Audacious, scary, body buzzing, delicious desire

 

Desire – Part 1

Desires are weird and wonderful. They are basically what you want but when you change the word want for the word desire it sounds so much more….ballsy. Daring. Delicious. Illegal. Naughty.

Desire seems like a slap to everything I grew up with. It’s the opposite of almost every message I received. I think that desire would have been a dangerous word to use; a dangerous concept to even bring up. Too audacious. Wasteful. Indulgent. Bad.

Here are a few things I’ve discovered about desire.

Desire is a tricky and complicated muthatrucker.

Desire gives fruit at both ends of it’s cycle. And in the middle. It has a magic to it regardless of whether it comes true or not.

Desire is fun. It makes your whole body feel very alive.

Desire writes the resume of who you really are at the deepest and truest level.

Desire isn’t just a happy wanting. It is often a kind of amazingly wonderful but also makes me feel slightly sick at the thought of it but only because it’s so freaking amazing and also because it scares me so much….kind of thing.

In May of this year, I attended a retreat. It was the third one of this particular kind and previously, I had always left about a year and a bit before I went again. It was the time I needed to digest what I had experienced. I left each retreat with a hunger only to go home and try to live as the woman I had opened into.

In May, at the end of this retreat, things felt very different. My whole body hummed with I WANT MORE. It was a ravenous hunger. I wanted more. I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to see what else there was RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

I was filled to the brim, bubbling over with this desire to go on another one. Hunger. Wanting. Desire. Yearning. Ache.

So, I signed up right away.

Now, when you go away for about 6 days and leave your husband with two young kids and spend a lot of money going on a retreat and then you come home and say, by the way, can we do this all over again in 6 months, well, it can feel kind of…selfish. A bit too much.

You have to say something like…”By the way, I want us to spend a lot of more money (which we should be spending on things like our mortgage and our future) so I can go and have fun and just generally feel fucking amazing.”

You see what I mean?

So, I came back from the retreat and said more or less, the above.

Okay, he said. (This man. THIS MAN. Wow.)

I had to do some juggling. I had to do some really deep financial wrangling. I had to ask for more than I was comfortable with. I had to believe I was more worthy of this money than our bank account (and children) were. I had to borrow from our future. To just generally feel fucking amazing.

It was extremely stressful.

And one night, I took a walk around the block to clear my head. I was surprised by the amount of stress I was feeling about this. I started to peel the layers back by asking myself, what’s the deal here? Is it the money? And then I pictured myself having paid for it and being able to relax. And nothing changed in my body. My heart rate was elevated, my stomach was tight, my skin tingled. Hmmm, so it wasn’t a money issue after all?

What the freak was going on?

I kept on peeling. And then I hit it. The sweet spot of epiphany. It wasn’t a money issue. It was a desire issue. It. Scared. The. Shit. Out. Of. Me.

The stress I was feeling was just a big bundle of FEAR. I was afraid of it being really great. I was afraid of it being really bad.

It wouldn’t be good. I wouldn’t get what I wanted out of it. I would have wasted all of this money and time and energy (everyone’s) and it would suck. My desire would have been a dud. There was nothing else for me to experience. Nowhere else to go. Nothing else to discover. I was done with this work. I had opened all I could open. Everything else was bullshit. This retreat was bullshit. This desire was bullshit. It was too much. Not going to happen. Not up in here. This desire, actually, was wrong.

Then…

What if it worked? What if it was amazing? Incredible? What if my desire was leading me just where I wanted to go? What if I opened, melted, experienced, expanded…what if my mind got blown and it was fucking incredible? What if it worked?

Silence.

How do I come home? How do I integrate? Will I come home? What if it’s too good? What if I never want to come home and I just disappear into the world, following my crumbs of desire until the postcards to my family just dry up? What if I go to a place I can never come back from? What if my husband can’t follow me there? What if my friends can’t follow me there? What if I can’t maintain this woman as a mother? As a wife? What if feeding this desire just makes me hungry for more?

(And somewhere, there was a voice that just kept on repeating are we even allowed to want something so badly like this just because it’s going to feel so freaking amazing?!)

Sigh. I was just so scared of this desire. This desire was so big. So deep. So hungry. So fucking fearless. And I was just the shaking, trembling little human attached to this rocket, trying my best to both hang on and enjoy the ride and to prepare my parachute.

But. But. Butt. To say “no” to this desire was scarier than saying yes. So, I said YES.

I leave in a month. With my passport (literally and figuratively) and my parachute.

I think desires are so important. Having them. Knowing what they are. Letting them live in your body and in your heart and then, when it suits, following the breadcrumbs towards them.

I think we have to believe that we are worthy of our desires.

That our desires are not only good for us but for everyone around us.

That our desires are right for us. Perfectly matched for our souls.

That our desires can be a compass. Are signposts along life’s path. (Otherwise, sheeeeet…..what are we following?)

And I think that our desires have meaning in our lives. That they are important. That they are not just the fun stuff, the good stuff, the wild stuff. But the really, really important stuff.

And that they are bigger even than themselves. That they are all leading us somewhere. Somewhere important.

Tell me, what is your relationship like with desire?

Truth telling. Deep breath. Open mouth.

 

 

Telling the truth.

