Today (May 27, 2019) is the Celebration of my Red Sea Road – Exodus day. My liberation day. My get the hell out of there day.
To know me is to know that milestones and anniversaries are a pretty big deal to me. This is one of those days.
I began putting miles between myself and my manipulating spiritual, emotional abuser.
Literally packed up a uhaul with the help my yoga teacher and some of their friends.
A city that I loved, unfortunately, was too much of a reminder that I couldn’t be there any longer.
I had long run out of reasons to stay. The air I was breathing had become toxic ever since the day I arrived. Maybe the nerves I felt arriving were an early indicator that something was not right. Maybe the tears I cried every time we had a conversation were an indicator that something was not right. Maybe the tension and confusion that built up in my body because “do I listen to God or the pastor?” was making me sick.
Oh, but don’t worry they just wanted me to repent and recant for calling out spiritual abuse. The ugliest, most awful email I’ve ever read and received, was full of the very manipulation they were denying.
My physical symptoms were undeniable. The wear on my psyche, my heart, my soul, and my mind and body.
Just do what you’re told. Just be the good little church girl, your voice isn’t valued here. Your gifts as a worship leader aren’t needed, your skills, your training, and your church music degree. It was like I didn’t even exist.
You will be condescendingly criticized, belittled, betrayed, manipulated and gaslit.
So yeah, I know what it feels like to leave, and I know what it feels like to be excommunicated. Only, I never understood why they felt like they had to have the last word…
A Brief Timeline:
*I moved to Chicago in the Summer of 2012
*I found yoga in April 2014 – yoga saved my life.
*Visited my sister on Memorial Day Weekend 2015 – This was beginning of the end of the spell I was under. I was criticized and warned against visiting my pregnant sister by my abuser. On my own long weekend, which I paid for. I mentioned this particular time further in this post.
short video clip of Apollo Chorus & Northwester students rehearsing Mahler for our Northwestern University performance, followed by a performance in Downtown Chicago on Sunday.
*I left Chicago on Memorial Day 2016, just like a Red Sea parted, God made a way for me to get out. The day after performing with the Apollo Chorus of Chicago at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, a dream come true, and the best way to leave on a high note. Pictured, my view from the stage, my Backstage pass wristband, and after the performance with a couple of my favorite kiddos, with the stage behind us. The same stage where I saw Andrew Belle, the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra, and Idina Menzel the previous fall.
THAT WAS THEN, NOW I’m FREE
AND NOW, 3 years after leaving
I am free.
I am whole.
I am fully alive.
I am healing.
I am a vocal advocate against spiritual abuse.
I help women reconnect with their bodies.
I sing regularly and am a valued part of my worship team.
I am writing songs, and finding my sound. I hope to have some coffee shop gigs later this summer or early fall. I hope to one day record music for television and get paid for it. I want to compose a choral piece for my women’s choir to sing. I want to write an orchestral symphony or suite.
I celebrate and savor life, delighting in the beauty found in each new day, and practicing gratitude. I practice nonjudgment and self-compassion on hard days and allow myself to feel, and go at my own unique pace. I journal and reach out to friends. I am connecting with old friends and new and building new relationships that are rooted in wholeness, being fully myself.
I am creating art, words, music, and resources for healing, spiritual agency, and wholeness.
I am a yoga teacher, integrated soul mentor, songwriter, and auntie.
Harmonizing and drawing from my background studying art, music, worship, theology, and yoga, I teach gentle yoga classes and empower women to love their bodies in the present tense.
Interwoven with my passion for social justice, peacemaking, and spiritual agency, preventing spiritual abuse and speaking truth to power, paired with my personal story of awakening, departure from, healing and recovery of spiritual trauma by employing spiritual and personal agency.
Synthesizing contemplative Christian practices to help you live an integrated faith & embodied spirituality, rooted in love, free of religious platitudes, spiritual bypass, or legalism.
I believe deeply that we are not powerless. My desire is that you would feel less broken, more empowered, and discover your own inner wholeness. Loving our bodies is a vital element of a healthy, integrated soul.
I am just getting started. I have risen from the ashes, and will not be silent.
My sacred calling is to create, nurture, and heal. Making space for other women to embody and integrate their faith, find healing, and embrace the sacredness that is within.
Will you celebrate with me?