Braving the Past & Telling Your Story

 

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I have a slight obsession with freedom. My tattoos speak for it. I have five tattoos all of which symbolize freedom.

 

One is a tattoo on my right wrist of the word Moksha in cursive with pink autumn leaves, the moon and stars around it.

 

I got this right before I moved to New York after I got out of the military.

I was a photojournalist for the Navy and while on deployment I took a class on religions.  In Hinduism they have many ideas and one is moksha; freedom from suffering.

 

This reminds me that I am immortal. That I can be free any moment from suffering, from the past and from the cycle of pain.

 

The other tattoo is of a heart with wings and a banner in the middle with the words Set Free.

 

I got this when I was seventeen right before I joined the Navy. I remember sitting on a small stool for hours for this tattoo.

 

It was so important to me to have this tattoo. It symbolized my journey forward from the past.

 

There was a man beside me that I looked up to and saw as a Father.

 

He was a born again Christian. With tattoo sleeves of Jesus Christ on his arms.

 

He was also a former drug addict. And biker gang member.

 

His name was Glenn. Glenn Johnson.

 

He was a father of two that he knew of. I lived with him and his family for two years until I joined the Navy.

 

They adopted me when I was sixteen.

 

I remember sitting at the dinner table doing my homework while he made dinner.

 

He paused from his meal-making and said, “Emily, what if I told you that I wish I had you years ago before my wife?”

 

I laughed.

He couldn’t be serious.

 

Could he?

 

How could this happen to me again?

 

Is there something wrong with me? Did I ask for this?

 

No thought really could make sense of his question. No thought could give me answer that made me feel better.

 

My Set Free tattoo was a symbol of freedom.  

 

A celebration of me finally being free from them.

 

From him. From the past. From memory.

 

The thing about freedom from the past is not that we never remember it.

 

Or that we forget.

 

I tried to forget what happened to me.

 

Even now I am still recollecting fragments of memories.

 

We can never be truly free from the past because it always is a part of us. But we can be free from the power it can carry in the present and in the future.

 

I have a sparrow tattoo on my left wrist. I love birds. They also symbolize freedom.

 

Down my left forearm are the words Fortitude; courage in the midst of adversity.

 

A reminder that even in my darkest moments, in remembering, in sadness I can still be courageous. I can still find the silver linings to every storm.

 

Get the picture?

 

Tattoos tell the story of memory. Of time.

 

Of what I have overcome. And also what I must remember.

 

Remembering gives us information.

 

Here we can go back in time like magicians and manipulate experiences.

 

Say what we always wanted to say. Visualize the conversation we always wanted to have.

 

Overcome the fears, heal the past, write a new story for the future.

 

Remembering also gives us the truth. There are no lies in facts.

 

It gives us grief, joy, happiness, laughter,  anger, rage.

 

It gives us moments of softness. Tenderness.

 

Forgiveness and acceptance.

 

When we remember we have the power to see life from a 360 degree view. That is how powerful the mind can be.

 

Remembering gives us insight into growth. Into who we were.

 

In my journey of healing from trauma there have been many times that I didn’t want to remember. My brain tried to keep my safe from seeing, feeling or experiencing memory again.

 

It is only now in the journey of being brave to face it again in a new light that I can sit with the memories that once were terrifying to feel again.

 

A tool that has been an anchor in my healing and writing process that I would love to share with you is from the book Wild Mind.

 

The author shares a writing prompt: “I remember. I don’t remember”.

 

I practiced writing my story using this writing prompt and uncovered so much more.

 

My invitation to you is to brave your story. To go where your mind may fear to go.

 

To ask for support in the process of remembering and to gather all the tools you need for this quest.

Manifesting What I Wanted Flat Broke and Confused

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My manifestation journey has been one of trust, intuition and conversation.

It can be hard to stay connected to your vision when in the process of moving.

I have had a powerful journey of manifesting what I wanted when I had very little to no money and just a vision in my mind and heart.

