This is about suffering. And radiance. And the radiance that comes after suffering. This is not a woe is me recount. I offer my stories for common ground and community, for potentially softening your learning curve, for easing your burden, and for hope. I’m fully convinced that by sharing our stories of healing, we will help each other heal.
Please note that in the actual podcast episode I go into more depth about how each of these challenges was relieved, and I POUR ON THE HOPE AND ENCOURAGEMENT for those of us in similar circumstances. Please listen if you’re in need of that.
This is My Very Personal Hurt, Suffered, Cried, Tanked, Flopped, Crawled, Begged for Mercy List. May it bring you comfort.
Fired from the company that I cofounded.
Yep, got Steve Job’d from my very own brand. The CEO that I hired turned around and canned me and my business partner. They were going to change the business model to pump out massive amounts of content, grow traffic, monetize with ad space—just one big search-engine-gargoyle-bullshit advertising system. Obviously I wasn’t down with that. But I had already given so much of my power away. I’d swallowed my voice, my opinion, and tamped down my own fire so many times that losing the company was the next obvious stage. I was asked to leave with my phone and laptop, never to return (though I snuck back in the wee hours to photocopy shareholder certificates and take my art off the walls). I’d personally co-signed some of the business loans, so even though I was no longer part of the team, I owed a heap of money, with no savings and suddenly, zero income. The incorporation owned my online identity, so I spent weeks convincing Twitter to let me have my own name back, please and thank you.
For about ten years I looked really pissed-off, sad, and exhausted in every photo. Because I was in a relationship that made me really pissed-off, deeply sad, and exhausted.
The parting was quite civilized. My recovery on the other hand was a brutal reclamation process of my spirit, body, and dreams. In the first year there was a lot of crying—being surprised by grief in the middle of meetings, driving my car, in the grocery store, in the park, laughing with friends, crying with friends, tying my son’s shoe laces… This is how the Goddess of Grief works: you never know when she is going to attend to you. There was constant therapy, coaching, a shaman, an astrologer. (I was really hooked on any kind of portending that could happen: How am I going to heal? Who am I going to meet next?) It took me a few years to get up off my knees. I’m now a cliche: the totally free, initiated, empowered woman.
The Fire Starter Sessions got rejected by six literary agents.
To date, that book has sold over 110,000 copies, been made into two online courses, and become a coaching curriculum that’s part of The Desire Map Facilitator + Coaches Program with 700 licensees in 15 countries. But nobody wanted it at first. One book agent told me it had to be more “formulaic.” Another said it was, “too poetic and the only people who would read it were Oprah’s audience.” (I mean who’d want to appeal to THAT massive, awesome demographic?) I gave up on getting an agent and a publishing deal, and wrote and filmed the digital version in my attic, in the midst of leaving my marriage. I’d pack up a box of my belongings for the move, sob for a few minutes (or all afternoon), then put tea bags on my eyes for the swelling, and then go film another video session. That video program got the attention of… a book agent. She got it.
Interstitial cystitis for two years.
The bladder lining gets inflamed so you pee countless times a day, painfully. A medical specialist asked if I “had to live with the condition for the rest of my life, how likely would I be to commit suicide?” That’s when I figured out that it destroys some people’s lives. And I thought, “F*ck this, I know what to do.” My body was screaming to me: Leave.the.relationship. So I made a plan to do that. The condition vanished. For good. Until I was writing this post, I forgot I ever had it. WE HEAL. COMPLETELY.
Women don’t talk about this enough—you don’t know how common it is until it happens. And some of us go into deep grief, so legit and honourable and real, for the loss and the dream we were dreaming. And some of us feel less impacted. I was one of those women—it just felt like it wasn’t the right time. It was early term and I thought, “It didn’t stick, the next one will.” And yes, there was heartbreak. And yes, it probably made a difference that I was only 2 ½ months along. But even in that, I had full faith that my body was up for this journey, that my life was up for this, and that the other soul had chosen me… I now have a perfectly healthy, Pink Floyd-loving, rock ‘n’ rolling teenage son. WE HEAL.
Respiratory issues for way too long.
For about a decade I dealt with severe bronchial issues that stemmed from deep grief: grief of a relationship ending, family-of-origin stuff, and (I think) from taking it on myself to process the grief of, like, the entire feminine collective of human history—overcompensating as usual. I lost count of the bouts of bronchitis, pneumonia, and inhalers I’d gone through. This made for interesting times as a professional speaker who travels a lot. Nine out of ten gigs I was very sick, and always managed to cover it up. I could write a book just on my relationship with my lungs—which are now healthier than ever. Exhale. WE HEAL.
Epstein Barr Virus.
About two years ago it became apparent when I got mono, an expression of EBV. As in mononucleosis. I had a hard time walking upstairs. Brain fog to the extreme. Almost constant sweating and shivering. The fatigue was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I would lie in bed after crawling up the stairs and just sob.
So I went on a mission to overhaul my immune system. I got myself on the Medical Medium protocol to take care of my diet. And I worked with every kind of natural medicine. I dealt with my inner world.
It was really just a call for deeper self love and wellness across the board. I make sure I get enough sleep. I eat clean. I’m not on too many airplanes. I date good men. I do what it takes to be kind to myself and everyone around me. Two years ago, I barely left the house. But I shifted a lot of stress in my life into simplicity. I took care of it with love. I took care of it with diet. And I got my hormones in shape. WE HEAL.
My “living death”—I thought for sure I would never say I was grateful for it. But I am. Because rebirth.
In the Fall of 2018 I went to the darkest place of my being—panic attacks and identity crisis, loss, disillusionment. Suicidal considerations. Waking up every morning thinking, I can’t live like this.
I speak more deeply about this experience in this interview with my dear friend, Jeff Krasno. I will be speaking of it for years to come. WE HEAL.
So those are the biggies. There’s more, but some matters I’ll never publicly discuss because… sacred implications. I have some very strained relationships that I’d rather not have. The last vendor I fired for incompetence tried to sue me. I probably get hate mail, but my team doesn’t forward it to me. I weep regularly over the pain of the world. Sometimes “rising to the occasion” takes all I’ve got on that particular day.
Mostly… I just want to be healed and help others with their healing. And mostly, eventually, it all works out that way.
EXCERPTS FROM EPS 17