WHAT IF. What If. What if. what if. what if. what if…

 

I look around and I see so much of our strength. Our wisdom. Our fucking gigantic hearts and our deep deep wisdom that instinctively is drawn to heal and love. Our beauty…oh my, so much beauty. Our warrior courage. Our magnetic sensuality and our naughty, mysterious, breathtaking, joyful sexuality. And over that, I see the veil. The veil of self-doubt. Comparison. Overwhelm. Bitterness. Guilt. Staying quiet, small and good. Expectations. Shoulds. Numbness. Fear. Shame. Trauma. Feeling like there is a limit to how big we can get, how loud we can talk, how much we can ask for, how much of our real selves we can show and how much space we are allowed to take up in the world.

That veil makes me fucking mad. I want to run down the street and pull it off every woman and then run to the park and dance in the sun for hours and hours until we drop into delicious, ecstatic exhaustion. Feeling so perfectly and absolutely right.

Sometimes we don’t even know that we are asleep. Sometimes we don’t even know there is another way. Sometimes our fear keeps us tuned to the one channel we have learned about what a woman is. It’s not our fault. We are such fucking overachievers than when lessons come our way, we learn them, but good. Even when those lessons about what it is to be a woman come from outside ourselves. Maybe especially then.

But what if…..?

What if.

What if all of our bodies were perfect and totally deserving of every test, every doctors appointment, every healer, every morsel of food, every hour of sleep, every touch and caress and tickle just because.

What if there was nothing wrong with us when we struggled. Got crusty. Got angry. Felt stuck. Failed. Couldn’t decide. What if our symptoms were mostly because we have forgotten how perfect, how beautiful and how absolutely right we are. In every way. In every stage. In every struggle.

What if every struggle we are in, has been felt by other women and even though our pain is our own, it is also pain known and held by our sisters all over the world and what if, we really are never alone.

What if every effort we make to love and nourish ourselves heals not only our wounds but the wounds of our mothers and their mothers and every one who came before us and will come after us.

What if every time we met another woman who was glowing, we didn’t criticize or judge or try to diminish her light but let her light fill us up and lift us up and help us remember where WE WANT TO GO TOO.

What if we are fucking geniuses.

What if we trusted our bodies (instead of the doctor/teacher/trainer/magazine/guru) to know what they need to eat, how much they need to sleep, how they want to move and what makes them purr.

What if we DO know exactly what we want. What if we DO know what we want to say yes or no to. What if we really DO KNOW.

What if we trusted ourselves so deeply that we followed our own voice, our own intuition, our own “gut feeling” without hesitation.

What if we believed that we had every right in the world to ask for everything we wanted in the bedroom. What if we were able to not receive everything we asked for and MORE.

What if we are not broken or flawed or fucked up or failing but just women on a never-ending journey of which every part is to be honoured and celebrated because we are fucking alive and human and divine.

What if every time we went to the gym, we didn’t have to push our bodies into pain, stretch further than was comfortable, crunched until we ached. What if we stopped punishing our bodies and believed that we were desired and loved and worthy, just because.

What if we could just put down the burdens, the pushing, the going, the doing, the constant racing, the running, the go go go go go go go and just rest and rejuvenate and relax and totally approve of that.

What if we all wore bikinis on the beach and looked around and saw thin bodies and big bodies and bodacious breasts and more-nipple-than-breast breasts and juicy jiggly butts and sexily square butts and overflowing with love tummies and tight tummies and short tall fat small dark light old young and thought…“Wow. Look at how beautiful we are.”

What if we didn’t feel guilty about taking a break in the middle of the day because we stopped believing that we needed to “earn our keep” at our jobs, in our relationships and inside our families.

What if, instead of isolating ourselves during our dark times, we reached out and grabbed our sisters hands and pulled them into the dark with us, where they sat, just holding us. What if we didn’t hide our darkness but shared it so NO WOMAN EVER felt like she was the only one again?

What if our girls never lost the natural love of their bodies, seeing the way their flesh and curves grew and expanded and shrunk and stretched as beautiful and worthy stages of the miracle of their story.

What if we unlearned our habit of complaining and became, instead of victims to the boss, the partner, the kids, the husband, other people, the heat, the snow, the news, decided to stand in the full joy of living that we were born with.

What if we overflowed with enthusiasm, joy, bliss, laughter, glow, light, fun and play.

What if we asked for everything we wanted.

