"As women we have a responsibility to shine light into the darkest regions of our souls, and to heal from the real and imagined pain. The Project empowered me to re-examine some of the hard lines I had drawn over the years, as well as redefine some of the blurry ones. Was the project relevant? No, it was essential."
When Carol Mossa initially called to "sign herself up" - I was immediately struck by the conviction in her voice. "This project is what comes next for me in my life", she told me clearly, and firmly. I marveled at her knowing. Carol Mossa arrived for our shoot with a whole lot to teach me about re-creating one's self and how beautifully "showing up" and taking responsibility for your own life can reveal itself through the lens of a camera.
I remember Carol saying,
"It's not your job to like me, it's mine."
How very true. How often we aim to please. How often we, as women, give our power away in an exchange in order to fit in, be acceptable, or lovable, or worthy.
Carol had learned a lot about this, and her unapologetic self-acceptance has inspired countless others to claim their own. It takes something to transform your own life, and take an inventory of the past in such a way that can offer perspective, and healing. Had she known trauma, adversity, upset, and pain, absolutely. Had she taken those experiences and made them work to her advantage, Yep. Did she want it documented for the benefit of herself and others, Oh HELL Yes.
Carol Mossa is a "YES" to life, and a "YES" to beginning again, and a "YES" to showing up, and offers her support to everyone who wants to do the same. It was no surprise that she revealed herself in the workshop with an open heart and an open mind, giving of herself, and to our team, FULL permission to see her dance with her own shadow and look at herself firmly in the eye as if to say "THIS is where I stand, and I LIKE me" Yes, we hear you sister- we hear you, we see you, and we love you- exactly as you are.
TRP: Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Carol: Like many of the remarkable women I have seen showcased on your pages, I am a “Renaissance Soul” with many interests, passions, and vocations. At 58 years old, I am in the best physical, emotional, and spiritual condition of my life. My three adult children are reaching for magnificent lives of their own now. Katie, my oldest daughter, turned 26 this month. She is an accountant, and engaged to be married in June 2014. Lindsey, nearly 21, is a junior at Dickinson College (PA) studying International Business. Last week I felt her glide through my loving embrace and board a plane for Bologna, Italy, where she will study this semester. My baby, Matthew, 19, is a freshman at Syracuse University, also majoring in Business.
I raised the three of them on my family’s horse farm off of Curtis Corner Road in Wakefield, RI. When my 20-year marriage dissolved in 2007, I relocated to the east side of Providence to be closer to their private schools. That decision, while practical at the time, has me now longing to return to my South County roots, my friends, my community of strong women. My former husband continues to live and work in southern Rhode Island, and I count him among my dearest companions.
I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, blessed to practice on humans, horses, and small animals. In reality, I am also a writer, an energy healer, a teacher, columnist, poet, editor, author, workshop leader, amateur portrait photographer, floorcloth artist, clothing designer, gardener, athlete, runner, coach, marketing director, and small business owner. Two new books: one, a memoir of the years I spent on the road with Lindsey, nationally horse-showing her ponies; another, my experience as an advocate for the animal kingdom, are works-in-progress.
In addition to being a mother, I am a sister, a daughter, a friend, and most importantly, a sober woman of dignity in recovery from alcoholism. The Revelation Project taught me that I am attractive with a great smile! I am playful, happy, hopeful, spirited, intelligent, compassionate, honest, humble, generous, and in love with the life I continue to create.
TRP: What are the biggest challenges that have faced you as a woman?
Carol: Growing up in a dysfunctional home, I learned early to be the caretaker, the one who rescued my father daily from himself. As a result, I grew up trying to save my partners. In the end, I discovered that the only one I am capable of taking care of is myself. That work on self continues to this day.
TRP: What are some of the issues that you think are important to explore as it relates to being female?
Carol: We are multidimensional and it’s important to embrace all of the manifestations of self and not shrink from our greatness.
TRP: What frightens you?
Carol: For the most part, I am fearless, but remaining in that state requires conscious contact with a power greater than myself. Anytime I feel afraid, I know I am projecting into the future---a surefire reminder for me to bring my head back to where my feet are. Looking back (where remorse, regret and sadness dwell), and looking too far ahead, are booby traps for me. I am diligent about staying in the moment. That’s where I find my greatest sense of peace.
TRP: What is your “Life Mission?”
