J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 149. We're talking about discovering the magic of your most authentic self; stay tuned.
Intro: Hi, I am Dr. Jen Riday, former burned-out mom of 6 turned happiness whisperer, and I am here to help you get off that hamster wheel and make time for yourself without the guilt so you can live a balanced, calm, heart-centered life. With over 2.5 million downloads, this is the Vibrant Happy Women podcast.
J: Welcome back to Vibrant Happy Women, everyone, thank you so much for listening. I'm honored that you would spend some time with me today, and you're going to love my guest, Sarah Jenks, who has the most juicy and amazing story of discovering, unlocking her most authentic self. Sarah was a busy, stressed-out mom with a husband in medical school doing his residency, and she was paying everything for their family financially, handling everyone's needs until she burned out and she began a whole new beautiful amazing path toward her authentic self. And through this interview, you get to hear how she did it and learn about the emotions of eating, how that often when we’re holding on to that extra weight, it's because we're deeply unhappy. And that is part of Sarah's story, she had to learn how to receive that happiness from connecting with her husband rather than a piece of candy or from treating her stress with therapy instead of with cookies or from filling her bowl of happiness with a dance class instead of with ice cream; we can create so much more of our happiness. But not only that, Sarah's pursuit of happiness, her pursuit of happiness led her down the most miraculous path of finding this amazing property and working with women in one of the most beautiful ways I have heard of to date. So there is so much in this interview, you're going to love it, it's a long one and it's beautiful, it's a don't-miss interview for sure. So without further ado, let's go ahead and dive right in.
I'm with Sarah Jenks today and she's a mom of 3 rambunctious small humans, a life coach, and an emotional eating expert. Between her online programs and retreat center in Medfield, Massachusetts, Sarah holds sacred space to empower women and support them in finding their magic and rediscovering their most authentic selves. Sarah, I have been following you online for a long time now, ever since I met one of your friends, Kate Northrup, and I am super excited that we get to talk today, welcome to Vibrant Happy Women.
S: Aww, thanks, Jen, for having me, it's really… I'm so excited to be here with you. I know we're going to have a really great conversation.
J: I know it too, for sure. Well, let's dive in with one of your favorite quotes and then hear your story of, you know, being a mom of 3 and running a business, that's amazing, but let's start with your quote.
S: Great. So my quote is, this is from Nikita Gill and she says, “Some days, I am more wolf than woman and I am still learning how to stop apologizing for my wild.”
J: Ah, that's brilliant, where did you come across that?
S: Ah, she's brilliant. You know, it was like the beauty of Instagram.
S: You know, we can talk about Instagram if you want to but, yeah, there's so much that's hard about it and there is also so much beauty. And I found Nikita on Instagram and she's a prolific poet and writer and she has this book, ‘Fierce Fairy Tales’, that I highly recommend every woman reads because she speaks through, you know, archetypal fairy tales but rewrites them with… you know, and embeds the information we need to be strong in this day and age.
J: Hmm, I love that word, fierce.
S: Yeah, yeah.
J: Fierce and feminine, yeah.
J: Cool. Well, Sarah, tell us your story and I'm particularly interested in… you know, I followed your emails when you decided to, you know, visualize and manifest the yurt, that's so fascinating!
S: Oh yeah.
J: Yeah, okay.
S: So you’ve been around for a while.
J: I have, I have.
J: Okay, so I’ll give like a little bit of a backstory. So I came into this work around emotional eating and empowering women because I really struggled with my weight. And I grew up believing, like so many women do, that we have to be thin in order to be happy. And I spent my whole life trying to lose 20 pounds so that I could have my best most amazing life that I thought was just waiting on the other side of this weight loss, but I could never stick to a diet. So I thought that, you know, I had no power, things were wrong with me, and my best life was just 20 pounds away, why couldn't they do it, all that stuff. And I realized that my life didn't suck because I wasn't thin, my life sucked because my life sucked and I wasn't doing anything about it because I was waiting; I was waiting for my life to begin when I was thin. So I stopped waiting, I actually looked at why I was unhappy and I made all of these great changes. And so of course, I was filling my happiness bowl with dance classes instead of ice cream and I was treating my stress with therapy instead of cookies and I was getting love from my husband instead of candy. And I really looked at where I could derive actual emotional medicine instead of getting all this emotional medicine through food that wasn't working and also making it really sick. So once I sort of got that mostly figured out, I'd say mostly because, you know, none of us are actual experts before we start things, and I don't think we're supposed to, but I developed a program called Live More Weigh Less that I started… I actually, for some reason, I thought it was 2009, but I just realized last night it was 2008, because I was doing that 10 year challenge thing that's been going around on the Internet.
J: Oh yeah.
S: So it's been 10 years and I was really grounded in emotional eating for many years, you know, 7 years. And I started seeing this therapist in 2012 and it turned out (just randomly, I didn't know this) that my therapist was a priestess in the 13 Moon Mystery School. And one time I came over to her house for therapy and there were… there was sort of remnants of ceremony the night before so the entire room was draped in purple velvet, there were, you know, the incense was burned down, the candles were, you know, just stubs on the floor, there was a wax everywhere, everything smelled of Palo Santo and it was just… I remember walking and having this full-body response. But even though my brain couldn't figure out what was going on, and I just looked at her and I said, “What happened here last night?”
S: And she looks at me and she goes, “Oh, well…” she's British, she's like, “Oh, well, I can see that you're interested in this, it's nothing, we’ll talk about it, you know, when you're ready, it’s nothing.”
