I Deserve to Take Up Space

Press play below to listen to me read this article aloud to you (turn the volume up). 

Player not showing up? Click here.

/ / / / /

I have become so good at making myself small, of keeping a low, cramped profile so as to not draw attention to myself. It is second nature now for me to stand, speak, & be in ways that keep me from taking up space.

It first started as innocent shyness, keeping myself small—a subtle kind of humbleness; a holy, noble martyrdom. Then, it began to mutate into something more dangerous: meekness, insecurity, shame.

No one thought to pull me out of that dark, stuffy pit designated for me—no one truly wanted to. A nice girl is meek, they resounded. A pure girl gives up her space, they reinforced. Sacrifice. Back-step. Apologize.

Good girl.

And so I learned. I learned how to not be the one who takes up space, for she—the space-taker—is a steamroller, “a moving mountain,” an ancient tree whose roots damage cemented foundations.

Her energy is bigness, raucous, unapologetic. She is loud & demanding. She makes others uncomfortable because her truth is often stiff & challenging. And she is capable of exposing the truth in you, upturning rugs that cover dirt & dust & bones from your past.

She doesn’t want to be good, doesn’t want to please or sit still. She only wants to blossom, to grow her lengthy stems up & up, thriving in light, becoming & transforming wherever she occupies.

This is why she’s so dangerous.

No wonder I was taught against her. No wonder her presence is abhorred. Why would anyone want to be that woman? Who would willfully choose to spur or embody her colossal, unwavering spirit? Certainly not me.

And then I read it somewhere, this short & sweet sentence that emboldened me to think about taking up space (or, essentially, to examine how little space I was taking); I can’t remember where I found it. It was just six words, seven easy syllables; simple & to the perfect point. . .

You deserve to take up space.

It was then the proverbial record scratched & I could hear this small, muffled voice inside of me simultaneously go, “Who, me?” & then rejoice, “Oh, yes. This. Finally!”

I read it again. And again. And again once more, each time feeling like that tiny little voice was being resuscitated, as if the words were waking up parts of me that I didn’t know ever existed—the sleeping giant, the moving mountain.

And then I realized that this—this dangerous truth, this powerful wisdom—was what I’d been seeking my whole life; this was the truth that could finally (finally!) take me home to myself.

But before that ecstatic voyage, an interruption of disparaging thoughts courtesy of my Critical Voice:

How could you possibly take up space? You’re not a space-taker, you are a wallflower. You’ve existed so long crammed against these walls, you have no idea of what it means to be big. And anyway, if you take up space, you’ll leave nothing else for the rest of them.

I could feel myself shrinking back into that cramped space, that too-small fishbowl. And as my Critical Voice continued to prattle on & on about all the ways in which it was impossible, irresponsible, reprehensible for little ol’ me to take up space, that tiny small voice—the one that, in the beginning, rejoiced so happily, Oh, yes, finally!—it seemed to burst up & out.

No, it boomed.
You are wrong, it defied.
I belong here.

And so it has been.

I’ve been sitting with this voice & this notion of taking up space for months now, unsure of how to actualize it into reality. I mean, how does one claim space? Is it a psychic expression, an energetic shift of perception, or must I literally go around town saying aloud (or to myself) “Mine! Mine! Mine!”?

But the biggest question that continues to come up for me is: Who am I as a space-taker? What forms does she take within & without me? What truth does she have to speak?

I began to write it out here, & this is what came through unfiltered:

I am a moving mountain. I am expansive energy.
I have thunder in my voice & fire on my breath.

My laugh is lightening. My eyes are lazor beams.
My hair is a lion’s mane. My wisdom is crashing, salty waves.

I am large, bigness; I contain multitudes.
I am unafraid of invoking reactions, truth, emotions in others.
I am unafraid of my power to shift the energy of a room. 

And no longer will I martyr myself.
No longer will I apologize for occupying space that is rightfully mine.