I don’t know much. But I know I love you.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear what this makes you think of. What are your “what if’s” in your life now? What are you doing in your life to change the way you feel and move and live, as a woman?

This is how Christmas makes my body feel

 

So, where to begin…

Christmas! Holidays!

Christmas. Holidays. Sigh.

Every year, I forget how mental the holidays can be. Everyone is sick or just getting sick or just getting over being sick. People are dropping like flies and plans get cancelled at every corner. Everyone is tired from a year of going and pushing and doing. Then there are presents to buy (or make….yuck), money to spend, organizing which family gets you when, prezzies for teachers, extra school events, snowy days, etc. It hurts my heart every year when I feel the perfect Christmas slipping away. Oh wait, I know what that’s called! Life!

I needed to have a dance session to release all of the stress and tension from everything that is going on right now. And I decided to film it because if a picture is worth a thousand words, well, a video must be worth a thousand and ONE words.
This video is me releasing all the shit I have to release. (For today.) I release. I breathe. I celebrate. I am fluid. I go fast, I go slow. I am just me, talking through my body.

When I watch this video, I can see (instead of just feeling) how my body talks. I feel a lot of stress and tension in my arms and fingers so I wave them around like crazy. I need to release my head a lot so I get all head-banger with it. I like to pound my feet and sometimes I just pick up one foot over and over again. Who knows why…

I am messy and sometimes I lose my balance. Sometimes I lift my chin and get low and that’s when I’m in my “bring it, fucker” warrior mode. I also can get closed in my chest so I feel a lot of craving to crack that part open by pumping it or shaking it or basically thrusting it forward.

At one point, I stop to fix a rug and you’ll get a full moon shot (with clothes). You’re welcome.

I scoop energy from the earth, I pump to the sky, I hide in my hoodie.

My body is unique and my body is also every body. It has a language of it’s own. It talks and you can probably see the story it tells as easily as you could understand it if I put it in words.

By the way, I am dancing to an unnamed track from this Youtube playlist. The song starts around the 28 minute mark.

Come and dance with me next year. Reveal your body’s language. Learn how she needs to move, where she needs to release, what expression is her’s alone. She is incredible and fluid and strong and expressive and full of all of the colours of the rainbow.

Until then, eat well. Sleep well. Laugh until you pee your pants. Then, change your underwear and keep on laughing.

I fell off the stage and about the movement I teach

 

This article is for both people who have been following my blog for many years and maybe have taken classes with me in the past. It is also for new friends who have entered this journey with me later on.

I want to talk about the type of movement I used to teach and what I teach now. My hope is that I will be able to find words for this style of movement and explain the difference between what I do now and what I did then, for those of you who are wondering if there is a difference.

Yes, there is.

To start, I’ve had some pretty good adventures in my dancing career.

My first love was salsa. I don’t know if I have ever had a more alive, more drenched in joy and excitement, more sensual dancing time in my life. Six nights a week I went salsa dancing. That sums it all up. From there, I moved into bellydancing. And hip hop. And jazz. And a bit of swing and a bit of ballroom dancing. (I actually danced in two competitions and mostly remember my teacher telling me “tits to the ceiling”.) And all kinds of African dance. I took a private dance class in Nairobi in the part of town my guidebook told me not to go. The teacher Diana’s house was filled with her neighbours. Who sat watching in chairs against the wall. The whole time. In a very small room.  I have bubbled in Guyana, line danced, taken a summer course in modern dance and probably some other things I have forgotten.

I started to teach dance classes, combinations of hip hop and African and anything else that I felt like throwing in there. It was exciting, even though paying my bills was nerve-racking. It was me doing what I wanted to be doing.

And then, I picked up Sheila Kelley’s book around 2000 and it blew my mind. I was the first person in Toronto to teach exotic dance. I did striptease workshops, white shirt and tie workshops, lapdance workshops, high heel walking workshops.

(I once did private sessions with a man who wanted to learn how to do a striptease dance like Chippendales. On our final session, he took off his underwear. Enough said.)

I taught at stagette parties and danced at private events. I got paid to lapdance all night at a party. I was fortunate enough to co-create and run a dance troupe called “Las Gatas” (with the incomparable, soulful and forever-sister Nikola Steer) that was hired to dance opening weekend at the new Playboy strip club in Niagara Falls. It was exhausting. It was really fun. It was weird. We met feature stripper acts. I did a pole solo. We were introduced as a group from San Diego. I fell off the stage. (More on that later.)

