Women

When a Superwoman Falls

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If a superhero falls in the forest, is she still a superhero?

So many of us are in pain, lonely pain. When we feel pain, we are taught to hide it as it might be shameful to share any perceived flaws or struggles. We take on blame for the pain and isolate ourselves from those that care for us the most. Our culture emphasizes independence as a source of personal value, rather than interdependency.

What would a superwoman do if she fell into a depression or a loss? Would she share her struggles and reach out for help? Would her imperfections cause her to be seen and valued as something less than a superhero? Would she do what she could to recover in her own space to shield herself from others’ judgment and her own shame?

I have to imagine that she would be hesitant to reach out given how tied her identity is to her image to the public. Her profession makes it difficult for her to appear anything less than perfect. In fact, if she lost to a villain in a fight, she could probably loss her superhero title, right?

And aren’t we all – us women – just a bunch of superwoman wannabes? We’ve been taught to do it all and don’t forget the smile. Conquer the masculine world of success and achievement in careers, have family, support partner, take care of parents, learn and grow all the while. All great things, and so is superwoman’s fall.

Truth is we all fall at times and I believe that not only is the fall a good thing, it is actually an important part of our feminine nature which fuels feminine growth. Our descents into the abyss of our emotions and our shadow can sometimes take years and seem like they will never end. Fortunately, they eventually pass and when we arise from the ashes of our previous selves, we have taken an enormous leap forward in our spiritual maturity and wisdom. In order to come out of our isolative descent, we must realize the importance of our feminine tribe. We must trust that the women (and men) that care about us in our lives want to be there to help the superwoman in each of us. Reaching out to them will not change their opinion of your superhero status, in fact they will remind you of your superpowers. And someday they will return the favor by sharing what their kryptonite is, if they haven’t yet.

I am not suggesting you share with everyone what your personal kryptonite is, just with a few close friends that you know will support you no matter what. If you don’t have them, make them! Join a church community, a community service community, a support group, or a workout community. Intentionally pick out your superhero support team and reach out. Trust that you need them to help you out of the descent and they will be there best as they can be.

Perfect is being brave enough to reach out for support in our struggles and to reach our for celebration for our successes. Even superheros need support.

To the superwoman in us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, EMDR, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to support your inner superwoman in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

FEELING GOOD ENOUGH

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When you don’t feel good enough it can color your daily life, from your career to your romantic relationships to your mood. Everything can be impacted by this one belief about yourself – I am not good enough. Inevitably it comes up with each and every client I work with. In some way, we all feel not good enough. Some space in us feels deficit – we aren’t funny enough or pretty enough or smart enough, the list goes on. What do you do with deficits? You fill up the holes with something positive right? Let’s talk about filling your not-good-enough deficits with something positive.

Not-good-enough comes from our childhood experiences. Often we know logically and have evidence that we are good enough in whatever deficit we are feeling and just can’t seem to shake that belief. For example, Helena may be a highly successful lawyer and still feel like she have no value as a person and still feels she is not achieving enough. This comes from a childhood emphasis, from her parents, on the importance of achievement and deficit in the value of other needs. Perhaps this her parents were stressed the importance of financial stability and power, always being right. However, her parents spent little time playing with her or spending time on vacations. Likely Helena will grow up to be a high achiever and will spend little time doing recreational activities. When she does go take days off she feels guilty and depressed. No matter how hard she works, she still feels she needs to work harder. Whenever she makes a mistake, she feels shame.

Children need many things to be role modeled and taught for them. It is almost impossible for parents to meet every need for their children, especially in this achievement and independence driven culture. Additionally, some people are just better at certain skills and have a higher capacity for certain things. Some parents cannot provide enough attention for some of their children’s needs due to their own limitations.

Inevitably, each one of us has unmet needs that benefit from being addressed. What unmet needs do you have? Perhaps you didn’t learn about finances, you needed more physical attention; maybe you needed more positive encouragement in order to feel confident; maybe your parents were not well attuned to your emotional needs. At times we adapt to these missing needs with resiliency and find beneficial ways to cope with the unmet needs. Other times these missing needs lead to us limiting ourselves because we do not know how to meet that need or even self-sabotaging due to fear of failure or feeling as if we don’t deserve to meet the need (based on implicitly receiving this message as a child).

Addressing this in my work with clients involves three steps:

  1. Identify the missing need
  2. Process and grieve the pain associated with the missing need
  3. Find a new way to meet the need now

Once we find the missing need, we can process it. It is vital to experience the pain and grieve the associated losses in order to move forward. That is where the therapist can come in to provide a safe space for that process.

