Move your mind, Move your body, Move your soul.
You know when you hear something in a new way? Or in an old way but you finally actually HEAR it? This "a-ha!" moment hit me right between the eyes the other day when I heard the term: "Trauma Re-enactment"
Perhaps it was because of a culmination of conversations, thoughts + activities. A friend was reeling from an old rejection story. I began to look at my own rejection story and to see the patterns and spider webs that cascaded from that story.
Was I continuing to seek out rejection? Creating the pattern again and again?
I realized - BAM - that the rejection story is not my story any more. I have found an incredible circle of friends. I have people who care about me, who reach out to say hello. I have created some beautiful relationships. I have tested being vulnerable and have opened my heart in a new way.
So I burned that old story. I wrote all the stories of rejection down - and then I burned them in the fire. Finally ready to let them go.
Then, I took out my pen and journal and I wrote a new story. A story of unconditional love and care. A story of resilience and not being loved "in spite of" who I am. But having that love ALL that I am. Coursing through all the parts that I thought were still broken, when of course - they never were. That's ridiculous.
I know that life - and healing - is like a spiral. I know we come back around and around to similar stories and we have a new lens each time. I hope for my soul's sake, that I am getting closer to the full love of myself.
My tarot pulls this week have been all about alignment and a review of the facets of my life to see where they are in or out of alignment.
Finances have also been coming up. This is no shocker, since it's the holiday season. I have also just finished paying off taxes from 2019, I am also in the process of self-publishing my Vibe Guide, kids need boots, etc, etc. Some seasons are big money suckers and December is one of those times for me.
In the spirit of alignment, I am looking at my relationship with money. And under the light of the trauma triangle. The triangle identifies three roles we play when we give our power away.
The role I play most in regards to money is the rescuer (sometimes martyr). I spend money on everyone and everything before my own needs + desires. Even the smallest things - clothes, my car registration, investment in myself through classes or buying an ISBN for my book! It feels hard to spend this money. And yet, when I am paying for others' needs + wants, I have an easier time. I don't seem to argue with myself about the worthiness of a purchase.
Why is this?
With all of my work on self-love, self-compassion, and self-kindness, it is now (finally?) moving into the realm of the material.
How do I treat myself? How do I invest in my growth? What value do I put on bringing beauty into my life? And what do I want that to look like? I'm working on aligning my vision of my highest + best and how that can be supported by the energy of money. As they say, when the student is ready, the lesson/teacher arrives. And this new re-write of mine is about worth in a whole different light.
Shit is getting real (for white people).
After hundreds of years of countless Black deaths, all major systems (political, justice, healthcare, education, banking/credit, etc) built on white supremacy, things are at a "tipping point". Why now? Is it because now the murders of Black men are being filmed and circulated? Is it because COVID-19 has brought things to a halt - we're at home, millions are out of work, we are tasked with educating our children, people are dying, etc? Is it because we have an overtly racist asshole in the White House?
On #Blackouttuesday, I found myself posting this message: Don't go silent.
I first heard the term "White Silence" when I started working through the Me and White Supremacy workbook in December 2018. One of the questions stuck out to me, "Why do you stay silent?" and a prompt about whether or not you/I leave conversations when they get uncomfortable. Me and White Supremacy talks specifically about race. And as I worked through this particular piece, I realized how often I walk away from many conversations that make me feel uncomfortable, agitated or distressed.
It is almost easier for me to stick around and NOT be silent about race and Black Lives Matter because it's not about me. Because it's about justice and re-humanizing. But when I dig deeper, my White Silence, and my silence in general is 100% about me. (PS, that's the point of the whole workbook. I suggest you buy the book and do the work).
It's ironic because on the one hand, I am drawn towards taboo subjects, loud & opinionated friends, and speaking up. And on the other hand, I am afraid to say what I believe or dissent because I am afraid of losing love or respect from others.
I am so deeply afraid of rejection and abandonment, that that is why I have stayed silent.
If people abandon me for my ideas and beliefs, what then. Does that mean that I am no longer valuable or lovable. Does it change my inherent worth if people leave me? Of course not, right? And yet, a look at my history...
When I look at my relationships in high school and college, I was the cheerleader for the (White) men in my life. I let them lead completely. I stayed in the background, the supporter. I let my BF's friends be my friends. I didn't invest in my own relationships beyond that of me and my BF.
