Writing from the darkness of domesticity…again

 

 

As some of you know, I have been taking a break from work since September. Three months in, I find myself grateful for the extra time and space and also bristling against my now (even) more domestic mode. (Since there is nothing else to take my focus.)

I hate domesticity. I rail against it. All the time. Almost every day.

I hate everything to do with housework and domestic duties. It is something that I have an ongoing battle with. I struggle, I rage, I despair. I accept, I flow, I enjoy. I struggle, I rage, I despair. This is the rhythm of it for me.

I hate the schedule. The monotony. The uselessness of it all. What does it mean for me to wash dishes, cook food, buy groceries, run errands, pick up toys, change summer to winter clothes? I honestly don’t give a shit. I find it useless, stupid and a waste of everything else I am good at.

I love my children and I honestly don’t give a shit.

I feel like a wolf that has been trapped in the wild and caged. Every day, her wildness dims a  bit. And she forgets what snow on the air smells like.

Dramatic? Maybe.

This place where I am is not where I expected to be. In high school, I did a project with my two best friends and we wrote down what we wanted to be when we grew up. One wanted to be a fashion designer. One wanted to be married with children. I wanted to travel around the world and have “lovers in every port”.

Being the main housekeeper and childcare provider feels like having a job I hate and not getting paid for it.

Maybe, some would say, your healthy and happy children are payment enough.

Nope. No, they are not. Not for me.

And yet, YET, occasionally, there is joy in this role. Occasionally, nothing brings me greater pleasure than being a mother, a mama bear, a goddess of the hearth, a keeper of all things cozy and nutritious and delightful and wonderfully loving.

Occasionally.

And then, there are many times where my rage and feeling of unfairness threatens to rip my brain from my head and light my house on fire.

So what does a woman do, a wild woman do, a woman who dreamed of travelling and having lovers in every port, what does this woman do with her domestic rage?

I allow myself to become untamed. I shed the skin of domesticity and become animal. True to my nature. Wild. Free.

I light candles and they represent the burn of every woman who feels like me.

I put on a black dress. I like where it is tight and pulls against me. I like how it caresses my bare skin. How it will expose me as I move. It connects me to my darkness, my vitality, my angst, my vibrant push against it all.

I know I have a choice in this moment. To dive into the darkness I feel or to pretend it isn’t there. To stuff some part of me down, down, down. To suffocate my soul. To stitch myself up on one side only to have myself spill out on another. To cover my shadow with sparkly glitter which burns like poison on my skin.

So I dive into the darkness I feel. I move and sway and let the music take me away.

I begin to shed, cracking open what I mistakenly thought was me. I am reminded of myself. How much life there is inside of me. How much joy. How slowly I can move; like I am leading the world by the tip of my finger.

I touch my skin and feel where it is velvet soft, where it is warmer, where it curves in and out.

And then, aaahhhhh, there I am. My creature. My animal of all the shades, this breath of life in and out. My curves, my opening wider and wider.

I find the hard parts and soften them with curves. My cells open and breath for the first time today.

Yes, here I am. I become exquisite, mysteries, untouchable, magical again.

I leave with no plan, no solution. Nothing has changed. But I have stood firmly inside of myself and tasted my greatness. I belong to myself once again. And I have reminded myself of how much I am, how deep I go, how wide I am capable of opening.

I have celebrated my truth and made poetry from it.

 

 

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?

Update from the tender place

 

If you didn’t read my last blog post, here it is. It is called “Writing from inside a tender place” because I felt so compelled to share a bit of what it’s like for me to be in a dark and hard place.

I was so moved by all of the comments and personal emails I got back from everyone. Hands reaching out to me. It was a beautiful call-and-response; as ancient as the ocean.

Here is what I know about emotions:

  1. In their natural state, emotions are like water. Not ice. They move freely, they shift easily, they go from this emotion to that, no contradiction considered. If you have a chance to watch a child, that is what she does. She moves from anger to glee to bliss to sadness to anger to exhaustion. Easily and fluidly. Perhaps she has not been taught yet that she must turn her emotions into ice by not feeling them. Stop that crying. Go upstairs to your room until you are in a better mood. That is not acceptable in this house. Why are you making such a big deal about this? Come back when you are in a better mood. Inside voice!

But she gets no tools for how to deal with her strong emotions. How does she “deal with” her rage? How does she release this uncontainable joy bubbling up inside of her? What does she do with her heartbreak, all of her tears that seem endless? No-one teaches her how to feel and release. How to move them out of her body. She is told to just stop feeling. To hide them. To pretend they are not there. And so the water stops moving and settles. And in that coldness, in that barren landscape, that water begins to freeze. And it turns to ice.

