The Integrated Male: Balancing the Light/Celebrating the Dark

More than any other time in modern history, men today are being challenged to uncover and upgrade different facets of the masculine.

Movements like #MeToo and TimesUp along with current political climates are propelling men to question and update beliefs and misunderstandings around modern masculinity.

The INTEGRATED MALE BALANCES THE LIGHT AND CELEBRATES THE DARK.

When the Dark and Light are not in balance, men engage passively with life fearing rejection, abandonment and real intimacy. And, often times, their own power which can lead to patterns of self-sabotage, incomplete goals, and not getting what he desires in relationships.

The UNBALANCED MALE reacts rather than acts, controls rather than responds, manipulates rather than creates or leads.

 


 

The Dark Side of the masculine is an essential and much needed aspect of the Masculine. And yet many men report being exposed or taught conflicting and often times violent perspectives of the Dark – the Shadow.

In an effort to feel good, to feel powerful, to “man-up,” some have bought into the false ideas of the alpha, predatory male leaving many men feeling conflicted, disempowered, and frozen in their relationship with the feminine and with other men.

And, let’s be clear here…

Femininity is not the opposite of masculinity. They are complements. The opposite of masculinity is passivity.

The INTEGRATED MALE is balanced in his masculine and feminine energy and uses both to lead, protect, create, love, and empower himself.  Creating freedom in who he is in the wold.


This workshop will explore the Dark Side of the Masculine: what it means, how it is an essential part of the Masculine, and how its shadow shows up in today’s world; and how to use the Light side to balance himself in love, power, and life:
  • Participants will also be guided on how to access the Dark and the Light as needed.
  • Each participant will walk away with practical ways to apply these learnings in life, work, and relationships.

 


What is the Dark side of the Masculine?

There is a wild side to man’s nature. Unpredictable. Even savage.

For the most part, men are taught from an early age to repress this part. They are given messages that it is something undesired and, perhaps, even uncivilized. In an effort to fit in, feel loved, many men repress it while some use this energy in more “appropriate” choices – competition in sports or business.

The truth is that the Dark side of Masculinity is never really gone.

And, if not channeled correctly, it follows men like a shadow — projecting and distorting the masculine. Leaving men in an abyss of pushing, forcing as well as freezing and avoiding.

The Darkness is not evil, but because it is often squelched, it is often denied its proper role resulting in rebelliousness, displeasure, rage, and depression. It becomes the monster so many work diligently to hide.

Without the Dark Side, chivalry becomes salt that has lost its flavor. Because without it, direction and discipline are meaningless; connection to self, other, community inauthentic; strength is ineffective, and logic pointless.

 

When the Dark is not given its place, the Masculine becomes sad, rage-filled, uncontrollable, abusive, perverted, and lost. Given today’s headlines… sound familiar?

The Light is the space of wisdom, stillness, and leading with benevolence.

Yet, when it is integrated into the Masculine, the Light and the Dark nourishes the soul like nothing else can.

It is about owning what is true in the body-heart-mind-spirit so that man can show up in more integrity.

It is about exploring and knowing the depth of desires and genuine action. Because when he shows up in full integrity with all his parts – Light and Dark- the Feminine can show up in all her flavors.

The Integrated Male is the Wild Man at its core – the place that existed before he was told how to be, who to be.

 


Our time together will be part process, part experiential, and you will walk away with specific skills and techniques that can assist you in daily life.

Skills and techniques presented in this workshop are grounded in Spiritual Psychology, Polarity work (masculine-feminine), Mind-Body, Neuroscience, Nonlinear Movement, and Shamanism.

 


===> Why attend this event? <===

Today’s headlines are filled with examples of the Shadow side of the Masculine.

Because men are powerful beings and most men truly want to engage with themselves and others in powerful, authentic, and positive ways.

It is my intention that those that participate in this event will walk away with concrete and practical reminders of this.

And most importantly, you will walk away, with skills that will assist you in being more effective and more empowered in your relationships and with the Light and the Dark.

And I totally get it… most men find these kinds of workshops intimidating or way out of their comfort zone especially being in the presence of other men. One of my reasons for doing this is to remind you that you are not alone and that many men are having a shared and lonely experience. Hearing and being with others is powerful medicine.

