Are Paradoxes Conflict for You?

certificate(1)Most of the women that I know are intelligent, independent, conscious women. We believe in equality of all people and we highly value our sovereignty, that is, our own personal authority over ourselves.⠀

At the same time, I know many of us are deeply longing for love and a relationship. For many of us in relationship, we are not quite finding the fulfillment and juiciness we yearn to have with a partner.⠀

While we fiercely guard our independence and sovereignty, we may also deep down just want someone who will take care of us. Someone, I daresay, who will cherish and even worship us. These needs and values can appear to run counter to one another and create unresolved conflict for a lot of women.⠀

How can I value myself as an independent and sovereign woman and still have this incredible yearning to be taken care of and cherished? ⠀

It isn’t the paradox that needs to be resolved. It won’t be resolved because it’s not supposed to be. It can’t be.⠀

What we can do is find that place of tension in the paradox and dance in it. Breathe with it. Allow it. And discover what becomes available in that space.⠀

How do we do this, dance within the paradoxes?

My life has led me to seek out, explore, and work with Feminine energies. This is where I have found I can return to, to dance in the tension of the paradox. There, I can allow all aspects of my experience and my feelings to exist at the same time. They no longer battle one another. I can honour and begin to love it all. I can find a space of freedom and possibility.⠀

The Feminine is a space that allows for it all.⠀

You can be a successful, independent, intelligent, and powerful woman.⠀
AND your heart can yearn for deep love and fulfillment.⠀
Also, you deserve to be worshipped by the one you love. You should have someone who lights that beautiful heart on fire -if these are things you want, it is holy and perfect that you want them.⠀

If you are stirred by any of what you just read, I invite you to consider joining me in exploring more.

And if it isn’t the yearning to be cherished and worshiped by a partner, I would guess there may be something else of a conflicting, paradoxical nature showing up. Our lives are full of them. To be continued…


Rumbling, Eruption, Disruption

'Madame Pele' by Rachael Ray

‘Madame Pele’ by Rachael Ray

The lava flowing, the eruptions…the pictures and the knowledge of what is happening in this place I love from deep within my soul…is stirring. up. so. much.

This Big Island, and my experience living in lower Puna, reflects both the most beautiful and the most fierce aspects of the Feminine. There is so much richness and wisdom to be gleaned there – not from the head, purely soul, womb, heart (on offer to ALL, who are open).

Last week as I mourned the terrorist act carried out in my city targeting women, I let a lot of sounds out. At one point, without intending or planning to, my held note in a song became a scream. A really loud, wild scream, amplified quite a bit as I had been singing into a mic.

It was loud and, also, I held back.

I mean, what if the neighbours heard and called the police because they thought someone was being attacked?

Fair. And also not fair because sometimes I need to scream.

How much are you holding inside? Where are you feeling the rumbling?

What I’ve noticed today has been a strong and recurring desire to let sound out but EVERYWHERE I find myself. To sing wildly and loudly. To make noise, to stir up. A quick and easy way to get one’s self tucked away in an asylum, isn’t it.

This is Pele for me right now. Letting it all out.

She rules. She’s erupting the boiling hot from within. She is paving over what we’ve built. Detached.

It isn’t a new thing at all but given all that’s been happening in our collective reality, I offer that it would benefit us to pay attention. Truly, to see with vision, to see symbolically, to see deeper and farther. What’s on the horizon?

To the beautiful people of Puna, please stay safe. You are in my heart.

Art: ‘Madame Pele’ by Rachael Ray


What is Truly Knowing the Feminine

Art: 'The Mirror of Venus' by  Edward Burne-JonesWhat I’ve been hearing lately when I ask women what the ‘Feminine’ means to them has changed quite a bit over the past 5 years. We are more likely to use words like:
powerful & sensual & wise.

Which is great. It wasn’t always so clear or the language so powerful and affirmative.

However, this stands in stark contrast to what most of us heard about what it meant to be a woman or a girl or feminine being as we were growing up.

And therein, the challenge and difficulty.

