It’s February! The month we celebrate love.
But before we dive into how to have a sizzling and hot V-Day, let’s stop for a moment and talk about the most essential ingredient to hot and sexy anything…. (drumroll)…. SELF-LOVE.
By definition self-love is having regard for one’s own well-being and happiness.
In my work with individuals and couples as well as my own journey, the practice of self-love is not always easy. Our small, ego mind in an effort to keep us safe, can go on endless loops of negative self-talk and sabotaging behavior.
This leads us to seek validation and love from others, rather than ourselves, which almost always results in our feeling unsatisfied and unloved.
And, when we don’t practice self-love, it can often lead us to being needy and unloving which is a sure way of putting out any sexy fires.
For only when we are truly in alignment with our own beautiful spirit, can we completely and authentically give and receive real love.
Because when we love ourselves, we know that we can give without becoming resentful or depleted.
We give love because we are full of love. We are fully immersed in the deep flow of love and loving.
The practice of Self-Love
Slow Down and Be Mindful. People who have more self-love tend to know themselves well. They take the time to slow down and consider what they feel, think and want. They take others into consideration when making choices, but not solely on making others happy or sacrificing self.
Know the No’s. The greatest lesson in Tantra practices is knowing your no before saying yes to anything. You will love yourself more when you set limits and say no to things that do not align and genuinely serve you. And, when you do say yes, it is a wholehearted agreement you will not regret later.
Taking Care of Business. Practice good self-care. People who practice self-love nourish themselves daily through healthy activities, good nutrition, exercise, proper sleep, intimacy and healthy social interactions.
Kindness and Forgiveness. We can be so hard on ourselves! There really is no need to punish ourselves for mistakes that ultimately prove pathways to healing, learning and growing. The greatest act of self-love is acceptance of your being imperfectly human. We all do the best we can given our our choices in any given moment. Hindsight is 20/20. Stop judging from that view.
Living with Intentional Desire. You will accept and love yourself more when you live through intention and desire, purpose and really wanting. You will make decisions that support this intention, and create steps towards heart-felt desires. Your heart will burst for YOU when you see yourself accomplishing what you set out to do.
Amidst lovers and loving, perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves is learning how to fully accept and love ourselves.
The act of being our own hot and sexy lover… before we are this for someone else or invite a lover in.
For now, go practice loving yourself BIG. Next week we will talk about lovers loving love hot and sexy together.
“Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom”
– Francis Bacon
The New year is here!
One of the most powerful ways to move forward in creating your dreams and intentions for the new year is to focus on what you’ve learned, celebrate your wins, and forgive the past.
I find that when I do this, I feel more present, more grounded, more at ease, and most importantly, excited about what’s next.
And, how I begin this process is by finding the stillness, the moments of pause and silence.
When I was a child, I loved New Years. I loved the idea of starting over and that come January 1st, the past was wiped, fresh start.
The older I got, the more life experience under my belt, the more I felt the heaviness of what I did not accomplish, the goals left behind, and the relationships, including the one with myself, that did not feel any better.
In an effort to feel good, I followed what so many “experts” say to do – jump right into creating and manifesting on the goal line. The heaviness did not quite go away.
I found that when I moved past the stillness and straight into goal achievement I was skipping the most important lesson …. MY SOUL LEARNINGS, the reason why my soul had called in those precise let downs and wins.
“Learning how to be still, to really be still and let life happen – that stillness becomes radiance.”
~ Morgan Freeman.
Soul Learnings is the belief that everything that happens – the good, the bad, and the ugly – happens for my highest good.
We also cannot access our learnings though busyness, noise, and haste.
Seeking the stillness allows us to quiet the mind and stop judging, blaming, and avoiding. Instead, we get in touch with our inner counselor, the part of us that is wise, holds equanimity, and has a higher vision.
From this place we begin to recognize what we learned in the last year with gratitude and grace. We also get to celebrate the wins, something so many of us forget to do.
Forgiving others, not for their sake, but for our own sake. Because in doing so, we create and manifest from a space of compassion, abundance, not scarcity, fear, or angst.
