Feb 1, 2016

love makes us brave

Permission is a funny thing.

Sometimes it's the necessary kinetic thrust that will finally push you into embracing what you've simply wanted all along. It can come from inside and our own deep wells of self knowledge, but other times it might come in full force from those you love.

Yesterday I was given such a gift by my 12 year old son. Funny how the keys can be handed to us in such unexpected ways. It started with this question I asked him while driving to the bookstore:

"How would you feel if I was out in the world teaching about sex?"

What I expected was a horrified look along with some version of "Mom, that's totally creepy.", but instead I got, "Fine (so matter of factly). What kind of teaching do you want to do?" And so the dialogue began and the door flew open inviting me to fully step through.

Here I go.

I'm sort of teary about it all. The fact that I have such an amazing, self aware, unflustered pre-teen boy who is working out his own values and places in the world AND that we have the kind of relationship where we can talk about delicate matters. Because most of the time I feel like I'm barely fumbling along as his mom. It's a conversation that truly began many years ago when we promised him to always be honest about sex and honor his own sexuality (in terms he could always understand). That was his key, his permission slip handed to him long ago, and he has used it on many occasions. He comes to us with his curiosity and questions and we do our best to field them with honesty and integrity. Before we had even had The Talk, one of his very first questions about sex was, "What is rape?" That was fourth grade. Kids never make it easy on us.

So we have had our fair share of hard conversations, and as with anything, the more you do something, the easier it becomes. But it's never not a little awkward, and we laugh about that too.

I don't really need permission from my kids to be who I want to be, but I need to be mindful, and it has weighed on me as a mother being in these kind of conversations publicly for fear of what effects it could have on them. I am also achingly aware about trying not to teach my boys to operate in the world from a place of fear and shame, one of the things we talked about yesterday - why this is one of the biggest reasons I want to educate and inspire people, women especially, about sexuality so that we might release all the negativity and all the different ways we carry those burdens.

At 12, the peer dialogues about sex are loud and confusing and cultural influences don't help. I told him we all have questions, but what makes all the difference in the world is having a safe place to talk about the things we are unsure of or that scare us, and the same is exactly true for grown ups. I explained to him this is why I want to be one of those people who creates those safe places. He gets it.

And while I won't be handing out condoms at PTA meetings or wearing my Sex Geek t-shirt wielding pom poms at family gatherings, I have a whole new dimension of open to inhabit and explore. I've been rekindling my love affair with Pinterest and have begun compiling some new sexy boards if you want to take a peek and follow along. There is also a shiny new offering coming into being very soon, another project that has been given wild grace and permission through years of visioning and dreaming.

I am so extraordinarily grateful to get to be more and more the person I want to be with so much love and support.

Truly, love is the magic ingredient that makes us brave.

Jan 26, 2016

inside circles of flesh and bone

As I drove home from saturday's workshop it suddenly and distinctly occurred to me that I've become  a teacher of artful workshops in the sex-positive community, and conversely a teacher of sexy workshops inside the creative community. The irony struck me a bit off at first, like I might somehow be missing the mark, but then it all seemed to make perfect sense. Both look wildly similar on the outside, women sitting within purposeful circles spilling soul-centered insights and experiences using paper and paint as another way of expressing. Though if you leaned in to listen, the conversations inside each paradigm are vastly different depending on which door it was I entered through. 

In the circles where the women come together to talk about sacred sexuality and relationships, creative pursuits are what push us into less familiar places. It's the exotic side dish in a world of fleshly delights. With creative kindreds it's the complete opposite. Exploring sexuality pushes us into new brave spaces and sharing about such tender things can be achingly unfamiliar and daunting, so we use the familiarity of words and paint and images to provide substance and from.  

Safe spaces are utterly necessary and deeply needed for this kind of daring integration and exploration. Unlocking the way in, is the key. So my role is becoming more clearly defined. Every time I step in to teach a group of women, whether it's within a sexy space or in an art studio, the work is all the same - I become a tender of fires, a gatekeeper, a creator of conduits. The alchemy is in the gathering and it's the subtext, not the context, that is what's really meaningful. 

Sisterhood is the most powerful medium. 

What I am actually teaching in all of my classes is how to access vulnerability. Giving permission to others and offering ways to touch new things inside themselves, while also sharing the gift of seeing one another, heart to heart, belly to belly, soul to soul. I love making room for these messy and revelatory conversations about intimacy and desire, whether it is in relationship to ourselves, a partner, or our own creative work, the journey I now realize is exactly the same. 

The way in does not matter. Excavating truth and being seen is where all the magic happens.

Jan 16, 2016

soul labor, tarot, and vulva cupcakes

This is my year of rooting deeper. Inveterasco. A mantra. A prayer. A wish.

