When I was five, we lived in a modest, 1970’s neighborhood and our next door neighbor was a magician. I believed in magic at five, and when I saw him pull a bird out of hat, I was convinced he could turn me into a bird.
One afternoon, he promised the neighborhood kids a casual magic show, and I remember waiting for hours for him to emerge from his front door. There was a chain-link fence separating our yards, and like a prisoner hanging on to the bars that separates ‘us from them’, I patiently waited for my shot at flying freedom.
As I was sitting on the ground, I remember thinking about being able to fly, and what that would really mean. Once I was turned into a bird, I planned on taking flight around the neighborhood, and imagined what my little world looked like from that higher perspective.
Then the thoughts of flying further crept in…and the possibility of flying out of range of my neighborhood and leaving my family.
Perhaps for good.
I pondered on this…and remember deciding it would be worth leaving to see and experience the freedom of unfettered flight.
He finally emerged from his front door, and by this time, there was quite the crowd of kids milling about the yard.
I walked over, sat down on his lawn and waited for the right time to ask him to please turn me into a bird.
In about a minute, I felt my anticipation climb to the highest peak known to me at that time only to have it come crashing down to earth when he told me his brand of magic didn’t include turning cute five-year-old girls into birds.
I was crushed.
Looking back, I realize that this moment in my life was the beginning of my spiritual search for freedom.
I took the freedom of flight literally as all children do as they begin to accumulate their beliefs about our world.
But flight is available to all of us, in a very real way.
My work as a jewelry designer and Human Design Guide are intimately connected.
I am in the process of becoming a full-fledged human being.
That is the significance of the two birds I use in my branding of Soul to Substance and Stacie Florer Jewelry.
In what context does full-fledged mean to me?
It is about becoming a fully developed person by integrating your survival instincts, ability to reason and conceptualize and to feel what it means to live YOUR life.
Everyone’s path to flight is unique. As a Human Design Guide, I help you discover what it is that is weighing you down and not allowing for lift-off.
As a jewelry designer, I work with metal to embody the dance of light and dark through my use of patina, and to celebrate and explore the long process it takes to become full-fledged as an artist, and as a human being exploring the concept of creativity and self-expression.
Birds are incredible teachers. They have been my spiritual companions in so many ways over the course of my 51 years.
And that’s why I’ve included them in how I connect with others via my calling as an artist and guide.
I thought I would start the night of this New Moon off with a post. When I designed this website, I spent so much time on it night after night, that I just needed to step away for awhile. I communicate quite a bit via my social media channels Instagram @stacieflorer and @soultosubstance, as well as cross-post to my Facebook page StacieFlorerMetalsmith. I haven’t written in long form consistently for years!
This is going to be a re-introduction and random bits about what I’ve been doing and up to. And I mean random!
I want to write more here. I have been in deep introspection and observance mode for a few years now. I thought I was going to walk away from making jewelry, and explored some areas that interested me to see if I wanted to go further with them. But I just couldn’t get metalworking out of my system. It’s such a part of the way that I process what is going on inside of me and how I work through what I learn in an abstract way. This is just how I am wired.
I have spent the last 3.5 years deep in my experimentation with something called Human Design. It’s a system that I am using to unravel myself from who I always thought I was and discovering what is consistent about my how I interact with others and what I am here to express. I am in the LONG process of throwing out some old beliefs about myself, and replacing them with first-hand knowledge. And I’m not going to sugar-coat this..it’s been hella-hard.
I’m slowly shifting from an “I believe’ worldview to a “I know or don’t know” worldview. it’s difficult to challenge your beliefs and to see them for what they are, and to understand how much power a belief has over you. Many of the beliefs I have held on tightly to are just not true, but me ‘believing’ them caused a lot of pain and suffering. If you think challenging your beliefs are hard, wait until you start thinking that even having beliefs is not the way to go. That’s what I’ve been pondering, and I found a video online this morning where the Sadhguru says in a beautiful way what I’ve been contemplating for a while now.
High points of this video…
My important people are still Alive
Practice being Aware once an hour
What do I know? I’m mortal.
Do the Best Things..Nothing other than that because I could be dead in the morning.
Brief life if joyful…Long life if you are miserable.
Do what matters and quit doing bullshit things that don’t matter.
How alive am I? Aim for 100%.
If you want to torture someone, you don’t kill them…you keep them 1/2 alive.
What do I know about Self-Torture?
Aim for being a fully-fledged human.
