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Body Betrayal?

 

A recent experience held up a mirror for me to see just how far I’ve come since I started on my personal growth journey. A surprise injury turned into a beautiful chance to contemplate how my relationship with my body has shifted.

One Saturday, I had a delicious day all to myself. My gorgeous husband took my kids so an expansive day of possibility stretched out before me. In the afternoon, I brought a basket of laundry upstairs, set it down and then stood up, but, shockingly, I couldn’t stand up anymore.

A sharp pain shot through my back every time I tried to straighten up. Having never experienced severe back pain, I was very surprised. For the next hour, I experimented with my new reality. I could walk hunched over, twist, crawl, meditate and sit comfortably. I just couldn’t stand up or walk normally. The possibilities for my day became much more limited.

An older version of me would have freaked out! Much of my current income comes from teaching dance, so I would have dropped into a spiral of ‘what ifs’. The newer ‘Vividly Woman’ me was more curious about the whole situation. I trust that my body will never betray me and that its main purpose is to support me and my growth. Although it hurt significantly, I had cheerful expectation that there was a gift in this event and I was excited to discover it.

It just so happened that my good friend, Ungela, offered to do a Bowen session with me. If you’re unfamiliar with Bowen therapy, it’s a healing modality that stimulates the body to heal itself. With some guidance and gentle manipulation from the practitioner, the receiver trusts in the wisdom of her body to return to its optimal state of health and vitality.

I hobbled into the appointment like I was 9 months pregnant. During the healing session, Ungela asked me if I was going through any major changes, where I was feeling stuck. I replied that most of my life was in a state of huge change, so that could definitely have something to do with it. She explained that, often, acute injuries happen when we’re on the verge of something major, such as expansion, and if we don’t seek out a way to move through them, the injury can become a chronic problem. I love the idea that my body is supporting me to expand and that it knew just what to do to help me overcome my hesitations.

Ungela also asked me to ponder how could I move into my expansion with grace. What did I need to know to do that? The answer that came to me was beautiful. I had a vision of a flower blooming like in time-lapse photography and the word that came to me was “Sassy”. The way that purple flower in my imagination unfurled unapologetically and expanded into its full glory was magical. There was no hesitation. It just followed its instincts and its destiny. It came to me that I could do that too.

Later in the session, I noticed that my lower back felt like a solid brick of pain and tension. It felt “Stubborn”. Something in my body was blocked and I felt like I wanted it to stay that way because it was safe. With my Vividly Woman work, I have embraced vulnerability and revealed more about myself than ever before, but in order for this expansion, I would need to let go of my most tightly held reservations. I felt like I didn’t want to do that yet and that I wasn’t ready.

As the Bowen energy flowed through me, another image came to me. Through the brick of tension in my lower spine, I felt butterfly wings begin to grow. (I know, pretty weird, hey?) I distinctly felt these wings tentatively experimenting with opening and closing, testing out the possibility of flying. The stubborn feeling transformed into curiosity. The gifts from my injury were being revealed and they were more plentiful than I could have imagined.

After the session, I was able to stand up with a significant decrease in pain and my trust in my body was even greater than before. I discussed the experience with my husband the next day and here’s my synopsis.

I’m experiencing lots of change and am on the verge of significant expansion. My mind alone couldn’t force me to do what was beyond my realm of experience and possibility, so my body took over and did what it needed to do to bring that block into my awareness. With some help from a gifted practioner, my blocked emotion and energy were able to flow. I don’t have to “force” myself to do anything.

So did my body betray me? Quite the opposite. It gave me permission to allow myself to take time to recuperate. After just a few days, the pain was gone and some major shifts began happening with ease. When I was more in my masculine side, I thought I had to power my way through things I didn’t feel ready for yet. In my feminine side, I’m much more willing to ask for help, to let emotion move through me and to avoid classifying things as good or bad. I appreciate and recognize the magic in this event. I’m becoming that flower, blooming into all her glory, no apologies necessary.

Have you ever had an injury or illness that turned into a gift? Please leave a comment below.

 

 

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SACRED HOMECOMING

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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