The warrior who fights for everyone else but herself

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet.

And yet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where we shine our warrior lights on our own lives.

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

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

What’s hiding in your body?

 

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

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

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

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

I was a thin slice of all that I am.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lust – “Skin” by Rihanna

Rage – “Out of the black” by Royal Blood

Feeling lost – “Unsuffer me” by Lucinda Williams

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Desire. Appetite. Hunger. Wanting.

 

What are your deep desires?

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

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

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

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

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

“Appetite by Renoir

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

What I struggled with in learning how to prioritize myself

 

 

When I first felt the angry, desperate and sad yearnings inside me for more nourishment, I was in a dark place. At home with a new baby. Spending my days preparing food, cleaning up food, cleaning up the house, washing dishes, preparing more food, cleaning up more food, changing diapers, doing laundry, putting the babe down for a nap, cleaning up the kitchen, preparing food…

For me, it was a very hard period because I had no space, no room, no time, no place for me. I felt completely and utterly exhausted, depleted, unhappy and joyless.

That was 5 years ago and I’ve learned a lot about what it means for me to be well-nourished. To prioritize myself. To take care of my needs (and to actually know what they are).

Becoming a Well-Nourished Woman is a process. It requires work, diligence and the constant choosing of it.

But it is the only way for me to live now. Being under-nourished feels like a breeding ground for all of my nasty voices. It makes me feel insecure, bitter, resentful, angry, unloved, unappreciated and I start riding the victim card hard. Which keeps me trapped. It isn’t fun. It isn’t inspiring. It pushes me down instead of lifting me up.

Here’s what I can share with you about my journey in Becoming a Well-Nourished Woman.

Here’s what I really struggled with when I decided to start putting myself first.

Guilt

All kinds of guilt. Mother guilt. If I didn’t put my children above myself, did that mean I was a neglectful and bad mother? Wife guilt. Wasn’t marriage about sacrifice and making compromises? That old single life is over, girl! Get with the program!  Greedy Guilt. Was I being too greedy in wanting to be happy? Delighted? Nourished? Really well-taken care of? Did I deserve all that I wanted?

Giving up the victim role

If I wanted to be well-nourished, I had to make decisions based on what made my life easier, happier, less-stressful and more joyful. Which meant that I needed to take responsibility for my life. Which meant I couldn’t be a victim any longer. I couldn’t spend all of my energy complaining, griping, feeling resentful and bitter and lashing out at those closest to me because I felt so angry at being deprived. I couldn’t complain anymore because it wasn’t anyone else’s responsibility but my own.

My sense of my own worth

I had to teach myself that I was worthy of feeling good. That I was worthy of wanting to feel relaxed. Cared for. Nurtured. Adored. Loved.  Nourished. For me, every time I did something loving and nourishing for myself, I sent a feedback message that I was worthy. And every time I felt worthy, I felt free and empowered to do something loving and nourishing for myself. It was and is a wonderfully sacred circle of cause and effect.

These are the top 2 things I did (and still do) that are the bedrock of my being a Well-Nourished Woman.

I started small

For me, making myself a fresh cup of coffee was the beginning of prioritizing my nourishment. Instead of drinking a cold cup. Instead of going without. Instead of having tea – which I didn’t want. Instead of reheating some cold coffee. It was a small thing to do but it created a ripple effect that allowed me to move towards big nourishment items – like leaving my family and going on a 6 day-retreat. I didn’t start there. I started with a fresh cup of coffee for myself. And then cooking dinners that I wanted to eat. And telling my kids I was unavailable when I sat down to eat. And from those small acts of self-love, I allowed myself larger nourishments. Without the small acts, I would never have gotten to the big ones. In other words, if I didn’t think I was worthy of a fresh cup of coffee, how could I ever feel worthy of leaving my family to go on a retreat?

I added just one thing to whatever I was doing to make it more pleasurable for me.

