being seen

Diving into deep connection

Hello and happy September! I took a break from writing these little love notes over the summer, but with the back-to-school energy flowing through my house, I'm diving into many vocational expressions and musings. Stay tuned here on that front -- I'm working on some exciting projects!

The topic on forefront of my mind these days is deep, authentic connection. Living back in Boulder among deliciously supportive community for the past year has reinforced for me how much of a priority true kinship is in my world... and in this modern world that can be so very isolating and fraught with the toxic myth of independence, rather than our human nature of interdependence. I have an inherent desire to be seen, heard, and absolutely MET in all of my raw humanness, and to meet another in the same way. Because you're human, I'm betting you long for this, too.

The message being whispered in my ear from the universe or maybe from some internal divine source about how to heal the way we connect is: "Less words, more contact." I've been experimenting with the way our culture uses (and does not use) non-verbal methods of deepening into relationship with one another, such as eye contact and safe, intimate touch. We are absolutely starved for this sort of connection, validation, and care. I am committed to being part of the emergent, generative, feminine paradigm that values and reawakens compassionate, fierce, healing intimacy in our culture. I have a lot more to say about this (and to feel and to do about this) -- but for now I'll leave you with these question: How do you know when you are being truly, deeply met? What do you do to reeeeally meet another? This terrain feels so juicy to me, so I'd love to hear about your experiences - drop me a note!

To be seen, the moon needs the sun

I'm writing this love note to you under the full moon in Sagittarius, just a few days shy of the summer solstice -- ooo, such a potent time! The summer solstice is to the seasonal cycle what the full moon is to the lunar cycle, and we're sitting in BOTH in this moment. The current energy is expansive, bright, outward, fiery, fulfilled, and visible in full radiance -- the polar opposite of my winter solstice birthday. Perhaps my being a winter solstice baby has me leaning more toward the inward, the mystery, and the unseen. This week is the flipside of what I was born into, and for me it feels healing right now to bask in the full moon reflecting the strong midsummer sun. (We wouldn't see her face otherwise. ☀️🌕 )

In all this celestial brightness, I had a very recent experience in realizing how I am seen through the caring reflection of others. Not unlike these heavenly bodies, we often need one another to adequately see ourselves. I want to share the experience with you, as I'm pretty sure I'm not alone in this. Large groups are challenging for me, so this summer I'm pushing that growing edge in myself by assisting in a 4-month group ceremony that I underwent 2 summers ago. When in groups, I can clearly see the offerings of others, and I compare my contributions as more diffuse, thus less valuable. While holding space for these new participants, I am noticing that what I offer in the group looks different than what others offer -- and instead of making that wrong, I'm recognizing the rightness of it. 

After our first group weekend, my mentors and colleagues mirrored back to me how they saw my unique medicine come alive in the group space. The gift of their reflection is allowing me to shatter some very old self-judgments. My inner critic gets loud about how I show up in groups. She wags her finger, saying I'm too quiet at first, too awkward and fumbly when I do come forward, too small and too passive. Hearing from peers allowed me to shift my disapproval to a more honoring, accepting place about what is actually happening. Being the winter witch that I am, my soul generally rests in the darker places, on the edge of my village, on the edge of a group. A highly-sensitive empath, I see and feel into what is happening from this place. I shift into a slightly altered state as I energetically tend to what is needed in a group. I seep into the cracks, shoring them up, like the liquid gold in kintsugi pottery. I form connections and create offerings quietly, privately, behind the scenes. 

I've been hard on myself for this before, worried that I was supposed to have just the right verbal responses formed or just the right concrete offering ready at the tip of my tongue and my fingers. Some people do that so elegantly, but that's not my flavor of medicine. I need to hang in my liminal open perceptive space, stir my cauldron patiently, and offer my colorful magic once it is fully brewed. I'm learning that not only is this necessary, but is often the way various types of medicine people (witches, shaman, sorceresses) behave in community. I'm beginning to welcome my own way of being. The energy we emit simply by unapologetically walking in our truths has the power to invite others to fully be their authentic selves, while creating connection in the process. And that really is the crux of what I desire to radiate and experience in this world. 

In the spirit of this bright and awakened time of year, I am shining light into this dark place to honor and more fully step into my way of being. Which of your shadows are you being expressly called to illuminate this week? 

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. 

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.