Let’s Get Cozy Together This Holiday Season!

Intentional Holidays in the Kin Keepers' Haven

Janine Bertolo and Trevia Woods on a holiday background with text "Intentional Holidays in the Kin Keepers' Haven

$30 monthy membership you can cancel ANYTIME!

Winter is a time for slowing down, enjoying the fruits of the sunny seasons, resting and reflection.
It’s a time for sinking deep into our crafts and sharing in front of our fires. It’s a time to feel, play, sleep and reflect.
It’s a time for small rituals and meaning making. 
It’s a time to grieve and enjoy our blessings. 

Busyness and Chaos Simply Don't Serve Us

Modern holidays in late stage capitalism demand impossible social media standards, and glorify spending in a time when the cost of living has risen.

It keeps busy and distracted, with all the baking, planning, shopping, spending.

It’s an intentional recipe for failure that pulls us into an endless loop that serves capitalism and really doesn’t serve us at all.

There’s  no time to reflect and rest in the capitalist holiday calendar; no time to build resilience to remain grounded when the people around us might not feel that way , set boundaries, or find contentment in the slow season of darkness.

We end up tired, depleted, and often broke.

Not exactly that Norman Rockwell scenario we strive to recreate.

Here is your invitation to step out of the cycle together this season

Give yourself the gift of time to remember what really calls to YOU at this time, and allow space to create it over the next month. 

We have created a space in the Kin Keepers’ Haven for you to set intentions, come back to your body, honor grief, and find belonging over the holidays; a space to share ideas about how we can celebrate and honor this sacred time of the year with joy; a space to create and practice small rituals, co-regulation and connection; a space to support the way you want to feel through all the season. 

Introducing the Kin Keeper's Haven

Meet your Hosts:

Trevia (TREE-va) Woods (she/her)
I live and work on the traditional land of the Eno, Tutelo, Saponi, Occaneechi, Shakori, and the Tuscarora past and present, colonially renamed Hillsborough, North Carolina, USA.

I am a mixed-race woman with two decades of experience in bodywork, education and community-building. I support people in building community, unpacking cultural appropriation, and assisting people with unpacking cultural appropriation. I also help Culture Makers share their magic with the world, sustainably, so they can thrive along with their clients.

I love plants and books, and I’m a mom to a blended family of 5 boys & 1 VERY cute dog.

Janine’s caring, insight, and crone energy brings me life! Janine brings fun and vulnerability to our friendship and partnership each time we meet. I know she’s in my corner and shows up to support me however she can. We love merging our strengths together as a collective, and exploring ways to break out of the cycles of late stage capitalism.

 About Trevia Many Trees Lifeway Instagram     LinkedIn

Janine Bertolo (she/her)
I live and work on the unceded territory of
the Algonquin Anishanaabe People,
colonially renamed Gatineau, Quebec, Canada.

I’m an anti-capitalist crone, certified post trauma growth coach, and political junkie who helps humans to identify and unlearn the voices of systemic oppression that are planted in our brains from an early age. I long for a world where all living beings have equal access to the necessities of life, including laughter, rest, creativity, and joy. 

I love to read, paint, watch birds, and prowl the countryside with my partner and our rescue pup (who’s also pretty darn cute!)

Trevia introduced me to the concept of a slow yes and I will be forever grateful to her for that. She holds space for me to be me, unfiltered and vulnerable, silly and joyful, angry and determined, grieving and celebrating, all of it.⁣ I’m excited to be partnering with her to host the Kin Keepers’ Haven and continuing to follow our slow yes together in this cauldron.

Janine’s Website Instagram Facebook LinkedIn

What's Included (the dets)

Over the month of December we have planned gatherings to:

  • set intentions
  • honor grief, and let it move through us
  • share experiences
  • body double to craft and cook
  • share our holiday traditions with one another in our online container. (Trevia will be sharing her Yule traditions) 
  • and close the season with reflection and intention setting for the New Year

With full permission to participate and opt out of any and all activities to honor your capacity.

Weekly calls on Wednesdays at 12pm & 7pm EST. First call is Dec 6th. Last call for New Year intention setting is on Jan 3rd; calls will be recorded and available for viewing throughout the month.

