Healing the Wounded Self

Sometimes I am unable to see through my woundedness. It clouds my judgement and perspective on life and in relationships. If I can honor my wounded self, I am able to care for myself in ways that others are unable to. There is a deep woundedness within me. It comes from generations of women who could not care for themselves or their children, who could not heal that part of themselves that was wounded and filled with pain. Who looked outside to others for healing, giving over this healing power to another. If I can have awareness and acceptance for this woundedness, I can begin to move through the world more authentically, with more care for myself, and with more clarity in the world. What ways can I care for myself in times of woundedness? How can I love myself when that woundedness shows up on on the front door of my heart? How can I have more acceptance of my woundedness? How can I be present with my wounded self? What would it look like for me to return back to the moments where I felt neglected, especially as a child where it all began? For me to be present to my kid self? What does she need?

I thought about the experiences when I was as I child and I would dance for adults to shift their mood, trying to attend to their needs in an effort to be seen myself. As I reflected on these experiences, I imagined my adult self walking up, pulling up a chair and saying to little Keegan, “Hello, how was your day? Tell me a story about school today.” My adult self and kid self would share a meal, laugh, and play. All the things I yearned from the adults in my life but inconsistently and rarely received. When I thought about this, I smiled brightly. I felt liberated. Liberated to no longer seek in others the relief and healing I needed from the pain of neglect from loved ones. Liberated to no longer hold that pain that I carried for years. Liberated to free myself of the weight of ancestral pain I carried to be seen, heard, and loved. To know that I may be the answer to my own healing. 

~An excerpt from my book, A Return to Home.

Love and Loss

One of my earliest memories is dancing for my Uncle. I took dance from the age of about five and my mother would often stop by my Uncle’s house before going home. I remember one day I was all dressed in my ballerina outfit-- pink tutu, those slip-on beige leather ballerina slippers, light pink tights with a snag in the knee from my clumsy self and pink leotard. When I arrived at his doorstep, the door opened wide and a big man as tall as I could see and as wide as the door with red cheeks, a smile as a wide as a river, stretched out his arms and belted out “Dance for me! Dance for me my little ballerina”. His endearing boastful voice filled my heart, his eyes glittering like blue sea glass. I giggled and bowed holding my tutu with my two delicate girl hands and twirled around and around until his belly rumbled with laughter. He embraced me in a bear hug and picked me up, wrapping his burly arms around my small, fragile body, kissing my soft cheeks. I looked to my uncle as someone who was so full of joy, who always embraced me with love, who was excited to see me and saw the great joy I held inside. Unfortunately, my uncle was deeply depressed, an alcoholic, and an addict. Much of this was all undercover and came to be more known when he committed suicide about five years later, when I was ten years old. There were a lot of secrets in my family and throughout my life, a distinct trait of families where alcoholism pervades. My mother tried to protect me much of my life and my uncle’s suicide was one of the ways she tried to control and protect me. I wasn’t allowed to attend his funeral services because she considered me too young to deal with death, yet one day at school shortly after my uncle committed suicide, one of my classmates was laughing and telling a group of his friends about how some idiot dressed up in a clown suit and hung himself in his backyard. The gruesome details of my uncle’s suicide were shared openly and no one knew it was my uncle. I sank in my seat, my palms sweaty with heat rising  in my face. I wavered between wanting to get up to punch the kid and crawling under my desk to cry, grieving the man in my life who brought so much joy to me, who filled my heart with so much love. Mortified, I just sat there in disbelief. Not knowing what to do, as I wasn’t even given the chance to grieve, to talk about why he had committed suicide, what had drove him to that very day where he became so deep in his depression and self-hate that he decided to end it all. This was my first experience with love and loss. An experience I didn’t realize would live with me every day of my life thereafter. As a child, you experience pure love. The kind of love that doesn’t come with expectations. Doesn’t come with strings attached. It’s just there. A love whereby warmth ripples throughout your body to every corner, to every empty space, to every shadow lighting up your heart and soul. My uncle gave me that pure love and in return, I gave it back. I always felt that my uncle Frank has been with me throughout my life. Reminding me to be the little bright ballerina that I was once as a child. Reminding me of the love that I hold in myself. The love I am capable and deserving of receiving. A reminder that even in our darkest hour, we have the choice to choose love or fear. While this lesson was not apparent at the time, looking back at all the ways in which love and fear have shown up in my life, in the life of my family members and friends, I have witnessed how the self has been distracted, tested, challenged yet it still rises. It is still there. It is always there. It is eternal. The chorus of love rings so loud but the little whisper of fear can deafen all the choruses of love in your life. 

-An excerpt from my book, A Return to Home. 

Stepping Into My Queendom

Photo by: Kim Santana

Last month, I participated in a women’s circle, or rather a goddess gathering. I was tired and feeling so low on energy I wasn’t sure I could share any more of my self with others or be in the same room with other people. But it was an event I really wanted to attend and I knew that sometimes when I resist, it’s when I need to be in that space more than anything.

As I entered, there were women of all walks of life-- all ages, all ethnicities, all stages of life, all in their own unique style of fashion, all spectrums of sexual orientation and sexuality. I was embraced with hugs from women I knew and those that I had just met. The evening went on with a ritual to invite the four aspects of goddesses that we all have within us, but one or more at times can be out of balance. We were called to invoke the goddess we felt was out of balance for ourselves and to make an intention.


