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.
“Every person around me warned me about you and sadly THEY were correct and I was blind.”
The little girl inside of me feels shattered. I’ve been thrust out of another sisterhood, banished from a teacher’s community. It happened quietly. I wasn’t warned that my participation (in our friendship or the community) was at risk, nor was I notified that she’d deemed me no longer worthy. It was like going home to find my key no longer opens the locked door.
The adult in me can’t begin to guess who “every person” is but know that the letters arranged in this particular pattern become the stuff from which nightmares are constructed. Not only was she a fool for believing in me but nobody else in her world believes in me, either.
The little girl in me is petrified that the world around me is filled with people who secretly loathe me and warn one another about collaborating with me.
The adult in me knows that it doesn’t matter how many people operate in this way. If they don’t have the courage to speak to me directly, nothing about the way they are showing up in the world is for me. Saying this to me is simply abusive. The words serve only the woman who hurled them at me.
“Christy, because I’m done pretending that the way you describe your work is not a blatant affront to my work. That’s why. I won’t play that game anymore. Integrity, Christy.”
The little girl in me wants to cry and beg for understanding. It feels almost unbearable to be so misunderstood. I am not teaching dance. I am not a dance teacher. I do not strive to be. Nothing about what I’ve offered is even in the ball park of her work. My business is about collaboration, not competition. No one who is ready for this dance teacher will feel complete with 90 minutes of sacred movement once a month with me.
The adult in me knows that I’ve never hidden my gratitude for the doors opened by this teacher. I’ve sent to her every single woman I met who is seeking to reconnect with her inner dancer. To a potential client, I’ve been perfectly transparent about my history, inspiration, and actions. A blatant affront? No, my work is not an outrage or offense. She may feel outraged but that’s for her to explore, heal, and release. It’s not for me.
The Voices In My Head just whispered, “Integrity is a gift we live by, not a weapon we use to shame and bully people into submission.” Integrity has been my guiding light for many moons and while I’ve fallen short repeatedly, I do my best to bridge those gaps with profound transparency. I’ve never claimed I was dancing when I wasn’t. I don’t pretend I’m in perfect health. I am real, dreadfully human at times but I’ve never hidden that from myself or my community.
“I told you it pissed me off. I was CLEAR about that boundary and you still did it. Because you don’t have a solid self so you just take.”
The little girl in me feels ashamed by this scolding. Yes, I remember her saying that she didn’t feel like I was ready for this work. I knew she would feel that way when I heard the call to do it. Her disapproval was anticipated, dread of her judgement nearly paralyzed me, but I followed my heart. I was brave and open about my intentions and the limited personal experience from which I extended this invitation.
I did not hide. I faced her anonymous Facebook bashing like a champ and allowed her later kindness to stay hidden in the vault of our private message exchange. I honored the teacher’s ill-informed rejection of a new layer of my sacred work. I understood that she was simply unwilling to honor me because my choice did not align with her way. I was brave and honored myself. The little girl in me wants to scream that the very fact that I continued with my plan proves that I do have a solid self.
The little girl is shaken deeply by the accusation that my entire life’s work has been stolen from others–bootleg copies of the work of those the teacher deems worthy to teach.
The adult in me knows who I am. The divine path I traveled to this moment was guided by my experiences and paved with really hard work–really, really hard personal work, plus my professional collaborations with others.
“I’m sure my wrath is nothing compared to how you actually feel about yourself. Anyone who bullshits so much and lies and changes their colors constantly…”
These words literally took my breath away. The little girl in me wanted to flee, to run to my bedroom and pull the covers over me and sob until a black hole opened up to swallow me.
The adult in me knows that all of this is incredibly powerful, that her accusations are an invitation for me to do the work. From time to time, we all hear stories about ourselves from others. Far more often, this sort of violence is perpetuated within in our minds. We have to have a way to check in and see if what’s been offered to us resonates as true.
Is it true that offering my workshop is out of alignment with my integrity? No, absolutely not! She may not understand what I’m offering and maybe she does but she believes there is no value in it. But I know there’s value and my clients do know exactly who I am and what I have to offer. They are informed and they are in choice.
Is it true that her wrath is nothing compared to the way I feel about myself? There was certainly a time when self-loathing was my thing but I have done a tremendous amount of self-discovery work in the last 20 years and I accepted almost everything I found. What I didn’t accept, I’ve either changed or am in the process of changing. I’ve only recently begun to explore the embodiment piece of this journey–as opposed to relationships, education, and space, which I’ve been deeply invested in for years–but I am completely transparent about what I bring to the table.