Often with men, I would pretend that I didn't have an opinion, to be seen as "cool" or easy going, or "not like other girls". I pretended for so long that eventually I had to do a lot of work figuring out what I felt and knew and wanted.
Early in my marriage, my silence came through as passive-aggressiveness. I wouldn't say how I really felt because I didn't want to rock the boat. I was afraid I would say the wrong thing. I was afraid if my husband really knew me then he would leave me. In fact, that is what I ultimately told him in our therapists office three years ago when we nearly divorced. I'm afraid if you know the real me, then you won't love me.
Glennon Doyle talks in Untamed about how girls look to each others' faces to see if they are hungry. I caught myself the other day doing this exact thing! Looking to my kids' and my husband's faces to see if they thought the movie we were watching was funny. Was I looking to see if I should laugh?
In my work place I often stay silent, too. When I owned the yoga studio, I was silent about the financial distress that we were in. I was silent about how others' cut me down. I believe that my silence brought down that business.
In the corporate world, I find that I am silent because I don't want to be wrong. I'm afraid of making a mistake and being laughed about or fired because of my incompetence. Rejection.
Funny enough, an anti-racist rant that I had over email made it's way to a "big boss" at my company. (Thank you Universe) I was so scared that I would be judged or worse because of my words. Instead, I received a thoughtful response and a reminder that it is more than ok to speak up, it is expected.
What I am realizing about my silence today is that Silence IS Violence. It's violence towards Black people when we don't stand up and say that Black Lives Matter. And it is violence towards myself when I don't speak the truth of my heart. Silencing your heart is self-harm.
The core wound for me here is abandonment. This is the work for me today.
What is your work?
Shame game is on over drive in FaceBook and Instagram worlds. Shocking.
Please remember, Self (and others) that being open to different perspectives encourages our growth and collective evolution. Being open doesn't mean agreeing or being complicit or being wrong or right. Being open means taking a little more into your lens of reality.
It could mean reading/following/listening to people who don't look like you, believe what you believe, of different political persuasion, older or younger, mask wearing or not.
For many years (most of my life), I championed "Being Right." I felt that if I was right, then I was good/accomplished/successful and worthy of love. At one particularly difficult marriage counseling session, our therapist looked at me and asked, "Would you rather be right or open yourself up to feel loved?"
I see the need to be right in members of my family, in my workplace, and on social media. If we let ourselves be wrong - or even simply open to the fact that we *might* be wrong - we could receive a whole new perspective.
Our brain is constantly predicting and sorting our experiences (whether out in the world or inside our bodies) in order to make meaning of our lives, keep us safe, and create order/normalcy. The more we open to wider possibilities, the more concepts we develop, the more our future (perspective) changes.
This is literally true.
It is also true that it's easier to be open (mind) when our internal landscape is working right (nutritious foods, moving the body, and sufficient rest all help in this regard).
And if you feel crappy? Or closed off? The fastest way to re-set that internal landscape is to move your body around. This changes your brains predictions. Second thing you can do? Change your location/environment.
I did this today. I was spiraling down the interweb pathways, reading articles, barraged by emails, feeling "meh." Nearly every day for the last two months, I have taken a walk around my 3 mile block. It's great to move my body, but I felt like today I needed a change of scenery. So I walked somewhere new.
A little thing. A little change-up of my routine. I nearly cried at the beauty I noticed around me. My "after" photo found me positively glowing. I felt giddy and excited.
We can do hard things, as we are often reminded. Sometimes we can do easy things. And it makes all the difference.
Some days I can't find the words to describe what I feel or what I need. The last few days, I have been angry.
Yesterday I wrote "I need wide open spaces." I suppose I could pick up and move to Montana, but that wasn't it. I need space I have in my day. A clear mind and an open heart. The ability to start again. Space to be me.
Today I wrote that I need to hear of the value of human life. When I responded with You are worthy. You are love. You are Source (God/Universe/Spirit/Divine)... The words didn't do it for me today.
I searched for a word that resonated. I ended up with a reminder that we are made up of stardust. We are 99% hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. Some of what is within us has existed for millions of millenia. And within all those atoms? 99.99999% wide open spaces.
The word Source originates from the Latin surgere which means to spring forth, to Rise.