Finally, we can then find a way for you to meet that unmet need. If you didn’t get to play as a child, we will play and you will have homework assignments to play. If you didn’t learn about finances, we will discuss finances. If you learned that value is based on achievement, than we will experiment with meditation and activities that are about just being and not doing. We get to explore and learn together. Often this process can be very spiritually enlightening as an adult. Getting to learn something and take ownership of your own abundance as an adult is a powerful and nurturing experience.

To feeling good enough,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to guide you to feeling good enough in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

August Awakenings ~ IT’S NOT ME – IT’S YOU!

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The last few months have been energetically intense. We delved into truths and through much work were able to awaken to the truths and own them. The energy of the those truths of the women coming though this office have become apparent – It is not the women who are struggling, it is their partners who are truly struggling.

The divine feminine energetic is coming to truth within many of us and you may be feeling it as well. Finally, we feel READY TO STAND IN OUR POWER – we are no longer attaching to feelings of being NOT GOOD ENOUGH or THE VICTIM. Actually all the weight we have been carrying about not being good enough or being hurt has been someone else’s all along. Now we can see with clarity, we are feminine nurturing energy and we have always been supporting and loving those in our lives at the expense of our own well being. It is time to set firm boundaries with fierce love; to feel invincible to other’s attempts to manipulate or project their own struggles on to us; stand confidently in our power to love peacefully even in the face of conflict.


 Let’s create a template in our mind-bodies for this new way of showing up in the world.

In your heart hold these mantras and allow yourself to visualize and feel the energy aligning to the words:

“At my core I am divine feminine energy – I love fiercely with unbreakable boundaries.

I do not take responsibility for others’ emotions and am accountable only for my own actions.

I fully embrace my shadows and light – I stand securely in my own power.”

Meditate on these mantras daily for at least a week and allow your mind-body to heal from past wounds to your heart and boundaries.


To the divine feminine power within us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows how to STAND IN HER POWER in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

The Intentional Peace Project

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After continual shock following the violence and fear mongering of politicians, I have decided to start a project. I hope that you will all join in with me in this challenge to spread peace.

My heart grows heavier each time I hear of violence and anger in this world. I then want to shut out the world, become more insular and defended. As the suffering escalates in our country, an instinct in me wants to become numb and turn away, ignore it, leave it up to those in power to fix.  It feels as if we are all asleep, some of us more than others, to the growing suffering of our planet. It is easy to ignore the gravity of fear-based politics and violence happening far from our homes. It is easy to think and do nothing about the growing environmental issues. Because of course, these problems are so big and we are but one individual. If feels as if we cannot make a difference as one.

I am proposing we all wake up from our slumber of inaction, turn peace from passive to active and intentional. I choose to stand in my power as a women who believes peace is intentional and active. Rather than a passive stance, I choose peace in my daily lives, in every moment. So can you. We can choose to be friendly and nice to our neighbors, assume that no matter the struggle, everyone is just doing the best that they can. We can choose to have empathy for, yet set kind and gentle boundaries when we encounter those living their lives and making decisions based in fear and anger. We can choose to spend the extra effort to be peaceful and spread our vision of peace. To encourage a culture of love and compassion as our national collective language and energetic.

I believe that action starts with one and can grow exponentially to become action of many. So, I plan to start practicing intentional peace daily for the next year. I will post once per day to share my intentional action towards peace. I don’t expect you to be able to devote a full year to posting your intentional actions towards peace, so share what you can. Maybe just 15 days of intentional peace.

Let’s create a ripple of intentional peace in our country. Let’s start today, July 18th, 2016. You can follow my intentional peace process as well as share your own via Instagram: @YOURSOULTHERAPY or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/YourSoulTherapy/

To ACTIVE AND INTENTIONAL PEACE,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, EMDR, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows personally what it means to embody daily intentional peace and can guide you to peace in yourself in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

Depth & Facing the Shadow

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At times I feel frustrated with the depth I own in my life.

I wonder, can’t I just switch off this part of living? I’d like to be ignorant and numb to my depth for just a day. Skate along the surface and be able to focus on small talk, popular culture, or climbing the ladder like much of the rest of the population? It seems so much easier to live in that world. At least, it appears easier. And I have tried. Tried to shut off my emotions and depth in order to live on the surface.

