Becoming All of You — Shadow + Light

When I decided to step away from a lucrative, stable career in corporate to strike out on my own in business, I took a considerable risk.

I had a vision of running my own business and helping women increase their productivity without compromising their health, but I wasn’t sure of the path I needed to take to make this happen.

My business took many turns before I understood the direction it was going to take.

The career I left in corporate, working in ethics at a big four accounting firm, a career of necessity, supported me financially while I garnered the capacity to go out on my own. Now on the other side of that, my longings still felt entirely precocious. As a yoga teacher, I had visions of doing one-on-one private yoga therapy sessions. As a writer, I wanted to move forward with a book I wrote about traveling around the world by myself on one-way tickets a few years prior. As a yogi who healed via astrology and Ayurveda, I studied to become an Ayurvedic nutritionist. Each step I took helped me further discern the next step I needed to take.

After several months of a floundering though,  I realized that my half-hearted vision for my business was not going to generate the income I wanted, so I adjusted my plans. I took a consulting gig with a hedge fund for a whole year to support my business.

In the meanwhile, my love of learning took the front seat of my life. I went back to school to train in health coaching and behavior change at Duke Integrative Medicine. I studied Positive Psychology formally with Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar, and resilience with Dr. Maria Sirois. Simultaneously, my astrology mentor, Debra Silverman took me further under her wing to help me understand how to incorporate astrology in a therapeutic capacity as she does. (She’s a psychotherapist and esoteric astrologer, and has had a booming practice combining both skills sets for close to forty years.) I underwent several years of one-one mentorship with Deb and had the privilege of learning astrology in a very intimate, individualized, relationship. Doing this while working so hard to sharpen my capacity as a transformational coach, became a massive undertaking.

I worked, practiced and digested copious amounts of information and integrated them. I coached and counseled many clients for free as I honed my skill and craft, putting my programs through lots of beta testing. Graduating from Duke Integrative Medicine as a Certified Health Coach specializing in behavior change, a massive accomplishment unto itself, felt like its own becoming. Doing it in sync while I trained under Deb, and studying positive psychology (I went on to become a TA for the Pos Psych program I graduated from) provided me the opportunity to craft a response to what felt like my deepest soul longing– to take multiple disciplines and fuse them into something potent, and unique. On top of this, I also formally studied with Dr. Jessica Drummond to specialize my health coaching knowledge as it applied to women’s hormonal health. Yes, this was so much work, but work I loved deeply. The result became the practice I am so proud of today and the Lunar Logic Methodology ™.

Fortunately enough, Debra held my hand through the whole process.

What many people don’t understand when they set out to become a practitioner in the healing arts, is that knowledge proficiency (while a crucial lifelong quest) is only one piece of the equation. Knowledge doesn’t matter if it’s not embodied. Further, you can only take others as far as you’ve gone, and this matters when it comes to navigating your shadow and helping others do the same. This requires substantial integration, and honestly, wise counsel from an outsider who has walked the path ahead of you and holds wisdom. After all, we can’t see our own shadows! That’s what Deb is to me. A teacher, yes, and also a real mentor who believed in me, and pushed me to become a better version of myself. I can’t talk about how Deb showed up for me without becoming incredibly teary.

In the words of leadership expert, Warren Bennis, “Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It’s precisely that simple, and it’s also that difficult.”

For a couple of years, I worked without a website, an online presence or any formal marketing as I focused day in and day out on honing my knowledge and building my business offline. As I learned and digested more, I’d fly to Boulder where Debra lived to study with her in her living room. On one trip, after back to back days with Deb studying charts and applying astrological knowledge, she put me through a process she created calls The Four Elements.  Within minutes of the process, I had a total meltdown. We discovered an aspect of myself that needed support. So, I booked a return to Deb’s to do a two-day transformation intensive— I wouldn’t study astrology at all, and instead would just spend two full days on my healing. During this therapeutic intensive, we thoroughly went through my life, looking at all the reasons why it didn’t feel safe for me to use my voice. After the intensive, I went home and launched my website.

Six years later, I developed a business and life I am deeply proud of. Having gone from the bold leap of ditching a high-paying, solid, stable corporate gig to voluntarily stepping out on my own (in the middle of a recession) to creating a business around a very vulnerable personal story to combining two very radically different yet extremely important sides of myself (my hardcore science-loving, evidence-based research geekiness + my devout dedication to the art of astrology) in one business, here’s what I learned:

More than anything, though, having the courage to be all of me in my business challenged me to accept who I am in all aspects of my life. Astrology, and particularly Deb, helped me on this journey more than I can express.

For me, success was anything but a race. It took time – lots of it – and consistent, dedicated effort, day in and day out, to build a practice that authentically represented me. (Honestly, I’ve worked on this tirelessly for way longer than the story I’m telling you here allows you to see.)

Having remained faithful to my dreams, I’ve developed a short list of takeaways for creating a professional life you love and amplifying your success:

Become all of you.

Authenticity is key. Success is knowing who you are. To be even more successful is to be even more of you. Feelings of inadequacy result from an inability to see, feel, and honor your truth.

Redefine your relationship with independence.

Your next level of success will likely come as a result of the relationships you build. The quest for total independence may be a sign that you are scared that needing something from someone else will lead to a disappointment. Check in and see if your quest for independence is coming from a shadow motivation to protect yourself.

Don’t rush!

The whole reason you may be in a hurry to get where you are going is that you lack clarity on where it is you are heading. Develop a solid vision for where you are going and work towards this goal on a daily basis. Move away from adrenaline as a driving force in your life and invite in more grace. Once you have a clear vision of where you are heading, you can relax into the process of creating your vision. Operating from adrenaline is living life in the “race.” Inviting in more grace is a crucial component to finding and living your RHYTHM.

With the new year here, I am sure like so many you’ve been wondering how the heck you’ll bring your dreams to fruition. If you have, I want to give you the same gift I found many years ago, the gift of Debra! She was an essential soul-midwife and mentor to me in my life. There’s no way I could’ve done what I’ve done over the last 15 years without her.

Debra just opened up her astrology school; so if you’ve wanted to go deeper with your knowledge, now’s the time to check her out.  You can do so here! 

Until next time, all of my love!

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3 Comments

  • Suzi Villeneuve-Smith

    There are some incredibly important moments in this article….thank you for taking the time to write it!

  • Deborah

    I am going thru the last leg of breast cancer process.. 2 more reconstruction surgeries.. February and June. I had unilateral mastectomy DIEP flap and radiation. I am looking to reduce stress, let go and turn 60 April 30th. I believe stress was then my illness! Luv astrology filler of Debs astrology.. How wonderful you had this opportunity to study in this path! Beautiful story..
    Deborah

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