The Beauty of Women: Laura's Story of Connecting To What Matters
Interview with Laura Lynn of Laura Lynn Soulworks for “The Beauty of Women.”
Ladies, meet Laura Lynn! A brilliant bright light to women everywhere! I got the opportunity to not only document Laura's beauty & share her story, but she also invested in her business and had me build her website & branding for her! Over the years we've created an incredible friendship, she has been a soul sister, a dear friend, and a safe space for me to land on this California adventure. Who knew that a brief night in Singapore would lead to such an incredible friendship. I'm honored to share her story with all of you.
Name: Laura Lynn Edwards Banta
Location: Torrance, CA
What was your life like growing up?
I grew up in Southern California - where I still reside....and I'm blessed to be part of a family of siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents that lives life close-up-and-personal-as-a group- for better, and for worse. The support of my family has sustained me through some really hard times of transition, sadness, and doubt along the way- in particular my sweet momma and sister- and I'm more grateful than I can probably properly tell you that they are my touchstones. If you've ever experienced hard times where you weren't sure how to go on (and haven't we all?), then you know exactly what they mean to me. They ARE examples of LOVE to me, and I thank goodness for their support as I walk forward on my Soul Work path...
I've had a "normal" and very fortunate path. No horrible trauma (aside from the divorce of my parents at age 6). Most of the land-mines that I've experienced along the way have been self-laid ( isn't that usually the case?). Now at age 55, I look back and see that I was a good student with lots of good friends and a supportive single-mom-run family in a nice middle-class neighborhood in a small beach town (a bonus that I am forever grateful for). The town was full of families like ours. We didn't have extravagant things, but we had what we needed. I felt safe. I graduated from college, worked on a career, married a man that I loved, and we began to build a family of our own. So a "Normal" life. Right? And I might add... a blessed one too!
What's the hardest thing you've ever been through in your life?
The most difficult thing I think is the decline of my marriage and the long ramp up to my divorce. The man I chose was one of the kindest hearted tender people that I ever met. We both came from divorced backgrounds and no security around a committed relationship. We were young when we met and simply decided to promise each other that love would conquer all- even though we had no skills or role models with any success to guide us- we decided that we would form a marriage and family where respect, passion, and communication would guide us. Where we would support each other as we grew up together- and where we would have children that we would adore- and who we could show the secure happy home we had each yearned for.
This was not what we were able to do as the years passed and the failure of our dreams and commitments together was too painful to admit, to bear, to face, to live through for years. The more we both failed to create the home we wished for so deeply- the more we each pulled back unto avoidance behaviors to cope- he used drinking and smoking to release his angst- I shopped to fill my voids and withdrew from him emotionally- not feeling safe ever. There were years of fights, and blame, and finger-pointing- and of promises to do better... that fell flat every time.
We tried for love to be enough- but our actions caused more and more disconnect and pain. Both of us needed to grow up. We did not do it together. I finally had to file for divorce- as his drinking intensified- his personality became harsh and abusive. After a stay in rehab (a last-ditch effort to save us all) he came home a dry drunk- more abusive- and I had to stop it when he began to abuse my daughter verbally (as I had taken for years)- when he was lashing out.
The divorce was brutal. His abuse only intensified once I filed. I was not strong - all my emotional resources were tapped out by the time I filed. It was all I could do to be as well as I could be each day for my kids- and to try to retain some joy as we all adjusted to our new life in separate households.
How did this affect the various areas of your life? [ Financial, Relationships, Health, Spirit, & Career. ]
The truth for me, in the ways that I framed my place in my world, was that I was losing myself. Over time I found that the Shoulds and the Must Haves and the To Dos became "me"- and I lost track of the voice inside me. Soon that place inside me that I had ignored began to ache... slow and deep... as I gradually all but abandoned the seeker in me.
Losing track of one's inner voice does take a toll, and health and relationships suffer across the board as a result. On top of that, our painful divorce that came to pass after many years of struggle and hurt. Once the divorce was upon me, I went into survival mode and fear, especially financial fear. The overwhelming financial burden was real- but it could not stop the divorce that was necessary for my healing and sanity. The divorce itself was difficult and emotionally draining for all of us.
I navigated these days with the support of family and pursued recovery work on myself as a Co-dependent woman. This was my lifeline. I finally began to recover a bit of my insides and BEGAN TO FEEL MY OWN FEELINGS AGAIN - thanks to working the 12 steps of AlAnon.
