Snow White is not the only one with a Magic Mirror.

I have been relatively quiet these last few months.  SO much going on every day. I get that the planet is in the middle of some seismic shifting – turn on the news and you see it happening EVERYWHERE.  For someone who preaches on openheartedness and kindness, it has been … well… very very challenging.  Yet, one thing that has been present for me is…

All relationships are mirrors into ourselves revealing to us where we need to go with our own inner process.  

 Everything that is happening is for our highest good.  The good, the bad, and the oh so ugly.

Each time we are triggered, it is an opportunity to learn much about ourselves by allowing us to see what may otherwise be difficult to recognize.

There I was having a wonderfully post yoga bliss moment when a black Expedition jumped in front of my car.  The man driving the car motioned for me to lower my window and what came out of his mouth startled me.  He blamed me for his tardiness because I had let someone else cut in front me.  He followed this by saying that I should go back to Mexico or wherever I came from.  He sped up and disappeared.

I’m not going to lie… I was fuming.  I even for a split second considered chasing him.  I blamed our current President and everyone that voted for him.  And then…

I remembered… mirror, mirror.

What I do in response in any moment, to any trigger is a reflection of me.  Because every single “I am upset because…,”” I am angry because…,” or “I am (insert any emotion here),” is a reflection of me, my inner process, my parts that I love, but most of the time, the parts that I don’t. 

Snow White is not the only one to have a magic mirror.

Because when we learn how to use reflections, our relationships and interactions then become one of the most powerful avenues for our spiritual growth. We attract people into our lives that challenges us by triggering our unhealed wounds, making us act from fearful patterns that create separation rather than the connection we seek.

Which is why in our most intimate relationships, we often blame others for our upsets.  In our romantic partnerships we look at the other to make us happy, when really these partnerships come into our lives to heal and ultimately elevate us.

More often than not, it is not the present situation that is upsetting us, but rather an unhealed wound rooted in the past.  

When we begin to look within, we can see how all of the challenges in our relationships are a reflection of our lack of connection and love with parts of ourselves.  As children or young adults, we did not have the cognition or life experience to respond in an empowering way.  We instead chose behavior that got us what we most needed – attention, love, to be seen.  We do not get the chance to heal and change this until a triggering event happens.  The problem is that our habit is to focus on what’s not working on the outside and try to fix it or fix our others.  Often using anger and hurt to justify our words and behaviors.

Our romantic partnerships are fertile ground for this since we often are magnets for people to help us complete old stories.  I recall a friend who often shared she married her dad twice.  First she married her father’s more negative qualities, went into therapy, and then re-married her father’s more positive qualities.

And not just with our romantic partners, but EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP.  Every single person you encounter is a reflection of you.  Trust me… the Universe does not waste its time on sheer coincidences… the checkout person at the grocery store, colleagues, water delivery person, the snarky teenager, the 2-year-old in full tantrum sitting in the airplane seat next to your, the person that cut you off… yes, even the man in the black Expedition.

The invitation here is to shift your attention from what’s happening on the outside to greater awareness of your inner life.  This is where real empowerment begins.

Because when we focus on our internal space and take care of that first, things on the outside begin to align.  Things that upset us we can let go, we can forgive, and find a solution.

Let me be clear, this is not an invitation to be Pollyanna-like or to participate in spiritual bypass.  This is about being responsible for your own feelings, behaviors, decisions, so that you can be empowered to change them in a way that serves you, your intentions, your desires.  Blaming your partner for your unhappiness is the surest way to have more unhappiness and now a partner that is the object of your blame (ahem… vicious cycle).

How to use these reflections for your own spiritual growth?

  1. Spend some peaceful time alone each day where you can meditate, journal, so you can get more intimately connected with all your parts. Even 5 minutes engaged in a coloring book will help this process.
  2. Do something you love that connects you with you and supports you loving all of you. I love to garden.  Five minutes of gardening helps me feel more aligned and more willing to be in a space of kindness and less likely to blame.
  3. Remember you are responsible for your own happiness. Don’t give away your power to decide this for yourself.
  4. Recall the first time you ever felt this way or an earlier time when you had the same experience. If you often find yourself blaming someone else for your unhappiness, can you recall another time when this happened?  Many times we repeat in our adult relationships what we were unable to did not change as children.

