Be a Peaceful Warrior in the Face of Fear and Anger

(Note to readers: I am not revealing my personal fear specifically because I don’t want my fear to fog your take-away from the intent of this article. Fears are individual and what I may consider to be fearful someone else may not. I ask you that as you read this to keep that in mind.)

At Sierra’s level 2 Boot Camp for Goddesses she asked us, “What is your 'medicine'?” In other words, what is your truth, your purpose, or your calling? We are all born with our “medicine” and we are all healers to some degree. We can heal through touch, communication, and even with eye contact. But sometimes, women especially, forget their own “medicine” because we are boggled down with old stories, fears, and insecurities.  Your medicine is powerful and accessed when one aligns their thoughts, words, and actions with their inner truth.

Truth and fear cannot co-exist.  When fear, anxiety, or anger are present it is impossible to access your medicine and to truly live fully in your unique truth.

Truth is present when you can disempower your fears, transmute anger, release old stories, and trust yourself enough to lean into your medicine.  When you live in fear you give your ego the power. When you live in your truth you give your inner divine feminine the power. You can access your medicine and share it with the world.

When I was at the Boot Camp for Goddesses I went on a Vision Quest. While sitting alone on the side of mountain in Montana I prayed and meditated on my “medicine”.  I came to her retreat with doubt about my identity and purpose. I didn’t know what to do because I had fallen completely out of my alignment and felt like I was standing at a crossroads without any tools to navigate my way.  

My spiritual connection was broken and my fears were steering the wheel. No matter how much sage I burnt or Goddess cards I pulled, I didn’t have a real connection to anything spiritual or greater than myself. It was like I was going through the motions hoping that these little acts would protect me from any pain or suffering. 

While sitting on the mountain I realized how much power I had given fear. I was so preoccupied with the fear of losing my husband, my family, and not living my life truthfully that I failed to be present with myself and with others. I was afraid of failure and not being enough as a lover, mother, daughter and woman.  These fears created anxiety and my anxiety in turn held me back from living freely, fully, and compassionately.

I just finished reading Brené Brown’s new book, Braving the Wilderness. I finished reading it in 2 days. Her words resonated with me deeply, especially when she talked about her youth and feeling like she had to be a chameleon to fit in. I totally did that.

I was known as a social butterfly in high school because I knew how to skillfully camouflage myself in different “groups” so that I could be friends with everyone and have no enemies. I even received the "Best All Around" superlative my senior year. I was so proud of that. My motivator was the fear of being disliked after being severely bullied in middle school because I NEVER wanted to feel that pain again. I became a pro at wearing different masks around different people to avoid confrontations or the chance of being made fun of for simply being me. It wasn’t because I was compassionate or kind. NO. I was scared. I was afraid to "brave the wilderness alone" as Brené would phrase it. I was too busy fitting in that I never felt at home, anywhere.  

During my Vision Quest I gave myself permission to put away the masks and to step into a world of vulnerability. The more I created space to actually feel pain the more I felt gratitude, compassion, and trust fill my heart. As I opened my heart to receive these powerful emotions I could literally feel myself expand and I felt a weight lift off me. I felt like I could soar in the sky with the red tail hawks flying above me.  

While on the mountain I released my fears to the wind with Mother Earth as my witness.  I cried, I sang, I drummed on the rocks, I sat in silence. I came down feeling lighter but more grounded, fierce but full of love. I felt my medicine as a Peaceful Warrior. And even though I was alone, I didn't feel alone. I felt supported. 

Photo By Jason Cheney Photography 

Photo By Jason Cheney Photography 

When I got home I was on cloud nine from the transformative experience in Montana.  I continued to use the tools Sierra had given us and life was good. My husband and I felt lightness in our relationship and I bonded with my son without fear lingering over me. I laughed, I played, I wrote, I made love, I gardened, I moved, I loved. I loved myself fully and was so turned on by the Goddess reawakening within me.

I had 2 weeks of pure ecstasy until a dark cloud created turbulence in a time of blissful peace. I felt like someone took a 2x4 and smacked me in my face.  I was alone when I was invaded by one of my darkest fears; and being ALONE, another fear of mine, only compounded the fear.  I was angry because I thought I had just done all this work and that I deserved to feel at peace. I cried like I had never cried before. I howled like a wild wolf who had just lost her pup. My body quivered with adrenaline and disbelief.  I was in pain, terrified, and alone. Jesus help me.

