Feb 21, 2017

immolation


"Go within, or go without. You must be brave enough to ask for what you want, but strong enough not to get it. You must be strong enough to transform what you are given into that which you need." 


I am currently in a season of deepest level change. Everything wants to be examined, upended, and renewed. My sense of home, my heart, my relationships, my work, are all in a state of mass deconstruction. Every single facet is seeking renegotiation for deeper safety and greater fulfillment. My life is begging for permission to take up more space, and for me to say YES to the things I've never allowed myself to want. Things that maybe I never quite believed I deserved, like more presence, more security, more love.

In my body, it feels like wearing clothes that no longer fit. Nothing in my world feels quite like it used to. In an existential way it seems as though in every sense of the word, I am leaving. I know that what is really happening is that I'm shedding some of my oldest limiting beliefs.

I am coming through a fiery, disruptive, healing season of Death.

What that looks like specifically is the messy and heavy process of grief giving way to great amounts of space opening up for what's next. Saying goodbye to these parts that no longer serve is not especially easy. They are deeply embedded scripts that fight tooth and nail every inch of the way out the door and leave behind a kind of emptiness that at first, feels more terrifying than anything.

In this expansion I'm having to reimagine all the physical and emotional spaces I inhabit and ask myself, "Where do I want to arrive? What do I want to let in?" This feels simultaneously like a profound and extraordinary gift and an impossible act of trust. It's incredibly hard to wish for what you can't quite imagine, like asking for something that doesn't yet exist. The answers are all unclear. Around the edges, it feels like heat, aliveness, comfort and liberation.

So right now, as the smoke clears and I begin to see what's left standing, there is a lot of slow circling and visioning and dreaming new dreams. Really, I'm manifesting an entire new paradigm, holding on to huge amounts of faith that the wilderness is always within me, and will indeed return.

But first, everything old must go.

My springtime is around the corner. I can taste hints of green and the promise of warmth rising up within me.

I know, somewhere deep inside the unknown, I am the forest. And stronger than I believe.







Feb 3, 2017

sacred contracts for thriving


Recently, stepping into each day has felt like a conscious act of coming back home, to recenter, realign, and re-wild by shaking off all the external stories in whatever way feels really really good. For me, this week, it's been painting the feminine, a practice I've decidedly embraced with full-on passion and pleasure. The constant barrage of information and opinions want to stick to you like static, and static is not at all good for light workers. 

As we are needed to stay present and active right now more than ever, this is exactly why it is also time for exquisite tending of our boundaries and needs... to stay in Sacred Contract with ourselves... so we can show up and do the work that is needed, and still land in JOY as much as possible.

A sacred contract with yourself can look like a lot of different things. It can be fluid to shift and hold exactly what it is you need on any given day. Think of the things inside this contract as the non-negotiables, what you absolutely have to have in order to function beautifully on a daily basis, then build in a little extra

The extra is actually the key! Because if we fill the well just to full we are constantly working to maintain the level of 'just enough'. To stay juicy and soft and in flow in our feminine badassery, we need that additional spoonful of mojo. Feel free to turn off the narrative that tells you that this is indulgent or selfish or extravagant (like, right now) - because it's totally f*ing necessary. Trust me, I've tried to function on 'just enough' for years thinking sacrifice was the selfless thing to do, especially as a mom, but it doesn't work for very long. Sacrifice is actually counterproductive and operates in the world of scarcity. It's not sustainable and also not my happy place. 

You and I, dear girl, want to live in the land of ABUNDANCE! 

The most important ingredient in your contract, is honesty. It's the secret sauce, really. This is how we often fall short on self care, because we are not totally honest with ourselves about what it is we actually need. It's not your fault. There is a lot of external shame and unrealistic expectations when it comes to heart-tending. Let's change that, shall we?


Here are three basic touch points so that you can begin to build your own sacred contract with yourself:

Be in partnership with your body. Love her. Treat her with compassion. Nurture her and most of all, listen to her. I know this can be a complicated relationship for many of us, but it is also inarguably ground zero for our embodied spirit in this lifetime. We have to get real about our body story. If we are constantly pushing agains our body's needs, we will never be able to find our way to true contentment. This collaboration is also a lifetime's worth of work, don't forget, so be gentle and forgiving with yourself. Tend to what is present, right here, right now. One thing that you can see, right in front of you, give that to her, to you. The rest will follow. 

Create space. This is about physically creating space, on your calendar and in your life, saying No to make room for saying Yes to the things that truly matter to us, but it's really mostly about emotionally and energetically creating space. Time is really an illusion - yes it has a finite quality, but it also is influenced by perception and prioritization. It has the flexibility of free choice in how you decide to spend it. ---> The lack of time for self care (and anything else for that matter!) is directly in alignment with our belief about whether or not it's important - whether or not we are important. Shifting this one aspect can open up loads of space for sacred being and doing. You deserve it because you are important just as you are. Believe this is true. Allow the time to become yours. You do not need to do anything to earn it.

Seek pleasure. We need pleasure in our lives for two critical reasons. First, the act of leaning into moments of joy, and especially laughter, is scientifically proven to improve health by lowering stress hormones in the body. We're all on cortisol overload these days, so anything we can do to help diffuse the fight/flight/freeze reaction that's being triggered in our system on a regular basis now, is a huge asset to our overall energy and flow. The second reason is because pleasure is your inner compass, your own personal guiding north star. What you desire is pointing you in the direction you need to go, and there are secret messages hidden in all of your wants and wishes! Go after them, and they will help lead you towards more alignment and truth. What is it that makes you truly, deeply joyful? Where can you follow threads of aliveness, delight and curiosity? 


Remember, this is not a to-do list <---say it with me! You do not need to turn this into another thing to manage to or get done - your sacred contract serves YOU - not vice versa. While it's good to check in with things every so often, especially if you find you might be struggling with resistance, this is not a project or goal. This is necessary and essential kindness you are offering to yourself as a deep well of resourced resilience. Seal your contract with fierce love and devotion. We will be playing more with these sacred contract ideals and bringing them to life as our own Manifesto in Tiny Revolutions, complete with worksheets and an artful template to finish and hang on your wall (as well as so much more!). Come play with us if you'd like!