 

After having some time to think about the incident with the man in the black Expedition, I can recognize that there are still some parts needing more love in myself, perhaps the parts that are more difficult to love.  For me the greatest gift of the moment was coming back to the space of openheartedness.  It is easier to constrict, shut down, and create more separation.

Because the more we can love ourselves, the more we elevate this beautiful blue planet.

Valentine’s Day: An Invitation to Feel More Alive & to Relish Being in Your Own Skin

It’s that time of the year when we get flooded by images and messages of how to create more romance, how to be a better lover, or how to find your perfect partner NOW. Admonitions that the status of our relationship or the togetherness of our coupling is lacking something.

Let me remind you that you lack nothing. Sure there are things that are in process of being fulfilled or transformed. BUT you my darling lack nothing.

So this year, I propose that Valentine’s Day be a day of romancing yourself – A practice of embodying every inch of you.

Because our relationship with ourselves is a direct reflection of our relationship with others, when we can connect with ourselves more intimately, more genuinely, more authentically, we create greater doorways and paths to be able to do the same with someone else.

Romance is defined as a love affair, an attachment between people, a mysterious appeal, or a mysterious quality of something beautiful.

To romance yourself is a powerful way to embody you.

To romance yourself is a powerful way to embody yourself.  It is an invitation to feel more alive and relish being in your own skin.

Because when we do this, we deepen our intimacy, aliveness, and erotic connection without the push to make it about what we may or not be getting from someone or being alone or in coupledom this time of year.

Therefore, to romance yourself is at the very heart of Valentine’s Day.

Here are some ideas on how to romance YOU.

#1. S-L-O-W Down

Valentine’s Day is an invitation to live from the romantic, sexy and sensual parts of ourselves.  One way we can experience more sensuality is to slow down.  Many of us run around all day, mindlessly getting things done. How many of us have driven somewhere not recalling how we got there?

Slowing down is about being aware of what we are doing right now. One of my favorite way to slow down is to move as if I were moving through thick caramel (YUMM).  How I move my body becomes more deliberate and more mindful.

Slowing down turns on our proprioceptive sense which many consider our sixth sense. The proprioceptive sense is vital to our daily experiences and something that contributes to our overall body ownership.  Experts in this area share that without this sense our brains our lost.

When we slow down, our body feels more grounded and allows our mind and body to connect. Connection being the one quality that allows us to create deeper intimacy with ourselves (and with others of course).

#2. Presence

Most who have been in a romantic relationship say that they felt the most connected to their partners at the beginning of their relationship. The reason for this is because at the beginning of the relationship each person was completely present to the other.  Everyone attentively paid attention to every nuance of the other and most importantly the attention was based on curiosity.

You can practice presence by noticing the nuances of you and being curious about how you experience being in your own body.  Noticing the movement of your feet as you walk – is it heal-toe, or toe-heal? Do your hips sway or shuffle side to side? What about your shoulders? For women – the bounce of our feminine curves!

The biggest invitation to practice presence with yourself is through the breath. Paying attention to the feeling of your belly and chest rising and falling with every breath. Is there pause at the top or the bottom? Is your inhale or exhale longer?

#3. Mirror Mirror

In Tantra, Soul Gazing is one of the primary exercises taught  – two partner’s looking into each other’s eyes with hand over heart.

The invitation here is to practice Soul Gazing with yourself.

Gaze into your own eyes and share words of love and gratitude with yourself. Perhaps a little tough the first time, but I promise it gets easier. Besides, if we cannot admire ourselves, how can we ask that from someone else?

Forget about your hair, makeup, or any perceived imperfections.  Look into your eyes and get lost in the wondrous and brilliant creature you are. Look into your eyes, place hands over heart and say…

I love you

You are

…. a beautiful soul

… brilliant

… amazing

… breathtaking

… keep going.. What else can you whisper to yourself?

#4. Mindful Pleasure

One of the greatest things about Valentine’s is that it is all about stirring up and stoking the embers of pleasure.  Pleasure is everything and anything that feels good to the body.  Our sensual bodies innately know pleasure. It  is often our brains that get in the way with the should’s and should not’s.

Pleasure answers the question what feels, tastes, looks, sounds, and smells good to me?

For example, start your day by feeling your body by stretching it in bed, noticing what areas feel relaxed, and how the skin feels when being touched by clothing or bed sheets.  How about using a yummy lotion and taking the time to massage it into the skin?  Choose clothes that feel good on your skin or at least take your time putting each article of clothing on you. Drink your coffee by smelling it, taking a slow sip, and feeling the warmth of it in your mouth.

