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.

 

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?

I went all the way to SF to break down

Earlier this year, I attended a day retreat with Sarah Jenks and Nisha Moodley. I didn’t know much about either of these women but I had been on their email lists for a while and working at home by myself can really be isolating so every once in a while, I leap out of my chair and just grab onto something that connects me to women going through the same struggles.

So, I bought a ticket to the retreat and then realized that I would also need a ticket to get to San Francisco, which is where the retreat was. Hmm, not to worry. It’s not the first time I’ve done this – I get really excited and carried away and impulsive and then work out the details later. This side of me is crazy….but I like her.

The plan was to have a bit of time there both before and after the retreat. I’ve learned that I need time to digest what I’ve experienced at a retreat before I head home because if I go home too early, it all gets blasted out of me by children, a household and the rush of regular life.

Something happened to me on this trip that surprised me, overwhelmed me and then steered me towards making a whole new commitment to myself.

I had a total break-down.

The day after the retreat, I spent a few hours in my hotel room, just going through what I had learned, thinking about the direction I wanted my business to go in, figuring out how to combine my work with my very real and necessary life and I thought that was it.

And then, I started to do some movement because I really needed to shake up my body and get my energy moving. And something happened when I got out of my brain and into my body because I suddenly started weeping. No, it didn’t look like a movie shot, me sitting, beautifully vulnerable with choreographed silver tears gently running down my model-like cheek bones. It was ugly and messy: I was contorted by the wailing. Something in me was cracking open. I was on the floor of my hotel room, falling apart.

Getting to the reason for intense emotion can sometimes feel like being in a jungle, hacking through the density with a machete, thinking, where is it? And then, like a ray of light, it appears.

I feel so alone. I need more support. I can’t do this without more support. This life, this work, this me.

I need support.

For the first time in my life, that was a call that I heard from my heart and my body. You can’t do this alone. You are not meant to do this alone. You don’t have to do this alone. Girl, go and get yourself some support!

So that became a new commitment I made to myself. To get the support I needed to be able to do this. All of this. I need support for when I can’t go on. I need support where I can be vulnerable and show everything in trust. I need support for my life. Support for my work. Support for it all.

And that created new practices for me to ramp up the support in my life. The practices have forced me to reach out for help. To initiate conversations. To say that I need help. To admit it. And it’s been such a great gift to me. To lay down the burden of needing to do it all by myself.

We all need support. We are not meant to do this alone. 

And that is one of the things that I love the best about live events. Being with other women. In the flesh. Feeling their need and their yearnings and also feeling their love and support. When we come together in a spirit of sisterhood and love, incredible shifts happen. Join us on October 15th, 2016 at the JWR full-day retreat and become part of that magic.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Where might you need more support these days? How can we all learn from what you’ve experienced about getting (or not) the support you need in your life?

What these women wanted SO deeply

 

 

I want my husband to desire me.

I want my body to forgive me.

I want to trust fully again.

I want to show my husband this part of me – all of me.

I want hot, passionate, window-breaking, earth-shaking sex.

I want to open my heart.

I want to be vulnerable.

I want to accept love.

I want to heal the scared little girl inside.

I want to be seen.

I want to love myself completely.

These were the deep yearnings that women had at one of the S-Factor retreats I attended. Mine was, “I want to free my voice”. Saying those words broke me open and started to heal me all at the same time.

What do you want? Deeply? What whispers do you hear when you sit quietly alone? What is your heart asking of you? What does your body need from you? What does your soul cry out for?

I know that some of us live our lives never really hearing our own truth. And it’s easy to do that. We have so many distractions these days –  social media, Netflix, constantly being surrounded by people, being really busy and eating, drinking and shopping to numb our yearnings. I know what that feels like. And sometimes it’s easier to ignore our truth than to hear it….because of what it might say. What it might shake up. What it might threaten. What it might expose about our lives and how we are living them.

The thing is, when we don’t go into that space, we never fly high. When we don’t know and live in what is true for us, we are never free. Never released. Never as powerful and beautiful as we are capable of being.

The truth shall set us free.

One of the components of the Juicy Woman Revolution retreat (coming up on July 16th in Toronto) is that we get to spend time in our own truth. Just by granting ourselves a full day of being immersed in who we truly are, we are living in our truth. And it is a glorious place to be. Not always easy. Not always comfortable. But deeply real, deeply nourishing and deeply releasing.

My gorgeous and brave warrior-women, telling yourself the truth about who you are, how you feel and what you want, is a revolutionary act that has the power to transform.

