The awkward balancing act of being seen

This spring, I've been practicing being more visible, and it's certainly a practice. As I've been writing these posts, creating my Revelation program (now in full swing!), and dabbling in radical truth-telling in #the100dayproject on Instagram, I'm putting myself out there more in an expansive way than I have in years -- much like the flowers unfolding all over my yard, showing their colorful faces to the sun. Then last week after a couple 76° sunny days in Boulder, it freakin' snowed! Just then, like the petals, I closed up in a major pulling back of my energy - a contraction. I just wanted to hide under my covers with my sweet cat and not make eye contact with anyone but her. We humans are tidal, lunar, seasonal, cyclical. It's natural to experience a state of withdrawal after a period of engagement -- like the sea, the moon, and every living thing. I'm generally not a subscriber to the ideas of "good" and "bad" (nor am I a fan of dualism in general;) however, I'm watching how I internally judge myself more for having the (bad) contracted feelings, and I crave the rush that (good) expansive energy can bring. But eff that noise - it's all part of the human experience!

Visibility is tricky because, like most things that can cause us to shed inhibitions, it comes with hangovers. For me, there are two flavors of a visibility hangover: the overshare hangover and the undershare hangover. 

  1. When I've put myself out there quite a bit, perhaps in a new context or stretched a wee beyond my comfort zone, afterwards I tend to tighten into what I call an overshare hangover, like I described above. It feels like, "Oh shit, I said [did, was] too much!"  [Enter the weighted blanket + bed + cat healing balm.]

  2. The flipside might feel more subtle to many of us, especially if we live it so consistently that we just see it as the color of life: the undershare hangover, or when you're not allowing parts of yourself to be visible that so want to be seen. You may be able to taste it when giving a first impression to new people, then coming away from the situation should-ing on yourself. Like "OMG, I didn't even show who I am! I should have said..." In other words, it's the feeling of I'm not enough. This is the deep longing we all have to be seen and heard in our full authenticity. 

And damn, between these two, I sometimes I feel like Goldilocks - trying to get my self-expression juuuust right - or at least in a place where I feel congruent and satisfied, both appropriately boundaried and adequately revealed. Where there is a centerless, rounded, non-dual flow. 

Visibility is this week's theme in my online program, Revelation. The participants and I will explore why we long to be fully seen, and why we simultaneously build barriers to hide behind. (If you didn't join us in Revelation this round, stay tuned here to hear about the next time it's offered!) 

Does any of this resonate for you? Which hangover do you feel most often? What's your visibility hangover remedy? Hair of the dog? Rest? What works for you? I'd SO love to hear your thoughts. Truly, drop me a note -- I'm listening. 

All is being unearthed

I've been looking around my yard, watching Momma Earth do her springtime dance. I can see how fresh bits of life force are puuuushing through the surface, making themselves visible. They've been underground in fertile darkness -- patiently waiting, absolutely quaking, and ready to burst forth into the light. Just like that. So natural and unapologetic. They know it's time. (You know it, too.) This is also the dance of Revelation.

In Revelation, my online program (beginning in just 8 days,) we will join in this unearthing and revealing. We will get in touch with what of our truths have been wildly trembling underground, and are now being unmistakably called into being seen, heard, and celebrated. 

Sure, an enticing concept. AND, I get that you may still be wondering about the concrete, like: "What exactly is going to happen in this Revelation program thingie?" 

Here's what: For six Wednesdays beginning May 1, you'll receive a delicious packet in your email containing an audio or video message from me on a truth-telling theme of the week --- themes such as your relationship to being visible, your vulnerability as your superpower, embracing the unknown, and meeting your inner muse. There'll be weekly creative, experiential, playful invitations curated just for you to dive more deeply into exploring through art, movement, writing, ritual, etc. In your own time and pace, alongside fellow sojourners in this terrain of radical truth. We'll share within the private course forum, as well as meet on three live calls you can attend (or receive the recording if you can't make those, no biggie.) 

You will come away from Revelation able to own the value of who you already are, with keys to feeling more fully expressed, with access to making more genuine connections, with recognition of your unique medicine/gifts in the world, and having more freedom from antiquated ways of being that just do not fit any longer - not for you and not for the emergent collective. 

Watch me unfold

Can you feel the springtime energy abound? Even though it's still hoodie-required chilly here in Boulder, the whoosh of rebirth, refresh, and renewal are evident in my system, and I am witnessing it in those around me. It shouldn't surprise me by now how in sync we are with the cycles of the earth, but in some ways, I've had a long personal winter. I'm SO ready to unfold... thus the subject line of this email is the ear worm in my head right now: Unfold by Alina Baraz

As I talked about in previous posts, I've been in a hibernation of sorts for a couple years, cocooning up, listening internally while undergoing a metamorphosis. In a recent reading with my favorite astrologer, I learned that I'm coming out of a new moon phase in regards to my vocation -- the dark, new moon being the lunar cycle's equivalent to winter. And now, with an elegant eyelash of a waxing moon visible on my progressed chart, I'm astrologically moving into springtime. I am being invited to create from this fertile, rich soil of mystery and experiment in leading, inspiring, teaching, and writing -- urged to bring my playful, fiery, witchy, sensual, risky, artistic, psychospiritual, edgy, embodied life force --my full Eros-- forth into my career. Eros refers to our erotic nature, our primal passion, our vitality. It's what turns us on and brings us pleasure. I've had an opportunity to allocate mine into my interpersonal relationships during these couple years when I've not been seeing clients. Now, I finally feel an unmistakable call to pour a portion of this lush well of sacred yumminess into how I serve and express through my work in the world.

