We learn by speaking and listening to story. I'd like a little about my own journey in the hopes that maybe it will help you understand your own. We are all reflections of each. As women, we have much to share/learn from each other's life experiences. As one of my mentors says, each of us carries an Inner Wisdom School within us. Let me share with you some of the events that have birthed mine...
I was raised in a fundamentalist christian and politically conservative home where deep inquiry of the soul was not understood or encouraged. I was the black sheep/designated patient in my family. I grew up feeling very alienated: never quite fitting in and being uncomfortable with so many aspects of my being.
Deeply emotional, highly sensitive and in touch with many realms of "reality", I channeled everyone's feelings through my own being. I had no understanding of energy management and took everything I was experiencing into my own body/mind. I was diagnosed manic-depressive when I was a teen, and I was over-medicated in an attempt to manage my mood states. I became filled with a rage that I turned outward on my family and inward towards myself in self-abusing behaviors and suicide attempts.
When I was 14, my first rite of passage was to be committed into an mental health institution without my consent. The stigma of being diagnosed with a "mental illness" burned itself into my soul, which did nothing to help my self-esteem. For many years after I was filled with shame from my experiences and hid it from almost everyone outside of my family. It has taken almost 40 years for me to be able to share this story without fear of exile.
Though I couldn't see it then, the Universe had my back. I was on the journey of a Wounded Healer. After high-school I "ended up" working at natural food co-op where I was introduced to many different healing modalities: herbal medicine, macrobiotics, Ayurveda, bodywork, energy work, acupuncture, yoga and more. I fell in love with it all.
My world opened up and expanded as I explored alternative and natural ways to manage my alternating mood states. I moved to the SF Bay Area when I was 23, away from my past and all of the rigidity I had grown up with. Working at another health-food store I met a young woman who was pregnant and having a homebirth. This introduction to midwifery felt like a home-coming for my soul.
Fourteen years after my first rite of passage I crossed a second threshold - the journey into motherhood. Suddenly I was responsible for tending and guiding another human being - I did not have the option of checking-out or quitting anymore. Pregnancy and birth sparked an awakening in my body and soul that put me firmly on the path of excavating the shadows in my own psyche, releasing wounds & trauma from my childhood and early adulthood.
Fascinated by the childbearing year, I became a doula and apprentice midwife, working with women, babies and families for over 10 years. I loved witnessing the transformation that happens to women during this profound rite of passage, birthing not only their babies but themselves in the process. During these years I also studied and trained in many different healing modalities, plant medicine, natural chef training, bodywork, energy medicine, shamanic healing, life coaching and depth hypnosis.
My third rite of passage was a menopause arriving in my early 40's. My body, mind and spirit were broken open and re-crafted in this fiery cauldron of transformation. The journey through menopause made it clear to me that living an on-call lifestyle was no longer sustainable, but it took me many moons before I was able to step away from the career I had been building for 10+ years.
Walking away from midwifery was heart-wrenching on so many levels, yet my experience as a birthworker revealed to me time and time again that a woman's body connects her to deep wisdom - when she makes the space to listen. My body broke down in order to get me to honor its needs. But once I did listen and made the changes in my lifestyle that brought me back to wellness, I was led even deeper into my own empowerment... and in 2012 my intuitive healing practice, Unfolding the Self, was born.
Every step I've taken along the way has led me deeper into my own Truth. It hasn't always been easy, but it has always been worth it. Even in the darkest times, I have been able to connect with magic - with that divine spark of wisdom that lives inside of me. I continue to learn how to honor and embrace my own unique soul song each and every day while inviting my clients to do the same.