Tag Archives: spiritual health

When self-love sucks (and you wanna crawl out of your skin)

People don’t believe me when I say that sometimes practicing self-love sucks.  But have you ever had one of those days when you just want to get the f*ck out?  Your mind might be racing.  And it’s not even that you can’t sit still, it’s that you don’t want to stop moving.  Because if you stop moving, you’ll have to feel all the shit you’ve been trying to run away from.  So you watch episode after episode of some TV series on Netflix.  (There are like 8 seasons of Charmed, FYI.)  Or you turn to food.  Or alcohol.  Shopping.  Sex.  Facebook.  Checking your email 8,000 times.

Recently, I’ve been going through A LOT of soul growth, and as a dear friend once told me, “Transformation is way less fun than I thought it would be.”  Truer words have never been uttered. Transformation is awesome, awful, painful, empowering, and it’ll tear you up and spit you out.  Sometimes (a lot of times) I don’t know what to do with all the emotions that come up around it.  I’m highly sensitive, as I know most of you are, which is a wonderful gift and can also feel like WAY TOO MUCH!

I also come from a long line of addicts, and let’s just say the gene definitely didn’t skip a generation. Sometimes it’s by sheer willpower that I don’t give in to my own addictive patterns and behaviors.  And sometimes I still do.  That’s okay.  Here are some things that work for me on those days when all I want to do is crawl out of my skin, escape, shut down, turn off and I know that I can’t because I’ve come too far.

1. Sit.  Just. Sit. Down. Take a breath. And then another. Feel your magnificent, beating heart. Feel that pain you’re in?  That’s a good sign.  Because that means you’re feeling.  And because pain is THE BEST WAY to heal, transform, shift, and make the changes in your life that you’ve been asking for.

2. Create.  Paint your heart out.  Make it messy.  Write a poem to your darkness.  Make jewelry.  Cook.  The process of creation transforms that manic, “I need to get out of my body” energy and channels it into objects and symbols.  That, my friend, is some serious magic.  (Side story: When I was in treatment one summer I channeled all of my energy into knitting.  Everyone got scarves that Christmas.)

3. Or destroy.  Part of creation is destruction.  So tear, rip, cut, smash.  I have a stack of old magazines reserved for the sole purpose of cutting up.

4.  Cry.  Loudly, quietly, slobbery sobs where you can’t catch your breath, or soft, silent tears that roll down your cheeks.  Whether it’s on your meditation cushion, your yoga mat, a friend’s shoulder, or falling apart on the tiled floor of your shower, that energy’s gotta go somewhere.  What’s that quote about salt water being the cure for everything…?

5.  Call someone.  This one comes with a caveat, though.  I have a lot of friends who are coaches, which is AWESOME!  But when I call them in a “just let me fall apart” moment, I don’t need to be coached.  I just need to be heard.  So either know in advance who can hold your space, or tell them, “Please just listen with compassion and don’t be offended if I use the f* word a lot.  I’m not yelling at you.”  Which brings me to my next point.

6. Ask for what you need.  Sometimes it’s a nap.  Sometimes it’s food.  Sometimes it’s quiet time, to crawl into our little cave and hibernate.  Maybe it’s a walk by yourself, or with your best friend.  When you ask for what you need from the people who love you, it makes us vulnerable, and thus humanizes us.  THAT opens up lots of room for love and compassion.

7. Get outside.  Nature is the most healing, restorative, high vibe place to be.  When I’m all up in my head, there’s a favorite tree I go to sit under, lean back onto, and let all that stuff melt into.  I literally imagine everything that feels too heavy, too much, too dark seeping down into the ground, and giving it up to the earth to be transformed.  Sound too woo-woo for you?  Just try it before you get all judge-y.

8. Trust.  I’m a firm believer that things happen for a reason.  Maybe it’s my inner optimist, but I refuse to believe in coincidences, in shitty things happening for no reason, in bad luck.  I believe our outer world is a reflection of our inner reality, and that we are responsible for the way we participate in life.  So trust that if you’re showing up, doing your best, and honoring your truth, things will play out the way they need to.  (Notice I didn’t say they’ll work out the way you ideally want them to.  At least not right away.)

If none of these work, that’s okay too.  It’s a lifelong practice to be able to sit with your feelings and feel them.  There’s no such thing as failure here.  If it doesn’t work out today, you’ll probably get another chance to practice tomorrow.  Keep showing up.

