COVEN. CALL. THIRTEEN.
FEAUTRING: JESSICA DURIVAGE KERRIDGE & SARAH DURHAM WILSON
Listen: SHAME INTO POWER.
PART ONE. JESSICA DURIVAGE KERRIDGE.
ABOUT JESSICA. Jessica Durivage-Kerridge is listener, a reflector and a space holder for those she meets. She believes this is one of the greatest services she can offer her fellow human beings. To listen, to see, to reflect and to hold the precious gift of another's presence in her own. She is the founder of Where is My Guru – an intimate in-person and virtual learning center for spiritual, personal and professional development. She works with small businesses and individuals in the wellness and yoga industries offering an extensive portfolio of services including mentoring, strategic marketing and visioning and training development. She is known through her interview style, yoga teaching and writing for her mindful, practical and humorous approach to life and practice. Her writing has been published in Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine, Origin Magazine, Rebelle Society and Elephant Journal. Her gurus are her amazing children – Ellis Roy and LeeAnn Michelle. www.whereismyguru.com @whereismyguru
PART II. SARAH DURHAM WILSON. CLOSING CALL.
Finally, Jessica will interview me on my path, from my depression & addiction, from rock gods to the Goddess, to publicly speaking on pain, to my awakening, my work with women in de-stigmatizing the witch as healer, ego & shadow work, self love & solitude, heartbreak & healing, mother wound & grief, fire walking & forgiving, feminine healing of body, soul & earth, women's leadership & finding our voice & purpose.
Coven Call 13: Jessica Durivage Kerridge
Sarah: Hi. Can you hear me?
Sarah: When people start to come on what I do is I mute the lines and then I unmute you, so don’t be nervous when that happens.
Sarah: I’ll let you know when to do it.
Jessica: How are you?
Sarah: I don’t know. Something interesting is going to happen tonight. I feel that way.
Jessica: Yeah? You do?
Sarah: Yeah. I just feel, I don’t know… I wasn’t allowed to distract myself tonight with anything. I had to just sit. And now I’m just sitting in silence, in the dark, a mile away from the cabin where there’s Wi-Fi. It’s funny when you said yesterday, “I’m going to be really present for you,” I was doing 3,000 things at once to even get 20 minutes to talk to you yesterday. And now I am so present. I’m just dreamy and sort of in pain about the beauty and brevity of life because a lot of stuff is happening. I’ve been going through some stuff with God, wondering what the deal is with the world right now. You know what I mean? The pain in the lives of the ones that I love intimately and the pain globally. It’s pretty hard to watch.
Jessica: You know honey, I just want to say that’s just so beautiful, because that is what happens when we are able to understand our own suffering. And that’s what I tell my students. You’ve got to figure out your own suffering, because that is nothing. When you start to figure out your own suffering and you turn and look at this world that is dying for your love. What’s intimate about your work is how beautiful and heavy, and just intense it must feel. I’m listening to you and, and this honest journey of self-healing, and then it’s like oh my God. The world… And the heaviness… What I used to think about my own needs and what going on. Not to say what we’ve got going on isn’t important. It’s still important and things will still come up. But oh my God, this is why I needed to heal myself. Because God, you need my help.
Sarah: That’s a cool way to say it. I’ve never said it like that. We should save this. Let’s just ground.
Jessica: We had a good call yesterday and we just went through about 5 minutes and we don’t have anything for you.
Sarah: I’m going to mute this line. Hold on. Can you hear me Jessica? Sometimes it takes a second. Try it again. Jessica?
Jessica: Can you hear me?
Sarah: Yeah. We’re good.
Jessica: I have literally 3 sticks of my favorite incense left, that I covet so much and I’m lighting one for us.
Sarah: I covet incense too and incense always tells me that’s crazy, and to just keep lighting it and getting more.
Sarah: Don’t save yourself for a rainy day, or anything for a rainy day. Because that assumes that you have another day.
Jessica: I know…
Sarah: My computer still says Mountain Time. Somewhere in Taos, New Mexico it’s 6:00pm. Where we are its 8:00pm and 5:00pm in California and people are joining us tonight on our final Coven Call. Strange, wild magical, transformative, heavy, light, weird trip we went on together. We came in as one person, and left another. I want to welcome everyone on the call. I’m in a parking lot in Martha’s Vineyard because my cabin doesn’t have cellphone service or Wi-Fi. And I’m just going to ground us.
Let’s just close our eyes, and go in, and settle into our body, settle into our bones. And take a deep breath, starting at the base of the spine, up along the spine, through the nose, open the crown. Exhale. Two more times like that. From the base of the spine, up along the spine, through the nose. Rise with the wind. Rise with the waves. And exhale. Last time. Inhale deeply. Deep, deep, deep, deep, deep breath in. Open the crown. Receive. And exhale. There’s a book on my shelf in the beach camp, Waiting to Exhale, the Terry McMillan book. And I realize I’m still waiting to do that, once I’m finally in a house of my own. Let’s call in the energies of the North, the Earth, the great mother that sustains us. That has sustained us for 13 weeks. Somehow, with all the pain of the world, which Jessica and I were talking about tonight, she continues to sustain us. Let’s thank her for holding us and renewing us. And for this letting go process she’s in, that we’re in now along with her in fall. Thank you Mother Earth for welcoming the energies from the North and the earth. Calling the energies of East, air, inspiration, transformation. The winds of change. We welcome you into the conversation tonight, the energies of the East and air. Moving to the South, fire. May we be lit with our own passion to light each other’s desires and passions. Thank you for the women on this call who are so aligned with the Earth, and the purpose of healing themselves to heal the world. May everyone be lit on fire with that love storm that these women have been taken over by. We welcome the energies of the passionate South and desire. Moving to the West, and the water. These wounds that we go into to be reborn, our tears, the blood in our veins. Mother Ocean, we heal ourselves to heal you from the watery wounds, the watery depths of the West. Welcoming our own spirit in, waking our spirit to wake the spirit of others. We do this work for the spirit within, the Goddess within, and the Goddess without. It is in her honor, his honor, its honor. Blessed be the circle is open. And I want to welcome my sweet, wise, strong, wonderful friend Jessica Durivage Kerridge. Did I say that wrong? I say everyone’s name wrong.
Jessica: You said it beautifully.
Sarah: Us three-name girls… Jessica is the host of Where Is My Guru? She’s a talk host and a teacher. She’s a yoga teacher, a mother, and such a good friend to the sisterhood. She’s a supporter of the sisterhood. She supports telling our stories, bringing women together all over the world. She is such a wonderful interviewer. Such a present person. She can truly hold space with her presence, this very non-judgemental supportive presence. She is a gift to us and I just wanted to say thank you for being here for the last call at the very end of September and the waning energy of what a crazy blood moon we just had. So hi Jessica.
Jessica: Hi Sarah. Thank you. Hi everyone. Thank you so much for this wonderful journey for the last 13 weeks. To be a part of this amazing coven, and to witness the manifestation, speaking with you before all of this began, and you throwing yourself completely into all of this, in your own healing, for us, for the Goddess. I just really want to share how grateful I am to just be a part of it, to share, and to interview you later.
Sarah: I am so emotionally riddled. I’m like, “Wait we have to do this after?” Jessica asked me how I was feeling before the call, and I was feeling very feeling-y. I am feeling my feelings, which is the work. And all of my problems have stemmed from me avoiding my own feelings, and not wanting to feel my feelings. I dare say all the world’s problems stems from that. Beneath all the anger and the violence is fear. Nobody wants to feel fear, and so they will distract themselves. They’ll lash out, instead of sitting alone in a room with themselves. I can’t do that. In this cabin in (Sholmark?). I can’t distract myself. I can only sit alone in a room with myself. I did that before our call because Jessica said something really important yesterday. I was running around like a madwoman on my broom all over the island, flying around on my broom like a crazy person. She said, “I’m going to be really present for you tomorrow,” and I was literally doing 3,000 things. And I was like, “Oh yeah, me too!” I really meant it. I honor you and I’ve been gathering presence for this.
Sarah: You heard that I was doing this coven and this was 4 months ago now. You had interviewed me. You are, I’m going to use the wrong word, an affiliate with Rebelle Society and work for Rebelle Society TV and you had interviewed me for that. You interviewed me with Tanya Markul, who a lot of people know as ThugUnicorn. She’s an editor at Rebelle Society. You guys had interviewed me for a health and wellness series and I was hungover from a wine tour in Santa Barbara.
Jessica: You don’t even remember.
Sarah: The irony was amazing. And we had the time zone wrong. It was like 6:00 my time, and I had a house guest, and we had just gotten back from a Santa Barbara wine tour. And it was like, “this is our health podcast,” and I was breathing into a paper bag, sweating.
Jessica: Greater introductions have never happened… Nothing like just showing up authentically, as we usually do on the first day of a detox, like, “Oh fuck”.
Sarah: That’s how we end up detoxing, when we’ve hit a real wall. Clearly I don’t know how to take care of myself on my own. I need to sign-up for a program. That’s when we first talked. We supervised. And you interviewed me about Coven Conversations, and the first thing that you said was, “I want to share my story.” And I got a glimpse of the story, and I was like, “yes, we’ve got to tell this story.” Tonight we’re both going to talk a little bit about sex, secrecy, and shame, and the alchemy of that. Let’s do this. Tell them a little more about Where is My Guru? and then we’re going to go back in time.
