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A Deep Dive Kind of Summer
I don’t know how your summer has been so far, but it seems quite a number of us have been catapulted, once again, into personal processes of the deep dive kind.
As I have noticed time and again in the past 15 years, the many conversations I have with clients in any given month always act as some kind of “weather station” informing me about the type of processes that seem to be on the menu that month for those of us who walk a path of ongoing conscious self-work. And based on conversations with clients, talks with friends and my own personal experiences, it seems fair to say that this particular summer is one of the deep dive kind. It sure is for me, and if your summer is anything like mine I hope your deep dives will help you find the treasures hidden in the deep, bring them to the surface, recognize their value and integrate them into your life in beautiful, beneficial and healthy ways.
Two solstices and an equinox
My own deep diving processes that are at the core of what this particular summer—for me—is about, started about half a year ago. Actually, now that I think of it: they started shortly after the December solstice and I found the essence of what this year’s deep diving is all about, for me, around the June solstice. And I am still diving as I write this. What was on the menu for me in terms of inner work turns out to be a deep dive journey spanning many months, and if my intuition is correct chances are things will somehow come full circle somewhere around the upcoming equinox—about 9 months after the deep diving processes started… How interesting…
It wouldn’t be the first time in my life I’d “give birth” to something after a long and profound process of 9 months. It has happened multiple times before and not once did it involve giving birth to a tiny human being. It happened every time I “delivered” a creation that marked a significant change and the start of a new chapter or stage of my life. It also happened every time a series of profound processes led to me giving birth to a new “version” of myself, one could say. A Sharon that had taken off “coats” and “armor” that no longer suited her and had released patterns and mechanisms that were no longer needed or in alignment with who she truly is at a more authentic level—a level that hadn’t been reached before and had become accessible as a result of new processes of deep inner work, reaching more profound layers than before. The inner processes I have been going through since last December’s solstice are all about this specific type of deep diving: the type of diving that is of significant importance on our journey of Becoming.
The promise I made to myself decades ago—and its consequences
Looking at the way I have been walking my path since my teens, it is clear to see that I have been on a long and intense journey of continuous transformation, peeling off many layers and shedding old skin time and again—and in doing so giving birth to a new “version” of myself, over and over again. There was a lot to peel off, lay down, let go of and release. And on the day I understood this to be true, I dedicated myself wholeheartedly to my journey of self-work and promised myself I would not leave that path, no matter how uncomfortable it would be or become, until I’d become the most authentic version of myself I could possibly be. That was the promise I made to myself in my teens. And I sure dove in deep, right from the start—as I tend to do with anything I really commit myself to.
I am the type of person who cannot do things halfheartedly. When I really commit myself to something I really go for it, all in, without reservations. This has its pitfalls, of course, but I cannot do it any other way. I’m very much an “all or nothing” kind of person when it comes to applying myself to something. A lot can be said about that, long lists of pros and cons included, but it is what it is. And as a result of this all or nothing approach applied to my self-work journey, my journey (which is still ongoing, as anyone's journey is) has been really intense and has “delivered” quite a number of “new and improved versions of Sharon” over the past 30+ years. I have recently been trying to find out who the original author of the following quote is.
"If you know me based on who I was a year ago, you don't know me at all. My growth game is strong. Allow me to reintroduce myself.”
It isn’t clear to me who wrote this first, but I could’ve written it myself. Beause yes, my growth game has been strong, very strong I might say. And you know what? That isn’t necessarily a “nice” thing. Because undergoing profound transformations that take place in a relatively short amount of time also means that a lot of people who are witnessing the changes you make as a result of your transformation(s) are not understanding why you are “so different now”, as opposed to before, which can easily lead to all sorts of misunderstandings, conflicts and problems—not to mention accusations of the incorrect and hurtful kind.
