Honoring My Personal Winter

personalwinter

everyday // tordis kayma

Around this time last year, I wrote the following letter to my list. I stumbled upon it again as I was going through my email’s archives, & I’m sharing it here because even though it’s a year old, it resonates very strongly with where I’m at today.

It’s been a very, very busy year for me; lots of movement & changes. But things are slowing down, & I am being asked to do the same.

I actually did a tarot card reading yesterday that really brought home what my mission is for the remainder of the year: solitude, rest, isolation, & letting die what must die were huge themes. And that’s what I plan on doing with the rest of my December.

So, this post is a celebration of that, my personal winter, & a reminder for you to honor your own.

/ / /

It is a cold, foggy, crisp day in Portland, Oregon, & I am thinking of you.

I’ve been in my own little world these last several weeks, dealing with some personal things & coping with the aftermath, & then also realizing how profoundly in sync I’ve become with the seasons—currently, winter.

I have found myself waking up most days with an urge to lay low & stay inside & be anti-social & introverted. My creative side is not showing up very frequently, nor are my Muses; I believe they are hibernating just as I am trying to.

I’m also in the process of deep contemplation & introspection about the next phase of Sex Love Liberation, one that involves way more of me than ever before.

So that’s why I haven’t been writing as much, that’s why I haven’t updated the blog in a little while. I am going through a period of fallowness, of turning inward, just as the trees are, just as the sun in, just as the bears are.

It’s so important that I honor my natural cycles—both the vibrant & the dormant.

What my days consist of as I honor my personal Winter:

// sleeping in & snuggling my partner & pup
// eating hearty, nourishing meals
// keeping my work light & giving all of my creative fire to my clients
// nesting: cleaning house, cooking meals, tending to my hearth
// putting on headphones, tuning out the world, & listening to good jams
// reading Women Who Run With the Wolves (again)
// not being a social; allowing myself to stay indoors & not talk much
// drinking lots of tea
// Tarot & divination
// not pressuring myself to do creative but instead to just be in creation

I’ve been thinking a lot about how SLL has been for me an outright expression of my own personal liberation; how talking about sex & sensuality & desire & my intimate relationship spurs in me a desire to be curious & a full expression of who I am.

And I often judge my process by thinking that if I’m not do-ing overt things to fuel my own sexual liberation—like writing about porn or having multiple orgasms—that I’m not being liberated.

But the most powerful thing I’ve come to understand this year is this:

Self-liberation isn’t just expressed through the do-ing. It is in the be-ing.

Feeling, processing, intuiting. Releasing, listening, honoring. All are expressions of liberation.

I say all of this not just to make a point to myself as I’m grappling with the pressures to be what I am not & do what I cannot, but to give you permission to lie fallow or to process or to honor or to feel if that is what you really need right now.

It’s so easy to dispute or discredit. But allowing yourself time to lie fallow & do the quiet, seemingly unbusy inner work, is not only courageous, it acts as bright illumination on your path to liberation—be it sexual, sensual, personal, emotional, or what have you.

I heard it said once that if we tilled the farm lands day in & day out, without rest, we’d kill the soil, zapping all of its nutrients & yielding some less-than-nourishing foods. Our bodies, our purposeful work, our elusive creative Geniuses operate in the same way.

There is a time to produce, & there is a time to regenerate. Seasons exist for a reason.

Remember that.

Remember that there is sacredness in following your natural rhythms, in doing less now so that you can do more later.

Sunflowers & Make-Believe: Discovering My Sensuality As a Child

sunflower

sunflower // annemiek groenhout

One of the fondest memories I have is when my sister & I were kids & used to play in our backyard & pretend we were Pocahontas. We created teepees out of pine trees with low hanging branches—we each had our own designated spot—& the the two of us would get on our hands & knees in the desert dirt to nurture the little plants (i.e., weeds) to grow with water & song.

Our stuffed animals were the woodland creatures, our clothes (old rags & blankets my mom didn’t need anymore) were animal skins, & we would dance in our fortresses in our bare feet, stomping ceremoniously on pine needles & dirt clumps. We’d make mudpies & leafy vegetable soups, & pretend to stoke bonfires with tiny twigs as kindling & a magnifying glass to create small billows of stinky smelling smoke.

Once, a sunflower randomly sprouted in my teepee, & over the next few months I watched with wonder as it transformed from bland stalk to brilliant blossom. One day, out of sheer curiosity I crouched down & plucked one of the tiny black seeds out of bloom & ate it. It was so delicious, unlike any sunflower seed I had ever had, & I spent the rest of the summer lying underneath that sunflower & slowly eating its seeds one by one right out of the bloom.

Those moments I spent in my “teepee” as a child, making up songs & nibbling fresh sunflower seeds, were some of the most sensual of my life.