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Oil Changes, Financial Freedom + Self-Love

As many of you know, I’ve been on a journey lately to heal my relationship with money. I knew it was time to write this post because as I sat down to write it, I really didn’t want to. Resistance. It’s a beautiful and VERY anxiety-provoking teacher. As Steven Pressfield writes in The War of Art, “The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.” So here I am, writing about something I NEVER thought I’d be writing about, self-love and money.

Another thing I resist? Doing anything related to car maintenance. I know it’s ridiculous. It’s a very grown up and responsible thing that we automobile owners need to do. And why do I avoid anything related to cars? Simple: it makes me feel stupid. Disempowered. Small. Totally out of my element. Transmission fluid? Air filters? Alignment? Yeah, no thanks.

But one of my Core Desired Feelings this month is “Empowered.” I want to feel empowered and independent around my life circumstances and my responsibilities, especially the ones I’ve previously avoided.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m SUPER independent! I left home when I was 18 and moved 3,000 miles away from my family, I like doing things myself (sometimes to a fault…delegation is not my strong suit), and I’m not afraid or uncomfortable going places and having a great time on my own. Solo road trip? Hell yea! Exploring new cities on my own? Totally!

So the other day I decided it was time to get my oil changed. (Actually the sticker in the top left corner of my windshield SAID it was time.) As I sat in the waiting room, biting my nails, feeling small and super awkward, I realized here was a perfect instance of a lack of self-love.

In a moment of perfect synchronicity, I was sitting there reading Kate Northrup’s book Money: A Love Story so it hit me…*cue facepalm*…

There’s another area of my life in which I’ve always felt disempowered: MONEY. Budgeting, financial planning, accounting, bookkeeping? Nope. Again, major resistance. I’ve been working SO MUCH to cultivate more self-love in my own life, teaching self-love to my clients, so here was my chance to practice getting into my body, listening to my heart, and begin healing this part of me that felt inadequate.

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The major pattern in ALL of this? Avoidance. Burying my head in the sand and *fingers crossed* hoping things would somehow just work themselves out. It’s worked thus far, right? Kind of. Mostly. Not so much. So here are the new practices I’m implementing with deep commitment and intention to cultivate a LOVING relationship with my money…

1. Checking my balance. Making it a part of my daily routine, a ritual, even a spiritual practice in mindfulness, gratitude, and intention behind my conscious, daily choices.
2. Feeling gratitude. Feeling abundant isn’t about the amount of money in your bank account. It’s about the way you FEEL about the money in your account. When I check my balance now, I see the work I love doing. The clients and students I love working with. The fact that I get to live a purposeful life AND make money doing it!
3. Notice what I spend my money on. Not to create guilt and shame, but to make sure my purchases are in alignment with my values. You’ve heard it before: We vote with our dollars! So why would I invest my money (and therefore my energy) into businesses that don’t feel good to support.

I wrote out these action steps as I waited for my car to be ready, then got into my car feeling lighter, more conscious, and EMPOWERED!

Wild Self-Love: A journey from Starvation to Soul

wolf woman

Dearest Wild Ones,

You remember a couple months ago when I created Shameless Self-Love, my 30-day video campaign to cultivate and encourage a deeper, healthier and more meaningful relationship with our bodies and souls?  Each day, for 30 days straight, I made a video with tips, quotes, tidbits of wisdom, stories and journaling prompts to begin softening our hearts toward ourselves, and to learn how to wildly LOVE our own souls (here’s one of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLwWnaSgjmo).

Of course those videos were a way to offer some of my work to you all, to get my voice out there in a big way, and to share the wisdom I’ve gleaned from my own mentors.  But another major part of my reason for creating those videos was for myself.  To get clearer on my message, my truth, what I wanted to share and teach with my clients, and to distill what was the essence of Wild Grace.  To get clear on what I feel my soul’s purpose and message is to the world.

And the response to those videos from you all was AH-MAZING!  I heard from people all over the world who had seen my videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest, and who wanted to reach out to say how badly we all need the reminder not only to love ourselves, but how to heal those wounds that prevent us from doing so.  I got such incredible feedback and so many equally inspiring questions, that I decided to write a program based on the video series, only now we’re diving much, much deeper.  I’ve been exploring how to use self-love coaching, energy work, animal totems, shamanic ritual, plant medicine, chakra work, visionary and craniosacral therapy in order to heal trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, and other stuck patterns of behavior and beliefs.  All of this work has effectively led to creating my own life coaching methodology that I CANNOT wait to share with you!

