For when your ‘stuff’ starts coming up

Have we laughed, cried, sang, danced, ran, ate, drank, prayed together?

That is the question I am sitting in the middle of this New Moon as I’m thinking about who I want to spend more time with in and out of lockdown. I’ve been reading that this moon invites us to reflect on the relationships in our lives, and I can already feel the gravitational pull.

I’m bracing myself for a collective initiation around belonging. At a time where social distancing and quarantining is for the benefit of the greater good, all our ‘stuff’ around community might start coming up, especially as we enter into a moon phase that may amplify your desire for connection.

I’ll tell you how this is playing out for me so far.

I was laying in bed feeling pretty catatonic. I’ve never been much of a morning person and usually just pooh-pooh my lethargy and lack of motivation to start my day. I’m usually frustrated with myself. “C’mon.  You should’ve grown out of this by now. There’s so much you want to do and you’re wasting all this time.”

But this day I try to meet this criticism with some kindness. Cooperate with it instead of resist it. That’s a core principle of trauma-resolution, and now I have this new perspective, I wonder if there’s more going on than meets the eye.

First, a mini trauma lesson**. Your flight, flight, and freeze responses are narrowed down into two nervous system responses.

Hyper:  Lots of energy to propel you towards or away from the perceived threat (think anxiety, hyperactive, over-working, stressed out), or

Hypo: Your energy disappears and you drift into a state of stillness until the threat passes you by (think depression, lack of motivation, ‘lazy’, shame-spirals, and collapsing from exhaustion).

I always assumed I was a ‘hyper’ workaholic, always busy doing something, find it hard to rest, and my brain always ‘on’.

And then it clicked. That’s true except for when I wake up every day in a state of ‘hypo’ low energy, the day feeling heavy before it even starts, and with zero motivation to break-out the to-do list. I’m constantly telling myself, “Just do what you can for now to get the ball rolling.” So I clean the bathroom, put on the laundry, and brush my teeth until my body finds a doable groove.

So as I cooperated with this feeling of ‘blah’, staring at the clouds, journaling, and finding new dance tunes from the comfort of my pillowed bed, I let myself feel for once, instead of rushing into my day.

And what I found was this…

I felt like I was 19 years old again. Home from college for the summer, miserable, lonely, crawling out of bed at 5pm, just in time to get up for a run, have dinner and climb back into bed.

At the time this coping mechanism was excused. ‘She must be tired. She’s worked so hard all semester. Her body needs to rest.’

Possibly. And it also was possibly a hypo-response of energetic collapse as a need for belonging in community was not being met.

I was in transition. No longer held by a close-knit high school friendship and teammate circle, and out from under the ostracizing yet strong community of the church, I hadn’t landed into a new group at college, I was socially ‘floating’. As was my nervous system; taking me to the safety of daydreams in the clouds, instead of grounded in connection within my real life.

So what’s going on now, 20 years later?

Well, I’ve kept floating. I’ve never really ‘landed’ in community since then. And now that we’re in lockdown with a new moon calling us towards belonging, community, and relational communication, some shit is being pulled out of me.

It might be pulling something out of you too.

Can I offer you a tip? Be kind to yourself. See if you can notice what’s going on in your body, give yourself some time to listen to your heart, and instead of trying to fix yourself, cooperate and let it be.

If you feel you’ve got some energy to dig a little deeper, here’s a short journaling practice to help you stay present to yourself.

  1. How am I feeling? Eg sad, depressed, anxious, angry, etc
  2. How old do I feel right now? Eg 19 years old
  3. What did I need at that age? Eg community rhythms,  like friends to go for a run with  on a daily basis
  4. If I could give that to myself now, what difference might that make in my life? Eg I’d have accountability. Possibly more energy. I’d feel full from the sharing of ideas and life experiences on regular basis. I might feel like I belong.
  5. What’s the smallest doable step my adult self can take towards meeting that need of mine? Eg go for a walk with my neighbor (staying 2m a part of course)

These journal prompts can be used across the board, whenever feeling ‘blah’, ‘meh’, or your ‘stuff is coming up’. Use liberally, with lot of love and care.

**Shout out to Rachael Maddox and her ReBloom trauma training for illuminating so much of what I’ve been able to share with you.

Taking a trauma-informed approach to my life has been game-changing. To be able to work with your coping strategies instead of needing to fix them overnight is healing in and of itself. As is honoring your body’s natural rhythms and trusting your timeline for healing.

There is so much room for grace. The more I learn and practice in this field the more excited I am to have others taste this medicine.

You can apply to work with me here.

What kind of future could we co-create?

It’s a new moon today, and while I’ve been following the moon’s cycle for a while now, I don’t normally harp on about it too much. This one feels different though. I’ll tell you why.

Yesterday an email landed in my inbox from Chani Nicholas. I bought her book, You Were Born for This, recently, and somehow ended up on her newsletter.

In yesterday’s email, she gave an overview of this New Moon’s significance; how it interacts with the planets and other astrological implications that are beyond me, and I’m not even sure how much I really buy into.

Her underlying message felt sound though, and so I forwarded the email to my friend Claire. Claire wrote back with a very astute and simplistic summary to the email: “Main message for me is grieve the crumbling of the old structures that no longer serve us and visualise how we want the future to be….” (I have her permission to share this with you.)

Bam. This landed deep within me. The desire to make a recording for this swelled inside me.

I listened, and you can listen to that here.

That’s not my point though.

My point is that this simplistic flow between Chani to me, to Claire, to me, to you, models the future I would love to live in. Where there is an easy giving and receiving flow. Where we are connected to our core enough that we don’t hesitate to let the Flow go through; allowing for insight, wisdom, gifts to flow freely to us and through us. Individually contributing to the pot in our own unique, authentic, and coherent way, allowing for something new to be born out of the whole.

I haven’t spent much time visualizing a future, or even naming, let alone grieving the old structures. Grieving is hard for me, and I need a lot of time, space, and privacy to really allow myself to feel this deeply.

It’s easier for me to look forward to the future, and so this is where I’m going to start from today. (Here’s a tip I learned from ReBloom trauma training: Start with what’s easy, dip into difficulty, go back to easy. It helps me ensure I don’t bypass the more challenging feelings. Starting with what’s easy means I’m more filled up to approach the challenge. Game-changing. The recording inspired by Chani Nicholson and Claire practices this. The chance to grieve, if needed, is sandwiched between some resource.)

