Soul to Substance with Stacie Florer is now live!
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…
Dancing Buds, Sterling Silver Earrings by Stacie Florer 2017
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. Elizabeth Appell
As I look out my window, I see OLD trees starting to form buds in anticipation of longer, sun-lit days and warmer weather.
It occurred to me that those trees, at least most of them, have been around longer than I have; yet, they still produce buds every year, with the promise of blossoming.
It isn’t about endurance. I believe its more about trust. Trusting in the wisdom of the seasons, and that just because one year passes, doesn’t mean that the season to blossom is permanently over.
Our culture perpetuates this myth that blossoming is only for the young. But nature insists that blossoming happens when the right environmental conditions are met, regardless of age.
Ahh…isn’t that wonderful to contemplate? Just a little turn of the mind…a bit of noticing about the reality that just IS when we slow down enough to really notice our lives and our place in the natural process of living.
I have a scraggly lavender plant that I have been trying to keep alive inside my home while winter gives way to spring. The environmental conditions are absolutely terrible for it…no sun as my house is rather dark; no wind to strengthen her so I lightly stroke her leaves whenever I pass by on my way out the door. I can give her warmth; I can pretend there is wind, but I can’t possibly replicate the natural environment she needs to thrive and grow.
I am just giving her enough to stay alive, but her potential is on hold. The way she looks reminds me of how I feel when my environment is not allowing me to thrive.
Do you know what your particular environment must be to bud, unfurl and lean towards the light?
Forming your root system
For this stage in my life, I knew a few years ago that I needed a stable, physical place to form my foundation. After living on the wind, a home was now necessary for me to put down a root system. I was ready to land.
For many, many years, I lived like the annual. I had a shallow root system, and most of my energy was being put into seeding those I came into contact with new ideas that were potentially mutative for them.
While I was ‘on the move’, I befriended so many that were in places of transition. Energetically, this pattern of acquiring experiences with people that were undergoing tremendous change kept repeating itself. I noticed it, and took note.
Our friendships bloomed so quickly…a great sudden burst of energy! I loved it! But either I would move or they would move..and the great thrust of pent up energy was gone again.
For the time, it was correct for me to live like that.
But when it was time for me to change my environment, I felt it in a very deep way. I couldn’t seem to replenish myself for the energy needed to keep producing those seeds from shallow roots. Instinctively, I knew it was time to work on my own root system.
Over the last year or so, I have used my energy in a much different way. It is so much slower than before!
I met a few people my first year..mostly those in my neighborhood. Close to my rooting system…I didn’t venture out that far from where I was most needed energetically. Although many of my friends and family did visit us…and that was quite novel!
As those people in my life that have been so important to me while I was on the wind traveled through, I watched where they wanted to congregate for communion in my home.
In those areas, I have developed the environment to help support conversations and closeness. I am using gorgeous crystals from my home state of Arkansas to help amplify those areas energetically as well as choosing paint colors to promote warmth, security and safety.
Where they sleep while here, I have lovingly attended to developing a cozy place for them to rest and recover.
My jewelry studio environmentally needs some help..I have noticed that I haven’t quite tweaked it to where it will support my deep rooted desires creatively..but that will continue to develop slowly before it is ready to bloom.
And I’m ok with the longer timeframe. I am struggling with getting rid of the shallow rooted way of thinking about my work environment!
What does your physical environment reflect back to you regarding your own root system? Is it shallow like the annual, or deep like the perennial? Or somewhere in-between like the biannual?
All three of these root systems have a purpose…but what happens when your particular root system no longer works for you and you stop thriving?
Your nights probably become shorter (sleep issues anyone?) and the desire for a new environment starts to really take hold (daydreaming replaces night-dreaming).
As to the flip side of this notion, I have observed friends that have very deep root systems, but they are no longer able to form new buds and bloom. The old ideas of themselves are dying within; and its time for them to put their energy into forming new life seeds and reproducing their essence elsewhere.
Sometimes, a deeply rooted being provides much shade for those around them, and those people aren’t interested in stepping into their own light at the expense of losing the shade that you may provide. That can be a very difficult transition to make.
There is a time for many where it is now correct for them to take to the wind and see where they land to start anew. Shallow rooted plants often produce the most gorgeous, life-infused blooms!
I know what it is to ride the wind…to live with a heart-quickened existence. Possessions are light, keys are few on the keychain and total immersion in experiences is vital as great amounts of energy are collected to produce something new.
Shallow or deep, or somewhere in between, all of them are necessary to us as we continue to evolve and grow.
But blooming requires so many things…and none of them are dependent upon the age we are! Our roots just have to support our intentions, and our environment must nourish and support our ideals…and then the buds will set, and we will be in a place to unfurl.
Simple, but not easy!
Why do I make jewelry? To align my desires and beliefs about living a meaningful life with my business goals of producing personal adornment infused with meaning and intention.
