Tag Archives: Craniosacral Therapy

Keep the channel open

lady pantherI’ve been having some deep conversations lately with sisters, fellow artists, therapists, and visionaries in all capacities about taking that next step.  From being on your spiritual path, doing trainings, certifications, seeing clients, teaching classes, showing up day to day, to then stepping into this new, unknown, and completely terrifying place that has been chosen by your soul.  You know that everything up until now has been leading to this moment in time.  All the transformation, all the dark, mucky, sludgy, messy, chaos and shitstorms that you’ve been weathering have led you here.  And now ALL you have to do is open, receive, and allow your soul’s work to come through you.  So you freeze.

Instead of working on a class or lecture you’re putting together, you binge watch some crappy show on Netflix.  Rather than make those teacup succulent gardens you’re brilliant at, you let yourself get lost in the endless household chores.  You take low-paying (or maybe even high-paying) jobs so that you’re too busy to write that AMAZING coaching program you’ve been wanting to launch *sheepishly raising my hand*.  Maybe it’s something more shameful to you like using alcohol, drugs, food, or sex to fill that creative void or distract yourself from what you know in your heart you have this burning desire to fulfill, write, paint, create.

So, I’m calling bullshit.  And I’m doing this mainly because this is EXACTLY where I’ve been hiding out.  I’ve been holding back for one very simple reason: fear.  I’m afraid that it won’t come out right, that no one will be pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down.  That I’ll essentially be failing the Universe at the task that’s been set for me.  The path that my own soul chose.  What if I just suck at it?  What if I fail?  What if I put my whole heart into something, make my voice heard, show up as big and as powerfully as I can, and all I hear is crickets?

It took a major surrendering, totally letting go of what I thought my ego wanted to do (because it was easy) and realizing my authentic self, my wild soul, is here to do something.  A big something.  Yesterday, I got to receive a bodywork session from a woman I’m lucky enough to call a friend, sister, and teacher.  I got to go into the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul to listen.  I had finally reached the place where I could say, “I have no f*cking clue what I’m supposed to do with any of this.  Why is all of this happening?  What piece am I missing?  Please help!”  I was ready to be open and hear whatever needed to come up.

At the end of the session, before I opened my eyes, before I had a conscious thought, I heard a voice say, “Something big is coming.”  And it felt light.  Powerful and light.  As if my guides were saying all I have to do is say yes to this, to stop standing in my own way, and it’s coming.  Actually, it’s already done.  I just have to write it.

In reflecting on this intensely beautiful session and on the subsequent conversation with my friend after, I remembered this quote from Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you and into action. And because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is: Nor how valuable it is; Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is ever pleased, there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine satisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

So I’m putting my voice out there in a HUGE way.  I’m bending some of the marketing rules, completely breaking other ones, but sometimes you gotta break the rules for the sake of creation, transformation, and showing up as a leader.  And if my message and my unique gift to teach is that of self-love and honoring the wildness of your soul, one that is desperately needed by so many women (and men) in our society, then I need to get over my hang-up’s about being “good enough” and let it flow through me.

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Shedding off one more layer of skin

As a dear friend reminded me the other day, we’re coming to the end of the year of the snake.  It’s been a year of incredible shedding, peeling back the layers of old stories, relationships, labels, beliefs, and assumptions I’ve held onto.  The past few weeks I’ve been in a slow, painful yet beautiful process of crawling out of my skin.  An old skin.  Like snakes do when they’ve outgrown that layer and it’s time to move on.

shedding layers

For a long time I thought I was meant to work with women struggling with eating disorders.  I even wrote a one-on-one coaching program for healing emotional eating.  I thought it was my calling, my mission.  All along there were lots of signs from the Universe telling me that it wasn’t.  That it was just one step along the way.  I realize now that it was a way to heal MYSELF.

And it was the easy way to respond to the much afeared question: “So Katie, what do you do?”  It was simple and sounded good to just say, “I help women struggling with eating disorders to heal their relationship with food.”  People understood that.  I didn’t have to explain myself or justify my place in life.

Each time I’d say that out loud I’d wonder, “Whose voice is it saying those words?  It certainly isn’t mine.”  It was a cop-out.  An easy answer that in no way encompassed my place in life or my truth.  The problem was I didn’t trust that when I was in alignment with myself, sitting still enough to listen, the people I was meant to work with would find me.  So I resisted what my heart kept telling me.  I stood on my soapbox and told everyone to listen to their gut.  That if they asked their Soul what he/she wanted and needed that they’d get their answers.  That their body would tell them what they needed.  That it’d be scary to trust themselves at first and that’s okay because courage was feeling that fear and doing it anyway.

And as one of my mentors says, we’re great at giving the advice and teaching what we ourselves need to learn.  So rather than sit, listen, trust, be gentle, and know that my soul had a plan, I questioned, ignored, blamed and shamed myself into speaking words that weren’t mine.  Into claiming a place in this world that wasn’t for me because it was easier than owning the work that I love to do and claiming my space.  Luckily, my inner guides had other plans and things began to fall apart so that I could let them go and trust that something bigger was coming.  That the work I had done around emotional eating was really for me, to heal my own scars and wounds.

