On August 1, 2017 I drove out of the driveway from the home I had been living at for seven years and the deeply toxic, co-dependent relationship I had been in for 10. I had finally reached the point where I had nothing left of myself to give. I was completely tapped mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically and of all my divine feminine energy.
I surrendered it all — I took nothing but my travel backpack, my cat, my passport, some jewelry and the little bit of cash I had, and I said yes to an opportunity that would allow me the space to begin a new life.
The posts below chronicle my first 365 days of healing.
Day 1 of Healing
Day 5 of Healing
Waking up with a calmness and clarity I have not felt in many, many weeks -- and perhaps even years -- on this first morning in Santa Fe after a night spent with the most magical women at Briana Saussy's A Thousand Magics retreat.
This trip to the desert is my rehab. I see and feel this day as the 2nd day of my new life -- getting on the plane and traveling here was my first. I am ready for the healing to begin. I am ready to face the fuckery I've been in, and unpack the years of pain, abuse, confusion and manipulation. Stepping back, I can see that my spirit and body were in survival mode. Now, they will know how it feels to thrive.
There are a lot of holes in this story, I know, and few know all of the details. But they will revel themselves in time. I am so thankful for my loved ones, peers, and community for supporting me unconditionally, for giving me the space to stumble and move on my own timeline, for providing me safe homes and places of healing, for trusting me, encouraging me, and being there for/with me every step along the way.
This life is magic.
This I know for certain.
Day 6 of Healing
Day 3 of this new life:
I am 36 hours in the deepest journey of healing I have ever known.
The hooks, the patterns, the mental conditioning that was created over the past ten years...it's doing it's best to pull me back in — especially when I am alone. I have to fight the urges, rooted in fear of the unknown outcome and destination of this path, to go back to what I have known: which is security, happiness and daily operations not on my own terms, but a way of functioning that is determined by someone else's moods, addictions, and toxicity.
Someone dear to me equated this relationship to my being kidnapped. And in many ways I was, and now, I am beginning to experience the light of the world again. It's fucking scary.
I am scared. I am scared especially when I am alone. I need to be in constant contact with others. Otherwise, I fall back into the "addiction", I call it, the way things were and could still be if I decided to break and say yes to the old ways of living, the abusive relationship.
I am scared because I am living out of my backpack, my things are scattered at a few different houses (bless you my friends). Because I have very little income and a lot of debt. Because I don't know where I will end up living. Because I don't know what lay in front of me. Because I need to find work and stability and get a car and function like a healthy adult....and I feel like an infant who doesn't know how to do any of these things right now.
If I do know one thing though, it is that I must continue to ask for help — and NOT be ashamed to do so. NOT BE ASHAMED TO DO SO.
So, I will be asking for your assistance in helping me stand again, and I thank you, thank you, thank you for the strength you have been providing me.
Blessed be this community.
Day 9 of Healing
I'm relearning how to take care of myself again, and build a routine, as I also process shock, trauma and uncertainty about the future. It feels strange to have to talk to myself out loud through each basic task, but it is often the only way I can keep focus.
Make powdered greens.
Respond to texts.
Take a shower.
Brush your teeth.
Did I eat breakfast? Eat breakfast.
Look at the calendar. Take note of what day it is. Do you have to meet anyone today? What time? Just know the time.
Make the bed.
Do you have housing for tomorrow night? Set up housing.
Do you have access to a car today? Figure out your transportation arrangements for the day.
Did you drink water today? Drink water.
Respond to urgent emails.
Did you remember to eat? Eat."
And I walk myself through each action, one at a time. I direct each action by speaking out loud.
Today, is the first day I can begin to put some of the financial pieces together. I haven't been able to think about anything outside of getting myself to where I need to go each day/night and making sure that I eat something.
I am scared, and then there are moments of deep faith and calm. I try to remain present as much as possible. And find ways to ground, to remember who I am, and the places I don't want, cannot, return to. I think about how well I have been taken care of on this journey, the deep kindness that has been shown to me, and I trust that all will continue to unfold, and all of the answers will come to me, on this great divine timing.
Day 14 of Healing
Coming back into body.
I have now been in New York for a little over 24hrs and I am still coming back into body. I am still living out of a backpack and a carryall (it's quite freeing) and I am still trying to wrap my head around all of the amazing gifts I have received and the amazing people I have crossed paths with over the past few weeks. The gifts continue to arrive and all feels surreal. When I pinch myself I can't feel the pinch.
My logical brain is screaming at me to build a foundation of routine and steady security for this new chapter of my life (such as: enter the office grind, be tired, suffer, stress, want material things -- I don't want for anything right now which is very new to me-- and have BIG goals) but my soul is eerily calm. I feel a peace like I have never felt before and I'm not sure how to navigate it. Right now, I feel like I am swimming through life protected by an embryo of divine fluid. Everything is going to be taken care of. I have no rational explanation for these feelings, but I felt this way in late July and I still feel this way now.
When I left Briana Saussy's A Thousand Magics retreat on Sunday, August 6th, there was a very clear moment of vision --- of my head being cradled and pulled up quickly from the healing waters. It felt like a baptism. And, the question to myself was...where I have been the past ten years? Where did I go?
I feel reborn and naked and in sensory overload as I experience life in this brand new way.
What do I do next? Whatever wants to come my way I guess. In the meantime, I'm going to do what I know how to do best...paint, create, divine, and be there for my community.
Day 24 of Healing
We are taught more about the signs of an abusive relationship (and that's not much) than we are about how to heal and access care in the aftermath of one. So I'm going to be the one to talk about it. On my private Facebook page (come find me over there too!), I've been much more vocal about this healing process + journey of re-discovery of self. But, I need to speak here too.
I'm only nearing one month of having left a relationship of mental + sexual fuckery of ten years, but, I feel lightyears away from the person I was and lightyears closer to the person I have always wanted to become. This has not been an easy path. I left the life I knew for a decade in one afternoon, fell into something wild and heated and mind blowing for two days, and then left for a quest out in the desert for ten. I've been slowly putting the pieces of myself back together for nearly another two weeks while I find comfort, encouragement and safety in the home of a dearest, most amazing friend, and for another week with family. My life fits into my backpack and carryall bag. The rest, I've been consigning and selling. And will continue to do so when I can move the rest of my belongings from my old home into my new one. I'm taking each day as it comes, as each emotion wants to pass through me, as each thought wants to be heard and then released. I move slowly. I work slowly. I'm fortunate enough to be in a position where I can finish up this 1st stage of spiritual rehabbing before I have to think about the other practicalities of life --like making more money. I've been ok this month--safety is my first priority--and I trust all will continue work itself out-- big gratitude for my communities.
Here are some of the things I am finding challenging to process now: 1.How do I structure my time? So much of my life (and schedule) served one person. That person was not me. 2.What do I do with all of this new energy? So much of my energy went into surviving and fighting and pushing and pulling. Now, I can do anything I want! 3.How do I stay focused on my purpose and path? I'm so used to keeping my focus on household peace & treating my dreams as 2nd or impossible. Me as 1 is new?!
Day 25 of Healing
I know why women go back. I know why they say yes to the apologies of their abusers, time after time again. I know why they start to think that they might be better off, or life will be better off if they enter that space of familiarity and security and false relief again. I know why, that after time has passed, the abused start to question their decisions to leave the relationship. Maybe it wasn't so bad...maybe we just made it up. Maybe it was both of us at fault.
And this is why it is so important for the abused to have a strong community of folks who will gently reflect and remind them of all those memories of fuckery they don't want to go back to.
So often, and especially when I am alone, I find myself wandering back into the old head space -- the one where I could bury and endure and "forgive" all the bad stuff because there was so much "good" -- and there really wasn't -- in between the bad. My tolerance and boundaries for bad were so blown that I completely lost touch with what healthy love felt like. Bad became enduring an emotionally, mentally, sexually abusive three day drug and alcohol bender + the recovery period after. Bad became the days when I could barely speak and lift my body off the floor to eat or drink something because I literally did not have the physical energy to move. The only energy I had left was used up in listening to someone gaslight me and tell me what a fucking useless cunt I was. Bad was no longer just having a whole day ruined (and another bender started) because I asked my partner what kind of rolls he wanted at the grocery store. That was normal.
The way abusers twist and isolate and manipulate is so subtle...the abused need reminding that things are never going to change. I am so thankful to my friends who remind me of all the stories I have blocked. I am thankful to my dear ones who continue to show me what healthy looks and feels and acts like.
Those who leave need their healthy ones long after the leaving.
Day 27 of Healing
For those who have not experienced abusive relationships (I am discovering) it is easy for many to say, "You've had a bad breakup, get over it, move on, stop communicating with him." But what those people don't understand is that the abusive hooks are deep, and there is a deprogramming + reprogramming of the emotional, mental + spiritual bodies that takes place in the healing period (and there is no time limit on this) after the relationship is over. In my case, I still have property ties with my ex. Therefore, I need to communicate until all of those ties are broken.
In the days, and weeks, after I left, I was in and out of body. I needed others to make decisions for me. I would forget to eat and drink water. I was living minute by minute and trying to understand what the hell just happened to me. 36hrs after arriving at my spiritual rehabilitation in the desert I had a vision of my head being cradled and pulled up and out from under cold and rushing waters. I remember the water falling over the sides of my face and open mouth, and feeling both dazed and a jolt of life force energy electrify my body. I could breathe again. And I didn't even know I hadn't been breathing for so long. Where had I been for the past ten years? I had been 1/2 catatonic, but in that moment I was baptized, I was rebirthed.
I'm finding that this sleepwalking is what happens to so many of us in abusive relationships...we are always there, but we enter this mode of survival. We set aside pieces of ourselves so that we can survive.
As I slowly come back into body, and meet the power of myself again -- which is its own journey of the highest highs and the lowest lows-- I ask myself this question when I start to fall back into old patterns and ways...What do I know?
I know I am safe. I know I have support. I know I am wildly strong and smart and capable and powerful. I know that everything in my life has unfolded on the most incredible timeline of divine order. I know I have the ability to create and cultivate and communicate. I know I am love, and I know there are beautiful experiences that have been waiting for me to arrive. I know I can get through this and I know I will thrive.
