Many times I longed
to understand this magical essence
that enraptured me when I walked along the seashore at sunset
when I looked up above the jungle canopy to see the crescent moon
when I dove into crystalline waters and when I sang my heart song to the trees.
I longed to understand
this sensation of aliveness that overtook me
when I let the music move me
or when I completely dissolved into my lovers embrace.
The feeling of bliss of this creature
that I kept under covers
more often than I let loose.
This one who surprised me,
and seemed to leave me powerless
in her craze.
Many times I longed
to return to this essence
when I found myself lost in the city streets
distracted by the encroaching projections of others
and my opinions of their opinions of me
confused and forgotten while searching for myself
in an external hunt for validation
feeling alone and cut off from the sweet bliss of life
wondering why someone else wouldn’t make it ok.
And in my earnest longing
I rediscovered the threads of red and gold
that threw themselves to me
in the most turbulent seas.
With every ounce of will that I could still muster
I held on for dear life
climbing and clawing my way back into the heart of love
that has always been my birthright.
Realizing that I have always been the Source of my longing.
The I of the Eye
of the great feminine terrifying wild explosion
of ultimate ecstasy
that I had rejected and denied.
The great pulse of creation
the great pulse of life.
No matter who you are, no matter what you’ve done, no matter what you’ve created, no matter what you’ve destroyed, no matter why you feel pain, no matter why you feel pleasure, no matter who loves you, no matter who doesn’t...
The beauty of nature offers herself
without holding anything back,
just to remind you how loved you really are.
She doesn’t care who hired you, who hurt you, who validated you, how you show up, who you disappointed, what you look like, or anything that you do. She does not discriminate between “good” people and “bad people”, “rich people” and “poor people”, “spiritual people” and “asleep people”, “positive people” and “negative people”. She does not discriminate against the ones you might think are so unworthy of love. She doesn’t give AF about the things that we judge.
The only thing she requires is attention.
Treasure this gift.
This is unconditional love.
The presence of life.
And no matter who you are it’s always yours.
Just give it your attention.
Love is a fire inside.
It grows in spaciousness where it can breathe.
How often do we choke this flame by following the path of should, filling ourselves with things that don’t actually feed us, listening to outside opinion, saying yes when we mean no, sacrificing ourselves for others who don’t want/deserve/require it, judging what we most deeply want, betraying ourselves to be pleasing, and dishonoring the God(dess) within? How often do we sell our souls for the utterly inessential?
In doing so we forget what IS essential: our own whole hearted Self devotion. Our own luminous self belief. Our own will offered in service of the precious light we all contain.
True love can only blossom when we reprioritize our unique light as the most important Source of our needs. This flame is your most precious asset. It is the sacred essence of your soul. No one and no thing you could ever sacrifice your Self for can offer you this.
Place your fire at the center of the altar of your heart. Become its devoted guardian even in the harshest of winds. Come home to its warmth whenever you feel distracted or lost. Make the life affirming choices that fan the flames of your love.
You are the only one you promised your life to. You didn’t come here to please or appease. You came here to light the world on fire.
So… you weren’t perfect.
You spoke out of turn.
You said too much.
You outed your crazy.
You acted like you didn’t care.
You scared and pushed people away.
You tried to force.
You hurt someone you love.
You disrespected others.
You dishonored yourself.
You leaked out your power.
You compromised yourself.
You were desperate and insecure.
You treated yourself with less than you deserve.
You lost your way in the panic of it all.
Don’t you still deserve to dance?
To sing with the sounds of the forest?
To cry all of your sorrows to the moon?
Don’t you still deserve to stroke your own skin?
To melt a square of chocolate on your tongue?
To delight in this gift of being alive?
Don’t you still deserve to laugh until your tummy aches?
To spin in circles til you’re dizzy?
To get over it over and over again?
Don’t you still deserve to be held by your brothers and sisters?
To see yourself as an innocent child?
To forgive and be forgiven?
Don’t you still deserve to look yourself in the mirror
After all that you’ve survived
And still say
”I love you”? Don’t you still deserve to love?
No matter who you are
No matter what you’ve done
Don’t you still deserve to love?
There is an insatiable hunger
that pangs in the heart of one who has tasted the wild again
An ache that exists inside of every womb
asking to be activated by the deep pulse of the Earth
And if you are a woman who has found her way back to this wildness
it is a love that you can never forget.
It is the greatest most essential luxury of all
to come to know ourselves as the same water that tides with the moon
As the same blossoms that gained their fragrance
from their own dark nights in the soil.
And it is this very illusion of separation
this belief that we are somehow other
than the magical elements that joyously dance day in and day out
that lives at the root of our human suffering.
As women we have a sacred obligation
to heal this wound within ourselves
To become the living embodiment of our truest highest purpose:
pillars uniting heaven and Earth.
When I was a young teenager I first came into contact with deep suffering.
It was a time of massive confusion, feeling completely overwhelmed by my emotions, and without a clue of what it meant to be a woman in this world. I didn’t have any healthy role models for relationships and no idea what it meant to self soothe. So when the boy who had promised me forever dumped me for another girl, I actually felt like my world had ended.
This total shock to my system and unraveling of everything I thought I could trust thrusted my abandonment wound from a slight nuisance in the background into a throbbing infection that oozed all over everything. In a world where it’s so easy to pretend that we’re not all heartbroken over the fact that we’ve been separated from our Source, the heartbreak of a boy put me in direct contact with the ultimate source of all human suffering.
Him leaving triggered the most core of all fears: that God, Love, Source, the One, the Universe, whatever you want to call it, had left me.
With no guidance, wisdom, or understanding about how to handle this level of pain and unworthiness, I became obsessed with trying to figure out WHY. WHY had he left me that way? WHY wasn’t I lovable anymore? WHY did I go from being a goddess to garbage seemingly overnight?
The more I asked myself “WHY” the deeper I spiraled into confusion and obsession. The more I lost myself. Lost my friends. Lost the inspiration to live.
Mental anguish had completely taken over me, and my parental figures who had no idea that I was actually in the process of profound spiritual awakening and transmutation, made it worse. They projected their fear onto me, put me on medication, stuck me with an inadequate therapist, and offered me no form of real medicine.
What saved me was a brief meeting with the Goddess herself.
In my time of desperation my parents had agreed to pay for an expensive stayover camp out in the wilderness in British Columbia that some of my “Born Again Christian” friends had invited me to. They tempted me with stories of gorgeous mountains and crystalline lakes and all kinds of water “toys” and “hot guys.” I didn’t realize that I had actually signed myself up for a kind of bait and switch evangelical conversion scheme.
Nonetheless, I found myself in one of the most stunningly beautiful natural surroundings I had ever seen, awe inspiring snow capped mountains and glowing blue water and miles and miles of forest in the middle of nowhere. I slept in a moldy wooden cabin with six sister friends and the whole Christian thing only slipped in during the mealtime prayers on the loud speaker.
That is, until the day of the crucifixion.
At a camp where kids were disappearing into the woods to get hand jobs and were lured in by the promise of other teenagers in bikinis all week, the organization behind it all had a very different mission.
On our final evening together we were brought into a large conference hall with a huge screen where we were given a long sermon and then watched a film of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Needless to say, this was both unexpected and incredibly emotional. First, to witness this kind of violence and human suffering will crack open any sensitive empathic soul’s heart, but secondly, this story touches something very deep in everyone.
It’s actually the journey we all go through when we feel that the world is against us, the universe is punishing us, and we have somehow been forgotten by love. It is heartbreak itself.
Following the video, we were instructed to go be alone out in the woods, to not speak to anyone, and to ask for Jesus Christ, who died on the cross for our sins, to save us. I did as they asked, but it wasn’t Jesus who found me there, it was Goddess.
In the woods, alone, totally cracked open and ready for a miracle, I felt Her for the first time in my conscious awareness. It was a love beyond anything I had ever experienced before. It was a love that blew any adolescent romance I had ever been consumed by straight out of the water. It was pure love. True love. A love that can often be forgotten, but that can never actually leave.
This moment changed everything for me.
Except, because my fifteen year old mind didn’t have a proper context to place my spiritual awakening within, I assumed that I had been saved by Jesus Christ and accepted him as my lord and savior. I was told that all of my suffering was due to a hole inside of me that only Jesus could fill, and because I felt so broken from my painful breakup I was willing to completely trust and surrender. Yes, this was the beginning of my phase as a born again Christian.
My family totally hated it and all of the judgements and moral superiority that came along with the territory. But I was actually much healthier and happier than I had been... ever. Where I had once felt so dirty, unwanted, sinful, and unworthy, suddenly I was the golden child radiating in the love of the One.
I started valuing myself, respecting myself, and holding myself at a level of worth far beyond anything I had ever experienced before.
People treated me differently. Boys definitely started treating me differently. And the one who had so heartlessly dumped me out of nowhere actually begged to have me back.
I wish I could say that this was the end of my story with the wound of unworthiness, the plight of suffering through heartbreak, and the delusion that I have ever been separate from the infinite source, but it was actually the beginning, because I had so much more to learn and so much more to heal. I still do. We all do. This is the human journey.