===> Why have a woman lead it? <===

===> What can a woman teach me about being a man? <===

The feminine qualities of empathy, intuition, openness, and nurturance are the magnets that help bring out the balanced masculine.

And…the flow of the feminine needs to be present to help nurture and reinforce the direction of the masculine.

This event is not about teaching you how to be a man, but to unearth and anchor the masculine energy already in you in a way that serves your highest purpose.

Seeing through Eyes of Love

How do I love thee?

Let me count the ways…

Everything that happens in life is an opportunity to LOVE.

And above all, an opportunity to love YOU—to truly 100% love yourself completely, no matter what.

Every failure.

Every heartbreak.

Every panic attack.

Every clumsy moment.

Every win.

Every celebration.

Every moment… an invitation to love yourself.  To dive into the pool of self-love.

Many believe that to love oneself is selfish.  That it is undesirable and perhaps even narcissistic.  Some even cite cultural rules and religious dogma that self-love is…well… simply wrong.

To practice loving ourselves, is remembering your true nature, that you cannot love others without loving yourself first.

 

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection. – Buddha 

 

When you honor your love for yourself, you open and give to self and others from an ever-filled abundant well of love.

To love yourself means to give love, attention, and care to the self, so that you can be filled to overflow and then be able to share, love, and nurture your relationships, careers, work, housework, parenting, and your lovers from that space.

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 acting towards it.

Self-love is important because it is process of remembering where your genuine power resides.

To love you means being willing to say no to what does not serve and yes to what brings more aliveness and hope.  Errors and mistakes transform into openings where the light shines in.  

To be in self-love makes life simpler and more carefree. 

Because when you love yourself more, mountains aren’t made out of molehills. You are kinder and more compassionate.  You stop beating yourself over mistakes or temporary setbacks.

You remember that you are ultimately responsible for your own happiness.

And, when you find yourself in relationships and circumstances that set you back, you replenish your own well, request a change or even walk away because you know that love calls each of us to shine and help our beloveds do the same.

Self-love inspires you to feel more deserving of the good things.  There’s less sabotage.  And, more freedom to  go for it—to go after the heart’s desire with more motivation, gusto and focus than ever before because you believe in YOU.

To love yourself is the ultimate reminder that the Divine does not reside outside of you.  Rather it is in you

To be in self-love is to see you through the eyes of love especially those moments when the world or our ego tells you that you are undeserving.

Seeing though eyes of love…

Celebrate yourself every day.  This is not about perfection, but your willingness to notice the quotidian things you do that are done with care and love.  With self-Love, we express self-appreciation and compassion.  We celebrate our wins—big and small—because we are worth it to ourselves. 

Practice self-forgiveness.  Everyone does the best they can given the circumstances, skills, and choices one perceives having in that moment.  If you could have thought of something better to do… you would have done just that.

Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you! ~ Dr. Seuss.  The greatest act and most powerful of practicing self-love is accepting you exactly as you are.  This does not mean that you never heal, grow and learn.  What it does mean that all your quirks, imperfections and warts are ways of loving yourself.

 

Love,

Jacqueline

 

PS: If you are a woman in Greater L.A and want support in creating a self-love practice, join me at Shine Bright from the Inside Out on September 22nd.

Ah, to embody love

Ah, to embody love.

A practice many think begins when we first fall in love.

But, one that I have come to believe begins when we first fall out of love with love.

Because our invitation to re-embody love often arrives when we have experienced hurt, disappointment, and heartache.  When heartbreak cracks us wide open.

We become students of our body, heart, and mind so that we know what nourishes us—what grows the heart bigger and helps us give less value to the creative stories of the mind.

There is a willingness to release false notions of what it means to love and be loved, so that we then can let go and love ourselves more fully.

We practice self-forgiveness because we start to see that self-judgement and self-recrimination only exists to keep ourselves small, dim, and enslaved to hurt and anger.

We practice forgiving others because blaming and judging others is only a reflection of ourselves.

Embodying love does not necessarily mean feeling good and in the flow of love all the time.

