual practice, movement, studies, connection, or explore ourselves and discover our truths. We need the time, energy, mental bandwidth, and the physical space to move into alignment with our truths. We must learn to let go, to release that which is no longer true for us, to make space for that which resonates, for that which will pull us into the future.
It is my sincere belief that most of us are doing the best that we can bear to do with our lives. It may not even be the best we know how to do, but there’s more than just cognitive capacity affecting how we are living. We bump up against emotional obstacles, energetic blocks, restrictive beliefs, unsupportive environments, addictions, etc. In every moment, we contain the flow of several generations of thoughts, beliefs, and actions. They can either guide us to, or pull us away, from our true selves.
We get to decide how much of what flows through us is allowed to stay and define us.
We are in choice about how we show up in this life. The path we have chosen is about examining everything that cultivates our reality. We release what is false; we call in what is true.
In the beginning, we may feel like we are constantly sorting all of the sordid details of our life. It feels that way because that’s exactly what we’re doing.
When we hear our negative self talk, we will dig in and figure out to whom that voice belongs. (Our true selves would never speak to us with such fear and loathing.) When we have a relationship with food (or cigarettes or drugs or sex or whatever else) that doesn’t cultivate the kind of health and sanity that we desire, we get to explore what’s driving us. We get to heal. We get to find ways to meet our needs in ways that do not compromise the quality of our lives.
We must find the courage to look at the way we are showing up in the world. If we want to change our lives, we must begin with the willingness to own them.
We have to own who we became as a result of whatever circumstances led us here. Yes, those things happened. Yes, they were perhaps less than ideal. And yes, we may still be hurting from them. We may have more healing work to do around both new and old wounds. Yet, we are still responsible for who we’ve become.
Once more for clarity: We are responsible for who we’ve become.
If this is not the version of you that you intended to become, it’s time to dig in and cultivate your truth. Your true self still reigns, even if it is buried by the chaos and overwhelm. Your only job is to reconnect with your truth and move into alignment with it.
It’s a journey. This is your journey. But you don’t have to travel it alone. The people, systems and experiences that are available to support you far exceed the number of obstacles standing between you and your truth.
Read books, listen to music, study teachers whose work inspires you, ask hard questions and have the courage to answer them yourself, watch movies, move enough to make yourself sweat, seek non-medical healing for your body, clean up your food, spend more time with people who make you think and feel the way you desire to feel, do less of what feels untrue, recover from your addiction (including codependency), tell your story, allow life-changing experiences to change you, create, dance, write, and refuse to speak to yourself with anything less than kindness, compassion, and love.
You deserve to be the one you came here to be. Moving into alignment with that requires support. Yes, there are many forms of support available to you here at Camp Christy, but look around you, there are invitations everywhere. Accept them. You are worth it. Yes, I’m sure.
The list of things that are willing to serve as your distraction flows on and on and on. Choose wisely.
I doubt it was ever hard to be the kind of woman who does too much, even back in the day (whenever that was), but it’s easy to be one today. I am surrounded by them, both personally and professionally. And I’m (once again) coming to terms with the fact that I have been overextending myself in a way that has done harm to me, people I love, and my business.
Some of us have old, untended heartbreaks echoing through the well-intentioned hallways of our current lives, and those vibrations drive us to try to do too much. We are trying (so, so hard) to be good or loved or useful or whatever enough. We say yes to all manner of invitations that we don’t have the resources (energy, money, skills, or interest) to accept.
We scramble around like desperate animals whose lives are being threatened, trying to be fabulous enough to ensure that we will be cared for by our people, the world, and/or God. We strive to justify our existence, attempting to make ourselves invaluable enough that our needs and desires will be met.
We are trying to cultivate security with our yes.
It doesn’t actually work that way.
This drive is not petty; this isn’t just about being seen as awesome. No, this is a primal experience. We are being driven by the old wounds, the parts of ourselves that are in charge of our survival.
This isn’t sexy, but it is the reality of that exhausted woman reflected back at me after yet another night of not enough sleep, facing yet another day where it would take a series of unlikely miracles to keep tomorrow from starting the exact same way.
This isn’t working. These old survival techniques served us well in childhood, but we are no longer children trying to get through whatever haunted us at home or school or wherever else the world felt like a scary place. We are grown. We are in charge of our lives and these old tools have become a burden. We no longer need to do these things to be okay, but we keep doing it by default. These are old habits being driven by old fear.
