Me, my yoga mat, and God

Amoeba. That’s what the first half of this year felt like.

Parts of my life were dropping like flies and I was left with just me. A single-celled ‘me’, without a defined shape, that could just about slink my way across the floor before it used up all its energy.

Taking action, but not really clear where I was going.

There were a few shapes I tried to reach out and hold on to.

HR Manager. Eating Disorder Recovery Coach.

HR, eating disorders; these were familiar topics to me. I had lived these out for a good decade of my life. Because they were familiar, I had the confidence I could do them.

Sometimes we want the stability of what we know to sink our roots in to. We think that it will give us a solid foundation to blossom from.

I tried to do that this time ’round and it didn’t work. No call backs from the recruiters. No traction in the eating disorder world.

I was being asked to try something different.

Plant my roots in something without a familiar form. To plant them into the unknown. The space between. The ethers. The Source of it all. Spirit. Love. God.

My bank account was past empty, I didn’t have an intact business to keep me busy any more, and the work that I thought was my calling felt like a wrinkly, crusty, dried-up raisin.

All I had left was me, my yoga mat, and God.

I’ve spent a good number of hours just lying there this year. All the labels I was hiding behind stripped back. All the fire in my belly burned out.

Naked. Empty.

I’d lie there, sometimes wondering what would come next, sometimes lamenting what had passed. And finally, eventually, I’d lie there just being with me, where I was.

That can be the hardest part: Just being with your self.

My mind would quickly try to find meaning and purpose.

“Go do a Masters and PhD.”

“Have a baby.”

“Create a social media plan.”

“Update your website.”

Anything to feel like I was going somewhere.

Why is being stationary so hard?

It’s as if we always have to be moving, be doing something, otherwise we might spontaneously combust.

There were a good number of days I anticipated the combustion; could practically taste it. I knew it was on its way because I had nothing to do. At least nothing urgent. No one waiting on me to reply to their email. No crisis to solve.

Scary.

Those were the yoga mat days. Where all I could do was muster up enough strength to roll it out, and lie down.

And that’s where I learned to pray.

FYI, I’ve never been a fan of prayer.

I dreaded pre-meal prayers (the food always got cold), and the bed-time routine (my knees would hurt by the end and I was only kneeling down because I had no choice; sore knees was a better option than a spanking).

Prayers in church were even worse. The chairs smelled funny, the pastor sounded funny (a little too melodramatic for me), and there was nothing fun about this straight-jacket way of talking to God.

When I’ve tried praying as an adult, I sound like a desperate, helpless, winge-bag.

“Please God, please! I beg you, please!”

On my yoga mat, I found a different kind of prayer.

It started with movement. Sometimes music or someone else’s voice to help quiet my mind while I let my body find the sweet spot of a forward fold, child’s pose, or gentle hip circles. I let my body guide me to what feels good.

Sometimes it looks like what you’d call ‘dance’. Some days it looks more like ‘yoga’. Other days it’s just me moving my hand with a pen in it over a piece of paper (that’s called ‘writing’).

Sometimes the movement leads me to cry. Other times to a quiet, peaceful, stillness.

Some days I feel like I’ve seen the light and there are bursts of clarity.

And then of course there are the days that no matter what I do, I still feel all jumbled up inside.

Over time I come to expect any and all, learning not to rate one experience as better than another. Each one is a valid part of the conversation that’s happening with the Thing I’ve asked to hold and carry my roots.

What I like about this new version of prayer… it doesn’t feel helpless or like a winge.

“Dude, I can’t fucking take this any more.”

“OK, I did my part. Over to you.”

“Are you serious? You seriously want me to let that one go?”

“Getouttahere. You gotta be kidding me! You’re cracking me up.”

“OK. I see you. I get it. Wow. Incredible. Thank you.”

And adult to adult conversation. For once.

Even as an ameoba, I could muster up enough strength for this.

A conversation that took many shapes and forms. Words and random markings on paper. Images in my head. Heat rising in my body. Stomping it out with beats blasting in the background. Draping myself across the floor to a smooth melody.

The Number 1 question I’ve been asking in this conversation is this: What is it you want from me already?

Am I supposed to be a trauma therapist? A dance teacher? A spiritual director? A shamanic healer? A writer? Are you sure I’m done with the eating disorder world, because I don’t think I am? Is this only for women? What about the men?

Guess what. I don’t have those answers yet.

What I do know is this. The only way any of that will become clear, is to keep showing up to the conversation, to the dance, to the prayer.


Wondering where to start? There’s been 3 ways of praying that have kept me rooted during a time when all the balls were tossed in the air, with many of them not quite landed yet.

  1. Journalling.
  2. Dancing.
  3. Creating.

You can do this for yourself.

  1. Spend time with yourself reflecting on your thoughts and feelings. Get real, raw, and honest with yourself. This year I’ve used Julia Cameron’s The Prosperous Heart (Amazon affiliate link fyi), and my own True You Journey as guides.
  2. Let your body move the way it needs to. Give your body it’s voice back. It will lead you to your soul. Embody is my go-to (it’s what I teach). Also check-out 5 rhythms, Ecstatic Dance. If you need to start moving your body with more structure, there is always Yoga.
  3. This is you keeping up your end of the bargain. You’ve been given something that only you can let out. Give it space, form, sound, shape, colour, taste, scent, however you need to. Try swapping out social media for ‘creative time’ (I did that for a month.) Have fun. Play with it. Let yourself ‘get it wrong’ the first time, and then keep doing that thing you do.

This combination of reflection, movement, and creating is a rinse and repeat cycle that leads you to your most authentic expression of you. Your True Embodied Self. It’s a body thing. A soul thing. A spiritual thing. (Get it? 🙂 Listen and dance it out here.)


Are you too coming out of the amoeba stage? Old stuff falling away and new things growing inside? Check out The Cocoon. It helps you stay rooted as you rise.

Embody Part 3: Holding your Little Girl’s Hand

The 3rd in a 3-part series on the Embody dance class archetypes, Sensual Siren, Warrior Queen and Little Girl.

I thought Warrior was hard. This one I put off for two months.


My Little Girl

My Baby Girl hurts. She is in pain. So much pain and she doesn’t know what to do.

She doesn’t know why she’s been hurt, why she feels hurt.

She is so little, so small, how is she supposed to fight back and make the pain stop?

She doesn’t know how.

So she does what she can.

She furrows her little brow, straightens up her spine to make herself just a little bit bigger, clenches her fists so she can feel the strength in her tiny muscles, and starts moving. At first it’s a crawl, then she learns to lift herself up so she can walk, then run, faster.

She plows on, plows through. Trying to mask the hurt so she can feel normal again.

It kinda works.

Everyone around her oohs and aahs… Look how strong Baby Girl is! She is so smart! So good!

Baby Girl grows into Little Girl. She keeps marching. She is studious, athletic, musical, and hard-working at it all. So Diligent. Disciplined. Obedient. Mature for her age.

Mature… hah.

Little Girl doesn’t know any better. All she knows is how to survive.

Teenage Girl is somehow attune to this. She knows Little Girl isn’t REALLY mature. I mean, sure Little Girl follows all the rules, but that doesn’t count for Mature.

