Do you want to know the secret to finally making peace with your body?
Are you frustrated or discouraged by how disconnected, overwhelmed or anxious you feel more often than not?
Would you like to have a personal practice that can help you take action from alignment, feeling energized in your work and guided by the Universe to your next level of creative expression and service?
Then come sit by my virtual fire. I have a story to tell...
Once upon a time, I hated myself. I was frustrated and depressed at my job, dealing with chronic pain that the doctors couldn't explain and trying to bat away thoughts that life just wasn't worth it. I didn't feel like I was able to control these thoughts, which would make me even more discouraged with myself and my life.
Typing this feels bizarre, because I am so far away from that experience now - and it was really just two years ago.
Funnily enough, I felt like that in the months after one of the best moments of my career, when I performed my poem, "When I Have Gumption" at the Omega Women & Power Retreat. I spoke my truth in front of hundreds of women, feeling bold, connected and powerful, a bringer of light and truth much bigger than myself through the vessel of my body and voice. It was magical.
And then I went back to the real world. To my nannying job that I had taken to get out from behind a desk, but had stayed in too long. I had become so disconnected in my day to day, so often in pain from my teeth that the dentists couldn't seem to help me with that the only thing that had been keeping me sane was a steady yoga practice.
But then my left arm was injured, a ball of tension in it so tight that I could no longer make it to yoga classes.
Without a physical/spiritual practice to keep me connected to my body and to my truth, I became even more ill very fast. Old habits of compulsive overeating came rushing back into my life, leaving me feeling ashamed and out of control. What was happening to me?
This wasn't my first time at the rodeo of healing my relationship to my body and being a woman. I even did a whole one-woman show about it called The Only Thing You'll Lose. It was my coming-of-age story of how I lost myself to please men and was sexually assaulted at twenty-two. I didn't tell anyone and shortly after I lost my voice and was unable to sing without pain. The show was the reclaiming of my body and voice and I thought I had done the work that needed to be done. I thought that stopping my bulimia and my restrictive eating that started in middle school, and speaking the truth about what happened to me was enough.
But obviously, I wasn't done healing.
I was a ball of tension, disconnected from my true spirit and constantly at war with the only companion that would be with me all of my days, my physical body. I was facing another dark-night-of-the-soul moment, where I knew my will to thrive must be stronger than my will to diminish - but I was losing.
And what was wrong with me?! I was engaged to be married to a man I love and who loves me so steadily, in a way I had only dreamed about just a few years prior. My poetry was starting to be recognized by feminist conferences and websites like Upworthy. I should be happy, right?
Instead, I was struggling to have the desire to continue living.
Let's take it back a few years..
My background is in theatre. Attending a performing arts conservatory senior year of high school and an acting conservatory for college, I was constantly being taught how to train my instrument (in theatre-speak, your body is your instrument). I was taught how to access emotion and move with energy and dynamism. My voice was trained in articulating clearly and my memory honed in learning lines so fast that I could truly be in the moment when I spoke them.
But something was missing.
Love for this vessel that carried me daily, letting me experience pleasure and the joys of being alive. Love for my voice that my mother had once told me was not so good (it's okay, love you, mom). Love for the ability to feel the way I wanted to feel through the power of concentration and engaging fully, mind-body-spirit into whatever I was doing.
Instead, I viewed my body as a fuck-up, always getting in the way of what my mind wanted to do. If I was being corrected in Voice and Speech class in front of everyone, I would get embarrassed, which would make my throat close up, making the situation worse as I tried to squeak out the assignment. If I was supposed to play someone bold and sexy, my body's discomfort with sexuality would betray me. If I looked in the mirror too long, I started focusing on how the film world would eat me alive because I would never be thin enough to actually land a role on camera.
But occasionally, in movement class, I would get out of my head long enough to catch a glimpse of my power - my wholeness, harmony and radiance as a fully embodied being that would keep me inspired for months. Always searching for that feeling again, where I was connected to myself and the Universe, a feeling that took my breath away just as it filled my lungs and soul with fresh inspiration.
This was the feeling I felt when I was onstage performing my spoken word poetry.
This was the feeling I felt when I was teaching something I felt passionate about.