Now comes the hard part.  The scary, messy, and ultimately beautiful part.  When I have to commit to myself, to my tribe, to the souls who have been on this journey with me from the beginning.  Now I commit to doing what I tell everyone else to do: to speak my truth, even and especially when it’s a bit terrifying.

The truth is, I want to go deeper.  I don’t want to tell women who are struggling with how to love themselves and to own their power that they need to eat.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s unbelievable value in that.  There are amazing souls whose work IS to support people to nourish themselves with real food.

And I want to peel back the next layer.  To go to those deeper, darker places of your soul, to read and listen to the story of your spirit.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, “Like the Rosetta stone, for those who know how to read it, the body is a living record of life given, life taken, life hoped for, life healed.  It is valued for its articulate ability to register immediate reaction, to feel profoundly, to sense ahead.” I’m fascinated by the connection between the Soul and the physical body.  By the way our body manifests health and dis-eases of our deeper Self.  The way that our body holds, negotiates, and releases trauma.  And how my education through experience and more formal training have prepared me to hold space for people to explore and go through their process.

I’ve known this to be true for a long time, and it’s taken me until now to own this truth:  I’m here to heal through renegotiating trauma, through the power of myth and stories, through plants and the medicine of the earth.  I’m here to teach women to listen, speak, and feel.  To hold space for ritual and soul retrieval.  To go with you to the deepest self in order that your own spirit can heal your emotional and physical body, the connection between the two.  And to help women find happiness by being in alignment with their soul’s truth and loving themselves enough to ask for that much out of this life.  I work with archetypes, movement, your desires, and dreams.  Through the medicine of heartbreak and recovery.  And through holding sacred space for the Soul to come back home.

P.S.  Extra credit to anyone who can tell me what the title of this post is from…

XO

The Mercies of Pain

When I was in high school I had a boyfriend who, some might say, I shouldn’t have been with.  I don’t like labeling people, but I feel okay saying he had some issues.  I know now that he was in my life to teach me lessons about how I treat myself, but until very recently, I blamed him for a lot of the emotional pain I’d felt for so long.  It took a lot of tears, and facing my fear of feeling that grief and anger for me to finally realize I had been in a holding pattern since I was 14, resulting in stabbing pain in my upper back.  I had been pushing him and his memory away without really letting his presence go and without learning the lesson I was meant to receive from him.  As Pema Chodron says, “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.”

So there I was, in physical pain for years because I didn’t trust that I could handle the emotional pain that would inevitably come up.  The day I finally allowed myself to feel, REALLY FEEL, my anger toward him, and also toward myself for abandoning my sweet 14-year-old self way back then, the pain began to fade away.

We all have aches and pains.  They can be caused by old injuries, scars, lack of movement, and musculoskeletal tension pulling our bodies out of alignment and into contorted shapes.  But sometimes our memories, our stories, internal scars, wounds, the things we tell ourselves every day subconsciously can be the cause of chronic pain in our physical bodies.

The thing is, we hold onto stuff.  We love to hold onto stories, retelling them to ourselves, our therapists, our friends over and over again.  Even when we know it’s not serving us, even when the actual event is long past.  Our bodies hold this trauma in our tissues, our muscles, fascia, blood, even bones.  Threads get wrapped around themselves, tangled up, knotted, sending shadowy tendrils out through the rest of our bodies, keeping our past pain in our present moments.  But in the words of Rumi, “Pain is a treasure, for it contains mercies.”

flower ribs

 Pain is vital: Our bodies signal pain to tell us when something isn’t quite right, so we can address our environment, choices in our lives, or our connections with others.  The problem arises when we don’t allow ourselves to fully feel the pain, recognize it for what it is, and let it go.  In order to let go and free the physical body from pain and tension, we must be aware of where the root of tension lives.

That tension in your upper back may be from tightness in the chest.  When muscles in the front body are tight they strain muscles in back, so if your pecs are tight from overuse and under-stretching, your upper back may feel the effects.  Did you know tension is also caused by grief, anger, loss of personal power, or frustration?  And not that irritated kind of frustration, but actual rage?

Do you have chronic jaw tension?  Grind or clench your teeth at night?  Get tension headaches?  Pause and ask yourself “Have you been speaking your truth?  Or is there something you’re not saying?” Speaking your truth isn’t about talking without a filter.  It’s about saying what needs to be said, when it needs to be said, to whom it needs to be said.  It’s about sharing your soul’s work with the world, and showing up authentically every day.

rollins
Henry Rollins speaks his truth!

Everything we tell ourselves about the sensation of pain is in our mind. Our thoughts, emotions, and stories are the reaction, but it is in integrating our emotional and physical pain that we can begin to process and release. I invite you to take just 30 seconds to feel your body, sit with the sensation of pain, and compassionately begin to connect your emotional and physical states. Visualize yourself embracing your pain, thanking it for its lesson, and letting it go. Pain isn’t bad – our scars are beautiful.  When we can feel them, breathe into them, unwind and lay them out, they become our connection to self, our fellow human beings, and our message of truth to the world.

