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I Love You and Thank You

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 . . . [Read More]

Unruly Books: Is Home Your Happy Place? (June)

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 . . . [Read More]

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Unruly Rants

journal

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.

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January 9, 2017

Choose Wisely

photo by leonelolimpio via flickr
There’s something we need to talk about. I feel afraid that the intensity has faded, the persistent rise and fall of the sun has rocked us back to sleep. Maybe it’s the cold that’s got us feeling sluggish, or the post-holiday sugar crash, but I can feel the vibration slowing down.
 
“Prepare them to travel lightly through what lies ahead by releasing attachments to things and old wounds.”
 
This is the call to action that haunts me. It haunted me at first because sometimes separating people from their stuff and old wounds is hard work. It’s deeply freeing but also very tender. There’s lots of emotion, resistance to the letting go. It means revisiting old heartbreaks, unproductive decisions, unrealized dreams, and even traumatic experiences. And when it’s not the heavy memories, we’re letting go of souvenirs of the best days of our lives.
 
I love this work–truly, deeply, passionately love it–but I’m holding hands with people while they let go of what’s been weighing them down and, like I said before… it’s tender.
Lately, I’m haunted by this call in a different way. I used to say that I
trust people to do this work when they are ready. Now, I feel like we’re running out of time. We’ve begun to move into the “what lies ahead” and it seems that, instead of releasing what no longer serves them, many are doing more of what they did before.
 
Too many of us are doing exactly what we did that cultivated this stuckness, this overwhelm, this state of being so heavy we can’t do with our lives what we came to this planet to do.
 
I have this one very dear friend who says, “This is just a really crazy time for me.” She’s been saying that to me, season after season, year after year, for the entire time we’ve been friends. That’s 19 years and counting. It’s always something. Something legitimate, of course, or rather some things that are totally legitimate–children with commitments, job pressure, relationship changes, moving, and on and on. She never has enough time.
 
There’s never going to be enough time to do all of the things. Period. End of story.
 
There is never going to be enough time to do all of the things. Time is the unchanging factor here, so we have to choose more wisely. We have to say NO to a great many invitations in order to say YES to the ones that matter.
Our lives are defined by the people, experiences, commitments, and beliefs that we choose.
 
We must begin to choose more wisely. We have already set aside the best of who we are, the most sacred and powerful aspects of who we are–the very brilliance that we can use to make the world a better place. We allowed our lives to be filled by decisions we made, or even ones other people made for us, years ago.
 
Everything is different now. WE are different now.
 
We must make space for what we ache to do and be in the world, so we can say yes to the call to action when it comes. We need to be able to move swiftly if the ground beneath us begins to break open. We need to be able to leave if our heart pulls us to another place.
 
Today, we need to release that which unnecessarily drains our energy, so we can say YES to the cause or person or movement or dream or unexpected invitation coming for us tomorrow.
 
If you’ve heard my invitation to prepare to travel lightly, know that it’s become urgent.
 
If you’ve heard it and responded “Yes… but not right now,” then stop RIGHT NOW and decide when you’ll say yes.
What day will the kids be less consuming? When do you anticipate work getting easier? When is the world going to feel your strain and politely release you from all of the pressure that keeps you feeling this way? When will everything fall away so you can face yourself, so you can free yourself?
 
I know women in literally every phase of life with practically every possible combination of commitments and strains. Unchecked, this whole being-a-grown-ass-woman-in-our-chaotic-modern-world thing will consume you, regardless of your particular details. If you want tomorrow to be different, you must choose something different right now.
 
And yes, simplifying our lives is my business. I have a handful of ways I can support you with this journey. I’m here if you need me, but this thing I’m saying to you right now is different. This is about you taking action. Somehow, some way, take action and take back your life. We are out of time.
 
Please tell me you understand what I’m saying to you.
 
Thank you. I love you.
 

Christy

photo by leonelolimpio via flickr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
November 12, 2016

The Time Is Now

Image: dawolf- via Flickr

“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.
www.theunrulywoman.com/happyplace

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

photo by leonelolimpio via flickr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
September 6, 2016

Being Enough

the art of silence
the art of stillness
the art of pause
the art of being
quiet enough
to find out
what lives
inside me

the act of writing
the act of space making
the act of picking up the fucking pencil
the act of being
brave enough
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
unruly enough
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
bold enough
to deliver the
invitation pulsing
in my veins

 


Photo by Dennis van Zuijlekom under CCL.

photo by Dennis van Zuijlekom
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
August 9, 2016

I Love You and Thank You

Patrick Humphries via Flickr
Patrick Humphries via Flickr

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).

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
August 1, 2016

Where the Silence Once Lived

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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/essentials

Image Credit: Christina Xu via Flickr

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
May 10, 2016

My Blood Is Not The Problem

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“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.)

Emma Brown via Flickr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
January 13, 2016

House Rules

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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

  • Be nice, not hurtful.
  • If you’re feeling hurt, tell me.
  • If you’re done, be done. Don’t get in a parting shot.
  • Operate on good faith
  • Give the benefit of the doubt
  • Don’t assume a fuck up is part of my character. Ask. Explain how I hurt you.
  • Recognize your own limits in a discussion and own them – communication isn’t your strong suit. What you think isn’t always what comes across.
  • If I ask for clarification, I’m not trying to beat you. I’m trying to understand you.
  • Don’t assume that I should know something. Check.
  • Acknowledge me. Out loud.
  • I understand that you’re mad. But don’t stay mad because you think you should.
  • Be open to my efforts (and recognize them as such)
  • Be open to your affectionate feelings toward me. Let them flow when they want, and don’t ever feel like you need to force it (fake it til you make it is ok, though)
  • De-escalate at every opportunity. Talk through, not over/around
  • Be intellectually honest. See that you may have not had the info you needed/missed something, and be willing to change accordingly.