Jessica: Where is My Guru? was born while I was sitting on the coast of Ecuador in South America with my now husband. We were running a non-profit at the time. I had this habit my whole life of working really well-paid jobs and then just quitting to go off and find myself. That’s kind of what happened. I was working a really well-paid job and I quit to run this non-profit. And I’ve been in constant search of what is my offering, what is my service, how can I be of service, how can I be of value. It’s been a dramatic push-pull through a lot of different incarnations. Sitting there is with (?) and we had just finished filming this documentary. I was with street children in Ecuador and we were working with this amazing education program. And I was like, “what makes people tick?”, “how are these people so happy?” My path includes living in Haiti. I lived in Haiti several month teaching. These people are so happy. You come back to America and people are miserable, or we’re searching for something. What makes these people tick? Where is you source? Where is your source of happiness? Where is your source of spirit? Where is your guru? And it was kind of a tongue-in-cheek sort of thing because the answer, as we all know, is that our source is within us. We are constantly seeking without, looking for something to fill us up. How many times do we put or feet back on the mat, take that first breath in and, “oh fuck yeah, this is where I am”? How many times you put your pen to paper… journaling, that’s where I find myself. Oh yeah, in nature, that’s where I find myself. I’ve been out looking for it on eBay, or whatever, in a bottle of wine, in bed with somebody. I’ve been there, all those places, many times. It was a blog, and then it was a radio show where I interviewed people. I did over 500 interviews and travelled around the country. This all started with, “this is fun.” All of a sudden this fun thing was like a 40 hour week, costing me lots of money to do, but I just never really saw it as anything but my work, or my service. It was amazing. I had a baby.
Sarah: Can I interrupt you for just a second?
Jessica: Yeah, sure.
Sarah: A lot of women on this call, definitely a few, are really interested in doing more interviews. As someone who’s done over 500, can you just throw out a few tips for interviewing?
Jessica: Yeah! I never have a script when I interview people, I maybe send them 3 or 4 bullet points. Let’s create a guiding source through this, let’s set an intention, but I never have a script. If the person I’m interviewing has specific questions that they really liked to be asked… What I found guys, really, if people are like, “I’m afraid to ask this person to be interviewed,” what I’ve realized that people like talking about themselves. Getting people to say yes to you is not actually as hard as you think, so ask. Send an email. Whether it’s for your blog, or you want to do a voice interview, or a video interview… They’ve got their books that they want to share, or work they want to share. They’re trying to find platforms of people that want to help them get their message out. We’re all nervous, like “oh will they want to talk to me?” But actually, they’re like, yes. You have an audience that they want to reach.”
Sarah: Great. And I agree with the loose script, definitely. What I’ve noticed is that it’s a conversation. I’d say the thing that makes you such a great interviewer Jess, is your presence. What you’ll do with me is have a great conversation. You’ll catch something I’ve said, and you’ll reflect back to me what I’ve said and pull something interesting from it, then we’ll move on with that. We’ll walk together through it. You’re not sitting there like, “What’s your favorite color?” and I’m like, “Red. Because when my mother died she handed me a red ribbon,” and you go “Ok. What’s your favorite ice cream?” Because a good interviewer would go, “Oh your mother died? When did that happen?” Do you know what I mean? You stay present to catch the ball. You know what I mean, instead of letting it drop.
Jessica: I’ll never forget the time my therapist told me that active listening is a skill. And she said, “People pay me good money to do it.” Active listening, like you just said, the reflecting back, the validating, the affirming, what that does for your guests is that, not only for the listeners, it creates more of a flow. But for your guest, when they feel like you are affirming them, validating them and seeing them, they open up so much more. You know? It can become a humorous, funny, conversation. I’ve had so many people reflect back to me about my interview style, where they said, “Gosh Jess, it’s just like I’m talking to a friend.” People that are listening to maybe their yoga teacher, or someone they felt like was untouchable. They’re like, “you’ve interview so-and-so, and blah-blah-blah.” I just felt like they were my friend because that’s what we all are. We’re just human beings. We’re trying to make sense of our stories. Some people perhaps are a little bit further along a specific path because of lineage or practice, or something like that, technique or whatever. And their desire is to shine their light really brightly so you can see maybe a little more clearly what is going on on your path.
Sarah: I remember having Daniel Ladinsky, the poet who translates Hafiz, who said the best gift anyone has ever given him was to be listened to. And that’s the biggest gift we can give anyone. Yesterday I was talking to a friend. I was telling her about how I haven’t been able to land. And I thought she was just waiting to get her bitch session in, like how I was complaining. And she said, “Wow, I really hear you Sarah.” I was like, “Oh my God.” It was like medicine. “Wow, I really hear you Sarah.” And I was like, “Oh my God! That was the best thing anyone has ever said to me.
Sarah: So Where is My Guru?, back to that. We were talking about findings ourselves again, and again, as our own guru.
Sarah: And you interviewed 500 people.
Jessica: I interviewed 500 people and then I was broke and in debt. And then I had a baby and my husband was like, “Listen unless you find a way to figure this out, and to do it in a way that’s sustainable. Now you have to choose. Where’s My Guru? has been your baby yes, and your service work, and now you want to be a mom, you want that to be your service work. You know what we’re not independently wealthy, so you kind of have to have a “come to Jesus,” with what you want to do.” I was like, “Ok this is going to go into marination. Where is my Guru? is going to go dark. And I’m going to dive. And I did, I dove head first and heart first into motherhood and that experience. It was just so powerful and wonderful. I’ll get into this a little bit, but it’s been something that I’ve waiting to re-experience for many, many years. Through constant setting of intention of when Where is My Guru? is going to rise from the ashes, it will take on a new form, and it will be ready and be present. And it did. And we saw it. Kind of like the picture that I posted of myself that my husband took of rising from the swamp. Now it is an online school. It’s turning into a virtual center for higher learning. Where it’s basically the same principles, the same mission, the same vision, the same style of very real kind of raw candidness, and a business model that’s supportive of me and my family. And I’m working with all of the same people that I’ve interviewed. All of my favorite people that I’ve interviewed are all coming onboard to teach courses and classes. And that’s what’s happening now. I’m super passionate. I’m really excited about it. Thank you for asking.
Sarah: Hey! I’m not in it.
Jessica: Yes you are! We just talked about it yesterday! We just talked about it fucking yesterday!
Sarah: Okay. Alright. You’re off the hook.
Sarah: Your beautiful dream now is something that you’ve allowed to rise within you. It’s definitely a huge part of your dharma which we’re all seeking. You were 19 years-old. You did not know what you were doing, let’s just say.
Jessica: Let’s say things were a little foggier. It was a little different back then.
Sarah: So you can change your life. You’re a walking testament to that. Where were you at 19?
Jessica: At 19 I was pregnant, very much alone, flunking out of school, black out drunk at least 4 or 5 times a week, doing drugs. Warrants for my arrest… I went away to college. We have these big moments right, and then you go to therapy for a long time and you realize it was your parents that fucked you up. And you take it back a little bit further. By the time I was 19, I was lying. Through my teens I would have considered myself a recovering liar. I got this necklace that I bought, like alcoholics have this little coin, I have this necklace that I hold onto when I feel the temptation that I could just tell a white lie and nobody would find out. I kind of grabbed this rose quartz with a (?) charm and a pearl that a girlfriend made for me. I grab it and I think about all the years that I held onto lies, and just lived entangled in a huge web.
Sarah: What do you think the source of lying is? Where was that source from for you?
Jessica: My father, as he grew up, I just remember him saying, “Oh, it’s just a white lie, it won’t hurt anybody. It’s just a white lie.” And I remember being 5 years-old and hearing that, and like, “Dad that’s not true. That’s not what happened.” It might be something he was telling my grandma, or lies he was telling his friend, or he’d get on the phone, and he would say something completely opposite of what was happening. And my brother who’s a year younger than I... I just remember being like, “Dad, that’s not true.” Then he’d say, “It’s not going to hurt anyone.” So that was a big source.
Sarah: Is that what you call a pathological liar? Is that where the term comes from?
Jessica: You know, he doesn’t realize… He’s the sweetest man. We have a wonderful relationship. At this point, it’s like a relationship where you just accept where things are, so you can have one.
Sarah: Yes. I’m in a lot of them.
Jessica: Yeah, exactly. It’s fine because I don’t want more out of it. When I go looking for more out of it, that’s when a sense of disappointment arises.
Sarah: When you try to change them…
Jessica: Yeah. He is who he is, and he’s my father. He’s my blood. There are many wonderful qualities that I have from him. He just doesn’t realize... There’s just no awareness. Perhaps that’s how you would define pathological. That was the first time. And then my mother, when I was 12, she’s married to this man now, but she had an affair with her boss at work. He had 5 children. And they had an affair for 10 years.
Sarah: So she knew how to lie.