And if people see you change multiple times and do not understand that your changes are the logical result of your ongoing processes of becoming more who you truly are, the real you, a more authentic version of you, chances are you will be judged as being, in their eyes, someone who either “doesn’t know who (s)he really is” (while the opposite is the case: you now know yourself better than before) or “seems to play roles” (while in truth you are playing less “roles” than before and have become more authentic than before) or, worse, seems to be “unreliable” since what you say or do changes over time, which makes them feel unsure of “who you really are”.
A strong growth game doesn’t equal an easy route, au contraire. I have lost quite a number of people along the way because my growth game is much stronger and faster than what most people are able to keep up with or can relate to. A strong growth game makes for big changes in a relatively short amount of time, which comes with the risk of loosing people you would have preferred not to loose. And loosing people you would’ve wanted to stay in your life is always a sad, painful and difficult thing. It’s hard, it’s not easy to come to terms with and it never gets easier, no matter how often you experience it or how well you understand why parting ways has become inevitable. Unfortunately, it’s part and parcel of what being on the journey of an ever-evolving strong growth game is about. And those of us who are made this way have no option but to continue treading the path they are on. They cannot not walk this path. Quitting is not an option for the dedicated deep-divers who are committed to the journey of becoming who they really are…
Authenticity & (re)Alignment
Central to the deep dives I have been taking this year were the topics of authenticity and (re)alignment, in a very profound way. Looking back on what I had been through since my last Deep Diving Episode, I am inclined to say, now: “I could’ve known it was about time for a new realignment, a new Deep Dive…”. The past 4 years of my life have been rather tumultuous, due to events and experiences in my private life that shook me to my core and took a heavy toll on me, emotionally, mentally, physically, and energetically. When I finally emerged from the rollercoaster and the chaos of those years I wasn’t the same person I had been in the spring of 2019, when I turned 44. A lot had changed, in me, and there was a lot of healing to do. So of course it was time for a new Deep Dive. But when I welcomed and honored the solstice, last December, I wasn’t really aware of that.
I did know that I needed some time off to rest and recuperate and I had really been longing to dedicate a number of weeks to myself and my inner processes, like I always do in the weeks following the December solstice. I was also aware of the fact that a number of work-related things were a bit “off”, didn’t feel right anymore, and I had noticed that I wasn’t experiencing as much joy and fulfillment in my work as I used to. So I knew I was going to dedicate my weeks off to rest, reflection and practices of inner work. But I didn’t know that that would be the start of a long series of deep dives spanning many months…
In the first days of January I wrote:
Around the turning of the wheel of the manmade Western calendar, Hermit mode is what it's all about for me.
I have always felt a strong inclination to 'go within' in the last part of December, and somewhere along my path I became aware of the fact that this inclination was being fueled by a natural *need*: a genuine need to dedicate the days around and the first weeks after the December Solstice to silence, sacredness & selfcare;
to rest, recuperation & regeneration;
to reflection, revaluation & realignment;
to healing, integration & shedding of old skin;
to creating space and fertile ground for new things, new energies, new creations to enter my earthly experience;
to preparing myself for new ways of working my 'magic'.
I wrote this on the Community page of my YouTube channel to let my subscribers know that I was taking a couple of weeks off and to inform them about this yearly (self-care) practice of mine. I knew I was going to “dive” a bit. But I had no idea that the first dives I took shortly after the solstice would be followed by many more dives, taking me to depths where I hadn’t been before, leading me to treasures that I didn’t know were there, buried in the deep, needing to be retrieved and brought to the surface at this stage of my life so that I could integrate them into my being and, in doing so, become more whole—and, as a consequence, more authentic—than I had ever been until quite recently.
It is beyond the scope of this writing to make a list of all the treasures found in this year’s deep diving up to this date. But what I am willing to share here, is that I found a series of fundamental puzzle pieces that had been missing until recently, some of them being of utmost importance to really make sense of the many different aspects of my being and integrate them into a cohesive and meaningful “whole”. And the retrievement of those fundamental puzzle pieces has allowed for a whole new level of integrity (wholeness) and authenticity to become manifest in me. It feels as if I am meeting myself, my real self, my most authentic self, for the first time—at age 48.
