Lean In

Tomorrow morning I make my way to the Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina for my shamanic initiation, the final step before I become a Shamanic Breathwork Facilitator. I’m deep in reflection of the last shamanic journey that I undertook in Bali last December and am reminded of some of the magical gems that I brought back with me from then.

One of the most prominent and salient things that came to me during that time was my identity as a woman. I was raised by an unbelievable coven of women that were made of steel and tempered by the intense fires of life. They needed no one and nothing and were a force to be reckoned with. They were my mighty blueprints of what it means to be a woman. I was also raised during a time in which women were inundated with a single word – INDEPENDENCE.

This was our daily mantra. Be independent, self-sufficient, and self-sustainable. Combine this with the fact that I’m an Aries and you get one hell of an independent streak that travels as deep as a dozen galaxies! 

In the final days of my last shamanic journey, several of my beloved girlfriends and I were talking about our Aries influences. “I have no patience to just wait for something to happen, I’m gonna make it happen myself!” “If something is taking too long, then I say F*** it, I’ll take care of it myself!” “I always feel like I’m being held back.”

We were all talking with giggles and smiles, poking fun at ourselves and making light of the heaviness but this idea of always feeling held back reverberated within me so strongly as soon as my dear friend had said it. It was a sense that I had always felt myself throughout life. This agitation about being confined, needing to break free, set myself loose. And as I held this notion within me, I watched it take a different shape for the first time and I heard…

“What if I’m not being held back… What if I’m just simply being held.”

Tears ran down my cheeks as my higher self continued to whisper this to me and flashes came to me from different times in my life in which I was trying to break free from the love that I was receiving, thinking that I was being held back. My spiky edges softened, the agitation subsided, and it felt like this shift in perspective shifted the trajectory of my life. 

How many times do we push away the thing that we really want, misconstruing it for something else? How often do we fight against the thing that is there to soothe us, thinking it will smother us? 

What if we just let ourselves lean in a bit and put down our armor long enough to see and feel something new?

I’m proven to myself thus far in life that I’m incredibly strong, can deal with absolutely anything that comes way, and can get myself out of and into anything that I truly want. Now I’m wanting to see what suppleness and openness I’m made of as well; how much love I can let in, and how much tenderness and vulnerability I can bring to everything that comes my way. 

As Sheryl Sandberg has famously said, “Lean in.” As I have put it for myself, “Lean into the love.”

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