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Journal

Embodied Rituals for Skin + Soul

Filtering by Tag: self-love

New Year :: the emergence of Light from Dark

Katie Gordon

This winter has been a time of deep introspection, exploration, and surrender for many of us. Becoming more acutely aware of old patterns, perspectives, and projections that no longer serve, and actually detract from, the path of Soul. One particularly powerful lesson of the last month for me has been in giving myself full permission to feel exactly what I'm feeling. Not trying to change, alter, redirect, invalidate or discount anything that comes up. And I'm noticing when I really allow myself to feel the full weight, it often shifts quite quickly. Not always, but often.

I used to deeply fear feeling the full heaviness, sadness, and darkness of whatever I was feeling because I worried I'd just keep sinking in. That it would never end unless I pulled myself out. That I would end up BEING whatever emotion it happened to be forever. This seems to be encouraged in many of our modern therapies. Reframing, redirecting, changing perspective, etc. Which I see the value in. But that approach also takes away so much power from our own souls in the way our inner Self teaches us sooooooooooo much via our feelings and our bodypsyche. 

What would it be like to love yourself so deeply and unconditionally, that you gave yourself full permission to feel and be with yourself in whatever feeling state happened to be showing up in the moment? What would that feel like? 

This time of year is full of words like "intentions," "resolutions," and "new beginnings." But as Marion Woodman writes in Dancing in the Flames"Intentionality in itself does not lead to an enlightened heart. It is better thought of as a way of giving meaning to experience. It is open to both conscious and unconscious information." Meaning, we need to be open to what is trying to come forth from our experience of life and not live by sheer power of will, which can often end up blocking what the unconscious is attempting to bring forth. There is an aspect of surrender in setting intentions for the year ahead. Surrendering to the deeper dimensions of our experience, surrendering to our dreams, to that which our souls are stretching toward.

An embodied look at addiction

Katie Gordon

The other day I was having a coffee date via Skype with a close friend who is also a soul sister/mentor/mystic. She has a knack for truth-telling in a most compassionate & loving way to which I can only aspire. We were talking about relationships, in particular the patterns and lessons you learn about yourself within each relationship. How much potential there is for growth within love and how intense, heart wrenching, and amazing it all is. And then she pointed out to me (again, very nonjudgmentally) my pattern of running in relationships. Or more accurately, running out of them. Since a large part of the work I've been diving into lately, what Bill Plotkin refers to as "Soulcraft," is recognizing old patterns in thought and behavior, relinquishing old identities, and giving up addictions, her observation struck me as something that obviously required my attention.

In his book Soulcraft, Plotkin dedicates a lot of time to the topic of patterns, why we have the ones we do, how they developed, why they were necessary at one point in our life, and why it's imperative that we untangle ourselves from them once we've accepted our journey of descent into soul. Addiction is one form of pattern, something we ALL fall into, whether it's addiction to a substance, food, shopping, sex, Facebook, checking our email 8000x a day, etc. And of course there are countless theories of WHY we develop certain addictions and how to treat them. I'm not even gonna go there today. It's Plotkin's opinion that many times, addictions are either attempts at self-initiation, because basically here in our western, non-nature-based society we no longer have cultural rites of initiation built into our education, OR an addiction is a distraction, a way we have of numbing ourselves because we feel unfulfilled, unsatisfied, trapped, claustrophobic, and we deeply know we're meant to do more in our lives than we're currently doing.

In my experience, and in my opinion, it's often a bit of both. I've distracted myself from fully feeling uncomfortable or intense feelings, from fully acknowledging that I'm feeling those uncomfortable and intense feelings, and then feeling guilty for not acknowledging or feeling those uncomfortable and intense feelings. (P.S. that's a lot of energy moving around without being released. It's best not to do it that way.)

I've also acknowledged that my journey into anorexia and bulimia was absolutely an attempt at self-initiation. Pushing my physical body to its limit, approaching that breaking point when it couldn't take anymore, allowing myself to almost physically and metaphorically disappear, diving deeply into that shadow side of my psyche that didn't feel valuable, loved, seen, or heard. Of course at the time I didn't know that's what I was trying to do, but at some level, I did know the reasons behind all of those behaviors were much deeper than body image and self-esteem issues. Something in me was seeking answers, meaning, and explanations of deeply rooted feelings and my purpose for being here on this Earth.

Anyway, back to my "running" story...

When my friend said that I realized I DO run many times a situation begins to feel out of my control or I don't see a pleasant way out. I have (had) an addiction to running. It was a deeply engrained pattern. Of course often the way out is working it THROUGH, which I also wasn't a huge fan of doing. However, being in a committed and healthy relationship now, one that I want to show up in and not run from, means having to wade through the unpleasant feelings that arise, the disagreements that occur, and the feelings that surface as a result. Not always fun, folks. Some of my ugliest shadows have shown themselves. Each time I feel like hiding, running, or otherwise pretending the discomfort and intensity isn't happening, I see that pattern in myself. I see my need for things to be comfortable and if they're not, to make them better by smoothing it over, even when it's not for the best of the relationship. I know whatever's coming up is at least partly a call to sit and feel, hear, see, and know my own soul deeper. And then it's a call to act in alignment with my soul.

"Be still and know..." - Psalm 46:10

Here's one thing I know for sure. When we can sit through all that intensity that exists within our own wounds, we see that's where our greatest opportunities for growth and brilliance lie. We can witness our own sacredness. We can act from our deepest truth rather than from an old, outgrown identity. We can allow those parts of us to die.

What are your favorite addictions? I invite you to consider seeing them as stemming from an attempt at awakening/stimulating ourselves out of what we've come to see as ordinary reality. Out of our everyday lives. Our small selves. Perhaps acknowledge them as your soul's call to initiation to a deeper level of consciousness, opening us up to a new layer of being seen, heard, or felt.

Evolving yoga & the bodysoul

Katie Gordon

A friend and I were walking and talking the other day about how, as teachers, both our yoga practice and the way we approach teaching has evolved. I came to yoga during college after leaving ballet. I had struggled with bulimia and anorexia for years, but even more than that, I felt mentally, emotionally, and physically rigid. I was stuck in this foreign body that I had numbed and quieted for so long, I no longer knew how to hear the voice of my soul or feel my physical body enough to even know when something was wrong. So I stumbled/dragged myself into a yoga studio around the corner from my apartment in Boston's Back Bay, started teaching awhile later, and discovered a world I saw as completely opposite from my rigid, extreme, self-loathing reality. And unlike the pain and exhaustion of ballet, I had found something that made me feel literally high afterward. Plus it's healthy (both physically and mentally), it's great exercise (they don't call it a yoga butt for nothing), and I felt good about myself as a person, justified in my somewhat-self-righteous approach to the yoga-raw food-vegan-sattvic-clean-eating lifestyle because I'm doing something "of value" and teaching people how to feel better, right? Now I see all I had done was carry that same rigidity, the same self-imposed rules into a new setting.

And then I got disillusioned with the whole thing. I got bored. I got injured. I wasn't down with paying $100 for a pair of yoga pants. I got tired of feeling burnt out after teaching SO much and struggling to pay my bills. Seriously, if you want to be a "successful" yoga teacher (and they're out there!) you gotta hustle. You gotta have passion. And I didn't. My body hurt, I could barely make rent, I didn't even have the time or energy or desire to maintain my own practice. So I said f*ck this.