Since Covid-19 lockdown conversations with friends are starting to include contemplation about the future. “What will it look like?” “We can’t just go back to the way things were.” There’s a shared deep knowing that we’re in the middle of a significant time. At a crossroads, an inflection point where a decision needs to be made; and aptly so, as ‘decision’ is at the heart of the word ‘crisis’.

I go back to this idea that we have choice. I understand that not everyone may feel that they do. When basic needs aren’t being met and health is at risk, there seems to be little room for choice. And maybe for those laying in hospital beds, there actually are very few choices to be made.

For those of us who still have some semblance of normality intact, we have a wider range of choice. We may have more time too, to actually contemplate what kind of future we’d like to be living in, and what part we might play in creating that.

The crazy thing is, we always have this choice. Any day of the year we can evaluate what is and isn’t working in our personal lives, in our local communities, and our global world, and we can think about what we do and don’t want to bring into tomorrow.

Speaking for myself here, I never do this unless shit hits the fan. When life is going according to my plan, I feel lulled into a false sense of security that starts to numb my conscious awareness.

I remember having a conversation with a colleague about 10 years ago when I was in London. He made a comment, like, ‘ever the idealist.’

I am a dreamer. There’s a bit of Pollyanna in me. My eyes naturally find the glass half-full and the silver lining. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too naïve.

Maybe I am. But I also know what I lived. I know what life has taught me. I lived through a time in my life that was dark. Where I didn’t like myself one bit. Where I was caught in a destructive cycle of depriving my needs, overconsuming, and then punishing myself to try to bring myself back to a façade of right relationship and wholeness.

That cycle was not sustainable.

I also lived on the other side of that cycle, at least in one arena. I got off the hamster wheel and overtime found myself in actual right relationship and wholeness with my body and food.

Since then I carry hope. I believe that miracles are possible. That Love never fails. That Truth sets you free.

I don’t subscribe to the theory that we end up in perfection. Just wholeness. Just freedom. Even if just for a moment.

And many times that wholeness and freedom comes from facing things like grief. Anger. Disappointment. Rage. Going into the darkness to feel what is real. It’s in the place of ‘real’ you taste the freedom.

I also have hope for the ripple effect. The one person tastes wholeness and freedom, and then they make different choices. Maybe only small at first. But even the small choices allow for Love to flow through and bump into the person next to you.

And so then the next person catches a whiff of health, whole, free, Love. They breathe it in. Maybe they breathe it out. Maybe it becomes contagious.

I know this is abstract. When I think of the future world that I would love to help create it is more than just a row of dominoes being blown over by the healing power of Love. I mean, that would be pretty cool, and there’s also more specifics on my heart.

I would love to see neighbours actually be neighbours again. Share sugar. Drop off freshly made scones. Not because I need you to scratch my back one day, but because we know we belong.

I would love to see families stroll together as the sun sets, maybe tend to their gardens, maybe build a tree house, or maybe just go sit under a tree, instead of being mesmerized by other people’s lives on a screen.

I would love for addiction to be a word that, in a few generations, doesn’t have a place in the dictionary other than to refer to a faint memory. I would love for a gamut of emotional, spiritual, and physiological healing to take place that eliminates the need for substances to make you feel in control, comforted, numbed out, high, or ecstatic.

I would love for song and dance to find its way back into the medicine cabinet.

I’m sure there is more. But for now, and this New Moon, I will leave you with that. And invite you dream a little. Sing a little. Dance a little. What does the deep knowing within you, believe is possible? What seed of hope feels right to plant today?

Would you like to cultivate a relationship with your body that supports the embodiment of your wisdom as we venture into an unknown future? There are now two offerings available to support you with this journey. See if it’s right for you through this link.

Photo by Roxxie Blackham on Unsplash

Where are you planting your roots?

I recently learned that the soil in Wales is what makes the trees take on their craggy, gnarly shape.

Which presumably means that the same acorn planted in Wales will look different to how it would if it were planted in England, or Scotland or the US or wherever you’re reading this from.

This week opened with the Embodied Contemplation on… “Where are you planting your roots?”

Like any other seed we respond to the qualities of the soil we’re planted in, shaping the fruits and offerings we share with the world.

Roots planted in a story of scarcity and not enough, means that offerings you make will never be enough and neither will what you receive.

Roots planted in danger and fear means that everything around you will seem dangerous and every step you take will be filled with anxiety; every situation a possibility for something to go wrong.

And then there’s roots planted into a source of unconditional everlasting Love that tend to bear fruits of generosity, contentment, and a well of inner peace because your seed, your soul, is being nourished with something that is always safe and will never run out.

For most of my life my roots have been planted in those first two stories. Trying to uproot and replant into the third is proving to be a challenge because those old stories are so familiar, they offer a sense of security. I mean, I know how to hustle and prove my worth. But to sit back and let my life and self be enough? That’s a big ask at first.

But then you feed your soil different nutrients, different perspectives, let your body start to feel what it’s like to meet Love even if your heart isn’t quite ready.

You can taste the contentment for a moment. Embody a flicker of generosity. Inhale the scent of peace.

Just enough that you decide to trust.

My experience is that replanting your roots is a process. You have to retrain your brain. Untangle the wires a bit before you plug them back in.

So just take one step at a time. One root at a time, and see what starts to sprout in your life.


Monday Morning Embodied Contemplations are happening via FB Live 7am BST at Kendra Tanner Coaching. You can catch April 6th’s on Grounding and Rooting below.

Monday April 13th’s is gonna be on Re-Sourcing… reorienting to sources of wholeness, health, beauty, and safety. See you there!

A Choice we have even when nothing feels certain

I was supposed to be in London today, preparing for an Embody your Feminine Leadership event scheduled for tomorrow, yet here I am in my home, sitting at my new upcycled writing desk, writing to you, trusting that this is where I am meant to be.

I am feeling loads, as I’m sure you are too.

Most of me is feeling grounded, which might sound strange considering all the uncertainty that is going on. I’m even surprising myself.