When we pay attention to what our body enjoys and how it derives pleasure, we feel better because we are feeding our sensual selves.  Let go of any misunderstanding that we can only do this with a partner. We open ourselves to pleasure and we give permission to receive pleasure. Having a partner has nothing to do with this.

#5. Shake Baby Shake

The demands of daily life often result in habitual tension patterns in the body and an overactive mind. Many of us adopt a freeze state of the body which many times is perceived as calm.

The problem is that this “freeze” state keeps up from experiencing ease and pleasure in our physical bodies because the body experiences “freeze” as tension.  Consequently, the mind perceives tension as the body signaling something is wrong and we don’t seek pleasure when something is wrong.

Allowing our bodies to continually move without imposing any specific movement or pattern, the body begins to experience itself differently and pathways to pleasurable embodiment are reinforced.

Put a song on and begin to move.  It is not about looking good or following a specific kind of dance. It’s about letting your body move you. Best way to do this… shake. Literally shake. Remember the “Hokey Pokey?”  Shake one body part at a time or shake the whole body at once.

 

So how can you further romance yourself as a powerful way to feel more alive and embodied, or share more of your embodied self with another?

For the women… Come join me at our next FEMME.

For the men… stay tuned… something just for you is on its way.

xoxo,

Jacqueline

 

 

Picture by Clay Banks

Divine Feminine Rising

It was a calling. A deep heart calling to be part of the Women’s March LA.  It was not about being anti-anyone.  It was about listening to the whispers calling me to witness a rising.

I had never witnessed a morning like that. Hundreds of us at the train station. The train themselves, completely jammed packed.  To say we were packed like sardines is an understatement.  I could hardly move without touching someone else.  Yet we laughed, we used each other to lean on, and some even sang songs.

Once on the streets of Downtown LA – HOLY Mother – there were thousands of us!  Last estimates say there were 750,000 of us.  I felt all sorts of emotions rise.  Some joy, some love, some sadness, but most of all awe.  There were so many of us that the roads closed for the march were not enough. Drivers were stuck in their cars.  Many of them were swept with the joy of the moment as they got out and began cheering the marchers on.  The signs people carried were brilliant. So many creatively stated many of my own thoughts.  A sea of pink pussy hats on women had me smiling from ear to ear.

What was the most moving was seeing the number of men that marched along the women that morning.  Some came with their partners. Some came on their own. Fathers brought their sons. Groups of men came together.  My heart burst open when I heard the men chant, “Her body, her choice.”  Even thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.

I marched because to me nothing is more important than the freedom to choose.

The freedom to say what happens to my body, who touches my body, and how I take care of my body.  I marched as a drop in a vast ocean of powerful women.  As I often say – when women gather, we are a powerful force and our collective presence changes the world. I marched because this event marked the greatest awakening of the Divine Feminine energy.  I marched alongside millions of women and men worldwide because I yearned to be there at the moment that this wider recognition of the Divine Feminine was being birthed.

The Divine Feminine is the matrix of creation.  The truth is every woman knows it exists in every cell of her being even if she forgets from time to time.  She gets to participate in the greatest mystery of bringing a soul into life.  Even if a woman chooses not to birth a child, her body still contains and remains connected to the mystery of the Divine.  And yet, we forgot and are okay being denied the sacredness of this.

We live in a culture that promotes disembodiment.  In doing so, we live in our heads with our egos making up stories, with blindfolds that keep us from seeing the beauty of who we really are, and worst of all, we stop following Divine Intuition which stops us from acting from a place of Divine Love.

What we forget is that to bend to this patriarchal denial affects not only every woman, but also life itself.  When we deny the mystery of the Divine Feminine, we also deny life at the core — the part that nourishes, creates, heals, transforms, and nourishes all of us.  For the same sacred source from which we were all born comes the essence that gives meaning to our life and aligns our life’s divine purpose.

The Divine Feminine has been waiting.

On that beautiful Saturday morning, women and men gathered and heeded her calling.  That day I walked with my sisters and brothers to honor the Divine Feminine in each of us even for those that do not hear her whispers yet or who continue to deny her existence.

With all my love,

Jacqueline

PS… It also does not end at the march.  I for one am done with complaining and I am choosing to be active instead.  What are the topics and issues that are important to you?   The Divine Feminine awaits our active participation in order to co-create with each of us a world that we truly desire.