For the sixteen years that stretched between that meeting with the Goddess and an even more profound one, I continued to play out my abandonment wound through various long term relationships, only this time I was sure that I wouldn’t ever let myself get too vulnerable again. I wouldn’t open my innocent self in relationship the way that I had the first time. I wouldn’t let them see that crazy girl I had spiraled into after my first heartbreak.
I would make safer choices and I would do everything to keep her buried deep, deep, down where no one could ever find her.
That is until the start of 2018 when she found me again. 31 years old and my teenage self had finally come to meet me, to demand that I start taking ownership of her. It was an incredibly shocking, shattering, heart wrenching process of re-living all of my old shame that was easy to deny within the shiny persona I had created for myself in the world. By that time I was already a well known travel blogger that thousands and thousands of women looked up to, millions of people had read, and seemed to have the answers to happiness that so many hungered for. But you know what I didn’t have? A clue about how to deeply deeply love.
This is what happens when we avoid our darkest shadows. We miss out on the deepest invitation of love that will both consume you into the One and also rip you into two.
We may be able to create something beautiful on the surface, present a solid image of ourselves into the world, acquire a lot of outer success, and even live a totally magical life, but the evidence of how fully we are actualizing our purpose and totally harnessing the power of our evolution can always be seen in our relationships. Which... I explored half heartedly.
Men were my mirrors.
Since I had discovered the magic of traveling the world alone and living in the wild jungle of Costa Rica I repeatedly attracted the same wolf in sheep’s clothing. Men who were allured by my surface but had no desire to go deeper. Often men who were experiencing challenges in their relationships with other women and wanted to receive me as some kind of enlightened prostitute. Through my Born Again Christian years I had learned early on that the safest way to protect myself was to keep my legs closed at all costs.
Feeling like an absolute victim of this story I spent years investigating every spiritual system under the stars to try to shift the pattern. Nothing made a difference. My life continued to flourish, my fame continued to blossom, more and more people flocked to me as a leader living “the dream”, and my deep feminine heart remained totally unanswered and unclaimed.
But eventually, it did shift. Through my meeting with the Goddess again. Only this time, with a different face of hers.
The one they call Kali, Hecate, Cerridwen, baba yaga, the Crone, the dark Goddess, the Dweller at the Threshold.
It was my initiation and total annihilation. It was the stripping back of everything and anything that ever kept me from feeling the deepest recesses of my own suffering. It was the total re-experiencing of every single man who ever left me feeling used, abused, unloved, and unwanted beginning with my own father.
And it was the total loss of my whole shiny surface, the huge numbers of followers, the fame and validation, the stability, the home, the life that had both shown me love and kept me from the deepest kind of love that exists. It was death.
What was mind blowing to witness was that while my entire outer reality seemed to speak that I was a complete mess, a failure, unwanted, and unworthy, I finally came into contact with the one and only thing that actually did make me worthy: my infinite soul. The precious diamond inside of me that nothing could ever break or taint. The one thing that was actually mine.
It was the very savior that I had met that day alone in the forest at Christian camp, revealing herself to me from within me.
Plunging into every single gateway of unworthiness and feeling the labor pains of all this karmic suffering was the most heart wrenching thing I could have possibly imagined. And yet, it always brought me home to the reality that nothing could touch my true sacredness. Nothing could diminish my worth. Nothing.
This is the forging process. This is transmutation. This is the journey of alchemizing more and more of our karmic density into insight, wisdom, and gold.
There is a rebirth myth that is far older than the story of Jesus Christ. It’s of the Sumerian Queen Innana.
One of the priestesses of Isis who willingly journeys down into the underworld to reunite with her twin sister Erishkigal. Innana seems to have everything… fame, wealth, a Queendom of followers, beauty, sensuality, and all that is alluring. But what she has forgotten is love, and for this she must return to the underworld.
Along the way she is stopped at seven different gates where she is stripped of layer after layer of clothing, identity, and dignity. We all know this feeling of coming closer to the roots of our suffering, where we are systematically destroyed again and again. It can feel neverending. Because to actually arrive into the underworld requires a state of total humility. It requires the utter surrender of one who has willingly handed over any false identity for the sake of ultimate truth.
This is precisely the journey that Jesus undergoes as he is publicly humiliated by those who were once his followers on the way to being crucified. It is the ultimate test in faith that meets us when we have reached a certain threshold in our journey of awakening.
When Innana finally reaches the underworld, she is naked, bloody, and exhausted.
Her twin sister Erishkigal, representing the denied shadow self, hangs her up on a hook to die (much like in the crucifixion of Jesus). For many of us when we do finally meet with that shadow within us, with that dark sister that we never wanted the world to see, we feel that she might completely destroy us.
Most of us spend our lives either avoiding deep connection to avoid facing her, or we sabotage deep connection by projecting her onto others and simultaneously pushing them away. Any unclaimed shadow must either be repressed within or reacted to outwardly. The only way to authentically connect in love and live from true power is by actually receiving the very shadow that we want to deny.
Healing arises for Innana and Erishkigal in the form of a magical elixir of compassion.
It’s the amniotic fluids that live in the womb space (a mirror of the underworld) and the continually shedding and replenishing moon blood that nourishes what is mean to birth and flushes what is meant to die. (Nothing but the blood of Christ...)
But the compassion cannot simply be offered to Inanna for her revival. If this happens, Erishkigal will simply kill her again. When we try to heal without giving love to the shadows, they will just sabotage us until we finally listen. The elixir of compassion must first be received by Erishkigal, and then by Innana.
Just as I had realized the love of Goddess alone in the woods at 15, and again in the wild jungle of Costa Rica at 25 that completely changed my life forever, it wasn’t until I realized the love of Goddess through the darkest night of the soul that deep lasting emotional change started to take place. I could anchor more light on the surface, but until I opened into the deepest recesses of my own wounding, the light could only penetrate so deep.
As heartbreaking as it felt, the deeper I went into my darkness, the deeper the light could begin to reach.
This is the painful process that so many of us want to rush through, but it takes its own time. Rebirth takes its own time. The nourishment that is needed to repair the fractures that exist within generations and generations of women who have robbed and raped themselves of their true inherent worth, takes time to fully receive.
Often a rebirth doesn’t just happen once. It happens every moon cycle, every seven year cycle, sometimes within a cycle of a single day. Rebirth brings us closer and closer to the light of who we really are. And it happens in the darkest space. The womb. The underworld. Hell. Sometimes the plunge lasts a few hours. Other times many years. But the compassion is always, always there.
When Innana has been fully rejuvenated by the healing elixir, and the time comes for her to rise back up to the surface of her world, she is not the same as she was before. The very vulnerability that seemed to destroy her has become the source of her power. The thing that she so feared and so denied is a new reserve of vitality that she can source in her new incarnation.
She has far less to fear because she has not only faced her demons but she has integrated them. She has received their pure raw source. She has come to understand and accept the deeper invitation within the shadow itself.
As a collective we’ve reached a time where we are evolving beyond our attachment to the “light” and are being invited to receive the medicine of the dark.
The deep rich sustenance that lives in the soil that we can only source through our own underworld journey. The evil twins of ourselves that live down there, dormant, ready to destroy us just so that we can wake up to our potential. The untapped reserves of power that want to be expressed as love in the world, but that require us to re-integrate them into our wholeness.
Forging my own way through this dark dense and frightening forest, I have come to understand that there is one single magical perspective that makes the difference between being a victim of my darkest shadows, my deepest wounds, and my greatest suffering and being an empowered woman with a clear purpose.
That magical perspective is this: the shadows, the wounds, and the suffering are actually sacred.
What makes them sacred isn’t any kind of new age morality. It’s the simplest and wisest knowing of nature, the Goddess herself. It’s understanding that the wound is the seed of your potential. It is the dark heavy slab of clay that you have been given to mold your masterpiece. Your karma and your ancestral drama is the actual Earth body that your soul wanted to incarnate within, because it knew that this very material is what it most needed to become embodied in the unique love that you are.
When we realize that our shadows are sacred, the desire to shove them down and the desire to project them onto others starts to loosen. As we come home again and again and again to the knowing that “my wound is sacred”, the desire to self abandon actually dissolves. The very wound that we wanted anyone to fix, that we wanted anywhere but here, becomes the very gem that informs the majesty of who we are.
This is the difference between being a follower of Jesus Christ, and the actual embodiment of Christ herself. And this is what we all came here to do. To fill the hole inside of ourselves with the very nectar of truth that only death can awaken us to.
How far would you travel into the underworld to discover the source of your infinite light? If your soul asked you to give up everything and enter the vast unknown, with no promise of when or if you’d ever return, would you? Over the last year I did exactly this, leaving behind a life most people dream of, in exchange for absolutely nothing but the reclamation of the ancient voice of my soul. I gave up my home in paradise, my beautiful community, a brand that touched millions of people, a business that funded my lifestyle and global travels, and my entire sense of identity... and all I got in return was love. This is my story...