Jessica: She knew how to lie. From when I was 12 until I was 22, they were having this affair and he did finally end up leaving his wife. Now that you’re older, you think, this man had a wife at home with 5 children, the youngest being 5 years-old when my mom and he started their affair. Then my mom would come home and use the story when we were little as drama, like the wife was crazy. Like his wife was such a bitch. And she’s wrap me and my girlfriends into it a little bit, in the story of it all. We would be siding with my mom. We were all born on planet parent. You just don’t know anything else, and when you do start thinking for yourself, when I started thinking for myself, it was more of an active, challenged way, not in a balanced way. It was an act of rebellion out of a desire for independence, mixed with all this fucked-upness that I acquired from my parents. Also with a lot of wonderfulness, like great manners and I’m a nice person, and a good person. I was just a ball of confusion, as we all are at 19. I was in a not great relationship with the first guy that I had slept with, kind of my high school sweetheart in a way. We tried to go away to college. He was cheating on me, I was cheating on him. We were still doing that thing, like every time on the weekend when we came home we’d get together and pretend like it was okay, and then we’d fight like cats and dogs. All of a sudden, I found out that I was pregnant. I had been seeing somebody else and he’d been seeing other people. I found out I was pregnant and I just went into a complete standstill. I was paralyzed. I didn’t really know what to do. I was 3 months pregnant before I quit school. I was living in this apartment off-campus. Nobody really knew where I was. I was not good to my body at that time. I didn’t know I was pregnant, I had a suspicion that I was, and I finally went to the man that I had been dating in high school, his name is Jared, I don’t want to confuse people as we move forward, I went to Jared and said, “I think I’m pregnant.” And he was not happy because we were not getting along. He was a freshman in college living in a great house selling ecstasy. Who wants this? I went to actually have an abortion and we were sitting at the clinic, and the woman who was giving me an ultrasound said, “You’re 12 weeks pregnant. You can’t have an abortion here. You can go to, we were in Charleston South Carolina, you can go to Charlotte and have the procedure there, but it’s a different procedure.” I’ll remind you this was 17 years ago, the procedure was a little bit different, but I couldn’t do it. I said, “I can’t do this. I don’t know what we’re going to do. No clue what I’m going to do now, but I can’t do it.” At one point we called a friend of ours, and he suggested, “What about adoption?” And we began that process of trying to see what that would look like. All the while, I had a suspicion in the back of my mind that potentially this baby might not be Jared’s. This baby could be somebody else’s, but I didn’t know what to do at the time, and I was already so desperate, so desperate. My mom didn’t know I was pregnant. My dad didn’t know. They all thought I was still in school, making good grades. Nobody really knew what was happening. I was just lying to everybody. I was so caught up in this web. When I was about 4-5 months along, this other man came looking for me because we had a relationship. He asked me if I was pregnant. And I told him, yes I was. And he was like, “Is it mine?” I was like, “No it’s not yours.” He said, “Well I love you and I want to marry you.” And I actually really had feelings for him, and I cared about him very, very much. As much as I could say I cared for anybody, or knew how to care about anybody, because I didn’t know how to care for myself. There was a huge disconnect between what was real. I told him that, no this baby was not his, and I knew it was not his, and that I did not love him and I did not want to marry him, and so to please just get out of my life. In my heart I thought there is a very good chance that this baby is his, and I just didn’t know what to do. And I kept going back to Jared, the man that I went to high school with, lying through my teeth.
Sarah: The Jared attraction… There was a good man coming towards you telling going, “I love you. I want to marry you.” And then there’s a man that’s not so, lack of a better word, great to you. And the relationship wasn’t good. And you kept going back. Are we saying that’s all a reflection of how you felt you deserved to be treated, and how you treated yourself?
Jessica: Absolutely. Yeah.
Jessica: There was no sense of worth. The conversation will evolve, but I’m 37 years-old and I’m just now discovering how it feels to tangibly hold my worth, in this last year.
Sarah: And how does that feel? How do you do it? How does it feel?
Jessica: It feels fucking amazing! It’s still not easy.
Jessica: We talked earlier Sarah about feeling feelingy, and I’m alone. And I’m doing what I need to do for me right now to get present for this call, and it doesn’t feel all that great, but I know what I need to do for me. And I think that’s the definition of self-worth in a way.
Sarah: I’m going to correct you. It’s me doing what I need to do for the coven. It’s still not me doing what I need to do for me. This is the 13th call. I owe it to everyone to be so present. You know what I mean? It’s still not for me. I’m not there yet. And it will feel good. Because in a lot of ways, giving is receiving. I was talking with someone the other day, and look at our bodies, they are made to give birth, and our breasts are made to give milk. We’re made to give. Giving does feel good. And I will be grateful to have given my full presence. I don’t feel good when I haven’t. These were 13 calls and there were some nights, when I’d be in a hotel room doing my best. Life around me would be going insane. I think that’s what we’re talking about. Authentically showing up no matter what. Ignoring this idea that there’s some perfect way to be.
Sarah: Your work has become a practice and you are holding it now. You weren’t then and you had no idea how to care for yourself. When something good comes along, like in the form of this man who was saying he willing to marry you, that wasn’t even an option for you…
Jessica: No, it wasn’t even an option. On top of all those things, I was grappling also with the impending relinquishment of the baby, which is the trauma. They were choices that I made, the unfolding of the story with the lies and everything… But the baby saved my life. The relinquishment of the baby was the deepest darkest low, and also the wound that opened my soul.
Sarah: How did the baby save your life?
Jessica: We’re all clear that I didn’t know who the father was. I told this one man that he was the father. I moved forward with the adoption. I didn’t tell me parents that I was pregnant until I was 6-months. What I did is that I went and told them, basically that I was pregnant and that I was giving up the baby for adoption, and I got in all under control. At 19 years-old this is what I’m thinking… I look at girls now that are 18 and my heart just breaks for myself when I was 19.
Jessica: I was a baby. I had this moment, and I’ll never forget this moment, and it was leaving the hospital when I really realized that I had gone into the hospital carrying a baby, that I was numbed to really, that I kind of disassociated myself from, and I left with nothing. I left with nothing.
Sarah: So wild…
Jessica: And I was standing at the car and I dropped to my knees, and I just couldn’t move. I was incapacitated with pain. And I just…
Sarah: You said, “I just…”
Jessica: Yeah. I just…
Sarah: You know how I get about technology… We still have you.
Jessica: I’m still here. I’m here.
Sarah: Yeah. Did you give birth alone? Was no one with you?
Jessica: No. Nobody was there. I ended up having a caesarian because she was breech. And what was actually really interesting and beautiful, a lot of people have commented, “Wasn’t that hard?” And I didn’t know what was hard or easy, because I had never done it before. I had nothing to relate the experience to. Because I had the caesarian she was with me in the hospital for 5 days, and we were there together. She stayed in my room with me the whole time.
Sarah: That was no accident.
Jessica: No. And I definitely fell in love with her in that time. I remember looking at her and, Jared was there in the hospital- he had to sign the papers, but that he was not her father, and I did not know what to do. So I just kind of carried on. We left the hospital and our relationship sort of fizzled. And let’s see, my life was pretty touch for a long time. We talked about this yesterday Sarah, when you have a baby, whether the baby is in your life or not in your life, all those love hormones… Your heart expands and you’re given this glimpse into one of the amazing roles that you can play as a woman. There are so many amazing roles a woman can play, and one of them is bearing children. I didn’t have anywhere to put that, so I put it in different places… Men, alcohol and partying, jobs, and people, and expectations. I tried to put that hole that was in my soul, and tried to fill it up different places. It was never able to be filled. I do want to say, adoptions touches a lot of people, there’s usually when I’ve talked about this there’s always somebody in the room that has adoption in their life, whether they were placed for adoption or were a birth mother, or they know somebody who was adopted. I really want to honor all those stories, all the experiences that people have had. I never once doubted my decision to place my daughter with a family that was amazing and wonderful, and that could give her something that I could not. I never doubted that for a second. I grieved it, and I mourned it. Thank God that I knew that I was a fucking mess, and that there was this amazing woman and this amazing man that have tried, and tried, and tried, and tried to have children and could not have children and wanted a family. I just really want to share that. I want to share how much I honor all of the stories that I’ve heard about adoption.
Sarah: I want to make sure we get this in. Because time flies. Let’s get to the last 2 years. Can we do that?
Sarah: I am fast-forwarding too much?
Jessica: You can! Because the 15 years in-between was just pretty much a blur anyways. 3 years ago my now-husband and I were getting married. It was an open adoption, so I always knew where my daughter was, and they knew where I was. I sent them save-the-date cards for our wedding. I also sent them this long letter. We had never met, I don’t know when the door was going to be open for us to meet, but I was getting married and I wanted to go ahead and open that door. And she was 15 at the time, and within 3 weeks we were meeting and it was amazing. She was in our wedding. Since that time, my husband and I have relocated, we were living in Colorado at the time, they were here in the East Coast, and we relocated back to the East Coast to be closer. We’re just a couple of hours away from them now. I see her every single month. She’s visiting colleges right now. She’s a senior in high school. It’s just incredible. She’s amazing, her parents are amazing. Last year, probably right around one year ago, I’d say the year anniversary, I got a call.
Sarah: One more thing..?