At least two body doubling sessions most likely on Saturdays to craft and cook something we want to bring into our season. 

You will have access to the Kin Keepers’ Haven to share and learn together in our online container hosted by Mighty Networks. 

With a founding member’s investment of $30 monthly in your country’s currency (priced with joy and justice to honor your cost of living)

You can cancel anytime

We look forward to seeing you in the Kin Keepers’ Haven for Intentional Holidays!

We are creating a co-creating a space that centers healing from misogyny and working towards a future where we can have spaces that can include all people without harm.

This is multigenerational transformation. This is a brave space for those who have been most harmed by misogyny to do the work of reclaiming our authenticity and dismantling all forms of oppression.

Do you identify as a cisgendered man? Please email us at kinkeepershaven@gmail.com with other options to work with us one on one.

3 Questions for the Full Moon in August

low angle photography of full moon under silhouette of tall trees

Welcome to Leo season dear friends!

The full moon arrives on August 11 at 9:36 p.m. in the Eastern time zone.

I always look forward to Sarah Kemp’s Moonlight and Manifesting full moon guided practices (via Patreon.com – you can follow without subscribing to read public posts). If you’re interested, you can find all of Sara’s offerings here.

It’s also Perseid season…. have you seen streaks of light in the night sky? You’re not imagining things! The meteor shower will reach its peak in the early morning August 13, but if you have clear skies, the brightness of the full moon might make viewing difficult.

Either way, there’s magical light falling on us this week.

I have such fond memories of discovering quite accidentally that meteor showers are a thing, one hot summer night in 1987 while on community retreat. After most were in bed, a few friends gathered on the lake shore to wind down and enjoy the summer evening. We counted over 200 shooting stars that night and I was forever hooked.

I love to think about the cyclical timing of the universe that carries us on our annual trip around the sun, through belts of cosmic debris that burn up on hitting the Earth’s atmosphere.

Scientific and magical all at the same time.

This month’s newsletter follows the format set by the 3 Questions with Kat & Val podcast, a weekly delight that asks, “What’s bringing you joy?” “What’s moving around for you?” and “What are you learning?”

I look forward to Tuesdays when Kat and Val release new episodes.

What’s bringing me joy?
– Breakfast Bowls (lunch and dinner bowls – aka salads – too):
I love vegetables. I love fresh. I love the abundance of fresh local and delicious produce available to us during the summer. And I love being able to* toss a random combination of things into a bowl for a healthy, nutritious and delicious meal. This morning’s breakfast bowl consisted of tomatoes grown by my partner in our yard (you can taste the sunshine in them!), sprouts, arugula, lettuce, green onion, avocado, fried eggs and cooked ham. So.fucking.delicious.

*Okay, more accurately, my lovely partner does the tossing, the shopping, the cooking, and the bowl assembly, not me. And this too brings me joy.

Being able to listen to your body’s needs and honour them; to be able to ask someone to source the ingredients and prepare them, is a sign of a healthy nervous system. I haven’t always been there, and having regained the capacity for this also brings me joy.

– Ms. Marvel is delight. It brings me joy, and if it doesn’t bring you joy, I don’t want to hear about it.

– Learning and creating new things – I created a guided practice for orienting to your space and cultivating safety. Learning to use the audio conversion and mixing software, searching for background music and integrating it was… well it was fun!

You can listen and download the new thing I made here.

What’s moving around for me?
The non-binary nature of consent: and by this I mean recognizing that all-or-nothing perfectionist thinking has infiltrated my brain so that I deem any level of discomfort around something new as non-consensual.

This is simply not true and, more importantly, this internalized messaging keeps me in a state of freeze or stasis, unable to move or grow or expand, even when I desire it.

Without curious inquiry, this dynamic plays out in my life around chronic pain and mobility, around relationships, community-building and justice work. The discomfort of stretching into new places of learning and growing is not self-harm.

I am finding the work of Betty Martin and the Wheel of Consent very helpful in unpacking this. You can learn more about it here.

