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.
I’m sitting here, fingers poised on the keyboard, knowing there’s a message about the workshop that needs to come through. As always, when it matters this much, it scares me to be the messenger. But I’m putting on my big girl pants because it’s just so damned important. Ask for guidance, wait, and type what comes. No judgement. Just type the freaking words.
It’s been 10 years since I was last at a weight doctors say is healthy for a woman of my height. Even at my goal weight, I still had self-loathing thoughts about my body. I became thin by restricting my food, but could not bring myself even the most basic levels of self-love… things I would never hesitate to do for my children or spouse or friends.
I simply could not, not matter how much everyone told me it mattered, be loving with myself.
The control I gained over my food was not enough to turn my life into a place where I could live my truth. Everything inside of me was falling apart but others saw my shrinking body as a sign I was better than ever. I was not okay.
I was torn between the shell of the woman I’d been on the day I said yes to a new marriage, home, and family and the other woman, the real me, who was blossoming from deep inside.
Each new women’s studies class, self-help book, and therapy session fed the real me and it grew. Every time I spoke my truth, asked for what I needed, or stood up for myself, the real me got larger and stronger. My truth swelled against the the life I’d built when I didn’t know who I really was. The pressure nearly destroyed me.
Once, while driving down the highway, I had a vision of driving my minivan into the concrete barrier. “I just need a break,” I heard in my head. That would let me take a break. That’s what the squeeze did to me. In that moment, I knew my truth had outgrown my shell. I needed to leave. I needed to leave on my own terms. I didn’t want to have to burn down my own life in order to escape it.
What I’ve learned is that to love me is to hold me loosely enough to shed my self. A thousand times I will die and emerge again as a more true version of the woman I came here to be.
Through each evolution, I am returning to myself and the days of disconnection are becoming more and more rare. When it aches, I lovingly tend my heart instead of stuffing the pain back down. When I feel restless, I support my body with the movement it craves. When I feel overwhelmed, I cultivate the quiet and stillness that help me find my way back to the truth of who I am. When I feel lost, I pause and ask my higher self for direction… and then I wait for the answer.
I can’t love myself well when I am a stranger. Self-love becomes possible through self-discovery and self-acceptance. We have to figure out who we are, what we ache for, and we have to pursue it as we do for all of the other people in our lives.
I’m not promising you a workshop about crafting the perfect body. It’s not going to be about strong-arming yourself into all of the things you “should” be doing. It’s not going to be about learning my super secret, trademarked method for making your body sexy enough to love.
My qualifications include flossing my teeth almost every day, drinking nearly enough water, walking to client appointments at the coffee shop instead of driving the car, having my dream job, and doing physical therapy homework for not one but TWO injuries most of the time. Also, I breathe, deeply and repeatedly, to help myself calm down instead of throwing chairs (most of the time). I use water, movement, and laughter to wake up my body instead of sugar like I did for the first three plus decades of my life. I find my distinctly overweight body to be beautiful, sexy, lovable, and worthy of the time and energy it takes to treat it well.
I’m not trying to fix you because you’re not broken. I want to help you reconnect with yourself so that loving your body will come naturally.
Learn more and register today…
Workshop: The One About Loving Your Body
Space healing isn’t about making your place pretty or zen or whatever else “they” say a home “should” be. It’s about making your home your happy place.
Here are 10 surprisingly honest reasons my space healing graduates say yes to this workshop. We hope it helps you decide if this path is right for you. (FREE book giveaway at the bottom! Keep reading…)
1. My space makes me sick to my stomach.
Because I literally feel sick (nauseated) when I open my eyes and really see the disarray, disorder and discord in my home and I feel like it’s all my fault. Doing the 27-things thing and listening to and participating in the calls quells that. Basically you are my Alka-Seltzer. – N.D.
2. My space is kicking my ass.
Because I’m tired of feeling like my things control me. – M.L.