Sarah: What does it feel like to say about your daughter, her “parents”? What does that feel like? You just get used to it. But for me, it pulls at my heart strings to hear you say that.
Jessica: You know Sarah. There’s moments that I have alone, or I do have a couple of birth mothers that I’m close with and we can share what that sort of feels like, or what it will be like to never be called Mom, and get into a space of that. And I ask what kind of purpose does that serve me now in my relationship, and it doesn’t serve me.
Sarah: Right. It’s wild that she’s approaching the age where this all happened, so young.
Jessica: When I was speaking about looking at 18 year-old girls, she’s the one I look at now, and go, “Oh my gosh.” She’s going to be 18 in November, I was 19 when I had her. She does have the world at her fingertips right now. She does have it all. And thank God. Her head is a different place than mine was for sure. Young adults, things can change as quick as the seasons, during this chapter in her life. She’s brilliant.
Sarah: I must still be a young adult. I can’t keep anything constant. So you get a call 3 and-a-half years ago. Where were we?
Jessica: No I got the call a year ago. One year ago, September of last year, I got a call and it was Jared, the high school boyfriend. He knew that (Lianne?) and I had met. And he said, “I really want to meet (Lianne?), and I fucking knew it. When I saw the text from him saying, “Jessica I want to talk to you.” I knew it. I was being dragged kicking and screaming to my own alter, my own crucifixion. I just knew it.
Sarah: Day of reckoning…
Jessica: Yes. This is what I’d been afraid of my whole life, this is what I’ve been fearing. He had 2 children and he said, “I want to meet (Lianne?), but I’ve never thought this was a big deal, but I’ve always questioned if I was her father and it wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but I have 2 children and I can’t introduce her into my life to my kids’ life as their sister if I don’t know. So I need you to tell me right now. Are you sure I am her father?” And I said, “No. I am not sure that you are her father.” And he said, “Okay. Well, what are you going to do about it? Because either you’re going to call Laura and Brian, (Lianne?)’s parents, or I’m going to call them.” And I said that I’d call them and tell them. I called them and told them, and now we were in each other’s’ lives and (Lianne?) was in my wedding. We had spent all this time together, so I had plenty of opportunities to tell. There were so many times I could have told them, but I didn’t tell. Laura immediately said that she loved me. I told her, and I was crying.
Sarah: Did you not tell because of the shame? That’s the word that keeps coming up when we talk about it was shame. I was wondering when shame came in.
Jessica: Shame is deep. Shame is the deepest place that we hold. I think it goes anger, fear, guilt, and shame is the deepest one. It was like I felt so numb to even go to that place. For 17 years I hardly even spoke those words to anyone that I was afraid of not knowing who her father was. I couldn’t open my mouth to say those words because I was afraid I’d I said those words, I would have to follow-through with something. What happened was that the process unfolded from that moment opened up the shame. I didn’t really know what it was at that point. I didn’t identify it with shame because I was numb to it because there was so much trauma around it actually. The relinquishing of my daughter kind of always gave me an excuse to not have to go there. That’s where I held my pain. That’s where I went to. I didn’t even need to go over there. I kept ignoring it because there was plenty of stuff for me to fucking work with, giving up my daughter for adoption, there was plenty of stuff there.
Sarah: How do you ignore that voice? It must have been with you all the time.
Jessica: It was with me all the time. There was the night that I called Laura and Brian and told them. She was extremely gracious and immediately said that this a long road in front of us, but in her heart she immediately forgave me and let me know that. We didn’t know what was going to happen in the months to come.
Sarah: You had opened Pandora’s Box.
Jessica: Yes. But there was a part that felt like I was free from something that was keeping me from myself. I knew it. I knew it. I knew in the years that I was holding onto, and I was saying, “Why can’t I just get to this place where I value myself? Why can’t have the confidence? Why can’t I just believe in myself?” And I couldn’t articulate it, but it was a subtlety. It’s because of this deep, dark secret. It’s because I’m so afraid of telling the truth because the consequence of being afraid of telling the truth, because of the consequence, it led me to create a belief for myself that I was afraid of the truth. It’s worth doing that. If I’m afraid of truth, if I my belief is, “Jessica are you afraid of the truth? Yes! I’m afraid of the truth.” What was the holding me back from? So much. One step away. I wasn’t trying to step away. I felt like I was sitting in front of a black wall for the last 17 years of my life. Looking at where I wanted to go, but I couldn’t go there because I couldn’t tell the truth. I remember calling my best friend that night, and I was like, “I am fucking free. I’m free.” It hasn’t been easy, like everything was wonderful. When the healing started, when I opened Pandora’s Box, and if I want to continue to do this work, this is what I have to do, look at this deep, dark shame that I was so afraid of. I had to go back and fucking be friends with myself, and the fucked up 19 year-old girl that I was. That I had just shunned. And all I can do is make fun of myself, and how crazy I was, and I just laugh it off. I have to go back and actually love that person now. Fuck.
Sarah: This is why nobody wants to do the work. It’s so hard.
Sarah: You figured out who the real father was.
Jessica: Well, we called the man who said, “I love you and want to marry you”, and I called him last November and said “Do you remember when you asked me if the baby I was carrying was yours. Well I think it is.” My poor daughter, she had to go through 3 DNA test because the first one flopped in her mouth. I try to put myself in her shoes, of having had this story her whole life of who her birth parents were. Because I created the story. I did it. She has pictures of us at the prom. She had a story of who her birth parents were, and then it all came shattering down and she had to take a cotton swab and swab the inside of her mouth to find out if that one man was her father. And that test didn’t work, so she had to take another cotton swab and swab the inside of her mouth to find out if that other man was her father. And the test came back that it was indeed the man that loved me.
Sarah: Did you have regrets about not marrying him?
Jessica: No. I have no regrets. I would lie if I didn’t say that I haven’t spent hundreds of hours in what-ifs over the years. But I was alone in those fantasies. Nobody knew my secret for 17 years. For 17 years I was wandering around with this dream-like fantasy life of what-if these things happened. And I would compartmentalize all of that while met the man who I love and he’s my partner and the father of my amazing son.
Sarah: You’ve got to go through motherhood a second time and in an authentic, powerful and loving place. I just wanted to say that you’ve been a mother twice now with such incredibly different stories behind them.
Sarah: It’s like you’ve had the chance to live two different lives. You probably feel like you’ve lived more than two. Where are you today with everything? The healing of that wound, what can you offer, if not the women on this call, but yourself? What did you learn? Do you know what I mean? What have you healed? What’s the wisdom? By touching that wound, by having the courage to touch it, to go in there…
Jessica: I said it earlier on the call, if you think that there’s something holding you back from your truth, there probably is. It might not be something you can articulate. It might be something so scary for you to think about. It might be the scariest thing in your life. This was the scariest thing that I could ever imagine happening. And it was a monster that I knew would come back. I wasn’t naïve. I knew that it was there. I knew that there would come a time. I just tried my hardest to keep it from showing up in my life. Recognizing that the beliefs that I was operating on from a core level was that I am afraid of the truth has been so powerful to transform. It’s been so powerful. That’s been a huge piece of what I am passionate about now, my work and my yoga classes and the retreats and the one-on-one work that I have done was to continue to support and hold space for people to look at what beliefs they’re operating from. And it could be very unconscious, it can be from a very unconscious place. And to just lovingly and gently, with kindness and friendliness investigate what kind of beliefs you’re identifying with.
Sarah: What do you when your worst fear comes true and you survive, you feel invincible and like the prison you’ve been living in your whole life has been blown up and you get to walk out.
Jessica: We didn’t talk a lot about self-forgiveness at all. But I’d say I’m still definitely in that phase of things. My husband almost left me.
Sarah: I was just going to ask you…
Jessica: Yeah. Jared, who thought that this was his daughter, and his mother who was pretty present throughout (Lianne?)’s life, like sending her gifts, they had not responded to my calls. (Lianne?) didn’t speak to me for 3 months. My relationship with her parents changed for a long time. It’s just now starting to go back.
Sarah: So don’t gloss over it Sarah.
Jessica: I had this secret for 17 years and I was the only one that knew, and then all of a sudden I told and now I’m not a part of it anymore. Now that it’s gone and I’m not holding it anymore, which thank God I’m not, I’m like kept from it right now as a method to protect my daughter because she’s only 17 years-old. I don’t know what kind of relationship she has with her birth father. He forgave me. He forgave me immediately. He was amazing. But I don’t interact with him because that’s not what my marriage needs. About two months into this situation last year I had a moment where if I keep going to all these people who are fucking pissed at me and mad at me, and so hurt, I have to forgive myself because I don’t know if my husband is going to forgive me, I don’t know if my daughter is going to forgive me. I can’t control what other people are going to do. I can’t control if they’re going to forgive me or not. I can’t control that I’m not going to be a part of my daughter’s life anymore. I’m replaying these fantasies in my head that I’ve had for 17 years. Self-forgiveness has been…
Sarah: How did you do that?