I re-connected with spirit and I gained deeper awareness and a renewed trust in my intuition. This was the beginnings of my Soul Work- a spiritual journey that continues… and is the basis on which I coach others today. As I sponsored others with family members in the active struggle and pain that addiction brings, I find my natural strength as a "soul nurturer". I embodied a calm presence for them as they did their work to find their way home to themselves and out of their pain. As I worked with the kind souls of AlAnon, my work in my business life naturally moved more and more along the lines of holding space for others as well. My HR functions, training, mediation, and management duties all began to be more "soul-based counsel" as I continued to develop my innate strengths in this area.
Over time, I realized that my ability to be present, to offer compassionate and calming energy, and to hold space for people to find their own heart and soul based solutions and next steps in their lives is my Superpower! So cool- and so rewarding!!!!! In the end, the breakdown and disconnect from my spiritual center over the course of my marriage and divorce actually formed the woman who is called to serve others today through Soul Work Coaching.
How did you overcome this challenge?
I held on with total surrender that this path was meant to teach me what I needed to know. With the help of my wonderful family- I got through each day with the kids- each run in with their Dad- each painful decision regarding the divorce proceedings- custody issues--each time I could not process all of the fear and change myself. While at the rehab facility- we all had extensive counseling- and I had begun working the 12 step work myself in AlAnon. The AlAnon beach meeting that I attended each Sunday was my lifeline as I learned to surrender to the path given me- to re-connect to a Higher Power and to realize that I was doing all I could by not participating in the dance of the disease with my ex any longer. And I learned that I could not help him in his path or his program- that whether or not he chose recovery- I had my own recovery work to do. I learned that I was only in control of my reactions to the path we were all on, and that to be my very best for the kids- I was going to have to accept fully the place I got to- feel the unprocessed emotions that I had stuffed for so long- to see myself and take responsibility for my part in this life that I built- and to choose to be different if it was to improve for me and the kids- and even for John too.
When this challenge began, what would you have told your younger self, knowing what you know now?
If I could go back now and meet myself as the divorce began I would tell her that you are going to be alright. AND SO ARE THESE LOVELY CHILDREN... YOU HAVE NOT RUINED THEM LAURA! I would tell her that the woman that you are can handle this and actually will shine from moving through it. And that what she has to walk through now will allow her to help others in her lifetime. I would tell her that what she most fears- the kid's hearts being crushed, confused, and ripped apart- will actually need to happen too- as this is their path as individuals too- and that they'll be supported- and stronger people for it. But that she can trust that they are already loved and cared for and equipped to handle it too.
What would you like to share with other women going through a similar situation?
I guess what I just said (above) and that we can only walk the path given. The belief that everything happens FOR US- is key. The sooner we ACCEPT and SURRENDER and ask for help- the sooner we can do what we have to - Fall apart in order to FEEL it all...and to move through to connection to our faith, our core, our feminine intuition (superpower) and to then LIVE OUR DAYS from whatever truth lies inside us. When we are re-connected to our own interior voice and to trust in the Divine- we can be our best for our children and model adult respectful calm joyful responses to our world and our lives. And they then can model the same- even in times of extreme challenge.
When we are responsible for the entirety of our choices, and when we can forgive them too- we connect to our inner voice even more- and to the messages inside us of the truth of why we are here. I would tell her that this pain will pass and that the transformation of your healing will give you the compassion and tools to serve others too. And that this is the gift of our pain. And the gift of our lives. So embrace it now! Give yourself the gift!
What are the gifts this hardship have given you?
Belief in Divine Guidance. Trust that I'm always supported, the true experience of having been supported and safe emotionally. Connection to my inner truth- the core of who I am- and standing for her. What I need and dream of are now front and center in my world.
Knowing that we all have a path (even my children) and making mindful choices to let go of the false sense of control I have... and to allow their path to unfold- even when it’s painful to watch. Knowing that I am strong enough to persevere through anything really.
How are these gifts playing a role in your life currently?
Becoming a Life Coach has been my path all along the way. All of these experiences ARE what helped create my program.
Turning Pain Into Purpose
Part of the mission of "The Beauty of Women" is to share all of the amazing things you're creating in your life! Please share with us how you took your pain and made it into your purpose.
Business Name: Soul Work with Laura Lynn
Facebook: Soul Work with Laura Lynn
Instagram Link: lauralynnsoulwork
What’s your mission?
I work with nurturing souls to help them to turn their nurturing energies inward- to re-connect to what matters most to them in their lives.
What are you passionate about?
Letting people know that we have just one life and that it need not be wasted on fulfilling the needs and expectations that others have for us. We have the choice and the power to go inward- connect to our innate gifts- and to bring our most connected, lit up self to serve others.
What awesome thing are you creating?
I've created a new 12-week program called Nurture You- Heart and Soul Practices to Re-Connect you to what Matters. And a FB group- Haven: Delight in Nurturing You...