I could dance sexy. Man o man, could I dance sexy. I could just crawl into that persona and I knew what to do. How to work my curves. How to use my eyes. I could tap into that sexuality easier than anything. The clothes, the make-up, the heels, the moves. It was easy for me. It was fun. It wasn’t real. It was an illusion. It was fake.

I loved those years. I loved that energy. And then, I got married and had a kid. I got older. And all of a sudden, sexy wasn’t like that for me. Sexy got complicated. Sexy got hard. My sexy switch wasn’t clickable anymore.

Shit got real.

And the journey for me though my dancing was where the heat of it was. I didn’t want to teach “sexy” dancing anymore. Because it didn’t seem real to me. I couldn’t fake it. My sexy was now tied up in so many other things about me that I couldn’t cut it out from what was going on with me and serve it up, solo style.

When I was in my “sexy dancing” phase, it meant dancing to songs like this one. (Okay, I have to admit, my ass still loves this song…)

I didn’t really know that dancing could be a way for me to record my story. To release my emotions. To give myself permission to feel whatever I felt and be alive and creative in it. To experience ecstasy in movement. To feel totally right – about my body, about my impulse, about my desire, about who I was.

I didn’t know that this way of moving could be anything other than “sexy dancing”.

And then, at a retreat, I danced to this song. My head dropping back. Arching my back. Swirling my hips. In this slow deep sensuality of aliveness, goose bumps on my skin, lump in my throat, tears running down my face and still, moving in my body as my breasts reached forward, my pelvis circles, my hair flew around my face.

This was the sexiest I had ever felt. This was so fucking me, so fucking real, so fucking sexy because I was moving in the rawest truth of who I was. What I was feeling. No illusion. No faking it.

And that changed the way I moved forever. I don’t do just sexy dancing anymore. I do emotional dancing. I do movement that brims over with the realness of what’s going on inside of me. I teach the deepness of sensuality that isn’t for public consumption. I do this movement, this celebration of the body, this dancing to be as fully and as wide and as deep and as real and as free as I possible can be.

And for those of you who are wondering what I did after I fell off the stage, I promptly jumped back up and shouted “I’m okay!” for no good reason at all. And continued to dance.

If you live in Toronto, my next class is on Monday, November 6th. Come and move with me.

 

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?

DON’T SHUT ME DOWN! she shouted

 

This was what my body shouted at me. DON’T SHUT ME DOWN! Really. I could hear her. Have you ever had your body shout at you?

Tell him! Say it!

I want that.

I don’t want to.

I don’t like this place. Get me out of here.

Just. love. me.

I don’t like him/her. I don’t like this. Let’s go.

Don’t do it. Say NO.

Do it. Say YES. Please!

Let me sleep. Be gentle with me. Slow down. Be nice to me.

I was standing in front of the mirror, naked. Looking at my body. With dissatisfaction. I was unpleased with her. I didn’t like the way she looked. And as I looked at her, with all of this disdain, I could feel that criticism tighten me. I could feel how it shut down my joy. Deflated my energy. Turned down the volume on all of my good vibes and jacked up the volume on all of my toxic thoughts about what I was or wasn’t eating, how much exercise I had done or not done, what I was doing wrong, WHY I wasn’t better. Fitter. Thinner. More beautiful. More perfect.

A big part of me wanted to stop looking at myself, sink into anger and depression, stick my body into sweatpants and a baggy shirt and JUST NOT GIVE A SHIT. Not do anything fun, not reward my body, not care about her and ignore her. I wanted to dull her, take away her energy, dim her shine, dress her in clothes that diminished her, deny her, quiet her and basically pretend she wasn’t there.

I wanted to punish her for not being what I wanted her to be.

What do you want from me? I shouted.

She said, don’t shut me down.

DON’T SHUT ME DOWN.

Don’t. Shut. Me. Down.

As much as I wanted to run away at that moment, a voice told me to step right toward what I feared. To reach out and touch what I wanted to recoil from. She told me to stay when I wanted to run. To step right into that uncomfortable place, even further than I already was. She was telling me to run towards my body instead of running away from it.

Well, when you are hearing that many voices, it must be a sign so….I stepped towards my body. I ran my hands all over her. I danced. I relished. With every breath, I went more into her. Into everything – the disconnection, the questioning, the dissatisfaction, the uncomfortableness. And with every moment I spent with her, things started to changed. I didn’t notice what I had disapproved of anymore. I noticed her energy. Her power. Her joy. Her DON’T SHUT ME DOWN vibrancy.