The concept of dirty pain versus clean pain described by Resmaa Menakem in this article also speaks to this idea, and is something that I am digesting and integrating:

“When people respond from their most wounded parts, become cruel or violent or run away, we experience dirty pain” (Menakem, R., 2017, pg. 20). When we avoid pain and discomfort, we also create more of it for ourselves and for others. To heal collectively, we must be willing to engage and feel clean pain.”

I have joined the Institute for Radical Permission facilitated by adrienne marie brown and Sonya Renee Taylor.

The most recent teachings explore self-worship as an act of radical permission, including developing decadence practices for ourselves.

There are some sticky bits around this for me.

In answer to a question about how to cultivate self-worship, adrienne marie brown suggested taking time to look at the moon the next time it’s full.

Notice that the surface of the moon is not smooth; it’s pockmarked by asteroids that have collided with it. The moon has a face because of those shadows; the moon has acne scars.

The moon never apologizes for its shadows because they are the story of its shaping, of its being.

The shadows tell the story of what’s shaped us, what we’ve overcome, what we have survived. Each of us is a miraculous being. The shadows shape us. They don’t have to be in charge.

Each of us is a luminous full moon, comprised of shadow and light, unique and precious and invaluable to the whole.

Taking this one to heart.

What am I learning?
See above; it’s all in there.

Offered with love,


I am a post-traumatic growth and somatic coach who helps people heal & find ease from trauma that gets stuck in the body so they can live more fulfilled & authentic lives.

I create a safe, consensual, nurturing space for exploring, excavating, and healing, allowing what’s been stuck to move through and out.

​​​​​I love to work with humans to transform individual and collective trauma that disconnects us from the wisdom of our bodies, and keeps us from living joyful, connected lives.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

You can find more about my offerings here.

Self-Centred: What If You Were Easier On Yourself?

Hey there,

It’s been way more than a minute since I’ve written. And we’re back in retrograde season. Fasten your seatbelts! Or maybe even better, slow down.

I’ve been doing some pretty deep humaning since writing to you last, and HUMANING IS HARD.

So, with your indulgence I’m going to time travel back to March to share something I began to write then. Something that still feels relevant and potent for me today.

And maybe you can relate…

(this one is longish – you may want to grab a cup of tea)

There is a voice in my head calling the shots – my manager. She isn’t who am anymore. But her voice is still loud and bossy and dominant.

It makes sense that she feels that way. She was running the show up until three years ago, and that means she ran the show for 58 years.

She did the very best she could.

But she drew some illogical conclusions from the data that resulted in some pretty unhealthy and unsupportive strategies for living that go like this:

  • I can’t trust anyone, so I must do everything myself or it won’t be as good, or it won’t get done
  • Doing everything by myself makes me really angry; it’s a lot of work and I wish there was someone who could help carry the load
  • Suck it up, get ‘er done, pain is weakness, needing others is weakness
  • Moving cyclically through hypervigilance (trying to control all the variables) to freeze (total non-functional depression, eat, sleep, work, walk the dog, binge eat, binge watch, fall asleep, repeat)
  • Knowing that dismantling racism, colonialism, the patriarchy, capitalism, colonialism is the work I want to contribute to
  • Thinking the way to do that is by going to war, politically and energetically, fighting our way to peace, fighting my body, my nature, my blueprint essence

As you can imagine, navigating life according to those rules is a lot of work and extremely extractive. Three years ago, I reached the point where I had nothing left to give – to my work, my family, my partner, my self, my dreams.

My cup was bottomed out. Empty.

My self-centred intention for 2022 is to focus on chronic pain and mobility issues, to find more ease and capacity in my body. To put myself first and to let everything else fall into place from that centred ground.

So, I gifted myself with a series of Rolfing sessions, to massage the muscles and fascia not only where the pain happens, but all over the body. The goal is to fix and retrain posture and structure so that your body can correct any lingering imbalances causing the pain.

It is common for this treatment to bring up emotions and experiences that have become stuck in the body (aka trauma), so I also gifted myself a series of sessions with coach/therapist/magician/world changing witch to accompany through the process.

The week in question, my coaching session “homework” was to find ways of lightening up on myself by 4%. Because 3% seemed like not enough and 5% felt like too much. 4% felt doable.