S: I’m like, “I want in. I want in on this… in this special club.” And, you know, we went on and on, she started sort of bringing more divine feminine principles into our therapy. And I had done meditation work, I had done Buddhist work, but a lot of that stuff still didn't bring in the Divine Feminine, and I was so drawn to it. So I started… and basically, I stayed in the closet, I was doing all the spiritual work and I didn't want to tell anybody because I thought that I would be seen as such a weirdo. And I created this whole brand around being this like approachable, totally normal, all-American girl next door who just happened to talk about emotional eating and sex a lot and all the stuff, and behind the scenes, I'm doing like deep temple work. And I sort of felt like I had these like the internet life and that my life behind the scenes and it got pretty painful. So what started happening was (and this is my low point) I was… I had my son Marshall and I was so deeply unhappy after having him. I think it was a combination of, you know, a pretty traumatic birth, hormonal stuff, and absolutely no support, because I didn't know that I needed support. I was in this place where I thought that I… I should figure out how to do it on my own and I needed to pay attention to my intuition around motherhood and I needed to create my own patterns with him and I was strong and I could just do it by myself. And my husband was in a surgical residency at the time and we were living in San Francisco and my whole family is on the East Coast and his family was in Colorado, in Seattle, so we had no… we had no support and I was really depressed. And so I just threw myself into work and I threw myself back into this whole like brand of the cool girl next door, again, while I’m doing these ceremonies behind the scenes.
S: Oh my god. And so then when Marshall is 9 months old, I got pregnant again and…
J: Oh my goodness, oh.
S: … it was so hard. And I… you know, Jonathan's working 90 hours a week and I'm now needing to support our whole family because Jonathan isn't making any money in residency, he's making less than our nanny. So, I mean, to pay for a nanny full-time, which in San Francisco was $27 an hour…
S: … and our 3-bedroom apartment because we were having another baby, and also, I like nice things, so I will say I wasn't forced to, we would have been fine in a studio, we could have survived, but that was maybe not the best decision I ever made, but anyways, neither here nor there at this point.
S: So we decided to get this big, you know, beautiful apartment and life got really expensive and I got really tired because I was pregnant with a 1-year-old.
S: And so I ended up hiring… and I was deeply committed to being famous at this point, okay?
J: Oh! Oh, wow, I can’t imagine, that’s so not your vibe.
S: So I’m just going to like call it out.
S: So not my vibe, I hired a really expensive publicist, you know, I was talking to publishers, like big publishers about book deals, I was going to New York every 3 months to talk to magazine editors, spending all this money on publicity and just really going for it. At the same time, I'm having a complete mental breakdown, and at the end of my pregnancy with Annabelle, I… my blood pressure started getting so high, and it was absolutely because I was so stressed about money, I was on this path that I was not meant to be on and I was so unhappy. So what I basically had to do was I cancelled all my meetings with the publishers that I was supposed to go back to New York this one time, I cancelled everything. I told all these potential publishers that I wasn't going to write a book right now, and also, at this point, in my 37 weeks pregnant, I was so confused and in the dark about the thing. So I basically tune everything out and I have a beautiful birth with Annabelle, and even though I had to get induced, I wanted to have a home birth and I was so… I was so sad because I had created this environment in my body that wasn't safe for a baby, you know, all because I was so out of alignment and so stressed out.
S: So coming to terms of that was so hard, and then I think it was when Annabelle was maybe 2 months old, I let everybody go. I cancelled my relationship with my publicist, I let go of this huge, huge team that I had and I brought my business down to practically nothing. And then I was basically left with no identity because I said, “I can't do a Live More Weigh Less anymore, it's just to feel… it's been… I've overdone it.” It wasn't working anymore, women stopped buying it, I wasn't going after the things I wanted to go after, so who am I? And I had another bout of postpartum depression, I got a little bit more support after Annabelle but still not everything I needed, and I'm still now trying to support our family which was so hard, and I had to figure everything out. So from there, I decided that I really needed to learn who I was and I needed to really pay attention to this priestess work that I was doing. So I dove deeper into that, I worked with many, you know, amazing therapists, this woman who is the empowerer of empowerers, she's like an empowerment coach, and we did deep spiritual work together, her name is Katina Mercadante; and she's amazing. We did deep spiritual work together and it was with her that she helped me see that my true core virtue is really around, you know, just being in the magic of being alive and the magic of the earth and the magic of the stars and of the moon and understanding how we all have our own unique magic and our unique connection to this web of life that we’re in. And, you know, we can see… in layman's terms, this is like the synchronicities and the coincidences, and when we think about someone and then they show up at the grocery store, you know, those sorts of things, we can so often brush aside as just like weird… a weird coincidence, but then when we start to sort of understand how everything's connected, you just can't make this shit up.
So here's when my big magic happened. So I'm working with Katina, I come to understand who I really am, and I do this 5-year huge 15 page, and through this writing process, I understand that what I’m meant to do is have this huge space where I can gather women in big circles outside, we can gather in the woods together and learn about the moon, I want to have enough space to build a yurt, I wanted to live on this property with my family, I want to have a body of water, I wanted to be in this certain area of the country outside of Austin so I could be near my family. I also felt really called to bring the Divine Feminine to New England because living in San Francisco, it's like, you know, everyone and their mother sort of gets that language, but in New England, not so much. It's still seen a little bit weird, people don't really get that witches are just a feminist term for women who are connected to the earth and not this whole patriarchal, brainwashing, fictitious character that we've all been sold, you know, since we were born. But I wrote out this whole long thing, I said, “In 5 years, this is what I want,” and in so much detail. So 2 weeks later, Jonathan and I are on Trulia, just that like real estate app, and we forget to put our budget in the search box and this house comes up. And it's sort of this like funky looking 70's chalet on a lake, and any time there's a lake, I click on it, and I'm clicking through pictures and I kid you not, it's like in order of what I wrote. And so it's like windy driveway with trees, big open fields, 10 acres of forest, you know, it's showing pictures of the house, it has exactly the amount of space we need. And then there's this yurt like building but ten times better on the property and I'm just losing my mind because there aren't yurts in New England.
J: (Laughs) Right.
