The image of a wild and perfect garden has been full of resonance for me for as long as I can remember. Maybe because it’s one of the first bible stories I heard, and maybe because I spent some early years in the countryside in Nicaragua in the 70’s, running around with scraped knees, chasing chickens, climbing mango trees and bossing around the other kids at the orphanage that my parents ran.
As a preacher’s kid, I grew up on bible stories, I only took them literally until I learned about “sentido figurado” or speaking figuratively, and that afforded me a little pocket of freedom in the Sunday church ritual. Man, did I ever need that little pocket of freedom to interpret the stories in my own way, because I felt trapped in the church routine, and I needed magic! I needed something I wasn’t finding between the pews. But, prophecies and ancient tales I could trip on, and so I did as well as I could with the materials at hand.<
The garden, the unsullied, the mythic place in our collective imagination. Is it just the utopian dreamers among us or is this a deep memory we are all trying to get back to in one way or another? The place where EROS was free, and innocent, the place before shame. Here’s Joni singing about it in 1970
That is my true dream. Without realizing it for the longest time, this was the deep vein in all my explorations, the desire to touch that sense of unsullied wholeness, erotic innocence, freedom.
For the modern person, the city dweller, the body is now the garden, the place where we can find that innocence again, where we are inseparable from nature, even if it often seems otherwise.
The body is the battleground where so much fighting happens–women’s bodies, which is to say the body of the earth. Reproductive rights, body shaming and perfectionism. A woman’s sexuality. The way our culture relates to the body continues to express the christian distrust of our physical being, even those of us who are not religious can easily get stuck worshipping at the altar of the “perfect body” and paying penance through dieting and denial of pleasure. Oh, we will have pleasure one day, we tell ourselves, when we have earned it by being good.
This Mary Oliver line gets quoted a lot, because it’s really on point:
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees. For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body. love what it loves.
To be at ease and unashamed in the body is the most radical and healing thing I can think of. It’s worth doing whatever it takes to find that freedom.
Spring has come to New York with a beautiful snow day.
I awoke to cottonly fluffs of snow swirling outside my window, falling in that silent and steady way that makes a snow day so magical.
As I was stretching myself awake I had this feeling of, let’s play hooky today. I believe in the power of pleasure and enjoying my down time with zero guilt! But something felt off about blowing off my whole day. Kind of like eating too many doughnuts, even with zero guilt, you’re going to feel sluggish and stuffed.
What to do? Push into “productivity mode”? Call myself lazy and undisciplined. Nah. Doesn’t work for me. What this calls for is to “change state,” by bringing pleasure and the type of energy you want into the moment. If your current state is feeling blah and you want to feel energized and inspired, I highly recommend some type of movement to quickly change your state.
So that’s what I did, I put on this Bebe song and got to dancing, letting my body lead the way with shaking and stomping and singing along badly! To move, to sing, to connect to your aliveness, these are all great ways to change state.
Only trouble is, sometimes I find it hard to stop dancing and sit down to work! But that’s ok, that’s a great new “problem” to handle. Then I shift into grounding myself to feel clear and calm and focused. I do that by lighting a candle, connecting to why I am doing the tasks that I’m doing today, and taking a few slow deep breaths to get settled.
Because I talk about a pleasurable approach, people sometimes tell me if they embraced pleasure they’d never get anything done. But, this is where discernment comes in. Is it truly pleasurable for me to play hooky and watch movies all day? Some days the answer might be yes. Other days, if I slow down and get honest with myself, I know there is a deeper pleasure in showing up for my to-do list and my work because I care about it and I’m connected to a sense of purpose, which is it’s own type of pleasure.
So, what’s your preferred way to “change state” when you feel like blowing off your to-do list? How do you know when blowing it off is the right thing for that day? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.
I’m writing you from bed, where I’ve just spent the past hour looking through my 2017 planner. (Yes, I love an old school paper planner!)
I wanted to go back, month by month, and remember and savor and celebrate the experiences of this year. In a word, DIGESTION. It is so easy to forget all the good we have experienced. It is so easy to forget to acknowledge all the lessons we learned, and all the ways we showed up when we could’ve more easily dropped the ball.
