Altar created in Malaga in April 2022 during a Movement Medicine and Ecstatic Dance event. Honouring the Elements.
‘And then there are the cravings…Oh, la! A woman may crave to be near water, or be belly down, her face in the earth, smelling the wild smell. She might have to drive into the wind. She may have to plant something, pull things out of the ground or put them into the ground. She may have to knead and bake, rapt in dough up to her elbows.
She may have to trek into the hills, leaping from rock to rock trying out her voice against the mountain. She may need hours of starry nights where the stars are like face powder spilt on a black marble floor. She may feel she will die if she doesn’t dance naked in a thunderstorm, sit in perfect silence, return home ink-stained, paint-stained, tear-stained, moon-stained.’
~Clarissa Pinkola Estés
In this article, I want to talk about some of the resources that helped me and that I enjoyed the most during last year, in no particular order.
This last year for me has been about connecting to the wound of abandonment, travelling and exploring my medicine and the archetype of the Radical Wise, Wild Woman deeply.
Last year, I gazed at the stars and sat with loss, death and sometimes even depression and despair. I am so glad that many people are starting to normalise this conversation around mental health and difficult emotions, especially while navigating midlife.
I am finally feeling the depth of this still point of the year, going into hibernation and organically slowing down. I am sleeping more, reading, baking and enjoying the fireplace in my new home.
It has been a year full of learning and healing. I placed fierce boundaries with my family, especially my dad and explored co-dependency issues.
It has been an intense, exciting and exhausting year.
I worked with many remarkable women and witnessed a lot of grief, courage, rage, chaos and big emotions.
Last year’s lesson was also about receiving, leaning into support and tapping into my wild inner wisdom!
And…today I want to uplift other amazing people’s work!
So, here we go, these are some of the resources that I loved the most….
Music is medicine!I have been listening to various albums in the last few months that uplifted my spirit in difficult moments and made my heart sing and move my body. You can buy them on Bandcamp, a more ethical store than Itunes or Spotify. You can also listen to the tracks there and see what you like.
One of my fav albums of last year is Amerikua by Puentes ( I am listening to it now and love all the tracks). It is an album with beautiful arrangements of medicine songs.
Another brilliant artist is Nick Barber. I listened a lot to Clear Blue Sky, which is full of poetry and beauty:
I also played the Deva Premal Essential Collection many times, listening mainly to the Moola Mantra and the Gayatri Mantra.
The Moola Mantra invokes the living Creator/Creatrix, protection and freedom from pain and suffering.
The Gayatri Mantra is an invocation of the Divine Mother, Light and True Knowledge.
When I listen to these albums, I usually also sing along. So that is a powerful way to connect to my voice, enhance my breathing capacity, strengthen my diaphragm and experience a sense of peace and calm.
Long exhales, making sounds, toning vowels, humming and singing, in general, are a way to tone our vagus nerve, which is responsible for our social engagement, sense of connection and belonging.
And movement is medicine too! Music invites us to awaken our bodies. Moving and dancing awaken the raw wild intelligence that lives in each of us. They promote oxytocin and simulate the front lobes in our brain, reducing the fear and stress response!
And yes, you don’t need to be an expert; all it takes is curiosity, openness and relaxation into the groove!
Last year I particularly loved Dancing in the Flames: The Dark Goddes in Transformation of Consciousness by Marion Woodman. It is a truly remarkable book, honouring the intelligence of the wild feminine, of our bodies and reclaiming the restoration of our innate capacity to see in the dark. From Kali to the Black Madonna, the Dark Goddess symbolises creativity, Life, death and rebirth and connection to the living Earth.
You can actually watch the free documentary about the remarkable life of pioneer and visionary Marion Woodman here.
Another influential book for me has been Inner Bonding by Dr Margaret Paul. I read it while I was in Peru and savoured every page. The book is an invitation to fully accept, listen and protect oneself and the inner child and basically to lovingly reparenting oneself.
I also read Motherless Daughters by Hope Edelman. As a person who lost my mum as a child, this book has been terrific and groundbreaking. It helped me normalise many things and feelings I thought were weird about me and understand many patterns belonging to people who suffered from this experience. Whether you lost your mum later in Life, or your mum lost hers, or you have friends who may benefit from it, I highly recommend this book. You can read my article here about the orphan archetype, the wound of abandonment and loving the woman I have become.
I am now reading the Crone Anthology: Women Speak About the Menopause Journey by Girl Gods Books. You may already know that I am proudly a contributor!
Reading essays written by women from various backgrounds and life experiences is incredible and enriching.
As Marion Woodman wrote in Dancing with the Flames: ‘ The Crone has been missing from our culture for so long that many women, particularly young girls, know nothing of her tutelage. Young girls in our society are not initiated by older women into womanhood with its accompanying dignity and power. Without the Crone, the task of belonging to oneself, of being a whole person, is virtually impossible.‘ You can purchase the book here.
I am also listening, as an audiobook, to Shaman: Invoking Power, Presence and Purpose at the Core of Who You Are, written by my teacher Ya’Acov Darling Khan. If you want to tap into the archetype of the Inner Shaman and know more about Movement Medicine, this may be for you. It is truly well written, inspiring, life affirming and easy to digest!
The next three books on my reading list are The Addiction to Perfection by Marion Woodman, The Crone: Woman of Age, Power and Wisdom by Barbara Walker and Ritual by Malidoma Some.
What was the most inspiring book in 2022 for you?
When I was in Peru and was feeling very tender, working on the deep wound of abandonment and the grief for the loss of my mother, I watched the whole Kung Fu Panda series and loved it. Funny, intelligent and full of pearls of wisdom.