I was never taught about sensuality as a kid. I was familiar with my senses, that was a lesson I was given at great length, but what it meant to be sensual was never touched on. I can’t even recall hearing the word sensuality until I was far older (& when I did it was attached very sloppily to sex).

But clearly, I was a sensual girl, naturally; I didn’t need to be taught, it was innately within me—all I needed was curiosity explore & time to play, & I had more of those things than I needed. Especially time. Minutes traveled much slower when I was a little girl, & I seemed lose myself in every second of what  I was doing—playing, creating, make-believing—while savoring every single moment.

Fast forward to now. . . Gone are the days of lying on my belly to watch ants commute to their homes. I find myself moving so fast in a world that moves even faster than I, & time is of the essence. There’s shit to be done, commitments to fulfill, & deadline to meet. My to-do list often tries to dictate the way I live my days.

Of course, in these moments of fastness, self-care gets thrown out the window. I forget to eat. My temper is short, my patience sparse. Everything feels hurried, detached, helter-skelter.

When I am disconnected from my body & senses, life merely becomes a sequence of events rather than rich, well-savored moments.

And I deeply desire the well-savored moments.

I want to get my hands dirty. I want embraces to overwhelm me with love & warmth. I want to lose myself in moments of creation, without distraction. I want the sex I have to transfigure & swoon all of my senses. I want spaciousness & pauses & sighs of pleasure.

I want to taste every note of sweetness in moment, in the same way I nibbled tiny sunflower seeds in my fortress as a little girl—with slowness & indulgence.

It’s very clear to me: The enjoyment of my life depends very heavily on my ability to slow down, to embody, to feel a connection to the world around me.

That, in essence, is sensuality. And I believe that it is my birthright. Yours, too.

So, how do we get there? How do we, inhabitants of a fast-moving world & participants in a culture that doesn’t always foster living with our senses, get back to our birthright? What does that look like in practice?

I’ll tell you. In the next post.

What Does It Mean To Be a Woman?

woman

makeup // catalina montaña

This is a question came up twice for me last week: once in my sensuality e-course, & another in a one-on-one session between me & a client. In both cases, it stumped us.

As soon as I heard that question, my mind began to fill with all kinds of proverbial frou-frou images that have, for most of my girlish life, represented woman: red lipstick; panty hose; shoes that go clip-clop! as I walk; pearls; tulle; eyelash curlers; pink bows; Victoria’s Secret’s super padded push-up bras; Chanel No.5; oven mitts.

But I know better. These are just things, empty tropes that have senselessly carried the weight & sacredness of adult femaleness for centuries. I see these “emblems of womanhood” & feel an instant sense of disconnect with them, because I know that there is a lot more to a woman than what brand of perfume she wears or where she buys her bras—simply because there’s more to me & my womanness than the perfume I wear or the bras that I buy.

Oh, I wish it were that simple. If only I could just by a tube of lipstick, a lacy bra, & a frilly skirt, & then—bam! Sensual adult woman activated! Wouldn’t that be nice?

And while it is true that those emblems of womanhood can contain within them an essence of the womanness one seeks, they’re only meaningful when they are worn, embodied. Otherwise, they’re just perfume on a shelf, bras on a clothes hanger. Empty.

So if being a woman (& I mean the essence of a woman, not the caricature of one) is not found in the lacy bra or the frilly skirt or the sugar, spice, & everything nice look & feel. . . then where is it & where can it be found?

What does it mean to be a woman?

Here’s what I think.

I think what it means to be a woman is as vast & varied as the women who claim the word themselves. I think that the expressions of womanhood are truly unique & intimate & personal, & cannot be defined by any one person—that is, not without using some of those empty tropes I mentioned above, which, as I’ve seen, can be useless.

I think that if anyone on the planet ever says to you, “Look here, being a woman means this & this & this!” run in the opposite direction. I don’t believe that anyone has any jurisdiction in telling you (in telling me) what it means to be a woman. Yes, even if she herself is a woman.

I don’t think that we can ask that question “What does it mean to be a woman?” without also asking “What does it mean to be who I am?” Because your womanness is intrinsically tied into the truth of who you are—all of your quirks, all of your traits, even the ones that are not soft.

I believe that if you incarnated into this life as a woman, if you claim that word as yours (regardless if the claiming is done with pride or uncertainty), it is your task to define what it means to be woman. Namely, to uncover who she is—who you are—in your own way, on your own terms.

So how do you uncover her? You give her safe space for her to be conjured. You honor her presence whenever you feel her pulsations inside of your body. You open yourself up to feel the pulsations of her inside of your body. You embody the truth that you are already a woman, that there is nothing that needs to be done or applied.

That’s a start.