The vehicle that I have chosen to use to explore this amazing journey between an idea and a real, 3-D object is via my jewelry. I want all parts of the process, from thinking about it–to making it– to offering it for sale– to teaching it to be a singular experience for both myself and the future owner of my efforts and ideas in metal.
Soul to Substance was a name that was given to me during a contemplative and solo walk in the woods when Shayne and I were traveling around the United States a couple of years ago. We decided to spend a few months in Arkansas, where we both grew up, and we found a vacation house to rent in Hot Springs Village. It was in the summer, which is a beautiful time to be in Arkansas, although its really hot.
There was a trail nearby, called the Mourning Dove Trail, that I liked to walk with Sadie daily. It is a special, special place for me. I was out walking the trail by myself, stopped by a small creek and experienced one of those moments where you have such clear and sudden insight into a BIG idea that it throws you back for a moment in its stunning simplicity and meaning.
After Sadie and I left the creek, as I was walking, it occurred to me that the clothes I had on my body, the shoes and socks on my feet and the glasses on my face all began as an idea in someone else’s mind.
We are literally surrounded by ideas by way of anything and everything that has every been crafted, manufactured or built. I like to tell my nieces that if you want to be a mind reader, then read a book. That is nothing but ideas and thoughts from someone you might want to learn from and be inspired from…and the miracle of the printing press! To be able to spread ideas in word form with complete sentences for those lucky enough to be able to read changed our world!
But as I was wandering about on that trail, I realized that our world is based on this principle in that everything starts out as something that can’t be seen, touched, smelled or tasted. It begins in the soul.
That wispy barely there seed of something starts in our souls, turns into an idea and our purpose is to practice bringing our ideas and our ideals into the world, into the physical.
Or as my friend Cindy said to me so beautifully and astutely a few days ago regarding why we artists feel so compelled to make things, it’s about the “challenge of working through an idea and having it turn in to a real, dimensional object.”
But even if you are not an artist in the traditional sense of the word, you do create daily.
Your ideas about your life show up in your physical environment. What you choose to surround yourself with, what you choose to watch on television, listen to on your radio or iPod…you are constantly creating your reality based on other people’s ideas, as well as your own.
This was another big, fat Aha! moment for me. I have the power to choose the ideas that I want to live with…all the way down to something as simple as the type of toothpaste I decide to brush my teeth with each day.
This seemingly simple realization changed my outlook on just about everything in regard to how Shayne and I want to live the rest of our lives. Shayne has had a dream about building a small house whereby everything about it and in it has a specific purpose. He wants to build it with his own hands. He wants to infuse his ideas about simple living into a physical structure for us to live in when we are not traveling around so much.
(Update: We bought a house instead! But we are ‘re-working it’ with our own hands!)
We are both moving down the pathway of being mindful about what comes into our home in the way of products that we use, art that we purchase, furniture that we sit or sleep on…we want and are in the process of clearing out any ‘things’ that we feel were made or manufactured with the idea of subtracting from the quality of the moments we have left on earth.
I have two favorite pairs of pants that I wear all of the time. I bought them at the Saturday Market in Eugene, Oregon 10 years ago. They are handmade. I met the woman that makes them, and she was at the time a single woman, raising the sweetest, chubbiest child I have had the pleasure of meeting.
Her child was always with her, and as I talked to this maker of pants, she told me that she made her own clothes using hemp because it would last forever, getting softer with time and washings; it was very durable and easy to work with and she wanted some pants that had an elastic waistband to grow and shrink with time as our bodies naturally do. Every pair was infused with love for her child, as this was the means that she was able to house and feed them both.
When I wear them, I briefly think about her intentions for making them, and it makes me feel good knowing that I choose to clothe myself with the energy and essence of this amazingly earthy and industrious mother. And the pants have lasted through hiking and fishing trips, infused with memories of being with friends and family doing some of the things that I love spending my time doing. And she was right about the elastic waistband…I can continue to wear them whatever size my belly is at whatever time in life I happen to be in, as I happen to have a stomach that really does expand an inch when I eat ANYTHING.
That is what Soul to Substance is about for me.
I want to live from my Soul and see what Substance comes from that. This is what my jewelry is about as well. I still don’t have words to try and explain why I am compelled to put so much texture on my work, or why I feel such a strong urge to make my jewelry the way I do. I am still figuring that out, working out what it all means for me. I have understood my jewelry on a soul level…but I am gradually getting to where I can talk about the feelings that emerge as I bring it out of my Soul into Substance.
It is ever evolving, but I do feel like I am getting closer. I dream of an art retreat someday called Soul to Substance where those of us that are interested in exploring this idea more can gather and see what ideas we can birth into this world. I see Soul to Substance as a big umbrella idea…many things can fit under it!