I gave up trying to survive by teaching and I got a "real job." You know the whole work 9-5, wear "professional" clothes, get a paycheck every 2 weeks, have health insurance, work in an office kinda job. This was that stage in my practice when I was so happy to NOT stress out about money/survival/my-family-thinks-I'm-a-total-failure that you'll do anything for this new job. And don't get me wrong, the company I worked for is GREAT! They treat their employees better than any I've seen. The people there are wonderful. But my connection to my wild soul was fading. And my physical body was like, "How can you possibly have a job where you're sitting at a computer all day??!! Have I taught you nothing??"

During this time my practice taught me to slow down. Because of injuries, I couldn't do everything I used to be able to do. I had to be super mindful, take my time, and listen to my body in a way I never have. I felt like because I no longer had to depend on yoga to make a living, I could make it all about me. What I needed, wanted, craved in terms of movement. How my bodysoul needed to manifest herself. And through that work, it became increasingly clear that, even though I was comfortable & happy enough, I wasn't living my full truth or my soul's purpose in the world.

So when the opportunity arrived, I left. I moved to the Pacific Northwest, where I'd wanted to live since I was a kid (after watching The Goonies. Because pirate caves.) and where I could focus solely on my little business. And since Wild Grace is an extension of me, it became VERY clear that to have an abundant business, I needed to cultivate a healthier mind-body-soul connection. For me, even though I hated to admit it for awhile, the way in to that connection was through my yoga practice. It forced me to sit, breathe, be, and listen. It showed me how to deeply honor my body when I was practicing honestly and from a place of love for myself.

As I was preparing to teach a demo class in my new home town, I realized my yoga practice and what it meant to me had changed because my relationship with my body had changed. Because of the way I used to practice, always pushing myself, forcing myself further into poses, to keep going even if practicing didn't feel good or if I was hurt, my body had finally had enough and my practice HAD to change.

You're probably thinking, "Well, duh!" But really, I could finally see clearly how the way I felt in my body, the way I surrendered to my body, the way I saw it, felt it, heard it. The way I allowed it space. The way I honored the open spaces and the tense, closed, traumatized spaces had shifted in each stage of both my ego & soul growth. And because of that I was finally allowing my body to evolve rather than stay within a "safe" range of weight and shape. I was allowing my soul to expand, to be her brilliant & bright self. Where there was once a major disconnect between my soul's desire for compassion and self-love and my mind's need for some semblance of control, now there's just (for the most part) quiet, space, and a deep honoring of the way it sometimes all has to play out so that we can actually learn how to get out of our own way and meaningfully make something of ourselves.

And so I guess when you can finally let go of your opinion of the yoga industry, your fear of not being "good enough," the constant need to compare yourself as a teacher and student, and the competition for classes, all that's left is your relationship to your body (physical and energetic) and the practice of showing up each day to be with yourself.

On Nourishment + Creative Inspiration (plus a skin care recipe!)

Katie Gordon

I made it to Oregon! I'm getting settled in and loving the Pacific Northwest. I knew being in a new environment like this would have a huge impact on my physical & mental health. Already my body feels different, my hair feels different, my sleep is noticeably better, and I'm allowing myself time to process, shift, and integrate.

The thing I noticed immediately was...I'm exhausted. When you spend so long burning the candle at both ends and surrounding yourself with stimulants (caffeine, people, noise, traffic, Netflix binges, a general addiction to busy-ness) and not nourishing yourself properly (with sleep, tonifying foods, time in nature) you don't even realize how tired you are. Slowly I was losing my creative fire because my nervous system was so depleted, running purely on coffee and external stimuli.

So many of us live with that as our reality. We don't think it can be any other way. But it can. And on my first full day here that I spent on my own, all I wanted to do was sleep, read, make tea, and sit. It was strange (yet comfortable) how quiet it was, and even though I kept feeling like I should be doing something or listening to something or watching something, I tried to let that go and just feel what it was like to be quiet. My nervous system took a huge sigh of relief and layers of tension dropped away.

I'm still integrating, but it's amazing how quickly that creative spark comes back. And how much energy is bound up in our bodies in the form of tension, pain, and stagnation. I'm really excited to test new recipes, research, write, blog, and fully dive into Wild Grace! Expect lots of new content and products in the shop...soon. For now, a poem because I'm feeling inspired by all things sea-related & a recipe for a facial mask (or masque if you want to be fancy)...

"Gather a shell from the strewn beach And listen at its lips: they sigh The same desire and mystery, The echo of the whole sea's speech. And all mankind is thus at heart Not anything but what thou art: And Earth, Sea, Man, are all in each. ~ Dante Gabriel Rossetti, The Sea Limits

For this mask/masque I chose ingredients that most people will either have on hand or can find easily in a health food store or even grow in your garden.

Clay + Chamomile Facial Mask

Combine all the dry ingredients in a mason jar, add your essential oils, cap the jar, and shake well. When you're ready to use it, mix 2 teaspoons of the mask with 2 teaspoons of water. You can also use herbal tea (cooled off), milk, or yogurt. Apply to your skin and let it dry. Rinse with warm water and a washcloth and follow with a moisturizer.

Enjoy your potion-crafting!

discernment + divine feminine

Katie Gordon

Last night I had a dream that I was helping a female mentor (who doesn't exist in "real life"...only in dreamland) pack her magical workshop. At first, as I was going through her things, I was asking her what I should throw away and what I should keep, picking up random objects, some of which I recognized, some I didn't. But as time went on, I intuitively knew what I could toss and what was important for her to keep and take with her into her new space (wherever that was). Of course I woke up and thought, "uhh...WTF??"

Who's this lady? Why's she throwing away all this great stuff? Why does she have purple hair? And why does she look vaguely familiar? Like an older version of...me?!!

As a side note, my dreams are typically VERY reflective of what's going on in my conscious reality, whether or not I want to acknowledge the situation or not. And this one felt important, deep in my bones. The feeling of building trust in myself, rather than looking outside of myself to an external source of wisdom to discern what to keep and what to toss, was what stuck with me the most.

The last couple years have been full of powerful lessons for me, but the most profound has been that of DISCERNMENT.

Who and what do I allow into my space? And why? With what intention am I acting? How can I give myself more room for conscious connection with the people, places, things in my life?

Now, as I make pretty huge decisions in the realm of creating and nourishing conscious relationships, where I'm going to live, who I'm going to spend my life with, what I'm going to do to support myself, how I align my actions with my soul (you know, little things like that), I see why this woman showed up last night.

What do I need to take with me into this next stage of my journey? What needs to be seen, acknowledged, and released? With which old stories identities, patterns, even words do I feel complete?

What has been healed enough to be able to know in my soul that I know I can thank those teachers and move on having absorbed and integrated that wisdom, knowing that I'm authentically EMBODYING my soul?

Apparently a lot...

...or at least enough.

Recently, I've been working around the energy of the Divine Feminine, how to embody my own femininity, what that means amidst the trend of New-Agey, awaken-your-inner-goddess spirituality that tends to label one thing as the right way to be "feminine." I often felt like there was something wrong with ME because so many aspects of the "return of the Goddess" movement and feminism in general that didn't resonate with me. It felt forced, inauthentic, even, energetically, masculine.

I've felt the need to create my own idea of the Her, of what it means to be divinely feminine. And realized, there are as many expressions of Her as there are women (and men) in the world! Our souls express themselves in countless ways, and to categorize ONE thing as feminine seems to me to come from a wounded place within the human psyche. It separates us from our actual feminine soul and creates rigidity, a false construct in which we think we need to fit ourselves.