The promise of a new day dawned as the pink sky took over and I felt like I had been born again.
After months and months of feeling like I was dying a slow painful death, here I was with a second chance. I had been through hell and back, struggling with every layer of my own abandonment wound while plagued with shortness of breath and extreme adrenal fatigue that left me bedridden most days. In my final darkest hour I was attacked in my home in tropical paradise by two men in the night, which required me to finally leap across the threshold I had been avoiding for so long. (I wrote more about this here: When the Divine Feminie Rises Up and Ruins Your Life.)
This meeting with my own demons in the flesh was nothing short of a mind blowing spiritual awakening. I had feared it my entire life, as a child staying awake at night always on guard, as an adult constantly questioning if it would ever happen to me, and what I remembered in the moment when my greatest fear began to unfold is that it lives in the flesh of every woman whether she realizes it or not. Standing there in total darkness, suddenly feeling a hand cover my mouth with a cloth and my whole body restrained, the feeling was alarmingly familiar. I had been there before. Maybe not me, but an aspect of me. Some ancient memory within my DNA that knew what came next.
It was the darkest fear of all fears that I was not in any way in control of my own destiny.
Every alarm bell you can imagine went off in me. Flight was my first response that got me nowhere. It became apparent that there were actually two men holding me down and my struggle to flee was futile. Next came the bargaining with God. “Is this actually happening right now? Is this actually happening right now?” I plead in a panic, silently calling out into the darkness to a nothingness that seemed too far away to grasp.
But in a split second all of the flashes of preparation that had guided me right to this climax came flooding in as an answer to my plea. I remembered the months prior I spent taking boxing classes to train my reflexes. The many days I spent contemplating immortality with the words “I could die today.” The conversations I had with friends about violent rapes that had been happening recently on the beach. And of course, the nightmare I had just two nights before, where someone broke into my house to assault me. Yes, I had even dreamt it before it happened.
As this understanding dawned inside of my brain with explosion after explosion, the ultimate ball dropped and literally cracked me wide open with the understanding that it was not only indeed happening... but that it was meant to be happening. And that understanding made everything ok, because it told me that I was safe.
How could this be possible?! How could I be in the depths of my own greatest fear, sure that my life was about to end, stripped of any illusion of control, and also be safe?
The mental paradox of it created an experience I can best describe as a complete shattering within my own mind, which finally ended in a still point of light that flooded my entire body, clearing away any belief that I could ever be abandoned by the Divine. It was a total and complete letting go into the lake of infinite peace. This all took place in a millisecond yet felt like a complete dissolution of time itself.
I was held. I was actually safer than I had ever been in my entire life. And so I surrendered. Not to my attackers, but to the present moment. I surrendered to life herself, and in doing so I allowed life herself to save me. A rage I didn’t even realize I had within me erupted from the depths of my belly and my entire primal intelligence took over. Without any interference of hesitation or doubt, I fought like hell to unleash my body, release my voice, and free myself. Like a wild animal I scared away the very demons that had fed off of my own fear.
The other day a man said to me, “Not to be insensitive, but can you see how you attracted that experience into your life?” And I simply replied, “If I did, it was only to set myself free.” Because beyond any bullshit interpretation of the Law of Attraction, the gift I received in my own darkest hour was the ability to realize even if just for a flash that love is the ultimate reality. Love is the only actual freedom or safety net in existence. Like so many who have journeyed with the dark mother through the medicine of ayahuasca will attest, when we look death right in the eyes we finally see the truth: love. I didn’t take any plant medicine, but the dark mother certainly found her way to me.
What’s incredible about dissolving into the darkness, is that it is always followed by a burst of light.
As a kid I remember reading stories of survivors of near death experiences describing the crossing of the threshold as a bright light through a tunnel. I imagine this is also what we see when we travel through the birth canal and begin to see the light of the world.
Friends were stunned and confused when I said I felt happier and my heart more open than ever in my life immediately following this extremely traumatic event. But what they didn’t understand, is that after feeling for so long like I was dying, I had been given a second chance at life.
So many sisters within my community swooped in to support me, helping me with the police report, taking me into their home, giving me massages and singing me lullabies, bringing me special treats while my face healed, and caring for me those few tender days before my flight out of the jungle. I felt like I had died and these were all of my angels, soothing me through the great transition between one lifetime and another.
But... I was also traumatized. For days after my attack I was flooded with a manic adrenaline that kept me on hyper alert and made me feel powerful enough to kill if necessary.
I was unable to sleep at night because simply closing my eyes pulled me back into the memory of what happened, re-living it over and over again. With well meaning intentions, people would ask extremely unhelpful questions like “do you know who it was?” and ask me to retell the story, which continually re-traumatized me. This taught me that the best thing we can do when someone is in shock is just be present and available and take responsibility for our own shock and confusion without projecting it onto them. We don’t need to mentally understand what happened or why, we just need to show up as love.
Through this experience I saw how terrified most of us are of the unknown. We need to understand “how” and “why” things have happened in order to give us a certain sense of false security. If we know the details then maybe we think that we are in some semblance of control. But what my attack showed me more than ever, is that none of us are in control...of anything. And while that is our greatest fear, accepting it is actually the only thing that makes us safe.
At that point I could have spit on the ground of that land I had once loved but had somehow come to hate. I had no desire to connect with the Mother there in any possible way. But for the sake of my own closure and completion, still with a black eye and a fat lip, my final afternoon in the jungle I rode my bicycle discreetly to the beach and made a mandala out of seashells to give back to the sea. I thanked her for everything we had survived together, and with very little emotion I said goodbye.
I saw the proverbial light again when I arrived a few days later at the healing waters of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, considered to be the heart chakra of the world and the homeland of cacao.
The air contained a sweetness I had all but forgotten those many days laying in bed wondering if anything could ever bring me joy again. Inspiration came back to me and I found myself singing, dancing, and enjoying my yoga practice that had completely dissolved during my long dark night of the soul. After accepting the black invitation of the dark mother at the threshold, I had been rebirthed back into the golden light of the maiden and her fresh dew. Something like innocence.
Through synchronicity I connected with an incredibly beautiful trauma release therapist living at the lake, and with her support I regulated my nervous system and came back down to Earth. Working weekly with a deeply compassionate and highly clairvoyant past life healer I recollected so many fragments of my own soul, past lifetimes, childhood, and beyond. In my little wooden bungalow overlooking the lake, cocooned in the energy of the women’s circle I had created with the sisterhood of volunteers and the lovely mother who owned the space, I was at the very beginning of a whole new path to love.
As I dove deeper into soul retrieval work, the stronger the Mother seemed to call me through the many faces of the Goddess. With Rhiannon’s guidance I called upon the Queen for help to more deeply honor my sense of self worth. Through Innana’s courageousness I faced my own darkness with a new kind of reverence. In the embrace of Isis I began to open to the magic of the priestess and what might be possible for my life. And in my final days at the lake, a soft voice whispered to me, calling me into a new direction of my destiny that both excited and also terrified me. I was being called to walk the path of the divine woman, with the feminine as my guide, and I had no cognitive understanding of what that actually meant at the time. I feared the depth of surrender she would ask of me, but it also felt inevitable and beyond my own capacity to resist. So I just kept listening to the quiet whisper, even though I was afraid.
The day that I left the lake that had held me in her loving womb those pivotal post-jungle weeks, I was ready to come out through the birth canal.
I finally let go of This American Girl, the brand I had invested my whole life into, the voice that had given me so much over the years, and the business that funded my lifestyle. Without any plan or promise or knowing of how I’d ever make money again, where I’d ever live again, or who I even was anymore, I set off into the unknown to find myself all over again. I was too far down the rabbit hole at this point to turn back. All I could do was keep trusting forward.
Letting go of This American Girl didn’t even feel like a decision anymore. It was an inevitable ending that needed to happen. After so many years of living in the spotlight, I wanted to be anonymous. I wanted to face the nothingness to strip back any delusion that any form of external validation made me worthy. I wanted to remember who I really was at my absolute core beyond all of that.
I wanted to love myself within the deepest most essential crevices of my own beingness. I wanted to be nobody to everyone else so I could be everything to myself again.
That’s when I arrived at a magical island in Thailand, where the sea is as clear as green glass, sandbars stretch for miles, and the sunsets require that you come down to your knees and bow in reverence because they are so beautiful. Many months before my assault I I had registered myself in an intensive course in rebirthing breathwork here on this island, hoping to add another skill set to my facilitator belt and take my women’s retreats to the next level. The training offered me this, absolutely, but more than that it offered me a profound gateway to realizing my own life and death within a single hour. Over, and over, and over again.
Our breathwork sessions, which employed a style of breathing scientifically proven to release dimethyltryptamine in the brain, lifted so many veils within this lifetime and far beyond. I met with original ancestors, traveled down my mother and father lines witnessing the many traumas that had shaped my personal karmic story, cracked open to an unfamiliar frequency I can best describe as “miracles,” journeyed into so many past lives where I lived as a priestess training huge numbers of women in temple dance, guiding women’s mystery schools, and participating in hieros gamos, a sexual ritual enacted to achieve spiritual oneness.