Jessica: Therapy. Journaling. I would say I really put myself into some intensive, every single week, psychotherapy, for a good 8 months. My son. Thank God for my son. He was only a year-old at the time. That was such a healing, beautiful phase of unconditional love that I had to return to over and over again. So I would say that was probably the most beautiful salve of it. To wake up and have this baby that loves me no matter what, and be reminded that I’mloved no matter what. We all have these secrets. We all have things that we have done. We’ve hurt people. We’ve been hurt but we have parts of our souls that are pure and forgiven. I don’t mean to say that in any like woo-woo way. There’s a place inside of us that is enough. It has never changed. It will never change. It’s eternal. It’s this place that, it’s connected to you, we’re all connected together. A vast intimate space inside of us.
Sarah: I’m back at a place looking at things that I’ve done here, and I’ve messed up considerably here, for a lack of better phrasing. I hurt someone here. Sometimes late at night, that’s the only voice I can hear, this person I hurt. And I forget that I’m good. And that self-forgiveness is so important.
Sarah: (?) the whole world is walking to their home and I feel some days we’re all fucking up along the way trying to get the fuck home. You know? Same thing. Banging and bumping into each other. Bruising each other and forgiving, doing our best to be human. How do you think the feminine is, or can be that healing salve for the world?
Jessica: Her fucking resilience man. The ability to transform. Take shape. People say that resilience of the human spirit, but I think it’s the resilience of the Goddess. You think of Mother Earth, and just the beating that she takes, but she just keeps giving and giving and giving. It’s that ability to forgive, tapping into that feminine ability, the ability to forgive yourself. It’s transforming. You think about Mother Earth, never asking for anything but continues to give. I mean you pull a tree up and another one grows. Rip that one out and another one grows. And rip that out and another one grows. The resilience of the Goddess and the feminine it just continues to intimately create. But I think forgiveness for me, in this moment, and in this conversation, the forgiveness piece is… (?) is the Goddess that I resonate with the most, so she’s sitting at my altar right now with a candle. And she’s been with me in particular for about 20 years. That compassion…
Sarah: Self-compassion. Yeah…
Jessica: To hold that 19 year-old girl inside of me. To hold her and just say, “I’m here. I’m here. I’m here now.”
Sarah: Yeah. Can people work with you? Can they Skype with you, or take your online courses? What do you have available to connect with you these days?
Jessica: It’s interesting because my work right now. I teach locally and I teach retreats locally. I’d love to create a little more space for things. I’m holding space for others a lot right now. If you go to the Where’s My Guru? website, its teachers’ courses and I basically work with those teachers and help them help their courses take shape by holding space for them to create what they want. I do have a couple of clients that I see on Skype one-on-one and it’s just happened very organically. If somebody is called to want to sit one-on-one, I’m happy to do that. I would say at this point, I’m really working on myself. And I’m sort of starting to come out with what I want to say, but it’s always very important to me to know what I want to say before I start to go out and say it. In this moment in time, I’m really feel like I’m still working on forgiving myself and doing this work for myself. And when I come out and say, “This is what I’ve learned, and this is the offering from me personally”, I think it will be that much more pure.
Sarah: Just follow that intuition, always 135%. Yes. Don’t pull that crap out of the ground before she’s totally ripe and ready to serve.
Sarah: Well thank you. There was so much more we could have talked about. It flew by, but thank you for sharing your story and sharing your humanness. And loving yourself and forgiving yourself, so you give us permission. Thank you.
Jessica: Thank you Sarah for answering my Facebook message, my crazy Facebook message I sent you last June when I was like, “Please let me tell my story.” I’m really excited to turn the tables. Nobody knows this part of my story because my daughter is only 17 years-old. It’s not fair. Many people know the adoption part and we’ve reconnected. They’ve seen pictures of us at my wedding, and they’re like, “Oh my God! What a great story.” It’s not that I have any qualms about saying, “Guess what, baby daddy wasn’t baby daddy.” I can actually laugh about it a little now. I have to find some humor. My daughter was 17 and she was still hurt by it. Being able to have the space to finally be able to open my mouth and say it, “This is what happened. This is what I’ve learned.” Please listen to your truth. Thank you Sarah. Thank you.
Sarah: You’re so welcome.
Coven Call 13: Sarah Durham Wilson
Jessica: I’m clicking my pen and getting my notebook out.
Sarah: Please don’t. Its 7:30- the final 50 minutes of three-and-a-half months of jamming it out. Let’s do it.
Jessica: So Sarah, three-and-a-half months, three-and-a-half months, I’m sure hundreds and hundreds of hours have gone into this creation. Can you just share how you’re feeling right now in this moment?
Sarah: Sure. It’s funny. I think that will actually be on the final call. Because usually I stop recording then start. When we check-in, I’m usually not recording it. I guess how I’ll explain how I feel is an acute sense of longing to belong. I thought if I came home to this island after a year… Maybe this is a place where I’m not so enchanted with spirituality right now. I’m really in this human place which is really uncomfortable. Instead of asking for all these out-of-body experiences, we need more body experiences because that’s where the real work is. Sitting in the earth of ourselves with our loss and our pain, and all the ways we’ve hurt ourselves and others, sitting with that. That’s the real alchemy that I’m in. I’ve also been so obsessed with the hero’s journey. I’m a true believer in it and the grail quest. I knew my hero’s journey wasn’t finished before the hero, and we’re each a hero, returns home. We all have to fight the dragons, which you talked about in the first half of the call. You finally face the dragons that have been chasing you your whole life. You turn around and say, “Let’s do this because I know you’re never going to let me sleep.” So you finally face them. And I hadn’t totally 100% done that. I came home because life asked me to come home for a lot of reasons. I came home and it doesn’t feel right. It feels really lonely and I don’t know where I belong. I look around at the people who feel like they belong, and people who truly do belong, their families and their lives. I wonder where I fit. That’s where I am. I’m sitting in a parking lot because I don’t have WIFI in the family cabin that my father saved for us. It was going to get sold and my grandmother, the first Sarah Wilson, bought that land in the 50s and my dad saved it for me and my sister’s children if we ever have them. That’s another thing I’m wondering about. So I’m sitting in a parking lot under a streetlight with the car on to charge the phone because I don’t have cellphone service over there. I’m hoping this was all of service, the humanness of it, that you can be so spiritual and so human. You can be so divine and so messy. I think we had a lot of beautiful women on the call show that, like “Look how human I am and yet look how much I’m healing others.” So that’s where I am.
Jessica: I’m reflecting on the interview that we did at the beginning of this whole journey for you and I remember you sharing with me that you feel you, I think that it’s interesting where you are right now, underneath a streetlight kind of at the outskirts, and you shared with me that night that you’re kind of at the outskirts but in a way almost as a guardian. I don’t know if you remember saying that. I don’t know if you remember sharing that with me or not, that you’re in this place of kind of an in between, or a bridge from one world to the other, in a way that was sort of letting people know it was okay to come in. So I’m just picturing you there now.
Sarah: I’m also sitting underneath the waning blood moon. I’m frustrated with ritual because sometimes what you’re asking for doesn’t happen the way you want it, or you don’t see it. I’ve done a lot of work this blood moon, a lot of ritual. There’s days I wonder… I was talking to you on before the call started, sometimes you can look at the world, you look at Syrian refugees, and Africa, your own friends losing their parents or losing their children, and you go, “what’s going on?” And faith can be a hard thing to hold. When you get too busy, you can’t hear yourself so can’t hear God, whoever God is, spirit, Goddess. It’s funny that you’re talking about resilience, because her resilience is our resilience. The human spirit is the same as the divine spirit. That voice that started all this Do It Girl work 5 years ago, that same voice she said, “You’ll bounce back- it’s what you do.” And I think of the Earth like that. You’ll grow again, it’s what you do. You will rise again, it’s what she does. It’s what the moon does, it’s what the sun does, it’s what the crops do. We just naturally grow back. Even when it seems hopeless, until the day we die, and even after that, if we believe that, we just keep rising again. Every time you die, it feels like the final time. I have a deep sense of faith, it’s just hard to find right now because I’m too busy. The outsider thing, that’s just the wound of the witch. The witch was always cast out. And the witch is a part of us that’s feared. We fear it, we’ve been taught to fear it. Others fear it. The witch is someone others are suspicious of. She’s always calling things out, walking around as the truth. The witch in you wouldn’t let you ignore the truth, which is the wise woman, the healer. The healer knows the truth heals. It doesn’t feel good, and it usually hurts before it heals. The truth of things, which most people don’t want to look at. People want to stay sleeping. Why wouldn’t they? If I didn’t have to look at the world and my own pain, and the world’s pain, if there was an option out, I wonder some days if I’d take it or not. You know?
Jessica: Sarah, was there a truth you were hoping that would be revealed to you through this journey? Or has the truth been revealed to you? Has there been a wound, I know we chatted a bit about this yesterday… It is interesting, I have this really unique perspective of chatting with you right before this began, remembering a lot of that conversation now.
Sarah: Full circle.
Jessica: I know. It’s really actually cool to feel that circle with you and everyone here. You’ve really held such a strong space for myself tonight and all these other women to talk about their wound and what lesson they were bringing from it. I want to know, is there a wound in you that you were able to create some salve from this experience?