While we may ‘know’ and be reading and understanding and appreciating more about the Feminine these days, it doesn’t necessarily unwind and heal the hurtful and painful messages so many of us received (and continue to receive) which tend to be something along the lines of:
*women are weak and need protection
*we are not ‘enough’ whether it be pretty, worthy, or whatever – fill in the blank
*women can’t be trusted; we’re crazy and irrational
*being a woman is dangerous
and it goes on.

Can you relate?

My antidote and access to healing and bridging the distance between knowing the Feminine to be wise, powerful, and beautiful and relating to myself and to others in this way has been the Art of Feminine Presence.

My experience has shown me that we can’t just think or positively affirm away the messages and the hurt we have internalized in our very bones. We need sisterhood, connection, reflection and validation of our very Goddess natures. So that we begin to relate to ourselves and get this knowing deep in our bones.

The feminine is rising, we see that all around. And it doesn’t necessarily mean we know how to rise alongside her.

This is my holy and special offering to women (of Toronto, ON at the present time). If you are feeling a stirring or strong pull, I hope you will heed the call. Click here

Art: ‘The Mirror of Venus’ by  Edward Burne-Jones


On Pussy, On Naming

Art is vagina liz darling from Project HOPE Art

Art is vagina liz darling from Project HOPE Art

I read an article today that censored the word PUSSY.

It was written by Regena Thomashauer who just weeks ago published a book titled ‘PUSSY: A Reclamation.’ What timing!

If only we could use the word and…
feel it come out of our mouths.
** PUSSY **

It’s been censored a lot these days as mainstream news has no choice but to cover whathisface’s depravity.

Regena says that PUSSY is arguably the most powerful pejorative word in the english language. I would suggest that it is actually ** CUNT **

but you will notice what the two have in common.

Our society refuses, chokes on, is offended by our intimate female parts. We won’t even name them!! And this is a problem. Regena writes of this eloquently and I will quote her here yes, (from PUSSY):

“We can learn just as much about a culture from what it’s missing as from what it embraces.

One of the greatest pieces of unconscious conditioning we have in our Western culture is that we do not teach our children the name of the source of our feminine power. Ask my students at the School of Womanly Arts what they were taught to call their genitals as a child, and you’ll get a parade of colloquialisms: Wickie, Cuckoo, Privates, Down There, Pooter, Pee Wee, the Fine China, Name and Address, Venus, Noonie, Miss Kitty, Purse….the list goes on. Those who were taught a more direct word were often taught to call it “vagina,” a clinical term that is also physiologically incorrect.

But what’s worse, the majority of women were taught to call it nothing at all.

When we have no common language to describe that which is most essentially feminine about us, we have no way to locate and own our power as women. As my dad used to read to us on Friday nights, “In the beginning was the Word.” When there is no word, there is no beginning. How would you talk about an interconnected global computer network providing information and communication facilities via standard technological protocols if you did not have the word *internet*? Yet our culture gives us no way to talk about the place where our power – and, in fact, all of life – comes from.

It’s this very feminine power that is missing from all the success stories we hear. It’s what leaves Sheryl Sandberg, one of the most productive women in America, revealing in a New Yorker profile that she’s felt like a fraud all of her life. It’s what has fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg admit on CBS This Morning that she wakes up every day feeling like a loser. It’s what has Gayle King, who was interviewing von Furstenberg, reply that she wakes up every morning feeling fat.

It’s what has Shonda Rhimes observe in her book, ‘Year of Yes,’ that she and every other woman she knows push away compliments and are unable to receive appreciation and
approval.

It’s what has so many female grad students settling for assistant teaching, while their male counterparts head their own classrooms.

It’s what has men initiate salary negotiations four times more often than women do. It’s why when women *do* negotiate, they ask for 30 percent less than men.”

~ ~

It’s provocative but it makes sense. We can’t (which really just means we won’t) name PUSSY or CUNT

AND

we’re indoctrinated to feel so very wrong and inferior about Her and

her smells
her hair
her blood
her lips
her juices
her existence.

So, as far as I’m concerned: Fuck that.