I will not shrink.
I will stand tall & big & wide. I will rejoice in my capacity.

I belong here.

And you. You do, as well.

A Room of Your Own: How to Make a Sensual Fort

goddess-space-3

Every woman should have a place of her own, a place that is all theirs, a place that they can go to to rest, relax, regenerate. Every woman must have this space, especially the wild, sexually liberated woman, for this place is her creative cave, her love nest, her sacred sanctuary where she can retreat to create or think or rest or paint or dream.

I have such a place. I call it my Goddess Space.

I created it on the eve of my big hiatus from work; a hiatus where, when before entering, I felt disconnected, despondent, & out of sync with my self, & when I exited, I regained creative consciousness, my sense of self, & my purpose in this world.

So my Goddess Space, this room of my own, is quite powerful, I think.

Having this space of my own to retreat to has been paramount in my practices in unearthing my wildish, sensual, intuitive, feminine self. It is a a safe haven where I can retreat to & in, & shut away the rest of the world for a few moments to become one with myself.

In this space I have gemstones, dried flowers, & altars to mantras & Goddesses I hold dear. I practice my divination here, I soul collage here, I meditate & pray & journal journal here. I conduct all calls with my clients here, too, as I feel that the atmosphere harnesses my ability to “speak from between my legs & write from womb.”

I have blessed this area with my wishes & curiosity & the magic that gets conjured when I allow myself to go deep within. In my space, I have birthed ideas & poetry. I have let things burn. I have cried & laughed & sighed heavily. I have especially come face to face with the essence of my being, for this is a space that helps spur realizations of greatness & power I have within me.

I’ll say it again: I think every woman needs their own sacred space—a room, a closet, a corner, a haven.

Somewhere, anywhere, that is all theirs, where they can decorate & curate & contemplate, where they can allow themselves the freedom to unfurl & undo if they wish.

goddess-space-2

How to Create Your Own Sensual Fort

// Pick your space. Is there an area in your home that is going unused?—a closet, a blank wall, an alcove, a crawl space? Is there a room in your apartment that is more of a catch-all than anything else? Or a space where, each time you pass it you think, What I could do with this. . .? Then that is your space.

It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t even have to have a door or be in a room. It could be a spot above your dresser or a corner in your bedroom. It could even be in your basement or your attic or your laundry room. It doesn’t matter where it is, really, just as long as it can be easily transformed into your sacred space. (Bonus if it has natural light, electric sockets, & room to move around in.)

// Gather up all of your most beloved items; things that you’ve collected along the years, things that tickle your fancy & incite feelings of nostalgia, delight, & joy. Things like flower petals from bouquets, seashells from that trip you took to the ocean when you were little, the string of pearls you never wear but you’ve held onto them for some reason. Also: postcards from old friends, love notes from your beloved, a photo of yourself that captures the essence of your vibrancy & the infiniteness of your spirit; old fortunes from fortune cookies, rocks & gemstones, twigs & moss & feathers (you can never, ever go wrong with bringing in bits of nature), & more.

Don’t have any of these things? Go on a nature walk or to your favorite vintage store & hunt for things you can invest in for your special space. Be on a lookout for the things that produce a lilt in your heart, that put a smile on your face. Even if the things are small, even if to someone else having this one thing would be ridiculous, gather it anyway. Trust your heart & your first impulse when picking these things, too. The soul knows.

// Gather your creative tools. Your very best pens & barely written in journals; paints & blank canvases; colored pencils & a sketchpad; your grandfather’s old Smith & Corona & a book of poetry that inspires you. Also: magazines, clippings, glues, scissors, & a composition notebooks; beads, string, & bejeweled pendants; knitting needles, your favorite yarns, & your favorite mug for tea. Whatever you need to create, whatever you need to brainstorm, whatever it is that fans the flames of your creative genius, gather it up & get it ready to go into the space.

