The Cult of Following

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https://unsplash.com/@mkwlsn (image credit) 

I read something today that brought on sadness, frustration, a mini-migraine, and a bit of a mini-crisis. Just a few raw thoughts follow today.

It reminded me of how easy it is to find yourself somewhere you never meant to end up.

How do intelligent people get caught in cults or manipulative or abusive groups? Here’s a hint. It has nothing to do with intelligence.

We see this in marketing too. (And keep in mind marketers use psychology…so there’s that..) *Side note: Reason #1009 why I love Tad Hargrave from Marketing for Hippies. I also have a mini crush on him.*

There are two large competing essential oil companies and there are people I know, love and respect in both. And I have my own personal oil stash primarily from one…but I also have some from the other so I have oils from both. My sister likes one, I like the other…but I use both now. There was a time that I wanted to pursue additional training to help build my own Oily Business with the “upline’s” in the group I joined (not my sponsor who was very laid back and open handed about the process)…but some of the pre-training material language was immediately off-putting and manipulative or coercive, in addition to cherry picking a Bible verse to “prove” her point (which was completely out of context). (And this was just the sign-up process…which demanded you would make “no excuses” during the business “bootcamp” training period. Gross.

Then there are the food groups/diets/eating plans/lifestyles. The enthusiasm and benefits are touted. And I suppose it would only be fair to say this about yoga too. And cross-fit…so I’ve heard…lol.

I guess it’s not that word-of-mouth is wrong…but remember your experience is rarely duplicated. What “works” for one person, may not be the best _____(fill in the blank)____ for your friend.

Each creates a sort of cult following.

Churches promote small groups and attendance by enticing friendships and the overused and under-explained “community,” or worse, by calling it “family.” The peer pressure. The overspiritualized language. The bait of “belonging.” Formulas: do this “x” and get that “y.”

Imperfect people create imperfect organizations and companies.

But when is enough, enough? When do you draw the line in the sand or burn the bridge? When do you blow the whistle and call them out and demand accountability?

There is a big difference between imperfect and toxic; between imperfect and abusive; imperfect and manipulative.

Where do we go from here? More awareness. More freedom. Room for healthy skepticism and questions. Not fear.  Pursuing wholeness and freedom and spiritual health is a wholistic/holistic journey. No more shame throwing. No more judgment throwing or dualism. Permission to ask hard questions. Space and room to ask those questions and have them asked of you…and without being defensive or exclusive.

I’m going from memory..but I think in the book Families where Grace is in Place it talks about how unhealthy families that keep secrets become very defensive, reactive, and will quickly reject anyone who is not going to play along and turn them into an outsider, excommunicating, banishing or ostracizing them rather than sending them on with grace and understanding. (And unhealthy families aren’t just about your biological families, but can relate to other groups as well, including churches and religious groups or clubs even).

This is not to say that defensive is always a negative reaction…but it can be symptomatic, and being made an outsider…well that is a gross feeling, even when you have chosen to leave…to be told you’re kicked out…even after you have already left is a very strange, icky feeling.

Is it enough to just say that not everything is for everyone? Or that abuse of power can happen slowly, subtly and creep up on you, just like the frog who dies a slow death while cooked at a low temperature rather than a fast boil.

Does this resonate? Where have you noticed the cult of following?

Feminine Wholeness Includes Sexuality | My Favorite Resources

Back in August I posted this on Instagram,
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So I’ve been thinking about some recent conversations I’ve had and wondering if any of you beauties would be interested in reading some of my favorite resources for breaking free from repressed sexuality and harmful purify culture? Embracing the skin you’re in and shedding shame? That last one was a huge game changer for me. I’ve got books, my favorite teachers and mentors and amazing online havens. It will probably take a week or so to put together so let me know if you want to see it! 💘💌🍇🌺🐯👑

And it was met enthusiastically. So I am excited to finally share the following resources: books, links, Instagram accounts, teachers and guides that have been helpful on my journey, and continued journey of Feminine Wholeness and Embodied Faith.

Why?