Some of the highlights for me were traveling to Mount Shasta for an amazing women’s retreat/pilgrimage and getting to go deeper into my studies on embodiment. Another was giving myself permission to celebrate my birthday all month, and getting to really take in how loved and supported I am and how many amazing people I share my life with.
More recently, I was thrilled to offer my first Women’s Sex and Sensuality salon in Miami. That was amazing for me and the women who showed up got a lot out of it. This was a big deal because one of my prayers this year (part of why I went to Mount Shasta) has been around wanting to be more fully living my purpose. And well, part of that has to do with bringing more awareness to our relationship to sexuality. But, I had a lot of fear of being visible around this topic. So I’m grateful and I’m proud of myself for facing those fears and sharing my work more openly with more women.
And then there’s gratitude for the hard stuff, the dark stuff, the stuff that in the moment makes us want to pull out hair out! Yes, there was some of that too. I almost got a full time job as a translator. I thought I was ready to stop with the freelancing life and get “real” and I tried my hardest and it just did not work out. And in retrospect, I am so grateful for that! I needed to get clear on what my true work is and I needed to face some practical realities around money. The process of trying to get that job (it was a government position so there were lots of hoops to jump through), brought up all this stuff that I’d been putting on the back-burner to be handled. Hallelujah!
I’m grateful for all of it. I don’t say that lightly. Some days I have to dig deep to touch that level of appreciation.
I wish you a window of time where you can drop in and digest your year. Love yourself up while you’re at it. Appreciate your efforts. Acknowledge all the good. Make space for what this coming year wants to bring you.
What is heavy in your heart? What stories in your heart contribute to your spiritual stagnancy and the withholding of the greater evolution of our world?
A friend poses the question as a writing prompt and my first thought is that my heart feels light. Then I remember, my love feels heavy in my heart right now. A distancing from a lover and how I perceive rejection when I feel misunderstood, and then I need time to go find my own space and feel what is true for me, over several emotional waves. I don’t want to disappoint him and lose his love. I trust this love enough to know it isn’t so easy to lose, but still the tenderhearted child part of me believes it fully! She believes I will not be loved if I don’t please the other, if I don’t do as the other wants me to do. So, this question of surrender is heavy in my heart. What does it mean to surrender while still having healthy boundaries? It feels like a lot to navigate, and it feels heavy to cut myself off emotionally in order to find those boundaries…and surrender? Well, it gets put on hold for now.
What stories in my heart contribute to my spiritual stagnancy, and contribute to the withholding of the greater evolution of our world?
The stories that say I cannot contribute unless I am 100% clear, that what I offer isn’t worth all that much or will not be appreciated in the market place, the stories that say I am never ready and therefore not able to give. Those stories keep me stagnant and wallowing in my own sense of emptiness. Getting stuck on the how and getting stuck in the mental figuring out of the big “how” while the heart is holding out the flower of her gift and often there is no one to receive it, because often I am the first one who is missing. Ah, heart, I am sorry. The story runs deep, the conditioning runs deep, the traps and barriers to love are built deep into the ground and that ground has to be tilled. Letting the heart break is letting that soil be tilled.
When was the last time my heart broke properly? My father’s death. I have not let anyone or anything get close enough to break my heart since then. I have lived in the shelter I created to protect my heart and I don’t blame myself for it. It’s just that she wants to breathe more fully again, to expand again.
I will write a letter to that lover, I won’t just stay silent and slightly sulking from the hurt I felt. Yes, I am sensitive and yes, I can still stay open and say the truth of how I am feeling.
How does all of this intensely personal stuff relate to the greater evolution of our world? What is the greater evolution? It is a spiritual question, after all, this question of evolution. We are at a crucial moment where we are becoming more and more machine like and less and less aware of our connection to the natural world. The way I know the natural world is through the body, since I don’t live in intimate daily connection with “nature.” I notice myself becoming programmed to be machine-like, my attention siphoned off into the small and glowing portals of screens where I can get lost for countless hours, unaware of sensation, unaware of the physical world around me, the sensual world of sound and light, real color, warmth–the world of kinesthetic wonder.
I vote for an evolution that brings us back to that innate goodness of our connection to our bodies, and each other, and the earth. I wonder if I am naive and simply part of a dying generation. I wonder if I am merely to become a thread of humanity that died out as we evolved into a more robotic future where humans forgot about soul, where humans gave up their access to something like spirit in order to live totally plugged in to the matrix. I wonder. And I have to chose what feels true to me even if it does break my heart.
