I am a woman, just like you. The experience I bring is my own labyrinth walk and my extensive experience guiding others through theirs in women’s circles, in recovery and in my work as a birth doula. My superpowers lie in a readiness to live life slowly and consciously, to turn towards mystery and uncertainty and my willingness to speak the truth about myself in ways that take great awareness and courage...
Stepping off the treadmill
It all started about 10 years ago, with thoughts of suicide and a sense of deep desperation. I knew that the life I had built wasn't working for me but I didn't yet know the alternative. Beginning with an addiction recovery program I began to play with the idea that perhaps I wasn't going to "figure everything out" and that maybe happiness didn't lie in having the perfect job/partner/apartment or making it big. I put aside everything I thought I knew, and stepped into The Mystery. My work in recovery forced me to explore an intelligence beyond my own mind, and eventually led me to sponsor dozens of women, providing my first experience as a spiritual guide of sorts.
Very early in my journey it became clear that one of my gifts is my willingness to speak truths that others felt too scared to say out loud. The reason was clear: everything I hid from others became a barrier to intimacy and authenticity - a wall of perfection and falseness that I had to maintain - and everything I spoke aloud had the potential to break those barriers down and make me more "real". The fact that I was previously a pathological liar is one of life's ironies and but one small example of how our superpowers often lie in our deepest woundings.
My next realization was the value of tribe. Gregarious by nature, I had never been alone and yet I had also failed to cultivate deep, trusting relationships with other women. My recovery program gave me a good start but it was women's circles that changed my life. Being in sacred circle with my sisters provided a place for me to be authentic, to share and to listen deeply, and to witness the magical alchemy that occurs in such spaces.
Gradually, women's circles and my own spiritual work provided enough safety to begin sinking back into my body. Through practices such as acupuncture, yoga, bodywork, meditation and ceremony I am still in the process of becoming a fully embodied woman. This journey has required me to honestly examine my relationship to almost everything: food, sex, men, jobs, you name it. Such work has been deeply painful at times but has also enabled me to step into a new level of authenticity and being-ness that feels like a different world from the one I used to inhabit.
Two very important aspects of my embodiment journey have been slowing down and connecting to the cycles of nature. Changing the speed at which I live my life, and the location I choose to do it has required huge amounts of courage, going against the grain of my intellectual productivity-based ways of thinking. Step by careful step, I have made these changes as my awareness and my willingness to act on said awareness have gradually increased. The ultimate impact of both of these things cannot be overestimated. Slowing down and refusing to define myself through "doing" has allowed me to listen more intently to the voice within me that can distinguish between the things I think I "should" do/be from the doing and being-ness that simply wants to unfold. Spending time in nature has deepened this process, as Mother Nature encourages me to live my own seasons, reclaiming my menstrual cycle as one of the cornerstones of feminine wisdom.
discovering my true calling
If you'd told me 10 years ago that I would be a Soul Doula, I'd have thought you were crazy. I was a mouthy intellectual with a passion for political arguments and always being right. Selfish, disingenuous and driven by a need to be the center of attention, I was not exactly the material that doulas are made of. And yet, underneath layers of fear lay an entirely different kind of woman, and uncovering myself has been my greatest act of doula-ing so far. Putting down my (unfinished) PhD and becoming a birth doula required a level of courage that I'm not sure I could have accessed before doing the work I just described above. Because I had begun to cultivate my own wisdom the screaming voices that told me what I "should" do had been joined by a quiet whisper that assured me I could trust the Universe and follow my bliss.
Working as a birth doula was a deeply challenging and utterly incredible journey that brought me both profound joy and deep pain. Though I loved being with women during a time of such raw power and vulnerability, it became clear how disconnected many women were from their own bodies and the wisdom therein. Such disempowerment was heartbreaking to witness, especially when doctors and midwives played into it, and I often found myself silently seething, judging or trying to control. Working in such circumstances became an integral part of my own spiritual journey, forcing me to confront yet more truths about my own hypocrisy and my attachment to outcomes. The greatest lesson of all was that of humility; every time I thought I knew how a birth was going to end I would be proved wrong. Over and over again I was faced with the same realisation: that my job was to connect to my own feminine wisdom, be in my body, and then lovingly hold space for someone else's process to unfold, no matter what it looked like.
we are not here to become perfect, but to become whole
Around the same time as starting my work as a birth doula, I married my husband. Possibly the greatest challenge of my life so far, my marriage has taught me a profound lesson: instead of trying to transcend my own shadow-side (the parts of me that I feel shame about), I need to embrace it. So much anger and rage were rising in me that it was almost impossible to ignore and so I had to work with it as my teacher. The anger has brought me closer to a sensual experience of my own body, has forced me to take responsibility for my own needs and has made it clear that as long as I try to exclude a part of my experience, I will suffer. These days I know that I am likely to experience anger and grief during the autumn and winter phases of my menstrual cycle and so I plan accordingly. I give myself more space, I slow my life down, I get into nature and I allow the feelings to move through me. In this way I can experience them without suffering at their hands. It's a magical process.
Today I bring the lessons from my recovery journey, my experiences in circle and my work as a birth doula to hold space for you, as you do the work of coming back into your body, reconnecting to your truth and cultivating your own wisdom. The time of gurus is past: now is the moment for us to rediscover the wisdom that lies within. Connecting to the cycles of nature and being in silence are two of the tools that Soul Doula work uses to support this. Other practices are used only when they allow us to come further into our bodies, sink deeper into our knowing and simply be with what is.
I look forward to being the Soul Doula to your Soul Journey.
And finally...meet my spirit animal, charlie
Like all good witches I have a familiar, and because I have allergies mine is a hypoallergenic miniature cockapoo named Charlie. He's always with me, so you'll be meeting him!