To me, this dream meant my own feminine soul, my innate ability to intuit, discern, separate the gold from the raw material, absorb what I need and discard (or even destroy) the rest, make decisions that feel in alignment with my soul's purpose, is not only feeling quite confident to be seen and heard, but beginning to integrate with my physical, dreaming body.

YESSSS!!!

Obviously the work is never done (which is one thing I love about being human) but to receive the message that I'm on the right track, I've done enough work to still have the physical feeling of holding something in my hand and knowing "I definitely don't need this where I'm going" deserves a self-high-five.

Realizing that spirituality is NOT the same thing as living from my soul and can often rob us of our capacity to express our femininity, which is innately divine, has given me the room to ask, "What feels spiritual or feminine for me to do today?" Every. Day. So many different answers, so many reflections in just my own life of the feminine. I can't even imagine how many expressions there are if we'd all give ourselves the space to be with that question.

Midsummer Magic

Katie Gordon

This Saturday, June 21, is Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year, and while some say it's the first day of summer, it actually marks the peak of light, the peak of the element of fire in our Wheel of the Year.  In the old days, and among some groups nowadays, Midsummer is celebrated as a fire festival, honoring the Sun as it passes its highest point and begins to gradually decline into dark, marking the waning of the light.

So this is a turning point. All of the seeds we have sown for ourselves are reaching maturity and coming close to harvest time, when we can see and reap the fruits of our labor. It's a still point, before the pendulum swings the other way toward darkness, when we begin to turn inward and reflect on this past period of growth.

And as for this fire?  Fire is the most easily seen and immediately felt element of transformation.  It can burn, consume, shed light, or purify.  In order to transform though, there has to be a container, and that is why we have our spiritual practice.  To hold space for ourselves in love and trust.

I have been deeply listening to my soul, allowing myself to feel grounded, settled, and supported. More and more, I'm letting myself say "no" to things that don't resonate in order to allow space for things that call to my spirit.  Things that I know I'm meant to do.  I'm following the wisdom of my heart, my guides, my allies.  Old wounds have begun to heal, and I'm going back to pick up pieces of my soul that had been cut off and left behind.  This Summer Solstice I'm reflecting on the teachers I've had this past year, lessons I've learned (mostly the hard way), and how much I've grown to trust my Self.  

What this means for Wild Grace?  You can expect to see a lot more work in this space with plant medicine, moon magic, animal spirits, weaving words, and dancing with shadows.  Sharing more of my spiritual practice and my deep soul with you.  

And as for you...What is being transformed in you by this elemental fire that we've been in, that's been burning, transforming, and purifying?  What has this fire felt like for you?  And as this light is waning, what is waning in your life?  What is ready to be lovingly and graciously released?

On surrender

Katie Gordon

moon whale Usually I work with the theme of release during the Full Moon.  I meditate on the old patterns, things that feel stuck that I'm ready to release, to let go of, to clear.  Often I'll do some kind of releasing ritual usually involving burning things (I am a Leo after all...we love our fire) and then burying the ashes or letting the wind carry them away.

This month, however, in honor of the huge transition going on in my life (as well as I'm sure many of yours), I've been sitting with the idea not of letting go, but of surrendering. They sound like the same thing, right? Although they may be similar in definition and sometimes even outcome, to me surrendering has a different energy behind it, and so contributes a different quality to this journey through transition and change.

For most of us, change can be really uncomfortable.  Even when we know it's what we need or even want, we tend to resist, freak out, lose our center, and fight to hold on to situations, people, jobs, or patterns from which our soul is ready to move on.

To say the first half of this year has been intense for most of us would be a gigantic understatement.  To me, it felt like my very foundation was being shaken until everything I knew to be true crumbled, my walls were leveled, my heart broken open to reveal a softness inside I had allowed very few people to witness before now.  I was knocked to my knees, literally and figuratively.  My physical body changed, and sometimes it felt like those deeply engrained ways of moving, thinking, speaking, and acting were being burned away, consumed by that very fire that used to terrify me when I'd feel it rising.  And when I finally surrendered to that fire, that blaze that I had been afraid would burn out of control if I didn't contain it, began to soften and reveal something brilliant underneath.

And then I could finally take a deep breath.

All that crumbling, breaking, splitting, and destruction that we've been navigating can finally lead to the most space, the most depth, the most compassion, and the most peace we've ever felt.  As I look back at the aftermath of the last six months, I see the rubble of old beliefs, relationships, addictions, and roles that I had held onto for my whole life.

And now is the time when I surrender to my uncontainable and irrepressible Being within.  My wild grace.  My creative spirit.  With all this space that's been opened up, with this unwillingness to abandon myself any longer, unwillingness to edit or hold back this wild creature that's been set free, I can finally surrender to the Wild Soul I've always known was there, waiting to be awakened and uncaged.

So it's not a letting go.  I've done the necessary (for now) letting go and making space.  Now is the time to surrender to my truth.  Under the blessing of this Full Moon, standing in my own sacred space, I now have the necessary space to fully trust my soul to guide me.

What would happen if you sat in the fire?  If you held your space, not knowing how you would come out the other side?

When self-love sucks (and you wanna crawl out of your skin)

Katie Gordon

People don't believe me when I say that sometimes practicing self-love sucks.  But have you ever had one of those days when you just want to get the f*ck out?  Your mind might be racing.  And it's not even that you can't sit still, it's that you don't want to stop moving.  Because if you stop moving, you'll have to feel all the shit you've been trying to run away from.  So you watch episode after episode of some TV series on Netflix.  (There are like 8 seasons of Charmed, FYI.)  Or you turn to food.  Or alcohol.  Shopping.  Sex.  Facebook.  Checking your email 8,000 times. Recently, I've been going through A LOT of soul growth, and as a dear friend once told me, "Transformation is way less fun than I thought it would be."  Truer words have never been uttered. Transformation is awesome, awful, painful, empowering, and it'll tear you up and spit you out.  Sometimes (a lot of times) I don't know what to do with all the emotions that come up around it.  I'm highly sensitive, as I know most of you are, which is a wonderful gift and can also feel like WAY TOO MUCH!

I also come from a long line of addicts, and let's just say the gene definitely didn't skip a generation. Sometimes it's by sheer willpower that I don't give in to my own addictive patterns and behaviors.  And sometimes I still do.  That's okay.  Here are some things that work for me on those days when all I want to do is crawl out of my skin, escape, shut down, turn off and I know that I can't because I've come too far.

1. Sit.  Just. Sit. Down. Take a breath. And then another. Feel your magnificent, beating heart. Feel that pain you're in?  That's a good sign.  Because that means you're feeling.  And because pain is THE BEST WAY to heal, transform, shift, and make the changes in your life that you've been asking for.

2. Create.  Paint your heart out.  Make it messy.  Write a poem to your darkness.  Make jewelry.  Cook.  The process of creation transforms that manic, "I need to get out of my body" energy and channels it into objects and symbols.  That, my friend, is some serious magic.  (Side story: When I was in treatment one summer I channeled all of my energy into knitting.  Everyone got scarves that Christmas.)

3. Or destroy.  Part of creation is destruction.  So tear, rip, cut, smash.  I have a stack of old magazines reserved for the sole purpose of cutting up.