So many of us women believe that what we have right now is not enough or that who we are is somehow wrong. That if we work hard enough, get it right, be a good girl, figure shit out, meet the right people, fall in love, lose 10 pounds–the conditions are endless…that if we do these many things and do them right, then we are allowed to feel joy, to feel that we are enough.
But it’s the other way around. You have to touch that “enoughness” inside you. You have to give yourself permission to feel joy for no reason. Then all those other things become that much easier.
I know this has been said before so many times, but I repeat it as medicine against the virus that lies inside me and you, waiting for us to go to sleep long enough to begin eating away at us from the inside. That virus gets passed down through generations and eats away at our power. It tells us that we’ll only get what we want by berating ourselves over and over.
And the way I have found to become stronger is to engage with life from a place of saying YES, in this moment right here I am enough, this moment right here is ripe with beauty if I can open my eyes, and my mind and don’t forget to also open through my body. The joy and the enoughness are right here, naturally.
That’s where it gets tricky. All the new age memes make it sound easy and breezy, but as we start to practice and go deeper, we realize that there are old patterns inside of us that find it terrifying to open, there are places in the body that brace against opening, where it feels so much easier to pull the covers over our heads and say no, I can’t open to any of it.
And because those deep patterns can be sneaky and tricky and downright impossible to uproot on our own, we need to ask for help. It takes strength to ask for support, to decide that you are enough and to give yourself permission to love yourself right now. From there, you can begin to truly create.
I’m here for you if you want this kind of support to create more freedom within yourself. Let’s have a conversation and see if we are a good fit. No pressure. Lots of possibilities.
I started sucking in my belly when I was 10. Around this time, my father started calling me fat whenever I was overly rambunctious and he wanted me to simmer down. I have this memory of dad yelling at me to get down from a carport gate where I was monkeying around, because “you’re too fat! You’re going to break it!” he yelled. I ran into the house, where my sister started poking at my stomach and teasing “suck it in, fatty.” These memories mark the beginning of becoming an awkward and self-conscious teenager, after having been a feisty little girl. That is one clear moment that I can pinpoint where I started to shut down my power.
After that, I’d never go back to being a kid with a relaxed belly, naturally expanding on the rhythm of my breath. I learned to suck it in from my older sister. One day we were walking past a store window and she told me to “suck it in,” pointing to our reflections and how much better she thought we looked with flat, sucked in stomachs. After that I tried to remember to suck it in anytime I was out in public. Eventually this became my normal way of moving through the world, belly tightly sucked in. Store windows and glass doors became witnesses to my constant vigilance, lest that shameful protruding belly dare to show itself.
I don’t tell this story to talk shit about my family or to point out how awful my childhood was. It wasn’t. I tell this story because I carried those memories along with a ton of shame for many years, and because I know that I’m not alone in this.
As I became more self-conscious about my body, I wanted there to be less of me. All that exuberant girl-child energy turned toward dieting and obsessing about my newfound terror of getting fat. Getting fat became synonymous in my mind with not being loved. For years, my body hatred focused intensely on my belly area. Even now, anytime I start to feel down about my body, my belly is the first place my attention goes. This is not a quick-fix topic. To learn to love our bodies, whatever our “problem areas” might be, means confronting all the woman hating messages we’ve absorbed, and all the shaming of the feminine and of women as sexual beings.
In fact, the seeds for much of the work that I do now as a women’s coach were planted in those early days when I learned to hate my body and by extension, my femininity, and myself. I believe that healing our relationship to our body builds the foundation for self-love and self-expression.
How we feel about our bellies is a great barometer for how we feel about ourselves. How we relate to this part of our body makes all the difference in how we see ourselves, and yes I see it as both a vulnerable and a radical act to choose not to suck it in. It’s radical because it says “fuck you” to the notion that your beauty comes from fitting yourself to the culturally accepted norms. It’s radical because by choosing to stay tuned in to your body, your feelings, your in-the-moment intuition, you are much more powerful as a woman. Instead of sacrificing all that power for the sake of some cultural stamp of approval, it means choosing to be sovereign in your own body and life. That is radical. Just imagine what would happen to Madison Avenue and the massive diet industry if women chose the stance that our bodies are perfect and beautiful.