Day 32 of Healing
Today, September 1st, is the day that marks the first month in 9 years and 6 months that I am paying monetary rent for my own space. When I handed over this money, I didn't have to fear the mental, emotional, physical and sexual abuse that would come with the exchange of this rent. Instead, I received a hug. I no longer have to pay rent with my spirit.
In late May of this year, the afternoon of the Gemini moon, I sat down with my healer and she pushed me to set a date of departure. July 1st, she said. I said, Noooo, no, no, no that doesn't feel right, that is too soon. How about September 1st. She said she was going to hold me to it this time. We had been setting dates since 2015.
At that time, I didn't have a plan -- for anything. I was still coming down from the high of having slept with, no more than 12hrs earlier, someone other than my partner of 10 years, for the first time. I was on three hours of sleep, healing from being abused (punished) sexually for coming home late that morning, and all I knew was that I was alive and this was the beginning, beginning of the end.
As the rest of the summer unfolded, I stayed in the flow of what was meant to be decision by decision. I didn't set up an apartment, a job, a savings – nothing...and yet, somehow, the Universe took care of me, and it took care of my intention to leave by September 1st.
For the past two days I have packed, sorted, donated and tossed so many of the memories and belongings of the the past 10 years. I was physically alone in this process and it was mentally paralyzingly at moments as a result of having to touch every. single. thing. whether I wanted to and wished I could have just left the shit there or not. I thank God for the internet and cell phones + my dear ones that kept me moving forward one step a time.
I thank God for my beautiful friend (you know who you are) for giving me this safe, new space to thrive.
Tonight, I busted out my vintage cocktail glasses and bought myself a bottle of scotch to celebrate, to toast to thriving...
no longer just surviving. Cheers.
Day 40 of Healing
Little by little I'm learning what it feels like to be present, to be happy, to breathe — to be at peace in each breath and to breathe without limits, and anger, and alcohol, and the punishment that followed. As I write this I remember coming home from my solo trip to Scotland this spring, when I rented a car and drove around the country on my own schedule, my camera my only companion. I came back from that trip and two people told me I looked years younger than when I left a week earlier. That's what breathing does for you. Joyful breathing is the fountain of youth.
Last night, I spent the evening dinner hopping throughout the city in the cool, early fall air, with the karmic kitten, the one who helped me start to break the chains of my relationship, the one who helped bring color back into my life and into my cheeks, the one who encouraged my painting again, the one who didn't give up on me even though I was having a scotch-fueld psychotic break at 3:30AM in Central Park on July 2nd, the night when my ex woke up in a panic because I wasn't in our room (because it's normal for your girlfriend to be hitting up the city in the middle of the night while you're sleeping, right?), decided to come looking for me on Madison Avenue, saw me, from across the street, in an argument with this lover about how I needed to get professional help. (As this all unfolded I saw the karmic flames of the past ten years rise up off the pavement. It was surreal. It was the first time in ten years my ex realized he had lost control, and a part of me can't believe he didn't kill me on the street that night. A part of me can't believe he begged me to stay with him weeks after that. Wasn't that poison arrow enough?)
So, last night, feeling the cool air against my face, happy with right where I was and who I was with, just being, just breathing, not being harassed by text or with anger over who knows what -- I was reminded that everything is going to be ok. This moment, my life, have been waiting for me for a very long time to arrive. And, I've finally said yes to being here. I'm excited.
Day 43 of Healing
Things I'm missing as I make the transition into this new chapter of my life: the physical space to create (and all of my fabrics and clothes are in storage, packed or being sold.) Good thing I am hella inventive, love tiny spaces and have a willing subject with a wardrobe, and that I live with, to model for me!
Things I'm not missing as I make the transition into this new chapter of my life: the lack of head space. I'm ready to eat, breathe, sleep creative, beautiful work again!
Day 45 of Healing
Something that is both absolutely terrifying & liberating on this healing journey of returning to the self: the infinite choices available to me. Where do I go? What do I want to pursue? What kind of work do I want to do to get some stability again? What don't I want to do? Will this choice box me into something like the last ten years? Will this choice take me away from what I really want to do? I'm only 32, do I still have a few more years to travel and try things? When should I settle down and build a "career"? What are my goals? What do I want to invest in? What am I going to cherish the most in my life review? I have so many opportunities and so much flexibility that I'm stumped.
I have the option of working and living in Belize for the next year and beyond. I would leave next month. I have the option of working for my father, who I haven't seen in 7yrs, for three winter months, making enough to pay off a large, large chunk of my debt. This will allow me to start over while only taking a short vacation from building my photo practice. Do I get a job just to pay the bills while I pursue my bigger dreams? Do I get a cocktail job in a strip club or do the 40hr work wk in a creative industry?
I worry about being tethered. I worry about not taking advantage of the space I know have to do anything. I worry about retirement. I worry about not building a strong body of work that will allow me joy as I get older. I'm young now, but I won't have this body or this energy forever.
My father equated this moment in life to the experience of being dropped off from a long stint in jail. How does one begin again when everything you've known is no longer? How do I know I am making the right choices this time?
This is what we need to talk more about in the healing post-trauma. When we are without anchors, we float. I have no lover + no children, and Im not looking to settle down. I have no desire for stuff, just experiences. I've always been a traveler, & my family is spread out all over the place. I have no problem being a nomad...
But it is the floating, the moments in between the knowings, that are some of the most difficult. On which shore do I want to end up?
Day 52 of Healing
Ramblings on Love:
We are taught True Love. One and only's. Submission as loyalty.
And that linear paths lead to the ultimate love. (First comes love, second comes marriage, third comes baby in the baby carriage.) We are not taught it is safe to have more than one soul mate. relationship. lover.
And that winding paths can show us how we want to be, feel, give and receive love.
But what would happen if we chose to ask and be a voice for the love we really wanted? How would it feel to make the love we wanted vs the one we are taught we should live?
As a prompt in @jenmazer's Manifestation Masters course that I am currently taking, I was asked to write out my big dreams--the ones that scare me. And I kept getting stuck on what Love with another would look like for me. My track record in love is messy, and layered, and what gossip dreams are made of.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
So when I got still to really think about what my future in Love looks like, I didn't hesitate to write that first, there would be multiple lovers, spread out across the world, each serving a wildly different, and deeply nourishing meal to my heart. And then, after I was full from my tasting, and loving on a lot of hearts, it felt right that just one would be a fit for me.
Because for me, love and loving isn't about one and only's, submission equaling loyalty, linear paths, and only one type of true love --- when I love, it's always true.
For me, Love and loving is rooted in respectful, caring, supportive exchanges, however those want to be shaped and agreed upon by the partners in the relationship. And while I've had boundaries crossed, my heart cut deep, and my soul blown wide open, I'm always ready to love. I love loving and receiving love however that is meant to show up for me.
Day 55 of Healing
Today, I can say with certainty that I forgive all the men that opened my heart this summer and of the past ten years. The same three men that I met in 2006-2007. The same three men that I ever spent time alone with in the span of ten years. (I saw the two men who were bookends of my ten year relationship, each just once for a meal during the years 2011-12.) The same three men that closed out my 2017.
I forgive my abusive ex of ten years. I thank him for the financial resources he gave me to experience so much of the beauty in this world. I release him. He is released, fully.
I forgive the soulmate who I wanted to marry then and now, the one who ghosted me in August of 2007 and again in August of 2017. I thank him for giving me the courage to leave my abusive relationship in one swift afternoon, and for the space to experience security, love and support like I never had before. I release him. I release my attachments to what I wanted him to be, fully.
I finally (and this one took the longest) forgive the karmic kitten for his abuses in 2007 and the spontaneous blowup that led to the end of our relationship that one very fast morning. Even though he apologized and apologized, I never fully forgave him. And now I do. I let it go, fully. I thank him for showing up again this spring and showing me the way to not only back to me, but to endless laughter. I release my attachments to wanting him to be whoever I want him to be. He will always and only be who he wants to be. I release him and I love him, fully.
And I forgive myself. For any choices I may have layered with shame or guilt, for any choices I made that left others in pain and longing.
May this now wide open space of my heart + life be just what it needs to be for as long as it needs to be. May it be a space for me or the one waiting to come in. May it be love. May it be beauty.
And so it is.
Day 68 of Healing
In some ways, I'm beginning to feel like myself again. Laughing is the norm, no longer the exception. I think I want to put mascara on today, and maybe wear a Gucci scarf just because. My nails are beautiful. I'm ready to go to a restaurant again. I think I might work in the garden this afternoon. I have a trainer starting Monday. And my running splits are faster than they were in June. I LOVE working. I wish I could work more, and more, and everyday (and, I will be soon.)
It might be the Aries full moon, but I'm also beginning to feel a mighty wave of grieving. Listing designer items from my storage unit, items that filled my heart for the past ten years of my life, has been hard -- and, not hard because I am letting "things" go, but hard because those things used to mean something to me. Today, my values are different. Today, I rather have lenses and lighting equipment to make my documentary project than 10 designer handbags.
I'm still learning how to distribute and manage my time and energy -- I have so much of it! What do I do with it all. And, whatever is this thing called relaxing? I'm not ready to relax. I'm not ready to face some of the grieving that will surface when I am relaxing. Right now, any way I can go-go-go feels more supportive to my healing.
Yesterday, in talking with a domestic violence survivor I was finally able to say, out loud, and to someone else, "I was raped." And raped more times than I ever recorded in my journal or can count. And after that conversation, I was able to tell someone else close to me some of the stories about those rapes that were too difficult for me to read out loud back in July and August. My voice has come so far.
Last night, dreams brought forth the movement of even more energy around places I once called home. In my dream, I let the home in Colorado, that I loved so dearly, go. It is no longer for me. There will one day be a new home. Or, as my favorite healer, Lisa Claudia Briggs says, "You are always free, and you are always home."
Some days I feel high, excited, fantastic...and other days I swing low. The fall months have always been difficult for me -- this is when the depression kicks in. But, it is not nearly as dark this year. I'm swimming through the unknown, and it is far brighter than what was familiar. I will get through this.
