interview & photographed by Christine Kolmegies
S|HE IS speaking her truth, creating a new world. Our truth is we belong to love.
S|HE IS Meredith Marple for: MOTIVATION
C: Something happens to you when you become “awake”. You start questioning your existence, why you’re here and what’s this all about. It can happen at any point in your life. Usually, it happens through the darkest moments of your life and sometimes through uncomfortable circumstances where there is this turning point, the light hits and cracks you open.
The craziest part about it is that no matter how hard you try there is no turning back once the light gets in. You just can’t look at the world in the same way because you’re quite aware of the circumstances that led you to this point have made you realize there is something more, some kind of mission that needs fulfilling and you’re here to explore it.
Before I sat down with Meredith in La Jolla, California, for her interview and photoshoot, I was already super excited. I was anticipating the raw-realness from her writing that drew me in to press follow on her instagram @belongtolove. S|HE IS not only the Author of 50-Ways of Self-Love, but also a Self-Love Coach, and the perfect the person to remind us about the duality of our human existence; that without darkness there is no light.
M: I had my first mid-life crisis at the age of eleven. I stood in my dad’s closet and discovered my dad was a gay man “hiding in the closet”. This began my first existential plunge into feeling that I didn’t even deserve to exist; my logic told me that because, if he had been true to who he was, he probably would have never married my mom and had a family. Therefore, I would have never been born, so I didn’t understand why I was born regardless. I didn’t know what the point of life was. It was a burden to feel like my entry into life was a lie and a betrayal.
For years I was extremely and deeply wounded. I was livid about so many things. I was pissed at life in general. I was angry about having chronic illnesses that felt like life-time prison sentences, I was furious for my family getting torn apart by divorce, I had a very poor relationship with my dad, I got bullied at school and didn’t feel advocated for or protected. I could list more, but you get the point. And because I was so angry about these things, and mostly confused about myself with all the things I felt going on, I felt burdened from my world and hardened as a young person. I didn’t know how to handle the constant barrage of traumas that assaulted my body for years and didn’t know how to process any of it. It was more than any person my age should have ever had to deal with in a lifetime. So, I shut down.
At that time, I had no coping skills. I felt I had few options for how to deal with the horrendous amount of hurt I was feeling and I kept looking for ways to relieve the pain. I began to get severely bullied in high school by a group of girls. I remember about a year into their harassment, they told me to do everyone a favor and kill myself. What they didn’t know is that I was already having those same thoughts about myself. I remember getting into my car after that day and contemplating if I could kill myself by running my car into a tree at full speed or finding a steep edge of the road to flip my car down into the woods. But when I got home, I had decided to attempt suicide by overdose on psychiatric medications instead.
Months later, I hit my first turning point. My mother was driving me to school one day and I was frightened to go to school as usual. I was nauseated and I wanted her to take me home. Instead of turning the car around, she took fifteen minutes on the drive it took to get to there to teach me about psychological projection. It had a huge impact on how I started to view girls who bullied me.
She taught me that there was probably some type of defense mechanism these girls were subconsciously putting onto me in order to cope with difficult environments or emotions in their own homes. I remember hearing that one of the girl’s mothers had been diagnosed with breast cancer. I took myself and my own hurt out of the situation and it made my heart swell. For once in my life, I felt all-encompassing compassion and understanding towards them. It still wasn’t an easy recovery after that, but things evened out over time because I didn’t feel as triggered by them - not as vulnerable to their attacks.
Because I felt that most of my life was rooted in darkness while growing up, I was soaking up so many of these deeper life concepts and insights because it made me realize my purpose wasn’t to suffer. My purpose wasn’t to be someone who was always going to be in a state of needing help. My purpose was to endure these challenges so that I could grow into the person I am destined to become. A person who is now guiding others through their own personal darkness and into the light of Self-Love.
C: Tell us how your session with world famous Intuitive Life Strategist, Robert Ohotto, placed you in alignment to your purpose:
M: Robert told me what my soul contract and life mission are. It derives from my biggest and most intimate deep, core wound which is from my relationship with my father. It is rooted in the role of who I am in my “family of origin” story. On a human, emotional level I was rejected before I was even born on the planet. When my dad found out my mom was pregnant with me, he didn’t want me to exist, to be born. It’s like his psyche, his not wanting me, transferred into some metaphysical DNA that was held and will hold for the rest of my life. My deepest pain and vulnerability comes from feeling rejected, unwanted. I want to state here that what I just said is what Robert was reading about my soul contract; not something that my dad ever said to my mom or to me. The thing is, all of it felt “right” to me; like a truth was being told.
The reality is that I have a gay father who was closeted, absent and disconnected with his own life and emotions while I was growing up and didn’t know how to be an emotionally available and supportive father for me. It hurt a lot then, and sometimes still hurts now, that he couldn’t be real with me or be real with himself. On a soul level, turning that pain and darkness into light, it’s the perfect set-up to understand what it means to be a guide in an era when people are being completely abandoned / orphaned by culture, family systems, religious traditions, and known structures that have anchored societies and cultures thus far.
Now that we are becoming a one-world consciousness and people are waking up outside of misogyny, religious shame, homophobia, etc., they think, “… if I’m not that, then who the hell am I?” Then Robert told me that I will pop up to say, “Here’s me: Meredith.” I can tell them, “Look, I don’t have your answer, but I can help you figure it out. I can be your guide and help you figure out who you are outside of these societal and family conditions. I can help you find where you belong.” Thus, @belongtolove was born months later as I found my voice.
