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The Year of Yes

Q&A Interview with Tracee Sioux

Where were you before your Year of YES!?
Before Year of YES! I had just gotten a divorce and was making $600 a month, feeding my kids from the food bank. I had been a stay-at-home-mom for 12 years, having tanked my journalism career in favor of motherhood. I had kept my foot wedged in the door of my profession by taking craptastic piece writing work for the privilege of calling myself a journalist. It’s the story of hundreds of thousands of other women in this country. I found that no one really wants to hire you after you leave the workforce in favor of motherhood.

What made you want to say YES! to your Soul?
I had a moment, washing dishes after the divorce in a terrifying personal financial crisis and I felt a deep peace within my Soul. She had gotten what she wanted. She was no longer in constant conflict with my wasband. She came here with a purpose—to use her gift of writing to help others—but, he was never supportive of that, constantly telling her to quit and go get a job. Finally, she had gotten what she wanted. I realized, if my Soul gets what she wants, I get to have this incredible peace. If she doesn’t I have this horrible feeling of being conflicted.

What if my soul got everything she wanted? What would my life look like? Where would I be?

I committed. How do you feel about the word NO? I love that word. I think a Power NO is saying YES! to your Soul. Everyone is trying to be the boss of everyone else all the time. Your family, your husband, your kids, your parents, your church, your friends, the PTA, your kid’s teacher, our boss, your coworkers, your neighbors—everyone has an opinon about what you should be doing with your life. Saying YES! to your Soul is saying NO! to everyone else’s agenda for your life.

Why aren’t people already living their Soul’s Purpose?
If you weren’t afraid of your Soul’s Purpose you’d already be living it. Our Souls often ask us to do things that defy convention and interfere with other people’s agendas for our lives. It’s scary to go against what other people believe you should be doing. My Soul asked me to take risks—big risks—emotional, financial, social and sexual—risks during my Year of YES! Much of it didn’t make sense to me. It was a total act of faith. I leapt off a lot of cliffs. Many people don’t approve of what my Soul leads me to do. There’s a loss in that. But, it’s worth it for the feeling of internal peace.

How do you know when it’s your Soul and not something else?
Excellent question. And it’s the one I get asked most often. So many outside voices live inside our heads—vying for mindshare, demanding to be the boss of us. I have several methods for being able to tell what’s the Soul and what’s the Ego or other Outside voices. There’s a Soul v. Ego Smackdown eCourse on my website for free that will walk you through a three-step process. First you have to silence the outside voices. Then you have to invite the Soul to speak. Then you have to choose. The Soul is kind and sweet and gentle. Even if it’s asking you to do something you’re afraid of—and it often will—it will feel peaceful and loving when it asks. The Ego is mean and sometimes even cruel. It has three main lies to get you to obey it: you don’t have enough time, you don’t have enough money and you’re not good enough. It often calls names, gets angry and threatens things like judgment, poverty and shame. The Ego makes a lot of very good and rational points. The Soul simply wants you to follow your desires.

You try alternative methods to sexuality and healing from sexual trauma in the book. Can you talk more about that?
Yes. Like many, many women I have sexual trauma in my past. Traditional therapy participates in what I call Pain Soaking, you talk about your pain, but it never heals. With religion you talk about your pain and celibacy is the only option for sexual healing. Neither provides a positive sexual experience to replace the negative sexual experience. It just leaves a void for the demons to creep back into. I really needed practice to experience staying in my body during sexual contact. I needed to experience my own sexuality without worrying about the other person’s sexuality.


You talk about men in this book. Where they’re at and what’s going on with them. Can you talk about that?
I’ve had lots of trauma caused by men in my past. I needed to heal that. We have this new phenomenon with gender roles being flip flopped and men feel sad, impotent in the world. Women are feeling stressed out from doing everything. I wish more men were on the spiritual path. I’d like to see them get in the game. I miss men. My Year of YES! put some phenomenal men in my life and I really, really needed to see that they existed.

You talk about addiction and quitting drinking in the book.

After 9/11 I suffered severe post partum depression—I was 8 months pregnant when I witnessed the second tower being hit. I couldn’t get my physiological terror response to turn off afterward. I was in a state of anxiety that left me debilitated and unable to function. Doctors prescribed more and more Xanax, a dentist prescribed more and more codeine. Eventually I ended up in rehab to avoid seizures from withdrawal. I continued to drink alcohol, but the year before the book was written I had gotten some pretty serious warning signs from my Soul to stop drinking or pay a very high price. Whether it’s a gene or a spiritual demon passed down for generations—It’s a serious problem for me and my family. I’ve always been in relationships with addicts and I’ve fought my own demons. I only drank once during my Year of YES! and it was a terrible experience of separation from God.

