A guest post by Siobhan Barnes (siobhanbarnes.com), Feminine Embodiment & Career Coach and member of the School of Embodied Arts Teaching Team
I first stumbled across Jenna about 18 months into my soul awakening.
Somewhere, somehow, she appeared on my radar and I felt my whole body wake up as she spoke on my screen….
“Who is this woman?” I thought to myself “I want to hear more…..”
Little did I know then, but that was my first experience of embodiment.
That was my first experience of feeling my body, trusting her response instinctively without question, and remembering the truths that my body was waiting for me to remember.
That day I saw Jenna appear on my screen, I deeply felt her resonance and sincerity. Thus began my path of the embodied woman….
I’ll be honest, up until that point I had no idea what the heck “embodiment” was.
Up until that point, I’d been navigating life predominantly from my head.
I was making practical, logical decisions that were safe and known (granted, not always a bad thing). Yet deep down I ached to surrender into my heart and let her show me the way.
My operating system was: 95% head, 5% heart, 0% body.
Truth be told, I’d already made pretty good progress operating this way.
Allowing 5% of my heart to lead still somehow allowed me to:
…..Walk away from a successful, promising and lucrative corporate career and discover my own career path.
…..Overcome my identity crisis without my corporate role to define me.
….Navigate the transition into marriage and motherhood and face my childhood fears of childbirth, not once, but three times.
….Test and refine my ultimate decision to become a career coach and business owner.
Whilst I still was making progress on the things that mattered to me, it was a hard slog.
I was always doubting and holding myself back. I was driven by the taskmaster within that perpetually told me to “do” more and be further along already.
It was like I had one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brake.
Throughout my journey, I’d been assisted by many different practitioners.
I’d tried different mind based modalities for personal support (counseling, coaching, tapping, etc) and I learned some of these same modalities to support my own clients navigating their own career and life transitions.
But 18 months into my soul awakening I realized that delving into the mind and “thinking” through our challenges will only take us so far. The mind is just one piece of the puzzle….
So I started diving deeper, exploring the realm of soul and energy (a far cry from the linear, scientific training I’d learned and was used to)….
These teachings gave me great depth, context and meaning and yet I was still searching and craving something that was grounded and tangible. Something that I could use and know deep in my bones as I was living life, not just on a meditation pillow or morning practice.
This is why when Jenna came across my radar, I got a full-body yes….and felt a visceral “this is what I desire” and it’s been quite the ride ever since.
Fast forward to today, I’ve been on this embodiment journey for 2.5 years and I’m forever grateful for this modality and Jenna’s teachings.
Today I want to share with you the 3 ways embodiment has made me a better coach, wife, mother and woman.
My intention and hope are to share how this nebulous concept of “embodiment” can translate into something more tangible so that you can discern whether the path of embodiment is something calling you forward to explore.
Let’s dive in.
Way #1: I’ve accelerated the path to reclaiming the real me.
As women, we wear many hats: partner, mother, daughter, friend, sibling, employee, boss etc.
It can be easy to lose ourselves in all the roles we play.
Especially if you’re anything like me, and the many women I speak to, someone who cares for others and wants to make sure people are taken care of.
I used to put everyone else’s needs over and above my own on autopilot.
I didn’t know I was doing this. So I didn’t question it. I just did it. Unconsciously.
Before embarking on the path of embodiment, I didn’t have the sensitivity to feel my body’s response when I was saying “yes” to things that I didn’t actually want to do.
I just found myself feeling quietly angry, resentful and annoyed…completely disconnected from what I was doing because it felt like an obligation rather than an act of genuine desire and love.
Embodiment has helped me, come back to who I really am, in so many ways:
As a woman….Slowing down to honor my body’s “yes” and her “no” has helped me to discern where I myself fit into my own life.
Honoring my boundaries in this way has helped me realise who I am and what’s true and real for me.
It’s helped me renegotiate a healthier and more empowering relationship to being compassionate and kind to others but without sacrifice, martyrdom or obligation.
As a mother….How I’m showing up is everything!
I want to model what it means to honour your own self and still be kind and compassionate to others without giving too much of yourself.