Sarah: Well the wound that I talked about, which is funny, on our interview that we did for Rebelle Society was about healing this “I don’t belong”, this outsiderness. There were weeks where the Coven Conversation healed a big part of that wound for me, as far as here’s my tribe. Here’s a bunch of women who are going to stand up as wise women and healers and say, “Look what I’ve survived to thrive. Look at what I’ve healed o offer that to others.” That was really rad to bang that out every week. What’s your wound and what’s your gift? They’re one in the same. It’s just the place I find myself in right now. We talked about my dark night of the soul, and I’m at the very end of it, and it’s just very intense for me right now. Like I told you, I’m smiling right now, but I’m dying inside. That’s kind of how I’ve been these past few weeks. That still voice inside of me knows exactly what’s going on. Like a tree watching her leaves die all around her, everything that’s protected her, everything that’s defined her, and she’s watching it all die. And she’s standing there in stillness, “I trust this. I trust this process.” That’s what’s happening to me. I haven’t been able to see myself in the mirror for 9 months. I used to just know who I was, I was a divine feminine warrior here to help awaken the masses, the healing of the feminine. It was all so simple and clear. Nothing is simple, nothing is clear anymore. That’s okay too. It’s terrifying, but we have to walk what we talk, which is allowing mystery and that’s the feminine. And that has to be okay. I’m still going to trust. You had to walk your talk with journey with bringing your truth to the surface. How can you look yourself in the mirror as a sharer of spirit and truth when you’re hiding a huge secret? And that’s the work. My project womanager who’s kept me alive, Katie Burke, she was having a really bad day one day, where she was just like lovingly bitch slapped by the Goddess when she was played small. Something I used to say, “The smaller you play, the bigger the burn.” It hurts so bad when you play small once that you’ve accepted that you have Goddess within you. Katie was having a really bad day when she tried to play small and clearly wasn’t allowed by forces that govern us. And she said, “I kind of blame this on you.” It’s true, when you say, “I’m going to sit in a thrown,” which we all have, and, “I’m going to put a crown on,” you’re going to be asked to step up, bigger and bigger. And that means that you’re going to have to trust this process. You’re going to have to evolve constantly. You’re going to have to be like a snake and shed skin constantly and keep moving like the snake. I’m okay with it, but I’m really ready for it to be done. The other wound, when you were talking about a wound, when my mother was really sick, she was with, and this is something I’ve never really talked about, she was with a very powerful and prestigious man. After she died, he got very obsessed with me. My mother and I didn’t have a very good relationship. She never really trusted me. She thought I was bad. That’s where the feeling that I’m bad comes from. He got really drunk and asked me out to dinner when I was working at GQ in New York, and he showed up drunk and molested me in a restaurant in front of everyone. I ran out screaming. I ran the whole way home. I had only ever wanted my mother to love me. I had felt she had seen that from heaven and was like, “I was right, you’re a whore.” I told my family about it, and they all told me not to talk about it because he was such a powerful person, and it looked bad for me. The first thing my uncle asked me was, “What were you wearing?” Nobody ever talked about it again. It’s fucked up every relationship I’ve had with men. He was a father figure to us. We grew up partially in his house. It fucked up my relationship with men and trust. I haven’t talk about it because, it’s the one thing I haven’t really talked about, because I’m ashamed. And people would be mad at me, “How dare you talk about this?” Because my family has gone through enough with what I talked about with Do It Girl, I know addiction and depression serves, but the thing that probably serves the most is talking about being the victim of abuse like that. I’ve been a victim of abuse like that one other time. The threat is, “If you tell this, I’ll kill you.” I don’t know, feeling so exhausted and so tired, and really looking, and having friends and friends of friends getting sick, and recently died… I’ve been living my life differently. It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell in case it helps somebody. And maybe in case it helps me. When you were going to tell your story tonight I realized I was still hiding that, and the feelings behind it of shame. I must have done something wrong. I must have led him on. He must have thought that was okay. That’s a lot for me to work with. That’s where I’m at with the other wound.
Jessica: Thank you.
Sarah: That got me in trouble a lot. Whatever trouble is…
Jessica: Thank you for asking. Thank you for sharing. You said something earlier, and it brought something up in me. I wanted to ask, but then you answered the question for me. You talked about, if you want to step up and sit on your thrown and put on your crown, and you used the expression of “grow bigger.” What came up in me, was to ask you, then what is being asked of you to grow bigger if you’re also asked to go deeper? There’s this sense of as we grow and expand, we can only grow and expand in relationship with how willing we are to continue to unravel. Do you feel a relationship with those two? You shared your wound with your father figure, and this man, he violated you, how he did something so inappropriate and disgusting, and you are now hurt, like you don’t matter. He mattered because he has money, wealth and fame. And he had power. I’ve never forgiven any of them for that. That’s where the heavy abuse comes from. It’s funny that they’re called sleeping pills because I just wanted to go back to sleep after that. You know? I’m so tired. I worked so hard, and we all work so hard. I need to take a break from Do It Girl eventually again. Maybe after I go to Peru in December for my birthday. That will be my break time. I keep playing with these analogies of old fairy tales. The Sleeping Beauty one, I’m obsessed with that one, and Cinderella. I really had a Cinderella relationship with my mother and my sister once Dad left. Where when I shoned, it drove them bananas. I eventually just got smaller and smaller so that they would love me. It was not healthy, at all. But the Sleeping Beauty, I mean, now here we are, third wave feminism, we realize we’re the prince, we save ourselves, but I just wanted to sleep. I wanted to sleep all the time. I used to have this mantra in head, “sad girls want to sleep forever, but you can’t let them.” I want to write a book one day called Sad Girls. Underneath that sadness is a world of other feelings. It’s just like you want to put a blanket around you and sleep for a really long time. That’s how I felt after that. I’ve been a sad girl my whole life, but when I was hurt by a member of the family and the family was like, “You don’t matter enough. Nobody is going to stand up for you,” that was really this disconnection that started. Nobody is going to claim you. This word keeps coming up this week, self-sabotage. I think when I was a week away from the altar, I’m the one that said, “We should break up.” I just really didn’t think that anybody wanted to be with me. That ended up hurting my fiancé so badly that he said, “This is over.” I wanted him to fight for me, but he couldn’t do it anymore. I just didn’t feel worthy after the molestation. The other thing was that he was my best friend’s father. She never talked to me again. So I lost so much from being the victim of something. And I felt that nobody was ever going to standup for me and nobody was ever going to protect me. Speaking of therapy, I couldn’t talk about it in the town I was in. I just started this wild party ride to avoid it. I think that all the work I’ve done has revealed for others, just like you said, “Maybe I still have stuff I need to do for myself before I return to the world with another offering.” I’m pretty sure the reason I can’t get close to people, to men, is that wound. You were really illuminating when you were saying, “There’s something between me and my happiness.”
Jessica: You talk about sadness and I associate that with heaviness and shame. It’s just so heavy. It’s the heaviest feeling. And when you’re talking about sleeping, we’re opening up the space right now, so I just want to honor you for that again, I just want to reflect back to you Sarah, I see you. And everybody in this call, in this coven, sees you and validates you, and affirms you. I would love to hold that with you for just a moment. And I would love for everyone to just hold that for Sarah, because you deserve to be seen. You are worthy of being seen. You are worthy of being affirmed. You are absolutely worthy of hearing that what happened to you was wrong and it should not have happened to you, and he should not have done that to you. And that you did not deserve that. And you did not do anything to provoke that.
Sarah: Yeah, I think that’s probably something I can stand to hear every day for a very long time.
Jessica: Call me and I will say it.
Sarah: I think this is something I sort of want to move into tonight. Another reason I’ve been (?) besides travelling and being completely cut off from the world, is I had this revelation the other night. I felt some shame about not having read, the irony that Brené Brown writes about shame, and I hadn’t read her new work, and I felt ashamed of that when people were dropping quotes from that. A lot of people ask me, “Who’s your teacher? When’s the next retreat you’re going to?” That we should sort of be on this upward movement of spiritual evolution, when is becomes just another form of a rat race. “How many followers do you have? And have you read the latest David Deida? Have you been to Costa Rica?” I was like, holy shit, I’m sort of waking up to realizing how programmed we’ve been in the patriarchal society. We have to be very careful we’re not just moving into another form of programming. We don’t really know what we’re doing here. We know we’re trying to change a very sick and dying paradigm. We also have to be careful again and again. That’s why I love the tongue in cheekness of your brand. If we’re really listening to ourselves, and not just following what the latest “it girl” on Instagram is doing. I’m nervous about that, about being reprogramed into something else, especially to a spirituality which denies our humanness. Every time someone interviews me, they’re like, “Wow. You’re so open about your darkness.” It’s just because I don’t want to shame my darkness. I don’t want people to think, “I’m so bad at being spiritual, or happy.” They are spirit in a fleshly body. Getting up every day, for me, is heroism. Getting up every day and facing my life, and facing the world, and facing my feelings is the work of a hero. I think you’ve done enough if you’re here. I don’t know if you can tell where I’m going with this, but I get nervous about the movement. I get nervous about the celebrity culture of spirituality. The bigger my readership gets, the more responsibility I feel to become whatever I seek. To be so authentic and aligned. And if I’m feeling scattered and crazy, if everything is energy, I don’t want to put that out. I’ve noticed that the days where I write from shadow, where if I’m writing because I’m angry, or I’m sort of reacting to something, I immediately get shadow back. The days I write from purity, and pure love, the day my message gets out with clarity. That’s a lesson that’s taken me years to hone. I’ll be like, “Why is everybody attacking what I just said?” Well, you put out shadow so you’re going to get shadow back. Moving into after nobody really claimed me in my life, I gave myself to the world completely. Some people said, “Like a lamb to slaughter,” again and again. For whatever reason, that little girl we talked about again and again wants to be safely guarded and held. That’s what I’m doing my best to do. If I never get a chance to be a birth mother, in this world, at least I can say I took care of this little girl, which no one really could or did. I don’t think any of us had prefect childhoods and I certainly as hell didn’t.