Like all things, there is no perfection only practice. Practice honesty around your needs, even if it feels really impractical and uncomfortable. Practice writing it down, maybe even where you can see it on a regular basis. Practice scheduling it in. Practice ignoring the shame and guilt gremlins. Practice allowing yourself 'more than enough' as an act of necessary kindness and abundance. With enough practice, you will feel yourself begin to not just survive, but thrive as a well-resourced woman. Maybe not every single day, but more days than not. I'm totally wishing that for you <3









Jan 26, 2017

studiofemme // tiny revolutions


Your Life is Your Revolution.


BIG change is possible with small steps.

Tiny Revolutions is a 7 day exploration into what might happen if you show up to change with wild devotion to action. This is where the rubber meats the road, where intention becomes embodied and tangible and you begin to feel something shift.

Art & Love will be our mediums, and we will play in the questions of who we are in order to gain clarity around what our mission for change might be.

During this adventure you will...

* identify 3 core revolutionary beliefs and your values around them (your why)
* create meaningful art that speaks your truth - no creative experience required!
* become part of the #tinyrevolutionsart movement
* write your own Tiny Revolutions Manifesto
* take actual steps towards the changes you wish to see and Be in the world
* share stories and insight so we can continue to help march each other forward
* learn how to organize and host a Tiny Revolutions Art Party 
* build valuable connections to support, inspire and ignite!


Each day there will be actionable steps (on both the micro and macro level) and playful activities to plug you into your own truth and get you moving' and grooving' towards inhabiting your revolutionary life.

You will have access to our private multi-media classroom and facebook group for sharing and connecting.


rev·o·lu·tion·ar·y 
revəˈlo͞oSHəˌnerē/

adjective
involving or causing a complete or dramatic change.
noun
a person who works for or engages in political revolution.


A brief note about my own revolutionary point of view: I believe in the equal inalienable rights for all human beings. I believe we have the right to full and complete ownership over our body, mind and spirit. I believe that we are ALL creative. I believe that LOVE is the only lasting truth that matters. These basic beliefs will be the foundation for this work.




{$39} 
online, self paced





Jan 23, 2017

pussy power


Admittedly, I almost didn't go to the Women's March. It was a last minute decision I made while moving through some uncomfortable ambivalence around the whole thing by getting in my car and just going. No signs, no agenda, no pussy hat, no posse... just me, on my own terms figuring it out along route 95, heading into the fray.

My unease wasn't only about feeling challenged as an introvert by the uncertainty of the event and the immense crowd, or even how the march itself felt in some ways like an afterthought or damage control prettily packaged up and tied with a big pink bow. It took some time for it to seep in, but eventually in the fervor I found what I hadn't been able to quite put my finger on and what maybe I'd been avoiding all along - I could finally feel the pulse of it inside my own skin, searing, painful and foreign...

It was my anger.

Because they tried to take what wasn't theirs.

And I had this lightbulb moment: as someone who has experienced sexual assault I've been forced to deal with multiple life-altering traumas, the incidents themselves (yes, there have been more than one) and the equally damaging sense of abandonment in the aftermath. Where was the march in my own life? There were extraordinarily so few people who took an active stand for me when I eventually broke my silence.

This kind of inaction then becomes not just about the boundary violations against my body, but more of the spirit. It integrates and infiltrates the whole system. It then also becomes about all the times someone made a racial comment to me or my kids, or made assumptions about my depression, or judged my identity as polyamorous, or looked the other way because of the pride flag on the front of our house, or made derogatory comments about me as a woman.

I needed a sea of love and solidarity when I was 13, and 17, and 20, and so on and so on. In my day to day I most often march alone, and the silence can be a deafening trigger.


As I allow myself to finally feel the depths of my frustration, I know I will eventually use this anger as a tool to fuel the uprising in my own life and in my community. The march was just an opportunity, an entry point. Now I know we must be brave enough to use this catalyst to go deep into the realms of our own hearts and tear down the walls that separate us from each other. This is the real work. Yes we must mobilize on the ground against agendas that divide, but we must be vigilant about the ways in which we hide from ourselves. These are the ultimate acts of separation and silence, and what keeps us from the truths that really matter.

It begins with our own beliefs about LOVE.

It's time to show up for each other and fight against the silence with everything we've got, every single day. This is our real march, the one that matters most when no one else is looking and where things aren't so peaceful and pretty. We aren't just a number in the crowd after all. Each of us is the way forward.

What struck me most at the march was the unimaginable beauty of all women. Our diversity. Our resilience. Our inherent immense strength. It is there. You and I experienced it in the streets or on the screen. Yours is there too.

Light it up.

Let it out.

We need one another to know we aren't alone in the complexity of all our experiences and feelings. Yes, the only way out is through.






Jan 18, 2017

really vulnerable work

{photo taken at the Dean Hotel}

When you use the template of your own life and beliefs to anchor the work of change and becoming out in the world, the vulnerability of it is always a significant factor at play. I'm always edging around the perimeters of my own heart so that I can lean in close enough to pull out meaningful things to share. The soul of my work is Me, not some product line created in a boardroom using focus groups and metrics.

So as a wild-heart inspirer, my studio life is messy and unpredictable. Staying grounded and knowing how to deal with a vulnerability hangover is critical to my work.

I'm sure you've been there too, after having acted on something you deeply believe in or baring your soul in a scary but necessary way. The buzz of excitement and adrenalin starts to mellow and the reality begins to settle... did I really just say/do that?... like authenticity PTSD. Don't be alarmed, this doesn't mean you've made the wrong choice to use your voice. It just means you've touched on something very deep and very meaningful, and probably something really important and elemental to who you are.

After this week's personal truthfest, and for all of you who are standing up against all that is happening in the world, I though this would be a really helpful reminder to all of us.