Laughter is medicine! You can read the letter about the Fool in case you missed it!
Showing up in the last few weeks to write these love letters helped me to stay sane. Having a structure and a weekly creative task has been a fantastic way to trust inspiration, flow and the intuition genie.
My process in the last few weeks has been about creating beauty around me.
I am also reading the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and following the weekly appointment with the artist. As a result, I also bought a wonderful wind chime tuned into a pentatonic scale. It creates music in my garden!
My inner child loves it. You can hear to its soothing and healing sounds here (please forgive the amatorial quality of the recording!)
And as I am in a new home, I finally have an office space I am decorating. I am having a lot of fun, and the process is helping me with the big emotions surfacing during the holiday.
Connection to the Land
Reconnecting to the living body of the Earth is one of the most healing and radical things we can do in this lifetime. This relationship is a powerful medicine.
I am lucky enough to live where I have ancient olive trees and little owls in my garden. They are sages and guardians of the lands, and we have much to learn from them.
Only in recent history we have started objectifying the Earth as an inanimate thing.
Her living memory rests in our bones, cells, dreams and ancestral heritage. All we need to do is slow down a bit to hear the whispers in the wind and the songs of the trees.
May we be open to receive life’s support and blessings.
May we fly high while being rooted
May we rest into the loving embrace of the Earth.
You can read her my love letters about connecting to the Elements.
I have been in therapy for the last year or so with an Internal Family System therapist. It supported my life so much that I will enrol soon in IFS training to become a practitioner! This modality already influences my work and is terrific because it focuses on our human goodness and the fact that there are no bad parts. All the strategies we create are born from a desire to protect and an intelligent adaptive mechanism.
Many of us knew how to survive as children in hostile environments, and our inner parts wanted to love us and to be loved.
There are obviously more complexities and nuances in our life and daily circumstances, but I genuinely love this compassionate approach. I also appreciate that this modality looks at family patterns, intergenerational trauma and the bigger picture. This aspect is important because, traditionally, Western psychology pathologised and decontextualised our human condition and looked at the individual as a separate ‘entity’ to fix, forgetting broader systemic issues. But this is not the place to go in-depth about this topic! For now, I encourage you to read about it and find some inspiration and what is supportive for you.
I came to peace with the fact that I am a life learner.
Education is an essential tool to heal, understand trauma and know oneself.
This year, the Embody Lab is the experiential platform I loved the most for all things somatics, trauma-informed practices, embodiment and healing. It has many courses and also free resources. I realised that the educational piece was vital for me to understand what was happening in my nervous system and physiology and that helped me navigate the discomfort that arose when I hit menopause.
As many unprocessed issues from childhood came to the surface in the last months, I needed some extra tools, personally and professionally.
Therefore, to support in a more profound way myself and my clients, I completed theIntegrative Somatic Trauma Therapy Certification with the Embody Lab and the training as a Somatic Stress Release practitioner.
Last year I also received the initiation into the Andean Munay Ki Rites and the Rite of the Womb, which has been absolutely essential in the last months, especially since I am no longer bleeding. You can read here my reflections about the importance of connecting to our wombs. And if you are a man reading this, know that some indigenous cultures refer, energetically, also to men’s wombs!
Last year I got the kickboxing white belt. It has been quite an achievement. The structure and discipline of this martial art offered me a container to safely express, channel, explore, move and release anger without hurting myself or others.
I attended the Conscious Business Mastermind by Caroline Leon for two years. This one year long programme helped me to create deeper foundations for my business, and I cannot recommend Caroline’s work highly enough!
She delivers with clarity and generosity and recently enrolled for the 2023 Mastermind’s cohort. This could be a powerful decision for your business next year! The container is solid and you would have peers and friends alongside you to cheer you up. Check it out! Meanwhile I believe she has spots for one on one support!
The last few love letters to you included some poetry…what a balm for the soul!
Below is a verse that often comes to my mind in moments of struggle: I remember also reading it over and over when I had cancer many years ago:
‘If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door- or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.’ ― Rabindranath Tagore
And this is the poem I want to share with you today:
I sometimes forget
that I was created for Joy.
My mind is too busy.
My heart is too heavy
for me to remember
that I have been
called to dance
the Sacred dance of Life.
I was created to smile
To be lifted up
And to lift others up.
O’ Sacred One
Untangle my feet
from all that ensnares.
Free my soul.
That we might
and that our dancing
might be contagious.
~ credited to Persian poet, Hafiz
In the last weeks, I mostly enjoyed the podcasts by the Red School dedicated to menopause and midlife.
My favourite ones are the ones with Claire Dubois, Lynn Twist, Chameli Ardagh and Sharon Blackie. It’s truly amazing and potent stuff!
I have been a guest on a few podcasts and have discussed midlife as an initiation and rite of passage. I will post about it once they are published.
Meanwhile, we are continuing our FB lives with the Midlife Soul Sisters Go Live series. We will soon have Caroline Carey, an elder and wise medicine woman, Fiona Smith who will talk about trauma, and many others! You can join the group here.
Last but not least, friendship, for me, is one of the most amazing gifts.
From my partner to some estimated Movement Medicine peers, I feel privileged to have these people in my Life. Those are the ones with whom I share tears, the ugly, the bad, the good, and the celebrations.
I invite you today to reach out to a friend and tell them how much they mean to you!
That’s it for now dearest ones!
I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to hit the reply button and let me know which wisdom you harvested this last year and what worked for you.