S: It's just not like a thing that they have. And this is so way better it's an actual building, its octagonal, it's so beautiful. So I'm freaking out, it's way above our price range and… our budget I should say that we were planning on spending at the time. I go to sleep, I wake up the next morning and I just ask, “What do I do? What am I supposed to do about this house?” and I just hear, “Google,” I’m like, “Okay, that's a weird direction from Source but okay.” So I Googled it and because I… basically I found the name, they called it Harmony Farm. And so I Googled Harmony Farm and there's this beautiful blog and I'm reading this blog post and it's so beautifully written, and I get to the bottom and it says, you know, it's signed by Dr. Leslie Shore and a picture of her, and she was my high school therapist.
J: No! (Laughs) That’s insane!
S: Insane. So I grew up 15 minutes from the house and my mom found Leslie through the minister of a church and I came here for therapy to help me with my body image issues in high school.
S: She was the first person to basically say that, “Being overweight was not the problem,” she's like, “You're just you're stressed out and unhappy,” she's like, “Let's talk about the unhappiness, and how are things going with your family and how are things going at school?” and I was like, “What?” you know? I literally thought everything was wrong because of my weight and she's like, “You're not overweight,” she blew my mind. So I just sent her an email and I said, “I don't know what's happening but I see the house, I see how special it is and I want to come visit.” And so I came to visit and I… you know, I mean, we walked around the property, she took me up to this sacred space on the land, we're crying through the whole thing.
S: It was just so obvious it was meant to happen.
S: It was so beautiful, yes.
J: Oh my goodness.
S: It was like crazy. But then here's what happened. I leave and I go into like magic amnesia and I'm like, “That wasn't real, that's just a weird coincidence, you can't afford that house,” you know, my parents are telling me it's a really bad idea, my grandmother is calling me who's a real estate agent telling me it's a good.. bad ideat It's too expensive, it's not in a neighborhood, our kids are going to be miserable, it's too much work… I mean, all this fear.
S: And I believe them, I totally believe them. And I went back to my friends and I said… because they're… you know, they’d been with me through this whole thing, but I said, “I don't think it's a thing, you know, blah-blah-blah-blah,” and my friends, thank god, said, “Sarah, no, this is your house. This was huge magic, you wrote about this house and it came true. I know it feels scary but you have to figure it out.” And then I just… I had to really up my, like my spiritual practice. I had to sit for 45 minutes every morning at my altar and just listen, “What is real? What is true? What do you want me to do?” And when I was so deeply connected with my soul, I really heard that this had to happen, that this was my path.
S: And I had to go against my parents, I had to go against my grandparents, I had to go against, you know, people who really loved me, and I had to say, “Actually, I know myself more.”
S: “I need to live for me, I can't live for you anymore.”
J: Mm, yes, that's empowerment.
S: You know?
J: Yeah, that's empowerment right there.
S: Yeah. And it was a huge moment of individuation for me and that I had to listen to my soul first and I had to learn how to make that voice louder. And we've been here for a year and a half now and it's been amazing, it's been so amazing. I had my third baby here and it was a beautiful birth, I had her at home, my husband has a great job, finally.
S: Because he was in training for 11 years.
J: Ooh, wow.
S: So I was supporting us for 11 years, and only 5 of which were with the children. But anyways, it's just been… it's been beautiful. And it's always had a great relationship with my parents, it's not like we have a bad one this, you know? And they have said to me, they're like, “We were wrong, we were so wrong.”
J: Mm, really? (Laughs)
S: Yeah, and it's been so beautiful the whole thing. And I'm so glad I listened, but mostly I'm so glad I had friends who could really see and stand up for my magic.
S: That's what's so important.
J: How did you make it happen, I mean, practically speaking?
S: Yeah. So practically speaking, I didn't pay my taxes in 2016.
J: (Laughs) Oh, there you go.
J: Smart. (Laughs)
S: I made a… yeah. I made a lot of money, I owed the government a lot of money and I decided to, instead of paying them the thousands and thousands of dollars that I owed them, but I went on a payment plan, and we used that money plus a lot of money we had saved, I had a little money fro my parents and we just like gathered it all together and managed a down payment. And, oh, there’s the other thing, this is the most important thing, because I knew the owner of the house and because I asked for what I wanted, we developed like a 2-tier buyout where we bought most of the property a year and a half ago and we're leasing this like front field from them that we'll buy in 3 years from now.
J: Hmm, oh, that's smart.
S: So it's basically, it's a 2-part buy process.
S: And we’re under a contract in all of… all the things and so it meant that we could do it.
J: And really, nothing you did it was out of the box, but nothing you did that'll hurt you long term.
J: So instead of it just thinking impossible, you got creative, I love that.
S: We got creative, yeah. And it definitely hit me like the first 6 months we were here, it was a little dicey, you know, we really stretched ourselves, we drained every penny. And we kept enough money in case our roof collapsed, but we really had to rebuild, but we just had to… like being here was our priority. And was it the safe a smart thing to do? Like not really, but, you know, we knew we want to be here for the rest of our lives.
S: And properties like this don’t come up all the time.
J: No way, they don't, that's amazing.
S: Yeah, and we're 40 minutes from Boston so we're not in the middle of nowhere, and we're in one of the best school systems in the state and I've met such amazing people, it's just been awesome.
J: How was your husband when you said, “We have to do this,” what was his reaction?
S: Well, he's been with me long enough to know the difference between me getting excited about something and me tapping in to magic, you know? And so he just looked at me and he said, “Oh, f***, it’s happening, isn’t it?”
S: And I said, “Yeah, this is our house, it's happening, it’s crazy,” he's like, “Oh man, okay,” and he just sort of like, he just got… you know, got on board. And, you know, we both waffled but we waffled at different times and it was really balanced so beautifully because during this whole process, he really got the importance of me doing magic.
S: Because he knew that we couldn't… this house wouldn't have happened if I didn't call it in and he knew it wasn't going to happen unless I was so holding space for the process, you know, the whole time.
S: So… and he just knew he had to handle, he handled all the paperwork, all the finances, everything, which was really beautiful because I was the one making all the money.
