My Mother Hates Me and I Feel Relieved!
A good friend of mine recently wrote a social media post about saying the words “I love you” and how difficult it was for him at times to share that sentence. Thinking back, I realized that I have rarely, if ever, heard those words said out loud.
In my family, it was understood or assumed that you were loved—but those words were almost never spoken. The way love was communicated growing up was through teasing—slightly sarcastic, mildly insulting quips. Saying “I love you” directly was somehow not part of my family’s communication.
Last weekend, I went to visit my mother after not having seen her for several years. Being in her presence and having a cascade of memories go through my system brought all of my questions about love into direct focus.
My quest to find what real love is stems from my relationship to my parents and in particular my mother in this iteration. (I know: “Duh.” Right?) It may seem obvious or common—but was not so apparent to the young part that lived in me. That young part within kept trying to believe that my mother did love me.
Another friend recently wrote a post about how treating your children without warmth and care instills in them a lifetime of relationship issues, as well as confusion about love. He also just posted another piece on how our childhood trauma directly impacts our health in later life. In the Somatic Psychotherapy field, we have known this to be true for many years. Today there is a tremendous amount of information about this idea. This article from the American Academy of Pediatrics talks about the research and effects of ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences).
Yet another reminder of what I know to be true and what I myself actually teach; but somehow when it relates to ourselves, we seem to forget everything we know until it gets really loud. Sifting through the memories of my childhood, I realized in the first part of my life, that I kept thinking the lack of my mother’s love, and instead her unbridled hostility, were because of something I was doing wrong.
One of the ways we protect ourselves as children is to make virtually everything about ourselves. It’s a way of claiming power during the confusion and challenge of growing up. If we make a situation about us, we believe we can change what we are doing or how we are being and make it okay—and possibly either get the love we are looking for or, at least in my case, get out of trouble.
I spent years trying to “fix it” without much success. It was in my 36th year when I finally realized that whatever I was doing wasn’t working—and so I stopped. I stopped being afraid of a narrative that my mother would finally get fed up and 'leave' me, even though I had left home at nineteen years old.
Children can’t understand that a person who withholds love, but is supposed to care for them, may find it difficult to actually feel care. In my mother’s case, I experienced a lifetime of her limitations in expressing love or affection. From my years of therapy and training as a healer and practitioner, I thought I’d come to an understanding about what her limitations meant. I really felt that I could manage her treatment of me with compassion. I also believed I wasn't affected every time I had contact with her.
That was bullshit.
As much as we think we've dealt with our wounds in life, there will always be a little part of us that keeps hoping that, this time, it will be different—that, maybe, if we were a little less “X” or a little more “Y”, she/he/they would love and care about us.
It is in this yearning that we transfer unconscious hope onto our intimate relationships, as we try to get from our partners what we didn’t receive from our parents.
In that last visit with my mother, the little part of me finally understood that it was over: I realized, after all, that my mother actually did hate me in ways—and funnily enough, I felt relieved—that I haven’t made this whole drama up, that I could let go of that minuscule kernel of hope and instead relax into the truth, which in turn has been its own revelation.
There is so much tension tied up in our bodies trying to hold on to that tiny kernel of hope. We’ve built so many defenses around not wanting to feel the pain of the rejection (or in my case, cruelty) that was untenable to the children we once were and is untenable to our inner children now. We have created so many beliefs to protect (and at the same time, tear down) that child. It all leads to so much unfelt pain—and in my case, at this moment, an amazing amount of space.
I feel incredibly free right now—and deeply saddened. I’m saddened for all those years of fruitless trying. Saddened for that part of me that never really got the love I deserved. Saddened for my mother, who may never be able to feel how much love I had for her (or any love for that matter). Saddened for the time lost, during which I quietly believed I was unlovable and therefore somehow innately “bad.”
I see how tortured my mother is and also understand that the way she was/is, wasn’t about me, really. It was always about her own self-hate.
As for that young part within that carried hope all that time, she’s at peace right now and feeling pretty well held—happy and sad and, yet, for the most part, content.
Sharing my quest to understand love has been a vulnerable experience. I thank all of you who have kept in touch and gone with me in this discovery. I continue the journey with a clearer focus and a lot of excitement.
I now understand why I chose the picture I did for The Attraction To Love workshop I’m leading in Amsterdam this May 19–21. It always comes back to the healing of the child within that lets the love seep in.