It’s big. It’s hard. It takes remarkable courage. (Not to say something like “I don’t like peaches” but to say something like “Yesterday, I broke down in tears because I realized that I’m not really happy.”)

I believe telling the truth can save our lives. (Along with Wonder Woman.)

I had to start telling the truth to myself. To admit how I was actually feeling. To take off the blinders and allow myself to feel and allow the truth about it all. The resentment. The anger. The sadness. The fear. The wanting.

And who it involved. My family. My kids. My husband. My parents. That person.

Can we tell the truth to someone else if we haven’t spoken it to ourselves first?

Our truth is so sacred that we need to own it first. To speak it to ourselves first. To allow it. To feel it’s edges. To feel it’s heat, whether it’s burning or frozen. We can only move past it when we speak it.

The truth that we don’t speak (or that we tone down so we only speak a part of it) just buries itself in our skin. In our cells. It shuts down our joy. It is a barrier between us and someone else. It keeps us the victim. It festers into self-criticism and self-hatred.

Truths like…

I’m having a hard time with life right now.

I don’t like it.

No.

I am not happy.

I don’t know what to do.

When we don’t tell the truth to each other, we continue this isolation. Each of us in our own small world, thinking that everyone else has it together. That we are the only ones that can’t get it. Can’t hold it together. Don’t know what we are doing.

We think we are the only ones struggling.

We all stay down in the dark. All struggling alone. When we tell the truth, it’s like a ray of sunshine shines in that darkness. And we begin to see a way out of it. Together. Whew. We don’t have to do this alone.

Speaking the truth is a hard-won freedom.

Speaking my truth used to feel like something that diminished me. Made me weak. But now I know better.

Speaking the truth requires trust and someone to hold that truth like an egg they will never drop. Speaking the truth to someone means that you have determined that they are worthy of hearing this whisper from your heart. That they will honour it. Respect it. Hold it for you.

Never speak the truth to someone who can’t hold it for you.

I am learning every day to speak my truths. Some are getting easier. Some are hard. Some still get stuck in my throat. Maybe it is my fear, or my ego, or my heart that is trying to keep the words trapped there; I can feel the constriction as it fights to be set free.

I want to tell the truth. I want to set myself free by telling my truth. I want to set other people free by telling my truth. Maybe one of my truths is one of your truths. Then we are, all of a sudden, not alone anymore. Not crazy. Not wrong. Not unable.

Telling the truth comes with risk. To be hated. To be judged harshly. To be labeled. To be shamed. To be misunderstood.

But it’s a risk worth taking because the truth does set us free.

Here are some of my truths.

I still struggle with feeling that my story is worth telling and hearing. So sometimes I don’t tell it.

I struggle with believing that I am loveable. And worthy of love. I am still surprised how much people like me.

I am resentful (in various degrees from background noise to eruption) over how much my life “stopped” with kids and wifedom.

I have a hard time asking for everything I want. I have a hard time asking for help even though I tell people to do it all the time.

When I yell at my kids, it’s like I am split into different selves. One is totally shut down because she feels out of control. The wise part is shaking her head, sadly. And one part is enjoying it, whispering “Let them feel your rage. They deserve it.”

I miss the days when I got instantly turned-on just thinking about sex. I miss what the first kiss feels like. 

Every time I walk into a group of people, my heart is beating and I’m trying to act cool and confident but inside I’m afraid no-one will like me, I won’t connect with anyone. I won’t belong. I’ll be on the outside. Which is a place I know the pain of well.

I judge. When my heart is tight, when I’m tired, when I’m depleted, I judge. And I rank. I can feel smug about thinking I am a better mother, cooler wife, cooler woman. I can feel superior. (It’s all bullshit, obviously, and the only difference on this one is that I judge less and it now feels like shit. Damn.)

I envy. I have an ongoing battle with scarcity. Somewhere along the way, I claimed the idea that there isn’t enough to go around so I want it all. All of the attention. All of the validation. All of the love. I need to be the best, the brightest. In everything.

I am very comfortable when I am bright and shiny and sometimes disappointed, frustrated and impatient with my quiet, shy, withdrawn, self-doubting self.

I’m afraid of dying because I don’t want to be alone.

Thank you for reading my truth. I hope you can hold it for me.

The next time you are with someone whom you trust with your truth, tell them something. Something real. Something close to the bone. Something tender. Be the first one. Be brave. Save your own life. And theirs.

 

 

Your erotic body

 

What happened to you when you read those 3 words? Your. Erotic. Body.

Did you feel intrigued? Curious? Jealous?

Did you roll your eyes and think, fer kerist sake’s, Sophie, enough with the freakin’ body stuff

Did you feel your body shut down? Resist? Turn off?

Did you feel yearning? Sadness? Deep whispering desire?

Did your mind whirl with judgements or self-critical thoughts?

(Perhaps you laughed so hard that coffee went up your nose because there could be nothing further from the reality of your life – as you sit at your desk at work, totally overwhelmed, or at home with children, or trying to be both at work and at home or going through a break-up or just being exhausted and frustrated and too busy and doing a million other more important things….)

Whatever happens, it is interesting to just notice how we react to that powerful image of a woman’s erotic body.

