COVEN. CALL. EIGHT.

FEATURING VICTORIA ERICKSON & AMBER SHUMAKE.

LISTEN: "THE MAGICAL ALCHEMY OF WRITING" 

ABOUT VICTORIA. Victoria is a Writer/Healer/Poet. She spends a lot of time with words, so much so she has an avid following & a book, the Edge of Wonder, birthing this fall. She also believes in wildness and wellness. Everything she do stems from these two words, for they are the two words that make up a life filled with fuel, with wisdom and with beauty. When you’re creating and choosing paths from a primally intuitive place, life can be wondrously free, fiery, energetic, and extraordinary. Seems radical. But it’s real. Remember that it’s beautiful to live in a body built for feeling, and live intensely on a planet exuding intensity.

ABOUT AMBER. Over a decade ago, a psychiatrist recommended Amber try yoga to alleviate anxiety. At that time, she buffered herself with Xanax and numbness just to get out of bed in the morning. She credits yoga with breathing her back to life and helping her heal everything from back pain to a broken heart, divorce to depression, anorexia to alcoholism, and other ailments in between. She revels at every opportunity to share with others the same practice that continues to heal her. Having studied with a group of teachers as diverse as Ana Forrest and Judith Lasater, Amber's teaching style is as eclectic as she is. A trained counselor and former public school school teacher, she tailors her classes to meet the unique needs of students on the mat before her. It's not uncommon for her to teach a handstand tutorial in one private session and chair yoga in the next. Seasoned with poignant anecdotes and childlike laughter, her vigorous classes blend methodical sequencing with spiritual nuggets that everybody can digest. When you roll up your mat following her class, you feel both empowered with strength and inspired with humility. She believes we’ve each been given a spark of the same phenomenon that causes our hair to grow and our hearts to beat; yoga teaches us to live from that sacred space. Our yoga practice is a mere microcosm of our life practice. The way to bring lasting change to our world is to begin within. When she's not teaching, she's writing a yoga memoir. Or chasing a sunset with a willing soul and her camera. Or snuggling on the couch with dark chocolate (her drug of choice) and her even sweeter partner and pup. To learn more about Amber, find her writing at MindBodyGreen (www.mindbodygreen), Rebelle Society (www.rebellesociety) and at www.ambershumake.com .


Call 1: Sarah Durham Wilson/Amber Shumake

          

    Sarah:       Okay. It’s six o’clock. I love getting older and wiser, because I show up on time.

I would...[laughs]..tonight we’ll talk about how I would not have been able to pull something like this off a couple years ago.

Tonight, I was thinking about the last time I did a recorded conference,or a live conference, and it was a really mystical time in my life. In fact, it was called Mystic School, and I was going through such a painful time as a human that I really just prayed to sort of ascend and become completely spiritual [laughs], and almost not even in my body, because it was so painful, and it was an incredibly spiritual time in my life. I was meditating about 2 hours a day, to escape the world, and seek guidance, and it worked, and I prayed a ton, and tonight is really about being human. The two people on the call are really good at allowing you to be human, in their own humanness, allowing the people around them to say, “ oh I have that too, I feel that too, you mean it’s okay.. to feel that,and to say that, and to talk about these things?”

 

 

Our first caller, first guest, really taught me a lot about being human. We’re actually not even going to do an invocation tonight. We do call in the powers of the north, and the east, and the south and the west, and the spirit, and those are all here with us tonight.

 

Humanely, I just ask that you take a moment to close your eyes and you could imagine that you could see the face of your very own heart, and maybe you could get a sense for how she feels, how she’s doing, if she’s tired, if she has something that she wants to tell you.

 

What if you could even take the face of your own heart into your own hands, and kiss it’s hungry lips? What if you knew that the only one your heart was really waiting for was you? Just to hear her, to hear what’s she’s healed; to hear her, and what she wants, what she needs.Maybe your heart has some stories to tell you. So I invite you, after this call, to really sit in meditation with your heart, to hear her, just like that inner child that we talk about rocking. What if your heart had a face and something she wanted to say?

 

With that I am going to introduce Amber Shumake. I’ve never actually said your last name. I am going to say it now, and hope that I do it right. Amber Shumake...is that right?

 

Amber: No, it’s actually Amber Shumake, but Shumake sounds sort of cool.

 

[laughter]

 

Sarah:  Amber is a very fierce and loving yoga teacher. A very compassionate and honest writer, and storyteller. A beautiful partner, in a beautiful relationship.

A dog mother. An overall, really open, loving human. I know she’s a teacher, but I sort of think of her as a student of life; such a thirsty student of it. That’s really my kind of person. So without further ado. Hi, Amber.

 

Amber: Hi! I loved what you opened with, it was just so beautiful. I had to go get my journal, and jot down a couple notes [laughter]. What you said about me being a student is completely true.

 

[Laughter]

 

Sarah: “Oh, I gotta go write that down.” [Laughs]

 

Amber: No, it was just so beautiful imagining you could see your heart. I just got chills. You know, I work so closely with student’s hearts and my heart.Yeah, it was just so cool.

 

Sarah: I have this sort of deep seated fear of plagiarism, and that..I was listening to Laurie McKenna, who’s this sort of Celtic singer. I bet a lot of our listeners, our lovely Coven listeners, know of her. She said something, but it wasn’t that, and I was sure she said, “Face of my heart,”and I was like,“Oh, my god!”. I pulled over the car, you know when you like pull over the car, “I gotta hear that again!”, and it wasn’t that.  I was like, “ Oh my god! I wonder what the face of my heart would look like? I bet she’s fucking exhausted!”

 

[Laughter]

 

Then I just got in this whole thing of like, what would she say? Shouldn’t I give her a kiss, and say , “ I am sorry. I hear you.” Yeah, all this humanness. We’ve had a lot of wonderful callers, but we haven’t really gotten to the heart of these people that just sort of show up in total, you know,  humanness. Like that’s sort of how I found Amber, Amber Shumake, was [laughter, inaudible] ..a few years ago I was post-kindling The Awakening.  I was in the first stage of Do It Girl. I had an audience, it was small, and I didn’t quite know what to do with it. Like Amber and I were talking about. I always do these little pre-calls, which are lovely, and Amber and I were talking in our pre-call about when you first get an audience, and what that feels like. There’s really no handbook for it, and, I think I definitely needed the validation, but I didn’t have the tools to understand. I was getting validation from an external source. I didn’t understand all this stuff, but I had a small following and I remember kind of,  really looking up to Amber. I liked her stuff, and I found her on Rebel Society. Then one day, I think it was on her personal page, I don’t remember, she talked about struggles with wine. Growing up in my house literally we’d say, ‘It’s just wine.” Somebody didn’t have a problem if they drank too much wine, because it was ‘just wine’. You know, and I was still grappling with that, well it’s ‘ just wine.’ I had mentioned on Facebook a couple times, to complete strangers, “I think I might have a problem with this,” and people would write, “ It’s just wine.” You know [laughs], so strangers were telling me I didn’t.. [inaudible], even though inside their was a voice screaming like, “This isn’t working!”.  You know, and Amber had written...and I’d never seen anybody write that openly. I immediately felt like I knew her, as we do with artists that speak to our souls. And, I’ve been following her, and struck up an online friendship, but feel like I know her. I wanted to thank you for that post.. four years ago. [Laughs]

 

Amber: [ Laughter] Well, you’re welcome. It’s interesting, you talked about… you were talking about validation. We get validated by our communities, but also that validation of it’s ‘just wine.’ You know, it’s like justifying the behavior. For me it is it’s just wine. My story isn’t one of drinking so much wine that I ended up beneath the bridge and lost my job, or anything like that. It was, I had my last glass of wine, or what I hope is my last glass of wine, on September 28, 2013. And...[dog barking] oh, there’s my Cash, my dog, barking.

 

[Laughter]

 

And, honestly it was so anti-climatic. I maybe had a glass, maybe two, I don’t even remember. I didn’t wake up hungover, I didn’t wake up puking. I just was dead inside. I knew I was on a spiritual path, and drinking wine at night was not furthering me along that path. And I kept thinking, if I would just quit drinking how could I channel that energy? How these stories about, “ Well if I don’t drink, I am not creative.”  I would stay up late writing, and drinking, and just think I was brilliant. [Laughter]

There’s a lot of writers that do that I think, but what I found after I got out of the habit of it, was that I actually became more creative.  The divine channel just really opened up, and if I am doing my meditation, and practicing the spiritual practices that keep me feeling open; keeping my heart face feeling open and alive, then I actually feel completely more vibrant. So I just haven’t seen a need to go back to the..to the just wine.

[Barking]

Sarah: Now my dog is freaking out in the background...[ Inaudible, Laughter]. But who am I to tell her to not use her voice, you know? Didn’t work for me growing up, and that’s why this speaking to the public thing happened..because of this silence. I felt silenced growing up.

I don’t know what your story was, but I had such an urge to point out the elephant in the room, or say, what quote on quote, shouldn’t be said. Or if my grandmother died, and it was the grandmother I wasn’t close to, I would say,“ I don’t feel anything,” and then, you know, I was like the devil child. I would be wondering why... you know, and I just remember writing poems and my mother hated them because they were so..you know, we grew up...

she was Catholic, and she’d been raised Catholic, and you just didn’t speak about the stuff I spoke about. So eventually that’s where I got.. I became silenced. When my soul awoke it was like a damn had been broken. I wrote all day long, to the public, about very private things, that now I would hold a child close and be like, “Tell me, in confidence, in a safe place,” but there wasn’t anybody there to do that for me. Where did your writing begin, and where did..let’s start with that. Where did your writing begin?

