Since I can remember, I felt the Divine inviting me to write the poetry She puts on my heart and share it with others. In third grade, I wrote poetry books and stories of friendship and adventures. I knew I’d eventually publish a book. In 2017, I self-published my first book, Gems of Delight, filled with poetry, soulful reflections, and my conversations with the Divine. My friend, Judy, and my husband, Brian, insisted that I reach out to ask people to help bring the book into the world. So we created a Kickstarter campaign. I was super nervous. Would people show up? Would people like my work?
Well, I was blown away. Within a few hours, the campaign was fully funded. It was humbling and absolutely incredible to receive such support for the book and to see these gems go around the world.
But soon a shadow side to publishing, being an author, and being out in the world showed up. It surprised me and I didn’t expect it.
Soon after I published Gems of Delight, I found myself spending more time online and looking for approval, acceptance, and likes “out there.” I struggled with what to write. Now I was concerned about writing the “right thing” that people would like and accept. I started spending too much time at my desk when my body wanted me to get up and move. I would write instead of moving my body. Feeling anxious, I’d grab something to eat while I wrote and tried to FIGURE OUT what I SHOULD write and share on social media and in blog posts. I’d post and wait for people to respond. And I’d judge myself and my writing based on the numbers.
All the while, I would hear the Divine through my body inviting me to trust Her, to spend more time caring for my body with the long walks, yoga asana practices, dance, and being outside moving my body as I used to do. She’d invite me to slow down, to turn inward, to trust. I listened…sort of…but I also didn’t! I still held onto the belief, “I HAVE TO do x, y, z.”
I spent a year and a half sitting more than my body wanted me to – sitting, struggling, doubting, questioning, and being pulled into the abyss of “what others want to hear.”
Then, in December 2018, my son asked if we could try snowboarding and skiing. On a whim, we did it. Instantly I fell in love with skiing. We skied that whole winter. Right before school would let out on Thursdays, I’d load up the skiing and snowboarding gear, plus snacks and water bottles, and tell the kiddos to be one of the first ones to walk out of school when the final bell rang. I’d be there waiting for them, they’d jump in the car, and we’d drive up to our local ski resort. We’d ski into the night as the resort lights would come on and the stars would come out. On the weekends, we’d get up early and head up the road for the day. We even planned out a few adventures where we traveled up North and out West. I was spending much more time outside and moving my body. I was listening – to my body and to Her. Sure, I felt the pull to go back to the desk and write, or get on my phone and see what “so and so” was posting and see if my writing was measuring up and who was liking my posts.
But I started to listen more to the mountains calling me rather than the masses on social media pulling me down into self-doubt.
We skied again this past winter. I skied down my first black diamond! (And then again and again!). The incredible thing isn’t that I “achieved” going down a black diamond. The incredible thing is what allowed that black diamond experience to happen and to be so glorious: hours and hours of listening to the Divine to get outside and move my body, to engage my body in such a present-moment-healing-focused way that was not harsh and forced, but rather lovingly engaged and honoring my body’s way of connecting to the mountain.
I love being outside in the crisp air. I love the body-focused concentration it takes to ski down a slope. I love going on adventures with my family. I love spending hours and hours in nature. I love the feeling of total body-presence. I love watching the sunset from the top of a mountain. I love the 10% braver challenge I started with myself.
This is the body of this poet. I need to move my body. I need to balance being “on” and writing with being “off” outside engaged in fun, invigorating movement.
I kept hearing the Divine say to me, “The way to write is through honoring your body.” She was showing me. I was listening. I am listening.
Last summer, I called my friend, Anne, and told her, “I need a sport to do in the off season of skiing!”
She said, “I think you’d like cycling.”
I didn’t have a bike. I borrowed my sister’s bike and called another friend, Lynne, to join us. I loved the experience of riding with friends and being outside again. I loved how my strong legs pedaled faster. I loved hills. I loved feeling the air against my skin. I loved being sweaty and tired from honoring my body.
“We need a goal,” Anne said. “How about this 150 mile bike ride on the Great Allegheny Passageway?”