I had this nudge to move from New York City to Los Angeles a year and a half ago.

Based on my inner voice telling me that I was going to move here.

At the time it sounded absurd especially because I created a whole life in New York.

I gave up my tiny studio apartment in the Bronx and couch surfed with a friend in Brooklyn for three months.

It was a process to accept that I was at a turning point in my life.

I felt depressed and confused.

I knew that I couldn’t stay in New York much longer. It was becoming so hard to be there from the cold to the busy madness of the city. I was leaving a subculture behind. I was leaving a relationship of two years.

And a relationship of ten years with New York.

When I really decided I would move to Los Angeles it was a process.

I flew out to LA several times. I didn’t find a place to live until about a year after deciding to move.

I didn’t want to just settle for anything. I had a vision in my mind.

I was going to live in a house close to the beach. I would be close enough to get to the mountains for hiking. I wouldn’t pay more than $1500 a month for rent. I didn’t want to buy furniture.

I just wanted to show up and start my life.

Within a year I told anyone I was in conversation with that I was moving to Los Angeles.

And in that year synchronistically I found a place via word of mouth in a conversation in New York City. A friend shared her friends were moving back to NYC and they were living in a house.

And there it was. I flew out shortly after, met my future roommate who now has become a great friend and put my deposit down.

It was a house near the beach. The rent was exactly $1500. It was furnished.

It was everything I envisioned!

And it was seamless to move in.

I didn’t have much money saved. And I just knew I would make it work.

From that day forward my life has completely changed.

I have invested in two years of self-development training from emotional intelligence to yoga teacher training.

It has helped me grow into the woman I want to be and also helped me leave behind so much of my identity that was unhealthy.

Not just that but I have manifested some beautiful surprises.

I am now in a committed partnership with a man I met one month after moving here.

We are going to be having a child soon due in December.

I am entering the next chapter of my life of Motherhood and loving a human that I haven’t even met yet.

I am still finding my footing financially after so much in self-investment. But I remember my vision. To a well-known author and teacher.

Who makes enough to support her family and more. Who makes a social impact in education and food injustice.

I don’t have much money right now.

And that’s okay.

I have my well-being. My health.

My partner. My support system.

And a whole lot of LOVE. More than love than I ever had as a kid.

And the best part is that I get to channel all of that to my kid.

We think we need so much money to manifest what we want in life.

But the truth is you don’t. You need a good head on your shoulders, a vision and good people.

Share what you most want to manifest. Envision it in your mind.

Trust your feelings. Act on them. Some processes take a little time but the rewards come in plenty.

These are the tools I have learned in my manifestation process that will continue to get me to where I want to be:

  1. Trust the nudge. Your inner gut. The persistent voice in your head to make a move.
  2. Talk about it. Write about it.
  3. Envision it and see how it feels in the future. Imagine yourself there. What are you doing? Who is around you? What are you creating?
  4. Go where your vision is. For me it was moving to LA. So I flew out here many times. I made friends every time. I explored the community. I talked to people. I networked. When I felt a partner coming in my life I meditated. I joined an app and decided to give it a shot. I followed some love experts advice on dating. I did something new that I wouldn’t do in my dating process normally.
  5. Do what you never do. Don’t go where you feel comfortable. Go where you are uncomfortable.
  6. Get support. Surround yourself with good people in your life. Who are on the same path. Vision oriented people. Of integrity that you can trust.

The rest will fall into place. It is isn’t a matter of how but WHO.

 

 

 

 

Speak Your Voice even if it F*cking Shakes

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The process of sharing my voice has been an uphill battle.

As a child and young adult I never truly felt safe in sharing my voice.

I didn’t know the rage it could carry when angry.

I didn’t know the gentle grace it has when soft.

I didn’t know how powerful it was to move crowds.

It has been in the last few years that I have given my voice a chance to be FREE. To say what it has never said. To feel the tremble of anxiety in front of crowds.

To be on Facebook live and teach webinars, do mediumship messages in front of strangers and liberate myself from the fears of judgment, rejection and disapproval.

