Whether it was due to my chronic depression and anxiety or because of it, it turns out that I was missing three things in my life, and I think a lot of women are missing the same three things:
A sense of play and power in our bodies.
The freedom to own and create our own life narratives.
A deeply supportive and connecting community of other women.
This really is a long story but I know I can shorten it because I know you've been somewhere so similar.
I didn't understand the idea of thriving until I got there, and then I realized it was a foreign land where I would need different maps and tools, among another key component. Once I got to the land of thriving, unbeknownst to me, I had to first, keep working as hard as I had to get there, and second, work harder in other, different ways to stay there. But let's back up...
See that face and that smile and that freaking shine? That's after decades of hard work to get through chronic depression and anxiety that would go from debilitating to life-threatening to a bit softer and back again. Decades. And along with depression and anxiety came a whole host of physical co-morbidities (as is so often the case), including such severe hip pain that I thought I needed a cane in my mid-30s. (There's more to that story that I will share on my blog so keep an eye out.)
I lived with ongoing emotional and physical pain and sometimes I lived okay and most of the time not so great... Until the year before I turned 40 and thanks to a bunch of synchronicities and experiences all coming together at what seemed like just the right moment in just the right way and thanks to being open to possibility regardless of all the layers of hardened ick, I started to dance again. More seriously dance than any other time in my life.
I'd started dancing when I started walking, basically, and I took classes into college, and then The Depression Anxiety Monsters took over my life. But all along, without me really noticing, I had what I needed:
And now almost ten years later, I've developed BodyPoetics Dance (CLICK), my own modality based in a lifetime of experience, training in many forms of dance, studying in somatics and body psychotherapy, and going through a life-changing intensive with international Butoh artist, Maureen Fleming, who studied with one of the originators (lineage, peeps, it matters).
I've also created, after 25 years of study, WaterSpine Yoga (CLICK), elemental and primal yoga to free your fluid strength and help you embody your divine nature, and to grow the community you need to truly thrive.
Back to the Land of Thriving and Finding my Circle of Trees
Dance and yoga, it turns out, were just two of the tools I needed to move forward and step into my best self. Movement had saved my life over and over; it had given me the confidence and the strength to live from an open heart and not slip back into old ways of being even when life handed me, inevitably, difficult moments.
It gave me the confidence and strength to step back out into the wider world with that open heart and do things I never would have imagined, including reclaiming the self I had abandoned when my depression and anxiety peaked in my 20s.
It gave me the confidence and strength, for example, to go out and listen to music by myself which eventually led me to meeting my best friend who is now my husband.
It gave me the confidence and strength to pursue adventure with him and move our lives from our beloved hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania to Middlebury, Vermont, and then back again when we realized the move wasn't for us.
To do all of that, I needed something else that I had convinced myself along the way I did not need.
Above all, I had to learn to allow people into my space, to become vulnerable to shared intimacy, to build a community and to embrace it fully, as I have finally done with the Circle of Trees (CLICK).
Only when I found that Circle of Trees and dug deep roots did I truly meet my best self. Before that I may have gotten my mental health managed but I still had such a long ways to go... and only when I realized that we can't do this alone, that we are built to do this with others... only then did my life truly blossom.
You can do this. I'm not special.
We're built for joy and we're built to experience that joy with others.
Take a look around this site; there are lots of ways to work with me, including some ways to experience what I do for free to see if it's a good fit for you.