It is about being present to the natural opening and closing of the heart that, to remain in flow, must close and open without imposition.

Many times we wrong ourselves and convince ourselves that we are bad for not always being in our loving.

And when we do, we miss the opportunity to inquire within… 

What do I need to nourish myself so that I can love more? 

What thoughts and behaviors can I let go that block me from being in my loving? 

What can I forgive of another so that I can love more freely?

For the answers to these questions lead us back to loving love for love’s sake.

In the end, to embody love is a practice of continuously engaging in the cycle of acceptance, presence, forgiveness, and open-heartedness with ourselves.

Loving you,

Jacqueline

Sacred Sexuality + More Heart Space in Your Sex Life

While modern religions have defined sacred and spiritual as being separate from the body, from nature, and certainly from sex, the ancient the roots of our language and history imply something quite different. 

Our collective history suggests that at one time there was a sacred nature to sex. 

Given the shifts in our current culture and news headlines, now is the time to reacquaint ourselves with this ancient wisdom.

Sacred is defined as that which is made or declared holy, revered, blessed, holy.   

Sacred is also understood differently by varying cultures. 

One example of this is how in many indigenous cultures, the concept of sacred is one of relationship—based on reciprocity and connection—rather than dogma or popular opinion. 

In these native cultures, humans, animals, plants, including Mother Earth herself, are considered sacred because everything and everyone are seen as an essential part of the Whole of creation.  Therefore, every living creature is recognized as inherently sacred because  each is part of the interconnected web of ecology and energy that births, sustains and carries life.

Sacred Sexuality is an essential part of many spiritual traditions and cultures.

Sacred sexuality implies an awareness that sex is the inception of life, of all that is, a powerful connection to Divine energy. 

It is no coincidence then that the word sacrum is also the anatomical term for the triangular bone at the base of the spine—the very place that Tantric traditions say is the seat of the sleeping kundalini or Shakti energy. 

When aroused through practice (e.g. yoga, dancing, hip circles, hip thrusts), the kundalini rises up the spine to awaken the spiritual centers in the brain—the place where many of our habitual mindless chatter also resides.  And when empty, the place where we connect to Source.  

And, here is where it is important to remember that without the sexual act, most of us would not be here. 

Sacred Sexuality therefore acknowledges that our life force and our sexual energy originate from the same source.  Once does not exist without the other, at least not for very long. 

Sex is sacred because of its role in bonding, connection, and staying present.

Mutually satisfying sexual exchanges naturally intensify bonding between people.  Of course, sex can take place without bonding.

But, if we are not careful and habitually have sex without bonding, without connection, this can eventually lead to heart closure or not seeing our partner as an equal in the relationship with equally important needs and desires.

Sex opens the heart only if we bring the energy up and we access our heart space.

The Tantric attitudes of slowing down, awakening all of the senses, tuning into subtle energy, letting go of judgment and blame, expressing gratitude for the gift of life, and savoring the present moment are wonderfully supportive tools for intimate relating.

When we take the time to remind ourselves of what we are really trying to create with our lovers, we become more conscious of the need to connect and create greater intimacy of the heart space. 

We attune and notice the nuances of our partner and co-create with them a safe space to talk about what we want and, as equally important, what we do not want. 

Sex then becomes more than the chase of the orgasm or performance. 

Sex becomes the vehicle with which all partners use their channels for pleasure to connect with themselves and their partner. 

This is how sex becomes sacred again because it expands our state of consciousness—we are fully present to the here and now in our own body and in that of our partner. 

Sex is sacred because of its role in accessing peak experiences of love, oneness, and healing.

Humans have an innate need for peak experiences of bliss, merging, and ecstasy. 

We also  have a deep longing for union with the Divine.

When we access expanded states of consciousness through sex, we validate our intuitive sense that sex can be worship and that worship can be erotic.

There’s a reason why in many moments of pleasure and orgasm,  the words that are moaned most often is “oh my God!”

Sensuality is the embodied alignment of body-heart-mind-spirit.

Sacred Sensuality integrates our personality, our soul, and our human nature.  How we relate to our world, ourselves, and others is done through the innate sensual body.