I said, “Let me try doing 20 miles first.”
I did it. I bought a hybrid bike. I said, “Let’s do the GAP.”
And throughout this past year, my two friends and I would train together.
It was so glorious to be with others outside loving my body rather than sitting by myself inside writing. I love to write. I will always write. But my sitting and writing needs balance. My “creating for others” needed grounding. I needed to write again from a place of deep listening to my Soul, rather than what I see on social media that others may “want.”
And so, I have been listening again to Her to move my body and to feel my body’s strength and ability, to hike and walk, ski and cycle, stretch and do yoga according to my body’s way of moving.
Last weekend, for the first time ever, I did 61 miles on my bike with my friends. That’s seven hours of cycling! In the heat! It was glorious! Like going down that black diamond for the first time, I felt exhilaration coursing through my body. I felt an alignment of mind, body, and soul! Yes. I was tired, but — get this — not as tired as I thought I would be! Why?! Because I listened to my body! I listened to Her! I have trained in a sacred feminine way – hydrating, eating what my body wants, sleeping, and not harshly pushing my body but rather listening to my body in a present-moment-healing focused way.
Tomorrow, I will be on that 150 mile bike ride with my two friends. There is a slight nervousness to me: will I be able to do it? Will I overextend myself? Will I not be trained enough for it? What if I don’t complete it? What will others think if I don’t?
But those fears are held in a wider container: I am doing it with other women who also listen to and honor their bodies, I trust my body to speak to me and guide my moment to moment decisions, and I trust Her that I am doing exactly what I am to be doing!
What about my second book? My writings?
The book is coming! It’s all poetry. Someone recently told me that poetry is not a popular (“lucrative, high-selling, high-profit-margin”) genre. Somehow, that doesn’t matter to me. What matters to me is this: I’m writing because the DIVINE has called me to. Would it be nice if people like my book? Sure. Would it be nice if people bought my book? Sure. But I feel like the more I honor my body, the more I write from that deep place of connection with HER – my heart and my god – and the less I write for the approval of others. Instead, I want to write and be in community with like-hearted people! So that’s what I’ll do! I listen, I write, I ask others to join with me, I surrender, I move my body, and I repeat that. Over and over.
The shadow side of publishing and sharing with others is that work, writing, and caring for others can be almost like an addiction for me. That requires me to bring awareness, love, and balance into my life. I don’t go and try to conquer my shadow or shine some big spotlight on it. Instead, I’ve been listening to Her – the Divine. And She guides me.
“Listen to your body,” She says.
And so I am trying to balance the sitting and writing with time outside and moving my body. I still get caught up on social media with “Ohhh am I saying this right?! Will people resonate with what I write? Will my writing really make a difference?” But I am proud of how I definitely have more balance in my life and a wider container in which those fears and anxieties can be held — and even have their edges softened by the waves of surrender and trust as I abide in Her.
My shadow side isn’t a problem to fix, but rather it is a portal into and back to the Divine.
Read that again.
Our shadows aren’t a problem to fix. They are a portal into and back to the Divine.
I share this with you all because I hear from my clients and readers how we all have dreams. We all have struggles. I’d imagine there is a call within you from the Divine. And there is a shadow side to your dream, too. The shadow is not “bad!” The insecurities, anxieties, and fears are not “bad.” They, too, are a portal into deeper trust and surrender to the Divine within you. You do not need to conquer them. You do not need to shine a glaring spotlight on your shadow. Lean in and listen to the Divine. Then honor what you hear. She won’t disappoint you. Most likely, she will lead you back into your body, your breath, what exhilarates you, and what enlivens you.
She will show you how to have the courage to honor your soul. (And THAT is what my new book is about!).
If you’ve read this far, you are probably “my people.” Soon, I’ll be asking you and other like-hearted people to join me in bringing this new book into the world. Please leave a comment or email me with an “Amen!” or “I’m with you!” It’s a glorious thing to know you are not alone. Thank you for being alongside me.Blessings,