Do you really need to ask why this is important? casual selfie SHE

The short answer is really simple. We are embodied spiritual beings and humans. I am a soul and I have a body, to borrow words from C.S. Lewis.  I am also a woman. As a woman and a person of faith, it is important to me to understand what it means to live in this skin, this flesh, this body, which just so happens to be female. I was never satisfied to live a life that was purely “spiritual.” After all, we’re not just spirit beings.  And we aren’t meant to be either. I grew up in purity culture, that icky sub-culture; cloaked in shame and unconscious body shame, under the guise of “modesty.” Guess what, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, modesty is just another word for shame. Not in its intent, or even original meaning, but in its impact. And impact must be looked at.

I am tired of being in groups with young women who feel compelled to confess their shame because they falsely believe they are committing sin. I was one of those young women. Until I read Ruby Slippers, Eve’s Revenge and Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers blog, and any thread or question of shame was completely erased when I began reading and following the Feminine Wholeness work of Morgan Day Cecil. (All of these lovely people and resources are listed below.)

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It’s actually possible to carry shame even if you’ve never crossed any physical boundaries. Surprised?

My jaw dropped as I began reading the blog of Dr. Tina Sellers and her research on purity culture and the negative impacts it has left behind. One fact astounded me most of all. One of her blog articles talked about the impact and symptoms of repressed sexuality in a marriage were similar to those of sexual abuse. Two extremes. One more traumatic, while the other was not healthy. It’s both completely mind-boggling and revealing. I believe it points to the fact that we are sexual beings and repressing that fact does no one any favors.

This is a Good Body

Here’s a bit more of my own words from a few years ago during a really important challenge on instagram.

August 4th, 2015
I snagged a pic from over a year ago when I had just begun yoga. I chose this picture because of the caption. “I wouldn’t be caught dead posting a pic of my middle but this pose somehow elongated it, so I was okay with it” When I look at this photo now, I love it, it’s beautiful, it’s Wild Thing, it’s strength + freedom.

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I have only just begun uncovering the lies + shame that I carry in my body – the weight of being a woman.  My healing journey began 2 years ago when I read an incredibly healing book called Eve’s Revenge: Women & a Spirituality of the Body by Lilian Calles Barger. She walks through the ways that religion + the church have taken poor directions both for women and the human body. Instead of a wholistic perspective, as it was created to be, it became separate. The human body became divorced from spirituality + has created an avalanche of hurts and problems. We were not created to be separate.

I always felt that I was a pretty confident, positive self-esteemed, kind-a gal. But the negative voices came from too close to home & lodged themselves like cheap shots – well intentioned but absolutely harmful. My dad thought it was funny to tell me to “get some abs”. It struck a chord as I already wished my stomach was smaller & flatter than it was. I have gone face to face with the lie of “not good enough” my entire life & this just amplified that.

What I’ve discovered over the past 2 years is just how much shame I’ve carried in my body.  The shame of Not-Good-Enough. Somewhere along the road I actually believed I was larger or “fatter” than I really was, when I looked in the mirror, my perception was barely tolerable, eh, it was okay.  I uncovered these lies & areas of shame at the same time that I began practicing yoga & seeing myself for who I really was in that moment. I saw my body grow stronger, & suddenly, for the first time I believed that I was beautiful, not just acceptable or pretty enough, or a pretty face or nice legs, but all of me, the whole me was beautiful. I began experiencing God’s love FOR me, all of me.

I am learning to love this good body he gave me. This is a good body.

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Important distinctions and verbiage:

“Our Western Christian tradition often has given the impression, and at times explicitly taught, that this tension is primarily between the soul and the body. • The result has been a denigration of the human body and a distrust of our deepest physical energies. The biblical term ‘the flesh’, which refers to the sinful tendency in us to disregard our inmost self, incorrectly has been equated with ‘the body’.

‘The flesh’ and ‘the body’ in the New Testament are *different concepts.* The consequences of the confusion has been disastrous.

