Name: Kate Shipp
Age (optional): 38
Occupation/Vocation: Yoga Therapist, Intuitive Coach, Energy Medicine Practitioner, Yoga Teacher Trainer Personal or Professional
Favorite Quote: Oh goodness. “You are the sky. Everything else - it’s just the weather.” - Pema Chodron
What line in the Her Soul Story manifesto speaks to you the most? Why?
“Individually we are powerful, together we are a movement.” This line caught my heart the moment I read it. I went back to reread the other lines, and this one just struck a chord. When I was in my healing crisis, I quickly learned who really was there for me, and who was not able or willing to be by my side when things got dark. I was blessed to have some powerful women in my life who helped guide me, who help me to find myself again, and a rare few that walked with me into the darkness to help me remember I am the light. I believe that when women come together with a heart-force, determined to create positive change, not only do walls come down and ceilings fall, I believe hearts open to tremendous healing by the power of compassion and grace.
How do you define a soul story?
A soul story is a journey that tells the tale of turning trauma to triumph, despair to dedication, fear to faith, grief to good enough. It is a walk through the dark to remember the light. It is an experience that leaves an imprint on the heart and writes a new pattern on the soul. It is a trajectory change that even if it is only a 1 degree shift, over time, it creates an entirely new way of being. It leaves the author feeling empowered to walk by the side of others making the journey to love.
What is one of the best life lessons you have learned so far?
Growing up in a place where success was defined by outward appearance and material things, I believe that one of the best life lessons I have learned is the power of presence as a measurement of success. Instead of achievements and accomplishments being the measuring tools upon which I choose to decide if I feel good enough, I now focus my attention on my ability to be present, to be purposeful, to be passionate about my life, and to know that no matter what happens, I am good enough as I am. While the determination to succeed is still very much alive in my life, I no longer use it as a way of defining who I am or how I feel about myself. External situations no longer define me, and that is a very freeing feeling!
What inspires you?
If you had asked me this a few years ago my answer would have been very different. Going through deep trauma healing does that to you. It helps you to see the beauty and inspiration in the little things. It helps you to find the joy moments in everyday life instead of search for the Hollywood moments of magic. You learn that the ordinary is extraordinary and to see the beauty in the small things, brings so much joy. An example that I remember so clearly… I was co-teaching a class on Transformational Yoga Coaching, blending the metaphors of asana, with the exploration of life coaching, and the power of vulnerability. We were out a mountain, as we take the students on a hike on one of the days to use the mountain as a metaphor for something BIG in their life getting in their way of moving forward. At the end of the day, we were standing in sacred circle. I noticed a small black ant crawling on the earth carrying a piece of a muffin on its back. The muffin piece was probably twice its size. This little ant was so determined to make it back to its Queen. It was making its way across the circle, when it stopped. My heart sank, and I really did silently say, “No, little ant. Keep going! You can do it.” The ant wandered off, not far, yet away from the muffin piece. It circled several times, paused, rested. A few minutes later, it came back, picked up the piece of the muffin, hoisted it on its little back, and continued to make its way back to its home. That little ant inspired me. It taught me that when things seem too heavy, that it’s okay to put it down for a while, to walk away, to do something else. It’s okay to rest, to have patience with myself, and take care of me. Then when I am ready, I can come back stronger, rested and resilient. I can pick it back up and carry it again. I also find inspiration in hearing other stories. We connect through story and to hear someone has overcome something, sending chills through my body, and makes me believe that with faith and resilience, we can overcome anything and make meaning out of its presence in our lives. I am always someone that cheers for the underdog, and loves a good comeback story!
What motivates you?
My greatest source of motivation comes from wanting to be the best woman God has made me to be. I believe we each have been put here on this Earth for a purpose and mission. It is different to each of us, and none is better than another. To find that which sparks the light in the heart is to be on the right track. It fills me with joy to see someone overcome suffering and feel empowered to create beauty from the ashes of the past. It inspires me to see someone take what was once a point of great distress and use it to make manifest the life they desire. I am also filled with motivation to create a happier, healthier world for my family. They are my greatest why. When I wanted to give up on everything, including my life, I saw the faces of my kids in my mind and knew I had to try harder, do differently, find new ways, and not stop searching until I experienced the healing I knew was available to me. My kids are my deepest why and when a day is hard, I remember seeing the joy and love on my children’s faces when they tell me how proud of me they are for healing and becoming the best Mom ever. I see the love from my husband as he is an example of unconditional love, standing by my side through it all, and lifting me back up when I need it. I know the power of being met with grace and being held by real love. It is the love of God that moves mountains and grounds me into feeling capable of accomplishing anything I set my heart out to do.
Do you have a daily practice that you do not miss?
Yes, my devotion and prayer is a must in my daily life. I start my day in gratitude to God for the gift of a new day. I have a meditative devotional practice that I do each day. It grounds me into my body, connecting me with the truth of who I am. If I do not do this, I don’t feel aligned. In an ideal day, I would have 90 minutes of practice, including prayer, meditation, movement, and journaling. When my time is short, or I hit snooze a few too many times, my go-to is always prayer and meditation.
If you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice what would it be?
I would tell my younger self to tell someone about the abuse. Knowing what I know now of how sexual abuse infiltrates the entire nervous system and changes the wiring of the heart and brain, creating a shame-filled foundation, enmeshed in fear-based living, I would give her the courage and strength to tell someone.