I’m feeling grateful. Grateful for all of the Somatic Experiencing therapy, embodiment coaching, and trauma and nervous system regulation training I’ve had that has added up to me feeling as connected to my self as I do, even in a time of crisis.

I’m feeling in awe, of the times of personal crisis I’ve lived through. That only 2 years ago we were living week to week as we watched our Tilapia hatchery business fail, and then just when we were about to run out of cash, my husband contracted with a new investor that breathed new life into the business. Awe that miracles can happen, and mostly awe that we don’t realize it’s a miracle until well after the fact.

I’m feeling a need to take action. I’m not interested in stocking up on toilet paper, but I feel like I need to be using my voice more. That the experiences I’ve had and the teachings I’ve learned from have somehow prepared me to be able to give in times like these.

I’m feeling the need to take things slow. Recognizing that my default response has been to rush into ‘the next best thing’ and do it quick, get it done and find myself back in the seat of control. Now that I can name that as a hypervigilant response, a sign that there’s some ‘fight’ energy in my system in response to the uncertainty, I’m realizing now more than ever I need to find a slow and steady pace.

I’m feeling guilt that I haven’t taken as much action as I could have up until now. That if only I coulda shoulda figured things out sooner then maybe I would be further along. I could’ve been more focused and more helpful to people and maybe then somehow people wouldn’t be as freaked out as they are now, and there would be more toilet paper and guns left on the shelves right now.

I’m feeling the humor of that statement. That somehow I, Kendra Anne Tanner, single-handedly could have prevented everything that’s going on right now. I mean, that is kinda funny right?

I’m also not feeling.

I’m not ready to feel the pain of grief that I am miles and oceans away from my immediate family at a time when my dad needs to start cancer treatment, which puts him in the ‘at risk’ category for corona, and it’s now highly unlikely that I’ll be able to be there with him, my mom, my sister and her kids due to travel restrictions.

I’m not wanting to feel the weight of the magnitude of the potential lives that might be loss, and the collective grief that is already happening and is likely to continue.

I’m not letting myself consider the familiar helpless feeling that may come if my household’s streams of income suddenly dry up.

I’m not feeling the vulnerability of the possibility that close friends and family may be catapulted into dire financial or health situations and I may be asked to feed them, clothe them, or just sit with them.

I’m not feeling them, but I know those emotions are there, waiting to be felt on another day when I am not feeling so alone. For a day when I’m more ‘resourced’, a trauma term for having a wide base of internal or external support.

I’m also feeling hopeful. Hopeful that on the other side of this chaos, we land in a place of more wholeness; for ourselves and for the Whole.

Hopeful that, since not one person on the planet is immune in this situation, our vulnerability can unite us.

Hopeful that we use this time of crisis to let ourselves actually feel. Let ourselves be human and let our emotions be a litmus test of where we are on the path to being an expression of Love.

And not only feel, but also to think. About who we are, how we are living, and could there possibly be an opportunity to evolve into a way of being that is closer to who we were created to be.

The venue where Embody your Feminine Leadership was meant to happen tomorrow is called St Ethelburga’s, a Center for Reconciliation & Peace. I subscribe to their newsletter and in their most recent one, the words ‘Opportunity in Crisis’ jumped out at me.

I googled ‘crisis’, curious about what that word really means at its roots, having a sense that there was more to it than just ‘time to ring the alarm bells!’.

Sure enough, it has roots in a Greek word ‘krisis’, which means decision. The word was originally used to mark the turning point of a disease.

I had to laugh when I read that. Here we are in a collective crisis, and for the most part, worrying that the sky is falling. When actually we are missing the whole Holy point.

We are being given a choice.

We are being asked to decide.

Aside from the actual pandemic of Covid-19, my sense is this virus is highlighting another pandemic; call it a spiritual pandemic of fear that leads to behaviors like control, over-consumption, extraction, separation, and decades and generations of trying to survive by coming out on top.

Perhaps the choice we are being given is whether we will continue to live in the grips of fear, or learn how to reorient to Love.

While I’m painting a very black and white picture here, there are nuances, with no straight road going forward.

Perhaps as things as we know it are falling apart, we can just sit with a question for now.

What do we want to do with the pieces? Do we want to put them back where they were? Or is there an opportunity to create a new future? How can we use the pieces to plant seeds for new life?

Let go of the ‘jeans’ and set yourself free

It was circa 2005. A late Saturday afternoon. I was getting ready to go out that night and was plowing through a pile of jeans, trying to find the pair that made my thighs look slightly thinner and my rear slightly firmer, without causing my stomach to overhang on the top.

Pair after pair I went through, and kept coming up dry.

Frustrated, my self-esteem dissolving with each pair, I reached for the miracle pair. The pair that was tried and true; had served me well during their prime.

While all the rest of the jeans were at least 2 sizes bigger, reflecting the expansion my body had gone through over the past 5 years, I held onto the hope that tonight, somehow, miraculously, these jeans would fit. My legs would slide into them, the zip would close without a fight, and my belly would stay flat even when I sat down.

Of course this dream was just a dream. I could barely get one leg into them.

This was not a surprise. They hadn’t fit for years. But in the rotation they stayed, because maybe, just maybe, today would be different.

Maybe today I would finally like myself. Maybe today I would feel confident as I walked out the door. Maybe today I would not worry about what other people thought about me. Maybe today I would let myself believe that I am just as valuable a human as the person next to me.

That didn’t happen. Not that night.

Those jeans worked a different kind of magic this time. Something more miraculous instead.

For the first time in however many Saturday nights, I finally saw what was happening. I was punishing myself over and over. Telling myself I needed to fit into those jeans in order for my life to work, for me to feel good about myself, for all my problems (including a rather dysfunctional relationship with my body and food), to go away.

Everything was riding on those jeans. They were the measure of my worth. They held the key to unlock my freedom. All I had to do was squeeze myself into them.

Until I realized, wait a second, “No! That’s all ass-backwards!” These jeans were actually my prison. They were keeping me trapped in a vicious cycle of, deprive myself of food I love so I don’t put on weight, swing over to the other side and over-eat to the point of pain, then rid myself of everything I just ate to try to reverse the damage, followed by work really hard to burn off all the extra calories.