In this new chapter, the form my offerings takes will not be created by top-down, linear 'should's and patriarchal rules -- rather the form is guided by pushing the emergent edge of the wild, feminine mystery... the idea that formlessness is okay, experimentation is encouraged, shapeshifting is natural, and sharing our unpolished humanness not only makes us more accessible, but it's also deliciously magnetic. These are the conversations for which I want to provide a forum to have with YOU. I'm beginning to create just that. Stay tuned to my offerings.

Poison or medicine? A personal story

I recently took a trip to Breckenridge with a group of my soul sisters and their families -- 16 of us together under one rented roof, cooking, playing games, and soaking in the hot tub. Some spent days skiing, some exploring the town. Of course, the trip was not without interpersonal drama among us and our children, but five of us are therapists and adept at processing. 😆 My family stayed one day longer than the others, and on the morning when everyone left the house, my husband and daughter also went off to ski. There I was, suddenly all alone in this gorgeous place, which was left sparkly clean by my thoughtful friends. I sat at the table with fresh flowers, warm tea, fire roaring, and my laptop, ready to dive into some writing while gazing out at the beautiful mountain view. After all the noise and hubbub, this would likely be a delicious scene for almost any other human being on earth, right? But all I could do was CRY. In the cozy quiet, I sensed the ghosts of our weekend moments in the house together, and the warm sun streaming in the windows with fresh mounds of snow outside was just too beautiful not to share. Heart all filled up and registering as empty -- a perfect example of my early attachment stuff playing out in my adult life. 

This very old attachment wound leaves me longing for consistent, deep connection, where all parts of me get to feel truly seen and where I can truly see another. Even when I receive this sort of yummy, nurturing, reciprocal witnessing, like I did in Breckenridge, I feel devastated when it ends. It is never enough. I've done my time in inner-critic land, feeling all thirsty and shameful about this. That's the predictable, well-worn route to take -- the easy way out. I'm done with that mentality because our needs are never wrong. While working on consciously drinking in nourishing moments while they're happening, I'm also welcoming and accepting (and in my more clear moments, truly digging) my insatiable, longing nature. 

A gorgeous side effect to tuning into where we feel most vulnerable or wounded or where we might fear the most judgement from others is undoubtedly where we are most gifted. In many Germanic languages, the word poison is equivalent to the English words for gift or medicine. Our deepest wound can point us directly to the unique medicine we are here to offer the world. Rather than ignoring that thing we feel is most painful or shameful, rather than stuffing it down to be forever hidden, we can try a new tact. Get curious about it, befriend it, be transparent about it, and examine where we might be leaking or misusing our medicine for the sake our egos. This work can lead us to the very thing we are here to offer. radiate. do. be.

My insatiable longing, when I can cleanly welcome it and love it up, is the fire of me that sparks deep connections, creates playful soulful beautiful experiences for others, and weaves kindred spirits together in meaningful ways. Making lemonade out of all those lemons of insatiability and longing has been a process. It reminds me (while we're talking lemonade) of Beyoncé's lyric: "My torturer became my remedy" -- or we could go with Rumi's "Don't turn away. Keep your gaze on the bandaged place. That's where the light enters you." Whichever classic you prefer. 😉  In one of my recent weekly Instagram challenges, #visiblyunmasked, I reveal more about this scenario in my own unmasking post, which you can read here. This is just one of example of how one of my vulnerabilities birthed what I most prominently bring to the world. I have a few of these, as do you. And damn it feels healing to shine light on them and share them unapologetically. Like I said in my last post, this act creates connection. 

I want to mention that big part in my owning my gifts was as a participant in a life-changing program called Courting Your Medicine, which I participated in during the summer of 2017. I'll be one of a few former participants assisting the facilitators in running the same program this summer in Boulder. Check it out here if this topic speaks to you.

Vulnerability is a doorway

Here I am, propped up in my bed with my cat nesting on my legs and a cold relentlessly occupying my sinuses. Used tissues, empty tea mugs, and Apple devices are scattered around me -- even still, my heart feels full because I'm looking over all of your thoughtful responses to my last blog. Deep gratitude for sharing your stories of resonance -- I heard comments about how your "résumé self doesn't jive with [your] internal self," you're "sick of the patriarchal shapeshifting [required] to navigate this world," how my sharing "struck something very familiar within," and how you are "working on [your] own emergence and pathless path." Your collective feedback was a crystal clear reminder to me that when we share our vulnerability, it fosters connection and it disarms others so they may feel permission to share their own truths.

We all saw Brené Brown tout vulnerability in her TED talk almost nine years ago, and she gave all of her "not messy" scientific research to package and sell its merit to us. It doesn't take statistics to feel that the act of unmasking the self is contagious and magnetic.

Even though I constantly teeter the tightrope between the desire to be seen and the desire to hide, my focus for 2019 is to engage in radical, visible truth-telling. Lately, nothing piques my interest and arouses my curiosity more than to access and bear my rawness, and to see/hear/feel others doing the same. This is a doorway to intimacy, to connection, to community, which is something we crave as human beings. It's how we're wired. (That's a data point. Brené would be proud.)

Then what keeps us hiding our deliciously awkward truths from each other? I think it's the stigma around the messy, the shame in the untamed, the fear of not being loved. The irony is that I have repeatedly seen evidence of being loved, accepted, and welcomed more when we are most soft, unguarded, and unmasked. I'm welcoming you into experimenting with your own unmasking -- all of us together. My invitation to you and you and you and to myself is in this week's Instaprompt: #visiblyunmasked.