The paths of Erotic Spirituality teaches us to embrace and honor the body as a temple of Spirit, rather than trying to deny our natural sexual impulses. 

And when we begin to recognize our own body as a temple for the Divine, we also begin to see our partners through the same loving lens.

Because when we open our hearts to our own divine, sacred nature, we can then do the same for others.

How to Create More Heart Space in Your Sex Life
  1. Leave all judgments at the door… actually leave them at the curb.  There’s no room for any of it in the heart space.  When we focus on lack or what we are not getting, we are literally closing the heart space which makes it difficult to create and maintain connection.
  2. B-R-E-A-T-H-E. Sounds silly, but, yes, breathe!  It’s not about deep breaths to your pelvic floor (although that may help too, more on this in another blog).  Breathing is essential for us to relax, for the body to remain open and present. The more we hold the breath, the more the body tightens, the more the brain focuses on silly chatter leaving the heart to eventually close.  Breathe.  Focus on filling your belly and emptying.  See how it relaxes you and welcomes more softness to the front side of the torso. 
  3. Our NO is more important than our YES. The greatest lesson in any Tantra practice is knowing your “NO’s” because when you know them and express them, your “YES” is more heartfelt and genuine.  When we agree to something out of default, our body gets tense, and  so does our heart.  And, on the flip side….
  4. Listen… especially to your partner’s “NO’s.” Do not question, invalidate, minimize, or contradict any NO’s.  When you do, you are not present, you are not in your heart, and above all, you are no longer safe to your partner which always results in heart closure.
  5. Slow down.  Look at each other.  There’s a reason why most Tantric practices begin with Eye Gazing (aka Soul Gazing).  It gives us a chance to really see our lovers, feel their energy, and notice what feels good or not.

And, remember… this is a practice. not an event.

Most of did not get a chance to learn about sexuality in a sacred, holistic way.  So practice, be curious… and lead with the heart.

Love,

Jacqueline

How My Heart Cracked Wide Open

If you have spent time with me or have read previous blogs, you know that I am a HUGE believer that all relationships—no matter how big or seemingly insignificantly—present themselves for our highest good.

Sometimes relationships reflect the parts that are difficult to accept or where we need the most healing.  Others reflect the parts that are admirable in others and that have yet to be uncovered in ourselves.

And, then there are the ones that remind us that we are indeed magical, brilliant beings.

This was exactly my experience when I met Cracker.

 

 

 

 

My beautiful friend Kate, an equine coach, invited me to come visit her and Cracker.

 

 

 

In many traditions, the HORSE is seen as a shaman having special medicinal and intuitive abilities healing illness or dis-ease at the soul level. 

 

Shamans gain insight or vision from working with the energies of nature such as rocks, trees, the wind, the land, and they gain knowledge from working with the spirits of animals and humans, particularly our ancestors who have transcended into the higher realms. For the shaman, everything is alive and holds wisdom.

In our first few minutes together, both Cracker and I were curious of each other.  I petted him and walked the pen.  Keenly aware that he was “seeing” me without coming too close.  Looking back, he was waiting for the moment when I was ready to receive his gift.

Horses have a deep connection to compassionate, nonjudgmental understanding.

Using their gentle and powerful presence, horses help people heal by holding sacred space for us to explore and find freedom from the constraints of our own stories and beliefs.  And, as ancient tales share, horses possess the power of Divination and clairvoyance which enables them to gift humans healing from what we cannot quite perceive.

 

Then suddenly without much warning, but with much gentleness and grace, Cracker came face-to-face with me.  He looked deeply into my eyes and began to breath into my heart space.

Have you ever looked into the liquid eye of a horse?  Magic and ancient wisdom resides there.

He began to lightly nudge me and breathing deeper over my heart, face, and eventually bowing in front of me.  He even stopped at my previously injured hip – an injury that occurred so long ago, but still pains me from time to time.

In order to communicate with the spirit or consciousness of others, a shaman will shift his/her own state of awareness through meditation or repetitive sounds such as that of a drum or rattle. Cracker used his breath like a drum.  Each exhale and inhale lulling my body into a deeper state of relaxation.