I hope you’ll join me... 😊
It's All About The Love! Fish Or Otherwise 😎
As you can tell from video above, I am still in the inquiry of love. In my last newsletter and a subsequent Facebook live ramble (that lasted maybe a bit too long 😳 ), I've been on a quest to find what love actually is/feels like. My last newsletter asked the questions how do we know that what we are feeling is love and is it easier to give than receive? In the video above, the Rabbi talks about love and gives a great analogy about fish love.
A couple of things struck me as I watched. He says, "everyone loves themselves" as if it is a given, when, in fact, I find many people struggle with this. He also says something to the effect " you love to who you give”. This statement gave me a little bit more of an understanding of what's been going on when I have that overwhelming urge to squish up whose in front of me.
And I am still left with this question: When I give, how much is coming from love? How much comes from possible gratitude?
I have been feeling a lot of overwhelming gratitude lately, mostly grateful for being alive, which has been incredibly palpable for some reason. I'm also grateful to be able to be in this inquiry with all of you. So maybe, for me, love does have something to do with gratitude.
So my peeps, what say you? Are you in fish love or are you willing to be loved up? Do you give to who you love or love the one you give to?
Tell me about your love narrative! I'd love to hear from anyone who would like to contribute to the conversation.
Scroll down to check out my recent offerings.
A Crisis Of Love - February 18th 2017
A few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning I woke up out of a dead sleep with an incredible urgency to tell the people I cared about in my life that I loved them. You might have seen the post on Facebook with the new version of Where Is the Love. I called, emailed and messaged as many of my people as was humanly possible in the span of fifteen minutes. (I had to get to a workshop I was attending).
I thought that once I reached out the urgency would become less intense. In fact, as the day, weekend and week passed, it became stronger by the minute. I just couldn't shake the feeling that if I didn't tell someone at least once a day that I loved them, I was going to miss an opportunity or it was going to be too late.
This continued until this past Wed evening while attending my dance class. The theme of the class was dedicated to heart and vulnerability. As we were laying on our backs in this delicious, low lit red room, the teacher asked us to remember the last time we felt deeply loved and had loved deeply.
Time stopped for a minute as all the feeling of urgency welled up and crashed over me again. I started to remember all the significant relationships I had in my life from my parents onward. My breath slowed as the pain collided with the urgency and I realized as much as I had loved in my life, I had never truly felt loved. (This has dogged me for most of my adult life)
The realization was so stunning I had trouble moving in class. I saw how many times I attempted to create a space to be loved. If I'm brutally honest, I'd say that most of my relationships were predicated on doing something to get some kind of care back, all in the hope 'they' would see I had value and love me.
When I was younger it was pretty apparent that I had to 'work to be loved'. As I matured my compensation became more honed. I actually thought I had let it go when I was diagnosed three years ago. To be honest, I didn't give a shit for about a year and a half. The funny thing I learned about 'working for love' is unless you own the fear of love and how difficult it is to let in, you'll constantly go back to the love well that is empty.
In my case I think it's tied into my loving. When I feel how I love and where it come from in my body, I experience a deep fullness in my heart that's almost overwhelming. At the same time, I'm questioning my impulse to give, is it genuine and open or a symptom that hides my limitation to receive love and all that entails?
Some examples for me include exposing my vulnerability, opening to the other and feeling out of control. Being in the unknown and surrendering to myself and you, while risking the possibility of rejection and humiliation. Am I loving you in a way that continues to protect me from ever exposing how much I want to be loved?
Amazing how revisiting this place doesn't get any less painful, it's actually reminding me of my arrogance in believing I had it handled.
I don't think you ever get over wanting to be loved, even as you curate the ability to love yourself. This is part of our humanity and hopefully we (I) can own it with compassion and the tenderness it deserves.
I am now clearer as to why this exploration has hit me so deeply. I am currently preparing for the next round of the Art of Intimacy Program. In the last round, I found myself in a parallel process with the participants as we went through some of the topics. Facilitating the program brought me into a deeper awareness of my blind spots and it looks like the program, at least for me, has started a bit early... :-)
In the spirit of parallel process and inquiry, I would like to invite you to an open Zoom call tomorrow (or today if you're in Europe) Sunday Feb 19th at 2pm EST, 20:00 CET to explore this question and open further inquiry into this topic called Intimacy
If you would like to join, please register for the call here. It will be recorded and I will post it on my website lynnkreaden.com and Facebook.