I didn’t see that coming. And it’s quite a lot to process.
I am, of course, very grateful for the results of the Super Deep Dives that have taken place. Said that, the new level of wholeness and authenticity reached as a result of those Super Deep Dives also meant it was time for some changes. Because who and how I am now, and know myself to be now, in a deeply grounded, present and truly embodied state of being, is not aligned with some of the things I was aligned with in the past.
So I had to make a number of changes. It was inevitable if I were to honor the “me” that I am now embodying, with the specific needs, preferences and intolerances that I have, all related to the ways in which my system currently works—which is in part due to the specific makeup of my system and in part due to consequences of what I have been through in the past.
Without going into details and put into simple words: it was time for me to release/cut out, as much as possible, all the things that to me, personally, are “noise” or distraction, cause imbalance or a fragmentation of sorts, undermine my health and wholeness, lead to depletion or cause overwhelm. On a very practical level this meant I had to say goodbye to a number of habits and to some activities I had been putting my heart and soul into. Regardless of my intentions when I started those activities, they were no longer in alignment with me. So I had to release them.
One of these activities was YouTube.
The time had come for me to say goodbye to the YouTube experiment I had been dedicating a lot of time and energy to. In the summer of 2022 I had created a YouTube channel because I wanted to experience what it was like to create a channel and then create content for it on a regular basis. And although I have enjoyed learning a new set of skills and had fun creating the videos I created (intuitive storytellings) there had also been aspects to being a YouTube content creator that I didn’t like.
First off, I didn’t really like the platform itself, with its algorithm-based system, the ads, the noise, the built-in dopamine triggers, the many trolls and scammers… It was too loud, too crowded and too “artificial” for my taste. But I figured I’d just had to get used to that.
But then I ran into something else I had to deal with, something that I wasn’t able to get used to. After a couple of months, I started noticing that being an active player in the YouTube environment was having a detrimental effect on my system. Being plugged into that platform was draining me and destabilizing me, psychologically and even physically. The continuous sensory bombardment caused by heaps of non-natural stimuli of all sorts created a weird and intense kind of tension in my system (the words high voltage and overload come to mind) to which my system reacted, in an attempt to protect itself, with a degree of fragmentation and disembodiment. I’d had moments of similar experiences in the past, when I had been watching YouTube videos for more time than I should’ve been, but being logged into the YouTube system as a content creator was of an entirely different magnitude. And I didn’t like it, not at all. But it wasn’t until this year’s Super Deep Dives and the insights and new awareness gained from that that I started to understand why exactly an inner resistance to the YouTube platform had slowly but surely been growing in me as months went by. Now, it all became clear to me. I started to see very clearly that the YouTube platform is not in any way in alignment with who and how I am and what my system needs in order to function properly. It never had been to begin with, and I surely wasn’t able to continue being a content creator on that platform after the Super Deep Dives I had been taking.
The sensible thing to do was: quit. I had to quit being a YouTube creator and would have to take my intuitive storytelling skills elsewhere, to a different environment—one that would not drain and destabilize me and wouldn’t wreak havoc on my system. So I left the YouTube platform. And I almost immediately experienced a huge sense of relief. I could feel a lot of tension leave my body and it was as if I was able to breathe again, more deeply than I had been doing for a long time.
Resurfacing of an old friend and trusted ally
Soon after making the decision to quit YouTube I noticed that something else was trying to get my attention. During my sessions of sitting in silence, just breathing and being, out of depths that I hadn’t been in good contact with for a long time an old friend and ally of mine came swimming to the surface. It was my love for writing, my love for the activity that is and has always been most “me” and has always been a trustworthy friend, an ally, a refuge and “medicine”, through all the decades of my life. And I realised: that’s what I need to embrace now, my love for writing!
It then became clear to me that yes, I will continue working with intuitive storytelling, but I am going to do that in written form in the future. Because that is in alignment with who and how I really am, what I need in terms of “environment”, how I prefer to work and how my storytelling flows most naturally!
