I didn’t go to university! There, I said it, the cat is out of the bag. Really, it’s just my cat and my bag, but there it is.
It’s something I’ve felt shame about. Something I have felt limiting my choices in life. It may be nothing to you, but it has been an issue for me. My own personal glass ceiling.
I didn’t let it bother me, at least not consciously, I just got about the task of populating the earth with my offspring since my highest calling was, after all, motherhood. I mention it here because not going to university, the reasons I didn’t go and the choices I made instead, are all part of the path that led me to where I am today. And I am owning how I got to where I am, in my own unique way, my own unfolding, limiting beliefs and all.
Back to the path I took, marriage, motherhood and all things domestic. I actually thought that that was my deepest truth, my highest calling, the thing I would always give my life in service to. And, I did, for a really long time. I had 6 kids in a 10 year period and was predominantly in the mother/wife/home-schooling role for 26 years. My youngest went to high-school so I was finished a certain home-schooling role 26 years in, and this last summer she turned 18 so the 28 years I spent in the predominantly mother role came to an end too. It was also my 30th anniversary this summer and this was also the summer I officially separated and moved out on my own. So, 30 years of giving myself to all things home and domestic, have, for me, come to an end.
I loved the years I spent home-schooling, the friends we made, the families we hung out with, the events we went to, the life-style we lived. I loved that I didn’t get up to go to a bus stop or drive the kids to school. I loved that I baked and made everything from scratch. I loved having a big family, acreage life, church years, good friends, fun experiences - even lived in the Philippines for a year with all the kids.
I do not regret my choices. Do I sometimes feel they limit me? Sometimes. Was it my survival story? Absolutely. Did those choices get me here? They sure did. Was it all perfect? Nope.
The fact that I want something different for my life now does not mean I haven’t loved all the years I’ve been on the planet so far and the life I’ve lived. I think that’s important to note. I’m not choosing something different because I’ve hated my life up until this point. Quite the opposite. I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I also know that it is complete for me and that there is something else I’m being asked to step into.
So, important facts so far…I skipped university and went to motherhood university instead. I had 6 kids, still have them, and was married for 30 years. Moving on.
I have always been really drawn to spiritual things and to healing, not only physical healing but especially emotional. I have been educating myself on the healing arts for 30 years and have been looking for ways to heal myself and others, it's a constant theme for me. I have also always been deeply spiritual. It could be due to the fact that I am a triple Aries and that a whole bunch of my signs (sun, moon, rising, Chiron, and Mercury) are in my 12th house, the spiritual house, (that’s for the astrology fans out there) but in any case, my love for spirit has been weaved throughout my whole story. No regrets about that either. Has it changed? Most certainly. Deepened? Definitely.
I can remember giving my life to Jesus at age 8. I’m sad that I thought I was a sinner in need of a saviour so early in life, but I honour the seeker in me, the one in me that hungered to connect with something bigger than herself. I”m eternally grateful that my spiritual story has evolved and I’m not that little girl in need of a saviour, but I honour her journey to get here. I led worship, read the entire bible, read lots of parts of it over and over, read lots of books about Jesus and all things Christian, and felt an intimate connection with what I understood to be god. I went to YWAM, twice, dedicated some of my kids to god (sorry for the last 3 of you, you’re on your own…I was over it by then), homeschooled in order to create stellar kids that loved Jesus and followed in my footsteps, (I hope they follow in some of my footsteps but they no longer need to be about Jesus…you’re welcome, kids), and loved all things church and religious. Well, not all of them, but you know. Don’t even get me started about Christmas, worship songs and Christmas music, but I digress.
Where were we? Oh yes, my spiritual hunger.
As near as I can tell, my spiritual expansion really started with the reading of books by Richard Rohr and then all the books by Jungian Analysts that I devoured. It served to expand the narrow story of Jesus as saviour that I had been living. Oh no, actually, before that it was Wayne Jacobsen and the teaching that Jesus wasn’t the atonement for our sins as we had been led to believe. Mind blown. That was in 2007. Once the door opens….
From Carl Jung and the Jungians, I learned about Soul, Individuation (the process of becoming your Self), Sacred Feminine/Masculine, the Devouring Feminine, the sacred prostitute, dreams, myths and fairytales and the growth tasks embedded in each one, shadow, projection, transference, counter-transference, the sacred Other…the list goes on. I devoured as many writings as I could get my hands on. I was and am deeply informed by the works of some great Jungian Analysts, Marion Woodman, James Hollis, James Hillman, Carl Jung, Marie-Louise Von Franz, Robert A. Johnson, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Sylvia Brinton Perera, Nancy Qualls-Corbett, James Finley, Bill Plotkin and more. Their writings and the subsequent journey they took me on, changed my life and deeply informs my practice.