I feel it was important to write today, and to continue to write about the healing journey in real time, because I don't want to forget the process, and I don't want to show just the highlights, and I don't want women who are also on this journey or who are about to be on this journey, to think they can't walk this path and/or that they are alone. I don't want to show just the before and the after. I want to show all that goes on in the during. For me, the toughest part of this process is the reclaiming, the relearning, it's in the during. Building an identity that is not pre-determined for us is so hard, but from what I've heard, so, so worth it.
Day 76 of Healing
I took myself on a date yesterday, a celebration of self and how far I have come in my healing. Yesterday was 75 days. I've said goodbye to a lot, but I've picked up so much of myself. So, I wanted to treat myself to a dream day, and solo, to fill my cup with the beauty I love, but was often so stained by abuse, for the next 4-6 months before I go away into the woods, into the mountains and into the places of Europe that want to embrace me.
First stop: @bisou.ny, the ONLY salon I will get the red nails applied (but this time I went for champagne pink -- it was a Queen of Diamonds day darling.) A walk through Soho brought me to @whatgoesaroundnyc where I found an incredible @jpgaultierofficial vintage blouse of black velvet. Then, it was uptown for a matinee at the @nyphilharmonic which was perfect and dreamy and where I did some active imagination journeying through the sets. Followed by a class at @cycfitnessAstor Place because those classes help me sweat out five pounds -- and good thing... my 'Fuck You, I'm Free' dinner reservation was a seat for one at the exquisite @ateranyc... I was thrilled to have been seated center, in the command position as one would say in Feng Shui, at the U-shaped counter, directly facing the kitchen and all chefs. It was the Jesus seat yall. 6 people flanked me on either side.
As the cab took me home last night I leaned my head back, eyes toward the sky. Passing the beautifully lit beaux arts buildings reminded me of being in Europe -- which I usually am in at this time of year, but now, new rituals and new adventures await.
Yesterday was a dream day, so perfect and so easy, so perfectly ME, I was high on beauty until 4am. .
Things I discovered about myself through the events of this day: I'm 1000% ok making decisions for myself. I need this beauty in my life. It is non-negotiable. I am deserving. I am loved and I am love. I am made of magic. This world is magic. I'm going to be ok.
Day 82 of Healing
Today, I am deeply grateful for the wild twists and turns of my life. I am grateful for all of the women who helped me strengthen my voice and rise this year. I am grateful for the men I loved -- and the ones I am about to love. I am grateful for all of my clients, peers, communities, friends, healers and those that showed up in my life just for a moment to give me something I needed to carry forward on this journey. I am grateful for the ups and downs, thecertainties and the unknowns. I feel strong. I feel confident. I feel sure about my work. I feel ready to uplevel into the position of CEO of my life and business as Jupiter makes his way over to my Pluto in Scorpio next weekend.
I am so excited for this winter and the year to come. I have been diligent and thorough in all of my homework and exercises during this Saturn in the 2nd House transit of two years and I am looking forward to all of the gold stars that will follow when Saturn makes his way into my Third House/Capricorn this March.
2018 is a personal 9 year for me and I know I will be ready to wrap up the last bits of this chapter next year -- all the lessons about financial independence and personal values, adulting, following through on all the dreams I had but put to the side (like running a 50 -- and not so coincidentally I trained for my first marathon during the last Jupiter in Scorpio transit)...And I know there are going to be some fantastic new beginnings as a result.
*throws magical confetti everywhere* Let the work smart/play big chapter begin!
Day 83 of Healing
Something I've been struggling with these past few weeks: is happiness supposed to come this easily? Am I supposed to want more? Isn't there supposed to be struggle, exhaustion, sadness and anger? I'm not finding it or feeling it. Every once in a while, a wave of grief surfaces for what was, but...I don't want for anything I've been taught to want. I'm not seeking love, a family, children, a home to buy, things to fill me. I'm happy with what I have and all that can be found within me. And I trust that beauty and money will always be around me. It always has.
When I think about what I want, it is to make great work, to travel, to pay off my debt, to save, and to leave the world in a better place than when I entered it.
I had all the things. I know their energetic weight and financial cost. I'm not interested. And I don't feel like I have anything to prove to anyone. I just want to live freely and in love. I want to eat well, always have a view and sleep in clean sheets. I wear the same thing everyday. I have everything I need. Yes, I have goals, but titles, addresses and possessions don't define me. I live for experiences. Shit, we all end up in the same place anyway.
Day 83 of Healing II
Took myself on another glorious date last night to see Joshua Bell @nyphilharmonic.
I took myself on two dates this week, one to a nice dinner after @cycfitness Astor Place (my favorite of them all) where the instructor played Kesha's "Praying", and spoke about honoring the self, loving the self, not letting anyone tell you you can't create your dreams, as the second to last song in that all out up hill climb. I bawled on the bike. I heard that song the day after leaving and it was a beautiful send-off sign that this transition is complete and the next chapter is ready for me.
I'm discovering so much about myself -- I knew things before, but never like this. I feel so comfortable with my own company. I feel beautiful again. I'm confident in what I know. I'm learning about the #nonnegotiablebeautyI must have in this life. [I'm getting a membership to the symphony.] I'm learning about people, and men especially, and life outside of what I was told was possible.
I'm getting clear on who I want in my life -- I will accept only people who are kind, sensitive, thoughtful, have integrity and strong self-sovereignty, generous, considerate, supportive, curious, imaginative, a doer, and confident in their being --- and if they are not, they are working on it. And I've decided, I want a strong man (of heart and soul and body) to be in partnership with within the next year. My commitment to self was that I would not be in a relationship for one year...I needed to make myself whole first...and I still feel this timeline will be kept naturally because of the way my life is unfolding...and then he is going to come in. I trust this. Just like I have trusted this entire process...and the miracles keep showing up. ❤️
Day 93 of Healing
...And I think the tremendous change my life has undergone this year is finally hitting me. For the first time in this journey of healing I am scared. I am so scared.
It hit me. The tremendous change my life has undergone has finally hit me. And in between the packing and the purging, it has been sobs of deep release and shots of whiskey. Thank god for my healer and my housemate and my girlfriends spread out across the internet.
I'm saying goodbye to more than Long Island. I'm saying goodbye to the past ten years. I'm saying goodbye to the first friend I ever made here, one of my sisters, and the woman who never said no to taking me in all of those wild and early mornings this summer.
I picked up the last things here from my ex -- my paintings. One of them was the very first canvas I painted in 2006/7, the one that would lead me into shows right before I stopped painting all together, the one that visually marked the last great transition of my life --when THIS most recent chapter really started stirring.
I said my goodbyes to the karmic kitten tonight -- the billionaire baby who kicked off this whole chapter of unusual love, sex and crazy, ten years ago...who has now closed it for me this year. Jupiter in Scorpio -- That is major Jupiter in Scorpio.
Driving through my old neighborhood today, I saw that so much has changed. Houses were demolished. New ones were being built. The land where I used to photograph the wildflowers and harvest the mugwort now has a big "no trespassing" sign and fence blocking off all entrances.
Life isn't the same anymore. This is it. This is it. And there is no going back. Into the New I go.
Day 98 of Healing / Month 1 of the woods.
Like a steady stream
That trickles through the forest,
I will persevere.
Though my journey is unknown,
I know I'll reach the ocean.
(Poem Joshua Kirby)
Day 106 of Healing
Last night, I stood outside in the darkest space I have seen for quite some time (we don't have many houses 'round here; town population 234) and I watched the thick vapors of my breath rise up in the glow of my headlamp. As I stood there, in blackness and in silence, I recorded the call of an owl, whooo - whooo-ing every 24 seconds.
In the woods I am meeting the world and myself outside of the noise and hustle of the internet. I'm discovering who I am outside of what I know of myself. And everyday, I have been scared: who will I meet? What will I uncover, lose, and strengthen of self? Am I making the right decisions? What will become of me?...What will I become?
I've met hunters of all kinds, including a man who has taken home three leopards. I came here with an open heart and mind, zero expectations, and so much curiosity to learn about why these men hunt. And this one in particular, whose guts and spiritual energy I needed exposure to at this time for my own dream's survival, but whose vim for killing strikes my heart and values in very different ways, is just the type of person I was particularly interested in crossing paths with.
But they all have been fascinating. Life is complicated, and I'm learning this fall that I can both be grateful for and horrified by the same energy.
Day 109 of Healing / Day 13 in the woods
I love men.
I love telling them I love them.
I love being with them.
I love loving on them.
I love men.
And I love love. I love falling in love. I love loving. I love watching people in-love. I even love that I fall hard and fast. And I embrace the hurt that comes after. Because then I get to love all over again.
I think, what is life without love?
I've been learning so much this year about the complexity and varied ways one can love. For so long I only knew how to love in two ways: one was an instant, deep (yet strained) and karmic soul love for someone who now watches over me from the heavens above, and one was a toxic, abusive and dependent love for a decade. I didn't know how to love myself, and how to love myself independent of loving someone else, and I wasn’t aware that I could love in so many shapes, shades and forms. This year alone, I loved in one way for a man who helped bring a color back into my cheeks I hadn’t seen for almost a decade -- we were lovers and lovers again, and now just friends. I will always love him. I loved another man in the most heart-opening of ways, taking risk on the highest highs and ending up enduring the lowest blows...but I'll keep showing up for love. Him? No. In that time there was also the man I had long been ready to let go of but loved very much in the life we built together and the lives before this one. I still love this man even though I do not care to ever see him again. He doesn't deserve my attention nor my love; I'm learning about love with boundaries.
I'm learning so much about love (and infidelity) -- and people -- through conversations with my sisters and, most especially, the men I have come to know this year.
I lost count of how many wonderful men I’ve met in the last few months of this year: hunters, travelers, lawyers, contractors, artists, commercial fishermen. Rich men, poor men. Bachelors, divorced men, married men, fathers, fatherless men. Men who sued their ex wives' lovers for withholding affection. Men who opened my heart and men who broke it. So many men. More men in the past 6 months than in the past ten years. And, I have loved talking to each and every one of them.
I’m witnessing and listening to the beat of love through the stories of beautiful men.
The biggest surprise so far? I didn’t know men could be so sensitive and self-aware. I forgot that men could be good. That some were raised to be respectful, honest and caring. That they could desire heart connection and physical affection. And that they could turn just as dormant in their hearts and sexuality to survive their lives. I forgot that I could have deep and meaningful conversations about love and life with men. I didn’t know I could take a liking to so many men. I didn’t know I could feel so many forms of love for men.
