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What Was Said to the Rose

My world turned upside down and inside out in January of 2021. That was when my second marriage ended in a violent, explosive sort of way.

As I entered 2022, it felt like I was struggling to stand up in the smoking, aftermath of a battlefield still hot from landmines exploding and my world imploding. But stand up I did and I left 2022 with gratitude for wounds healing and a new dawn breaking. As I facilitated The Flight of Your Life in October 2022, I knew I was ready to take off into a new chapter of my life.

2023 was a year of reprieve as I gave Exercise Your Soul time to rest and focused on my work as a full-time Mental Health Coach with Lyra Clinical.

Throughout all of this, I stayed close to my spiritual practice, my community, my growth edge. Every time grief swelled, I chose to ride the wave and hold myself with compassion and kindness. I turned towards my own heart in this way, with confidence that this is the way of healing and moving forward.

Throughout all of this, I held my hands open to forgiveness, which I understand, in part, as willingness to no longer hold someone's humanity against them. In what ways was I willing to turn towards someone I felt wronged by and see them as a fellow human trying to navigate the messiness of life? In what ways was I willing to acknowledge my own pain and suffering and welcome it in with radical acceptance for my own human experience?

Throughout all of this, I had moments of hope, glimmers of healing, periods of time where I felt whole once again and courageous to stand in the light of truth and love. I also had moments of rage, glimmers of how my life "should have been," where I felt broken and exasperated.

And yet I stayed close to my spiritual practice, my support system, my own heart. I continued to ride the waves and I continued to hold my hands open to forgiveness.


And then, one Sunday in October or November, I found myself sitting next to my ex in church. We happen to go to the same Spiritual Center, so I shouldn't have been surprised that this happened, but in all honesty, it hadn't happened in the last 2 why on this particular day?

Well, it did.

And he said, "Are you sitting there intentionally?"

And I said, "Yes, I'm sitting here intentionally by my friend (indicating the chair on the other side of me)."

And I asked him, "Are you sitting there intentionally?"

And he said, "Yes, I am sitting here intentionally by my friend (indicating the chair on the other side of him)."

So I said, "Well, it looks like we will be sitting beside each other then."

And we did.

A swell of emotion rose up for me. He asked how I felt and I admitted the tenderness that was clearly visible. He offered me the kindness of letting me know he could hold that.

So there we sat. The closest proximity we had been in for almost 2 years.

Suddenly I found myself turning to him and heard myself asking, "Would you like to go get coffee or lunch after the service?"

He accepted, and after the service we met for coffee.

We talked for more than 2 hours.

I cannot even capture the richness, depth, and love of that conversation in words, but I feel it through every cell of my being, even now.

I pause, close my eyes, tears rise up, and warmth floods my body.


That was October 2023. Or maybe November. I can't remember. All I know is that I felt healing and forgiveness in a way that I had only imagined and hoped was possible, but couldn't, for the life of me, manufacture a way to MAKE it happen or schedule a time line for it to be so.

I think forgiveness and healing is like the unfurling of a flower. It is part of our nature, as we follow the pattern at the very center of our being for growth and full expression. It makes me think of the line of Rumi's poem, "What was said to the rose that made it open was said to me here in my chest..."

My heart swells in my chest and I cannot help unfold and open with more expansive love than I have every felt in my life! And what are we called to be and do in the world if not to expand love? I suppose that is what I believe and, of course, you can take it or leave it to the degree that is true for you.

All I know is that I am legit not in survival mode anymore. I am tasting the reality of what it means to thrive and I am so freaking delighted! It is time to bloom and be revealed more fully than ever before.

This is my intention for 2024.

What's yours?

Drop me a note and let me know! @exerciseyoursoul or

With so much love for the possibility of life alive right here and now,


P.S. Here is the entire Rumi poem, for your heart's delight:

"What was said to the rose

that made it open

was said to me

here in my chest.

What was told the cypress

that made it strong and straight,

what was whispered the jasmine

so it is what it is,

whatever made sugarcane sweet,

whatever was said to the inhabitants of the town of Chigil

in Turkestan that makes them so handsome,

whatever lets the pomegranate flower

blush like a human face,

that is being said to me now.

I blush.

Whatever put eloquence in language, that’s happening here.

The great warehouse doors open; I fill with gratitude, chewing a piece of sugarcane, in love with the one to whom every that belongs!" -Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks


Rachel Sartori is a Transformational Coach + Facilitator. She is kick-ass and heart-

centered whether she is showing up as a workshop/retreat facilitator, a private coach, a writer or a speaker. Rachel invites you to exercise your soul, and participate in the healing of your own heart and the world around you. With Rachel, all is welcome, all the time.

Read: Exercise Your Soul: Ignite Healing and Wholeness in your Life and Live from the Inside Out

Read: How to Uplevel Your Life: Because You Deserve More than just Surviving

Follow Rachel:

Save the Date: Awaken Your Senses Workshop | April 27, 2023 | Phoenix, AZ

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