PROJECT #BEYOUROWN WOMAN: SANDRA FAZIO
After consciously leaving the corporate world in 2012 when her daughter turned one, Sandra Fazio began letting go of all she thought she needed “to do” and gave permission to The Universe to “let be” what was meant for her life.
Two years later, after enduring more challenges and anxiety in her new-found motherhood journey than she ever expected, Sandra was greatly inspired by Dr. Shefali’s interview with Oprah on Super Soul Sunday on her book The Conscious Parent and knew this was The Universe’s message for Sandra to serve her life’s calling and purpose. Sandra found her daughter was “raising her” in ways she never thought possible and was about to experience her own re-birthing and metamorphosis into motherhood to meet and embrace her daughter’s essence for all she came into this life to be, serve and teach her.
Sandra is a conscious parent / personal / life coach, author, and founder of The Conscious Parent Blog and brings an authentic, open and honest heart to each connection in her life. Her offering is to expand and deepen the conversations around conscious parenting for all parents and parent-type figures, to raise our collective self-awareness and to make this world better for our children to live and lead and for generations to come.
I’m so excited to be part of this amazing project from BEYOUROWN Woman, and truly honoured to share with all of you a little bit about what it has been like for me to journey into womanhood through some pivotal trials and tribulations along with embracing self-acceptance, self-love and ultimately what it means to me to “Be Your Own Woman,” in the 21st Century.
To start, I am turning 47 this year yet I still feel so youthful, no matter the number. I’ve never let age determine my vitality or possibility in life. I’ve just always had a young spirit and a young heart with a deeply old soul. It’s an interesting combination to experience this physical body while also having a deep connection to my spirit – where I have spent much of my life seeking my purpose – taking the strides that have thus far come my way and bringing me divinely to this moment in time.
I am in the practice of conscious / life parenting – where I do hold private coaching sessions with parents to support them in all different circumstances in their lives. I help them deconstruct and propel them through insight, guidance, wisdom and very provoking questions so they move forward, get out of the rut, and on their path into their highest self. I am a strong believer that in order to help others you must be in the practice of your practice. People want to know you relate to them and are not just sharing theoretical teachings.
A little more background first on my journey…
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, coming from a small family – just my parents and my sister. Though my parents endured their own share of childhood struggles, they created a steady foundation of love and devotion for us and a home that was safe and grounding. My father was a factory worker and my mother stayed home with my sister and I for the first ten years before working in the retail industry for the next three and a half decades. We had a simple life and I hold a lot of fond memories of my childhood days.
In the summer of 1984, my parents decided to move our family to Las Vegas, Nevada – at which time I was only twelve and was about to embark upon my newfound middle school years. I was very excited about the experience and took it by storm. For me, Las Vegas provided many ‘best life’ experiences and when I look at my life in retrospection, it really was a great foundation for our family, though I’m sure other people might be a little bewildered by this comment since this city has a stigma for so many things.
Personally, I feel no matter where you are in your life, no matter what location you may be, so much of what manifests from a given location ultimately starts at home. You bring outwardly to the world what you feel inward. So, while Las Vegas may have had its own ‘Sin City’ stigmas, my parents were self-assured we would thrive, and their hunch was right! Home is where the heart is.
I stayed in Las Vegas through the age of 29 where I built a strong network of friends through my school years, including college, as well as many respectable colleagues through my advertising agency career days. But I had burned the midnight oil in my then marketing career knowing there was something greater out there to be found. I had that first “itch” to get out and see more of the world to be more “free” and break out of my daily rigidity. I had still so much in me to go seek, adventure and learn that I took a leap of faith.
Having reached a burn-out point in my career before age 30, I decided to do some extensive traveling during the latter half of 2001 to test the waters. I began with a solo trip to Club Med, followed by Seattle, Washington then New Orleans, Louisiana and ultimately to Washington, D.C. Each trip had its own purpose, propelling me deeper into my knowing that I needed to move away from Las Vegas at that point in my life. I was willing to leave all I knew to discover more of my journey.