Sometimes we say yes when it’s not true for us. This is a matter of integrity. When we say yes to more than we can do, or for that matter to things we simply don’t want to do, we sacrifice ourselves. We sacrifice our health and our sanity and our joy. When we compromise our integrity, we cultivate results that are untrue for us.
We have to stop. We can’t sustain this imbalance. We can’t cultivate truth through the fog of our old coping mechanisms.
Let us release the commitments that we’ve made that are untrue for us. And, beginning right now, every time someone asks us to do something, let us pause and check in.
Is this true for me? Do I truly have the resources to bring this commitment into my life?
Most importantly, let us ensure that the desire to say yes is coming from a place of love instead of a wound.
This isn’t an exercise in letting people down. It’s about picking yourself up. It’s about rationing the yes so there’s enough space for YOU in your life. If you integrity check every single yes before you give it, you’ll be free of what no longer serves you. You’ll be able to say yes to more of that which brings love and joy and passion and abundance and health into your life.
How is your yes? Do you give more of them than you have available? What happens to your life when you say yes to something you don’t have the time or energy or money to do? How does it make you feel when you’re committed to something you simply don’t want to do?
Talk to me, Wild One, we’ve got much to dig into here.
Regarding Fred Phelps and all of the other people who broke hearts while they were living their human experience…
There is NO value in perpetuating hate. None. We are capable and called to do so much more. We are in choice. We must choose love.
We must choose love.
The absence of love, let’s call it fear or hate, is the very thing that allowed those people to choose the beliefs, thoughts, and actions that caused us pain.
We are wounded by the way he (or they) showed up in the world–WE have emotional baggage around this… WE ARE HURTING–and we need to heal those wounds. **WE** need to heal. Healing our hearts is OUR job.
My heart is my job.
Your heart is your job.
That guy’s heart is or was his job.
The hearts of the people we hurt are their jobs.
Yeah, that’s right, we hurt people when we forget about love. This is the power position, people of the world. This is where we can cultivate change. THIS IS WHERE LOVE LIVES. The right here and right now… the moment where we CHOOSE how we are going to show up in this world *with* our broken hearts.
Are we going to send out more of what hurts? Or are we going to tend to our broken hearts and send out love?
It’s a bullshit move to perpetuate more hate. Grow the hell up. Heal your heart. Do your own work. Stop blaming dead people for the hate you send out into the world. Just stop.
This is my first year living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I love the earth—she is easily my most influential teacher—and watching the seasons of life unfold in this new place has inspired me in ways that often defy words. In these moments, I take pictures and wait for the wisdom to unfold.
This bicycle has been chained to this post since I moved here last June. It happens all over the city. I don’t really understand why perfectly good transportation gets left out in the cold . . . but that’s another challenge for another day.
So, it took a little while for winter to hit this year, but once it did, the snow fell and the temps stayed low enough for what fell to stay. And then, more snow fell. It just kept coming and never really melted, although sometimes the people here relocate snow to make it more convenient for us to get about.
By February, I was pretty sure the bike would disappear before the snow stopped falling. I couldn’t really make sense of my fascination with this bike. I knew it had a message for me, but I couldn’t find it. Every time I stopped to take a picture, my family would laugh at me. There are many other bikes that offered more dramatic images, but this one just spoke to me. It called to me, again and again.
Yesterday it called to me again . . . and I found this:
It’s crushed. Someone came through with a big piece of equipment that cut into the snow to clear more sidewalk space for walking. They crushed the bike. The bike that had been so gently held in that bank of snow for months is crushed. My heart was aching. It felt ridiculous. Well, it did at first, before I started writing this.
Now, I can see more. I can see this bike telling us a story about the winters in our lives.
Winter is the time to be still—to rest and renew, to integrate the learning that the previous seasons gifted us, and to prepare for what is ahead. We are moving into spring, a new beginning, a transition from what was into what will be.
Sometimes the winter’s shifts are subtle. Everything is so quiet and still that we don’t even recognize what’s happening. But then, the days get longer, and the bitter cold gives way to cold and eventually, warmth. When the snow begins to melt, sometimes we find lush, rested soil, and sometimes we find that something we once treasured is now broken.
The broken bicycle encourages us to pause to check in—to notice what’s happening in the many gardens that make up our lives—mind, body, spirit, home, business, love, and the rest.
