Surrender to the Muck and the Madness 

This week has been a giant week. Most weeks when I write to you, I feel complete and clear about what I want to share, but this is not one of those weeks, because like everyone else, I’m still figuring this shit out too.

You may or may not have felt the crazy heavy energy of this week, but if you did, right now you might be feeling some variation of stumped, oversaturated, exhausted, angry and in dire need of a break. I had multiple engagements this week with mucky, mad energy (which there’s absolutely nothing wrong with), but these engagements challenged me, changed me and in the process, totally nailed me and many people I know, in a whole slew of different ways.

While most of what I feel right now is annoying and I’d rather not be feeling it, I’ve learned to find a small amount of pleasure in this part of the journey—in being nailed by life. I’ve also come to learn that if I find little moments of pleasure in my body and focus on them, that I can expand that sensation and transform the feeling of annoyance into something productive.

For example, if I focus on the knowledge that I was stretched almost beyond my capacity, I feel pleasure in that stretch or if I focus on how exhausted I am, I find pleasure in how relaxed I feel.

If you’re really angry, maybe you can find pleasure in the intensity of the anger, or if you’re really sad, maybe in the depth of your sadness.

There are two keys to all of it and they’re different variations of the same thing

  1. Don’t let your ego get involved.
  2. Surrender to the madness and the muck.

It’s been a really sucky week in a lot of different ways, but that energy is here to teach us all something. So keep your ego out, and let it do the work on you.

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5 Reasons Why Your Wound is Your Gift

Last week I was at a training that focused on using our deepest wounds as our gift to the world, and much of this article comes from my learnings there. While a lot of this I haven’t yet integrated into myself, I thought it deeply important to share with all of you. 

As empaths, we are easily wounded. Rarely does a day go by when something of the world doesn’t hurt or impact us. Many of us also carry deep childhood wounds, and all of us carry the wounds of our ancestors. This is a challenging life to live, but it’s my belief that we chose this life for ourselves. 

You may have heard of the saying that your wound is your gift, but rarely has it been elaborated on. It’s hard to imagine how this can be true, especially because many of our wounds were created in such horrific situations, they are often too painful to even speak of. This whole idea is a bit of a cliché, but so is everything until you live it for yourself.

Here are 5 reasons why our wound is a gift, courtesy of Dr Estés:
  1. It gives us the ability to know first hand the agony in others and to help them.
  2. Our greatest strength comes from healing our wound.
  3. The light of our wound allow us see things that’s aren’t seeable by others.
  4. We can access the divine through our wound.
  5. It forces us to moves us towards understanding, which keeps humanity glued together.

My original wound is abandonment and it’s taken me a long time to understand how that is a gift. After decades of feeling unworthy and alone and letting those two things unconsciously inform all my behaviour (making it very self destructive), I’m finally beginning to see how it really was a gift.

Although abandonment was my wound, it was also my medicine. It freed and liberated me from the bounds of our culture and it forced me to figure out what was right for me from a very early age. This means I’ve lived a life unto myself so far—full of independant thought, not buying into what the world tells me I should do, and living my truth. And when I really consider it, there are few greater gifts I could ever recieve.

And this same logic goes for all of my wounds, even the more minor ones—the things I spent a lot of time crying over were ironically the very things that forced me to become the person I am.

So I invite you to begin to unravel your wound. It takes years to do this, maybe even a lifetime and I don’t think we ever fully heal them—Dr Estés says that ‘wounds are tender to the touch forever.’ But from them, we find our voice, we create our art and we see the world fully, with all it’s beauty and sadness, darkness and the light, love and fear. Right there, in the wound itself, you will find medicine and you will find a gift.

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Empaths Have Needs Too: How To Ask For Them

Every human on this earth has needs. Maslow developed a whole hierarchy of them. We have a need for a certain amount of space in relationships, for emotional validation, for how we want to be treated and loved. We have a need to feel expressed, heard, understood by another and physically and emotionally free.

Empaths are great at taking care of the needs of others, but they’re usually not so great at taking care of their own. “What do you need?” Is a common question we ask the ones we love, but rarely do we ask ourselves, “what do I need?”

If you’re anything like me, the following will resonate:

  1. You feel guilty setting boundaries.
  2. You didn’t even know you were ‘allowed’ to have needs.
  3. You find it difficult to identify what your needs are.

I didn’t learn about my own needs until into my late twenties. Prior to that, I had needs and I was unconsciously going about getting them met in a very dark way—I just wasn’t aware of it.  I would put the needs of others before mine to the point of martyrdom, but at the same time, turn it around and become a giant victim when I didn’t get what I wanted, without being consciously aware I was doing any of it!

When the idea of needs was finally introduced to me, I became aware of what I was doing and began to unravel it.

And it came down to two simple things—getting clear on what I needed, and asking for it.

How to get clear on what your needs are:

You have needs, trust me. It may take some time to figure them out, but you have them. My coach says that underneath every complaint is a desire, so notice when you’re complaining about someone or something, and ask yourself what your desire is.  Then, notice sensations in your body, if you’re around a certain person and your heart beats fast or you get angry, what is it trying to tell you about what you need?

You know you’re on the money if you get a lump in your throat when you say it out loud, or your eyes well with tears—it’s usually the thing you could never even imagine expressing to another human being.

How to ask for what you need:

The vulnerability that comes with asking someone for something you need—that is the hardest part. It feels like living on the edge—they could say no and that should be something you prepare for. People aren’t put on this earth to fulfill our needs, but if they love us, they would be jerk’s if they didn’t at least try.

Then follow this structure:

  1. Let them know how difficult it is to even reveal that you have a need, and ask them to be gentle with their response.
  2. Tell them about it with as much vulnerability as you can (it’s hard, but it will be easier for them to digest if they can see how much it means to you) and don’t use blame language. Own it entirely—it is your need after all. Say things like “I’ve realized I need something and I’ve felt afraid to express it, and I was wondering if it would be possible for you to X.”
  3. Know that they aren’t responsible for meeting your need and if they let you know they can’t, allow it to happen. Give them some space and know that they have an awareness now of what you need, which is the first step.

It’s a simple recipe, but it’s actually very hard to do. It takes strength to vulnerably ask for what you need, fully knowing the other person could say no. But living on that edge is the only way you’ll honor your truth, and fully offer yourself to the world.

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