Wild Grace

Hello friends!

Exciting news!  If you skipped ahead to the end, you may have noticed there’s a new web address at the bottom of this post.  This is my new project where I’ve finally brought all of my work together under one (figurative) roof.  Even though it’s still a work in progress, I was too excited to wait to tell you all!  As most of you know, I’ve been training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach.  I went into this saying to myself, “I couldn’t actually BE a health coach, I just want the nutrition info to pass along to my yoga and bodywork clients.”  Gradually, though, I began to see how I could integrate health coaching into the bodywork, infusing conversations about food with deep healing work to address issues such as disordered eating, distorted body image, and negative patterns associated with nourishing ourselves.

About now you may be asking, “What exactly IS a health coach, and why might I need one?”

To illustrate, a story: I have a dear friend who has been my biggest support through this program.  When I was in the deepest mud and muck, questioning my worth, abilities, and place in the world (you know the little things), she laced up her boots and trudged in after me, grabbed my hand, and helped me find a way out.  In other words, she’s there telling me how much I rock. That’s a health coach.  Not someone who will give you a list of foods to eat and send you on your way, but someone who’s in the trenches with you every step of the way.

So what are you telling yourself you could “never” do?  What’s holding you back from reaching your goals, living your dream life, and fulfilling your deepest desires for yourself?  What do you not dare to say out loud for fear of being unable to accomplish it?

Maybe you’re caught in a cycle of addiction.  Maybe every meal is a battle with yourself because your body is telling you one thing, but your head keeps getting in the way, telling you that you don’t deserve to eat because you haven’t worked out today.  Maybe you’re feeling stuck in a job or a relationship that’s not feeding your soul.  Maybe you want to start your own business but are afraid of taking those first steps.  As a health coach, just like my friend did for me, I’ll be there to pull on my boots (I have some really cute Doc Martens), traipse through the mud, take you by the hand, and find a way out together, all along telling you how much you rock!  Sound good?

If so, let’s set up a free initial consultation to give you the opportunity to talk about your dreams, your goals, and how we can work together to help you heal, grow, and get free.  The best part is that we can work together in person, on the phone,or via Skype, so this is open to EVERYONE!  Email me to set up your free session at kgordon8@gmail.com and let’s get started.  I’ve you’ve been following this blog, make your way over to my NEW website/blog and be sure to bookmark it.  This one will eventually link to the new one…as soon as I figure out how to do that.

Much love,

Katie

Health Coach + Bodyworker + Soul Rebel

Founder of Wild Grace

TMJ…we all have it

Let’s talk about  sex…er I mean jaw tension.  Recently, clients and students have been coming to me with one main issue…jaw tension and all the resulting symptoms that come along with it: headache, migraine, neck pain, herniated discs, even tight hips can be a result of a tight jaw.  Pelvic tension?  Not so fun.  When so many come to me with a specific complaint, I have to wonder what’s up.  What is the Universe trying to tell me?  And then I remember.  I have jaw tension too.  As does most of the population.

Let’s go over some basics.  TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint.  We all have one (two, actually).  When all is going well, the many muscles and tendons of the jaw work harmoniously allowing us to eat, talk, bite, yell, kiss, and otherwise express ourselves.  When all is NOT going well, we end up TMJD (TMJ dysfunction) and we clench or grind our teeth, get gnarly headaches, achy necks, and other unpleasant symptoms.  So what can we do?

In some instances, jaw tension stems from energetic blockages, possibly resulting from unexpressed emotions, past trauma that’s been wound up and stored in the body, or not speaking our truth.  In this case, it might be helpful to ask yourself, “What is it that I’m not saying?  What needs to be said?”

Look at that nice open jaw…

TMJD could also be caused by general stress that we experience in everyday, modern life.  In terms of our evolutionary response to stress, our fight-or-flight response is meant to kick in when we’re being chased by a lion, not when we’re stuck in traffic and late to work.  That constant-on wreaks havoc on our TMJ, neck, shoulders, cranial bones, etc.  When this happens it may be time to see a bodyworker (psst…that’s me) to help unwind that tension.

A good bodyworker is highly trained in sensitive touch and the ability to read and listen to the client’s body.  They’ll know how to assess a client’s body and symptoms, what kind of pressure and how much to use, and what may be contraindicated in certain situations.

Through skilled and sensitive touch, a bodyworker can figure out which specific muscles and attachments are tight and work to release them.  They will also know what may need to be released before the “problem area” can be directly addressed.  For example, sometimes the pterygoids (tiny, vicious muscles deep in the TMJ) are tight because the piriformis (a large, vicious muscle deep in the hip) is tight.  In order to release the jaw, you may need to release the hips.

Pterygoids (the P is silent)

So if you’re experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, or are just curious about bodywork and what it can do for you, I’m here to help!