4.  Cry.  Loudly, quietly, slobbery sobs where you can't catch your breath, or soft, silent tears that roll down your cheeks.  Whether it's on your meditation cushion, your yoga mat, a friend's shoulder, or falling apart on the tiled floor of your shower, that energy's gotta go somewhere.  What's that quote about salt water being the cure for everything...?

5.  Call someone.  This one comes with a caveat, though.  I have a lot of friends who are coaches, which is AWESOME!  But when I call them in a "just let me fall apart" moment, I don't need to be coached.  I just need to be heard.  So either know in advance who can hold your space, or tell them, "Please just listen with compassion and don't be offended if I use the f* word a lot.  I'm not yelling at you."  Which brings me to my next point.

6. Ask for what you need.  Sometimes it's a nap.  Sometimes it's food.  Sometimes it's quiet time, to crawl into our little cave and hibernate.  Maybe it's a walk by yourself, or with your best friend.  When you ask for what you need from the people who love you, it makes us vulnerable, and thus humanizes us.  THAT opens up lots of room for love and compassion.

7. Get outside.  Nature is the most healing, restorative, high vibe place to be.  When I'm all up in my head, there's a favorite tree I go to sit under, lean back onto, and let all that stuff melt into.  I literally imagine everything that feels too heavy, too much, too dark seeping down into the ground, and giving it up to the earth to be transformed.  Sound too woo-woo for you?  Just try it before you get all judge-y.

8. Trust.  I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason.  Maybe it's my inner optimist, but I refuse to believe in coincidences, in shitty things happening for no reason, in bad luck.  I believe our outer world is a reflection of our inner reality, and that we are responsible for the way we participate in life.  So trust that if you're showing up, doing your best, and honoring your truth, things will play out the way they need to.  (Notice I didn't say they'll work out the way you ideally want them to.  At least not right away.)

If none of these work, that's okay too.  It's a lifelong practice to be able to sit with your feelings and feel them.  There's no such thing as failure here.  If it doesn't work out today, you'll probably get another chance to practice tomorrow.  Keep showing up.

You can stop asking for permission

Katie Gordon

Some time between two and three years old, one day as I was strolling through a park with my mom  and some friends, I was attacked by a gigantic blue peacock.  No worries, there was no blood drawn.  No mutilation occured.  I think my mom was more scared than I was.  All I remember is a flurry of brilliant blue feathers in my face and feeling the strong peacock feet pushing into my chest.  Somewhere in a faint memory I recall everyone else freaking out and wondering if I should be doing the same. In many native cultures, a shaman-in-training will be led into the forest/wilderness to confront their spirit animal.  If they survive, they've passed a major test toward becoming a medicine/warrior shaman.  If they don't, well, they don't.

peacock

Back to my peacock...

For awhile now, I've been studying totemic arts with this incredible tribe, meeting my spirit animals, healing archetypal wounds, and rediscovering hidden parts of myself.  This work has taken me to the deepest places of my heart, guiding me to reclaim lost parts of my soul, and helped me to see huge reservoirs of untapped power within.  I've been practicing extensively how to listen to and follow my inner guides to meet my animal totems and receive the wisdom and medicine they have to offer.

Often, an experience such as the one I had with a peacock can be a sign that animal is one of our totems.  When Emelie first suggested peacock as a potential totem, I had MAJOR resistance.  Of course resistance (or a strong emotional reaction) to an animal is another sign that animal is one of our totems.

So I started researching peacock medicine.  Looking into their behavior, patterns, habits, colorings, mythology.  As soon as I opened to this incredible animal I noticed their imagery was ALL OVER my Pinterest boards, articles and photos I had cut out of magazines, long-forgotten books on my shelves, jewelry, etc.

From my research I realized peacock totems are both rare and incredibly powerful medicine.  That they've been associated with mysticism, greater vision, immortality.  Like the mythological phoenix, the peacock represents the rising from ashes of that which is ready to be released and sacrificed.

BCard-Peacock

And then a NEW kind of resistance came up, and that voice came in saying, "You're not good enough for this animal."  "It's just your ego that wants to have this totem."  "What makes you think you're special, good, powerful enough to see any of this in yourself?"  Not only was I afraid of claiming to reflect any part of this rare and beautiful bird, it made me incredibly uncomfortable to think I could contain any of that symbolism within my soul.  It makes me squirm even now as I write about it.

And then I realized: Here's the shadow side of peacock medicine.  Staying small.  Believing I have too much darkness inside to heal and resurrect those parts of my soul that have been torn.  Afraid of proudly displaying my vivid colors, appearing arrogant or egotistical.  Feeling shame around being SEEN and told that I'm too much.  Scared of my own magnetism and beauty.  Unworthy.  Sound familiar to anyone else?

I briefly stepped back into my small self, looking to have someone outside of me validate me and give me permission to own my peacock self.  To tell me that it was okay to show off my colors, to shine, to stand out and accept the power and magic that peacock medicine has to offer.  I watched myself look for that external validation, realize that's what I was doing and that ALL of my totems thus far have brought the medicine of deep listening and intuition, reflecting to me that I already have all of the answers within me.  Peacock was now showing up to help me own my power, my voice, and to show off my colors.  To show me that the magnetism I was afraid of was actually a HUGE ally for me!

peacock goddess

So now, even as I feel that resistance STILL, I say to myself, "Katie, just own it."  I'm done with the "not enough" the "unworthy" the "I'm too much for people so I'll just shut up, sit down, become invisible."  I'm done with invisible.  I'm done with seeking permission to shine.  I'm listening and honoring my soul's voice and wisdom.  And I'm ever-grateful to my shadow for teaching me where there's room for growth.  Where the cracks appear.

Oil Changes, Financial Freedom + Self-Love

Katie Gordon

As many of you know, I've been on a journey lately to heal my relationship with money. I knew it was time to write this post because as I sat down to write it, I really didn't want to. Resistance. It's a beautiful and VERY anxiety-provoking teacher. As Steven Pressfield writes in The War of Art, "The more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul. That's why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there'd be no Resistance.” So here I am, writing about something I NEVER thought I'd be writing about, self-love and money. Another thing I resist? Doing anything related to car maintenance. I know it's ridiculous. It's a very grown up and responsible thing that we automobile owners need to do. And why do I avoid anything related to cars? Simple: it makes me feel stupid. Disempowered. Small. Totally out of my element. Transmission fluid? Air filters? Alignment? Yeah, no thanks.

But one of my Core Desired Feelings this month is "Empowered." I want to feel empowered and independent around my life circumstances and my responsibilities, especially the ones I've previously avoided.

Don't get me wrong, I'm SUPER independent! I left home when I was 18 and moved 3,000 miles away from my family, I like doing things myself (sometimes to a fault...delegation is not my strong suit), and I'm not afraid or uncomfortable going places and having a great time on my own. Solo road trip? Hell yea! Exploring new cities on my own? Totally!

So the other day I decided it was time to get my oil changed. (Actually the sticker in the top left corner of my windshield SAID it was time.) As I sat in the waiting room, biting my nails, feeling small and super awkward, I realized here was a perfect instance of a lack of self-love.

In a moment of perfect synchronicity, I was sitting there reading Kate Northrup's book Money: A Love Story so it hit me...*cue facepalm*...