I chose the Queen-- representing the Queen’s ability to heal her self and the world. The Queen also stands tall in her choices with confidence and assertiveness, knowing she has all the answers she needs and is powerful beyond measure. I chose the Queen because I had been filled with doubt, I had feared my own power, I had begun to question if I was really this woman who had the capacity I thought I had to own my life, to share it with others and to live it through as I saw it.

As we each invoked the goddess within us and shared our intention, I was filled with a sense of peace and confirmation. I was exactly where I needed to be and there was no doubt about who I was and the company I carried. I looked around the room and each woman filled me up with strength as I heard each one share intimate details of their invocation, their pain, their healing, their strength, their power. I left feeling more powerful and more energized than I walked in. And the next day I experienced this sense of a hangover-- feeling the after-effects of the powerful evening we created as goddesses.

In the days that followed, I encountered a strange series of experiences, specifically in one day. I had a tense encounter with a very good friend that left me feeling distraught and uncertain about our friendship. Later that evening I was out listening to live jazz with another friend and went to pay for my beverage. I had a roll of quarters on me and that was all the cash I had. I didn’t want to take more money out, so I said to bartender, “all I have is this, can I pay you with this?”. He looked at me and laughed and said “we don’t take change.” I said, “I don’t understand how you are cash only but you don’t take change.” He continued, “well, we don’t have a way to process change.” I looked back at him perplexed on this idea of "processing change", unsure of what he was trying to say. The conversation got weirder and weirder as I tried to understand this logic and for not taking my money, albeit in quarters (okay, try to suspend judgment and see the big picture here. Yes, I was trying to pay in quarters, but that wasn’t the real issue).  He finally said, “I don’t know why you’re getting all upset.” I just stared at him, in shock, trying to figure out how my questions made him sense that I was upset and really all I wanted to do was figure out his logic for this policy of not taking change. I finally said, “I’m not upset, I’m not sure why you think I’m upset just because I’m asking questions and trying to understand. Please hold my drink while I go across the street and trade my quarters for dollar bills so that I can pay for my drink.”

I shook my head and smiled thinking, “here we go again”. My thoughts turned to all the experiences as a woman encountering men who are threatened by a fierce woman who asks questions. I walked into the store across the street and the cashier kindly exchanged my roll of quarters for a ten-dollar bill, without a question, without counting each quarter, without hesitation. In my head I was relieved that the fight was over. He then asked me about my tattoo, so I told him what it meant—May all beings be happy and free from suffering (written in Sanskrit).

“Have you ever visited India?”

“No, not yet.”

 He laughed and shook his head.

“Why are you laughing?”

“I think it’s ridiculous that you’ve never been to India, yet you have an Indian tattoo.”

I rolled up my mental sleeves and pulled up my intellectual fists.

“Well, I don’t think it’s ridiculous. It’s just like having the peace sign or peace in another language on someone’s body. I shouldn’t have to travel to a place to believe in the philosophy that was born there.”

He became distracted from another shopper as I explained and he looked the other way, began talking with the other shopper and said, “Yea, yea yea.” Waving his hand as if shooing me away.

I walked out and simply laughed and shook my head at the brief encounter. Two very bizarre episodes back-to-back challenging me as a woman and challenging my perspective. I returned to the bar and smiled while handing over my ten-dollar bill to the bartender as he apologized. “It’s quite alright, here’s your ten-dollar bill. Thanks for my drink.”, I responded. 

I sat down with my friend and explained the bizarre series of events and as we were both in awe of how people were challenging me, we soaked in the blissful sounds of jazz. Later that night, I encountered another set of challenging circumstances and it required me to firmly state back what my intention was and my respect for the other person. That night I couldn’t sleep as the entire day sank in with all of the forceful situations I experienced and had to face head on. The next day I was feeling an emotional hangover, one where I felt exhausted and depleted. I reflected on why I was feeling this way and what had occurred for me over the course of a few days. I then realized what I invoked for myself on that Friday evening, the Queen. I realized that all of these encounters were inviting me to truly step into my Queendom, to stand tall on my crown, to own my strength and power and not allow anyone to interrupt it, deny it, or brush it off.

This had me drifting into others areas of my life. And as I reflected, I realized that I am coming into a new realm of my greatness, of my queendom. Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” I have hesitated to step into my lightness, for all the many times that it has been squashed by the outside world and other people. For all the times that I squashed my dreams and desires, without really listening to what those dreams and desires were and are for me.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
— Marianne Williamson

This past month has been about listening to my self, saying yes to my self, and fully stepping into my Queendom. The space where I accept my dreams and desires and accept the universe’s offerings to allow me to live those out. It is so often that I hadn't listened to those dreams and those desires, where I didn’t listen to my self and instead moved in the direction of others’ dreams and desires. I realized how much darkness that brought me and how far away I was from my own light, my own strength, my own sense of my self. By inviting my inner Queen to be seen and heard, I stepped into a new phase for myself where I will no longer allow others to determine my desires and dreams. I am my own self. I am my own Queen.