My Story

 

 

A spiritual teacher once said “If you are thirsty, the river comes to you. If you are not thirsty, the river does not exist.” I was born thirsty.

And so the river came, flooding me at a young age with the kind of existential questions that occupy the minds of mystics and monks.  At 7 years old I was contemplating death and theorizing about the meaning of life. I didn't have many answers but I did have a kind of faith and confidence that seemed to root in my feet. 

This is probably why the facts of one’s life never held my fascination like the depths; my own memory is paper thin with tattered edges. It was always the inner stories, the sacred stories, the ones rarely shared, that really drew my interest. The ones richly tinted with the kind of feelings, perceptions, and subtleties that color our vision like sunglass shades.   

The events of my childhood therefore don’t seem remarkable to me. I'm the youngest of 3 daughters born into an Italian family in Brooklyn, NY. They say I was a happy, kind child with a quick smile. My fondest memories were spent either running around in nature or seated at a long table overflowing with food, booming voices and laughter. My childhood was far from perfect but I was loved and we never lacked anything a kid could want. Of course that’s the outside story, the “facts version” of my life. And as author Zadie Smith wrote "Every moment happens twice: inside and outside, and they are two different histories." 

My inner story held a different shape and texture altogether. Alongside my sacred tale of faith and confidence a second story formed. A narrative of loneliness and unworthiness that covertly tucked itself away into the fabric of my being, fogging my mind and shaping my identity. This inside story- as it always does- colored my life in every way. 

This unworthiness story seemed to be born of an unfortunate collision between my sensitive wiring and a household loaded with more than angst than I could handle. Mind you I don't mean sensitive in the derogatory way it’s used culturally- as in “too” sensitive or “figure your shit out and toughen up because feelings are weak,” sensitive. Rather in the purest sense of the word, as in “keenly attuned to everything around me.”

Every bit of energy or emotion in my environment registered as a ripple in my body. My father’s frustration after a long day of work. My mother’s disappointment when things didn’t go as expected. My friend’s anger when she didn’t get her way. All of it like shifting tides moving me this way or that. The world became both a source of exquisite beauty and of sheer overwhelm.

An African Shaman told me that our gifts and our challenges are inseparably linked, like 2 sides of a coin. So it was for me with my sensitivity. My sensitivity has blessed me with the high levels of intuition and awareness I need to quench my insatiable thirst for truth. But in a house full of raw emotions and intensity, I was often overstimulated and wading in the depths alone. 

Emotions were acted out, but never quite spoken about. I felt alone in my inner world of flux and feelings. It didn't help that at 8 years old I was dreaming of things like reincarnation and death and, unsurprisingly, no one knew to speak to me about that either. Left alone in the world of my mind, with no way to communicate my internal reality, my views and feelings began to feel separate and unusual. Then unusual became odd. Odd became unworthy. And so I wove it into my bones. In return it tainted my life.

I self-identified as a misfit, afraid to show my vulnerable parts in the light of day. I hid my tender emotions and beliefs behind a happy face. I disconnected with my core so that I could fit in and feel safe and consequently developed the kind of anxious depression that plagues a person who's lost contact with themselves. Nothing true can ever be lost, but for me it was a long and twisting journey to recover the confidence in my feet again. 

In my "outside story" you can say I'm a success. My personal experiences inspired me to get 2 Masters degrees in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Counseling Psychology. I studied meditation, psychology and spirituality with gifted teachers. I’ve supported hundreds of clients over the last 20 years. I’m gifted at what I do and in the best relationship of my life.

But for me the meaning's on the inside. I'm most proud that in the midst of my crippling self doubt I found the heart to meet the layers of conditioning and habits that splintered my being. I meditated. I spoke to therapists, coaches, and teachers. I learned to be comfortable in my own body. I committed to repairing the relationship with myself inch by inch, cell by cell, until I remembered I was sacred. 

I'm still releasing my conditioning, but I'm not sure anyone's ever done completely. There are moments when I wish I was less sensitive, but they’ve mostly been replaced by a deep sense of self-acceptance and wholeness. I've given up on trying to be superhuman because I’ve seen firsthand that this is where the spiritual journey lies- in the absolute chaos and beauty of the whole human experience. I've reconnected with my core and I know my place in the wheel of life again. 

Whether you know it or not, you're already whole and complete. My role is to walk by your side, guiding you on your journey home to reconnecting with your Self. Offering to you the care and the skills to unlock restraints and live from your core so that you can make space for your genuine self to exist. My reverence for your inner world, combined with my years of experience, training and big heart make me a most potent ally for your process. 

For more information on how I can serve you please contact me at vanessa@vanessascotto.com To get to know me on an even more personal level tune in to my podcast Bliss + Grit where I very openly share insights and struggles on my path. Or check out my Resource page for my articles and interviews.