I know there might be some of you who just cannot swallow the feeling of an erotic body right now. Let’s see…what is not erotic? Almost everything we spend our time and energy on. Childcare. Being stuck in traffic. A job you hate. Tension or problems in a relationship. Being in chronic pain. Being injured. Exhaustion. Being ill. Spending all day answering emails, texts, tweets and scrolling through feeds. Rushing. Racing. Driving ambition that leaves no room for anything else. Living in your head. Being an intellectual and above all that body stuff. Spending your day doing, doing, doing for everyone else. Holding things together. Anxiety. Fear. Worry. Self-critical thoughts. Body hatred. Or, just body disconnection. Endless to-do lists. Going to sleep at night worrying about what you didn’t get to during the day and what you HAVE to do tomorrow.

Not erotic.

And basically, just living in a female body in this culture doesn’t really allow us to have a space where we can even think about what it might mean to have an erotic body. We live in a culture that, in so many ways, shapes and forms, devalues the feminine. Devalues the attributes that are most at the heart of what it is to be a woman – collaboration, emotionality, sensuality, the huge range of colours we can feel and play in, intuition, gentle fierceness and the incredible way that our bodies connect to the earth, the moon and everything in nature.

Living in a world that seems to alternate between devaluing, diminishing and outright fearing and hating the feminine doesn’t make us feel safe enough to tune into the frequency of the erotic.

So this is work we need to do together. In a sacred space.

Here’s what “your erotic body” means to me.

Your

As in, for you. Beholden to you. Under your care. Your responsibility. Your sacred temple. Not only the body that you walk around in but also the body that is designed for great emotionality, great bliss, great ecstasy. A body filled with curves and valleys. A body that is likely craving to be caressed, known, discovered. Deeply touched. A body that is not only a history of your life but also a beginning to what else is possible.

Erotic

Sexual. Sensual. The known and unknown. Goosebumps forming as cold water drops. The warmth of a summer breeze across the back of the neck. Stirrings. Yearnings. Unleashed. Thoughts, images, touches that awaken wantonness. Permission to feel whatever there is to feel. A pleasurable drop into the senses. And your deepest, rawest truth.

Body

The physical. The curve of your lower back. The strength of your arms. The softness of the skin on the inside of your wrist. The swing of your hips. The velvet softness of your throat and the heat of the back of your neck. The way energy moves through your body as you curve and release it, the melting of all of your tightness and the ecstasy that comes when your body moves freely.

An erotic body, to me, is a body that is alive and awake, a body that allows emotions to be felt and released, a body that is conscious of it’s desires, a body whose voice and intuition is acknowledged and honoured and a body that is allowed pleasure.

What is an erotic body to you? What would you imagine your erotic body to be? Feel like? Look like?

By the way, if you have a furrowed or angry brow right now because you actually have no freaking idea what an erotic body is, take a deep breath and exhale out. I’ve been there. We have all been there…and some of us are still there. Really, the only question is, are you interested in finding out what your erotic body is?

I’ve created two sacred spaces for you to explore your erotic body.

  1. My “Pleasured Body” program. If you can get to Toronto, we will spend two hours with you and your body. We will start to become interested in how she wants to move, in where she is constricted, in what makes her feel good and in what she needs. I’m working with a small group of women this round and I’m closing registration on Thursday, June 15th. Do you want a spot? Email me.
  2. My monthly feminine soulful movement classes. My next two are on Monday, July 10th and Monday, August 14th. The classes run at The Healthy Joint from 7:00 – 9:00pm. The cost is $30. Email me if you want a spot or more details.

 

 

 

Your body. Pleasured.

 

Your body. Pleasured. Interested?

I have been on a deep relationship with my body for about the last 6 years. (But who’s kidding who – we have all been on a journey with our bodies our whole lives.)

My intention in giving my body attention morphed from being able to accept and be happy with my body, to actually loving my body, to feeling free in my body, to, finally, finding out all of the pleasure my body had stored within her. The journey became about unwrapping all of her treasures. How did I know there were treasures there? I found that whenever I followed her lead, there was a gift. Every time I listened to her, I felt better. Every time I gave her what she wanted, I was filled with self-acceptance and love. She never steered me wrong.

I can now say that I have a pleasure-filled body. She is no longer depleted. She is no longer dry. Or numb. Or disconnected. She is happy. She is thriving. She is fully alive. She is emotionally cleansed and healthy. She hums. She purrs. She growls. She wants. She is AWAKE.

And, by golly, she still has more to give. More to receive. More to teach me.

And what I have discovered is that the more I listen to my body and give her what she wants – the food she wants, the sleep she wants, the calm she wants, the touch she wants, the movement she wants, the pleasure she wants, the PERMISSION she wants, the more she teaches me. About how much pleasure she can really hold. (It’s a lot; more than I could have imagined). About how much joy is inside her. (As well as how much sadness, anger, fierceness, power, radiance, frustration, irritation, joy, surrender, softness, sensuality, sexuality, playfulness…)

I am in awe of her.

The more I live inside my body, the more curious I am about how most of us seem to be living. If you look around you, I’m guessing you will see a lot of stillness. We stand in lines. We sit in chairs. We stand and talk at parties. We sit on couches. We sit on our phones. We sit in our cars.

We are mostly still.