// How to Manage a Vulnerability Hangover //

Give yourself permission to have the conversation slowly, in layers, and over time. Don't feel like you have to drop the mother load on everyone, all in one moment. In fact, it's probably easier and safer to roll out hard and vulnerable conversations in smaller digestible increments. Tell those closest to you and/or those who you know will be your unconditional cheerleaders, and let the rest follow as you are ready.

Embrace the vulnerability. Be prepared that when the momentum starts to wear off you will feel moments of doubt and fear and sadness. You are saying goodbye to an older version of You, after all, and this probably means you are leaving behind people who knew and loved that person you are no longer. The discomfort of stepping into a new place is inevitable, so breathe through it and be gentle on your heart in the days following.

Tend to the physical symptoms. You will probably feel exhaustion and even a little run down physically. You've just energetically offloaded a huge weight and your body will feel this sudden change of energy too. Make room for some extra rest, some nourishing food, and for a few little immune boosters like extra sleep, zinc drops, and essential oils etc. until your equilibrium re-calibrates. This takes time. Be patient with the process. Moving your body, sweat, wringing out the emotions will really help as well.

Allow others time to let it all sink in. Just because the people you tell don't immediately rush to your side, don't discount them. Everyone has different ways of processing things and different ways of expressing (or not expressing) their feelings, and it may take time for others to really get comfortable with what you are saying. Their discomfort is not about you, it is all about them, and you have also had time to move through a lot of your fears before making the big announcement. They have not. Time will absolutely help.

Let go of expectations. I know this is so so hard, but do your best to let go of any expected outcomes. You have no control over how others might react. That is part of their story, not yours. The important thing is that you have shared your true heart. Onward you must go.

Have at least one person you can talk to.  It's so important to have someone on your side who you can trust and have real and honest conversations with, in the moment, to help you process the waves of emotions that will come up. Nothing fights fear more than those people in your life who truly SEE you, and LOVE and HONOR you! Lean on those people if you can.

Engage in the conversation. Though the temptation might be great, don't let the conversation just fade away. Keep people who have an interest in what you are saying, engaged. You know that saying, fake it til you make it? Yes! If your conviction is wavering, it's okay. You'll find yourself in a more solid place soon. The more often you speak your truth, the deeper that will truth root within you. Keep on keeping on... we need you!

Trust. Celebrate. Gratitude. Congratulations! One of the hardest parts is over. All you need to do now is to keep putting one foot in front of the other and trust in who you are. Keep your cheerleaders close by, and don't forget to turn on the disco ball and throw some confetti. You deserve to celebrate! And for those who show up to hold your light, for the freedom that starts to illuminate your way, for the ease of spirit that will start to wash over you... gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.








Jan 14, 2017

the art of intimacy


I am learning to use my voice. Quite literally, actually. The new podcast, using Voxer to stay in touch with friends, my first FB live event yesterday... being heard, for me, is showing up in a new, intimate way. 

I've never felt super comfortable talking out-loud, especially if that meant articulating any part of my inner world. I think it had to do with my own discomfort and the fear of letting others into that mess. I think it also speaks to how important parts of my own self have been hidden from my own view for such a long time, tucked away in a place of safety yet also a place of solitude. Breaking down these internal walls is changing the game, big time. So is practicing speaking my truth. It's not so scary after all.

Here is what I now believe of intimacy; intimacy is presence. It is showing up in your full range of being. It is reciprocal, dimensional, and in real time. Intimacy is a two-way street of love and liberation. It doesn't have to be daily or even routinely. It is is more about your willingness, the allowing and actively letting each other in - choosing and being chosen... I see you; I want you to see me.

In non-monogamy there is this term for someone who flies in and out of your life once in a great while. They're called a comet. I used to believe that intimacy could only be longitudinal and within a relationship that is built over time. What I think is more true, is that intimacy exists on a spectrum. It's not all-or-nothing, or something that can be neatly assigned to certain labels, friend vs. lover. Relationship language does not create nearly enough space for all the different kinds of intimacy. 

Whether you are in orbit of one another year after year or simply passing through, the intensity of an intimate connection is not dictated by time or even action. A perfect example of this is how we are often more apt to do closeness with our families, but not necessarily intimacy. When a friend recently pointed this out to me, it was a lightbulb moment for me to finally see that differentiation. The difference being how much vulnerability is at stake. 

Intimacy, I believe, is determined more by a certain mindful alignment of devotion. What is the intimacy landscape you and I want to create and share? How vulnerable are we both willing to be? How can we get there, together? It can look like friendship, or collaboration, or love, or partnership, or familial, or everything in-between. 

Where the trouble appears, is when these intimacy expectations don't align. This is what I am having to sort out in some of my own relationships, both how I do intimacy (who I am), and where I'm willing to live inside any given relationship (what I want). There are certain relationships that are so important to me and utterly contained by the sheer power of love, that I am completely willing to sacrifice degrees of intimacy. There are others that don't feel quite so clearly defined, and this is the hard part of relationships... figuring how to meet each other where we are, at any given time. 

I don't think we have to necessarily always be in the same exact place intimately or relationally. Actually, it seems we most often are not if we are growing and learning as humans, but I do think what's ultimately important is that we want to eventually end up at the same destination, whatever that looks like - as BFF's, as co-creators, in bed for one night, as long term life partners, and so on. 

Living inside all the questions helps me to navigate and remember that intimacy is a fluid conversation. As with any conversation the most important thing we can do is to simply show up... imperfect, but perfectly willing to be in the process together.





Jan 5, 2017

mad about sparkle {2017 planner ritual}


There is something about the tradition of creating my new planner every year that is so grounding and also exciting! To see what emerges... what colors, words, and mood appears, is always such a surprise. I really just try to feel my way through the process and it always seems to come out just the way it's meant to. I gave up long ago on boring blank or prefab covers that didn't speak my truth. Devotion to this more personalized practice is always so much more rewarding for me.


I let the images find me, the ones that instantly feel like a 'yes' in my body.....


...and then I always add some shimmer, this year some gold leaf...


...and I allow the words to appear like magic. It feels like this. Every time.