Who is the community you surround yourself with and why is that important to you?
I surround myself with like-minded people, ready and willing to be vulnerable, real, authentic and committed to their own personal growth and development. My inner circle is small, and my outer circle is set with clear boundaries and compassion. I have learned the power of quality over quantity, that trust is earned, and actions matter more than words. I know that a community of people with a shared vision is a powerful force. When you add compassion, vulnerability, intentional living, and love - the sky's the limit. I believe in celebrating the successes of others, and find joy in seeing people succeed.
Please share one of your Soul Stories with us. What was the greatest gift you received from this experience?
May 3rd, 2016, I was having a session with one of my mentors. That year had already been extremely hard, losing two of our four fur babies within a couple months of each other, and being diagnosed with PTSD due to past traumas that I never fully healed and integrated. I had recently left ownership of a yoga studio that I co-owned in order to focus on my healing, and was trying to find my way to some kind of way through. My days were spent barely getting by, overcome with anxiety, and my body shaking almost constantly. To say I was fragile would be an understatement. Since the birth of my son in 2006, I had been experiencing on and off right hip discomfort, primarily in the right psoas muscle. Just a dull achiness that at times would turn into a deep pulling and throbbing pain. In January 2016, I started having nightmares of being sexually abused. The nightmares were different from other trauma flashbacks I would have in the past. These were terrifying and often I could not sleep out of fear of having another one. Everytime I would wake up, this hip pain would return. When I sat down with my mentor that day, she asked me what I wanted to talk about and work on. I had 4 hours with her. I knew it was not much time, as there was so much happening. Without giving it much thought, I asked her about my hip pain. I told her the backstory about it. I let her know that I was having flashes of memories of sexual abuse, yet no conscious memory of it happening. I remembered being raped once, and again when I was drugged resulting in a near-death or really a death experience. This was different. I did not ever remember being sexually abused. We sat on her couch together, casually talking. She said to me, “Well, you’re a embodiment practitioner, have you asked your body?” My response, “Nope.” “Well, why don’t you do that?” I closed my eyes. I went right into the center of the hip pain. I asked my body what happened. Then it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I remembered what my body had been trying to tell me for 10 years, and what my mind was trying to avoid for almost 30. I saw it all and felt it as if was happening again in my body. Sexual abuse at the age of 6 by my grandfather. I saw it all because I had dissociated as a means of survival. I immediately went on her floor of her healing center and was shaking. More like convulsing as energy pushed through my body so quickly, as my nervous system was finally releasing the trauma. I thought to myself, “Kate, what pose helps open this part of your body?” I put my body into pigeon pose in yoga. I had my right leg back so the psoas could open, and my left leg forward. My mentor proceeded to hold space for me, guiding me to breathe, and help the energy to move. I talked my way through it, shaking, colors swirling in my mind, my heart opening and my being scared and a little unsure of what was happening inside my body. I staying in that pose for over 45 minutes. There were messages coming through, and I was filled with light as I rested on my back after integrating. I would love to say that from that day forward everything got better, yet I cannot say that. That day became the final foundational cracking I needed to journey through my dark night of the soul to find my way to living in joy again. My hip pain went away and only return when I am being triggered. It is a messenger now of something not in alignment with love and truth. The remembrance of that trauma led me to dive deep into my some and psyche to unwind the decades of pain and suffering, to rewire my heart and nervous system, and to teach my brain to work in the way it was always supposed to, and never had the chance to do so before. It confirmed for me the truth that the body is the gateway to healing, that you can’t think your way through feeling, and by incorporating the body into trauma healing, vibrant living is available beyond what some believe is possible. It opened me to embrace faith as a way of being, and to learn to love myself with compassion and grace, fierce courage and resilient strength. It has helped me to be a more compassionate, empathetic practitioner, and to hold a safe space for others to heal and remember their wholeness. I don’t have gratitude for the experiences of the past, as I don’t believe someone has to be grateful for their pain in order to heal. I don’t buy into the everything is love and light. I do have forgiveness for those who were operating out of their woundedness. I forgive myself for the shame I carried blaming myself for so long. I am grateful for the healing journey that has led me to embrace life with joy. I am grateful for all those who walked with me and continue to do so every day. I am grateful to be alive and feeling life fully - all of it. I am grateful for remembering I am whole and complete as I am. Always.
Bio: Kate Shipp is lifelong seeker of truth and love. She is yoga therapist, certified in I AM Yoga Therapy TM , Hatha Yoga, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, and Advanced Yoga Nidra. She is a Reiki Master Teacher and a certified Mind, Body, Spirit Practitioner. She specializes in working privately with clients suffering with PTSD, trauma, chronic pain, anxiety, and other health imbalances to find a deep well of peace inside that creates a new foundation for daily living. She combines yoga therapy, energy medicine, and intuitive coaching to create an offering customized to guide you into reclaiming your joy and remembering your wholeness. Her work is done in-person or remotely, and can be combined with other approaches of medicine and wellness. She is a best-selling author of two compilations books, a motivational speaker, and yoga teacher trainer. Her greatest joys are her two children, and the soul love of her husband. Her dogs and cat complete her family. She grounds herself in faith, and cherishes the magic in the ordinary moments.
A HUGE thank you to Kate for sharing her Soul Story! If you are interested in sharing your SOUL STORY, please reach out to: [email protected]
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