Or worse.

My little girl is slowly leaving and my woman voice is rising.

She is firm. Stern. Soft. gentle. nurturing. compassionate, resilient as fuck.

She loves unconditionally.

She holds space with sacredness.

She gives because she just fucking wants to.

And… she curses. Because it feels good.

And these days I am all about doing whatever I can to feel better.

The goal isn’t 100% going to be to feel good. But I can make it a goal to feel better.

So I am giving myself permission to be FREE as fuck. In my communication.

In my message. In my loudness. In my softness.

I still am learning boundaries. To give and to receive.

TO SAY NO.

NO is still hard. It is safe for me to say no now with grace and ease.

For those who are not sure what their voice is or are stepping into the power of the voice here are some tools that have helped me:

  1. Scream. Find a mountain. Find a room. Your car. And scream as loud as you want to. Scream all the things that your heart hurts from! Scream all the things you want! Shout it into the universe! What are you deserving of? What are you healing from? Who do you want to curse out? DO IT! And don’t hold back.
  2. Sing. Sing in the shower. Sing strange sounds. Make up new words. Play with sound.
  3. Speak up. Be the first to speak up in a crowd of people. Raise your hand. Everyone else is probably too scared to speak their truth. Do it and be the source of change.

These are a few tools I practice to help me release, transform and hear what I want to say, what I need to say, and what I MUST say.

It doesn’t always have to make sense. It is an experiment with you finding, hearing, soothing your voice.

Be free voice, be free.

How to Come Out of the Spiritual Closet

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“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom”. – Anais Nin

Coming out the spiritual closet can be terrifying. I know.

My journey to owning my gifts has been an ongoing relationship of love, acceptance and surrender.

I feel that most days I am uncomfortable but in my practice of being human I remember that I am not separate from others.

If anything my gifts brings me closer to connection, trust and vulnerability.

Talking dreams, spirit, intuition and all the things that are still becoming mainstream can be scary but yet invigorating.

I find liberation in my practice through yoga, pranayama, journaling and meditation. I find answers that I otherwise don’t get it in my waking life.

The process to discovering, owning and then sharing our gifts with the world is a delicate journey.

Some people leap right in and for some of us it takes time.

I like to remind myself that on the other side of fear is freedom.

It is a constant practice of sharing my gifts with the world.

This is true for anyone passionate about anything. Artists, writers, creatives, chefs, craftsmanship. It all requires a sense of mastery and surrender.

Letting go of the effect but trusting in the process.

Coming out of the spiritual closet requires:

  1. Remembering “WHY” we fell in love with the art of spirituality
  2. Having a vision that we are committed to, i.e. I teach people life-changing spiritual tools so they can live free, transformed and intuitively guided lives supported by the universe.
  3. Surrender, i.e. surrendering to being present with every moment being a gift to share something beautiful about ourselves in hopes of helping another
  4. Trust; trusting that there is a reason and purpose for what we feel to be true in our nature and relationship to self and the universe.

Start big, start small. Mainly just start.

The first step begins now.

On the other side of every doubt, fear, insecurity is a new gift waiting to be received.

What It’s Like to Live with Spiritual Gifts

“Living with spiritual gifts must feel weird, huh?”

“Can you turn it off ever?”

“Do you pick up on everything around you?”

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These are some of questions people ask me when I tell them I am intuitive.

I share that I can feel information about someone.

I can also feel information from passed loved ones.

Living with spiritual gifts doesn’t feel any different from anyone else.

I don’t see my gifts different or separate from me. If anything it has led me to live a more fulfilled life.

I see my gifts as tools; tools that we all have.

You have them too.

It’s like watching a tree bloom in the spring.

The buds slowly come into their true expression, their form, beauty and color.

We are all really just coming into our full true authentic expression.

This is what it means to live a real life.

Gifts can be intuition, compassion, listening, craftsmanship, science, reasoning, art, dance.

