learning to flow.

“The cure for anything is salt water — sweat, tears, or the sea.” — Isak Dinesen

This past Saturday, I attended a half-day reiki and water healing event for women of color called FLOW, organized by Susanna Lovell, life coach for special needs families and reiki healer, along with her sister — reiki master teacher, energy healer and intuitive counselor Syd Yang — and writer, guide, and energy healer Sofia Rose Smith at Susanna’s beautiful home in Cheviot Hills. Seventeen women were in attendance that day, including myself. It was a perfect size that allowed for each of us to have plenty of space to lounge, rest and reflect during our time there.

The day was centered around the salt water pool and jacuzzi, beginning with a group meditation where all of us were connected to the water. We went around in a circle and introduced ourselves, sharing a bit about what we have been experiencing lately and setting our intentions for the day. Now, this was the first event of its kind that I had ever participated in, so I went in with an open mind and zero expectations as to what I would get out of it. When I had first learned about the event a few weeks back, I had felt an inexplicable compulsion to go. Usually when I have feelings like that, I go with it, knowing that the reason inevitably will reveal itself in time.

We each signed up for a 20 minute short session with either Susanna, Syd or Sofia. We were told it would be better to work with someone we didn’t know yet, so I signed up with Syd. As I waited for my time with her, I swam and floated in the salt water pool, sat quietly with my eyes closed in the jacuzzi and spent some time writing in my journal. There were several stations set up throughout the house with prompts or thought cards, created for the purpose of helping us reflect. I walked over to one of the stations and picked up a prompt from the box.

“Begin with the phrase I WILL and let your declarations expand into a lovesong and political commitment to yourself to LIVE! Make to yourself the most glorious promises you can possibly make.” — Sofia Rose Smith

I brought my prompt and journal to a lovely shady spot under a tree next to the pool and began writing.

Each promise just flowed out, most of which centered around daughters. and how I wanted to prioritize my life. After a page and a half of promises, I flipped the page over and began making a list of my fears. I’m not sure what compelled me to do so, but it seemed like something I needed to do right then.

Ten minutes later, after I had amassed a healthy list of fears, Syd called me to her station. She had me take a few deep breaths with my eyes closed, as she struck the bowl. As soon as I opened my eyes, she told me that she sensed an intense spasm of fear coming from my kidneys (whoa, coincidence?! I had JUST been writing down my fears). I began explaining my fears around building daughters.— the fear of failure, of letting my partner down, of running out of money, of having to fall back into my career in advertising. She smiled and nodded that those are indeed fears, but she senses that they are light surface fears, and not the source of the intense spasm she had felt, which is an older fear that has been rooted there for a long while now. I immediately broke down and started expressing my fear of losing my mom to age, of feeling guilty for living so far away and not being around to help her. Syd nodded and said that that was closer to what she had felt, that I was now starting to release it.

She had me close my eyes a second time and take a few more breaths. This time, she expressed feeling a brace or gird around me, holding me up and keeping me protected from outer harm. She said she sensed I was a self-reliant person, that I had built this wall up a long time ago and that i needed to start releasing it. She mentioned getting a sense that somewhere deep inside resided a disappointment that’s been trapped there. I frowned, not able to articulate what that could be, but also sure that she had zeroed in on something that I needed to acknowledge and clean out. She affirmed that building this brand is not just about making a living for me. She feels a strong presence of my heart in that endeavor, and said that if I am to build daughters. into something women truly connect to, I will need to do a lot of my own internal heart work as well. She recommended that I spend some time floating in the water, practicing letting go, and sitting in the warmth of the jacuzzi water to help relax this tight binding around me.

I spent the rest of my time that day thinking about this deep-rooted disappointment and invisible barrier around myself. After leaving the agency to pursue daughters., I had known I needed to heal from the past years of overwork, stress and not prioritizing my needs above my career. However, I realized that day just how much I still hadn’t processed from the experiences of my youth, particularly losing my father in my teenage years and the resulting fear of losing people I depended on. For the first time in my life, I was forced to confront emotional residue that I hadn’t really thought about or felt in years. I began wondering — is this all coming out now because I’m building daughters.? Or am I meant to build it in order to finally confront all these old issues?

I left that day with a new epiphany and resolution that as much work as there was to do in building the business and product offering of the brand, there was just as much internal work that I needed to start doing for myself if I was to fully realize the potential of this brand. I also resolved to spend more time in salt water — either in the ocean or floating in a sensory deprivation tank (that adventure coming soon!) — and begin practicing the act of letting go regularly so that I can build up muscle memory that will hopefully have an effect on my emotional memory.

I also can’t wait until the next FLOW event.

learning to flow. was originally published in we are all daughters. on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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