There's another area of my life in which I've always felt disempowered: MONEY. Budgeting, financial planning, accounting, bookkeeping? Nope. Again, major resistance. I've been working SO MUCH to cultivate more self-love in my own life, teaching self-love to my clients, so here was my chance to practice getting into my body, listening to my heart, and begin healing this part of me that felt inadequate.

image

The major pattern in ALL of this? Avoidance. Burying my head in the sand and *fingers crossed* hoping things would somehow just work themselves out. It's worked thus far, right? Kind of. Mostly. Not so much. So here are the new practices I'm implementing with deep commitment and intention to cultivate a LOVING relationship with my money...

1. Checking my balance. Making it a part of my daily routine, a ritual, even a spiritual practice in mindfulness, gratitude, and intention behind my conscious, daily choices. 2. Feeling gratitude. Feeling abundant isn't about the amount of money in your bank account. It's about the way you FEEL about the money in your account. When I check my balance now, I see the work I love doing. The clients and students I love working with. The fact that I get to live a purposeful life AND make money doing it! 3. Notice what I spend my money on. Not to create guilt and shame, but to make sure my purchases are in alignment with my values. You've heard it before: We vote with our dollars! So why would I invest my money (and therefore my energy) into businesses that don't feel good to support.

I wrote out these action steps as I waited for my car to be ready, then got into my car feeling lighter, more conscious, and EMPOWERED!

Intend to shine

Katie Gordon

Watch this video (it's short) and then read on...

"I can do anything good!"

What would happen if we all said this to ourselves every day?  Awhile back, after much deep soul work and transformation, I realized I can actually do anything.  I can make stuff happen.  Manifestation, the ability to do anything "good" when we align heart, mind, and action.  That realization is POWERFUL!

We all have the power to create the life we want.  Usually that power is just hidden beneath layers of old beliefs, old patterns and stories that we hold on to because at one point in our life they served us.  But they don't anymore, so it's time to say "Thanks, Fear.  I know at one point you kept me safe and I appreciate it SO much.  I don't need you anymore."

This little girl, Jessica,

The thing about fear is that it allows us to play small.  It's safe.  We don't have to risk exposure, criticism, judgment, or getting knocked down.  And sometimes we need to get knocked down.  I know it doesn't sound fun, but stick with me for a minute here.

immediately-regret-this-decision

We all make mistakes.  In the words of Ron Burgundy, "I immediately regret this decision."  Or as one of my lovely friends says, "Ya done fucked up."

It irks me a little bit to hear new-agey people say, "there's no such thing as a mistake.  It's all a lesson."  Yes it's all a lesson.  We learn A LOT from messing up.  But mistakes do exist.  Failure exists.  But it's not the end of the story.

If you're doing big things in the world, if you're in a state of personal growth and development (which, if we're doing our work, then we are), your ego is gonna get checked.  You'll have moments of arrogance, idiocy, thoughtlessness.  You'll fall short of your own and someone else's expectations.  Sometimes you'll get criticism without necessarily "earning" it, but simply by speaking your truth.  But that's another matter for another post.

Today, we'll just acknowledge that mistakes happen.  So let's feel empowered around our "epic fails" rather than shaming ourselves because of them.

Action Time: Think of a time you really screwed up.  Your "favorite" failure, and by favorite I mean the biggest bungle you've made.  What did you learn?  Get SUPER honest with yourself.  Don't get sarcastic, mean, judgy, or defensive.  That doesn't serve anyone and it puts up all kinds of walls that we're working to tear down.  What did this snafu open your eyes to that you didn't see/know/understand before?  How did this mistake make you stronger than before?

You can then take it one step further.  Is there a pattern in the lessons you've learned?  Perhaps it's taken a few lapses in judgment to learn a particular lesson (I've totally been there).  As humans we seem to have a propensity toward making the same mistakes over and over.  And over.  We'll get it eventually.

And that, my friend, is empowering.  That is Self-Love.  Own it.  Love it.  And then let it go.  Because as Danielle Laporte says, "You can't face forward until you've processed your past."  And because you can do anything good.  Intend to shine.

Wild Self-Love: A journey from Starvation to Soul

Katie Gordon

wolf woman Dearest Wild Ones,

You remember a couple months ago when I created Shameless Self-Love, my 30-day video campaign to cultivate and encourage a deeper, healthier and more meaningful relationship with our bodies and souls?  Each day, for 30 days straight, I made a video with tips, quotes, tidbits of wisdom, stories and journaling prompts to begin softening our hearts toward ourselves, and to learn how to wildly LOVE our own souls (here's one of my favorites: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mLwWnaSgjmo).

Of course those videos were a way to offer some of my work to you all, to get my voice out there in a big way, and to share the wisdom I've gleaned from my own mentors.  But another major part of my reason for creating those videos was for myself.  To get clearer on my message, my truth, what I wanted to share and teach with my clients, and to distill what was the essence of Wild Grace.  To get clear on what I feel my soul's purpose and message is to the world.

And the response to those videos from you all was AH-MAZING!  I heard from people all over the world who had seen my videos on YouTube, Facebook, and Pinterest, and who wanted to reach out to say how badly we all need the reminder not only to love ourselves, but how to heal those wounds that prevent us from doing so.  I got such incredible feedback and so many equally inspiring questions, that I decided to write a program based on the video series, only now we're diving much, much deeper.  I've been exploring how to use self-love coaching, energy work, animal totems, shamanic ritual, plant medicine, chakra work, visionary and craniosacral therapy in order to heal trauma, addiction, depression, anxiety, and other stuck patterns of behavior and beliefs.  All of this work has effectively led to creating my own life coaching methodology that I CANNOT wait to share with you!

After months of writing, researching, rewriting, scrapping, and starting over, I'm officially (but unofficially) launching Wild Self-Love, a 3 month, one-on-one program to reconnect to your Wild Soul and fall madly in love with your Self with passion and grace.  I say "unofficially" because it's not even on my website yet.  It is brand, spankin' new.  And since you're already on my list, I'm offering it to you, my incredible tribe, FIRST and at a special price...

What happens when you cultivate more self-love and connect with your Wild Soul?

  • You attract better, healthier, happier, and more whole relationships, both romantically and otherwise (i.e. you have amazing friends!!)
  • You manifest abundance in your life, whether it's literal financial abundance, more satisfying life experiences, or more time to do the things you love - all wonderful, valid forms of abundance
  • You have the ability to create the life you crave, and the power to decide how you want to feel EVERY DAY
  • Your creativity EXPLODES and you become capable of designing your life and anything within it
  • Your body feels free, limitless, and light
  • You know how to make yourself JOYFUL, happy, and fulfilled without looking outside of yourself in order to feel a certain way
  • You feel free from past traumas, addictions, and stuck, recurring patterns that aren't serving YOU

If you're ready to fall WILDLY in love with yourself, reconnect with your SOUL and her purpose, now is your time!  I offer a complimentary Self-Love discovery session for any woman interested in working together so that we can chat and make sure we're a good fit!  Remember, your wise soul contains all the answers within, this work provides the space and support to tap into your inner guides and learn to listen.

I am so passionate about this body of work I've put together for you!!  It's truly an honor to share it, and I can't wait to work with you...