 

Amber: I just had like a reclaimed memory of something I hadn’t remembered. You know, I remember sitting with my mother at like the age of five or six, with one of those yellow legal tablets..it was the early 80’s. I remember her marking my papers for school with a red pen, and…, but the memory that I just downloaded, when you were talking about your voice being silenced, was I remember writing something one time. It was autobiographical, a memoir in nature. I’ve always been kind of a storyteller, and I remember her saying, “ Why would you say these things? Why would you write this?”. She was embarrassed. It wasn’t true for her. I think growing up I didn’t feel like, I mean you hear people say this all the time I am sure, I didn’t feel like I belonged. I felt like I was different. I was a big tomboy. I was the oldest daughter, and I was suppose to be very in to dance, and instead I was into basketball. I wanted to wear gym shorts, and not dresses [laughs], and I wanted to play in the dirt. So I had written how I felt like I just didn’t belong, and she..and I remember my mom saying,“That’s not true.” For me it was true, and that was the beginning of me really starting to shape-shift in what was true for me. You know, “If it’s true for me, but not for you, then I’ll deny my truth so that it makes you feel more comfortable,” kind of thing. So when I began writing, you know I am writing all day long in my head, little stories in my head about what’s happening. I am notorious for jotting down what’s happening on little napkins, in my phone, and all sorts of things, but, I think, when I began to write about my pain coming out of a divorce, and I began to see that I wasn’t the only one who had experienced that pain, and women starting writing me saying, “ I’ve been where you are. Thank you for sharing your story,” or “ I am in that situation now.”  I began to just really see how powerful my voice really was. I always had a desire to change the world. I could see and feel the feelings of the homeless person on the street that nobody wanted to make eye contact with. Like you talked about with your family, I could see the disfunction and I wanted everybody to be aware of it, but the family underwritten rule was, “ We are going to ignore this.” [Laughs]

So I had to balance calling people about, calling a spade a spade, like using my voice very precociously, and learning to follow the family, if I wanted to be happy, follow the family rule. I still battle that a little bit, you know. Standing in what’s true for me, without out..is it worth it to cause a big rift in the family? [laugh] I don’t know. It’s a fine line, but…

 

Sarah: Well you’ve already done so much of breaking out into your own. You know when we talk, it kind of reminds me of me…,not to pat myself on the back, but it’s like you have this...when I look at your posts online..when I am like, “ This is a warrior. She is so strong!”. The beautiful thing about you is that you have so much love to give. The thing that keeps coming up for me, and it’s kind of a tangent, is that love isn’t always nice, nor is nice always love... at all. Love has been showing up in all different forms for me, as telling people, “No!”, laying down a really tough boundary, letting people go. Not just like, “Sure, take whatever you like and I am just going to be exhausted by it, and possibly offend you, and go die in a corner.” Love,for me, means love for other people, but it might come out in a way that other people..doesn’t please them. This is kind of what I am getting at.

I was kind of...you know when your teachers reveal your humanness, those are my favorite kind of teachers. I am not attracted to teachers with every hair in place, at all!  I never have been. That’s why I was attracted to you, like it seems before we were in this ? brune brown. We weren’t talking about vulnerability as courage four and half years ago, or whatever. But that is what I was attracted to. I was like, “How brave of her!”. That is so brave of you. I mean even if you did care about the judgment, to go ahead and do it anyway. Like, for the one other person this might serve, despite the people who are going to go, “Oh!” or “Whatever!”.

 

[Laughter]

 

So, I don’t know if you want to interject there, but the idea...what I was saying is I was a bit wowed that you were in the practice of de-programming your ???

 

Make sure when you say, ‘Yes’ to others, you aren’t saying “No”’ to yourself.

 

[Inaudible]

 

So can you talk to us about where you are with that ?

 

Amber: Yeah, I like to joke, but I am really not joking. There’s truth in every joke I guess, but I am in recovering from perfectionism. Like you said your not attracted to people who have every hair in place, for the longest time I wanted to uphold this idea of perfectionism.

 

I married very young. The first man that seemed very attractive, and intelligent, and charismatic.

 

[Laughs]

 

I wanted to just have the American dream, and get out of the patterns of my family that had felt very stifling. But what I found was, it was so exhausting to try to uphold that image of perfectionism. You know Brene Brown talks about it. It’s an unrealistic? goal.

 

When I met on a forest at my yoga teacher training, one thing that she really hammered home to me was she would say, ‘Amber, think about the stone that the Native American healers used. They don’t use the amber that’s pristine and perfect, it’s beautiful, but it has no healing properties’. She’s like, “ You got to get out your perfectionism and start using all of your facets”.

 

That stuck with me. Even, I don’t practice forrest yoga all that often anymore, but if I show up to a forrest yoga event, Ana will retell that story.

 

[Laughter]

 

Because, I need to hear it. I need to be reminded that it’s often, quote on quote, inside the imperfections, in our weaknesses, in our wounds, that we find our greatest gifts. I mean going along with that is the idea that the perfectionism and the people pleasing kind of go hand in hand. I’ve been in this path of writing, and creating art, and teaching yoga now for about 5 years, and what I’ve found is I have to get pretty clear on my purpose. ? Why is my mission for being here. I really struggle to be concise. I mean if you could use ten words, why would you use just one? My purpose I know is to make visible the invisible. To bring people together so that we’re devoted to loving and serving each other. So if that’s my purpose, I need to say no sometimes. I need to only choose the projects that bring me closer to that purpose. So it doesn’t mean that I need to be teaching twenty-five yoga classes a week. If there’s twenty-five yoga classes that serve that purpose, I’ve found that if I am not writing and creating photography, and teaching yoga, and doing my own practice, that none of them feel real good.

I’ve got to do all of them in just the right amount. Like not too much, not too little..just right.

So that requires me to say, ‘no’.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Amber: That’s something, yeah, that I have a challenge with. You know you receive an email or a phone call and my instinct is to say either, “Hell yeah!”, or it’s like, “Oh, I don’t know.”  Then I have to meditate on it, and get clear, and what if they’re going to be disappointed, and then I am learning to let people be disappointed. It’s really an advanced practice for me. To show up authentically without worrying so much about what they’re going to think.

 

At the end of the day, can I lay my head on my pillow and like who I am? It’s not about anybody else.

 

Sarah: Right. Right. Like I was telling you before, the approval. People are like, “ Oh, did you ever do cocaine in your partying days?” And I am like, “ Oh, yeah, it didn’t really work for me”.

An approval as a drug, didn’t work for me. It actually still made me feel empty..validation. It was ...I finally got on my knees, and found god, whatever that is..love, consciousness, goddess..whatever it is..the spirit, and it changes for me. That voice within, the higher voice, that voice within, when nothing outside worked anymore. I’ve known this, you know, but I think I go through different evolutions,“ Oh this new thing outside of me is going to work”.

 

We’ve talked about..you and I have danced around the conversation. I was telling you that four years ago I was going through a very spiritual awakening, and now I feel like I am going through a very intimate, delicate human awakening. Very fragile, bleak, precious, you know, but lots of sorrow involved too. I don’t know. Waves of sorrow that I think.. that I had been escaping with , “ I was going to throw a Rumi quote at that”.

 

[ Intense Laughter]

 

[Inaudible]

 

Amber: I didn’t catch that last..no, I was just laughing at the roomie thing. We’ve had a couple conversations about this, but I’ve only really realized that even some of my spiritual practices like, yoga, and reading Rumi, and meditating..that even those, if they’re not done mindfully, they’re another way to escape.

 

You know, they are another way to avoid feeling our feelings. That’s what I think a lot of times I don’t want to do...feel my feeling. There’s some feelings that I am happy to feel. I am okay with sorrow, but I am really uncomfortable with anger. I am getting better.

 

I am okay with contentment, b? kinda scares me a little bit because it’s fleeting.  What I like to avoid is boredom. There’s a lot of life that’s not..my mentor, she says, “ Sometimes we get to tredge, sometimes we get to sail”. There’s moments in life when ? it’s kind of just easy and nothing's really too exciting. I am not creating any drama, or ? any drama. Those are the times that I like to just, you know, kind of create something new.

 

[Laughs]

 

I can do that with work, I can do that with relationships, or I can do it with spirituality.

 

Just recently I’ve written a piece for Rebel Society on just the spiritual bypassing I see in our community. ..? Brother killed himself with PTSD, and we say, “ Well everything happens for a reason”, or, “That’s his karma”, or “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. We start pulling out stuff like that, and it’s like, that’s really not sensitive.

 

In my own experience with some of my, people who I deemed good friends, I’ve had to evaluate the relationships and say, “ This isn’t really working for me. It doesn’t feel like this is a healthy dance we’re doing, and I’d like to put some space in the relationship”. Even some of them I’ve had to just completely disconnect from the relationship. It’s been met with, “ You’re a yogi, we should love everyone. All is one”. You know, that doesn’t feel sensitive either.

 

Yes, I believe that all is one on the spiritual plain, and I do believe we should love one another. But I think some people we must love from afar.  AT least in this lifetime. I believe in reincarnation, I believe we have contracts with people. I believe very well I could at some point meet these people again, and learn a different lesson, but maybe in this lifetime my contract is to stay true to my own heart, and protect it first and foremost. Because if I am not protecting my heart I can’t be of service to the world.

 

Sarah: Right.Right.

 

[Inaudible]

 

Amber: That’s when love is not nice, I guess.

 

[Laughs]

 

Sarah: Yeah, because..and I have been a spiritual doormat feeling like I had to let everybody in, and everybody take. Then again and again I was burning out and I had nothing to give anymore. WE don’t have to like everyone, we just have to love them. Or we just have to love everyone, we don’t have to like them .I can’t, because my natural state is love..like, I know I am love because I feel terrible when I am anything but love.  When I am judging, or I am angry, or I am blaming, I don’t feel good. Therefore I am not in my natural state. When I love people and them I feel in my,  . I feel home in my natural state.So that’s how I’ve been able to tell, I truly am love. But, I don’t like everybody.I also, people go through their underworld process, their awakening processes, or they go through their sleeping phases, where they’re blaming or judging.

I don’t have to be involved. To love from a distance.

 

I also feel like there’s something that I haven’t really vocalized to anyone yet, but when you get to the place of the teacher, or a well-known writer, the friendships change as well. I sometimes feel like I do all the work in my friendships. Not all of them, but some of them. They just come to me for help and advice it feels like. Maybe they think.. .I don’t really.. it feels like I am working, like, off the clock or something.

 

[ Laughs]

 

I don’t know if that’s something you’ve felt?

 

Amber: I certainly have felt it. Especially when I am..currently I am self-employed. I work for myself. I don’t have a lot of people knocking at my door wanting anything from me. But, it hasn’t always been that way. I’ve been in positions of leadership in my career where I was, you know, in a place of power. As we would describe it in our culture, a place of being able to give people jobs, and things of that nature. I’ve experienced people wanting to just take from me, you know, they kind of validate me, validate me, validate me, because they have a desire to have what I have, or take what I have, or you know, and then under the premise, of well everything is abundant.

 

[laughs]

 

Everything is abundant, but you can’t steal from me. We can go to the neomas. We can have a spiritual warfare. Who knows, more spiritual truth.

 

Sarah: Yeah...although I am not interested in it.

 

[Laughter]

 

Amber: So, yeah, I think in the helping professions, of this sort of work, we attract the people who need something from us. It’s our job to make sure we are empowering them to be independent, and interdependent, and not dependent upon us, and sometimes the way to to do that is to create some distance with a boundary. When a boundary doesn’t work, I mean..a wall.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Amber:  Otherwise they’re never going to return to their love consciousness.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

[Inaudible]

 

Amber: We don’t know. I don’t feel like it’s for me to judge. This person’s...You know, not.. this person’s acting out of shadow. I can judge all day, but it doesn’t make me feel any better. So I just choose to sit in meditation, and send them love and compassion from...from afar. Because you know..because  it makes me feel better. That’s just the only way I know sometimes.

