"a load, typically a heavy one"...
"able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions...able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed"...
Activation Warning: mention of suicide & themes surrounding disordered eating / exercise
I was asked to speak and present at the Rockstar Spirit Empowerment Fest back in December 2022. It was the first time I had spoken in person about both mine and my sister's stories and the work that I am now focused on doing in the world through Kaia Evolutions. You will hear part of my somatic story, some realizations along the way and see one of the embodiment practices I took the attendees through.
Part of my Somatic Story - A Collection of Injuries
I've been called resilient ever since I started hiding my mistakes, my struggles, my efforts, my fears. Prior to age 10, I was very open about the unsettled energy that consumed my body. Consistently viewed as the fragile one in the family, my panic attacks would disrupt dinners, both at home and out at restaurants, my insomnia would challenge my parents' patience and my separation anxiety kept me out of school for 2 months. When I started dancing at age 8, I was able to move some of this static energy and funnel my curiosity into creativity. But within 2 years it was clear that I was the "big" child in the room. My body was starting to betray me as I was standing out for all the "wrong" reasons. The heaviness of an addictive household, the weight of the unspoken and the somatic reaction that I was "meant to" hold all of it for everyone was starting to show.
I consistently felt FULL.
...age 10 was my first diet.
Now, I plan to talk more about these parts of my somatic journey but in this post I want to talk about how my body fought back. Because what many people don't know about the various physical injuries I sustained over the years (see first video for reference) is because of the physiological stress and trauma my body was put through at a young age. That stress and trauma I continued to put my body through...to cope. To resource. To use as a tool to help regulate my autonomic nervous system. To try to navigate my deep sensitivity to energy; my own and everyone else's around me.
And what I have realized is that my curiosity for knowledge, my hunger for information, my desperation for understanding over the years, created an environment where I felt empty empowerment. A wealth of wisdom with no embodied foundation.
Part of my Somatic Story - Losing my Sister
Even when I was telling people how much I was struggling...right before I went into outpatient treatment for anorexia when I was in high school, while I was crawling to the bathroom in the mornings because I couldn't stand up straight after my car accident in my twenties and coming to terms with my sister's suicide in my thirties...a consistent response I would get was "you're so resilient! You'll figure it out. You always do." My portrayed empowerment (not fake but not integrated or embodied, safe or connected) did not allow others to see me, as I had been actively hiding from myself.
"able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions...able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed."
I have not been able to recover "quickly", nor can I "recoil or spring back into shape" after my sister's death. Not this time...
And honestly...not any time prior to her death...because the truth is I have never "quickly" come back from a difficult condition...it's been the perception that it's been quick. I have never been able to "recoil or spring back into shape" because the shape I was, the body I was in, the person that existed prior to various life events does NOT exist anymore. I have tried time and time again to "get my body back" after these various physical injuries, but I have never been able to approach life the same even if I can fit into the same sized pair of pants. Because I can't un-know what I know now...my soma, "the body internally perceived...the body living in its wholeness", is unable to separate its parts anymore. The deep layers of who we are, what we experience, how we see the world, what happens to us, how we react, what is left behind, what comes with us - everything has an impact, a ripple effect.
What if we stopped compartmentalizing ourselves?
What if we lived in the both/and?
In Session 1 of "Alchemized Embers" - The Smoldering Spirit - we do an exercise called "I am / You are" and it is meant to help us discern what we have embodied as our "truth" to help identify what does and doesn't align with who we actually are (vs who people have told us we are / who we tell ourselves we are).
You can learn more about this offering below:
Starting May 11th
Early Bird Pricing until 4/30
"You are resilient."
This statement quickly became something I identified with as I heard it throughout my life. A battle cry I would repeat to myself "I am resilient. I am resilient. I am resilient." Something people actively expected from me; a comeback, a bounce back, a return. Something I demanded of myself. However, this expected return was not to my sacred, deepest, safest, most loving and aligned parts of myself...but the person I was trying to portray prior to the life event.
The burden of resilience is its lack of flexibility...its commitment to winning or overcoming...its binary basis that we are who we are, something happens in our lives, we "deal with it" and, if we are "resilient", everything returns to "normal".
What if we released the hold this concept has on us and recognize that the return is NOT to the person you were when adversity or a difficult condition or stress or trauma occurred but a return to our deepest, most authentic, most aligned, most powerful, most raw and real selves?
What if the statement was rewritten...
What if the battle cry was not in conflict at all...
What if the truth was...
Embodiment Practice - Full Body Pat Down with Mantra
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