After months of writing, researching, rewriting, scrapping, and starting over, I’m officially (but unofficially) launching Wild Self-Love, a 3 month, one-on-one program to reconnect to your Wild Soul and fall madly in love with your Self with passion and grace.  I say “unofficially” because it’s not even on my website yet.  It is brand, spankin’ new.  And since you’re already on my list, I’m offering it to you, my incredible tribe, FIRST and at a special price…

What happens when you cultivate more self-love and connect with your Wild Soul?

  • You attract better, healthier, happier, and more whole relationships, both romantically and otherwise (i.e. you have amazing friends!!)
  • You manifest abundance in your life, whether it’s literal financial abundance, more satisfying life experiences, or more time to do the things you love – all wonderful, valid forms of abundance
  • You have the ability to create the life you crave, and the power to decide how you want to feel EVERY DAY
  • Your creativity EXPLODES and you become capable of designing your life and anything within it
  • Your body feels free, limitless, and light
  • You know how to make yourself JOYFUL, happy, and fulfilled without looking outside of yourself in order to feel a certain way
  • You feel free from past traumas, addictions, and stuck, recurring patterns that aren’t serving YOU

If you’re ready to fall WILDLY in love with yourself, reconnect with your SOUL and her purpose, now is your time!  I offer a complimentary Self-Love discovery session for any woman interested in working together so that we can chat and make sure we’re a good fit!  Remember, your wise soul contains all the answers within, this work provides the space and support to tap into your inner guides and learn to listen.

I am so passionate about this body of work I’ve put together for you!!  It’s truly an honor to share it, and I can’t wait to work with you…

All my love,
Katie XO

Happy Un-Valentine’s Day

Okay, I’m finally (sort of) giving in to the Valentine’s Day madness, though of course in my own typically rebellious fashion.  And I’m not writing this because Friday is Valentine’s Day, but for whatever reason, when I sat down to write this week, this is what came up…

Recently I’ve embarked on a new journey with a beautiful tribe called the Totemic Arts Apprenticeship in which we learn about our personal animal totems, how they correspond with the chakras, archetypes, zodiac signs, and numerology, and what this means for our own healing process, our businesses, lives, and those of our clients.  I’ve been exploring my relationships with my known animal totems (wolf and snowy owl) and how the wisdom and medicine they bring to us can empower our lives and bring clarity to obstacles we love to put in our own way.  There’s lots of fun research and intellectual headiness that the nerd in me LOVES, but throughout the program there’s lots of opportunity for play, art, creativity, collaboration, and receiving support and love from the tribe.

It all sounds great, right?

And it is!

snowy owl flying

AND THEN alllllll your shit comes up.  Stuff you haven’t dealt with, looked at, sat with, or even acknowledged because it’s dark and scary and ugly.  And who wants to feel those ugly emotions and see what kind of shadows are lurking underneath that lovely, mostly put together exterior that we put up?  Not me.

wolf - red

But the thing is, your soul doesn’t give you anything you’re not ready for.  So when things started stirring, I knew it was time.  And I’ll just tell you now, the last couple weeks have been SO UNCOMFORTABLE.  Like I wanted to crawl out of my skin.  Old, small, invisible Katie would have bailed in a second.  But I’ve been preparing for this.  I’ve been feeling a major shift coming for the last year, and here it was.  And you know what it was that triggered me so badly? My inner Lover archetype.  The one I had been ignoring most of my adult life.  The one who is terrified of being unloved and unlovable.  The one who, at times, has lost her identity in order to please others.  The one who is afraid of being alone or in relationships devoid of intimacy.  Whose shadow consists of jealousy, attachment, and fear of being undesirable.  Even now as I write that I wince ever so slightly.  But there it is.  Truth laid bare.

red lady wings

So I sat.  I cried.  I fell apart completely, not knowing how the pieces would fit together again.  I was exhausted, emotionally and physically.  Totally burnt out.  Like too tired to speak.  I spent a whole day hibernating, listening to Tom Waits and Nick Cave (yeah, it got dark) and drawing, getting to know this Lover with her medicine of passion, sensuality, creativity, and desire, while acknowledging and forgiving the shadow side that has occasionally made herself known.