Jessica: We talked yesterday on the pre-call a little bit about your desire to speak to the changing movement. At the beginning of this call, when you asked me to share about Where is My Guru?, you asked, a lot of people who want to do interviews, and are interested in opening up their space a little more. Yesterday we were talking, we kind of dove a little bit into that spiritual narcissism. You spoke to your experience of running through different phases of honoring the Goddess, honoring the work, and then working with the ego. It’s constantly there. As you just spoke of, as your readership grows, as you try to find authentic voice you said you deal with the feedback you receive, and as you emerge as the leader of a movement, sitting on a thrown, with your crown, growing bigger and also being asked to go deeper. Tying it all together, in a way…
Sarah: First I want to say, it’s very uncomfortable to be interviewed. I do prefer to have all the control I realize. I always tell this story. My first day at GQ, I handed in a piece that I had written and my editor said, “Where’s the girl I hired? That talks like she’s telling a story with a glass of wine in her hand?” And he ripped it up. He said, “Write it like you’re telling a story with a glass of wine in your hand.” So I’m going to pretend I’m at a party, instead of being so serious. The narcissism thing makes me laugh. I’ve been there. This may sound narcissistic. I’m going to quote myself really quickly, “The bigger the death, the bigger the birth.” That’s how my soul deeply knows everything is alright, because this death feels so huge. She’s like, “Oh, what’s in store?” Because that’s the pattern. I was there with the narcissism. My God. It’s all a phase. It’s all part of the awakening. You get to see yourself and fall in love with yourself. There’s a moment when you think you’ve been hand-picked to save the world. That’s true and not true, like everything. You have been. Like you said before we started the call, God needs you. You are very important. You are of great worth to this Earth. I’ve cried for 20 minutes for a seagull missing a foot at the beach today. I couldn’t stop. My heart hurt so bad. I might be the only person that ever cries for this sweet seagull with one foot, but it was so cute. It couldn’t put the other foot down and it kept trying. And I was so honored in my anguish to witness him. What is we all felt like that? It’s the feminine. That’s why there are days that I’m not, like I always say, “Can I get a lobotomy and work at McDonalds?” But no, I’ll never stop fighting for this planet. It’s the greatest honor to be in service of this planet. The narcissism came from thinking I was the only one that felt that way. Like I could do it all by myself. There’s the compassion for that little girl. I had to do everything myself. I didn’t know how to work with people. Women hated me. Women fucking hated me. I thought that men wanted to fuck me and women wanted to kill me, and that was it. I couldn’t trust anybody. The Coven Conversations was, I think I’m going to do roundtable work for the rest of my life now. It’s so important. Today I wrote to a friend and said, “I’d really like your company.” And I was like, “Wow. I haven’t sent that text in 5 years.” Because when I woke up, I only needed God. To say I’d like some company, that’s not Do It Girl. Do It Girl does everything alone and doesn’t need anybody. To want to just sit with somebody, that was a brand new feeling for me tonight. Things are changing, but the narcissism, was that I didn’t need anybody and I was going to do it all alone. That’s why I watch it and know it’s a phase. Now the moon is waning. We’re always in a phase, and eventually we get to a place of, oh shoot, by changing me I change the world, not I’m going to tell everybody how to live their lives and how to change. We don’t like being shouted at, we like being seduced and whispered to. Somehow, when you breakthrough that maiden stage of you awakening with the bullhorn running through the field, somehow the come-hither mother is actually way more effective, but you have to go through the death of the maiden, that’s what it feels like. The world is over, which is the only way for anything new to begin.
Jessica: Can you speak a little bit to how the Goddess is showing up in...
Sarah: Wait! These are called Coven Conversations, I want to know what you think about the narcissism that you see.
Sarah: You were pretty funny about it, like “If I see one more…”
Jessica: I said that if I see one more person take a selfie and put stars on their face, or transpose face in the Universe, I’m going to vomit.
Sarah: I laugh because I did it all. I was a nightmare when I went to visit my sister in SoHo over Christmas. I had like 5 photoshoots lined up. I was like, “I can’t do this with you right now, I have a photoshoot…” And she’s be like, “Oh my gosh! What the fuck is going on?” I was a holy terror. And that was 9 months ago or whatever, 10 months ago. And then the death happened. She was lying next to me when that happened. The pain was so bad from the soul death that began in the dark night of the soul that one night she slept next to me. And I was rising all night, awake from pain. Like somebody that been shot, but it was emotional, she finally got up and slept on the couch. She was like, “I don’t know what’s going on with you.” It was wild. That lasted for about a month, the intensity. And then there’s just been this dull surrender. If you read about this stuff, the dark night of the soul, if you read about it, (?), you just go, “life will always be this bleak, and I will never feel God again. And I will never feel joy again. And I will never feel love again.” It’s been 10 months, almost 9 months of that, just this is how life is now, joyless. The Coven Conversations were a good way to distract myself from that, to be in conversation that weren’t there. To be in that spiritual desert. I never saw myself going to Mexico, but that’s where you go when you’re walking, when you’re walking towards faith again, you go to the desert. And you dance with your shadow, which is your ego, like Marianne Williamson says, it doesn’t want you to be happy and that’s a big problem. Your ego does not want you to remember union, to remember that all is deeply well and you are one with all. Your ego doesn’t want that. Your ego is addicted to suffering.
Jessica: Your ego will never be satisfied.
Jessica: It will never be content.
Sarah: No. And you know, if you had told me 5 years ago when I was on that floor in Brooklyn that I would have helped this many people, just by taking, by saying how I felt all the time even though it wasn’t socially acceptable, I would have been like, “Wow. I bet I’ll die happy. I helped a lot of people. I bet I’ll die happy.” And it wasn’t enough for my ego, where it was 9 months ago when it wanted more, and more, and more, instead of less, less, less. I know what I would like now, one man, one baby, one house. One steady income. Something really. But I don’t know, when I tell healers that, they laugh. They say, “That’s never what you’re going to have.” They all say that. They all say, “There’s something you have to do and you’re not going to stop until you do it.” I don’t know what that really is. At the same time, I feel like I’m lying to you.
Jessica: I’m listening to you and I feel like there’s also a fine line between the statement that I made about feeling like, “Urgh!” Because there’s also a pang of envy inside of me, of wondering where my voice is. Will I have the courage to stand up and use my voice? When will that happen? When will thing sprout, where there’s something authentic so say.
Sarah: I mean I understand that, and I have a lot of women like you, who are actually amazing healers and do great work, but they have a child, and a husband, and a house. They say, “God I wish I was writing books from the desert. Going to Peru for my birthday…” Whatever they say… I feel like I have nothing to lose. Do you know what I mean? That’s what Amrit Desai, the irony of me working with him. He does have some good teachings. He’s a great example of, he founded Kripalu, and has a massive sex scandal. He was sleeping with a lot of his disciples. Not good. He started an ashram in Florida, and I actually worked for them. He said that, “God chose you because you have nothing to lose.” He started to pry, he started to be like, “Where is your mother?” And I was like, “She’s passed.” And at the time, I thought my father wasn’t really in my life because he didn’t understand what I was doing, nobody did. It hadn’t really been done before, in the way that I was doing it. My fiancé had left me and I had nothing. He said, “That’s why you can speak your truth so easily because you have no one to piss off and no one to lose.” Do you know what I mean? I remember him wanting me to feel good about that, and me going, “That sucks.” There are days when I feel like I can stand naked on the rooftop and scream about this Earth, and how I feel. And there are days when I want to go in the nearest graveyard and just lie down in a grave. So I just hide, you know? This humanness, this human mess… I don’t want to be perfect. If you think about the people you love, they are so far from perfect. Perfect doesn’t make us loves. Being real makes us loved. And being intimate. I’m in this place with a friend right now in our relationship where I’m going, “We are going to lose this relationship.” There will be moments, where I’ve lost that relationship. And then I’ll call her, or she’ll call me, and one of us will go, “Hey, I’m really sorry.” And the other one’s like, “No! I’m really sorry.” It’s just this dance of undressing with each other- taking our armor off, piece by piece. That to me, that’s the holy high. That’s the drug. How honest can we get with each other here? That’s pretty wild. She makes me play our relationship over my work over, again and again, and again. Because she knows my work isn’t going to pick me up off the floor in the middle of the night, she is. So she fights for that for us, or relationships like ours. Do you know what I mean?
