I first heard the expression divine homesickness many years ago from my psychotherapist, Mary Pinnager. Mary and I worked together on and off over a period of about sixteen years. It was with her that I discovered what it meant to attend to my soul’s longing to be truly cared for and to value the journey home to my soul-essence. It was only in vividly tasting a homesickness of my soul that I could honor that there was a road I would need to tread in order to truly come home.
During those years of abundant psycho-spiritual anguish, interspersed with scant periods of relief from the suffering, accompanied by spurts of awakening and expansion, I received much of the personal training and soul awakening that has come to be the accumulated wisdom found in the Vividly Woman body of work that is the Embodied Leader Training. There were other teachers and trainings along the way, but it was mainly with the help of my teacher, therapist, and friend (for Mary and her longtime partner at the time were also dear friends) that I had the blessing to devote myself to my own healing, with Mary serving as a constant and a rudder to my chaotic flailing and colorful, dramatic dance of life.
At the time, I had no idea what all those years might one day amount to. When in the midst of personal suffering, it’s hard to imagine there will actually be a light at the end of the tunnel. I thrashed about, trying desperately to get my footing in a life that seemed to serve me up a relentless helping of challenges and dark nights, especially around my primary relationships, infertility, a failed adoption, and career hurdles. When I look back, I can see that while I was learning important self-awareness tools to guide others and myself home, I was also learning how to reverently acknowledge my own deep suffering. It was her quality of empathy that Mary modeled for me that I have been most grateful to be the recipient of. Mary affirmed for me that my suffering was not wrong or bad or indulgent. She helped me take my first steps as a woman who was honoring her way home and would one day be able to midwife many others on that path.
Were it not for Mary’s loving and sacred container those sixteen years, I would likely have believed that my suffering was unusual and unique. I would have suffered in silence and been armored against the pain. I would have hidden further and further away from the truth of my soul and I would have built more and more of a façade to hide the shame of my inner struggles. Mary’s wisdom and devoted heart helped me to witness all of the above tendencies in myself but not be consumed by them.
Today, I’m blessed to carry the sensitivity, insight, and awareness that allows me to sense other women who are suffering in similar ways, and to help them along their path home. I’m keenly attuned to that shrinking back into oneself, of the fear of being seen in one’s pain, at being judged for weakness and the shame of inner emotional insanity. I see it in the eyes, the belly, the shoulders, and the knees; I hear it in their words and silence. I have gathered in enough sacred safe circles to know that no one’s story is unique and no one’s suffering is wrong, and yet women are still prisoners of the belief that they are all alone and no one will understand and accept them if they know the truth.
My heart aches for the lengths to which we’ve strived not to be found out. The fear of not being loved has pushed us so far away from our authentic truth that there is little left of the true self in our relationships anyway! “Who do I need to be so that x will love me?” This question has become the background music to our lives so that we barely hear it at all anymore.
On my way to a Vividly Woman training a while back I had the good fortune of bumping into Mary in the supermarket. It had been several years since we had last met. It was an auspicious and meaningful time to see her. It was hard to reconcile the reality that so many years of inner struggle could now have me running my own training program for women’s emotional healing and spiritual growth. At our chance meeting in the fresh produce section, I felt a profoundly sentimental appreciation for who Mary had been on my path and I told her so. After we spent a few moments catching up we were each on our way. Later in the day, still deeply touched by this encounter, I recalled that many of those sixteen years, and still today, I judged myself for how “fucked up” my life used to be and wondered what the hell she must have thought of me. Then I got it; she was your therapist, Leela, of course she was intimately privy to the tossing and turning of your life just as I am now to those I work with. And do I think them fucked up? No, I just hold the space for whatever presents itself trusting the perfection of the dance that each of us choreographs for ourselves so we can heal, learn, expand and then eventually serve as a way- shower for others on their glorious and meaningful woman’s way home!
If this post evoked anything for you, please leave your comment below. You can make a difference in the lives of other women by sharing your truth!
At Vividly Woman Embody Self Love Intensive you’ll get underneath the rubble of years of self betraying behavior. You’ll get to know, love and honor the authentic you so that you can love, accept and release your suffering story and the divine homesickness of your soul. You deserve to embody self love and radiantly and vividly thrive!