Month: January 2017

Vulnerability, Exposure, and Showing Up Anyhow

A truly monumental occurrence happened today and while it was incredibly amazing it also scared the shit out of me. I experienced recoil like no other and, hours later, am emerging. What was this incredibly amazing and yet terrifying thing that happened?? Vulnerability. Deep, raw, uncensored vulnerability. I had hours of the most penetrating to the core orgasms with a man that I adore. I felt comfortable, held, cherished, honored, celebrated. And my body responded in a way that I have never experienced before. My cells vibrated at a level that was both extremely foreign to me, yet I felt as though I had come home. I had arrived. I had landed. I was embodied in the most feminine, erotic, natural, and sensual way. A way I have only dreamt of – a way that felt relieving, empowering, connected, and heart opening. Never before have I experienced this or felt even an inclination of this possibility. And, I cried. I shed tears from the depths of me. Tears that have needed to be expressed but have had 0 permission. Tears of shame, of guilt, of pain, of rejection, of abuse. Tears from unidentifiable yet potent sources. Tears of relief, tears of joy, and tears of surrender. Tears that softened and allowed – tears that put the fire of fear to rest, if even for a moment…


I am a woman with a tremendous history of abuse at the reigns of the masculine – sadly beginning in my early teens. This experience of exploitation morphed and changed over the years but the flavor remained the same. I did not believe that I was worthy of anything other than and that is exactly what I attracted in. Over and over and over again. My self-esteem had been squashed, my ability to drop in and trust men was non-existent, my capability of actually enjoying sexual connection was few and far between and required a lot of buffers (a.k.a alcohol) – as actually feeling my body and surrendering to that vulnerability and exposure was terrifying. Terrifying primarily in that I was braced for the fall. I was perched to be abandoned and abused during the exit process. It is truly all that I have known.


So, you see, this incredible encounter that I was blessed to have rocked me from my core. It went against all of the lifetimes of messages that I had embodied – all of the destruction, maltreatment, debilitation, oppression, and disempowerment. My experience was the exact opposite of what my history had dictated.


And then what did I do? I panicked. My defenses were down and I was freaked. I disconnected, as that has been my protection mechanism for so many years, for perhaps and possibly many lifetimes. I exited my body and began to apologize for myself through babble and insecurity. I shrunk myself, as I had grown too big in my perception. And then I looked into this beautiful mans deep eyes and I found solace, if even for a moment. I saw tears in his eyes of care, compassion, empathy, and presence. And, I softened again – but only for a moment. And then the panic returned and all of the lifetimes of insecurities that I have been carrying around, given to me both from others and the life squashing messages I have been giving myself…arose…and arose with a vengeance. I was lost in translation. I was disembodied, uneasy, anxious, desperate to take back everything that happened – everything that I had done and shared and shown of myself – for fear that I am just way too fucking much. That my emotions are too big for others to see and now I have shown them to a person that I care deeply for.


What did I do? Well, I will tell you first what I DIDN’T do as it is tremendous leap for me in my ability for self care as a woman with a 20 year recovery under her belt from a debilitating eating disorder and other dysfunctional ways of relating to myself and my body — especially when I wanted to jump out of my skin and/or numb myself with food, alcohol, sugar — anything but to feel this whole-hearted, vulnerable, raw, exposed. But, I didn’t engage. And, the craziest thing is that I actually didn’t WANT to. I WANTED to feel what I was feeling even though it was foreign, beyond awkward infused with a massive amount of self-consciousness, and extremely anxiety provoking.


I meditated. I lit my candle, got on my cushion, and meditated. I breathed with the incredibly uncomfortable feelings and sensations and gave thanks for the range of emotion that I have access to. I found gratitude for the ability to feel my body, its pleasures, pains, awakenings, uneasiness…the whole gamut. I put my hands on my heart, on my belly and took life-affirming breaths; breaths which penetrated my entire system. I comforted, I eased, I infused, and I did not abandon. I did not numb, I did not distract, I allowed myself to feel fully alive and in tune with it all…even the very scary hard shit. It’s a fucking miracle.


Then I took a bath. I submerged myself in hot water, filled with salts and scents, I lit my candle and I surrendered. I allowed myself to be held in this foreign and uncomfortable place…I sunk in deeper. I gave permission for this vulnerability to penetrate me, to hold me, to shatter me, to ease me, to rock me. I allowed the water to become a sanctuary for my heart and I cried a bit more. I cried but I wasn’t scared any longer. I was alive. I was well. I was feeling. I was embodied. And I was really fucking okay. I was more than okay; a layer had been shed…this time a massive one…one that I have never accessed before.


