Saying Yes to the Journey
Prior to my coaching practice, I was a SNAP nutrition educator, office manager at a booming wellness center, culinary instructor focused on wild foods, and a group facilitator encouraging courageous conversations on issues ranging from gender justice to climate change.
While I loved this work deeply, I craved being with people in the tender and cracked open moments of life. The moments that were too easy to pass over when going to care for another person first or looking at the bigger goal.
A huge turning point for me was in my late 20's when I gradually found myself surrounded by several communities of healers and deeply rooted practitioners of life's mysteries. For the first time in my life, I started to remember who I was in my own body story. I slowly started to build a love and respect for my own unique way of being in the world, including integrating my queer identity and learning to celebrate my sensitivity to life's subtle energies. Gradually, the pockets of shame that I had stored in my body started to melt.
I continually work to accept who I am in ways I didn’t imagine were possible as a child. As a practitioner, if I can be this doorway for others to receive a similar gift, I will do so with joy and great humility.
A Tapestry of Stories
I was raised by the sound of the ocean. Always collecting feathers on our family beach walks. Mussel shells, too, who were once stuck to something so much greater than the cup of my small pink hand. The power of the natural forces taught me early on about respect and humility. I was a human and just a human.
In elementary school, an adult grey whale beached on the shore just a mile from my home. Barnacles and soft, warming skin, the whale’s stench was atrocious. The marine services tied a rope to its tail and did their best to pull the magnificent being back into the depths. It rolled back to shore in the tides. Things do die. Death guides our experience of life if we let death in.
My paternal Grandmother got her wings on when she was 102 years old. I held her soft hands with large blue veins one of those last visits. Grandma, I asked. Are you afraid of death? Oh no, child, she said. The angels have always told me they will take me gently home. This faith of hers pulses in my blood and is woven in my spirit.
Moving to rural Alaska changed everything about my life. I flew in with my fresh-out-of-college optimism, a Feminist Studies degree, and years of global travel under my feet. Then my world turned upside-down. An elder I met my first month there told me that he had never left the State. I watched my judgment and curiosity arise. My inner question was something like, What are you doing with your life? The question back to me was, Where do you belong? Was there any place on earth where I knew the river channels and sandbars like the back of my hand over each turn of season? Did I know the language of my ancestors? Where did I know I belonged? I stepped back from my assumptions and started the work of disentangling my privilege so I could become real. More human. I sat down in that community for six years and observed. I offered the gifts that were asked of me. And everyone was my teacher.
Do you remember your proclaimed childhood profession? One day I’m gonna be… For me, it was often a veterinarian or wildlife photographer. I didn’t realize being a creative entrepreneur or life coach was an option at the time. An artist whose name I don’t recall has a song lyric that says, The further you look, the further you see.
I’ve been afraid of my gender identity most of my life. It feels strange to admit this, but it is true. I grew up with three brothers and wasn’t so excited about the idea of being a girl. At this crisis moment, I repainted my Sweet Pea pink room a Fern green. A midwife once showed me pictures of a woman giving birth. I was so afraid of my body after that. In high school, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). The elevated testosterone in my system perhaps was the answer to my wish to not become a woman. A huge piece of my healing story has meant welcoming back my cisgender identity while also embracing my vibrant queer nature. It's been a journey learning to sway my hips with joy and trust the incredible power of my feminine energy. I’ve been moving back into my womb space for years…the healing taking time. Each time I say my she/her pronouns is a reminder of this healing. Some people may never see this part of my story. They may never know. I needed you to know.
My favorite kitchen get-funky song as a child was Montell Jordan’s This Is How We Do It. Oh, how my feet would move. My work now is to bring that bad-ass child I knew myself to be onto the dance floor of my adult life and let her do her thing. Full on.
I had a heart crisis when I was in 3rd grade. Somehow I believed that I was different from other real children because I had a machine heart. We were taking each other’s pulses after exercise class one day. I was mortified my partner would find out. Perhaps my work has always been to find the real heart of my humanity, in our humanity.
It was a season of depression. Luckily I was stewarding my family’s 5-acre home. This made it easy to discover that removing invasive plants, mulching fruit trees, and collecting acorns was the best broken heart medicine for me. I had recently read that soaproot (Chlorogalum grandiflorum) bloomed at night. Perhaps I too could bloom in this dark time? I held to the threads of hope I could find. At sunset one night I squatted next to a community of soaproot. The light dimmed with her usual grace. 10. 20. 30 minutes. Sure enough, one by one, the tension of the white tepals grew to my wit’s end, and then- pop- all at once the flower opened. Hope, I thought. I too will be pollinated in the night.
Two years ago I found a free rocking chair on the side of the dusky curb just a block from my house at the time. A no-brainer, it now sits in front of my wood stove in my rural country home. I will read countless books in that chair this year. Soft worn cushion. Rocking away.