All my love, Katie XO

Happy Un-Valentine's Day

Katie Gordon

Okay, I'm finally (sort of) giving in to the Valentine's Day madness, though of course in my own typically rebellious fashion.  And I'm not writing this because Friday is Valentine's Day, but for whatever reason, when I sat down to write this week, this is what came up... Recently I've embarked on a new journey with a beautiful tribe called the Totemic Arts Apprenticeship in which we learn about our personal animal totems, how they correspond with the chakras, archetypes, zodiac signs, and numerology, and what this means for our own healing process, our businesses, lives, and those of our clients.  I've been exploring my relationships with my known animal totems (wolf and snowy owl) and how the wisdom and medicine they bring to us can empower our lives and bring clarity to obstacles we love to put in our own way.  There's lots of fun research and intellectual headiness that the nerd in me LOVES, but throughout the program there's lots of opportunity for play, art, creativity, collaboration, and receiving support and love from the tribe.

It all sounds great, right?

And it is!

snowy owl flying

AND THEN alllllll your shit comes up.  Stuff you haven't dealt with, looked at, sat with, or even acknowledged because it's dark and scary and ugly.  And who wants to feel those ugly emotions and see what kind of shadows are lurking underneath that lovely, mostly put together exterior that we put up?  Not me.

wolf - red

But the thing is, your soul doesn't give you anything you're not ready for.  So when things started stirring, I knew it was time.  And I'll just tell you now, the last couple weeks have been SO UNCOMFORTABLE.  Like I wanted to crawl out of my skin.  Old, small, invisible Katie would have bailed in a second.  But I've been preparing for this.  I've been feeling a major shift coming for the last year, and here it was.  And you know what it was that triggered me so badly? My inner Lover archetype.  The one I had been ignoring most of my adult life.  The one who is terrified of being unloved and unlovable.  The one who, at times, has lost her identity in order to please others.  The one who is afraid of being alone or in relationships devoid of intimacy.  Whose shadow consists of jealousy, attachment, and fear of being undesirable.  Even now as I write that I wince ever so slightly.  But there it is.  Truth laid bare.

red lady wings

So I sat.  I cried.  I fell apart completely, not knowing how the pieces would fit together again.  I was exhausted, emotionally and physically.  Totally burnt out.  Like too tired to speak.  I spent a whole day hibernating, listening to Tom Waits and Nick Cave (yeah, it got dark) and drawing, getting to know this Lover with her medicine of passion, sensuality, creativity, and desire, while acknowledging and forgiving the shadow side that has occasionally made herself known.

Now I'm beginning to come out the other side and I feel as if I reclaimed my power, self-love, sharp instincts, and a piece of my wild soul.  And the message I got from deeply listening to this part of my soul is this:

Love isn't "nice."  It isn't all pink hearts and chocolate and roses.  It's gutsy, uncomfortable, gritty, and isn't afraid to reflect to us where we need to work on ourselves.  Love itself can feel like heartbreak.  Like struggle.  Like we're stepping off the edge of a cliff and have no idea what's going to catch us.

openness

And the same can be said of Self-Love...maybe even more so.  Because that's where it begins.  How can we truly love another if we don't have the foundation of love for ourselves?  How can we show up for someone else if we're constantly abandoning our own heart?  We gain the confidence and ability to love ourselves when we have the courage to softly open our hearts when we're scared shitless, speak our truth, honor our process, and let down our walls.  And that's what Love for another is too.

Let's not just honor each other one day a year.  Seriously.  Happy Un-Valentine's Day (aka every other day of the year)!

Keep the channel open

Katie Gordon

lady pantherI've been having some deep conversations lately with sisters, fellow artists, therapists, and visionaries in all capacities about taking that next step.  From being on your spiritual path, doing trainings, certifications, seeing clients, teaching classes, showing up day to day, to then stepping into this new, unknown, and completely terrifying place that has been chosen by your soul.  You know that everything up until now has been leading to this moment in time.  All the transformation, all the dark, mucky, sludgy, messy, chaos and shitstorms that you've been weathering have led you here.  And now ALL you have to do is open, receive, and allow your soul's work to come through you.  So you freeze. Instead of working on a class or lecture you're putting together, you binge watch some crappy show on Netflix.  Rather than make those teacup succulent gardens you're brilliant at, you let yourself get lost in the endless household chores.  You take low-paying (or maybe even high-paying) jobs so that you're too busy to write that AMAZING coaching program you've been wanting to launch *sheepishly raising my hand*.  Maybe it's something more shameful to you like using alcohol, drugs, food, or sex to fill that creative void or distract yourself from what you know in your heart you have this burning desire to fulfill, write, paint, create.

So, I'm calling bullshit.  And I'm doing this mainly because this is EXACTLY where I've been hiding out.  I've been holding back for one very simple reason: fear.  I'm afraid that it won't come out right, that no one will be pickin' up what I'm puttin' down.  That I'll essentially be failing the Universe at the task that's been set for me.  The path that my own soul chose.  What if I just suck at it?  What if I fail?  What if I put my whole heart into something, make my voice heard, show up as big and as powerfully as I can, and all I hear is crickets?

It took a major surrendering, totally letting go of what I thought my ego wanted to do (because it was easy) and realizing my authentic self, my wild soul, is here to do something.  A big something.  Yesterday, I got to receive a bodywork session from a woman I'm lucky enough to call a friend, sister, and teacher.  I got to go into the deepest, darkest recesses of my soul to listen.  I had finally reached the place where I could say, "I have no f*cking clue what I'm supposed to do with any of this.  Why is all of this happening?  What piece am I missing?  Please help!"  I was ready to be open and hear whatever needed to come up.

At the end of the session, before I opened my eyes, before I had a conscious thought, I heard a voice say, "Something big is coming."  And it felt light.  Powerful and light.  As if my guides were saying all I have to do is say yes to this, to stop standing in my own way, and it's coming.  Actually, it's already done.  I just have to write it.

In reflecting on this intensely beautiful session and on the subsequent conversation with my friend after, I remembered this quote from Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you and into action. And because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium, and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is: Nor how valuable it is; Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is ever pleased, there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine satisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

So I'm putting my voice out there in a HUGE way.  I'm bending some of the marketing rules, completely breaking other ones, but sometimes you gotta break the rules for the sake of creation, transformation, and showing up as a leader.  And if my message and my unique gift to teach is that of self-love and honoring the wildness of your soul, one that is desperately needed by so many women (and men) in our society, then I need to get over my hang-up's about being "good enough" and let it flow through me.

{Shameless Self-Love} Do you know how AMAZING you are?

Katie Gordon

Have you seen my Shameless Self-Love video series yet?  It began as a way to work through some of my own visibility issues and evolved into my newest (and soon to be launched) one-on-one coaching program.  30 days + 30 videos dedicated to creating a deeper and more nourishing relationship with your body + soul.  Here's one of my favorites from day 28 where we dive into Self-Acceptance as part of Self-Love!  Check it out, comment, and share if you so desire...

And now for some serious truth-telling

Katie Gordon

A lot of people ask how I began my recovery from my eating disorder(s).  What was it that finally broke through the walls I had built up.  What was the thing that finally helped me to WANT to feed myself.  How did I recover?  People want to hear that it was one particular moment, that the light bulb went off, that I finally realized there was more to life than weight and food, blah blah blah... Here's the truth, and it may surprise some, anger a few, and make total sense to others.

