When I first adopted my puppy she was 30 pounds. I thought she was full grown, but apparently she was nowhere near full grown. People who met her when I first adopted her would see her months later and comment on how big she was getting. I see her every day and I rarely weigh her, so to me she doesn’t look like she has grown at all. The last time we went to the vet she weighed in at 70 pounds. About a month ago I came across a photo of her the first day she came home with me and I couldn’t believe how little she looked. I can’t remember her that size at all. Just like I was unable to see how much Luna had grown, this is how we are when it comes to the growing strength in our bodies. Read more
Posts from the ‘Blog’ Category
Back in 2003, I saw the above photo on the cover of the New Yorker and I did one of those simultaneous laugh-and-sighs, because it really resonated with me. I am not sure if what is happening in the photo is easy to see on here, but it is a Yogini in perfect lotus position with a scowl on her face, because of a nearby fly. Her yoga practice isn’t working for her.
I recalled a job I had in high school when I worked for a man who was married to a very famous yoga teacher. At the time, I wasn’t into yoga, but everyone in the office was and they were all in awe of her. My boss’ secretary was like a mother to me. I loved her dearly. When this famous-yoga-teacher/boss-wife would come in she would be nasty to my friend. I heard yoga was a spiritual practice and after listening to her talk to my friend I thought, “Whatever it is you are doing in that yoga room, it isn’t working.” Read more
In 2009 I lived in hilly San Francisco with no car and on the third floor of a huge house. I walked, took the bus or rode my bike everywhere. I was strong, mobile and in great shape. I took a bad fall and ended up having knee surgery. The stairs to my room were winding and narrow. For months I had to crawl on my butt to get up them. I paid for cabs or relied on the few friends I had with cars to get me around. The logistics of life in SF with a limitation of mobility is very challenging. I felt imposed upon by my body. I became depressed.
My mother had Lou Gehrig’s disease, so as a child I witnessed her daily practice of managing frustration as she lost her motor skills—one by one—fully aware of what the end result would be. At the time of my surgery, I was the same age she was when she was diagnosed. When a disease like that takes your parent there is always a part of you that awaits your own diagnosis. My healing process took longer than I expected. My mind kept playing tricks on me thinking that maybe my immobility was now permanent. Read more
I have been thinking about resistance a lot lately. About a month ago I began the process of writing a book. My friend flew down from Seattle a few weeks ago to help me develop the theme of the book—something I asked her to do. When she was discussing different publishers and speaking engagements it felt like a lot of pressure. My mind told me, “why is she trying to take this over?!” I was rejecting everything she said. When she challenged me on it I found that underneath that resistance was a lot of fear. Fear of exposure: What if this project is beyond my capabilities? What if it sucks and then people will see that I suck? Having this information in my head is one thing, but the audacity to put it in print or stand in front of people and claim that I have something to say about it is a whole other thing.
In the moment, my body felt like armor. My chest felt like it grew as broad as my upper arms and turned into metal. Nothing could get passed it. My head was hot and my forehead tight. I felt an instant aggressive outward energy toward my friend as if she was the cause of it.
It’s important to know what resistance feels like in the body, because did you notice what my mind did with it? It told me a story about my friend. It was an untrue story—a story that, if it were to have been believed, could have caused a big hullabaloo between my friend and me. Read more
There has been a theme of guilt running through my calls with clients this week. Lots of “self-flogging” for mistakes made in the past. Each time I’ve asked the question, “What’s it going to take for you to let yourself off of the hook?” It’s been met with long pauses or tears.
If we aren’t these horribly bad people we have told ourselves we are, then who are we? Maybe it feels too groundless to let go of the story of our deficiencies. It might be worth a shot though, no?
Imagine: what would life be like if you were to forgive yourself?
Are you familiar with the 5 Languages of Love? It breaks down how we like to give and receive love into five categories: words of affirmation, personal touch, gifts, service and quality time. I have found it to be such a great tool in learning about myself and the people I am in relationship with.
Based on the test my Language of Love is an even tie between Personal Touch and Words of Affirmation with Quality Time coming in at a close second. I scored mid-range on Service and zero on Gifts. It makes sense, as I am much more interested in connection than things.
I have been thinking a lot about touch. I come from a family of touchers. There was a lot of hugging, hair-playing and hand-holding in my house. If I am talking to you one-on-one, I am most likely touching you.