This resulted in numbness and disconnection rather than ease and joy. I lost touch with my values and motivation. And I know I cannot reject that part of me (my truth and the depth of my heartspace) because while it can create a lot of pain, it also produces love and joy. Therefore, given the choice, I intentionally choose on a daily basis to live in depth and introspection rather than floating along the surface, numbed out and disconnected.

So I tune into my heartspace fully. I accept my depth as a gift.

The gift comes with pain and joy which at times are inseparable. I reach the plateau of a growth spurt and drop down again to face another shadow. Each time I drop down I notice my resiliency and strength has grown and it becomes easier. And when I rise up again to the next enlightened plateau I feel more at ease knowing I will drop again. The death and rebirthing process cycles, each time bringing more knowledge, contentment and balance in the uncertainty of the future. My depth is a welcome teacher and I know the ache of growth will result in the joy of knowing.

This pattern resonates with many of the women I work with. I find especially those in helping professions experience the constant death and rebirth cycle central to their spiritual and mind-body growth process. It is the work of all women, the feminine calling, to grow out of the mud like the lotus flower and move through the DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL*. When we arrive on the other side there is stability and wise mind knowing.

I invite you to journey with me to embrace your depth and feminine calling to rise from the mud as the lotus flower, to fully connect with your heartspace.

To the divine feminine depths within us all,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensorimotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows the shadow, light, and dark night of women in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

*Elkhart Tolle on the Dark Night of the Soul – https://www.eckharttolle.com/newsletter/october-2011

#BadassWomenReachOut – PART ONE – Definition of a Badass Woman

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I have spent a lot of time walking with some incredible souls on their journeys, each of whom imparts spiritual awe and knowledge onto me. However, there is one breed of woman that consistently shows up in my office, one whom I feel most connected to.

She is the badass.

Today starts a three part series on my speciality, the BADASS WOMAN.

Carl Jung calls them archetypes, the character which most fits your soul, your presence, your path and your baggage. Perhaps equivalent to Jung’s “ANIMUS” – masculine features in the feminine body or the “REBEL” or “EXPLORER.”

You may find yourself drawn to action and independence.

You most likely work in an industry or career where you are never static, always in movement, highly social, yet supplies frequent novelty and alternative schedules from the regular 9-5.

You thrive on intensity and though you enjoy downtime, may not often sleep well.

FOMO is your middle name.

Most likely you work in the service industry or on the night shift.

You live an alternative lifestyle that many people in your life may not understand or appreciate.

The face you show to most is strength and collectedness.

You are independent and strong with ease.

You may move frequently or feel the need to stay very active in your daily life.

You numb out emotionally and physically. Sometimes you don’t even know what you are feeling.

Underneath your very strong shell, you have an enormous heart that bursts with love. You want to share it with the world. Yet, at times your heart becomes barricaded and you cannot share your love due to fear or anger.

You want to connect at a level of depth and vulnerability that you are not always certain others are capable of. Trust can be very difficult for you.

AND YOU KNOW NOW THAT YOU ARE READY.  You are READY to DO THE WORK.

You want something more than just a tough facade and escape.

You want to TRUST, to CONNECT, to FEEL, and to FEEL GOOD – FOR YOU!

I know you. I get you. I commit fully to walk with you, bravely, towards your highest self. Like many before you, all you have to do is REACH OUT, and I will join you.

To journeying with your badass soul,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute phone consult with Kim for art therapy, talk therapy, or sensoriotor therapy or to work with a therapist who knows badass women in Washington, DC, email her at kim@yoursoultherapy.com

STEPPING OUT OF THE STORY

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I know my old story.

It is :: I AM BROKEN.

And even before that it is :: I AM NOT WORTHY.

The stigma of having been divorced, the first of my friends and in my age group to do so, often bites at my heals, begging for me to pick it up and ride the downward spiral of WHAT IFs and SHOULDS. 

What if I tried harder to make the relationship work?
What if I wasn’t tolerant enough of my husband’s behavior?
What if I had staged an intervention?

I should have been able to see it sooner and leave…I wasted so many years.

I should have known, as a therapist, what my husband’s issues and my issues were.

I should have been able to help myself.

I should be married with children now.

And then the WHYs come parading into my brain in an endless stream of existential confusion.

Why have I been given this life?
Why must I go through these trials?
Why can’t I have the family I dreamed of as a child?
Why do they teach us fairy tales as children if that is not the script of reality?
Why didn’t anyone see what was wrong and tell me to leave the relationship?
Why can’t I get it right?

How long have I held this belief of unworthiness? Where did it start? Why is it so hard to shake?