If the jeans were no longer there to measure the performance of my body, the placeholder for my self worth, and I was no longer trying to squeeze myself into them, that’s actually when I would be free.

Everything was riding on those jeans. Except the answer wasn’t to suck myself in and squeeze into them. It was the opposite. I had to let them go.

I remember breathing a huge sigh of relief. I could finally let my belly hang out.

And so the jeans got packed up and shipped off to my 10 year-old cousin. I had grown out of them; she would grow into them.

While this was a relatively simple act, it still feels deeply profound. It was not a magic wand moment, with every piece of my life falling into place all at once. I didn’t wake up the next morning loving myself and loving life. I didn’t instantaneously jump off the deprive-indulge-control-release hamster wheel.

However, a crucial and critical shift within me happened. Call it energetic, spiritual, or psychological. In that one act of letting go, I was not just losing the jeans, I was cutting the cord that tied my self-worth to those jeans. I was hijacking the neurological pathway in my brain that said, love was waiting for me at the end of the ‘thin and fit’ road.

I was making room for the possibility that I could like myself, that others could like and love me, that I’d be accepted, emotionally secure, even with a seemingly imperfect body.

Fifteen years later I am sitting here about to do the same thing. Let go of a proverbial pair of jeans.

This time it’s not my body that I’ve been trying to squeeze into them, it’s my so-called business.

Six years ago I decided to be a Coach. I trained, I took on clients, I developed a program (that hinges on this very practice of letting go), I taught it, and I did all the things.

It hasn’t felt good. For a while. The feeling I have reminds me of the tension I felt leading up to that day 15 years ago.

Something doesn’t feel good, I want to stop, but I can’t quit. I have to keep going otherwise I’ll be seen as a failure.

I have tried to squeeze myself into the shape of a Coach that everyone can recognize. On-line, in-person, group events, one-to-one. It’s like when I went from the South Beach diet, to drinking Leek Soup, to calorie-free cookies. Each time hoping that this would be the thing that both satiates me and makes me thin.

This time I’ve hoped it will be the thing that is both fulfilling and makes me money. I’ve started things and then stopped them. It’s felt like a constant push-pull. And while I know that the entrepreneurial journey consists fully of trial and error, there’s been something more deeply familiar that resembles the deprive-indulge-control-release cycle.

I have been chasing after success and financial security, creating another prison for me.

After 6 years of thinking that this time will be different, I’m finally ready to stop fooling myself. I need to let it go.

I need to stop trying to squeeze myself into the shape of a Coach.

Fifteen years ago, after I got rid of those jeans, do you know what happened? I started playing soccer, not just running around Central Park and hitting up the gym. I discovered yoga. I started volunteering. I paid more attention to the things I actually enjoy doing in life, and did more of that.

That is what healed me. But first I had to let go of the jeans.

Life is asking me to do that again.

Since diving into coaching, uncovering this healing process I call Your True You Journey (which is available here), I of course have been challenged to embody the thing I teach; break-free from expectations I and others have put on me, reclaim the parts of me that have been riddled with shame, give myself permission to be all of my self, share my gifts with the world.

Along the way I’ve discovered, uncovered, and remembered a list of things that are a part of me that also bring some sort of hope, healing, or light to others. Some of them are unconventional, hard to describe, and don’t neatly fit into a box.

It’s been hard to accept that I am multi-faceted. Most of the advice I’ve been given encourages singular focus, which sticks like Velcro because my inner critic enjoys holding me to task to have a financially flush coaching business before moving on, and then punishing me each year I miss the mark.

As I’m sitting here writing this, I’m laying that down.

I need to be more me in how I share myself with the world. Whether through writing, music, or sharing a mystical perspective that frightens even me sometimes, there are parts of me I have been hiding because they don’t neatly fit into the shape of Coach.

Now I know I don’t have to let go of Coach just to add on Writer, DJ, and Mystic to my website, bio, or business card.

However, I know myself too well. If all I do is add on more titles, more costumes and jeans to fit into, a year or two from now I’ll be in the same place. Struggling to break-free from the limitations and expectation for success I put on myself.

And so tonight, on the night of the Full Moon, when her light is the brightest, I am claiming my light. It is multi-faceted and potent and needed.

And, just as the light of the Moon will start changing shape tomorrow, I am letting go of what shape my light looks like. And even more importantly, that the shape needs to fit into ‘success’.

What that means exactly I don’t know.

For now all I know is that the cord needs to be cut. I need to let myself be free to be Me.

As you read this, you’re invited to join me. Check-in with yourself, where are you squeezing yourself into a shape just so you can prove yourself, succeed, or ensure you are loved and accepted? What would it be like to put that down?

I get if it’s scary. I’ve been wrestling with myself all week knowing that this my next move was to surrender this. My back and shoulders and neck are carrying the tension and it feels like I’m being electrocuted every time I move.

So it’s ok if you’re not ready to wave the white flag just yet. Maybe there is just one doable step you can take. Maybe it’s turning off your email notifications an hour earlier, moving the jeans from the front of the closet to the back of the closet, or something else that symbolizes detaching your self-worth from something other than who you really are.

Set yourself free.

Let me know if you do take a step. Reach out for support if you need it.

Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash

My True You Grounds – Embodiment Practice

The following process helps you come back to center when you are feeling anxious, stressed, frustrated, angry, can’t make a decision, overwhelmed, or just generally wound up. You can journal or meditate on the following.

Step 1: Reflect on the situation that is causing the distress.

1. Name how you are feeling (the emotion).

2. Notice any related sensations in your body.

(eg I am feeling nervous about the email I need to send. My thoughts are distracted, I have a headache, and a pit in my stomach.)

Step 2: Notice the pressure points.

  1. My Desired Outcome for that situation is….
  2. I’m Expecting, Assuming, and Anticipating that in order to get that outcome, xyz needs to happen.

(eg I want them to say yes to my offer and it’s all riding on me getting the wording just right.)

Step 3: Start naming your Shadow.

  1. My self-doubt and inner critic is tell me that I’m….  I’m also judging everyone else, thinking that….
  2. Deep down, I’m really afraid that….

(eg I always say the wrong thing. I don’t have a knack for words. Everyone else is so much more articulate than me. Deep down I don’t think I can handle any more rejection.)