Mature means you go through each stage in the process. It takes time.

And when you don’t give time for your Little Girl to actually BE a Little Girl, then what you end up with is a Woman who is [over-]functioning on the outside and crying on the inside. And those cries are so foreign to Woman, she rejects them. She doesn’t even know they are her own. So she continues to do what she’s always done, and does so well… continue to quiet the hurt.

When she does that, she quiets the rest of Little Girl.

The part that knows what she needs and isn’t afraid to ask for it (even if its a literal cry for help.)

The part that knows what she wants and knows how to get it (even if it means doing the very thing you’ve been told not to do.)

The part that delights in just about every wonder of this world. And if it’s not delight, its disgust. She clearly knows her Yes and her No’s.

Rainbows, Yes; Spiders, No.

Spiders, YES!, Broccoli, NO!

Little Girl knows herself. She’s fine with her own company. She’s cool with hanging out in the grass with the butterflies, beetles, daisies, and dirt. They’re her friends.

And when her other Little Girl and Little Boy friends show up, she invites them into her world, and easily slips into theirs. Together they build sandcastles, create the most magnificent reenactments of their imagination, and lie in the grass hand in hand, staring at the clouds, giggling to themselves, just BEING.

Little Girl is not afraid to ask questions. Not afraid to not know the answer. Her Curiosity is abundant, and she’s resourceful in how she satiates it.

And when her brain and her body has had enough stimulation for the day, she lets herself stop. She’s mastered the art of the Nap.

Little Girl isn’t always happy and full of Joy. Sometimes things don’t go her way and she gets mad. She stomps her feet, raises her voice. She makes sure she is heard.

And because Little Girl is so switched on, over time she gets the fact that sometimes life doesn’t go your way. Sometimes you can be heard without the tantrum.

Little Girl pays attention to this lesson, because somewhere deep within her, she knows that one day when she is a Woman, there will be many disappointments, let-downs, setbacks, failures, and she wants to be able to hold that pain without wreaking havoc on herself or others. She knows that as a Woman she will have so much innate wisdom to share, and she wants people to listen.

So Little Girl learns to be with her emotions. When her school trip is cancelled, she learns about disappointment. When her dog is taken away, she learns about loss. When someone says something mean about her to her face, she learns about hurt. When she sees a friend being hurt by someone else, she learns about anger. And when the thunderstorms come, she learns about fear.

And by learning about her emotions, she learns about Desire & Possibilities, Love & Connection, Empathy & Forgiveness, Passion & Purpose, Courage & Trust.

Most importantly, when she feels so so small, and like she doesn’t matter, she learns that she is Valuable beyond measure, regardless of what other people do or say to her.

Little Girl must experience all of this in order to mature into Woman. She can not bypass, or take a shortcut. If she does, this is what will happen:

She will eat her feelings. When she has a deadline and she’s not convinced she has what it takes to pull it off. When her date cancels at the 11th hour. When she goes out to dance (because she knows she wants to) and she looks around and all she sees are other women who are more beautiful, put together, and successful than she.

She will become addicted to achievement. She will have to edit the email at least 7 times before it is ready to send. She will choose sitting in a dimly lit cubicle on a Saturday afternoon, over exploring and adventuring in the city with friends. She will wake up in the middle of the night to answer an email, so she’s not caught out and off-guard. She will walk, talk, and type at the same time, forgetting that life is actually happening as she walks, like a ghost, on by.

She will hurt everyone around her. She won’t try to intentionally, but she will need so much from them. Romantic partners, besties, siblings, colleagues. She will be craving the love and validation that she can’t give to herself and hasn’t yet received from her Self, and so it will be everyone else’s responsibility to fill this void. Except they can’t. And won’t. At first she will play nice. Appease. Give gifts. Tolerate. Contort into a million different shapes in attempt to get what she wants. It won’t do the trick. So then she will lashback, withdraw, punish, offend, coerce. That won’t work either. And so she will feel, if not be, alone.

How do I know what happens to a Woman who has lost her Little Girl?

Because this was me.

I can’t tell you why or how, but somewhere along the lines I stopped being friends with my Little Girl.

She was so needy. Always begging for attention. Unpredictable. Awkward.

I think it started with the feelings. I have a few poignant memories of disappointment, rejection, anger, and joy, but they are just blips in an otherwise monotone emotional life.

And her body. It just never stacked up to what other Little Girl bodies should be.

As a teen, I started to have more emotional outbursts, mostly directed towards my parents.

It was only a few years later I started to eat my feelings. It was a 2-for-1 problem solver. I didn’t have to feel and for once I could control my body.

I was 27 by the time I first cried in public. And it was only 1 or 2 tears I let fall down my cheek.

It wasn’t until 35 I learned to match my feelings to words.

For the most part I’ve lived with a wall surrounding my heart. I’m now slowly taking down the wall, sometimes brick by brick, sometimes whole sections at a time come crashing down.

It’s the Little Girl inside me that holds my hand, looks up into my eyes, and starts pulling me towards all that life has to offer on the other side.

She says, “Don’t worry. It’ll be OK. We can do this. You just have to let me be free.”

Free to feel. To get it wrong and make mistakes. To create imperfect masterpieces. To rest. To play. To squeal with excitement and quiver in fear. To delight in herself. To fully love others.

Innocent. Without answers. Shame-free.

Whether at 7, 27, 37, or 67, our Little Girl invites us to a rite of passage that transforms us into a Woman who can handle the full range. How will you respond? Will you answer her call?


Embody is a non-choreographed free-form dance class for women, and those who identify as women, where you are guided to experience a playful, light-hearted, curiosity in your body, so you can hold space for the full range in your life. Check out classes happening near you at www.embodydanceclass.com. Join my newsletter to find out about classes I teach and other offerings.

Are we strong enough to Forgive?

“Wounded Healers”.

This subject heading landed in my inbox, the title of Richard Rohr’s June 15th meditation. (You can read the whole thing here.)

Those 6 paragraphs from Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, simultaneously ruptured and healed my heart. I read them about 5 times, letting the wisdom soak through me and stitch my heart and soul back together.

That night I was teaching Embody and would be opening the class with a discussion about our Warrior Queen. Bryan’s words about the Wounded Healer in us, the broken part of ourselves that serves as the the doorway for our collective healing, shone a light on this facet of our strength: It is our wounds that teach us mercy and grace.

The words that first broke me open: “We have a choice. We can embrace our humanness, which means embracing our broken natures and the compassion that remains our best hope for healing. Or we can deny our brokenness, forswear compassion, and, as a result, deny our own humanity.”

It’s why Embody invites you to dance with your pain; to move your body to music that might feel foreign, discombobulating, chaotic, ragey, weepy, and even shameful. Instead of running away from these experiences, you’re encouraged to dance with them. Explore them, get to know where they live inside you, and how they want to express through you and your body.

Why? Because, to paraphrase Stevenson’s point, if I can dance with my mess, I’ll have the capacity to dance with yours.

Instead of fighting and resisting our own mess, we have to get to know it.

By embodying it… by fully embracing and integrating the parts of yourself that you might criticize, be embarrassed by, want to erase and wipe clean, including your weaknesses, your imperfections, your failures, your flaws… you are also able to embody your light, the Love.