We all have our own way of feeling, sensing and knowing life.

We have an inner world that we wake up in every morning.

Spiritual gifts give me insight into what I am doing that is bringing me closer to my dharma, my purpose in life. It also shows me what I need to let go, new ways to see life and bring healing to myself and others.

I wake up and have a chat with the universe first second my brain turns on.

I listen to the thoughts that arrive.

I listen to the intuitive knowledge that comes.

How can I best serve myself and others today?, is the question I ask.

Sometimes I know immediately.

Sometimes the answer comes later.

Intuitively I weave myself through my experiences from my cup of coffee, my morning talks with my boyfriend, client calls, writing, social media, my dog and yoga practice.

Every experience is a moment to serve. And intuitively receive.

I gain new wisdom and fresh knowledge.

New information to share in the world.

This is a potent time for people to realize who they were all along.

My gifts bring me sanity, happiness, joy and love.

They show me what really is necessary and what I am getting distracted by.

Discovering your spiritual gifts opens a door that was always there.

As the great witch from the Wizard of Oz said to Dorothy, “You had the power all along, my dear”.

We have the power to find home inside of us.

The universe and all of it’s infinite wisdom is right here.

Open your senses and listen.

Finding Your Way Through the Darkness

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When you are the end of your rope, tie a know and hold on. When you think you are at the end of your journey, reach out your hand and someone will meet you there.” – Emily Stroia, Into the Light 

I know the darkness like an old friend who comes to haunt me when I start falling into old belief patterns. I know the darkness like a wave that I have been submerged under and also conquered.

The darkness is there to show us how far we can go down the rabbit hole or climb up it. It is there to show us our edge.

Our minds are powerful guides that can take us on a journey of destruction or resilience.

For me I have experienced both.

I know that the path of sabotage and destruction has only made me feel worse. Resilience when life knocks me down reminds me that I am greater than my circumstance. I am greater than the darkness.

Finding your way through the darkness requires faith.

Faith that there is a silver lining somewhere.

If you can’t find it relentlessly create it.

Make art from the darkness.

Write.

Let the chaos serve a purpose that is healthy.

Move your body. Let music carry your emotions.

We have two choices.

We can fall to the power of our fear or let the fear has it’s voice and keep going.

Like any thing in life if we want it we can push through.

The darkness can be a friend, a gift, an opportunity to see life from all perspectives.

My favorite quote, “But without the darkness we cannot see the stars”.

I have realized that without my story I wouldn’t be the light I am.

We are never alone. The universe supports us in all things.

How the Quiet Can Change Humankind.

“My love, where do you go when you go quiet?”

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The quiet has always been a magical and mysterious place for me. I like to consider myself an extrovert introvert. I can enjoy a good conversation and social gathering but then I also like my quiet time.

This is where I get to be the turtle and retreat into my shell when necessary for growth and reflection. For anyone who has a first nature to be introverted you may naturally gravitate towards more solo and individual experiences.

And for the outgoing extrovert it is time needed to recharge and replug.

The quiet is a place for all of us. Always available.

It can be inside or in an environment.

It is where we can listen. Gain insight. Hear our intuition.

My quiet practice involves mentally going into the temple or “cave” of my mind. Tuning out from the world and going within.

It gives me the opportunity to sit in stillness, be creative and build something from nothing. In space of nothing is everything hence why minimalism is so popular.

We don’t need so much to create or to hear. We just need intention, discipline and willingness.

Are you willing?

Surrender to the quiet and let it guide you on your own journey.

Your body will thank you for it.

And you will thank you for it.

We can be better humans to ourselves and to each other.

In stillness there is a kindness and compassion that I am reminded of. I am reminded that I deserve to be kind to myself and to know compassion. That I am human and that in itself is enough.

Being human is a miracle.

Without the moments of being in the quiet I may not have those reminders.

In the quiet

I grow

I listen

I create

My heart softens

I am within

I am without

I am everything

And

I am human.

Where do you go when you go quiet?