I saw my soul lineage with crystal clarity and was gifted a mantra for my life’s work from the triple Goddess Brigid herself.
Though what alarmed me the deeper we journeyed into the training, was how disconnected I felt from my own physical body, and how automatically I seemed to dissociate. I could blast into the most unbelievable frequencies yet felt extremely ungrounded with a dizziness that made me feel like I was spinning most of the time. I knew I needed to just go and incubate somewhere, speak to no one, and leave the training, but I persisted. Eventually I got sick with constant diarrhea and couldn’t seem to keep anything inside of me. When I would slow down and tune in with the spins, I looked into a deep deep deep well of grief that I hadn’t met yet, but that desperately wanted to meet me. It was everything I had ever been and forgotten, felt and denied, needed and given away. It was the water plunge that followed my fiery awakening.
With so much to integrate I went completely offline and checked myself into a detox center to fast on water for eleven days and allow my body to receive the many transmissions that had been activated mentally, emotionally, and energetically. I prayed for rain to keep me inside with no distractions, and indeed it did rain every day.
Laying in bed with nothing to eat and nothing to do, the unease I had experienced for nearly a year through incessant shortness of breath was all consuming. As I enquired deeper into this restless anxiety and allowed my body to speak, self betrayal after self betrayal after self betrayal rose to the surface. I was confronted with every way I had ever self abandoned and self harmed, sacrificing my body in this lifetime and beyond to unworthy causes. All of the times I had said yes when I really meant no. All of the times I had dishonored myself to please another. All of the ways that I had harmed my own innocence in an attempt to reach for love somewhere outside of me, thinking that was the only way I’d be fed.
But there was a tiny flame inside of me that came back to life that night I fought for my honor in the darkness of the jungle, and simply knowing that flame was there offered me a solace beyond measure.
I decided it was time I started bowing to that little flame that lived in the dark cavern of my human body as the most direct path to God in existence. It was time I stopped seeking outside and started diving all the way in where source actually lived. I immediately set boundaries and delivered “no” in ways that felt extremely uncomfortable because I knew that if I didn’t it meant death for my soul. With each self reclamation I felt a piece of myself coming home.
Eventually through diving all the way into these demons I cracked into the other side where I met with a kind of bliss that is beyond words. It was a homecoming that flooded in to greet me like a lover reuniting with her beloved who had been lost at sea for seeming eternity. For the first time I actually understood on a cellular level what it meant to be “in love.” By that I mean, living in the frequency of love. No matter what had left and no matter what remained, I was dwelling in the essence of love itself. And this love came through gazing all the way into my own darkness and discovering the only thing that was real.
No matter how many yoga trainings I had taken, how many spiritual books I had read, how many ceremonies I had attended, it was the first time in my life I actually realized that I was God.
This wasn’t a momentary realization. It was a permanent imprint that I could never pretend didn’t happen. I could doubt it, and over the months that followed I certainly did, but beyond my cognitive understanding I knew I had crossed a major life threshold because something within me had majorly shifted on a cellular level. I had quite literally taken a quantum leap in reality.
I started painting black vortexes containing the ocean and crescent moons and starry night skies filled with rainbows. I was falling in rapturous love with the unknown as the ultimate space of truth, magic, and beauty.
By the end of the eleven day detox, I was ready to confirm my devotion to my inner beloved and to nurture my newborn baby self and journey even deeper into this dark unknown magic. I felt incredibly fragile and delicate having purged so much physically, emotionally, and energetically, and I needed a place where nothing could touch or distract from the seedling that wanted to grow. So I took myself to a part of the island that could only be reached by boat.
I can best describe my time there as a honeymoon with my own essence.
I went offline. I spoke to no one. I had no plans or agendas. Instead, I cried, I prayed, and I opened my heart to the teachings of the many feminine mystics and in particular Mary Magdalene. I started vision questing with my own womb space as a gateway for meeting with my inner beloved. The deeper I dove into my womb the more she began to speak to me and bathe me in her unmet waters. Grief became an essential part of my morning rituals.
This grief soothed me, it comforted me, it told me that I wasn’t alone. It allowed me to love and care and feel as deeply as I always did but judged behind a wall of indifference because I feared the world would think that I was “too much.” Grief let me be as sensitive and loving as I had always been beneath the layers of protection. Grief was the magical key that allowed me to let go.
As I opened my heart back up to myself I started feeling the presence of my inner beloved expand out into my aura. My beloved was not just within me, my beloved was beside me and all around me. He was an actual energy within my own auric field. The dream man I thought would never show up had suddenly arrived through my own beingness. He was there... all of the time. I knew exactly how he felt and his invisible energetic presence dissolved the many beliefs I carried around unworthiness.
How could I be unworthy if love was inside of me and all around me? How could I be unworthy if love was making love to me?
For the weeks that followed, transitioning from Thailand to the tiny sand strips of the Gilis of Indonesia, and eventually on to Bali, I felt like a new woman. My face had changed so much I could hardly recognize my reflection at times. My voice surprised me when it passed through my lips. As I moved throughout the world I felt like I was running on a new operating system. Enlightenment no longer seemed like a lofty goal for renunciate monks, but an inevitable reality for all of humanity.
But suddenly came the glitches. Like a new application short circuiting and reverting to the old. I noticed my inner beloved distancing. I started falling out of love. Devastating is the only way to describe it. Little by little the old program came online again, and I found myself violently oscillating between total fear and absolute love within a given hour.
What seemed to make the biggest difference between doubt and surrender, love and fear, was how much I was trusting the unknown or resisting it.
Each time I tried to prematurely show up in the world and start working again, I’d feel panicked with self betrayal and have to stop. Each time I tried to make a practical decision like renting an affordable house for a couple of months instead of spending money I didn’t actually have on expensive hotels, I’d experience post traumatic stress symptoms and genuinely feel like I was going to die.
My behavior probably looked insane to people on the outside, as I cancelled the retreats I had planned and made long term commitments to rentals and immediately left after one night. It wasn’t a logical process. It was an excruciatingly uncomfortable refinement process in listening to my intuition. In choosing the soul voice above the voice of conditioning. In saying “yes” to my new destiny and “no” to everything else. Even when it seemed to make my life less and less stable.
Within this turbulence of learning to trust where my highest self was guiding me, I finally started mourning the loss of my old life.
It had been set on the shelf while I mustered all of the will to survive my attack and get myself out of the jungle. But the more I fell out of love, the more it came to the forefront to be seen.
Like a wild animal uprooted from her natural habitat I wondered if I could ever feel a sense of home again. I realized how much I had made that tiny beach town in Costa Rica where I lived for so many years responsible for not only my happiness, but also my right to reside with my own body, my only real home after all. Nature was everywhere but I didn’t know how to connect with her anymore. I ached with the deepest wound that I was separate from Mother Earth and the only way back to her was the one place that I couldn’t return.
Why couldn’t I just go back to Costa Rica? Wouldn’t that make it so much easier? Many people asked and I also wondered. On one level my devotion to my own innocence was so profound at this point it would have felt like absolute self betrayal. My body had become so attuned to this betrayal that I had actually developed a physical aversion to Costa Rica itself. And on a more “practical” level, I realized that my projection of Source onto a place had never been healthy.
I didn’t want to belong to any particular strip of land. I wanted to be free to choose, not out of starving desperation but from a place of self sovereignty.
So, I sat with the pain, and I grieved. A lot. Every single day. Sometimes more than I thought was possible. I had survived plenty of heartbreak in my life, but none even touched the surface of this.
At the same time, my soul voice finally spoke that it was time to come online again. Which... felt like an absolute shitstorm. I didn’t want to. Frankly I wanted to go live in a cave (aka a fancy hotel room) and grieve and pray and make love to my beloved til the end of time. But as I explained before, whenever I failed to listen to this inner voice it felt like death for me, so I started showing up again.
And as I came back online, up came all of my unresolved grief around the death of This American Girl, my former brand and business.
What. Have. I. Done?!
This thought triggered me so badly I could hardly function at times. I had no idea who I was and yet I was showing up, and it felt horrible. I wanted to run back to...anywhere else. Everything that I used to place on the shoulders of my online business as evidence that I was worthy came up for review, requiring me to feel totally unworthy in the absence of it. So much unresolved resentment around giving so much of myself away for so many years blocked me from wanting to offer any kind of generosity at all.
And well... there was the matter of my finances which were a hilarious disaster. During my trust fall I had maxed out all of my credit cards and accumulated a shocking mass of debt. I had many reasons to doubt every step of the heart-guided journey I had been on since leaving Costa Rica.
