I wrote a story about friendship for Seek The Joy Podcast. Click here to listen!
"Zoe’s words are truly beautiful and profound, and her reflections will remind you of the power of allowing others to gift us the safety of unconditional love and space. " - Sydney Weiss, Seek The Joy Podcast.
I wrote a piece for Best Self Magazine, about healing, Breathwork, and addiction. It came out today, which also turns out to be 6 years to the day since I got sober!
Their introduction reads,
"How simple, conscious breathing techniques allowed a young woman’s soul to speak, her truth to come out and reconnected her to life."
New moon, approaching birthday (new decade) new year, and reflective dark winter time means I am looking backwards and forwards. Saying thank yous for the past, and thinking about what I want to call in for the future.
Truth is, and I'm a bit shy to say so...
I realised that the only thing I really want is to feel close to god.
This longing is what is underneath any of my other wanting. Any discomfort, anything I feel like I need or am seeking, any dream, it's actually just this.
Closeness to god to me means being in flow with an energy which could come through another person, music, animal, work, landscape, or still small voice in my body (to name a few).
If I am afraid, its energy provides reassurance and safety. When I feel like I'm not enough, it reminds me of my wholeness. When I grasp to make or be something, it fills me up, already complete.
On a full moon on my birthday five years ago I first felt this energy, this Something in my body for myself (very different to believing in it with a hopeful brain). Nothing else mattered and everything was clear.
I knew it was real, and that it was what I had always been searching for my whole life until then, in the craving and homesickness which was always underneath the surface of my day to day experience.
My prayer next year is to feel closer to that Something, and to be a witness and trustworthy companion to anyone who is seeking the same.
Especially in moments where they really need its courage and insight. Its lightness and aliveness.
It's a funny one to bring this down to earth. Yesterday went slowly. I meditated, walked my dog, made bread, wrote down the names a few studios I'd like to offer Breathwork at in London and Barcelona.
Maybe I'll see you there in the coming months.
My first God was paper.
When I was about nine, my Dad read me 'Through a glass darkly' by Jostein Gaarder. It tells the story of a little girl who is dying and visited by an angel. It spoke to my soul (then buried under a heap of anxiety) and so I copied the main character in keeping a diary.
The page was the first and only place I could go and be fully myself. It was reliable, it didn't ask anything of me. It was an unparalleled listener.
My diary was trustworthy, though I did have fears of it being discovered. My older brother would peer into my bedroom and joke, ´what do you even have to write about for so long? I bet it reads, ´´Today I stayed in my room, alone...writing.´´
I wrote so much because the page was the only place where I was safe to feel, to say things I couldn't in the flesh. It has been, and still remains, one of the best places for rage.
I hope I can listen to people more like paper. Because these are not times for bottling anything in, but handling with a lot of care and neutrality the indignation which can carry us into a brighter future.
If I am listening like paper, it will allow people to be exactly who they are, however they feel in that moment.
Of course there is a time that calls for boundaries, for disagreement and even conflict. But this is different to control and resistance.
One of the key energetic principles is whatever you resist grows stronger. Listening in a way that is deeply engaged but non-judgemental, not invested in pushing and pulling, is the ideal context for an emotion to shift, and energy to rise.
Paper knows this, it doesn't try to cheer you up, calm you down, or convince you to see reason.
It has faith, it has seen it all before. It trusts that clarity, creativity, and intuition always arrive afterwards, in their own good time.
The other day I was triggered by something, sitting in tears and shame, feeling like I would be rejected if I told the truth.
Love sat next to me like paper, and said it would stay with me for as long as it takes.
I have done a lot of hiding in my time. Hiding what I think, feel, want, know, believe, desire, hope for….
But being seen at soul-level is one of the reasons we´re all here. It connects us to our power and each other.
It can also be terrifying. It sounds the internal alarm which wants us to keep everything together and stay in control.
Because your soul is life in motion, it´s fluid, powerful, changeable…who knows what you might do or say next if you live from this place, or who you might offend?
The key is in the body. Eariler this year, my hands shook uncontrollably as I talked honestly in front of a group of people because of an accumulation of fear held in my body.
My body held the imprint of each time I learnt (through an eye roll, a turned shoulder, a telling off) to be something other than what I am.
It is like this for most of us to some degree.
Somatic healing like Breathwork is a way to release this energetic imprint and live with greater freedom.
So too is acting the opposite of what your clenched body is telling you, and living through the experience.
So don´t wait for the uncomfortable feeling to go before you let yourself be seen.
You´re not doing anything wrong, and you're not off course if today it´s hard.
You´re more ready than you think, and you are not alone.