Episode 046: Allie Stark
An Act of Reclamation
I am going through a bit of an undressing right now. A taking off—an exposing of self.
It feels scary for me to share this with you. Scary because somewhere underneath all of the knowing and the deep breaths and the subtle, but important, moments of relief—I am also experiencing feelings of failure. Feelings of disappointment in self. Feelings of worry about what you might think . . . worry of judgment.
The idea for Gutted was sparked nearly two years ago. My professional practice was undergoing an enormous evolution and I was feeling inspired to creatively share with the world what I was hearing over and over again in sessions with clients. Person after person described to me the ways that they felt “lost” or “stuck” in their lives. Person after person asked for guidance on how to reclaim the significant parts of themselves that they had betrayed somewhere along the way of living.
As I listened to each individual’s unique story, it became strikingly clear to me that the answers that were being sought could all be found within. I came to understand that resiliency grows from our innate desire to access the jewels that already exist inside of us and that all it takes to be our fullest selves is to trust our own inner knowing. I’ve learned that truth comes in many forms, shapes, and sizes—but that your truth is truly only yours. Claim it and run like the wind.
When I launched Gutted, I was filled with enormous inspiration and conviction to host a weekly podcast for an entire year. I had created an arbitrary numerical goal of 52 episodes with a deadline of a single calendar cycle. In many ways, I am ambitious and driven—so this wasn’t unlike me to take on a big project filled with high expectations and many unknowns. I had never interviewed anyone before. I knew next to nothing about podcasting. I had no idea about the amount of time, energy, and resources that would be needed to create weekly content that I felt comfortable putting out into the world. I am not a perfectionist—but I value hard work and professionalism. If I was going to do this, I was going to put my entire heart into it.
Within weeks of launching Gutted, I went through a really challenging breakup. I had spent months evaluating the relationship. It was a relationship built on honesty and depth and curiosity. It was a relationship with a man that I continue to respect and love from afar. But in the end, I ultimately decided that in order for me to claim my whole self—I had to leave.
In the months following my exit from the relationship, my life was total chaos: I moved out of the home I shared with my ex. I lived with my brother and sister-in-law for four months. I grieved and I cried and I grieved some more. I was forced to navigate old friendships in new ways, which was often painful and uncomfortable. I moved my belongings into storage and then out of storage when I finally found a new house. I moved in with a girlfriend for the first time in 10 years. The weekend we moved, the movers didn’t show. I cried that day. I felt anxious and out of control that day. In fact, I have felt anxious and out of control many days over the last 12 months. I rebranded and relaunched my business. I went on a first date. I went on and off of online dating sites. I cried. I got angry. I felt lonely. I partied. I slept. I had a major breakthrough with each of my parents.
Someone once told me that there are years that are questions and years that are answers. I asked a lot of questions this last year. I can feel that I am on the cusp of many answers.
And, amidst all of the craze, all of the juicy unknowns and uncertainties and discomforts that come with being human, I consistently released one episode of my podcast per week. In some odd way, it originally anchored me to something bigger, as I felt steadfast and resolute in my commitment to seeing this project through. But I also know that this is just its first iteration. The podcast contains content that I hope to turn into a book and a program somewhere down the road.
I am sharing all of this with you because I think it’s important to know the behind-the-scenes action that happens in life and in creative pursuits. No part of my last year felt pretty or easy. To be candid—many parts of it felt like a fucking slog, but here I am. And now I want to tell you where I am at with Gutted . . .
Over the last four to six weeks, I have been experiencing suffering and contraction around this project. And it’s not because I don’t think the content is beautiful and rich and important—I do. It’s because I have held myself to a goal that has had little to no wiggle room for me to stop, breathe, and take note of the enormous changes I have undergone in the last 12 months. It’s literally been 12 months of constant commotion and movement. It’s a type of busyness that I feel is just coming to an end (at least for this chapter of my life). But despite the coming reprieve, I recently have felt myself striving to achieve something that isn’t bringing me joy in this now moment. I have felt myself betray my gut in order to keep a promise that I was holding myself to. There is no doubt in my mind that this project has not reached completion and is a launching pad for what’s next—and there is also no doubt in my body and in my heart that I need to pause until I feel inspired again. I need to create space to evaluate what is most important to me so that I can lead and live my life with a transparent integrity and truth that shines brightly from my heart.
I can’t just teach it; I need to be it. And what I am learning is that we continue to go through cycles of betrayal and re-claiming with ourselves over and over again. The growth is simply in paying close attention so that the time between what gets lost and what gets found becomes shorter and shorter. The growth is in being able to own your whole self sooner and not feel guilt, or shame, or blame, or failure if that version doesn’t meet all of the goals and expectations that you had originally planned for.
This is life—it’s messy and unpredictable.
This 46th episode is my official announcement that I will be pausing the podcast until I am excited to return to it. It would be easy for me to focus on the seven episodes that will not be completed by the arbitrary deadline I created for myself. Instead, I am going to draw my attention to the magnificence of what has been birthed this last year and state my confidence in knowing that my gut and intuition will never lead me astray—it may just be taking me on a different route than the one that I had mapped out.
To be continued,