So, within six weeks of visiting Washington, D.C., I quit my well-paid corporate position as amarketing/advertisingg manager in the telecom industry, packed my belongings in two suitcases, withdrew a small handful of savings and moved to Washington D.C. in January 2002. I didn’t venture alone as I moved with a dear high-school friend who pitched the idea to me after our brief spontaneous travels together in December 2001. While we were on different paths, we trusted the opportunity met us divinely at the same time and that we would be great supports to one another as we endeavoured this experience. We remain close to this day and though we had a few stumbling blocks during our time in D.C. it only made us stronger.
I stayed in Washington D.C. for fourteen months having taken a job in outside sales and what I thought was just going to be a small gig while I was out there experiencing this new area of the continent—I ended up staying with this company for ten years! So much for a small gig.
WOMANHOOD BEFORE MOTHERHOOD
This spontaneous move to Washington, D.C. was one of many breakthroughs into embracing my womanhood that got me out of my comfort zone on so many levels, but it gave me the confidence to see how I navigated life in unfamiliar territory and how when I put my heart and mind to making things happen, I do it.
I took on this “outside sales job thing”, which I swore I would never “do sales,” coupled with driving between a Tri-State – Maryland, D.C. and Virginia – on any given day and getting lost on the road plenty of times, all while trying to find my apartment properties that I was visiting to do my sales pitch. I have to say though I was very proud to witness my own unfolding and determination – embracing myself on a deeper level and seeing just what I was made of.
Eventually, I moved to Orange County, California with the same company and same position – about a year and a-half into the job – so I could be closer to Las Vegas as my sister was expecting her second child in 2004. During my time in California, I was working many more hours than I had preferred falling back into my old workaholic and perfectionist patterns – struggling to understand many things around my life path. Here I was almost 33, still not married (now I have such a different perspective on “attached ideals” in my evolved mindset) but at the time, I felt like the clock as ticking and ticking and I was stuck in the same rut.
Orange County remained home to me for a good two and a-half years until I got promoted into a National Sales position with my company which brought a totally different vibration that felt right for me to endeavour – as the outside sales position itself was wearing me down physically.
Well as the Universe would have it—because it knew I needed to go through all of this to eventually bring me back full circle back to be where I am today – I ended up moving back to Las Vegas with my newly promoted national sales position by no coincidence.
A quick digression – see just before I moved to Washington, D.C. in 2002, I went to a local mall in November 2001 to purchase some contact lenses, and I encountered a rather handsome sales consultant who had helped me. I recall our interaction as if it were just yesterday and would not know it at the time how that encounter would change my life (again).
When I returned to Las Vegas for the second time, I worked out of a local sales office even though I was part of the national team as it was a place to take residence with my job since “working from home” at that time was not really an “in” thing as it is those days.
Within a few months of getting acquainted there, I met one of the other sales account executives in the office and we found easy company with each other instantly. After a few courtships and conversations, I put two-and-two together and recalled that he was the same sales person I met at the mall four years prior, where I purchased my contact lenses, and to whom I have now been married to for almost twelve years. Pretty crazy, right? You can’t make this stuff up.
TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS
With respect to some of my greatest trials and tribulations, I encountered one of the hardest at the age of seventeen when I was involved in a horrific car accident – which I undoubtedly know changed the trajectory of my path, sparing my life so I could be here to finish learning the life lessons I was meant as a mother.
I was about one month into owning my first car and just got my license a few months prior. I was driving home from my part-time high school job at the mall the night of January 7, 1989, but that night I took a slightly different route home making a U-turn in front of our family’s apartment home. In a flash, I was struck broadside in my driver’s door and ended up rupturing my bladder, puncturing my lung, fracturing my pelvis, and breaking five ribs. I was rushed to ICU and remained in the hospital for two weeks thereafter. At seventeen years old my cheerleading days were over, which was a big deal at the time for me, and I had to re-learn how to use my bladder again amidst many other changes.
But there was a resiliency within me to persevere and power through that life-changing experience. I had no choice and was not going to let that experience get the best of me. My parents were a big part in encouraging me to get back on my feet and not let it defeat me.