I’m over it. This matters.
And I *dare* you to get over it too.

Share This.
Name Her.
Read PUSSY
Read CUNT (a great book as well)
Read VAGINA (another great book as well)

Own Your CUNT.
Love Her.
Honour Her.

For fun, I offer this terrific clip from Samantha Bee (with a content warning as she discusses assault and pussy grabbing):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gk72KC4jWc

And more, MUCH MORE
coming….

Art is vagina liz darling from Project HOPE Art


Welcoming Autumn & Enchantress

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‘Autumn Reflection’ by Gaia Orion

I write this on a train rolling through Alberta. We are a day past the fall equinox; it’s officially autumn and here it is quite apparent. The sky is overcast on this morning, the leaves of many of the trees have changed their colour (yellows predominantly) and it’s cool.

A far cry from what I left in Toronto a few days ago, where, though it’s technically fall there as well, the weather was very warm, unseasonably so.

I can’t help but thinking that I’ve been dropped into this fall or Enchantress season rather abruptly. I have to confront the part of me that wants to cling to (and perhaps even mourn the passing of) the warm weather. And I can’t help but wonder what it does to us, experiencing the characteristics of one season as the earth moves into another.

I mentioned autumn as the Enchantress phase. Enchantress is said by some to be one of the 4 archetypal energies we work with in our menstrual cycle; we also see it in the phases of the moon and even in the cycle of our lives. These are cycles nested within cycles with cycles.

It looks something like this:

Maiden – springtime, first part of our lives, waxing moon, post bleeding time

Mother – summer, womanhood & time of fertility, full moon, ovulation

Enchantress – autumn, post-menopause, waning moon, pre-menstrual

Crone – winter, late stages of life, dark/new moon, menstrual

Getting familiar with and understanding the manner in which these energies operate in the world and our lives can offer us tools and guidance to live in greater harmony, health and ease.

The season of Enchantress, in all of it’s guises, can be one of the most frustrating for many of us (alongside Crone) so I see value in taking extra time with her in particular to get to understand and honour her. Maybe especially in these times of transition when her influence may not be so present and it’s easier (and tempting) to deny her.

What are some useful ways to support and honour Enchantress?

  • take some extra time to nourish yourself and really tune into what YOU need. It could be wise to take some extra rest time which could mean more sleep or it could mean more daydream time
  • begin to adapt your routine to account for the transition. For a lot of us, autumn comes with new responsibilities and new routines (could be back-to-school for you or kids, could be work projects). Provide yourself with what you need at this time without clinging to what has just passed.
  • practice both being present and being forward-looking. The Crone follows Enchantress. This is the direction the tide takes; it is like swimming against the flow of the river to be looking back to the Mother or Maiden. They will come around again when it’s their time. We must honour the needs of Enchantress and Crone first at this time.
  • Look for ways to incorporate the Enchantress energies into your life. The Enchantress is very powerful and she can be very temperamental (which occurs when she isn’t being listened to or looked after) and her preoccupation is with creative and authentic expression of self. Know your truth and don’t sell yourself out.

How does this look in this autumn season?

Well, the fall brings colder weather and shorter days and longer nights leading us to the depth of winter. There are gifts here and it helps us to look for these and appreciate them.

What are some ways to do this?

Again, get more rest.

Eat well. Seasonal bounty is best; root vegetable and hot soups.

Find the gifts of the season. Do the things you enjoy. It could be reading in front of a fireplace. It could family gatherings. It could be a brisk hike.

Dress warmly.

Meditate. And allow for some hibernation.  The (upcoming) winter is an actively passive time. While things may look dead or dying, they have just slowed down. I love this Rumi quote that speaks to this: “And don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.”

The snow prepares the ground for what grows come the next spring/summer season. So too, through our choices and our actions we prepare ourselves and our bodies/minds/spirits for the next season.

We need this all. None of it is a mistake.

With Enchantress blessings…

Art is ‘Autumn Reflection’ by Gaia Orion


Circle of Sisters

'Sisterhood' by Darryl Daniels

‘Sisterhood’ by Darryl Daniels

I had a brief but lovely conversation with a woman I met just the other week.

