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.

 

 

I ask myself, what would a masochist do?

 

First of all, I had to look up this word because you know when you think you know what a word means but there is a bit of fuzziness around it and you definitely would not go on a game show and raise your hand? I just knew that one of those words does the spanking and the other word gets spanked.

Masochist. A person who derives sexual gratification from their own pain or humiliation.

Also, a person who enjoys an activity that appears to be painful or tedious. Bingo.

Whenever I am in a situation that feels shitty (and when I can remember to do this) – stuck, hurt, ashamed, doubting, hopeless – I ask myself the question, what would be the hardest thing to do right now?

I started doing this because it became obvious that I was already doing the easiest thing. That just happened naturally.

When I felt stuck, I just let my negative programming have at it and it would race away and convince me that nothing would ever change and that this was my life forever.

When I was emotional bruised, I would close down physically and emotionally so nothing could get in to hurt me again. I fed my wounds.

When I felt shame, I isolated so no-one would ever know.

When I doubted myself and my work, I just sat in that pile of shit and let those waves of self-diminishing wash over me and get into every cell of my body.

Actually, all of that was really easy to do. It fit with all of my human training thus far and I didn’t even need to think about it. Those responses happened just like breathing.

The thing is, doing what was easy also felt like shit because there was something about my reactions that kept me there. They protected me from everything including being able to move through and out of where I was.

Hence the question, what would be the hardest thing for me to do right now? Perhaps if the easiest thing didn’t do shit, then the hardest thing would be the answer.

When feeling stuck in our bodies or mindsets, the fucking hardest thing to do is to move and let go.

When feeling heartbroken and bruised, the hardest thing to do is to stay in the room and stay open.

When feeling shame, the hardest thing to do is to tell someone else about it.

When feeling self-doubt and self-hatred, the hardest thing to do is loving self-care.

When overwhelmed and panicked, the hardest thing to do is to slow down and take a break.

When hating our bodies, the hardest thing to do is to touch them with love and treat them well.

When rejected, the hardest thing to do is to not take it personally and to stay turned on to our amazingness.

I have found that this technique usually points me in the right direction of GETTING THE FUCK OUT OF HERE. It also always reminds me that I have a choice, even though everything in my body might be clinging on for dear life to the victim.

In the comments below, I want to know what you think. Have you ever tried this? Do you have a question you ask yourself to try to move out of where you are and towards where you want to be?

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?

I’m really good at self-care and here’s what I’ve learned about it

 

I am really good at self-care. It has been and is the work of my lifetime.

Here’s what I have learned:

Self-care has many levels. There is surface self-care and there is deep self-care. We have our own versions of all the levels. For me, a hot bath is surface. A movement session where I burst into tears and crack somewhere is deep. I need both.

Self-care is always changing. Ha! What used to soothe, re-fill and re-fuel might not work anymore. We are always changing. We are never ever static in how we feel and what we want and need. Yoga might have done it for you before but it might not anymore.

Self-care is a call-and-response. The body (or heart or soul) calls for something. The mind decides whether or not to fulfill the request. For example, body tells mind I am tired and want to sleep. Mind tells body, push through, I can’t stop to give you what you need. Conversation over. Self-care dead.

Self-care bangs up against everything. Self-care hits walls everywhere it goes. It bangs up against what your partner wants you to do. What your kids want you to do. What your work wants you to do. Anyone who expects self-care not to bang up against anything will never do it well.

Doing self-care in spite of what it bangs up against builds our warrior. When we are not building our warrior, we are building our victim.

Self-care is the hardest when it is needed the most. This still boggles my mind. When we need it the most, we do it the least. Most times, when we are in crisis, instead of increasing our self-care (more massage, more physical activity, more meditation, more good food, more sleep, more orgasms), we decide to just make it through as best as we can. And we survive it all. We survive the crisis because we are so good at surviving. But we might arrive at the end of it in a total physical or mental breakdown, depleted and depressed or just numb.

Self-care is work. It requires an iron will and tons of discipline. It is where a woman must stand in her own power and for her own worth. This is where the battle is fought, day in and day out.

Part of what is essential to me is my feminine soulful movement practice. For those who live in Toronto, you can join me every Monday night.

In the comments below, I would love love to hear what you have learned (or are learning) about self-care.

 

Diaries of a retreat – Part 3/3

 

This is the final installation in my “Diary of a retreat” writings. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here.