This was the feeling I felt whenever I had tapped into my wholeness, becoming a true vessel for a bigger purpose.
This was the feeling I felt when I was gumptious, aligned and unstoppable. When I trusted completely the unfolding of my life, knowing that every moment was perfect and leading me to my next higher purpose of creative expression and service to the world.
Frustrated with how disconnected I had become from that girl who carried within her the light of the Universe, I started wondering...what created that wonderful feeling of connection and expansion? And how could I get back to it more often?
Was it possible?
Yes. It was.
That is how I discovered GUMPTION.
And I say discovered, rather than created or "made up", because I believe that I have been led to a Universal truth. One that keeps getting reinforced by other authors on the subject of connecting to divine purpose through the physical body. People like theologian Matthew Fox and energy healer Caroline Myss, who studied spiritual, mental and physical practices for decades in the service of healing and creative expression on an individual and collective level and have shared them in their books.
The more I learn, the surer I become that GUMPTION is simply another one of the methods and frameworks in this lineage that can be used for the same.
So what is this "GUMPTION"?
It's an easy-to-remember framework that can quickly get you into alignment. When I say alignment, I mean this state of being connected to yourself and the Universe. I mean a state of personal power and joy. I mean the place where you take action with verve and enjoy life unfolding in perfect time for your own growth and nourishment. I mean the place where you can truly be a leader, using your voice for the good of all. The place where you encourage good health and vitality, allowing your body to heal itself. I mean the place where you can also do more down-to-earth things, like set boundaries for yourself, meet your goals and ask for what you need from your partner, your boss, your clients, your friends.
Each letter of the word GUMPTION holds a key to this experience.
G for Grounded
U for Up
M for Muscle
P for Play, and Pleasure
T for Truth
I for Inspiration
O for Om
N for Now
When you are embodying each of these words, (which means not just connecting to it mentally, but feeling it in your body, heart and soul) YOU become an unstoppable force. Whole, harmonious, radiant with your purpose and the simple joy of being in your body. You are love. You are truth. You are a blend of masculine and feminine, yin and yang, connected to the whole of the whole and the essence of your being.
My next breakthrough in the GUMPTION journey was realizing that I already knew how to access this place. If I had a stage to perform on and something true to share, I could embody it. I had been trained in how to get myself there in acting school for the purpose of artistic expression.
So why wasn't I feeling that way more often? If I knew how to feel that way, what was stopping me?
And suddenly I realized nothing was stopping me.
I realized that I had the power to make every day, every moment feel blessed, connected and invigorated. It required effort and concentration, but it really wasn't that hard. It just required a big desire to feel the way I want to feel. (nod to Danielle LaPorte!)
If I had the ability to access that feeling and use it to fuel my creative work and my business, why wouldn't I?
Why wouldn't I spend my life in the fullness of my being, rather than the limited perspective of my brain?
So I went to work, not only putting into practice the things I already knew how to do, but seeking out teacher and mentors that could help me take it to the next level. I discovered energy medicine practices and Franklin Method, Universal Health Principles™ and mindfulness meditation.
I grew my toolbox (and am constantly expanding it!) to be able to access this place more often than not. To reset my system, using the GUMPTION framework as a reminder of my wholeness, of what I might be needing more of in this moment - and taking one or more of the practices that are held in the letters of GUMPTION, to get me there.
Now I teach the GUMPTION framework to women who are looking for a way to make peace with their body and come into their ever-growing personal power as creators, writers, performers, coaches and leaders in their families, friend circles and communities.
I do this through my free online materials as well as a paid small group coaching program called The GUMPTION Catalyst Circle for a deep dive in mastering your instrument through these practices over an 8-week period.
To find out more about the next GUMPTION Catalyst Circle, go here. If you'd like support at an ongoing, more affordable group level, I have a monthly membership called Creative Spring that uses the principles of GUMPTION as well as creative practice in general to support women in completing their creative projects in a way that feels expansive and healthy. Find out more here. (Registration is open through October 31st).
To speak with me privately about my creative midwife services, email me directly at email@example.com. I am able to assist a few women a year in bringing their longer-term creative projects to life.
Peace, love & gumption,