“Pain will subside only when we acknowledge it and care for it. Addressing it with love and compassion would take only a minuscule percentage of the energy it takes to fight it, but approaching pain head-on is terrifying.” – Brené Brown

This was the WORK. 

This was Creator (God, Mother Earth, Great Spirit, whatever that means to you) giving me the opportunity to use my medicine and to grow. 

This was my opportunity to either give into fear or to stand up to it and become stronger. I could lead with my fear or I could lead with my truth. I leaned into my pain and I felt it. I lived in it. I slept in it.  And Brené is right, it’s fucking terrifying.

I knew that if I avoided pain and gave into fear I’d be repeating old habits and patterns which wouldn’t serve me or anyone else. Had I done the work? Have I grown?  This was the time I'd find out. 

I dug deep into my medicine using the tools I had access to through my newfound inner Peaceful Warrior - to help me in processing my emotions and staying open to new possibilities. I trusted her. I trusted that she loved me and that she would guide me to what I needed to do.

She is me and I am her.

I trusted myself to do what I needed to do.  And because I trusted myself to follow my truth I could keep my heart open and make the best decision. I approached my fear and pain with compassion, love, and empathy. I transmuted my anger using my medicine and I felt purposeful, present, and whole through the healing process instead of angry, anxious, and fearful.

But I will not lie, its fucking brutal. 

For the first time, I felt rooted in my ability to show up with strength, courage, and to brave the wilderness alone. And this was a HUGE fear to face but I knew that if I could stand up to this then I could finally throw away all my masks and trust myself enough to be the woman I was born to be.

I am grateful for my teachers and lessons. I am grateful for the guidance and love of Creator. If I didn’t have the tools to stand in my truth I believe that I would have ran and continued to live in a vicious cycle of fear, distrust in myself and others, and doubt. 

My greatest encouragement I can give you, lovely Goddess, is to start the work now. Go deep and release what does not serve you so that you can stand in your unique power. Your medicine is a gift to the world and to yourself. It's also your duty. Use it mindfully. Lean into your pain, feel it, and trust. Your truth cannot shine if anger and hate are in the way. And life will challenge you. You will be faced with hurt, pain, and grief at some point in your life.  Nobody is immune to pain no matter how much work you do. Its not about chasing perfectionism and avoiding conflict, its about embracing your truth and leaning into love and compassion when you are faced with pain, conflict, and fear. 

Take off your mask and stand up to your weaknesses. Stand up to your fears.  When you stand up to your own shit you grow.  Stand in your truth; be grounded but remain open for new possibilities that will support your growth and fuel your medicine.  Be courageous, be brave, and be fearless. You will be a powerful force of love, compassion, and truth.

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This world needs you; it doesn’t need your masks; it doesn’t need you to be “nice” or angry; it needs you to be authentically you, whoever that person is.

One of the most powerful prayers I have ever used to help me live in my truth is my mentor Sierra Bender’s Truth Prayer:

May I know my truth

May I see my truth

May I speak my truth

May I feel my truth

 Oh, Great Spirit (God, Creator, whatever that means to you) please give me the strength, courage, and perseverance to follow my truth and to follow you.  May I keep my eyes, ears, and heart open to receive you. Please get this lesson with over as quickly as possible with compassion and mercy. Aho.

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It's OK to feel pain and anger. I encourage you to fully feel these emotions when they show up and to metamorphose them into work and actions that reflect your truth. 

As I was sitting in a local café writing this an older man walked up to me and said, "You my friend walk like a true dancer. If you aren't a dancer, you sure have the grace and presence like one." This comment made me feel happy. I did the work and now I am showing up stronger and more gracefully in life than I ever have before and others are seeing me; graceful, strong, fierce, feminine, grounded, and confident. Not my mask. 

 

XO,

Abby 

Why I quit social media

I dedicated my summer connecting more to my inner divine feminine, trusting my truth, and reconnecting to the Creator (God, Great Spirit, whatever that is to you)  through prayer and meditation.  

Shortly after my 3 year old son was born I felt a heavy cloud drift over me that prevented me from living in alignment with my higher self. I felt its cold, dank presence form itself around me and I fell into a deep state of depression, anger, and self-doubt. 

I had lost myself, my courage to follow my truth, and the purpose I was given in this life. My marriage was collapsing and I couldn't be present with my son because I was too "busy" trying to prove myself in a man's world instead of giving myself permission to lean into my own strengths as a woman. 