I like to ask this one question whenever a client of mine is unsure of her womanness (or “lack of”):

When do you feel most like a woman?

I love this question because it has an air of lightness to it, much more than “What does it mean to be a woman?”, & there’s all kinds of curious things within its answer(s), things that can help her (you) to begin that journey of uncovering & actualization.

So, when do you feel most like a woman?

As for me. . . it’s true that I tend to feel most like a woman when I’m sporting red lipstick or when my hair looks just right or when I’m baking a pie. But mostly, the essence of my womanhood comes out when I feel at total home with myself. When I am unabashedly in my body—every crease, curve, & freckle. When I am honoring all of my inner rhythms—including the ones that feel dark or “unlady-like.” When I am tuning into my inner voice. When I’m speaking my truth.

My womanness includes much of the frou-frou images mentioned above, yes, but those things do not define me as a woman. And that, for me, is liberating, because it’s exhausting (not to mention unsustainable) to put such precedence on products or symbols & not on my own inherent magnificence.

I am a woman because I say so.
And so are you.

I Am A “Too Much” Woman

Press play above to listen to me read this article aloud to you. Player not showing? Click here.

/ / / 

Note: This writing is inspired by & dedicated to all of the Too Much women I have worked with, who, very bravely & against all odds, rise.

There she is. . . the “too much” woman. The one who loves too hard, feels too deeply, asks too often, desires too much.

There she is taking up too much space, with her laughter, her curves, her honesty, her sexuality. Her presence is as tall as a tree, as wide as a mountain. Her energy occupies every crevice of the room. Too much space she takes.

There she is causing a ruckus with her persistent wanting, too much wanting. She desires a lot, wants everything—too much happiness, too much alone time, too much pleasure. She’ll go through brimstone, murky river, & hellfire to get it. She’ll risk all to quell the longings of her heart & body. This makes her dangerous. She is dangerous.

And there she goes, that “too much” woman, making people think too much, feel too much, swoon too much. She with her authentic prose & a self-assuredness in the way she carries herself. She with her belly laughs & her insatiable appetite & her proneness to fiery passion. All eyes on her, thinking she’s hot shit.

Oh, that “too much” woman. . . too loud, too vibrant, too honest, too emotional, too smart, too intense, too pretty, too difficult, too sensitive, too wild, too intimidating, too successful, too fat, too strong, too political, too joyous, too needy—too much.

She should simmer down a bit, be taken down a couple notches. Someone should put her back in a more respectable place. Someone should tell her.

Here I am. . . the Too Much Woman, with my too-tender heart & my too-much emotions.

A hedonist, feminist, pleasure seeker, empath. I want a lot—justice, sincerity, spaciousness, ease, intimacy, actualization, respect, to be seen, to be understood, your undivided attention, & all of your promises to be kept.

I’ve been called high maintenance because I want what I want, & intimidating because of the space I occupy. I’ve been called selfish because I am self-loving. I’ve been called a witch because I know how to heal myself.

And still. . . I rise. Still, I want & feel & ask & risk & take up space.

I must.

Us Too Much Women have been facing extermination for centuries—we are so afraid of her, terrified of her big presence, of the way she commands respect & wields the truth of her feelings. We’ve been trying to stifle the Too Much Woman for ions—in our sisters, in our wives, in our daughters. And even now, even today, we shame the Too Much Woman for her bigness, for her wanting, for her passionate nature.

And still. . . she thrives.

In my own world & before my very eyes, I am witnessing the reclamation & rising up of the Too Much Woman. That Too Much Woman is also known to some as Wild Woman or the Divine Feminine. In any case, she is me, she is you, & she is loving that she’s finally, finally getting some airtime.

If you’ve ever been called “too much,” or “overly emotional,” or “bitchy,” or “stuck up,” you are likely a Too Much Woman.

And if you are. . . I implore you to embrace all that you are—all of your depth, all of your vastness; to not hold yourself in, & to never abandon yourself, your bigness, your radiance.

Forget everything you’ve heard—your too much-ness is a gift; oh yes, one that can heal, incite, liberate, & cut straight to the heart of things.

Do not be afraid of this gift, & let no one shy you away from it. Your too much-ness is magic, is medicine. It can change the world.

Don’t believe me? Check this: All of your favorite women, the ones who’ve made history, the ones who’ve lent their voices for change & have courageously given themselves permission to be exactly who they are—some examples: Oprah, Ronda Rousey, Danielle LaPorte, Beyoncé, Kali, Misty Copeland, Janet Mock, Mary Magdalene . . .—they’re all Too Much Women.

So please, Two Much Woman: Ask. Seek. Desire. Expand. Move. Feel. Be.

Make your waves, fan your flames, give us chills.

Please, rise.
We need you.

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.