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.
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.
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.”
I know sometimes longing hurts. It feels like your heart is being squeezed by a cruel unseen hand. When you are in the grip of it, it can feel like hell. And if someone comes along and tells you that you can soften, even inside of that torturous grip, you may just want to slap that oh […]
Thank you, New York, for giving me a deep infusion of love and pleasure before I go on to the next adventure. Miami, here I come, but first I’m spending a few days back in old New York.
I was 25 when I moved here, and kind of clueless about what I wanted, but I did know that I wanted something new and different. I was in love with the man who would later become my husband, and he was here. Even though I told myself that I wasn’t moving here for him, it was the real reason I came. To my young mind, it was so not cool to move to a new city for love. But that’s what got me here and opened the door to so many experiences.
For a long time I felt conflicted about living here. The were periods when I was frustrated by what was missing in my life. I was lonely. I wanted more. My relationship had started to feel stale and I blamed the city because that was easier than looking inside and finding that I was responsible for the things in my life that weren’t working.
But somewhere along the way I realized that I had chosen New York and the medicine I needed was here. Coming had been no mistake and there was so much to appreciate. Instead of fluttering away, I decided to put down deeper roots. I let myself follow my curiosity.
The feast of learning experiments has been varied and rich. From bodywork to tango, from nutrition to coaching to orgasmic practices, and so much more. The loves and friendships have been where my deepest learning and growth have come, and where I feel the most intense gratitude.
That cliche of not knowing what you’ve got till it’s gone rang true after my very sudden move from New York this year. God, did I miss this place!
Every day since I’ve been back this week has been magical. Boat rides and art, friends and long conversations strolling through the parks. Assisting in a workshop where people are learning to feel and connect. Basically, soaking in the rewards of what I’ve created here.
Thank you, New York, for being the place where I have felt so free to explore.
Thank you for teaching me how strong I really am.
Thank you for showing me that power doesn’t always require keeping up the tough act.
Thank you for so many incredible teachers.
Thank you for tribes who believe that life can be magical.
Thank you for teaching me that telling the truth is the way to the sweet spot of aliveness, even when telling the truth is excruciating.
Thank you for permission to embrace my desire.
Thank you for the experience, over and over, of letting go with deep love.