S: And so he really took on this thing and he really stepped into our financial relationship in a much deeper way while we were buying this house that he really held the container, which is a routinely beautiful sacred masculine thing to do. And he really said like, “You just sit there and do the magic and try not to freak out and I will do the paperwork.”
S: And it was awesome, it was so good because I'm so good at sitting and doing the magic and I'm so bad at the paperwork. And so it was beautiful, the whole thing was… it really up-levelled our relationship to a completely new level.
J: So you guys share spiritual beliefs to some extent or he trusts your ability to connect to the divine?
S: Yeah. So it's… you know, it's in process as it can often be with women who are on a spiritual path with they're partners who… especially male partners, I'll say, though it's not always the rule. But Jonathan was very religious growing up, he's Jewish, and he definitely can feel God, like he knows what that feels like.
S: And he… so I knew it was in there, you know, and I could sense when we met, you know, he talked in a way that he was connected to something greater. But when you meet Jonathan, you wouldn't necessarily think, “Oh, he's just like a spiritual guy,” like he's not one of those guys.
S: You know, he's a scientist, he's a doctor, he's like really… you know, he thinks in a certain way, all that stuff. However, he trusts me and he respects me more than any other person on the planet. And so, you know, we just had the type of relationship where he's like, “Well, if Sarah's doing it, obviously it's something that's worthwhile.”
S: And so he has been doing the work to think about, what is that for him? And we have an agreement in our relationship that we’re both in alignment with who we are. And we come in and out of that, and we just really recommitted to that in the new year, but each of… you know, we're so different and so each of the way that we're in alignment is going to be different, but there's a frequency to being in alignment that we think is so important. And so he's in alignment his way and I am in alignment my way. And I think that usually when people are in alignment, we have some sort of spiritual awakening.
J: Hmm, I love that.
S: And it's different for everybody, but for him, it's definitely starting to happen, it's just for him seeing his own greatness…
S: … and his own path and vision and expansion and potential. And just seeing that is a huge spiritual act.
J: Mm-hmm, I agree. So how does that look like in your home? Does he still practice Judaism when he connects with the divine? Does he use the word God? I noticed you used the word magic.
J: Because I think there are a lot of families out there that might have unique words and terms, but really in the end, I think we're all connecting with the same thing.
S: I agree, I so agree that we're all connecting with the same thing, it has different phases. So, you know, he uses the word God, I feel a part… like for me and my vernacular, I feel like there's male energy and a female energy, I call them God and Goddess.
S: And I love thinking about it as Union, you know, and or Great Mother, Great Father you can also talk about Father Sun and Mother Moon, you know, Mother Earth. And so we use a lot of those different terms with the kids in the house, but we celebrate all the Jewish holidays, we celebrate all the Christian holidays, and we celebrate all the pagan holidays in our house.
J: (Laughs) That’s great, wow.
J: How fun, so many…
S: So there’s a lot of celebrating. (Laughs)
J: Yeah, so many traditions. You’re probably…
J: Yeah, yeah, yeah, oh, I love it.
S: And it's some fun because I love ritual and it's been so good for me to learn about Judaism because Judaism follows the moon calendar…
S: … and I follow the moon, so that's so beautiful, you know, when we have certain Jewish holidays on the new moon and it talks about new beginnings, you know, or… and when you're celebrating the pagan holidays, you can still clearly see how both Jewish and Christian celebrations came from the pagan holidays.
J: Well, tell us more about the pagan holidays for those that aren't aware of what they are.
S: Yeah, yeah, so the pagan holidays celebrate… people also call them the cross-quarter holidays and they celebrate the seasons.
S: So you have sort of the main ones are winter solstice and summer solstice.
S: So winter solstice being the shortest day of the year, summer solstice being the longest day of the year. And then you have spring equinox which is right directly in the middle, the day is the same length as the night, so that's why it's called equinox, equal.
S: And then there's the autumnal equinox which is just the same on the opposite side.
S: In some traditions, you know, the winter solstice is called Yule, and the spring equinox is called Ostara, which is where we get the word Easter from.
S: And the summer solstice… I'm blanking on the name right now, why is that happening? It'll come to me. And the fall equinox is called Mabon. And then you have things like the cross-quarter holidays, for instance you have Bealtaine or Beltane which is May Day, May 1st, and that's about fertility and, you know, you can see how in spring right around May 1st, that's when things start to sprout and that's what things starts to flower. And you have in bulk in February which is like, you know, middle winter, and there's all of these stories around love and that's where we get a lot of our stories around Valentine’s Day.
S: But I think the coolest thing to think about is Christmas and Yule and New Year's, because the original New Year was December 22nd, the day after the winter solstice, which is when the Sun came back.
J: Oh yeah.
S: So they say the day’s getting shorter and shorter and shorter, and then right on December 22nd, the day is a little bit longer and then a little bit longer and there's this new energy…
S: … when we get more and more sunlight, so that used to be the New Year.
S: You know, during Yule, people would bring evergreens into their home to symbolize light and they would decorate them with candles like we do with Christmas lights because candles represent the light. And we bring candles and evergreens into our house to basically hold hope that the Sun is going to come back.
S: And there's all these beautiful stories about the Oak King and the Holly King, and on winter solstice, there's this battle between the Oak king and the Holly King, and the Holly King, you know, wears a red furry outfit and a wreath of Holly around his hair and he rides in a sleigh pulled by 8 reindeer who represent the 8 cross court quarter pagan holidays.
J: Ah! (Laughs)
S: So you can see, right? So these stories and these symbols are not Christian.
S: You know, they were adopted when the Romans decided that everyone needed to be Christian in order to keep everyone in line. I'm a big Jesus fan, by the way, I will say that.
J: Yeah, yeah.
S: Huge Jesus fan, but I think it's really important to understand the story. And so basically, you know, the Romans came in and they said, “Everyone needs to be Christian but we'll keep some of your traditions so that it's an easy transition for you.”