Love Loving Love … Holidays… Holy days

The holidays are here.  A time that for many of us is rich in traditions, rites, and rituals.  Gift giving, gathering with loved ones, lighting candles, and feasting with certain foods that help us celebrate and pay homage to our ancestors.

The holidays regardless of religion, culture, language, country, or ethnicity are high holy days because they serve as a reminder of the holy that is inside of us, that surrounds us, and that connects and binds each of us on this big beautiful blue planet.

The holy days invite us all to love and to love boundlessly. An invitation to love loving love – the practice of being present and loving for the sake of loving.  To love not because one shares a home, a bed, or bloodlines, but to love because each person on this planet has arrived through Love, seeks to Love and be Loved, and will one day return to Love.  It is a practice of loving fully in the now without asking or expecting anything in return.

For the threads that bind us are beyond borders and creed.  They all begin in the heart.  Love is the source of everything.  For Love is another name for the Highest that goes by different names – God, Allah, Spirit, Universe, Goddess, El Shaddai, Yahweh, Dios, and so many more.  No matter what the name, it all begins and returns to love.

2016 has been a very challenging year on so many levels.  So many opportunities to feel apathy, hate, and to shut down.  And as this year comes to a close, despite blue or red party, left or right, the particular name you call the Highest, wins or losses, all of it is an opportunity to practice love loving love.  Even the melancholy that many experience during this time is a heart summons to practice love loving love with self.

Practice it when you pass others on the streets. Practice it when you are looking into your beloveds’ eyes.  Practice it when someone cuts you off on the freeway. Practice it when you are with that one relative that challenges you the most. Practice it when you are the object of someone’s ignorance.  Most of all, practice it with yourself for you above all others deserve to be loved by you.

Wishing you the most beautiful holiday season.  May it be filled with bliss, compassion, peace, and a heart filled with love.

With all my love,

Jacqueline

 

 

Gratitude for ALL of it… the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful

Don’t Be You

You are not reading this wrong.  Don’t be you.

I remember being a little girl with my hair often a matted mess and frequently scabbed knees.  I was unstoppable.  I had scabs over scabs and I kept going.  Falling down and getting hurt did nothing to keep me from exploring.

I was Wonder Woman in the morning, Princess Leia at school (yes, I had my mother do my hair in those famous buns), one of Charlie’s Angels after school (“Kelly Garrett“ of course.  Jacqueline Smith’s character. We had the same real name after all), and somewhere before bedtime I was a doctor, President, a singer-dancer, and once in a while Batgirl.  There were so many flavors and textures to myself that every moment provided a new discovery and a new manner of expressing ME.

Then somewhere along the way, I lost it.

I lost my ability to try on new ME’s.  I lost the multi-faceted, multi-dimensional ME.  I forgot to test and experiment with my different parts.

I bought into the misunderstanding that I had to pick one flavor and stick to it.  In my innocence, I gave up the joy and gave into the “me” I thought would bring me love and acceptance from peers, school, family, and community.  I forgot the sheer joy of being all my parts instead of the safest one.  I turned off.  Pretty girls don’t have scabbed knees after all.

When one turns off, the ego, the small self, the whatever you want to call it, will do everything in its powers to keep you confined.  In its innocence, it convinces itself and you that your very survival on this planet depends on you staying constrained and fearful of testing new facets of you.

If you try, a 5-alarm fire goes off, you get tense, become anxious and depressed, and convince yourselves once more that you must remain turned off and give into fear.  This can be an endless cycle until the moment you remember multi-faceted, brilliant YOU.

Don’t be you. Be instead the variety of YOU.

Be the you that stops and smells the roses.  Be the you that shakes the bootie when a great song comes on or just because you want.  Be the you that is the dreamer willing to recognize boundless limits. Be the you that loves whole heartedly without asking for anything back.  Be the you that believes in pure imagination.  Be the you that is curious and willing to fail because staying still is even riskier.  Be the you that is playful and silly.  Be the you that lives a turned-on life choosing pleasure and bliss.

Picture
Be the YOU that comes alive.
 
With all my love,  
          Jacqueline
Originally posted on 10/24/2016

Sensual… Not Necessarily Sexual

Movement Is The Song Of The Body

 

Many times when I speak of movement, people automatically think that I am speaking of dancing. Of course dancing is movement, but that is not exactly what I mean.