We have ended up obscuring the truth that our bodies are made in the image of God. When St. Paul teaches that we are to live ‘according to the spiritRATHER than ‘according to the flesh‘, he is NOT suggesting that 👉 we should NOT live according to the body.

(an importance distinction❗️)

It is precisely IN our bodies that we are to live according to the spirit, rather than allowing ourselves, including our bodies, to be dictated to by what is opposed to our inmost being.

The invitation is to be liberated, to be reconciled to what is deepest in us instead of being held in bondage to what is false in us.”

excerpt from Echo of the Soul: The Sacredness of the Human Body by J. Philip Newell

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Books

Listing them here in order that I went through them. Oh, and I’ve mentioned some of these before (they’re that good, and they’ve been that helpful so I may borrow a few of my previous words, again.) This is really just a starting place, not comprehensive by any means, and not including books I read years ago that I don’t necessarily agree with, anymore, or ever. (I’m looking at you, Captivating. *eye roll) There are some good titles out there…and some awful titles too. If you’re looking for help navigating who to trust…pay attention to the author’s worldview and theological bent. Believe me, everyone has an agenda. And I’m no longer willing to entertain the bent that says women need to submit to men. Jesus never asks that of me, so I won’t.

Eve’s Revenge: Women & A Spirituality of the Body
by Lilian Calles Barger

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To read my description of this important book go here:

Ruby Slippers by Jonalyn Fincher

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Heart Made Whole

by Christa Black Gifford

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Other more spiritual / faith / theological / books about / for and from women that are solid and not ill-fitting: Any and everything by Carolyn Custis James, Sarah Bessey, Kathy Escobar, Danielle Shroyer. You won’t find any corsets here.

Additional Books I recommend but haven’t actually read in full or am still in the middle of, but based on their previous work, blog posts etc, I am eager to read and are on my list. 

Echo of the Soul: The Sacredness of the Human Body by J. Philip Newell
Sex, God, & the Conservative Church by Dr. Tina Schermer Sellers
Be sure to also check out her blog and facebook page:

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Blogs:

MOST IMPORTANTLY:

Morgan Day Cecil: Feminine Wholeness: 

Basically, everything you need is here–there. So please go follow her, check out her site, sign up for her emails, read her blog posts and take a yoga class on her youtube channel. You won’t regret it. She also has an excellent organized book list by topic. So check it out! 🙂

Instagram Accounts:

  1. Morgan Day Cecil: Feminine Wholeness
    @morgandaycecil
  2. Romance & Adventure:  The Cecils
    @romanceandadventure
  3. This Is A Good Body Stories Archive
    #thisisagoodbody
  4. Dr. Tina is now on Instagram too!
    @drtinashamelesssex
  5. Christa Black Gifford
    @christablackgifford

Final thoughts. 

The best advice I’ve been given by my amazing Feminine Wholeness Coach is (in my own words)

  • No more shame.
  • It’s a good idea not to use sex as an escape. But don’t be afraid of pleasure. 😉

Be free, dear sisters, whether you’re single and unattached or otherwise entangled. Be free of your shame. Here’s a parting poem to encourage and embolden you:

walt whitman - dismis whatever insults your own soul

If you’d like to work with me please check out my brand new course – Your Flesh is a Poem Full details are linked below:

Do you wish there was a space to think out loud, ask questions
process creatively, & embrace all of who you are without judgment?
To reimagine what it looks like to reclaim your body,
voice, life, & your power, on your own terms?

Your Flesh is A Poem is an Online Course:
A Guided & Creative Journey & Integrated Spirituality
of the Body Designed to:

+ CONNECT with the FEMININE HEART of GOD 

+ HEAL the RIFT BETWEEN YOUR BODY, HEART, & SPIRIT 

+ UNRAVEL CENTURIES OF CONDITIONING

+ RECLAIM YOUR LIFE, YOUR VOICE,
YOUR BODY,  & YOUR POWER, ALL DIVINELY GIVEN

These five sessions are the fruit of my own healing work, my own journey towards wholeness, and reclaiming my voice, my life, my body, and my power. All God-given. All in partnering with the divine. I tore down the tired walls, broke free of the corset that wasn’t designed for me, and embraced the spacious contemplative faith, the deep song that I’ve always sung. I want to share these tools, practices, and activities with you to help you experience wholeness and reclaim your own life, and walk alongside you and hold space for your own process.