This year is so much about Truth, Daring and LOVE. These seem to be touchstones that always find me. I think this cover captures the vulnerability of what I think this year will be too, accompanied by sparkle and power and adventure. And wings. Always wings. Maybe even some sexy yoga ;)

Last year I think I was deep in the liminal mess (you can peek at last year's cover, here), inside that dark and womb-like work of creation. This year I can feel myself emerging. I see it in this cover story as well. More light, more strength, more direction, more celebration. 


I am ready <3

Are you?





Jan 1, 2017

be a love revolutionary

{January page from my Notebook}


In 2017, I already know I'll be creating more dynamic and safe spaces of belonging... 

in my own body

in my own heart 

in my relationships

in my work

in my community

and in our world.


Heading into this new year I've hit the re-set button in a big way. I'm letting go of many things, clearing, editing and making room for what truly matters. 

Connection.

I had a pivotal conversation with my mom last fall, that eventually allowed me to see the truth of so many things all at once... how sturdy I've become in my own beliefs, how wide some gaps of understanding might always be, but most importantly how deeply I know of love because that is what I've been taught from the very beginning; that it is never about biology or race or religion or orientation or relationship model, because love transcends every context. 

Inside all the work I've been doing, this, I realized, is the ultimate legacy of my adoption - that love is an unshakable, unfailing truth and not something that conforms to preconceived ideals or institutions. If someone from the outside looking in were to say to my parents, "I'm sad for you that you'll never have the real love of a biological daughter.", I know exactly how they would respond. Because it's exactly how I'd respond - to not be sad for me, because I absolutely know and have this love in spades... because love is not defined by anything other than our own hearts. I'm not sure my mom and dad know it, but they are love warriors too.

My revolutionary act is simply living my life. Powerfully, truthfully, beautifully, and in deep devotion to love that is only defined by me.

Love is your revolutionary act, as well. 

This is our call to action in 2017.

More belonging.

More connection.

More love.


I'm so on it.


Happy New Year, all you wild and gorgeous souls!!!! May it be everything your heart is wishing for, and more. We've got this.  xoxoxo


Dec 26, 2016

my word of 2017 (part 1)


I'd say more than anything these past several months have been a deep dive into some of the most complex and tender places of my heart. It is the culmination of a year that will go down in the books as one of my most transformative seasons of all time. They call it a completion year (which 2016 has been heralded to be, for those who believe in such things), and for me this has meant being immersed in healing work that has allowed me to finally pull back the curtain to see the truth of my own heart.

As it turns out, healing is not an end game. It really is just another beginning.

And while I can't say that I am clear through to the other side of what has turned out to be an extraordinary recovery mission, I am far enough along to know that everything has changed. This change is not a statement of good or bad, it is more an observation. I am gaining a new perspective I have never had access to, and this unfamiliar place feels both raw and open in a really beautiful way.

My word this last year was inveterasco - a latin word meaning to become both permanently rooted and expansive. What I thought was going to be a year in shoring up the foundation to allow for new potential growth ended up being so much more than that, a strengthening of my core in ways I couldn't see coming. It also took me half the year to first fall apart. Seven months of burning it all to the ground so I could see what would be left standing.

Now in this clearer and newfound space of intimacy and love, I can finally feel the difference between suffering and sadness. This is what 2016 will go down as... the year I let go of my suffering... the year I allowed myself to feel the depths of my sadness. This is where the suffering came from - the not allowing, the pushing away and trying to love with half my heart on lock down.

Hello, whole heart.

Hello, 2017 (almost....).

Can you feel why I'm excited?

While it's tempting to fly off in a million possible directions, I am being careful about what I'm choosing to fill my life with. I am recalibrating a lot of my beliefs and desires and dialing in more clarity around how I want to fully inhabit this heart. My word was revealed in this process. It's a good, sturdy, unsexy and necessary word.

What I do know now though, is what my work in this world truly looks like: creativity and community as a pathway to more fulfilling sex, love and intimacy.

Yes, please!

I'm hoping that you might want more of this in your life too.

On this week's New Moon, I'm thrilled to be releasing a brand new project with my husband. Yes, it's true! It feels perfectly timed and ripe, and is a total adventure in devotion and vulnerability and love. We can't wait to share it with you. This project, part 2 of this post, along with the reveal of my word for 2017 will also be in Thursday's love letter. It's going to be a very juicy delivery!

Thank you for hanging with me through one of my wildest (and hardest) years, ever. Your love has truly helped me find my way.






Dec 12, 2016

it's not about the pole


It's a rainy Monday morning, and I'm plugged in the most perfect song as I download photos and muse on my delicious weekend. I can easily say that my NYC trip was an unexpected sensual experience of learning and intimacy. I truly touched, tasted, smelled, listened and felt my way from the Upper West Side down to Chinatown. It was a study in my own connective mojo and a better understanding of how it tethers me to everything inside my world, in every direction. This is clearly my work in this lifetime.



I was initially called to the city by way of an invitation I received to attend a workshop at S Factor. It was one of those opportunities that was an immediate *yes* and fell right into place with timing, ease and serendipity. I know that this sensual movement modality is my way in to something new and important. Even if my flirting with the pole doesn't lead to a wild love affair, I know a philosophical connection is there and has something to teach me - that it's not really at all about the pole in the same exact way that my work is not really about sex when all is said and done (more about this coming to your inbox in tomorrows love note!). Also worth noting, the S Factor NYC studio is literally right next door to Dick Blick, a sign I took as a secret #yougogirl from the universe. 


Lucky for me, I also got to hang out with Jen who let me tag along with her on the best Manhattan adventure ever. I experienced more of the city (and some pretty awesome humans), than I ever would have on my own. Really, it was this sweet and easy togetherness that was my favorite - especially in unravelling how the core of our work overlaps in some really juicy places, and how we speak such similar love languages in our creative process. Even though we create things through very different lenses, we are telling such similar human stories. Ones about connection. I love that so much. There was so much yes, me too which is always so grounding and gratifying.