Loving your belly is radical. Loving your belly is also incredibly vulnerable. You take the risk of being judged harshly by other women who will project their own body hatred onto you. You may run across men who judge you for not fitting with their pornified ideals of a woman’s body. You will begin to see just how much you have internalized the fear and hatred of women’s bodies. So, why put yourself through all this? Why not keep sucking it in and worshiping at the altar of flat-as-a-board, six-pack abs? Because…
Hating your belly is really hating yourself.
When you suck in your belly you lose access to your feeling center, intuition, solar plexus center of power. Your breath becomes shallow and you develop patterns of rigidity in your body as a whole. There is a feeling of not being at home in your body and if you can’t be at home in your body then where the hell will you ever truly feel at home? Besides, every time you look in the mirror with critical thoughts, you’re sending your body the message that she is wrong, bad, unloveable.
As you deepen your connection to your belly, you’ll notice that it feels so much better to be relaxed, open, to have strength and solidity, which has nothing to do with your belly being rounded or flat. It’s way harder for us to achieve that “hard body” ideal than it is for men. A truly strong and developed core is not the same as a hard, numb core.
I tried on and off over the years to stop sucking it in. It hasn’t been easy. I understand the feeling of being super self-conscious about your body. The pressure to mold one’s body to the flat-belly model is really strong. But it’s worth practicing. The benefits of an open and relaxed belly are profound and immediate and totally worth it.
Here are some benefits you’ll get from loving your belly and doing less sucking in:
A whole new level of relaxation. Your whole body relaxes. Your breath deepens on its own. This, reduces worry and anxiety, increases oxygen intake and gets your body out of fight-or-flight and into relaxation mode. Ahhhhhh.
Experience your feelings. Not just what thoughts are running around in your mind, but your emotional state in this moment. Along with your feelings, your intuition will also become stronger as you connect to this part of your body. There’s a reason we talk about “gut feelings.”
Know your true needs. Being able to differentiate between physical hunger and some emotional need, for example. With a relaxed belly, you’ll get accurate information. After all there is a whole other “brain” in the belly, as lots of research has revealed. Check out this great piece by Marc David here ( http://psychologyofeating.com/the-brain-in-the-belly/).
Find your Power Center. In the chakra system, the belly area corresponds to the third chakra or “solar plexus.” Solar has to do with the fire of the sun that is like the fire of our will, the fire of our metabolism, the fire of our resolve.
Rich sensuality. Picture the lovely, powerful undulations of a belly dancer compared to some punishing ab-busting routine. Feeling through a relaxed belly lets you feel more with your whole body so that there is pleasure to be found in the simplest experiences of the senses, from petting a kitten to feeling the breeze on your skin.
Great sex. As your breath deepens, energy is able to move up the central channel of the body allowing you to expand orgasmic feelings throughout your body. Also, as you relax, you are able to shift your focus from how you look to how you feel. This is one of the secrets to better sex, and it makes you more attractive because instead of performing or “posing” you are simply being you while in a state of pleasure.
I could go on and on, but I’ll sum it up like this:
Not sucking in the belly changes one’s entire relationship to the body to one of sovereignty. It’s saying to your body: “I am at home here. I belong to myself.” This can change everything.
If you hate your stomach or any other part of your body, by now you may be thinking this is so much easier said than done. I agree that it’s a process. Even if you don’t fully succeed at all times, you can still choose the radical stance of loving your belly and your whole body. It’s radical to choose not to walk around holding in your power, your magic. It’s possible to not live hostage to the ubiquitous body shaming around us. To change from an external focus based on how we think we are perceived by others, to an inner focus where we move through the world from that place of deep connection to our center.
Try this simple exercise to relax and feel your belly: Take a deep breath, fill your lungs and feel your belly expand. As you exhale, allow your belly to fall naturally. Pause before the next inhalation and just feel your belly. Don’t push it out, don’t suck it in. Pay attention to your breath as you feel your belly and allow it to relax.
You may not be ready to do this while you’re posing for a picture or walking into a party. That’s cool. Try it while you’re driving, or while you’re sitting at your desk. Then notice how you feel. See what’s different. I’d love to hear what you discover, in the comments.