Now I’m beginning to come out the other side and I feel as if I reclaimed my power, self-love, sharp instincts, and a piece of my wild soul.  And the message I got from deeply listening to this part of my soul is this:

Love isn’t “nice.”  It isn’t all pink hearts and chocolate and roses.  It’s gutsy, uncomfortable, gritty, and isn’t afraid to reflect to us where we need to work on ourselves.  Love itself can feel like heartbreak.  Like struggle.  Like we’re stepping off the edge of a cliff and have no idea what’s going to catch us.

openness

And the same can be said of Self-Love…maybe even more so.  Because that’s where it begins.  How can we truly love another if we don’t have the foundation of love for ourselves?  How can we show up for someone else if we’re constantly abandoning our own heart?  We gain the confidence and ability to love ourselves when we have the courage to softly open our hearts when we’re scared shitless, speak our truth, honor our process, and let down our walls.  And that’s what Love for another is too.

Let’s not just honor each other one day a year.  Seriously.  Happy Un-Valentine’s Day (aka every other day of the year)!

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.

{Shameless Self-Love} Do you know how AMAZING you are?

Have you seen my Shameless Self-Love video series yet?  It began as a way to work through some of my own visibility issues and evolved into my newest (and soon to be launched) one-on-one coaching program.  30 days + 30 videos dedicated to creating a deeper and more nourishing relationship with your body + soul.  Here’s one of my favorites from day 28 where we dive into Self-Acceptance as part of Self-Love!  Check it out, comment, and share if you so desire…

Shadow work + embodying the Feminine

shadow work

I don’t know about y’all, but 2013 kicked my ass.  As I mentioned here, it was a hear of lots of shedding.  A couple weeks ago I began looking back at this last year, thinking about where I was at this time a year ago, what I had wanted to accomplish, where I thought I’d be by now.  My first reaction was to be hard on myself, to judge, to step back into the “not enough” mindset.  I briefly got caught up in the pushing, forcing, and do-ing masculine energy of trying to make things happen, believing that I needed to make up that lost time before the end of 2013.  And then I realized this year has been an IMMENSELY deep dive into everything I thought I was, every role I’ve played, the joys, the traumas, all the layers of “shoulds” and “have-to’s”.  I had to clear all of that before I could begin walking the path I knew I was meant for.

ouroborus2

Here’s my crystalized lesson of 2013…

Every time I thought I had gotten to the essence of my soul, there was a whole new layer to work through, explore, and let go of.  A big theme for me this year was that of TRUST.  Mainly trusting myself.  Believing that I have all the knowledge I need to create the business, the life, and the relationships that I want for myself right now.  All I have to do is get out of my own way.  And the same goes for all of us.  So often we allow our shadow side, our own darkness, to keep us from being and doing what we really desire.  There’s some part of our ego that says we don’t deserve to have that life.  Or that we haven’t worked hard enough or done enough.

This year I not only met my shadow side, but I sat, played, danced and fought with, and finally loved my shadow.  She had always been lurking off to the side and I had done a pretty good job of ignoring her.  Now I invited her out front and center, looked her square in the eye, and said “Okay, whatever’s here, whatever lessons you have for me, I’m ready to face with compassion and an open heart.”  And here’s what I learned: Shadow work is INTENSE!  (Side note: it’s going to be a major part of my upcoming group program)  It requires crazy amounts of courage and strength that I didn’t know I had until now.  I got to finally learn what it meant to approach this inner work in a feminine, receptive, compassionate, and supportive strength.  And then I realized something huge…this is what I’m meant to teach other women.  So many of us have forgotten how to use our intuition, how to trust ourselves, how to ask for what we want, how to be gentle even as we’re moving mountains.  We don’t remember how to go inside, connect with our wildness and tap into that age-old wisdom that has been passed down through generations of mothers to their daughters in order to heal ourselves.  We don’t realize that each of us have every answer inside of our soul.  We have insanely wise inner guides, angels, whatever you want to call them.  It’s a process of relearning how to listen, how to trust, and align our actions with that inner wisdom.

I’m so grateful for the teachers and the time I had in 2013 who showed me, often against my own resistance, that the only way I could teach women how to honor themselves was by doing the deep work with my own wild soul, by acting from my intuition, and by embodying the sensual, earthy, and receptive feminine.  Don’t get me wrong, there’s always more work to do, more to learn, more to uncover and love about ourselves.  And I believe in cycles, in the ebb and flow, so now it’s time to put this into practice.  To build the container that will allow me to bring this wisdom to my community of wild and graceful women in the form of lots of free content, group programs, and intensive one-on-one coaching.  I can’t wait to better serve all of you now that I’m fully serving myself.  Happiest of new years to all of you…

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

Dancing under the full moon

full moonMy feet are covered in grass, my jeans are wet, I keep pulling leaves out of my hair, and my hands smell like damp earth and burnt sage.  And I’m ecstatic.  I’ve just been dancing under the full moon.

