Things I Have Learned from Living a Challenging Life-
Things I Have Learned from Living a Challenging Life-
The importance of owning my story but not letting it control me. Allowing my story to empower me as I apply all life lessons. I am also not going to run away from the past or hide it- because it is where I came from, it is the story of what led me to today. My story has a lot of tragedy, but it also has a lot of magic. Only from my tumultuous and challenging past, have I learned the ability to transmute, challenges into courage. I was fearful, judgmental, controlling, reactive and unstable for much of my life. But guess what- it doesn’t have to be that way forever- we have the ability to change, to transform- like the butterfly. Some of the most inspirational people in my life are the ones who own their tragic stories and turn them into magical healing to be of service to the world around them to make the world a better place. For instance, my yogi friend Jennie Claire. I was teaching at her space before all of this mess- check out her website www.rootedyogaandwellness.com to learn more about her. Since I was a small child I had a dream of changing the world and today I am speaking that dream loud and proud! I’m here to change the world in my own special way. Right now Spirit is leading me to write and whoever is meant to read this will. I am grateful, I believe, I trust the process of sometimes being in the unknown- yes it’s scary but also liberating.
As a young child I had a dream of changing the world. I loved God, Jesus was awesome, I really enjoyed giving Mary a wreath of flowers for her hair during May procession, I enjoyed school fundraisers and recycling campaigns to make the world a better place by cleaning up the Earth. Somewhere along the line I lost my spark. It happened from a dysfunctional family, the presence of abuse, and very few healthy role models in close proximity to me on a regular basis while growing up. Mind you I’m not pissed about any of this- this is just my truth. Speaking truth is one of my callings, I believe because as a child my voice was always made to be quiet for being “too much” also because I grew up in a home that was filled with lies and secrets and it always felt so yucky to me. I wrote about my creation story in my last long blog- here is my birth story. I was breech, my feet were hanging and the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck, I was an emergency c-section, the doctors cut my mother vertically from pelvic bone area-ish up to her belly button area-ish. My birth was very traumatic on several levels. Only now, a few weeks before my 40th birthday do I even understand the implications of a birth like that. My throat chakra has been imbalanced my entire life and only now is finding it’s flow. So- as a child I loved God, God loved me, then God became scary, my home became scary when I understood what was around me (or really didn’t understand but I always had a big sister Lisa to take care of me, she was my savior in my childhood). Lisa wasn’t as lucky as I- but that is her story to tell not mine.
Due to my family dynamic being something of a swamp with broken branches floating stuck in muck, I don’t have a clear picture of my ancestors or connection to my “roots”, I always wanted more clarity on that but it wasn’t given to me in the classical sense of being passed down through my living family. Over the past 40 years I have pieced together some things and more recently I am having interesting spiritual occurrences which are bringing me into connection with family members who have passed. One is my sister Jennifer Carpenter. A yoga therapy classmate actually called me by her name during my training this past weekend. Jennifer also sends me other signs- one is women by her name (like Jennie Claire) who hold special rolls in my life. My sister Jennifer passed away when she was 30 years old due to an overdose. I didn’t know her very well because when she came into my life as my new step-sister she was not around much and was pretty damaged from her childhood. She suffered from addiction. Her story was very tragic, but something beautiful came from Jennifer’s life- her daughter, my niece, Jessica. Jessica is 30 years old now and has 3 pixie daughters and a baby boy on the way. Jessica’s story and my story are one’s that prove the ability to not be a prisoner to the past. The past can rip us to shreds, but it does that so that it can rebuild us with a sturdier foundation to continue down the life journey path.
My family doesn’t talk about Jennifer much because her death left a hole in many people’s hearts. I wish I got to know her better. My best memory of her was in my other sister’s bedroom when I was about 13 and Jen was doing my makeup at the vanity because she had come to visit us and have dinner. She said to me as she put eye shadow on my eyes “You are going to be a heart breaker one day.” Jen always had beautifully done eye make up and awesome red hair! Little did she know I would be a heart breaker- today I am here to break open the world’s heart so that it can be sewn together stronger once all things are accepted as is, bring it all into the light. We are meant to talk about our ancestors and speak about them so that we can let their spirits be free and not be haunted by what “went wrong” in their lives- but can we find the beauty that they left behind for us?