Kids want to go to the park? I’m loading up my phone with some good music I can listen to. Have to wash the bloody dishes again? I’m finding a really cool podcast to listen to. Need to finish some work and just way too tired? I’m lighting a candle and making my self a cup of tea. Have to work on my financials? I’m getting into my cozy clothes (maybe my confidence toque) and setting a time-limit so I am focused and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know that for all of us, life is filled with many tasks that we don’t necessarily love to do. So, the question becomes, “What can I add to this job/task/situation/party that will make it more pleasurable for me?”. Boom.

Why it’s time for YOU to become a Well-Nourished Woman.

1. When you begin to make yourself a priority, you give every woman around you permission to do the same.

2. It is a deeply self-loving act and it’s time for you to start loving yourself desperately and madly.

3. No-one else will do it for you. No-one else will give you permission. This is no-one else’s responsibility except your own.

4. It feels so much better than deprivation.

5. All the girls in your life become lucky enough to see a different story for a woman; instead of seeing self-sacrifice and low self-worth, they see it is possible (and glorious) for a woman to love herself and to believe herself worthy of feeling good.

6. Because you are not the only one who can take care of your children. Cook the food. Do the job. Take the phone call. Be the go-to person. Take care of all the details. YOU ARE NOT THAT IMPORTANT. Things will continue to revolve without you.

Finally, you might need to start treating yourself like you are worthy before you believe you are. So what? It will come. Start small. Add just one thing. And be patient. See what happens.

If there is a woman in your life who you think would benefit from reading this, please forward this email to her. When we all start to really honour and love ourselves, amazing things can happen. Let’s start now. And take all of our tribe up with us.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts on learning how to put yourself first and what your journey has been like for you.

 

 

Can I help you make this big change in your life?

 

I have opened registration for the Juicy Woman Revolution full-day retreat on July 16th in Toronto, Canada. My intention is that every woman who comes walks away having been filled to the brim with self-love, in a body that she feels connected to and adoring of, and having experienced what it feels like to be fully expressed and fully herself. And most importantly, she’s going to leave with tools and practices to continue to feel that way in her day-to-day life.

We work in three areas: Movement and Deep Body Connection, Becoming a Well-Nourished Woman and Playing in Desires.

And we also laugh. Have fun. Eat snacks. Share. Dance. Connect. Think. Write. Relax. Slow down. And generally feel luxuriously and deeply nourished.

Are you in? I’d love for you to join me.

Which leads me to this. Women sometimes ask me, “So, what’s really changed in your life since Juicy Woman Revolution?”

So I’ve been thinking about that recently and I could make a list of the changes, big and small, that have happened in my life as a result of the work that I teach (and do myself) in the Juicy Woman Revolution.

But I wanted to make it simple. So I’ve narrowed it down to the one biggest change in my life.

I am living in my truth. Fully as me. I have never been as closely connected to myself as I am now.

What does that mean?

It means that I trust myself more than other people. I follow my own truth, even if those near and dear don’t agree with me…or have a judgement about it. I choose to nourish myself first instead of leaving it until everyone else is taken care of. I make difficult decisions and choose what feels good for me instead of what people think I should be doing…or what everyone else is doing. For example, I am not on social media. Every message out there in the world tells me that this is business suicide. But for me, being on social media feels like soul suicide –  a huge energy drain without an ounce of the juice, realness, sexiness and quality of human connection I really want. So I say no. That doesn’t mean that it’s not good for you. Or for her. Or for them. But I am not living your life or her life or their life…I am living, deliciously and authentically, my life.

I am reclaiming who I am and my life belongs to me. I am living my own revolution. 

By the way, this is hard stuff. I work at it every day. I have practices and things I do all the time to support myself in living in my truth. Because it really is going against the grain. At the Juicy Woman Revolution retreat in July, you will be developing your own practices and tools to take back into your day-to-day life to create the changes you want.

Every day, I have to make that choice. But living my life fully as me is now the only acceptable option – and I will do whatever work that is involved to keep living that way.

And you know what? The work is where the juice is.

On the flip side, there are lots of things that haven’t changed.

  • I still face unforeseen challenges and struggles.
  • I still fall back into old habits and take the easy way out.
  • I still fall down, fall apart, lose my shit, mess up, forget.
  • I still have to practice and use the tools every day. Without fail.