And when we do move, it’s either the hard work of a workout, fast walking to get somewhere or something else that is work. There is not a lot of pleasurable movement for us.

Even the last few conferences and events I have been to that are women-only events have been experiences of the brain. We sat. We talked. We thought. We sat some more.

It is as if we are just brains. No body. Or, more likely, that we are way more comfortable living in the brain and our thoughts and way less comfortable in our bodies so we just ignore them and carry on as if they don’t really exist.

I don’t believe that we are designed to sit and be still. I don’t believe that we will ever shine our brightest light through our brains alone.

And yet we continue to try to get everything we want through our brains; we think, we analyze, we read, we watch, we go over and over something in our heads, we justify, we judge, we deny, we criticize, we try to use our brains to do what our bodies are meant to do.

Which is make us feel whole. Make us feel alive. Worthy. Powerful. Beautiful. Open. Peaceful.

Make us feel at home. Perfect the way we are…with all of our lightness and joy and all of our darkness and pain.

How is your body connection these days? When did you last dance? By yourself or with your kids or with your girlfriends? When did you last have drops of sweating running down your spine in joy? When did you last feel a pleasurable touch on your skin? When did you last stretch slowly and feel the melting away of tension in your neck and upper back? When did you last groan or moan or make a sound as you felt your body open and release?

I believe that women are made to be physically embodied. Our brains are incredibly smart and gifted but when we live in our brains, they can turn against us. We can be devoured by patterns, fear, self-doubt, critical voices, resistance…and all of that can shut down our bodies. We constrict. We tighten. We tense. We shut down.

We shut off all of this life force, this realness, this aliveness, this vibrancy, this power, this joy, this pleasure, this fullness of life in our bodies.

Tell me, what are you feeling in your body as you read this? What is your brain saying to you? What is your body saying to you?

By the way, if you find it is weird that I refer to the body as “she”, ask yourself – have your ever felt divided between what your brain told you and what your gut told you? Have you ever held back from a body impulse (moving in a certain way, reaching out for something) because of what your brain was telling you? Has your mouth ever said, “Yes” as your body screamed “No”?

That is the disconnect. And that is why it is accurate and helpful to distinguish between language of the body and the brain.

So, here is what I’m really excited about. I’m releasing a brand-new program called “The Pleasured Body“.

I’m going to be releasing details about “The Pleasured Body” in the next week.

It is designed to bring a woman and her body back together.

If this is something that you think you are really keen on, please let me know and I’ll make sure you get first-notice on when the program is released.

In the meantime, here is a really easy way to begin to hear the voice of your body.

Give her time.

When you are making a decision, from what to eat for lunch to whether to say “yes” to that job or that invitation or that request, give yourself a few minutes or a few hours to decide. Don’t give your answer right away. Sit with it. See how feeling “yes” to the question feels like in your body. Does it make your body feel open, expansive, excited, peaceful, relaxed? Does it make your shoulders drop, skin tingle (or however “yes” feels like in your body)? Or does it make your body constrict? Does your body tighten, pull in, instinctively protect itself by closing down?

This is a process. This is a skill and a tool to develop. Don’t be impatient. If you can remember all of the years most of us have been using only our brains to make decisions (and not trusting our own sense of rightness), then you will realize that it will take time to unlearn that and to relearn to listen to your own sense and TRUST YOURSELF.

But when we learn to trust ourselves and to listen to our bodies and to follow our pleasure, EVERYTHING CHANGES.

Every. Thing. Changes.

Yes, you DO have that much power inside of you.

Again, if you want to make sure that you hear about this offer first, respond to this email and let me know.

And finally, allow your body to feel good. Allow her to feel pleasure. Answer her call for what she needs to feel good. Allow yourself to RECEIVE.

In the comments below, I’d love to know about what this post makes you think of. Is your body pleasured right now?

Victim much? I’ll share mine if you share yours…

 

As I spend more time on this internal journey to get back to myself, I start to see where my shadows are. The hard crusty parts I need to scrape away. The darkness that I need to shed light on. The twists and turns that I need to follow to get to the truth…the sometimes very hard to admit truth.

Shining light on the shadow parts is never easy, usually uncomfortable but it is the only way that I know of to continue to feel more and more FREE. And more and more myself. Which is the glorious carrot that keeps me moving forward.

And as I go along, I am learning every day how important it is for us to share our stories with each other. As I continue to say, we can’t do this thing called life, well, alone.

So, here are some of the victim personas I used to get stuck in. (And when my self-care goes to shit, I can get sucked right back into them…) The personas and shields I put on that completely neutralize my mojo, deplete me, keep me stuck in the trenches and fill me with toxic rage, frustration and bitterness that only serves to feed the cycle.

Perhaps you will recognize some of them…

I’m a Superstar Achiever (and better than you)

When I’m in this mode, I am really disconnected from my self because this is all about outward presentation. I want to show the world, near and far, what I can do. Balancing work and family with ease! Planning a party with homemade pasta and perfect wine pairing! Mastering self-care, business savvy and happy household on the tip of my baby finger! There is a part of me that wants the admiration of every woman as she looks at me and says, “Wow, how does she do it all?” I want to impress, overwhelm and (what I’d rather not admit) make other women feel inferior in the face of my ability to do it all.