An important lesson for my two sons and my daughter.
As a wife…Getting clear on the real me has helped me become an equal partner to my husband. I make him do less guessing. We now have more genuine open communication.
As a coach….I show up more fully to my sessions with clients. I’m unattached to trying to fix or soothe the person in front of me.
Rather, I’m present to their unfolding, and truly at awe to see a woman come back to herself and reclaim who she really is. The tools from the Feminine Embodiment Coaching Certification have been such a gift to allow me to trust and have faith in this process of bringing someone back into their body — because the truth always unravels itself when we drop in.
Way #2: I’m trusting my own inner wisdom.
One of my favorite embodied teachings is this:
“If it doesn’t feel right, it’s not.”
Looking back over my own life, I realize how much I used to ignore my body’s wisdom. Including:
- When I took a supposed “dream” job because it made sense on paper but felt off in my body\
- Staying in a relationship because it made sense but the connection was well and truly over
- Taking someone else’s advice for what to do with my life because I assumed they knew better than me
It’s all too easy to give over our power to what we ”should” do. Which is the perfect breeding ground for feeling like an imposter, a fraud and a fake.
Learning to feel into the body and her wisdom has been a game-changer for me.
It’s been a titration process dropping from the mind and into the heart. From the heart and deeper into the body. But doing so has helped me to take action from this inner wisdom and build trust in honoring what my heart and my body has to say.
The mind has its role but it’s not the be-all and end-all.
As a woman….I may not always know the way I’m going on, and all the steps to get there, but I deeply trust that my body will guide me towards the right path for me.
As a mother….I may not always know how to handle a parenting situation with my children but I trust that when I slow down I’ll have the answer.
As a wife…I may argue and disagree with my husband, but when I honour how I’m feeling and express my heartfelt truth, I know it will be heard.
As a coach….I may not always know the perfect next question to ask or what direction to guide a session but I trust that when I slow down and listen, I will be guided for the perfect unfolding.
Embodiment for me, has been the key to listening, taking action on and thus in turn, trusting that inner wisdom inside me.
Does this mean it’s perfect? Heck no.
But it sure as hell feels good to be living life this way knowing that I’m showing up with integrity and as best I can in any given moment or situation and that I’ve got my own back.
Way #3: I’ve allowed in more pleasure, joy and presence.
This has been huuuge!
Before embarking on the embodied arts path, I never really considered the pleasure end of the spectrum of human emotions.
I was 100% focused on the pain side.
I was focused on all the ways in which I was wrong, broken or needed to be healed.
Operating from this place explains a lot of why I felt like I was going through life as a slog with one foot on the accelerator and the other on the brakes.
When Jenna introduced me to the concept of pleasure and allowing myself to feel good, I resisted it big time.
“I don’t need this” I thought to myself.
But was I wrong!
The benefits of diving into pleasure could be a whole other blog post itself but in a nutshell, allowing myself to feel good and connect to the pleasure in life has changed things in so many ways:
As a woman….I’m looking after myself and making sure I’m being taken care of. Recently I took up dance classes, just for fun, and the energy and joy I feel from that weekly 90-minute class makes me feel like I’m 20 again (sans alcohol which is a bonus!)
As a mother….I’m more playful and present with my kids. I’m less distracted, itching to have my own time because I’m proactively taking care of myself.
As a wife…I’m less uptight, more relaxed and can enjoy time with my hubby just the two of us, guilt-free.
As a coach….I can share the experience and benefits of pleasure with my clients and bring them back to their birthright for pleasure and feeling good as they navigate their own path and body’s wisdom.
I’m still deepening into my embodiment journey and will always be learning but there you have it…
The 3 ways embodiment has made me a better coach, wife, mother, and woman.
“Embodiment” can be a tricky concept to explain. My hope is that in sharing my story here, it translates into something tangible that will support you on your own journey. Whether that be a personal or professional one.
I have the great joy of being a part of the School of Embodied Arts teaching team. If you’re feeling called to delve into embodiment professional and become a Feminine Embodiment Coach I really look forward to connecting with you in the program.