You know, those things like compassion, forgiveness, grace, mercy, kindness, generosity, integrity.


Forgiveness.

Let’s start with this.

Last week I kept asking myself, “Do you actually forgive yourself?”

My answer, “No, not quite.”

My version of forgiveness has looked something like this: Don’t hold a grudge. Don’t let it define or get in the way of the relationship.

On the outside I carry on as if everything is hunky-dory. It doesn’t matter whether I’ve been hurt by someone else or by myself; I’ve learned to keep the peace, stay friends, pretend that everything is OK.

Unbeknownst to the other, and the deeper parts of myself, on the inside I’m standing in the self-righteous posture of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’.

This is especially easy to do when I don’t even know I’m still holding that stance. My ego cleverly masks it with permission that sounds like, ‘Hey, look at you, you just forgave that person! Now you’re totally off the hook for the part you played.’

It means I live in slight denial of the hurt and pain I am actually experiencing. I’m disconnected from myself and others, choosing to gloss over the reality of the situation to get to the part where everything is smoothed over and back to ‘fine’, ‘normal’, and ‘OK’.

I bypass hell, attempting a shortcut to heaven.

A few days ago I did something that hurt my husband. He was mad. I wanted him not to be mad, and so I found myself asking for forgiveness.

He enlightened me to this: in order to forgive, he needs to to have a basic understanding of why I did what I did. He needs to find the place of empathetic connection where he could put himself in my shoes, in order to say, “OK, I forgive you.”

It blew my mind.

It moved me from the version of forgiveness that sounds like, “I’ll let you off the hook and will be nice to you, but I am still right and you are still wrong.” The punitive, tit for tat version that continues to widen the gap between ‘I’ and ‘other’…

To a new version of forgiveness sounds like, “Oh, I get it. You’re hurting, you’re scared, your ego is on full throttle, you are trying to protect yourself, you were misguided. I am hurt, scared, have an ego, try to protect it, and miss the boat too. I am with you.”

For-give.

To give for.

To give for someone else.

To give a part of oneself for someone else.

Like a gift. You embrace and accept and see yourself as the whole human that you are with brokenness and shadows and pain and hurt and mistakes, and you offer that to someone else.

You’ve just done the Warrior Queen dance for realz now.

You are no longer above. You are alongside.

You are at last, a part of the Christ.

The Divine incarnate walking on earth, putting itself in someone else’s broken shoes saying, I see you. I am with you. I am for you. I give to you.

You offer this Love for the benefit of the other, and it boomerangs back and ends up benefiting you too.


It’s been a painful and tumultuous few weeks for us Americans. The guilt and the shame and the grief and the outrage and the loneliness and the fear that is swirling around when we hear how our government made a choice to separate children from their mothers as part of a foreign policy; a way of relating with the world that causes pain and creates brokenness.

Have we forgotten the pain and brokenness that was inflicted on our ancestors, on our own mothers, fathers, and their children? Why are we perpetuating that cycle by inflicting it on others?

Stephenson’s words, although written 3 years ago, are timeless: “We’ve become so fearful and vengeful that we’ve thrown away children, discarded the disabled, and sanctioned the imprisonment of the sick and the weak—not because they are a threat to public safety or beyond rehabilitation but because we think it makes us seem tough, less broken.” [italics mine]

While some may think that recent foreign policies make us tough, less broken, and stronger, the reality is, when you try to exercise strength through a power play, it exposes your weakness.

Denying the wounds of our past, and the pain and brokenness of our present, by taking the binary stance of ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’, and the self-righteous, ‘PS, I’m doing you a favor.’, is our nation’s greatest weakness.

It attempts a shortcut to victory without acknowledging, accepting, and owning where we came from, including the parts of our history that we may be ashamed of and want to erase.

Our Warrior reminds us that strength lies in facing our darkness. Causing someone else pain does not heal our own. Healing only happens when we sit with our wounds.


I was discussing these recent events with another displaced American in Wales, and we were asking each other, “What can we do?”

I’m aware I have an outsider’s view point. I am tucked away in a green corner of the world where the annual volume of rainfall is the primary injustice we lament.

Through our conversation, I also became aware that I’ve been doing my typical numbing and dissociating survival reaction.

Trying not to feel. Trying not to get too close to the loss of the mothers and fathers, the fear of the children, the rage of the left, the indignant posture of the right, the hurt all around, and my default guilt-ridden story of, ‘I could’ve-should’ve done something to prevent this!’

I’ve been trying to keep my distance from the chaos, instead of walking into it as a Warrior does.

Walking in, not to fight or to fix, but just to be present to my own self, so I can be present to others.

I come back to this new-found understanding of forgiveness.

Walking alongside. Empathizing. Cozying up to my mess so I can relate to yours.

It starts with me. With me forgiving myself. Walking alongside my own journey. Really seeing myself for who I am.

Including…

My pride that tells me, ‘I would never do that.’

My shame that tries really hard to hide, ‘Maybe I had a part to play in that.’

My guilt that says, ‘Oh crap, it’s possible that somewhere deep inside me I am capable of that.’

Could I forgive the parts of me that make me the same as the other? My arrogance? My self-absorbed ignorance? The people-pleaser in me. The ego that can’t make mistakes. The control-freak that will hurt, harm, and maim to have it’s way.

Could I forgive my 18 year old self that told a cop, ‘I go to Cornell’, and that’s why he shouldn’t give my dad a speeding ticket (say what!?).

Could I forgive my 27 and 36 year-old selves for burying my head in the sand because my single-status and bank account problems were the only ones that mattered.

My 20 and 24 year old self that cast votes based on how significant people in my life voted, so as not to rock the boat in my relationships.

My 10 year old self that twisted the truth, back-pedalled, and covered up the story of how I slammed the door in my sister’s face, so that I wouldn’t be the one in the wrong.

For my 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 year old self that starved, binged, vomited, and then starved myself again just so that I could fit into that one pair of jeans and attempt to like who I saw in the mirror.

It ain’t pretty.

And yet there is beauty. Beauty in slowing down long enough to find a place of connection to those wounded parts of me.

Not to excuse or justify. Not so I can fix and make it right. But just to see. Acknowledge. Accept. Be with me, as I am. And still be on my side. To be for me. To give myself that gift.

Oh, you’re human! So sorry, I got you mixed up with God!


So Dance.

Go dance with your darkness. Dance with your pain and hurt and ugly, messy, chaos.

You don’t have to like it. You just have to be with it; and by being, you love yourself despite your shortcomings.

Then go dance with the person next to you. And yes, they’ve got darkness too.

You don’t have to like them. You just have to love them.

Start with forgiveness. See where that dance takes you. Let’s see where that dance takes us.

Embody Part 2: Don’t mess with your Warrior Queen

This is the 2nd in a 3-part series exploring the archetypes of the Embody dance class. As a teacher, I felt called to discover how the Sensual Siren, Warrior Queen, and Little Girl lives within me.

This one is for the Warrior Queen.

In the days leading up to writing this, I kept catching glimpses of what I wanted to say… stories from my life, observations of others… but as I sat down to write, nothing clicked.

