I picked my friend up from the airport. He’d flown in to comfort me after my divorce. On the drive back to my house, I bitched to him about the shitty dates I’d had since being newly single. As always, he listened and offered his empathy in a gracious way.
We’d been friends for nearly two years, strictly platonic. Our connection was very honest, real, and held back no punches when need be. So it came to my immense surprise when we shared our first kiss later that same day of his arrival.
It wasn’t only a kiss. It was the cosmos opening up and infusing both of us with profound awe and deep awareness. However, it would still be a few weeks before we fully surrendered to the fact that we had truly met our match.
That was ten years ago.
We’ve had a huge journey. Many ups and downs and all-arounds. Yet what remains very true is that we cherish our evolutionary relationship, one where our love isn’t only devotional towards one another, but equally offered up as a devotion to love itself.
I share my story here because there are few living examples of what evolutionary love looks like—one where we feel seen intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually. It is from this place of embodied experience that I wish to share my stance on love.
Love is a calling.
To desire intimate relationship is a profound yearning for many of us. It’s one that can feel deeply vulnerable to admit to, whether we are single or partnered.
The call to love cannot be ignored. For some, it can actually be an obsession. I have many friends who, in their pursuit of this desire, feel thread-bare and wrung-out. et they still prevail, because the calling is stronger than the disappointment.
Love will ask everything of us.
When love does come, at first it plays a little trick on us. We are infused with PEA—the in-love hormone—and see life and our new partner with rose-colored glasses. It’s similar to how nature creates uber-cute babies as a preventative measure against the massive stress that new parents will face. We can only see the beauty in our partner in this phase, yet fairly quickly in, we must face the initiatory gate of love: all that is within us will need to be loved into wholeness, lest it interferes with the relationship.
This doesn’t mean that we need to be all sorted. In fact, I doubt we ever get to a place of ‘being sorted’. Instead, we have the opportunity to turn some of our awareness inwardly to address all the parts of us that yearn to be loved. It’s as though those unloved parts say: Oh good, love is in the house; maybe now we have a chance to be integrated.
We yearn for love, and we fear love. We know it’s the best thing ever and the most terrifying. Because of love, we can no longer hide in our patterns and habits. We must evolve.
This is why ‘normal’ relationships don’t work. We believe that our partner will change (into the potential we sense within them), and they don’t, while they believe that we will never change, and we do.
To love is to respect.
The word ‘love’ is confusing, since there seem to be a million and one ways to interpret it. So I prefer to use the word ‘respect’. If we say we love someone but don’t respect them, then we do not love them. We may have affection for them, but it’s not love. The same holds true towards ourselves. To love is to respect.
This is where ‘evolutionary’ relationship comes in. It’s the truth of the connection now, as well as the truth of the evolution of both individuals and their relationship. To evolve with another requires, at its foundation, respect. Without it, there’s no tenacity.
Love can be hijacked.
Love is one of the predominant inquiries of most of the women who train with me, and through hearing thousands of stories and questions about love, it has become clear to me that the pure impulse for love is often hijacked by social mandates and ideals about love.
It’s not uncommon for women to have long bullet-point lists about their perfect partner—an ideal that no human could live up to. Yet it’s not as common to understand the gifts we are bringing to a relationship, as well as what is and isn’t negotiable for us.
Most of us have learned about love by the way our parents loved each other. Let’s call that our first imprint of love. More often than not, we will choose the kind of love that resembles or is in complete opposition to what we learned. It isn’t until we separate out all the ideals and ideas of others on the topic of love that we will come face-to-face with what love truly means for us.
When we do this, we start to be more confident in our ability to create and participate in an evolutionary relationship. And when we love like this, not only do we change for the better, but our love also serves both those closest to us and our communities.
If love is in your heart, and you desire to create an evolutionary relationship, you’re invited to join my Song of Love – Creating An Evolutionary Relationship training. Click HERE to find out more! Because love is so individual, it would be fantastic to read your thoughts on the topic in the comment section below.
To magnify our rising guilt, we become unpleasantly aware of that the beauty standards which we are immersed in haven’t miraculously shifted to include our new-found holiday fluff-factor. Actually, those impending standards suddenly appear even less attainable than before.
This double standard of you-are-free-to-indulge-all-you-want-so-why-not mixed with you-must-look-like-a-supermodel-or-else-you-won’t-be-lovable is a tough one to wrestle with, because behind this pendulum we find the presence of shame. When shame comes to the party, dissociation and numbing behaviors tend to follow suit. So of course, after all of this, our bodies protest and shut down. The real question is: What can we do about this right now?
Feeling bloated, tired, cranky and disheartened is not fun. The good news is, these states can be changed. Our bodies want to feel vibrant, balanced, joyous and creative, so how can we get there?