I remember I started smiling when I realised what was happening there and then. I was starting to see why I love writing so much and how writing is the perfect channel for me to express myself. And then something else happened, something important: I started to finally entirely embrace my love for writing, for real this time, and to allow myself to really accept and recognise the writer in me as a vital aspect of who I am, an aspect worthy of existing and being seen, in full, in whatever ways it wants to present itself. And in that very moment… it was as if a dam collapsed… and a massive wave of new ideas started pouring in…
It was as if the writer in me had patiently been waiting for me to acknowledge and understand her role, value and purpose in my life, and now that I had finally reached that point, she was oh so ready to fill me in on the many projects she had been brewing in the depths of my being while I’d been busy creating videos for a platform that never really was my cup of tea… I grabbed my fountain pen and started jotting down what I was receiving: multiple new ideas, all involving writing…
One of these ideas was the seed that turned into the Sharon Shares newsletter you are now reading. Another idea was the seed for Unearthing the Treasure Within, a Substack I hope to write the first post for when the leaves start to fall. A third idea helped me develop a new format for my intuitive storytellings, which I hope to present in October (the Lux & Lemonade project). And there’s more, much more… but that’ll have to wait. Being a “one-woman-show” running a business while dealing with the particular challenges life has given me, there is only so much I can do at a time. All in due time…
Never a dull moment
As you can probably tell from what I have shared above, my summer has been a pretty interesting and intense one. I have been looking at and into a lot of things, have gained numerous important new insights and have had to process and “digest” a lot of information. In the many moments dedicated to sitting in silence, just being, breathing and feeling, I have experienced a lot of aha! moments as to who I am, how my system works (and why it works the way it works), what is aligned with that, why I do the things I do and prefer things to be a certain way, how my inner workings make for very specific outer actions and behaviors, et cetera. On top of that, the creative part of my being has been very active since the dam collapsed and new ideas started pouring in, so there quite literally hasn’t been a dull moment in a long time. Whether I was sitting in silence, diving deep, processing the information or creating new formats, it was all very intense.
Of course, processes like these don’t follow straight lines and don’t fit into neat boxes. They tend to come with a certain amount of what may look like chaos and with a lot of “movement” on many levels, including the emotional level. The weather here in the Netherlands has not been really stable this summer and at times my motions and emotions seemed to be moving in sync with the changing skies I’ve been under. To an outsider looking in, it may have looked like a really weird performance of modern dance, one of those choreos that make you doubt whether there was a choreographer involved at all, and if there was, what the heck that person was trying to get across. But to me, it all made sense. Messy as it may have looked, it has all been perfect.
That is not to say it has been easy. It hasn’t. It was intense and challenging, with a number of passages that were quite rough and tough—as it always is when we dive really deep and explore depths that until then have received next to no light. And if you are an experienced deep diver yourself you know: there is no movement on the inner planes without movement on the outer planes and adjustments in the subtle fields are always connected to changes in the more tangible fields. As within, so without. So there was no shortage of “extra” challenges I had to deal with over the past couple of months. Multiple elements of the past came knocking on my outer plane door (uninvited but showing up in perfect sync with the inner work that was taking place), there were a number of occasions that presented perfect opportunities for standing up and speaking up in alignment with the “me” I am now, and I had to tend to and take extra care of my physical body as it was trying to adjust to the inner work going on (which meant: temporary inconveniences and pains). So… it’s been quite a challenging summer, really…
Now that I am writing all of this, I become aware of how much has been happening and unfolding over the past months and I almost feel like asking myself: “How did I manage to do and go through all of that while I was also doing my regular ‘normal’ work?!”
