It started, as many things do in my life, in a session with my Tantra Teacher, Vyana, about a month ago. I was getting ready to lead a weekend workshop called a Shalom Retreat™. It was only my second time out as a full-fledged Shalom Process leader (though I’d been an associate leader a number of times as I worked to complete my training)… and, the first time out – last December – had not gone as smoothly as I’d wanted it to.
And so there I was, sitting on the floor in the healing room at the Temple, as I had so many times before, talking with Vyana about my doubts and fears…about this feeling of being called to do sacred work in the world, and not knowing if I was up to the challenge. And Vyana, in her matter-of-fact way, told me that I needed to start to learn how to value myself.
Well, the retreat was nothing less than miraculous, and I came out of it with this beautiful realization: that I’m ready. It’s been 10 years since I left my more-than-typically-dysfunctional family behind and set out on a journey to pick up the shattered pieces of my ego and my life and find a way to survive. 7 years since I first walked in to a retreat center in the Catskills, fell in love with the process, and embraced the idea of hope. 4 years since I started studying Tantra and realized I wanted to make it the foundation of my life. And 6 months since I finished writing my memoir about the healing journey I’ve been on for this decade (which doubled as my undergrad thesis, earning me the BA I brought home 4 months ago). It’s time.
I’ve learned what it is to be always whole, and always healing. I’ve learned what it means to “get out of the way” and let the flow of things, the organism’s natural ability to heal, take over. I’ve learned how to sit with others in their pain, to stand with them in their power, to weep with them in their grief, and to dance with them in their delight. I’ve accessed the range of my experiences and emotions and mined them for their wisdom. And I’ve wholeheartedly said “yes” to the fact that there’s always more to come, always more to learn, always more to grow.
All of that, and more, is why it’s time. Time for this dream, this calling that I’ve been pursuing, to move front and center in my life. Time to hang out, with all of my moments, in the transformational journey – mine, and others, because I believe it’s all the same thing. So I’m taking up the challenge that Vyana set before me in that session – I’m choosing to value myself. To value the work that I’ve done. To value what I have to offer. And to find ways to offer it, and to have that offering support a life where I can do this more and more all the time, until the art of transformation fills my days from morning ’til night, all the year round.
To jump-start this process of gathering up who and what I am, and all the experience, skills, and tools at my disposal, and offering them out into the world, I signed up for an e-course run by the fabulous and talented Stephanie Gagos, called “The Journey of Hell Yes.” 10 days of intensely focusing on this endeavor. Because, finally, I am saying Hell Yes. Hell Yes to the life that I want. Hell Yes to walking with others into creating the lives they want. Hell Yes to creativity and writing and soup (yes, soup!) as modalities for healing. Hell Yes to wild and crazy experiments, and fierce disciplines. Hell Yes to time outside, to time connecting with my body, to time connecting with other humans. Hell Yes to becoming more alive, each and every day, and inviting everyone I encounter, whether virtually or in-person, into more aliveness of their own.
I’m planning to offer all kinds of things on this website – free courses, paid courses, story-circle conference calls, my own writing, writing for others, practices, challenges, one-on-one sessions, group workshops, and whatever else pops into being along the way. So stay tuned, because if my life thus far is any indication, it’s going to be a wild and exciting ride!