What in our lives have we allowed to remain buried, is broken, or in need of tending? Are we going to hurl ourselves into the next season without doing what needs to be done before this one is over?
We can do this, but there will be consequences. This disconnected carelessness will ripple into the future seasons of our lives.
Let us have the courage to pause. Let us stay here for a time and do what must be done during these final hours of this winter. Remember, this is the only winter we have until the next one; it will never be ours again.
Let’s do this. Let us keep it clean and let us move forward with our integrity intact.
“Well hellooo, beautiful…”
Terror rises when you speak to me. I need this to stop.
It’s not that I mind you saying it. In fact, I want to be seen. I am a beautiful woman, the great light flows though me with a force that, at times, takes even my own breath away.
If I am living my truth, I will distract you. I’m a force of nature and when I meet you on the street, I want you to know I am here. I am here. This is my space. These are my streets. I belong here.
You see, beautiful stranger, my soul lives within what you see. It dances and loves and heals others because it is alive in these walls. It is my inner world that makes me shine. My soul is the reason you see me. My soul is sacred. And my body is sacred, too.
See the whole me. This is what I want from you. See my curves and the magical place where my neck and shoulder come together. See my strong thighs and my soft hands. See the smile on my lips and the light in my eyes.
See me and know deep down in the sacredness of your own being that this body is, that I am, divine… and treat me that way.
This morning—desperately searching for something meaningful in this day—I started with dance. After months dancing more and more regularly, I suddenly fell madly in love with the moment after the music begins that I just breathe and wait. I don’t know if I even have words to describe why it struck me so powerfully but it did. It was powerful, or rather empowering, to wait for the beat that was perfect for me. I said no, respectfully of course, to those who came before mine. They were lovely, just not mine. When it right for me to move, I knew and the movement that followed was everything I needed it to be.
The courage it takes to say no to what is not true for me is new. It still scares me when I think about saying no to a business opportunity—a not quite right potential client, a pro bono speaking gig that I already learned doesn’t cultivate new business, a barter invitation that isn’t for something I need. It’s hard to say no sometimes, but on some level I know that those choices are clearing the path to what is true for me.
Since that moment, old movies played back to back in the theatre of my mind. I’ve watched hundreds, maybe thousands of times that I consumed food that was convenient instead of waiting for what my body really wanted. I watched myself purchase clothes that “would do” because I didn’t have the courage to wait for the pants that help me feel both comfortable and confident. There were friendships and lovers, experiences and encounters, things and places and even thoughts… all that I accepted for fear that the truth–My Truth–would not arrive.
It’s a the kind of awareness that hurts the heart. So much of my most sacred resources—time, energy, and spirit–invested in that which carried me further from myself. So much clutter, so much pain, all because I couldn’t hear my own voice calling me home.
Blessedly, this is also a day for celebration. This realization cannot come without changing my life. Of course, it can. I just won’t allow it. No more. My choice is my power. What’s true for me is worth waiting for.
What about you, Wild One? In every moment, you have nothing more sacred than your choice. What ever will you do with all of this potential? Does this resonate for you? Are there times that you’ve settled for less that what’s true for you? What did it cost you? Are you willing to continue to pay that price, to sacrifice yourself in this way? How can you choose to be true to YOU?
Pick one thing, make space to cultivate that shift this week, and watch it spread into other areas of your life. Let me know how it’s going and remember that if you need support, I’m here.
I love music. Although I am not particularly musically inclined (read: not even remotely musically inclined), I truly love listening, dancing, and driving to good music.
Few things are more invigorating than a long ride home in my wee Jetta with the wind swirling about, clearing space in my head–or maybe getting me out of my head–for the healing power of song. It cleanses my soul. Today it’s Melissa Etheridge’s “Heal Me” from her 2001 album, Skin. She sings of the creation of something beautiful, of accepting the healing journey that so many of us have chosen.
If intuitive coaching has a theme song, today, it is this one. Many moons from now, when my ‘war’ is over, I like to imagine that a suspiciously diverse collection of people whom I loved and served during my life will gather for a righteous celebration. I hope they tell about their extraordinary lives, about the thrill of accepting their own invitations to create something beautiful instead of talking meaninglessly about the desperate insignificance of a blank canvas, and I hope they dance to this song.