We were talking about how vital it is, especially at this point in our lives, to have deep, nourishing, supportive bonds with other women.

I’m reminded of this a lot as I have the incredible fortune to work with women in spaces that nurture and grow deep connection.

It is also something I’m reminded of especially when I get present to its absence should, for example, a few weeks go by without an Art of Feminine Presence circle. Without a regularly scheduled meet with other women it’s easy for me to fall into an all independent, do evertying myself mode.

And then, the opposite begins to show up: missing nourishing sisterly love and support and witnessing.

Throughout my life, I have heard different people remark that it is difficult to make new friends as adults. And this would always make me very sad. I did have periods in my adult life when I felt isolated and alone, unclear of the next steps. Times when I didn’t have to reach out to who would simply listen, without the need to give advice or tell me what to do.

That is an oftentimes rare, and treasured, gift.

As we grow, the context around which friendships were formed shift somewhat. When I was a child, my friends were neighbours and classmates. Fast forward a few years and I found myself in places where I didn’t know my neighbours or worked with people that I didn’t have too much in common with and didn’t necessarily want to hang out with after work.

It takes something to find and create nourishing and sustaining friendships as adults and it also doesn’t need to be all that complicated. I am astounded and so grateful at the friendships I’ve formed with the most wonderful people in the past few years.

I know a lot of us are tired and kind of done with chit-chatty, always-on-the-surface, small talk kind of conversation, as a rule. And we certainly don’t need people who we can’t trust or who don’t share our values.

But we do need people. We need community. For women, this is especially true as research shows when in stress, the thing that makes the most difference is ‘tend and befriend’: reaching out to the loving arms of your sisters and having them hold some of the load with you. Sometimes we need to be heard and witnessed and held.

We need sisterhood.

Intimate partners are important but they can’t replace the sisterhood. And when we make the mistake of thinking they can, an undue strain on the relationship is often the result.

So how are you feeling in your life right now? Do you have a support network of sisters or are you carrying on alone? What can you do to find your tribe if you find yourself without one?

We’re waiting for each other.

Art: ‘Sisterhood’ by Darryl Daniels


Tapping into Creativity

"Womb Paradise" by Alex Florschutz

“Womb Paradise” by Alex Florschutz

As a practitioner of womb health, I spend a lot of time guiding women in a practice of accessing and engaging this sacred space. As such, I also spend a great deal of time resourcing my own womb space.

Except when I don’t.

Over the course of the holidays, as I took some time off from work and as my clients took some time for the holidays and directed their attention to other events in their lives, things shifted a bit for me.

As I spent less guided time in womb space, I found myself struggling a bit more with work and motivation.  And after a few days I found I was creatively stuck. And this was the result of not being intentionally connected to my womb.

I heard this from another woman as well. With so many obligations and things to handle over the holidays (and any time really), it’s easy to step over being in womb space. It’s further easy to not make the connection, that this absence is having an impact.

For me, most creativity is expressed through my work. Designing a circle or workshop or materials. I also like to express myself through sound and so I love to sing.  I’ve even been taking some singing lessons.

Wouldn’t you know it?

My coach takes a very integrated body approach to singing. Your pelvic muscles, your womb all impact your voice, your sound, your expression. Your creation.

We all know that this is the place new human life is generated but we may not make the connection (or always remember) that it’s true for all we create in our lives.

I believe the quality of our lives and our expression is dependent on our connection, our relationship to this energetic and physical space of our bodies, our womb.

 

So, how to do this? Here’s a good starting place.

I like to start by getting into a meditative posture in a quiet space. Feeling grounded and supported by the earth, I take 3-5 deep sighs. Try this now. Sighing helps re-set our breathing and automatically settles us into the space of our pelvis. Let the sighs be long and loud.

Feel yourself grounded in your pelvis. Bring your breath to the expanse of this space, imagining a big bowl at the base of your torso. Explore this bowl. Connect to the very centre of the bowl. About 3 inches below your navel and deep inside. This is your womb space. Breathe into this space. Be present to any sensations or images or sounds that may arise.