At that time, I was living in Albuquerque, and he said one day I’d be living in San Diego. Now I am! Robert also said I will have my own book and now I’m writing my second one, The Dark Side of Self-Love: Loving Yourself Without a Shadow of a Doubt. He also predicted that one day I will be on stage. Robert said, “Meredith, Life is waiting for you to get on stage to serve the peeps and serve the children.” And, so, I began moving forward. It has changed my life.
C: Everyone talks about self-love so much these days. Describe to me your SELF-LOVE by @belongtolove meaning of it all:
M: Gosh, there are so many things I could say about self-love. Self-love has a personal definition for each of us. My needs don’t fit a mold for how someone else needs to take care of themselves. It’s a hot topic these days. If you use the hashtag #selflove on Instagram, there are almost eight million tags posted. Being in the industry, especially with self-love being something very intimate and interesting to me, I’ve noticed it can be a complex journey... yet, we still make it too complicated at times. And I believe it’s because so many people talk about it and it becomes overwhelming to sort through.
I think social media is what perpetuates a lot of the stigmas and assumptions. I think we get caught up in people’s personal results of their self-love transformations, then we compare our own current struggles to their highlight reels. And that’s what can hold people back – comparing ourselves with other people’s journeys and results - having assumptions or misinformation. We expect the same results for ourselves and become disappointed when we don’t achieve or accomplish what someone else has. Therefore, we sometimes give up trying before we even get started. Self-love doesn’t end any of the complications we face. Nor does it end the pain we naturally feel as being human. What it does do for us is end the personal suffering caused by our thoughts – the ideas we have about the way things should be versus the way they actually are.
Before I dove deeper into the journey of finding compassion for myself, I never knew the self-love process would actually be painful. I had to learn that self-love isn’t always pretty. It is very fluid. Self-love broke me sometimes. The journey can be agonizingly painful, world-changing hard work, and it’s quite scary for all of us. Self-love gets very real.
One of the outlets where we get to hide from uprooting the deep emotional scar tissue, and the sometimes unbearably raw truths that enable soulful healing, is on social media. It’s easier to believe the woo-woo make-you-feel-good posts that tell you all you have to do is think positive thoughts and your life will be as perfect as you pretend it is. But blindly following only those types of quick mantras are like putting a band-aid on an amputated leg. Loving yourself doesn’t look like the girls we idolize on Instagram who smile all the time and post their daily gratitude. If that’s all it is, then it’s just another superficial mask of trying to make ourselves feel better today than we did yesterday. No true healing is occurring.
So, self-love to me, has nothing to do with being a cutesy, nice, adorable person all the time. Self-love has everything to do with being authentic and real. Everyday self-love requires attention, intention and desire. What is required is embracing what is all encompassing – “As Above, So Below”. Most of all, loving yourself is not something you “get” once and then you have it for all of time. It’s an ongoing experience of sacred loving in daily living. That is why I refer to it as a spiritual journey.
C: What does it mean to be vulnerable and how does vulnerability look to someone?
M: You probably know the saying that goes, “Vulnerability is bravery.” But awhile back I realized that vulnerability became a way of life for me – it became my means to connecting with others – in the midst of when we put a spotlight on all of our messiness
When anyone is feeling really raw and vulnerable, they may gravitate toward hiding. We need to unlearn old patterns of thought and behavior and become more present. It is vital that we come to a point where we can make ourselves sit with and look at the wounds that lurk beneath the surface. Our sacred wounds always brings us to the limit of the wounded ego where our vulnerability resides.
C: What does it mean to live your truth?
M: I’ve noticed that most people deter from speaking their truth because they think it will hurt someone else’s feelings and they don’t want to be responsible for causing that person pain. But speaking your truth means you aren’t responsible for what a person will or will not do or say after you say something important to you. When you speak your truth, it is with an intention to convey a message. So when it comes to living your truth, your values and beliefs are aligned with your actions and spoken word.
C: By living your truth what kind of impact does that have on humanity?
M: I know speaking your truth and living your truth can absolutely scare some people because they’re not used to people standing strong in personal power. It can also be intimidating. I think living one’s truth can influence others around them in a positive way. As it is with vulnerability, when you risk showing the truthful side of who you are, it gives others room to be their authentic selves.
C: What do you love most about being self-aware, vulnerable and living in your truth?
M: What I love most about all three of these things is that my world has expanded. I’ve also been able to become extremely intimate with myself and with others - whether they are close relationships, family members, clients or strangers. I once believed that any time I exposed my vulnerability to another, I left myself at risk for being wounded. And that did happen - a few times. But most of the time I was met with others’ vulnerabilities, love and understanding. It taught me that most of the time what we think will be a negative experience is just fear and nothing else. And, what’s on the other side of following through is a bonding with another heart and soul. It’s beautiful.
Little do you know the effects you have on anyone when living in your purpose. It’s pretty much the equivalent to a glass-mirrored lake and a pebble being thrown into it. The quantum ripples are endless. Here is the txt msg Meredith sent me that evening when I got in:
I'm just sitting here reflecting on the safe space you created between us. My emotions were stirred today while you totally gave me undivided attention for 3 hours straight; I didn't realize how therapeutic it was until I started thinking about it all and decompressed when I got home. I realize by talking with you today that I have been quite obsessed with my past as of recently until I switched over to the gears of "the now" with being business oriented. I haven't connected my past to help me re-connect with my future for a long while now, and it makes me really keep saying to myself "I can't turn back now." You helped me rekindle my purpose and I feel a shift within me already. I have the deepest gratitude for you because of that. Thank you so, so very much. Thank you for the work that you do. Thank you for existing Christine Kolmegies ❤
REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED.
To view more of Christine Kolmegies work visit www.s-he-is.com/studio
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