Are you ready to hear your truth? Can I help you by giving you a safe and sacred space to do that? If any of this calls to you, read about the upcoming JWR retreat here. And if there is another woman in your life who you feel could benefit from this work, please stand up for her journey in life and forward this email to her.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on what living in your truth means for you. And as always, thank you.

 

 

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?

What I learned from “Thelma and Louise”…

 

I have been thinking about the concept of feeling alive…as in, how do we know we are alive?

And for some reason, my brain instantly goes to this scene from “Thelma and Louise”. I think of it often because when I first watched the movie, it gave me chills. For those who don’t know this movie… wait a second! What the….. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THIS MOVIE then WHAT ARE YOU DOING READING THIS when you should be WATCHING “THELMA AND LOUISE”?!!

Okay, I’m back. That was crazy. Anyway, at the beginning of the movie, we are introduced to Thelma who is a sweet, accommodating, dutiful wife. Until. Well….she changes, I’ll just say that.

 

thelma-louise

 

I was thinking about this topic because one thing that I have noticed in my own self-journey is that I feel really alive. Really awake. And I didn’t feel that before. Sometimes I felt like I was on auto-pilot. Sometimes I felt numb, just doing what I was supposed to do. Sometimes I felt a deep sadness for… something I couldn’t really name. And sometimes I didn’t even know what I was missing until I felt a pulse of real, emotional, visceral, truthful LIFE and then I couldn’t believe that I was living in this flatline.

For me, feeling alive, feeling awake, means that I feel. Everything. The darkness, the challenge. The lightness, the ecstasy, the thrill. The fear, the resistance, the sick feeling in my stomach, the freak outs, the panics. And the sun on my face and the thrill of being me and the incredible joy of living in my life. And I’ve noticed that the more I allow the hard emotions to just be felt….the bigger and more expansive the joy is. The dark and the light. They fit together. Your can’t have one without the other.

Which brings me to a woman who I adore (I am currently reading her “Rising Strong” book, which I love), Brene Brown. As Brene Brown talks about in her video about vulnerability, you can’t just numb out the feelings you don’t want to experience and experience everything else – all the “good” stuff. If you shut down the hard stuff, you don’t feel the good stuff either. Here’s what Brene Brown says about it.

“The problem is – and I learned this from the research – that you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t say, here’s the bad stuff. Here’s vulnerability, here’s grief, here’s shame, here’s fear, here’s disappointment. I don’t want to feel these. I’m going to have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. You can’t numb those hard feelings without numbing the other affects, our emotions. You cannot selectively numb. So when we numb those, we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness. And then, we are miserable, and we are looking for purpose and meaning, and then we feel vulnerable, so then we have a couple of beers and a banana nut muffin. And it becomes this dangerous cycle.”
It’s a bad news, good news scenario. The good news is, you CAN feel joy, happiness, bliss, ecstasy, happiness, gratitude…and all the other yummy, delicious life-affirming stuff. The bad (?) news is, you have to feel all of the other stuff as well. You cannot selectively numb emotion. 

Honestly. For realsies. It sucks…..but it’s also incredibly awesome.

If you missed it, here’s my number one way to feel it all.

Back to you. Do you feel alive? Awake? Do you shut down some emotions because you don’t want to feel them? Do you think they affect your ability to feel other emotions? Is Brene Brown right?! In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

As always, thank you for reading. I remain honoured and grateful…and eternally excited to be doing this work.

 

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.

 

A story about saying the un-sayable

 

As some of you know, I am currently taking a break from my regularly weekly blogs. I needed to slow down on one business aspect as I started to speed up on another aspect, which is the development of an online course.

I miss writing! I miss our communication; even though for the most part it’s a one-way conversation, outside of the comments (I love when you comment) and emails I get in response.

Anyway, I’ll be popping back in now and again when I have the time and something really worthy of saying.

In this blog, I’m going to talk about a very emotional experience I had on my S-Factor retreat at the end of September. When I let myself be broken open.

Broken open sounds so aggressive, doesn’t it? Torn open? Split open? Blown apart? They all sound quite violent and yes, this kind of opening up is not for the faint of heart. But I know that allowing ourselves to be broken open is the only way to be fully realized and fully ourselves. Which is something that most women crave.

I’m sharing this story because I want you to know that you are brave enough to allow something out of where you keep it hidden. Being broken open has the power to set you free.

So this is the story about something that broke me open. In the right space. With the right support. Sometimes we need someone to give us permission to melt. To let go. To just release…to stop holding on so tightly. To go deep. To be braver than we thought we could be. Sometimes we need a loving and safe push forward. And this is the gift of putting yourself into someone else’s trusted, loving and safe hands. We can’t do it all by ourselves. We all need help.

