Let’s say you go to a restaurant. You’re starving and have been fantasizing about a juicy steak all day. You scan the menu, but it turns out, it’s a vegetarian restaurant. There’s no meat listed and you’re sad and disappointed.
Do you think it would be strange if you returned to that same restaurant every single night, mouth watering for beef only to find out again and again that it is not available?
Would it be reasonable to demand that the restaurant owners serve you the meal that you desire regardless of what they are offering and become angry if they don’t?
This is how I have been thinking about relationships in my life lately - and I’ve been passing on this wisdom to so many of my coaching clients this week.
I find that one of the biggest causes of suffering is when we yearn for what is simply not being offered. We’d never show up at the restaurant that way - we’d simply go to a different restaurant- yet I find that with the people we love we can fall into this pattern.
In my view, radical self-responsibility for our own happiness and well-being in this context means:
- communicating needs and desires clearly
- assessing whether or not the person we are relating to is willing to meet that need
- making an empowered choice to work with what is available or choose to direct our time, attention and energy elsewhere
This is an important component of relationship design and puts us in the driver’s seat in a powerful way.
I’m already noticing a huge shift in myself since I started orienting my energy towards the right menu options. I’m hoping this framing is helpful to you.
May your choices at the right restaurant be both delicious and fulfilling, social fam.
Chronic Illness, Trauma, Healing
I’m inspired to reflect a bit today since I’ve reached the 5 year mark of my diagnosis with Lyme disease. If you’re sensitive to the topics I list above, now’s a good time to stop reading.
It took some months in 2018 to discover that my auto-immune symptoms were linked to Complex PTSD. Before Lyme symptoms hit like a tsunami, I’d already had a clue for some time that healing work was necessary and yoga and the buddhist path were foundational in providing me with down-regulation tools and developing the skill of being able to witness my own mind.
At one point, a western psychologist I went to briefly had me make a list in her office and we came up with at least 20 separate experiences I’d had that qualified as capital-T Trauma. At the time, I thought I needed to work on processing the experience of my husband’s two year brutal fight with leukemia and his tragic death. As it turned out, my work uncovered much more material, including years of abuse by a now deceased orthodontist who would incapacitate me with high doses of nitrous oxide during visits.
This is just one example of a memory that was locked in my subconscious mind. When I finally recalled it during a myofascial session, it made sense that the chronic pain in my jaw, issues with my teeth, and my always contentious relationship with every dentist thereafter had been informed by this particular trauma.
People are usually surprised to learn about the extent of the stuff that’s happened to me because I present as high functioning and achieving. The nexus of my survival strategy has historically been the power of my inner fire. That’s looked outwardly like fearlessness and grit on good days. During less skillful moments it’s been destructive, with many people having been burned by the very fire my mind carefully designed to protect me. I’m at the point in my path where the work is sorting, grieving through, and letting go of old identities. That also involves letting go of relationships with people that are clinging to old versions of me. Really, really rough work - this healing path.
I realize now how perfect the Lyme was/is as a catalyst to healing and finding a deeper sense of meaning in my life. The last three years especially have been an intense magic carpet ride of transformation work using psychedelics, shamanism, body work, sacred s e x u a l i t y and other cathartic healing methodology. I can’t believe the people I have met world-wide, everything I have learned and how I have integrated it into my life. It’s been a huge gift to be in touch with my soul and to have a clarity on what my soul purpose is. It’s also been thrilling to see the impact that my own work has made on my ability to support the clients I work with. I hate the chronic pain I have been in all these years, but I can't honestly say that I regret having Lyme. That’s huge!
Lastly, I feel like I have to say that the cathartic model of transformation works WAY, WAY faster than therapy but it isn’t for everyone. I would not even recommend it for most people with Complex PTSD, despite the fact that it worked well for me. I think you have to come into the work with a high degree of motivation. I think you have to be utterly sick of being imprisoned by your past experience and willing to do anything to break out of that jail. I say this because the work is not as pretty as the results and essentially, every wheel will fall off before you can begin to put yourself back together. There’s everything to gain though.
This summer, with a couple of regular clients out of town, I have space in my calendar for sessions with anyone who is curious about Cathartic or Transformation work. If that’s you, DM me. I love you, keep going!
When I was little I remember hearing over and over again “you can’t have your cake and eat it too.” That felt infuriating to me. Why in the world would anyone want a piece of cake that they couldn’t eat, I wondered.