Carol: As the Director of The Well Healing Arts Center, I intend to continue building a thriving practice that includes all aspects of women’s wellness: bodywork, educational workshops, exercise, nutrition, yoga, and meditation. The fact that I will get to perform my life work from new digs on Main Street in historic East Greenwich is beyond my wildest dreams!
TRP: How do you keep yourself inspired by life?
Carol: Hope reigns when I remember to be grateful for all I have been given (and for those things that have been equally denied). Anytime I choose “lack” I come up short, lose hope, and fall into despair. Gratitude is always the surest path to inspiration.
TRP: Have you ever hit “Rock Bottom?” Can you tell us about it?
Carol: When I awoke the morning of February 3, 2008, I knew that the way I’d been managing my life was unmanageable. Nothing had changed except that I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. The journey I began on that day has given me a life beyond my wildest dreams.
TRP: What did it teach you?
Carol: I learned that I have a daily reprieve from misery providing I maintain my spiritual condition.
TRP: Is there anything in particular that made you feel like being part of the Revelation Project was a good idea right now?
Carol: From a very early age, I felt separate. One of my earliest childhood memories was walking to school and seeing everyone else on the other side of the street. I remember wondering, “How do I get over there?” That image became the metaphor for most of my life: I never fit in. Being a part of The Revelation Project and other projects/places where women gather to share their experience, strength, and hope has given me the sense of community I used to crave.
About the shoot:
TRP: What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were expecting?
Carol: My friend, Jane Kelleher, had done the project months before me, so I had an idea what to do, but I had no idea what to expect. Showing up with no expectations allowed me to be open to the magic, the love, the metamorphosis, and the psychic change.
TRP: Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot?
Carol: Curious. Playful. Safe.
TRP: Three words for after?
Carol: Buoyed. Alive. Beautiful.
TRP: Three words for when you saw the results?
Carol: Empowered. Enlivened. Enriched.
TRP: After you left but before you saw the results - did you have any thoughts about the experience? What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?
Carol: On the drive home, I distinctly remember feeling “taller.” I know now that sense came from having risen above, out of, the mythical body that I had been contained in.
TRP: When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?
Carol: I was sitting in the bleachers at my son’s high school basketball game, and my ex-husband was sitting beside me. I screamed out in delight when I glanced at my i-phone and realized that the photographs had “gone live.” When he inquired about my glee, I shared the images, and I was never more proud to do so.
TRP: Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?
Carol: Simply stunning.
TRP: What are some words you would use to describe how those comments made you feel?
Carol: Glamorous. Empowered. Strong.
TRP: Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?
Carol: I am a beautiful woman, inside and out.
TRP: Since the shoot happened- can you talk about the lasting impact of the experience? Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?
Carol: The Revelation Project revealed a side of me that I hadn’t put much stock in: the playful, delighted, what-the-hell side. I have proof every time I go back and look at the images that “happy, joyous and free” are choices I make.
TRP: Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why?
Carol: The Revelation Project taught me not to shrink from my greatness.
TRP: Do you think it's relevant for other women? Why?
Carol: As women we have a responsibility to shine light into the darkest regions of our souls, and to heal from the real and imagined pain. The Project empowered me to re-examine some of the hard lines I had drawn over the years, as well as redefine some of the blurry ones. Relevant?, no; essential.
TRP: How would you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?
Carol: Facebook continues to play a vital role in my interpersonal relationships as well as providing a source of dialogue among my local clients (The Well Healing Arts Center), and among participants in my global project (Earth’s School of Love). Use of the photographs has allowed me to practice what I preach: we can heal the planet one thought at a time, and the process begins with how I perceive myself.
TRP: What is your favorite song and why?
Carol: I don’t have one favorite song because music is an integral part of my personality. Just this week, however, hearing Rascal Flatts’ song, “My Wish,” on the way to JFK with my daughter, Lindsey, helped me to release her with love as she embarked on her semester abroad.
“I hope that the days come easy and the moments pass slow, and each road leads you where you want to go. My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to, your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small. And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to, I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things, too.”
TRP: Why do you think this project is important?
(see four questions above)
TRP: If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
Carol: Participating in The Revelation Project has given me keener vision, deeper insight into the myriad manifestations of self. My self. The experience has expanded the way I view myself, my community, and the world at large. Thank you!
Connect with Carol at The Earths School of Love on Facebook.