Experience comes from within and is reflected outward.
Awareness is the essential ingredient of the life.
So in June, I decided to leave my home studio and move it to downtown Roanoke. I found an amazing place that was very affordable, and it has the most beautiful natural light. There really is something quite special in having a place of your own. All decisions are mine…I arrange my creative environment to suit me. I love it.
And it has lit a fire under me in regard to my creativity. I like to work alone. In my Human Design chart, I carry and energy called The Creative-Self Expression. It is about creation as a primal force. It’s the prime mover in our system of reality and very YANG. Yang is an ancient Asian philosophy describing the energy of the active male principle. It is penetrating energy, and my particular bent with this energy has to do with aloneness as the medium of my ability to create. I have to show up though…in an environment that I love. Even if I don’t have a creative idea in my body…if I show up, something happens. Magic.
I am not really alone…I am in communication with that inner portion of me that takes information in, and then I try to put it together into some sort of a deeper understanding about living…about being aware. My work right now is following two tracks. One is articulation. My jewelry moves… and I am purposely chasing after a sculptural quality with my designs. It is hard for me to communicate with words what I am trying to express in metal. Or maybe its the other way around…perhaps I need to express myself in metal before I can get to the words. I don’t know yet…but what I do know is that my work reflects themes and patterns in in my life.
The other track has to do with impressions.
The botanical impressions I know come from my intense study of my yard at home. And my total passion of anything Jane Austen related. English cottage gardens…insects and birds. The natural world is a subject that I spend a lot of time contemplating. The lessons…the beauty…and the self-expression of each form of life.
My impressions in the form of Native American metal stampings have something to do with exploring my own DNA heritage (Cherokee) and bringing forward older ways of doing things from a tribal perspective. Tribal energy is also a big deal in my Human Design Chart as it relates to caring for others young and old, defining my core values and what i want to ‘pass on’ to those in my environment and in my care, as well as connecting with others via my life-force energy. Tribal energy is all about protection, taking care of others, passing on knowledge and wisdom from life’s experiences and fertility in deals and bonds made and broken. It’s a very close energy…and for those of you that know me personally, you can probably attest to my nurturing ways with you.
Another facet of my work that is emerging in form is the way that we are conditioned by others and our culture. This idea of being totally receptive to the ‘others’ that imprint us with what they know fascinates me. Also, as I journeyed through my own menopause, I have noticed that for large amounts of time, I don’t seem to think about anything at all. There is a lot of emptiness within that I’ve never experienced before. It’s a not-knowing and an active way of just being in receptive mode. I’m waiting for whatever shows up. Often, I don’t feel compelled to fill myself up with bullshit to distract myself. I am finding myself content to just ‘be’. It’s weird..I don’t know if I am explaining that in a way that you can relate to or not. I think it may have something to do with not swimming in hormones anymore, but I just don’t know. I remember what I need to, when my environment changes and it becomes necessary to remember; and I don’t think about stuff or worry over things as much anymore. If it isn’t essential for me to deal with in the moment, I have developed an amazing capacity for not even thinking about it until I have to. And I TRUST it.
Here’s an example about how I am exploring these themes via my work…
I am swimming a few times a week and loving it! I turned 51 in October and had a great birthday…I think my 50’s are going to be wonderful! I became a Certified Human Design Guide a few months ago, and am working with some amazing people as they go on their own journey into self-awareness. What a gift to be able to be a part of someone’s own journey…truly humbled by it. Sadie has Cushings and Diabetes but we are managing her condition quite nicely. I decided to stick with Etsy right now for my shop because of the recent changes they have implemented. We’ll see how that goes. I love my house, and we are getting gas logs in a few weeks, just in time for winter. We will also have natural gas grill right outside on our screened in porch! Squeal! And I am getting my front yard worked on by a professional landscaper to take care of some drainage issues those lovely floods highlighted this year. Nothing serious, but never neglect your drainage!
Blessings on your journey…you DESERVE your journey!
Finally, after 10 years…I have figured out how to combine my love of self-expression by making jewelry (my substance) with my passion of connecting with people on a Soul level..
I have spent the last few years studying about and becoming a certified Human Design Guide.
A few weeks ago I attended my last class for my certification, and began working on this website to reflect the direction my life is moving towards.
I also moved my studio out of my house, and found an amazing little space in downtown Roanoke to work out of! And…I joined the local YMCA and every afternoon I walk across the street and swim for an hour.
The story about the true-me that I have worked hard to uncover from the not-me facade is beginning to emerge in a very physical way.