Something else my past has taught me is that it is okay for me to draw boundaries around myself when someone is projecting onto me or abusing me in some way. I do not need to seek for validation or love from anyone other than myself and my connection with the Divine Creator of all. You see- through my journey I was brought back to my connection with God and to my love of the Earth. By living each day in connection with Source, by basking in beauty, by embracing the joy as well as the dark parts of life- I have been able to truly find balance, and live in the moment- free and excited for the beautiful future which I get to manifest into my ideal life. By embracing my connection with nature and Mother Earth I am newly inspired to help make the world a better place in my own unique way. Yoga has given be the tools that I needed to find my Spirit and to live as an open vessel of love with my heart flowing freely. I have also been listening to Ram Dass and I suggest if you need a spiritual pick me up just look up Ram Dass on YouTube and click on something that you are pulled to. There are even some of his teachings put to song on Spotify by East Forest.
It’s only through the slowing down brought on by the pandemic that I have been able to really start to tap into healing on the deepest level of my humanity. I invite you to begin doing work on yourself. And like Ram Dass says- allow your work on yourself to be your gift to those around you. Gift yourself with presence. Nurture yourself on all levels. Go within. Heal your deepest wounds. Notice your patterns. Treat yourself with loving kindness and compassion. Learn from your mistakes. Breathe. Move your body. Revel in nature’s wonders. Connect with other souls who resonate with you or who inspire you to be better. Dream big. Talk about your dreams. Face your fears. Remember you are Divine. If this stuff intimidates you or doesn’t make sense come practice yoga with me where I sew in philosophy in a very tangible way. I want yoga to be accessible to whoever is called to Yoga. Don’t get lost in the Instagram photos and the crazy shit that no normal person can do- Yoga can be very simple in the body movements and can be adapted to fit your needs. Yoga is so much more than the poses- it’s all the other stuff that you can take into your life that will allow you to transform from feeling broken and damaged- to feeling full, expansive, light and perfectly imperfect just the way you are. Loved by the Divine just as you are. My God accepts all of you- even Jesus hung out with the beggars, thieves and drunks. Nobody is “perfect.” You are here to heal the wounds from your childhood, learn from your past, to grow stronger and more resilient, to transform, to grow wings and fly like a butterfly. If you are wondering about how yoga can be adapted for you or how you can bring yoga into your life in a more meaningful way reach out. Yoga is a philosophy with an 8-Fold Path laid out. I am currently studying to be a Yoga Therapist at The YogaLife Institute. By June 2021 I will be an Internationally Certified Yoga Therapist through IAYT. (So freaking excited) and will have over 1000 hours of Yoga Training under my belt. My background education on top of my Yoga education is in relationship based therapy with children, and trauma informed care. I want Yoga to be for all of the people. My teaching style is accessible, curious, nurturing, loving, joyful and playful. Yoga can become an integral part of your life and a lens through with you can connect to Your Highest Self. The time to transform is now.
My Guardian Angel Grandfather, Eugene DeLange holding me after my Baptism- 1980
My Grandfather and Grandmother walking me to Kindergarten- 1984
My sisters Jennifer and Lisa and my niece Jessica as a baby- 1991
My niece Jessica grown up various years, her oldest daughter Leah born- 2009
My great neices’ Leah and Peyton- 2019
All the girls Leah, Peyton and Cadence plus a picture Leah drew for me of me- the fucking best drawing of me to date- 2020
I am so blessed to have my Pop-pop as my guardian angel since the age of 8.
I am so blessed to have a relationship with Jennifer’s legacy and with Jennifer through spirit.
I may or may not have children of my own but Jessica and her girls are definite Earth Angels in my life.