 

One of the things one of my teachers says , “If we want to heal the world, we have to hold the oppressors and the oppressed in our heart”. So I  sometimes can get really judgmental around people who I feel  are oppressing others. I have to remember if I really want anything to change I’ve got to be able to strengthen my vessel to hold compassion for both polarities ,and look at it from a dual perspective, instead of a right/wrong, black/white kind of thing.

 

Sarah:  I am just moved to ask you. You are so good about your own shadow. Being open about..we’ve talked about how you’re open about your sorrow too. We’ve used that word a couple times. What were the hardest times in your life, and how did they change you? The ones you feel like sharing. Maybe even of late.

 

Amber: You know about..the most recently. I’ve had a very dark time that I feel I’ve written kind of ad nauseum about at this point. Leaving a marriage that was not healthy in many ways, and part of that was also coming out as gay, in a relationship with another woman. We’ve come a long way in our culture at this point, with that, but when it occurred 7-8 years ago, in Texas, which tends to be a little more conservative, it was kind of scandalous.

 

[Laughs]

 

I felt a little bit like Hester Kren ?.

 

Most recently I think when I made the decision to stop drinking. I am one of those people I operate at extremes.I was like, “ I am going to stop drinking forever”. Well then I thought, “That’s totally unsustainable I am going to have to drink on this date, and I am going to have to drink on that date, whatever it was .What I can remember is my life just felt completely in shambles.

 

I was in a relationship, the same one I am in now, but it had the appearance of looking much different . I wasn’t finding joy in much of anything. I really just kind of wanted to die. I think my soul had already kind of departed. It was like, “Wow, you’re just kind of wasting your power here”.

 

It felt more fraudulent, because, like what you were saying with the following. I had a following. I had packed yoga classes. I had people..anywhere I looked people were telling me how great I am . To the outside world, it looked like I had it all, but on the inside I felt just completely depleted and exhausted. So I just took a chance that maybe the ‘just wine’, if I would just stop that for a little while, ,maybe it would help me. And what it did it..I took about 3 months to just look inward. Because I was so use to helping everyone else around me, kind of like what you were  already saying about these people that come to you for something. I mean,  every relationship I had, was me helping someone else. In a very co-dependent nature. Just of the, “ I am okay if you're okay” thing. They were never really okay, and so I was never okay. Talk about not wanting to feel my feelings , I didn’t want to feel anybody else’s feelings either. I was just really quite numb to anything. My partner and I separated. I moved to a new residence. I changed my environment.I made some change in my career. I started making a lot more money. I did all these things just trying to change everything around me, and what I realized after I changed everything around me and I was still pretty miserable. I was like, “Woah, you’re going to have to look inside. I am going ot have to work inward a little deeper. What I realized is that a lot of the problems that I was having in my relationship, my intimate relationship with my partner, and my friendships, I was creating. I mean, certainly it takes two, but I was definitely a part of it. With my partner Dana, in particular, I just decided we would work on it. I realized in any other relationship that I had, I was going to have those same problems. I just didn't want to keep perpetuating the pattern. I knew I was being called to change, and I was being called to get more authentic. I teach people to step into their power, and to alter what needs to be altered, and to move back towards love. Instead of just talking about it, I was being called to live it. You know that’s been over two years now, about two years now I suppose. If you had asked me what I wanted two years ago I would have said, “ I want to wake up in the morning and not want to kill myself. I want to wake up and have some desire to get out of bed.” I would have completely short changed myself. I have a life now, the joy is just beyond anything that I could have imagined. Going back to this idea of I struggle to share my joy, there’s this Buddhist concept, I think it’s called Mugita, sympathetic joy. I struggle sometimes to..I don’t struggle sharing in other people’s joy, but sometimes I want to hold my own joy so close to my heart that I don’t want to share it with the world. I feel like it’s that attachment. Now my life is just..sure, I just experience the full range of emotions, as Jack Cornfield would say. The joy is just so heightened because I live a life of sobriety, everything is heightened. That’s a double edged sword. It’s both a blessing and a curse to feel so deeply. I think without those really low lows, the highs, that’s what gets formed to the opposite, and to everything in between.

 

Sarah: Right. So how does one stay sober? What’s your path like stay sober?

 

Amber: What, my path staying sober?

 

Sarah: Yea, or how does it look like now to do that?

 

Amber: Well, in the beginning, I worked with Twelve Step Fellowships, and started working one day at a time to connect to a higher power, and to meditate, and pray. That’s not all that different now. The stuff I am doing now is not much different. I have kind of a recovery repertoire of I need to practice yoga in some capacity each day. It doesn’t necessarily mean I have to do it 60 minute hot vinyasa class, or anything like that, but I need to like roll out a mat, stretch, and strengthen my core, and things like that.  I need to sit and meditate. I am a big chanter. I do Japa Meditation, so I have mantras where I chant 108 times. The mantra has been empowering to me. Especially in healing some of my heart pain surrounding surrendering. I have such a hard time surrendering, and letting go. Sometimes the mantra, just repeating it over and over and over again is the only thing that will quiet my mind. So that’s a big part.

 

I have probably five women who I talk to at least a couple times a week through text, or on the phone, or even in person, who also walk this path with me. They’ve kind of been where I am, and they can see me so much better than I can see myself. I mean I’ll call or text them with something I am like really worried about, and they’ll just know what to say with unconditional love. The love that I didn’t quite grow up with that I am learning to give and receive. Let’s see what else? Prayer.

 

Sarah:  Yes.

 

Amber: I definitely ask to get out of my own way and to be a channel for god’s will for me. To be a channel to provide what it is that others need. That’s always..before I teach..make me a channel for what these people’s need.  To bring people in my path who have had experiences that I can help heal. Let everyone I meet today be my teacher. Things like that. Simple prayers, not anything too complex. I think that’s pretty much it.

 

[Inaudible]

 

Sarah: It’s about saving your own life basically. I have been there, and that, it’s tough to call it suicidal because I am not like making plans, but my soul feels dead. so you’re talking about turning inward and doing everything you have to do to save your own life. It’s a hope filled story that you feel so much joy now, in fact you’re getting married.

 

Amber: Yes, I am. My partner and I we decided before the Supreme Court ruling that we would marry on November 1st, because I’ve just always felt like we are twin flames. Some of my reiki teachers have said, “ You guys have done lifetimes together”. We’ll joke, “ I am going to be with you the rest of this lifetime, and then I am going to find you in the next one”. It’s just a very deep connection. So we picked 11/1 because of the symbolism. Though we haven’t really told anyone. We’re having a very small ceremony, of like , how you were saying, that intimate, small group. Instead of the whole big deal shebang. Then my Dad announced it on Facebook. We’re kind of twisted in to announcing it as well to the world. What a beautiful thing that he’s excited. A lot of fathers might not be , and it just feel really good. Again, coming back to this idea of sympathetic joy. Letting him share in our joy, and letting the world share in our joy. I share a ton of my story through social media, and in my blog, and writing, why not share the joyful part? To show people it’s possible if for no other reason. I wouldn’t not drink if I didn’t feel joy.

 

[Laughter]

 

I know how that story ends. It ends with me feeling empty inside, and this story I don’t know how it ends. I am co-creating it each day. It’s exciting. It’s fun.

 

Sarah: I like that, like, “ I know how this story is gonna end, so I am going to choose the mystery. I know how the old pattern plays out, so I am gonna let go”. So, your work is helping people find their purpose. How does one teach on finding your purpose? How do you do that for others?

 

Amber: I think sometimes we equate finding your purpose as something really large. It’s not to say it can’t be. My story is one of I taught English in the public schools, for several years, I had a direct deposit job. It was real simple. I loved kids, I still do. Then suddenly I just had this calling to leave that and do something different. Some others that I’ve met, their stories are similar. This isn’t working, let me do something drastic and change the format of my life. I think to some living your purpose can mean choosing to connect with the grocery store clerk. Choosing to offer compassion to someone instead of judgments. It’s an everyday, moment by moment, “ Does this bring me closer to my purpose, closer to spirit, closer to love? Or does it bring me closer to ego, closer to shadow?” That’s, of course, like anything else a practice to figure out. If we can begin to create strong intentions on the yoga mat, where we’re pretty safe. It’s like a 68 inch piece of real estate, surrounded by other, hopefully, like minded individuals. I mean it’s a kind of a yogatopia. If we can learn to create strong purpose in the way in which we practice, very mindfully, very deliberately. I think that can’t help but transcend into our life practice. I just believe that what we do on the mat, is a microcosm of what we do everywhere else.

 

Sarah: So we.. it’s something that when you said ego, it’s something that we were talking about when you had a day where you woke up and you were looking at your thousands of followers, and realized you didn’t have any intimate relationships. Take us back there.

 

Amber: That was kind of in that dark moment whenever I was realizing, “ Okay, this relationship with my partner is kind of very distant, this friendship’s not working, and yet it’s overshadowing the healthy friendships I have. I have all these relationships where people are wanting something from me, but I didn’t, and I had all these people telling me, “We just love your classes, we love your writing”, but I had nobody that I felt I could confide in. Nobody I felt could come pick me up off the bathroom floor in the middle of the night and tell me it was going to be okay. I had a couple people, but it was a wake up call for me. Social media, I love, I would have never met you, Sarah, if not for it. I’ve made some incredible connections with people I really feel like I resonate with on a deep level, but sometimes I believe we use it as a way to create fake connection. Rene Brown talks about, if you're sharing your story with everyone, you’re not being vulnerable, you’re just sharing with everyone. You’re oversharing. One of the things she says is, “People have to earn the right to hear your story”. When this hit home for me was when people, other people would do what I felt was over-sharing, and of course that’s a judgment on some point, but I wasn’t strong enough when I was in the depths of my own despair to hold someone else's. I was in such dire need of love, to sound cliche, but self-love., and love from others, that I absolutely wasn’t strong enough to hold, to hear and hold other’s stories of grief. So through the process of getting stronger, literally strengthening the vessel. My yoga practice has changed so much more strength oriented practice for that reason, and through becoming able to feel my feelings as they come, and to let them move through me, instead of pushing them away, instead of wallowing in them. I am not able to help others feel their feelings. I am able to..people come to me with things   horrific. I am able to listen, be empathetic, compassionate. I am maybe completely powerless over it. So I’ve changed some of the ways I write to talk more about the theme of experiencing, and less about the details. Just because I think we have this, I look at our obsession with tabloid magazines and reality TV, we have this obsession with seeing people very voyeuristically. My job, I don’t feel, is to let people know what I’ve had for breakfast, it’s to let them know I struggle with certain eating things. It’s to talk about the theme, but without sharing too much of the story, if it feels like it’s not going to be helpful. With that being said, I have shared things that looking back I don’t know that I would share it again. It certainly propelled me toward my own healing. People write to me, people like you, and let me know it’s helped them to, so I don’t look back on it with regret. I just..it’s like Maya Angelou says, “ Now that you know better, do better”. Sometimes I just choose to do better with a smaller group of confidants.