Take a moment to breathe, and show some loving kindness to your shadowy fears.

Step 4: Notice your instincts.

1. Where might you might be Trying extra hard to make something work

2. Where might you be pulling away and Hiding to protect yourself or others?

(eg I’m trying really hard to sound like so-and-so. I’m avoiding sending the email so I don’t have to face the aftermath.)

Now thank yourself for it’s natural animal instincts, and with gratitude let your self know that You’ve got this.

Step 5: What’s Doable?

  1. Check-in with your True Self: What is actually True right now?
  2. Based on that Truth, what is one doable Next Right Move?

(eg I express myself better over the phone. I can call the person instead of sending an email. I will feel more confident in an actual conversation. I’ll be more myself if the call is planned, not spontaneous. Next Right Move: bullet point key points to get across and then email to arrange for a good time to call.)

Step 6: Expand the Ground

1. What emotion is present now?

2. What sensations can you connect with in your body?

3. Let yourself feel those emotions and sensations for 30-60 seconds, letting them spread and grow within you.

(eg I’m feeling hopeful and excited to talk with them. My heart is warmer and feels like it’s opening. My stomach feels relaxed.)

Photo by Mehrad Vosoughi on Unsplash

Stuck in a rut? 2 ways to get your springtime groove on

I just got back from a walk in the woods. The signs of new life are starting to show. Little green buds showing themselves on the brown branches, and the tips of leaves peeking up through the mud. A quiet birdsong celebrates that it’s warm enough to be out and about, and a mild earthy scent of grass and damp moss hints that Spring is just about here.

Those signs are easy to miss when you’re stuck in a rut. It took me halfway through my walk to actually notice the life teeming around me. Until then, everything was just one muddled blur of brown, grey, and green, a reflection of how I was feeling inside.

This happens throughout life. On any given day, you usually just notice the blur. The shades of brown, grey, and green that can feel heavy, dark, murky. Even when ‘things are going well’, the vibrancy of life gets overshadowed with a more melancholy ‘meh’.

We forget that there is life running through our veins. Literal streams of blue that turn red if they meet up with oxygen.

We forget that a mysterious energy is pooling in our Creative Cauldrons, just waiting for us to stir it round so it can move through us and into physical form.

We forget that, just like the seed of a flower, we have a seed within us that knows how to bloom and blossom into its very own shape and function, when it receives what it needs.

We forget that we are part of Life, and that our lives are teeming with Life.

It’s just that sometimes we get caught up in the darkness. We think that bleak winters of the soul and tears of heartbreak are normal. We forget to notice Life.

Last month I started a trauma resolution course for coaches. My work with clients inevitably ventures near their darkness, and helping them navigate out in a more embodied, sustainable way is near and dear to my heart.

I’ve been drawn to this work after realizing that the patterns my clients and myself face, mirror our natural protective mechanisms. The instinct to overpower or run away from situations at the slightest sign of danger, is your body’s way of keeping you safe.

Frenzy, Freak-out, F-this, Forgetabouit; this is our primal fight and flight getting stuck in overdrive. You burn-out or give-up, and miss out on living in the Flow of our full creative expression.

I’m learning a lot about the impact of neglect, shame, poor attachment when we’re young, how fear shows up in our nervous system, and how to notice all the symptoms that point to what’s gone wrong.

Do you know what though? The thing that’s stuck with me the most is not what’s broken and how to fix it. It’s the reminder to notice the Life.

My teacher Rachael Maddox calls it your Blueprint of Health. My mentor and Embody Founder Nadia Munla calls it your Soul’s Dance. I landed on the words True You years ago.

This is the part of you that has been designed to grow and thrive. Like a homing device, no matter how far away from home you go, it knows how to get you back. It follows the breadcrumbs of health, wholeness, truth, love, life.

Maybe you call this part of yourself your Soul, Higher Self, Divine DNA, Inner Wisdom.

I think of it as the piece of the puzzle of the Big Picture that we are uniquely designed to fill. When we embody our full and true self, we fill that piece to the max. The whole puzzle becomes stronger and holds its shape better.

Today, as I’m writing this, it’s a New Moon. Which means, even though you can’t see the moon, it’s still there.

Same goes for your own Inner Light. Even if you feel like it’s not shining too bright, it’s still there.

The moon will be revealing itself little by little over the next couple of weeks. I love how it models the idea of honouring the process and trusting the baby steps. It doesn’t rush into things, flipping a switch from dark to light over night.

Your own light most likely also needs time to shine, and that’s OK.

Allow for the unfolding. Allow for the growth that needs to take place before the flower blooms.

While some of that growth is likely to require facing the dark and the shadow, for now, remember where you’re going.

Remember, and nourish, the Life within yourself.

If that feels like a challenge (because, I get it, that darkness can feel like you are lost in a cave), here’s a couple ways you can re-orient yourself to your health, wholeness, home.

When do you feel Grounded?

Notice when you feel grounded, centered, present, or whole. What allows your whole body to relax and sigh?

It might be something that feels indulgent. Like a warm bath, or a holding a hot cup of cinnamon tea with both hands, slowly breathing in the scented steam.

Or maybe it feels like you’re in a cocoon, being wrapped and held by something that can carry all of you.

I started watching a Netflix series all on my own for the first time ever. I came across ‘Anne with an E’, and it’s been my go to grounding over the past few weeks. Why? Because as I’m visiting some deep inner child stuff, the Anne of Green Gables character nurtures that same part of me. She allows my Dreamer to dream. I feel safe. Secure. I can breathe.

When do you feel Cosmically Connected?

You can also notice when you feel alive, joyful, super connected, ecstatic. As opposed to your body exhaling and releasing energy (like when you’re grounded), your body might have a lot of energy running through it.

You might think of this as your turn-on. For me it’s when I feel cosmically connected, like God is running through my veins.

This feeling might come with some sort of creative expression; like writing or making art. Or maybe moving and dancing to music. Or even just listening to music that touches and wakes up your soul.

For me it’s often house music, specifically Lane 8 and his deeper, progressive house mixes. I start involuntarily singing because my soul and my body can’t not.

If you’re reading this, you’re invited to nourish these parts of you. Notice when you’re connected to Life, feeling grounded or cosmically connected. Do more of that thing.