Belly love practices: Belly dancing is a beautiful art form that fosters a positive relationship to the belly. Massaging your own belly with essential oils or receiving belly massage such as Maya abdominal massage is excellent. The simple act of putting your hand on your belly and breathing steadily can begin to shift you into belly and body love.
Let’s talk. If you’re sick and tired of putting your life on hold till you lose the weight. If you feel trapped inside your body instead of loving who you are. If you’re exhausted with the dieting game and the constant worry and dread about food and fat. If you don’t feel like you can have love, intimacy, and connection as you are right now. This can all change. When you change how you feel about yourself and your body, you are free to change your life.
If you want to learn how to trust your body as the ultimate source of intuition, pleasure, and power, I’d love to talk to you. If you know it’s time to feel confident in your skin and begin to live fully and embark on your next adventure, let’s talk. It’s possible. What if it’s easier than you’ve always thought?
Contact me through the form below to schedule a complimentary Deep Dive Coaching Session. This is a no pressure conversation where the focus is on you and your desires. We go deep to what you want, and what is getting in the way. I help you get clear, inspired, and give you tools and practices to start to make the shifts that are most important to you right now.
I watched the movie “Her,” where Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a lonely guy who falls in love with his operating system (OS), Samantha, played by Scarlett Johansson. There’s this moment where Theodore is in bed talking to Samantha. She gets quiet and then her raspy voice sounds pained when she asks him, “what does it feel like…to have a body?” Stop and think about this for a moment. What does it feel like? Because it’s so easy to forget these days! Of course, Theodore can’t give Samantha a satisfying answer. She’ll never have a body. But you and I do, every moment of every day. Forgive me for stating the obvious.
Remember those old movie images of brains in jars? These days we live more and more like disembodied brains and our bodies are suffering. But it’s not only our bodies that are suffering–we end up depressed, addicted, and feeling like we’re not really living.
Eventually, the lovers in our modern tale grow closer in their relationship and they want to have sex, or something close to it. Samantha (the OS) finds a human woman online who is willing to be a “body surrogate.” The scene that follows is heartbreaking. Theodore and Samantha are trying to connect through the body of this third character who wants to be part of their relationship. But the awkward attempt ends in horrible disappointment for everyone involved. It’s fiction but it’s not really so far-fetched; people are already finding it harder to connect with other human beings.
In another scene, Theodore walks around the city listening to Samantha through little wire-free earbuds. As he goes down the stairs to the subway, every other person coming up the stairs is talking through their little earbuds, presumably to their own operating systems. Or they are exactly like us today with all our devices? Constantly plugged in, negotiating life through these technologies; each in our private bubble of experience. The first step in alienation is losing the connection to our own bodies, our own physicality.
Artificial intelligence is here and our lives are already changing faster than we realize and that change will be exponential in our lifetimes. Instead of freaking out about some dystopian vision of the future, we need to cultivate the ancient technologies that can only be accessed through the body, the technologies of human connection to ourselves and to one another. It kills me to think that as computers and machines become smarter and beat us at our own games (and jobs), that we will allow ourselves to become dumber and duller and more reliant on them to navigate our way through the physical world.
We are suffering with widespread depression and other emotional and mental problems because we have these bodies that are part of nature, that are still connected to millions of years of being wild, and yet we live an almost machine-like existence–constantly indoors, barely moving, breathing just enough to stay alive. We have our senses, yet we barely explore what it means to have so much capacity to taste, to smell, to feel! The thing is, we can’t really separate the mind from the body. We need to learn how to have mind and body play together.
It’s no small thing to smell the aroma of baking bread, to go outside and feel the breeze on your skin. It’s no small thing to hold another person, because touch is a basic need. When we slow down enough to feel something as simple as sipping a cup of tea can be a richly layered experience. And when we are plugged in to this richness of the senses, of the body, something in us begins to open up. Our anxiety starts to release bit by bit. This is no small thing.
If you do sometimes feel like a brain that is untethered from the body (and who doesn’t, nowadays?) what can you do about it? It’s simple though not always easy. It will take changing your habits, and it will be so worth it.
Here’s the key: Learn how to feel again. Get into your senses while using your awareness to pay attention. Body and mind playing together. Yes!
