I write this as I sit in front of the fire, and all is quiet in my home. It is this combination, perhaps a dichotomy, that makes me who I am: a burning desire to live a bold, fully expressed life tempered by the silence and space that feed my soul. I’ve jokingly said I am one part Zen (think Leo Babauta) and one part firestarter (the white-hot flame herself, Danielle LaPorte). Maybe it’s not such a joke.
My career as a coach began as a photographer; true story. I heard over and over from clients how the conversations we had put them at ease in such a way they’d show up their best, most natural selves on film (remember, the days of film?) and I began to wonder why that was so. I discovered a passion for conversation that makes a difference and my curious nature suddenly had a new purpose.
Coaching woke me up to what was possible in life, for myself and others and became the most real form of expression I’d ever experienced. Ten years and thousands of conversations later and two things remain the same – my belief that you are here to shine and my commitment to helping you do so.
I love to ask questions that make your breath catch in your throat or set your heart to racing. That’s what I’m here for. What lights you up? What stirs your soul? How does the eternal come knocking at your door? These are the questions that stir my soul, some days quietly and other days like a raging fire.
I want to know about you. I’m here to reach out and connect in the ways I know best: conversation, sharing, sisterhood, support and bold, bright radiance. I’m here to reflect it back to you so that you get who you really are.
Because that’s why I’m here – to have us all shine like the brightest star in the sky, Sirius by name, but not by nature.
A deva is one who plays in the light, and as a longtime reader of Roots of She I know this is the best place to do so together.
We all have a story
As the oldest sibling in my family, I learned early on how to take care of others. A good thing right? Yes, until it became a default way of being in my life.
Good sister caring for her siblings.
Good student helping friends with homework.
Good girlfriend putting her boyfriend’s goals before her own.
Good, caring coach living her life in service to others.
Good, loving wife taking care of business, husband and. . .anyone else not yet mentioned.
Oh, my God. I think I slipped into someone else’s story. This couldn’t really be mine, could it?
Recently, while on retreat at 4am in the dark of night, I bumped into this part of me that’s been around since I was very young.
She has a dark side, this caring part of me, and I am really not kidding when I say don’t mess with her. She lurks, scrunched up like a gargoyle just out of sight, ready to leap out and take charge as needed. Her name is Medusa, and she likes control.
Not such a good thing.
You remember the story of Medusa, don’t you?
Really not a good thing.
My Medusa was born in a life-changing moment. That moment in a child’s life, a split-second moment that decides who you’re going to be forever more.
When that moment happened for me, way back in my childhood, Medusa decided if she could just take care of everyone and everything (control as much as she could) then life would be OK. Then, that decision lived like the truth for a very long time.
It drove my decisions in life – putting others before myself sometimes to the point of burnout.
It drove my career choices – over committing to clients, projects and opportunities because I love helping others.
It drove my relationships – molding myself to be with someone, rather than showing up as my best, most alive and vital self.
Until one day. . .
Resentment crept in, slithering like Mr. Grinch in Whoville and Medusa grabbed hold of it, spinning it about like a mad woman.
Mad-crazy, mad-angry? Hmm, maybe both.
In that moment, I heard her loud and clear, you must take care or die trying. Like a banshee in my head she was. Compelling me to care for everyone and everything, regardless of the impossibility of such a feat.
Those two words went off like a gong, ringing in my ears. How was it possible that a lifetime of taking care was rewarded with exhaustion and resentment? Die trying didn’t seem too far off the mark.
And then that night, in the sweet, deep silence, I asked myself, “What are you trying so hard to prove?”
If I could be everything to everyone. . .then they’d never leave.
If I could be the smartest, most likeable, most care-giving me possible. . .then life would be OK.
My story and Medusa’s part in it has been my story for as long as I can remember. You’ve got your version. It may be similar or not.
But you’ve definitely got a story.
After sharing a similar story with me, a client asked wistfully, “Do other women tell you stories like this?”
My heart leapt into my throat and I could hardly speak.
Yes, dear sweet woman, they do.
Our stories begin for a reason, and if you must know one thing about me let it be my belief that everything has a positive intent. So yes, our tired old stories, even Medusa in all her glory started out for a very good reason.
My caregiver story is part of who I am and it’s not a bad thing. It’s just a part of me that’s no longer as useful as it once was. The story was never the truth, but it had such power it became a default way of living. Until it stopped working.
If I’m compelled to care for others rather than choosing, resentment will kick in pretty quick. But when I choose to care. . .
Therein lay the gifts.
My being here for others is a gift I share. You being here for me is a gift I receive.
As my client so achingly questioned, there are other women and other stories. Oh, so many stories.
And this is where they meet.
Rumi asked, “Where am I going on this glorious journey?”
I am going to join my tribe.
For in this tribe await new stories of what it is to be a woman, and what it is to care for ourselves and others.
And in this tribe we are rooted.