3. Healing my space heals my heart.
Somehow my space is a virtual mirror of my spirit or inner life, I think. When I do even small things to fix/heal my physical (outer) space, it has a magical way of healing or easing some tension internally. I know that I am not my space, but seeing that I can improve even part of it gives me hope for improving my inner things that need healing. Plus, it makes me happy! – T.W.
4. Sanity is more important than stuff.
Because I feel better when my efforts can go into taking care of me instead of stuff. – L.S.
To bring clarity and calmness to a chaotic life. – D.B.
5. I need a fresh start.
Right now, it is to begin again. When I relocate, what do I want to take with me? P.D.
6. I want to feel better.
It just feels really good. Kind of the difference between a sunny day and an overcast day. – A.M.
7. I need to be more productive.
So that I can have the work space to get done everything I want to get done – L.W.
Because it’s not about expectations or clean, it’s about creating a space I can walk into without feeling bad about all the stuff I wish I did. – S.M.
Because otherwise it’s non-functional. I can’t find things I need when I need them, I waste time looking, it’s frustrating. I deserve support. I deserve to be able to do what I want to do in the house without having to wade through a pile of clutter and not be able to find what I need to do it! Because I deserve to be in a beautiful home that reflects what’s important to me. Because I deserve to be inspired by my space. Because I don’t want my energy dragged down by an environment that I trip over every time I try to thrive. Because I want to thrive. Stop me anytime… – T.H.
8. I want love, not stuff.
To make room for relationships in my life that matter – A.C.
9. This is a righteous act of rebellion. I want to heal my space because making it happen will be the best way to say, “F*CK YOU!” to the people who say I can’t do it! Those are the same people who criticized me until I was totally depressed, which is how things ended up a mess in the first place. These folks think I can’t be healthy and get my stuff in order. I have already proven them half wrong by coming out of the depression – I am literally happier than I have ever been! Now I am going to reward myself by getting rid of the junk that depression forgot to take along when it moved out, so I have a welcoming place for myself and the people who have loved me all along. – L. R.
10. I want to be me. . . the real me.
Because I know it’s not the real me, and I’m tired of hiding behind the clutter. Because it’s exhausting… mental, physically, spiritually. By the way, I’m making great progress (greater than the past). It’s not completely visible to the naked eye yet, but it’s getting there! – M.M.
Now, it’s my turn.
When I started this space healing journey, I knew it was important but I could not have conceived of the radical ways this work would change my life. Looking back, it’s as though I emerged from childhood with the jigsaw puzzle of my identity filled with pieces I’d acquired from the world around me. Parents, peers, the education system, media, and the rest told me who I was and what mattered and how I was supposed to act. It wasn’t all that bad, it just wasn’t true. Not for me. But I didn’t know to challenge any of it, so I stumbled through early adulthood without an authentic connection to myself. My life was full and chaotic but I had no real relationship with myself to guide me.
Space healing allowed me to unpack the assumptions and dig into the truth of who I am.
It continues to allow me to recognize and challenge the things, thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, and relationships that no longer serve me. And now that I have the confidence and tools to release what’s untrue, I make space for the beautiful, dynamic, unconventional experience that I came here to live.
And with all of that bullshittery out of the way, I feel free to live my truth… to live my dream. Every day, when I say yes to this journey, I make space in my life for me.
WORKSHOP NOTICE: The current “Is Home Your Happy Place?” workshop is free to anyone who is ready to free themselves from the bullshittery. We’ve already begun but there’s still time for you to join us before registration closes on Friday, January 22, 2016.
BONUS: All participants will be entered into a drawing for your very own signed copy of my new book, “Is Home Your Happy Place? The Unruly Woman’s Approach to Space Healing.” Say yes to you today! Click here for workshop details and see the FREE registration instructions at the top.
Image: Corie Howell via Flickr
Reclaim Your Space & Take Back Your Life!