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Begin Again

So, like children, we begin again
to learn from the things,
because they are in God’s heart;
they have never left [God].

This is what the things can teach us:
to fall,
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

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I can begin again.
Life can begin again.
Today I begin again.
A new year to love myself.
A new year to love those around me.
A new year to shed the weight of expectations.
A new year to embrace all of me.
A new year to be fully present.
A new year to step forward, one step at a time, inch by inch.
A new year to say yes to all the good things.

A new year to embrace all of who I am. Body, heart, mind, & soul.
A new year to take flight & take up my space.
A new year to hope again, believe again, & reconstructing.
A new year to be equipped, empowered, enlightened and embodied.
A new year to be rooted and grounded in Love Divine.
A new year of freedom.
A new year to teach what I know.
A new year to be unapologetically, wonderfully me.
A year of wholeness.

The Language of Freedom

If you’ve known me for a while, you may or may not have noticed that my language has shifted. I’ve drastically cut back on the “religious” language that I use. This is completely intentional. It is part of my healing. It is part of my attempts at sobriety from religious addiction and trauma. Our subcultures and super-sub-subcultures have got to change.  We’re going around in circles talking about things we don’t even mean nor do we know how to say what we mean. We’re padding ourselves with religious bubble-wrap and cushioning, to keep ourselves safe. Hashtag blessed (hear the sarcasm?) From what exactly? From people who are different than us?


The language we use is very telling; and, very important. Pointed,  jagged, sharp, loaded and painful, hurtful words can sound like this:

submit, obey, character, trust, faith, choice, direction, death, self, die-to-self, surrender, sacrifice.


Here’s an example: “Your character needs to grow/change/improve.”

And slowly the word “character” digs sharper and sharper into my chest like a dagger. It sounds more like this. “We don’t like you the way you are. You need to be better. You don’t look like / operate like/ conform like us.” What is this, the survival of the fittest, most ultra spiritual person?

“You need to trust God.” or the accusatory, “You don’t trust God.”

Loaded. Bang. Bang. Do you hear it?


Oftentimes it becomes necessary and healthy to take a step back from the thorns that have entangled the true and good meaning of these words, and look again with fresh eyes at their true meaning and remove the religious stigma and legalism, and religious and spiritual addiction and spiritual manipulation, abuse and triggers.

Faith and trust can become gentle, and even trustworthy again.

A deeper listening and mindful awareness of the power of control, self-control and free will. The will to make decisions and power to consent.

Bodies and hearts are good. Intuition and wisdom are good. Paying attention, being aware and mindful of what’s going on inside your body and outside and noticing how your body is reacting or responding to various stimuli.

We don’t have to embed religious language into everything we do in order to “redeem” it. In fact, it can be quite dangerous, and unhealthy. Because you stop thinking for yourself (with your God-given brain) and you become a religious parrot, which we are not called to be. Our uniqueness and diversity is to be celebrated. You are a poem, did you know that? Our unique gifts and abilities; gifted to each one.

I dare you. Pay attention to your language. Use your thesaurus and your own words. It takes practice and it will take time. This is so important.

Not only are others desperate for this fresh, raw language, many of us on the fringes are in need of words that don’t hurt and burn and scar and wound and push us farther away.

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One Year Ago | A Uhaul & Unforced Rhythms

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One year ago I loaded up all my belongings from my second floor apartment into a small Uhaul squeezed in our narrow alley along with the help of some dear friends and their friends and escaped from some really toxic relationships. To this day, I still have a couple kitchen boxes packed. I drove over 400 miles in a Uhaul truck and moved in with my sister and became my nephew’s nanny; arriving at about 11pm that night. We took care of each other and I found refuge there with my family.