If you can't make the call and would like to dive into the conversation, please get in touch.
Hope to see you tomorrow or hear from you soon!
AOI Spring Announcement & 2017 Womens March
This newsletters' original intent was to announce the upcoming launch of the second round of The Art Of Intimacy program starting this spring in Amsterdam and this coming fall in New York. As I was writing, I realized that I couldn't send this out without saying something about what is happening in this country right now. I am not a political person at all, never was, never will be. What I am is a people person and from that perspective I feel that I cannot stay silent as to what I have witnessed.
Last weekend I had the most incredible opportunity to travel to Washington, D.C and march alongside hundreds of thousands of humans determined to advocate for the love, justice and freedom we so strongly believe in. After the last 24 hours, I am overwhelmed with so many feelings. This evening at an event hosted by the Collective Sex, I heard a great new word for two of the feelings that I think we are having collectively, angry and sad. The attorney that was speaking coined the term 'Sangry', which I think about covers it for me. I also have a tremendous feeling of gratitude for the thousands of people out in the streets who are insisting to being heard.
Seeing the connection and support that has mobilized worldwide tells me that we can do anything if we are willing to come together. It is crystal clear, at least to me, that we all want the same things, to be seen, acknowledged, heard, supported and loved. We want to know that others will stand up for us if we are unable to do so ourselves, and with us, because they believe we deserve the same treatment that is our inalienable right. To be treated equally, with compassion, respect and human decency.
We want to know that others care what happens to us and that we matter, We want to feel that we are included and appreciated because of our differences not 'in spite' of our differences. We want to know that at the end of the day we will all be ok.
Right now, I choose to be in awe of the fierce love and support I have seen and the unbelievable goodness of most of the human race.
And I'm scared, like really scared. I have a pre-existing condition that could affect my healthcare and one of my best friends is Muslim. Right now it feels as if we are pushing a rock uphill. It is scary as fuck and look at what we've accomplished because we stood together and refused to back down.
Clearly, this is not over, and it's not going to be easy. I deeply believe though, that we will prevail as we continue to be the change that needs to happen. We get to support each other loudly and passionately. We get to see that we are more than the sum of our parts. We get to stand in solidarity with all who have been marginalized, disenfranchised and treated without respect. We get to say, unequivocally, NEVER AGAIN!
So, my peeps! My boots are still on and my pussy hat is at the ready! I'm in for the long haul ~ let's do this!
And to the awesome Dutch! YAY YOU! Thank you. Thank you for your hysterical video and thank you for stepping up when our government faltered.
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
As always....Allons Y!
#WhyIMarch #NoMuslimBan #NoBanNoWalls #StandWithRefugees
2016: The Year the Music Died
Last year saw the shocking loss of so many musicians that were the sound track of my early life: David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, George Michael, Leon Russell, Glenn Frye and Keith Emerson. I also need to mention Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds; their death was the stunning culmination to the year 2016, which I am dubbing “the year the music died”.
This prompted my year-in-review, as the losses brought home to me how much we live in the unknown. It made me aware of how fast time moves and how quickly things change.
For me personally, it was a year of openings, possibilities and tremendous movement. It was also the year of watching structures I thought were impermeable, crumble.
This past year, I was in Europe three times and in six different countries within a seven- week period. I launched the Art Of Intimacy Program, which was the first time I taught something that was totally created by what was inside of me instead of what was coming from the outside.
I met some amazing people whom I feel privileged to have in my life. I found a place that fed me, rather than drained me. I realized that life was not going to live me, what I needed was to live it.
Here are my take-a-ways from 2016:
- Surrendering to yourself kicks ass! Surrendering to another is scary as fuck and totally worth it!
- Every time you’re attracted to someone, your child consciousness is the first responder. Understanding this will change your world.
- Vulnerability is the currency of your soul. Bank that shit and you will be taken to unimaginable places.
- Adulting is hard work.
- The Mona Lisa. That. Is. All.
- Being held while holding others, feels delicious.
- Fear has a smell.
- I am still hot as fuck! (bears repeating)
- Protesting and breaking my friend outta jail, kinda rocks!
As I look back, I am amazed by the amount of change this last year brought. It feels like yesterday I was packing for my first trip to Europe after chemo. It’s been almost three years since my diagnosis, which I am now calling ‘The Great Turning” or “How I Got My Shit Together To Not Give One More Fuck!” Which is a total relief and highly recommended!
