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

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.