And from this I am becoming clear on the monogamous love I want to end up with and in. But right now? I'm pretty certain I want to sample all the men I can. To you wonderful, wonderful men.
Day 121 of Healing
My old life, it feels far removed from the space I am in today – physically, spiritually, mentally, in heart and in love.
I rarely think about the land I used to live, the things I used to own, the old relationships. It's over and done with. All of it. The deck has been cleared, and it feels amazing.
Though the lessons of the woods aren't easy. I am always shuffling in between loneliness and being alone, self-consciousness and confidence, restlessness and rest. I'm learning patience after a fast four months of risk-taking and cliff-jumping. I'm learning how to rise early (430) and breathe in slow mornings in the woods and on the water instead of rolling out of bed and hopping into digital lands. Any extra moments I have to myself outside of work at the camp, I'm shooting: pistols to photographs. And, I'm finding my voice.
This six month period of transition is coming to a close as we near the holidays and Saturn's move into my third house Capricorn. And, everything has been delivered right on time. Right on target. This Universe is brilliant. I couldn't have asked for a better guide.
Bang, bang from the woods y'all.
Day 123 of Healing.
What do I know is true?
Beauty – beauty will always surround me.
I was asked this very question on the first day I arrived in the desert to begin my spiritual rehabbing. "What do you know to be true?" my mentor and healer asked. At the time, my answer was, "This Universe is magic. Miracles are present everyday, and I am in the wild flow of them."
I have sat with this question almost everyday since, and every time I am scared about what the future will not bring. This question reminds me to trust in this life I have been given, in the life I have been living. This question reminds me that the answers have always shown up and the biggest gifts have always followed the biggest risks. This question reminds me that, yes, beauty has always shown up for me. Beauty is always around me. I will never be without because beauty – and love – are me.
Day 127 of Healing
Chests rising. Hearts beating. Blood pumping. Carnal desires reminding me that I am alive again.
Though it has only been four months since I left the physical life I knew, my heart had been staring out the door long before that. And, being in the woods has given me the time to sift through what I really want in love vs. what I've been told my love with someone should look like. What I do know now, that I didn't know before, is that my heart most certainly wants to beat alongside someone else's.
I enjoy being in partnership. I enjoy deep bonds and intimacy. I enjoy giving to, sharing with and caring for another. Those acts of love fill me, and I want to be with someone whose heart is going to feel full from those acts of love too.
Being in the woods has also given me the space to see the someone I want to be in-love with while also remaining open to what I may not yet know I want and need in love. What I do know going forward, is that I will only exchange my energy with someone who is going to show up as fully as me in partnership and love. I do know I'm done forming myself into the shape of what someone else needs in love. I'm done yearning for something from someone that will never be. I'm done settling and I'm done waiting. And I'm *almost* ready and available for deep love.
Day 136 of Healing
Sometimes, I wonder if these woods are hardening me, if they are scraping away the sensitivity and replacing it with -- I don't want to say callousness, because that is not what it is...I'm not callous and I'm not hardened...I don't do tolerance anymore. I'm still sensitive, but I'm learning how to hold and handle my power.
And truth. And voice. And rights. And what is fair and just. And what my gut says.
In these woods I'm learning about love and life and death and showing up, and speaking up. I'm learning about the rights I have as a survivor, and over my property, and as someone who was in a ten year relationship with residency and ownership in multiple states. I'm learning about what is mine to reclaim.
I'm learning about what I will and will not say yes to, give in to, be intimidated into. I'm learning how to stand up for myself. And how to draw, manage and protect boundaries. I'm *learning* how to choose courage over fear everyday.
Day 148 of Healing / Day 51 in the Woods
That’s how I start every journal entry in my book before I go to bed each night. Sometimes, I cannot believe I have traveled such a distance spiritually, emotionally, physically, in heart and education and soul evolution. Sometimes I wonder who I am, what pieces of self I will ever see again, and what has been waiting within me to be revealed.
Sometimes, I wonder what was real, what was an experiment, what was manipulated and warped, and what will be true for me going forward.
Sometimes, I wonder if I will ever feel like an adult or be a mom or find someone who will love me as intensely as I him.
Sometimes, I wonder if the one I thought was the one, twice, still is the one even though he left my heart deeply wounded. I’ve never felt anything before or after like I did for him.
Sometimes, I wonder where I will end up living, traveling, passing through and what will be important to me in all under the roof of “Home” going forward.
Sometimes, I wonder...what do I really like and value? What do I want to continue experiencing in this world? What is non negotiable to me no matter what anyone else thinks?
Sometimes, I wonder what I will create and where my creative heart will lead me? Where will my career take me? What will be my legacy?
Sometimes, I wonder why I wonder about all of this stuff...but the beauty of all this wondering is that I get to wonder at what all of it can be. ✨♥️
Day 150 of Healing
I can’t believe it. I can. And I can’t.
The other night, I laid in bed, scrolling back through my feed from the past few years, and I had forgotten how many times I subtly hinted at the abuse I was going through. If you read carefully you will find these references to the fractured parts of my life, especially from 2014-17. And, there are experiences long before then, that I privately journaled about, that are kept within every phone I’ve owned since 2009, and journal since 2007. I wish I had kept even better documentation of the bits and pieces of my life that surface in my memory. Some days, something will trigger a feeling or a visual, something I had long forgotten about. Everyday, I realize more and more how deep I was in the mental and sexual abuse. (Sorry Mom.) I realize more and more how fucking blown my boundaries were — on Day 3 of Healing I had a vision of my head being pulled up from under water and I was finally able to take a breath after ten years of being cut off from air — it felt like waterboarding, or that I had been abducted by aliens and just jolted from a deep ten year coma in one of those gel cocoons, gasping for oxygen. That vision is the closest feeling of alignment to God and the Divine I have ever experienced — like a NDE.
Within my healing, there have been two self-assigned pieces of homework that have been most enduring...and most rewarding? The relearning of time management and the relationship between wanting and happiness.
I no longer want for anything material (ok, I’m lying. I don’t need anything. I don’t desire anything. I haven’t opened a fashion email in forever. I could care less for fancy furniture or fancy anything. I live out of a backpack so I don’t have the room for anything, anyway. But, if there are a couple of days in the year when I want to buy a $1000 sweater because I like the sweater, I want to be able to buy the damn sweater on a whim.) I’m so grateful for what I have, and I truly don’t need for anything, that sometimes, I force myself to make up a financial goal just to have something to aim for...I say... I want to own a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan, designed by @milesredd, within ten years so that my friends can have a place to stay when they visit. Let’s do it. It all feels within reach. I keep making up these challenges for myself because why not. If I never accomplish them, I’m not going to be disappointed with myself. I don’t measure my self worth and success against anyone else or against what I own. My ex used to tell me all the time that if I left him I would be ”slaving away” at 3 jobs at $10 an hour at 90 hours a week for the rest of my life, and that anyone who didn’t make the kind of money he did was useless to society and the world. He used to have me wondering if life really was that worthless if I didn’t make a million a year? Fuck that. Money doesn’t bring happiness. It’s what we do with our money... it’s our values that bring us closer to joy. And my values are rooted in creativity, love, sex, deep friendship, laughter, beautiful art, service, leaving the world a better place. The rest...I can take it or leave it because I know I will always be surrounded by great beauty, love and kindness. That is me. That is my community. That is the people I love on. That is my fate. So be it. ♥️
Day 163 of Healing
What is the difference in feeling between “like” and “love” for another human being? How do you know you love someone or just like them strongly? What is your marker?
And where does care for another fit in with love and like? Can one’s heart care for another yet not love for that other? Or, is care a shade of love?
Why are we taught that we must be without a doubt sure of our love for someone before we tell them we love them for the first time? Why do we feel we must wait to tell someone we love them? We can’t love too fast now, no. It must be lust. It must be a crush. It must be that I like you, but not like-like you. No, feelings that are fast (relative) cannot be love. (screw that)
I love fast. And I love long. My love endures. And my love evolves and changes. But it’s always love, and it never wasn’t love to begin with. And how do I know the difference between my like and love? When I like you, I want more of you without the consideration of your needs. When I love you, I am committed to showing up for you when you need and I am committed to honoring the distance you need. You don’t have to love me back, for me to still love you.
Portrait outtake of @sanseysawey from my time learning with @katewoodman_photo in 2017
Day 169 of Healing / Day 71 at Camp
Twelve more days in the woods. February 1st is the 6 month mark of my leaving everything to begin the book of my new life.
I came into these woods with zero expectations of what the experience would be like. I gave it up to God to show me what I needed to heal and grow. And for my work on self, God/Great Spirit/The Divine rewarded me with love, education, voice, courage, confidence, power and holy magic. Holy Magic, what a wild ride it’s been.
I’ve learned that I am always free and I am always home, within myself. (my healer Lisa Claudia Briggs) I create beauty, I am beauty, beauty is always around me. I actively choose courage over comfort, everyday. @brenebrown Love is my bottom line. @mariannewilliamson I have a voice and the privilege to use it; I will use my voice. I am made of the same dust as the stars; the Universe has my back. @gabbybernstein I don’t have to do just one thing; I can do it all.
And, I am a foul mouthed, intimacy driven, multi-passionate, revolver toting, seeker of the wild, #unrulywoman whose aphrodisiacs are designer coats, smokey scotch and a set of dirty, calloused hands.
I am finally feeling ready, and still and strong in my heart — confident that my life going forward is going to be more amazing than what I can dream. I have love beneath my feet and endless skies above me.
I am here not to be small, to be quiet, to fit my life into the boundaries someone else determines for me...I am here to be me, all of me. Love it or leave it.
And know, that I ain’t gonna apologize for any of it.
Day 182 of Healing
Headed out of the woods tonight. Working on the remainder of my chores and snapping the last photos today as I listen to the rally of swans in the surrounding fields. Waterfowl hunting may have come to a close, but it is open season on the swans through the last day of the month. Then, it is Turkey time in April...I plan to be packing for Europe instead...and I hope there are some falconries to photograph in my future.