I needed an outlet for my creativity as well as a means to get some exercise in a form that I love.
And it all came about in an organic way by following my strategy of staying in response to life. I’ll write about that later this week.
I feel so much better on so many levels…and my life has the differentiation and structure that is correct for me.
I am about to dash off to my studio, but this morning I wanted to check in and get this new website up and running. I will be fiddling with it as I move forward, and showing up here to write more about my work as a Guide and Artist.
But for now…hello again…
And thank you for the love and support so many of you have expressed via my instagram feed while I’ve processed and changed over the last couple of years.
This is a series of posts sharing about my journey into discovering my Human Design Mechanics.
When I decided to leave the boating world, I moved back to my home state of Arkansas. I reconnected with an old boyfriend I had all through high school, and thought it ‘was time’ to settle down and ‘get serious’ about my life.
I remember, at 25 years of age, feeling this intense pressure to stop traveling and enjoying myself doing what I absolutely loved; and instead, go to college, get married and get busy with starting a family.
Looking back at that time…it wasn’t what I really wanted to do; it was something that I felt I was supposed to do.
That is called conditioning, and we all are conditioned in certain ways for behaviors and decision-making that are not really coming from the core of who we are. Even though my boyfriend was an amazing young man, he started trying to control what I said or shared with those that we started to form friendships with together as a couple.
He didn’t have much curiosity about what I did for those few years I traveled, who I met or where I traveled. He wanted to pick right up from where we stopped when I was 19 or so, which felt disempowering to me at the time.
We stayed together for a few months, then broke up when we determined we had grown too far apart, and I found out he was still in love with his ex-wife.
I was devastated, and confused about what to do next.
I remember going to the bookstore and picking up one of those self-help books about making the life you want by setting goals and pushing for the what you want.
What I really wanted was to experience the synchronistic lifestyle that I lived for those few magical years while I was traveling; but again, I didn’t understand the mechanics about how I had achieved that at the time.
Now I know.
I am designed to respond to life, not initiate things. If I want to experience something in particular, it is not so much up to me to decide how that comes into my life, but I wait and see what I respond to and that wanted experience happens in such a way that far surpasses any expectations I might have tried to form.
When I push, or initiate action when not in response, I run into all sorts of problems.
I decided at that time in my life to pursue a career in sales. So I pushed, pushed, pushed according to the principles in that book I bought.
I thought I wanted to sell cosmetology products to salons, since I had been trained as a hairdresser right out of high school, and I approached a company that used to call on the salon I worked in a few years earlier.
The owner said he was going to open up a sales territory in Memphis, TN and that he would hire me to get it going. At the time, I thought pushing was working out in my favor!
I took out a small loan from a bank to pay for the move, and moved into an apartment in Memphis to start my new job.
A few months later, my boss informs me that the company is folding up and that my services were no longer needed. I was out of a job in my new city; I had a loan payment and fairly high rent to pay and I was absolutely alone.
In my loneliness, I decided to initiate action to get a dog from the pound. I went to the pound, and fell in love with a skinny mutt that looked like a little fox. I took her home, and a week later she was dead from undiagnosed distemper.
By this time I was really panicked. I couldn’t find a job and I had bills due. So, I hawked anything and everything (which was not much) I had so that I could pay my rent. The only thing I had left in my apartment was an ironing board and my bed, and I used the ironing board as my table.
It was a terrifically low point in my life. I lived next to a really nice neighborhood and would often walk around it, dreaming about living in a home with furniture and not feeling terrified about how to take care of myself.
At this point, I was feeling the crunch of bills needing to be paid, and without a college education or any marketable skills for dry land, I decided to approach restaurants and try and get a waitressing job.
I landed one, and ended up in a relationship with someone that was a customer that turned out to be another disaster. I was married to him for a year, and ended up leaving him when I realized that it wasn’t normal to be timed when I went to the grocery store to see if I was out screwing someone else.
I remember leaving Memphis and throwing my wedding ring out the window as I was crossing the Mississippi River, determined to try and figure out where I went so wrong. What was I doing that made life so hard after experiencing a life that was so easy and effortless?
What was the secret sauce?
I have been looking for the answer to that question for myself for 30 years. A couple of years ago, I was introduced to a system that immediately resonated with me and that system of understanding yourself is called Human Design.
I am a being that is designed to live in RESPONSE to what life brings me, and not initiate.