So far, 2017 seems like it will be my ‘fuck it” year. “Fuck it” because you have no more time to waste and as a friend said to me today, “fuck it” totally with all of your being!
In the wake of so many life-changing events this past year, I think it’s time to be intentionally bold. To take no shit and get to get your boots out, because we are marching people! We are marching!
INTIMACY (in-tuh-muh-see) "into me, you see"
Not One Fuck Given!
Usually when we say "intimacy", we think of sex. But without a deeper understanding of what intimacy truly means, connection — with others, but most importantly, with ourselves — is lost. And without a conscious, embodied experience of self-and other-intimacy, sexuality and sensuality can feel at times, dissatisfying and disconnected. Schools of body psychology, spirituality and energy consistently teach that sexuality and life force — our joy, our vitality, our success, our engagement with life, — are intricately linked.
Opening to conscious, body-centered connection with ourselves is usually a journey of rediscovery. Typically we retreat into behavior patterns learnt early in life that we hold in our bodies' tissue. Unraveling these patterns can be a challenging process — as well as the most freeing decision you can make. Imagine what it could feel like to reclaim your full sense of self, while experiencing how delicious life can truly be. Intimacy is the doorway that leads you into a more deeply felt life.
My work's overarching theme is Intimacy. People sometimes think that when you have sex, intimacy is a given. That isn't necessarily true. You can fuck without showing your vulnerability and heart, quite easily. In subtle or overt ways, you may gloss over a self-boundary in the heat of the moment. This can create a space where unwanted touch (given its flavor, pace, or disconnectedness) becomes something you just “get over” or tolerate.
How many times in your life have you been touched without your full consent, regardless of gender?
When you are not in touch with your full invitation that comes from deep inside your being, you essentially give yourself away. And this pattern speaks to all areas of your life—not just intimate relationships. (This element is particularly critical for women, since many of us actually “invite” our partner physically into our bodies.)
For men, (of any orientation) the practice is about staying present while being willing to surrender your cock over to your partner, while touching them with your heart in your hands.
The practice for both partners is actually learning how to wait: to wait for yourself and all your parts, inside and out, to be a full “Yes!”, as well as attuning to your partner and “waiting” (giving space) for their full “Yes”. This is a delicate balance that requires exquisite “whole-being listening skills”—skills that you first need to master for yourself and then in relationship with others.
Join me in discovering how exquisite intimacy can feel. Explore workshops and training's, my blog writings, and client testimonials. I look forward to connecting with you.
This picture was taken of me almost year and a half ago just outside of Berlin. I shared it once with the incredible women in my Erotic Goddess Community last November when I was mired deeply in self-recrimination. I had just finished chemo about two to three weeks prior. So this scene was the first of many vulnerable steps I was about to take, knowing very little what I was stepping into.
And so I moved into those freezing waters. They were invigorating and enlivening and helped me feel my body fully. This also marked the beginning of a healing odyssey that took me into a process of finding what actually "lived me", now as opposed to then.
I share this picture for many reasons. I have noticed that every time I start spiraling into an old pattern of negative self-talk and fear, somehow this picture shows up by happenstance, on whatever device I am using at the time, for no apparent reason. Is that the Universe speaking or a glitch in my Apple products?!?
As this New Year starts, I have a renewed sense of purpose and a deeper sense of WTF-ness. I am no longer willing to hide myself and how vulnerable I feel every single day. The way I pretend that my aging body and fading memory is a joke that is rooted in a reality I have been unwilling to face. I find myself at times walking past mirrors wondering how the hell my mother showed up in the room without my noticing. I see how afraid I am of being irrelevant and "past my prime" as I step into closer relationship with all the millennials I've met and danced with in these last few years.
Everything that I've said here I have heard over and over again from women who have reached a certain time in life and feel that, somehow, they have become invisible. We live in a youth-oriented society. I wonder if it's that we start buying into society's belief that we don't matter or whether we have lost our edge, as our bodies start to show signs of aging.
So, with cellulite flying, I commit to keep on walking, naked into the unknown, determined, vulnerable, and exhilarated! I invite you to walk naked beside me and the other humans in your life as well. I find that the more I "let show and let go" of whatever holds me back, including my feelings of shame, inadequacy, and terror, the more I can walk through life not giving one more fuck about anything except taking that one more step.