You did past life regression in your Year of YES! Why? What was that like?
It’s funny because at the beginning of the book I kind of make fun of past life beliefs. Yet, I was facing turmoil over a relationship that I couldn’t understand. I just couldn’t understand why I felt the way I did. My Soul kept telling me to contact this past life regressionist that I had met at a conference. So I said YES! I had three regression experiences that literally left me changed. During one I felt a love very deep and pure, during another I was pleasure drenched in the love between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ, and in another I threw a gold clutch from the spirit realm to this realm and was gifted a company logo. Each experience was quite transformative for my Year of YES! There are many dimensions in the Kingdom of Heaven.

You pray to many gods and deities in this book. Why?
I pray to one god of many names and interpretations and traditions. I find common ground in various religious traditions and wisdom among all belief systems. I draw from whichever one brings me the most strength, healing, wholeness, power and beliefs.

You’ve done some pretty seriously wrong things, to friends and family. Why would you tell everyone about them?
I’m flawed. My mistakes aren’t grounded in maliciousness. They were grounded in confusion about who I am and mistakes I have made. Most of them were motivated by love. Love is a many faceted thing and a great many of us are doing it very badly. But we’re doing it.

The Year of Yes Book Synopsis

In 2012 Tracee found herself feeding her kids from the food bank following her divorce. She was doing everything “they” told her to do with her fledgling writing business—she had the national media attention and the Thank You notes to prove it—but she was only making $600 a month. She was “awesome,” everyone said so. She had “awesomed” her way to the food bank. Her life was completely transformed when she decided to follow her Soul’s voice in her business and her life. She ended her Year of YES! filing taxes for $65,000, within 18 months she had cleared the six-figure mark. During the year she built a scalable foundation for her business, created a Spiritual Travel Column, created an amazing support system of positive people, lost three pants sizes and freed herself from the guilt and shame of her past.

She now teaches people how to say YES! to their own Soul’s Song. Every person came here with a Purpose and Tracee loves to help people discover what that Purpose is and turn it into a profitable business and an intentional life. When you align with your Soul’s Purpose the Universe rolls out the red carpet for you—of course, it’s a flying carpet and you have to leap off the cliff to get to it—Tracee helps you gain the audacity to leap.

The Year of YES! Memoir, what if you said YES! to everything your Soul told you to do? Where would your life take you? What would you be doing? This is a memoir of my own Year of YES! It’s a spiritual awakening, a raw, unflinching reckoning with my jagged past, a transmutation of self and an exploration of sexuality—the sacred (and not so sacred)—a journey of healing and a slaying of demons. Ultimately, it’s a look at where I’ve been and choosing where I’m going.

About the Author

Tracee Sioux, Mastress of Manifestation, is author, coach, radio host and creator of The Year of YES! It’s the year you say YES! to everything your Soul tells you to do. Her Soul’s Purpose is to help others develop the audacity to say YES! to their own Soul’s purpose. Her work has been featured in New York Times Magazine, Forbes.com and Today.com.

Sioux led The Girl Revolution, a movement to empower girls in the face of today’s marketing and media messaging. She is the author of Love Distortion: Belle, Battered Codependent and Other Love Stories. Read a free sample chapter of The Year of YES! at http://www.traceesioux.com

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Angry Women

by Karen Ribeiro

Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Director General, said, “The future of this planet depends on women.”

I experienced the power of this statement at one of Ginny Robertson’s recent On Purpose Woman conferences in Maryland, when dozens of presenters set the stage for real transformation.

It began with Maq Ele of G-String Living, a woman who stood 6’4″ in her sparkling silver shoes with a magic story to go with them. Maq was able to inspire us through her bold spirit and the acknowledgement that “it’s just me and God in the room here.” When you have just been told you are God, it becomes much easier to see the negative stuff inside that needs love and healing.

Maq had put an envelope under our chairs with “negative” phrases we embody like Limited Thinking, Acting Small and Victim Consciousness. My envelope had this last phrase and I wanted to say, “Oh, I’m so done with victim consciousness.” Yet I stood up to “take one for the team,” as many later described my action.