What came out instead, is more of a meditation. An attempt to capture in words my own wrestle with the Warrior Queen.

May the Messy be with You.


Ugh this is so hard to write! I can feel it floating around inside me but trying to get it into anything cohesive and legible right now is a challenge!

It feels messy, chaotic. Thoughts and feelings swirling around that I can’t quite grab hold of.

I feel helpless. Standing here in the middle of a churning storm. Reaching out but not able to grasp anything solid.

My eyes widening in fear and overwhelm. My body starting to shrink. I feel like a lost cause.

Drowning in the immense vast space of possibilities. Sinking into the black abyss because my feet aren’t planted on anything; just sinking into this thick murky oily midnight blue sheen that makes me want to scream.

I want to sink into that abyss… run away and give up. No wait, I want to scream! Destroy everything and everyone that crosses my path.

How dare she!? How could he!? I want to maim and slay and wallow in a pitiful pool of my tears.

I want to roar. I want to rage. I want to let loose all that is trapped inside me. Get it out, even if it’s scattered into a million little piece that don’t make sense to anyone including me.

And so I do. I twist and turn and churn and wrestle with this process of creation, of life. This thing that is supposed to bring joy, and all I feel is pain.

The pain wrenches at my heart. My body heaves and my limbs flail, as if possessed by something other than me. I want to rip and tear it out.

I wriggle and writhe as something is finally dislodged within me. At first I resist, but the more I fight, the more I feel the scorching pain, and so at last, all I can do is succumb to what I can not control.

I drag what’s left of me across the floor, bloodying my knees, clutching for something, anything to pull me out of this tormented place.

I lie there, tears staining my dust-covered face. Sweat dripping down my weary body; stinging, as each drop washes over a scar that has been reopened. My clothes are barely covering me, leaving my wounds exposed.

I lie there. All I can do is breathe. I’ve been trying so hard to keep everything intact. Erase the past, hide from my shadow, present myself as perfect and clean.

I can no longer escape the inevitable; the unravelling of me, so that I can find ME.

At last it is gone; the noise, the ache. I am listless on the floor. Empty. Exhausted. Exalted.

It is from there, that I rise.

Slowly, with purposeful prowess.

I climb onto my hands and knees, balancing my weary body.

My legs begin to straighten, my hips lifting to the sky. I steadily, stealthy, settle back into my self. My shoulders widen, my chest broadens. My breasts become firm and fierce. As my neck awakens and my head tilts upward, my eyes dart like lasers.

I see everything.

I am not one to be fooled. Not to be messed with. I am a force, a field, to reckon with.

My feet now firmly planted where I stand. The curves of my calves and thighs like marble anchors, commanding awe and respect for their form and function.

The world in motion around them, like rapids of a river, churning by.

I do not care.

I not only see. I Know.

I Know, and it is from this Knowing that I stand and can not be shaken.

It is from this Knowing that I pardon some, offer refuge to others, and close the doors on the rest. For I stand for only that which I Know.

Truth. Justice. Peace.

And this can not be taken from me.

Yes, I will fight. But I will only engage with what matters. I will not dignify the vices of others with my attention.

Yes, I will lead. But only from a place of stillness and silence. What I don’t say speaks louder than what utters from my lips.

Those who have come before me have fought to be seen, heard, respected.

They have fought to earn an equal place at a man’s table. Yet in doing so, they have given up our thrones.

Given up our seat that is shrouded with wisdom and compassion. We have joined in the power struggle that feeds our ego; constantly asking, “Who’s the fairest of them all?”

Who’s the prettiest? The smartest? The most organized? The most capable of spinning the mother, wife, friend, executive, hostess, volunteer, and pie-of-the-year, plates all at the same time?

And so we compete with each other to win that battle.

What if our Warrior Queen was the voice inside that says, “Don’t even bother. That battle? A waste of your time.”

“Come over here and put your powers to use for what really matters.”

Nurture. Commune. Create. Support. Heal.

Instead of competing to see who can tread water for the longest…

Hold each other’s hand as you float, together.

Instead of hustling to see who can burn the most calories, bridges, and bras…

Let your action be fueled by stillness. As in: Only ever take action AFTER you have paused to check-in FIRST.

Instead of raising the volume and velocity of your voice in an effort to be heard…

Quiet your mind so that when you speak, others have no choice but to listen.

THIS is how you wage war. THIS is how you lead.

Your fight is no longer a struggle. Your leadership no longer a contest.

Your fight transcends to a stance of solidarity. Your leadership a posture of grace.

But don’t be fooled to think that these are garments that you just purchase and adorn yourself with.

No. These are not objects or labels that you find outside of you.

The only way to wear them, is to find them within.

And that my friend, is MESSY.

How do you find a crown jewel amongst decades of fakes, piled up in the corner?

How do you find a pearl buried at the bottom of the sea?

You have to untangle the mess, strand by strand. The strands of your ego that have been trying to get you to believe you need to be more than you are.

You have to dive deep into the dark waters of your soul, face the fears you’ve been trying to protect yourself from.

You have to sit with the blistering discomfort of not knowing when any of this is going to end.

You have to writhe and wrestle. Roar and rage. Toss, turn, and tantrum.

Until You are left. Empty. On the floor. With no more fight left inside.

Only then, breath by breath, do you rise.

Woman that you are.


At Embody, you have the space to wrestle with the mess. Through music and movement, you can rage and roar to your hearts delight, and rise to take your place as the leader that you are. Check out classes happening near you at www.embodydanceclass.com. Sign up for my newsletter and be the first to know about classes I teach.

Embody Part 1: Embracing your Sensuality

This is the first of a 3-part series, in my personal exploration of the feminine archetypes that shape Embody.

Embody invites us to embrace our Sensual Siren, our Warrior Queen and our Little Girl.

My sensual, strength, and silly.

My pleasure, power, and playfulness.

My beauty, bold, and bliss.

These are parts of myself that I repressed, as I have tried to mold myself into a more acceptable and uneventful version of me, and I’m wondering what I will find.

As we do in an Embody class, I’m starting with my sensuality.


It’s not easy for me to do this. I have so many stories in my head that make me question if it is even right for me to discuss this publicly. And by right I mean ‘Godly’. And by ‘Godly’ I mean, “Will the church approve?”

I found it easier to start this exploration with a timeline, marking key events that have shaped my relationship with my sensuality into what it is today. You may want to try this for yourself and see what you find.

At 4 years old, I was told to keep my hands above the covers where they could be seen. There was fear in my mother’s voice as she noticed my hands somewhere on my body during our bedtime reading.

At 6 years old, I was invited to be Queen of the Schoolyard, the counterpart to a self-proclaimed 6 year old King. I had my own fear; would this mean we would be married forever?

At 12 I experienced my first orgasm. My cousin recited a riddle to me that, whether or not it was supposed to, turned me on. For the first time in my life my body was aroused and had complete control over me. As pleasurable as it felt, the ensuing guilt was greater. I had no idea what just happened, but I did know I was not supposed to have sex until I was married. This felt like the closest thing to what I imagined sex to be. This must be wrong; therefore I was wrong and out of control.