(It’s not an official video but if you want to hear the song, click here.)
Ain’t it crazy
For a moment there
This felt just like dying
But now I see that something inside
Is coming alive
Ain’t it crazy
No use running from a revolution
I just surrender to this evolution
Heal me lift me
Take me to the other side
Has touched my face
And the sweet sound doesn’t lie
Ain’t it crazy
For a moment there
I just gave up trying
But now I see
You can let the light in
You can begin again
Ain’t it crazy
I lay me down in this sweet perfection
I am a witness to my resurrection
Heal me lift me
Take me to the waterside
Drop me in let me swim
Let everyone know
I’ll be coming home again
Make no mistake
Ain’t it crazy
Heal me lift me
Take me to the other side
I’ll take what I’ve earned
These lessons I’ve learned
I’m ready for the ride
Heal me lift me
Take me and my soul will fly
My battered heart will make a new start
Let everyone know
I’ll be coming home again
Heal me lift me
Take me to the waterside
Drop me in
Come on and watch me swim
Let everyone know
I’ll be coming home again
© 2001 Melissa Etheridge
What’s your theme song, today? Is it inspiring you to create something beautiful or enabling you to wallow in the emptiness of your blank canvas?
There are many, many ways to shift our thinking. Some of them happen to us and others we choose to use to replace old ways of being with new, more useful ways of being. For fun, I call the ones we choose to use mind games and I’m going to share them with you as part of the daily inspirational treasures published here at Camp Christy. These are very powerful tools and I hope you’ll add them to your greenhouse for later. (Or now, I suppose, if you’re having that kind of day.)
In any given scary or overwhelming situation, take a moment to imagine your worst-case scenario.
How bad can it be? Take time to imagine the least favorable outcomes for this situation. What would you do? How would you deal with it? How would it make you feel?
The worst-case scenario mind game helps us imagine what we might actually have to face if we don’t get done what we are trying to get done. Usually, there are physical world considerations (money, time, etc.) but also there is an emotional fall out that we are trying to find a way to avoid. And that surge of emotions we are (pointlessly) trying to avoid isn’t just about the situation at hand, it’s calling forth all of the similar untended emotional baggage from the past.
I’ve always said that rock bottom is little more than a solid place to stand. So, let’s really look at what’s possible here. Poke at your potential crisis and get to know what’s on the line for you. Imagine yourself living out that situation. Really lean into the way that this particular outcome would make you feel. Take a few deep breaths and really feel it.
Have you got it? Good. Now, think about how far your willing to go to keep that from happening.
Almost every time, I’ve found that the generalized, unexplored fear is more terrifying than the true emotions that taking action. Think of the situation which weighs heavy on your heart right now. Imagine the worst case scenario. Is it really so unbearable? Is it so scary that you will refuse to move? What can you do to keep it from happening? How far will you go? What will inaction cost you? Are you willing to pay that toll?
Grew up in a town that is famous as a place of movie scenes
Noise is always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that’s what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name in marquees found down on Broadway
It’s been four years since JAY Z and Alicia Keys released “Empire State of Mind” and still, it’s like a brick to the head every time I hear it. Before, Alicia Keys released a solo version of that song and before I continue, I hope you’ll take a moment to enjoy it. (I seriously love this song.)
A great deal of the work that I do with my clients is about making changes. And whether we want to change our city or our body, our relationship status or our paycheck, the shift usually starts by changing the way we think about it. If our old way of thinking made life as we know it today, we need a new way of thinking to cultivate the new results.
I can tell you that for you to make the change, you have to think differently but that’s not usually enough to get it done. Even a well-intentioned call for a better attitude falls short. You need–oh heck, we all need–to be gifted a new way to see. That’s what this song does for me.
When I listen to the lyrics (of either version) of that song, I am reminded that we can’t write a song like that unless we are living wide awake to what’s going on around us. I’m writing today to challenge you to listen, perhaps again and again, until you can find a new way of being to play with this week.
On the avenue, there ain’t never a curfew, ladies work so hard
Such a melting pot, on the corner selling rock, preachers pray to God
Hail a gypsy cab, takes me down from Harlem to the Brooklyn Bridge
Some will sleep tonight with a hunger for more than an empty fridge
In New York City, they’ve got a sacred mix of people and places, gifts and challenges, spirits and states that make it the place uniquely New York City. Your city has the same. Do you know about it? Are you fully experiencing your city? If you’re not, dig in today. Wake up to what’s being offered to you!