I rise (source) from the sun and the stars. Literally.
I started this writing before I heard about Ahmaud Arbery. A black man who was shot when jogging. He was made of stardust, too. Today as I think about value and love, I feel outrage in my body. I feel pursed lips and hot hands. I feel jittery.
I am hit with rushes of remembrances that are small in comparison. A yoga business discussion when I was told that my community "had no value". A job interview I experienced two decades ago where I was chastised for asking about rehabilitation for sex offenders. The article written by me but posted as the words of my physician colleague.
All examples of people diminishing the value of others.
We all have value, goddammit. We need to be seen and heard. We all have something to offer to this broken world. I see more and more division online - more name calling, more rejection, more lumping people into categories, more "I am right; you are wrong."
When we de-humanize each other, we reject ourselves.
Self-rejection is an age old issue. This is what the healing community, the yoga community is all about. No need to reject your shadow side. Get to know yourself. Honor what comes up. Accept even the most challenging parts of who you are. Because you are human. Practice self-compassion for your humanness.
When we de-humanize others, we find ourselves in a world where a black man can be going for a jog and be chased and killed. All of the memes you share about how “the other side” is stupid, less than, or not worth your time? That is where it starts. It is that serious.
When we diminish the value of others, when we focus on "us vs. them", not only are we narrowing our perspective on the world, but we are also narrowing the perspective on who we are. Let's widen the lens.
I want to live in a world with a wide lens. Where perspectives are encouraged and shared without fear of condemnation. I want to live in a world where we remember our humanness, our value, our voices. Black people. Biracial people. LGBTQ community. Women. Let’s remember our value. It starts with you.
Let Rumi remind you that “Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field. I'll meet you there."
Meet me in the field, Stardust.
A few years ago, I was eating and exercising in a "disordered way." I was so completely cut off from my body. I was living from the neck up. And I found a way to control the seemingly uncontrollable life I was living. Perfectionism is a nice way to say it.
I wrote down everything I ate and drank for almost 3 years. I also wrote down every bit of activity that I achieved. I ran 5 marathons in that time period. I ran so much that I hurt my physical body and my soul. I literally measured and counted not just calories, but how many carrots was I eating? How many almonds?
I am seeing a lot of memes out there about women's fears around eating too much right now. The Quarantine-15. I have also seen what I perceive as peoples' struggles with excessive exercising and/or images of them looking so thin and almost gray. It hits me because I was that. I remember talking with a woman who said she was "afraid" to stop her double-sessions (of working out) because she had just reached the weight she felt was reasonable.
"Is the snack pantry talking to you?" Those were actual words that came out of a yoga/fitness instructors mouth during an online session I took on Friday. I found myself starting to say mean things to me. To ME!! How dare I?!?!?! I have found myself considering writing it all down again. Running even if I don't feel like running. It's just a little push. Just to get me back on track.
Now, maybe that stuff works for you and you are not feeling at-attention right now. If so, cool. But for me? It's a big ole red flag.
Thankfully, I see it as such. I am falling back on the strategies that have worked for me in the past. A regular check-in on how I am feeling physically and emotionally. A sweat sesh that feels right in my body. Ending when I'm done. Asking myself what my body needs right now. Eating nourishing food. Also eating oreos. Reaching out to a trusted friend.
Now, things are different this time around.
I am working at home. I am surrounded by my nuclear family. So many great things about this reality. AND ALSO, I am an introvert surrounded by my nuclear family. As in, all the time. So I have had to update some of my strategies.
When I really need alone time (and I do), I have a fake candle going next to me. It's the signal to my people that I am in my zone. No offense but leave me alone. I have also thrown away the scale. Literally in the bin. Nobody misses it anyway.
I have never actually admitted publicly that I had an eating disorder. I am not saying it for pity. And perhaps I am using this platform because I don't think anyone reads it anyway. But if you are reading it. And if any of this resonates with you, reach out. Fall back on your strategies. Fall back on your support crew. I am here.
It has been more than a month since my last post. I have been writing, but not here. I have been focused on a writing "project" and that has felt good and productive.
Today, though, I am back.
Perhaps it is the full moon energy - the call to release that brings me back to this page.
The grief I am feeling today - and that I have been feeling in waves for the last year - is the grief of the loss of my physical voice. My voice is not (currently) gone completely. It is gravelly, hesitant, sometimes doubled (like blurred vision for the vocal cords).