I have my full moon ritual that I do every month, but this time my soul called me outside, and so I listened, performing my simple ritual at the base of a pine tree under the Moon’s soft light.  I sat with her, listening to her and to my own heart.  Listening to any special whisperings she may have for me this cycle.  I heard, “I’m finally here, I’m fully in my body, and I’m saying yes.  And I’m going to keep saying yes.  Keep feeling,  Keep showing up.”

And then I danced, wildly, spinning in circles with bare feet under the Moon until I fell into the dew-soaked grass.  I laughed like I haven’t laughed since I was 7 years old, so fully connected with Younger Self, blissfully aware of my spirit’s light.

On my walk home I can feel my own ecstatic energy pulsing through my body, radiating out so many feet beyond my physical boundaries.  No wonder I kept all this power, this energy, locked inside me for so long.  Its intensity is overwhelming but beautiful.  And since I was young I would get images of ages past, of ancient full moons, stone circles, primeval forests where I would visit with the faeries and spirits, but I had no idea where these flashes of seemingly random impressions came from.  As something settled deep within my belly last night I realized, these are past lives, journeys my soul has already been on, places I’ve been to with my soul brothers and sisters.

Ritual, connection with our Younger Self, creating sacred space, setting new intentions, releasing old patterns, continuing to show up for ourselves.  This is the only way to wake up, to deal with our pain, to get through it all.  Iyanla Vanzant writes, “Until you heal the wounds of your past, you are going to bleed.  You can bandage the bleeding with food, with alcohol, with drugs, with work, with cigarettes, with sex; But eventually, it will all ooze through and stain your life.  You must find the strength to open the wounds, stick your hands inside, pull out the core of the pain that is holding you in your past, the memories and make peace with them.”  The role of ritual, of magic, of sacred space is to hold and guide us through this process of pulling out the “core of the pain” so that we know can honor this process, honor the old version of ourselves that we must release in order to welcome the new.

Dance with your Demons + Play in the Dark

I’ve written about the way our trauma, our stories, our emotions manifest as physical pain before here and here.  I also talk about it A LOT in my yoga classes.  How to sit with your body, your breath, your discomfort, your pain, all the ways you annoy yourself, all the things you tell yourself, the good, the bad, the ugly.

Most of us are so afraid of feeling pain because we don’t think we’re strong enough to handle it.  We think we’ll buckle under the intensity or even that once it starts, the pain might never stop.  What if we can’t stop crying?  Can’t stop feeling angry?  Depressed?  Anxious?  What if we can’t get out of bed?  What if it NEVER stops?  It will.  Just like the feelings we WANT to feel don’t always stick around, neither do the ones that we don’t want to feel.

To heal our bodies, our souls, our hearts, we have to sit with all the sh*t that we don’t want to sit with.  I have a teacher who would always tell me whenever I was in the throes of the latest drama of life, “Stop talking.  Stop talking about your process and just be in it.”  And I would think to myself, “What the f* does that mean??”  Much of the time that we’re talking about what we’re going through, we’re not actually going through it.  We’re escaping it, thinking that we’re dispelling some of that pent up anger, sadness, etc., when we’re really just pushing it away.

So here’s what I learned after finally having nothing left to do except to sit with myself:  Feeling doesn’t mean journaling.  It doesn’t mean talking.  It doesn’t mean exercising.  You can write, talk, run, yoga until you’re blue in the face and your pain and negative self-talk will still be there until you sit down with it, look at it, feel the feelings that come up, learn the lesson(s) it’s there to teach you, and thank it.  So lame.  I know.  But that’s the way it works.  To heal, we must first make friends with our demons, with our darkness.  In the moment, it’ll feel like too much to bear.  It’ll feel heavy, suffocating our heart so that we can’t move, can’t breathe.  Our body will feel like it’s contracting, caving in on our soft, vulnerable heart to protect it from having to feel this seemingly unmanageable pain.

The good news?  At the heart of suffering is healing.  Your consciousness is key.  Once you know that (and now you all do if you didn’t before), you stop giving away your power and come to realize all the answers are in YOU already.  You were born with the answers.  There’s no more waiting for someone else to make you feel better.  So just sit.  Be with your darkness, get comfortable with being SUPER uncomfortable.  Doesn’t that feel good?  Not yet?  Don’t worry, it will.

Dark moon