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I’ve walked with Jesus the whole way. It was his words in Matthew (below) that signaled that it was time to go. And he’s never left my side, he’s always been with me. I may never understand how I ended up where I did, or why it got as bad as it did, but what I do know is that He was the one who rescued me.  He was the One who provided a way out, along with the help my family and some very dear friends. He was the original rebel; rejecting rules and religious addicts and bad religion. (cue the Gungor song, Bad Religion)

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When I found myself unable to say the words it is well with my soul,” I knew my soul was not well. I will say it, and quote this ’til my last breath, a healthy soul is an integrated soul.” (Dallas Willard words to John Ortberg in Soul Keeping) It is so critically important. 


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (MSG)

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest (renewal, blessed quiet) for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.” (AMP)

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So I rested. and rested and rested.

28 Come to me and I will give you rest—all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.” (TLB)

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And I began to recover my life. With room to breathe. Room to reconnect with who I really am, not a restrictive, distorted, lifeless, suffocated version of me.
I learned that so-called holy words were twisted and forced on me and used against me. My entire being, my spirit was torn down, there was no building up. I wasn’t enough for them. I was too much for them. I wasn’t accepted for who I was and for who and how God designed me.
 

This is the face of freedom, just a few days after my move:

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Lorde (the artist/singer/songwriter) sings a haunting song that resonates with me. It is one of the things that was said to me, almost verbatim. She sings:
‘They say, You’re a little much for me
You’re a liability
You’re a little much for me”
So they pull back, make other plans
I understand, I’m a liability
Get you wild, make you leave
I’m a little much for
E-a-na-na-na, everyone’

Since that day, I have moved again, this time flying back to California with my nephew and a much lighter load, in more than one sense of the word. Just one year on with four years of trauma behind me and I still have a long road of recovery. It’s been a hard, lonely road; pursuing a healthy soul is no easy road but it is a spacious road of freedom.
 
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If you’ve experienced spiritual trauma and been hurt by the church, you are welcome here. I hope to offer spiritual sobriety here, soul care, and compassion, both for ourselves, and for each other. That is my commitment to you. Your story, your voice, your feelings are valid and you’re invited here, whether you join me on your mat in a class or online. And I’m always down for a latte and a conversation. Not everything is appropriate or ready for public consumption, and only you will know when you’re ready to tell your story, and how.

Taking My Voice Back | One Year Later

She devoted no less than half her life, time, resources, education to becoming a worship leader. Hours of practice, voice lessons, and conferences and studying, and a degree in music. Listening, taking notes, writing, reviewing, again and again. Saying yes to opportunities when they arose. Women’s retreats, women’s groups. Finding the courage to seek out more opportunities. Looking for places to belong.

And in one conversation she gave her voice away.


I should have asked more questions, taken more time to pray and contemplate what I was doing. I believed (falsely) that because someone “said so” that I needed to do what I was told.

Because I was a religious addict and thought I needed to ask permission and follow the rules even when they went against everything I believed in. I gave my power away. I settled for rules and shoved it all into a box that was ill-fitting, fit myself into a corset that wasn’t made for me. I forgot about free will and choice and using my mind and trusting the Voice within to guide me.

The problem is I never stopped believing in my calling. I just gave up, with the calling still burning inside me.

I tried to pretend that I was okay with it and even made stories up to convince myself that was the way it was going to be. I figured out a way to tell a new story, one that didn’t include music but I didn’t believe it at all. I was numb.

After a couple of years of trying to put out the fire, it became relentless, burning within me. How could I NOT do the one thing I knew I was born to do? What made me come alive, what filled my soul and brought joy to my soul, and healing to others?

It’s no wonder I became a shell of a person. I had lost my purpose and it wasn’t coming back.


Again and again, I asked. And every time the gatekeepers said “no.”

They said “no” to being who I was created to be.
They said “no” to allowing me to be myself.
They said “no” to the gifts I had to offer.
They said “you’re too much.”
They said “you’re not enough.”
They said “there’s nothing you can do to participate”.
They said my dreams needed to die.

Everything I had laid bare and had been vulnerable about was used against me.

Well, they succeeded — my soul was dead.
It’s enough to make a girl go mad.