When we practice forgiving ourselves, we remember we are worthy of creating what we truly desire based on authentic alignment not guilt, remorse, or obligation.
Most importantly of all, when we slow down, we give ourselves the chance to ask, “What do I want? What do I really really really want?” from a place of what feels good and what nourishes me and my relationships.
Where to find moments of silence….
- Taking a shower or a bath.
- In the car, arriving home, right before getting out. Or, after dropping off the kids before driving away.
- Morning coffee… sip it slowly.
- Before or after a yoga class.
- Park your car at the furthest point of a parking lot and walk slowly towards your destination.
- Close your eyes. Breathe slowly and deliberately.
- Rather than look at social media, read emails, or play a game, put on a song you love and let your body lead (you may want to put headphones on too).
- Read a book. The Alchemist being one I read every January.
And remember, that even the most beautiful rose bush is pruned and rested before it begins to radiantly flourish again. Below are a few offerings on the making this year the most flourishing and sizzling yet.
Wishing a magical and magnificent 2018,
So much talk about the season of merriment and light, yet for so many…
The paradox of the holidays.
It can be said that there is wisdom to be gained through challenge, hardship and suffering. It can also be said that there is deep learning and truth to be gained.
Because when we are in a “dark night of the soul”, the deepest part of our being reaches out for a more valuable connection with heart and spirit.
This, however, may not be immediately apparent to the ego self.
In the midst of pain, anger, grief, or sorrow, the ego self becomes attached to specific outcomes – “I will feel better when…,” and cannot see the possibility for learning and for a greater life on the other side.
This paradox is hard for the human self to grasp when feeling the heaviness of pain. Our most human response to suffering is to want to end it, and the human heart cannot help but believe that what it feels, the deprivation of joy, love, and, even hope, cannot possibly be the source of something good.
And yet, in the darkest hour of the night, there is a sharpening of vision, and what appears empty and dark, suddenly holds the promise of light.
In this sense, a dark night of the soul may first appear as if all the light has gone out, but the soul continues to support the seeking of light and continues to radiate and attract light toward the self that suffers and struggles.
After all, isn’t it true that when we feel disconnected from joy and love, we begin to seek that joy and love with a more willing and malleable heart? We begin to see the glimmers of light where moments before there were none to see.
Light attracts light even in the darkest hour.
This is the divine beauty of the soul.
From this perspective, the holidays – holy days – is the ideal and soulful time for our journey into the light… the surrender into the light of our own being.
A reminder that the holy days, regardless of religion, culture, language, country, or ethnicity, are an invitation to love freely – without the need for reciprocity or finding worthiness in another.
An invitation to practice love loving love – the practice of being present and loving for the sake of loving.
To love openly because we are all soulful beings and, in the eyes of the Divine, are all equal – no one better or worse, more spiritual or less. The only distinction that each of us arrived on earth with different soul curriculums.
The holidays are high holy days because they serve as reminders of the holy that resides in each of us.
A sacred summons to seek the Divine in another.
A reminder that all moments are for our highest purpose.
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,
“Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object never really matters.”
– Marilynn Robinson
“He doesn’t really listen”
“She plays on the phone rather than spend time with me”
“It’s like I don’t even exist”
“I feel invisible”
“The dog gets more love than I do”
When a man or a woman checks out emotionally, mentally, or physically from their relationship, it can be for many the beginning of death of love.
Many men overwhelmed by demands of intimacy, vulnerability, and unresolved emotions from the past, give into feeling lost and check-out.
Inadvertently surrendering not to love, but to the unconscious fear that if he were to step into a fuller expression of himself, he would push others away, not be man enough, or be seen as a fraud.
Women in an effort to not rock the boat, not to make another feel bad, keep quiet and often agree to parameters of the relationships through default until one day this becomes impossible for her to continue.
Overwhelmed by demands of intimacy, vulnerability, and unresolved emotions from the past, she gives into feeling lost and checks-out. Inadvertently surrendering not to love, but to the unconscious fear that if she were to step into a fuller expression of herself, she would no longer belong and be seen as a fraud.
We can respond to the pulling away of the other by adding final blows or to see the pulling away as part of the cycle that can return us to greater love. Perhaps not always to greater love with our current partners, but greater love nonetheless.
