vulnerability

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.  

Welcome the mystery

I confess… I've SO been hiding out! A couple years ago, I listened inwardly to a deep and undeniable call to pause my private psychotherapy practice because something new was screaming to be birthed. In this time, I began a midlife emergence (You like that? That's my lil euphemism for a midlife crisis, but I'm here to report from the inside thick of it that it's no less of a fiery, intense soul-f*ck as the crisis bit. Ah, semantics.) I moved my family from the Bay Area to Boulder. I nested and waited, almost uncomfortably pregnant with a million possibilities and bursting with new ideas that I've only allowed to peek out partially and leak out quietly via my daily Instagram habit. Then shushing them and shoving them back in the oven (closet? womb?) expecting them to cook longer to become fully packagable, digestible, marketable GRAND OFFERINGS... you know, all wrapped in hand-painted papers, tied with a raw silk bow and a sprig of dried lavender, please. 🙄 OMG, the pressure!

As I've waited for this New Path to reveal itself to me -- I walked in the darkness, envied all those around me with seemingly clear direction and distinctly specific medicine to offer the world. What was mine to do next? I went through it all: I hated the mystery of it. I got angry, sad, complacent, and stubborn with the mystery. Over time, I began to challenge the mystery to just freakin' bringggg itttt and to absolutely werk me. From that stance, I began to welcome the mystery. I actually fell in love with how exciting she felt - how open, how free, how wild. I courted her, and she absolutely seduced me in turn. What we seek is indeed seeking us! (Dude, Rumiis always right.) This mystery and I have been wining, dining, dancing and making spicy and sweet love. One night she whispered into my ear: "The pathless path IS your Path." Boom.💥  

Not only is the pathless path the New Path, it's the Always-Has-Been and Always-Will-Be Path. I've always been one who dabbles in a zillion forms of beautiful, multifaceted magic and shares them to connect with others, and to connect others. I can't not be this medicine in the world, even if I tried. In hindsight, my stressing over how to massage this into a concise elevator speech to recite when asked "aaand what do you do?" feels so trivial. Even if my ego/personality had signed up for a subscription to that patriarchal, linear, left-brained way of being in the world ages ago (to assimilate out of fear,) my Soul never (ever ever ever) did. And I have a hunch that many of yours may not have either. 

So it's time to stop the silly shame game of "I don't have all my shit together yet" and proudly stand for the feminine, the shapeshifting, the non-linear, the mystery, the messy, the deep, the raw, the creative, the authentic, the wild, the soulful, the pleasurable, the esoteric, the vulnerable, the edgy, the witchy, the unseen, the playful. To do this work requires that I make what I'm already up to absolutely and unapologetically visible and transparent. (Something that was harder to do in the past when in a psychotherapist role.) Ahhhhhhh... on the other side, there is such ease and such fun to be had. In the world we're in right now, this feels like a radical act. 

I'm inviting all of you to come with me - to watch curiously or voyeristically or supportively or even cautiously through squinted eyes and slightly parted fingers -- or to celebrate this rise in yourselves by participating where you're drawn. I can't know what's going to happen, but I do know it'll be juicy -- with depth and levity, with the sacred and the profane. Both sides of these paradoxes are absolute necessities to me -- honest and whole, they keep me awake and engaged.