As I share this conversation here, the word, “resiliency” is a woven fabric within my being. When I look at where I’m at today – and all of the trials and tribulations I have endured – resiliency is the common denominator that has kept me going strong. The more I’ve come to know myself and the more I have become an understudy of my own being and essence – who is seeking the deepest truth of myself in this physical world – I know resiliency is just a part of my nature. It’s what makes me who I am and what allows me to rise above all trials and tribulations no matter the magnitude. I’m grateful to have been wired with this energy and hold great respect for it.
But when I think further upon all the trials and tribulations life brings our way as a whole, I’ve found – through the practice of being a conscious parent / life coach and from my own unabashed process and deconstruction of self-growth – that when we’re in the muck of any part of it in our life it is hard to see things clearly for ourselves what others may see for us. And in that impaired vision, we have a tendency to avoid asking ourselves the hard questions to create needed change or take responsibility for the co-creation in which we’re bringing to our story, our reality, our relationships, our choices and decisions. But when we stand in our truth, own up, set inner and outer boundaries, remain consistent and steadfast to the degree our circumstances require of us, we can really access the inner consciousness, willingness, energy and patience to persevere the trials and tribulations – having a positive and powerful influence on the outcome. We all have it within us if we just get still enough to access it.
From a spiritual perspective, I can tell you that the journey that we’re all here to grow and learn through has great purpose. We may not always see or understand it in those tough moments but it’s important that we allow those experiences to emerge, so we can get really clear on why we chose this physical life form to incarnate and what is it we’re here to really finish up from previous lives.
SELF-ACCEPTANCE and SELF-LOVE
When it comes to self-acceptance and self-love, I offer these insights and one where I have recently had to realign myself (even as a conscious parenting coach) in some ways of my own parenting and do some course-correcting but it took courage and willingness to see those needed changes and do something about it instead of complaining or sulking in my story. I had to detach from the emotions and lack mindset and take an observer perspective to see where I co-created my own pain and suffering. It is not about guilting or shaming myself for my mis-takes but rather choosing to be open to receive the lessons through them.
The more I’m articulating and sharing here, I’m witnessing how all the pieces continue to come together, for the greater good, constantly teaching me to really to embrace life as it is – without judging myself in the process of it. Most importantly learning to accept and love myself in all the ups and downs and really know that I have a choice in how I wish to see all parts of my life and to be gentle with myself—to nurture the inner child part of me that’s still learning and growing from each and all experiences. I’m not sure how any (or all) of this resonates for you or where you see some reflection in your own life, but I trust pieces of it will find an opening to your own heart.
As I’ve actively sought to know myself deeper and really seek out to be more curious about the core depth of my being, I can see that there’s always been this uniqueness around my approach in life around the way I have shown up in all my interactions. I have an energy that is very high awareness of everything around me and at times will make as if people don’t “get me” or it can feel as though I am “misunderstood.” My cognitive mind processes and digests the world and knowledge in a progressive way, sometimes ahead of its time. There’s a tendency when one has this kind of vast well within them, they have a difficult time seeing for themselves what others see so clearly. An example is how I never perceived myself as “smart,” but others would always tell me differently.
The “not feeling smart” was a story that I’ve carried with me for many moons, starting back from the third grade when one of my teachers wrote on my report card that “Sandra has a difficult time comprehending.” That became a tape I played over and over in my head and subconsciously began to believe. There was a time when I would judge that, and I would just think I’m just not smart, and I forget things needing to re-read a book or specific paragraph many times over, to grasp the concept. What followed were self-sabotaging thoughts like, “what’s wrong with you?” and “how come you don’t get this?”
Though it’s taken close to 40 years to rewire this false story, I’ve come to learn that the way I am wired cognitively and how I’m aligned here physically in this world, is exactly the opposite of the way I was conditioned to believe one is “smart”. So much of our systems are based on the left-brain teachings. Very archaic, past-based and structured. I was fighting against my own natural wiring all these years when really my brain isn’t here to be rigid or absolute knowing or really to remember in any conventional way. It is here instead to be abstract, aware, present-based, spontaneous to absorb all and be a vessel to others in sharing what I have digested through my life experiences. My physical being is an “in the now” container of life that trusts that when I am meant to access that inner wisdom well, it will come through me organically without question or doubt. Had I only learned this early on, I would have saved myself years of grief, lack and doubt.