After four years I said enough; I took my voice back and I walked away.

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Loved Back to Life: Redemption

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I studied music with a calling to lead worship. I was honored to have space to do this for several years. But I was restless. I attempted to get work at churches unsuccessfully for a countless number of years. Countless number of resumes and interviews, just to get my foot in the door. I was willing to settle for anything at that point.

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Seeking, I spent a year long process applying and joined cru in 2011. While I loved our training, I crashed and burned and still felt out of place as far as gifts and interests went. Support raising was impossible. Broken and hungry for purpose and new direction I moved to chicago on a “mission.”

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My voice was taken away from me. (And I don’t mean my vocal chords). I lost all meaning and purpose in my life. For months I described my state as feeling like an empty carcass. Yeah. I felt like shit. Eventually, my body began speaking to me through anxiety. As we learned this week at retreat, “listen to your body for it knows before you do!” This has been so true in my experience.

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I found refuge in Greatly Gracious in Chicago. Experiential worship through movement and prayer in stillness and listening. I was loved back to life as I attended weekly classes with Sarah at Greatly Gracious.

I believe the reason God led me to Chicago was to find my way to Sarah’s class that first night and to be rescued. I came back every single week, for two years. That was three years ago. The same year I attended HY Touch training with Jonnie and a month later attended the Soul Care retreat in St Louis with Jill, Laura, and Whitney. That was just the beginning.
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Every single encounter, every person I have met in this Yoga family has spoken LIFE to me.

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LOVED BACK TO LIFE.
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Redemption. Are you ready for this?

I have found myself in a worship ministry. A ministry of healing and soul care and holistic ministry. I will speak LIFE and hold space for others.

Quick Christmas (115 of 7)

How’s that for redemption?

I’m still amazed. I can’t wait for the rest. As I dream and step into this next season in great anticipation and HOPE.

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Pictured here with some of my LIFEgroup gals who have been just that: LIFE for the past 4 months.

Memories of My Dad

I let the 21st come and go without paying attention. I knew it was coming but didn’t take time on Friday to remember. It actually explains while I’ve been feeling like 💩.

I tend to remember his birthday a bit more intentionally. It’s harder and more unsettling to remember the day he died nine years ago (after 13 months of battling a late diagnosis of stage four cancer of the esophagus / stomach.)

*This is where I always include a few disclaimers. Don’t feel sorry for me, and don’t assume you know how I feel. Yes, there is a loss. But it’s also so much more complicated. With all that said, just hold space for me. Please don’t “pray for me” to feel better. That’s not the point. The point is to remember. And I’m doing that with my words here, by giving space for these thoughts. I may not actually feel sadness today but I have felt a bit off the past week and I’m just acknowledging that. And this is actually not a sad post, it gets better 🙂 I found some fun pictures of us being “active.”

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{ Chugging our drinks after a fun run event with my dad. Crowd singing “Drink it down, down, down!” (I guess I was providing moral support, lol) }

My dad liked to be active. He played basketball in the 80’s in short shorts, hiked through jungles and went snorkeling in beautiful tropical reefs. Together we went on fun runs and spent time just the two of us on field trips or just trips to the backyard for science, or a family favorite, with trips to the zoo.

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{ my turn – probably drinking red fanta or water }

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He gave me a racquetball set for my thirteenth birthday and volleyball for another. He encouraged activity, and I’m beginning to recall those as some of my favorite times with my dad. Now that I think about it, he was most at ease and less critical and more patient during those times, he was most relaxed and I think the unofficial role he played as “coach dad” and “fun dad” was one of my favorites. When we were working on volleyball drills the summer before 11th grade he was encouraging and helpful in building my skills.

