Following a Trail of Heart-Crumbs

heart petals on letterI was recently sitting in a workshop that I helped coordinate, looking at the flip chart that the facilitator was using. I had provided that flipchart, thinking the pages were all blank. As she turned a page, I caught a glance of something I had written. Luckily, she did not expose the whole page, but turned to the next blank page.  I drew in a breath and a clapped my hand over my mouth. I felt mortified, shocked, and a little ashamed! A few people near me turned to see what was wrong. I felt a fierce blush creep up my neck. The person sitting next to me later told me my upper arm had gone red, too.

What on earth was on that page? A bad word? A naked picture? What?

flip chartMy eye had caught some numbers, a price. The sheets (there were two) were actually advertisements for two workshops that I had planned to put on in 2013, both cancelled because of my cancer diagnosis. So why did I have such a strong reaction? This was way beyond embarrassment at an unprofessional oversight. I thought back over the past year, to the last time I used that flip chart, and I realized it was just about a year ago. I had ambitiously scheduled three workshops over the course of three months on Maui. I was really making a push to birth a body of work into the world, to ‘make it’ as a workshop creator and facilitator. Two of the workshops would be co-taught with Apollo. We were creating weekends to help singles and couples heal their sexuality and leave the baggage behind so they might have the kinds of relationships they wanted. We were excited and giving it our all. We had spent thousands of dollars and weeks of time and travel learning how to market in a way that was heart-felt and aligned with our values.

I took everything I learned in my marketing classes and applied it to a free intro for my women’s workshop. It was called, ‘Three Common Mistakes Even Smart Single Women Make That Keep Them Alone, Lonely, and Hungry for Love.’ (Yeah, that really was the name of the intro.) I followed all the marketing rules I had learned. I planned to sell the women’s workshop and the single’s and couple’s workshops as well that day. I had written up the flipchart pages in advance, well in back of the flipchart. 35 women showed up that day, and I was really pleased with the turnout. Five women registered for the Reclaiming Aphrodite workshop. It was barely enough to make it a go…. but I was buoyed by the success of the free intro.

Following the Reclaiming Aphrodite workshop, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. The two workshops to follow were cancelled. Apollo and I both breathed a huge sigh of relief. “We don’t have to do this anymore!” No more marketing, no more trying to fill workshops, no more putting in hundreds of hours and making barely enough money to survive on!  I never looked back. I was done. After nearly a decade of putting on workshops, I had had enough.

Fast forward a few months to post-cancer: fully recovered, ready-for-what’s-next. What is next? I have no idea. I’m happy to have some work to do, website and graphic design, working at home. Happy to be healthy, living in Maui with my beloved. Happy to help organize a workshop that was easy to fill on subject matter I’m very interested in, Internal Family Systems ‘Parts Work.’ Seeing those flip chart pages sparked something deep. My reaction of mortification was intense and visceral. Why?

I invite the feelings to wash over me again, so I can dig deeper. There’s shame in there. Disgust. I hated having to market myself. Some part of me feels like I was a fraud. I didn’t really know what I was doing. Nothing I was teaching was original. Who did I think I was, anyway? Another part of me knows. I have a gift and I wanted to use it. Perhaps teaching was not the right use of it. I hereby invite and invoke right use of my gift!

orange heart ribbonsMy gift is so subtle as to be almost invisible. It’s the gift of presence. Listening. Being with. Witnessing without fixing or advising. I may not always choose to use it, but when I do, it’s palpable. I can also teach others how to bring presence, if they are willing and have a desire to practice. Because it is truly a practice. If you want to know more about presence, contact me and I’ll send you info.

Since ‘workshop facilitator’ was a part of me that I identified with for so long, it’s natural that I would feel bereft when that part is no longer needed or called upon. Do I need to create another persona to take its place? I’m not so sure I do. I have tremendous contentment in my life, but I am by no means stagnant. I keep doing my inner work, and writing about it for the benefit of myself and others, as this blog and my book reveal. Perhaps I am simply myself. No labels necessary. I accept!

Who are you, without your labels? If you care to share, I respond to every comment below. Thanks for tuning in.

Love & blessings, Amrita

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12 Responses to Following a Trail of Heart-Crumbs

  1. Amrita I love your candid writing and sharing. Thank you so much for sharing what is actually happening for you on so many levels, beyond the obvious. I am keenly interested in your life journey as it closely resembles my own. And I am the “workshop facilitator” presently. I love it…and there are some deep level questions that are arising around whether I really “want” to be doing this or not. Some would say “if it’s not a hell yes, it’s a hell no!” Yet… I have a big yes on many levels, and still a deep hesitation on others.

    I would love to connect with you more personally, perhaps through FaceTime or Skype, if that’s available for you? And I respect your privacy and time. However our connection continues, I send you my deepest gratitude and warm heart blessings for you, as you are.

    Your sister,
    Joni

    • Amrita Grace says:

      Dearest Jony;

      Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I would love to connect with you via skype. Please email me directly or message me on FB and let’s arrange that. Much love, Amrita

  2. Such a powerful sharing. Thank you. I felt it all through my body… shame, fear, nervousness at being caught, stress trying to make it happen, relief to let go. And then as you spoke of your gift I felt a wave of sweet breath ease my heart, relax my cells.
    I am so happy that you are my dear friend, that you are so alive and here <3

  3. Paul H. says:

    Thanks for sharing this. The feeling of being “caught red-handed” by myself as I look over something true from the past and the jolt of shame arrives is so familiar, and, truly, brings a smile to my face as it is such a common human experience. I ran from it for so long, and still dislike the discomfort. That’s just the truth. What else really touched me about the posting was your link to the IFS website. I just spent part of the last year including level 1 IFS training into my soul’s pathway, and that has made my internal reflections and dialog so much more accurate, productive, and compassionate. The idea of “love your neighbor as yourself” was presented to me wrong as a youngster; I was taught self-flagellation in order to bring “love” to others, when it is the robust, compassionate, tender self-care, self-loving that fills the internal well so that I have some sweet, understanding, kind water to offer to others.
    You being on your path, doing your true path, reinforces my desire to stay on my own. Peace to you and all who read this,
    Paul

    • Amrita Grace says:

      Dear Paul… thanks so much for sharing your truth and your path. I’ve just learned about IFS and have been immersing deeply with a dedicated practice group on Maui. We had the privilege of having Jay Earley and Bonnie Weiss here for that particular workshop I was writing about! I’m so happy that you had a positive and reaffirming impact from my writing. It’s why I keep doing it! Blessings to you, Amrita

  4. My Friend… I love following your Trail of Heart-Nibbles! They are gooey and rich and filled with that which makes me go Ummmmmmmm!!!

  5. Kym says:

    Dearest Amrita,
    Thank you for your sharing. Your words had a profound impact on me. I really identified and gained some useful insights …never stop sharing and sending out those ripples of inspiration and healing.
    Simply being ME.
    Kym Perth Oz

    • Amrita Grace says:

      Dearest Kym;

      I so appreciate your encouragement and knowing that my words are supporting you. I feel you from across the world and hope very much our paths cross someday. Loving YOU being YOU! xo Amrita

  6. Kym says:

    ‘Three Common Mistakes Even Smart Single Women Make That Keep Them Alone, Lonely, and Hungry for Love.’ Now that’s a great title for a book! Please write it! I would buy a copy.
    Kym Oz

  7. Amrita Grace says:

    Kym, I wrote a report based on that offering and you can download it here: http://amritagrace.com/freeresources/guidanceforsinglewomen.html
    Enjoy, sweet sister, and let me know your thoughts about it if you like.

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