The first time I remember being deeply depressed was when I was 17 and went away to college. Every time my mom would call me I would dissolve into tears. I didn’t know exactly why I was sad. I knew I didn’t want to be there and that I didn’t feel in control of my life. Adult me knows now that I had just removed myself far enough away from the culture of my family to begin to start separating out what was me and what was them. Another big piece was that I had just stopped drinking. Taking alcohol out of the equation was allowing me to feel my feelings and they were leaking out everywhere. I drank heavily as a teenage girl to numb out and then decided drinking was for unevolved people when I got to college...a pretty lonely position to take as a freshman. So, what do you do with a sad girl when you don’t know how to help her? Therapy and anti-depressants, right?
I said no.
I knew that wasn’t the answer. I knew there was something behind my feelings that was real and true. The secret to myself. All the healing I ever needed if I could just start to untangle the knots around my heart. And so, I began the search to deeply know and understand Me.
Over the past 25 years, I have tried almost everything-psychedelics, Buddhist meditation, yoga, hypnosis, past life regression, acupuncture, Reiki, herbal medicine, soul retrievals, shamanic drum journeys, sound healing, astrology, psychic readings, Akashic records, bio field tuning, crystal bed therapy, EFT, plant medicine, ecstatic dance, crystal healing, therapeutic massage, traditional therapy, Hakomi therapy, and books and books and books! I threw the kitchen sink at my healing. I followed my curiosity. I followed my intuition. I kept all three eyes open-always looking, always searching for the next thing that might shift things a little bit more.
I didn’t do this in a feverish way or make it a second job. I did it with the intention of finding peace in my spirt and in my heart, more joy and more freedom. That is my one true driver of all the things that I do.
And what I found after years of devoted investigation of self and seven years of clinical practice is that the evolutionary superpower of understanding our emotions appears to have been missed. Identifying, owning and validating your emotional experience is essential to your healing. Being in denial and dismissive to our emotional truth is a self-betrayal that creates even greater pain. Nothing changes when you deny your history or your trauma, whether it is little t trauma or big T trauma.
I finally realized I was “Enough” on October 22, 2016. I was standing in a circle around a fire on retreat with my teacher. Two days before I had felt a rush of shame come through my body. The mean voice in my head that criticizes and judges me was strong. I called myself out. I admitted to everyone in the group that I was feeling small and comparing myself. It felt good to say it out loud.
We were offering prayers to loved ones of people in the group who were really sick or struggling or who had died. Sprinkling sage, tobacco, corn, rose petals, pinon needles and other offerings to the Earth on the fire. As I was listening to fellow friends and seekers talk about two-year-old nephews with terminal illnesses, sisters with brain cancer, and friends who died too young, a piece of my healing clicked in.
“Who the f*ck are you to not be good enough? (this is the voice of my encouraging inner football coach talking!) People have terminal diseases and you in your healthy body with your bright mind and all your skills aren’t good enough? What?!”
I was actually appalled with myself. That I had created this tiny cage and put myself in it. In that moment, it felt like blasphemy to have ever put myself down. To have ever disregarded myself or disrespected my life. And just like that, good enough was locked in. It only took me 41 years to do it. I’ve gone at this one hard in about a bazillion different ways. It all mattered and it all added up to this moment. Now, I can’t even remember why I wasn’t good enough. Something about the color of my teeth or the lack of muscle tone in my thighs or how much I sit around when I should be doing something.
The last 13 days since the inauguration has felt like five years. I’ve been rabidly glued to my news feeds wondering what this man is going to do next.
So, here’s the good news. And you can take this or leave this. I am consciously choosing to look at this experience as a global healing event. I don’t think this choice is delusional or “being positive.” I actually think of it as completely realistic.
The collective’s dirty laundry is being shoved into the light of day-all of the rage, grief, misogyny, racism, fear, xenophobia, patriarchal conditioning, rape culture, etc. Everything unsavory is now in a steaming pile in the middle of the room for all to witness. This is the collective shadow aka the dark, distasteful, hidden side.
We all have our own shadow side-the parts of us that we have decided are “bad.” The parts of us that are jealous, afraid, angry, wounded, sad, lonely, ashamed. As a person, you make up part of the collective shadow. Every icky thing we are seeing outside of us right now reflects the sum total of billions of people’s long standing internal pain and suffering projected onto the world stage.
You can’t heal a wound that you can’t see. The collective had to get to a tipping point that forces us to act. We finally have a true opportunity to do let old structures fall away and create new ones that reflect our humanity and love.
In the midst of these wacky times, I have never felt more purposeful or alive. I see the most engaged, turned on, three eyes open, brilliant, tender, compassionate cavalry charging together and bringing support and all their full open hearts. It is a joy to see during the chaos. When your world gets turned upside down, you get to see what you are made of and we are made of some pretty amazing stuff.