Listen to the music, watch the show, drink the tea, sauté the onions, stop and sit on the park bench.

Do what you need to do to water the seed within you has your soul’s unique blueprint and DNA encoded into it. Nourish it. Feed it. Allow it to express itself as your truest self.

Let yourself bloom and spring into Life, as the landscape starts to come alive around you.

Photo by pisauikan on Unsplash

The balancing act between fiercely independent and deeply connected

I’m sitting here writing this on a late Saturday afternoon eating a bowl of chips (also known as chunky fries) at a pub, after a 5 hour jaunt across the Brecon Beacons. A day out on my own. Just me, an Ordinance Survey map, and my heightened sense of directional awareness.

It felt good to roam, not knowing exactly where I was; the curves of the path, wind rushing through the trees, water babbling down the stream, and emerald green moss making lots of silent noise; the only assurance that I was in the right place.

Common sense suggested I should probably stay on the more well marked, straighter, wider, and more heavily trafficked path. Because after all, here I am a woman on her own, on the border of Welsh wilderness, and staying within sight of people passing by is the safest bet should anything happens.

But my independent streak said f-that. Go off road. Follow the vaguely flattened grass even though it isn’t signposted. Just see where it takes you.

Today’s solo adventure turned out fine. Despite losing the track a few times, wading through a river trying to find it, and landing my foot knee deep in mud, it was a relatively straightforward trek.

I love this wild, slightly rebellious, fiercely independent adventuress in me. She has complete faith that between a map, the contours of the land, and noting the position of the sun in the sky, she will find her way to where she needs to go that day, and then find her way back home again. Without anyone else’s help.

I love her primal strength that fuels my physical body to keep going even when I’m tired, scramble over the obstacles, and find a way through, even when I’m faced with a seeming dead end.

This is the same part of me I call on when life throws curve balls; the money doesn’t come in as planned, the relationship wobbles unexpectedly. Nurturing the resilient adventuress out in the wild means that my muscle of faith is that much more conditioned, and my inner compass that much more attuned to meet the everyday hurdles.

This adventuress has mastered the hurdles alone. It’s part of her strength. It’s necessary for her to survive when it’s just her and the elements, and no one else around to come to her rescue.

She finds safety and solace in the solitude. She doesn’t have to worry what other might think if they saw her slight panic once she realizes she’s slightly lost.

The glory of her badass achievements means the topic of conversation never makes it to that time when she tripped and fell and ended up with mud on her face. No one thinks to ask because they weren’t there to witness it.

Her independence means she never has to speak out loud the internal battle that goes on for a good part of the day, trying to quiet the monkey mind so she can finally settle into a state of bliss.

Doing this alone, the walk in the wild and the rest of life, means I can hide my fears, wounds, and weaknesses. The bold and brave exterior ensures that I only have to deal with myself at any given moment, which feels a lot simpler.

Simpler, but not so sustainable.

Flying solo completely ignores and neglects the part of me that actually thrives from being around other people. Not only thrives, but needs the chance to be myself with others to bear witness. Needs to share my wounds, my joys, my crazy, my sanity; and no matter how different or weird or crazy I feel, realize that, actually, I’m a part of the whole. That who I am and what I bring to the table matters.

The part that wants and needs to connect with others is not a part of me I’ve nurtured much. I’ve resented her because she always ends up putting myself in situations where the other person, or people, I’m with pushes all my buttons, gets under my skin, and ultimately pisses me off.

Which means more monkey mind and a lot of work to resolve my own triggers.

Again, simpler to stay on my own.

Until I realize, that actually, I could stay on my own forever, be a hermit-ess living in a cave in the woods, and I’d never rise above the annoyance and discomfort of being in relationship, until I actually face the music and BE in the relationship.

Lately I keep getting nudges to lean into the relationship.

There was the Sisterhood message that taught me it’s ok to let my practical and emotional needs be met by other people, even when I’m not offering anything in return other than my solitary presence.

Then there was the Co-create invitation. To hand over the reins of my work to God and dance a dance that involves a Big Picture that I can’t see, don’t have all the answers for, and only asks of me to do my tiny part one day at a time.

And now Collaborate.

This last message came through in the online embodiment workshop I held recently. I knew  going into it that, my definition, you can’t Co-create if you’re carrying everything on your shoulders, and then during the workshop the message came that, ‘Collaboration brings more sweetness and life into the world.’

I don’t know about you, but I’ve historically identified more with the risk associated with Collaboration as opposed to the sweetness.

Relying on others puts you in a vulnerable spot in so many ways. They might not pull their weight which means you end up doing more than you bargained for. They might slow you down, which means it feels like nothing is actually getting done. Their work might not be up to scratch, which means it takes more from you to fix and tweak it. They might not like how you do things which means you have to adjust your approach, modify your thinking, expose your flaws, which is sooo draining.

Conclusion: It’s faster, easier, and safer to just do it all on your own to start with.

The majority of my adult life, I adopted that stance. When I inherited a team to manage in my corporate life, a lot of those statements were actually true. There was a lot of onboarding, and growth happening for each team member which meant we were not a smoothly operating machine from day one.

Yet when I slow down enough to actually examine the times when I have allowed for Collaboration, it’s true, there is a sweetness.

For the past 8 months, Monday’s at 6am I meet with a friend, and friend of friend, for an hour of contemplation. For the first couple of months, I took on the role of leading the group through embodied meditations. This was a logical first step since there was so much overlap with my work.

As time passed, there were mornings where Monday at 6am I didn’t have much to give. My friend would step in and lead us. The mornings have become more of a collaborative co-created space, with the sessions happen more organically. We show up and bring what’s on our heart and take things from there. Sometimes she reads from her prayer book. Sometimes we play music. Sometimes silence and just being is on the menu. The hour has taken a shape of its own because we all are showing up honestly and vulnerably with trust that what needs to happen will happen.

No pressures. No faff. No planning. No frenzy. It flows.

More recently, I did something I never thought I’d do. I invited in a peer of mine into my dark internal world. We are in the same trauma training and inevitably, it throws up your shit. My fierce independent adventuress was ready to take on that pain and hurt all on her own. Analyze and master it and put it to bed.