I am marking a new start in my life that I'd been reluctant to step into for different reasons, the most prominent being the feeling that I am "not quite there", not quite professional enough, not quite open-hearted enough, not quite smart enough, not quite [___] enough. I know we all have that "not quite enough-ness" part that speaks quietly but oh so insistently within us -- that voice that keeps us from knowing our gifts and stymies our ability to take in our greatness.
It's that voice that stops us from breathing.
What I have discovered in the last several months is that there is a space in-between, where the voice whispers and the breath gets suspended, that is connected to our desire to separate and/or connect. In truth, our desire to separate is in equal measure to our desire to connect. In reading many spiritual teachings, most say we come from a unitive space, where we are connected through time and space. If we believe that to be true, then it follows that our experience in our bodies, throughout our life, is an innate exploration of being separate as well as an incessant quest for connection.
In all the communities I have been in and am still connected to, I've observed some sense of judgment that separation is "bad" and needs to be constantly "worked on" and that connection is the ultimate goal and is "good". In some cases, resistance can be quite strong to accept separation as a space that has a right to exist as much as connection does.
What if, instead of judging our automatic response of separating as something that needs to be overcome, we actually gave it permission to "be" in its own space -- if we accepted our desire to separate as a natural evolutionary response that lives within us and that, throughout our life, will never really go away, no matter how hard we work at it?
What do you think could happen if we gave the desire to separate some space to breathe and let it learn how to dance with the part of us that does want to connect? Can you feel the possibilities and space that opens up even with the thought, "Separation is not bad"? Paradoxically, we can be separate and still be in connection; if we look at our lives, from birth until death, we are separate and connected. It just depends on where our attention goes, whether to our heart or our negative self-talk.
In my recent experience, I have found that giving space to my desire to separate, without reservation, has opened up a new awareness of how much limitless space is available to just breathe.
The Spirit That Moves You
Spirituality can be a loaded concept, depending on where you land, how you were brought up and what kind of images you have attached to. For instance, it can bring up notions of organized religion and belief systems, ideas of right and wrong, good or bad, or, at least in my world, ” enlightened or unenlightened”, awake or conscious, the question of who or what to follow (we all follow something, even if it’s an idea that speaks to us), and of course, whether to follow a leader or guru in any kind of spiritual school or personal-development method.
It’s all in your head
Last year, I attended an international event at the Venwoude retreat center in Holland with over a hundred others, many of them practitioners. The festival theme was “spirituality and sex”.
The people who lived and worked at the center were steeped in knowledge of how the body plays a pivotal role in any spiritual practice. Many of the attendees had some bodywork experience, and some had spirituality practices of their own. They were very willing to be taken through a powerful body-practice session that I had been invited to lead.
That experiential evening was very much about the “in-between” space where Spirit and Eros meet, which was the foundation of the teachings throughout the week. We went through an odyssey of experience, from fun movement and connection, into riding the edge of pain/pleasure, into deeper heart connection where they realized they needed each other and are “in it” together, and into a body-felt experience of bliss where the delicious lives, in the “in-between”. (For more on this, read my article on The “D spot”.)
What I observed, which was fascinating to me, was that even though they knew on some level that the body needs to be involved, for many people, the union of spirituality and sexuality was still a heady concept — too much of an idea and not enough of a visceral experience.
But do you feel it?
In other words, spiritual concepts — personal development, personal evolution, union, transcendence, even when related to concepts like sexuality — can at times be too easily cerebral. They become ideas that people use to gauge if they’re ok, on the right path, evolving, going somewhere — anywhere, except where they could be in the moment of actual experience. When you’re in the chase rather than in the moment, the depth of feeling that can reverberate through your body, of your personal truth in any evolutionary practice, goes out the window. Whatever practice or path you embark upon needs to come back into your body and connect to your own particular experience to have a lasting impact in your life. We need a felt sense-awareness to be able to track back to our truth when it goes missing, since life keeps coming towards us at an unbelievable pace; it’s just too difficult to stay grounded in an idea if it’s not embodied, which means one has to experience it physically, not just cerebrally.
The mystics had it right
Certain spiritual mystics understood this. Individuals like Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Hafez and Rumi communed directly with what they personally experienced as The Divine. They didn’t have “spirituality” as a brand or concept, as we do here in the West. They didn’t attend lectures, get certifications, go to endless workshops or trainings. From where I’m sitting, it seems they rarely looked outside of themselves for the ultimate truths and instead opened to where and how the deepest truths landed within their own bodily experiences of union and pleasure. I’m not sure how they got there.