I didn't.  There was no light bulb.  There wasn't a decisive moment when I had had enough.  There were many of those moments, and they would last anywhere from a few days to a couple years.  And then there would be a trigger, an event, a stressful couple months, a major (or minor) shift, and I would be sent spiraling back.  Only each time was a little worse because everyone expected me to be "better", "recovered", "over it".   The shame and guilt over my behaviors, the fact that I was slowly ripping my body apart, was worse than I could bear, and so to alleviate that pain, I'd sink deeper.

story we will never tell

I did a pretty okay job of covering up this intense shame and self-loathing by soaking up all the knowledge I could about health, yoga, meditation, spirituality in general, healing work, bodywork, emotional holding, Ayurveda, herbalism from multiple traditions, Chinese Medicine, how to heal trauma, nutritional theory, shamanism, tarot, anything I could get my hands on.  I learned how to eat really healthy.  I'm now one of the most educated 27 year olds I know, and all that is simply a compensation, a distraction from dealing with the fact that I still had no idea how to nourish my Self.  I couldn't bear the thought of sitting with myself long enough to hear the answers that my soul had for me.

And then for the greatest cover-up of them all, I decided to coach OTHER women with eating disorders, because if I couldn't fix myself, maybe I could fix them and then my own struggle would be justified.  And that's when it all started to crack and crumble.  My soul was speaking to me through the eating disorder, telling me it was time for transformation, for letting go.  My body was beginning to feel the (quite frankly) terrifying effects of years of starving and purging.  Before I could do anything I needed to heal my body and my heart.  To give myself the space, let myself be seen in the most vulnerable way.  Everything about it felt raw, exposed, torn open.  It was time to learn the lesson of asking for what I want and need.

And I did.  And my community has risen up more than I could have ever imagined to offer support, space, guidance, words, and witness.  And no judgment whatsoever.

circle

So here I am now, bearing all my scars, all my shame, my pain, anger, grief, everything I'd been working SO hard to conceal for fear of your judgment.  Now that I have nothing left to hide, I can begin the real work to connect with a deep love for myself not because of my imperfections and battles, but because I Am.  Because all of us have the right to love and be loved simply by being born into this world.  We don't need to earn love.  We ARE love.  And so begins the heroine's journey...

heroine's journey

Dreaming out loud

Katie Gordon

Oh you guys!  I meant to write earlier this week, and then got so distracted.  This windy weather we've been having always leaves me feeling a bit ungrounded, not to mention that it's 80 degrees in January, so my body is all kinds of confused. At first I felt guilty for my day dreaming.  I tried finding ways to justify it, but I had work to do.  Blogs, marketing copy, programs, irresistible product descriptions, and meditations to write.  Reading to catch up on.  Silver to get polished (seriously).  Instead of doing any of that, I've spent the last week visioning, dreaming, and heart-storming.  I watched that guilty "I feel unproductive" feeling come up, wreak a little bit of havoc on my peace of mind, and then I made the best decision I've made in a long time.  I decided to let it go for just a couple days and see what happens when I let my intuition, my soul truly guide me.  To see what happens when I just let myself dream, even if it got to feel a little bit too big and too daunting.

And I've come to a profound soul truth.  It feels expansive!  Still big, still daunting, but powerful, spacious, and authentic.  And f*cking awesome.  So awesome, in fact, that I wanted to share it with you all!  Because I know dreaming can be scary, we see these amazing things that we want to do, and then think, "How in the hell am I going to make that happen?!"  It's easy to proclaim "Follow your passions!"  Rumi even tells us, "Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love.  It will not lead you astray."  And you listen to your heart and everything sounds wonderful and bright and shiny.  And then it comes to taking the steps to ACT on that wisdom.  And we freeze.  And sometimes we stay frozen.  But I don't want to feel stuck, and I definitely don't want you to feel stuck.

So now you get to take a journey inside my head, through my visions, and a peek into my dreams...

When I was young, my mom had me watch Practical Magic with her.  She must have known that I loved witchy things.  From the moment I saw Sally's shop, I needed to have my own.  (You all know what I'm talking about, so no judge-y snickering.)  From then on, in my heart of hearts, I wanted my own space for herbs, magic, healing, teaching, and communing.

And now it's finally beginning to take shape...

I'm beginning to allow myself to really want it, to let that desire guide me, and take real, practical steps to making it happen.  I've even looked at potential spaces for it!  And the most fun part, I've begun to imagine it.  To feel, see, smell it...

Think vintage apothecary meets Hogwarts meets gypsy caravan with a touch of whimsy.  And a lot of hanging plant matter.  Are you starting to see it come together?  No?  Here are some pictures to help for those of us who need visuals.

An apothecary like this...

apothecary white

With a touch of this (yes, I absolutely need to skeleton too)...

apothecary kitchen

A bit of that...

gypsy

And a lot of this...

drying herbs

It's being dreamt, manifested, and acted into existence as I move through my fears of rejection, of commitment, and of playing big and showing up for my own desires.  So here is your reminder to keep dreaming.  Big dreams, small dreams, scary, whimsical, childlike, black+white, and colorful dreams.   It can be pretty terrifying to share our dreams of what we really want because if someone shoots us down it hurts A LOT!  You need to trust in your vision so much that even if someone tells you that you can't, you KNOW in your deepest, gnarliest knowing that you totally can.  Now that you've heard about/seen my dream, I'd LOVE to hear about yours!  Feel free to comment below and share with me what you envision, what you most deeply desire to do/create/have/feel in your life?

Shadow work + embodying the Feminine

Katie Gordon

shadow work I don't know about y'all, but 2013 kicked my ass.  As I mentioned here, it was a hear of lots of shedding.  A couple weeks ago I began looking back at this last year, thinking about where I was at this time a year ago, what I had wanted to accomplish, where I thought I'd be by now.  My first reaction was to be hard on myself, to judge, to step back into the "not enough" mindset.  I briefly got caught up in the pushing, forcing, and do-ing masculine energy of trying to make things happen, believing that I needed to make up that lost time before the end of 2013.  And then I realized this year has been an IMMENSELY deep dive into everything I thought I was, every role I've played, the joys, the traumas, all the layers of "shoulds" and "have-to's".  I had to clear all of that before I could begin walking the path I knew I was meant for.

ouroborus2

Here's my crystalized lesson of 2013...

Every time I thought I had gotten to the essence of my soul, there was a whole new layer to work through, explore, and let go of.  A big theme for me this year was that of TRUST.  Mainly trusting myself.  Believing that I have all the knowledge I need to create the business, the life, and the relationships that I want for myself right now.  All I have to do is get out of my own way.  And the same goes for all of us.  So often we allow our shadow side, our own darkness, to keep us from being and doing what we really desire.  There's some part of our ego that says we don't deserve to have that life.  Or that we haven't worked hard enough or done enough.

This year I not only met my shadow side, but I sat, played, danced and fought with, and finally loved my shadow.  She had always been lurking off to the side and I had done a pretty good job of ignoring her.  Now I invited her out front and center, looked her square in the eye, and said "Okay, whatever's here, whatever lessons you have for me, I'm ready to face with compassion and an open heart."  And here's what I learned: Shadow work is INTENSE!  (Side note: it's going to be a major part of my upcoming group program)  It requires crazy amounts of courage and strength that I didn't know I had until now.  I got to finally learn what it meant to approach this inner work in a feminine, receptive, compassionate, and supportive strength.  And then I realized something huge...this is what I'm meant to teach other women.  So many of us have forgotten how to use our intuition, how to trust ourselves, how to ask for what we want, how to be gentle even as we're moving mountains.  We don't remember how to go inside, connect with our wildness and tap into that age-old wisdom that has been passed down through generations of mothers to their daughters in order to heal ourselves.  We don't realize that each of us have every answer inside of our soul.  We have insanely wise inner guides, angels, whatever you want to call them.  It's a process of relearning how to listen, how to trust, and align our actions with that inner wisdom.