S: And so it's so funny because, you know, people get like all up in my grill about celebrating the pagan holidays or talking about witchiness or witchcraft and I'm like, “You guys all have Christmas trees in your house, you can't get more pagan than that.”
J: We're all celebrating them, yeah.
S: We're all celebrating the holidays whether we like it or not.
S: And so you can see it as an erasure of certain traditions or you can see it as these really rich traditions were just hiding until we were ready to celebrate them again.
S: And that's what I feel we're doing. And my big mission is for women to understand our unique power, and when we understand about the cycle of the earth that we celebrate through these holidays and the cycle of the moon that reflects the seasons (that I can get into in a little bit if you want me to), but Mother Earth, the Moon is a feminine energy, you know, it's about mystery and dramatic change and all this stuff. And when we realize that the cycles of the Moon and the seasons how the same exact energy is our menstrual cycle, we realize that, “Oh, this is part of me, what I'm seeing outside, this cycle of winter, spring, summer, fall, the cycle of the Moon, you know, the Dark Moon, the Waxing Moon, the Full Moon, the Waning Moon, back to the Dark Moon, and I see this in my menstrual cycle, oh, so there's this whole other way of being that is actually not happening in my daily life.”
S: You know, and King Arthur talks about this and so does Alicia Beatty and Dr. Northrup and so many great people are bringing this wisdom back into our everyday life. But for me, I think it's so important for us to get that there's a feminine creation cycle of rest, growing, connection, and releasing, and when we can see how important that is to get that, we stop feeling so crazy.
J: Mm, yes.
S: Right? And we can start to… I know for me it's like when I… the first time I celebrated the Bealtaine which is on May 1st, and what's really cool is that the symbol of May Day is the Hawthorn tree. And I was getting all these messages about Hawthorn trees and I emailed… this is when we were in the process of buying this house, I emailed the previous owner and said, “Are there by any chance Hawthorn trees on the property?” she said, “Yes, I've actually planted 15 over the years.”
S: And so we named this land Hawthorn Farm.
S: But I just remember the first time I celebrated that holiday and I did some of the rituals and I read about it, my cells started to sparkle. You just have this remembering of what life used to be like when we honored the earth that's a feminine energy. And it's important for women, it's important for men, it's important for children, it's just like it's so healing when we start to realize that there's this whole other wisdom that we can tap into.
J: Before we go further, give us an outline of what it means to be in your feminine energy versus the masculine, just like a 101 course in…
S: Yeah, totally.
S: Yeah. So, to me, feminine energy is it’s cyclical, it's always changing, it's about understanding that rest is important and connection is important and letting things go is important. And there's a certain level of like mystery and ever-changing-ness. You know, you think about the moon, the moon is always changing, it's rising and setting at a different time every day, it looks different every day. When we're outside under a full moon, we feel that mystery. Where the sun basically rises and sets at the same time every day. It's stable, it's… it gives, you know, sustenance, it is dependable. And you can also sort of think about David Deida who's a really great teacher on masculine and feminine will say like, “New York is very masculine. It's fast, its linear, it's a little bit rigid, but it's like go, go, go, go, go, hard-working. And then Hawaii is a little bit more feminine, it's a little bit more wild and unpredictable and juicy.” You can also think about our hormone cycle. So a man's hormone cycle is 24 hours and a woman's hormone cycle is 28 days.
S: It's really different.
J: I didn't even know men had a 24 hour hormone cycle. What are they doing in that cycle?
S: They do. It's basically like this cycle of testosterone where testosterone rises in the morning, they have a spike in the morning, which is why we have most meetings in the morning, and it's when we're supposed to work out, and then… you know, and it starts over. And you can sort of see, we're sort of supposed to show up at work as the same person every day.
S: But if we’re cycling as women and we're not on birth control, we're really different every single cycle because we have different hormones that are being released in our body. And what's so cool is that our hormones that are being released support us in being productive, in creating and like basically being in a cycle of a work cycle. This is something that Kate Northrup talks about and I learned this from her where, if we come up with an idea while we're bleeding, our hormones actually connect our right and left hemisphere of our brains, and so we're the most to intuitive.
S: And we're also… our bodies are meant to rest, right, and so that's a perfect time to come up with an idea. And then and our follicular phase, our hormones are in such a way where we have a lot of energy so we want to start a project, we have a lot of energy to dedicate to it. When we ovulating, we're putting out all these pheromones, people want to connect with us, this is a great time to talk about what we're doing. And then we come into the luteal phase and where we're starting to shed our lining, and also, our hormones are in such a way that we’re really good at doing some of the organizational work. And we sort of see this in the energy of early fall, you know, so you could overlay all these cycles. So you have this early fall energy of like back to school, squirrels gathering all the nuts for winter, harvesting all the plants, you know, getting ready and organized for the winter, the void at the time that we're bleeding or we're going back into intuition, and you can overlay the moon onto this. So when you're manifesting with the moon, which is something that I do, we're setting intentions, you know, the very newest, most tiny sliver of the new moon and it's growing like spring or your follicular phase. Under the Full Moon, we gather, we share a magic we do magic together. And then during the Waning Moon, we start letting things go and releasing things to come back into just that quintessentialized intention, and then we do it all over again.
S: So that what can often happen just like with a workout plan. You know, we'll get this burst of energy when we're done bleeding, we're like, “I'm going to run marathon!” and we sign up for a marathon and we train for 2 weeks and it's all going great, and then all of a sudden, we don't want to run anymore. And we're like, “Ugh, I just… I could never stick to anything. I can't believe I have like… I have no willpower, I'm such a bad runner, I'm never going to do the marathon. Like, what's wrong with me?”It's like nothing, you're just in a new hormonal phase.
S: Just like wait 2 weeks.
S: You know, but we're not educated in this.
S: And, you know, I really believe and I'm… I have a lot of good company in this is that we're deliberately not educated in this so that women feel crazy and broken all the time so that we don't rise to power and so that we're pliable. And so I talked a lot about this in my membership program which is called Whole Women, we talk a lot about patriarchal brainwashing and all of the stories we've been told about which is not told about the seasons, not told about our bodies, not educated about the moon so that we are constantly feeling crazy. And if we feel crazy and we feel broken, then we're not going to find our confidence and find our power in our center and rise up and shake things up around here.
