So this is going to be a very raw post. Just letting you know. The photos are mainly place holders and accompany my thought process.

In general, I feel I am pretty self-aware. I tend to listen to myself a lot and to check in with what is going on. I am also a pendulum that swings between two poles: control and lack thereof. I have talked and art journaled about this a lot. I am the Chariot in the tarot. I ride hard and fast, swept up by ideas and motivation. But when I get knocked off my Chariot, I take a long time to catch up again, to get back on. I constantly self- sabotage especially when it comes to food and emotions.

Things have been going on with me for a while now but recently I keep getting some pretty clear signs that it’s time to do something about it. To really go super deep, drag that shadow work out and stick it in the light. Time to go back, waaaay back, up through generations of patterns pased down, down, down unto me. Time to stop that swinging pendulum. Of course, I have doubts. I mean this isn’t the first time I’ve declared this. Yet, it comes again and again. Is that surprising? No. Just like with the tarot, if you don’t deal with it, those cards are going to come up again and again.

There is a slew of elements that came together to bring me here and I will try to make sense out of them for someone other than myself. Last year, I embarked on a transformation. I did a program which changed many elements of my life and helped me create better habits: I re-learned what eating healthy was and lost weight, I integrated working out and exercise into my life in a positive and enthusiastic way. For the first time ever, I felt great and even more so because I was doing it the right way. Not binging/starving, not depriving myself, not over indulging myself; just taking a positive approach to things.

It was a lot of work but it was rewarding.

A year later and slowly but surely, I have seen the return of old patterns. What? Didn’t I deal with those jerks already? WTH?! I see myself falling back into to hurtful ways of doing things. Hurtful to whom? To me, only me. I look absolutely fine, everyone around me makes me feel good, pretty and loved. I still work out hard 3-4 times a week. My muscles are strong and I feel proud of that. But with that intense exercise came more appetite. And with that came the “oh but it takes so long to make healthy food when this grilled cheese sandwich and chips is so quick to make”. Oh, and “I worked out, I can totally eat this”. And wouldn’t you know, my clothes are getting tighter again. (that is my barometer – how my clothes fit).

I can see my old stomach coming back. This stomach was hurt during my two pregnancies and I have a split abdominal wall. This means that some exercises accentuate the pot belly I naturally have. In the evening, I look 3 months pregnant all the time. I have been asked many many times how far along I am, or congratulated for my upcoming bundle of joy. Nope, I’m not pregnant, I just look that way. No matter how much weight I lose, I get those comments.

I started doing a lot of shadow work with my tarot. What is going on? I know what I should do, why am I not doing it? Why am I completely ignoring what my body and my self are telling me? Why am I throwing this hard work away? Again and again the same cards are coming up for me. This is not a tarot lesson so I won’t go into details about that part of it, but the cards are telling me what’s up and I would just be like “oh yeah, I know” and go make nachos and feel like crap the next day.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Jenny started offering mp3 tarot readings, folk healing readings. I met Jenny earlier this year and her Unleashing the Tigress workshop opened my eyes to so much. I am so grateful for what I have learned from her in this workshop (a lot of it came up in my Wolf Women Art journal). So I asked her for a reading on this. I have never had anyone else read me. This was a big step for me because I was opening myself to what she would tell me. Sometimes you need to hear it from someone else.

She sent me an incredible 10 card reading. Guess who showed up? The Chariot. I am still processing everything she said, but two elements really stood out for me: “you are in it for the long haul” and “art it out because others will benefit from what you will be sharing”. The day before I listened to what Jenny had to say, I pulled these two cards from the Oracle of Oddities and the Ritual Oracle:

(The artwork on the left is Misty Mawn’s). So here we have a couple of signs that I need to do stuff about this issue. This was all happening on a Friday and Saturday. During that week, I had participated in the You Are a Message project by Victoria Emanuela and Jenny Bork. I had never ever used my body this way. I love to dance, I dance to work out, I can learn choreographies. But letting myself express emotions this way is totally new. Actually sharing it online was crazy new. I felt compelled to do it. I felt called to try this. From doing it, I learned that being open helps you connect, being open may help someone else who is going through something, being open helps you to realise you yourself are going through something and you need to address it.Moving this way forces you to feel things you have suppressed or don’t know how to say with words. Are you seeing the common thread?

At the same time that all this was happening, I was working on the lessons for my Rituals class. The themes I was exploring that week were shadow work, harvesting the seeds we planted, letting stuff go, enlisting the elements to help us grow…among others. So there was a clear coming together of signs that things need to be done.

That Saturday night, there was a Get Messy hangout and my friend Debbie told us she was going to a Healing the Mother Wound workshop. The next day was Mother’s Day and throughout my conversation with my mother more and more signs welled up. These patterns need to stop somewhere, right? How much can we really carry and carry from parent to child on and on through time?

I’m not saying things are only our parents fault, not at all. But things come from somewhere. And we can’t do the work for them, we can only do the work for us. Also things are happening for us, not to us. Two pieces of wisdom gleaned from Unleashing the Tigress. So all signs point to these elements coming together enticing me to go deep and face this issue.

Why am I adament on always going back to this place of anxiety? What hole am I trying to fill with food? What am I trying to suppress by feeding it? Why am I at odds with my body instead of atuned to it? Why is this happening again and again? Why are conversations with certain people so triggering? Why are other conversations impossible to have? Am I destined to become my mother? Did she also ask herself this? What am I transmitting to my children? Why do I always equate my value with how I look like? Why do I keep doing this when I know where this pattern comes from and that it is ridiculous? Why can I never love myself fully and be content?

These are just a few of the questions that are swirling, swirling. The day after the hangout, after I had listened to my mp3 reading, after I posted the last body movement, I went to look at the Awesome Ladies Project theme for May for Book of Me. Unsurprisingly, it was Body. Well played, Universe.

The image above is from Victoria Emanuela’s stories feed. Debbie wrote to me about her workshop and I wrote to her about all of this and I asked her if she was willing to collaborate on this project and if we could bring Cindy in, as we had been looking for a way to collabortae for a while now. And because I’m scared to do it by myself. But I want to do it. So we are jumping in, all three of us, jumping in to The Healing Circle Journal.

I’ll be using the skeleton journal that Rebecca made me for this endeavour. I have no idea what or how much I will share. Neither do the other two brave women who are embarking on this. We are all addressing whatever calls to us in this project: our mother wound, being a mother, our relationship to our bodies, to our children, to our parents; all of it is free game. We’re “digging in the dirt”, that song is my current anthem. All three of us appeared in my 100 Day Project: “we need to talk”, “I have butterflies in my stomach” “and also a secret garden”.

And of course I am not blind to the fact that most of this was triggered by the fact that I find myself once again in a transition period as we get ready to move from Beijing to Shanghai. Uprooting myself again. It is hard for me, this in-between feeling, in ways I don’t always realise until later. So I know that this is a factor in my reaction to unnameable stress and anxiety. And maybe none of this can be fully laid to rest without therapy and maybe it just can’t be laid to rest no matter what. But I’ll damn well try!

Oh and then, just before I started writing this post, Get Messy announced the Season of Story. Boom!

What we do decide to share, we will share under #healingcirclejournal on Instagram.

Thank you for reading this. xo V

PS: Also I am well aware that I am so lucky because I have no back problems, no unidentified diseases, no major health issues, no trauma. I have a body that can move and dance and love and could bring me joy if only I would connect with it rather than be at opposing poles. All of this is symptomatic of something much deeper than what I look like but this is how it is manifesting. And yes, I have also mentionned before my feelings of discomfort that, of all things, this is my issue.