Day 3

The theme for me this retreat has been belonging. A big challenge to the story I’m holding on to about not being worthy of love and belonging.  I know on a cellular level what it feels like to be the outsider. It feels like my natural state. But I don’t want that anymore. The more I want to fly, the more I need a tribe. So that was where I opened this retreat. I allowed myself to belong. In however and whatever shape that took. And I do feel that I belong here. I belong to the women here. I belong to this movement. I belong to my friends here. I belong! And in belonging, I can bring my whole self here and be a part of this for everyone else. I become part of their belonging too.

Today we had class on the beach. It was one of the highlights for me. Being in the sun, feeling the wind, moving outside. Hearing the ocean. The teacher’s voice was low enough that I could move as I wished. And then we went to the ocean. And I danced all the way there; it felt like it took a million years. I dragged my toes in the sand, I curved my hips, I leaned back, I took my time. And then, in the ocean, I called a few women to join me in swimming (sometimes we are the pusher and sometimes we need to be pushed) and we took our suits off and swam naked. It was glorious. The ocean waves would come and knock us over as if to say, Snap. Out. Of. It. THIS is who you are. THIS is how you should always be, in this state. Free! Wild! Alive!

I know now that by not going to class and taking my own time, I was creating the safety that I needed to jump. And the jump I want to do is to show my truth to this tribe. I wanted to break apart. I wanted to show ME. Because when I can show the truth of me, I can truly belong. Here. There. To myself. To the world. Anywhere. Everywhere.

Day 4

I had my first group dance and it was okay but nothing emotionally happened, except that it felt good to move. It was a safe dance for me. I knew I wanted something more. So then Sheila (Kelley, S-Factor‘s creator and leader) asked me to tell one of the leaders to put me with a group of women that would want to dance to a “break apart” song.

This is what being a co-creator in jumping into your fear feels like. You actually seek out what will break you apart. 

When we got assigned our new dancing groups for the second round, I said I want a song that will break me apart, that will make me cry. The second woman said, I want to dance to dirty sexual music that talks about fucking and licking pussy. (Honestly, I fucking LOVE this stuff!) So, that is where we started off. I just had this knowing that I needed to push for my song and that this dance was mine. We finally all agreed to dance to “Delicate” by Damien Rice. (Even women who love to dance to dirty sex songs have a tender, delicateness about them. We are 100 shades of the rainbow.)

I went to the middle of the floor right in front of all of these women because I wanted to be seen. I started on the floor because I didn’t think I could stand up. I danced. I broke apart. I cried. I showed my fear in being seen and then I was seen, as I lifted my shirt over my head and showed my tear-stained face. And then, at the end of the song, I wept. Lying on the floor. I let it all out as I was held by my tribe. And then, I felt so fucking glorious that I yelled out a cry of victory. I did it! I gave my self the time I needed, I listened to my own voice, I trusted when I was ready and then, I jumped.

I belong. Exhale. 

The evening after the retreat ended…

I spent this night with people! I went out to dinner with them! I belong here! (As you can tell by the exclamation marks! this is not what I usually do!) They weren’t stopping me from belonging, I was stopping myself! Gosh darnit, fucker head shit!

After being home for 4 days

I’ve been back for 4 days now. This re-entry is different Last time, I merged with life effortlessly. So I thought I got it and that is what would happen this time. But it didn’t. I am still quiet about the retreat. I am still holding it in my body and heart like a treasure. I don’t know how it will move through my body and my life but I know it will.

But here’s what I learned. I belong. I trust myself to know what I need. I know how to make myself safe. I want to jump.

Thank you for reading.

Sophie

xo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

    

Diaries of a retreat – Part 2/3

 

This is the second installation of my “Diary of a retreat” writings. You can read the first one here.

Day 2

I don’t like this retreat. I am not feeling at home or good; I’m feeling uncomfortable. We had an experience with horses with the amazing Jen Zoe this morning and I had an uncomfortable realization. I thought the horse I had connected with was paying attention to Jen Zoe and another horse and wasn’t with me. And then, something shifted and she was with me. Jen Zoe asked me what I thought had shifted and I said I didn’t know. She said, maybe that’s what you are going to find out this weekend. And then I realized that maybe I had been thinking that I wouldn’t be enough to hold that horses’ attention and so, of course, she was wanting to be somewhere else. That is one of my tender spots. Bah. Sigh. Cry. Release.