In one of the exercises at the retreat, all of the women were asked to find that voice inside that said the most toxic and painful thing. You know….that voice. What we say about ourselves that we don’t want anyone to know. And then we were to find a partner who would write it down on our body, cross it out and write the opposite.

(For all of those women reading this right now and feeling their hearts beat and the panic of being in that room, I hear you! But trust me, when the time is right and the support is right and your heart feels safe enough to melt, you are ready. Because it feels so good to let go.)

Afterwards, walking around, I could see women with writing all over their bodies. Their toxic lines are familiar to all of us; “You don’t deserve to be happy.” “It will never work out for you.” “You are too damaged to be loved.” “You are stupid and ugly.”

I partnered up with a woman who I had never met before. But of course, we were sisters just because we were both there, both trying to melt, both being brave, both wanting more.

On her body, I wrote “You are cold.” (which is something that her husband said to her a lot…and it broke her heart.) And then I crossed it out and wrote “You are open and perfect.”

When it was my turn to tell her what to write, as I switched from healer to asking-for-healing, my voice split and I dissolved into tears saying the words that I wanted to bury forever.

On my chest, she wrote “You are unloveable”. And then she crossed it out and wrote “You are so loveable.” And decorated it with flowers and hearts.

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And there it was. The unspeakable was written on my chest for all to see. And by saying the unsayable, I took one giant step towards the freedom and power that comes with allowing myself to be broken open. One journey. Many giant and mini steps.

Most of us have armour everywhere. To protect ourselves. And most of us have needed to be protected. And then, at a certain point, the protection becomes walls that prevent us from experiencing the kind of love, joy, self-acceptance and power we really yearn for.

So, here’s my question to you. Are you going to allow yourself to break open? To say the unsayable? To speak your truth?

And when I say, speak your truth, I don’t mean to anyone else. I mean to yourself. Before we can say our truth to others, we need to be able to say it to ourselves. With compassion. With deep love.

I’d love to hear in the comments below whether you have ever had an experience of being broken open and what it did for you.

As always, thank you for reading.

Sophie

 

How my retreat went

Well, here I am, back for almost a week from the S-Factor retreat in Miami. I am still adjusting. This is the hard part for me; figuring out how to maintain the feeling that I had when I was away while fulfilling responsibilities to my work, family, children and myself. To keep my insights, discoveries and deep yearnings alive. To remind myself of myself, even in the busyness and frantic pace of life.

Having a group of women together that are yearning to be more of themselves is a pretty heavy experience. Beautiful. Awesome. Inspiring. Moving. Emotional. Heart-wrenching. Basically, all of the colours of the rainbow. Which is what being a woman is all about. The range of emotions. The rawness. The power balanced with the beauty balanced with the ache.

So I arrived in Miami on Thursday and the retreat started on the Friday. Four full days. We had a movement class a few times a day with a small group and then sessions with Sheila Kelley with the whole group. The theme of this retreat was “Dangerously Sexy”. It was about learning to dance in that sweet spot where we are fully ourselves, fully expressed, fully authentic – without standing in the shadows and letting fear prevent us from shining and without dancing over the edge and losing ourselves. Big stuff.

In the first S-Factor retreat I went on, the transformational experience for me was when we were asked to dance in our sadness. Which I had never done before. I danced in grief for my mother and moved from tears to joy. That one dance changed my relationship with my sadness (allowing and expressing it) and my relationship to my dancing. Gone forever was my narrow range of dance expression, which had been limited to sexual energy or darkness. Both of which I still love but were not the full breadth of me. So I started to express other parts of me through dance.

On this retreat, I had a transformational experience during one of the exercises. You never know what you are going to hear when you are allowed to sink into your own body and your own voice. During that exercise, I made a deep commitment to take care of myself. Not just about working out and having a great hair cut. But a deep commitment to taking care of my heart, honouring my soul and making my sadness feel safe. As you can imagine, it was a painful, heart-opening, overwhelming and precious experience.

For those women who are ready to make that deep commitment to themselves, the final day to register for the JWR course in Toronto is today. Join me.

In the meantime, I wish for every woman some space and time to hear her own voice. To hear the voice of her body. Her heart and her soul. It is a precious place to be.

On a lighter side, I also got flirted with a lot (yay!), loved loved feeling the humid heat of the city on my skin, went skinny dipping in the ocean (complete with sting from a jelly fish), danced my cha cha guts out and felt the embrace of the masculine during a bachata dance. I laughed with new friends, felt gorgeous in my skin and walked down the street like a goddess.

All in all, a fantastic time.