The week following the time change to Daylight Savings, I decided it would be a good idea to:

Eliminate coffee from my diet
AND dairy
AND begin a bean protocol to expunge toxins from my body
AND have a rolfing session
AND it was the two year anniversary of the pandemic lockdown AND AND AND…

Go big or go home, right? If DST was going to mess me up, might as well make it worth the ride, said my manager.

It didn’t take too long before my body started screaming at me. It sounded pretty much like many variations on “WTF?!”

One morning, when my partner was planning to make himself a half pot of coffee and an oat milk matcha green latte for me, I decided to ditch the oat milk latte and return to coffee, all dressed with coconut milk, cacao, a splash of maple syrup and a cinnamon stick. Black coffee messes with my gut. Coffee with all the things doesn’t. It was delicious, and I felt more human than I had all week.

I’m Italian. Pretty sure coffee is an ancestral food. Going with that.

Navigating stairs often hurts and is always slow for me and I am blessed with a partner who happily uses his movement breaks to deliver snacks and tea throughout my workday.

That afternoon while I was working in my downstairs office, preparing for a client session, my loving partner up and decided to do some resourcing of his own and took off in the car for a hike in the woods near a beautiful waterfall. He texted from the car to say he was on the way.

Without asking me if he could deliver tea or snacks beforehand. 

My manager kicked in:


This kind of inconsiderate behaviour just confirms everything I know to be true about people and how you can’t depend on them.”

I observed the feelings of abandonment that came up in the moment, and then I laughed.

The manager would have created a crisis, held on to the feelings of abandonment until they festered into bitterness, and armed herself for a big fight whenever the bastard decided to return. 

But me? Me now? She LAUGHED!

The truth was that there was plenty of time before my client session to wander upstairs to make a cup of tea. So that’s what I did.

And guess what? Nothing blew up and the world did not end.

That night I had a revision of a recurring childhood dream:

I’m in the back seat on a road trip with my parents sitting up front when they disappear but the car keeps driving out of control with no driver, so I must climb over the front seat, take the wheel and steer the car to safety.

(How obvious, right?)

The feelings in this recurring dream were consistent in childhood: fear and panic and terror.

This new dream was the same but different:

My partner and I were on a road trip, but somehow I was sitting in the back seat. He decided he had to take care of something important and left the vehicle. No drama on his part but the car was still running. So, I climbed over the front seat, took the wheel, parked the car and explored the streets of a new and unknown place to find him and let him know where the car was so we could resume our adventure when he was done with whatever it was he’d needed to do.

No fear, no panic, no terror. I felt calm and in control and resourced.

Could it be that my brain and nervous system were processing the niggle of abandonment I’d felt the day before? Letting the feelings move through my body instead of getting stuck?

I’m thinking yes.

The new me has been calling the shots for three short years, just 5% of the time I’ve been circling the sun in this body.

The new me is a virtual toddler.

Maybe it’s time to cut her some slack already. 4% is what feels doable for my nervous system.

Starting with a delicious cup of morning coffee that doesn’t mess with my gut.

And here’s the thing: starting to work with what feels doable, with 4%, seems to have opened so much more than 4% capacity for nervous system regulation and healing.

Those old voices, while not completely silent, don’t run the show anymore. I love and respect my manager for taking care of me for so long.

She has some wisdom. She’s part of the family. We talk, reminisce about the old days; I soothe her, and offer her some rest.

She seems to be good with that, and life feels so much more than 4% easier.

What are the ways that you might be easier on yourself?

By 1%, 2%, 3% or 4…. Whatever feels doable for you.

I encourage you to give it a try, and see what opens up.

I would love to hear about it if you’d like to share.

Wishing you self-centred peace and love,


Thinking of working with me?

A Future Planning Session is a great way to discover how it feels.

Give yourself the gift of an hour, in safe supportive space, to land in your body and focus in on want you’d like to create for yourself.

I’ll offer that space, some grounding practices, insights and suggestions.

I know the power of setting intentions and getting out of my own way to allow them to manifest and would be honoured to hold that kind of space for you.
Sessions are delivered by Zoom, priced at the introductory rate of $250.

Book now or click here for more information.
Thank you for being here!

I appreciate you and would love to hear your feedback; just hit reply.