What I had shared from my wide open electrified heart was the desire for more open-hearted family communication. I admitted to not being my best self in the midst of all the fast-paced half-listening at home and wanted to sustain what we all felt right then, in that safe space, in my own home.

It is easy to get inspired at most well organized conferences. But this one held a unique surprise for me. I got angry in a session called Embracing the “Other,” led by Vaile Leonard and Ginny Robertson, and I think that was the plan. There are so many things that pit one person against another! The question of “When did it become okay to call each other a bitch?” led to a rich discussion about divisive television programming and ridiculously intense (yet often very subtle) competition for the best fashion, the best guy, the best job, the best everything.

What does all this competition do to women? It makes us suspicious, distrustful, envious, negative and down on ourselves.

I was feeling this strong collective anger and noticed that we only had 5 minutes left of the session and raised my hand to ask if there would be time for me to lead us in a song. I learned that we had two closing exercises that should transform the anger and that I could also sing the song at the end. In the meantime, women began to share experiences of isolation, how it felt to not be supported and not be able to ask for support. Something was shifting….

In the first closing exercise we read a Forgiveness Pledge:

2012-12-13-pledgetomysisters.jpgIt was so powerful I could feel the connection between us electrify as we echoed phrase after phrase. It helped tremendously. And then we did the second closing exercise, which brought half of us to tears-tears of anger transformed into hope.

Our facilitators had instructed one woman in the front row on the far right of the room to look in the eyes of the woman to her left and simply say “I see you” (a traditional greeting in certain African cultures) and have each woman repeat this to her neighbor row after row around the room and then back in the opposite direction. After a few women followed instruction, it became automatic, intuitive and perfectly natural for both women looking into each other’s eyes to say “I see you” to each other, making the second half of this exercise unnecessary.

I was uplifted and content, yet I’d asked to lead the group in song… so I did! Many joined me in a song called “Dear Friends.” One woman was so impressed she later told me she would share the video she had recorded with her family and teach them to sing it together.

The lyrics are simple:

Dear friends, dear friends
Let me tell you how I feel
You have given me such treasures
I love you so

It is possible and downright urgent to actively transform the isolation and divisive competition of this world that has plagued us since industrialization. In the safe space of a conference, it is easy; back in our day to day routines, not so much.

After the conference ended a large group of women went out to dinner. We were hungry and struggling with odd restaurant rules, so we began complaining amongst ourselves. This behavior seemed just a bit out of place given our day of joy and renewed perspective. But what to do when your circumstances (many hungry women) do not improve (unable to even order salads until the rest of our party arrived) despite logical action? This situation was no big deal in the scheme of things. After an hour a few baskets of bread were delivered and we moved blissfully into happier conversations.

But what about the big deal circumstances that piqued our anger earlier that day?

As I drove home the next day, noticing anger directed at a driver who cut me off and ugly language yelled at another driver going 20 mph below the speed limit in the fast lane, I remembered the “I see you” exercise and thought, “I can see myself getting engrossed in an audiobook or thought and driving quite a bit slower than the flow of traffic”, and “I can certainly be in a difficult situation needing to drive just a bit less polite than I might like.”

Even though road rage wouldn’t naturally be considered a Big Deal Anger circumstance, it is these day-to-day minor triggers that generally go undetected. Road rage or other seemingly minor irritations that we consciously or unconsciously try to ignore sure do add up! Instead of walking around like a ticking time bomb, I want to live in the same blissful connectedness of being seen that I felt in that simple “I see you” exercise. Living this way begins by recognizing that we ALL want to live this way. And it begins by stopping the blame.

How powerful would we be if we all stopped the blame?

I can remind myself not to blame drivers on the road for behaving a little differently than I might at that moment. I’m not sure yet that I have the capacity to not blame media producers for making corrosive “reality” TV shows, but I can be a better listener at home and I can keep looking for ways to SEE (and listen to) others instead of blaming. And guess what? This Stop Look and Listen behavior neutralizes anger.

In addition to signing the Pledge to My Sisters, I pledge to listen better to my family members and stop blaming them for communication struggles. Neutralizing and transforming my own anger towards others dramatically increases my capacity to love them. That’s powerful!

How are you transforming your anger?

This post first appeared on InnerFortune.com and the Huffinton Post. Reproduced with permission from the author.

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