J: Mm-hmm. So let's say someone has a business or they're a stay-at-home mom, how would you live your life following these cycles? How would you think about it? I mean, first off, do people really… do their cycles match up to the moon? I mean, most of us don't, how do we solve that first dilemma…
S: Yeah, yeah.
J: … or it doesn’t matter? Yeah.
S: I don't think it matters. Well, if you turn off your cell phone and don't watch TV when the sun goes down, you will probably sync up and go look at it. So I did this a couple years ago right at the end of my time in San Francisco and then I got pregnant, so I haven't had a period for about a year and a half now.
S: And… but what's so cool… so there's a couple things. So you can sync up with the moon though it is not necessary. The way I like to think about it is we're affected by both, we're affected by our bodies and we’re affect by the moon. Now that I'm not cycling right now, because I was pregnant now I'm nursing, I feel the moon so strongly.
S: And it's been such a gift to me to really feel the moon in absence of my cycle, because obviously, when you have the moon in your body, you're going to feel that a little bit more than the moon in the sky. But I like to think that there's some alchemy between the 2, but like also there's alchemy with our own astrology chart and all the stars in the sky and everything, everything, you know?
S: But I really love… I know, for me, when I am cycling, I follow Kate's philosophy where, especially with work and projects I'm doing, I really follow my menstrual cycle, but when I'm manifesting something and I'm really doing magic, I'd like to follow the moon.
S: That's my own thing that I do. So if I'm wanting to let's say… like right now, I'm really working on having a better relationship with movement in my body and figuring out, “How do I work out a little bit better? And what's going to be… what's new for me now that I'm done having children?” I set an intention on the New Moon and I'm checking in on the Full Moon and on the Quarter Moons and, you know, really asking for support to a higher power that's outside of me or inside of me, you know, depending on how you think about it; it's both. But… but if I were cycling, I would probably set that intention on the New Moon, but I would know that I would be in touch with, “Okay, so during this part of my cycle, I'm going to want to be doing more cardio. This part of my cycle, I’m going to be wanting to do more yoga,” that sort of thing, if that makes sense.
J: Oh, that's great. So…
J: It's so funny you mentioned the menstrual phase when, you know, you'd have more rest but also more intuition, and…
J: … that seems real for me, I've noticed that for myself, that's interesting, I never connected it to my period though. (Laughs)
S: Yeah, yep, it is.
S: Yeah, and it's so powerful. Like when we are really… I now love getting my period. And we're taught to not love it so that we don't connect with our intuition.
S: Like do you see how sneaky that is?
J: I do see. So, Sarah, I love what you say but I've been thinking lately that we often blame men and say men keep women down, but I've been noticing lately that oftentimes, it's women who keep women down. So when did we lose that connection to the earth?
S: So from my Western… I can tell this from my Western European lineage. So this happened… and I think I know that different versions of this happened all over the world, but I'm going to talk about what happened in Europe. And I also think it's important to know the story because it was this direct line that then colonized the United States, which is where I'm assuming most of listeners are; so that's why this story is important.
S: So it's important to remember that before we organized into cities in Western Europe, we lived in groups of people in tribes. And in these groups of people, we have evidence that the origin story was that the mother goddess chose a male consort and had a baby, which was the earth. And so baked into the culture was this reverence of the earth and it was also our survival, right, because we didn't have factories and all this stuff. So all of the stories, all this reference was about being in right relationship with the earth, hunting the animals. This beautiful woman, Starhawk, who wrote this book called ‘Spiral Dance’ (it's a really beautiful book), she talks about how the shamans of the tribes would call the Deer and the Buffalo into the pits, spiritually, and the Buffalo would sacrifice themselves. So magic was worked into daily life, and women who were healers and midwives and herbalists, seers, truth-tellers were really honored. And then what happened was is that we started organizing into cities, and with this, came the rise of Christianity. So… but what would happen is people would often leave and go to the foothills and seek out the wise women. And the word ‘witch’ just comes from the word ‘wise one’.
S: And so there is this still this sort of mixing for a while. And then to really oversimplify things, the people in power decided that… well, first of all, the Bible was rewritten at one point; so the Bible that we’re reading now was not written during Jesus’s time, it was written later.
S: And so what was written into the Bible were these 2 really important characters, the virgin Mary, virgin now meaning never had sex, instead of the original definition of the word ‘virgin’, which was a woman unto herself, would just mean a woman who was not married who had her own power who was basically allowed to do whatever she wanted, and she was spiritually like unto herself; that's the definition of the word ‘virgin’. So we changed her to be chaste. And then Mary Magdalene, instead of being Jesus's lover and the… his consort, so we see the union between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, his lover, where when they come together, they represent love, which is God, we made her a whore. So now, there's no powerful females in the Bible. And this then came at the same time that there was this huge campaign against women who were healers. And because there was this inability to basically keep everyone in line and to have everyone do things the right way and to be good workers to support the few people in power, so this is what started the burning times. And so between 1400 and 1600, they're now saying that 9 million, mostly women, were brutally murdered and tortured.
S: And so during this time, in order for a woman to save herself, she had to turn in another woman.
S: And so there's a lot of people believe that this is the origin of women being against each other.
S: It's because we're pitted against each other during this time and we had this like collective consciousness, this collective wound that we are obviously in the process of healing.
J: And when were the years when that happened, the 9 million?
S: Around 1400 to 1600.
S: In Europe, this was all in Europe.
S: And that's where the… and then of course we had, you know, the 7 witches that were hung in Salem…
S: … you know, right here, 45 minutes from where I'm sitting right now. But that mindset that some people were less than other people, you know, that is rampant, this is just one example of it, specifically towards women. And then, you know, right around the same time, we know like that's when Christopher Columbus came to the Americas and the mass genocide of the Native Americans was going on at the same time.