If I had to choose one thing these woods have taught me this winter it is that my voice has power. It has the power to cut me down and cut me free. Internal dialogue always has been and perhaps will continue to be one of my biggest hurdles. Which is why I must stay in the flow of faith. Faith in the unfurling and the blossoming and the opening and all the seasons in nature’s cycle. My spiritual winter has been long, and I’m due for a warm and beautiful spring. ✨
Day 183 of Healing
I am in a personal 9yr this yr, always a yr of completion AND crossing over. The elementary way to think of a 9yr is association w/ death, endings, completions + loss. And yes, there is certainly some of that. But, the energy of 9 also asks one heal and release in order to make room for the new & beautiful to move in.
In my last 9yr, I completed the month of Jan with my 1st marathon (coincidentally, I just finished my marathon in the woods). That spring, I found my “passion” within my decorative arts studies, and finally a rhythm in my thinking, writing and school work. Over the summer I invested my time in @aslnyc, 🎨 3-4 d/wk and beginning German lessons several other afternoons. I also started training for the Berlin marathon that coming fall & decided to only walk, run or ride my bike everywhere. I was feeling so incredibly light. & then, I wiped out sick for 8wks with bronchitis, strep, flu, back to back. (Note: currently reading The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and thinking the illness was my upper limit doing its best work on me. My light was expanding far beyond what I had ever felt, my pace so fast— my subconscious had to get back to the comfort zone.) The year wrapped up with a month long trip through Europe seeing all of the architecture I had studied in books, followed by my graduate exams that Dec. There were some significant endings that year but also so much new. My creativity, health + excitement for my work reached new levels.
Feb 1st is the 6 month marker of my transition & healing. I also see it as the 1st official day of the New 📙 of my life. These next few days are like the pre-elimination phase of a cleanse. Cleaning out, cleaning up, preparing the ground for the strength, abundance + magic to rise 👆🏻. I’m scared today because I am untethered again. But also excited because anything is possible. The paths are infinite & I am ready for the creativity + human connection the vibration of 9 brings. I am also ready to burn the last of what no longer serves my highest good + light new 🔥 for the next decade. So, bring it on 9 year. Bring it on.
Day 184 of Healing
Today, I am thinking about financial failure and success, and the energy that IS money, in my own life and in the journeys of my parents, my siblings and the hunters I spent the winter with. .
We all have wild money stories, and we all chronically worry about money. As I make my way into this next chapter of my life, one of my core goals is to write a money and love story that is healthy, honest, and responsible. (Saturn pushing through Capricorn in my third House is really having an impact on me. Whew.)
I don’t believe in failure. I believe we make choices in a present moment that are not in our highest future-good, we take risks that don’t end up with the most favorable results later, we don’t operate with a clear strategy...but I don’t believe in failure.
I believe our experiences set us up with the knowledge to create success in our lives if we are willing to mine the lessons, collect the gold and see the whole path through the lens of beauty. Furthermore, I believe that if one has achieved their definition of success, and then moves into their definition of failure (for ex. making a lot of money and then losing it) that person can move themselves back into success any time they want, because they already have the tools to create success.
One of the things I tell myself to get through the fear of the unknown-will I succeed/will I not succeed- is: we all end up in the same place, we ALL end up at death’s door, so enjoy the ride. Make the most of this life while you have the time. .
When I think of this journey as an adventure, there is no room for failure. Failure cannot exist. Failure becomes another experience, another story to share, another space to study and find the beauty within. I can look at success in this way as well and see that everything is a part of the build up to my success and therefore, everything is success.
With my freedom, my time & my energy 100% mine again, I am feeling into what MY next goals of success look + feel like. Some feel possible right now & others feel pipe dreams. But, this I know, wherever I go, whatever I end up doing, it will never be a failure. It is all part of the path to success.
Day 192 of Healing
The most bazaar and wonderful thing happened today. The memory card that held all of the images from July of last summer, the first weekend I attempted to leave and the month everything aligned in divine order for me to walk away from my Domestic abuse relationship, surfaced today, after having gone missing since the end of that month. That is nearly 7 months ago.
In the first few months of searching, I spilled every drawer this card could have possibly been in. I emptied all of my shoe boxes and bins. I turned everything upside down, until I finally gave in and realized, it had gone missing because I wasn’t supposed to see the photos from that weekend and the following weeks of toxic, disoriented, fuckery. “I surrender,” I said. I give in. My memories will be enough. I’ll never see the card again and I’m at peace with it.
And then, there it was. Looking like it had always been there, waiting for me, in plain sight at the first pull of my desk drawer, within my storage unit today, where I was to move my belongings back down south with me this week.
I am not surprised, no I am not surprised that this card waited until today to reveal itself to me. I couldn’t have handled these photos at any other moment...Only now —when I am feeling more clear, grounded, secure, and confident in my being, and the beauty of my future, than ever before, when I finally feel like ME again, and I have done the deep Healing homework required of me...can I once again see and replay these moments.
The photo above is the photo I missed the most from this card. It was from the morning of July 1st at my room in my favorite nyc hotel, the Carlyle. I slept on the couch the night before because I couldn’t stand being verbally assaulted any more. In such a beautiful space, my heart and mind were breaking. This was the beginning of the end. It was later that night, in the wee hours of July 2nd, I made a decision that would lead to the first big break of my relationship. Two days later (7/4) I made my first attempt to leave. And on August 1st, I finally did it. I gave myself up to God and said hello to the first day of my new life. ♥️
Day 197 of Healing
Back to the shores of the South. The past week in the north was extremely affirming of how far I have come in my healing & that the decisions I have made these past 6 months were the right ones. I finally feel like the me I was always meant to be. I can see my friends + family with only love in my ♥️ and w/o fear of what I will face when I return home. I have had the most delightful dinners w/friends and on my own. There is no anger + complaining, only gratitude & joy for the beautiful food + company. I can have dreams for myself &know that there is space for all of them to come true. I cried to my sister in the mall the other day bc, when I touched a pair of velvet sweatpants I had a vision of myself in my navy blue beanie, blonde locks flowing, happy & excited w/friends, our dogs playing + a warm cup of morning joe in my hands, catching rays of sunshine just outside an A-line framed cabin sugar coated with Colorado snow. That can be my reality if I want it to be. That can actually be my reality.
As I was sorting through my clothes collected from my storage unit last week, my mom said to me, “Do you remember that coat he bought you for treating you badly? It was when you were hiding in a closet and you called me...” I know the coat, but I had blacked out in my memory the part of the story about hiding. I spent a lot of time in that closet, and when I think about it now, it doesn’t bother me. It feels so long ago and another life ago. It was. & that feels really good. “Welcome back,” another long time dear one said to me this week. “Truly, welcome back.”
And then, I became an official resident of the south today; this week is filled w/additional adjustments in adulting. I finally feel grounded + ready to make a commitment to my physical health and my business. I needed the past 6.5months for rest + retreat — it sometimes felt slow, & too slow, & so much slower than my ego wanted, but my soul knew better. The first half of this healing year was for recharging, the second half is for thriving.
Day 201 of Healing
Something for you.
For those of you needing extra support in getting through the day to day because of deep grief and shock and trauma, and the rage, frustration, anger over the constant trauma in our country, I’ve posted here a checklist of practical healing tools to aide in spiritual anchoring during the day to day when moving through the above as well as when in recovery.
I wrote this piece for women who are on the healing journey after leaving a domestic abuse situation/relationship, when there can be much disorientation and the management of daily self care can feel exhausting or nonexistent — but the tools in here can be applicable to other situations of trauma and healing as well. I offer you this in case there is something that can assist you. The PDF version can be downloaded on my website under the header “i am safe”. Link in profile ♥️ love you.
Day 201 of Healing
Those days when the anxiety rises. Your list is a mile long, and there are endless things you can do, yet, you can barely do anything. I guess that’s when we call it a day, or night. It’s not worth fighting. Tomorrow, is a new day for creating, writing, breathing, seeing, releasing. I need to head into the woods. 🖤
Day 205 of Healing
When we were together, he told me I wouldn’t be able to do any of the things I did, without him. I wouldn’t be traveling; I would be a slave to a desk. I would be working three jobs at 90hrs a week just to get by. I wouldn’t be eating at fancy restaurants. I wouldn’t be eating out period. And I definitely wouldn’t be eating organic. A life on rice and beans was the probability. I would be driving a shitty car. I would have to fuck my boss for favors. I would be hanging out with low life friends, users and abusers. I wouldn’t be able to afford any of the clothes I own. And no one would ever put up with me. I would drive them to kill me. He told me: no one would ever love me like he did.
And guess what? Since I left him, I’ve eaten at fancy restaurants. I’ve eaten organic. I haven’t had to fuck a boss for favors. I’ve been surrounded by incredible friends and family that love me. Im about to start traveling for my photography. I’m going to a continent I’ve never been to. And I bought my own fully loaded car last week, a car that I started manifesting last November down to the last detail. I got what I wanted because I worked damn hard and smart for it, and I believed in me.
He said I couldn’t be happy without all the things. But I have everything I need, and anything I want will come to me one step at a time. I’m making my life work for me one breath at a time...and that’s because I can actually breathe again.
The one thing he did get true? No one is ever going to love me like he did. Because control + manipulation + wanting me to stay dependent isn’t love bro. Showing up with heart + support + kindness is.
To my loves who have heard these words themselves, believe in yourself that you can do it. You can & you will. People who spew these words of abuse really mean to say, “You are so special, I’m so scared to lose you.” But who has time for that bullshit. Life is short + the rest of the world is waiting to support your magic. Believe in yourself. You can and you will. ✨💖✨
Day 212 of Healing
Today was a mental health day for me, a time to check out of town solo. Hopping in the car for 7hr drives with open windows and music blasting IS freedom to me. I feel 100% at peace. And most days this month I’ve been ready to pack a bag and hit the road. TN, SC and the farmland of Illinois are calling me. I also keep dreaming about sleeping in the big back bed of my car under starry Arizona skies this spring. I think there is a part of my heart that is asking for closure in some of these places — places that were so gorgeous but so stained with abuse. There was not one vacation I had been on since 2008 that was not marked by black stains of anxiety, severe panic, and the various forms of abuse. I can tell you about an incident in every country I went to whether it was for a week or a month. Except for the ones I started traveling to alone. Those were the only trips abroad I could breathe with ease the whole time through. And under the starry skies of an Arizona campground pull-in, I want to release one of the worst episodes. I want to look up at the sky and watch for the stars going by. I want to wake up as the sun rises and have a cup of coffee. All by myself. Take it away from me Arizona. Take those splintered moments still lodged in my heart away from me and send them into the canyons.