By responding to my environment and waiting for opportunities to come toward me instead of me chasing them, life works with a rhythm and synchronicity that feels more like floating down a river and enjoying the ride and view, instead of paddling upstream, exhausted and frustrated because you are going nowhere.
I learned early in my adult life that pushing and initiating didn’t seem to get me far. I recognized it, but didn’t know what to do about it.
I felt like something was terribly wrong with me because I wasn’t seeing the same sort of success and satisfaction from my life that my some of my peers and family were…it was a difficult time for me before I was 30.
It was an intense time of trial and error…seeing what worked and what didn’t, trying to figure out why I was having such extreme experiences! And why was I always moving? My life up to that point was also about moving…moving…moving!
Before I left for the boats, I lived in Chicago and several other places in Arkansas. My life was in a constant state of flux.
So many things about my life fell into place once I learned how I operate consciously, as well as unconsciously.
In my next post, I will share how I met Shayne and why I believe our relationship has stayed the course based on what I know now about our shared mechanics.
“No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!” ― C. JoyBell C.
There is so much that I want to share here, but nobody likes long posts anymore, so I thought I would start a series of short posts…and describe to those of you that are interested a story of transformation and what it looks like from the inside out.
It’s a long story…but I think a really good one!
My story of awakening to who I am began about 30 years ago. For me, it was an opening of sorts, a seeing around the edges of the reality that we have all pretty much agreed to participate in, but I saw something else operating that puzzled me.
I had no framework to put my experiences in when I first became aware of life bringing me what I needed, without much effort, or any really, on my part.
When I was around 21, I was watching an Oprah show about the men in Alaska, and what life was like for women that chose to live there.
I wanted to go and see it for myself…but how?
I had no money, no formal education and I had never been further west than Oklahoma.
How would I get there? What would I do when I got there? How would I take care of myself?
I had no answers. I had no pathway…I just juiced my desire with lots of emotional energy and let it go.
About two weeks later, I was at the mall and ran into a good friend from High School. She asked me to eat lunch with her, and I responded with an enthusiastic yes.
As we were eating, a guy walks by and recognizes my friend, and she asks him to join us. He does…and my life changed in an instant.
I noticed he had a carabiner hanging from his belt loop. It’s a little tool that rock climbers use, and as I had been rappelling with my step-brother at the time, I asked him if he was a climber too.
He said no, he didn’t use if for rock climbing, he used it to strap into a sling when he was working as a deckhand on a small ship in Alaska for putting bow plates on when the ship experienced rough weather.
My heart stopped…he worked on a small ship in Alaska? An opportunity!
I quizzed him further about how one gets a job on a small ship like the one he worked on, and he wrote down the name of a woman to contact in Seattle, and so I did.
A few months later, I was working on a ship in Alaska. I was making good money, I loved the ocean and the people that I worked with, and I saw all of Southeast Alaska over a period of two years.
During that magical time in my life, I responded to opportunities that life brought to me and used that as my navigation system. It was an effortless and zen way of living that stayed with me…but when I came back to Arkansas after that two years, my magical way of living came to an abrupt halt.
I went against my mechanics…and I paid a big price for that…
I succumbed to the conditioned idea that in order to make something of myself, I needed to push for what I wanted, instead of wait and let life bring me opportunities and feel whether or not they were the ‘right’ opportunities for me over time.
My life took a turn for the worst…and I made a series of mistakes that took years to overcome.
In my next post, I will discuss what those mistakes were, what I mean about ‘my mechanics’ and how my life experiences served to teach me how to live as myself.
It took about 30 years for my ‘AHA!’ moment…and I want to give you some of my backstory so you can see the progression and what led me to where I am now.
Three weeks ago today I came home from the hospital after having a total hysterectomy via the Da Vinci Robotic System.
Thought I would write about this experience via my physical, mental and spiritual perspective thus far…and if anyone else that happens across this post is contemplating a hysterectomy via this method, I hope that my candor about my own experience will be helpful in your own research. So…warning…this post is pretty candid!
The surgery itself was a breeze. I had 4 holes punched in my stomach, measuring about 4 mm each. They inserted robotic arms in my lower abdomen and the surgeon controlled the arms from a computer station away from my body. Everyone that had anything to do with me during my hospital stay were tender, professional and very caring. They truly love what they do and it showed.