During the dance in class today, I had a moment where I was crying and I looked at one of the women there (because I know she can hold space for me) and afterwards she said that she could feel me get emotional and then close down and why didn’t I just let it go? Then I felt badly that I hadn’t let it go and I said it wasn’t time and I don’t know if that’s an excuse or the truth and I can feel all of my old patterns of thoughts which make me wrong or bad come up and I don’t want to feel like that.

I’m repeating to myself – I am so perfectly where I am right now. I am perfectly where I am right now. And I am open-hearted and ready and trying and being and it’s all okay. And I don’t hate this retreat; it’s just that I’ve come up against some real shit here.  

Last night, I had the thought that maybe my body has to be so pleasured in order to overrule my brain. I could feel how my brain patterns were taking me right out of my body. I could feel my body (that flow, that total feeling of rightness, that joy in being everything I am) was crying out “please don’t leave me!” as she felt all of my overthinking and critical thoughts take me away from her. I think that the more she is pleasured with good food, the right clothes, movement that allows her to express what she feels, deep breathing, touch, sensual/sexual pleasure, her volume gets louder. When in doubt, always go to the body. Funny, that was the lesson I learned at the last retreat. When in doubt, go to the body. She knows fucking everything.

Then we danced for teacher again.  It felt okay to me but there was some performing I could feel. So I was half in my body and half just showing. In her comments, my teacher said that I was going in and out of two different things. That I was like a sea anemone, flowing big and small…and she didn’t know what I wanted. Okay, so it is all true, I am not dancing to show what I want. And what do I want? I’m afraid to show it. Because then everyone will know how I am. I might want to actually be unknowable. Do I really want that? How can I get what I want if I am not knowable? If I can’t show the women here and at home, then how will I show the world? I am afraid of it. My power. My big sexuality. I don’t know what to do with it or how to fit it into my life in a way that serves my desires as well as a life with a husband and kids and the domesticity of it all.

I want to live in my power and not shrink it behind other stuff anymore.    

I decided not to go to class tonight. I had too many voices in my head. When my teacher talks so much during the class, I can’t hear my own body. It feels so disconnected and awful. So I decided to go back to my room. I had a bath, I read, I went to bed. It was exactly what my intuition told me I needed. But I had all of these voices saying, you should stay, you need to push through it, this is when you need to NOT run but I was having strong resistance to going and so I was fighting on two fronts; one was to follow my truth and not go to class and the other fight was to believe I had done the right thing and to trust myself as deeply as was required. And it turned out to be the perfect thing for me to do. This has been a pattern for me – I engage and connect and then something triggers me and I have to retreat. I need to find my centre and think about it on my own before I can go back out again. And when I go back out, it’s as if I’ve made a big decision while being on my own that allows me to experience a breakthrough.  

And then shit really happens.

Stay tuned for the final chapter of my “Diary of a Retreat” series!

 

Diaries of a retreat – Part 1/3

 

I decided to do a diary of a retreat I went on because I want to share what a retreat can be like (this particular one and my particular experience) in the hopes that I will inspire you to go on one, or at least to consider the value of investing in time away just for you. 

This is my experience of the fourth S-Factor retreat I have been on. As usual, there were moments of darkness and moments of transformation and ecstasy. They come hand in hand, it seems….

So here is Part 1. From me to you…

Diary of a retreat – Part 1/3

It’s a few days before I leave and I am, for the first time, noticing a pattern about where my thoughts are taking me. 

And now that I have noticed it, I can see it everywhere in my life. Whenever I am in a situation (or approaching one) where I am not the boss, not the leader, not the expert and I have to learn from someone else and they have control over me and I will need to show some stuff in order to grow, I go into very big resistance. If I might break down, show emotion, talk about my feelings, appear that I am not in control of everything, that I don’t know everything and that I am vulnerable and tender, just like everyone else, I freak out. 

So, with this retreat, here’s what I’m thinking.

This is definitely the last retreat I’m going on.

I don’t really like this stuff anymore.

It’s all bullshit.

I don’t agree with anything they say.

I don’t want to go anymore.

This level of resistance is totally my MO. I pretend disdain, I diminish everyone’s leadership role and expertise, I doubt every word, I roll my eyes, I tune out, I “do my own thing”, I resist, resist, resist.