4 SIMPLE WAYS TO UNPLUG FROM TECHNOLOGY AND RECONNECT WITH YOUR BODY.
Set a timer if you must (use that same technology to help you get free) and go do one of these:
1. Go for a quick walk. Leave your phone at home! If the thought of that freaks you out, that’s something to ponder while you’re outside feeling the sun on your skin and smelling the air.
2. Move that body. Get up from your desk or couch and move around. Go slowly so you can pay attention. Crawl on the floor, or dance to your favorite song. Let yourself be silly if this feels silly. How much can you tune in and feel?
3. Find a practice. Whether you take up yoga or tantra or some type of dance, all of these are great ways to develop your ability to feel more and connect to your body. One caveat, find a practice that is more about feeling and connection than it is about looking good or competing.
4. Be kind to yourself. The habits of disconnection are easy to fall into. It seems like everyone around you is on their phone 24/7. The habit of feeling and connection takes practice. It takes deciding over and over, moment by moment, to come back to your senses.
To have a fulfilling life, we need to live through our bodies again. Modern living can make us forget the joys and pleasures of living through the body, not against it. Healing and real transformation happen through deeper connection with our bodies, not by denying that connection.
As a Women’s Life and Desire Coach, I teach my clients how to connect to the body for aliveness and for intuition. We include body wisdom and pleasure, not only in their vision and their desires but in every step along the way. Learning how to return to our natural state as sensual creatures, our lives can quickly to go from black and white to color–life starts to feel worth living RIGHT NOW, not just in some imaginary future that could be dreamed up by that old brain in a jar!
If you feel trapped in a life of overwork and way too much screen time, don’t be afraid to get some support. Working with a coach who can help you design a rich and embodied life can make all the difference. You can reach your goals and savor every step of the way.
Contact me through the form below and let’s have a no pressure chat about what’s happening in your life and how we might work together.
I went totally off the rails this thanksgiving. For me that means feeling like an angst filled teenager and soothing myself with sugary foods. All my old family shit got triggered. It’s humbling because I’d like to think I’m beyond getting thrown off balance like that by now. But, it happened. I felt as deflated as a squashed jelly doughnut.
I would like to have written this on Friday, but truth is that I was in the throes of it. I’ve heard a quote from Ram Dass, “if you think you’re enlightened, go home for the holidays.” It was one of those “perfect storm” holidays, surrounded by the people who most push my buttons, along with so much sugar. Don’t get me wrong, I am not at all about feeling guilty for indulging in sweet things or obsessing over the weight. For me, it’s about the moods and low energy and my body is really sensitive to things like processed sugar. And about those people who push my buttons, I know they are my greatest teachers but sometimes, for whatever reason, those old buttons get pushed and there I am feeling overwhelmed.
I felt tired, stressed, and bloated. Down I went, into the rabbit hole of old family resentments.
And by the end of the weekend I was picking up the pieces of my cranky, cranky self and trying to feel human again. Here is how I went about it, in 7 simple steps. If you had a rough holiday, I hope they will help you too.
Here’s what you do:
Start with the body…
1. Get thee to a bowl of bone broth.
It rebuilds the lining of your intestines, which helps your digestive system and plays a huge role in keeping your immune system strong. Here’s a recipe for delicious bone broth. So tasty, comforting, and satisfying. I like mine with a few dashes of turmeric powder for added anti-inflammatory power. If you don’t have any homemade broth on hand, take-out or store bought will do. Snuggle up and let the broth do it’s thing. The stuff is magic.
2. Balance your blood sugar.
As soon as possible, once you realize that you feel off kilter and you want to get yourself feeling human again! Start with your next meal. This is a huge topic in itself but here’s a quick and dirty way to start balancing your blood sugar: Eat regular meals and eat enough protein at every meal. The standard recommendation is a palm size amount of protein, but you know your body and how much feels right. If you were eating a lot of processed sugars, you may find yourself craving more sugar and not wanting that protein. In this case you may need to override those cravings for a few days until your body is more balanced again. Along with your protein, make sure you’re getting some veggies and some fat. Yes, you need that fat!
Balancing your blood sugar which will help balance your energy levels and your moods. It may take a day or two but it will definitely help.
