Today I’m chatting with Kristen Roderick, a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who provides custom ceremonies & rituals, courses, women’s circles, and transition consulting to women of all ages in the throes of major change through her business Spirit Moving Narrative Consulting.
I can’t remember how I stumbled across Kristen’s work, but I do remember being captured by her title of Spirit Moving, by the colours and layout of her website, and most of all by her soulful use of language. I got on her newsletter right away and have enjoyed her perspective ever since.
Kristen consciously and deliberately uses traditions of feminine strength to guide women through the difficult changes encountered at important transitions in their lives and as they begin to live inside their calling.
Her passion and depth was reflected in our conversation – we started to unravel one of my favourite fairytales about Selkies (seal women), concepts of home and belonging, then moved on to the ways in which motherhood changes and challenges us, the ways in which we dry up (like the sealwoman) from too many masculine patriarchal structures on our society and finally to the ways in which our bodies tell us loud and clear when we start straying from our paths.
Enjoy our ramble through the legend of the Selkies as well as Kristen’s relationship with her body and creativity.
Resources from this episode:
- The Secret of Roan Innish
- If Women Rose Rooted by Sharon Blackie
- Women Who Run With The Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes
- bell hooks
- post partum anxiety
- Marion Woodman documentary Dancing in the Flames
Connecting with Kristen:
Connecting with Janelle:
Things we chatted about in this episode:
- the legends of the Selkies (seal women)
- First discovered while watching the movie The Secret of Roan Innish
- Then found another telling of it in Women Who Run With The Wolves
- Then found another version in the book If Women Rose Rooted
- On being from New Brunswick, Canada and always feeling connected to the ocean and the water. On dreaming of the ocean, sea life and seals whenever she feels like she’s drifting or has lost a sense of home
- Loves the idea of shapeshifting
- Also loves the story because you can lose your skin, lose your home
- On how the child in the story helps her mother find her sealskin – giving her access back home
- The idea of losing your connection of home, finding it and gaining it back and returning home
- On being in the early days of motherhood and finding it so hard to anchor herself – the first 9 months of motherhood she felt really lost. Stepped into a transition and did so much work leading up to it but still no one can prepare you for what it’s like – your old self is gone and have to rediscover yourself again
- On feeling like it took 9 months to create herself as a mother after giving birth – during this time reconnecting to what home is has become really important to Kristen
- Likes the idea that a child is the helpmate in the story. Having her child has disconnected herself from her home but her child has also helped birth her as a mother and to rediscover herself in a new skin.
- Themes of home for Kristen. She’s traveled and lived in different cities in Canada for a while now. Has had this inquiry about ‘what is home to me?’ and it’s not a place but a feeling you get – a sense of belonging. Oftentimes with her partner and son. A place of feeling and being known.
- Versions of the story where the man steals the skin capture her attention – the idea of being stolen by the masculine interests Kristen because the way things are in school, work, university are very much structured linearly in a very patriarchal way.
- So the questions become: when the skin is stolen by the male force, how do I bring ourselves back to the feminine centre? How do I live my life based on my cycles, the seasons, in a more circular cyclical way within an organizational structure based on corporate models? How do I find my way back to my home and the watery ocean, which represents the unconscious, the feminine, the things that are so different than patriarchal ways?
- Is also asking the question – how do I be a mom and be there for my son and also work on what’s important for me?
- It’s not a one-time story, it’s a continual journey of losing my self and coming back again, and having to question own beliefs around the stuff that got embedded in my from early childhood to adulthood.
- The Selkie legend is a sad hearbreaking story
- The story speaks to the dichotomy that working mothers live in – do you choose your family or do you choose your work?
- Has noticed we really disappear as mothers – we’re both glorified and we disappear.
- Has noticed that when you become a mother there isn’t a lot of room to talk – you’re expected to be overjoyed by everything about being a mother.
- relationship with creativity
- Writing is Kristen’s main creative tool
- Got really sick and left a job as a senior manager, and found she wanted to draw and colour. Started drawing a lot of mandalas and found working with circles so healing.
- Started walking labyrinths all over the city. They just started showing up.
- Circles, labyrinths, spiral shapes started showing up when she was sick, starting to heal and trying to find a new path for herself.
- It’s a lot of hard intention work to keep creativity in her life since becoming a mother.
- Since becoming a mother it’s taken quite a while to get back to writing – months before started taking notes.
- Experiencing a loss of identity as a mother – had so much creative and personal freedom before.
- Since her son was about 6 months she’s made a commitment to herself – an hour a day of writing.
- Having this hour a day creates a sacred container around her life and experience.
- relationship with body
- Was very athletic when younger – competed as a synchronized swimmer, then later did a lot of intense running.
- Around 30 started getting injuries. Liked the intensity of athleticism but her body told her it wasn’t working
- Had a fire to burn but too much fire for body and mind to handle and something had to give. Injuries piled up and in work life other things started coming up – physical body was constantly telling her when she’d pushed herself too far
- Job was so intensive and stressful and body responded by covering her with hives, ovarian cysts, vertigo, hiatal hernia…
- Had to confront how her work, her drive and her perfectionism was running the show. It got louder and louder till she finally listened.
- Saw the Marion Woodman documentary dancing in the flames and what Marion said about how her body would never let her step outside of her purpose resonated. That her body was like a tuning fork and that it was a gift she was given to know when she’d gone off track
- Knows now that when she’s off track her body will send her the messages