Ouch. Oops. And a million apologies for any woman who has ever experienced a whiff of this from me. Drinks on me next time around…

The real story is that I’m chasing perfectionism, putting all of my power and worth into all the wrong places, walking on thin ice (because the energy of this is unsustainable so there is inevitably a crash coming), and ignoring all of the signals my body is giving me to come back home to myself. I’m trying to lift myself up by what others think of me. What I need to do is honour and value myself so I don’t look outwards to get what I am missing inside.

I Refuse To Make This Look Easy because then I Can’t Complain 

This is all about refusing to find solutions to problems because I really want everyone to know how hard this is. And the this could be work. Life. Managing my schedule. Taking care of kids. Waaahhh, my whole life is so hard! What I do here is resist taking responsibility for my own happiness, even when there are many ways to change my circumstances. I refuse to stand up for myself and instead, feel some sort of self-defeating satisfaction by pretending that there is nothing I could possibly do to make anything better. Because I think that if I find a solution and make things easier, then I won’t be able to ask for, and receive, sympathy. And I won’t feel appreciated because no-one will know how hard it is.

This is an interesting one for me because, at the heart of it, is just my need to express how I am feeling. My exhaustion. My overwhelm. My pain. My sadness. My fear. My questioning. In this mode, I express myself through complaining, anger, rage, bitterness and resentment. And most of the time, this expression gets turned outwards towards those dear to me or twisted inwards towards my heart like a screw. Neither is the kind of expression that moves me forward. Makes me lighter. And nothing gets released and transformed.

If I don’t make it look hard, I won’t be Earning my Keep (AKA, If I have too much fun, it’s not work)

Otherwise known as, my worth comes from what I do. This is about the belief system that says the harder I work and the more I do, the more value I have. In my family. To my partner. To my clients. In the world. This is how I earn my keep so it has to look hard. If I choose to sit on a patio and sip a cappuccino and read a book in the middle of the day instead of doing something, how can I gauge what my real worth is? Can my real worth be just. being. me? Can my value come from how much joy, happiness and truth I allow myself? Am I still valuable when I’m not doing, working, pushing, going, organizing, cleaning, feeding, tired, sacrificing…?

Quick story. I once met a woman on the street who had a week off from work and was planning to just stay home. The weather was supposed to be gorgeous that week and I suggested to her that she should find a time to go and sit on a patio with some friends. She looked shocked and horrified and said that she would probably spend the time getting things done and running errands.

As if it was illegal and shameful for her to enjoy herself and do nothing but feel good and have fun.

This whole doing things that make me feel good for no other reason than to feel good is a big one for women. Like, one of those 1.5L of white wine BIG.

It’s likely I have more victim personas in the shadows, just waiting for their time-release entrance into my life. But as my body and heart starts to have more light than shadow, they are running out of safe places to hide.

For me, seeing what is in the shadows requires me to get uncomfortable. To feel icky and yucky and to resist the impulse to run away, have a drink, eat something or to turn on the TV. Anything to drown out what I might hear if I pay attention. It also requires me to cut through the blame. The resentment. The ranting. The victim talk. It requires me to put on my goddess warrior panties and get right to the heart of the matter – where it’s all about me. It is all mine to own. And mine to change.

And I have learned that there is a difference in how I express myself and what it leads to. When I express myself (with the aim to hurt) by spewing out my rage, bitterness and resentment onto everyone and anyone around me, I am left with a tight, hot, angry ball of emotion that has not been healed, moved, cleansed or transformed. It has been tightened and hardened into place. (Because I haven’t expressed what I’m really feeling – which is hurt, sadness, pain, grief, challenge.)

When I dig deeper and allow myself to really feel the truth of what I’m feeling, when I acknowledge my hurt and my sadness, when I own them and see them in the light, they are released from my body. They are not fixed, necessarily, but they are transformed. They are not as they were.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts about this. What does your victim look like? What is your relationship with her these days? Is she the boss of you…or have you figured out how to get your power back from her?

 

 

 

 

To any woman in some darkness right now

 

 

This post is for any woman who is in a dark and challenging place right now because she has dared to begin to listen to her own voice, to hear her own desires, to voice her deep truths and to want to become the writer of her own story.

Sometimes, this journey is a choice we make. And other times, it is put upon us by circumstances beyond our control.

Being in the space of questioning everything, desiring everything, being courageous enough to face both fears and mightiness, standing alone and asking “What do I want?” without looking to others for approval or direction, is a scary, lonely, dry and hopeless feeling place.

So, to you, brave warriors – if you are in darkness now, please don’t think you are wrong. You are not.

If your husband doesn’t need what you need, you are not weak.

If your friends don’t seem to want what you want, you are not damaged.

Even when you wonder if anyone else feels the way you do, you are not wrong.

In your darkness and in your doubt, you are not wrong. You are not crazy or unable. You are a warrior on a quest.

Here’s what I wrote to myself when I was inside a dark journey.

Invite in the aspect of you that is your most compassionate nurturer, your mother, your fiercest advocate. Gather yourself up in your arms and gently rock back and forth.

Welcome in your rebel, your agitator…unleash she who goes one way while everyone else goes the other way.

Unleash your sassy rockstar superpower goddess who knows that nothing is wrong with her. The one that wouldn’t change a thing about herself and thinks she is perfect just the way she is.