When I became a teacher I had to train myself not to touch, because not everyone is OK with it. Not touching feels restrictive to me, like my hands are bound.
Recently, I have been freer with touch in my classroom, because I now believe students are attracted to teachers that are like them, which means I most likely attract touchers and us touchers need to be touched!
To touchers, not having touch can feel like malnutrition. It can lead to depression. It can feel like the body is constricted and tight. Read more
We all have stories we tell about ourselves. Often times, these stories represent a limited view of who we really are. They get in the way of us having true intimacy, our dream job, the ability to speak our heart’s truth, or to know what step to take next in our life’s journey.
I have been road-blocked by “the story of me” many times. My story never gave me credit for how truly powerful I am. It held me back from entering relationships with people that really wanted to show up for me, but I wasn’t able to show up for them because my story told me I wasn’t worthy. That same story kept me in relationships with people who didn’t deserve a morsel of my time.
My story caused me to take a painfully long detour from a career I was always meant to have and I would absolutely still be on that detour and in those relationships if I didn’t take a good, hard look at my story and consider that, maybe, it wasn’t telling the whole truth.
Your stories have been your stories for a really long time and have become part of your belief system. Because of this, they are hard to see and unpack on your own. Trying to explore your story with a loved one can be tricky because, on some level, they count on you staying in your story, so they can stay in their own.
Your story helped design the life you are currently living. If there are patterns you want to break or areas in your life you want to shift, taking a look at your story is a good place to start.
In this workshop, I will help you Uncover Your Stories and explore the ways in which they are holding you back from your true desires. She will expand your perspective, so you can see yourself and the situation you are in through a different, clearer lens.
Are you ready to Uncover Your Stories, so you can bridge the gap between the life you are living and the one you really want?
Join this workshop and let’s begin.
Uncover Your Stories workshop includes:
4 group gatherings with an intentionally small and intimate group
private coaching calls between sessions (valued at $100ea)
ongoing individual support from me throughout the course
reading material between sessions to reinforce topics covered in group sessions
video recommendations to watch between sessions
practice with a self-knowledge tool that you can continue to apply throughout your life
ongoing peer support with a set community of people during the month and beyond
an opportunity for deep, authentic connections with a group
What can this work do for you?
Uncover Your Stories will help you be
more open to other people’s quirks and
MUCH MORE lighthearted about the parts of you that you were once so critical of.
Sunday, June 14, 21, 28 & July 12, 2020
VIA ZOOM Video Conferencing
To Register: firstname.lastname@example.org
* Payment plan available (Fee applies): $210 before session 1, $210 by session 3 ($420 total)
“I enrolled in Catherine’s Shadow Workshops because I like her yoga classes and I like to learn. I expected that I would enjoy the workshops. It didn’t enter my mind that the experience would be transformative. But it was! In the short three week time span of the series, Catherine offered me the tools and, most important, the support to uncover unknown parts of myself. I feel hopeful and excited about continuing the excavation. Catherine offered her students a great deal of excellent information so that we could understand shadows. This is not to say that her teaching style was rigid. Quite the contrary. She presented the material with passion, gave us many opportunities to share our ideas and questions, and listened carefully and respectfully to us. Above all she created an atmosphere of trust, love, and community. Catherine is a gifted teacher and a loving human being. I don’t think I am overstating when I say her work will make the world a better place.”
~Jan, Sacramento, Workshop taken Dec. 2019
Catherine is so special. She shares. She teaches. She shows up. It felt like a sisterhood of safety with freedom to share self, listen to others and feel good about who I am.
~ Lena, Sacramento, Workshop taken Dec. 2019
Catherine is knowledgeable, funny and a wonderful teacher. The Shadow class really helped me start to get and understanding of my inner landscape and how to begin to incorporate those aspects into my life in a more balanced way.
~ Terry, Sacramento, Workshop taken Dec. 2019
“It was wonderful to work with an honest and authentic facilitator. Catherine’s ability to encourage vulnerability with her own transparency was the true magic of this workshop.”
~TC, Sacramento, CA, Workshop taken: September 2019
“A real eye-opener to the possibilities of embracing the Shadow. Safe and comfortable setting–highly recommend.”
~LJ, Sacramento, Workshop taken Sept 2019
“This class gave me the space and tools to delve deep into the facets of myself I have been neglecting and underutilizing. I am excited to continue to use these tools to further integrate and embrace my Shadows for self-cohesiveness and empowerment.”