 

Sarah: Yeah, you and I both have a story of shame that we’ve shared, and again those details don’t have to be shared, but it’s really important to look at. What I was saying today is like the way I got out of... I still fall in the shame spiral. This doesn’t have anything to do with drinking, with just like treating someone badly, or betraying somebody in a situation I was in, but literally I didn’t know any better at the time. Those are the situations, that’s how you learn. You got tied to a stake and burnt alive for it, and you’re never going to forget that lesson...ever! I would have done it if I had known the consequences. I don’t know if that resonates, but just the humanness. It’s a story I still haven’t shared because of the people involved.

 

Amber: Yeah, not everything is ours to share.

 

Sarah: Yes, that’s it.

 

Amber: When I say I’ve stopped sharing some details, it’s like if this story helps heal a handful of women, or however many, but it forever hurts my father, is it worth sharing? I’ve maybe got ten more years with him, and we have a very close relationships. It’s like, is it the right time, is it the right form to share it?  says, “ If people wanted to be written about better, they should have behaved better”, and I can relate, but at the same time I’ve written some things about people, that are certainly in my opinion true, but was it helpful? And I’ve also been written about. Being on the other side of that, being written about unfavorably, will show you that sort of pain of, “wow”.

 

Sarah: That’s not something I am into. [Inaudible]

 

Amber: I have to be careful, I mean much of my work is confidential anyways, I have beautiful stories of working with individual, private yoga clients. We get so deep sometimes, just some really philosophical conversations it’s like, “That’s not mine to share”.

[laughs]

It’s for me to keep in my heart and remember. To jot it down somewhere, but not publically.

 

Sarah: Yes.  I am such a sharer, and it was like a vase that had two sides and didn't  hold any water. Like this water would go in, fully water something beautiful someone said in a movie or whatever, but because I wasn’t a container for it, I immediately shared it. I didn't’ process it, I didn’t hold it. [Inaudible] I have this beautiful, new voice in my head, and I am loving her. She doesn’t let me be mean to myself. It started in this Venus Retrograde, last call we talked about that. but it’s this new loving voice that I swear to God I’ve never fucking had in my life. It’s always been an asshole. It’s always been like the last person I would want to hang out with, and now it’s this really loving, motherly, feminine voice. I’ll be watching..I like to say I spent the last three days in bed with Bill Hicks and Jim Morrison, and one other guy, [inaudible] oh, and Elvis Presley, and just take in this knowledge, and I would start to like share it. Even though I shared a little bit of Charlie Koffman today . There’s this new voice that’s going, “This is for you. This is for you”.  I am like, “ I don’t have to immediately give it away?”, and it’s like, “No, you don’t”.

 

Amber: That’s also changed in my writing too, it’s interesting you say that. A lot of times what I share now is stuff, I don’t publish it until maybe 3 or 6 months later. After I’ve processed it, after I kind of know how that chapter ends. It’s interesting the response that it receives because people will go, “ Oh, I didn’t know..”, people that know me a little better in a physical form, will go, “ Oh, I didn’t know you were going through that”, and I am like, “ I am not.” [laughs] I was, but I am not anymore. Because sometimes that..I like to write about things after I’ve already experienced them. I mean I write about them while I am experiencing them, of course, but I don’t like to publish them until after I feel like I’ve come out on the other side of it.

 

Sarah: Yeah, something I wanted to bring up..you know, the Ana forest work you did. In just this really weird place with the word teacher. In the beginning I called you teacher, but also student. I think some people forget to say student. I am not comfortable with the word teacher right now. I like being called a lot of different things, but I am also like in a very Jim Morrison place cause he’s like , “ Why do we have to categorize, man?” You know. [Laughter]

 

Amber: Yeah, I’ve been there a lot..still am.

 

Sarah: He was funny. They were trying to describe a song on the radio in a documentary, and he’s like, “ Fuck your category!”

 

[Laughs]

 

I guess I am down with the word curator, sharer. I can handle artist, I prefer writer, but I can handle artist.

 

So, Ana, I was reading something about her last night. I use to really look at you as like an Ana Forrest,I don’t like the word stifle, but I look at you as like a golden child of hers. She is very much in the seat of the teacher, and giving advice, and telling people how to live their life. It is not something I am comfortable with because, the other thing I was doing in bed for three days, because I was sick, because I have this lyme disease, which I honor, because it slows me down and let’s me receive..[inaudible].. watching the rise and the fall of the teacher is a very scary thing. I don’t want to be on the pedestal, I don’t want the rise, and I  don’t want the fall. You know what I mean when I say that?

 

Amber: Yeah, I know. I certainly, I trained with Ana Forrest for my 200 hour, back in, I think, 2010, and, might have been 2011, I can’t remember. I credit her with breathing me back to life. I did 27 days of sober living with her, and it was the first time since I was probably 12 that I had been sober.  Especially for 27 consecutive days, and we did very intense yoga. I am forever indebted for that experience, because had that not occurred, I don’t know where I would be today. I don’t. I won’t even prophecise I’ve stepped away from the Forrest Yoga circle a little bit, and not because of that teacher/student dynamic, mainly just because some of the alignment doesn't work in my body. Like you’re saying, it’s pretty dogmatic, the alignment. I’ve assisted Ana. I have nothing but love for her. Her style of yoga works for a lot of people, and it’s not to say that I don’t pull out a Forrest Yoga sequence for somebody because it is good for certain styles of bodies. I love the emphasis on breathe. I love how it teaches to some sort of spiritual concepts that necessarily rooted in the Sutras,  it’s a little more contemporary. When I met her, that’s what I needed. If someone had started speaking Sanskrit to me, I was like, I don’t know. If you had told me 5 years ago that I’d be chanting Sanskrit Mantras each morning I would be like, “No”.

We don’t ever know what our medicine is going to be.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Amber:  So I love Forrest Yoga, I love practicing it on occasion. I don’t call myself a Forrest Yoga teacher because if Ana Forrest came to my class she would say, “ Amber, that is not Forrest Yoga”. It has a very distinct flavor. In my classes I tell stories, it’s anecdotal. I relate to the people in front of me much differently. Judith Lasater says, “ Can you teach in a way that you’re making a request of people?” I caught myself doing that this morning. I said, “ Lay down!” and then I said, “ Wait that sounded pretty authoritarian. Would you lay down for a moment. I was asking someone to demonstrate something, but everybody laughed. I really like to come across as a teacher who doesn’t have it all figured out. I think we become most dangerous when we think we have it all figured out.  [ Inaudible] Let’s figure it out together. Most of my private clients are in their 70’s and their males, and so God knows their bodies are different than mine. I just think as yoga teachers we need to not get so wrapped up in what lineage we ascribe to, and not drag each other down, not criticize each other. Just realize we all, there’s enough different body styles, enough different interests we can all thrive together.

 

 

Sarah: Right. So, we might run a couple minutes over. I know Victoria’s going to be on the call really soon, but I have a couple more questions for you. I didn’t want to miss what, it’s such an important thing to me about your story. I apologize if I’ve been a little out of it, I downed a cup of Kava tea to before we started talking to calm my nerves, and it made me be like [inaudible].

 

 

Amber: You’re good. You’re good. Oh, no,it’s all good. You’re fine.

 

Sarah:         The important thing for me is you're someone with a following, but 2 years ago you stopped and you turned into your intimate relationship. And because of that crucial change in your life,  you have the joy that many of us, myself included, seek of that intimate partnership, that love that’s sacred, that feels like home, and that’s just yours. So I just wanted to touch on that bit. That was a huge turning point for you. Once again, instead of reaching for something outside of you, you also turned in, and you turned to the people who really loved you. Like that guy, I forget his name,.. [inaudible]

 

Amber:     Sorry, the dog is running off.. again.[laughs] I apologize. Okay,go ahead.

 

Sarah:         { Inaudible]..He talks about this society we’re in. You know you walk around and  everybody's on their phones and they aren’t looking up, and there’s a rainbow in the sky, there’s someone who needs help on the ground, or you know they’re not looking in people’s eyes, and he’s really trying to get people back into their intimate relationships. Back to the things that are living and breathing, and like you said about your father. I am the same way. I hope I have 10 more years with him. The things that have a timeline on them, a ticking heart and breathe. I mean sometimes I am fussing with my phone, and my sweet, old dog who could go any day is staring at me waiting for love, “ Oh my god”..[inaudible]. So he’s like, “Your 20, 000 twitter followers aren’t going to..if something happens in the middle of the night, they aren’t coming to save you. Who’s coming to save you when you need it?” It’s an important question. And a confiding..a lot of times in your work you have to be somebody, you know, you have to be Sasha Fierce. Who Beyonce created when she couldn’t handle all the, all the ?  . So like who do you get to be Beyonce with , who do you get to be just like plain old. You know what I mean, who do you get to be the little girl inside to confide.. [ inaudible]. So thank you for that part of your story. I wanted to ask you about this program you have called, Yoga Right Now. What is that?

 

Amber:     Yes, with Tanya Markul who’s the co-creator of Rebelle Society. We’ve been creating online yoga and writing workshops. So the writing is reflective in nature, and you of course are not graded on it. You don’t have to share it publicly or anything, but the yoga practices correlate with the writing exercises. You can go to www.yogarightnow.org , and we’re in the middle of the session right now. It’s not too late to register, you could download all the materials. You just wouldn’t have the..we have a Facebook group, where it’s kind of optional to share your experience, and we have some good conversations going on there.

She and I have collaborated in that just because I think yoga and writing lend themselves so..they go so well together. When I am practicing yoga, my writing is much more clear. Things come up, and it’s been really empowering to the women, and men too, who are engulfed in it. They’ve had some really cool breakthroughs. It’s an honor to share space, and to witness. Sometimes we just need to be seen as we’re walking our path. We just need someone to say, “ Yeah, I see you. I see that your..”. That’s what one of my teachers says is the cliff note version of Namaste,’ I see you’. So, yeah, that’s pretty much it.

 

Sarah: It’s just $19.99, so come on! It’s easy.

 

Amber: Oh, yeah. We’ve made it really [inaudible] . So much of yoga is really expensive, we wanted to make it available to everyone. So, yeah, it’s human friendly, is her phrasing for the pricing.

 

Sarah: So, I ask everyone this, but how does the feminine heal? How do the energies of the feminine heal and how’s it possible they could heal the world, or are?