Yes, that kind of self-pleasure. If you’re feeling really low or cranky you may feel completely erotically uninspired. Well, my friend, think of it this way–pleasure takes discipline. Anybody can sit around feeling lousy and most people do. But you will be different and choose to slow down and connect to your own pleasure center. Did you know the clitoris is the only organ in the body whose sole purpose is pleasure? It has an estimated 8000 nerve endings dedicated to pleasure. You’ll be glad when the oxytocin starts flowing. It has been called the love hormone. It helps lower stress, has been found to lower pain levels and anxiety, among many other benefits. Basically, you’ll remember that it does indeed feel good to be alive.
Of course, sexy time with a partner or lover will do wonderfully as well but you don’t have to depend on that. So that’s no excuse!
Ok, those were for starting with the body. Now try a little something for your emotional self…
4. Call a friend.
But not just any friend. Call someone who knows you well and cares enough to remind you who you are. That friend. Vent if you must, be a mess if you feel like a mess. Be the unvarnished, human, and still love-able you.
5. Follow the triggers.
Follow the thread. Where did you get triggered? Where did someone do or say something that threw you off? At what point did you disconnect from yourself?
You may ask, why would I want to dwell on the pain? So and so is a pain in the ass and that’s all there is to it. But, you’re evolved enough to know that it all comes back to you. If you feel miserable, it doesn’t really matter what someone else did or said because only you can determine how you respond and only you can be responsible for your own state of happiness or misery.
Following the triggers means mustering enough presence to slow down and feel, tell the truth, feel the pain, and forgive whoever needs forgiving…starting with your self.
A great process to help follow that thread to a place of peace, check out Byron Katie’s the work.
Now that you’ve tended to your emotions, let your surroundings support you…
6. Your outer space represents your inner space.
When you think of it this way, vacuuming a room or doing the dishes can become quite therapeutic and even relaxing. Clearing your desk can help clear your head.
De-clutter one drawer or one corner and notice how your internal state begins to stabilize. Try setting a timer for just 5 minutes.
And of course, connect with your soul…
7. All it takes is a gesture.
Start small. light a candle. take a walk around the block and play a game of noticing one theme of beauty that you appreciate. I’ve been really paying attention to birds lately. You could walk and notice all the doors, or all the shades of green…you get the idea. Make a list of everything you appreciate in your life, from the simplest little thing to the most profound.
8. Give yourself a break.
That is all. Be as kind to yourself as you would be to a tired toddler, or to your best friend. The holidays can be a perfect storm of family dynamics and stress. So, give yourself a break if you didn’t handle it perfectly. And create your own list. What’s your tried and true way of getting out of the madness and back into flow?
Have you noticed how the most bad-ass adults felt like outsiders growing up? While it seemed tragic to be the high-school nerd, or that quiet goth kid, or whatever variety of weirdo you might have been, you must admit, it ultimately helped to grow your superpowers. Unbeknownst to you at the time, you were writing your heroine’s journey, complete with awkward beginnings. Here’s how:
1. You lived on the edges, where you saw and experienced life differently.
By definition, an outsider has a different vantage point on her world. How do you come to decide that you’re an outsider? You feel different.You were an immigrant, or gay, or one of those artistic kids.I have a friend who felt like a little alien from the time she was a toddler, while for me it really kicked in at puberty. The popular kids might have secretly felt like they didn’t belong, but their identity wasn’t shaped around it.
I had a high school crush on a boy who spoke to no one and hung out alone, literally on the edge of the school grounds. I romantically assumed this dark clothed, brooding figure must know things. When I finally had the courage to talk to him, it turned out I was right. He was smart, well-read, and sophisticated by high school standards. He also had brain damage from a car accident and was extremely self-conscious about the speech impediment which resulted from it. (I never saw him after high school but I’m willing to bet he grew up to be an amazing adult).
I’m counting myself and my dearest friends among these badass adults. How dare I? Because I get to define what it means: To see life as an adventure and one to be embraced as an experiment where we discover what it takes to know ecstasy, connection, and creativity. It’s not about the trappings of success or being defined by societal dictates of “doing it right.”
2. Because you saw life differently you developed an uncommon set of skills.
It wasn’t easy, but you spent years honing a completely different set of skills from the common, “muggle” sort they teach in school. You honed intuition and creativity, and dreamt what some called impossible dreams. You were something of an exotic plant.
