There is something so very healing about authentic story- telling. ‘Story Warrior’ Leah Harris knows this better than most. When I read Leah’s story it brought tears to my eyes and connected us at the heart; only allowing ourselves to be truly vulnerable can do this.
Leah is an outspoken writer, public speaker, and advocate for “trauma-informed” approaches to health care, and creative and holistic strategies for healing from the effects of trauma and toxic stress. A suicide attempt survivor and suicide prevention advocate, Leah’s story is featured in the upcoming feature-length documentary about suicide, The S Word.
Here Leah tells us how #Emergingproud as spiritual feels like the last ‘taboo’, and why it’s so liberating to speak out about not only mental health struggles, but also feeling like an ‘alien’ in an insane world:
Leah #Emergesproud to say:
“I’m a mother, storyteller, and mentor who loves to support people to heal on all the levels – mind, heart, body and spirit — so they can more fully step onto their path and do their sacred work in the world.
I’m so passionate about the healing journey. I love what a non-linear spiral it is and how it’s never done. I’ve spent the last 20 years of my life devoted to learning everything I can about healing my own wounds, so I can share these elixirs with the world.
I love, love, love creative exploration and expression. Poetry has saved my life on more than one occasion. Nothing brings me more joy than to be in that creative zone of flow where the passage of time means nothing. Those moments of connection are what make life matter.
I’m obsessed with all forms of social justice. My mission is to make the world a safer and more gentle place to be human.
I’m a super sensitive, empathic, introverted type who uses all the labels and then rejects them in order to remain in a state of wonder and surprise about myself, others, and this life.
I dislike boxes of any kind, unless they are filled with organic dark chocolates.
I’m learning to lean more authentically and unapologetically into myself, and I love to encourage others to do the same.
My best friends say my superpower is listening. Folks I work with tend to agree: I hold space like nobody’s business. And that’s only because I’ve learned how to hold space for me.
I know what it’s like to feel like the world is too much, and I don’t belong here. What it’s like to want to crawl under the covers and not come out. What it’s like to hurt and to be without hope. What it’s like to sense a calling but feel so stuck, I can’t step into it.
When I was 28 and going through a serious quarter-life, Saturn-return mega crisis, an astrologer told me that my soul chose to come into a really turbulent and chaotic life experience so that I could take on the mission of healing my own trauma, become empathic as f*ck, and step into a role as a teacher and healer. At the time, I was like “who would CHOOSE this?” and “no WAY do I have anything to teach,” but now I know that she was right. I had to learn to trust myself enough to see the truth in her words.
I am a certified life, spiritual, and energetic coach with the Artist of the Spirit training program, which is based on the teachings of Don Miguel Ruiz.
MY CALLING AS A MENTOR AND COACH
IS TO HOLD SPACE FOR SENSITIVE SOULS
TO HEAL AND AWAKEN TO THEIR GIFTS.
I am so passionate about working with sensitive souls because I am one myself. I’m a survivor of childhood trauma, and was often told from a young age that I was “too sensitive.” I took my “too-muchness” and used it as a weapon against myself. I walked through the world hating myself and feeling broken and crazy inside. I collected a lot of psychiatric diagnoses and disorders along the way, and struggled with bouts of disabling physical pain. I kept attracting love relationships where I gave and gave, only to be met with betrayal and devastation.
What I didn’t understand is that my internalized negative beliefs about myself crystallized into “agreements” that led me to continually attract situations and relationships where I felt victimized and disempowered. It took me decades and a whole lot of suffering to even claim my sensitivity as a gift, let alone understand how to make it work for me instead of against me.
The way I got un-stuck was first through “re-writing my story,” working to consciously release my limiting beliefs about who I was and what I was capable of. I stopped “living from the neck up” and learned how to re-connect my body and mind. And through a variety of mindfulness practices, I was able to find greater connection with my heart and spirit.
What has been most helpful to me, though, is learning how to manage myself energetically. Using basic spiritual tools to ground myself, stay centered, and clear accumulated or stuck emotions and energies has allowed me to move through my life with a greater sense of peace and freedom. I feel less controlled by my internal chaos and am better to listen to, trust, and follow my internal compass in life, work, and relationships.
My forthcoming book, tentatively entitled Story Warriors, will be dedicated to the sacred act of storytelling, a guide and support for sharing your story as a potent force for personal transformation and social change.”
Leah Harris is an incredible human being! Mother, poet, and storyteller, she has performed her true stories live in DC with Story District, Better Said than Done, Sparkle, and La Ti Do. Her poetry has been published in Beltway Poetry, Mizna, and DC Poets Against the War: An Anthology. She is a featured poet in Alix Olson’s anthology Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution. Her poetry chapbook is entitled Poems of Mass Construction, and she is the creator of a spoken word album, Take Refuge.
Access some of Leah’s work via her website HERE
And more of her writing via these links: