My unfolding story, or at least a few parts of it:
My name is Charlotte Rose Pecquex and I am a writer, a healer, and a teacher.
My journey here is too long for this one page; it is perfectly imperfect, and definitely unfinished. I choose to write the empowered tale of my life, even with all the hardship stuck in between. Throughout my journey, I have told many pieces of my story in different shapes. Each poem, essay, oral history shares a different part of my puzzle, so let's begin here, with this one: the story of how I became a healer, also known as the story of how I got here.
I was raised a child of the flowers; my first language, flower names and smells and the feeling of barefeet touching Earth. My parents, both lovers of nature and creatives at heart, owned a flower shop called Earth Garden. My mother the designer, flower magician, artist at heart. My father, a self-taught horticulturist, man of the forest, gentle worker of the land. This was my introduction into the language of plants and their medicine, the power of nature, of Mother Earth.
Life being the nonlinear path that it is, was not so simple forever. I have always been a bit too wise for my years, as most highly-sensitive people are. I was a teenager who wanted to grow up too fast in a society that encouraged me to do so. I forgot what it meant to be a child of the Earth and the magical quality of nature and found myself in an endless cycle of seeking happiness outside of myself. I entered a dark night of the soul and found myself in an eight year abusive relationship. When most teenagers are busy being teenagers, I was stuck in vicious cycle of suffering that I did not know I entered and did not know how to escape. I did not, at that time, have the tools to find my way out.
What's amazing about that is the universe always provides answers, you just have to be willing to listen, to embark on the healing path. Which brings me back here: we all have deep trauma, trauma of our childhood, of our ancestors, of our adult lives. We live through cycles unconsciously, not knowing that we can weave our way out if we just begin to deeply listen. My practice and my teaching speaks to that deep listening, the following the path as it is presented before us, even when we wish for something different. It requires an inherent level of trust and a deep gratitude for the gifts that are often disguised as obstacles in our lives. Throughout my journey, I was gifted many tools that have led me to become the healer, the woman, and the teacher I am today. I did not always accept them with grace, but I now accept them with gratitude. This is what it means to rewrite our lives, the empowered version:
Gift number one: Poetry & My Inner Voice
Accidents come in all shapes and sizes. Most of them come with grace. In my second year as an English major, I got stuck with the last pick of classes and a writing requirement that forced me to take Poetry I. I dreaded it every single day leading up to that semester. The story I told myself: I am definitely not a poet, I am not a writer, I hate when words repeatedly rhyme. No exaggeration, in poetry class number one of that semester I had my eyes and my heart ripped wide open. I found out that for poets, flower names are a language all of their own, writing your story is emotional catharsis. I found out that poets are a community of soul, and it is in that class that I found the first place I had ever truly belonged. I changed my major by the end of that semester. My story changed: I am a poet, I am a writer, the most important endeavor I will ever do is write my life. I have a voice and a story that is worth hearing..
Many years, many poems, and many writing classes later, I can see that the writing I did then was the very deep inner work that began healing so much of my trauma that I was able to find the courage in myself and in my community to leave the cycle of abusive I found myself in with my former partner. We have a choice in how we tell our stories, we can let our trauma jade us, hold us back, we can remain trapped in the pain of our past- or we can find those happy accidents that guided us to who we are now. I am forever grateful to my first teacher, Carol Ann Davis, who whether she knows it or not, is a healer, a holder of sacred space, and a spiritual guide for so many young writers and communities.
Gift number two: Yoga & Meditation
Being a writer means I am adept at sitting for long periods of time, I am great a going deep into the sticky soul parts of my emotional landscape and turning them into art. Yet, often that process does not speak the world of embodiment, of the sensation we have in our three dimensional being. I sat for a long time with pain in my body that I could not understand, trauma left untouched from my physical being. Until one day as if someone had whispered in my ear, I sat up straight out of bed and said "I need to go to yoga". I will never know where that inner voice came from, but I do know that it was the next gift on my healing journey.