Sarah: I love all my readers, but they can’t do that for me. I need intimate relationships to do that for me.
Jessica: Intimacy with yourself has been an interesting topic to explore that’s come up along with forgiveness and looking at shame. You use that word, intimacy, with others, how do you feel about that word with yourself? Intimacy?
Sarah: I feel like, until I sat down in a chair, in front of a fire for an agonizing 15 minutes, maybe 14 and-a-half, where I wasn’t doing something, where I wasn’t doing anything... I wasn’t eating. I wasn’t watching something. I wasn’t texting someone. I wasn’t listening to music, reading a book. I wasn’t doing anything but sitting with myself. Some people look in a mirror or something, I wasn’t even doing that. Like I’ve said, I don’t recommend looking at that person in the mirror right now. I was just sitting with myself. It was really, really hard. The first thing I saw was the last man that said, “I don’t love you.” And I was like, “That’s what I’ve been running from for 10 months.” But also recognizing that I felt just like any other human in body, going, “Am I going to be okay? Does anybody love me? Am I doing a good job? Do people know I love them?” Wondering where was God. And could she or he give me a sign. Sitting with myself without doing anything. And not like in the yoga way, where I was wearing yoga pants and breathing, and had a mantra. Can you sit in a dark corner of the world alone with yourself and be okay? They say that the problem with the world is that 99.9% of people can’t, so they need the materials to distract them. And what they do ends up hurting the Earth. That’s why the feminine, it always comes back to this for me. That’s why I got sick with Lyme. I didn’t know how to stop. Lyme taught me how to take care of myself. Lyme taught me how to rest. It taught be how to stop. I don’t know if I answered your question, but I think that you’re really onto something, and I think that I might have been intimate with myself for 15 minutes, for the first time in I don’t know how long, right before this call. I was like, “Wow. You have a lot going on. You are so tired and you can’t wait to lie down in a place that you can call your own.” That was important to hear that. I feel like I haven’t brought my “A-game” on this interview, and that’s totally okay. I feel like I’m exhausted and tired. I have so much pressure on me to just knock it out of the park for everybody and I can’t do that, and that’s okay. This is what showing up when you’re not, this is probably what Ali Schuler felt like on her call when I interviewed her. She wrote me right before the call, like “I don’t think I can do this. I don’t feel like I’ve got anything to give.” And it was amazing. Hopefully there will be something for someone here that will make them feel less alone. Again, this is the only reason I do this. This might make someone feel less alone, and more human and more connected.
Jessica: Can I reflect something to you?
Jessica: I think you’re brilliant. And I think you were brilliant and you are being brilliant. I wasn’t able to make every single call, and I wasn’t able to come a lot live, because I work a lot on Tuesday nights, but I listened the next day. And watching the Facebook group. You said something during the interview, and said this is a conversation too, and I snapped into being, like “hold space, but also engage,” because I was just enraptured by your story. I was just feeling all your feelings. There was so much about this whole 3 month experience, that women start saying, “I feel seen. I feel validated.” When we don’t have a lot to give, to be able to say that, I just want to reflect again, all the people on the call seeing you with no expectation. I’m going to go out on a limb here, I know you Sarah but I don’t know you tremendously, we’ve never met in person, and we’ve talked a few times, but you’re such a giver and I don’t know where you live along the spectrum of receiving. I heard you share a lot tonight. Even yesterday when we talked and I said, “Do you want to hold some space at the end of the call for everybody to say how much they love you and thank you?” And you said, “Well let’s just see how it goes.” I’m not trying to put on you on spot or anything like that whatsoever, this is your creation. I’m in total honor, and just humbled by you. You changed my life in these last 3 months. You’ve given me the courage to tell this story, and so all I want to do back for you is to say, was I was just like, “I can’t wait to see this woman. This Goddess. This priestess. This witch. I cannot wait to be…” I just feel so fucking honored to just be able to hold this space, and see her.
Sarah: It’s funny because I can talk until the cows come home about priestessing. If I had my way, all we’d ever talk about in the world would be how important the witch is and the feminine. I think one of the goals of the coven was to normalize the witch. All these women were witches, they’re all just women you want to hang out with. Just really be like, “See these are witches, they’re not scary. In fact they’re going to safe us.” It’s funny, I can do that and there’s different tone in my voice, I can go into what I know I’m here to do on this planet. I get weak when we talk about the private me, not the private me, the human me, instead of the Goddess me. Because she’s been underdeveloped. When my human experience got terrible, it was almost too easy to become an alter ego, which is just as much (?), but we need to give. Receive is also the human and the Divine. I guess I get nervous again with the movement, is we spend too much time on the Divine, not enough in our flesh and in our feelings. Thank you for seeing me.
Jessica: I would actually let people talk. It’s so annoying how the feedback happens. I could unmute the lines and see if there’s feedback. Yes. See… Hold on.
Sarah: Now I have to unmute you. I showed you how to get… Jessica? Are you there? There you are.
Sarah: So yeah. We can’t do that. I don’t know when the magic software is going, you and I talked about that, it’s just a nightmare. Anyway. Thank you. I think I’m complete.
Jessica: Do you want to say what’s next?
Sarah: No. I think I’m terrible at receiving… I just want to say, it’s amazing how many women are on the call tonight. I’m so ADD, I know we’ve all transformed again and again. I’ve transformed throughout these calls so much. There was a call where I had to talk about feeling hostage in my own body because I couldn’t speak because I was taught to again and again growing up. That what I said got me in trouble, made things worse for everyone and hurt people. So I didn’t talk. I’ve changed that during these calls. It’s changed my life. When you wait and you wait, like we talk about at the beginning of your call. When you wait and you wait, like something’s going to go away. It will always find you and it will be way worse. Not to bring up, but if you at 19 were like, “I think this guy is actually the father.” You know what I mean..? Instead of living with that. But that’s the lesson for me. If I say it now, it’s uncomfortable and as terrified as I am, it will be so much better than waiting. I learned that at 36 in these calls. I learned a lot through all the women. I’m embolden by the women doing this work in the world. When I caution up in the movement away from the celebrity and the reprograming us to have to be a certain way, that’s the only thing I’m cautioning about. Everything else, I want everyone dream. My wish is for everyone to go back on the feminine for this planet, for each other. Do watch the news. Don’t be so spiritual that you don’t want the news. Turn it on and let your heart break. Again, find that thing that breaks your heart the most and with all your amazing witch power, move towards that thing and heal it. And speak about it. Whether it’s pollution or rape, or addiction, or depression, or the refugee crisis. You’re so powerful so heal yourself, but yet please focus on the world. Before the dark night of my soul began, I only read the newspaper for my horoscope. I was ignoring the stories. I didn’t think I was smart enough to understand the stories of the world. They’re stories just like yours. There are people who are dying all over the world like you. Just because they speak a different language, and their names don’t look familiar, they have a heart and a soul that feels just like you when you sit alone in a room. They want to be loved. They want their loved ones to be safe. So let the world break your heart, and do something about it. I was getting lost in the celebrity of it. I had to wake up out of that. That was painful because I had to look at the world, instead of just myself. I’m so grateful for the pain of that. I feel that now if people continue to look at what I’m doing, I can continue to lead them to things outside of themselves, which is great. I feel good when I hear about, I don’t feel good when I hear about someone’s pain, but I feel good when I can help. And I can climb outside of the prison of myself, “Oh woe is me, my pain is worse than anyone else’s bullshit,” and look at the world and help. That is how I heal. When I talk about the Goddess movement and the things I’m a little nervous about, I’m not saying stop. I’m saying actually go full force. Just make sure you’re doing it from exactly where your heart screams, not anybody else’s. You’re not trying to look like anybody else, not trying to follow anybody else, but you’re hearing that voice and you have to go into yourself to hear it. Shakti and I had a few dropouts during the Waking the Wild Woman gatherings, and my ego was bummed out. And then I’d go, “God, they probably realized they don’t need anybody else.” Not that the women coming need us. They come in celebration and joy. But for every woman that goes, “I’m a teacher,” we have a very empowered woman. A voice came to me the other day and was about people forgetting the power within, and they start to think it’s without, and that’s when the lose all of it. The power is always within, every moment. What I’m doing is that Katie and I will edit this down to a book and show each speaker that, and she has the right to, if they don’t feel comfortable with something or whatever, but then we’re going to put this book out as the Coven Conversations. I’m finishing my fiction novel which I just adore. It’s really a lot of fun for me. I end up writing it while I’m brushing my teeth because I’m busy. I’ll bring my laptop into the bathroom. Shakti and I are going to the ranch next month, then I’m going to Peru. Then it’s January of 2016 and I’m taking a break. And then in February I have something cooking with a couple of women, but I might have something cooking with you too. Yeah, that’s it. I thank you all for allowing my humanness and mess. And I love yours. Please tell your story. Tell it now. There’s no time to waste. Every day I hear of somebody losing someone- remember that. Remember that this is it. This moment is everything. It’s all we have. I love all of you, and thank you for being on this ride with us. And if I’m forgetting anything, it’s because it’s 10:00pm here and it’s this witch’s bedtime. So I love you. And thank you Jessica.
Jessica: Thank you Sarah. Have a blessed night. Bye everyone.