I have gone to specialists (all claims denied, BTW - another story) and been 'scoped. No answers. I have been put on medications and I have stopped taking said medications. I've been told it's not a tumor. Not my thyroid. But what is it?
My work is predominantly over the phone. And my voice embarrasses me when I speak. I seemingly have no control over the sounds that will emerge. They can be squeaky, gritty, and almost-fine all in the same sentence. I've tried humming, throat chakra cleansing, drinking tea, spoonfuls of honey, cough drops, clearing my throat, singing lying down. Singing, actually sounds pretty good. But it's weird to sing your words all the time.
So I have been avoiding talking. I don't speak up during meetings, workshops, or events because I don't like hearing myself. And too much talking hurts my throat. And that is profoundly sad. The voice in my head still sounds like me. My words on the page - still me.
What am I not giving voice to? Am I energetically strangling myself? I have asked myself these questions. What can I do that I'm not doing?
What is the lesson? What does being voiceless teach me about how I show up in my life? If communication is only 5% verbal, how do I tap into that other 95% in ways that make the world a better place. How do I add value without a physical voice?
Over the weekend I went to a workshop with the incredibly talented Maryann Russell. Her reminder for us was to sit in our heart space - in the feels zone. Stop thinking and simply sit with the emotions. Then respond from that seat. So today I let the lump in my throat escape through tears. I cried and cried. I let it happen. I breathed through it. I recognized the struggle in myself and held me in compassion.
There is nothing more to this story for me today other than that I faced it. I faced the sadness and it didn't swallow me up.
Spoiler Alert: I have no idea.
I don't feel like I'm very good at making friends. I think this is true because I am not good at small talk. I don't like how disingenuous it feels. And sounds. I butcher through phrases about the weather or the upcoming holidays. I hold myself back, often, from saying what is really on my mind.
Sometimes this is a good move.
Lately, though, I've been feeling that sting of loneliness. Of wanting "a friend." Someone who gets me. Someone who I can share all those thoughts with without fear of judgement. Does such a thing exist? I hear judgement all around me. I feel judgement in my own heart.
So. I've been reaching out. Just a little bit at a time. Trying to reach out to people to share a little, to be somewhat vulnerable with them. And here's what I'm learning. They can't save me.
Not that I need saving. I don't know. Sometimes I'm just looking for a friend, you know? Someone to say: "Yeah. Bummer. Wow. I don't know, but you are doing ok! You are making it! You will make it!"
Let me tell you my loneliness story from a couple weeks ago. In a rush of emotion (adrenaline, love, compassion, joy), I decided I wanted to get a group of women together to celebrate the New Moon. The New Moon is ripe with possibilities, creativity, awesomeness. I thought this would be a good chance to reach out, make friends with likeminded soul sisters, and get our manifesting on!
I was so scared. Scared of putting myself out there in this way. Scared because I'd never BEEN to one of these circles before, much less created one and prepared to facilitate one. So I put my thoughts on paper, I did some research, I went to the store and bought flowers and soy candles and sage for clearing the space. And I thought: "Just show up, and the universe will help things fall into place."
And you know what happened?
No one came.
I sat alone in my cirlce. I lit candles and cleared the space. I sat in silent meditation. I let the tears come. I tried to quiet the voice making kind excuses. And I tried to quiet the voice being mean, telling me it's just another reminder that I am unloveable and un-friendable.
I sat as the emotions rose and fell. I worked through the ritual I had planned for the group. I journalled and then spoke my intention into the space. I meditated on my words. And then I went home.
I'm still processing that evening. I am contemplating loneliness. And how we can be there for ourselves. I am proud that I did the ritual, and proud that I let myself be sad and work through it, and not die from the sadness. I also feel that it's a gift to be able to discern "thinking" from reality, and to not make that story - that anecdote - be another proof point in my greatest fear: that I am unloveable.
So here's where I am today. Was I lonely that night? I was sad that no one came. I wanted a witness (or two) to the intentions. And I wanted to feel community around me. I wanted support. I wanted to hear from others. I wanted to share a little of myself with the world.
But was I lonely? No.
While I missed feeling connected with others, I did note a connection within myself. I stayed with me. I showed up.
You gotta feel it to heal it.