“Wolf, teach us the lessons we need to learn, dance with us the Power Dances.” Pawnee song
– Author Unknown
The spirit of the Wolf represents the three main pillars of my work and mission: Courage, Commitment and Community.
Courage: To be seen and heard.
The wolf represents courage and protection. When we allow ourselves to be seen, rather than perform, we model for others that being authentic and real is possible. As a survivor of childhood incest, I represent a large portion of our population, yet we are on a whole both invisible and silent. Because of what I represent, to simply make myself visible and to allow my voice to be heard in speaking my truth, I give crazy hope to a vast number of individuals. I am keenly aware that while I stand in my vulnerability, I am literally paving a path for future generations. I am breaking generational cycles. People will still question: “Why do you need to be seen?” “Why do you have to tell your story again?” Well, this is why. Add up the millennia, where children were violated and remained silent. I speak for myself, but I can literally feel it in my body when I stand on a stage; I also speak for those whose voices were never heard, as well as for those survivors not yet born. When one person of any group steps out of a closet, all are beckoned to follow suit. This is a main part of my mission: to expand my reach as an advocate for survivors of childhood incest. It is my intent to share with as many audiences as possible. It is my goal to promote awareness and increase the understanding of the multifaceted pieces involved in the effects of as well as the journey to heal from childhood incest.
Commitment: To oneself and one’s own inner work.
The wolf represents following our instincts and inner knowing, rather than ignoring what our gut and body are telling us. Staying connected to the body and sitting with uncomfortable or frightening emotions will lead us directly back to our truth and keep us whole. In order to be a contributing, safe and effective member of our community, we need to first and foremost commit to ourselves. By this I mean we need to commit to doing our own work and continue on with our healing and growth. We often avoid this work with numbing behaviors: excessively using food or restricting food intake, substances, process behaviors, controlling, perfecting, codependency (focusing on helping others, so we don’t have to focus on our own lives and healing) focusing on work, staying busy, never being alone and the list goes on. What doing my work, looks like for me, is a daily practice and conscious decision to not escape painful feelings. It involves my commitment to stay with what is uncomfortable. No matter what “it” is, it takes tremendous courage to face the pain, rather than to avoid, deny or stay numb around it. The only way to heal is to go through our uncomfortable emotions and face what terrifies us. On the other side of these strong feelings is the best part of our lives, which is waiting for us. The tools I have found most useful in committing to myself and my own inner work are the techniques that I naturally share with my clients. They include: Expressive Therapies, Mind-body Practices, and Inner Child Work, Spiritual and Shamanic Work.
Community: A return to community & connection.
The wolf represents a call back to the pack! This involves risk, for everyone, not just those with a trauma-history. A key piece in being able to trust others is being able to trust oneself. The act of being vulnerable involves believing that you are strong enough in yourself to handle whatever comes. As I was so fragmented in my own life, it was only until I could really learn to trust myself that I could learn to trust others. This is an area I still very much work on and continue to take risks with. The truth is, we are stronger in numbers and as Brene Brown writes: “hardwired for connection.” We are not empowered alone. We are empowered in our connection to others. Abuse breeds in silence and isolation. The more people are connected in real and authentic ways, rather than performing, perfecting and posturing, the more we create safe communities. Through authentic connection an individual is empowered in her own life while staying connected to the broader extension of the community that supports her.