Tremendous energy simultaneously lifted and ascended.  Like a potent Shaman, Cracker lifted the heaviness that surrounded my heart and breathed in exquisite light into the tender places.

The closest word that expresses this experience is pure BLISS. 

He continued to make cribbing noises at my heart while looking into my eyes.  Continuously breathing in a rhythm that reminded me of the ceremonial rattle that I have used numerous times to bless my own clients.

It was beautiful, peaceful, and even though we were outdoors surrounded by other horses and animals, it was extraordinarily serene.  My body felt so light.  My heart cracked wide open.

 

My heart has remained open and I continue to feel the subtle nuances of the energies that surround me. 

It’s been a few weeks since my time with Cracker.  My eyes fill with tears every time I think of my time with him.  The resonance of that moment has stayed deeply within me.

Thank you, Cracker!  Thank you for your gift.  Thank you for cracking my heart WIDE OPEN!

 

Love,

Jacqueline

 

PS…. Wanna meet Cracker and see what gifts he has for you?  Join him, Katie, and
me on March 25th.  Here’s the link,
or check out the information below.

The Dirty Little F Word Required for a Great Valentine’s

V-Day is here!

Love is in the air… may be…

I keep seeing posts and blogs about being “so over Valentine’s Day.” 

Now I don’t necessarily buy into the fanfare, Hallmark cards, and candy.  But, I am also reminded that as humans, we are programmed to connect, love and be loved.

So to ignore or minimize this very human need on a day that is focused on celebrating LOVE, is missing the opportunity to celebrate who we are on a core soul level. 

In last week’s post, I wrote about Self-Love being the most important ingredient in any hot and sexy love affair.  And, it’s true.

I truly believe and know that only when we are truly in alignment with our own beautiful spirit, can we completely and authentically give and receive real love.

If you aren’t sure where to start with Self-Love, my encouragement to read last week’s blog (click here).

Amidst lovers and loving, perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves is learning how to fully accept and love ourselves.

Today I extend two invitations….

One, to inquire on how you share your loving with others in a way that is meaningful to them and to you.  Not based on what you might get back from being loving and a lover, but as a reflection of the depth of your self-loving.

Because when we love ourselves first, we can then give, serve, and love without expectations making our well of love suddenly bottomless.

Two, to practice inquiry on how you may be keeping yourself from experiencing and sharing the depth of your loving.  The possibility that loneliness, sadness, resentment, grief, and upset are ways to keep yourself, safe in a way, from experiencing the freedom love has for you.

Because romantic love is only one flavor in the rich palette that is LOVE.

I know that for many this day can be quite painful, especially for those in grief or longing.

For me Valentine’s Day can and has been bittersweet.

As a child, my beloved dad would surprise my sister and I with Valentine’s gifts every year.  It was always such a joy to find his tokens awaiting our arrival from school.  His gesture of love never requiring a thank you.

For many years after he passed,  my missing him kept me from celebrating love on this day.  The turn-key happened when I recognized how my grief kept me restricted and constricted in an effort to avoid feeling pain again.  Allowing myself to feel the sadness and the pain, and feel it all the way, set me free.  Free to celebrate his legacy of love that still exists in me on this day and everyday.

 If you’re longing for what has yet to arrive, can today be the beginning of releasing needless suffering giving way to nourishing yourself as an unselfish lover does?

And, if you are a partner in a relationship that may not feel so great, consider the invitation to love despite the imperfections of you and your partner without attachment to any particular outcome.

Now I haven’t forgotten about the required word for a great Valentine’s…. helping lovers love loving hot and sexy together.

Lovers loving love hot and sexy together happens when we are willing to engage in one big dirty F word….

FORGIVENESS

Nothing kills romantic love and dims erotic spark like our fanning the flames of resentment, bitterness, and upset.  

Forgiving the judgments towards your partner and self.

Forgiving God for actions that may be judged as cruel.

Forgiving past lovers for they were not part of the tapestry the Universe has woven for you.  

Forgiving yourself for being human and imperfect.

Forgiving a body that changes.