Though thanks to living for three months on a small island in Thailand with no cars while all of this was purging, I tempered the horrific panic and total devastation with soulful dance sessions along the ocean under the moon singing out to all of the elements and collapsing in bliss on the sand. Again and again and again I was reminded that even in the midst of my greatest suffering, having experienced divine rapture only to lose it, having totally trusted the unknown only to completely doubt all of my soul guided choices, and having given up everything that I had ever considered my dream, I still deserved to sing my heart song and dance my dance of ecstasy. I still deserved to smell a flower and speak my extremely limited Thai with a massage lady. I still deserved to laugh. I still deserved to smile. And this was the very evidence of the love that still survived.
What’s incredible about deep grief, is that it actually opens a portal into the collective field of unmet sadness.
I often judged myself for feeling like such a victim in my circumstances when they barely scratched the surface of what so many people in the world have survived. Though I also knew that my particular flavor of pain was just a portal that connected me with the pain of the collective. Some mornings I would wake up crying because I couldn’t fathom that God could exist in a world where such unspeakable acts of violence occurred. How could the Divine be real and women be tortured and men be murdered and babies die from incurable disease? How could tsunamis destroy entire communities and how could genocides be allowed to happen and all of that be sorted out with a blanket statement like “look on the bright side”?
One of the greatest rebirth stories of all time is that of Jesus Christ, who in his own darkest hour calls out to the heavens, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” I may not have been nailed up on a cross to die a slow painful death while crowds of people shamed me, but when we tap into the suffering of any kind of death, whether of a loved one, a relationship, or a sense of identity, we tap into the deep suffering of humanity.
I don’t pretend to understand the heartbreak of women I’ve met who survived genocides in third world countries or of close friends who rebirthed through the death of a child, but I can say that I understand the source of suffering itself: our own limited understanding.
It’s the belief that there is any possible reason or evidence that we’ve been abandoned by God(dess). Because we don’t fully understand life, and we don’t remotely understand death.
I had been blessed enough to receive a total flash of reality in my darkest hour of my attack in Costa Rica, but that understanding had all but faded as my mental logic took over. One of my last nights on my tiny island in Thailand where I felt so safely held, I heard a story of horrific violence that took place there years back. It brought up all of my anxiety and trauma around what I had experienced, and the greatest fear that there was nowhere in the world where I could go to actually be safe.
Laying in bed that night I prayed over and over and over again to understand how to feel safe in a world of so much pain and destruction. I prayed for understanding. But first, I had to face all of my anger that resulted from my misunderstanding.
In my meditation I lit on fire with a rage towards the men who had attacked me, allowing myself to chop them up into tiny pieces and kill them a million times. I felt better, but eventually this anger brought me into something much deeper. Forgiveness. The only true path to freedom through acknowledging that you have no idea what’s really going on.
All I wanted was forgiveness because all I wanted was the freedom of understanding again.
I started chanting my Ho’opono’pono mantra over and over again until my heart opened wide to compassion. “I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you. I love you.” I felt a love swell up within me that was far greater than any act of violence and I visualized myself rising up in the presence of my attackers and saying, “You may have forgotten love but love has not forgotten you.”
I remembered all over again that the only thing that makes any of us safe is love. Not just some passive kind of love, the kind of love that will kill if she must. The kind of love that will do anything to protect and honor the sacredness of the inner flame. And that is as close to truth as it gets.
In ancient Hindu mythology which is far older than the stories of Jesus Christ, the great Mother Goddess Kali is the emblem of death and rebirth. She is both the one who creates her children and the one who destroys them. She is the fiercest kind of love that our minds have such a hard time grappling with. She loves beyond logic. Her only interest is to reunite you with the endless source of love within you by stripping you bare of all of your illusions that love has ever been outside of you.
She will do this at any cost just to get you to let go and receive her love that lives inside of your own heart.
In my case, she ripped away from me all of the things that I thought made me happy so that I could finally discover the tiny seed of light within me that can never ever leave. But then she did something even more devastating, she tested me so relentlessly to the point that I lost that light over and over again, teaching me that the path of love is far from linear and one dimensional. There is always another threshold to cross. There is always a deeper devotion to discover. There is always a deeper crack to allow in even greater light. And this process is incredibly precious and sacred. We’d do well to more fully honor ourselves in that.
My own life and death eventually brought me to the ancient land of Greece and Her Goddesses. Through tremendous soul activations that came full circle from my breathwork training and awakened the wisdom of the High Priestess within me, I prepared to guide my first women’s retreat in over a year and a half since dying and rebirthing so many times.
We can only meet others as deeply as we have met ourselves, and through my many meetings with both demons and angels I was able to facilitate in a way so far beyond anything I could have prepared myself for. I witnessed myself rise as a true midwife of the soul supporting these women in rebirthing themselves multiple times within a given day. The voice I thought had died along with This American Girl rose up again, with a whole new fresh message.
It felt like such a sweet homecoming to realize that my “best years” were not behind me and I could in fact start again.
On one of our final days together in Greece we journeyed with the dark crone goddess Hecate, the dweller at the threshold herself. In our morning session of transcendental dance meditation followed by rebirthing breathwork, I experienced for the first time as a facilitator a complete tearing of the veil. It was like the sky above me completely ripped open and I was simultaneously existing in my own past, present, and future. As I continued to guide the session I was so overwhelmed with Grace it was difficult to even speak. I could genuinely feel the presence of angels all around me. The sweet omen I had received the night that changed everything returned to me: light follows darkness, and darkness follows light.
So... darkness did come again unexpectedly just after Greece. Feeling ready to take my next steps and finally launch my new brand and blog into the world, I plunged back down into the underworld. Meeting harsher than ever all of my primary wounds around Mother and Father, Earth and Spirit, Body and Soul. Having to rip apart all of my plans because my soul voice screamed no and then grapple with the self judgements and abuse that I was continually destroying any sense of stability in my life. Again I was tested to listen or self betray. As uncomfortable as it was, I chose to listen. I chose to keep trusting forward. I chose to allow the wild feminine to continue this process of inner refinement.
By staying with the process I started remembering the truth about stability. Just as I discovered in 2011 when I lost my job, my relationship ended, and I booked a ticket to Costa Rica on a whim, stability is not what it seems. Stability doesn’t come from a career, a home, money, or any relationship with another.
true Stability only comes from one place: listening to your highest self as your one and only guide.
My journey was far from “finished”, yet there was a deepening and an awakening that could never be undone. The seeming instability I experienced was the constant uprooting of anything that wouldn’t survive in my new frequency. I had received my beloved and I knew how that trajectory tasted. Just like I couldn’t undo the magic that Costa Rica had activated within me seven years ago and go back to a desk job in the states, neither could I undo the taste of true love that I had discovered from within me and sacrifice that love for something less.
It may have felt like a lifetime ago, but the soft memory of my beloved offered me a thread of gold to follow in the midst of my own darkness. And the only way that could happen was through trusting my own suffering. Through believing that my woundedness and relentless aching was actually guiding me somewhere. That it was pointing me directly to what I had been created to create. That my courage in staying with all of this darkness was bestowing me with tremendous power and gifts, even if I couldn’t fully see them yet.
In the old Hindu myth of Radha and Krishna, the ultimate lover beloved story, Radha is desperately in love with Krishna who represents Christ and all of his radiance. Though Radha’s love is returned by Krishna, he also offers his love to the many other women in their village, which creates a turbulent and dramatic relationship between the two. When Krishna comes calling, Radha is enraptured. When Krishna leaves, Radha is destroyed. Anyone who has ever been overtaken by intensely passionate romance knows this feeling.
Whether we are pining for a Lover, for a home, for God, for Mother, or in my case for anything familiar to hold onto, we all know how much it hurts to be separate from the one who awakened us to Love.
But this attachment can quickly become its own trap. We grow dependent on that person or that thing as “it” when “it” has always been inside of us and also all around us.
The lover beloved relationship between Radha and Krishna comes to a tear jerking end when Krishna is called back to rule the throne in his place of birth. He leaves never to see Radha again. Many years pass, he’s married to another woman, and one day he asks his friend and yoga teacher Uddhava to go and check on the village where he spent his youth and to visit Radha.
When Uddhava arrives he is shocked with what he discovers. All of the women in the village are adorned like Goddesses, going about their day selling milk and tending to their cows praising everything as Krishna. They seem to be led by the maddest woman of all, Radha. In horror over this great illusion the women are living within, he calls them to gather so that he can educate them in yoga. “Krishna loves you all, but now it’s time to go within. Close your eyes and discover God inside of you.” Radha gazes over at Uddhava with a playful smile and says, “You yogis are so funny, you close your eyes and you search and you search and you search for God. Everywhere I look I see God. Everywhere I look I see Krishna.”
This story of Radha’s unrequited love for Krishna lives at the heart of Bhakti. It’s about living the ultimate orgasmic yes to life and realizing the divinity that exists in every aching breathing moment. Of no longer projecting God onto a single source and opening wide to the true understanding that God is the Source within all things.
We don’t need to hide away in a cave and search for God, when God is actually everywhere.