Turn to your own wisdom inside. Listen to the one who has been there, through it all. The part of you that sees and knows all. The part of you that knows you deeply, fully and completely. She is not your enemy. She is your best friend, your heroine, your saviour.

Trust yourself so fucking deeply that you turn away from the experts and write the guidebook to your own life.

Part of being on a dark journey sometimes means not being with the crowd, the friends, the advice, the experts, the magazines, the self-help books, the courses, the workshops. It means being in the dark alone. Turning towards yourself with faith and love and holding on.

It means being your own light.

You are not wrong. Your courage to look inside your shadows and see beauty and promise, your courage to feel and see your truth, that courage is you being in your warrior.

So, if you are swimming in questioning and everyone else seems to be swimming, happily, the other direction, you are not wrong.

If your children don’t understand you, if your husband doesn’t get you, if none of your friends seems to understand what you are talking about, you are not wrong.

If you have the courage to stand inside your own heart, to be still inside your own struggles, to stop and FEEL your self, you are not wrong.

You are so right on.

You are not wrong or broken or weak or crazy or selfish or stupid or a complainer or a whiner or emotionally unstable.

You are a fully-alive, red-blooded, yearning, magical, imperfect, glorious, human and divine woman.

When it is so hard to be your own light, if you can, remember that you are not alone. Behind you is the lineage of women who came before you – the women who survived wars, famines, tragedies, heartbreak, loss, family ruptures, broken marriages, moves across oceans into new lives, financial ruin. These are the warrior women of your line. There are women in your line who dared to go their own way. To face their dragons to get to the gold. Women who let themselves hear their own truth…and honour it. Even when it was difficult. Or rebellious. Or forbidden. So you are not alone.

I’ll end with the following quote from “Coming Home to Myself” by Marion Woodman with Jill Mellick.

“Ursula LeGuin, in a commencement speech given years ago (you can read the full speech here – it is unlike any commencement speech I have ever read before) to the women of Mills College in Oakland, California, emphasized that women grow things in darkness, not in light. It is darkness – with it’s secrets, earthiness, and joys, with its pains, losses, and despair – that we celebrate. The woman who takes the time to grow herself in the darkness becomes familiar – perhaps for the first time – with the real source and containment of her psychic strength. No longer is her strength dissipated in obeying an idealized father figure, in pleasing a lover, in trying to satisfy a perpetually unsatisfied mother figure, in accomodating to a patriarchal organization or culture, in appeasing the inner witch who tells her she is worthless. No longer is her strength lost to obeying compulsions, drives, and obsessions that can slip in during the dark night of the soul and substitute for the real thing.

And what is the real thing, the thing for which she longs? The love affair with her own spirit, the inner marriage that commits her to her destiny, the rituals of soul that feed her deepest hunger, and the sense of being pregnant with her Self, her creative essence.”

 

The sisterhood, coffee talk and the depth of the feminine…

 

Every once in a while, my brain wants to vomit out my thoughts in a messy but heartfelt way. Trigger finger, really. Editing be damned! Re-reading tossed aside! Grammar begone!  (Actually, you got me on that one because I can’t have any grammatical mistakes, I just CAN’T!)

So, here goes.

The sisterhood, coffee talk and the depth of the feminine (should we choose to go there).

The deeper I go into my own personal journey of becoming more free, the more I realize how important having a tribe is. And what kind of tribe I need. Sometimes when we talk about getting together with our girlfriends, it means ranting, raging or commiserating. We can spend an hour or two complaining about everything from husbands, boyfriends, bosses, kids, parents and siblings. It can feel good to hear everyone else’s stories.  I am not alone. She has it badly too. She doesn’t have it figured out yet either. Everyone else has this problem too.

And then we all walk away from that talk in exactly the same place as we were. The commiserating, ranting, raging and complaining does nothing but cement us in place. We walk away from those conversations (which we seek out because we do need community) feeling trapped in place – with nothing to lift us up, challenge us, show us another way or lead us forward.

I believe that a lot of us can get so stuck in that way of communicating with each other. I know I have been.

I know we can go deeper.

There is so much more to the sisterhood connection than this. When we can meet together as women and yes, freely express our doubts, fears, struggles, challenges, and yes, freely express what is amazing, incredible, what we are proud of, what is working well and what we are learning and then, YES, challenge each other to turn towards our own wisdom, to light ourselves up, to stop making lemonade with all the lemons we are being given and instead, ask for champagne, then YES, this is the tribe that will change our lives.

A good tribe doesn’t keep us where we are. A good tribe doesn’t just feed our unhappiness, agree with our depression and jump into the wallowing with us. A good tribe listens to our stories (the beautiful, the hard and the dark), loves us whether we are shining or crumpled and then, gives us something to climb up on. A lifeline. They throw down a challenge for us to make a move. To become responsible in some way for our lives. They encourage us to rage when we need to – just so we feel better and can move forward. They challenge us to drop the victim persona because they know it keeps us stuck. They honour the gift of our vulnerability and do whatever they can to support the climb we want to do. They remind us of how wonderful, powerful, magnificent and worthy we are. They don’t let us off the hook. They tell us to go dancing when we just want to eat ice-cream. (Ideally, I think we should do both!). They remind us to treat ourselves deliciously when they see we are giving all of ourselves away. They encourage us to book that massage, that yoga class, that art show when we would feel safer just staying inside our anger.