The Tame Your Space workshop is a great option for those who are new to The Unruly Woman’s clutter-clearing/space taming ways or anyone who wants to begin again. Go here to learn more and register…
Details: 6 weeks, private sessions optional, begins August 29, 2015, fee $99, group calls at 9:00 am Central on Saturdays.
Trigger Happy Holidays!
Find Your Purpose!
This new workshop will help you discover (or rediscover) and move into alignment with your life purpose. We will explore purpose and passions, and the ways that you can harness yours to bring more joy, energy, health, and abundance into your life. Go here to learn more…
Details: 4 weeks, includes one private session, begins January 2016, fee $99, group calls at 10:00 am Central on Saturdays.
I tell my clients that starting your own business is like going to boot camp for your money issues. Well, motherhood brings up every single thing that remains unhealed within us. It’s like going into battle against all of our old baggage. And from what I can tell after almost 18 years of training, it lasts… well, basically, forever.
It started the day I found out I was pregnant with Romeo. Yes, literally the first day. I’d had a miscarriage the year before, a tender experience that started when I found blood on the toilet paper after using the bathroom. Still quite high on my expectant state, I was shocked to realize that, once moistened, the pretty little flowers on my toilet paper looked far too much like blood. I panicked.
Yes, I actually panicked in the racing-heart-echoing-in-my-ears-and-room-spinning-around-me way. It was as though the heartbreak of that moment (where I found blood on the toilet paper) was just hanging out in my body waiting for the perfect moment to pop up and scream for attention. I’m still here! Even after I’d cried a thousand tears about different aspects of the loss, that particular piece was still waiting inside me.
That moment happened more than 18 years ago, long before I knew the word “trigger” or what it meant. It shook me, deeply, and it happened many times–my body flash flooding with fear each time–before I was brave enough to mention it to my midwife. She lovingly encouraged me to buy white toilet paper for the duration of my pregnancy. And so I did.
I’ve been doing this work too long to ignore the fact that every time I need to teach something, I am prepared for that experience by living the learning. I’ve been putting off offering this workshop for four years and I’d be lying if I said this inevitability hadn’t occurred to me. (Also, it’s just a really tricky topic to cover and it wasn’t time until now.)
So naturally, I (finally) scheduled this workshop for July and my very own Trigger Happy June kicked into high gear. It peaked on Saturday when I was watching the fourth nurse make the sixth attempt to get an IV started in my (nearly 16-year-old) baby’s arm. She’s always been terrified of needles and had been so very brave for the first six attempts, but she was finally coming undone.
She was clinging to The Beautiful One (my partner, Dyani), sobbing and calling out that the vein search was hurting her. That was my own personal version of hell on earth but that still wasn’t the thing that triggered me.
It was the way she never moved the outstretched arm that nurse was digging around in. It was the way my beloved daughter–already a week into the throat pain, 24 hours since she’d eaten any solid food, and hours since she’d gotten any measurable liquid past the abscess in her throat–was falling off the edge of reason and still strong enough to give this nurse an actual shot at finding a vein.
Couldn’t cope. Honestly, still can’t. Even recalling it to share here brings tears to my eyes and leaves my heart aching. Later, Dyani and I were talking about it and both admitted that we wished we had stopped the woman sooner. Heartbreaking. And to be honest, I’m not sure what exactly did me in. Was it all of the times that I was stoic when I should have said that whatever was hurting me needed to stop? Or was it that I didn’t say no, or that she didn’t say no? I can’t even tell… it’s too soon. More work to do on that one.
This is the way triggers work. A present day experience feels (to the physical body) enough like an old, untended experience to drag it up from the depth of wherever we store old heart breaks, fears, and the rest. We experience today’s situation as it appears but all of this old emotion rises up, too. It makes the situation feel far more intense. It makes something that’s a little scary feel terrifying, a little frustration feels maddening, and a little bit of anger feels like the kind of rage that leaves a woman (me) wanting to scream vulgarities, shove a nurse out into the hall, pick up an adult-sized human, and run for as many miles as it takes to ensure she is safe.