At 16, my church friends told me I had nice legs and my school friends confirmed I had a nice ass. While some might respond to those compliments with delight, I started to question whether or not it was true. If it was true, I was confused. If I had such nice legs and derriere to match, then how come the only guys interested in me did not have bodies to compare? My so-called assets, were not doing me any favours.

At 18, I and my freshmen cohorts were initiated into the women’s cross country team by dressing in the sexiest/sluttiest outfit we could find, and then were instructed to dance in front of the men’s team to the Divinyls ‘I Touch Myself’. This felt wrong, so wrong, but apparently it was right, so right.

At 20, I had what I suppose counts as a #metoo moment. My ass was grabbed by the college mascot in front of a stadium of ice hockey fans as I was doing my job cleaning off the ice at half-time. He was doing his job of keeping the crowd amused. Confirmation that the attractiveness of my body was only good enough to be a disrespected piece of meat.

At 21, I would dance in bars and clubs to music that rippled through me, electrifying my soul, and again, the only guys coming up to grind me were not my type. Older. Creepy. With a look in their eyes that repulsed me. And so my sensuality repulsed me.

At 24, I was invited by a male colleague to go swimming with him at 11pm while we were on a work trip. That did not feel safe. I did not go. I was once again confused; he’d only ever seen me in suits and boring work shirts. My body was always neatly covered up in front of him, my hair usually tied back in a not-so-sexy frizzy bun. I never tried to ‘look good’ in front of him, and yet there was an invitation to reveal even more.

Forbidden. Dangerous. Repulsive.

That is how I have related to that God-given part of me that emanates beauty and a divine power from within.

It was never a conscious choice, but as I transitioned from girl to woman, I fell into the role of ‘the sporty one’. It was easier this way. I could get away with going out with wet hair, because I had just finished up at the gym. Loose cotton t-shirts and boy-jeans with sneakers finished off the look. They were also a lot safer (and more comfortable) than clothes that accentuated my body.

I learned to cover up my physical self, because all it seemed to do was bring me negative attention.

Yet at the same time, I was craving attention and acceptance, and so I thought my body might also be the answer. If I lost more weight, was thinner, more toned, then FINALLY I might ward off the creeps, and actually attract the attention that would legitimize and validate that part of me that radiates, glows, and pulses my own unique exotic beauty into the world.

Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. (You can hear more about that here.)

I remember a few months after meeting my now-husband, I had this primal craving inside me to let my sensual self be seen. Not that I used those words. I think what I said to him was, “You make me want to look beautiful for you.”

For the first time, I wanted to not just feel pretty, but BE a magnetic force. From a posture of stillness, stealthy and healthily allow my prowess to swirl around me. With a raised eyebrow, a smirk on my lips, and my head held high, flick my hair behind me as I sashay across the room. Not trying too hard, not hiding my shine. Just that deep inner knowing and owning, that I’ve got this. And all because I am DOING nothing, and just BEING this subtly explosive, sensual and erotic creature that I am.

For the first time in 28 years, I had a sense that this was in me. Like that tiny spark that lingers on the end of a candle wick, just before it goes out.

Since noticing that spark, a gentle wind has started to blow, breathing life into the flame.

I started buying more ‘feminine’ clothes. Skirts. Things with textures and ruffles.

My wardrobe is less racist. No longer just black or white. I now wear all the colours of the rainbow.

My movement practice has expanded to include hip circles and full body rolls instead of just the linear repetition of running and cycling.

I’m paying attention to my body. Noticing the sensations that turn my body on and off.

I’m slowly giving permission for my body to be turned on. Accepting the fact that pleasure is not a sin.

I’m beginning to feel more comfortable touching myself in private.

I’ve started celebrating my body through touch at Embody; in the safe cocoon created with other women. And this, with the lights on, sober.

I’ve even let my husband watch me dance.

This has been, and is, my journey of fully embracing and embodying my sensual self. Your story may be similar or wildly different. Either way, I want you to know, It’s OK.

This primal, exotic, and erotic part of us.

It’s OK.

Our sensuality was given to us.

We didn’t ask for it. We didn’t choose it.

It’s a gift.

It connects us to nature; our bodies reflecting the contours of the land.

It connects us to others; and for all the harm and negative messaging surrounding our sensuality, it is not our sensual self in and of itself that is bad.

It is our sensual self, our body, our physical self, that connects us with the divine. Through sight, sound, taste, scent, and touch. Through both pain and pleasure, suffering and awe, we experience the pain and pleasure of God.

Our sensual self is GOOD.

Not sinful, evil, or slutty. Not something to fear and run away from. Not something to be repulsed by and on a mission to force into a linear straightjacket.

It is time to accept our beauty as our birthright.

Forgive the harms and hurts that have left us fighting to protect ourselves.

Release the shame that has left us covering up, or overexposing, our bodies.

Uncover the lie that tells us a mask is better than who we truly are.

This power that lies within you is not of you. It is to be revered, respected.

And just because we ourselves did not create it, let us not be so prideful that we choose to reject it.

Let’s be curious. Nurture intimacy with this part of our self. Create safe places in which we can remember who we are.

Erotic and exotic creatures, made in the image of the divine. Vessels to let the pain and the pleasure of the divine flow through us.

What if our pain isn’t just ours to carry?

What if our pleasure isn’t just ours to enjoy?

What if our bodies and our senses are here to serve as guides? To help us navigate towards the highest good for all? To help us navigate towards Love.

Perhaps this sacred sensual self, is the secret key to set us free.


Want a space space to explore your sensuality through movement and music? You’re invited to attend an Embody dance class near you.  In the UK and don’t see a class nearby? Get in touch. I am looking to connect with ambassadors to help bring Embody across the UK.


Photo Credit: Elephant Journal

Permission to Stop Being Social and Just Blurt

I did it. 4 weeks without logging on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook (OK I logged on Facebook, but only to send a quick message to someone I didn’t have an email for. Note to self… this is why you collect emails!)

I feel like celebrating. Not only that I stuck to my guns and worked out the self-discipline muscle, but my life is working WITHOUT the pile of sensory overload I was starting to think was mandatory.

Not only is life working, there is grease on the wheels!

I filled an Embody class PLUS scheduled an extra last minute class to accommodate the waitlist; all without social media. A heartfelt email worked just as well, if not better, then my anxious self logging on and off facebook to see if anyone had responded to my event post.

I’ve had 3 inquiries about when the next True You Journey course will be. I wasn’t even sure there would be one, and now people are asking.

I’ve been writing. Not quite as much as I thought, but it’s happening. In this new found social-media-free space, I found my own resistance to emptying myself onto a blank piece of paper. I’m still holding on to the end product being just that. A product. A result. An outcome that fits neatly into a larger project like a book, or a newsletter. I haven’t quite grasped the notion of art for art’s sake. It’s too close to ‘play for play’s sake’, and that part of my DNA still needs a lot of nurturing.

You know what I have been doing though? Meditating.

And practicing my Italian.

I downloaded two new apps, Insight Timer and Duolingo, so now when I have that itch to take myself into another reality, find the answers to life’s unanswerable questions, or just veg out, I have a choice between birdsong and gongs, or discerning between ragazza, ragazze, ragazzo, and ragazzi.