For some time now, I have been searching for new ways in. To somehow extract the work and stories that are deep in my belly, still under the layers aching to be told. I can feel them pushing for the surface.

"where the spirit meets the bone."

Always. And so I am thinking about amplitude... the maximum extent of a vibration....how to reach deeper into myself and further out to you.


The signs of soul labor are all around me, in my notebooks, all over my studio, in the conversations I am finally having out-loud, that I am about to expand into a brand new layer and birth yet another conception. It feels like bravery and clarity and velocity and passion and fear, all rolled into one. That's how I know it's time, that I am ready.

Come with me! I want to connect in wild new ways. This is, above all, about togetherness.

There are always surprises, but here is what I know is coming into being for you and I in 2016.... (it's going to be so good!)

A new website. It has been on the burner simmering for a few seasons, and I am finally in the process of getting ready to serve it up! I've struggled with the idea of biggering, wanting to avoid taking on more virtual space than I truly need, as it was wonderful to come back to online simplicity two years ago when I left wishtudio.com and went back to Blogger shedding a lot of administrative weight. I want to be really mindful with expansion and realize I don't need uber fancy in order to be happy and successfully functional. In fact, that is not my jam at all. So the new changes will be more of a visual re-alignment, a gorgeous redecorating and reorganization of mindytsonas.org to encompass my current mojo and where my work is going. Look for changes to roll out over the next few weeks. Yippee!

Studiofemme. The call to hold more in-person space has been on my radar since last year, and with so many Brunches under my belt I feel ready to finally offer the experience that is most meaningful to my work. It's going to be bold and beautiful and life-changing, an in-person, out loud, luxe creative conversation and celebration around intimacy, unlike any other. Look for the first event in February! For details coming very soon, hop onto my mailing list over here. This is the work I know I am meant to be doing.

#exploringyoursexy. This work will be stepping into the spotlight, this year. I am ready. We have set the foundation through our exchanges inside Life Unabashed, by diving deeper in our Real Sex talks, and by acknowledging as a community that these conversations are so necessary and needed. So I have planned for you a sexy interview series called Making Love, an online workshop for you to name and claim your sexual values and desires, as well as all the wild mischief we'll be making inside Studiofemme. This is an invitation to explore your sexy! We are are soooo going there this year. Like, for realz.

Wishcraft. My Inner Alchemy Cards are going on an adventure this year. After almost 8 incredible rounds of soulful card making and inner exploration, like all things, the process wants to evolve. I am listening, and in the next go-round we will be creating our own tarot inspired deck in seasons aligned with the Wheel of the Year and its elements represented as cups and wands and pentacles and swords. It will be a way to learn, to find deeper understanding and connection to the tarot and our our true hearts, in a wildly personal way. I am seriously over the moon excited!

I am channeling in loads of togetherness, new opportunities for lush discovery and intimate connection inside brave sacred circles filled with disco ball sparkle, laughter (so much laughter!) and stories of freedom and truth.

And yes, there will be vulva cupcakes.

Here we go, 2016.


Jan 7, 2016

yearly planner ritual

My yearly ritual of creating a cover for my planner is one I savor and adore as part of the year's sacred rhythm. Sit. Wish. Cut and paste. Trust the process. There always emerges a color story and an illustrated narrative of where I am and where I want to go. They seem to show that each turn around the sun, I go deeper and deeper into my own discovery, though each one is as unique as the years that unfold between their pages.

As a base, I use a sheet of blank sticker paper, cut to size (which you can buy at Staples for about $15 for a pkg of 25 sheets - great to have for many things), and collage my images as I would onto a journal page, with lots of glue. Once it's finished, I just round the two right facing corners (love my corner rounder!), and peel and stick. So easy, and it seems to give the Moleskine a bit of extra sturdiness and wears well throughout the year. Any corners that might peel up I just smear on a little extra glue. 

This year's message is wild and shadowy, yet very grounded... Earth. Nature. Embodiment. Rooting. Growing into the unknown. Another shadowy color story with pops of red and pink.... I am really feeling the RED this year. Makes sense with my very rooted intentions, and word of the year. 

The quote reads, "Follow your inner moonlight; don't hide the madness." Mmm... so good.

As if I ever could ;)

Jan 5, 2016

my temple, heart & home





This is my little slice of heaven on earth.

How I was gifted with such a blessing, I'll never know, but this corner in which we live has both a grounding force and guiding light that's become the very rhythm of our day to day. This water has its own heartbeat and healing powers and we have attuned to it more and more over the years, calling this place home, a sanctuary to us in every way, both literally and figuratively.

