Time has continued to unfold exactly as it should. When I reflect back on my intended schedule for this summer, and the one that actually played out- it is comical to think about what my intended plan might have felt like.
Very nearly nothing actually went exactly to plan over the past few months, and almost every single thing that happened in hindsight was exactly perfect. Isn’t that so often the way, though?
As I write this I am sitting in a coffee shop (after “abandoning” our pup at the groomers, or so his eyes would imply) that carried me through many times of chaos in my University years and early business years. Cafe Postal on Provencher in Winnipeg is a small (though they’ve recently expanded I noticed today for more indoors space), boutique cafe. I wrote my final thesis here (and many other papers), I put together my first business plan here, and it’s safe to say that as I sit in the same spot I always sit in that who I thought I was going to be then is not altogether inaccurate, just a little different than expected.
It’s never what we expect it to be, is it?
I didn’t imagine then how my business life would evolve. I didn’t imagine then how my voice and my impact would take shape. I don’t even know if I knew what kinds of seeds I was planting, then, other than I was planting madly.
There were many things I didn’t even have in my imagination then. Meeting and partnering with a horse like Odys was perhaps the farthest thing from my imagination the last time I sat in this coffee shop. The human relationship, house and life I am building in partnership wouldn’t have crossed my mind, that’s for sure. The tattoos on my body were not on the horizon, and the depth of connection, inwards and outwards, I am beginning to feel would not have been fathomable. We know what we know, as we know it, and we don’t know what we don’t know.
In reflection, the end of August is always an interesting time. A shift of seasons, schedules and often awareness. Twelve years ago it would have meant moving into residence (from small town to deep downtown Winnipeg) at University and starting a degree that I would switch around a couple years later. A year later end of August was packing for my first solo international trip to New Zealand. Five years later I would have been finishing the actual degree, painstakingly waiting for convocation to mark that ending, probably sitting in this coffee shop writing final papers. A year after that, frantically packing and getting on a plane for an impromptu trip to Nepal with a University friend to trek to Everest (10/10 do not recommend this as a spontaneous trip, 10/10 do recommend this if you need to get to know yourself in a hurry). Three years later I would be re-writing my business plans, closing my first business and letting go contractors to re-focus on myself.
Today, I sit in integration of all those chaotic, progressive, intense end of August moments and all the moments that brought me to this place of integration. After a season of willingly (mostly) going with the flow, plans be damned, I am sitting the most with the intention I set three years ago as I closed one business and rebranded the evolved version.
I made a commitment with that decision and rebrand of professional me to place more trust in my intuition and express more authentically in my work.
I think now I am at the ledge of trusting my voice, using it more freely, and also embodying more whole heartedly what it means to express who I am authentically.
Authentic: of undisputed origin, genuine.
Some of my work the past year has been to recognize a part of myself I have (most of the time) affectionately named “The Curator”. The Curator is really good and outward perception. Of my expression, of other people’s experience of my expression and identity. They have a really great purpose and have served me in a lot of valuable ways. However, as much as editing and creating an outward story or experience is super helpful in many situations, it hasn’t always been truthful or authentic to my inward experience. The Curator’s abilities began to fall short, or burn out, sometime last year when all of a sudden I began experiencing panic attacks, dysregulation in my nervous system and began questioning if I had undiagnosed ADHD, PTSD, both or was in a whole new level of burn out.
I first recognized The Curator when a mentor, therapist and friend called me out for referring to my own body as “a body” in my language with her. Over a number of experiences I began to notice what I was really feeling, or wanting to express, would be curated even to those I trust the most. I would say something and it would be a half truth or sometimes not at all accurate to what I was really feeling. I couldn’t even recognize me as me on a physical level at times, and unconsciously my language reflected that experience creation. I became very familiar with the idea of dissociation after that. Something I can recognize easily in my clients, and had been experiencing frequently in myself without being aware of it. Being in my body, really in my body, was even being curated. We know what we know, and we don’t know what we don’t know.
Through the recognition and identification of The Curator and all the work they have done for me, there were other identities that came up as well. The mediator, the executive, the accommodator, femme fatale.. archetypes that represent both progressive and protective ways of being. None of them overtly negative, some of them still being discovered and unlayered. They helped me survive some really tough experiences and carried me through times where perhaps it wasn’t really safe to be in my body or aware of certain things. The body really is a brilliant thing. Stepping back into the body and at the risk of sounding cliche, beginning to see it as a temple and a home, has been perhaps the most transformational act I’ve taken through the past little while. It’s one thing to see the body as a necessary thing to take care of, and a completely other thing to experience it as a sacred experience.
From where I stand currently, closing out a summer of experiences and about to turn over a new decade of experiences, I feel like I am steeping in a slightly strange concoction of ingredients. Each one, each experience has built exactly who I am today and yet so much of that building is beginning to feel like remembering. A recognition of myself unfolding to become myself yet again.
Perhaps that is what going through a lifetime is about. Remembering the experiences infused into our body, our beings and our genetics. All of us a breathing entity of everything and everyone that has come before us. Authentic expression by nature is always going to be variable. A commitment to that, today, means keeping the tether to my body well. Remembering to find ways back to my sacred nature, to lean on all the experiences that have put me together and torn me apart. That scar tissue is meant to weave things together, that vulnerability therefore implies strength. To walk on my path and trust the parallels and connections that join along the way for the time they are meant to.
I’ll leave you for now with a poem that has stuck with me over the past month or so:
“Long Years apart- can make no
Breath a second cannot fill –
The absence of the Witch does
Invalidate the spell –
The embers of a Thousand
Uncovered by the Hand
That fondled them when they
Will stir and understand –1383 by Emily Dickinson