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.
“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.
Breaking the Bonds of Shame – Creating More Confidence For Ourselves
If you are are a Brené Brown fan, then you are part of a small percentage of people who are willing to have a look a the impact of shame in your life.
However, for most of us, shame is not something we willingly explore or spend time contemplating. If anything, we hide it when we feel it and we avoid it when we see it others.
Yet shame is everywhere, and although it’s not inherent to our nature, we still undergo a powerful process of learning shame through our conditioning.
“You should be ashamed of yourself!” Does this statement sound familiar? It’s something often said to children when we want to influence their behaviors, yet we don’t realize the lasting impact of those powerful words. In fact, shaming others is so prevalent, it’s rare to meet someone who hasn’t been on the receiving end of those words at least once in their life.
Once we’ve learned shame, we self-propagate it: we shame ourselves. Self-shaming is so ingrained that we barely notice it. What is noticeable is the erosion of our confidence and ability to learn and grow from the mistakes we make.
That’s a big problem with shame. It means something is fundamentally wrong with us, so there’s no way we can actually do something about our condition. We give up and stop trying.
Making mistakes is necessary. It’s how we grow our wisdom, learning to discern how our choices are impacting our lives and adjusting our behaviors according to the insights we gain from these awkward and often painful moments is crucial for healthy maturation.
But it’s not all bad news about shame. Because we learned shame, we actually can unlearn it.
There are 3 ways we can interrupt shame and start to reclaim our lives and rebuild our confidence:
1. Name The Shame: When we are in shame, our tendency is to hide. Yet shame thrives in isolation. So the first step to interrupting the pattern is to recognize when we are in shame and to name it. If we can identify when shame is present, we have a chance to transform it. In the beginning, this isn’t easy, but the more we practice, the stronger and more agile we become when handling our shame. For example: I feel shame about my body, I’m not beautiful enough.
2. No More Blame: Once we have identified the presence of shame, we then have the opportunity to turn our attention to how we are using blame to avoid the responsibility of transforming our lives. We may blame ourselves, others or circumstances. When we do this, we assign our power to the blaming rather than the transformation.
This step is more like taking honest stock of all the contributing factors in our situation and then shifting our attention to transformation, what we’d actually love as an outcome. For example: I haven’t actually been loving my body or doing the things that allow her to thrive.
3. Fan the Flame: What we’d love is no small thing. What matters to our heart is crucial, consider it like a form of inner guidance. Even if we have no idea how what we’d love is possible, it is viable as an option because it exists in your heart.
When we ask ourselves: What is the outcome that I would love? We mobilize our creative genius. We shift our power from what felt like an impossible and horrible condition into the limitless realm of possibility. For example: I’d love to feel vibrantly healthy and switched on in my body. By fanning the flame of what we’d love, we become aware of what is possible and can mobilize ourselves in that direction.
It takes great resilience to choose to face shame head-on and to reclaim lives. We will be faced by this choice, not once, not twice, but possibly many time every day.
The good news is that through exercising the 3 steps outlined above, you’ll be using your will in new, powerful and creative ways and this builds confidence!
If this article has been helpful, please share it. I’d love to invite you to join me for my 6 hour Shameless Surrender training. where we not only look more deeply at shame, we also explore the importance of shamelessness and surrender, especially with regards to creating more sensual and sexual confidence. Together, we can do this.