 

Amber: Well, I think our feminine Earth is in need of some healing. When you asked me this question earlier the first thing that came up for me  is as women we need to bond together, instead of tearing each other down, instead of staying competitive. I also think we come a lot further with ourselves when we’re more nurturing, when we’re more compassionate. I am well practiced in beating the crap out of myself inside my head. Even, I’ve had practices of beating myself up with my body, with different substances and behaviors that weren’t serving me. That didn’t help me heal. So I think it’s moving in the direction of the more feminine characteristics that we’ll experience both individual healing, and global healing.

 

Sarah:     Thank you. Certainly saved my life. I wanted to thank you for sharing tonight. I wish we could have talked more. I always feel like I am just warming up by the end of the first hour.

 

[Laughter]

 

It’s like the old me who needed two glasses of wine to really like get the party.

 

Amber: Well this was the appetizer, you’ve got Victoria coming up.

 

Sarah: You are a lovely appetizer. You’re delightful. Thank you.

Amber: Thank you so much, Sarah.

 

Sarah: Yeah, I hope we can somehow collaborate soon. I just want to say thanks so much, congratulations, and have a wonderful night.

 

Amber: Thank you. Take care.

 

Sarah: You too.

 

 

1:06

 

Call 2: Sarah Durham Wilson/Victoria Erickson

 

Sarah: Victoria?

 

Victoria: Hi, Sarah.

 

Sarah: Hello! How are you?

 

Victoria: Can you hear me?

 

Sarah: I can.

 

Victoria: I am well. How are you? I loved that conversation! It was so nice to hear Amber’s voice. We’ve been Rebelle Society writers for like 3 years now. It’s so fascinating to me when I actually feel like I can hear someone’s voice, or meet them in person. It’s quite nice.

 

Sarah: Yeah, I said that to her today. I was like oh my god, I feel like I know her so well, like we go to the movies together, but we’ve never talked on the phone until today. We write our hearts out, [inaudible] this long distance pen-pals who finally meet kind of thing.

 

Victoria: I know, it’s amazing. This has been the year for that I think. It’s been good.

 

Sarah: Yeah, it’s been the year for a lot of stuff.

 

Victoria: Yeah, it has.

 

Sarah: It’s almost fall now.

 

Victoria: It’s insane I know. It’s crazy. It goes by faster and faster.

 

Sarah: I know, and we get older and older. [Laughs]

 

Victoria: I know. I know. We do, we do...but wiser.

 

Sarah: Thank God we don’t get older and stupider. That would be horrible!

 

Victoria: I know, it would be, what’s the..horrendous, I know.

 

Sarah: So this is Victoria. Victoria Erickson. She’s a poet, a storyteller. A really mystical, magical creature. Very sensitive, [inaudible] teaching women in alignment with their sensitivity and their internal seasons, and again tonight’s theme is their humanness. That it’s okay to have these feelings. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be sad. Join me in it. Join me in the winters, so we can herald the spring together sort of thing. So I just want to say thank you for being here tonight.

Victoria: Thank you for having me in this beautiful space.

Sarah: Yeah, yeah. So where are you? You’re in Texas?

 

Victoria: I am in Austin, yes. I am in Austin, and it was like 98 degrees...

 

Sarah:I want you to tell them the story of before and how you got back to Texas.

 

Victoria: Oh, gosh. Okay..the whole story?

 

Sarah: Okay, I’ll set it up for you. Victoria and I were talking because I am headed back to Massachusetts, and she said, “ I’ve lived in Massachusetts. She had done the thing where life is getting kind of hard, and she didn’t quite know what she wanted to do, and she met a man and thought, “ Okay, I am going to go live the simple life”. She painted a picture in her head of a simple New England life. I am exaggerating, but like a fisherman’s wife.

 

Victoria: No, you’re not. You’re not exaggerating.

 

[Laughter]

 

Sarah: That was not how it ended up.

 

Victoria: Right. Yeah, I was in San Francisco though for seven years. Completely lost and trying to figure it out. The first three years were amazing. That was my early 20’s and I was just sort of taken by the city, and then as time went on I was just fighting all the forces of living in the city and not really enjoying it. I was not a big drinker, I don’t know, the restaurants. I was just trying to pay my rent every month, and so I was trying to find parking, and having my car towed periodically because of street cleaning. He was a real jerky driver because he was dodging like crack heads and tourists, all the city things that start to wear on you over the course of seven years. So, I am originally from Rhode Island, so I went back for a concert. I met this very sweet, very simple man, who was very different than all the San Francisco men I dated. It’s like I’d thought I’d fallen in love with him, but I think I fell in love with the way, how comfortable I felt with him, and how safe. How like, well maybe I should just go back to New England and be with this person, and like live in the woods, and I don’t know, just be simple. He was just a hard working sweet guy. So I did that, I moved cross country. About six months into it I realized I was going to have to leave. I knew that is just wasn’t going to work out. So I didn’t leave until 2 ½ years later. I landed in Austin because I have a lot of family down here now, because they wanted to come down to the warmer weather, and be done with the winters. Which I was also dealing with these freezing winters.

 

Sarah: Can I just stop you there?

 

Victoria: Yeah.

 

Sarah: Once I wrote a post about the only reason I ever really move is love. Either my heart's been broken, and I have to get the fuck out of town, or I fall in love. I told myself I was in love. So love literally moves me. It moves me out of the town because I can’t stay there anymore because everything reminds me of him,or I meet somebody and I move for him.

 

Victoria: I remember this post. It was so beautiful. I remember this, yes.

 

Sarah: I remember you commenting on it..[inaudible].

 

Victoria: Because I do the same thing.

 

Sarah: This is actually the first place, New Mexico is the first place that I did for me, and it wasn’t for a man. But I do believe that people can serve as bridges. Our subconscious is like fall in love with this person. It’s not going to be the love of your life, but it’s going to evolve you, it’s going to move you, it’s going to be the bridge that moves you along.

 

Victoria: That’s really beautiful. Absolutely.

 

Sarah: Yeah,

 

Victoria: Yes, I agree. It was a complete shattering there, and he was a bridge.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Victoria: Because I had to shatter, because that’s when I discovered I need to go back into writing, and sort of reclaim my own life, and take the pen back in every way. Take the pen back physically and metaphorically. Sorry my dog is now

 

Sarah: It’s so funny. It’s a three dog night.

 

[Laugh, inaudible]

 

Victoria: Yeah. That was a real painful breakup, because he was my best friend, and he was a sweetheart. Again, very simple and would do anything for me, but I was very stifled, and quite miserable, and bored. I realized that we had very different values, fundamental values. So I had to make this decision to leave.. my best friend to sort of save my own life. It got to the point where I was waking up in pain everyday, and also that book, Women Who Run With Wolves by Dr. Estes, she was talking often in the book about how it’s better to sort of branch out and travel and find what your soul needs, rather than stay completely stifled in a place that doesn’t feed you.

 

Sarah: Right

 

Victoria:  So that’s what I had to do, and it was really difficult. Very painful, yeah.

 

Sarah: It's very painful when you have to change, and when you have to leave what’s comfortable. This seems to be the theme for everyone more and more, is that, I have to leave what’s comfortable, I have to leave the known because I am not fully alive, and I know that’s not how life is suppose to be.

 

Victoria: Right, yes, you just know. It may take a while, but there just comes a point where you have to do it.  It’s sort of do or die.

 

Sarah: Yeah, I saw that today that you said something really beautiful, that your emotions will be fleeting but that inner voice won’t be. Right, and you said...

 

Victoria: Yeah.

 

Sarah: Yeah, I really liked that, because you know emotions do come and go, and change like the weather and traffic,  but that inner voice, as much as sometimes you really wish, because she’s asking you to do something very uncomfortable, she doesn’t go away, she gets stronger.

 

Victoria: Right stronger, yeah, yeah. The emotions and the intuition are very different, and I feel like the intuition comes from the core. Very much the core, and like our power center. The emotions are often like swirling around our brains, which gets very confused. Right, so.. I think

 

Sarah:  [Inaudible]

 

Victoria:  Go ahead

 

Sarah: No, what were you going to say?

 

Victoria: Oh, and I think that once we really tap into that intuitive knowing, and that’s usually the most difficult part, I mean it’s not easy. It’s usually the most difficult part to decide from because it’s never convenient. Almost never. I mean I’ve never known it to be convenient, I don’t know about other people’s experiences, but that’s what we have to listen to, and the more we sharpen it by following it, the more it will work for us..I think.

 

Sarah: Right. Right. We were talking about you follow synchronicities, right?

 

Victoria: Yeah, I do, and I think that’s just part of it. I think they..it’s almost like they work together. Like if you start to really trust your intuition, the little synchronicities will appear everywhere. I think over time they become stronger and stronger, you learn to recognize what you think might be one, and what’s a very clear one.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Victoria: Because sometimes we’ll want to look for something, right, and so we'll..

 

Sarah: [Inaudible] Right, I know what you’re talking about.

 

Victoria: And sometimes it will just be so clear it’s real that you’re like, how could I not, how am I supposed to ignore this? This isn’t a coincidence.

 

Sarah: Right. So, I think that’s sort of what Amber was talking about. Is this coming from my soul, or is this coming from my ego?

 

Victoria: Right.

 

Sarah: When we’re looking for signs, sure we’ll find them when we’re looking for them, when it’s something our ego wants. The difference for me is I don’t look for them when it’s something my soul wants, they find me, and that’s different.

 

Victoria: Exactly, yeah I love that. I love that. It’s like something you can’t ignore. You're almost pushing it away.. in a sense.

 

Sarah: Yes.

 

Victoria: Because it comes out of nowhere. It’s like Joseph Campbell, the hero’s journey. You hear the call, and you're almost like so resistant to it.

 

Sarah: Right, the reluctant hero.

 

Victoria: Yeah, the reluctant hero. Exactly, yeah. So when it’s calling to the soul it’s more that sort of style, and then you finally surrender to it. I think that’s often the case, because there is so many difficulties involved, or what you perceive as difficulties, because it’s just a load of shifts. You have to kind of soften into, or train yourself to soften into, because we’re so resistant to things.

 

Sarah: Right, I was going to save this conversation for a little later, and then first talk about your writing, but while we’re here, the reason I realized this was I went through a period, that you actually witnessed with me, of getting very confused between my head and intuition. My intuition was in a time where it wasn’t trusting myself, and that’s a time when we can make some really bad choices, and “bad”, I mean learn . I didn’t trust myself and so I was talking myself into a relationships, and what I’ve really learned about love, is that you don’t have to talk yourself in to it. It will be a full body knowing, and it won’t be anything you think about it.  I had, the person on the other end, was telling me, “ I have all these signs that we’re suppose to be together”, and meanwhile, I had none. So I could tell he was coming from his ego, desperately looking for these signs, which, they were pretty much all wrong about me anyway. I got really selective..I had to break down signs, and intuition, and synchronicity. Signs, which at the time were something I looked for, which I stopped looking for. Synchronicity would just find me. To really hear my body again, and to start using my body, asking it questions, feeling it either open for ‘yes’, or close for ‘no’. Fine tuning it like an instrument.