I get lost in the story and forget to breathe. I look at the clock and I see how much precious time I have wasted trying to figure out an answer to the uncertainty of life. The unsolvable.

Then I melt into the embrace of unknowing and uncertainty, gratitude towards my path, trusting that I am headed in the direction I am supposed to be going. The anxiety and groundlessness ends as I sink into my feet, allowing the energy to disperse throughout my limbs and trunk, loosening my grip physically and mentally. I take a few moments to notice the peace I am currently surrounded by, the smell, the image, the sounds. I send an energetic bow of thanks to the universe for giving me the journey I am on, appreciating the highs and lows, the experience as a whole.

To say it no longer hits me would be a lie. I can, with strong conviction, assert that it hits me much less often and for short increments of time before I identify it, kiss it, and say goodbye. I trust my path. Only with time and practice have I learned to tune into this power, my power, my own intuition drawn from my feminine divine energy. 

I invite you to tune into your feminine divine energy to step out of your story when you can. To end the cycle of rumination over the unsolvable and unknowable and instead to tune into and be grateful for what you have now.

To tuning into the Divine Feminine in you, me & us,

Kim Ottinger

To schedule a free 20 minute consultation for art therapy, talk therapy or sensorimotor psychotherapy to begin the process stepping out of the story, email kim@yoursoultherapy.com

LIVING FROM YOUR HEARTSPACE

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I would like to invite you on a journey with me. While it is my journey, it is also yours :: this is our journey. We are the divine feminine, and our collective souls unite in the still frames of our lives through whispers and symbols, images, songs, and energetic vibrations.

Over the last five years of my life I have been called to recognize my soul. I was propelled by a process which I could not stop, something so much bigger than my previous life agenda, that I was unprepared to accept into my life. Over the last five years of my life I have died and have been rebirthed many times. I went through the deepest of lows to encounter a contentment and attunement with life that continues to awe me in every moment that I receive it. While the feeling is not ever constant, the glimpses sustain my contentment throughout my day now.

And yet, I live among the hustle and bustle of the city. An energy chameleon, I shift with the vibrations that surround me, knowing I am unchangeable at my core. I sway with the flow of the creatures I encounter and love openly, spaciously, without limits. I do not presume to believe I have reached some level of enlightenment or have the knowledge necessary to impart lessons upon you. I only seek to live genuinely and connect.

I want to share my experiences with you, what brought me here, my path, and where continue to tread. I want you to share your journey with me and to have a community in which we might open our hearts and soul spaces and resonate with one another. With the new year, I invite you to start to follow your heart and soul into the depth of feminine experience and towards your own freedom.

My intention is to unite weekly to we explore the feminine experience on all levels equally and free from judgement, the superficial of embellishing our bodies to the depth of existential questions. We will touch upon science and spiritual, as well as the intersection of the two. We will listen to the speech of our bodies as a catalyst for discussion and change. We will use image to explore and join with the collective feminine. And we will celebrate and honor both the ups and downs of the journey.

Please begin this journey with me by suggesting what topics you may be interested in exploring.

What does the New Year bring up for you in your heart, how does your heart speak to you with the start of a new journey and cycle?

Connect with me by email kim@yoursoultherapy.com for a free 20 minute phone consult.

In Journeying,

Kimberly Ottinger  MA, LPC, ATR-BC
Your Soul Therapy Associate

Why Badass Women Come to Therapy

In our private practice, we see some of the brightest and most ambitious women in Washington. They are well read, highly accomplished, and typically have checked off most items on their bucket lists. Outside of a deep wanderlust, what is missing in the lives of these women who know how to fully live? If you’re their friend, colleague, acquaintance, it looks like they have it all. These women would agree that most of the time, their lives feel amazing.

One might wonder why are badass women coming to therapy? Relationships.

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Whether they are single, dating, partnered, or divorced, these women don’t feel like themselves in intimate relationships.   They feel anything but badass.

Exhausted, Frustrated, and at times Heartbroken by a Never Ending Dating Process

Many single women have no problem dating, but they have not found the one despite many dates or relationships. A number of these women date the same partner twice, for 3 weeks, or things end by month 4.

Each time they meet a new someone, they continue to walk on what feels like the tight rope of dating. Should I be excited on the first date even though it probably won’t lead to anything? Maybe I should take a break from dating because it all feels like too much? They have no idea why they continue to get the same results.

They can’t understand why so many women around them are happily dating or partnered. They feel that something is innately wrong with them.