Forgiving the judgement of feeling and wanting all that you do.

Forgiving, perhaps just enough, to allow yourself a different experience of yourself as a lover, acting from a place of full loving, having no attachment to getting anything back, or waiting for another to pay back an old debt.

Forgiveness sets your free to love and be loved.

Freedom to get LOVED up by LOVE…to reveal the truth about how you really LOVE.

Love cannot be owned, ended, or held captive. 

LOVE is a Being, a presence, a reflection of the truest part of your Soul.

You, the essence of LOVE LOVING LOVE fully and purely.

💕 Happy Valentine’s Day… Happy LoveBeing Day 💕

Loving you today and everyday,

Jacqueline

 

PS…Come play and discover different flavors of romantic love at next week’s Love, Intimacy & Attraction Event, info & reservation here.  It’s gonna be good 💕.

The Most Essential Ingredient for Hot and Sexy Love

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.

xoxo,

Jacqueline

The Natural Ebb and Flow of Intimacy

Intimacy…

plays an essential role in humans.  As social creatures and at the root of our humanity, is the craving for close, personal and reciprocating relationships with others.

Intimacy usually refers to mutual openness, sharing, and vulnerability.  Its lifespan can range from a single interaction to a long-term relationship of years or even decades.

It can exist in a variety of relationships spanning from close friendships to parent and child to family and even neighbors and co-workers.

But no other relationship contains the polarity of needs and interactions than that of our romantic relationships where intimacy also denotes sexual interactions because of the roles and expectations of these relationships.

Intimacy in a romantic pairing relationship is built over time.

At the beginning of a romance with hormones heightened and curiosity on overload (aka limerence which we will discuss later, so stay tuned), our attraction is high and we experience glimpses of intimacy.

New relationships might have moments of closeness, but the long-term intimacy that characterizes close personal relationships is a building process.  Because as we get comfortable and let our guard down, more of our “parts” show up and so do those of our partners.

There is also a natural, healthy ebb and flow to intimacy — a relationship might be highly intimate or be lacking in intimacy without anything triggering the rise or the fall.

The problem becomes a problem when people judge the quality of their relationships based on the depth of intimacy and the degree to which they feel close to their partner, or how they perceive their partner being intimate with them.

Then, because of previously unresolved issues, they shutdown, avoid, or run and blame their partner or circumstances for the state of the relationship.

The truth is that….

Intimacy is about being intimate with ourselves… Into-Me-I-SEE.

To create and practice real intimacy is to practice seeing into myself, recognizing old and new wants and desires, letting go of what is not really me, and then (huge here) allowing the space for my partner to do the same without wronging or taking what is being shared personally.

The reasons why infidelity occurs are many, but the common thread I have found in every couple that has sat across me, perhaps not verbatim but some version of this – I did not know how to practice intimacy with myself, so to discover and reveal parts of myself to myself, I went elsewhere. 

True intimacy requires trust and vulnerability…  and this is frightening when we are not comfortable with parts of ourselves.  We look to our partners to validate us, to make us feel accepted, to feel loved, and yet none of this matters if we cannot do it for ourselves.  

Getting emotionally naked

The healthiest and most passionate of relationships naturally have moments of high and low intimacy.   What keeps them going is that they know this and when the intimacy is low, there’s no blaming or avoiding what is happening.

Instead, they get emotionally naked.

They have the willingness to explore and then express deep sadness, hurt, fear, and love…oh, yes love!

And because they both get naked, there is no need to blame or avoid, because they recognize that when one of them disengages, it is not a sign that something is wrong, but that a new level of depth is ready to emerge.

And they seek moments where they can experience themselves differently.

Don’t get me wrong, many people struggle with intimacy, and the fear of intimacy is a common concern in therapy.

But sometimes, to allow ourselves a moment to have that spark of intimacy – to let ourselves be seen and while also having the willingness to see without intruding or pushing any agenda… so we can build from that in therapy, in quiet moments, and even in the loud ones.  (A little positive psychology always helps.)

Because contrary to popular belief, the couple who never quarrels and seems like the perfect pair is not necessarily the couple who has the greatest intimacy.