FTW.

There’s been a few times I had a desire to Tweet some words that touched my heart or share a snap that caught my eye. I want to have an outlet to spread the goodness and beauty that crosses my path, back into the world.

So now I find myself at an impasse. Where do I go from here?

Four weeks ago I assumed that this break would awaken the part of me that likes patterns, rhythm and order. I thought I’d feel rejuvenated and inspired to create and execute a social media plan.

But a plan feels like a straightjacket right now; limiting creative flow and forcing something that perhaps isn’t meant to be.

So I think for the month of May, I will linger in this silence a little bit longer while I re-acquaint myself with the parts of social media that bring me joy, and also give myself the space to create a container that actually works for me.

My hunch is that I may be slightly indulgent and only use it for what I want… a place to share my thoughts, and daily access to the latest photos of my 14 month old niece.

I am pretty sure I am one of those people who doesn’t actually like to be social on social media. The unstated obligation to reply to people’s comments when I actually don’t want to say anything, is enough to keep me off there for good.

It feels kind of selfish to only blurt stuff out and then disappear when people start responding.

The recovering people-pleaser in me feels guilty. I must owe them a response since I was the one that started the ‘conversation’!

Here’s a mind-bender…. what if it’s not actually a conversation we’re having? What if they’re dreading my response to their response too? What if they too want to blurt out whatever’s in their head and then walk away too?

Blurt Media.

This I can do.

Blurt to my hearts content, and save the real conversations for real life.

Totally self-serving, but then isn’t the inherent spirit of social media self-serving anyway?

I found out that Facebook started as a way for what’s-his-name and his college buddies to have an easy way to rate the attractiveness of their female cohorts; a digital book to rank faces on campus.

I mean, c’mon. Is that not totally self-serving? To think that your opinion counts so much and makes such a difference that you need a technology platform to capture and broadcast your vote?

Why not get out from behind the computer and go talk to her? Then you’d have some real data to form an opinion with. But to cast a vote based on appearance only? That makes only one person feel good… the voter.

Maybe I’ve had it all wrong. I’ve been trying to use social media for connection, conversation, and participation in life.

Maybe the only way for it to feel like a fit, is for me to also use it for self-serving purposes; a place to cast my vote, whether or not you want to hear it.

That actually feels kinda good. Totally authentic. I’m not trying on any games in that scenario; just saying what I think and… that’s it.

Save the dialogue for the pub.

But here, in the digital world, this is not a dialogue. This is just one-way communication.

A blurt.

Whew! The weight of it all seems to be lifting.

Calling a spade a spade. Accepting social media for what it is and not needing it to be anything else.

Now THAT feels good.

Addicted to Joy

We were sitting on the floor in a circle, the sweat slowly drying on our warm bodies, now limber from 57 minutes of moving to music (some call that dancing).

“I think I found a new addiction… JOY!”, she said.

This was her first Embody class, and she had found her Joy.

I sat there in awe. So simple, yet so profound…. Addicted to Joy.

And so I’ve asked myself, what would that actually be like?

For sure I’ve been addicted to food, keeping others happy, and I hate to say this, but I think I’ve been an worry addict and I didn’t even know it!

But addicted to joy?

That changes everything.

It means I’d be constantly noticing what might go right. I would be enthralled and enamoured by beauty. I’d linger and savour any kind of pleasure, without sabotaging the experience part-way. I’d let myself step into the flow of love and be carried and held through life. I’d willingly let my lips turn upward into a smile and let my whole body smile along with them when something tickled my fancy. Which means I’d probably make more space in my life for what I really want, desire, and turns me on. Which for sure would mean stepping into the uncomfortable space of letting go and saying ‘No’ to what I’ve outgrown.

Like swapping a laissez faire house clean for a consistently tidy dining room table.

Stopping work 10 minutes earlier to make homemade hummus for lunch.

Turning off the TV to go for an evening walk, barefoot in freshly mowed grass

Joy is not extravagant.

So how does 57 minutes of dancing connect you to your joy?

I’ve been pondering that this morning.

Sure there are some kick-ass tunes like Ultra Nate’s ‘Free’, and Rihanna and Calvin Harris’s ‘We Found Love’ that can get the Joy juices flowing, but as you probably know for yourself, good beats are not enough. You can listen to the best tunes in the world but if you’re feeling like shit inside, they just piss you off (at least they do for me.)

So what’s the trick?

I think it boils down to two things… Getting out of your head and embracing your suffering.

Note to self… you don’t feel joy in your head. You can’t “think” joy into action. But you CAN feel it in your bones. Which means letting your body start to run the show. Inviting it to notice the pleasure, what feels good and delicious, and give permission for MORE.

And although a utopian world of constant ecstacy might seem like the way forward, we’d get bored of even that.

Five years ago I spent the summer with my sister in Idaho and it was blue sky and sunshine for 2 months straight. Coming from 5 years of what Brits call summer, I was stoked. Until about 6 weeks in.

The constant sun got to be too much. I needed rain.

Just as constant light is too much. We need darkness otherwise we go insane.

Constant joy would also send us helter-skelter. We need suffering to know and appreciate what is well and good.

As a society we’ve mastered Joy-avoidance. We try to numb our hurts, sorrows, and anger with stimulants, distractions, and temporary feelings of pleasure. But that’s not Joy.

We try to fight them off, resisting and preventing failures and losses so that we can stay in the state of ‘everything is fine’. But that’s not Joy either.

We try to comfort the discomfort, surrounding ourselves with more. More shoes, more food, more cars, more of MORE; manufacturing a facade of abundance. For sure that’s not Joy.

Our capacity for joy is only as deep as our capacity for pain.

Any guru or wise-one will tell you that.

And yet hearing it still doesn’t create it. We have to walk (or dance) into the darkness, in order to find the light.

Funny, that’s what we do at Embody.

I’ve never been one to willingly embrace the dark. I was a night-light girl, and have tried all those above-mentioned tricks to stay away from my own shadow.

I’d even storm out of bars when the music got a little too grungy and dark for me.

But I was only living a fraction of my life. Far from embodying all of me.

This past year, I have started to collect more fractions of me, and the key has been to start with my body.

Between Somatic Experiencing therapy, and layering on the teaching and practice of Embody, my capacity for experiencing the full range is growing. I am not so afraid of the dark anymore. And I am no longer dimming the light.

Perhaps I am also addicted to Joy.

——–

Here’s a few tips to connect with your body and make room for your darkness and your light.

  1. Put on a gentle song like this, and just let your body sway from side to side. Notice if your body wants to move in any other way. Trust it and follow the movement.
  2. Start a “Fuck You” list. Say a big “fuck you” to anyone or anything that makes you mad or has caused you pain. The first step is always Awareness, so give space for what you might be feeling inside.

——-

Want to connect to your body and dance through your full range at Embody? Check out the schedule here.

Action Woman finds a new “Best”

One week in and social media free. I’m liking this.

The withdrawal symptoms have lessened. The insatiable itch to check what’s going on in the outside world whenever my inner world is shaky has subsided.

I feel a lot more steady and clarity is beginning to emerge.