Women Dating Unavailable People

This often starts with dating the most charming, passionate, or promise-you-everything man or woman. The initial dating process is mind-blowing on many levels.

Then a shift happens. The women see that their man or woman is unavailable in one or more ways. The partners live in different countries and won’t move or meet in the middle. They may be workaholics and prioritize work over the relationship.   They may be in the pull me close, push me away dance with touch, play, interest, and intimacy on many levels.

Where there previously was all passion, spark, and play, there can be equal amounts of disappearing, confusion, passive aggressiveness, or anger. These women find that most of their partners are not just emotionally unavailable but are not wanting to make any promises or commitments.

They don’t understand why the continually find themselves with the same unavailable partners and burned at the end of the short lived relationships. When they dig deeper, parts of them don’t feel that they know how to be close to a healthy partner.

Women Who Struggle to Believe that Their Partners Love Them

For many partnered women in our practice, they cannot believe that their partner could love them as much as they do. Their partners continually show up, believe in them, and love them even in some of the most challenging situations.

These clients struggle with receiving love from their partners.

No matter what they read or how hard they try, they don’t know how to let love in. They don’t know how to feel the love that their partners are consistently giving them.   They are blocked for many reasons from trusting themselves and the person that wants to be close to them.   Fear, longing, anger, and grief along with chatter laced everyday worthlessness can be some things that take these women down emotionally.

 

Partnered Women: Who Want More

These women are in relationships that aren’t working anymore. Often the relationship was what they needed for months, years or even decades.

In recent months or years, these women have experienced a deeper sense of self awareness about their needs and desires or may have even had a spiritual awakening. Their partners have struggled to pace with them or grow in their own ways.

These women are wanting more for themselves, their relationships, and lives. It is often complex because families, friends and even children are intertwined. Some of the women are torn between taking care of someone who isn’t fully able to emotionally care for themselves. The dance of overfunctioning and underfunctioning resentment is released with forgiveness and compassion with the work.

Other women are able to finally take a stand for themselves. They have learned that taking up space in a relationship is a brave and healthy decision.

Moving from the Fight to Being ALL IN

None of the decisions or paths is easy, but these women have walked through the one or more dark nights of the soul in their relationships and dating experiences. In our work together, they learn the meaning and purpose of suffering. They connect with themselves as not to recreate that path or dance as means of waking themselves into consciousness. They have taken their learning and stepped into deeper connection with life, themselves and the people they care most. This process of transformation is radical and subtle at the same time. Badass women might fight this quest at the beginning, but are all in by the end.

If you are wanting to be ALL IN in your relationships, connect with Kim@yoursoultherapy.com or Amy@yoursoultherapy.com

Walking My Talk…Dreaming Big

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As a woman, wife, mother, psychotherapist, supervisor, and business owner, practicing self care is a must. Over the past few years, I have worked to align myself with my values with much gratitude to The Daring Way community, the metaphysical teachings of Tosha Silver and my Jungian analyst for this. Cultivating practices that are embedded with vulnerability, courage, connection, integrity, rest, play, awe and wonder keep me honest, grounded, and real. I #walkmytalk and this has changed my personal and professional life beyond my wildest dreams. I live into heart-mind-body-soul wisdom in daily practices and decisions, as well as big huge vulnerable leaps (like writing this blog post). My vulnerability is guided by aligning with my values and a force much larger than me. This way of living and showing up in the world is an imperfect process that I wouldn’t have any other way.

When working with women in psychotherapy, art therapy, sandplay, urban retreats, supervision, consultation, or practice building, I support them through the lens of walking their own talk. My clients learn to source themselves from the inside out into their deep confidence. Each woman’s flow, process and outcomes are unique, but what they have been seeking or felt blocked by (fear, shame, failure, impostor syndrome, heartbreak, loneliness…) dissolves through through this work. Witnessing their transformations is the most profound work of my life and of the deepest honor.

I have taken the leap to share more about how I work today because I’m on the brink of taking one the biggest professional leap’s of my career. Tomorrow, I am headed to Costa Rica for a business retreat filled with all things wanderlust, sisterhood, yoga, big dreaming, horseback riding, surfing, waterfalls, and beyond. My intentions are to recharge, replenish, reconnect, surrender, and be open to receiving. I hope to return to pay forward this experience by offering my own retreat later this year.  I will be fully unplugged for the next week.  I would love to connect with you for a free 20 minute phone consult when I return on 3/10.  Email me amy@amytatsumi.com to schedule your consult.

~In walking my talk & dreaming big,
Amy