Most people I know have something that they “do”, whether a daily, weekly or monthly practice. I believe you need to explore various avenues into your felt experience. What I am noticing is that when the quest becomes perpetual — always looking for some external validation or looking to answer a non-grounded sense of “self-in-spirituality” — it can be difficult to manifest a “larger you” in your life. It becomes too easy to achieve “spiritual by-pass”. When you tap into larger truths without their grounding you in your actual day-to-day life, your spirituality never fully manifests in you, your sexuality, your passion for living or your own individual spark.
Dance your own prayer
As we come to understand this — in our bodies as well as our minds — the chasing of spiritual experiences and validation for the short-term material gratification that we think will make us happy starts to lose its shine. Spiritual experiences and learning in themselves can be fantastic, but as long as we’re chasing after something external, a personal quest can be akin to jonesing for that “hit”. This is about a lived sense of something that moves from within, outward in your life. The mystics knew that this “something” is powerful and exquisitely delicious. It has a quiet depth and is a potent source of aliveness.
I invite you to tease this concept open and discover within your own awareness into the Truth of the Body. You just might find that your ceaseless quest becomes far less interesting than a deeper awareness of…..You.
Intimacy in a Digital World
In New York, I constantly observe people out with each other being on their phones much of the time. It seems we're spending an inordinate amount of time posting about our lives on FB, or rather a version of our lives on Facebook, rather than being in an actual life. Even on festive occasions, we're more plugged in, than tuned in to those around us.
I myself am guilty of frittering away my time like this. It feels a bit like the addiction I had to cocaine when I was in my early 20s, where I would need to take one more hit. These days, in FB-equivalent terms, I scroll down one more time, click on one more cat, dog, dance, or awareness video for two more minutes, to see how people live in the FB world and wonder how the fuck I've become so uninspired that I'm sitting on my couch watching my life go by in other people's posts.
My curiosity was piqued by articles like This is how we date now (that, yes, I shared via Facebook) that speaks to some of what our dating culture has become and the pulse of the times regarding finding love and what we truly want. My FB rant is actually about how we are relating in real, person-to-person time, or not actually relating, as the case may be. We seem to be cyber-relating instead of interrelating, even though touch and contact are essential to survival. I wonder, if we don't turn back towards each other, how this will turn out in the long run.
We have become, in the last 15 years or so, click-happy, swipe-happy, text-crazed, Instagramming, Tweeting, cyber-relationship-searching fiends. We're now people looking to find love, contact and true intimacy through a computer screen or smartphone . With this has come a new tendency to "throw away people", because the next swipe might be better-something a bit demoralizing, at least in my experience. We decide whom we'll date within 179 characters or less. I know people who have met the love of their life this way but mostly, I see despair, hopelessness and low self-esteem in the relationship cyber-world.
What happened? When did swiping left or right become the way we decide who's interesting and datable? ? How did texting become the number-one way we communicate? How can we learn true intimacy in a culture that relegates relationships to our smartphones? With all this amazing technology, I feel we have become instant-gratification seekers; if we don't have a desired answer within five minutes, we move on to the next thing or person.
But don't we all really want a love that is connected, deep and full of anticipation? Slow movement and plenty of space to allow relationship to build? I realize that searching for connection is an automatic outward movement rather than inward, which seems fulfilling in the short term but isn't what we are really looking for. I'm finding that contact, authentic truth and intimacy get strangled if we keep on looking for the next best thing rather than exploring what's right in front of us in real time rather than cyber-time.
For me, relationships are about our own self-growth, opening into our vulnerability, learning how to stay in the ecstatic and painful feelings both, while exploring how we give and receive love and compassion and experience tenderness. This includes opening up to our gifts-and darkness-in service of examining and accepting all of our nuances.
I'm also aware of how people assign "chemistry" and "attraction" onto the other person. In my experience, I can turn myself on and off. The decision to be attracted and have chemistry comes from inside us. All the factors in our history, our relationship patterns, attachment styles, longing, society norms and whatever else we throw in for good measure speak to how we relate. As I've gotten older and my libido has shifted, so has my "chemistry pattern". To truly know the other, to even see who is in front of us, we need to be in contact with ourselves and our desire, as well our ability to slow down to find out what we need and want instead of disposing of someone so quickly because they're might be someone better in the next swipe.
