A little while ago, I stumbled upon an old journal from high school, and as I flipped through the pages, I found a list I had created titled “5 things I need to change in order for people to like me.” The list included: put more effort into my appearance, appear less passionate and emotional, care less about people’s opinions {oh the irony}, no lunches in the library {said by a true introvert} and item #1: be more reserved.

Reading this list broke my heart.

I’ve spent much of my life shrinking myself. Trying to be smaller, quieter, skinnier. Since an early age I was told I was too loud, too opinionated, too boisterous. I heard again and again and again through insidious and overt ways: who you are is not good enough. I never felt included. Like just by being me, I was the odd woman out. So I spent a good portion of my life worrying about fitting in, losing weight, and being nice.

I desperately wanted to be loved for who I was, but since clearly that wasn’t an option, I went for the second best thing—winning love by being who I thought people wanted me to be. There was nothing more I craved than acceptance. So I played by the rules, excelled in school, counted calories obsessively and went off to an elite college to fulfill the ultimate dream of becoming a successful lawyer.

And yet despite the outside exterior of a flourishing young woman, inside, I was slowly disappearing.

In the years of doing intimate healing + coaching work with women, I have found that while this is my story, elements of it can be found within the hearts of almost every women. Born feeling inadequate in this patriarchal world, thirsty for some type of validation from a system that tells her she doesn’t belong, it’s no wonder we do our best to conform, to hide, to play nice.

These painful experiences are even further augmented when we introduce the color of our skin, our attractiveness, our body size and abilities, our sexual orientation, etc.

Looking back now it’s no surprise why one day my body rebelled against my narrow existence and internalized societal belief that I could not express myself, and started binge eating. I never felt more fear in my life than the moment I realized I had no control over the what, why, how and when of my relationship with food. I guess a deep unconscious part of me that was craving freedom and expression figured that if I could not express myself, at least I could expand my physical presence. Maybe in that way, I would finally be seen by my own heart.

I can remember so many instances where I would sneak food into the bathroom and shove it in my face as fast as possible while crying in desolation and embarrassment because I had no idea what was wrong with me and how to stop it. I kept foolishly thinking it would just go away one day and yet it kept coming back day after day after day.

And that’s the thing. Unless we begin to actually address the inner wounds and unpack societal conditioning, our patterns are going to continue to manifest again and again and again. Different jobs, different relationships, different circumstances, it doesn’t matter where you go, they keep coming back, inviting you to pause, to investigate, to go inward.

We may not always have power to change the external, but with the right support, there is always hope for shifting the internal. And in that shift, our alignment to our best selves is inevitable.

So today, let’s begin with a simple {but not always easy!} practice - begin to trust the needs and responses of the body, including emotions and physical sensations. Instead of judging and pushing away what arises within you, see if you can get curious instead.

Disassociating from our physical body is one of the many ways we deal with our unconscious propensity to satisfy the patriarchy, as well as our natural reaction to trauma. In a society that tells women how we must look {and also not be too emotional!} disconnection feels necessary, and as a consequence removes us from our source of power.

You see, our body is always living in the present, and as such it has unique ability of grounding us deeply in the moment. When you can access this present moment, you also access a range of powerful emotions coming from your unconscious mind that is speaking to you through energy and flow.

When I began to listen to the needs of my body, I realized the true depth of our ability to nourish and protect ourselves, if we slowed down enough to listen. Only once I started exploring the multi-faceted wisdom that was my body, did I start finding who I was, and where I needed to heal. Our body is the sign posts to our freedom, if we just bothered to pay attention.

Your body is not just a “thing” that needs to fixed, it’s a reservoir of intuitive guidance and the home to your wisdom. In a society that places so much emphasis on the mind, coming home to our physical body is a rebellious act of self-love.

Coming into our body's and honoring what is coming up offers us a deeper intimacy with ourselves, and offers us the path to radical healing.

At the end of a day or a week of doing this practice, notice what’s changed within you. You may not have changed everything yet, but you will have started to shift your relationship with yourself and your connection with the greater world.

If you’re desiring a deeper exploration into what it looks like for you to access the helming powers of your body, claim your whole self, and take up some damn space, then I invite you to consider my Own Your Spotlight Course.

In the twelve-week program, I will share with you the tools and transformational practices that allow you to explore, trust and express your truths, so you can feel confident and unapologetic in your presence in the world.

Here is what one OYS graduate, Haley, share about her experience in OYS:

“THIS PROGRAM HAS CHANGED MY LIFE, BOTH AS A BUSINESS OWNER AND A PERSON. I went from feeling scared and unsure about investing in this course to saying I would invest it again without hesitation. It was the best decision I could have made for myself and my business. In the past 3 months I have already seen a financial growth in my business as well as a whole new financial goal for 2017 that I never thought possible for myself. I feel like I am at the peak of a mountain fearlessly looking around at the world of opportunity and possibilities that are mine.”

What I offer you in this 3-month experience is an epic homecoming to our sovereignty, your voice and your freedom, called forth through the wisdom and practices contained inside the program. It is in this ease that we can begin to radically own our spotlight, in whatever way that excites us. Learn more here.

Here is to your epic homecoming. Your soul awaits.

To your worth,