We live in a disembodied world — sitting endless hours at our desks, commuting long-distance maintaining relationships through our phones and laptops, and leaning on our intellect to solve or get our to-do list under some kind of order. The result? Loss of authentic connection with ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities.

Movement is the key to feeling more alive, generating creative solutions, enjoying growth, and connecting more fully and deeply in gratifying and enjoyable ways. Movement naturally generates more vitality, freedom, joy, and clarity in everything we do.  Movement allows us to embody and connect with ourselves in an authentic and genuine manner.  It allows us to engage parts of body, heart, and soul that we may have forgotten.  As we connect with ourselves, we also connect with our loved ones.

When one learns to slow down and practice movement, what occurs is the Picturediscovery of the magic and wisdom of your body.  It is not about performance.  It’s about learning and practicing movement that allows you to tune out the world and tune into your heart and soul.  Movement is an opening to feeling and hearing the nuances, the lyric and notes that your body, in alignment with your heart and soul, are writing for you.  The mind is a wonderful vehicle to decipher the world yet it is also a great story-inventor.  The body does not make up tales but helps us unravel them through tension, relaxation, and pleasure… the verses and rhythms of life.

As a therapist and coach, my commitment is to help my clients co-create the life and love of their dreams.  Having each of them sit and talk is reinforcing the pattern of being disembodied.  Many of clients know that movement, breath, and body-focused exercises are used often is sessions because these are the gateways to the authentic self.  Many times themes and issues are uncovered more gracefully than with talk therapy alone.

So what exactly does one move… any part of the body that inspires and whispers to you. Start with stretching your arms over your head as you twirl your hands, undulate your hips, breathe while moving your belly up and down.  Play your favorite song and move to it in ways that you normally don’t.  Do the Hokey Pokey… yes, the one from childhood, remember how much fun you had back then?

The body is a fountain of inspiration and wisdom. Move and let it sing to you.

All for now.

Love,

​Jacqueline

Originally posted on 7/20/2016

Movement…Tune in..Tune Out

Time to Flourish!

This is my favorite time of the year.  

The stillness of Winter giving way to the allure and grace of Spring making this season the perfect invitation to one of my favorite morning rituals — walking barefoot in my garden breathing in the blossoming roses, narcissus, and gardenias.  These blooms have also become my teachers schooling me in trusting that everything is taken care of, that there is a divine flow in life.  Nature does not worry or become preoccupied with stories after all. It simply is.

 

Being in my garden helped me feel more connected to my body as my senses relish the fragrant blooms, enjoy the mosaic of colors, hear the birds chirp, and feel the dampness of the ground under my feet (yes, I often walk barefoot).  My mind empties for a moment and becomes still long enough to be reminded that life can be beautiful no matter what is happening.  It is in these moments that I feel the most connected to myself and to the Universe.  It is also in these moments that I experience myself most embodied and most alive.

My invitation to you is to slow down and welcome more stillness even if for a moment. Pick an activity you are already doing.  Allow yourself to enjoy your sensuous body by opening yourself to tune in —  see, feel, smell, hear, and even taste what surrounds you.  Notice any shifts that occur in the body and let yourself follow your own inner compass to aliveness.
Be curious.  See what you discover. 


Enjoy the flourishing… inside and out…

.Picture

xoxo,

Picture
Originally posted on 5/24/2016

Body Wisdom

I have begun to wonder.  Rather than asking, “How are you feeling?” is it be best to ask others to move their bodies?  Because the moment we are asked how we are, our minds turn on and story creation begins.

When we are asked how we are or what we are feeling, we begin to roll back over everything that has caused upset, and at times joy, and we begin to nourish the perspective that we most want reinforced.

As children we learn to tell certain stories that help us be seen and feel loved, something that as children is vital for our very survival.  Many of us are also told “stop crying,” or “there is no real reason to feel ___,” teaching us not to believe what we feel or to squelch whatever emotion rises.  We grow up not trusting what the body is experiencing or needing to create a story to give ourselves permission to feel.

The body doesn’t lie and creates only from the truth.

How we begin to feel is to slow down, relax, breathe, move, and to notice the subtle nuances in our bodies.  Emotion, after all, is energy in motion — always rising and flowing, tightening and relaxing.  Listening to the body is an invitation to letting every sensation inform you and move you by gently teaching the mind that it is okay not to make sense of everything because some things are beyond the comprehension of words.  To listen to the body means to practice feeling without judgment and trusting the body.  There is no right or wrong sentiment.  Although there are moments to learn from our feelings, this is also not about processing what we feel every time we feel, but an invitation to make space to be with it.