2.   Emotions demand to be felt. They will not make space for anything else until they have been heard. They do not need to be fixed. They do not need to be justified. Or solved. They need to be felt. And when they are truly felt and truly heard, through our body and our heart and our voice and our breath, then they melt and turn into water that then moves and shifts into something else. And where that ice was, now something new can move into. Growth. Freedom. Love. Joy. Surrender.

3.    Being emotional is a huge gift when we know how to use it as fuel. To feel it all. Our big hearts hold the world together. When we stop feeling, the world stops feeling. But if we weren’t taught to honour and hear and release our emotions, if no-one told us that we were strong enough to feel it all, if we haven’t learned yet that where our emotions become uncomfortable is the greatest place of growth for us, we believe that we can’t let ourselves feel because it might break us. Our great sadness. Our eternal rage. Our disappointment. And our ecstasy. Our limitless joy. So we shut it down.

We become ice.

In my last blog, I talked about how I move emotions through my body. I cry. I wail. I rage. I dance. I open my body. I step towards it. Moving emotions through our bodies is not a mind trip. This cannot be done through the brain. This is a body exercise. And it is what I teach in my feminine movement classes. So, the next time you feel something uncomfortable or strong, how will you let it move through you? Your breathe? Moving your body? Letting yourself moan or groan or scream?

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?

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.

 

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.

My dream friend, Oprah and being full of yourself

 

 

There is an interview that Brene Brown does with Oprah on her Living Brave interview series. I want to share it with you, quite simply, because it is entirely engrossing. I have watched it twice and will likely watch it again. This time, with wine!

I wish that Brene Brown was my friend. She may be, one day. I would start by saying “hi” and moments later, we would be having coffee, laughing and gazing into each other’s eyes as we shared stories about being vulnerable. She is my dream friend.

Here’s what Oprah talks about in this interview.

Her people-pleasing disease (can I get an Amen!)

What she still feels vulnerable about

Her biggest fall

What it takes to live bravely (hint: it can’t coexist with the people-pleasing disease)

What I found so compelling about this interview was when Oprah talked about how she has always been challenged by who do you think you are shame. Brene asks her, how do you answer that?

A moving, heart-thumping silence. How does she answer that and keep going?

And then Oprah says, “I used to fear hearing the term who do you think you are…you must be pretty full of yourself.”

“Now, I work at being full. I want to be so full, I am overflowing. So when you see me coming, it ought to make you proud.”

(If you have never read Maya Angelou’s poem, “Phenomenal Woman”, please please read it here.)

It gave me shivers, this idea of a woman actually claiming her right to be full…enough to overflow. Without ego, without arrogance, as she later says.

What would it be like if we all lived bravely and believed we were worthy of being full? Not only believed we were worthy but also moved in our lives with that as our intention. To fill ourselves up. What would our families, our communities, our cities, our countries, this world, be like?

Shivers again. Another bottle of your finest champagne, garçon!

You can listen to the full interview here. It is about 20 minutes long and so so worth it.

This interview reminded me to live my life bravely, to fill myself up and to letting that fullness inspire other women to become full of themselves. Are you a woman who wants to be full of herself?

In the comments below, I’d love to hear what this makes you think or feel…

Desire. Appetite. Hunger. Wanting.

 

What are your deep desires?

One of things we talk about at the JWR retreat is DESIRE. As in, what do you really want? What do you want for yourself, greedily, selfishly, gloriously, revelling in what it is to be you and want what you uniquely want.

To know and live inside your desires is both deliciously forbidden (a woman’s appetite, in all it’s forms, is not socially supported) and exquisitely pleasurable.

I’ve been thinking about the appetite of women and I’d like to share some words with you from a book I am spellbound by, called “Appetites: Why Women Want” by Caroline Knapp.

Caroline had a large part of her life where she was anorexic and that journey became an exploration and a questioning of the appetite of women – not just how we approach food but how we approach our wanting in LIFE.

Excerpts taken from “Appetites: Why Women Want” by Caroline Knapp.

“Appetite by Renoir

“The women linger at the water’s edge, and they are stunning in the most unusual way: large women, voluptuous, abundant, delighted. They lounge along the river bank, they lift their arms toward the sun, their hair ripples down their backs, which are smooth and broad and strong. There is a softness in the way they move, and also strength and sensuality, as though they revel in the feel of their own heft and substance.

Step back from the canvas, and observe, think, feel. This is an image of bounty, a view of female physicality in which a woman’s hungers are both celebrated and undifferentiated, as though all her appetites are of a piece, the physical and the emotional entwined and given equal weight. Food is love on this landscape, and love is sex, and sex is connection, and connection is good: appetites exist in a full circle, or in a sonata where eating and touching and making love and feeling close are all distinct chords that nonetheless meld with and complement one another.