 

Victoria: It is an instrument. An energetic instrument.

 

Sarah: Yeah, and I think [inaudible].

 

Victoria: [Inaudible].. or canton.

 

Sarah: Yes, that’s what Jackie Becker was talking about a lot.

 

Victoria: I see.

 

Sarah: It almost felt like dark magic on his part, like trying to sort of spiritually control me. I think we do that with other people sometimes, and we can’t control anybody else. That’s where magic can get a little tricky, when we’re calling in somebody specific, or we’re asking about signs for somebody specific. I think things can get a little iffy around that.  I don’t know how you feel about that.

 

Victoria: Yeah, I absolutely believe that, and I think that because you were in a darker, weaker place that’s sort of why he came in. It’s like they sense it. That always seems to be the case,

 

Sarah: Yeah.

 

Victoria: Yeah. They sort of tap right into your weaknesses, so it’s just like another lesson. Had he not come in you wouldn’t have realized what you do need right now, or what space you actually were in. Sometimes we don’t actually realize in the moment how weak we actually are until we’re actually out of that relationship that’s dragging us down, and you come out of it . It’s kind of like leaving a big city, where you're like, “ How did I manage that for like that period of time? That was exhausting.” Right, but while you're in the middle of it, you’re like, “I like this place”,  or “I like this person”, or “ This is fine”, right, “ This is totally fine”, then you’re all sort of confused because you know something’s off, but you can’t figure it out until after the fact, because your out of that sort of storm. That grip of it.

 

Sarah: Right. I’ve...

 

Victoria: When you’re released from it.

 

Sarah: It’s funny Amber and I didn’t quite get it to it. We both have had to do some girlfriend breakups of late. If we were in a relationship that was romantic, whether we were dating a man or a woman, but these friendships are harder to leave, even though they don’t, they no longer are making us feel good, it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from love, or unconditional love, or they don’t want our happiness. That we still have a harder time, as women, coming together for the feminine, to put down boundaries with other women. I can feel like, oh, I am being a bitch or whatever, but if you were dating that person and they weren’t making you happy, you would walk away and say I did the right thing. So I’ve had the courage to sort of break up with some women as of late, or ask for space. That’s what it is, that’s what it always is. My litmus test is, god,I feel better. I am happier, I feel freer, I love myself a little more. That’s all the information I need. I feel better.

 

Victoria: That’s it. It’s as simple and uncomplicated as that.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Victoria: Because it’s so difficult to do.

 

Sarah: It’s so difficult, and I’ve stayed in friendships, and really had to wear my old mask, or stay in my old role to make them comfortable for too long, and I literally get sick now from doing that. I can’t wear my old mask. Either, we’re evolving together, or I have to take some space.

 

Victoria: Yeah, you become more sensitive to sort of that vampire energy. It’s not their fault, it’s just sort of how you’re growing together, and if you are not sort of vibrating at the same level anymore. Everyone grows at different rates through experience or what they’re going through, and sometimes we’re no longer magnetic with certain people. It’s more of a repel. Like you’re repelled somehow, and you have to step away to gain some clarity about it, and figure out exactly why.  I think as women we always want to know why, and the only way to do that is to take space, and see how you feel when you’re out of the emotional grip of it.

 

Sarah: Right. So your writing is really taking off. It’s something I want to focus on tonight. Your topic is sort of the alchemy of writing.You took a break from writing. Will you tell us about your relationship to writing?

 

Victoria: Yeah, I have a very complex relationship with writing. Basically, as soon as I found words, I don’t know how old that is like 4 of 5. As soon as I could literally pick up a pen or pencil, and I learned what writing is, I started to journal very heavily as a little girl. I would want to live in books and stories. I would want to come up with these fantasy worlds of rainforests and all these mythical creatures. I would create these stories all the time and read them to my 2nd and 3rd grade classes. I was so deeply introverted though, and I wanted to be in those worlds all the time, so I wasn’t a social girl. I just wanted to be with books and words. This continued on through junior high and high school. All I wanted to do was write. I started to actually do poorly in school because I started to feel possessed by it like it was a force, because as the words expanded..it was the only way I could figure out the world around me and myself, and it was such a bliss state for, it was like a flow, so  I would want to write for like 6 hours a day, and just be alone with the words. So it was really wild. By the time I was like 17/18 I was already developing wrist problems from like carpal tunnel, because it would just physical seize me,  and I would just want to write, and I would write poetry and I would journal out. Everything that’s ever happened to me from like the ages of 9-17 has been documented in detail. My parents have bins of my journals. In my early 20’s I was like I can’t do this anymore, this is like I am not living. I can’t be like taken by this anymore, it’s absolutely ridiculous. Who has five hours a day to write? I didn’t even wean myself off of it, I just quit cold turkey, and also my wrist was hurting all the time. I went straight into healing, because that’s what I felt like I needed ,mainly because I had to stop the writing, and I became a massage therapist. I went to like  this amazing magical school outside of Yosemite. We immediately talked about energy and reiki. I was like 19 at this point. Then I went to skin care, and I did like holistic skin care. I moved to San Francisco at that point. I had a little skin care business doing really well. Still totally away from the words, but I was pretty miserable there, and it wasn’t just the city, and now I know looking back it was because I had lost this huge part of myself that gave me so much joy, but I just refused to go back in to it. Then I moved to Massachusetts for that guy, and my sister had been living in Los Angeles and she was working for this producer, and his part time stint was he wanted to produce children’s books for his kids mostly because he wanted them to have a certain mindset, and he couldn’t find the right children’s books. So my sister’s like, “ Vicky, you have to do this. Will you please write them?”. My whole family was so upset still that I wouldn’t write again, because it was always who I was. I was like, “No, no, no, I don’t want anything to do with it”, and finally they convinced me. I ended up writing fifteen children’s books for this producer, and then it’s like it just showed up everywhere. I became like this ghost writer for this local dog trainer because I had mentioned to him that I had wrote these children’s books, and he was like, “Oh, I need someone to write my blog for me because I don’t have time”, and I was like, “Sure, I’ll do it.”And then that became my thing was becoming an actor behind these people, figuring out how they would say things and just make it a little better. It was like I could like lean in to any kind of voice. I could write political blogs, medical journals, more children’s books, and I was just always behind someone else’s name. I still refused to write for myself at that point. So, then yoga, of course, I went deep into Bikram because I was trying to deal with the pain from this relationship. I was like, “Why am I in so much pain? How am I going to leave this person?”. I was practicing Bikram like five days a week, and then I found Rebelle Society. I was like, “Oh, this sounds like..” I was really resonating with all the articles. So my first article I wrote about  Bikram and I sent it in. I really bonded with Andrèa Balt right away , who is the other co-founder. She’s like, “Wow, this is something special. Will you become a regular contributor?”, and I was like, “ Yeah, maybe I can do that.” So then the next one I sent in, I don’t even remember, and then I sent in a few more, and they, I don’t know what happened, one of them blew up, and people started...

 

Sarah: Which one was that?

 

Victoria: My sensitivity article.

 

Sarah: Can you tell us about that one? Because I remember this, it was very special.

 

Victoria: Yeah, so I was always a deeply sensitive person, and I think that’s why I needed to live in the words and the books. I felt a lot of pain as a child like seeing, I dunno, a dog hurt, or another child crying, or just like.. I was capable of feeling so much, so deeply all the time, whether it was pain or happiness. So ,I always thought, you know, that something was just wrong with me ,so maybe if I stayed in the word world I could protect myself. And so I wrote this article, it just spilled out of me after Bikram one day, and I am just looking at it like people are going to think I am absolutely insane. I am mortified to turn this in. I don’t even want to share it once they publish it because..

 

Sarah: Right, I do that. [Laughter]

 

Victoria:   It was my most deeply personal thing that I’d ever done. So I sent it in and it just exploded and like all these sensitive people came out of like nowhere. They were like, “ Wow, this is like life-changing because I had no idea I was this, but I am this”, and then all the sudden I started seeing sensitivity things popping up everywhere. Like it became this like wave, because it did so well. Everyone, just in my bio, I just had my regular Facebook page all of the sudden people are adding me as a friend, and I am like, “ Okay, whatever, they can be my friend.” Then I sent in a few more that did really well, and Andrèa was like, “Victoria, like you need to like open up an author’s page”, and I was like, “ Absolutely not, they can follow my regular page, that’s crazy!”. I finally did like six months later, and it just really grew, so I started to just..and I didn’t have time to write just full fledged articles anymore, so I just wrote like I was doing a status. Then I started getting in to poetry again. Because poetry has always been I think.. so it was kind of like mini journaling about my experiences that I was going through. So it was almost talking to myself, and then talking to everyone else. So I talked to everyone as if I am talking to them, but I am also talking to myself.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Victoria: They started pinning these quotes on this typewriter font on Pinterest, and they started spreading like wildfire. So my Facebook page really grew within the last..I’ve had it for a year and a half. It’s really grown, and then this publisher picked me up, so I have a book being published this fall with a hundred-sixty of the quotes, but when I put them all together I realized I have material for like ten or eleven books. Just in the past year and half that I’ve had this page. Then I realized wow I am journaling out, but now it’s like..and I just did a workshop with Tyler Knott Gregson and Andrèa online called, Recycling you Heart into Art. I just did a New York City seminar with Andrèa and Bryonie Wise who used to be the managing editor of Elephant Journal. We had people come from all over the world, we had like fifty people. One guy flew from Australia, and just to see us. It was just so surreal, and I thought to myself, “ Okay, like I can never turn away from writing again”. Now I know sometimes you're just born to do something, it’s like whatever you loved in your childhood deeply. For me it was like, as we were talking about before, like I was pushing it away, turning away from it, and it just kept showing up and showing up. Now I feel like, I am almost 33, and I feel like for the first time.. and I was like thinking this as I was walking. Everyone was crying at the end of the seminar in New York they were just like,“This has been so magical and amazing.” I remember walking back to my hotel and the sun was setting, I remember thinking you know I’ve always moved for love, and I’ve like reached, and reached, and reached and did so many things. Like my skin care career, and what I thought was like perceived success, like different neighborhoods and cities; walking there I suddenly felt full of everything. I didn’t have that like hunger, that ache, like I didn’t know what it was before. I always thought it was like for a lover who fulfilled me, or just something. It hit me, this is what I am suppose to be doing because I no longer have that hunger. It’s like, and I keep saying, because everything feels full of everything, you just feel full. Happily full and energized; it’s like after meditating when you just like you're half like really energized, and half so relaxed, and you know that everything’s in it’s place. Like a zone of perfection in an imperfect world. That feelings become ongoing as I step more, and more in to the writing, and sort of teaching writing. So now like I am doing lots of Skype sessions with people doing their books, and working with them on the creative end, because that’s what I do; more of the creative, poetic type themes. It felt like, oh my gosh, this is what we’re suppose to do. I write more and more about it now on the page because I feel like I’ve personally lived it, and it’s amazing. More and more opportunity opens up when you finally just step in to what you’re suppose to be doing.So that’s like the writing story in a nutshell. It’s like it wouldn’t release me in a way, so now I am like fully embracing it, I guess you would say. I guess I am in this for the words.

