Labor of Love

You are the heroine of your own story.

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No matter what circumstances, no matter what has happened to you, the end of the story — the way that you or I work with what we’ve been handed in life is what matters.

One of my clients, struggling in the moment, wondered aloud if focusing on trauma was just keeping her stuck, unable to move forward. Her wondering really struck me — I’ve certainly felt that way over the years and wanted desperately to just. be. over. it. I’ve taken the road of, “If I ignore the pain, the anger, and the anxiety and just focus on the positive and my strengths — it will just go away.”

The avoidance strategy doesn’t work.

It is so very human to want to avoid pain, to avoid feeling, to avoid facing the demons that lurk in the unexplored darkness of our body psyche. We fear that we will be swallowed whole, that pain will consume us, that we will never emerge from what might feel like a bottomless pit.

When we employ the avoidance strategy, the energy of incomplete trauma, hurt, anger and grief doesn’t go anywhere — it’s in our body psyches, wreaking havoc. How so? It is exhausting to compartmentalize and hold our suffering in the body — often, this can show up as physical illness or compulsive ways of numbing (to keep the pain at bay) through food, substances, or activities that seem to soothe, but often harm us further. It can arrive as chronic anxiety and racing thoughts. Insomnia. Compulsive overwork and/or busyness.

My experience is that avoidance doesn’t feel like wholeness. It doesn’t feel like vitality and aliveness. It doesn’t feel like we are truly expressing or living the fullness of who we are. It’s restless, like a hungry ghost. The truth is that you, and I, we are much more than the trauma and hurts that we have experienced. At the same time, the energy and emotion of trauma and toxic stress that goes unaddressed is part of us, part of our narrative: it is energy that we need to integrate in order to be the heroine and write the ending of our story.

It’s a labor of love, our healing.

We have to be willing to trust the process and ourselves. We have to be willing to believe that if we stay with ourselves and with the hurt, if we let ourselves feel the grief, the anger and the pain that it won’t consume us and in fact will strengthen us and give us back more of what was ours to begin with: our light, our energy, our vitality and our clarity.

Because it will.

You are so much more than the trauma or hurt that lives in your body. Be courageous. Be willing to turn and face the patterns, the old wounds, and the discomfort directly — to feel it, to own it, and to integrate it. It’s not about staying stuck in the suffering. Labor in love to reclaim more of your light, your energy, your vitality, and your clarity.

I am holding the vision with you and for you, heroine.

The Co-Creative Path of Becoming

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Depths & Hard Edges

The depths and edges of our discontent, the tension we feel between how things ARE and how we want them to be, urge us toward transformation, toward change. Our pain shapes us into the people we are, and, if we choose to say yes, our pain will shape us into the people we are meant to be.

The Path We Walk

Saying yes to accepting suffering as a teacher and guide clears the path, moving us toward possibility, toward wholeness and yes, toward joy - toward deep and abiding joy. This is a tremendous gift as well as a great paradox — no one asks for the trauma, the wounding or the circumstances that create such profound suffering (yeah, no thanks). We wouldn’t wish it on anyone else, would we?

However, the pain and suffering we experience because we are alive and we are human is an invitation to a co-creative dance of becoming who we truly are and who we are meant to be.

I don’t believe that life is suffering, as the Buddha said.

But I do believe pain and heartache is part of being alive and our suffering can show us the way home to our beloved selves. I believe that life is precious and that we have more capacity for joy than we can possibly comprehend — a joy that is not available until we can surrender to, and study under, the inevitable pain of being alive.

Deep, tempered joy and appreciation are the natural outcome of accepting pain, challenges and hardship as part of living (instead of pushing them away). Seeing beauty and love everywhere is inevitable when you know, at a bone-deep level, that the prerequisite for ease on the co-creative path of becoming is welcoming your whole experience.

You can kick and rail against it, pretend it isn’t there, but your suffering, and the heart-break of the world are waiting patiently for you to heed the call and step onto the co-creative path of becoming.

“Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” -Pema Chodron


Practice: self-compassion
Poem: The Guesthouse by Rumi
Flower Essence Ally: Star of Bethlehem
Tarot Card: Death

xo.nona

You are not stuck in a story

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Self-responsibility is powerful medicine.

At the same time, the general insistence (especially in the spiritual, healing, and personal development realm) that personal challenge = being stuck in a story is frankly, complete bullshit. It draws the attention away from what is truly being offered to you via your experience and instead, adds insult to injury via the subtle judgement that you are “stuck in a story”.

Seriously, though — isn’t it interesting that we never consider ourselves to be “stuck in a story” if it makes us feel good? If it bolsters our sense of confidence? If it brings us sense of clarity about who we are and how the world works?

You can try and gloss over, ignore, or positive affirmation your way past the confusion, uncertainty and hurts of the present and the past all day long but stories: our individual and collective stories (and the sorrow, grief, anger, fear, shame, and guilt that we don’t want to experience), come to visit our consciousness and our body psyches again and again because they haven’t been truly heeded and heard.

Your “stories” seek your embrace

If you are anything like me, you wonder why in the heck you would possibly want to embrace a story with a guarantee that you will feel that kind of emotional pain. Here is why: because it is part of you. When you deny it, dismiss it, or diminish the relevance of these aspects of you or your life, you lose something precious. In the denial, you halt the clear flow of energy (because emotions are energy that carry profound wisdom). From a spiritual/energetic healing perspective, the energy becomes frozen within the body psyche, unable to be accessed until it is released, felt and integrated.

This energy, this life force that is denied — it is a source of power, presence and wisdom. It behooves us to learn to welcome all of ourselves, our emotions, and our experiences without a preference for what we deem “good”.

In fact, this energy, experience and emotion that we try so hard to push away and ignore actually holds the very wisdom and courage that will align us with the life that is ours to live. The life where we are most fulfilled and where we are contributing to the well-being of the whole in powerful ways.

And at the same time, truly, this process of embracing our whole experience can kind of suck. I won’t lie. I still don’t particularly enjoy feeling the full range of my feelings. I can still find myself doing All The Things to get some distance between myself and a hard understanding of myself or a circumstance.

And yet, this is life

I can make a strong argument that ANY preference or strong belief could be construed as “being stuck in a story” — anything on the continuum from “love, light and high vibes” all the way to the other end of the spectrum at “life is suffering”. Life is magnificent and life is brutally challenging. Life is beautiful and ugly. Life is all the things and if we desperately wish to lean in one direction, or another, we miss out on so much.

We miss out on the wisdom, the conviction, the clarity and the power that comes from courageously welcoming and facing our most challenging emotions and circumstances. We miss out on the true sense of joy and appreciation for life that is available when we aren’t denying parts of our experience.

Write YOUR story.

To write the story that is yours to write, you need access to all of your wisdom, energy and power. To be the woman you are requires you to hear and heed the wisdom that exists in the full range of your experiences and emotions. To be the woman you wish to be requires compassion and the courage to embrace, and to work with, the raw materials that you’ve been given. You are not stuck in a story. You are being called to reclaim your power. You are crafting a legacy, my sister.

It won’t be quick.

It won’t be easy.

But it will be real and human, and messy and absolutely profound.

No, you are not stuck in a story. Life is simply inviting you to craft a fuller, richer, more heroic story.

That’s all. And it’s everything.

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Hey soul sister

Did you enjoy this piece? Feel free to share on your favorite social media channels, like or comment below to continue the conversation. I love to connect with you.

xo.nona