My outsider story began when I was twelve and my family moved to the U.S. from Costa Rica. Not only did I turn twelve and move to a new country, but I also got my period all within the same week! I remember standing in front of my new American school that first morning, in agonizing self-consciousness, while all around me kids chirped and giggled in the non-sensical sounds of a language I didn’t speak. I felt as if I were naked, covered in tar, with bugs crawling over my entire body, while everyone watched. The irony is that I desperately wanted someone to see me and be my friend. I hid in a bathroom stall during lunch.
That tough, identity crushing period was painful, but it was also an initiation. It eventually opened me up to possibilities I wouldn’t have imagined otherwise. Part of the adventure was building up an identity of the misunderstood outsider, which I then had to overcome. How cleverly I was crafting my own story!
One skill I developed was seeing through double eyes. I became a hybrid of two cultures, learning from both, able to hold more than one point of view at the same time. It made me able to connect to people from all sorts of backgrounds–a much needed superpower these days.
3. Being in touch with your wounds and the darker realms of experience, you gained access to true power.
By true power, I mean power which can only be found through telling the truth and facing your pain, rather than the old paradigm of force or power “over” another. Whatever had you feel different, so much the outsider, even broken; whether you were born with extra sensitive emotional wiring, or went through a traumatic experience, these challenges were all potential doorways to knowledge.
Of course, when we are depressed or addicted, we aren’t necessarily thinking how great it is that this is an entryway to wisdom or creativity. But the possibility exists that through your wounds, you had an initiation and were given access to a broad range of emotions and sensations, highs and lows, and a keener ability to see into life, other people, and your own soul.
4. You came to see that your gifts were forged alongside whatever pain and wounds you carry.
In your deepest knowing you are magic, you are free. Something inside you always guided you to seek out deeper experience and knowledge, no matter the inner or outer obstacles. Whatever conventional success eluded you, this turned out to be a blessing because you had to get really honest about what matters to you, what truly turns you on.
But it didn’t seem as if you had superpowers until you discovered that hiding from your pain never resulted in the connection or creativity that you craved. Nobody asks for a dark night of the soul, or to sit face to face with the shame that causes them to sabotage their deepest callings. It doesn’t make for nice cocktail party conversation, but then you never cared much for small chat.
There is a pitfall here as many never see past the identification with that tragic story of the “broken” kid. These folks can stay addicted to the strange pleasure of victimhood or to self-help and personal development. And the story becomes boring and stale. But if they undertake the deep work to integrate the lessons from their wounds, then it turns out that the gifts are side by side with the wounds and there is a rightness to all of it, even if discovering so was extremely painful.
5. You decided to “fit out” instead of fitting in.
Joshua Rosenthal, who taught me about holistic nutrition and getting out of the matrix, talks about “fitting out,” which is admitting that you don’t fit in and you never will and that is well and good–and choosing to rock that. The all-you-can-eat buffet prize of having followed all the “right” steps, only left you with an overstuffed, numb feeling. You redefined success according to your own values and began to protect your dream from the dream killers who lack imagination and instead become pushers of fear through numbing entertainment and pharmaceuticals, who would convince you of your powerlessness, and leave you addicted to authority.
Paradoxically, once you embrace fitting out, there gradually comes a letting go of the identity of the outsider, the stranger looking in. While it would be easier to stay out there pointing in at all the absurdity of the “normal” world, you made the choice to find out what you’re truly made of, and to contribute in a way that is authentic to you–a new vision, large or small, but true to you and your gifts.
And so, you grew up to become the sexy rebels, innovators, artists of living, lovers of life, creators.
6. Your journey came full circle when you owned how much you have to offer the world.
You came to see that you are not truly separate, and indeed what you offer is needed by the larger culture. You’ve grown beyond the outsider box you once used to label yourself. Having re-written your story, you are free to contribute to the very world from which you once felt so estranged, and even to create a whole new paradigm.
You dreamer of impossible dreams, who started to awaken within the dream, thereby unlocking the keys to the Queendom. You know that you don’t need anyone else’s permission to live your wild and precious adventure.
Leading with desire and with every breath casting your spell, you have become the ones described by the inimitable Walt Whitman, “I no longer seek good fortune, I myself am good fortune.”