Man stepping into a strong and powerful masculine energy by learning how to authentically express their authentic masculine presence without disempowering and disconnecting from the feminine. Without minimizing, blaming, or telling her she’s feeling or being too much.
One way to to start this, is my empowering and embodying those parts that he finds hard to love… the parts that have been castrated and often appear in moments when disempowering another or perhaps even abusing another.
The parts that remind you of how powerful you are because you can annihilate another with your hands, but it takes more courage not to.
Inner spaces that feel soft and vulnerable because those are the parts the connect you more deeply to the heart of humanity.
Woman remembering how powerful and raw the authentic feminine presence is without punishing or building walls. Dropping the need to blame or remind him of his failures.
Start by reminding yourself that you are not here to simply put up with things or to play nice. Your gift of intuition bestows your wisdom and truth telling. Your willingness, your courage of heart to offer ALL of you, even the uncomfortable, imperfect, chaotic parts is an invitation not only for you, but for your partner, your family, your tribe, the whole world to get out of our heads and into our hearts.
The truth is that NOW more than ever, both men and women have the opportunity for growth, healing, and learning on how to step more fully into their true self.
Both using their feeling lost, their checking-out as signposts that their higher self is requesting a look inward, to create space to heal before anyone can return more fully to love.
And to all parties involved…
Be kind to yourself.
Don’t take it personally
This December I am offering Men & Women (sex specific) events to help you step into a deeper, more graceful, love-filled expression of you. In January, I will be adding co-ed Love, Intimacy & Attraction events.
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love food… and I am enamored with sweet potatoes and yams. My love for them is so great that it is not uncommon for me to make several sweet potatoes and yams recipes on this holiday. There’s also the mashed potatoes and gravy, watching the dog show (I usually eat my first batch of sweet potatoes while watching this), the turkey, and spending time with family.
But, what I love most about this holiday is that it is a day we set aside to deepen in the practice of gratitude.
Because giving thanks helps us recognize, appreciate, and gift ourselves and others transformation.
When we express gratitude, we open up to love, and we are reminded that, although not perfect and sometimes downright painful, there is sweetness, expansion, and healing woven into life.
Have you ever noticed how saying thank you can change you and your outlook on things? Have you seen someone transform in front of your eyes when given gratitude?
We may not get transported to a place of glitter and perfection and the bad doesn’t necessarily go away.
What we can experience is a shift and lightness in our emotions. Our sense of connection and presence in the moment may deepen. There is a reminder that grace always seems to appear when we need it the most.
Research has also found that expressing gratitude improves mental, physical and relational well-being.
Giving thanks can also impact the overall experience of happiness which can be long-lasting.
Now, I get it. It’s not always easy to express gratitude or to find ourselves in a state of thankfulness.
Four ways to Cultivate Gratitude on Thanks-Giving
- Say thank you often. Look for opportunities to say it — particularly to those who serve you.
- Practice not gossiping, complaining, or judging for the day. (You can do it!)
- It is vital to make a distinction between feeling grateful and being grateful. We don’t have total control over our emotions. We cannot will ourselves to feel grateful, less depressed, or happy. Yet how we look at things is dictated by how we feel about them. Being grateful is a choice: We can feel grateful and not be grateful towards the gains and losses that flow in and out of our lives.
- Engage in compassionate forgiveness. Sitting at a table with family discord and conflict is never easy, but for that day (and every day after if you choose), remember that at any given moment we all do the best we can. If he/she/they, had thought of something better to do or say, then they would have done it.
I also want to take the opportunity to give Thanks to YOU.
Thank you for showing up.
Thank you for allowing me to be of service.
Thank you for engaging with me.
Thank you for sharing your time, your attention, and to many of you, your heart and soul.
Wishing you a blessed and delicious Thanks-Giving,
So… much… going… on… right… now!
There are tsunami-size waves of social change occurring. We can’t go very long or very far without witnessing or being exposed to an injustice or human darkness.
I don’t know about you but there are moments when it all feels like there’s a huge wall separating us from where we are and where we want to be, what we imagine life can really be like.