But the other part of me that had recently tasted the art of receiving and who was craving more community, sisterhood, and co-creation, wanted to be in the messy middle together instead of all alone to figure it out on my own. I reached out and together we faced our demons. We held each other’s hand. We sat in silence giving each other the time to feel all the feels and allow for the shift to happen. It was slow. It was unplanned. We didn’t quite know where we would end up.

But we each trusted that each other was a whole person that had something of value to bring to the table. And the result was a simple sweetness.

Working with the assumption, that each person is whole, that each person has value, is the foundation of collaboration.

Here’s the catch though; until you see yourself as whole, recognize and claim your own value, we show up to these situations looking through the lens of broken, scarce, and unworthy.

We notice only the flaws. Things that could have gone better and faster. We nit pick. Nothing is ever good enough.

Because we can only give the gift of grace to others if we have given it to ourselves. We can only love the other as much as we are loving ourselves.

So this message of Collaboration is all well in good, however, let’s not dive in just yet. Because who wants to be sitting around a table, brainstorming, building, creating and birthing, without a bedrock of trust, love, and acceptance for yourself and each person there?

If you are doubting yourself, you will doubt them too.

If you’re angry at yourself, you’ll be angry at them too.

If you haven’t forgiven yourself, they will be to blame for everything that goes wrong until you do.

Trust me, I’ve been there.

I’ve also spent a lot of time sorting through the junk that needed clearing to actually be able to thrive, not just survive, in community with others. This junk drawer clearing sets up a critical foundation to sustain any inkling of harmony in relationship with others.

The junk is usually just the voice of your inner critic, doing its job of reminding you, you haven’t got your shit together, you’re not creative enough, your work isn’t impactful enough, and all the rest. Even though the agenda of your inner critic is to put you down, it ends up driving a wedge between you and everyone else, which means that anything you try to co-create with someone else is going to drive you further apart.

So the first step to any meaningful collaboration is to notice your own blocks. Chip away at that wedge so that you are valuing yourself and your unique contributions, which means you can then value others’ as well.

Clear out the voice that says your works isn’t creative, accurate, or valid enough, and you’ll be able to ask and receive help, because your previously named weaknesses are no longer something to be ashamed about, just your human limitations.

Quiet the stern and dominating voice that says you need to always get it right and have all the answers in order to prove your worth, and you’ll be able to wade into the not knowing with others by your side, and figure things out together.

You get my drift?

So if you’re reading this and feeling hopeful that perhaps you no longer have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders all by yourself, and also find relationships tricky, challenging, and don’t know how to start letting down your guard, I’ve got you.

I want to share a practice that has helped me get past my own defenses and willingly invite others in to parts of my life that I hadn’t perfected and mastered. Having others join me in the process of figuring things out has made the road that much lighter and sweeter, and ironically I’ve felt stronger and confident, even without the answers.

It’s a clearing practice that gives voice to your Inner Critic, invites in forgiveness, and opens up your heart for more loving connection in relationships. Whether collaboration in your business is what you crave, or just more fulfilling friendships and intimate partnerships, it will do what it needs to do.

Here you go (click here for a Full Moon Clearing Practice for Loving Relationships ).

Photo by Naitian(Tony) Wang on Unsplash

Full Moon Clearing Practice for more Loving Relationships

A process for clearing out judgement, on the Full Moon, or anytime you’re needing to release, soften your heart, and make space for more connected relationship.

The next time you are feeling overwhelmed with too much on your plate, worried you’re not going to get the result you were aiming for, angry at someone else for screwing it up…

  1. Notice how the overwhelm, worry, anger, etc feels in your body. Is it scattered thoughts? A head ache? Tightness in your shoulders? Something else?
  2. Ask yourself why that emotion is present. What’s the worse case you’re trying to avoid?
  3. Check-in, how do you see yourself in this situation? Are you capable of handling it, or is there some other familiar story? (Like, I’m going to screw this up. Or, I’m never going to get what I want., Or, they’re going to take advantage of me.)
  4. Give your Inner Critic a name and let it speak. Eg Mr Anxious says he’s worried that I’m going to make the same mistake I did last time and then waste all my time and energy for no return.
  5. Allow your body to feel whatever is present as the Inner Critic speaks. eg maybe your eyebrows want to raise, or your shoulders want to hunch. Let that happen.
  6. Respond with your version of Forgiveness and Gratitude. You can use the following Ho’oponopono sequence (Ho’oponopono is a forgiveness practice that originates from Hawaii):
    1. I’m sorry… (eg I’m sorry I made you wrong.)
    1. Please forgive me… (eg for trying to silence you.)
    1. Thank you (eg for trying to protect me.)
    1. I Love You
  7. Call in your Higher Power, Higher Self, or some other voice of Wisdom. Allow them to speak. (eg Thank you for your concern. We have slowed things down and are doing things in a much more thoughtful and aligned way. Let’s trust that different input brings different output.)
  8. Check-in with your body again. What sensations, feelings, emotions are present?
  9. Thank yourself for taking some time to clean out a junk drawer and make space for more sweetness in your life. Repeat as often as necessary.

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

A sustainable way to create your own rhythm and flow

It was the last of our 36 calls in my 1 year mentorship program with Embody founder, Nadia Munla. We were in that sweet spot of looking back and celebrating all that had unfolded, as well as looking forward to what was on the horizon. She invited me to move through this transition with the intention of Co-creation.

Co-creation, with you know, God.

Instead of relying on myself to identify all the opportunities, come up with all the plans, and execute it all, co-create: leave space to be guided and led, with a commitment to show up and do my part whatever that might look like.

This was a big deal for me. I’m a spreadsheet and 5 year-plan kinda gal. Or at least I was.

I’ve prided myself on being able to map out the strategy and project plan it to a T. In my corporate life, I excelled at seeing what needed to be done to move the organization forward, and masterminded new policies and programs into place.

As I tried replicating this way of working over the past 6 years, venturing into a field that is much more aligned with who I am, I started to dry up. Which led to this invitation to surrender all my visions, plans, and ego-led doing, and open myself up to guidance as to where to direct my efforts.


I was willing, in fact ready. But even though I was so tired of the rinse and repeat pattern of building up momentum around a creative project or event that I concocted, only to crash and burn without the stamina to see it to completion, the idea of handing over the reins was still scary.