It was a fast and furious two days of playing and exploring, not to mention all the podcasts and videos I was able to watch over the 10 hour round-trip bus ride. I have pages and pages full of notes and reflections to parse and savor, and I know something powerful is brewing and will come from the totality of this experience. It all was in that sweet-spot of aligned, easeful, and infused with LOVE. From wandering the streets to, to eating gorgeous food, to flying on the pole. I was in my happy place for sure.








Dec 4, 2016

under the emotional weight


Our stories have so many layers. Three months ago I set out with fierce intention to wind into the epicenter of mine. It's been the most important rescue mission of my life, saving my abandoned inner child.

While I'm a true believer in gentle shifts and step-by-step change, some transformations take a giant energetic leap to shake all things loose so you can clearly see the bits of shiny truth to gather them from the rubble. This was one of those times. So I got my butt back on the mat, for reals.

Yoga has been saving me in all the ways. Not only has it been a way for me to process all the pain that has been coming up, but it has become like a second home for me deep in a womb of safety and honoring. I'm kneading out trauma and connecting with my heart and my body in a way I haven't in decades, remembering what it feels like to feel anchored and joyful in my individual physical power. Thank you Buddhaful Souls for coming into my life at just the right time!

To be present in the flesh is to feel all the feels - at least for me that is absolutely true - a lesson I began discovering when I started to explore my authentic sexuality, that disconnect from the body is simply a defense mechanism. Shutting down embodied sensation and pleasure is a byproduct of wanting to shut down other unsavory emotions we are not ready to deal with. Mind, body, spirit, will always work to protect us. Yoga was the way I snuck back in, and has also serendipitously connected me with community and a couple of amazing and badass yogis who I'll be collaborating with next year in the juiciest of ways! Divine timing for sure.

For years I have been trying to get to this place... through writing, through painting, through mindful eating, through sexy exploring, through gratitude, and while I am sure all these things have contributed to being strong enough and simply ready to do the work, it's the physical body that has been the magic key to unlock this door.

This has been a revelation and at that same time no real surprise... our bodies are our homes, in every tangible and intangible sense of the word. For so long I have felt completely buried under layers of physically embodied grief.

And so this night was both a new adventure and a celebration; a wild twinkle light infusion of new energy and possibility in this newly embodied place. I'm literally growing my wings and hoping to go aerial. They say that it takes three months to truly invoke change. I've been working my ass off for the last 15 weeks (so much "healthy" crying), and so much has been falling away and emerging from the ashes as I release the emotional weight. I'm not going to lie - it's been messy at best, but also incredibly illuminating and freeing and hopeful as well. It felt so good to pause and just take all the goodness in, to see that I can, in the face of the hardest work of my life, I can rise.

The not-so-amazing but utterly beautiful thing is now, on the mat, in the studio, in my life, I just feel more and more like myself.

Brighter. Stronger. Happier.

This is the ultimate transformation.

And everyday I hope it becomes more and more true.




Nov 23, 2016

knee deep in shift... and what's to come!


Change is messy.

And beautiful.

As I navigate the transformation that is happening at the center of my universe, so much is being revealed. I am in the process of writing new feminine leadership classes, creating sensual art workshops and curating conversations and experiences for you and I to dive into with luscious abandon.... there is so much to offer now that I have fully arrived in this vision.

I am seeing with brand new clarity, and it feels like planning the most epic and evolutionary party, ever.

You are totally invited!

And it just so happens that in the group guided circle I lead, our November theme is about "shifting the narrative" around the core value of Story. It's all happening for me at a magnitude I never expected (isn't that always the way?). My Notebook is filled this month, overflowing with wild scribbles about primal communication, sexual sovereignty, expressive art, and sensual feminine movement of all modalities. Plans are in the works for this year's rise for V-Day. My worlds are colliding in the juiciest of ways, all piecing together an insanely gorgeous new landscape - one of pleasure and playfulness and power -- serious. badass. girl power.

It's always so interesting what ends up being the catalyst behind this kind of shift. I can't say specifically if it was the election results, an alignment of all the work I've been doing in creative and sexy worlds, or something else deeper within me that was simply ready to step in. Whatever it was or is, I am incredibly grateful for the clarity of purpose and fire it has lit in my belly.

Because this is not just about me. This is about all of us.

Being seen and heard as empowered women is what might be the game-changer in the next four years. I know exactly what I need to do, and we are going to have so much wild fun creating the lives, and world, we desire and deserve to live in!

Here we go.







Nov 17, 2016

Feast // a sensory adventure for healing



Five luscious days.

All of your senses engaged.

Dropping deep into the body, heart and spirit to surrender in wild gratitude and love.

Exquisite, radical, restorative self care.

Feeling our way into delicious prompts and evocative offering to find deep presence and decadent pleasure, delivered to you like a present to unwrap each day.

Nothing to do. No assignments to complete. No discussion to show up to.

Just receive.

Give yourself this gift. Immerse and indulge in all the yummy. 

*

December 13-17, 2016 
through the Full Cold Moon, let's warm and cozy things up!

50% of all proceeds will go to Planned Parenthood
to spread the love and abundance

Let's feast with abandon.



Studiofemme // Feast (online)
{$29} this circle is full - thank you!





Nov 15, 2016

creating safe spaces. a body story.


When I was in sixth grade, I remember sneaking a pair of my mom's high heels into my book bag so I could wear them in school. They were black patent, strappy, what I thought of as the embodiment of sexy, and I remember putting them on at the bus stop and feeling totally badass. That was the age boys and girls started leaning into their sexual experimentation, pairing off behind the stacks to sneak a kiss or a feel. I probably looked ridiculous, an eleven year old girl teetering around in adultish shoes, but I really just wanted to be in the club and feel the power of my own sensuality. 

It tasted to me like freedom and belonging. 

In all the years since then, through all the layers of cultural conditioning, all the Seventeen magazines and craze diets, through all the external messages of Yes and No and Good and Bad, and through my own sexual triumphs and traumas it has taken me more than thirty years to come back to the place when I was eleven, just wanting to be seen in my full feminine expression. After shedding so many narratives that are not my own, I am finally finding my way. Now I have my own badass shoes.

As we talk about creating Safe Spaces in today's wild environment, I think this is a critical reminder to pass along: the most important safe space we can create is inside our own bodies. 