Why? Why can’t my brain just say I’m worried about all of the uncomfortable and dark feelings I might have and that I don’t want people to see me as “weak” when I show my vulnerability? I don’t know why my brain doesn’t say just that. It’s so weird. My big-hearted but twisted ego wants to save me from something…wants to keep me small where she can protect me, I think.

My body has no such problem. She can’t wait to move, to dance all day, to discover, to play, to be so fully alive in herself. She’s so much fucking cooler than I am.

My final day is filled with buying travel health insurance, doing last-minute laundry (stop, stinky armpits), packing, shaving astounding amounts of body hair, filling my man in on all of the details of our daily life with two young kids, etc.

The ride in the cab as I go away can be the darkest moment. This morning, my body is flush with heat, my stomach has a ball of rolling snakes in it and my head hurts. All fear. Or mostly fear and then anticipation, excitement, panic, anxiety and probably some other stuff that I don’t even recognize. I am trying to think of Pema Chodron’s quote about how living life fully requires that you are continually tossed out of the nest as every cell in my body is screaming, GET BACK IN THE NEST! Is this normal? Is anyone else feeling this?

I notice that fear shuts down everything about me. I forget who I am, what I want, HOW I am. It is a mojo-killer.

And it is dark in the cab. The day hasn’t begun yet. I feel anxiety about going through security, making the flight – I always have a secret fear that I have the wrong time, wrong destination, wrong day. Mostly, but not exclusively, because I have done it before. (Ssshh…don’t judge.)

This time around, however, I have less “mummy’s abandoning her family” syndrome. Something has shifted but I don’t know what yet. Before I had a lot of anxiety about leaving my tribe in their cave all alone. It wasn’t guilt so much as this instinctual prerogative that my job was to be their protector and caretaker and to be there. But on this retreat, I don’t feel that. That comes as a lovely surprise. Evolution does exist.

Once I get to the airport, the gap between me in my nest and me moving towards adventure (and out of the nest) starts to feel more comfortable. I become more ready. The fear melts away from my body.

I arrive at my hotel and write this a few hours later.

I belong here! I was feeling a bit lonely – swimming in the ocean, walking along the beach, going for dinner. And then, this awesome chick, the amazing mover who knows everyone and has been around and belongs here, said “hi” to me! She recognized me! I have arrived. I garbled “hi” back and walked out the door of the hotel smiling like a crazy woman. And THEN! I introduced myself to one of the lead teachers. We talked. She knows my name now! And THEN! I introduced myself to someone else and then WE talked. And then, JUST NOW, someone I recognized and have met before said “Are you going to the retreat?” And I said “yes” and then we gave each other our names. I BELONG! I HAVE FRIENDS!

Sigh. Nothing has changed. This is a page out of my 11-year old diary.

I go to sleep excited, scared, feeling both alone and belonging. Being human is confusing.

The adventures continue in Diary of a Retreat – Part 2/3. Coming up next!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

How to kill a desire

 

Yes, I’m into desires these days. If you didn’t read my post called “Audacious, scary, body buzzing, delicious desire”, you can read it here.

What are desires? For me, they are simply things, feelings and experiences that I want. And, for me, they have a deepness to them that simply “wanting” doesn’t seem to have. A simple want comes from my mouth and a desire comes from my soul.

If you have never made a desire list, do it. It’s really really fun. On your first one, you might end up sitting there, trying to figure out if you actually have any desires. (You do!). You might start rusty as a robot and end up having desire diarrhea.

You start off with a chirp chirp chirp silence.

Then, “new winter boots”.

Then, “a new dress”.

Then, “to take yoga teacher training”.

Then, “to have mind-blowing sex.”

Shazam. Done. Pencil down. Mic drop.

Here’s what I’ve learned about desires.

When you think about a desire, it makes you feel good. You smile. Your body feels relaxed (and maybe a bit scared and excited). It feels good in your heart and your body. Even without making a move towards it, it feel good to think about.

Desires don’t need to come true to make you feel good. (See above.)

If you had to describe yourself on a post-it note in 5 seconds, writing down a big desire would be a pretty concise way of telling the world who you are.

Desires change. They come and go. Or you have a desire for a while and then, it no longer makes you feel good. You might look at a desire list from 6 months ago and find things on there that don’t tingle the way they used to.

Desires are fun. Desires tell us who we are.

