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
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
“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.
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?
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 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.
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 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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.