 

Sarah: You kept using the word grip, and then their was like the literal grip of your hand. You had to stop because you were getting carpal tunnel as a child, it had gripped you.

 

Victoria: It had. I was afraid of it.

 

Sarah: ‘Cause it felt so all consuming, is that why?

 

Victoria: All-consuming, and I didn’t know why nobody else wanted to do this like I did. I didn’t know why nobody else wanted to , or why everyone else could focus in class, and all I wanted to do was write poetry all day. I was like, “This is evil because it’s affecting all my grades. I am not going to get into the school.” All these things they hammer into your head about all these classes that don’t ultimately matter, or they didn’t for me in the end. I was turning away from it because I felt like I had to do everything else.

 

Sarah: Right, right. Also it made you so different and we get scared ,especially when we’re young, of being different. We don’t know what makes you different is your gifts, but we don’t know that. We want to be accepted, and we want to do what everyone else is doing, and we want to fit in.

 

Victoria: Right, and I was so out of place doing everything else. Yeah, yeah.

 

Sarah: Right, right.

 

Victoria: I think we all have something, it’s usually what we were deeply passionate about as a child. I mean it all comes back to that child space. Like who is this person really ,behind all the things we’re doing all the time?

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Victoria:  Like who are you really at like the soul level? I feel like that kind of ends at around like 10, or so, maybe, because you’re like, all these things come at you that you have to do. Of course, in this world and society we have to do it, but we shouldn’t forget. At some point I think we go back and try to remember..

 

Sarah: What we came here to do.

 

Victoria: What we came here to do. Right, because we know early on, but we forget.

 

Sarah: We do know early on.Yes.

 

Victoria: Yes.

 

Sarah: It’s funny you know my soul just sort of clenches when you talk about like writing for the dog trainer, because like the popular girls at college, you know, I was like doing my own solo poetry slams with my purple hair in the cafeteria in high school, but then when I went to college..I mean I was like literally telling, you know I was reading about the first time I got fingered in the middle of the cafeteria at lunch break, with my purple hair and my piercings in my ears that were pierced all the way up. I mean I was a wild thing, and then slowly life beat me down like, “ You better fit in. You better..”. By the time I got to college I was at a frat school, and I wanted to fit in, and I took my, I dyed my hair back to brown, I took my earrings out, I wore Laura Ashley. I wore a Tiffany’s tennis bracelet, and I was writing... and so the way the cool girls would talk to me, is I would write their papers for them. That’s how we became friends, you know so I know the feeling of the ghost writer.

 

Victoria: Yeah.

 

Sarah: It’s a strange feeling. Like someone else..your words are your voice, and your voice is your soul, and if somebody else is like walking around going, “ This is me!” It’s really weird.

 

Victoria: Yes, it’s so true! It’s so true! I know. Yeah, it’s really interesting when you step into a place where your writing for yourself again. Sometimes I, we sort of open up and close down, it’s this ongoing cycle all the time right of opening and closing, opening and closing. Which is fine, but some days I am like, god, I don’t really feel like sharing anything like right now!

 

Sarah: Totally.

 

Victoria: So I’ll recycle old posts, and even them I feel like, uh, I want to run from it. I don’t want to be so open some days. Then other days I am like, wow, I am going to write out this post and just pour out.

 

Sarah: There’s some quote where the writer is constantly torn between sharing and hiding or something, and, uh...

 

Victoria: It’s so..it’s so true. Sometimes I am like, “ I am going to close down Facebook and run.”

 

Sarah: Yeah, leave the country.

 

Victoria: I still have anxiety and fear. Every time I am going to post something, I am like, I don’t know if they're going to like it. I still...there’s a lot of anxiety and fear because it’s so deep the stuff, and if anyone in my life, my like actual everyday life tries to mention it, unless I am like in a writing workshop teaching or something, I want to run, literally. Because I am like this is way too personal, right?

 

Sarah: Mhhm..mhhm. Yeah.

 

Victoria: That’s why I often, and I can talk about it in this group, I often write as though I am writing to the people reading, but it’s all the stuff I am going through myself, it’s like my deeper self,like boosting.. me up, is essentially what’s happening. Like all my experiences as they are happening, laying them on the page, but I am talking to them as if I am teaching.

 

Sarah: And, um, yes, but it’s funny, sometimes..I mean I haven’t been sharing much also, I’ve been like busier than ever and I haven’t been able to write, and it’s been pretty painful, because I’ve been too busy. Do you ever find that you’re like, “ Okay, they’re going to love this!”, and then it’s like crickets? Then you're like, “ Oh, whatever, just thought of something when I was peeing,” and then put it up, and that goes viral? You’re like, “Weird!”. Do you ever have that?

 

Victoria: You absolutely never know. Yeah, you never know.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Victoria:  I do find though that when you’re like..I think it is in those chaotic moments, when you’re like, “Oh, I have no idea. I don’t care. I am not attached to this. Whatever, but I have to write it right now.”... it’s when you’re not thinking about it, that’s when it seems to catch on.  When we’re in our heads and trying to write, “Oh, they’re really going to love this,” or “How should I tweak this?” It doesn’t usually work. They can feel the energy behind it, definitely.

 

Sarah: Mhhm. You have said that you actually don’t write from your head. You have told me you write from a different place.

 

Victoria: Yeah, uhuh. So, I’ve become really conscious about that, because I learned early on that they can feel the energy behind body writing versus head writing, and I feel like I have to really tap into my core. So I’ve developed this relationship with my core, whatever the power source is there. Whenever we feel something really strongly, I literally feel that, and that’s why I always felt like it was coming from my core out of my arms, when I would physically write it, but now as I am typing I am like it’s just coming from my body or my head. So I’ve sort of tweaked it and trained myself. And if I feel like I am thinking about it as I am writing, I won’t share it because most of the time people can’t feel it. They can feel it, because it’s like a transfer of energy, when it comes from your body, instead of like your logical mind. So, a lot of people will write under the posts, and I am really tapped into that flow from the core, people will be like,       “Wow, I felt that!”. Like the reactions under the posts you can tell they actually feel the energy. So I see it as an energy exchange, and the really cool thing about writing is like when you kind of recycle your pain on the page, or into art, you’re freeing yourself from it, and you’re also freeing the reader. Because we all go through the same things. That’s the powerful and magical thing about writing. It’s like this time travel, you know when you read something from years ago, and you can can get inside someone’s experience.  But also it’s kind of like putting in to words what other people are going through, and suddenly they’re freed also. Like you’re freeing yourself together in a lot of sense is how I look at it. I sometimes feel like i have to be this voice because it’s helping heal others as I heal myself.

 

Sarah: Can you tell us more about that Recycling Your Heart? You said some really beautiful things about it yesterday. You had a way for people who might be listening to use that as a healing exercise. Can you elaborate on that?

 

Victoria: Yeah, I mean we all experience, obviously, so much pain, and as a healer, and a reiki practitioner, and a massage therapist, I know we hold everything in our bodies for so long. If we’re able to start from the pain source and recycle it, like anything our hearts been through that’s still kind of like holds in it; like that painful memories, or experiences, or relationships.We still hold all of that. A lot of times we like put it in a box somewhere, but it’s still there. I feel like through art we’re able to release it..into the world. Whether it’s through music, or painting, or writing, and so I kind of call it recycling your heart into art. When you’re able to release it into something else that’s tangible.. it frees you. I so often tell everyone just start from the pain source, like the pain you hold in your body. Even if like you don’t know what the emotion is that’s causing pain in a certain area of your body, like there’s got to be a physical pain somewhere. Even if you can just start with one word talking about that pain, it’s amazing how many things will come up.

 

Sarah: Mmm.

 

Victoria: It’s really about being connected with your body and writing through, and if we’re able to recycle, or to just turn something into art..and that’s where the best art comes from is usually the pain. Because it’s so real and so true because it’s really coming from someone’s body rather than just thinking about it. Like thinking, “ Oh, what are people going to like?” How about just tapping into exactly what is bothering you, and just pour out? And you can worry about the details and editing later.
 

Sarah: People always ask me, “What do I do about changing the names when this gets published?” And I am like, “ Dude, you are so far ahead of yourself.”  [Laughs, inaudible].. write down this story because it involves someone who might get mad or something. It’s like, “ No, you are allowed to tell yourself this story. You’re allowed to put it on paper.” It’s that permission to tell our story, that somewhere along the line we forgot we had. We’re waiting for permission to speak about these things.

 

Victoria: Yes.

 

Sarah:  Even to ourselves.. which is crazy.

 

Victoria: I mean you don’t have to tell the name . Maybe they’ll see it later, but don’t have to say all the names, maybe just change the names.

 

Sarah: [Inaudible]

 

Victoria: Yeah.

 

Sarah: You have a publishing deal? That’s amazing! You haven’t written it yet? You have a publishing deal? I mean that’s how I talk to myself. I am like, “ I can’t publish this story.” [Laughs] I am so far ahead of myself.

 

Victoria:  Right, it’s so true. You know ..as a writer..I think just like yoga, and meditation, and any other great source of healing, or any channel of healing I think writing is the same thing, because you’re working with the same energy, and the same pains, and you’re releasing. When you make it about that, releasing it from the body, it’s like tapping into that flow, and your truth, and that innate wisdom we find a wildness we all carry. Just like all those other healing channels writing is really, really powerful. I mean I don’t know what to do without it. It’s like the only way I can figure myself out. The only way I get clear on things, and then I am able to release it. Yeah, I think it’s powerful for everyone. It’s like you don’t have to write poetry, or worry about editing or perfect words. Even if you just write to yourself a few paragraphs a day, and start with one word and see where it takes you and not judge it, that’s huge.  It’s amazing how quickly wekind of go straight in to what we need to be thinking or feeling if we put it on paper.

 

[Inaudible]

 

Sarah: Dani Shapiro who is a great writing teacher, as well, as a great writer, and she came from a family like many of ours where you didn’t talk about the things that were in the shadows, or under the rug.

 

Victoria: Right.