I'm so grateful for the teachers and the time I had in 2013 who showed me, often against my own resistance, that the only way I could teach women how to honor themselves was by doing the deep work with my own wild soul, by acting from my intuition, and by embodying the sensual, earthy, and receptive feminine.  Don't get me wrong, there's always more work to do, more to learn, more to uncover and love about ourselves.  And I believe in cycles, in the ebb and flow, so now it's time to put this into practice.  To build the container that will allow me to bring this wisdom to my community of wild and graceful women in the form of lots of free content, group programs, and intensive one-on-one coaching.  I can't wait to better serve all of you now that I'm fully serving myself.  Happiest of new years to all of you...

Why I don't have New Years Resolutions and what I do instead...

Katie Gordon

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Maybe I just don't like doing what everyone else is doing. My inner rebel likes to do things differently. Maybe it's because I know myself well enough to know that when I've had NY resolutions in the past, they last for about a week. Maybe my resistance to New Years resolutions is something I should look at. Whatever the reason, since I was young I just decided that I don't do resolutions. To me, it can feel like we're telling ourselves, "you're not quite good enough the way you are, so these are the things we're going to work on changing this year." Don't get me wrong, I'm all for growth and development. It's just that resolutions typically sound like a list of things that we'd like to change about ourselves.

Jeff Brown, author of Soulshaping, posted this beautiful quote today:

"Sometimes we forget how far we have traveled. Good to acknowledge what it took to get this far, all those hoops we had to jump through, all those difficult overcomings. Good to stroke our face with love and remind ourselves how much courage it took to brave the journey. Good to say 'thank you' to the spirit that walks within and beside us, reminding us that we are simply and utterly worth fighting for."

This is what the new year is about to me. It's about looking at this last year, and 2013 was a doozy for me, and telling myself "Damn! Look at all the amazing things I did and learned!! How lucky am I to have received this love, these lessons, and to have been in communion with such beautiful souls. How can I expand on this moving forward and how do I want to FEEL as I do?" Because it's not about getting things done or losing that weight or reaching a goal. It's about EVERYTHING that happens through the process. It's about the way you feel in the moment and what that's reflecting about your soul and your journey.

I've noticed we have some resistance, consciously or subconsciously, to feeling at ease, in our flow, and allowing things to happen without pushing. We like to MAKE things happen. We RESOLVE that things should be a certain way, so we're going to do whatever we need to do to get that outcome. That we need to be busy, to be working, to always be doing better (whatever that means). This year has taught me that all that is SO overrated. When we're in our flow, letting things take their course, moving and acting from the way we want to feel in our lives...THAT'S when the magic happens. That's when our soul and our vision can move through us and things can be seemingly effortless. Don't get me wrong, it takes effort to show up, to do our own work, to be present. But when we make that effort, the Universe/God/Goddess/etc. conspires and synchronizes to bring to us exactly what is needed.

So instead of resolutions this year, I'm taking time to reflect on what I want to FEEL more of this coming year. I'm inspired by one of my mentors, Danielle Laporte, to think about what my Core Desired Feelings this year/month/week/day are, and what can I do in order to feel those CDF's.

This year I want to feel In Communion, Abundant, Playful, Flowing, Expressive, Sensual, Free. What are your Core Desired Feelings? How do you intend to grow, expand, allow, and show up in 2014?

Shedding off one more layer of skin

Katie Gordon

As a dear friend reminded me the other day, we're coming to the end of the year of the snake.  It's been a year of incredible shedding, peeling back the layers of old stories, relationships, labels, beliefs, and assumptions I've held onto.  The past few weeks I've been in a slow, painful yet beautiful process of crawling out of my skin.  An old skin.  Like snakes do when they've outgrown that layer and it's time to move on. shedding layers

For a long time I thought I was meant to work with women struggling with eating disorders.  I even wrote a one-on-one coaching program for healing emotional eating.  I thought it was my calling, my mission.  All along there were lots of signs from the Universe telling me that it wasn't.  That it was just one step along the way.  I realize now that it was a way to heal MYSELF.

And it was the easy way to respond to the much afeared question: "So Katie, what do you do?"  It was simple and sounded good to just say, "I help women struggling with eating disorders to heal their relationship with food."  People understood that.  I didn't have to explain myself or justify my place in life.

Each time I'd say that out loud I'd wonder, "Whose voice is it saying those words?  It certainly isn't mine."  It was a cop-out.  An easy answer that in no way encompassed my place in life or my truth.  The problem was I didn't trust that when I was in alignment with myself, sitting still enough to listen, the people I was meant to work with would find me.  So I resisted what my heart kept telling me.  I stood on my soapbox and told everyone to listen to their gut.  That if they asked their Soul what he/she wanted and needed that they'd get their answers.  That their body would tell them what they needed.  That it'd be scary to trust themselves at first and that's okay because courage was feeling that fear and doing it anyway.

And as one of my mentors says, we're great at giving the advice and teaching what we ourselves need to learn.  So rather than sit, listen, trust, be gentle, and know that my soul had a plan, I questioned, ignored, blamed and shamed myself into speaking words that weren't mine.  Into claiming a place in this world that wasn't for me because it was easier than owning the work that I love to do and claiming my space.  Luckily, my inner guides had other plans and things began to fall apart so that I could let them go and trust that something bigger was coming.  That the work I had done around emotional eating was really for me, to heal my own scars and wounds.

Now comes the hard part.  The scary, messy, and ultimately beautiful part.  When I have to commit to myself, to my tribe, to the souls who have been on this journey with me from the beginning.  Now I commit to doing what I tell everyone else to do: to speak my truth, even and especially when it's a bit terrifying.

The truth is, I want to go deeper.  I don't want to tell women who are struggling with how to love themselves and to own their power that they need to eat.  Don't get me wrong, there's unbelievable value in that.  There are amazing souls whose work IS to support people to nourish themselves with real food.

And I want to peel back the next layer.  To go to those deeper, darker places of your soul, to read and listen to the story of your spirit.  Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes, "Like the Rosetta stone, for those who know how to read it, the body is a living record of life given, life taken, life hoped for, life healed.  It is valued for its articulate ability to register immediate reaction, to feel profoundly, to sense ahead." I'm fascinated by the connection between the Soul and the physical body.  By the way our body manifests health and dis-eases of our deeper Self.  The way that our body holds, negotiates, and releases trauma.  And how my education through experience and more formal training have prepared me to hold space for people to explore and go through their process.

I've known this to be true for a long time, and it's taken me until now to own this truth:  I'm here to heal through renegotiating trauma, through the power of myth and stories, through plants and the medicine of the earth.  I'm here to teach women to listen, speak, and feel.  To hold space for ritual and soul retrieval.  To go with you to the deepest self in order that your own spirit can heal your emotional and physical body, the connection between the two.  And to help women find happiness by being in alignment with their soul's truth and loving themselves enough to ask for that much out of this life.  I work with archetypes, movement, your desires, and dreams.  Through the medicine of heartbreak and recovery.  And through holding sacred space for the Soul to come back home.

P.S.  Extra credit to anyone who can tell me what the title of this post is from...

XO