Is it true that I “can’t commit to ANYTHING”?
I’ve been mothering relentlessly for 18 years tomorrow. I’ve been working on having healthy relationships with the people I love since I first went to therapy 25 years ago. I’ve been committed to my personal evolution journey for 20 years. I’ve been committed to my clients for 7.5 years. I’ve been committed to living gently on this planet for 30 years.
Talking about commitment is a tricky thing. It’s one of those areas where humans find it difficult to resist projecting their own beliefs and heartbreaks onto others. I suspect that wasn’t this much heat about dance this dig. It was about the fact that last spring I ended a marriage that no longer felt true for me. To be clear, I am wildly opposed to commitments that are untrue… for me. I make no secret about that. I’ve written at length about my beliefs around this and answered to anyone who asked. Also, I don’t force that belief on others.
Again, I employ radical transparency to maneuver the realities of humanness. Also, I have a deep understanding about how one might project their own heartbreak onto a woman who is willing to break another’s heart in order to remain true to herself. But we must learn to question our own triggers and seek internal healing instead of perpetuating the hurt back out into the world disguised as an attack on professional credibility.
We can’t change the people who share these stories about us but we can use the tenderness of an assault like this to check in. Does this hurt? Why does it hurt? Is it true? If so, what do I need to do to support myself now that I have been gifted this insight into beliefs or actions that are untrue for me? If it’s not, what do I need to do to release this energy from my body and move on with my day?
This is the sacred nature of a moment like this, the invitation. Is there a way to lean into it, to use the pain to penetrate another layer of heartbreak and heal these old wounds?
When this conversation unfolded today (see below for the entire exchange), I suddenly felt eight years old again. Judged, rejected, and outcast in the childish social circles of an elementary school. But also, another part of me felt alive. I am affirmed that this teacher is not the one for me–not for dance or anything else. I see that she cannot be trusted with my heart. These messages are not truth. They are violence. And aside from the beauty of a check in, they are not for me.
The little girl in me was hurt but I took this day to show her deep compassion, tenderness, and love. I helped her look for any truth in these messages and when we were done, I reminded her/myself that the rest was not about her/me. They are merely a reflection of the hurt and shadow that pulses within my accuser. And just like that, I felt willing and able to send her all of the compassion, tenderness, and love that filled me up in the hours since these messages arrived.
*I mentioned the invitation repeatedly throughout this piece. If you want to know more about this, see Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s beautiful poem and book called The Invitation.
Me: Hey [teacher], I just went searching and found that I’d been removed as a Facebook friend and kicked out of (teacher’s Facebook community). I’m surprised and hurt to say the least but wanted to ask you why you’d made that decision before I got carried away by the feels.
Teacher: Christy, because I’m done pretending that the way you describe your work is not a blatant affront to my work. That’s why. I won’t play that game anymore. Integrity, Christy.
Me: That’s what I was hearing and I wanted to reach out before assuming. I wish you’d had the courage to do the same. You would have seen that I can’t touch what you do. I wouldn’t dare try. But if I can do an active guided meditation with a handful of women who otherwise can’t bear to move and it inspires them to be willing to be in their bodies for even a little while I am shocked you’d resent it. This is not about you. Your approach didn’t work for me*. I know you saw that when I was there. It took me more than six months to even turn on music again. I’m finding my way again finally and I’m going to invite others to do the same. It’s exactly in alignment with my approach to every single other offering I’ve had for the last seven years. It’s my way. This takes nothing from you. In fact, now I can’t even send my people to you when they begin to once again ache to dance, when they seek a dance teacher. What a huge loss for all involved. Best of luck to you…
Teacher: Courage. Don’t you talk to me about courage. I told you it pissed me off. I was CLEAR about that boundary and you still did it. Because you don’t have a solid self so you just take.
My approach didn’t work for you!? YOU WHO SAID YOU WANTED TO MOVE HERE?!
And GET YOUR OWN FUCKING PRACTICE BEFORE YOU DARE TO TEACH OTHERS.
Oh, right, you can’t commit to ANYTHING.
Exactly in alignment is right — the lazy, easy path of least resistance.
Every person around me warned me about you and sadly THEY were correct and I was blind.
Teacher: I’m sure my wrath is nothing compared to how you actually feel about yourself. Anyone who bullshits so much and lies and changes their colors constantly…
*It’s worth noting that by “didn’t work for me* I meant that it didn’t inspire me to move my body. I’d been idle for nearly 40 years and when I could summon the willingness to move, your method was brilliant. I was searching for a way to be inspired to move and dance.