My life isn’t perfect. I don’t know what that would look like and I’m not interested in it. I have learned that my dream of reaching a state where the work is finished, where everything is in place just as it should be, where, finally, I have everything under control, is not going to happen. And I’m getting more and more comfortable with that idea every day. There is something in releasing that burden of perfection that feels very freeing and incredibly real.

Do you want to know what it’s like to begin to choose yourself? It’s not for the faint of heart but then again, us women are not faint of heart. We are warriors…even when we don’t believe we are.

Read what’s in store for you when you join the retreat here.

In the comments below, I’d love to know your thoughts about what it means to live in your truth. Is that something that you think about? Practice? Do?

 

 

I just had to write this about our crisis of overwhelm

overwhelm 3

 

I know a lot about my overwhelm. My anxiety. My too much.

I am in a constant flux of where my too much is, what to drop, what to take on, what my needs are right now and what I need to do today to love and honour myself. (And when you start to live in your body more than in your brain, you too will begin to hear the voice of your body telling you loud and clear when things are off – before you crash.)

I believe that all of us are in a crisis of overwhelm. I see it in every woman around me. And I think we are all pretending that it’s fine. Or that there is no other option. We are giving our power away.

We deny it. We carry on anyway. We think we are too sensitive because this is the way life goes and there doesn’t seem to be any other option. We nose to the grindstone. We hide our freak outs because everyone else seems to be fine. We blame ourselves. We judge ourselves. We feel like failures because it’s not supposed to look this hard. We push ourselves. We sacrifice our rest, our nourishment, our fun, our health and our peaceful joy for it. We suffer in silence. We keep on going. We keep on going. We keep on going. As someone once said to me “That’s the gig, right?”

It is so clear to me that we are not designed for this level of overwhelm. We are not built for this lifestyle of depletion, sleep-deprivation, constant pace, running here and there and all work, no play. Do you feel that truth in your body too, that this is not a good way to live?

We are forgetting our gentleness towards ourselves. We are forgetting to be our biggest champions, our protectors, the ones that hold ourselves sacred.

What I have learned from my overwhelm is that it can be an opportunity to completely deny my truth and dishonour my self OR it can be an opportunity to re-commit to some rockin’ self-love.

And if I want to choose love (which is really choosing myself), I have to shift from being my worst enemy into being my best friend.

When I have been in the middle of such an attack, the worst part hasn’t been the overwhelm and the anxiety. The worst part has been my judgement toward myself – it says, “Why can’t you handle this?” “No-one else is complaining.” “Why is this so hard for you?” “You should be able to do this.” “Get it together.” And finally, what is wrong with YOU?

Sound familiar?

And from this place of self-judgement, loathing and criticism, the only action I can take is to freak out, doubt everything about my truth, make decisions in a panic and keep. on. running. Or totally crash.

I have found that the first healing I have to do when I am in overwhelm anxiety is completely accept how I feel. Without question. Without doubt. Without needing proof. Just totally and completely accept it.

In the middle of too much, I have found myself sitting on a toilet in a stall, running my hands up and down my thighs, saying: “I fully and completely and lovingly accept myself.” “I fully and completely and lovingly accept myself.” Repeat. Repeat. Breathe. Repeat. Repeat. Breathe.

And then, “I honour myself. I honour my overwhelm. I honour my anxiety. I honour my too much. I honour that what I need today isn’t what I needed yesterday or what I will need tomorrow. I honour my overwhelm. I honour my anxiety. I honour my too much. I honour myself.”

This, for me, is a life-changing practice. When I fully accept my overwhelm and decide to honour it, instead of denying or judging it, then I can make the changes I need to make from a place of love. With the freedom, understanding and relief that comes from knowing I am loved in spite of my overwhelm, my anxiety, my too much.

Here is a very interesting 2014 TedTalk by Dr. Libby Weaver about how our modern pace of life is affecting our bodies. Fascinating stuff.

In the comments below, I’d love to hear if you have any stories about overwhelm in your life. Do you think it’s a crisis in the women in your life? When does it come up for you? How do you face it? What, if anything, can we learn from it?