 

Sarah: You just kept them..[inaudible] . So once she gave herself permission to tell her story, she’s now put out three memoirs, and working on a fourth or something.

 

Victoria: Right.

 

Sarah: We were sitting in a room and she told each woman individually, “ You have permission to tell your story,” and then she’d go to the next one, “You have permission to tell your story,”

 

Victoria: Wow!

 

Sarah: And then she’d go to the next one, “You have permission to tell your story,” and like you can imagine the tears.

 

Victoria: I know! That’s what happened in New York. Everyone was sobbing. It’s like when you suddenly give them a safe space and permission..and like just a group of people that like they're all there to support each other, writing is so powerful, and you do have permission. Even if it’s three sentences, it’s incredible what happens.

 

Sarah: It’s almost like a beautiful pen-pal..we started off talking about pen-pals. It’s almost like a pen-pal relationship with yourself. It’s like a dialogue.

 

Victoria: It is. It is. It’s a dialogue. Absolutely, and a lot of times if I re-share old posts, I”ll add in new things because now I can see it a little differently.

 

Sarah: Right.

 

Victoria: Add in a few more sentences like to kind of bring it all into being set for how it is now, for what it feels like now for me. It’s constantly evolving, just like we are. So when you have all that..and also you have evidence of all the stories you’ve lived, like tangible evidence, and that’s really beautiful too. Sometimes we forget details, and I think details are something that’s important in life because it’s like the subtle things are very powerful. It’s not like it’s the huge life events that should be like fully remembered sometimes. When it’s nine o’clock on a Tuesday and some realization hits you, and you’re standing in your kitchen. Because of the way the light moves through the curtain or something, and those details, I think , are worthy of being remembered and recorded somehow.

 

Sarah: Yeah, [inaudible]..record your time here.

 

Victoria: Record your time, yeah. Exactly.

 

Sarah: Your writing will be a record of your time here, and your life deserves that, you know..

 

Victoria: It does! Mhm, yeah. Yeah, absolutely.

 

Sarah:  How has it been now that life’s find you like a lover you’ve been running from your whole life? How has your life changed now that’s you’ve surrendered to your true calling?

 

Victoria:  Well, now, and I always looked at writing like with this hatred, like what’s it ever going to do for me? Now it’s opening up opportunities that I feel resonate so deeply for me. Like I don’t cringe at them. I was always so resistant to like business stuff, because I always just wanted to write, but now the writing is actually taking me there. It’s coming full circle, and also like meeting so many other writers, like yourself, and so many like-minded people, and like having my name behind my work. Having a book of just my poetry, and my experience being published. It’s like I feel like I’ve truly just stepped in to the calling when I fought it for so long, and no everything just opens up . Also I am more aware of who I let in to my life.  I am becoming stronger In general, in every area. Beginning to own my worth, which took me a very long time as this shy introvert, very insecure and sensitive, right. So now, it’s almost like I’ve switched the sensitivity into becoming my power, being able to document .

 

Sarah: It is your power.

 

Victoria: Yeah, it is. Yeah.

 

Sarah: Where you’d feel ashamed for it in the old paradigm. Boys don’t cry, and girls don’t talk about their feelings, and now we’re realizing that this is what we’re getting to on these calls every night is that that sensitivity, and that compassion,  and that empathy, and that energy sensitivity is our super power and is our gift, and is what the world needs.

 

Victoria: Absolutely,yeah it is. It is what the world needs..compassion for all other beings.

 

Sarah: [Inaudible]..yeah, your work’s…[inaudible]... to themselves and each other, right?

 

Victoria: Right, exactly. I am starting to learn. We all experience the same things. It also helps others become more sensitive ,you know ,when they're able to tap into through someone else's words, what their experiences, and what they’re going through, and maybe it just helps them become stronger...in general.  Yeah,it’s been really beautiful to be able to witness this, and the growth of it.

 

Sarah: Yeah, it’s amazing to watch you blossom. It’s not just any publisher who’s found you. I think a lot of the women on the call are familiar with Jeff Brown.

 

Victoria: Yeah, yeah, mhm.

 

Sarah: He’s a very..[inaudible]

 

Victoria: Yeah, he reached out to me and was like, “ I want to publish your book.”  Enrealment Press is his publishing company. I am actually just the second person he’s publishing, the first one, with his girlfriend, Susan. I was really honored to be published by him. I mean it’s not coming out until November, but we’ve picked out a cover and everything.

 

Sarah: Wow, what’s it called?

 

Victoria: Yeah, it’s all happening, so hopefully it will be in bookstores. He’s been an amazing mentor through this. He’s just as amazing as he is with his words. He’s every bit who you’d think he is. I am learning everyday from this publishing process, my own triggers, and grateful for his patience.  

 

Sarah: What’s the book called?

 

Victoria: It’s called Edge of Wonder. Because I believe in edges , and I believe in wonder. I think that often when we’re at our edge, or we’re up against a wall, and we need to make a massive shift, and  we actually do it so that adrenaline sort of takes hold of us, and we know we have to to it. That’s when everything is sort of worth doing, right when we’re at our edge. It’s just like in yoga or anything else when you start to feel a little discomfort you have to soften in to it, and just surrender to it. The wonder part is sort of about coming back to the wonder that we knew as children, and being able to see the beauty in the subtleties and the magic everywhere. Learning to love edges and wonder. I feel that like helps you become a fuller person.

 

Sarah: What is...

 

Victoria: When you’re able to embrace those things. Mhm.

 

Sarah: What is magic to you? Because you speak on it a lot. I think it means different things to different people.

 

Victoria: Yeah, for me magic is, I think it’s, a lot of it has to do with our call on the synchronicity, and over time I feel like my sensitivity sort of raises to feel these things, but also I think, and maybe magic is the wrong word, maybe it’s the right word, but I think everything runs parallel to each other. So there’s so much we can learn obviously about nature and the elements. So I’ve used magic sort of like, our answers are everywhere all the time. Like all we have to do is notice the world around us, the natural world. It’s like we have everything we need, and like every seed we’re all supported, but it’s just about accepting and knowing that..fully; we’re all fully supported. So...

 

Sarah: [Inaudible]

 

Victoria: There’s magic in that...What?

 

Sarah: Yeah, you love nature, and you talk about it a lot. You say it’s your greatest muse.

 

Victoria: A lot….what did you say? Oh, yeah, oh my greatest muse? Absolutely. Yeah, yeah. I often I come from a place of the four elements all the time. I am like, “ Okay, am I being fiery right now? Am I water today?” It sounds so ridiculous. I am constantly thinking about the elements and nature, because it’s just like that Rilke quote, “If we surrendered to the Earth’s intelligence we’d rise up rooted, like trees.” I love that quote, and I really feel that there’s so much that the Earth teaches us. So…

 

Sarah: Yeah.

 

Victoria: And there’s magic in that you know..plants, I love to learn more about plants and their healing qualities, but I just go based on what I see like the way everything moves, and the rhythm of everything. How it all breathes together, like we’re all part of that. So..I think that..

 

Sarah: [Inaudible]

Victoria: Uhuh?

 

Sarah: Sorry, go ahead.

 

Victoria: I think that’s why I talk about magic because, to me, that’s like ridiculously magical...and beautiful. Like I feel like it’s constant show of beauty all the time, if we just like notice.

 

Sarah: Right. Georgia O’Keefe says something like it takes this.. we have to...sometimes we don’t stop and notice our friends and what’s going on in their lives, and it’s the same with flowers.

 

Victoria: Yeah.

 

Sarah: Like you have to stop and take the time to look at these people, and their sensitivities, and their little intricacies, just like flowers. Like stop and take the time with your friends and flowers.

 

Victoria: Yeah,that’s so adorable, I love it!

 

Sarah: Yeah.

 

Victoria: I love it. Yeah.. the subtleties

 

Sarah:  If you get out of your own head, instead of me and all my problems…[inaudible]

 

Victoria: Right! If you just look outside yourself, you’ll find all the answers you need. Right? They’ll hit you out of nowhere.

 

Sarah: You just gotta get out of that prison. So I’ve asked you this, to think about it, but

how do you think the feminine is healing?

 

Victoria: I think the feminine is healing because when we become sort of big enough to encompass all of our nature then, like  both the light and the dark, then we give others permission...it’s just like that very famous Marianne Williamson quote, “ We give everyone else permission to…” ,and I think femininity is all about the whole, right? The whole self. So when we do it, it sort of spreads. I think one drop can raise an ocean. So,when we allow ourselves to be all of that and not be afraid of anything it encourages other people to do the same. I think when we all feel whole, and feel like we’re really lined up with our soul purpose ...it just spreads healing, like wildfire..everywhere. [Inaudible]

 

Sarah: [Inaudible].. sorry, I…

 

 

 

 

Victoria: No, go ahead. I just think like we’re all so affected by each other that, when groups of us like this, spread that energy, it’s easy to catch on too. Other people catch on.

 

Sarah: Yes, yeah. Our light lights another’s light..[inaudible].

 

Victoria: Yeah, we’re all sponges.

 

Sarah: Yeah.

 

Victoria: Absolutely, we’re all sponges. Mhm. We can deeply affect other people.

 

Sarah: Right...[Inaudible]. We light each other’s fires.

 

Sarah: Speaking of that..we were asked to hold space for the Wild Flat fires tonight, and ask for rain. People can work with you, right? So do you do like writing coaching, or… something like that?

 

Victoria:  Oh, yeah, absolutely. The can just contact me; add me on Facebook, send me an email.. [inaudible]. I am really reachable. So..

 

Sarah: Great!

 

Victoria:  Yeah, if they want help with like creative writing, or working on memoirs or books. Yeah, I do all of that.

 

Sarah: Wonderful, and yours is out in November, Edge of Wonder.

 

Victoria: November!  Yeah, yeah. It’s up for pre-order now on Amazon.

 

Sarah: Oh, cool.

 

Victoria: Yeah, they can check out the description, and many of the quotes are on my page. There’s a lot of new ones in there as well, but they can come check out my page: Victoria Erickson Writer.

 

Sarah: Awesome. I’ll share it in..[inaudible]. Thank you so much for this call.

 

Victoria: Thank you!

 

Sarah: Yeah, it was an honor.

 

Victoria: It was an honor to be here, you’re amazing! Thank you, and thank you for creating this space.

 

Sarah: I should've..I could’ve talked to you about..we should have dove right in to it, because writing is what I want to talk about more, and more, and more. I just, I am so grateful that you're doing it, and that you’re showing women, you know, that you’re revealing yourself so beautifully, and standing up for the sensitive, and just so magical and alive. Thank you for your light. I very much appreciate it.

 

Victoria: Thank you, Sarah! Likewise!

 

Sarah: Okay, have a lovely night.

 

Victoria: Thanks, you too!

 

Sarah: Bye.