When I was growing up I used to hear stories about my dad disappearing in his airplane. No one would know where he flew to. This winter he told me his grandfather would do the same— for one whole year my great gramps left in his airstream and granny didn’t hear from him until he finally returned. Escaping into the wild is the way we clear our heads and reset. The beautiful NC coast down to Hatteras did that for me today. It helped me return to center, and the purpose behind my work and the why/how I want to serve in the world. I’ve been pushing so hard lately to produce in the ways on the online world says I need to, and going about pursuing end goals that I’m just not ready for in this moment. I’m ready for the end goal, just not yet in the way I’m going about it. I have to say, it was such a sign when @local_milk’s newsletter came in today. It was confirmation of the permission I gave myself to say yes to my intuition and the ways I know how I best work. The online hustle can be magical, but I do my best work in person. All the time. Not over Skype, not through a downloadable pdf or program — in person. And I want to connect with people every day —in person. I want to make art everyday outside of the home. And I want to photograph everyday no matter what. So those feelings are what I am going let lead me. And I trust the rest will flow. Out into the world I go. ✨✨✨
Day 213 of Healing
I went to bed feeling the wheels of my life had started moving again, but woke up with the dread. So, I took my own advice and put the music on to shift my head, space — see my website for the second “I am safe” checklist with a small Spotify playlist for anchoring after spiritual trauma.
Today is a new day beloved –@stacijshelton
Day 214 of Healing
I’ve come a long way. And I’m still going. It’s seven months today that I left the life I knew for a decade. So many new and beautiful people, places, communities, opportunities, love and growth in my life. What still feels amazing to me is that I get to create the life I want for myself. And the only thing that will stop me from doing that, is myself. That is some scary and powerful shit. And it is also a reminder of how blessed I am.
This Virgo Full Moon has reminded me that it is ok to ask for help in accounting and accountability. I’ve shed so many layers, moved through so many fears, burned ships and walked through fires, but this healing is not over yet — and I don’t have to be strong on my own in all the places. What I can be is proactive. What I can do is reach out for guidance and guide where I know the terrain. I’m committed to this heart, to this life, to this healing, and I’m committed to showing other women that they are not alone on the trail.
So, to this month, this moon, this life and all the beautiful things before me, before us.
Day 224 of Healing
Where do I start? These past few weeks have been...testing my faith in myself, in my path, in my values, in this Universe to meet me halfway. I’ve been blessed, so blessed to have the people in my life that I do. They keep me going when I wonder if I can. So much of what I have been creating is for them. How can I be more for them, to them? And those questions don’t come from a place of not feeling enough, but grateful for so much.
So, I gave birth to three acts of service + magic this week, with one more to come. Each action is rooted in the soil of helping other women find their voices and having faith in their courage + the ability to create a life of their dreams.
Because that can feel damn hard alone, and so we’ve got to help one another climb. Literally. 👆🏻 I’m teaching + providing spiritual support on a trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro this September. It’s called KiliClimb2018: Destination Transformation — developed with a soul sister on this wild journey of life who has walked some hot f’ing fires herself. Join me + @dirty_freedom_adventures_ltd up the mountain and summit at life transformation.
I always must practice what I preach — go for the dreams. Go Big. (Or small! Whatever you prefer, but believe in them and don’t let those dreams intimidate you.) So, I’m going to get really, really vulnerable about my life each day over the next few months...as I jump off the cliff side again and go on a great big adventure through the west, the south and across the ocean. Will you come with me? 🙌🏻💖✨
Day 238 of Healing
I wish I could tell you in one short post what the past 12 days of this trip have been like for my healing, for my work, for my heart, for the direction of my life. If I told you, you might not believe me. I don’t believe me.
So much to share. So much to unfold. So much to breathe in. I’m scared. And I’m also deeply enchanted by the magic of this Universe.
Anyway, self-portrait outtakes for my new class, Coming Home, that starts today. I haven’t spoken about it much publicly as I’ve been on the road and without service for many of the days these past two weeks, but it’s here. Come home to your voice, beauty, sensuality, confidence, power. I’ve gained quite a bit of weight during my healing journey and it’s only because of the practice of self-portraiture that I love myself even more. If you want in, you are still welcome - today only though, as we will be building a body of work this week leading up to our final portrait on Sunday.
Day 240 of Healing
What the men in my life are teaching me about love and loving myself first.
There are several incredible men in my life right now, and I have deep relationships with all of them that each fill me in different ways I didn’t know needed attention.
These men and my relationships with them are teaching me about mature and healthy care and love with another and mature and healthy care and love for myself. None of these men can save me and I am grateful for that. I am learning how to save myself. I think that’s a part of healthy love.
The men in my life are sensitive, complex, layered, wild and beautiful. And they are all wise. I think we are wise together. Because we communicate. Consistently and openly. We show up fully, vulnerably, when with one another. That feels like healthy love.
Since my healing journey began I’ve been learning about how love feels — how does it feel? What IS love? My love for each of these men feels different with each one of them. The love is nuanced, yet the roots of all the love feel the same: mutual respect, support, and space. Space to grow as individuals. That feels like healthy love.
Healthy love also feels like feeling without definition, without boundaries, without a planned direction. It just is. It flows. And it’s always there no matter what.
I think love is...not butterflies, not safety...I don’t even believe it is commitment...
Love is, simply, presence. Being present. For myself and for the one I’m with.
Day 243 of Healing
Depression rolled in heavy today. These ups and downs are a part of me, and I’m accepting that they are a part of the life I have chosen to lead. I’m tired. I’m wired. I’m pushing and pulling, between the stress and flow. My life is unfolding fast, my heart expanding faster. I asked for this. For all of it. I prayed for years for this freedom, these friendships, this love — yup, this love. I can’t talk about it, because my heart is fiercely protective of it, but something otherworldly is happening. I’ve been asking Spirit how the book of this past year, and the screenplay of this journey, are going to end up, and they are being shown to me. Vividly, wildly, like how the F is this happening?
And now I have it. All of it. And I’ve got to learn how to show up for it — even when I’m scared as fuck.
To navigating life. You get me? Right?
P.S. Thanks #Idaho for being so beautiful on this journey.
Day 244 of Healing I
Wishing you a day of deep peace and beauty wherever you are on your journey. Today, I am counting my gratitudes — grateful for the time to spend the whole day alone with myself and my work, for the dear friend whose home I get to be in, for my family who is helping me heal, for the women who keep me going, for the creativity that continues to pour forth, for those who have patience with me getting back to them, and for the man who writes me music in the morning even after I’ve told his heart to fuck off the night before.
I AM blessed.
Day 244 of Healing II
April 1st, 2018. 8 months into Healing. And what I am only now realizing, is that it is time to seek the physical and mental health assistance I was not ready for, didn’t have the capacity for, hadn’t had the growth for.
As I looked at this series of portraits from the other day (originally made as an exercise for my class #cominghome) in relationship with conversations I have been having with beloveds and self about my emotional and physical health, I realized, it is finally time to seek a deeper holistic care than what I can provide for myself. The truth is, I have not sought outside assistance for neither my mental nor physical health since leaving. (Looking back, I understand why but I sort of can’t believe it either.) And my adrenals are spent. My heart is tired. My body is collapsing. My emotions swing high to low, high to low. I sleep either 4hrs or 10hrs a night. I have full faith followed by painful explosions in my chest from anxiety. The camera is the only thing I can count on to keep me grounded and present — and even behind that I’m sweating, literally.
Taking self portraits alongside the participants in #cominghome this week has taught me to look deeper into the highlights and shadows of my poses in each image. So many reveal the mental pain. So many are closed off and I didn’t realize it.
So, I think it is time for herbs and exercise and spiritual support on the regular. (Especially since I’ll be co-leading a trek up Mt. Kili for women whose souls are begging for deep life change. Link in profile.) And asking for help. Asking for help even when it’s scary.
If anyone knows of a fantastic female wholistic health doctor who is familiar with sexual trauma and abuse please pass her name this way.
And to the women who have suffered trauma, and have not had a physical, please do. Please do. Do it for yourself. 🙏🏻💙
Day 261 of Healing
A love letter to the desert.
Thank you for teaching me that we cannot know who others are unless we allow them the space to show us; that to call in a love, we must not focus on what we lacked in the past, but be present in the bounty we are gifted with now; that beauty is always near and magic can be conjured in an instant, no matter the materials available; that physical nourishment feeds all the other bodies: sexual, emotional, spiritual, creative, business —Feed the body that grounds and anchors the roots of the rest; productivity has seasons, and sometimes, doing less, leads to more being done; and that transformation is one of the many gifts of total transparency.
To the desert I love, thank you for showing me that I must give myself the space to fill up and heal first so that I can can hold the space for others to do the same. Thank you for showing me the way to the teachers and to the richest parts of myself. Thank you for supporting my heart and healing. Thank you for showing me what it is like to feel a union that is both whole and independent at the same time. Thank you for showing me the road back home to myself.
And thank you Instagram for eating the long, layered and oh so eloquent post of mine composed before this one— sometimes brevity, and the briefest of encounters is all that is needed to change the course of everything. (@jeffbrownsoulshaping)
Day 264 of Healing
When I decided to leave for the west I knew only a fraction of what was ahead of me. Intuitively, I knew I would be gone for six weeks, that there was a list of clients to see, dear ones were to be visited, but I didn’t know what would lay in the weeks between.
What I found, what I have found over and over again, is that miracles are waiting when I give them the space to appear. When I surrender to anything that could be. When I follow the direction my heart points out for me. When I trust what my creative spirit is telling me. When I don’t dwell on the how, I just know where I need to go and I find a way to get there.
Finding ones way home to the self asks for the greatest vulnerability. It asks that the wounds be opened. That the truths be revealed. That the fears be met with. That you not just lean in, but step in, to all of it. And you know? I’ve never heard a woman say she ever regretted doing that — coming home to herself.