We can not feel safe out in the world if we can't feel safe inside our own skin.

So many of you, I know, are struggling to maintain a peaceful equilibrium these days. The emotional body is wreaking havoc on our physical bodies - there is such a deep connection! I'm right there with you. Ground zero then becomes tending to ourselves, and for many, radical self care is revolutionary. Letting go of guilt, not asking permission, nothing to explain, are things that take practice and fierce devotion. Once we learn this power inside our own lives, we are then able to bring it to the world around us.

It's when we can find space and freedom from the weight of the external world to see what is real and true inside of us, our body then becomes not just a vessel for happiness and pleasure, but a doorway to everything else we seek. 

When the time comes to join the resistance, you will know - you will literally feel it in your bones. Until then, go gently. Right now, there is only meeting yourself exactly where you are. Take extra deep care. Each one of us will rise in our own way, even if today that simply means getting ourselves out of bed to look in the mirror and say, "hello, beautiful. you are loved."






Nov 10, 2016

we are not broken


These changes have been brewing long before the election, in the deepest parts of my soul where the layers have been pulled back to let in more light. I just didn't know exactly where things would land.

But here is my truth.

This is who I am, right now.

A girl who feels things deeply and now knows that this is a strength, not a deficit.

A woman who can embody empowered feminine principals to grow strong, heal, and make a difference in the world. (and so can YOU!)

It's been a long road to here, and I am still on the path... legacy to bypass, beliefs to re-wire, trauma to heal.

Yesterday my day started with a cry, and not the easy trickle of tears, but the big ugly cry. It was 4am, just after my husband left and before my children awoke. I was processing this first stage of grief as I know so many of us were, so I could show up for my kids, which in hindsight was incredibly hard. Motherhood often feels like going into battle with no armor.

The line between putting up a brave face and being honest about real, justifiable feelings is scarily narrow, and our kids needed us yesterday in a very pivotal way. I wish I could say I aced this challenge. I did my best. If nothing else, I am always honest with them about my shortcomings as a human being and a parent. It allows them to be imperfect too, and a certain healing in the moments happens inside this kind of vulnerability together. We are figuring it out as we go.

Things have been shifting from wild outrage/warrior feminist, to fear and sadness and consoling myself with chips and wine. I'm allowing whatever comes up to be, because I know now I can inhabit it all and still be strong and powerful and whole.

We are not broken.

We are awake - and amidst the lucky ones.

As painful as it is, systems break down so that we can rebuild. This is the way forward out of the broken patriarchal, masculine paradigm of stiff-upper-lipping our way to measurable actions, goals and outcomes. This election is clear evidence of where that has gotten us thus far. It is time to employ empathy, compassion, intuition, communication and collaboration. We need social intelligence and the connectivity of emotion to climb out of this hole we've dug for ourselves both culturally and globally.

And this all resides in our fierce feminine mojo.

To be clear, this is not about men vs. women - it is about each of us, irregardless of gender, accessing and using all of our power, both yin and yang.

This is what wholeness looks like... infinite, soft, supple, and elastic enough to hold and to be it all. This is exactly what my life is teaching and echoing back to me at every single turn, in my adoption story, in my marriage and relationships, in my creative work. Along with the truth that we are more resilient than we ever might have imagined.

Know, I am with you.

I believe in you.

I am rooting for us all.



Oct 31, 2016

salt + honey {Q+A with Isabel Abbott}


Me:  Tell me a little of the backstory of Salt + Honey. What were the signs of needing to create this work -- what did that look and feel like inside your own life before you began?

Isabel:  Much of the writing within the pages of Salt + Honey were already conceived and written well before I knew I was writing a book. They were just me, showing up and writing things down and watching as some of kind shape began to emerge where I could see the ever so delicate lines moving between and across things, connecting. And I would talk about how I did not really write poetry, as nearly all of my published writing is medical anthropology and creative nonfiction and essays. Still, there I was, watching as words emerged from the unspeakable things and the unexpected encounters and the giving over to the falling in love with this world. I did not at that point in time know that what I was really writing were prayers, secular prayers and hymns to the humans.

My work also includes engaging in inter-religious dialogue as well as serving in many contexts as what could be referred to as a humanist chaplain to those in trauma and life transitions in hospitals and hospice. I have been asked to speak on panels and at conferences as a nontheistic humanist, and I have officiated weddings and baby dedications and funerals, and I have often been asked to offer the secular version of a prayer or blessing. And this is, I think, when I first began to understand and enter into the need for the language of devotion for humans outside or beyond traditional religious structures. It is this earth, this world, these bodies, this life, that I have turned toward, rather than an idea of an afterlife or a longing for transcendence. Where I connect to myself and that which is beyond me is through art and through words. And so I began to see the need to bring my own secular prayers into completion in a way that offers a book to hold in your hands and words that speak to the intimacy and complexity of living here in the unknowable and the corporeal both.

Life is horribly painful, and it can crush even the strong, and many things are simply not fair. All things are not equal and we do not come into this world with the same opportunities and advantages, and claiming we do is just insulting. So yes, much is broken, and in need of true change. But it’s not your hurt and it’s not your body and it’s not your hunger and your hope. You are not a problem in need of fixing, damaged goods in need of salvation. You are human. Courageously and reluctantly and gloriously human. And we can be here, in the human things, the rocket ship heart of joy and the muck of uncertainty, together. This is what the pages of my book house.

Watching as a shape emerge, a flow found its way through, sorting through my prayers written on pieces of paper and moved all around a wall. Editing and questioning, sorting and sifting. This allowed the writing that had always been there begin to find its way in this world.


Me:  I'm curious, as a birth doula, what the parallels of birthing this work into the world, have been. Can you share a bit about the nuts and bolts during the book's gestation and the hard labor of getting it out into the world?