I wrote myself an email a few months ago where I decided on questions I really wanted to ask women (and to be asked myself). They were:

What are you learning right now that I can learn from you?

What is your unsayable right now?

What are you struggling with?

What are you deeply desiring?

In this way, I can connect on a much deeper level with another woman. I want to learn from her journey. I want her to be able to say something unsayable so she can take ownership of it by getting it out of the shadows. An unsayable might be, “I hate my husband”. “I hate my kids”. “I feel totally alone and depressed.” “I don’t know where I’m going.” I want to listen to what she is struggling with, without giving her my story, my advice, my wisdom or fixing it for her. Unless she asks. And then I want to connect her with her lifeline, her joy, her pleasure, her deep deep juiciness by asking her what she desires.

And I want to be able to do the same with her. Hard stuff. Good stuff.

Too much for school drop-off?!

I get it. But, how would it feel to get together a group of your girlfriends for a talk with the intention of going deeper, being more open and more vulnerable and honouring every single woman’s voice – whether she is shining at the moment or down in the dirt?

With so much going on in the world today, so many hard conversations that we need to have and so much strength we are being called to find, having a tribe that not only hears us as we are but also reminds us of who we are is essential.

Life is too hard to do alone. Women need a community that lifts them up. We need to dig deeper, connect more, expect more from ourselves and others, cheerlead our friends, hold them in their struggles and celebrate them in their successes.

The deeper we go, the higher we fly.

So, I challenge you to make a date with some trusted friends and have an intention of really talking to each other, really supporting each other and leaving each other feeling more full, more challenged, more rejuvenated and more alive than before.

You can use the questions above, if they feel good. You can go around in the circle and have everyone say something that is going super amazing for them, something they are struggling with and something they are learning.

You can drink wine, eat chips and watch “Magic Mike”. Mmm….

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you connect with your tribe, what feels so good about spending time with your female friends and if you yearn to go deeper with them…and yourself.

 

Extend your after-glow….miaow…..!

 

By after-glow, I mean that super-delicious feeling that comes after you’ve done something you are proud of. A first. Or a really good. Or just something you dived into, even though you were terrified. Or anything that you did (or that was done to you….mmmm….) that made you. feel. good.

I’ve found that I can either cut the legs off my after-glow so it quickly disappears (what a waste) or I can find ways to extend it and to allow myself to enjoy the positivity as much as possible in my body, heart and mind.

A story…

Last year, I had my first official talk about the Juicy Woman Revolution. I decided to talk about Becoming a Well-Nourished Woman, because I love that work for myself and I think it’s a really powerful and effective tool for women to break through a lot of negative shit.

So, I walked into a room full of women waiting to hear from me. I stuck to my script. I improvised. I did some movement work and some talk. It went well. And most importantly, I had done it.

My first JWR talk in front of people.

Afterwards, I got back in my car and started the drive home. And this is what happened.

  • did they like it?
  • did they get it?
  • I don’t think they liked it
  • Nobody said anything
  • I should have done that part first
  • I wish I hadn’t said that
  • Oh my god, did they think it was revolutionary or were they looking at me, writing grocery lists in their heads?

And I noticed that it was, somehow, my default to not dwell on the positive (You Did It!) but to immediately jump into where I could have done it better.

No, darlings. Absolutely no. I cannot and will not abide it.

So, I waved my magic wand (keeping most of my eyes on the road, of course) and made a deliberate choice to completely change what my default was by creating a new ritual.

In other words, Hell No, Not Up In Here!

So, instead, I spent the drive home thinking about all of the positive things that happened. And feeling proud of myself. I committed to enjoying my success (You Did It!) for one week. I ordered flowers to be delivered (even though my florist lives, literally, 3 minutes from my house) with a card that said “Congratulations!” (and other mushy stuff).

And then, when I had thoroughly enjoyed my after-glow, I went over the evening and thought about what I had learned and what I might do differently next time.

This is also what I do now after my retreats or events. I don’t read any of the feedback or go over any notes for a few days – until I am fully saturated with all of the good stuff that happened.

So, I am throwing down the gauntlet. What have you done recently (or are doing now) that you can use as practice in extending your after-glow? What ways can you find to completely and utterly enjoy the success of something you have done? How can you allow yourself a few days of just being absolutely thrilled with yourself? No criticisms. No judgements. No should have done this instead. No negative mind chatter.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you celebrate (or not) the good things you’ve done…or any ideas you have to extend the sacred after-glow.

Do you ever feel like your brain is your enemy?

 

When I talk about helping women to live more in their bodies and less in their heads, I always get a big YES response. And it’s the less in their heads part that really resonates with many of us. We might not know what it is to live in our bodies but we sure as heck know what it’s like to live in our heads. We know how it feels to walk around all day with the voices.

Living in my head feels like anxiety. Ego. Lies. Tricks. Spinning ’round and ’round. Limited. Scared. Deception. Closed. Down the rabbit hole. Trapped. Endless circles. Paralysis. Doubt. Same old stories. Recorded voices playing over and over again. Critical. Judgement. Comparison. Nit-picking. Questioning, assuming, picking apart, dissecting…

Play date, anyone?