Though it’s important to realize that Radha’s orgasmic yes to life and her ability to see God in all things, came first through the absence of what she had once thought to be God. This is the dark night of the soul that many mystics speak of. It is the journey into our own darkest spaces to discover the essential light of love within. Only then can we truly look around and realize that we are already living in Heaven, in the magic of our Mother Earth that our suffering has blinded us from. We have to journey to the source of our suffering to realize the Source itself. Only then we can remember the Source in all things. Only then can we dwell in Heaven on Earth.
I’ve often wondered what Radha went through during all of those years that spanned between Krishna leaving and her living as love. Through my own wonderment, without any guide, I’ve been discovering and learning her path for myself. A path I know not as enlightenment, but as integration. In Vedic astrology I am Anuradha, which translates to “another Radha”, “another devotee of God.” Her story lives in the very star matter that made me. This story has been playing through my life for as long as I can remember. It may be my personal archetypal journey, but I know it’s one that resonates with us all.
Within all of us lives this longing for God. It’s the desire to know thyself. To know the light of innocent love within you that never dies. And we also all contain the yearning for Goddess. The desire to know the oneness that extends beyond yourself. To know nature as your true nature and to know life as love in all of its messy mortal expressions. This longing and this ache can appear in our lives in infinite costumes, but ultimately every single one of us are imprinted to feel it. We feel it because we are the ones here to heal it.
We feel separate from love because we are the ones here re-membering love. re-weaving love into the very fabric of our humanity.
This is what we are all hungry for and it requires both death and rebirth to get close to and intimate with. All of the spiritual trainings in the world cannot bestow you with the kind of authentic path to love that life and death are here to teach you. No “gurus” will ever be the ultimate teachers. Life and death are the only real teachers. Follow your soul. That’s the only map you will ever really need.
To trust this terrifying refinement process is to be both out of your mind and also entirely blessed. It will require you to totally let go of anything that won’t survive your next incarnation. And it is to be truly empowered with the knowing that you are no longer a victim, because you have come to embrace everything that you thought made you broken as the very thing that makes you whole. It is to be lit with the untouchable power of knowing that your own darkest moments are your own gateways to your most radiant light. It to embrace the heartbreaking paradox of life and death.
It is to remember who you really are, and why you really came here.
As I continue to rest in my own dark womb of infinite possibility, trusting deeper in the inevitable blossoming of my divine destiny, I am finally ready to offer the fruits of what all of this death and rebirth has taught me. To begin again with a new voice and a new community that speaks to the journey of awakening through the at times heartbreaking thresholds that we will all cross.
Not waiting til I’m perfect, but sharing within my own totally messy human process. Because I deserve that. We all deserve that. We all deserve to wake up out of the idea that our shadows and our darkness make us unworthy and to realize that they are the raw material we have been given to create our masterpiece.
In a world that is often obsessed with being “the light,” our darkness is the fertile womb of Source.
Bowing to the wisdom that spoke from within my own body over these many months, I am creating a new kind of Priestesshood for the women here to discover their own unique path of love, through this heartbroken open dance.
For the women walking towards the truth that we all came to create in our own uniquely perfect broken way, exactly as nature intended.
For the women devoted to trusting their own souls to the point of insanity because they know that to do otherwise is the only real death.
For the women yearning to love without holding anything back because they know that whoever does or does not leave, the eternal soul mate remains within.
For the women offering their unique gifts into the world and radiating in their purpose because they know there must be others who also ache where they have ached, and if we’re not in this together we’re not in this at all.
For the women courageous enough to continually spiral through the great cycles of life because they remember that they are not other than life and we are all intimately linked in this great mysterious dance of existence.
For the women wholeheartedly willing to continually die and rebirth across the great thresholds of life and in the tiniest moments, in all of their messy imperfect beauty.
For the women who most of all desire to live in every heartbeat and in every breath as love.
Let’s begin again, shall we?
There I was. The poster girl for Pura Vida. Costa Rica’s sweetheart. A woman who had left behind the Western world after falling in love with the wild jungle, and ditched graduate school to share her stories of magic and adventure.
I had created a blog read by millions of people. I had written and published my deepest vulnerabilities, my greatest triumphs, and my most encouraging wisdom that inspired countless souls to follow their dreams of traveling the world, moving to paradise, and choosing their happiness beyond the collective fear that ran generations and generations deep.
A lot of people believed in me. I gave the world a fresh infusion of hope and belief in what’s possible. In a gray world of “have to” and “getting-by” I was a rainbow light shining in the distance pointing to the pot of gold that every human on this Earth has the right to claim.
But... there I was. After seven years of that lifestyle, despairingly lost and deeply depressed.
Worse. I barely knew how to function anymore. For months I had been debilitated with daily panic attacks that came on for no reason and every single reason. My crippling fear of setting them off caused me to incubate myself in the most extreme possible way. I could barely eat without the panic coming on. Exercise went entirely out the window. Even the most beautiful beach in the world began to agitate me. And gradually I stopped leaving the house, eventually my bed, altogether.
My descent into this darkest night of the soul began just at the turn of the new year in 2018. What alarmed me most was that so much light and hope preceded this plunge into the deepest turbulence I had ever experienced.
I had established so much self love the year before, launched my first online mentorship program The Freedom Tribe with fifty participants, guided the most transformatively beautiful sold out women’s retreat, earned more money as an entrepreneur than I did at the peak of my Marketing career in the states, and I had just unveiled the rebirth of my blog This American Girl, with every professional system in place and a team of women working to support me.
But beneath all of this beauty that I had created in the world, and beyond the abundance that easefully gifted me with its succulent fruit, there were truths buried under the surface, deep down in my roots, that until I decided to unearth, would always prevent me from blossoming into my full potential.
Something would always be tugging down at my heels asking me to go digging.
Just before Christmas I released a BIG ask into the universe. Despite being the beloved traveling girl, inspiration to all unconventional women, and darling soul sister to millions of blog readers, since immersing myself into the jungle of Costa Rica and choosing an alternative lifestyle, I had yet to receive the love of a man.
No matter how much of the self love work I did, or how bronze my skin became in the tropical sunshine, or how angelic my sunstreaked oceanspray curls grew, or how enlightened I became through all of my spiritual seeking, he never seemed to arrive. Instead I was continuously faced with mirrors of rejection.
But the winds of change were coming and I could feel them.
This seven year cycle of aloneness was reaching its conclusion and a fire inside of my being had grown strong. And on that sunny December day on the wild shores of the place I called my home for so many years, I shouted out to the universe, “I choose to be free!” I decided that I was willing to give up everything for the kind of soul mate love that my heart had longed for, for so long. I was willing to let go of every attachment that still tethered me to anything preventing this divine union and I proclaimed, “I’m ready! I’m ready for The One!”
Life always answers every prayer, just rarely in the way we expect.
And, life did deliver me a man... that very same night. A lovely man in fact, who treated me oh so briefly with the tenderness that I’d been starving for without even realizing it since ending my ten year stint as a chronic “girlfriend” and choosing adventure instead. This instant manifestation blew my mind and renewed my faith and belief in what might be possible for me next. After such a long dry spell and having all but given up hope, he was an unbelievable boon from the universe. I remember him asking me what love meant to me, and after sitting with the question I spoke these words for the first time, “Love means, ‘I choose you.’”
Then came the lessons, asking me to choose myself in ways I had never previously known how.
Life rapidly showed me all of the ways that I was actually NOT ready for “The One” beginning with delivering me every single trigger imaginable through the vessel of this man. I wasn’t even sure that I wanted to choose him, but because he didn’t choose me in the way that I longed to be chosen, I collapsed into freak out mode. Unexpectedly repressed memories, buried sexual trauma from my teenage years, and lifetimes old wounding rose up to the surface to meet me. A well of buried emotions exploded like a clogged pipe finally being released and centuries of backed up anger, sadness, confusion, and panic began to flow.
I witnessed myself use every single sabotage strategy in the book to create an absolute mess of what had begun as such an innocent romance. THIS was not the soul mate experience I had signed up for. What I couldn’t fully see at the time was that his fear and avoidance of my intensity was a direct mirror of my fear and avoidance of my own intensity. My fear of my own sexuality. And of course, my fear of my own power. But those realizations came much, much, much later. I had to go through a lot more hell first.
Eventually I found myself in a state beyond what most people could handle being around.
Sleep was my only solace from my own madness. To my absolute shock and dismantling, my spiritual practices that I had cultivated with such devotion over the years no longer worked for me. Mostly I’d wake up and immediately want to scream and cry, so I’d put in my headphones and blast death metal because at least that vibration felt honest and validating. It was like all of the true heartbreak I had avoided in seven years of single-hood came rushing in to meet me to say, “Hey you, remember me, that anxiety ridden co-dependent woman you used to be before you ran away to the jungle and became a world inspiration? Yep, I’m still here. Deal with me now!”
Looking back I can see what was happening inside of me. It wasn’t just my pre-travel life that was coming to greet me, it was eons upon eons of feminine repression, finally awakening in every cell of my body like a volcano erupting upon an Earth that had been asleep to her power for far, far too long. She could no longer be ignored.
So, I started paying attention. Beginning with digging up my past.