I enjoyed both racquetball and volleyball on the few occasions we got to play. As I got older I enjoyed sprinting; (My last name is Quick after all 😉 ) but hated the mandatory long distance runs in PE class (UGH!). In some small way he encouraged play. I may not love cardio, hello, that’s why I love yoga… hahah, but I love moving my body and feeling at home in it. He may have spoken unkind words to me unintentionally about my body (see, I said it was complicated) but I’m remembering the good things from my childhood whether it was badminton, 🏸 riding my bicycle or on the rocket 🚀 swing he made just for me. (Which, sadly I don’t have pictures of)

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*Another disclaimer… I spent 6 months in therapy talking about the painful times and places I was wounded emotionally, in order to bring healing, and it wasn’t until I acknowledged the grief I had of our complicated relationship and worked through a lot of that before I was able to grieve the actual death and loss of my dad. Now, nine years later, I still come up on painful memories, but more and more of the good memories, and much less hurt. Sweeping things under the rug may be a temporary coping mechanism, but from my experience, it’s much more necessaary to talk through them and work through them for the purpose of emotional healing. 

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Remembering all the good times we had playing, doing sports or science, is incredible timing considering I will soon be a yoga instructor, it’s very full circle in a way I hadn’t thought about before and that makes me very happy. 🙂 I am grateful and glad for all the good times and fun adventures we had together and miss being able to play racquetball or a fun run together. I love you, fun, silly, adventurous, playful, Coach Dad. ❤

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Healing the Purpose of Your Life

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This book has been one of my lifelines over the past year. With the prompts within, I came up with three words that are unique to me, and to my way of being, the myriad of ways that I express my special way of being. These three words aren’t what you might think, and I won’t be sharing those three words, but they do express themselves through yoga, nannying, music, and art. And the title is pretty straightforward, but that has been part of my journey. And this small but mighty book is very healing. If you’re at a crossroads or struggling with this idea, or concept or need to revisit and rediscover, I highly recommend this. And it’s not about over- spiritualizing your purpose, but really practical and deeply spiritual.

This journey is important to me because there are voices out there that will tell you that your gifts, your talents and your unique way of being, even your personality are a “problem.” Nope, it’s not your problem, it’s their problem and they can get out of your face. Our unique gifts and talents and interests and our unique way of expressing our being ARE what make you, uniquely YOU. And these things are guides, markers, indicators to help point you in the direction you were uniquely designed for. What lights you up? What makes you come alive? Those are such important questions. The things that matter to us, matter for a reason. That doesn’t mean we’ll know right away, there are still things that matter to me that don’t have a neat niche that I’m invested in, but I still care and maybe someday it will be a bigger part of my time. I get so frustrated when the message of self-denial is beat on your heads over and over. You can’t do any of that until you know who you really are. Celebrate the unique way you express your beings and your doings express your being.

*and yes this book is on my short list of all time favorites!

“Our sealed orders are built into us so deeply that difficult circumstances and mistakes in our life cannot ultimately keep us from carrying out our purpose. This is true because our purpose is our essence, our particular way the light of God shines within us, a light that can never really be put out.”

– from Healing the Purpose of Your Life by the Dennis Linn, Sheila Fabricant Linn, and Matthew Linn

Loved Back to Life

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My love for yoga ignited almost immediately. This was taken about a month after I began attending Yoga classes. 

I am celebrating that this past week in April was my Yogiversary!  I began my yoga journey and going to weekly classes three years ago!

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Early morning yoga, coffee, bonding, and prayer.

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The best yoga teachers a girl could dream of, Sarah & Midori.


Greatly Gracious Yoga became my lifeline and place of refuge, my sanctuary. I learned so much about what I was capable physically and became stronger in that way, but also spiritually and emotionally and mentally. I learned to trust my intuition and listen to my body. I experienced the love of God in ways I never had before. I learned to listen in stillness. I became empowered and reclaimed my voice. My view of worship expanded as I observed my yoga teachers leading us in times of worship, with our heart, mind, soul, and strength. In prayer and in devotion. In love and encouragement. In experiencing peace, rest, and hope. In being refreshed and revived. I was loved back to life in that space. For that, I am forever grateful, to Sarah and Midori, Greatly Gracious women. ❤

 

 

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My Yoga Teacher, Sarah Wheeler of Greatly Gracious Yoga studio in Wicker Park. Big hugs before I moved.