Come back to this space often. :)

If you feel curious to find our more or called to explore on a deeper level, contact me to book a complimentary 15 minute phone session. I would love to connect.

Art: “Womb Paradise” by Alex Florschutz


30 Years of Blood

Final Entry by Freydoon Rassouli

“Final Entry” by Freydoon Rassouli

This month marked a full 30 years as a menstruating woman for me. I This works out to something like 400 periods (having never been pregnant), totaling close to four and a half years of my life…bleeding.

That’s a lot of time to spend ‘cursed’. And for most of my life, it was just that.

I’ve been a bleeding woman for more time than some of my younger friends have been around.

I am clear that I’m fully in the latter half of my procreative life and that brings up a lot of questions and feelings.

Am I sure I don’t want to have children? Could I have one now even if I tried? What is the next phase of life going to be like for me? What was it like for mom…? (I remember only bits and pieces and she isn’t around for me to ask anymore) How many more bleeding years are available to me and how do I make the most out of them?

I remember the first time it came; I was 11 year old exuberance, running, when all of a sudden, I felt something strange happening and I just knew that I had gotten my first period.

I remember the awe quickly turning to a kind of dread when I began feeling pain and getting present to how uncomfortable it was (and this was going to be a monthly reality for decades). I remember feeling so awkward with the thick pads I had to use and being certain that everyone at school could see their bulge.

I remember the first time the blood stained my pants and the overwhelming embarrassment. I remember subsequent ones too.

I remember some horrid periods, profuse sweating, being doubled over in agony, nauseated. I remember being sent home from school and waiting for the bus, not sure how I was going to make it home. I remember near fainting from the pain. I remember sleepless night, hollering and moaning.

I remember how I began to notice the changes in my openness and tolerance to life’s circumstances and situations as I approached my cycle. And I began to see through PMS. I was not in the wrong at this time; I wasn’t crazy. I just couldn’t tolerate any BS; I couldn’t and wouldn’t play nice and polite when it wasn’t warranted. And I began to see how conditioned I was to tolerating and accepting things that didn’t work for me. I began to see this pre-bleeding time as such a gift of insight! I began to listen for, acknowledge, appreciate and ask for what I needed. I took the time when I needed it. I said ‘no’ when it was the right thing to do even when it was scary. And somewhere along the lines, the pain ceased.

It took many, many years but finally a curse became a blessing and a miracle.

And it’s actually an ongoing process. Being a woman is wildly beautiful; the gifts keeps unfolding. Do you know what I mean…?

Sometimes, I’m sad it took so long to get here. But really, there is no expiry date on healing. When I began bleeding 30 years ago, I couldn’t have conceived of where and who I would be right now.

When I look at it, it’s pretty amazing and I’m so curious and excited about what’s still to come…

~~ At any rate, this is how it all occurred to me on this day ~~

Art: ‘Final Entry’ by Freydoon Rassouli


Our Bodies Are Not Pathology

thevoyage by Terje Adler Mork

“The voyage” by Terje Adler Mork

In the news today is Angelina Jolie’s announcement of having had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in order to prevent possibly,maybe, perhaps experiencing cancer in these parts (as was the fate of her mother and her mother before her). This is a couple of years post double mastectomy for the same reason. (She shares here)

I can’t imagine being faced with a scenario such as hers and opting to do these radical surgeries. I am fully supportive of every one making the choice they deem right for themselves.

At the same time, I am deeply troubled by a society and a medical system that takes the approach that our feminine parts are a ticking time bomb and continually instills a panic about the inevitability of disease, like of the worst kind.

I appreciate the courage it requires to speak so openly about her life and her choices especially as an icon of femininity in this present time. But I also kind of resent it because I know many will emulate her in this choice even if it may not the best one for them. They likely will not even be aware of other possibilities. They may not be aware of the risks of such a choice.