S: And so it's so important for us to see all these patterns of people in power wanting to keep people in line and keep us down. And so that's why it's so important for us to understand the history and understand these stories and how a lot of these stories and rituals were either erased or made to be scary and where… like, for example, I believe one of the most empowering things we can do as women is to reclaim our witchiness, which is just to reclaim our connection with the earth and the connection with the moon and our cycle and to say, “A witch isn't an evil warty woman who's trying to make everybody miserable, a witch is an empowered woman.”
S: And like how great is that.
J: And then that image of the warty woman, I bet it all just connects to it as well (Laughs); oh my gosh.
S: It is. Well, because we have to remember that people in power painted that story deliberately so that people wouldn't recognize the magic when it started to be birthed in us. Because we all… you know, like when we're a little girl, we all feel it, you know, when we're like digging up in the yard and wandering or like we can feel the magic. We watch fairy tales on the TV or we read a book and we know it's real.
S: And then we start getting symbols of, “Magic is evil, magic is bad. That's not real, that's fake,” and so then we can't find the magic anymore.
S: Or we say, “Ooh, I'm so wrong, you know, I'm a bad person, I don't belong in this… you know, I can't. My parents can never find out, I feel like the black sheep. I'm a bad Christian. I'm a bad Jew,” like whatever it is. And but we have to remember that we all have that, that's just like part of being human.
J: Tell us more about what you mean by the word magic. Like, throughout the interview, I was believing you meant like connection to the divine, intuition, knowing things that a… you know, a heart level.
J: What else does that mean for you?
S: Well, that, yes, and, I mean, it's so many things. It's also, there's a language that is not heard or seen that I believe is spoken through the heart. So, for me, I'm learning the language of the trees that I live with and the animals that are on my land. And I don't necessarily hear it as voices, but I can feel it as feelings.
S: It’s like, “Oh, I can feel what the sort of vibe, what's the vibe that's happening right now?”
S: You know?
S: But it's also, for me, a big part of magic is calling in what I want, like this house, you know? And there's a lot of different ways to look at it, and there is so much science that backs magic, which is so cool. You know, like if you write down what you really want, what it really is just doing is priming your brain to see it when it shows up.
J: Ah, yes.
S: Does that make sense?
S: So… but like how cool that we can even do that in our bodies, like that seems magic. You know, just having a baby is magic to me.
S: You know, but it's things like if I say, “Okay, I really want to make this amount of money in the next 3 months,” I will write it down on a piece of paper and sit and meditate on it and burn it and maybe do like someone else. And then usually, I make that much money in 3 months.
J: Yeah, so it’s energy.
S: It’s so panting.
J: It’s energy.
S: It’s energy, yeah.
J: Yeah, I get it, I love this. I'm a little stuck on back with these, you know, the patriarchy of the 1400 to 1600. What were women going to do with this magic that… or this connection to energy that was so damaging or threatening to them? I'm not understanding what the fear was, you know? (Laughs)
S: Yeah. Well, it was really about, “How can you get everyone to think the same?”
J: Oh yeah.
S: So if they wanted everyone to think the same way and that was about following the church, because the church was the governmental power.
S: And so if everyone believed in Jesus, then they could tell everyone what to do and how to do it.
S: But if everyone was believing in different things, then they, these few people in power wouldn't be able to tell everyone what to do all the time.
S: Also, there's a lot of stories about how doctors didn't like competition.
J: (Laughs) Yeah,
S: So they wanted the money. And so it's like they couldn't have all these healers. And we still see this today in our FDA not approving certain natural herbs that are so effective for us.
S: So we're still seeing this, and so this is why Jonathan and I feel like it's so healing for us to be married like for the collective for like the witch and the doctor to be…
J: Ooh, yeah.
S: … working all of our stuff out.
S: So it's been… yeah, I think it's so multi-layered but it really goes back to, “How do you get an entire population of people to fall in line?”
J: And that's changing now. I recently interviewed Carrol Tuttle and she said, “These institutions of religion, not just maybe the Catholic Church or Christianity, but these institutions are slowly stepping back in their position to support the one-on-one connection between human and the divine, and becoming a structure that supports rather than controlling from the top down,” and I like that.
J: How do you see that happening and how do you think we as women can help, you know, make that happen for our planet?
S: Yes. Well, it's so important because you can so see how when we create a system, that there's an old white guy in the sky that's telling us what to do and how to be and judging us about what we're doing and like determining our future, we can see how that gives permission to other white men to do the same to us, does that make sense?
S: So it's so deeply important for us to know that we have direct connection with source because it gives our power back to us and it brings it to like, “I am here to do my work, I am here to be me. I am the person who's in charge of myself.” And when we do that, I mean, I believe we free up our own soul contract and our own potential to go do really great work during this lifetime. And I think it has to start with that; going back.
J: Beautiful, I love it.
S: Well, you know, I think that what's so important for women to understand is that… is to start noticing, “Where am I following the rules instead of following my own inner knowing?”
S: So that's the work. So the work is to say, “Where am I doing what I'm supposed to be doing versus what I know I am meant to do?” And so that's why I created my program, Whole Woman, where we talk about all these things, talk about the patriarchy, talk about the moon, talk about magic, but it all comes back to, “How can you come back to your soul’s directions instead of cultural directions or family directions or directions from your partner or what you feel like you're supposed to be doing because you're a mom?” Because there's all of these rules and one-size-fits-all solution to happiness, like the biggest one is, “Oh, once you have a few kids and a cute husband and a house, you'll be so happy.” And so what happens is that we get those things and we look around and we're like, “F***, I'm not happy.”
S: “I must be a terrible person and I feel so guilty and I'm not going to talk about it and I'm going to shut down and I'm not going to say what I actually mean, and I'm such a bad person.” And you can see how that keeps us pliant as women, that keeps us playing small. And because if we're constantly feeling bad about ourselves because we're not like happy just because we've had kids, then we're going to be like really easily bossed around.