To answer that question: I was able to rely on the helpers I know I can always count on. The ones that always help me stay balanced and sane, no matter how crazy life gets or how much is on my plate. The ones I trust and cherish and who help and nurture me in very powerful ways. They have offered tremendous support this summer. They are, in no particular order:
• Nature! Nature has always been my biggest helper and ally—as is, I believe, the case for each and every one of us—and wandering through the woods, sitting with the trees and communing with all that Nature has to offer has been my therapy go to, my “gas station” and my most potent self-care practice for as long as I can remember. I have lived in many different places and types of environments but I’ve almost always been lucky enough to have woodlands at a walking distance. And no matter how busy, difficult, hard or overwhelming life got, I’ve always been able to hear the call of the woods when I was in need of “woodlands medicine”—even when I wasn’t aware of being in need of it. And sure enough, every time I answered the call I received exactly what I needed. I am not saying Nature has always given me what I wanted. But she has always given me what I needed. I can totally trust her to help me the way she sees fit. She always delivers and there’s nothing I need to do to make that happen. It just happens, it just is. Over the years our connection has grown into a strong and powerful bond and Nature has in many regards become my best friend in life. One I love deeply, wouldn’t want to live without and feel a lot of profound gratitude for.
When in the fall of 2021 I was given the opportunity to move into a tiny wooden house in a woodland area I immediately said “Yes!”, wholeheartedly. Living “in a cabin in the woods” was something I had been wishing for since I was a child—thinking I would never be able to actually dream that into being— so when the opportunity arose I didn’t have to think twice. I was ready. I had been ready for the longest time!
Now, lots of beautiful and powerful trees are my neighbours. Nature’s beauty and medicine is all around me here, every single day—in the shape of trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers, herbs, vines, berry bushes, many different species of birds, bees, butterflies, dragonflies, ladybugs, spiders, ants, squirrels, moles, hedgehogs, … all teaching me something, telling me a story, bringing me medicine in the form of their many unspoken messages. The Eden factor of this area is pretty impressive, which is super nurturing and intensely therapeutical. Walking around, touching the trees, the shrubs and the grasses, smelling the wildflowers, watching the bees and butterflies dance, contemplating the behavior of insects and spiders… it has a profound impact on me and makes me feel one with Nature and her beauty, magic and splendid naturalness. Every time I go for a stroll and a hare or a deer crosses my path, my inner child is in awe and I marvel at the wonder of what my eyes are witnessing. When I hear the drumming of the woodpeckers living in the trees around me, I am immediately reconnected with the drum of my own heartbeat and am reminded of the importance of living to the beat of my own drum. When I hear or see the local birds of prey, time seems to stop and I feel deeply connected to those magnificent creatures I share this earthly experience with. And at night, drifting off to dreamland while the owl is calling just a couple of feet away from me is something that never ceases to move me, in a beautiful way.
“In some mysterious way woods have never seemed to me to be static things. In physical terms, I move through them; yet in metaphysical ones, they seem to move through me.”
- John Fowles
I am profoundly grateful for living in this area that supports me so well and gives me so much, on so many levels. It’s like living in a breathing apothecary and a living library at the same time, in a realm packed with meaning, medicine and significance. To say that this helps is an understatement. It does so much more than that…
• Silence. Silence is an old friend of mine, one that I appreciate very much and wouldn’t want to live without. This is not to say that I spend my days in silence. I don’t. Matter of fact: I listen to a lot of music, every day. But I do love the stretches of time when I sit in silence and am totally present in the moment, breathing into the grail (the pelvic floor) and circulating my energy between both polarities of our natural system. Those moments help me integrate things, restore balance and optimize the energy circulation in my system, which is always very helpful and is especially beneficial in challenging times.