And then I dressed her up and took her out.

She didn’t change. I did.

I am telling this story for a few reasons. Most of them are full conversations in themselves but, life ain’t perfect. So here goes:

Sometimes when every thing inside of us is telling us to RUN, we should stay. When we stay, transformation is possible. When we run, nothing changes.

I do believe that our bodies have voices and can, actually, shout at us. (AAAHHHH!)

I am giving you permission to dress up your body and take her out. Love her madly. Step towards her. Touch her. Listen to her. Reward and pleasure her.

Finally, I have a new program I am releasing over the next few weeks and it is all about the body. My body. Your body. It’s going to be incredible. So, stay tuned and in the meantime….run towards your body.

In the comments below, I’d love for you to share what this blog post makes you think about.

 

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.

What’s hiding in your body?

 

One of the really big changes I’ve made over the last five years is to feel. I mean, FEEL. Really feel. Feel it all. The good, the bad and the ugly. And from where I am right now, I can look back and see how much I wasn’t feeling before.

I can see the rage that I shoved aside because, frankly, I thought it might blow up my world. I can see the yearning for deeper sensuality and my wanton lust that I sidestepped because I didn’t know how to fit it into my life. I can see the sadness, buried deep…..deep down. Some of it was so deep that I didn’t know it was there until I started going in.  All of the emotions that I didn’t think were appropriate – (or that I didn’t want to have) like jealousy, bitterness, judgement, self-doubt – I tried to “fix” with my brain. But all my brain knew how to do was to ignore and deny them. Or to try to talk them away…or to convince me that they weren’t real, weren’t important or were just plain wrong.

I felt afraid of being so emotional. Of letting my world be cracked open and thrown off-course by all the things I was feeling. And because I had a belief that I had to have a solution to all my “problems”, I never thought that just feeling things, without trying to fix or change them, would do anything.

My emotional bandwidth was narrow. I was living with blinders on, operating on a very small emotional budget.

I was a thin slice of all that I am.

And where did all of that emotion hide? Just because I ignored it didn’t mean it disappeared. It just retreated and found a place to hide. Inside my body. I found my deep sadness right in the heart of me. My lust exploded along my spine. My rage was concrete in my chest and my anxiety was a pit of snakes in my stomach.

They filled my body up with their heaviness and their toxicity when they were not allowed to speak. But when I gave them my attention and allowed them to move through my body, to be seen, they became transformed.

I also know that when we numb out any emotion, we numb them all out. We can’t not feel our rage but feel all of our joy. It doesn’t work that way. We close down one, they all get closed down.

We end up feeling numb. Flat. On automatic pilot. The safety of not feeling anything too much becomes a prison, not the freedom we think it will be.

A part of this journey was learning that I, as a red-blooded woman, am designed to feel. I was born for this. I have the heart, the body, the passion, the fire to feel every shade of rage, every temperature of lust, every exquisite ache of sadness. It doesn’t break me. It makes me.

You are a red-blooded woman. You are designed to feel. It won’t break you. You have the soul for this, the breath, the fireproof feminine heart that can feel it all.  It won’t break you.

I see a lot of us holding it all in. Maintaining a facade of the nice girl or the happy girl when, underneath, there are so many other colours swirling around, begging to be let out. We might think we are being our best selves by not feeling all the other stuff but in reality, we are clipping our wings, staying small and shutting out all of our aliveness, vibrancy, outrageousness, audacity and authenticity.

For me, emotions are like teenagers. They yearn to be understood. To be seen. To be heard. And when you give them that attention, the transformation begins.

Fortunately, we can become the authors of our own story. We can break free from what we were taught…or what we have always done…we are capable of expanding into our lives instead of constricting. We have the courage to be the gorgeously emotional beings we are designed to be.

This post is not about fixing anything you are feeling. But I do want to share with you how I move emotions so they don’t stay hidden and stuck inside my body.