This summer I made a commitment to myself and my family that I'd do the work to help me release what was no longer serving me and to get out of my own way. To begin living life with faith instead of fear. I knew that if I wanted to be more present in my own life that I'd have to be present with the spectrum of my emotions; sadness, fear, anger, grief, joy, peace, love, etc. I knew I had to feel my way through each emotion so that I could once and for all let go of old stories and open my heart to receiving and trusting the greatest power: love. 

If I wanted to have a relationship with my husband, son, close friends & family, and myself that is abundant in love and acceptance I had to buckle down and get to work. 

Lesson 1 - Family

I spent the first few weeks in New Hampshire with my family.  It was nurturing to be surrounded by people who have always accepted me as I am. While visiting with my family I decided to reduce my social media time so that I could be more present with them. I went paddle boarding with my sister, went on the boat with my parents, played at the beach with my son, hiked with my family, and even ventured off on my first solo hike. I played, I spent time alone journaling and reflecting, and I soaked in the northeast sunsets while listening to my dad play the mandolin. The days were simple, easy, and joyful. I felt at peace as a mother, daughter, and sister. I felt supported as a woman trying to find her inner compass again so she can navigate a world full of distractions with clarity and intention. 

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By reducing my social media use to only a couple hours per week I noticed that I had more mental clarity; I was more engaged in conversations; I had more time for play and work that was truly aligned with my purpose, and I felt less stressed. I slept better and I worried less. But the social media itch was still there and I still felt a pull to check-in, post, and strategize my next post for Instagram instead of immersing myself fully into whatever was going on in front of me. But overall, the cloud around me felt a little less heavy. 

 

Lesson 2 - My Medicine

After spending a few weeks in New Hampshire I packed my bags for the next leg of my journey. This time I was reuniting with my husband for a few days of hiking, cold plunging, and camping in Montana before going to Sierra Bender's Boot Camp for Goddess's level 2. Sierra has been my mentor for 10 years now and I knew I needed her guidance and tools to help me break through the walls that were keeping me from my truth, purpose, and medicine. 

Before I left for Sierra's boot camp I said a prayer with Danny by a river about letting go of what doesn't serve me and allowing it to flow away with the water. I prayed to stay open to any possibilities in my future and to have mercy and compassion on me. When I started to head back to the trail I noticed my phone had fallen into the river.  I couldn't help but laugh and lift my arms up to the sky and say "OK. I hear you loud and clear. Thank you for your lesson."  I knew it was a sign from Creator (God Great Spirit, whatever that is for you) that I needed to let go of the distractions on my phone and to be present with what was next to come.

For seven days I was surrounded by women from all over with their own stories. We were all there to feel empowered, strong, and feminine.  The question that Sierra asked us was, "What is your medicine?" This was exactly where I needed to be. I knew it wasn't going to be as easy-going as it was in New Hampshire but I felt prepared for the work she was getting ready to throw at us. 

We'd gather early in the morning for yoga, drumming, singing, honoring Mother Earth, Father Sky, our ancestors, and the four directions. We'd give offerings of tobacco and pray to them, mediate on them to receive their teachings. We were quiet so we could listen. We moved our bodies, fed it nourishing food, covered ourselves with the sweet essence of essential oils, and held space for each other to release old stories. 

Sierra spent the first few days preparing us for our first Vision Quest and it wasn't until my vision quest that I felt my heart expand inside of me. My heart was expanding beyond the walls that were blocking me from my truth. 

As I sat on a mountain alone in a fasted state during my vision quest, I felt calmness within me. I felt the spirit of the wolf as I sat in the direction of the south. This is what came to me after I prayed, laid naked in the sun (even masturbated to open myself fully) and I wrote it in my journal:

"I am a peaceful warrior. 

I must go into the dark to cry, mourn, rest and be silent from the distractions so I can come out steady and fierce like the wolf. I can lead with my voice and my actions with precision and strength, but I find my strength in silence. 

In order to love and live in the light I must surrender. I let it go so I that I can lead without weakness. 

I must let go of what no longer serves me because what does not serve me does not serve Mother Earth or humanity. " 

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That is when I knew that my medicine is being a peaceful warrior and my power is love, compassion, kindness, and empathy.  I walked down the mountain bathed in faith which had replaced the fear. I buried my old stories up on that mountain and came down renewed with a deep sense of self.  I saw what mattered most to me and I saw the powerful woman I am after releasing her from the chains of the ego. I realized I had fallen away from my spirituality and when I don't believe in something greater than myself I fall out of alignment and everything else gets out of whack too. 