I remember one rainy Caribbean morning choosing to stay in bed the entire day, something I had never done before unless I had the flu, and writing out every single year of my life as far back as I could remember. I recounted some of the most shame ridden stories I had all but forgotten and looked into the eyes of the many aspects of myself that I feared the most. I started becoming intimate with the darkest shadow I once called “that crazy girl,” the side of me I was terrified of accidentally revealing in front of a man, and I decided that it was time to start loving her.
The next day walking on the beach amidst the fallen almond trees and scurrying sand crabs, I actually felt her with me. And there were others too. Aspects of me from so many ages and times in my life, and while I often felt afraid walking alone in the wilds of this dark land, holding hands with me, me, me, me, and yet another me, I felt safer in my own skin. I felt more powerful than ever before.
But soon came the adrenal fatigue.
This sudden exhaustion that smacked me out of left field brilliantly halted my ability to go for my usual escape of world travel and excessive outdoor exercise and hula hooping and ecstatic dance, and writing on my laptop worked for about ten minutes before I’d immediately need a nap. It was like the more I allowed myself to feel depressed and tired, the more depressed and tired I became. The more I surrendered to this unstoppable recalibration that had been happening inside of me for months, the less I could seem to do anything else.
As I let this unstoppable force take over more and more, I began to quietly sit with the ways I had expected men to save me all my life, beginning with my father. The ways I had blamed and judged them, and the ways that I had failed to choose myself and projected that rejection onto them. It felt beyond me. It felt collective. It felt like the wounding between the feminine and the masculine asking to be healed through my own tumultuous inner turning.
The more I surrendered and let go of needing someone outside of me to instantly make it better, the more I realized that beyond any kind of soul mate love I thought I needed, what I really desired most was to feel safe in my own body. Which required me becoming the safest vessel for me to reside within, by choosing myself and no longer sacrificing myself in an attempt to get a scrap of love in return. Even beyond that, I desired to be so safe within myself that my presence also made others safe. I wanted to live in a world where everyone felt safe to choose love. Whatever that meant for them.
Shortly after crossing that new threshold of surrender, the panic attacks arrived.
Perfectly timed because the adrenal fatigue had so fully stoned me at that point, I really couldn’t run away to avoid them. That’s not true, I did try to run to avoid them by running on the beach every morning and unleashing my anger in midday tropical heat with a kickboxing coach, but the combination of extreme exhaustion and my shortness of breath quickly brought those strategies to an end.
The panic attacks were so all consuming that my entire life began to shape around them. My moment by moment inquiry became, “Who are you? Why are you here? What are you trying to tell me?” And quite often, “What the fuck can I do to make you go away?!”
Many realizations came to me through this questioning, not the least being how much pressure I had placed on myself for so many years. I got really honest with how often I robbed myself of the nourishment of my true innocent joy by forcing it down my own throat. I stared into the discomfort of the countless ways I had been living for the world a lot more than living for myself. And because myself was now screaming so loudly, all I could do was stop and learn to love her in a way that at the time I frankly didn’t know how.
The deeper I allowed this feeling and made my life a devoted meditation to understanding its message, the more my body began to react. I started gaining weight despite the fact that I was hardly eating, and I developed very swollen painful lymph nodes. I was retaining a lot of water. My digestive system was so disrupted I’d drink a smoothie and immediately feel sick. I was taking all of the supplements. Doing all of the cleanses. Fasting on water. Nothing helped.
By that time, I had already stripped away every spiritual teacher and practice I had once placed my confidence in.
My mental anguish originally sent me seeking in every possible direction, but everything I read and listened to seemed to trigger me. Nothing brought me peace. Everything sounded like bullshit because nothing I had once believed in made any sense within the insane context I found myself in. My seven year delusion that being in Costa Rica would make everything better also unraveled as I found myself truly hating the place I once loved. What had been my Heaven revealed itself to me as a purgatory that I refused to leave because I was too terrified of what might meet me on the other side of unknown.
Despair hardly begins to cover the energy that drowned most of my days.
There was, however, one light moment of clarity in the midst of all of the sludge, when I felt the energy to finally take a sunset walk on the beach, and as the light fell towards the pacific and illuminated the jungle in gold, I suddenly began laughing. I couldn’t stop. It was the dawning of truth beyond all of the bullshit that had clouded me for so long. Out of seemingly nowhere, in the midst of all my despair, came the words “I don’t have the answers, and neither does anyone else.” That simple, and that profound. In that moment, these words were the freedom I had most needed to hear.
I had been desperately wanting something or someone to save me. To save me from my perpetual singleness. To save me from my fear of not being good enough. To save me from my own panicked breath. And meanwhile, so many people in the world wanted me to save THEM! To save them from the fear that comes with taking the bold choice for themselves and choosing to say yes to an inner calling that has never been done before and is consequently terrifying as fuck! Except... I was missing the whole point. Nobody has it figured it out. Nobody actually knows.
There’s a famous saying that if you meet the Buddha on the road of life, you must kill him.
The phrase exploded inside of my cells as I REALized that looking for any answer outside of myself was completely futile and an utter distraction on the real path of love. As long as I looked outside for the answers, I could never access the truth of my soul.
At that point, six months in Hell since the turn of 2018, I started believing that I was dying. But beneath the death something else was emerging. This gentle almost imperceptible whisper telling me that this was my initiation into something I couldn’t yet imagine. That my only hope or saving grace lived within my complete and total surrender to Her and that these panic attacks were my ultimate invitation to be healed through my own womb. I had guided dozens of women on retreats and was considered an “inspiration” for many many women, yet I had no idea what any of this meant.
Something had to give. I had touched spaces within me that felt deeper than rock bottom and I had no idea how to get myself out, other than this quiet whisper of the feminine that didn’t give me logical guidance or any kind of map.
The panic breath had not stopped or changed and this gave me two choices: keep struggling or allow it. The panic breath did not change, but by allowing it, my relationship with the panic breath changed. I stopped looking at it as something that I had to desperately get away from and I decided to make it my guru. Which I realized, is what I had started doing the moment I began to question it.
I let it be my ultimate barometer in showing me when I was pressuring myself, betraying myself, abandoning myself, dishonoring my needs, which according to my breath was happening... most of the time.
To temper the intense discomfort of this process I realized that I needed more love in my life through the medicine of pleasure. Pleasure, something that even in hell I still deserved. Pleasure something I so often withheld from myself, thinking it was a reward I’d receive once I earned my way to heaven.
I had already given up on my yoga and dance meditations since they triggered the panic breath like mad, but I began exploring my body in a new way. Slow dancing to soft feminine voices and allowing a sensitivity I hadn’t touched before. I gave up entirely on eating and drank coconut water and melted cacao with coconut milk all day. I began creating elaborate love altars on my livingroom floor and covered them with the names of all of my beloveds, my sisters, my brothers, my parents, the wild elements of nature, and every man I had ever loved while listening to a playlist I titled “Romance Me”. I started delicately stroking my entire body with the tenderness of my most romantic lover, and soon after attracted a gorgeous French surfer with crystal blue eyes and thick dark hair who touched me in literally the exact same way.
Looking for a greater source of inspiration on this feminine path, I started passionately journeying with the Goddesses and their wisdom in my oracle card decks, and loosening up all of the masculine constructs that had once formed the foundation of my spiritual practices and beliefs. To strip away the adrenaline fueled pressure I had placed on myself for so many years, I stopped expecting myself to do anything and gave myself complete permission to not commit to any plans, work, or even friendships.
This asked me to really get comfortable with a word I had avoided for many years: “No.”
When “no” felt too uncomfortable to stomach, I frequently hid from the world in my garden bathroom during the day and watched the tiny red poison dart frogs birth up out of clusters of bromeliads. When night fell I’d blossom open like the reina de la noche flowers that grew abundantly in the jungle and released their perfume after dusk, and I’d dance in the garden and tell all of my worries to the stars.
In honesty, all of the delicious cacao in the world and all of the sensual women’s music on Spotify and all of the beauty of nature and kisses of sexy French men, didn’t make my horrible panic attacks and mental anguish go away. But regardless of all of that, a deep well of compassion reminded me over and over again, that no matter how shitty I felt I still deserved to dance my dance of ecstasy and to sing my radiant heart’s song. Beyond my masculine desires to “get somewhere,” to “fix myself,” and to find a “resolution,” I was still here, a woman, alive, learning how to do this endless cyclical dance across the thresholds that often felt like death.
And then one evening in late July, I did die.
Well, my ego did anyway.
The demons came unexpectedly and yet without any surprise. Deep inside I had known that they were coming for such a long time. They had stalked me for most of my life, always wondering when or if or how they might appear, and finally they arrived literally on my very own doorstep. I say “they,” but really, it was Kali.
Kali. The fierce mother Goddess in the Hindu pantheon most famously depicted dancing atop Shiva’s erect body wearing a necklace of skulls and unabashedly offering her large red tongue. The mother of all mothers willing to destroy anything and everything that blinds our egos from seeing all the way into the truth of love. The black one who barrels in without warning and asks the “small me self” to die into the great void of the infinite oneness. Yes. That Goddess arrived. Kali.
