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

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

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