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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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4 Keys To Unlock And Activate Your Emotional Power

 

The words emotion and power don’t often appear in the same sentence. Infact, emotions have long been used as a dirty word, something to avoid at all costs, while power is a long sought after commodity that people literally kill for.

Power is considered to be a natural quality of the masculine, and coincidentally, emotions are relegated very much to the world of the feminine. While women are labeled “overly emotional”, we are discouraged from bringing that trait into professional settings, and many personal and family environments discourage it as well.

We’ve been taught that emotions make us weak, but if that were true, the empathy and love we feel for our loved ones that motivate us to care for and nurture them would be a detrimental thing. How can the very recipe that grows children into healthy adults be a detriment to our collective society?

In actuality, our emotions are a wellspring of potential for depth and intimacy. When you shut them down in one area of your life, you contract them in every area.

Emotions as Power

In the Vividly Woman Embodied Leader training, emotions are one of the 3 dimensions of feminine power, along with sensual and intuitive power, that we can resource for our well-being and authentic aliveness. The sad reality is that women have profoundly denied our inner emotional landscape leaving us very shut down and out of touch with this profound and abundant natural inner resource.

At Vividly Woman, we see emotional power as a combination of your freedom to feel the truth of your feelings, and your ability to harness those feelings so that you’re a master of them and they expand you instead of consume you.

There are 4 keys to unlocking and activating your emotional power and when they’re practiced regularly, they allow us to dance the power of our emotions instead of be trampled over by them.

Key #1. Witness

Whenever you acknowledge yourself having strong feelings, remind yourself that you always have the choice as to whether to, and how to express what you’re feeling. By enrolling your witnessing consciousness, you’re able to stand back and objectively experience the feelings, instead of being swept away by them and being at their mercy. The key is to first cultivate your witnessing awareness and know that you have this choice.

Not expressing your emotions doesn’t mean that you don’t feel them, just that you understand that you can actually process your feelings in a healthy way independent of their outward expression. As well, you also recognize that outward expression may actually be a strategy to feel less, instead of feel more.

One of the practices that we use to objectively witness and honor our feelings is called the Mood Goddess practice. Here’s an example of how one of my Vividly Woman Sisters, Helena, used this practice when she was in profound despair:

Tonight I feel such enormous sadness and I sense it in my heart.  I just ended a relationship with a wonderful man.  It had run it’s course and I’ve known that for a few number of weeks.

My mood goddess is Dragona.  She has long black silky hair, green eyes, clothed in a grey velvet gown with dragonfly wings.  She sits heartbroken on the rocks by the sea.  Her tears fall gently into the crashing waves … the smell of the salt water fills her nostrils.  The rocks are sharp and cold, unforgiving as she balances herself above the shoreline.  All she hears is the faint whistle of the wind as it circles her like an angry beast.  The moon desperately tries to comfort her with it’s luminous beams but the clouds are unforgiving … the colour of blueberries they cast their shadow upon her. 

She is alone but not afraid.  Inside her heart burns a warm flame, steady and strong.  Above her races a shooting star in all it’s brilliance.  She takes flight … gone like the wind. 

I can’t wait to see where she lands …

Even with this tremendous pain I feel such hope.  I’m so happy I can use this practice to express and heal my emotions.

Key #2. Harness Your Emotions

Taught for so long that it’s not okay to feel our emotions so strongly, it’s no wonder we’ve become so good at denying them. In truth, the problem isn’t feeling your emotions, the problem is letting your head distract you from the true felt sensation of that emotion in your body.

Let me explain. Inappropriate emotional expression is a result of chronically escaping from the emotions in the body in favor of the perpetuating thoughts that justify them. Said  more simply: a mild feeling can erupt into a tantrum if the mind gets a hold of it and starts weaving a drama or story around the feeling, all used as a tactic not to feel.

Whenever you have a feeling, you have a corresponding body sensation, like heaviness in your chest, warmth in your cheeks, tingling in your belly or any other quality of felt sense experience living in any area of your body. If you were to automatically refer to the body sensations, instead of focusing on the thoughts in your mind, you’d be honoring the feelings, giving them the space to be acknowledged and felt, and the freedom to dissolve and subside as well.

When you go up to your head, and obsess in the thoughts, it’s like pouring kerosene on a fire. It expands the feelings, instead of the life force energy that is your core essence, and leads to overt often exaggerated emotional expression.

While emotional expression is healthy when it’s an authentic, self responsible release of body held trauma, it can also be used as a weapon of manipulation and abuse when fueled by destructive thoughts.

Key #3. Respect Instead of Repress

Our insight awareness, the intuitive Power’s tool, can help us to access and identify emotions as information. In fact, for some people, intuitive information comes in the form of emotions, or feelings.

Typically a feeling will arise, a fear for instance, that indicates there is something inviting caution, even though the conscious mind doesn’t have an explanation or reason for fearful feelings. In this instance, the fear tells the mind to be cautious, and the mind identifies that as intuitive awareness, information to be acknowledged and taken seriously. In this way, a feeling has inspired an intuitive attention, independent of circumstantial evidence. We call these gut feelings. They are actually a combination of a feeling and a sensation.

Repressing these gut feelings discourages your intuitive power, telling your intuition that you don’t trust it, and you don’t need it. Like any muscle, the less you use it, the weaker it gets.

On the other hand, when you respect your feelings, approach them with curiosity and interest, they will teach you an enormous amount about yourself and your perception of the world around you.

Key # 4 Devote Time to Feeling.

Give yourself the freedom to indulge in your emotions without dumping them on others. Use this time as regular emotional cleansing so that you’re not building up toxic emotional waste within you or making it anyone else’s problem.

Emotions that are suppressed end up causing pollution in your body. You feel bloated and develop symptoms that are often difficult to trace back to the original offending substance. But when you are able to trace it back, break it down with enzymes (awarenessess), the undigested matter can move through you and be let go of.

Choosing your expressive outlet responsibly is essential, and remembering that no one is obligated to witness your emotional expression, or has the right to demand that you be a witness to theirs.

Emotions are an intimate experience within yourself, that shouldn’t be used and wielded to evoke response from others. This abuse of emotional expression only comes around to haunt us, as we have to sit with the lack of integrity.

Creative expression can be a wonderful outlet for profound feelings. Dance, sing, spend time in nature, paint, etc. Find ways to channel your emotions as a way to express what’s current on a regular basis, just as you eliminate digestive waste and toxins on a daily basis, express emotional waste and toxins on a daily basis as well.

The above 4 keys will make a huge difference to help you access an untapped abundance of emotional strength and wisdom within you. But most importantly, all women must first acknowledge that emotions are not bad or wrong or weak. On the contrary, emotions are a rich dimension of being a woman to be honored if we’re to be fully, authentically and vividly alive.

 

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