Isabel:  Creating a book was very much a birth process.
There was absolutely a gestation process, where I was growing this in the dark. I didn’t want to talk about what was I writing. I didn’t want to push it out into the world before it was ready. I didn’t want to name too soon or plunge in with feigned knowing. So it was just there, nourished underground, word after word after word.
And then there was absolutely long and hard labor. It was work. Deeply rewarding and enjoyable, and yes, hard work that in moments asked for all of me. The kind where is nothing to do or figure out or understand. You just need to show up and do the work. And so I did, trusting there were words there that were mine to bring into existence.

I would also say that there are parallels to my experience as a woman who has given birth and my experience as a birth professional, in the ways the process of bringing this book into the world was ultimately deeply relational. It was not just an idea, but became a living breathing thing. We, me and this book, were in encounter. And once birthed. Once published. Once sent out to rest in the hands of others, it lives in the space between that human and the moment the words enter in. This is not mine to decide or even know. I love the book and the words that fill its pages, words I wrestled with and made out with. I am grateful for the experience. I am honored that others choose to read and receive what I have written. And, it is not mine to control or determine at this point. It lives as a book, as secular prayers, that will be encountered and related to by others, creating something without me. Just as was true with my own son, this book came from me and yet it is its own.


Me:  The intersection point of intimacy and creativity in our work is always fascinating to me. Can you talk a little about the nature and relationship of these two aspects in your own life, and how they showed up and informed such beautiful and vulnerable writing in this book?

Isabel:  Intimacy matters to me, and I deeply value it in my life. Not everything is public or wants to be shared. I have a rich interior and private life which belongs to me alone. And, to experience the world relationally rather than transactional or the learned objectification of patriarchy, is to encounter intimacy in spaces both expected and surprising. I relate therefore I am. The experience and encounter is itself intimacy. Which does not always mean comfortable or sweet or pretty. But to see and be seen, to know and be known, to speak and to listen. This is the way of creativity which is, to me, the way of intimacy.


The process of unlearning and un-naming, reclaiming and re-naming, can be at times brutal.
For me, it has been painful and it has been my liberation.
But it is all for love.
Love of self. Love of world. Love or words.

Writing is often time to name.
To name is to show reverence, respect, and offer the possibility of intimacy.
It is to begin communing with and speaking to a thing, and not just talking about or at it.
We name as a way of relating, connecting, offering ourselves and receiving from the world and its stories. Here, we acknowledge a living relationship to all things.
When “wood floor” is a name, not just an object, I now relate to it in my life and my words and my writing. Gone are the days of talking at it. Named, we connect and communicate. I must listen as much as I speak. This is a kind of loving.

This is the kind of loving in the writing that became Salt + Honey.


Me:  I love how you describe yourself as a corporeal artist. Can you speak a little to the embodiment of your experiences as words on a page, and how Salt + Honey maybe has shown you new pieces of your heart and process?

Isabel: As a human, I do not know life outside of a body; this body. Being here in this world, an embodied creature, is how I know and relate, how I connect and experience and touch and taste. So yes. I feel, in the body. I learn, in the body. I love, in the body. I grieve, in the body. I protest, in the body. I fall in love, in the body. I create, in and from and with the body.

Words and language matters to me. And it is also a constant place of curiosity and unmapped openness. The body knows. The body does not lie. The body speaks. The body experiences all the horror and trauma, all the pleasure and ecstasy and sublime kindness of the just right mouth on the just right waiting skin. And, what does it mean and how do we begin to give voice to our embodiment? How do we make art with and from the body and also allow the body itself to be central and seen and encountered? How do we say what is unspeakable? How do we give voice to that which will never be spoken? How do we let language be a doorway into that which lives beyond language? This questions are always hanging out somewhere in the room when I begin to write. Salt + Honey was no different. In the process of writing and crafting and seeing these poems and secular prayers come into a cadence that was true to my own mouth. What I did not see coming, that still in moment rather undoes me, is that these words would come to offer me ever deeper invitation to return to the home of my own skin. I remember reading the book, front to back, right before it was released into the world, and I just sat there in tears, filled with the deepest love and gratitude for my own body which has given me life and shows the scars of survival and brought me to here where I utter my secular prayers to the human and hedonistic hearts.


Learn more about Isabel's work, and to purchase Salt + Honey goto www.isabelabbott.com
(photos courtesy of Isabel Abbott)



Oct 21, 2016

do not go gently


As a woman, who is also non-white, with non-white children within a queer family, I have a pretty huge stake in this critical cultural and political climate. No matter what happens in November, the ugly underbelly has been exposed and change must happen. It already is happening and I am incredibly grateful to all the badass change-makers who are on the front lines.

The most evident shifts I see happening are inside our sex positive community where consent culture is moving towards full-on recognition and reconciliation, dismantling the patriarchy and all its nuances and degrees. New safe and empowered spaces are being created for not only LGBTQ friends and allies, but for people of color and women as under-heard, underserved and previously disempowered minority groups within the subculture. Sexually empowered people are on the front lines of your freedom (I thought you should know).

I am also one of those humans - as is Alex.

And so I am showing up today to finally state for the record that I am for all of the movements, #blacklivesmatter  #waterislife  #defineslut  #nastywomenunite  #consentrocks ... anything that pushes back against the massive machine of bullshit oppression and misogyny.

Because that is what we are ultimately talking about this election cycle.

Are you voting for more hate or more love?

More freedom or more privilege?

This election is about basic human rights, and not about he said/she said. White privilege, male privilege, economic privilege, these are all very real things that have a direct impact on every aspect of my life. I need someone to be a champion for our basic fundamental rights. It is not just about equality, it is about my ability (and my family's) to survive and thrive in this world. 

Which is why if you are voting Red - after all the evidence of bile and vitriol the right is campaigning for - I can not help but question the roots of your integrity and beliefs, and your comfort in putting a violent, xenophobic, misogynist into power... and ultimately where that intersects with me personally.

So my due diligence is this:  if you are among the friends and family I know are swaying to the Right because you are fed up with establishment politics and lies, I ask you to consider not only what you are voting against, but what you are voting for... because this; your vote for Trump is ultimately a decisive act of violence towards my family. 

While this may feel like an wild exaggeration or gross overstatement, I assure you that it is not. Discrimination and inequality are insidious and everywhere, and it touches us (read: my children, myself, my husband) in big and small ways every single day. You are either okay with that, or not.