I mean, what would it be like to truly love and honour and worship these parts of ourselves and our femininity as a whole? How many of us reach a place of that kind of experience of reverence? For our breasts, our ovaries, our ovarian tubes, our wombs, our intuition, our wisdom, our strength, our power, our vulnerability… all that we ARE.

In this life we have the opportunity to cultivate a relationship with our Selves, to develop an intimacy with our Selves, AND to share fully and completely. Sometimes, it is fraught with pain and fear. We are not helped by denying or suppressing our feelings (or cutting them out) but by going deeply into it. We are often actually so afraid of these parts. (I have been. I can feel so vulnerable about this mass of tissues sometimes…And it doesn’t serve. It merely brings that which is feared so much.) What, though, might be available on the other side of this?

Both of my parents have passed on. Both had cancer.

This isn’t something I don’t consider, this legacy of cancer. Especially at this tender time, when their loss is still so fresh and I’m forging a new path for myself.

In times like these, I am so very grateful for all that is available to us and to be able to share with the world. Because I know that another experience is possible. A world of reverence, love and peace. Of learning to love and appreciate all of ourselves and of others.

A world of experiencing and knowing wholeness and completeness….

I want that for Us.

~~ At any rate, this is how it all occurred to me on this day ~~

Art: ‘The voyage’ by Terje Adler Mork


The Nectar of Appreciation

“Woman as Creator” by Rosa Antonia

“Woman as Creator” by Rosa Antonia

We, humans, require healthy appreciation from our fellow humans, our families and our communities. And for various reasons we’re often not receiving (or giving) healthy, loving appreciations.

When I was growing up, my father tended only to praise me or have appreciative words to say when he was proud or pleased with something I had done. Getting great marks on my report card or on a test, for example. Or having done something properly in line with his standards. “Good job!”

This manner of praise would leave me uneasy. This way of appreciating me left me feeling that his love and his joy with me was conditional. It existed as long as I performed in a way that was acceptable and pleasing to him. And if, or when, I didn’t perform to his liking he didn’t value me and I wasn’t worthy of appreciation. It was a nagging, uneasy feeling that stayed with me for many years.

It wasn’t until I began doing work and exploring Feminine energies that I began to understand what happened in our relationship. As archetypal energies, the Masculine and the Feminine experience joy and appreciation in different ways. When we don’t know and acknowledge this, it can set us up for pain and misunderstanding, as is what happened with me.

The Masculine enjoys being praised or acknowledged for accomplishment and achievement. The Feminine enjoys appreciation for her being and who she is. One isn’t better than another, they are just different.

When my father was showing me appreciation, he was doing so in a way that the Masculine valued and understood. My Feminine essence wanted to feel loved, fully and completely; always and no matter what, not based on anything but just who I am.

My Art of Feminine Presence ™ practice allowed me this knowledge and understanding which allowed me finally to release a lot of pain around it.

It’​is important for women (who identify primarily with a Feminine essence) to receive healthy appreciation frequently. It’s like sunlight and water. It keeps us healthy and radiant​, in love with ourselves and our life​. The more genuine and loving appreciation we receive, the less we tend to need it and the more we have in turn to give back. In Art of Feminine Presence ™ circles, we work with appreciation a lot ~ learning to give beautiful, authentic, uplifting appreciations and we practice receiving them (which can be a challenge for many women).

How often have we appreciated something about another person and not shared it? Or have shared it and been taken aback at how it was received? ​ (like nurturing sun and water?)​

​Or c​an you think of a time when you received an appreciation that changed your life?

Such a thing happened to me a few months after beginning my Art of Feminine Presence practice. It came at a time when so much was shifting and uncertain in my life. To be seen and appreciated so beautifully changed everything for me, from how I saw myself to understanding the power of this practice. This appreciation may have even been a pivotal moment for me in choosing to train in, and teach, this work.

Today, I’d like you to consider what you appreciate about​ yourself and those around you (even, and especially, to any people you might find challenging). Make an effort to share some genuine appreciations with the people in your life and see what happens​.

Art is “Woman as Creator” by Rosa Antonia