3 Steps To Igniting Body Confidence:
1. She’s a three year old. Yep. Our bodies are like kids. They love to play, to move, to be snuggled, to enjoy treats, and most importantly, to be adored. When we criticize or scold our body, she shuts down. The best way to counter negative self-talk is to come up with five reasons we love our body for every negative comment. Love your body like she’s your favorite three year old!
2. Occupying space. As odd as this seems, the more we can fully be in our body and also claim our physical space, the more our body can relax. Relaxation supports all the systems in our body to function more optimally. For some of us, this can be a foreign experience, so it’s best to start with baby steps. We can practice just noticing one part of our body for even just a few minutes per day. Each day, moving our awareness to a new part of our body will slowly lead us to have a more embodied experience of ourselves. Notice where you are in space and how much you are filling your personal space.
3. Listen with curiosity. All the yucky ways (and pleasurable ways) we feel speaks to having a dynamic relationship with ourselves. We can do this by noticing how we feel after we eat or drink something. If we feel more alive and energized (and sensual), then we know we are giving our body what she needs. However, if we feel more tired, cranky, or shutdown, then the ‘juice isn’t worth the squeeze’—whatever it might be, it’s not enhancing our vitality and it’s best to avoid it in the future. Practice hearing, deciphering, and following your body’s messages.
To feel good in our body, we actually need to give our body what she needs to thrive. These are simple things: enough rest, exercise, good nutrition, fresh air, and pleasure (yes, pleasure is key to maintaining our ideal weight, for example).
And this is something best done with the support of others, because shame will only grow more in isolation. By choosing to make feeling amazing from the inside out, our priorities change.
Wellness, aliveness and vibrancy are the result of dynamic living. This means to being prepared for our needs to change. I have eaten almost every style of ‘diet’ there is available, each time being dedicated to truly heeding the messages of my body and following her wisdom. If I had been attached to the ‘ideal’, I would have missed the opportunity to follow my body’s wisdom. By listening, and sometimes dramatically changing how I eat (like going from being vegetarian to eating meat), my body is able to be her most vibrant self.
If you’d love to learn more about how to relate with your body with more delight and confidence, then I’d love for you to consider my in-depth Body Confidence training. This is not an easy topic to address, yet leaving it in the shadow doesn’t actually improve our situation. We get to choose to feel amazing and we can create a lifestyle where this is fun, easy and effective. I’d love to know how you feel about your own body and the possibility of having a benevolent, loving relationship with her.
Why do so many of us believe (& behave like) our desire and our pleasure is not something of great value?
After 2.5 decades of hearing women’s stories, it’s become clear to me that we’ve been led astray and that it’s vital we come back into right relationship to our female bodies, especially if we have any negative views or experiences with menopause.
In our society at large, there is a general sense of sexual ageism, as though turn-on, orgasm and pleasure are things for the youth.
To make matters worse, we are actually funding a multi-billion dollar industry that profits off our insecurities and belief that menopause is a ‘disease’ that should be addressed both with prescriptions and surgery.
How did this happen and what can we do now?
There are many factors at play here, including how we are socialized as little girls and young women, but for the scope of this article, I’m only highlighting three points:
- First of all, the advent of birth control enabled women to experience new found sexual liberation in ways never previously possible. However, just because we could have more sex, doesn’t mean that it was great sex.
- Then there’s the argument of Vaginal vs. clitoral orgasms, as if we need to choose one over the other and ignore the full spectrum of our erotic range.
- To add fuel to our growing fire, some ‘unknown’ age limit was placed on sex, as though it has an expiry date.
So lack of skill, confusion about pleasure, and fear of aging has left us in quite a quandary. One that leaves us giving up on our pleasure rather than rebelliously investigating our untapped erotic potential.
All biological creatures have a simple program: expanding towards that which feels good and contracting away from that which feels bad. This is also true for humans, except that we can consciously choose to investigate things that feel bad and move towards them. That said, it is still not conducive to move into pleasure when our systems are in fight or flight. Furthermore, generally our modern lifestyle is stress, stress, and more stress along with an eternally growing to-do list that we use to keep ourselves from feeling the complete range of our sensitive, wild, emotional and sensual selves.
Our sexual education warns us about the dangers of STIs and pregnancy, ignoring the crucial part about understanding our own pleasure and sensuality. Fast forward many decades of putting everyone else’s needs first on top of layers of self-criticism, heartache and loneliness, and we have the perfect formula to ‘shut down’.
Menopause, unlike popular consent, is not an end. It is an invitation, a second chance, to claim our sexual sovereignty, once and for all.
