Those of you who have been following my blog and reading what I post on Facebook know what a profound influence Tosha Silver has had on my life and my work. The way in which we met was magical. Christiane Northrup and I had been teaching a class to the Whole Health Medicine Institute (we're enrolling WHMI now, in case you feel called to join us!) Christiane insisted that all of us go out right that second and buy Tosha's book Outrageous Openness. I bought it instantly and was halfway through reading it the next day, when I was on a plane to LA to film a documentary, when I got online on the airplane, looked up Tosha's website, realized she lived right across the San Francisco Bay from me, and decided to write her a gushing fan letter. It went something like, "OMG, you don't know who I am, but I'm in love with your book, and I live in San Francisco too, and we should . . . um . . . totally be BFF's!" I signed up for her newsletter list because I knew that whatever Tosha was drinking, I wanted a Big Gulp of it.
I just finished teaching a workshop at Kripalu about the 6 Steps To Healing Yourself from Mind Over Medicine, and one of the questions that came up over and over was “How do I learn to hear the voice of my intuition?” We all know there exists within us this part that I call your “Inner Pilot Light” and it holds the keys to not only optimal health, but healthy relationships, finding and fulfilling your calling, tapping into your connection with the Divine, and making aligned decisions. Yet many people don’t feel connected to this inner voice.
My dear friend Shiloh Sophia and I are teaching a virtual art workshop on Friday about how to strengthen your relationship with this part of you. (You can sign up here.) We will be delving deeper into this topic on Friday, but until then, I asked Shiloh to help us understand what it might mean to tune into this wisdom force and come into alignment with this guidance system. In this guest blog, she shares 5 keys to unlocking your Inner Healer.
Take it away, Shiloh!
“I’ve tried all the ‘heal yourself’ techniques that have cured others, so why am I still sick?”“I feel like no matter what, I just can’t quite figure out this self healing stuff, and I am ashamed to tell others I have been unsuccessful.”“I think I must just be too damaged from the wounds of the past to ever be truly whole, I am just broken.”If you have found true healing to be illusive, perhaps you have found yourself saying things like this. These statements become beliefs that block healing.
Unlocking the potential of your Inner Healer begins with a choice to make a connection with your inner world. Here you can get access to the keys that open the hidden places within you where healing information lives. These keys belong to you and are used to define your own journey and experience of personal power on your own terms. You don’t need to be ‘all better’ or have your ‘stuff in a pile’ to have an experience of wholeness right where you are, right now. The Inner Healer is a powerful presence within you that is a consciously chosen relationship, one that can change everything about how you relate to your wounds and your worlds.
My writer's journey began in 2007, when I left my stable, lucrative career as a physician to pursue my dream of being a professional writer. My behavior seemed pretty reckless to those who loved me. I gave up a six figure income and my house in San Diego with a view of the ocean and cashed in my retirement account so I could buy my freedom (to quit my job, I had to pay a $120,000 malpractice tail in case I ever got sued in the future.)
My husband was unemployed, we had a newborn baby, and my backup plan was… well, not exactly backed up. But I did it. I took a leap of faith and spent the next year writing a memoir called I Don’t Do Men: Confessions of an OB/GYN. After loads of rejections, one literary agent finally loved it and swore that she would get in a “monkey knife fight” to represent my book. So I named her “Monkey Barbara,” and we high-fived over cocktails about the six-figure book deal we would get for the book Monkey Barbara jokingly called “Eat, Pray, Vagina.”
Only that didn’t happen. In fact, we didn’t get any book deals. Eight editors loved it, and eight marketing departments said they’d never heard of me, that I had no platform, and that it didn’t matter how good my writing was if they couldn’t sell it.
I was crushed. Finally, after a year of rejections, Monkey Barbara and I had a tearful release ceremony while drinking margaritas as I tore my manuscript into strips of paper, burned them, and tossed the ashes into the ocean. (Melodramatic - yes. Cathartic - yes.)
Enter Owning Pink
Monkey Barbara told me I had to start a blog if I wanted a career as a writer. This news left me fuming. I was already a doctor, a professional artist, and a writer. Now I had to become a blogger? WTF?
But Barbara insisted. So in 2009, I started a blog I called Owning Pink, named after an art series I had done several years earlier. When asked what my blog would be about, I answered, “Creativity, spirituality, health, sexuality, money, the environment, business, mental health - you know, everything that makes you whole.” I was promptly told this wouldn’t work, that I had to pick a niche. I refused and went about creating a website featuring over forty bloggers that left branding experts using me as a case study for how not to brand yourself.
Today is the four year anniversary of the day I started unofficially blogging. (I didn’t launch OwningPink.com until April 2009, but I started my own Blogpost blog half a year earlier. I think I had three readers - all of them family!)
As I reflect back over four years of blogging, I have to smile. When my literary agent (who I lovingly call Monkey Barbara because she said she’d get in a monkey knife fight to represent my book) told me I had to start blogging after dozens of publishers had rejected my book, I dug my heels in. Wasn’t it enough that I was a doctor/ artist/ writer/ mother? Did I really have to add “blogger” to that? I was admittedly ticked off.
I also didn’t have a clue what it meant to be a blogger. What was I supposed to write about? Why would anybody care what I wrote about? How was it different from keeping a journal?
I barely even checked email, much less read other people’s blogs. And I’m the most un-tech-savvy human on the planet. Literally, things like iPhones scare me. The whole concept left me more than a little befuddled.
Yet here I am, four years later, after blogging radically transformed my life. Looking back at the woman I was when I wrote my first blog post (it’s no longer online but it was called “Getting Unblogged), I find myself smiling like a mother who gazes at her sleeping child. Beginning to blog was one of the first brave things I did after living a fearful, guarded life. My first blog was a baby step towards a life I couldn’t have even dreamed of back then. I’ll be forever grateful to Monkey Barbara for ordering me to blog. I’m also grateful to all those publishers who thumbed their noses at my first book because I didn’t have a “platform.” Had any one of them said yes, I never would have started blogging, and my life might have been radically different.
During this process, I’ve learned some life lessons I might never have learned, had I not started telling my story on the internet. To mark the four year anniversary of my first blog, I want to share them with you here.
Lesson #1 To teach effectively, you must be a perpetual student.
My six year old Siena just finished her school year, and on the last day of school, her adorable little Waldorf school in Sausalito held a performance to showcase the musical talents of the children. Six year olds who had only been playing violin for six months played their instruments. Two youngsters played the harp. Eleven year olds sang risky, fabulous, brave solos (Adele’s Rolling In The Deep! Whoa…) Seventh graders rocked the guitar, the drums, and every possible orchestral instrument, while playing Taio Cruz’s Dynamite. And the whole school - kindergarten through seventh grade together - sang a capella.
It was precious.
As we all danced, clapped, sang along, and celebrated the musical talents of each other and our children, I noticed one precious thing that separates this nurturing Waldorf school from how I felt growing up. Nobody expects anyone else to be perfect.