See like a photographer. Eat like it’s your job to critique it. Engage the people you encounter like you are writing an article about the experience. Explore your space like I was going to ask you to write a song about it. I won’t… but I’d love to hear from you if this shifts the way you see your world today.
This is my freedom formula. It’s the foundation of everything that’s happened in the last six years at Seeds and Weeds Coaching. I’ve shared it hundreds of times during classes and private sessions but I hadn’t yet written it down. It’s by no means the only tool in “The Greenhouse” but it’s proven to be so remarkably true that I find myself coming back to it every single day.
Clearly, it’s not a mathematical formula, but let’s pretend for a moment that it is. Whether they use these exact words or not, everyone who comes into my world wants to live their best life. They long to realize the potential within them. They want to be “free” to be themselves and to use all that they are to make a difference in the world. If the life of a Wild One was a class at the university, everybody wants more than a passing grade. We crave mastery. We want 100%.
And we don’t just want it for us, for what we get out of it. We are in pursuit of our best selves so we can use who we are to make a difference in the world. We know that what’s possible for the world–our families, communities, and beyond–is exponentially affected by how masterful we become at being ourselves.
It’s important to remember that personal freedom isn’t something granted to us by our parents or politicians or societal structures. No, there are many people living in deeply oppressive circumstances that are still able to craft a strong sense of personal freedom.
This freedom comes from within. And while the beginning of the journey to it begins with a single, powerful, rather simple decision to free ourselves, we don’t just choose to be free. We cultivate freedom with our thoughts, beliefs, and actions every single day.
Those who desire this freedom must focus not on the freedom itself. Instead, we will dig into the gardens of our own lives, learn who we are, accept what we find, and live in alignment with our integrity. I believe that this is how we cultivate our freedom. This is how we make the most of our lives.
Self-discovery is (obviously) just figuring out who you are. Imagine that you’d never seen a car before and I gave you one. You wouldn’t have the cognitive understanding of it enough to hop it and drive, but somehow we expect human beings to just know how to be their best selves with little more than the example set by our families, communities, and the media. (Lions and tigers and bears! Oh MY!)
So many of us were taught to live our lives in reaction to others (see also: addiction and codependency) and we made it to adulthood without having a thorough understanding of ourselves. We have to take a step back and look at the machine we’re working with, learn how it works, and what it’s capable of doing before we can even think about doing (living/driving) it masterfully.
Once we figure out what we are working with, we have to have to accept what we’ve discovered. We have to make peace with who we are. In order to work with this machine, one has to accept that (hypothetically speaking) she is a they-call-me-hard-headed-but-I-prefer-tenacious taurus with a proven affection for unconventional people and most things addictive. She stands five feet and two inches tall, is quite curvy, freckled, and throws a football with surprising force but accuracy that leaves something to be desired. She is incapable of stillness when music plays and can’t speak without her hands. She loves the earth, produces children who are amazing but will most certainly need a good therapist, and making people laugh makes her feel like everything is going to be okay. She is a lesbian, an extrovert, and she cannot pick a favorite color.
If we are in denial about pieces of ourselves that have been revealed, we render ourselves powerless. We willfully diminish our potential. We sacrifice our own freedom. We must have the courage to accept what’s true about ourselves so that we can cultivate the freedom we desire.
Merriam-Webster defines integrity as 1) the quality of being honest and fair, and 2) the state of being complete or whole. I can’t do better than those definitions. Living in alignment with our integrity is the third critical factor in the freedom formula. It means that once we’ve discovered and accepted pieces of who we are, we get up every single day and do what we know to be true for us. As we continue to discover and accept more and more of our truth, and we move into alignment with those truths, we become more masterful versions of ourselves. With each evolution, we cultivate more freedom for ourselves and we become more positive, more powerful force in the world.
Take a moment to think about your life. Hold it up against the freedom formula. If your life isn’t as you wish it to be, hold it up against the freedom formula. Where are the holes? Where do you need to focus to cultivate a more powerful result with your energy every day? Is it that you don’t know enough about how you work? Are there important pieces of you that you haven’t yet accepted? Or is this a matter of integrity?
Remember that there is no need for shame about what you discover when you ask yourself these questions… just power. If you need support, I’m here.