So many women have played vital parts in my own coming home. I can’t wait for the day when I can return these blessings, and have a space for the women, to be able to tell the women, come, come to this safe place when you need respite and healing and creative nourishment. It is here for your extended stay.
In the meantime, I’m holding that space for the women through the photographic lens on the road. And in a beautiful way, the incredible women showing up to do this sacred photographic work with me are guiding my own heart home. Here we are walking each other home to our hearts, our creativity, our selves. That’s pretty damn divine. ♥️
Day of 270 of Healing
Nearly 9 months of being on this journey and nearly 6 weeks (and counting) of being on the road, which has brought more clarity and more answers about the direction my heart desires for the future, than I could have ever imagined. But, it has also brought forth more questions about the HOW. — which isn’t always my business as ‘God’ has taught me. It’s not always in my best interest to know the how. Sometimes the how is outside my current scope of vision —my experiences too narrow to know the how of it all. All I have to know is the WHERE. Where do I want to go? Where is my heart is pointing me? The answers will appear. They have been appearing, appearing in love, in friendship, in art and clients. My dreams are showing up daily, and yet, each day, my body is nervous about the how, how to stay in the flow, how to stay in the faith, how to stay in balance, how to know when enough is enough of everything.
Things that are helping: lists. 100 day check lists. games. taking on life and work as if it is a children’s game — how much joy and creativity can I create for myself and others everyday. creativity is key. keep creating. and serving. And releasing and making space.
When I return to the north in just under two weeks, I am selling another batch of belongings and closing the chapter on New York that I began in the fall of 2007. I’ve started the search for homes for my two cats of ten years. And I’m making more and more space for journeying, traveling, connecting, creating. In this personal year of 9, as I reach my 9 month mark of healing, the road of loss no longer exists. Graduation is the river that now carries me forward.
Day 276 of Healing
I did not know life could be so beautiful. I did not know that I would have the space and time and divine assistance to meet so many incredible women in the flesh, so many generous hearts, and friends that would welcome me into their homes and families after short online introductions and over a decade of last meetings. I did not know I would sit on the sandbar of this Texas beach one early morning peeling a mango and feeling the deepest of content, gratitude and ease. I did not know that I would meet with a love so deep that I do not want anything more from this man than to hear his breathing next to me. I did not know that the Universe would take care of all the things I needed to release without me intervening. I did not know that such beauty could be my life.
I did not know this 9 months ago, today. When I left the life I knew for a decade, behind. All I knew was that I was ready to surrender, to hand over all control of outcome to the Divine, and to move forward with full acceptance of what lay ahead without questioning.
In exchange, the Divine guided me to a destination: transformation, a land of wild and passion and art and beauty and love and freedom and friendship and miracles. For so long I was told life could never be so beautiful, and now I know the truth.
Day 277 of Healing
When it all came full circle, and you know you are truly ready for the next leg of the journey. To futures full of love, beauty, and art.
Day 280 of Healing
Did you know that Loving you is like making art? sensual, erotic and truly divine?
I want to tell you something.
Come closer to me:
Allow yourself to pour fourth through all of your scars and lines
of wisdom and time.
Set your rage and your wild on fire.
See farther and wider than anyone has told you you can dream.
Love like it’s your last day in this life.
Love in multiples and never make your heart choose just one if it doesn’t want to.
And then soften.
As you choose.
Believe. In anything you want.
But most importantly, in your power.
Your will. your heart. your voice.
You are the only one living it.
Do not fucking apologize for any of it.
Day 289 of Healing
(First, scroll below for the portrait specials and $ being raised for a fellow creative.) Second, what can I say other than my dreams are my reality and my reality feels like a dream. The women I photograph are dreams come true. The love my heart and body receives is a dream come true. My friends and community are a dream come true. The art I am making and the process of making it are a dream come true. So many psychic visions coming true. So much love pouring through.
I am so incredibly thankful, And I am dreaming of all the ways I can give back.
I’m writing this post in one of the airports of New York, headed to the UK for two weeks on a soul pilgrimage. And then, a quick hop to Paris for self portraits. It will be the first time I am there without the crushing stress of abuse: I will be able to breathe. I will be able to make art. I will be able to sip an aperitif. I will be able to be. Without a swollen face and Without tears. I have to thank my community for that. I have to thank all of you who have helped me make this life possible. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Day 293 of Healing
from a 10 yr abusive relationship, 5dys into a healing trip through Europe with the incredible women of The Hero’s Way, 2yrs + 121 days since I took this bathroom selfie.
3wks before this portrait, I had started a self portrait practice of play & for creative infusion back into my life after a 6yr break from all art making. Little did I know how this practice would save me as the interior landscape of my life would begin to crumble through a series of personal blows beginning just 3wks after this portrait.
It is one of my favorite “portraits” still because it captured emotions and desires I yearned for in my life for yrs especially during a season that was cold, isolating + heart breaking: Beauty. Deep Sensuality. Openness. Passion. Through this portrait I learned to love on my bone structure and my nose. I finally saw my body as an acceptable weight + shape. And I prayed that one day, someone would see and feel this emotion + beauty from me too.
I looked at this picture for a long time yesterday. And I cried. I cried through violent waves of anger at myself for gaining the weight that I now have, for the roundness in my face that I said I would never again let happen, for the swift and wild way I burned my life down last year, for not taking care of the beauty I once had. My skin is now rough. My nails are brittle. I’ve ceased all body healing and beauty treatments. I stopped taking vitamins last summer. My muscles have gone to mush. I actually look my age, gasp. I stopped taking care of my exterior so that I could place all of my resources into the care of my interior. And now I was angry for those choices that I made. All the feels, all the feels around my feminine self were surfacing + passing through me.
But after they did, I realized that I am still all that beauty. Even in the dirt. Even in the shadows. Even in the tears. I am still the me in that photo, but this time more — more of me to love and more of me to give love from.
And that’s what I want to show the women I photograph. We are already all we want to be. Always. Let us open our eyes, & our hearts, enough to see it. Blessed be our beauty.
Day 300 of Healing
This is what I’ve learned about being a woman. Sensual care and care of the sensual is vital to survival — especially when in periods of transformation.
There were many years in the past decade when I thought my sensuality, my artistry, and my expression of the sexual self would be gone forever. Those parts of me had been so deprived of care and taken such a beating that not even incremental doses of beauty could revive them.
But last spring, in the way that only fate can write it, an old love was reignited through a short lived affair and the dark and muted palette of my life was replaced by a desire for colors I had long forgotten about: the blush pinks of a young woman’s cheeks consumed with her ♥️’s first love, the bright yellows of a summer’s sun, the silky, creamy whites of whole milk and whole milk chocolate. Bab’s Red nails.
I was alive again. And being alive — being awakened — helped me burn down all in my life that was not supportive and nourishing to my highest expression and good. And it was glorious. I went on to do things I never before could have imagined. My art, my critical thinking, my connections with others stretched their roots far and wide and deep deep down into the magic of the earth. I am continuously blessed with miracles.
When I set out for the west this spring, I again didn’t quite know what was before me. I got in the car and drove. I operated on faith and moment to moment, trusting that if I kept moving forward the Universe would build the road. I found myself in canyons, mountains, prairies and in love. Being IN love, engaging IN love and making love began to clear the fogs around the purpose of my work. My creative skills upleveled without my pushing. A dream client entered my life without my searching or asking.
And the clarity, beauty, abundance, magic, releasing and healing continues to show up on this three week pilgrimage I have been traveling with 11 other remarkable women in the UK. What I am discovering on this journey is that the expression of my sensuality is just as important in this lifetime as eating and exercising.
Intimate connection is vital to my art, dreaming, calling in the clients, projects and the life I want. Making love feeds the physical, the root chakra, and above, the sacral, creativity and life force energy. Self-care for the sexual self is essential to the healthy beating of my heart, my eyes behind the camera, and my energy that allows me to be of service to the world. It is now a part of my life plan, that #nonnegotiablebeauty
To more sex. For all of us. 💅🏻
Day 302 of Healing
For nearly 2wks I have been documenting and participating in a pilgrimage through the UK. In Oct of 2017 and then again in February of this year, I wrote on my calendar: MAY, 2 weeks, London. Not knowing why I would go or how I would pay to get there. I just had a feeling that I was supposed to be there. In late March of this year, through an instant and electric connection, I was asked to join the journey of a very special trip as photographer and fellow journeywoman. This was why I was going to London. For 2wks. In May. As I felt in my heart several moons ago.
And the healing on this trip has been transcendent. Tears lubricating release of physical and sexual trauma, past lives, sacred contracts, limiting beliefs. Every. Day. The 11 women I travel with are remarkable sisters whose stories of strength, bravery, magic + love restore my faith in the power of energy and this universe daily. The past few days have been particularly cleansing for me. Through our ceremonies I have released the following from my heart, my soul, my body: - I release the idea that I am not educated, evolved nor qualified enough to teach or guide in healing.
- I release the crutch of an idea that the thing I’m best at as a woman & as me is a “housewife” - I release the belief that money will never be made by me + that the only way I will live a “rich” life is through marriage and other people’s possessions.
- I release the belief that I am not smart enough to manage, budget, attract and spend money in a way that is healthy, happy + supportive of my highest good.
- I release the idea that I no longer deserve or should have luxury because I’ve had all the luxurious things I could have ever needed in this life. - I release the belief that I do not deserve self care because I am not making a specific amount of money.
- I release the contract that I must take care of my intimate & romantic partner w/o equally receiving.
- I release the contract that I must not own anything in this lifetime.
- I release the belief that luxury is superfluous.
- I release the belief that I must give up all of my things to thrive.
And lastly, I release what does not allow me to live FULLY. And so it is. 🙏
Day 313 of Healing
One year ago today I asked myself this question: how does the presence of love affect ones creativity — how does the presence of love affect the content and output of our art?
One year later, I have my answer. .
I wrote this entry when an old love came back into my life and gave me a taste of what healthier love was like, while I was still in, and, after all those years of a toxic one, a toxic love. I could see how love — the ability to freely express it and receive it — was pumping color back into my life and my art. My creativity blossomed. The subject matter I was attracted to much more bold. I was less afraid to take risks in my work and life. I started gaining momentum.