We want to take it down, but we have no idea yet how to do it. Leading us to feeling overwhelmed and overly triggered, wanting to run, hide, enraged, frozen, or all of the above.
At least that’s what I tell myself…BREATHE. Because change is not easy and it is always the darkest before the light appears.
And, I am also reminding myself that no matter what is happening I have a choice in how to respond and how to be with myself, and how I can contribute to making this world a little brighter.
Each of us has a spot on that wall where we can choose to either help break it down or to put up another brick.
We each have our talents, our gifts, our work, our light. That’s our chisel in helping break down that wall.
We don’t have to do it all. The ego mind likes to think we do which usually results in us freezing.
We don’t have to hammer things down. Force and violence never work.
We don’t have to be anyone other than who we are.
We don’t have to do anyone else’s work. No need for over-responsibility or playing the rescuer. Both serve as distractions from our own work.
We can pick one thing, and give it our all.
And chisel away at that spot… over and over again.
By taking that one spot, that one space inside ourselves that feels triggered, that feels tender, that feels vulnerable. Not pretending we don’t feel or blaming for feeling. Being with that spot… loving it… being compassionate with it.
And then, when we are ready, practicing forgiving. Forgiving our judgement, our misunderstanding, our not knowing any better. Again and again because forgiveness is a practice, not an event.
Here’s the most wonderful thing of all…
… each of us are doing our work, chiseling way one spot, then collectively, eventually, together we will bring that wall down.
What we learn then is that every wall we encounter – both inner and outer – are post signs, reminders that more love and compassion are needed.
More love please.
Your tender spots matter.
Your gifts and your tools matter.
You are here for an important reason.
Because together, that wall comes down.
And together… WE RISE.
If we are all spiritual beings having a human experience, then our greatest learning instrument is our body.
Let’s start with our most human parts. Our belly being the keeper of our emotions and the archaic stories of our tribe. Our hips helping us move in the world. Some with more relaxation, others with more tension… both being okay. Our pelvic floor rooting us to Mother Earth and the place where we connect and disconnect from everyone else. All of it showing up for our learning and expansion.
Throat, eyes, and crown being our more ethereal and abstract parts. Our throat seeking to speak our truth, sing what we feel, and shout what we must say at times. Our eyes guiding us to what we envision for ourselves. The eyes also being the mirror, gateway to the soul – the core of our being that carries no stories of hurts or dissatisfaction, but just pure loving. Our crown being the spot in our body that is most connected to that which is higher than us. Call it any name you want – God, Yahweh, Allah, Spirit, Universe, Goddess – it is all the same. It is the part of us that leads the inquiry into who we are, what life is about, and seeks meaning to our existence.
This leads us to the heart. The part that balances the ethereal and the human, the part where love resides. It is in our heart space that love is born, love is given, and love is received. Stories do not exist here. When we are born, breath comes through here. And when we leave our body, breath comes through here. It is the place where we nourish our human desire to connect and our soul’s calling to expand.
So where does the brain fit into all of this?
Your body is the vehicle while your mind is the navigation system. They work together, not separately or in contradiction of each other.
We are the drivers of our ride. When we decide to go right, we go right. When we decide to turn left, we go left. The navigation does not take over, but simply helps us get there. From time to time the navigation system gives us feedback “maintenance required,” “hazard,” or even “system overload,” but it does not take over the driving. Therefore the only time our minds take over is when we forget how powerful and divine we really are.
You are a spiritual being having a human experience. You came equipped with all you need to handle this crazy and delicious life ride.
So next time the navigation system wants to take over, here are a few suggestions:
- Breathe s-l-o-w-l-y feeling every inch of your being. Notice where the tension is. Breathe into that area.
- Place one hand over heart and the other over the area tension and say, “I am a spiritual being having a human experience and I arrived equipped with what is exactly needed at all times.” Repeat as needed…and breathe.
- Celebrate the good moments. Don’t wait to remember you are human only in the negative, heavy moments. Celebrate the happy feelings because they too are part of this ride.
Loving and supporting you,
Photo by Craig Whitehead
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.
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.
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