// Accessories. It’s time to set the mood  for your space. Go wild here with candles, incense, beloved affirmations written on post-it notes, a mirror, strings of lights, drapes, matchbooks, airplants & fresh flowers, sea glass, chocolates, pillows, a soft blanket, old perfume bottles, your favorite books, crosses, pentagrams, ankhs—whatever you desire & anything that will be a feast for the senses.

// Assemble with intention & intuition. Don’t think too much about the order of things. Assemble the space how you want to assemble it; put it together the way you want it to look. Use thumbtacks & tape to hang art or handwritten mantras on the wall. Hammer in nails so that your vision board stays put. String lights around the corners to illuminate the space & create a soft halo of light around you & all of your treasures. Hang curtains or put up a partition for privacy. Put fresh flowers in a vase & incense sticks in a mason jar.

Let the space speak for itself. Don’t put pressure on it to be perfect.

goddess-space-11

// Make an altar. By definition, an altar is a sacred place where one goes to connect to the Divine. As for me, I use altars to not only pay homage to the Divine but to honor the beautiful things that I have collected, things that hold powerful significance in where I am currently in my journey. But of course, it depends on what the altar is for. I have an altar for Isis, for Buddha, for my wellbeing, for my bedside, for my tarot readings, & for the celebration of nature.

So ask yourself, who would you like this altar (or shrine) to celebrate/worship? Perhaps you can make an altar to yourself or to your inner child. Or maybe one to your creative genius or erotic muse. There are no rules to creating an altar, just bring with you materials & keepsakes that you feel can serve as an offering (or representation) to whomever you made the altar to (for instance, if it’s for your erotic muse, a shiva lingam stone & red rose petals might resonate).

Put your items on piece of fabric or a wooden plate & lay them out just so. Light a candle. Say a prayer. Give a bow.

// Create a ritual. How do you want to enter your space? How would you like to honor the sacred area you’ve created for yourself? For me, I enter my space with comfortable clothes & bare feet. Then, I burn some sage or palo santo wood to cleanse myself & the space. If I’m doing a reading, before ever taking out my deck, I’ll light all of the candles & some incense, & then begin to center myself as I play some music that grounds me. If I’m about to soul collage, I’ll meditate or pray before diving in. But usually the act of entering the space is enough to leave me feeling ready.

You might consider creating some kind of ritual for yourself whenever you step inside, one that gives the signal that the rest of the world has fallen away for a few minutes. Rituals (routines in general) are incredibly powerful, especially when they’re done with intention.

// Rules & regulations. It’s so important that your sensual fort isn’t treated like any old space in the house. You’ve gone through great, concentrated efforts to create a blessed-by-you space. it’s important to respect it & keep it clean—both clutter-wise & energy-wise.

Some rules I have for my Goddess Space: no technology—laptops, television, video games, browsing the internet, etc. (the only thing I do allow is my cellphone, but there are boundaries in place with that); no “hanging out,” such as phone calls with friends or eating lunch inside. I also don’t allow just anyone inside of my space; I like to keep the energy clean by having me be the only person that frequents.

goddess-space-4

Now. . . your space is created. Here are some questions to ask yourself to go even deeper:

  • How do I want this space to feel?
  • What do I want this space to represent?
  • What is the intention of this space?
  • What am I going to call it?
  • What will I do to keep my space sacred?

& a blessing for your sacred space, from me to you:

May this space be built in honor of your feminine wisdom. May it be a special safe haven for your sensual spirit to blossom.
& may you find the fullness & juiciness of yourself as you step inside.

Will you be making a sensual fort? If so, take a photograph of it via Instagram & tag it with #sensualfort. I’ll be tuning in & cheering you on.

 

30DOS-announcement2

The Emergence of the Divine Feminine & 11 Ways to Embody it in This Moment

All around me, I am seeing women who are making empowering choices, women who are coming into deep love of self & radical acceptance of their bodies, women who are changing the way they work in the world, women who are taking charge of their reproductive rights, women who are speaking the truth of who they are & how they feel, women who are tuning in to their desires.