Being seen and being heard — being loved — by others and BY SELF, always the No. 1 step to creating the lives we want to lead because all else changes for us when we love ourselves, what serves our highest good will strengthen and what is weak in foundation will crumble — the love we are involved with penetrates every cell of our art and creative being — and that includes the love we have for ourselves.
One year later I ask this question to myself again, my heart and body now saturated with a love from above, I see how the romance, beauty, sensuality and warmth in my art has swelled. And the capacity to hold space for healing and transformation for the women I collaborate with in my work and service now truly exists.
When I stayed in the cycles of what I knew where draining me of love, when I stayed in love that was toxic, when I stayed in a familiar that seemed much safer than the unknown, I could not fully be who I wanted to be for myself and the people I was serving, and I certainly could not create what I desired for my future. I was dying inside to grow and change, and I was slowly killing myself by staying put.
So, to my loves who want their lives to be filled with more color, more beauty, more art making in the ways they dream for themselves, I ask you: how is the love in your life? Are you loving yourself? What is one act of love you can give to yourself today?
Day 335 of Healing
Learning how to receive. Trusting in what I deserve. Untaming the Body.
The photo above was taken just over one year ago. Swipe right to see this very day.
NO MORE alcoholism.
NO MORE drugs.
NO MORE abuse.
NO MORE begging to be loved and listened to.
NO MORE keeping my spirit and my creativity, all the LOVE I have for so long wanted to GIVE, locked in corner of my heart.
NO MORE depriving myself of my dreams and of being the me I’ve always wanted to be — and never knew I could be.
NO MORE what if’s or when’s.
YES to breathing and dreaming and creating.
YES to spending time with loved ones and friends.
YES to having the energy and capacity to be of service.
YES to traveling.
YES to loving.
YES to guiding.
YES to being able to show up for others when they are tapped of the energy to do so for themselves.
YES to NOW.
YES to being wild, free and untamed.
Transformation and untaming does not happen in our when’s, in our but’s, in our comfort zones, IN OUR CONTROL. Transformation and untaming happens in our YES’s to self and our faith in what we do not yet know. Transformation and untaming happens in the honoring of the needs of our bodies and our voices to practice expression. Transformation and untaming happens in surrender and flow.
I learned this when I left my life of a decade 11 months ago today. I had total faith in the unknown. And that unknown introduced me to dreams beyond my dreams, love I never knew existed, a well of creativity I had long prayed to receive from. I also learned that when I push, when I do not rest, when I follow the old programs and paradigms of should and must and have to — because these structures of control sustained my survival in the past — I stay right where I am instead of where my heart wants to go.
If you are feeling the frustration, the dread, the uncertainty, the fear, the stress of stagnation.
Say yes to doing what you are not expected to or supposed to do. Unclench the fists and move. Step away. Sway.
If you are feeling stuck, depleted and anxious in the same cycles of your life... Open your palms and hand over your control.
in this moment. not later, not next year...
I’ve been there. I will help you cross that line into your new life. If you want to move toward your dreams there is no looking back, only forward.
Come with me sister. Untame that wild heart and body. Say yes to what you deserve.
Day 356 of Healing
I cried into the canyons last night. I cried that they take my anger away, that they take the last of the pain away, that their strength support my body + my heart as I make my way through the portal of this eclipse season and the 1yr mark of this transition. Tears fell from my eyes while my love held me & prayed for the same.
There are still nooks + crannies of my chest that hold the debris of my heart’s explosions last year: that afternoon of Aug 1st, when a man I had always thought I was meant to be w/, even before entering into a relationship with my ex, asked me to be w/him (again) + leave my ex—and I did this time bc in my heart I knew the time was up with my ex, it was now or never, and here was someone I waited ten years for until the timing was right again. I was certain I was going to marry this man, have a family w/him, have a beautiful life w/him, after I was done healing in the desert. But instead he disappeared on me in the days after he said he was committed to me, to us, when I was at the most vulnerable point of my life. I remember knowing the last afternoon that I heard from him, it would be the last afternoon that I would hear from him. The explosion inside my chest of anxiety + this karmic knowing—it felt like an old hotel imploding. Pop, pop, pop and then it all caves in. A dense cloud of debris & dust RUSHING UP and then raining down on the ground of zero. It all goes silent. Silence. That’s what I got from him. And also, the greatest gift of space to heal & grow & become the woman I am today. In my prayers I thank him often for that decision, his commitment to my healing, that vow of silence he made.
Sometimes, like last night, when I was on a hard hike through the canyons, the little bit of human anger I still have toward him loosens because it’s ready to be taken away; heart space is being made for love.
And then, there is my anger at God, who I know knows what I need + don’t need, who knows what I am truly ready for even when I feel like I am ready for more. This God knows I had to make more room before I could receive what it is I have been asking from him. I’m trusting that. I’m trusting in this healing.
Day 358 of Healing
Breathe. This is a season. Seasons do change.
Breathe. Accept the invitation for this opportunity with grace. There is opportunity in every “challenge” we face.
Breathe. Flow. The unexpected gifts arrive when we exchange control for faith.
Breathe. Trust the inner knowing. Intuition is the messenger of Great Spirit.
This is what I affirm to myself. This is what I practice each day.
Some days breath and breathing feel more natural than on other days. Some days, I don’t realize that I am pushing, pushing, pushing while holding my breath.
This Mars Rx I am learning all about the breath. Breathing in and receiving. Breathing out while serving. The rhythms of breath in nature’s seasons, in love making, in creating, in finances, in all things living. Life cannot exist without breathing.
And so, I’m looking at where I want more life and thus where there needs to be more breath.
I’ve taken the whole month of July off to breathe out the client files and creativity I’ve been holding in. The new website I’ve been tinkering with. The beta programs for future programs. The podcast I’ve been developing with my love ON love. The heart’s anger. Money blocks. The last of the material things I no longer need. Handing over all that no longer serves me.
To make space for breathing in. Receiving. The incredible work opportunities waiting for me in San Diego, Los Angeles, Austin. Traveling. Portrait clients. Healing Safaris in the Serengeti. New collaborative partnerships. Financial abundance. A new and beautiful home base.
I am learning that the more I breathe out, the more I can breathe in. And the more I breathe in, the more I can breathe out in the ways that I give. Therefore, I’m no longer depriving myself of breath.
I AM breathing.
Day 359 of Healing
Sometimes we don’t know what it is that we like or need or want until we are face-to-face with it, until it has been placed in our hands, until we’ve tasted it, until we’ve experienced it. Or, maybe it is that our hearts know what we need but we don’t know how to articulate it.
I think about this in relation to love and finding soulmates. My love is not someone who I would have picked for myself if this lifetime lasted 1 million years. I couldn’t stand him all the years I knew him prior to this one. But, I gave him the space to show me who he really is and he gave me the opportunity to experience a love that was everything I didn’t know I needed.
I think about this in relation to what we know about ourselves. I ask women who are survivors and thrivers of abusive relationships, “What are the pieces of yourself you are reclaiming?” and often the women tell me they are not even yet reclaiming — they are still discovering who they are. They are learning new things about themselves all the time.
I think about this in relation to our lifelong patterns and what we don’t know about ourselves. For example, my love likes simplicity, not superfluous and fancy he told me. He’s always been attracted to women that are casual and natural and a little “plain” — until this morning when I tried on some of the investment pieces from my old life (to see if I could still fit into them twenty pounds heavier, and they were tight, but still glamorous) and my Love was blown away by my beauty in them. In fact, he wanted me to try on more. I said to him, “Maybe you didn’t know you liked a fancy woman because you never had one before.”
And this is why taking risks, walking into fear, embracing the unknown, trying new things, being open to what I assume I will not like, has taught me more about my self than staying in my comfort zone. Sometimes we don’t know what it is we want, need or like until we receive it. So I dare you today: Challenge your opinions, expectations and what you think you know of yourself.
What is it that you discover?
Day 364 of Healing
What I’ve learned about myself and this journey as we hit the one year mark.
As much as I wanted to take off like a rocket in my life and business, it’s been a slow fucking burn (yes to that @rawmilkpodcast) and there has been some very challenging terrain. I’ve been getting on myself a bit for not being farther ahead (especially in these past six months after leaving the woods), but the truth is, before I could really start sprouting and blooming, I had to get the soil right. I had to till and clear and feed the emotional, mental and spiritual before I could focus on the physical — in body, business and production of work.
In the first season of Healing I learned how to manage the new found time and energy I had. I walked slowly through the overwhelm of all the possibilities of this life now available to me. I learned how to take care of my basic needs in crisis. I learned how to live in full flow and without all of the material things I didn’t need. I released and surrendered to whatever my path was going to be. I was discovering this world and who I wanted to become. .
In the second season of Healing I focused on solitude, my creativity, voice and money. I started growing up and out of my shell. I met with my parents who I hadn’t seen in seven years. I lived in the woods and took care of nearly 300 men. I learned about fearlessness.
In my third season of Healing, I learned about patience, friendship, discomfort and love. I was finally able to meet with so many beautiful friends old and new all over the country and in the UK. I started feeding my body with proper nutrients again. (Greens and vitamins hell ya!) I got back in touch with the mountains and the desert. I solo camped a ton on BLM lands. My visual style and my message were finding rhythm. I started adulting. I met with an incredible and unexpected love.
In this fourth season of Healing I learned about faith and flow, AGAIN.
I released all the material things I had left to give — and found the point where I was/AM ready to receive again. I’m eating well, and I’m HEALTHY AND RADIANT WITH the 20LBS I’ve put on. Exercise has become a part of my life again. I am 100% clear in my message, march and style. I know how I want to serve and how I want my business to look. I finally have clear goals — it took me one full year nearly to the day to have clear goals — in my old life, I didn’t have the space for dreams and goals. And now, I’m ready for VISIBILITY. I’m ready for strategy and I’m ready to climb that mountain to go get all that I want.
In this past year of healing, I’ve photographed amazing women, (co-) manifested mind blowing opportunities, was prolific in my creation (for me), traveled and road tripped and healed like a wild woman, found deep love with another, and discovered who I am. And I’m so looking forward to all that has been waiting for me to arrive. I know deep, deep in my heart that this life is just beginning. Blessed be the first year. Blessed be the beauty of the next.