I listened to music – deep, heart-penetrating chants that have the ability to dive right into those murky waters and make them crystal clear. As these chants moved through my body I integrated on yet another level this space of true vulnerability. I felt it and I accepted it. I would even safely say that I embraced it…as a whole-hearted woman does. I affirmed my path, my desire as to how I want to be living, breathing, teaching, connecting, relating. I dove into this mysterious and magical realm of vulnerability and feel more grateful and more alive than ever. It is not as scary as I have thought for these 42 years of life thus far. It is not something to run from, shield oneself from, disappear from, hide from, build up walls of protection from. It is a tremendous part of being alive – of truly showing up for your life in devotion and in love and in peace and in kindness.


And then the morning after arrives. I use the term “awoke” loosely as I was awake for most of the night tossing and turning, rehashing, peace making, feeling, comforting, assuring, awakening…it was one of those nights where I knew that I would enter the next day on a different plane. One of those nights that I feel is pretty much the opposite of the dark night of the soul (and I have had plenty of those) – it was one of those nights where the energy that was running through me was keeping me up in excitement and inspiration, with a little panic; sheer terror as to the new territory I had entered. The unknown and unease. Yet in midst of all of that, there was a thread of peace running through me. I knew that it was actually OK that I wasn’t sleeping…that I actually needed to be digesting and assimilating as in the Rites of Passage process. This is indeed a Rite of Passage – one that I have longed for, have dreamt of. A process of living from my true power center, the essence of me, my creativity, my right livelihood, my inspiration, my ability to take action on my dreams and visions. All of it. The entirety of who I am as a woman beginning from where I came from and connecting to that which lives in me and from me.


Yet, I “awoke” with what Brene Brown coined a “vulnerability hangover”. I felt rough, a bit anxious, moments of pure love exuding from my heart, excited, inspired, and a little like what-the-fuck-just-happened.


And, while I had the urge to stay home for days on end and just hold myself in this incredibly raw and vulnerable place – to protect myself from exposure, from any chance of penetration, from any possibilities of my bubble being burst and not in a good way…life must go on. I carry forward as Kai’s mommy, as a healer and a teacher to many, as a woman who has chosen to live her life whole-heartedly and not hide out in her quarters. A woman who choses over and over and over again to live loudly, live boldly. A woman who continually begs to be living unabashedly from her heart – no matter what is thrown at her – with courage, and grace — and a knowing that she is whole and alive and authentic and that may not be OK with some but it is non-negotiable for her. A woman who lives her truth, who embodies who she is at her essence, a woman who knows at her core that life is preciously short and chooses every single day to walk through the fire of transformation; no matter what

Finding True Peace….In and Out

I have been approached often lately by clients and students about my journey through a 20+ year debilitating eating disorder and the genuine peace that I have found in this process of recovery. I feel called to begin to share pieces of my story and will do so through my blog as well as other platforms. Today I share some raw truth about my recovery process and the place in which I have landed. Every woman who goes on this ride has unique and varying personal experiences and, in no way am I saying that my way is the “right” way or that I am superior than anyone else who has struggled with these issues. I have simply found the light at the end of that long, dark tunnel and I seek to inspire and support others in finding their capacity to truly heal from their core in the most embodied and life-serving way possible. Here is my tidbit for the day…


Bottom line: when it comes down to it – I have reached a place in life when I really palpably get on every level that life is truly short and that I have a choice every single day. Do I want to spend my precious days obsessing about eating a freaking cookie or too much pizza or whatever the food of the day is, OR do I want to spend my days celebrating being alive, breathing, in a body that not only functions but is healthy. Healthy from the inside out. Yes, I still have my days when I haven’t exercised and have been eating abundantly – but they don’t run the show any longer – maybe for a couple of minutes or even an hour; but that’s as far as it goes because life is fucking short and a belly roll here or there ain’t gonna stop me from living. Being happy and joyful and peaceful and relaxed in my body has become the most important thing. It has taken precedence. My love of food and feeding myself in a soulful way with good, nourishing food (and the occasional greasy, yummy, decadent treat) has become way more important than if I am ripped. The day has come when softness has become sexier than having the armor of tight, protective muscles surrounding every crevice of me. When my “work outs” consist of true body check in and movements which actually feel good to my body and my soul – movements that deeply honor my energy level, mood, and my needs of that moment rather than discounting it all and working out to burn calories with the intention of getting rid of more and more of myself. I feel no need to excavate myself, no desire to perpetually punish myself, and only the intention of loving myself as I am. Today. In this moment. Despite whether or not I got my hike in, I practiced yoga, I ate “perfectly” (whatever that actually means)…to me, this is true self-love, this is a genuine recovery, this is peace making at its finest. This is life-serving, life-altering, and life-giving, deep and essential work. We must be able to breathe into all of who we are in order to truly find the peace and ease we are so craving. And, guess what? Our bodies actually regulate themselves when we can breathe in that peace and calm. When we take the time to tend to and move with our bodies varying needs and rhythms and really, truly honor them. No punishment. No angst. No conditions.

This is real, raw, truthful recovery and, I believe is absolutely the only way to embody ourselves…to embody our lives.