I am not going to lie.  It can be scary to feel.  It is scary to slow down and feel what rises, what is asking to move through us.  Because when we do feel, we are reminded of the parts of us that have perhaps not received much loving or have caused pain at some point, our sexual expression for example.  When we feel, we cannot deny our truth.  We begin to remember who we really are and question the stories we have created.

Change happens by giving ourselves the opportunity to experience ourselves differently in the moment.  

So here is my open invitation — perhaps the next time you are asked how you are feeling or feel energy rising, crank on a song and move.  Breathe.  Be curious. See what rises.  The body doesn’t lie.  It is telling you your truth.

Originally posted on 5/16/2016

Self-Care & Self-Love … A true Valentine’s Celebration

Self-care isn’t selfish. If anything, it’s selfless. It allows you to be a better mother, daughter, friend, feminist, boss, employee, partner, and more. You don’t run a car without filling it up with gasoline, so why would you run your body, heart, and mind without filling it up with some fuel? Many people believe that self-care is too decadent or self-indulgent. Women, in particular, are stretched thin from handling motherhood to marriage to work to friendships and everything else in between. Some even begin to believe that if she has not run herself ragged, she clearly has failed at something.

Self-Care is care provided “for you, by you.” It’s about identifying your own needs and taking steps to meet them. Self-care is a practice that helps fuel your desires and dreams because, at its core, it is about practicing integrity with ourselves. It involves actively setting intentions for yourself — being honest with yourself and others about your needs, desires, fears, and dreams.

Self-Love begins with self-appreciation, for if we do not value ourselves, how can we ever honestly honor someone else? Many women believe that loving yourself is selfish and narcissistic. Self-love starts by giving love, attention, and care to yourself, so that we can be filled to overflow with radiance and then be able to share that radiance with another if we choose. The flow of love and self-love is giving and receiving. True self-love is no where near selfishness and narcissism.

Why it’s important to start with self-love though is because ultimately we are the ones responsible for our actions, choices, and the outcome of those actions and choices. Self-love is a practice of filling the yearning from your soul because it is about practicing listening to what we desire, acceptance of it, and taking action towards it. Self-love is important because it is process of remembering where our genuine power resides. When we are in self-love, we say no to what does not serve us and are more willing to say yes to what brings us more aliveness.

Self-love is a practice of filling the yearning from your soul because it is about practicing listening to what we desire, acceptance of it, and taking action towards it.  This Valentine’s Day my encourage,went and invitation is to practice caring for yourself in a way that reflects LOVE.

Love,

Jacqueline

Orignally posted on 2/10/2016

St. Theresa Comes to Rowe

 

I recently attended, both as participant and assistant, in a woman’s workshop focused on sexuality and the Medicine Wheel led by the incomparable Gina Ogden.

On the first night, all the women walked the Wheel, placing their sacred objects and sharing with the group what each object represented — one representing what they want more of in their sexual life, the other representing what they want less of.  As the evening continued, one theme came to light — the impact of religious training on sexuality, particularly that of that Catholic church.

This peaked my interest, since I attended Catholic school for 12 years and I was fully aware of the training and dogma that these women shared. As I heard the women speak, I found myself feeling incredibly grateful for my rebellious spirit and my curiosity — they have always been my saving grace. The truth is that I never believed what the priests and the nuns said about love and sex. I did not believe that I would be a sinner for enjoying the pleasure of my flesh since God himself (or herself) had created this very flesh. As far as I can remember, I believed that sex was one of God’s greatest gifts. It was a gift that allowed us as humans to transcend our bodies and the illusion of separation from others. There is a reason why, in moments of absolute pleasure, the words “oh my God” are said aloud in every language and across every religion.

 

As I sat in the circle, watching and hearing these women, I was also keenly aware that I had a small picture of St. Teresa of Avila in my bag. Until that moment, I had been  unsure of the reason why I had packed it a few days before.

St. Teresa is a Catholic saint and mystic who had a profound religious experience before an image of the wounded Christ in the convent oratory.  She felt, “He was within me, or that I was totally engulfed by him.”  Saint Teresa’s love of God and her desire for spiritual union with him manifested in a vision in which an angel pierced her heart with a golden spear and sent her into a trance — an ecstatic rapture.  In her autobiography she writes:

“The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease, nor is ones soul then content with anything but God.” (The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by herself, Chapter 29).

