Phoenix Rising: My Process of Rebirth and Renewal Through Baptism

This year for my birthday, I gave myself the gift of a baptism. 

A baptism adorned in my late grandmother’s white linen. It felt so special to return to my family’s Mormon lineage and redefine what it means to me (in other words, to find freedom and liberation in it), and to feel her loving, wise spirit with me so palpably through this process.

For those of you who have been following my journey, you know that I have been consumed by angry flames for most of my life, but more intensely the past few months. I feel as though I have been burning with Mamma Gaia this summer, causing mass destruction and fear, and mostly out of control. Recently, because of the angels and warriors coming to my aid, my fires have been dissipating, and thankfully returning to a healthier, more manageable, more creative level. Just as the earth needs water to replenish and create new life, I, too, went in search of water to soothe my soul.

Enter Watkin’s Glen, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen with my own two eyes. It felt almost other worldly, or somewhere straight out of a Lord of the Rings movie. The river running through the glen was FREEZING, and the outside temperature was already lower than normal due to being drenched in the shade of trees and the towering rock faces on either side. Not to mention, we did this in the wee hours of the morning and it was sprinkling, soooo….let’s just say my resolve was firmly tested (I absolutely hate being cold). 

But, I realized that while it was me in this human form doing this crazy thing, I wasn’t just doing it for me. I did it for the healing of my ancestral line. I did it to create a ripple effect for the liberation of my fellow humans. I did it to execute the next clear step in front of me to change the trajectory of my future and the future in which my children will one day grow up.

I went in with the intention of washing away all of the stories and beliefs that are no longer true or serving me. The stories I’ve told myself that because I’ve been sexually abused, my body is closed and my sexuality shut down, and that I have to work REALLY HARD to pry myself open. The stories I’ve told myself that because I have been abused, I am damaged goods and unable and unworthy to love and be loved. The core belief that the only thing men do is cause pain and destruction everywhere they go. The belief that I am powerless to change the way I relate to and set boundaries with them and any adversity in my path.

I wanted a clean slate from which to begin year 28; to wash away the shackles that have bound me for most of my life, to forgive the mistakes of my past. To pave the way for other women to do and have the same freedom. To show self-leadership, to test the strength of my masculine (COLD WATER!), to prove to myself that I am willing to do what it takes to break, heal, and start over to live a life in love. To lead by example and uplift those around me willing to see truth and do the courageous work of being a conscious, ever-evolving human.

And, to begin to lay down an even stronger foundation from which to build the castle of my life purpose. A castle from which to reign as Prince and Princess - King and Queen with love, a castle strong enough to withstand the wildest of storms and to serve as a warm and welcoming sanctuary for all who seek it.

As I took the plunge, all of these stories and beliefs were carried away from me, down the river and back into mother earth for alchemizing. As I dipped my whole body into the pastel pool of blue water, I created space for something both new and ancient to enter and emerge. And as my physical body thawed, I felt a new kind of buzz in my cells.

I cannot fully put into words how I feel and how it felt to give this gift to myself, and to be witnessed in this process.

All I can say right now is that I feel born anew. That I can stop running from my demons, because I’m learning not just to be friends with them, but to fall in love with each and every one.

These are some of the most beautiful and raw photos I have ever seen of myself, and I am proud and honored to share them with you today. I’m so grateful to my partner in crime for taking me on incredible adventures, discovering this epic spot for us, for holding space for, loving, encouraging, and capturing me (SO WELL I might add) in this vulnerability. I can’t thank you enough, my love.

My hope for sharing them is that you find inspiration in searching for, calling in, and discovering what freedom looks and feels like to you by any healthy means necessary. My hope is that you both surrender to and do the work to get there, and ask for help as you need it, whether it is from me or someone else you love and trust.

My hope is that you see that liberation and a life beyond trauma is possible and within your reach, even when it doesn’t feel that way. 

Sending you so much love and support on your beautiful journey. I’m here for you, because We need you.

Heather Manwaring