Back to Richard Rohr. Rohr opened me to the bigger story embedded in Christianity, the cosmic Christ (also from Matthew Fox), and the Enneagram. He gave me permission to expand my beliefs which I will always be grateful for. He also, in a round about way, introduced me to the work of Bill Plotkin. I had signed up for a webinar on the developmental wheel, one of Bill’s core teachings, with Richard Rohr and Bill Plotkin, and the rest, as they say, is history. I started reading Bill’s books and signed up for my first intensive, a Soul Craft Immersion. Bill’s work appealed to me because of the depth psychotherapy embedded in it, (with all the elements of dreamwork, shadow work, developmental work, individuation, and parts therapy) he’s a Jungian, after all, but also because the work is spiritual, soulful, wholeness focused, nature based and experiential. I have been taking courses for my own growth and for training purposes since 2011 and it continues to be some of the most difficult, most rewarding work I have ever done. What I have learned from Bill Plotkin directly, from other guides at Animas Valley Institute, from the more than human world and from my own soul, deeply informs all that I offer. I believe this work to be some of the most important work we will ever do, both for ourselves and for our world. Waking up to how connected I am to the more than human world is one of the greatest gifts I have received from this work. This remains one of the predominant ways I heal myself and teach and invite others to heal themselves as well. I am so glad to be in ongoing training with them as a Personal Wilderness Guide.
During the early years of my immersion with Animas Valley Institute, I was reading in Soul Craft, one of Bill Plotkin’s books, about the ways one could take their healing deeper which, as you know, has always been a motivator for me. Bill suggested that somatic therapy was just one such method. EGADS! What was that? Somatic Therapy? So, I googled somatic therapy and Rosen Method Bodywork came up. Eureka! The training was much more local and didn’t require driving to the states for all the courses. Woohoo! I signed up.
Rosen Method was my first foray into the realm of bodywork. This training, and the healing it brought about in me was both intense and life changing. I learned to turn toward my own pain, hold my experiences in an incredible way, deeply inhabit my body, and learned to help people with their own deeply held trauma and unresolved experiences. I discovered where I had ‘put’ things in my own body, how to access them and how to move them through. I learned to really make space for my own and others emotions and experiences. Accessing our trauma directly through our body is a missing piece in most people’s healing journey. You’ve probably heard it said, but your body is where you hold it all, not your mind so in order to heal, you need to turn toward what is held in your body, in your physiology and then connect it with your mind. Rosen Method is one of the most important tools in my tool belt.
Four years into my Rosen journey, I was feeling the pull to dive deeper into anatomy. Into my awareness came Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy. This training was even closer, focused on our innate wholeness, had a strong anatomy base, had ongoing trainings, more books to read (I love books and ongoing education), opened up bodywork for working with children and babies, resolving birth trauma and offering a deep reorganizing, integrating bodywork session to people who may not yet be ready, or want to delve into the realm of their emotions. (Although helping people access their stuck emotions is one of my favourite parts of the work I offer.) Biodynamic Craniosacral was a little more well known, had a well laid out training program and possible path to becoming a teacher, was being taught all over the world, was open to me using all of the skills I had gained thus far, not just theirs, and, believe it or not, had a nature focus. Biodynamics believes we can tap into the breath of life that runs through all things and can feel the tides that run through us and through the world around us. Yum. With cranio, I have learned to feel even more specific systems in the body, feel potency/life force both in myself and others, have a greater knowledge of anatomy, trauma, breath of life, how our systems all work together, embryology and more.
So, to sum up what I have gathered so far, the embodied healing work I offer is a Jungian depth psychology, nature based, soul-infused, developmental task oriented, wholeness based, fragment healing, bodywork emphasized, emotion focused, physiology healing work. I use all my trainings, personal areas of study, personal healing and developmental experiences, my parenting journey, and my connection to soul/spirit and the more than human world to craft my unique offering. There are many paths I could have taken but this is the one I took, the unique thread of my life that I have followed.
I’m putting this out there because we need to own our own path. We need to dig around in the choices we have made and understand why we made them, but ultimately we need to honour how we have gotten to where we have gotten to. I fully honour my path. It’s why I am where I am, why I offer what I offer. The deep healing and understanding of my personal story is what has given me the courage to continue honouring the direction I am taking. For instance, I have healed my own trauma, uncovered my soul, become more fully my Self, embraced my fragments, inhabited my body, found my emotions, learned to belong fully to the world around me, found trainings that resonate with me, and crafted my own unique way of helping others to do the same.
When we become more fully ourselves, we invite others to do the same. We inspire others to find their own paths, to follow the thread of their own lives. Is this a fast journey? No, I don’t think so. We have to fully metabolize our experiences in order to find the gold. My intention here was to fully honour the choices I have made, the directions I have taken and to reveal the unfolding tapestry that is me. I hope you do the same. We are, each of us, an amazing tapestry. My particular tapestry is what makes me a unique Somatic Therapist, a skilled emotion focused embodied healer, a depth psychology informed, nature based wholeness guide.
The healing and integrating of my journey, the gathering of skills, the expanding my capacities, the finding of my unique place to occupy in the world (soul), the deep questions I have asked of myself, the exploring of my survival story, the opening to something bigger in me, the alternative directions I have taken, the trainings, the studying, the deep dive into my own body, the deep love of spirit, my connection to nature, the birthing and raising 6 kids, the decision to not be married, the desire to be of service to the world in a healing capacity because this is how I have healed myself…these all inform my unique offering.
What is your unique way of being in the world? What is your story? What do you offer? What wants to be lived into the world through you? What part of your story is finished? What is just starting? What else wants to be lived? What have you done with your pain? What needs healing so you can show up more fully to your own life? Ask the questions. Follow the thread. Turn over the rocks. Look into your body. Heal yourself.
Find the unique tapestry that is you.
The world needs the fullness of me and the fullness of you and she is waiting.
Me at a Rosen training.