Let me back up a bit.

Two months ago I felt like I was having a midlife crisis. It felt like nothing was working and I had no clue what I wanted.or what direction to go in next. I was taking loads of action for the fish farm and The True You Project, because, as Action Woman, that’s what I do best. But the money wasn’t coming in, and I didn’t know why I was taking all this action any more.

OK, I kind of knew why: Obligation. And because I had gone down those roads for so long, I felt I couldn’t turn back.

That wasn’t the only action I was taking. Since there wasn’t any, or at least a sustainable amount, of money coming in, I was also working weekends at a restaurant waiting tables and dreaming of a simple life where serving nice people, nice food, in a nice place, was enough. Everybody’s smiling, the bills are paid, and I can write and create on the side.

Except would that be enough? As attractive as it sounds, that didn’t feel right either.

And let’s not forget that I’m 37.5 and there’s no kids in sight. I thought for sure by now there’d be diapers to change and toddlers to chase after. Or at least a bump to rub? Maybe even a dog and a house with a white picket fence? For sure I never anticipated this childless pebbledash bungalow that has permanent diesel stains on it from the fumes of all the cars and trucks that whiz by our house at 60 mph even though it’s a 30 mph zone. I can hear them in my bones and I don’t like it. Their tremors remind me of a life that I’m not fully satisfied with, and I don’t like that either.

Hence the crisis.

Fast-forward to today. It doesn’t feel like a crisis anymore. You know why?

Action Woman has traded in her superpower. She is now Queen of the Pause.

I’ve slowed down everything, to the pace of one big drip.

Instead of scurrying around, trying to make up for what feels like a 6 month catch-up game for the fish farm, I’m stepping back and responding to what is.

Instead of trying to carve out the path of The True You Project with a garden spade, I’m letting the waters that are already flowing, run their course, and finally floating along with them.

I am still waiting tables, and enjoying each divine encounter that I have with nice people, eating nice food, in a nice place.

Do you know what I found in all of that space? Something that feels slightly forbidden. A Pandora’s Box inside of me that’s been holding my deepest longings and desires.

I’ve carefully tiptoed toward it, enamored and curious. And slowly, very slowly, I’ve started to open it. Slowly, because, afterall, I wouldn’t want the screaming chaos that I’m pretty sure has been locked away inside, to be let out too quickly.

But then, as the box starts to crack open, I wonder if perhaps I’ve got it all wrong. What if, instead of that box housing my misery, it is housing my delights? What if, by keeping that box shut tight, I am actually creating my own misery?

What if, in being taught to be grateful for what you have instead of reaching for what looks delightful and intriguing, that forbidden and dangerous fruit, we’ve denied ourselves our deepest longings and cravings? And in trying to keep ourselves from reaching for that thing that just might fulfill our soul’s desire, we get damn good at keeping ourselves busy. Stuffing our lives, sometimes our faces, with anything and everything that will silence the empty echo of our hearts.

Including social media.

This week has sealed the deal. Or actually popped open the seal of my own Pandora’s box. It’s contents feel familiar. The wind must have blown the curtain back just enough for me to make out a soft aura of deep purpley blue. And the thing inside must have cunningly stretched and popped the lid open just enough for me to catch its yellowy-orange glow.

The heat of excitement would rise within me. I’d feel energized by my full heart. But then I’d turn on my phone or open a browser, and the noise of all that I’d encounter would bring me crashing right back down. The lid sealed once again, the curtain stiffly hanging. And so I’d continue on with what I was doing, without blowing on the embers of my soul.

This week I had the space to blow. It was only a few puffs here and there, but enough to let a few embers catch flame and burn bright for more than 5 minutes at a time.

There is a part of me that wants to tell you what is catching fire. And there’s a part of me that is worried it’s too soon. What if I tell you and then the flame dies? What will you think of me then? Back to the old start-stop Kendra who can’t seem to stick with something long enough for it to actually take off.

Here’s what feels different this time though.

I had a conversation with my Self earlier this week that basically kicked my ass.

I was told by my Self: I am allowed to dream big. I am allowed to desire and be turned on by all that has been stuffed away and trapped in that box. Those are gifts are for me, and me only. So be a courteous guest, take off the friggin wrapping paper, open the box, and let them into your life!

BUT!

And here’s the big BUT.

I CAN NOT receive them from a position of Doing.

I MUST receive them in a position of Rest.

I am the conduit, not the Messiah.

I am the vessel, not the Light.

I am the human, not the God.

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is for me to be me, and let the Messiah, the Light, the God, be just that.

AND, I must keep them on speed dial, because TOGETHER shit happens.

On Being Human and Social

It’s Day 2 of no social media. So far so good. It helps having the apps off of my phone. It also helps that I can’t remember my passwords for most of my accounts so if I try to log-on from a browser I’ll have to go through that whole rigmarole to log on. #grateful that I’m the type of person that usually can’t be bothered.

There’s a couple of dilemmas though. I’m feeling a sense of obligation to tell people I won’t be checking my accounts and so if they need to get in touch with me, email me. It’s mostly about Facebook. I don’t have enough action on Insta or Twitter to warrant a heads up.

Last week I thought I’d do a FB Live to let people know. I was mulling over what to say, and strategically planning when I would/wouldn’t wash my hair so that I’d look somewhat with it on camera. Then March 31st came and I just really couldn’t care less. I took care of some admin for an upcoming event, and as I logged off, I said a prayer of Trust that the right people would be at that event whether or not I logged on daily to see if anyone left any comments or questions on the event page.

Sometimes this letting go and Trust thing feels careless. I ask myself, if you really believe in what you’re doing and want people to benefit from it, wouldn’t you be banging on every door and shouting it from the rooftops? In facebook terms, wouldn’t you be posting about it on a constant basis? Share it in every relevant Group you’re part of? Maybe even make a few ads?

That is definitely the voice of reason. But it doesn’t feel like the voice of my Self.

The other dilemma I have is that on Saturday night I had a sneaky peak at my messages and I saw I had a couple new ones come in. I didn’t have time to read and respond, and then Sunday started my hiatus. Crap! Ignoring them and blaming my ban doesn’t feel right. Nor does logging on to write back. I think I’m going to email them to say, let’s talk over here, or even pick up the phone and catch up.

OK problem solved.

So this was pretty fun. Yesterday we collected some seaweed while the tide was out and started gathering rocks on the way back. We found these funky speckled rocks in blue and reds that kinda looked like painted Easter eggs. Pretty cool, considering it was Easter Sunday.

And that’s when I clocked what I actually like about social media: I can share that moment of divine joy with others so easily. Snap a pic, add a caption about our ‘Easter egg hunt’, and then move on.

I’ve been wondering, why is that so gratifying? Why not just enjoy the moment with my husband and let that be that? Or tell the story to my friends over dinner at some point in the future when it’s relevant to the conversation? What’s the actual point of sharing it on Instagram with people who I don’t even know what their real names are?

And I think it comes down to this: If it brings me joy, I want to share it with you. Even if I don’t know you.

So then I have to ask myself, if it brings me sadness, do I also want to share it with you? What about if it brings me anger? Or guilt? Or confusion?

