A Chronicle of Awakening: medicine for your too-much body, your too-many desires, your primal screams, your unruliness, your boldness + your joy

Mar 5, 2019


For me


it began


every day as I rode the elevator from the tenth floor in my heels and business casual slacks


climbed into the car with my husband


and wept.



For me

it began

as I rocked and swayed and screamed my way into motherhood

and everything changed.


For me

it began in the echoes of the empty rooms in my suburban dream home

as I dusted and vacuumed two thousand square feet of Success.


For me

It began over a bowl of green lentils when my body was screaming chocolate

running laps of futility when my body wanted ocean dancing kindness anything but more punishment.


It begins




this awakening,


as your eyes flutter open

and you look down

and see a woman

doing the best she can

in a world that has asked her to forget herself and her too-much body and her too-many desires and her unruliness and imperfection and anger and softness and frustration and tears and wild, loud laughter and her boldness and her joy.


I have been awakening.

Unearthing myself – the roots of who I am – from the tangled web of everything I’ve been told, everything I’m no longer willing to tolerate.


And I have been witnessing it – this unearthing – among women everywhere.




I have sat in circle with women who were unlearning everything they knew about what intimacy meant.  They were unearthing the language of their own bodies and their own desires, learning that “no” or “like this” was sacred, not pathological.

I have walked in the woods with a woman who, after a mental health crisis, told her boss she would no longer answer her phone after 5p.m., and needed to work from home sometimes.  She was unearthing the power of her own boundaries, learning the courage to say no.

I have listened intently in a group of women who voiced their rage for the very first time. They were unearthing the compass of their own emotional spectrum, and wondering what it would be like to stop being so nice all the time.

I have crouched on the floor next to so very many women who followed their instincts and trusted the power of their bodies as they birthed their babies.  They were unearthing a sacred physical, emotional and cultural power that has been a hidden secret, held within medical textbooks and hospital walls for a century.

I have, just this week, rah-rah’ed a dear friend who is redefining what sexy looks like and what getting older means by allowing her true grey hair colour to show through after years of dying her locks.  She is unearthing the fullest power of her eldership in a world that would dismiss her in her wisest years.


And here’s the thing

whether we’re negotiating our intimate lives or climbing out of burnout or contemplating our hair colour

none of this is easy.


All of this asks us to unbecome the woman we’ve learned to be


and come home to ourselves 


to become the kind of woman who knows how to hear herself again


and who has the resilience and skill and courage to LISTEN.


Who am I when I tap into my body’s desires?  How do I align with her, rather than the woman who has always said yes, who should?

Who am I when I say no to the people that demand my energy?  How do I know that I am valuable and worthy if I choose to be in service to myself rather than always to others?

Who am I when I am no longer willing to fit into society’s ideas of what beautiful looks like?  What happens to the woman whose appearance has, until now, always allowed her to belong?


Recently, I learned that caterpillars have special cells in them called “imaginal cells.”  When the caterpillar dissolves in the chrysalis, these imaginal cells remain intact, and guide its transformation into the butterfly.


Imaginal cells.  Like the plumbline of truth we all have within us, hidden though it may be; a compass for our awakening, a map home to ourselves, waiting to be unearthed.


And so

what story do the imaginal cells within you have to tell?


within you

longs to be unearthed?

The Becoming Podcast has been on a short hiatus while I focus on writing my book, but oh what a comeback episode I have for you!

This month, I spoke to Toko-pa Turner, who many of you may know as the unofficial patron saint of many of my circles and gatherings because of the sheer number of times I’ve quoted from the wisdom of her book, Belonging.

Toko-pa is a Canadian author, teacher, and dreamworker. Blending the mystical teachings of Sufism in which she was raised with a Jungian approach to dreams, she founded The Dream School in 2001, from which thousands of students have graduated. She is the author of the award-winning book, Belonging: Remembering Ourselves Home, which explores the themes of exile and belonging through the lens of dreams, mythology, and nature. This book has resonated for readers worldwide, and has been translated into 10 different languages so far. Her work focuses on the relationship between psyche and nature, and how to follow our inner wisdom to meet with the social, psychological, and ecological challenges of our time.

Here’s some of what Toko-pa and I talk about in this episode:

> The dream that changed Toko-pa’s life, causing her to question her career and, ultimately, her identity

> How we can court our dreams to support us during times of radical transformation – and the reasons so many of us have a hard time remembering and working with what shows up in our dreamscape

> Toko-pa’s perspective on the message of Belonging after the divisiveness our society has experienced in the years since it was published

> What happened for both Toko-pa and I when we fell out of belonging from the ideologies of the “wellness world”

> How to build community when you’re under-resourced

> “The Big Lie” when it comes to belonging, and how we can reclaim a sense of belonging to the greater family of things, as Mary Oliver so famously wrote

Listen to the episode on iTunes


Show Notes

Toko-pa’s Website

Belonging:  Remembering Ourselves Home, Toko-pa’s book

The David Abram video about animism mentioned in the interview

Toko-pa’s self-guided program, Dream Drops

Companion, the program that accompanies Belonging


Also, while you’re at it, if you enjoy The Becoming Podcast, I would be so grateful if you would rate and review, and even subscribe to it on iTunes.  That goes a long way to helping more and more people find and benefit from hearing these interviews!  Thank you so much!