It is the couple who expresses themselves and their differences, who engage in their struggles and challenges in a constructive, honest way, who may perhaps from the outside look contradicting or too different, but who can also find ways to express their love that are truly intimate.

Want to experience a moment… perhaps that spark?

Come join The Art of Love, Intimacy, & Attraction Evenings.  An evening focused on the tending and nurturing of all your parts. Couples and Singles are invited to attend.

 

With all my love,

Jacqueline

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Blues: A Spiritual Perspective

 

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.

In loving,

Jacqueline

 

Holidays… Holy Days … Invitation to Practice Loving

 

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,

Jacqueline

“Love is holy because it is like grace – the worthiness of its object never really matters.” 
– Marilynn Robinson

 

The Gifts of Pulling Away

“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 loving
Be compassionate
Be kind to yourself.
Be honest.
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.

In loving,

Jacqueline

The Gift of Thanks-Giving

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?

I have.

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

  1. Say thank you often.  Look for opportunities to say it — particularly to those who serve you.
  2. Practice not gossiping, complaining, or judging for the day.  (You can do it!)
  3. 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.
  4. 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,

Jacqueline

More love please.

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.

Breathe.

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. 

 

So remember….

You matter.

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.

 

Love,

Jacqueline

Love trumps hate.

Many have arrived to my office this week stunned and in disbelief over the events in Charlottesville.  Some asking how to deal with the fear and anger. Others inquiring about the notion of love replacing hate.

One of the things I love about my practice is that I get to serve a multi-cultural, multi-religious, and multi-lingual population.  Many of my couples are of mixed ethnicity and even mixed religions.  Once during a women’s event, we looked around the room and experience such joy that in the circle were Christians, Catholics, Buddhist, and Muslim women of varying ages and cultures.  One woman stated, “We can teach the UN a few things.”

There is a part of me that perhaps is a bit Pollyanna always looking for the good, the silver lining in everything: darkness always leads to light and after every storm there is always calm.

I admit that given the political climate of this country, it gets a little hard at times.  Today, I sat with a knot in my stomach and tears in my eyes.  Hate spewing out of so many. The silver lining becoming dimmer at times.

Hate is defined as the intense or passionate dislike for something or someone.  Hate helps build the illusion of separation, of being different, of competition over false identities.  This mixed with prejudices and judgements can be combustible.

Love on the other hand, is having affection, love, compassion for ourselves and for every other being.  It opens us up to see the beauty in things and the good in others.  It serves as a reminder that in God’s eyes, we are all the same.  A homeless man is no better than the one living in a mansion.

Love can erase hate because if we practice love and being in our loving, we are aware of our prejudices and we are willing to be curious and inquire about them.  We question the validity, where we learned it, how it serves us, and our willingness to change it.

I for one do not believe in being colorblind.  In full transparency here… when someone tells me that they don’t see race, they don’t see color…. I gulp.  It’s natural to see the difference in others.  What is not natural is closing down our hearts because of what we assume to know because of another’s skin color, religion, culture, or ethnicity.

When we allow ourselves to be curious and inquire about our assumptions, we actually open our hearts a little more. And when we forgive ourselves and our assumptions, we elevate the whole planet. 

The alternative is ignoring our  assumptions to the point where we judge ourselves for having them.  And given that life is a mirror into ourselves, we eventually see in others what we dislike in ourselves.  We then use hate to fuel and give ourselves permission to blame those that remind us of what we do not want to see in ourselves.

So can love erase hate?

Yes… it can and it eventually will.

In the meantime, please remember that you are love, are loved, and you were made to love.  Don’t shut down or don’t push away.  Once you center yourself in this, take it to the streets. Go out and be in your loving with others.

Here I arrive at my silver lining which is remembering….

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Be the light we all need to brighten our world a little more today🌟.

 

With all my love,

Jacqueline

Our body… The Greatest Learning Instrument… Enjoy the Ride

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:

 

  1. Breathe s-l-o-w-l-y feeling every inch of your being.  Notice where the tension is. Breathe into that area.
  2. 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.
  3. 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,

Jacqueline

 

Photo by Craig Whitehead

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.