S: So it's important to know that our definition of happiness is going to be as unique as our fingerprint. And, yeah, having kids is such a blessing and maybe there's other things for you to have too. And they're not in competition with being in motherhood, but you're a whole person that you can be such a great mom and so fulfilled in your own work and so fulfilled in your relationship and have a great sex life and wonderful friends and have all the money you could ever need and feel like you're really making an impact, and you can have all those things.
J: Mm-hmm. So what's the first step? (Laughs)
S: Well, I think the first step is recognizing where you're following the rules, and I really believe in getting into community. So I know you have a great membership program, I have a great membership program, Kate Northrup has a great membership program. You know, they all sort of come from different lenses but find a community that… where you're around other women who are also committed to being themselves. Because often times in our normal communities, everybody else is trying to blend in and be perfect to be nice and so we… it's so scary and uncomfortable for us to start to be wild. But if you get into a community where the women are saying like, “I am more wolf than woman some days.”
S: And that just means like, “I’m here to be my own wild self,” and that’s going to look different for everybody.
S: But when we're in those communities, we then can start to hear who we are and start to stand up for who we are and be that person in our daily life. And, you know, my community is closed right now, but I'm happy to open it to you guys if you just go to a wholewoman.me\secret, there's like a little secret backdoor that you guys can just check it out.
S: And we're doing some really great wild work in there.
S: So recognize the rules and find a community. And, you know, I just really think like the whole reason we're here is to know who we are and then to be that person in our daily life, that's it.
J: Mm-hmm, that's awesome. One last question… well, 2. (Laughs)
J: Sarah, what does your morning routine look like? I have to ask because when I speak to you, and I've said this to other guests before, but often, even across the microphone and between thousands of miles between us or hundreds, I don't know how far it is to Medfield…
S: Yeah, Medfield.
J: … but I feel… I feel your juiciness, I feel your feminine power, I feel it right now, and I know many listening will feel that. So what are you doing on the daily that helps you bring that power into your life?
S: So it doesn't always happen in the morning, but some time during the day, I just have a simple practice of lighting incense and a candle and dancing.
J: Hmm, okay.
S: Just like moving my body. And right now, that's about it because I have a 7 month old baby and I never know when she's going to wake up in the morning.
S: But sometimes she'll come with me and we'll dance… you know, we'll dance together. But I find that also my whole life just has these little sacred touch points. So usually some time during the day, I'll sit on my altar, I'll go outside and just tune into the trees. But I'd say… and I pull cards a lot, but mostly it's just candle, incense, dance for 5 minutes, that's my minimum.
J: Beautiful. And finally, what does it mean for you, Sarah, to be a vibrant happy woman?
S: Mm, for me, it is knowing who I am and being me in my daily life, no matter… really no matter what.
J: Mm-hmm, beautiful, exactly what I aim to do; I love it.
S: Oh, great.
J: Sarah, I'm so honored. If people want to know more about you or Hawthorn Farm and the things you're doing there, which seem amazing, I wish I lived near you…
S: Aww, thanks; I know, me too.
J: … where could they find you?
S: You can go to sarahjenks.com and there's a tab on there that says ‘Events at Hawthorn Farm’ if anyone's in the area. And then you can also go to wholewoman.me\secret to get the juice…
J: The juice.
S: … on the membership program, yeah.
J: Yes, beautiful. Well, I appreciate you being on the show Sarah, I loved every minute, thank you so much.
S: Aww, thanks for having me, Jen, this was such a joy.
J: Take care.
S: You too.
J: So there you have it, Sarah Jenks, and so many amazing thoughts on earth and nature and cycles and seasons. Really, I think it's a deep, deep form of mindfulness where we're very attuned to how we're feeling energetically in our bodies as we cycle, how we're feeling as the earth cycles around the sun and really being in touch with energy. And I've been really intrigued with thoughts of energy lately. I learned about masculine and feminine more deeply when I was at a Tony Robbins event recently and I've been thinking a lot about that kind of energy, and I'm excited to add a focus on seasonal energy and connection to nature. I think that's missing for so many of us. I think it's also beautiful what she talked about in regards to our bodies, giving ourselves what we really need. Instead of grabbing that cookie, we go for the therapy, instead of grabbing that candy, we go for the actual love and connection with the people around us. So I want to challenge you to think about what do you really need and how can you fill it in healthier ways and how can you pay more attention to the seasons and the cycles of your body and to your magic within you, which you've heard me talk about often on the show as your intuition, connection to God or a higher power or what Sarah called source. That inner connection is what helps us tap into our true authentic self.It's what helps us to feel truly empowered and to take our power back so that we're not relying on the external world, on everyone else's ‘shoulds’ and expectations to tell us what we need to be doing with our lives, but instead we know intuitively at the heart level what we need to be doing with our lives, when we need to rest, when we need to slow down and listen to intuition and to follow those natural ups and downs of our cycles, of our seasons, of our planet; so beautiful. And I hope you'll add a bit of that into your lives and feel the joy that will come with it as you shift.
Well, I thank you so much for listening. I will be back again next week talking with another Sara, our 3rd Sara in a row, Sara-Jean Gilbert, a dear friend of mine who is a member of Heal Your Heart and the Vibrant Happy Women Club, I'm so grateful that she has agreed to come talk with us; so that will be next week. And all of you listeners who are going to the Vibrant Happy Women Retreat, can you believe that is next week? Oh my goodness! Those of you who are not going, think ahead 2020 so you can join us. It will be about the same time, it will be happening in February of 2020. Just put it in your mind, maybe mark it on your calendar, you'll want to be there; I am so excited. Everyone who's making it to the Vibrant Happy Women Retreat 2019, I will see you in Florida next week; holy cow! I cannot wait. Everyone, thank you so much for listening, for being a part of this movement to listen to our hearts and be our most authentic, loving selves, and I will see you next time. Take care.
Outro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.