What if I was pointed in a direction that felt edgy and outside my comfort zone? What if I was asked to say or do something that opened me up to criticism? What if the visions and dreams planted in me were bigger than I could handle?

Oh wait, those are the same fears that have gotten me to where I am. So what have I got to lose this time?

Our call ended and December 20th rolled around, the start of another 40 day cycle for me, which also coincided with the winter solstice and when I arrived in Australia. Synergies. ‘This is gonna be a good one.’, I thought.

I have a ritual I’ve been using since April that jump-starts each 40 day cycle. I use it as incentive to clean and tidy up my yoga/prayer/creative/work room (my version of a she-shed), put on some singing meditations, gently move my body, pull some Moon Deck cards, and journal about how they speak to my heart.

Just for the record, I can’t quite believe I am telling you this, let alone doing this for myself. I come with a deep imprint and conditioning that says using any media outside of the Bible for guidance counts as devil worship. It’s taken lots of baby steps to trust the nudge to expand my spiritual toolbox beyond one singular go-to.

I’ve always had a hard time hearing and listening to ‘spirit’. I can easily confuse my monkey mind with divine messages, and yet I long to hear and be guided by a power greater than me. As I’ve tiptoed towards a wider range of practices, I found that when my body and its senses are engaged, I have an easier time connecting to what I call God. It’s then that I can bring the mind back on board.

So, embracing a more embodied experience of co-creation, I upped the ante a bit for this 40 day cycle. Asked a kundalini teacher for a kriya to work with, brought some clearer questions to my Moon Deck card pulling, and borrowed my mom’s meditation book, Jesus Calling.

I went into this co-creation phase with 2 questions:

  1. What is it you want from me? Ie What can I offer the world, or do in service?
  2. What is it you want to give me? Ie What gifts or blessings do you want me to receive?

The two cards I pulled were Sisterhood, and Strength. While I accepted them with a healthy skepticism, letting time tell if these were indeed the key ingredients for this phase of co-creation, I also had to laugh at the first one.

Because there I was sitting in my sister’s spare room, my shelter for the past 3 weeks, and as you might guess, we know exactly how to get under each other’s skin.

Yet there was the invitation to cultivate a deeper bond with her anyway. Ugh.

My sense was that the invitation was not just about my biological sister. I was on my way to spend Christmas with a close friend of mine in Australia, and from there, back to family, then to a house full of women I had never met as we embarked on Rachel Maddox’s trauma resolution program, and finally wrapping up this trip with a few days with Nadia and another Embody sister as we facilitated an Embody class for 100+ women.

This 40 day period was gonna be full of progesterone, estrogen, and a gajillion other hormones. The timing of this message was spot on, and I could feel my body stiffen.

Stiff and rigid: that’s been my natural way of surviving in groups of women. Put on the rough and tough armour so you can’t get hurt. Stay self-sufficient so you can’t get let down.

I don’t do hugs. I don’t spend time doing my hair. I’m not a girly-girl.

This is the mask I’ve adopted over the years. It’s suited me just fine and even though my edges have softened a little as deeper friendships have formed with individual women, in general, sisterhood is not my bag.

Yet here I was being asked by my new business and life partner, God, to somehow get over myself and try out this Sisterhood thing. I think the exact message was to remember that, “we all reflect the divine in each other.”

Believe me, it’s been hard to remember everyone’s divinity when I don’t feel my needs are being met and my inner Little Girl starts having a freak out.

Yet remembering their and my divinity has also been a blessing. The more I saw my relational challenges as a chance for me to deepen our connection and attempt to be a ‘sister’ anyway, the more I was able to see their brilliance, instead of getting caught up in the annoyances.

This 40 day cycle is coming to a close and as much as I have tried to be a sister to each woman I have spent time with, I have received so much more. Mostly a sense of belonging. Not because we have identical personalities and all liked the same things, but because we each bring our own unique self to the community. Different strokes, different strengths, and together we created something new and beautiful.

Like, for instance, the quilt that my sister and sister-in-law pulled together for my niece in just 36 hours (along with some rocking Rainbow Italian cookies!). That quilt would still be a pile of baby clothes for at least another 6 months before I even got around to decided which patchwork pattern to use, and for sure I would not have attempted making those treats from my heritage on my own, no matter how much pleasure they bring me.

This belonging and co-creation with my sisters happened over and over. Whether just the thing I needed was provided for in generous gifts, free rides, mi casa es su casa hospitality, moon-lit skinny dipping in the ocean, dance parties on the beach, or yoga in the morning, I realized that I could easily have done all these things on my own, but they were so much more fulfilling with a sister. My life is richer for it.

The part that I am most in awe of, is that here I was being asked to ‘give’ Sisterhood, which I took to mean, ‘be there for them’, and yet I received that gift ten times over. They were all there for me.

A lesson that, you can listen to the call and offer what you’re asked to, and trust that you will receive what you need in return, even if its not in the way you originally expected.  

I’m sharing this story with you on a new moon, a time to create a new intention. This is the first new moon of the year, and I’ll leave you with this: If you started off your year with a strategy, or goal, and beautifully mapped out plans, and they’re no longer feeling right, maybe you’re also being invited to surrender and step into the flow of co-creation.

You can use this new moon to begin again. I recommend that you experiment with this in a way that feels doable and isn’t going to throw your nervous system into high alert or shutdown.

Maybe your version of surrender is going for a walk 3 times a week without your phone, creating space to listen.

Maybe it’s reserving Saturday or Sunday as a tech-free non-work day.

Or taking 10 minutes and moving to a beautiful song.

It doesn’t matter how you do it; the magic is not in the form or the ritual itself, but the spirit in which you show up.

If the idea of breaking up the year into 40 day cycles feels like a manageable way to create some intention, focus, and sustainable rhythm to flow within, I’ve got a treat for you.

You’re invited to join me for this next 40 day cycle, and we can kick it off together. I’m hosting a free community call this Thursday, January 30th, at 4pm GMT, where you’ll learn about the power of 40 day cycles, and be guided through a co-creation process similar to the one described above.

Sisters and brothers are welcome.

RSVP here. (Can’t join live? Sign up for the recording.)

Photo by Athena Kavis on Unsplash