It happened a million times in the middle of these two experiences. And I know it’s happening to other mothers because I hear the stories from my clients every day.
When our daughters turn the age that we were raped, we lose our minds and we don’t even know why. It does not matter how many times we vowed we would never hit them, when our kid talks back, the impulses rises hard and fast because that’s what we experienced as kids. When our kids won’t clean their rooms or do their homework or send thank you cards, we rant and threaten without even realizing that the parenting line is blurred by our own bad habits.
It happens over and over again. It feels never-ending. And the intensity is real.
But the invitation is real, too. It’s the invitation to heal these old wounds, to live without all of this history haunting us and our children and the rest of the people that we love. That’s why I’m teaching this workshop. Everybody deserves better… including you.
Join us for Unruly Essentials. We’re going to Reclaim Our Chill.
I hold the past against the woman I love.
There was lots of leaving when I was growing up. Divorced parents left me constantly leaving one for the other. Their U.S. Air Force careers meant that my brother and I not only traveled between them but between their respective assignments. I lived around the world and in many places here in the states. It was great in lots of ways but, of course, that lifestyle was also hard on my heart.
I learned early on that saying goodbye was unbearable. My young, unruly mind crafted coping mechanisms that included faking fights with my friends when it was time to move so I didn’t have to say goodbye. I knew many, many people in my early years and I’m not connected to any of them today. Needless to say, I made it to adulthood with some baggage around goodbyes.
I’ve written about this before (Leaving With Oprah and Getting Good At Goodbye) but as I prepare for the Trigger Happy July workshop, I’m flooded with awareness about my own triggers. Even after all of these years of working to release them, they keep popping up. Maybe it’s just good practice to get me ready teach these techniques? Yeah, let’s call it that… instead of me being a 40-year-old wrecking ball.
When we have conflict and The Beautiful One decides to take a break (so she doesn’t do anything she’ll regret), I lose my mind. I wish I could put lipstick or glitter on that to fancy it up, but plain and simple, I come undone.
Her exit is the lit match that proves I’ve been walking around this whole time with gasoline pulsing through my veins instead of blood. I catch fire.
Sometimes the fire is contained. The panic consumes me but I (somehow) keep my feet planted and my hands glued to my sides. While it rages inside me, I watch and wait. My true self pounds sanity back into my consciousness with the soles of her feet against the earth as she dances wildly around the fire within me.
She’s not leaving. She’s taking a break. I’m okay. This is okay. Pause is good. We always work through these. I’m okay. We are okay. Conflict is okay. Hysteria is not okay. Breathe. Breathe deeper. Okay… that’s right… breathe again. What’s happening here? What is gong on in my body? What do I need?
Sometimes it goes better. If I’m grounded enough–or aligned or connected or in my Priestess self or whatever it is “enough”–I take a few steps back. The heat that rises is real but it isn’t enough to set me afire. She takes a moment to return to center. I take a moment to return to mine. We reconnect and talk through the conflict until we find an understanding. All is released and another layer is healed.
But other times… it goes much, much worse.
That’s when I lose my mind. That’s when I do the same barbaric maddening crap I sincerely believed I would never ever do again. I throw whatever defenseless thing I have in my hand. I slam doors. I scream like a mad woman. I say terrible things to the one I love.
It feels unforgivable. I loathe feeling that way, even for just a moment. Dreadfully human. Completely triggered. It’s rare that my triggers unfold in this way these days but it is still alive in me. I know it is and I know it isn’t about her. It isn’t about us. It isn’t even about “now” in my life. It’s about a thousand old heartbreaks. And I know that I owe it to her and to myself to continue this healing journey.
In fact, owe it to myself and everyone–family, friends, clients, and even strangers–to accept the invitations they gift me when the old bullshittery rises from deep within.
So yeah… triggers. This workshop is one I will teach from a deep place of knowing. I’m ready to free myself. Are you?