“DEEP and enlightening. It was another unlayering. When we live with shadow dragging behind us, it’s like we’re trying to drive a car with a muddy windshield and spotty transmission. The world is unclear, dirty. The more we are able to clean off that windshield and get a tune-up, the more we are able to have the adventure we’re meant to have. Apparently, the workshop got me all “metaphor-y.” The amazing thing about being able to speak the shadow out loud, to recognize it, to bring it into the light, is that it loses some of it’s power. We can be unconsciously driven by the mistaken idea that we are only the things we are willing to recognize and not the whole of ourselves. The more we can invite the light AND the dark, the hidden and the visible, the more whole we can become. Thank you for taking me one step closer to wholeness.”
~ HH, Sacramento, CA
“Catherine’s [Spirit of the Shadow] workshop changed how I move through the world. The tools I learned help me to navigate the triggers and stresses of life more effectively and with more positive results. This process gave me valuable insights into my relationships and led me to a greater sense of ease and flow. I recommend [Spirit of the Shadow] to anyone looking to understand themselves and others better.”
~KM, San Francisco, CA
“I can’t thank you enough for our work together! By helping me observe my emotions and root out core beliefs I was finally able to see the suppressed side of myself. I feel so free!! I must admit I didn’t understand the shadow when we first started working together. But with your patience and knowledge you helped me embrace my complete self. I feel limitless and free! Thank you for being such an amazing coach!“
~ JB, Los Angeles, CA
“Working with Catherine gave me a chance to discover and explore some aspects of myself that I don’t usually look at, in a safe space with other women who were doing the same. I think the most valuable aspect of the experience was leaving with a framework for how to approach this exploration that I could then go out and apply on my own–instead of just gaining the benefit of the experience in the moment, I feel like I actually gained a “tool” in my tool belt for how to approach novel situations.”
~ CR, San Francisco, CA
The other day I heard an interview with Stephen Cope, author of The Great Work of Your Life. He was discussing the process of finding one’s true calling. As someone who has dedicated the last 14 years of my life to exploring my true calling, I found this topic interesting.
I left a well paid career in search of some part of myself I had no idea where or how to find. I was drawn to the idea of committing my life to work that would put me in service of others and the greater good. When I told my brother I was leaving my job and enrolling in school to do something, but I wasn’t quite sure what it was he said, “People go to college so that they can make the kind of money you make. Why would you waste your time?” Good point! For me it wasn’t about money, it was about finding my Purpose. I will tell you it wasn’t easy. Read more
Recently, I was listening to a podcast with a famous yoga teacher and he referred to the yoga practice as a mirror. I am sure I have heard this a million times in the last 17 years yoga has been in my life, but for some reason, on this particular moment in time, it landed with me.
Yoga teaches us to watch. We watch our mind, our energy, our body, our habits and all the different layers of ourselves. In that watching we might find that how we approach our yoga practice is very similar to how we approach other aspects of our lives.
For example, is your tendency to check out and go through the motions just to get to the end?
Perhaps your tendency is to push yourself to exhaustion, or do you rarely challenge yourself and only go for the easy stuff?
Do you give yourself the space to play, or are your always striving for perfection?
Do you close down to the teacher and resist their invitation, or do you rely solely on them and deny your own wisdom?
Do you judge yourself/those around you the entire time?
Do you attend only one style of class and reject the rest without ever giving them the chance? Read more
When I was 7 I had some new friends over for a playdate. We were in the garage playing school. I was in my favorite role as the teacher. I loved teaching about grammar and spelling–two of my favorite subjects. After my friends left, a family member said to me, ” You should try not to be so bossy or you won’t have any friends.” They didn’t say this to me to be mean, they really wanted me to have friends and be happy, but they heard me bossing people around and was fearful I would push them away.
Having just moved to San Francisco and not knowing a single soul, these new friends were really important to me. I didn’t want to be outcasted. I had already run into some bullies and finally I had some girls who were excited to hang out with me! So I took that part of me, that bossy, controlling girl that appeared that day and I blocked her. It wasn’t a conscious blocking, but she was done. I wanted no part of her.
The problem with this situation is that this bossy girl was a very unskillful, inexperienced and underdeveloped leader waiting to emerge and by me blocking her that day, I was also blocking her Becoming. Read more