 

 

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.

 

I am not a domesticated animal

 

I am not a domesticated animal. I am a wild animal that should not be allowed in nice clean houses. (Good thing I don’t have one of those…)

Here’s the line that keeps repeating itself when I am cleaning up some mess on the table. For the fifth time. Grocery shopping. Cleaning toilets. (Actually, that one is a joke because I don’t clean). Doing drop-off and pick-up. Being nice and friendly. Paying bills. Christmas shopping. Thank you notes. Summer camp research. Meal plans. I’m thinking to myself, with some degree of surprise…still… “What the fuck am I doing? I am not a domesticated animal!”

(This is actually what I look like every morning…)

lioness

 

As I fill up the sink to wash dishes, I mutter to the universe, “This is not where I really shine. Have you seen me on the dance floor?! That is where I shine. This is not me. Honestly.”

I worry about an alien invasion where they will catch me folding laundry and that’s how I’ll go down in their history books.

I remember back to my high school days where everyone told us that our lives would be different from our mothers. We wouldn’t have to get married or do housework or stay at home. We could have careers and be whatever we wanted.

And here I am (and not alone), 20 years later, housebound, folding laundry, planning doctor appointments, putting labels on clothing (again, a joke, because I still haven’t done that) and down on my hands and knees, wiping up spilt milk…again.

The fact that I love my kids, my dude and my house has nothing to do with it. I resent it, when it becomes the only thing I’m doing, because it’s just not the fullness of me. It doesn’t represent the totality of who I am. What I can do. My wildness, my craziness, my aches, my bliss, my genius, my adventure, my rebel spirit.

By the way, this is the exact feeling that inspired me to create the Juicy Woman Revolution.

Some days, I just am so mad about it, I put on Def Leppard. Cry. Rage and rant. Kick something. Gently (or not) squeeze my nipples to remind myself of who I really am.

I have a sticky note on my computer that says “I am deliciously erotic.” There are days when I read it and know it deeply in my body to be true. Then there are days when I couldn’t feel further from deliciously erotic. In my track pants with a hole in the crotch, kinda needing a shower, with hairy legs and unbrushed teeth. Exhausted and resentful.

But then, when I read those words, something shifts in me. Sometimes it’s really small. Like a whisper. And sometimes it’s really loud like a FUCK RIGHT, I’M DELICIOUSLY EROTIC!

And that’s why it’s there. To remind me to claim my space to shine. To create places that tell the full story of who I am. To do things that remind me of who I really am, in the fullness of my feminine power and beauty. To live outside the wife/mother/responsible member of society box.

I vow never to be tamed.

About a year ago, when my daughter was getting out of her car seat, she lost her balance and yelled “I feel dangerous!”

And I thought, hell yeah.

If you feel inspired, in the comments below, please share your thoughts on being a domesticated animal….or untameable…or anything else this makes you think of.

As always, thank you for reading.

Sophie

Guilt – kicking it’s *ss in my first audio recording!

Here it is; my first audio recording. Just changing it up. Sometimes my mouth works faster than my brain so I thought this might be a good medium to try. I’m building up to video. (And to the movies, obviously.)

I chose guilt as my topic. Because every woman has it. Every woman feels it. And it is such a party-pooper. After many conversations with women about this topic, I wanted to share my thoughts and stories on the part guilt has played in my life.

We feel guilty for not being a great girlfriend. Or wife. We feel guilty for spending too much time at work. Or not enough. We feel guilty when we say “no”, don’t call back, cancel plans, feel something we shouldn’t.

In this recording, I talk about what I think guilt actually is (two energies coming together in conflict), stories from my life and how I learned to kick it’s ass. Because, trust me, we need to approach guilt with heavy artillery. Like gusto, guts, courage, determination and a sparkle of juicy magic dust.

The best thing about guilt is that it challenges our truth. It challenges our commitment to the life we want to live. It challenges our allegiance to the good girlfriend, good worker, good woman, good mother model. In other words, guilt can set us free. (When we kick it’s ass.)

Click here to listen to this recording. Enjoy. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.

As always, thank you for reading.