So, say you wanted to kill a desire. How would you do it?

Here’s how…

You kill a desire by not allowing yourself to enjoy just the thought of it. By bypassing that very important first stage of desire where you get to just imagine what it would be like. What those new winter boots might look like. What they would feel like on your feet. All the cool things you’d be able to do in your new winter boots because you’d be comfortable and happy and you’d start snowboarding and ice fishing. Imagine what it would be like to be in a room full of people who also want to be a yoga teacher. Being so immersed in those movements and absorbing all of the wisdom from your teachers and also figuring out how you want to teach yoga. You feel it all – the excitement of teaching your first class, the nerves of teaching your first class, the amazingness, the tears, the sweat, the joy.

If you bypass this stage and go straight to “how do I do this?” stage, you will kill your desire. As soon as you tell a desire that you can’t enjoy it until it comes true but you don’t think it could ever come true and you don’t even know where to start because it’s totally impossible and now that you think of it, it’s totally pointless even thinking about it because it’s never going to happen and it’s too much and greedy to even wish for and WHO AM I TO WANT ALL OF THIS?, well… something very sad happens.

You know those cute little angel cupids in old-timey religious pictures? The ones with the chubby cheeks and dimpled butt cheeks and cute little wings and the bow and arrows? You just shot one down. That was your desire.

We are so good at thinking that we always have to do something. Especially as women, we have our flicks continually set to “DO”, so it’s hard for us to not need to take action and do something about everything.

A desire might pop into our brains and we think, what is my first action step? How would I make that happen? What should I do right now to work towards that goal? And then, holy sh*t, my brain is exhausted just thinking about how much work that is so I’m going to shut this sh*t down right now and carry on with carrying on.

And instead of letting that delicious desire (whisper a juicy one to yourself right now) make our blood heat, give us tingles on your skin, let our shoulders drop, make us smile, we kill it.

Let’s just enjoy the desire, damnit.

Here’s one of my desires.

I want to spend a month in Tuscany with my family. I want to wear beautiful dresses that sweep around my legs and leather sandals and look effortlessly beautiful (is it shallow that I also have perfect hair days while I’m there?), calling out “Ciao” to the olive farmers as I walk into town for an espresso. I want my kids to run around in bare feet, picking basil and tomatoes and running in and out of the kitchen as I make day-long meals. I want my husband to learn some romantic/dirty lines in Italian that he whispers to me as we drink red wine under the Tuscan star-filled sky.

When I think of this desire, I melt. I can taste it. I can feel it. I can feel the yearning like this very happy puppy tugging on a leash. I smile.

Okay, so let’s kill it now.

How would I find a place in Tuscany? I don’t know anyone who lives in Tuscany.
How do I find a place that I can rent for a month with the right feel when I don’t even live in the country?
I don’t speak Italian. Do we need Visas?
What would we do for money? How would we afford it?
What if my family doesn’t want to go? Can I trick them into packing for the cottage and blindfold them on the way to the airport?
Is Italy dangerous? Will my children run around barefoot, speaking Italian or will they be fighting in the kitchen as I cry over a ruined risotto?
Will my children come back to class where everyone now can speak Mandarin and meditate and they only know how to make handmade pasta and get dirt out of their toenails? It’s impossible, it’s a dream, it doesn’t make sense, it’s a luxury, I should be concentrating on more important things and STOP DAYDREAMING.

See what I mean? Thud. Another cupid hits the dust.

There is a time for action on a desire, should you want to take it. But I believe that the most important thing to do with any desire is to enjoy thinking about it, feeling it and imagining it. Let it make you feel good.

And should you decide to take action on it, all of that enjoying will help you take steps towards that desire without killing it along the way.

Desires are delicious little morsels of throbbing aliveness. They bring joy just by being. No action necessary.

If I’m lying, I’m buying. Try it out. Find a really juicy desire and just sit and think about it without needing to do anything about it. You like?

What is your relationship with your desires? Do you kill them? Love them? Both?!

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

 

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

So, here goes.

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

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

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

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

I know we can go deeper.

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

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

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

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

What is your unsayable right now?

What are you struggling with?

What are you deeply desiring?

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

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

Too much for school drop-off?!

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

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

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

The deeper we go, the higher we fly.

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

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

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

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

 

Extend your after-glow….miaow…..!

 

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

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

A story…

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

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

My first JWR talk in front of people.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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