• Sleep. We all know sleep is important, especially in times when a lot of work (of whichever type) is being done in the waking hours. I have been sleeping a lot this summer, making sure my system got plenty of rest and ample opportunity to process things, relax and regenerate. I am (and have always been) a night owl but I always strive to get the amount of sleep that my system requires to function properly—plus a bit extra, quite often ;-)
• Music! As mentioned, I listen to a lot of music, every single day. And not just “music for the sake of music”. I almost always carefully choose the music I listen to and work with (because that’s what it really is: I work with music), with a specific purpose in mind. What that purpose is varies from day to day. But I pick my songs with care. Because music and songs are tools and “medicine” to me. The way I see it, music’s components—rhythm, melody, keys, lyrics, the sounds of instruments, the timbre of voices—can be likened to the different active components present in a giant collection of medicinal herbs, each with its own specific properties and effects. Music can soothe me, inspire me, calm me, uplift me, help me relax, make me cry, make me laugh, nurture me, make me sing, help me release what no longer serves me, make me move or dance, help me get more in touch with what I am truly feeling, help me be more grounded and present in my body… Music has a LOT of purposes and significance in my day to day life and has been an important go to to regulate myself emotionally, connect with what wants to be felt or expressed and heal what is in need of healing for as long as I can remember. If more than a day goes by when I do not listen to music or don’t sing or move to the sound of music, there’s definitely something wrong.
• Movement is another very important helper of mine, especially in times of overwhelm, stress and other intensities. It’s an ally that helps me resolve and release tension (physical tension, emotional tension and mental tension), helps me be more present in my body—which makes it easier to feel what I am actually experiencing in my body—and reconnects me with feeling gratitude for being present in a body and for all the amazing things my body does and is capable of. Walks in the woodlands, stretches and exercise and dancing sessions in my living room or outside (either 5Rhythms practice or just moving-as-it-comes): they all help me tremendously in multiple ways and are vital to my overall health, balance and wellbeing.
• Conversations & laughter with trusted friends. Being the quiet-and-nature-loving modern day hermit that I have become, with lots of solitary activities and special interests that I love to dedicate my time and energy to, I have deliberately made the choice, a long time ago, to not have a very “rich” social life. It hasn’t always been this way. But a lot has changed since I started doing the work that I have been doing since 2008. The thing is: I speak with a LOT of people every week, in my consultation sessions, and all those conversations are really intense. So when I am not working, I am very selective of who I allow into my space and who I choose to interact with. Said that, I feel blessed to have a number of people in my life that are true friends and have a special place in my heart. They are few, but oh so precious to me. And I love our in-depth conversations equally as much as I love the laughter we share. Both are balm for the soul, in any type of season.
• The Sun, frate Sole. He hasn’t shown himself as often as I would’ve wanted to see him this summer, but every time his rays reach my eyes and skin I feel heartfelt gratitude for his effect on my system and the type of sustenance he provides. Sun-soaking is a very real thing in my life, and not with the aim of getting a tan. It’s a bit hard to explain but in my experience there is something deeply therapeutic about sunlight touching my skin. It helps me relax in a way that almost feels like an act of surrender, oftentimes “cathartic” in a way. It calms my nervous system, helps me empty my mind, opens up my heart space and feels like a warm and loving embrace. It nurtures me and creates room in my system, space. And although I haven’t been able to work with the Sun as much as I would have wanted to in these months, the moments I did work with the Sun have been very beneficial and restorative.
All of these “super helpers” have been of great value in the past months, each in their own way giving me the support that helped me stay sane and balanced amidst all of the things that have been happening. It’s been quite the ride, or dive, and it’s been very enriching in very many ways. Today, I am not the same person I was when this year started, nor the same person I was when this summer started. I am more whole now, and replenished. Wiser, and more connected with what truly matters, for me. Happier also, and more at peace with myself. And as I am learning to tread this Earth as the more authentic me that I am now able to embody, I am falling in love again with this wonderful adventure called being a human being in a magnificent natural world.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post. I enjoyed writing it and I hope it contains something that is helpful, inspirational or of value to you as you tread your own path. I’d love to read how your summer has been and whether or not you can relate to (some of) the things I have written. Feel free to share what you feel like sharing in the comments; I’d love to read it!
For now: thank you for reading this post and for joining me on this journey.
Take care, be well, be you and enjoy your deep dives,
“But I’ll tell you what hermits realize. If you go off into a far, far forest and get very quiet, you’ll come to understand that you’re connected with everything.”
- Alan Watts
Divenire…. 8 minutes of ‘becoming’… :
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