It seems that everywhere I look, I’m hearing (& reading) words like Divine Feminine, Sacred Feminism, Wild Woman, Shakti, Priestess, Feminism, Goddess, Sisterhood, & I know why: these words represent a vast collective shift happening within & around all of us—& not just amongst women.

Divine Femininity—or Shakti, or Wild Woman—has been a major focal point in my life lately. It’s being used in my practice as a sexual liberation coach, it’s being explored in my women’s groups, & it’s asking of me to honor my natural rhythms.

But it’s really, really easy for me to say Divine Feminine. What does it mean? I can only express its meaning by articulating where & when I feel the Feminine, & what that experience feels like.

I experience the Divine Feminine when I am listening to & following my intuition, when I’m making love to my beloved, when I’m in a deep state of creative expression.

I am in communion with Shakti when I dream, when I tend to my home space, when I move my body to dance, & when I twist my hair. I feel most like a Wild Woman when I am connected to my moon cycle, when I aware of the beauty of my surroundings, & when I contemplate the Life, Death, Rebirth nature of all. I encounter Sisterhood when I’m on the phone with my clients, when I am brunching with my girlfriends, & when I’m in circling with Mothers & Crones.

All of this is happening in my life, every moment, every day. Shakti, the Divine Feminine, Wild Woman—she is always here.

A feminine uprising is happening, & you are part of it.

How you can support (& immerse yourself in) this rising up of the Feminine

1. Acknowledge the woman (the Feminine) inside of you. Do whatever it takes to connect with her. What I do to bring Her out: bath soaks by candlelight with essential oils; bellydancing; slathering coconut oil all over my body, slowly & intentionally; Björk, Lana Del Rey, & Erika Badu; a red lipstick-ed mouth.

2. Feel good about the power in the Feminine. The Feminine is the force of nature, a potent energy to be reckoned with. She is not always sunshine & roses, but can be a destructive, turbulent force. There is no need to fear Her, or to fear the innate power you have within you. She is on your side. Destruction paves the way for creation.

3. Hold space for your sisters. They are walking this path with you; share this journey with them. Be proud of who they are becoming, divulge what you’re uncovering about yourself. Book clubs, women’s groups, & texting marathons nourish the Feminine essence.

4. Be in nature. Touch trees & leaves. Skip stones. Smell flowers. Lay down in the grass. Look up at the clouds. Turn your compost. Shakti lives there.

5. Give yourself room to play. Create; use your hands, your voice, your imagination. Keep ample space in your schedule. Sleep in when you can (& do so unapologetically). Explore only things that give you pleasure & bring you joy. The Wild Woman thrives on spaciousness & ease.

6. Find a spiritual practice that honors & celebrates the Feminine (& if you can’t find one, create your own). Here’s a glimpse of mine: collaging in my Goddess Space; writing in my manifestation journal as the Goddess Isis looks on; paying homage to Aphrodite by wearing rose quartz; reading more & more about Goddesses in general (lots of Goddess worship, as you can see).

7. Bring intimacy into your life. The Feminine is a master of intimacy, of deepening relationships. We can create intimacy with anything we wish: our pets, our plants, every single person we pass as we’re walking. All it takes is a smile, an intention to connect, & a heart open to love.

8. Follow your intuition. That voice you hear, the one you seldom heed because you think it’s crazy/invalid/ridiculous? That’s the Divine Feminine. She speaks constantly through you. Give her a listen.

9. Ask for what you want. Speak your truth. Hunt your desires. Settle for nothing less.

10. Pay attention to the moon cycles. Pay attention to your moon cycles. Simply look up. The moon is the Feminine.

11. Surrender. Allow. Open to what is.

To your Shakti (Sanskrit for power).
To your courage.
To your innate creative life force.

You are the Feminine incarnate.