This is the clearest I have felt in a long time and it was all after I spent weeks doing work that helped me heal and grow without distractions. I set boundaries and was clear about who and what I allowed into my sacred space. 

Final Thoughts

I have come to the conclusion that social media is a major distraction for me. And, in my opinion it's a distraction for many people, but especially women, from doing the work they were born to do. We are here to stand and lead from our hearts, our intuition, and our individual strengths. We have way too much healing to do before we can start showing up in a world that desperately needs us.  

I am not procrastinating anymore. I am choosing to be present in my life and to do my work so that I can serve others and share my medicine. As human beings, we are all being consumed by the distractions of social media, but I am talking to you Goddesses. Social media means nothing at the end of the day and its not serving your greatest potential in your creations, medicine, and teachings.  Its a distraction and an illusion holding us all back from our highest self.  It's all noise from what truly matters and what truly matters is our participation in the real world, our community, family, etc.  

This is the happiest I have felt since I joined social media. I have deeper connections and engagement with the people around me and everyday I am actively working towards leading my life from my truth. 

My mind is free from strategizing for posts, insecurities, self-doubt, and comparison that I felt while on social media. I literally have more time for play and constructive work. Social media not only robs you of your physical time it robs you of your mental and emotional time. Its a burden I no longer have to feel and I have more space for things that serve me and my truth. 

I am more present in my own life and the people in it. I am present in every thought, decision and action I take and I am confident in each one because I know that its from my heart (my spiritual body) not my ego.  When I am more present I feel more, I love more, I be more. That cloud has completely lifted and I feel the sun kissing my heart again with lightness and warmth. 

Quitting social media has saved me from myself. I have empowered myself to show up in my own life and take responsibility because I am worth it. Sierra always says, "Love is the greatest force when grounded by action and responsibility." Women, its time we take action and we take responsibility. Reclaim your life and reconnect to your medicine. Whatever it is, this world needs it and is better off with it than without it. 

What's Next

My intention this summer was not to quit social media. It was to find myself again and to let go of what didn't serve me. Through this journey I realized that social media was something that was holding me back from myself and my potential.

 I am able to use the tools I received over the summer and apply them to my daily life so that I can continue to speak and act from my truth. I will blog and send out newsletters so that I can communicate with you but I will not be participating on any social media platforms.  And as my work unfolds I will share it with you, but I will not be offering anything until I have something wise and worthy to say, until then I am retreating to silence. I have to walk the talk now. 

Like the wolf, we must learn to be alone and with our pack :-) 

Are you ready to take action and responsibility in your own life?  Here are 6 actionable steps you can take to cut social media out of your life and start living more. 

1) Set boundaries - It's important that you are very clear about your boundaries. Take charge of what you do and don't want in your life.  On a piece of paper draw a big circle. In the circle write down what you do allow into your life (sacred space) and on the outside of the circle what you do not allow into your life. I also suggest deleting all of your social media apps.  If you HAVE to do this for work (if you can afford a social media person...do it!) then schedule your posts (1-2 days per week) and GET OFF. NO SCROLLING! 

2) Light a candle and set a daily intention - What do you want to get out of your day? What is your intention as you move through your day?  Think and reflect on #1, what do you want to bring into your sacred space and what do want to keep out? 

3) Seek a professional - This isn't another 30 day challenge or a "break." This is part of your healing process from current and past traumas. This work starts and ends with you but you can call upon teachers, coaches, therapists to help you by providing tools while on this journey to self-love and empowerment. 

4) Journal - Journal about how you feel during this time away from social media. Take note about your thought behaviors, whether or not you have more time, the urges you have to check your phone and why you have those urges. Don't judge, just observe the process and how it effects you positively or negatively. 

5) Find a hobby - Seriously. Tap into the the right side of your brain and get lost in creativity.  The right side of your brain helps you to feel more and taps into your intuition. Try pottery, make jewelry, cook, draw, paint, write, move, etc. Find something that helps you to feel present and helps you to get out of the left side of the brain that is always scanning for information. Feel the creative input in your body and mind. You think you won't have time but trust me, the time you don't spend on social media will leave with an ample amount of time for new creations, adventure, and pleasure :-) 

6) Be patient. You will feel impulses to check your social media accounts because you will feel like you are missing out on something. Trust me, you are not. When you feel the urge to login, separate yourself from your device and give your hands some busy work. If you feel the urge to connect then call up a friend or a family member to talk to or write a letter.  Connect in real life! Call up some friends and do something fun or engaging without devices or enroll into some kind of program.

 

 Until next time,

XOXO,

Abby 

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