Move your mind, Move your body, Move your soul.
Sometimes I assume that people already know my story. But I realize that you might not. So I'm going to give you the Cliff Notes version here.
I grew up a sensitive kid in Maine. My perception of my childhood is that I lived in my own little world of books, music, and hiding places. I had this feeling that I was broken, unloveable. Like something was wrong with me. I either said too much or too little. I felt like an outsider, even from my family. It was easier to hide than to be seen. Because being seen meant being judged and rejected.
I also grew up with the feeling that I needed to take care of others; that I was a protector. A cheerleader, a supporter. And if I did these things, I would earn love. My personal relationships expressed this belief. I picked young men who needed support, cheerleading, and potentially protection (from themselves, often!).
With this combination of being an outsider (judged & rejected) and needing to earn others' love by supporting them, I became a chameleon in my interactions. I could become anyone, depending on the situation. There was so much of this, through my life, I lost the sense of who was hiding underneath.
In my academic & work life, I found that relationships and social skills/emotions didn't get you anywhere, but confidence, hard work, and muscling through to achievement would get you recognized (and loved). Do it. Succeed. Whatever it takes.
Until the job that cracked me open.
It wasn't the job's fault. I suppose it was a perfect storm of timing. I was 37, had three kids and a big job. I worked a lot, exercised a lot, and by the end, drank a lot, too. I wasn't healthy in any way, but I constantly got accolades from friends and co-workers about what a super-woman I was to be excelling at everything. When really, I was lonely, sad, and could not hold it together. I was looking for the job to tell me I was good enough, but really it told me I needed to be different.
I should give more. I should be "vulnerable" and at the same time "principled" and "efficient." I should know what I want and ask for it. I should be able to do it.
But I couldn't. I honestly could not figure out how to tie together my head and my heart. I had been living from the neck up for so long, I couldn't imagine how that might change. I didn't know what it meant to be vulnerable or how to do it.
I remember a friend during this time telling me I might work on "conscious embodiment". I had no idea what that meant. "It means being in your body and paying attention to it," she told me. Huh. It was the beginning of my transformation, my shift.
You gotta feel it to heal it.