Further reading on the Feminine, Wild Woman, feminism, & sisterhood. . .

Why We Decided to Close Our Relationship & Go Back to Monogamy

For nearly three years, my partner & I have been seeking to merge our strictly monogamous relationship with what we have found most intriguing: polyamory.

It all started with a confession on his part, where he very carefully confided in me that he felt that his capacity to love was deeper than just me. I remember listening to him speak & feeling like my heart was being pulled slowly out of my chest.

So many emotions washed over me in that moment—confusion, devastation, admiration (that he could speak so confidently his truth made my heart swell full with respect), deep violation. My entire world was collapsing before my eyes, & at the very height of my emotions, I contemplated divorce.

It took several days before my heart began to soften, which was prompted by the realization that his confession, though incredibly emotionally disruptive, was merely a confession, not a request to switch over to free love right that moment.

We had a series of conversations, most of them gut-wrenching & sob-inducing, & came to one final agreement: His fuller capacity to love was noble, but not mutual, & I simply wasn’t OK with his polyamorous tendencies being actualized.

He understood & agreed to essentially “shut off” his desires to open.

And so it was. The topic wasn’t discussed very often after that.

Several months later, I fell in deep love/lust with a female companion. It was completely unexpected. It shook me to my bones. I felt like a hypocrite, & that, once more, my entire world was falling out of orbit. It was then Jonathan’s turn to be compassionate, & he gave much so much grace & patience as I worked to figure out what all of it meant.

Even though nothing ever physically manifested with my love interest & I, the overwhelming emotions I experienced during that time were enough to change my idea of polyamory. Suddenly, I understood what it meant to both love & lust after multiple people at the same time.

During this time, we sought through books, lectures, podcasts, & hypothetical conversations to make sense of the truth that was circling throughout our consciousness: That perhaps polyamory was more ingrained in us (in me!) than we thought. Our minds spun even more so after reading the book Sex at Dawn, which pretty much proved scientifically that monogamy amongst humans wasn’t the most natural. We couldn’t help but think that we somehow didn’t fit into exclusive partnering very well.

Thus began our experiment into opening up.

I went on a few dates with women. He declared his attraction toward close, unsuspecting friends. I put up a “Married & Available” profile on OK Cupid. We attended Poly Meetups, unabashedly flirted with a lot of good-looking people, & had many intense discussions together as we went through every sort of What If? scenario imaginable.

We played like this for about three years, experimenting with how far we could go, opening ourselves up to people & experiences, & in some cases practically holding up a neon-green signed that screamed, “We’re open!”

And it never got us anywhere.

I was having brunch with a friend a few months ago, & we got on the topic of relationships. I mentioned to her that my partner & I had been seeking to have a polyamorous relationship for a few years, & as I did, I was surprised at my indifference toward the admission.

Usually, this was a time for me to chat buoyantly about my lifestyle, partly with the hope of finding another comrade who upheld the same notions, & partly because I was curious to see if my confession would elicit an invitation for our friendship to possibly go further.

But strangely, everything about polyamory suddenly bored me. I had been feeling for several months a slight repulsion in continuing these flirtations, but it wasn’t until I was retelling my story about what brought my partner & I to explore non-monogamy that I realized how done I was with it.

“I think I’m over it,” I blurted out without thinking.

“Well, you know,” said my friend gently, “it’s OK if you are, honey. You tried it, you gave it a shot. There’s no shame in walking away from it for a time.”

I let her words linger in my mind for a few moments before finally uttering once more, “Yes, I think I’m done.”

We parted ways after brunch & I continued to repeat those words in my head as I walked home.

I’m done. I’m done. I’m done. But why?

I’m done because opening my relationship became too labored. What I was looking for was synchronicity & serendipity—an accidental kind of friends-turned-lovers partnership that would whisk me & my partner away & into a fiery love affair. But it was becoming too contrived, too well-thought out.