Ecstasy of St. Teresa Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, 1645-1652 Rome, Italy: Santa Maria della Vittoria, Cornaro Chapel. Teresa is clothed from head to foot in a loose hooded garment. Her feet are bare, the left one prominently displayed. Her eyes are shut, her mouth opened, as she swoons in ec-stasy. Standing before her is the figure of a winged youth. His garment hangs on one shoulder, exposing his arms and part of his upper torso. In his right hand he holds an arrow that is pointed at the heart of Teresa.

​When it was my turn to walk the circle and share my objects, I put St. Teresa in the center of the Wheel symbolizing integration. I spoke of how she is a beautiful representation of what God truly intended for us — to surrender to the moment and to enjoy the gift of the human body with its multiple areas of pleasure. Whether we do this alone or with a lover, it does not matter. When we say,“yes” to enjoying our bodies, we are allowing our gift of aliveness and connection to be fully present. We breathe in life more fully.

In the Medicine Wheel, sexuality and spirituality exist in the same quadrant because the quadrant is about connectivity. Although many may not agree with me, I cannot see any separation of sexuality and spirituality. One leads directly to the other. My spirituality is about connecting more lovingly and authentically with myself, others, and God. My sexuality exists for the same reason.

The women in the circle reminded me that night that much work needs to be done to heal the lines that create separation, aloneness, despair, and negative beliefs about God and sex. When St. Teresa was placed in the circle, I believe the healing began. That night, there was a lightness that she radiated from the center of the circle into the heart of every woman.

Picture

Ecstasy of St. Teresa Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, 1645-1652 Rome, Italy: Santa Maria della Vittoria, Cornaro Chapel. Teresa is clothed from head to foot in a loose hooded garment. Her feet are bare, the left one prominently displayed. Her eyes are shut, her mouth opened, as she swoons in ecstasy. Standing before her is the figure of a winged youth. His garment hangs on one shoulder, exposing his arms and part of his upper torso. In his right hand he holds an arrow that is pointed at the heart of Teresa.

Originally Posted on 11/13/2015

Perseid Meteor Shower Lights Up Night Skies


the bonfire and the ego

I believe that we are all divine beings having a human experience. 

I often imagine that before we made the choice to come to the earth school, we all surrounded a giant bond fire where God tells us about a special “life” planned for us.   We are so happy to learn and grow and be human that we give a resounding “yes” to life in store for us.  We crave the all the lessons. We go all in.

We all chose to come here and inhabit our human body. We chose all the funny curves, bumps, and dimples. We chose our families – our mother, father, grandparents, and even our crazy uncle, because before we took human form, we knew that our bodies and our loved ones were the perfect ones to teach our souls the very lessons that we craved to learn.  As life progresses, we also attract others to help us learn lessons in a deeper level.  Of course, the one relationship that provides us the best and deepest opportunities of learning and growing is our romantic relationships.

From my point of view, the problem is that part of the human condition is that we forget that we chose. We forget so that we can actually learn the lessons. We forget so that we can fully live each moment.  We also develop an ego. We develop the ego to help us survive our human condition. Because as humans we crave attention and to feel loved. Our ego begins to believe that for us to be loved by others, we have to abide by certain conditions. Out of fear of losing this love, it begins to create stories and beliefs about how the world works and how we should be in it. I find that when a phrase such as “I am personally offended” is used it is our ego that is reacting.  

The ego is not a bad aspect. It is the part of us that has forgotten its divine nature.  It has forgotten about the excitement we felt at the bond fire.  The ego is the aspect of us that is the most human. It feeds on fear, judging, wronging others and ourselves, and keeps most aligned with how things should be.  I often see my ego as a young adolescent learning how to drive – unsure of herself, not sure how to deal with traffic, not knowing how turn, pressing the gas and break pedals too much or not enough. The driving instructor is my higher self, my divine nature – the aspect that remembers I am a soul. It gently reminds my fearful teenage driver how to focus and how to hold herself behind the driving wheel. Always with great love and compassion. From time to time, the driving instructor takes the wheel, moments of smooth driving, leaving the teenage driver afraid she did something wrong, but at times, although she may not always acknowledge aloud or even to herself, quite grateful.

in the beginning…