Yoga was the first time I felt that emotional release in my body. I could not explain why, but I would go to yoga feeling stuck, and leave feeling divine release, soft confidence, grace of being. I am a person who tends to spend much of their time in their head; and for the first time, yoga allowed me to create a relationship with my heart. After many years of practicing at my soul home, Saraswati's Yoga Joint, I eventually completed my 200-hour yoga teacher certification with my teachers Donna Jackson, Liz Lowe, and Erin Thorkilsen.
Yoga has taught me that the deepest healing happens in the liminal space between your body and your mind, or what I like to think of as our soul. Our bodies and minds are divinely intertwined, and as such much of our trauma becomes lodged in spaces of our bodies creating dis-ease (physical and mental illness). With that deep knowing much of my work in my own yoga practice and my teaching has evolved to become a deep and intuitive somatic release. Yoga has been a staple of my practice that has moved me through all shades of my life, and is the physical tool to guide me in my healing journey.
Gift number three: Medicine of the Earth and of Sky
I want to be clear: healing is hard and slow. There is no divine awakening that happens after a predetermined number of meditations that makes you whole again. This is a journey well worth the effort and time that it takes, and along the way we find little blessings that tell us we are on the right path. For me this started with the medicine of the blue jay.
In the midst of the deepest part of my dark night of the soul, I found myself alone at a reservoir close to my childhood home that always soothed my heart. I was walking my dog down by the water, when he pulled me over into the brush and something fantastically blue flashed before my eyes. It was more a flash of light than anything else, and when I looked down, placed pristinely in the lake grass was blue jay feather beaming in the sun. That first feather was the beginning of my initiation not just as a student of the Earth in the process of healing, but as the healer that I have grown into many years later.
Since that feather, I have found hundreds more. It began with just the blue jay, I would feel a little tickle of intuition and look down and there would be one right between my feet. I would stop to tie my shoe and in front of me there was another familiar hint of blue and black. I did not even know that there was such thing as feather medicine at that time in my life, my only level of knowing was the soul spark of affirmation I got every time I crossed paths with another feather. Since then I have learned to receive the teachings of the birds who gift me their feathers: from the turkey to goldfinch, to the hawk, the white heron, the woodpecker, and more, we each have guides that deliver us messages and affirmations through our healing journey, we must learn to listen.
Gift number four: Medicine of the Plants & of the Trees
My most recent journey is through the work of herbalism, or plant medicine. This gift has taken me back to the roots of my childhood, talking to the plants and trees of my parents flower shop. It is funny how sometimes, we have held these gifts our whole lives that we do not even know we have until we remember their purpose.
We are in a time of vast dis-ease right at this very moment, both physically and emotionally. We are being called again to find the wholesome healing of the plants of our ancestors. Think back to what your grandmother had in her pantry or her medicine cabinet that everyone joked about - lean into that. (My grandma has lemon verbena to calm the nerves, the smell of which makes me deeply nostalgic for her home.) We once were a species who relied on the medicine of the Earth, before we had drug stores and doctor's offices and pharmacies.
Herbalism is one of those never-ending learning journeys that we embark on, and I like to think of it as a practice, much like yoga. We lean into what feels good for our bodies, and we learn through the movement itself, by slowing down what is happening in our heads and listening with our hearts. As coronavirus has begun to slow us all down and put a halt to our day to day lives as we know them, I encourage you to explore some of the plant allies that assisted me through recent ailments - (see Plants page). We all enter a deeply whole state when we turn to the medicine of the Earth, and facilitate healing both within and without.
I hesitate to stop here because in reality there is so much more to my healing journey than these four gifts from the Earth, and even each of those just glosses the surface. I invite you to ask more if something in particular calls to you, and I am sure that much more will emerge from these stories and themes in my blog and podcast over the coming months. As always, a reminder that this path is nonlinear, ever unfolding through the full spectrum of life- the ups and the downs, to dark and the light, the growing cycles and the leaping ones. My goal is to create a safe space, a community through which we can share our own humanity, and our own stories of all of the sticky, nitty gritty places we encounter, and to celebrate the ones we overcome.
Consider this your welcome to my virtual soul home, and I invite you to show up exactly as you are.
With tremendous love and gratitude,