3 Radical Steps to Sage-ing Gracefully:
1. Rebel. Rebel. Rebel. Do not believe what you hear and read, just because it’s common as an idea doesn’t mean it’s the truth. Question everything you believe about yourself, desire, and sexuality.
2. Desire can’t die, but she does hibernate. To wake up our desire is to say YES to life, YES to living, YES to enjoying all of our remaining moments. It means understanding that life is precious and that the pure act of breathing alone is a gift. And when we connect with ourselves and life consciously, an entire new world of beauty and abundance offers itself up to us. Be willing to let yourself DARE to desire because what you yearn for matters.
3. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Even if you are in a sexless marriage, that’s not an excuse to let yourself dry out and atrophy. Our pelvic floor and hormonal well-being requires attention. Doing simple self-care practices on a daily basis can rejuvenate our genitals and rekindle our pleasure pathways. Pleasure is not optional. When we feel good, we are healthier. When we have regular orgasms, alone or with another, we are less depressed and more naturally joyful and creative.
Just because our current society doesn’t value or support the sexual maturity process doesn’t mean we can’t choose to do so for ourselves.
Tending to our hearts and bodies is like tending a beautiful garden. Regular care means light work and the enjoyment of great beauty. If we abandon our garden, it’s much harder to get things flourishing again. It is possible, but it will take loving determination.
If you have said you are too old, too fat, too skinny, too this or too that, it’s time to bust free from these limited ways of perceiving yourself and time to delight in the cultivation of a gourmet relationship with yourself and your amazingly alive and intelligent body.
To learn more on the truth of menopause as well as gain simple practices to support your life-long libido and vitality, check out my Sexy Menopause training where Dr. Wickman, a luminary Ob-Gyn and myself share the best of our wisdom to support you to enjoy your power stage of life!
“He will leave me if we can’t have sex, but I’m in so much pain, I really can’t”.
“I’m confused by my recurring issues with my vagina, it seems like there’s always something wrong and I really just want to relax and feel good.”
“I feel ashamed by the changes in my body. I just want to be orgasmic, why is it so hard?”
No matter what the complaint is, the truth behind all of them is that when our body isn’t well, we feel betrayed and frustrated.
Yet when our body is in a state of imbalance, it’s attempting to speak to us. the problem is two-fold: we don’t know how to listen nor do we understand what is being said.
Recently, in interviewing a leading Ob-Gyn about women and sexual health, she stated that there is always a psychological connection with every issue.
This affirmed what I already discovered over 10 years ago when writing up my PhD: we are psycho-sexual beings.
This means that what we think and believe is not separate from our body.
Now although this can be an intriguing idea, how is it useful when we are suffering from on-going sexual imbalances?
Personally, I healed my vagina of an ‘incurable’ imbalance. The truth was that I was in pain, I couldn’t have sex, I thought my partner would leave me, and I couldn’t find the answer through alternative and traditional medicine alike!
I was left with only one option—go within and listen.
So I did. But that was not enough. I needed to trust what I was hearing and act accordingly. And what was afflicting me for 1.5 years healed overnight, never to reoccur again.
Since that moment, I became well aware of the immense power we each have to heal ourselves and to bring imbalances back into vibrant wellbeing.
3 Keys To Getting To Know Our Psycho-Sexual Self:
1. Contemplate that it’s possible. I have witnessed incredible transformation for women who were willing to consider the idea that their body was just simply misbehaving and that there may indeed be a deeper learning available through the imbalance.
2. Admit what is obvious. This can be as simple as “I’m in pain” or “I’m angry” or “I’m scared”. Through being able to ‘get real’ with ourselves, we are able to orient ourselves to the actual current reality we are experiencing. For example: I’m feeling like I’m getting a bladder infection. I must be pissed off. Oh! I am pissed off.
3. Take action. Using the above example: I drink a few liters of water, own my anger, and apply tea tree diluted in coconut oil to the opening of my urethra. These are steps that I know work for interrupting a bladder infection. Action is normally pretty clear, the problem is that most of us don’t really want to face what we need to face to actually heal.
By being willing to fully embody our sovereign space (our physical body) and to meet what is emerging for us with as much courage as we can muster is an act of deep self-respect and self-love.
There’s no need to suffer unnecessarily or for prolonged periods of time. It may require of us to put on our ‘big girl’ panties and face reality. Good. It’s time we take our own power back into our own hands. We may have to have temporary discomfort, but it will be worth it in the long run.
The impact of shifting our perception from victim (things that happen to us) to sexually sovereign (states of being that we move through) cannot be underestimated.
If learning to hear and heed the messages from your body is important to you, I’d love to invite you to consider exploring my Your Yoni Never Lies Deep Dive video training.
I always love to hear directly from my readers, so feel free to leave me a comment or question in the comments section below.