Unfortunately, there is no middle ground in this election.

It feels personal because it is very, deeply personal - you are either choosing to love and stand up for us/beside us, or you are choosing the hate against us.

It's a simple choice.

And I hope you will #chooselove.








Oct 17, 2016

she is ready to fly



I have a three and a half hour layover in Atlanta, and I am processing so much of what this weekend was for me. I feel raw and broken open in that way that only circles of women can do. It wasn't just the soul painting, it was the wild validation that I found sitting squarely inside my own life and the messages that were dialed in crystal clear.

Truth be told, I almost didn't make it. I booked this class back in April, and as time approached I wasn't sure I could really pull it off - read: felt a little guilty, unsure, crunched for time, but I knew if I didn't go I'd probably regret it. So I gave myself permission.

What I know now is that in giving myself this time, I am on the other side of something really huge. It's barely perceptible. Its just happened here in this noisy airport coffee shop. If we saw each other I'd probably seem like the same old me, but internally I feel like I have finally reached the vista. I am exhausted and out of breath, but I can see all the beauty that is before me, behind me, and also the next peak ahead. For those who are Seekers you know these moments are fleeting and rare, but here I am unceremoniously with a decaf latte and a pile of tissues beside me, the girl in the corner typing away on her laptop and dabbing away tears.

This is the card I drew inside our circle -- Our Lady of Sacred Hearth:

never fear being lost or abandoned
you are alway home
you have belonged all this time 
you have outgrown what has been and the manifestation of the new is only a matter of time
this greater sense of belonging to yourself is to help you fulfill your spiritual purpose

So Mary tells me. It's taken me 24 hours to really believe it.

And so it is.

Maybe it was the releasing of this full Hunters Moon. Maybe it was the girl I met going through her own adoption healing. Maybe it was the permission and alone time. Maybe it was reading Christine's book along the way or the email she just serendipitously sent me. Maybe it was the heart wings that found me in their Ruby Slipper sort of way. Maybe it was being in a different environment that felt like the softest place to land.

Whatever it was, this weekend is what finally unlocked this next chamber of my heart. Of course there is work to do here too, but for now I will sit and revel in this in-between place before starting off on the next journey, and listen in full gratitude to the steady rhythm of my Heart(h).

Home... home... home.







Oct 6, 2016

houses and parts


It is week six of this new rhythm. 

My parts are getting to know one another and I am getting to know them, as my therapist would say.

I woke up this morning after dreaming about The House. For as long as I can remember I have always dreamt about these houses... big, grand, beautiful ones with long hallways and huge rooms and so many secrets and fear places inside. In my twenties, there was a tall staircase with a locked door at the top, inside the house I dreamt of back then. I always walked up to go try the handle and it never would open, until one day it did and then the house changed. Somewhere in my thirties, I could freely wander through the vast courtyard and the third floor expanse, but it always felt like a dark and scary place, a haunted place I did not want to be. So the shadow rooms always stayed empty and uninhabited. I rarely would go there, but I could always feel their pull even when the dream was about something else entirely and took place in another part of the house.

Last night I was in a new house, floor after floor of crooked rooms at odd angles, and cluttered with piles and piles of stuff. It always feels familiar, so much like home yet always scary in places, but this house was different, no hidden places. Every room though, was filled with an overwhelming amount of things from past and present, trash and treasure. And so I just started cleaning.

Alex said to me after I told him about my dream, that I am the house. Of course. Makes so much sense, and I'm not sure why I never really thought of this. 

These are my parts. 

It's taken me decades to reach some of these deepest parts of my psyche, especially the ones I have no language for or memory of, but they are emerging little by little. Like in my dream, it all seems like an overwhelming mess, but I am slowly clearing and de-cluttering, and most importantly I finally feel like I have access to see what's underneath. It is incredibly exciting and also extremely terrifying -- I'm in the sweet spot of transformation, for sure.





Sep 14, 2016

she is the storm


As always, the fall school plunge has brought with it swirling winds of change, new shoes scattered in its wake as proof of growth and moving on. A passing tropical storm, Mercury retro, and so much unsettled energy had us riding through all the bumps our first week back. Now solidly into week two, we are the tiniest bit more entrenched and small hints of rhythm are appearing on the horizon. I'd usually be at the lake helping host my favorite kindred gathering, amidst more hustle and bustle and awash in magic and love, but instead I am home helping to usher in transition alongside my own little tribe. The divine timing and grace of this decision is still seeping in.

Always sacrifice.

Always moving towards more possible ease.

We've started a new family ritual at dinnertime. Gratitude for all. More grounding in the sweetness that is our shared life. I've missed the gravity of the dinner table terribly as summer was so much coming and going with meals often spent in restaurants or on the fly. Bit by bit I am finding my way back to what feels most like home.

For me, it's been my morning routine of coffee, writing and gratitude, rooting in what I know which then allows me to reach further out towards making necessary change. Inverterasco. This season I am going for it. I am in the trenches of self study with more clarity than before. Through IFS and a healthy dose of complimentary spirit medicine, I'm mining through feelings and soulwork I have been avoiding for so long, I am in it. My life choices have caught up with me, finally landing me in that place of having to either do this work (for real) or make the hard decision to give up some critical part of the dream. It is simply where we are on our open marriage journey, and where I am on my own. The two are walking each other forward - big lessons on letting others in with the ripening of connections in all direction. So much change. So much learning inside of ancient fears and new horizons. Intimacy is a badass teacher, and wants all the love.



Yoga is helping me process all of the emotions being churned up by the therapeutic process. I've never employed this tactic quite in this way, and it seems to be beautifully complimentary. I understand on a cellular level now, how critical it is to embody this change and move and breathe through such a huge shift. I need to feel the heaviness dropping away as I excavate boulders and hidden gems too. The mat is bringing me back to ease and the necessary, physical act of pushing through and letting go.

I surrender.

At least I'm trying to... to be more like the eye of the storm and embrace the perfect calm inside all that power, wonder and change.