I’m pretty sure the answer is yes. I mean, I don’t want my instagram page to be covered with sad or angry pictures… I still opt for beauty; but, yes, when I’m inclined to post it’s because I am feeling something, and I want to share it and perhaps connect with someone else who can relate.

I’m pretty sure that’s called being human.

PS These are the rocks. Pretty cool huh?

IMG_0389

A Social Media Hiatus

It’s April 1, 2018. Easter Sunday. The first day of my social media hiatus. I just deleted the Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and FB Messenger apps from my phone. This is not a joke.

You see, I noticed an addiction forming that looks like this:

I’m bored. Check facebook.

I’m lonely. Check facebook.

I don’t know what to do with my life. Check facebook.

I feel like basking in some beauty. Open Instagram.

I wonder how my good friend Sally’s doing. Stalk her on both Facebook and Instagram. (I don’t have a good friend Sally but if I did, I’d be stalking her too.)

It used to be food. Now it’s some digital conglomerate of zero’s and one’s that have become a substitute for being with what’s real.

I’ve had a couple good lines:

“I’m not a social media junkie. I only really use social media because…

It’s good for business.

I don’t live near my friends and family so it helps me keep in touch.

It gives me a creative outlet. When I write something I have people to share it with.”

I’m calling bull shit on all of that. Here’s the God’s honest truth.

I had no idea what Facebook was until about 4 years after it started catching on. I only joined it so I could nurture an imaginary budding relationship with a guy I met on holiday. I was into him, and the only way it was suggested I keep in touch was via Facebook. I didn’t have internet at my flat at the time, and the website was blocked at work, so I spent some hard-earned pounds at an internet cafe (remember those!) to create a FB account.

I friended (is that a verb!?) a few key people before friending him so that I didn’t look desperate (ha!), and then attempted to start a very nonchalant conversation, carefully weaving in the fact that I don’t have constant access to the internet so don’t expect an immediate reply.

I thought I could walk away. Make contact and then not think about it for a few days, maybe a week, and then perhaps when I had a few moments with nothing else to do, I would find another internet cafe just to be polite and not leave his response unanswered.

Well, you know where this is going right?

I’m on high alert. Eyes wide open, pupils dilated, raised eyebrows, and fiercely set jaw, as I scurry through the evening commuters that don’t seem to have anywhere better to be as they exit the train platform.

Out of my way! I’ve gotta get to the cafe, log on for a quick 15 minutes, and then get home so I can go for a run before dark.

And of course there’s no reply.

Good thing I found my sister on facebook. I could catch up on her life and message her instead without completely losing face.

Lonely. Love-starved. Ripe for grasping on to anything that would fill the void. Completely susceptible to the addiction.

To be fair, I didn’t become an addict right away. I’d say I’ve been on the lower end of the hours-lost-on-Facebook bell curve. After I got over this guy, I could go days without it.

Then I started meeting people in real-life that were also on Facebook and it became an easy way to connect. Easier than accepting that fact that if we tried to have a real conversation, we’d probably both be itching to go after ten minutes or so.

Then old highschool friends that I lost touch with started friending me, and all of a sudden my life had meaning again. They missed me! I was important to them!

And then of course, I was checking it daily.

When I took a break back-packing and didn’t have constant access to wifi, I’m happy to report I didn’t have withdrawal symptoms.

But then I attempted to start my own business and that’s where it all went pear-shaped.

I’d post something that was slightly edgy for me… a story about my past, or an invitation to sign up to one product or service or another…

Something where I was highly attached to how people responded because I was measuring the value of my thoughts, my products, services and Me, based on how many Likes, Comments, Shares, Follows, or Purchases there were.

Again that jaw clenched, eyes dilated, and constant refresh of the page, wondering why my post hasn’t gone viral yet. Why my fans aren’t loving me as they could and should.

I give myself a pep talk. “Keep going, this is the only way to land clients and customers. It’s the only way people will find you.”

Survival mode.

Too bad the data shows that only two of the dozens of clients I’ve coached were because of a Facebook post, most of our customers come from personal connections we’ve made, and most of those connections have come through other connections with businesses, referral sources, or from being human and do things that humans do…. Like participate in a world that is made up of protons and neutrons and electrons, not just zeroes and ones.

So why is it only now that I’m taking a break from social media?

Because I’ve been afraid.

Afraid to let go. What will happen if people don’t hear from me for a whole month? What if I lose out on a chance to make some money? What if I miss out on something really important that happens and Facebook is the only way for me to find out about it?

Afraid of those things, and totally afraid to Trust.

Trust that the right people at the right time will come into my life. Trust that financial provision will continue to come in ways I don’t always have control over. Trust that if something important happens, I will find out about it in time.

I’ve also been afraid of the blank space. That nano-second in time where I am feeling bored, lonely, disconnected, sitting with more questions than answers and creeping towards the edge of uncomfortable uncertainty. Thank God for Facebook, Social Media, Email, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Twitter… anything to reassure me that I’m not alone anymore.

Except after the initial high wears off, I am back to where I was. Or worse, spinning into action fueled by more fear. This time, of being left out and being behind the curve (because in life-according-to-Insta-and Facebook, clearly everyone else has their shit together.)

So I thought, “Right, no more of this crap. Get yourself together and start listening to your Self.”

Now, you may already know this, but what I’m about to tell you is news to me.

Your Self and my Self, is different to yourself and myself.

I know it seems like the only difference is a matter of hitting the spacebar and shift key, but turns out they’re different (and fyi I didn’t learn about this on social media).

It helps me to think of my Self as something tangible; physical, like another being. Like an Elf. Or a fairy. Like Tinkerbell.

My Self is quietly unassuming (ok maybe not like Tinkerbell). It sort of watches my life from the sidelines without interfering too much. Every now and then, my Self opens its mouth (I never know if it’s gonna be a He or a She), and says something that is wise, kind, and usually profoundly simple. Usually it’s so simple, I find a hundred and one reasons why that level of wisdom, kindness, and simplicity just won’t work out here in the real world.

So my Self shrugs her shoulders (this time it’s a She) and says, “OK. I’ll be here when you need me.”

So I do it my way, and then (again), this quiet unassuming voice just kinda drops a blip of truth into my head. Sometimes it feels like a bomb, but it’s not. It’s definitely more like a blip. Or a bloop.

And then I’m left staring at this blippy bloop and I think, “Shit!! Why didn’t I see this coming!? This is going to take so much effort to clean up this mess I’m in!”

And then Self says, “Or not. You could always leave it to me.”

“Leave it you? Ha. You can’t clean this up as good as I can.”

“Wanna make a bet?”

Ugh. I really do! Like, really really do. I want to show you and prove to you that my way is better. That I’ve got this. I’m pulling from decades of experience, and hundreds of books I’ve read, and  piles of manuals that ok, maybe I haven’t read (who reads instructions these days!), but I could always Google it and figure things out if I get stuck.

“You do remember that I’ve been around long before you and your Google, right? It’s fine though. Do it your way.”

And I do. And then life gets messy. And then Self drops another blip-bomb, and we have this same conversation, until finally, finally, FINALLY, I start to listen.

Which takes me right back to where I started; my social media hiatus.