Instincts. Intuition. Feelings. Call and response. For me these are some of the tenets of interplay when moving towards one another. It's more difficult to feel ourselves if our attention is consistently taken by the next swipe or click and not who's in front of us. We are here on this planet for such a short time. Do we want to miss out on all the deliciousness of personal contact, touch, receiving and being seen in favor of the fleeting gratification of a short text and an emoticon?
I will leave you to consider all this with these questions:
How do we slow down and discover how we love? In this cyberdating and cyberrelating world, are we willing to explore each other in moment-to-moment snail-time, to uncover what intimacy truly means?
24 & 1/2 things I've learned since my diagnosis
I found out on February 9th, 2014...
Just the day before, I had facilitated a workshop delving into the feminine with sixteen delicious, eclectic and fierce women. It was called "Come As You Are", and during that play date, we danced, laughed, cried, fought and loved in a room full of heart, sex, desire, pain and a deep sense of sisterhood.
I've made a career of working with women in all kinds of settings and for many different reasons, mostly around helping them find their depth, deliciousness and desirability through reclaiming their sexuality.
My first experience with breast cancer was when I was 34 years old. One of my closest friends died within a six-month period from the disease. Working with women these many years, I have seen many who have fought breast cancer; so I had a better-than-average understanding of what I was facing, and I understood (or so I thought) the fallout of how this disease impacts women, on so many levels.
In facing the challenge I had helped many others through, I found that none of my work could have fully prepared me for this experience. I was overwhelmed, scared and felt lost from my center. I found that my struggle was between feeling that I should somehow know how to handle this and facing the reality that I had absolutely no clue. Trying to control something that is not even remotely controllable brought me to my knees in such an amazing way.
I found the wisdom of all those women whom I held through their struggle, who were now in a sense holding me as I walked this path. As I stepped into the fragility of life, I discovered a wellspring of vulnerability that was incredibly sensuous. And the more I embraced the feeling of fragility, the deeper I sank into that vulnerability. This has brought a profound sense of relief--an ironic relief, actually, in not knowing. In becoming intimate with the inescapable, I've found a new doorway into surrendering into the unknown.
In this place of surrender, I've experienced many "A-ha!" moments. I share some of these below:
- Fear is my friend (my life mantra).
- Just take the next step.
- Losing your hair everywhere is smokin' hot.
- Dance your ass off; if you can't feel your feet, shake whatever you can. Just keep moving.
- Music is dope; literally.
- People show up how and when they can; suck up the love, how and when it's available.
- Trying to tan your head so it matches your face? Fun, but futile.
- Touch is essential; contact, nonnegotiable.
- Sexy is a feeling. Cancer can't take that away; only you can.
- Driving with all the windows open and the music blasting--without any hair drama--awesome!
- Even though they say "small", there is no such thing as a small anything when cancer is in the sentence.
- Let yourself feel crazy. Trying to hold it together hinders your ability to process all your feelings.
- You have time; you don't have to take the first option given to you. Breathe, and ask questions
- It's okay to want your mother--even if she's not available to support you.
- Taking in (receiving) is vulnerable, especially when it's "do or die".
- When you go down, let yourself stay down. Trying to push through makes it worse.
- Ask for help. It's good practice.
- THC rocks!
- Take inspiration from wherever you find it. Kermit the Frog comes to mind.
- You find peace in the most unexpected places.
- Loneliness is when you leave yourself.
- Love finds you.
- Sexuality and sensuality are imperative; disconnecting from them, crazy-making.
- You won't be miserable giving up sugar. And..
24-1/2. Finding a deeper relationship to your fear when you hear the words, "We need to stop treatment"...
Six months after my diagnosis, and now, facing the sudden and unexpected ending of treatment in these last few weeks, I find myself in a very different space than before cancer my treatment was terminated halfway through due to many side-effects. So the journey into the unknown continues.....
In this moment I have found a deep appreciation for being "in the day"--having space to let go of almost everything that was previously driving me in my life--especially to succeed, and especially around my business. Living life trying to be special, as an action (rather than knowing you are unique) is exhausting. For me, giving that effort up on most days has been truly liberating. Getting closer to my heart and seeing--again and again and again--that connection rules, not stuff, has been the bomb; stuff doesn't go with you when you leave. The love does.
I put a quotation on my fridge today by the Dali Lama. When asked what surprised him the most about humanity, he answered:
"Man--because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he were never going to die, and then dies having never really lived."
With that in mind, as in the picture that opens this newsletter, today I am choosing to Go Live...