She came in the form of two men in the darkness who surprised me from behind, restrained my body, covered my mouth, and dragged me onto the floor. In this moment of sheer full bodied terror, Kali asked me with a roar to choose myself, to choose my freedom, to choose my innocence, to choose my own power, to choose my own LIFE, in a way that I never thought I previously could.
She asked me to face her by becoming her, in all of her ugliness and rage, to dissolve my own fear that love could ever leave me.
And in this moment, that could have lasted three minutes or thirty, my body restrained and my mouth covered by a cloth, nowhere left to run to, no man coming to my rescue, no ability to make a sound, and every single terrifying thought you can possibly imagine running through my mind, I also knew without question that I was not alone.
Beside the voice inside of me that screamed “is this really happening to me?!?!” I also knew all the way down into my bones, beyond any concept of the mind, that love had not left me. In my greatest moment of primal fear, the highest most Divine Love was not only still there, it was orchestrating what was happening.
This momentary realization will last me my lifetime and hopefully many more beyond this one.
It is the Grace of the Divine Feminine that one can never ever forget. It is the ultimate truth that no matter what we think we’ve lost, no matter how hellish our reality, no matter what we fear we may die to, Love never leaves. Love. Never. Leaves.
On a deep, deep level, I could see that even these men were an expression of love, challenging me to do the one thing I hadn’t yet been able to do. For the days following the attack, as I slipped into visions triggered by the trauma, I remember clearly watching the event as an outsider, seeing this bright spotlight upon me, and these two men as my angels dressed up in costumes. These men were not just men, they were an outward expression of the way I had been smothering myself on the inside, trapping myself in a place and in a life that was no longer true for me. How serious did it have to get in order for me to finally take a stand, face my own death, and choose my own life?
Surrendered to the insurmountable power of love that I simply could no longer deny, I became more terrifying than even my own demons.
My Kali rage trumped anything they tried to stifle or smother within me. With a broken lip and a black eye I raised victorious and sent them running into the night through the power of my own voice that I relentlessly fought to free no matter how much bigger or stronger they may have appeared than me. The stream of uncontrollable cursewords that flowed between my lips tasted like sweet medicine for not only myself, but for all women everywhere since the beginning of time. The intelligence of my own body, when allowed to respond without any control of my mind, absolutely astounded me.
I used to think that freedom meant being able to travel and live wherever you pleased, but that night I understood that true freedom came through trusting every single experience, no matter how horrifying, and choosing to stay present in the body.
I went into my bathroom, shaken up but more lucid than ever, looked my broken and bloodied face in the mirror, and the words that came out were simply, “What the fuck?”
Then I noticed something more shocking than even what had just taken place. The chronic feeling of panic and all of my shortness of breath, had suddenly stopped. Gone. Away. Just like those two men who disappeared into the night. I even tried to trigger the panic or bring it on, but all that was there was calmness. Something inside of me had been freed.
After that moment there was simply no hiding anymore.
No pretending left in me. No ability to be unbroken to what I had shattered open into. I survived what so many people consider extreme trauma, and yet my heart felt more open than ever in my life. I could no longer close because I knew in every cell of my body what was true. The veil of any delusion of separation between me and love had dissolved.
So there was nothing left to do but to let go. Of...everything.
That night, with the support of my sisters, I packed up all of my belongings, and I left. I said goodbye to anyone I ever thought I was before that moment. I surrendered into the black night sky of not knowing, ready to begin a new journey called trust. I thought I had discovered the Goddess seven years ago when I fell in love with the jungle and became a “free woman”, but that night, in the blackness of my own being, with nowhere left to go but deeper inside of myself, my path with the Goddess truly began.
Over the nine months that spanned between that night and this one, on the magic shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, in tropical islands in Thailand, and among the mythic temples of Bali, I have been on the deepest most profound healing journey of restoring the light of the Feminine within every cell of my being.
Through choosing to bring an end to the blog I had placed at the center of my world for nearly seven years, leaving behind the place I once called home, going offline for several months, being willing to not know what was coming next, and getting extremely vulnerably naked with myself, I allowed my own death to complete itself so that I could be reborn.
This journey has been nothing less than a soul retrieval, a time of powerfully reclaiming every aspect of my womanhood I ever disowned or denied.
Of finally redirecting all of my energy back inward, to weave the landscape of my wholeness back into being. Every single fragment of my innocence, one painfully ecstatically loving embrace at a time.
On that path, with so many incredible guides supporting me, I became my own midwife, mother, sister, lover, wife, best friend, shaman, and every source of love I never knew I so desperately needed.
Facing the feminine archetypes of Queen, Orphan, Whore, Virgin, Witch, Bitch, Seductress, and so many other labels of a woman’s consciousness, I radically elevated my own relationship with all aspects of myself.
Journeying into other realms during my three week breathwork facilitator training I traveled through my ancestral lines, met with the Goddess Brigid, saw my soul’s lineage, and understood with crystal clarity what I came here to do in this lifetime.
Receiving the stories and reflections of dozens of Divine Feminine Goddesses, Saints, and “Ordinary Women” who chose to remember their inherent worth, I remembered my highest potential as a human being.
Giving myself permission to receive the absolute best of the best, from eating the most beautiful food to staying in the most beautiful sanctuaries and treating my body like a Queen, I stripped away the old backpacker facade and realized what I deserve beyond any of my fears and judgements around lack, even when that meant trusting into credit card debt and taking out a “self love loan.”
Water fasting and detoxing from social media helped me access my most uncomfortable repressed betrayals, fears, and beliefs, and come face to face with my deepest core wound, to finally clean it out and realize than anytime I suffer it’s because I’m forgetting that I’m the One.
No longer feeling safe or able to return to Costa Rica, the place that I had once considered my “quick fix” paradise, I learned how to use the medicine of grief, forgiveness, sensuality, and presence to settle more deeply into the residence of my body as my one and only home on Earth.
Diving all the way into the epigenetics path of The Gene Keys, I understood the true power of shadow work when we embrace the sacred potential hidden in our darkest spaces and choose to penetrate that suffering with the light of our infinite awareness.
Working weekly with a shamanic energy healer I did countless soul retrievals, ended a million karmic contracts, and reclaimed so many parts of myself I never even realized I had abandoned.
Awakening the Mary Magdalene heart womb energy inside of my body through vision questing for months on end, I discovered the true meaning of Beloved, as an essence that has always belonged to me.
And most importantly of all, I fully realized and met with the light of my own soul, not through transcending my human suffering by through diving deeper into it. I discovered, beyond any illusion of separation, the truest love in existence, and the only thing any of us are actually after in the beginning, middle, or end.
All of this has taught me, that beyond any ounce of doubt, each and every human experience is sacred.
Our wounds are our greatest teachers. Our power and our magic live in the places we often fear most. And beyond any aspiration I had ever had for my life, my deepest desire has always been to be whole.
Wholeness is the ultimate reward for those courageous enough to midwife their own shadows, which is precisely what my panic breath asked me to do. To dig all the way down into the roots of my wounding and discover the gems that lived in the fertile untended soil. What so many of us have forgotten is that these dense energies are actually the source of our power. Our willingness to face them determines whether we become a victim of them or a master of them. The dark space is the fertile space. Pain and fear are the ultimate teachers guiding us to truly live in our bliss and joy. The shadows are the base metals that we can churn into gold.
It took a long time, a lot of patience, and more self love than I ever knew I was capable of accessing to fully arrive here, ready to integrate my learnings and show up again as an unconventional voice, teacher, and guide in this world. While this cyclical human journey is far from over, I can confidently say that just like seven years ago I crossed my greatest threshold of no return by choosing to follow my heart and move to the jungle of Costa Rica, become a blogger, and travel the world, today I have crossed my next biggest threshold of no return by choosing to follow my soul, to face my true purpose, and to trust in the truth of Love as my one and only guide.
No matter where she chooses to take me next, I live my life in service of Her. Every day. One surrendered step at a time.
Inspired by this tremendously life shifting journey I have been on for the last year and a half, I created a sacred map for other women longing to return to the wholeness of their own soul. It contains the many diamonds of wisdom I discovered along the way and an accessible entry into the many many mysteries and stories of women that have been hidden from us for centuries. This wisdom took me sixteen months, three mentors, numerous healers, multiple trainings, countless online courses, hours upon hours of reading, meditating, and self study, and tens of thousands of dollars, to discover, and I have crystallized it into an affordable online women’s immersion that lasts nine weeks. I’ve named it Whole Woman, and would be honored for you to join us.
Thank you for receiving my words, for honoring my unique path, and for simply being the essential thread of you in this great monumental tapestry of life. Whatever you may or may not be moving through, may you be endlessly blessed with the love of your own soul. A love that no matter what may be arising, no matter what we may ever think we are lacking, no matter what inside our outside of us may be dying, never, ever, ever, leaves.