My surgery lasted about 2.5 hours…I was in recovery for a couple of hours, then I was wheeled up to my hospital room. I had a catheter and oxygen almost up until the time I was discharged the next day. Overall…the experience of surgery wasn’t nearly as bad as I had imagined. I was fairly comfortable (as comfortable as you can be with a catheter) and was able to ride home fairly well with a pillow around my abdomen for support.
As soon as I got home, I took a shower and went to bed. Getting up and out of bed has been the most challenging part of this whole experience. Shayne gave me his hiking pole and that helped a lot, but for the first 10 days or so, he had to put his arms around me and lift me up to a sitting position. No core strength at all!
I think the scariest hurdle I had to jump was using the bathroom for the first time after surgery. Since I have a vaginal cuff, there is the risk of popping the sutures if you get constipated. For some reason, that warning in my discharge papers really made me nervous, so as soon as I was home, I started sucking down some soluble fiber in pretty vast quantities to insure I didn’t get constipated. It took about 4 days before my intestines came online and worked again…but the ‘event’ turned out not to be as stressful as I had feared.
I think the best way to describe how my lower abdomen feels is ‘wonky’. Things were moved a bit and now, this week especially, they seem to be trying to find their final resting place. I still need a couple of naps per day. And I am taking pain meds on an as needed basis. I can usually motor through the day ok without any pain, but at night, it tends to get fairly rough. Sleeping with no pain meds happened once this week at night, and at 3am I was awakened with pain and a general feeling of being very uncomfortable.
My belly feels very different…from a physical standpoint. My uterus was about the size of someone 3 or 4 months pregnant. Now that its gone, even though I still have a swelly belly from the surgery, I can definitely ‘see’ the difference, as well as feel the difference. I really do feel lighter. People that have visited me say that I look lighter…I think that is more from an energetic perspective, though.
The decision to have the surgery was surprising. I initially went to my gynocologist because I was having post-menopausal bleeding and discharge. I have been post-menopausal for 7 years, and when you have something unusual happening down there, it’s good to get it checked out.
I knew I had fibroids, but during the ultrasound, I saw that they had actually grown from the last time I had that test done. They couldn’t see my left ovary, and one of the fibroids was pretty large. I was having some other issues too, that shouldn’t really be happening for at least 100 more years (haha)…and when my doctor suggested we discuss my options, I was surprised at how receptive I was to having them finally removed.
It had been suggested to me before, but I always said no. This time, my body said yes, because I immediately responded to the idea of doing it. My mind was like, “What the hell? You don’t believe in surgery unless its life-threatening!” but something clicked and I was not in any way apprehensive about doing it.
I only had two questions that gave me any pause about this decision,
How do they take the uterus out? Through the holes? Or through my vagina?
Am I grounded when they hook me up to the robot? Is there any way that it can do what it wants to instead of the surgeon directing it?
My doctor, a man about my age, was super cool about explaining how it worked, and I was amused that the only thing I would ever give birth to would be my own reproductive system.
I was initially worried about the size of those fibroids coming through my birth canal, but he assured me that a baby’s head was about 10 cm and my fibroid-riddled uterus would fit.
I tried to find as much humor in this experience as I could. That is my way of dealing with the unknown, generally.
And he assured me that he was in total control and that I would have a grounding pad on, so that was very reassuring. The idea of getting electrocuted did give me pause…
Mentally, I felt like the decision was right for me. And I still believe that it was the right decision after the fact.
This perspective is not as easy to articulate as the other two are.
I feel like this part of my life is a pivot point. Physically removing my womb has had an impact on me on that deep soul level. It doesn’t have anything to do with my lifelong decision to not be a mother to my own children. I was good with that decision long before I even went into menopause.
Our reproductive organs represent life force energy…the place in our bodies where we as women have enough energy to make and support a baby. Did I just remove a vital part of my own life force?
I don’t know yet.
Who am I without my reproductive system? And what value does, or did, my reproductive system have to me now, at this stage in my life?
I just don’t know yet. This is the part that will take time to understand and come to terms with.
I don’t think it is any coincidence that my creative output as it pertains to jewelry has been about the growth cycles found in nature.
It is all connected, I see that now. I also recognize that I have entered a new phase of my own growth cycle.
I wonder about what is ahead…and I wonder about what new insights I will uncover as I continue to process this.
Thank you for all your well wishes on Instagram and the nice emails…
Hey there! I’m Stacie and welcome! I am a busy creative that uses my studio time making jewelry to commune with All That Is. It’s necessary for me to express myself via my metalwork, and I share my working meditations with my customers that resonate with my jewelry. Thank you for stopping by!