For most of us, our brains can be our worst enemy, spouting critical, judgemental and anxious voices all day long. Telling us we are not good enough, that we are constantly failing, doubting our truth and our instinct and holding our joy hostage.

It isn’t the brain’s fault. Our brains are super-amazing at some things. But for a woman to live her life led by her brain just isn’t the way of the feminine. It’s not where a woman lives her best, most powerful and most expansive version of herself.

The body tames the beast. Our body can re-wire our brain. When we live from our body first, our brains become our allies instead of our energy.

Living in my body feels like peace. Ease. Knowing. Trust. Comfort. Self-assurance. Power. Heart. Courage. Slowness. Deliciousness. Unjustified worthiness. Calm.

Fun.

My body is fearless. My mind is afraid.

For most of us, every aspect of our lives is lived from our brains. And the body becomes a piece of luggage we feel we have to lug around everywhere we go. But what we don’t realize is that that suitcase is filled with a greater treasure than we can imagine.

How is your brain vs body relationship? Does your brain yearn for quiet? For space and calm? I know mine does…it shouts at me to give it peace. And the peace comes from the body. When the body is engaged and expressed and alive, the brain turns down it’s volume. It relaxes. It doesn’t grip so hard.

And the good news is that our bodies are just waiting for us to tune in. There is nothing outside of ourselves that we need to find, buy or earn to get this peace. We have it already – she is right here. All we have to do is to give her attention and time.

If this sounds too good to be true, I challenge you to try it for yourself. At the Body Love retreat on Feb. 11th, we will be spending a lot of time in feminine soulful movement and yes, there will be a moment when your brain will click off. And it will feel hopeful, freeing and like coming home.

Join me there if you are ready to feel what it’s like to turn down the volume on your head and turn up the volume on your body.

Registration ends on February 3rd.

The warrior who fights for everyone else but herself

 

(I can’t believe that I had actually forgotten about Xena, Warrior Princess for a few years. Never again!!)

Do you recognize yourself in this? The warrior who fights for everyone else but herself?

We rage at our schools, our daycares and our camps to demand better treatment, better food, better playgrounds, better resources for our kids.

We join petitions and send emails to complain about neighbourhood hazards.

We rally around our friends who are in the worst kind of tragedy…or lost…or broken apart. We bring food, organize phone calls, make special trips.

We bend over backwards to create space and time for our partners to succeed at business or a new job or a new passion.

We fight for our friends’ birthdays, anniversaries, celebrations. We bring the flowers, the snacks, the wine, the champagne. We offer the house, the cottage; we offer to host, to make the dinner, to bring the bagels and cream cheese.

We say “yes” to other people’s requests by saying “no” to what we want.

I need to write this one down again because it has made me stop and shiver…We say “yes” to other people’s requests by saying “no” to what we want.

We are fierce warriors for so many people in our lives. And yet, we can be meek and mild when it comes to fighting for our own lives. (Perhaps waiting for our husbands, jobs, children or success to step in and do it for us.)

What I’m talking about is the challenge we face to be our own rescuers and our own heroes.  To be the warrior that fights for what we need to live our lives as fully and as gloriously as possible – led by our own truth and our own desires.

This world labels women as natural caretakers, except, it really means care taking of other people. The message we get as wives, girlfriends, mothers and daughters is that our gift lies in our inherent ability to nourish and nurture other people. To keep them fed, warm, loved and comfortable. And yes, that is one of the most beautiful and warrior-like things about women. We are fierce about taking care of people we love. (And lukewarm on taking care of people we are supposed to take care of…)

And yet.

And yet.

We can’t fit in the gym but all our kids are in activities. We don’t cook the food we really want to eat because we are preparing meals that someone else likes. We act as though our time belongs to the general public, instead of something that is ours to claim and name. We choose the restaurant that the date loves instead of the one we love.

And how is this working for us? You tell me.

But there is another way. For any woman who has heard the whisper “This is not enough for me”, she must step into her warrior. And this is not easy work. It is easier to play the victim, become bitter and stay stuck. The warrior must carve our her own rules, her own way and be loyal to her truth above all. But the most difficult thing she must do is to bravely face her own judgement of what it means to be a good mother, a good wife and a good woman.

If we believe that being a good mother/wife/woman means dedicating our lives to serving others (with the hope that their happiness will become our happiness), then stifling our warrior-selves from working on our own behalf fits well.

But if we believe that being a good mother/wife/woman/creator/world-changer/friend/mentor/artist/entrepreneur/role-model/wise elder requires that we do everything we can to love ourselves, take care of ourselves, make our happiness a priority and honour our truth, then our warrior-selves must battle on our own behalf as well.

If becoming a warrior for yourself is something you’d like to experiment with this year, please join me at my Body Love retreat on Feb. 11th, 2017. This is a full day of embodied experience where we begin to bypass the brain and learn from the wisdom of the body. Where we hear our own truth and feel the courage to honour it in our own lives.

Where we shine our warrior lights on our own lives.

Read the description and register here. Registration ends on Feb. 3rd so if this is calling to you, don’t let it slip away.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feelings on what it is to be a warrior in your life…for yourself or for other people.