Renoir, who created this image, once said that were it not for the female body, he never could have become a painter. This is clear: there is love for women in each detail of the canvas, and love for self, and there is joy, and there is a degree of sensual integration that makes you want to weep, so beautiful it seems, and so elusive.”

And when Caroline talks about the gap between what we are supposed to be allowed to want as women (we can, apparently, have, do and be it all) and what the reality of the world tells us about what we should want, she says;

“A woman, today, can be a neurosurgeon, or an astrophysicist; she can marry or not marry, leave her spouse, pack up, and move across the country at will. But can she take such choices a step further, or two or ten? Can a woman be not just an astrophysicist, but a big, powerful, lusty astrophysicist who feels unequivocally entitled to food and sex and pleasure and acclaim?”

Every time I read that last sentence, my whole body sings yes. That is what I want.

To sit inside and with your desires is a powerful thing. To write them down, look at the words of those yearnings from your heart, to imagine yourself inside them – gloriously happy, turned-on, excited, lit up, more yourself than ever, is a powerful thing. To feel those desires in your body, the way they make your heart sing and your soul expand and how they feel so sacredly right, is a powerful thing.

When you write your desire list, do it with the intention of only indulging in the pleasure of enjoying them. Do not do one thing about them. Take no action. Write no to-do list. Stake no claim on which one you will get in 5 years. Let not one worry about logistics, finances, effort, pushing, will power, persevearance, expectations take away a drop of their sweetness. Just enjoy sitting inside of them.

At the next JWR full-day retreat in October 2016, you’ll have a chance to dance inside your desires. You are worthy of all of them and nothing you desire is too much to ask. Claim them with a deep love for yourself.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts about your appetites and your wanting. What does desire and hunger in your life make you think of?

 

Why we really need each other…the alchemy of the feminine

 

 

Alchemy – “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation or combination.” This definition was taken from oxforddictionaries.com. When I looked it up in my hardcover Oxford American Dictionary, there was a different definition, “a medieval form of chemistry, the chief aim of which was to discover how to turn ordinary metals into gold.”

Both of these definitions suit me well.

The alchemy I am talking about is when women connect with women, the chemistry of the sisterhood.

There was a long period in my life where I considered other women to be competition, as a constant mirror used to see where I stood in my community’s hierarchy of beauty, success, sexiness, talent, etc. I had no real awareness of how seeing women as sisters could lift me up higher than I could lift myself. This was a lesson that took me a long time to learn.

Seeing other women as partners in our journey in life (and being partners in their journey too) is how we can really transform ourselves and create something new and bigger than what we can do alone. Sisterhood and the sacredness of being women together is where ordinary metals turn into gold.

In other words, life is hard. It takes a village to raise a good woman. And we are each other’s villages.

This post is not only about how we can change our own lives by really and authentically connecting with each other but it is also a thank you to all the women I am lucky enough to have in my life. The dear ones, the near ones, the new ones, the on-the-street ones, the yet-to-come ones.

Thank you for sharing your stories with me. And listening to mine.

And what a lot of stories we have – some of us are in relationship upheaval. Facing a huge personal challenge which may break us or make us. Some of us, behind the facade, are getting ready to take the biggest leap of faith in our lives. Getting ready to leave the job. Start anew. When we share our stories from the heart with each other, we learn about someone’s adventurous past – before they became a mum. We learn something about their heart’s deepest desires…what they truly want for their lives.  Or we learn about someone’s intimate journey into grief that transformed them. We all have our stories of triumph, pain and strength.

When we share our selves and our stories with each other, we become stronger together.

Apart, we will never reach the heights that are possible.

So, an ode to all the women out there, sharing their hearts and stories and being authentic with each other.

As I observe women I don’t know, I often think, “I wonder what I can learn from her?” Because I know she’s got something I don’t yet. Maybe she knows how to love with her whole open heart. Maybe she has transformed the energy in her house because of an amazing transformation she has had. Maybe she knows how to be honest with the people closest to her…with love and compassion. Maybe she can help me be even more courageous when it comes to claiming my own dreams. Maybe she’s the one who becomes my mentor with a difficult relationship…or the one who says, “Oh my god, just do it!”.

And I can give too. You give. I give. You share. I share. We get vulnerable and realize that we both have pain…and we are both warrior goddesses. We lean on each other when we don’t have the strength to carry ourselves anymore.

It takes a village to raise a good woman.

Experiencing other women not as a way to measure ourselves as better or worse, but as cheerleaders, mentors, supporters and help us up when we have nothing left on our own is an important part of Juicy Woman Revolution. At our retreat on July 16th, we will create a space where alchemy is possible. Where ordinary metals turn into gold.

Join me there.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear how your thoughts have changed in your life about seeing other women as sisters and the sacredness of sisterhood.