Partner #2’s ideas

  • Assume all interactions / feelings are based on good will.
  • Communicate as clearly as possible. If an interaction changes quickly, consider a trigger being at play. Try not to snap back (escalate) but to call it what it is.
  • Check in with your own feelings. Own them. Maybe even disclose them proactively if you might need a little more space / gentleness / whatever.
  • Keep the ego in check. Everyone has different needs and wants, it’s not a personal attack if someone wants something different than what you hoped they wanted.
  • Clean up after yourself as much as possible. Don’t make yourself crazy about it but maintain the basics (dishes, wrappers, etc. to sink or trash). Paying attention to bigger things and helping out when able is really appreciated (vacuuming, organizing avalanche of kids’ toys, refill soap or paper towels).
  • Respect privacy. I am a more private person and don’t want to talk about tender things with just anybody. It feels unfair and hurtful when you share my more personal issues with others (in my presence or not).
  • Don’t drink directly from the milk container. Sometimes I use milk in cooking and it’s just gross to have crumbs floating in the milk.
  • Don’t yell at the kids or each other. As much as possible let’s really STOP.

These 13 house rules are the final product of our work together:

HOUSE RULES

  1. Be nice or leave (the conversation).
  2. If you’re going to leave, leave respectfully.
  3. Assume the best in one another.
  4. Bring the best of yourself.
  5. Seek understanding instead of right and wrong.
  6. Remember your partner may not know or understand what has happened or is happening.
  7. Ask questions and be open to receiving questions.
  8. Be as open to one another as you can bear to be in each moment. (Disclose feelings, reach out, reveal self, etc.)
  9. Be willing to recognize and disclose triggers. (Clues: Yelling, hateful words, disrespect, dragging up old stuff, always/never, etc.)
  10. Do “The Work” together and individually. This may mean returning to find resolution on previously “left” matters.
  11. Ask for what you need or desire.
  12. Take care of your own shit and the family’s collective shit.
  13. Respect one another’s privacy. If you’re not certain, ask first.

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

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
November 23, 2015

Love’s Invitation

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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?

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
October 22, 2015

Staying Power

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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.
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Trigger Happy Holidays are coming Nov 1st! Learn more here.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
September 30, 2015

Working Through ‘The Invitation’ Of A Personal Attack

Love Heals

“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.

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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.

Me: Wow.

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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
August 26, 2015

Manifestation Experiment Tip #1: Be Sure To Notice When You Get It

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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.
Me: Yes!
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!
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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. 

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
August 13, 2015

Desire To Dance: What Lost Love Can Passion Give Back To You?

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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.

My Dance.

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.

 

Christiane Wilke via Flickr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
July 30, 2015

Wishing For Purpose (Another Crazy Personal Blog Post)

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“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.
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If you’re ready to connect with your magic/light/call/purpose, join the Find Your Purpose circle in August 2015.

Wendell via Flickr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
July 29, 2015

Two Steps To Stop Obsessing About Screwing Up Your Kids

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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:

  1. Your kids are going to have issues to work through in their adulthood.
  2. Stop trying to not fuck them up and instead focus on giving them the tools to heal… by doing the healing work yourself and sharing it (boundaries, etc.).

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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
June 30, 2015

Motherhood Triggers All The Things

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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.

Triggers.

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.

dawolf- via Flickr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
June 24, 2015

Triggers: When Old Fires Burn New Love

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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?

Eneas De Troya via Flickr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
June 9, 2015

Why I Keep Breathing

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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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
June 4, 2015

Everything Felt Impossible… Even As I Was Doing It

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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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
May 18, 2015

Turning 40: Coming Home To My Body

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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?
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Ready to Tame Your Space and Simplify Your Life? We begin soon… learn more here!

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
April 29, 2015

The Business of Heartbreak: Let Us Heal

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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.

But Baltimore.

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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
April 26, 2015

Broken Hearts Club

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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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
October 18, 2014

The Heart of Clean Slate: Releasing People (Part 4)

Tetanus Art: FREE
Tetanus Art: FREE

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

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
October 17, 2014

The Heart of Clean Slate: Releasing Stories (Part 3)

Tetanus Art: OM
Tetanus Art: OM

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.

I released what no longer served me.

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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
October 16, 2014

The Heart of Clean Slate: Releasing Clothes (Part 2)

Me... loving THIS body.
Me... loving THIS body.

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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
October 14, 2014

The Heart of Clean Slate: Releasing Codependency (Part 1)

Tetanus Art: LOVE!
Tetanus Art: LOVE!

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

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
October 13, 2014

The Heart of Clean Slate: My Story of Letting Go (Intro)

Mala LOVE.
Mala LOVE.

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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
September 27, 2014

Why You Aren’t Good Enough (To Undo The Past)

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“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.

Christy Farr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
September 25, 2014

Stop Doing This Now

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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.

Tetanus Art by Christy
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
September 10, 2014

Find Love That Seeks Truth

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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.
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Love notes… from Dyani and Christy

As always, if you need support, I’m here.
June 15, 2014

That Which Lies Between Us And Our Truth

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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.

rent-a-moose via Flickr
As always, if you need support, I’m here.
June 8, 2014

Love Offerings: The Co-Creation of Support

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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.

As always, if you need support, I’m here.