In writing this, I recognise this may seem a bit far-fetching to some of you and perhaps not to others. In the continued process of self-acceptance and self-love, I realise I will not appeal to everyone and that is okay so long as I align to my truth, all is well. I’ve come to love, cherish and value these unique parts about me in a whole new way.
MOTHERHOOD – WHERE IT ALL COMES TOGETHER (Womanhood, Trials and Tribulations and Self-Acceptance and Self-Love)
I’m a blessed mother of an amazing eight-year-old, very bright minded, soulful, spirited, wise being. As I’ve previously shared – prior to motherhood – I was out exploring and enjoying the world with a zest for all things self-growth. I had really no limitations, no constraint and no anchors in my life, and I was able to venture, travel and endeavor my career to find my path and purpose here on Earth. All the while not knowing it would be motherhood where my purpose would be found.
Motherhood has been really the greatest breakthrough into womanhood infused with many trials and tribulations and self-acceptance and self-love. Becoming a mother at the age of 39, I chose to quit my advertising / sales career to be home full-time with my daughter. It cracked me open beyond measure and is still cracking me open, moment to moment, day to day. I had such a fantasy of what motherhood was going to look like thinking I had laid out all the stones to receive it in the exact way I had envisioned – only to come and find that it would be the very thing that would have to break me down to actually wake me up. And, guess what, I’m still in the muck of it yet I’m in the magic of it in this very moment.
I know that the Universe gave me a girl because I was meant to see myself so much more deeply from the eyes of this divine soul – who I personally feel, know and believe – that she and I have walked this journey together in many past lives. To some of you, this may seem a little abstract and airy-fairy, but I don’t hold an ounce of doubt and trust we both called each other into this life form to continue what we had start long ago.
Every day, I do practice the practice of self-acceptance and self-love as a mom and a human being. I fall. I rise. I veer off course. I course-correct. I have guilt. I hold grace. My daughter was brought to me remind me every day of how much I still have yet to do and grow because this isn’t an end-all, be-all destination. This is not a one-time experience. It’s a continuum of self-discovery, and I’m sure I’m going to have many more lifetimes at this experience—just in different life forms.
My daughter sees a lot of my imperfections. She sees my despaired moments at times, amongst my amazing ones, because to be the most authentic example of a woman to my daughter is to show her that life is not always going to be easy but it is how we ease into a life that we can juice out the lessons.
As long as I’m conscious in that moment and I’m as awake as I can be, then I will always know that I need to keep attuning to the self-acceptance – the ebbs and flows, the falling and hitting the ground – knowing that I’m not at all here to be perfect rather I’m here to learn and grow and experience the depths of what I’m meant to—so that I can rise even higher.
Self-acceptance and self-love have become something that I’ve had to teach myself. It’s not something that I can remember having been told what it means to have self-love and self-acceptance. I’ve had to go seek it and get intimate with it – and embrace it and love it- and have moments with it. I’ve become deeper in my truth and my self-love and self-acceptance through my journey into motherhood than any other place to-date.
A lot of self-acceptance and self-love has come through the cathartic healing experience of writing / channeling poetry – which has become a resonance in me – a kind of love language of my own soul that I never knew existed – prior to being a mom. It’s not that I never wrote some form of poetry in the past – because I always loved songwriting – but it has been more so over the last two years, through many of the trials and tribulations of my journey, that poetry became kind of a medium—a language that I felt the Universe speaking through me. It has given me a reflection and resonance of my own experiences, outside of myself, so I can actually observe it from a higher perspective, outside of the physical self. A kind of self-coaching method.
Breaking open into womanhood as a mother has been deeply painful yet beautifully purposeful and there is a beautiful and yet painful unfolding that really comes with birthing a child—right? It’s not so much just the physical birthing as it is shedding skin and birthing something more of yourself, beyond any imagination, beyond any words that anyone could ever explain or describe – you just have to experience it for yourself – if this is part of your life’s destiny.