I have sat by the basin's edge watching my children catch minnows in big plastic tubs, gathered with kindred souls on the dock while soaking in the sunlight, spent time writing, painting and dreaming by its calming waves, laughed as my husband paddles the kids in the kayak, waited for the fall ducks to swim up and ring in a new school year, held my breath through many passing storms churning out to sea, ebbed and flowed with each new season and tide, watched foxes and birds and artists flock to its shore, and have been left breathless by countless numbers of blazing pink sunsets. 

Much of my life unfolds here, and the ever-changing beauty always has a new stories to tell. 

I've photographed this view more times than I can count, and recently I thought how lovely it might be to capture and share the shifting tides and changing seasons, chronologically. Because in each and every day there is something unnamed yet glorious unfolding - a sacred story within an entire year. Maybe it's the aching possibility of each new dawn, the assurance of one day melting into the next and how the water and sky reflect what feels the closest thing to Faith I have ever known. Whatever it is, it's power and truth and love and hope all rolled into one.

So, I'm sharing this new series in hopes that you might catch a glimpse of this awe and wonder too. It's seriously good mojo. You can follow along at #plumislandbasin365

Jan 1, 2016

my word of 2016

In ninth grade I took Latin as a means to an end, that was actually never meant to be, but it served a greater purpose which I understand more fully, now. While my experience in that high school class was less than stellar (I got a D which was earned, and my teacher really disliked me which was not earned), I always had an affinity for this language that is the mother of so many others. Veni. vidi, vicci. My love affair with words and all aspects of linguistics runs true and deep, and it was around this time that I also found my power through writing. I've always loved to write, as it is where my voice feels the most clear and strong and true. It is saying things out loud that always seems the greatest challenge.

So while in search of my Word of the Year, it is no surprise that I found it within this hidden romance language. I searched for a weeks, writing lists and feeling my way around many words... root...sturdiness...foundation...nourish...energy...looking for the right one to convey a sense of grounded strength as well wise momentum - deeply connected to both the giving and receiving. I want the focus to be on shoring up core energies around health, money, relationships. I researched diagrams of plants and trees reading words that describe root systems, like sapwood and heartwood, and realized quickly that I needed a word that described more of the energetic whole, the entire virtuous circle, and not just one single part. Ever into wholeness.

We don't really have a single word for this kind of dual concept in English, but I found it in a Latin lexicon.... hence, Inveterasco ----> it means, essentially, roots and wings.

in - ve is to send inward.

ter is having to do with the earth, ground

asco refers to growth, and the system which helps to sustain something

Inveterasco :: it means I grow, I become.... but specifically in a way that is fortifying, more rooted, more established, more wise. It is about grounded growth to ensure prevailing constancy. It is reciprocal energy, inward seeking and outwardly reaching, to achieve longevity and perpetuity.

As you can see, it is the perfect word.

Sometimes the magic comes from places you least expect, and today I am oddly thankful for my freshman year foreign language misadventure.

May all of your 2016 Word wishes come true.
Happy New Year!

* custom WOY deer totem necklaces, limited edition, are in the shop here!

Dec 30, 2015

december reflections

1. Sparkle
2. Hot Drink
3. Best Day of 2015
4. Red

4. Sacred Space
5. Best Book of 2015
6. Branches
7. Five Things About Me 

9. Favorite Photo of 2015
10. Shadow
11. Gold
12. Best Decision of 2015

13. A is for... Athen
14. The Space In-between
15. Soundtrack of 2015 (and Justin Bieber)
16. I Said Hello To

17. My Smile
18. Circles
19. I Said Goodbye to (16 lbs whoo hoo!)
20. Warmth

21. Numbers
22. Solstice
23. Delicious
24. One Year Ago (goodbye Oscar)

25. Love Is
26. Real Life
27. 2015 Taught Me (faith + love, forever)
28. A Secret Wish for 2016

29. Home
30. Thank You For (all the magic and all the love!)
31. My Word for 2016 (more on this soon!)


Dec 5, 2015

the wild protector of their Holiday Spirit

This year, I really feel myself resisting the commercial holiday push. I deleted all the Black Friday emails as soon as they came in. I have not yet put up my tree. I'm not quite ready to listen to Christmas music. It's not that I don't feel in the spirit or feel particularly Grinchy. I've actually almost finished all of my holiday shopping, got my holiday cards all set to go, and have already made plenty of good-tidings treats.

More than ever though, I am feeling called to lay claim over the season in my own ways and rhythms, to be deeply rooted in what this time of year means to me, especially in the the eyes of my boys. They will find their own meaning, but I feel fiercely protective of that sacred space of discovery and trying to shield them from the raging commercial machine.