  • I step into it. When I feel that anxiety in my stomach, instead of distracting myself with something else until it disappears, I jump right into it. I don’t run away from it, I run right into it. And I breathe. Most importantly, I allow myself to feel what I am feeling. That compassion, that fierce self-love, is the real gift.
  • I move it through my body with movement. Dancing for me is the best way I have learned to allow emotions to run through my body. Because I am moving with emotion, not just for movements sake. Here are some songs that I love to use to get some shit out of me:

Sadness – “Don’t worry about me” by Frances

Lust – “Skin” by Rihanna

Rage – “Out of the black” by Royal Blood

Feeling lost – “Unsuffer me” by Lucinda Williams

I do my soulful feminine movement work, which sometimes consists of me sitting on the floor and doing head circles for 10 minutes. Or being on all fours doing pelvis circles. It doesn’t have to be complicated…it just needs to allow an emotional state. For those who haven’t seen it yet, here is a movement video I did that you can follow along with at your computer. It will give you some good ideas for how to create movement that allows for emotion to come out.

  • I walk and spring clean. This also is great for me because the walking gets my body moving (and me out of the house) and the spring cleaning exercise (developed by Mama Gena) allows me to get some big charged emotion out of me before I puke it over someone else or before it becomes a heavy toxic weight in my body.

Here’s how it works, in Mama Gena’s words.

“You can do this exercise alone or to a wall, but it is best done with a partner. You both first agree to keep what is said in the exercise confidential, so that you can be free in revealing your charge. Then, if you’re doing this exercise in person, sit facing each other, either at a café or some private place. You can also do this exercise over the phone. One of you asks the other the same question, over and over in an expressionless tone, for 10-15 minutes. The other answers. Then you switch. For example:

Person 1: What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I have no idea what I desire.
Person 1: Thank you. What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I remember when I was three, and I desired a ribbon for my hair and my mother criticized me.
Person 1: Thank you. What do you have on “desire”?
Person 2: I want a chocolate-covered pretzel right now.
Person 1: Thank you…

…And so on. Then you switch. The result of this practice is you, uncluttered. You, unplugged. You, unfettered. You, the gazelle. You, the swooping bird. You. Pure, wild, savage, wonderful, irreplaceable you.”

I have found this exercise to be deceptively powerful and intoxicatingly releasing. Please try it next time your body is buzzing with emotion that is demanding to be heard.

If we imagine that our bodies are temples, sacred places to keep beautiful and clean, then we need to stop dumping our garbage there – our unspoken desires, our emotions that we feel ill-equipped to deal with and all of the other things we shove into endless closets and pretend don’t exist.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. What are you hiding in your body? What do you fear about letting it out? Or how do you manage your heavy emotions?

An “a-ha” moment and why the body is IT

 

 

I’ve been talking a lot about my upcoming full-day Juicy Woman Revolution retreat happening on Saturday, July 16th in Toronto, Ontario. My two big goals for you if you attend is that you have a mind-blowing experience and that you leave with tools to continue to feel that way in your day-to-day life.

Registration opens in June. I’m freaking excited and honoured and thrilled and can’t wait.

Here’s an “a-ha” moment I had recently.

I attended a Woman of Company conference a few weeks ago and on my way there, I was trying to sum up what I do in one sentence. Conferences are the kind of places where you have to answer the question, “What do you do?” a hundred times. It can either feel really exciting and good or it can bring up fear and anxiety. Usually, I like to talk a lot about what I do and I can find it hard to edit it down to one essential sentence. But I knew I needed to get my idea across quickly before I could go on and on about it.

Here’s what I decided I would give a trial run. “My name is Sophie Luxton and my business is Juicy Woman Revolution. I help women to live more in their bodies and less in their heads.”

Boom, as they say. (visualize mic drop image here)

Every time I said that to a woman, her face relaxed, her shoulders dropped and she silently nodded.

This line worked. Every woman I talked to felt that she was too much in her brain and knew that it wasn’t where she wanted to be…and intuitively, she knew that being in her body, being in HER, could give her what she was looking for.

The body is it, y’all.  (Dance break here.)

Everything I deeply care about goes back to the body. It is where I believe women have their greatest chance at living inside their authenticity, their truth, their power and beauty, their magnificent range of colours and emotions, their sensuality and sexuality and it is the place that a woman can live from, that believes in her 100%. It is a power source of self-love, self-knowing and self-honouring. I think that the way we live right now exalts the brain and diminishes the body. We are taught to trust either the brain (full of lots of self-sabotaging crap, as we all know) or someone else. We have a crisis of confidence – we don’t trust ourselves enough. And when we live in the body more than in the brain, we start to be led by our truth and we start to trust ourselves again. You know what that feels like? It feels like your life is your own. And you live deeply AS YOU.