Feel free to pass this along to anyone who might appreciate it.

If you would like to subscribe and have Self-Centred delivered to your email inbox, you can do that here

Until next time,

Janine Bertolo (she/her)
Trauma-informed somatic coach & space holder
Anti-capitalist crone & Culture Maker

Martyrdom, Comfort, and Old Dogs

I have never been a friend of comfort, at least not as long as I can remember. But I have a feeling we might be able to get along.

I’ve internalized a voice that sings “Nothing comes easy.”

The complete soundtrack includes: “You have to struggle to get ahead.”

“You get what you pay for.”

“No pain, no gain.”

“You have to suffer to be beautiful”

and other hits.

I’m not saying there isn’t an element of truth in any of them, but somehow along the way my brain overgeneralized the concept and morphed it into the belief that I must be hard on myself, that it was somehow a noble thing, the way it should be done, the path to glory, and living your dreams. I embodied that belief with unequivocal convinction. I became a rock star at beating myself up.

Comfort might be an incidental side-effect, a reward for hard work and self-torment, but never ever something to be sought out.

That kind of internalized thinking takes its toll. It’s hard on the body, mind and soul.

(and now I’m rhymin’)

As I was typing this, an alarm went off to remind me to take some pain medication. I’ve had a flare up of acute pain over the last couple of days, a hat trick of dental chickens come home to roost as a result of procrastination and pandemic shut downs. The pain has been crippling, leaving me feeling like curling up in the fetal position and crying for my mom.

I have a deepened respect for people who live with chronic pain, and deep gratitude for my largely pain-free life.

I was able to see a dentist who assessed the situation and suggested a plan, including doubling the amount of pain medication I had been taking and timing doses regularly over a 24 hour cycle to keep it at steady levels in my system.

This strategy has been incredibly helpful. After two times, I am feeling little to no pain and able to function again. I was able to sleep deeply and through the night last night and woke up feeling like life might be okay after all.

But when the alarm went off just now, my first thought was “well it only hurts a little bit; maybe I should hold off on taking more drugs.”

It only hurts a little bit.

There is a difference between navigating pain as part of an intentional process, or because someone or something is causing you harm, and intentionally seeking it out as a reward for your efforts (also referred to as martyrdom).

Pain is a side-effect, not the goal, and it is most certainly not a reward.

I’m throwing off one of the remnants of growing up Catholic. Goodbye martyrdom. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

I already know from experience that I can take any pain life has to throw me and I hope that I’m able to do it again when it inevitably revisits.

But I’m through throwing pain at myself.

I’m writing a new song; “Comfort is healing baby” The title might need work.

I’m unlearning self-combat and replacing it with self-compassion, gradually, and with a lot of support and input from people are writing real self-love songs. To give my body, soul, and even my mind, some ease. To give my nervous system a break from the fight/flight/freeze and downregulate, to give the ego a rest so my soul can regenerate. Maybe they can be friends some day? I bet there’s something valuable in that Somatic Internal Family Systems Therapy book I’ve been longing to dig into.

What’s stopping me? Reading is comfort. Comfort is healing. Healing is my jam now.

It’s all part of the trauma-informed approach to healing. I am a shiny new student in the ReBloom trauma-informed coaching container kicking off this week with a 4 day workshop and continuing part time throughout the year.

As part of the preparation for spending 4 days online together (even a pandemic has a silver lining; this training would be much less accessible to me when offered in person on the other side of the continent in another country) it was suggested that we – gasp! – be intentional about creating ease for ourselves. This might include wearing comfortable clothes, eating healthy, nutritious and delicious food, drinking lots of water and comforting tea, and maybe having a hot water bottle on hand if you tend towards freeze as a response to trauma. (Hello, have we met? I’m Freeze’s Nonna)

I can’t remember if a weighted eye mask was suggested as well, but I’ve used them in spas and yoga classes before and love them. It just never occurred to me to buy one for myself because, well you know.

Meet my new best friends:


I’m off to read now.

New Year, New Thing

On New Year’s Day, buoyed by the enthusiasm of my online community, I signed up for a 30 day yoga practice.