So this means a much softer easing-in on our own time. Wish AND give lists being scribbled. Glittered seashells and pine scented candles in the midst. Handmade teacher gifts that focus more on doing than buying. For me, it's dialing in the calm and the intentions, and resisting the store-bought story of stress and frenzy and buy, buy, buy. I'm trying to create a container for sacred celebration. Slow and low, that is the tempo.

Because, I hope this season's story will ultimately be about Joy, Grace,  Giving, Gratitude, Light and Togetherness.

And of course I do want my kids to have. The holiday experience is a right of passage and magical in its sparkly abundance, and I remember that feeling well. No doubt, they will have for sure. Three Christmas celebrations within our exuberant womb of family, plus Hannukkah, as well as all the parties thrown into the mix ensure there is always loads of having in December. But what I don't want is for the having to overshadow everything. It makes me keenly aware of what we, and others in this world, truly need, and it is achingly not about any of the extra piles of stuff.

What I want my boys to have most is meaning and connection to these experiences, with memories and traditions all tied up with a shiny, everlasting bow. I know then, that they will have everything they need.

So decidedly, that is what I am focusing on giving them this year... something less tangible, less fancy or visible, and I'm completely okay with not being the bestower of the biggest and best presents. In fact, it feels almost necessary - to be the wild protector of their Holiday Spirit.

There will be latkes and stockings and a tree full of gifts, but more as the icing on the cake and not the main event. I'm so grateful and lucky that other people in our lives have happyily taken on the more traditional and beloved role of Santa. It's a role I have never really aspired to, and a story I've never really resonated with as a mom or have perpetuated beyond my kid's own curiosity and reason. We've always let them decide for themselves if they want believe, a value that seems most important to pass on, allowing me to be more of a keeper of thier own kind magic-making. Together we are alchemizing tradition, gifts, and everything handed down to us into our own kind of Magic, and what truly makes the season bright.

Nov 29, 2015

permission to need

I have fallen deeply into the proverbial Red Tent this month.

Communing with the cycles, with wise women in my life, with a necessary kind of solitude amidst so much togetherness as the energy has been really intense. I've needed to curl into myself and escape more than usual. There have been many times in my life that I have wished for an actual sacred place to go and release, during that week where sometimes I can almost hardly stand to be with myself. I've thought more than once that it would be easier for everyone in close proximity if I could just disappear during the time of the waxing moon, and return on the other side renewed and right-minded.

What's been playing through my head lately is, "manage and be responsible for your energy", as a quiet plea to my own inner alchemist. My magic is my vibration, and I've been admittedly all over the map lately. It feels like trying to hold onto a lightning bolt. I think much of the intensity and friction is created by trying to be in a place of power that I simply am not. To give, when really I'm in a place of need.

Why is it so hard to give myself permission to need?

I am really terrible at needing.

Sometimes, it feels like a near epic task to ask for help. It's not that I think I won't get it, or even that I believe others wouldn't be more than happy to offer it. It is more a dark and twisty story of un-deserving. Self worth is so intertwined with receiving. How can I need something more when I already have so much?

Energy is as much about receiving as it is is about giving. It is a virtuous circle that flows in both directions. In my head, I know this. In my heart, much harder to parse. So I can ask the universe (I do), I can ask of myself (I do, a lot), and I can ask of actual people in my life (a rare occasion preceded by a great deal of doubt and self flagellation).

Trying to be or do things without being honest about what I truly need, is how most of my failures are born.

These are not failures of anything tangible. It's more in the environs of context and subtext where everything becomes tainted and the joy is surripticiously sucked from the moments, molecule by molecule. Nature abhors a vacuum. To give without receiving brings on drama and catastrophe in an effort to right the equation. I've seen this in my own life more often than I care to admit.

And so I need to become better at asking, because I can't run away to some mythical Red Tent every time I need nurturing and extra care and space. To sustainably inhabit my own life means learning to be okay with needing, receiving, and sometimes not being able to give. Even writing that makes me sort of cringe.

In the truth of all truths, asking for what I need is giving. It is giving to myself. So I can give of myself, completing the sacred circle, an act of generosity so taboo and close to the bone that it often gets re-named as the worst of all evils... selfish.  And how f*cked up is that?

Still, that possibility of seeming selfish has brought me to my knees, time and time again.

I'm working to change that story, because I don't believe it to be actual truth. I also believe we all deserve whatever it is we need to truly be well and happy, which often means giving our needs a voice. We are the only ones inside our own head, afterall. Yes, I've been guilty of willing my needs telepathically and ending up hurt or upset if others can't magically intuit what it is I want. Not the smartest modus operandi. So being responsible for my energy clearly means communicating needs, something I can certainly be practicing with more compassion and love.

To need doesn't mean I am failing.

To need doesn't mean I am a bad person.

To need does not mean I am selfish.

Receiving is the way in which giving is alchemized. A much better story, don't you think?