I feel womanhood has so many layers. I don’t know that there’s one aspect of it. I Every time we venture into a new part of our being, we’re shedding skin, we’re evolving and we’re becoming more of the butterfly, we’re going to experience the pleasure, pain and passion of the purpose we are here to become one with a new dimension of ourselves.
But not every woman is going to experience womanhood from the standpoint of being a mother or even giving birth. Some may experience it from their own childhood and where they had to raise themselves. Another may experience it through building and birthing a business of their own from the ground up – and that’s their “baby”. Some may experience it because they took on the caretaker role in raising their family and their siblings, or they endured a really horrific experience in their lives that had to get them out of the darkness, and into the light.
No matter the experience, I commend all women as they are – for who they are and how they show up – to the magnitude they do and for the work they’re here to be, to share and to offer the world. Because however a woman is meant to meet the moment of her womanhood, I feel there is a seeded beauty within each soul that nurtures and nourishes which simultaneously empowers and enlivens her to break open, break through and break free into that said experience.
WHAT IT MEANS TO “BEYOUROWN WOMAN”
So, what does this all mean to “#BEYOUROWN Woman,” in the 21st Century? For me, the essence is – seek your truth, stand in your truth, and be your truth. That would be the most simplistic way I would summarise being your own woman in the 21st Century. Reminding oneself that the truth is nowhere outside of you and it’s only within you to be discovered. You will traverse the external world physically, sure, to tap more deeply inside but ultimately the truth of you is what you were divinely born with. And until you awaken to the notion that you are here to grow into your highest self and really become one with you – looking to nobody else to measure up against or compare yourself to but love yourself enough to honour all the parts – is only when you will feel deep inner peace. It may take an entire lifetime but that’s okay. Go there and endeavour the pain so you can embrace the full purpose of your existence. Honour it all, love it all, be in the truth of it all.
Don’t be afraid to admit your vulnerability and where you’re seeking to grow. It’s no one else’s responsibility to do it for us. If you don’t love that part of you – that inner child of you – that’s been suppressed and confined and told, “no,” and the more you ignore that and you don’t give voice to it and allow that part of you inwardly to be expressed, to be heard and seen – that’s where all the misdirection comes from and where the ego comes in and tries to take over.
Get curious, ask yourself the deep questions and stay in that vibration of seeking your truth because then it becomes one with you—and that’s the only compass in which you can direct your life and be guided through life—is by that inner truth compass.
NEXT STEPS AND WHERE I AM GOING?
So, what are my next steps, where is it I’m going, and what is it I’m looking to still accomplish and fulfil for my own self?
I can tell you that this year I already feel an energetic shift and I’m determined more than ever to take back and own my dreams in a way that I’ve never done before. With hindsight vision, I realise now that the path I’ve been traversing to-date all the way through my later motherhood years has been a divine cause and effect of each moment preparing me for this year to expand, shine and serve my purpose on an even greater collective level. Having the opportunity to be part of this project is one step towards that vision too. It found me organically but I know I have raised my vibrations into the Universe declaring “I am ready to go bigger.”
I’m working toward self-publishing my second book around conscious and inspirational poetry. It’s very storytelling-based and a reflection of my journey, insights, observations, lack, fears, pain, and my awakening through many of the ancient wisdom teachings. I am really excited for it to greet the hearts and hands of thousands and remind the chosen reader that I am one with you on this journey we call life – no matter the respective paths we’ve each taken.
My passion is to continue to move people through my own journey and through my own trials and tribulations. Not from a place of, “I know better,” or, “I’m here to tell you how to do it” or there is just this one way that’s going to get you [from] Point A to B rather to be the vessel of truth and vulnerability so that others see a reflection of their own truth within themselves.
Essentially, I am really just somebody who has been walking a path and has chosen consciously to allow the vulnerability of that path to become my own voice and not only to awaken me but to become a vessel to other people to shine a light on themselves – helping them to awaken and be reminded that they’re not alone and that we’re all here, in whatever way we are, to evolve into our highest self.
I’m really excited to see what this year brings, and I trust that all that is meant to be will continue to happen in its divine time just like all has up to this point.
Twitter Handle: @TCPJourney
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sandrafazioconsciousparenting/