I appreciate the benefits of yoga for my body, and eventually even my mind and soul. It used to bring forth a LOT of anger in me, until I discovered (attracted?) teachers and practitioners who were more focused on true well-being and health rather than marketing, profits and spin.

I live in a large body, arthritic, menopausal and in a fair bit of inflammatory pain a lot of the time. Day 1 of the 2021 30 day practice left me feeling excluded, frustrated and sore.

It felt too fast for me and offered no adaptations for people with bodies like mine. I felt the shame creeping in. I “should” be able to do this, and if I can’t it’s because there’s something fundamentally flawed about me.

Not allowing myself to drop completely into the freeze and despair of shame, I remembered a week long introduction to Body Positive Yoga from Amber Karnes that I’d tried earlier in the spring of 2020.

I remembered feeling seen and heard with Amber’s practice and guidance. I was able to settle into poses feeling grounded, stable and strong, some for the first time ever.

So I looked up those practices and went back to yoga challenge day 1 armed with my own adaptations. There’s something about a square peg and a round hole that comes to mind here, but yep. That’s what I did.

On the way to finding the intro to body positive yoga, I came across Amber’s post on Accessible Yoga Training website: “Stop postponing your life until you lose weight.” I recommend reading it in its entirety, but this hit home:

“Dominant culture teaches us that there is a hierarchy assigned to bodies. Beauty standards (who is considered “beautiful” and who is considered “ugly”) are based on this foundational belief: that some bodies are inherently more valuable or worthy than others. Thin bodies are valued over fat bodies, white bodies are valued over black bodies, able bodies are valued over disabled bodies, young bodies over old bodies, and so on.

All this is predicated on an extrinsic lens or external gaze: other people’s perceptions of your body and where you fall into that hierarchy.”

The crack where the light gets in was almost audible in reading that post.

Why the hell was I trying to force myself into a body box that doesn’t fit or serve me? Or follow it with making myself feel like shit because I didn’t measure up to a standard I DON’T EVEN VALUE.

Because for all of my life, I was never able to accept or love my body just as it is. Too curvy, too bulky, too tall, too short, too wide, too thick, too slow, too stiff, too feminine…

I’m pretty sure I wasn’t born thinking that way. Like many of us, I’ve internalized arbitrary standards of health and beauty imposed by systems and those dominant cultures that have nothing whatsoever to do with health, inclusion and love, and everything to do with control, and exploitation.

And because I’m pretty good at whatever I take on, I internalized those voices and made them my own; I made myself my own biggest enemy.

I embodied everything predatory, judgemental and exclusive about the systems and cultures I was raised in and rebel against, and turned that artillery on myself. Hiding, covering up, and not participating in places or activities where I didn’t see bodies like mine. And resenting every second of it.

Even if they were present, I could not fathom how anyone who looked and moved like me could love themselves. I was envious and jealous of them that could. That envy and jealousy has transformed into appreciation.

Why didn’t I just join the Body Positive community last spring when I did the week long intro and felt so good?

It wasn’t about money. Because I can tell you that between then and now I spent at least the cost of a year’s subscription on quick fix programs that triggered my shame and promised “results” (and yes, I have slipped into beating myelf up about that as well.)

Why didn’t I just sign up for what felt good? Why couldn’t I offer myself that gift?

Because I saw it as giving up, giving in, admitting failure at not being able to someone I never was, never even wanted to be, at the same time as feeling inadequate and imperfect and wrong, at the same time as hating myself.

If you’ve stuck with me this long, you’ve probably guessed that I unsubscribed from the first 30 day challenge and joined the Body Positive Clubhouse.

I’m continuing to practice with my friends who are doing the original 30 day program, but I’m doing it in a way that fits and serves me – not just my body, but my mind in heart that are in need of healing as well.

Interesting: when I shared how the program wasn’t working for me, a couple of friends said they felt that way too, for different reasons. So we’re committed to supporting each other for 30 days in the practice that works best for each of us.

It’s a small step towards learning to love myself, just as I am. A little more than two weeks until I turn 60. About time.

When I was finishing up the practice I chose for myself today, I felt like there was just too much quiet in the video towards the end and opened my eyes to look at the screen. I found this:

And I knew I was in the right place. For today, it feels good, and I’m in for more of that.