Later, in high school I submitted my worksheet for the yearbook blurb quoting Courtney Love: “I want to be the girl with the most cake.” An advisor gently discouraged this, saying it sounded competitive and maybe a little greedy. Perhaps, I could choose a quote that was from a classic author, instead of the lead singer of Hole. 😂
Isn’t it so interesting how early the messaging comes in that we shouldn’t want what we want? It’s drilled into our minds in our formative years and then carried through for the rest of our lives if we don’t know how to reverse it. Via subtle shaming, we are trained into not wanting at all.
It’s no wonder so many of us have a hard time even identifying our needs, let alone develop a solid strategy for communicating them. This comes up in my coaching all the time.
Eff that. You deserve the most cake and a fabulous and fulfilling life of your design.
Join me on March 11 1p eastern for an online workshop called Identifying Your Needs and Communicating Them With Clarity. This is the sister curriculum to my popular Boundaries workshop. We’ll explore practical and embodied tools that will create immediate shifts in your life.
This workshop also has integration via a second Needs Lab scheduled on Tues April 4 at 7p for an opportunity to share how it goes implementing the new skills.
As always, scholarship tickets are available and you can self-select that option if you are in need with no questions asked.
I had to set a firm boundary for a yoga teacher recently.
At the end of December I hurt my neck in a fall so when I go to yoga I’ve been arriving early to set up wayyy in the back corner. I like to use a lot of blankets and blocks including the wall for support. I modify postures quite a bit so I can do what serves my body. Most teachers welcome this as an authentic expression of yoga philosophy.
This studio I go to has one perfect little space behind the back row, near where they keep the props. I was happily practicing in my little cocoon, until inexplicably the teacher started calling attention to me. At one point, he had the entire class turn 180 degrees around to look at me. Then, I started to count the amount of times he said “Dee” and it felt super strange when I realized by the time the class was over we’d hit 20+ times.
I stayed behind afterwards to chat with him. I let him know that it made me uncomfortable in my body. The level of attention was unwelcome and not in service to my healing.
I also let him know that I love his class, however my request was that next time, he not call my name out loud again.
I was clear and direct. I didn’t try to make him wrong, I simply focused on what I was feeling and what I needed him to change in his behavior in order for me to continue showing up to his class.
I did not require an apology, though he graciously offered one along with his word that it wouldn’t happen again. I walked away from the conversation feeling clear and complete and willing to try his class again.
We’ve been conditioned that these types of conversations are confrontational, but it doesn’t have to be. Setting boundaries is hard work, but we have everything to gain by being able to communicate our expectations to others effectively.
ONLINE OPTION ADDED!
link is bio on IG, comments on FB.
#healthyboundaries #boundaries #transformyourlife #yoga #yogastudios
Everyone’s had the experience of a close talker, right? You know the twinge in the belly or the tightening in your muscles when someone has invaded your personal space. That’s energetic contraction.
Have you noticed, though, how it can depend on the person? At times, if we are resonating with a particular human’s vibration, we might feel a warmth across the skin, telling us that we don’t mind at all if they move into a cozier distance. That’s energetic expansion.
NYC subways are a great place to experiment with that.
This energetic dynamic plays out in every aspect of our lives. Our bodies responds in subtle ways as people interact with us, and that gives us the first clue as to what is acceptable and what is not.
We are responsible to create clear guidelines for the ways in which others behave around us. Including how close they come to our physical proximity. The first step, in my view, is for us to attune to the physical signals that let us know when enough is enough.
I will be teaching a workshop in Pelham NY on Saturday Feb 11 at 1pm Setting Healthy Boundaries and Communicating with Compassion.
We’ll be working with this from an embodied perspective. I’m really excited to share this info, hope to see you there.
Wow Wow Wow! I’m at a loss for words about my experience yesterday. After my juicy and vulnerable post my DM’s started filling up within minutes.
I’m so moved, not only by your support of my path, which was offered in abundance… but also the stories that were shared about your paths and the ways in which YOU have felt different and marginalized when it comes to s e x u a l i t y and relationships!
Many of you thanked me for what I shared because it made you feel safer to share your authenticity with me. Yes, I’m crying.
I shared my feelings of wonderment with a dear and wise sister. She said to me “Everyone is waiting for someone else to go first.”
That’s feels SO true and trust that I don’t mind blazing this trail.
I spent a few hours sending links to those of you who liked the post or messaged.
If I missed you somehow and you want to follow me there, please send a private message or comment below.
Lastly, in response to a couple of your questions on what kind of content to expect — my intention there is the same as my intention here. To inspire you to live your most authentic and fulfilled life possible. Love you!