I’m done because I simply was not finding what I was looking for. No matter how much I tried, no matter how fervent my lust for expansion & experimentation, the people that came into my life continued to be imperfect matches, people who were not emotionally available (or sound) enough to give me what I deeply yearned for with this experience. I have grown tired of my heart being broken, & of having my hopes sliced by rejection.

I’m done because it’s all been very emotionally exhausting—the wondering, the seeking, the hypothesizing, the desiring; oh, the desiring has been the worst part of it all. Wanting so badly to experience something that you have no earthly idea what it will ultimately bring you, or if it’ll be at the demise of a relationship, or if this is the path meant to be taken, but the desire is still there, strong & unrelenting. Yes, that has been the hardest part for me.

Opening our marriage gave us a lot of things (like juicy conversations & a glimpse into what our partnership could be like with the addition of another), but the one thing it most certainly did not give us was what we were initially looking to experience: physical explorations (i.e., sex).

Not one kiss, not one grope, not one one-night-stand was had in all the three years we were playing. Only emotional affairs that kept our minds & our bodies wound tight with sexual tension & the gnawing What if? thoughts that made our imaginations run wild.

I’ve always seen our lack of polyamorous sexual activity as a negative thing, something that proved to us harshly that we weren’t meant for this lifestyle. These days, though, I am seeing this reality to be more of a blessing as I move into full attention on my partnership. Transitioning back into monogamy wouldn’t be as easy for me, I think, with vivid images constantly flashing through my mind of my lover in the arms of another.

What I realize now more than ever is how incredibly sacred my union is with my beloved.

Our deep, unchanging love, our amazing, spiritual, cosmic sex, our never erring devotion to each other. . . I do not want to share this gorgeousness with anyone. And because I know how powerful erotic energy is, I don’t want to give my body to anyone else.

Rather, I want to focus on other things, like the electric connection I have with Jonathan, & cultivating lasting platonic yet love-filled relationships with my friends (because it was getting so murky that every single person I knew became a “Potential Lover”).

All of this isn’t to say that we’ve given up on polyamory completely. Our curiosity was never quenched, & so, at least on my part, there will always be a sense of wondering. We might come back to it in the future, we might not. When I was speaking to Jonathan about moving back into monogamy again, he said to me, “I could die without having ever expressed polyamory & I’d be fine.”

As for me, I don’t know if I could be OK with dying without ever having actualized my fluid sexuality. But. . . I am learning to, at this point, be OK with & luxuriate in what I’ve already got.

On Desire & How to Harmonize Yourself With Your Hungers

“Desire is the engine of creation. Desire is an evolutionary impulse. Desire leads the way home.” —Danielle LaPorte

We live in a culture where we glorify & congratulate those who follow the rigidity of schedules, diets, regimens, & to do lists; where we’re more prone to denying our needs because in doing so we nobly show self-control & temperance; where our imperviousness towards macarons, reality television, & sleeping in past 6am make us to be a warrior of some kind—one who has the composure & sensitivity of a robot.

I don’t think I have to tell you that we are not robots, yet we regulate, govern, & maintain strictness with our delicate needs as though we were.

Many of us are suffering silently the callings of our hearts to indulge, to feel, to impulsively & deliberately quench the thirsts of our souls. We suffer because we choose to go against our inherent tendency for pleasure, for goodness, for ecstasy, for joy, that which is meant to be our natural state of existence & thriving.

I’ve been working with women one-on-one in the realm of sexual liberation, but we almost always end up on the subject of desire; specifically, what it is they want, what it is they crave, what it is their bodies, minds, & spirits are begging for, & how they can attune themselves to Desire’s whispers (or boisterous bellows) so that they can finally feel harmonious in their bodies & in their sexual expressions.

It always starts with this one simple question: What are your desires?
And then. . . What do you yearn for, crave for?

When I hear these questions, my mind is swarming with its own ideas & visions. . .

Continue reading »