So, that is what we will be living in at the July JWR retreat.

Thank you to everyone who sent in their questions. Here are two questions that I got a lot:

1. The thought of doing a lot of work in my body and “deeply connecting” to my body freaks me out and makes me anxious because I am not loving my body right now and I don’t know if I can do it…or want to, connect with it.

I get it. And I’m going to ask you to allow yourself to experience something different in your body. I’m going to ask you to allow for the possibility that you can love your body, just as she is, and that you can deeply connect with your body, just as she is, and that it will feel soulfully, deliciously, emotionally, wonderfully good.

2. I don’t feel comfortable with getting emotional. I actually don’t think I want to get emotional because I don’t know what I’m going to feel and I don’t want to fall apart in front of total strangers.

We have a kleenex box with your name on it. Here’s the deal. Yup, this is emotional stuff. Meaning, we feel. That’s it. We just feel. We don’t hide anymore. We don’t squish down everything and compress it and hide it under the bed or in the corridors of our soul or in crevices or in the dark somewhere. We feel it. And that can be overwhelming. And sometimes it can be uncomfortable. It can also be transformative. Beautiful. Incredibly powerful. Full of love. Freeing. Releasing. Cleansing.

Here’s what one woman said on that topic –  “I had only one fear, to reach a place that would make me feel vulnerable and that would make me feel emotional…and that’s exactly what happened and I LOVED IT!! I usually bottle up my stress and this felt very relieving.”

 In other words, if what you are doing now doesn’t make you feel the way you want to feel, why not try this?

In the comments below, I’d love for you to share some of your thoughts of living in the brain vs living in the body. Is this something you think about? Is it something you have explored before? Or are now?

Here’s what happens in my basement…

Sometimes it’s during the day. Usually it’s at night. And I do it when I need to.

Needing to feels like there’s something in my body that needs to be expressed. Allowed. Just felt.


I can tell when I need to because I feel this hard, stuck, heavy feeling in my body. And I know it is something shouting “Hey! I’m here! Can you hear me? Listen to me, goddamnit!” (I think of my unexpressed feelings like sullen teenagers who just.want.to.be.listened.to.)

The feeling is not usually shouting to be saved. Or to be fixed. It wants, most simply, to be felt. To be acknowledged. To be seen. By me.

And so I dance. For me, it is the most powerful way for me to allow what is demanding to be felt.

Sometimes the feeling is a ton of joy that I need to let soak in before it evaporates. Sometimes, I weep. I sob. I growl. I dance in anger and rage. I move in sadness, in deep feelings of loss and being lost. I dance in surrender. I dance to surrender. I move to heal myself. To answer questions. To listen for the feeling I know is there but that I can’t name yet. I dance when I’m in heat…when my body is fearless and brazen. I move from broken to whole, unseen to heard, yearning to satisfied.

This practice can be hard work. Sometimes my body is dying to dance and I can’t wait. Sometimes, when what I am feeling is heavy, I want to numb it. Ignore it. Pretend it’s not there. Deal with it later. And just sit in front of the television (with a bag of Doritos) and block it out. It feels easier. Except now I know it’s not easier. Because the temporary numbing just covers it up for a bit. But it’s still there. Yearning to be seen. Yearning to be acknowledged. And if I try to numb it, it turns inwards against me. As bitterness. Anger. Self-destruction. Joylessness.

So I drag myself down to the basement. I light my candles. I burn some incense. I put my yoga mat on the floor. I turn on the music and off the lights. I sit cross-legged and I just let my body move how she needs to move. I feel. I allow. I let it go through me, around me, inside me and as it moves, it changes. I dance for as long as I need to. I cleanse.

 


I dance for myself. In myself. And I claim my space. Because no-one else is going to give it to me.

And for all of the women reading this and thinking, “but I can’t dance”, don’t believe that. 

Depending on what I need, sometimes I just sit cross-legged and circle my head. Maybe I spend most of my time on all fours (very therapeutic…), letting my hips sway from side to side. Sometimes, what I need to do is to lie on my back and push my hips up to the ceiling. Slowly. Quickly. Circling. Sadly. Lustfully.

I want to share that feeling with you. I’ve got some live events coming up in 2016 and I’ll be releasing details soon. It’s going to be amazing. And I want you to join me. Stay tuned.

In the comments below, do you have any practices that keep you….YOU? If not, why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts.