Love Yourself

Vintage Valentine Cards

Vintage Valentine Cards

My love of Valentine’s Day peaked somewhere around the time of grade 2 or 3. It was such a fun arts and crafts occasion to create a little mailbox for my desk, to spend the time choosing out and writing the cards for my friends then to deliver and read all the ones I received. My 8 year old self loved the silly puns and the colourful cards.

I don’t know where my enthusiasm and interest died for it. I guess as we grew older our curriculum didn’t make space anymore for the ‘frivolous’ and by the time high school rolled around V-Day had definitely become something else. Instead of love shared between friends it became the day to flaunt and distinguish between the haves and the have-nots in the romance department.

I see this sentiment still operates for a lot of people beyond these teen years as though it is a flaw and a failing to be single particularly on this day.

As though a gesture one day out of the year will prove something about someone’s devotion, love, and ultimately worth.

Please understand me: there is nothing wrong with celebrating your love on this day. We can also celebrate and exalt love with reverence and exuberance any and every day of the year.  And the best place, seriously, the BEST place to start is with the expression of love of and within your own self.

The extent to which we love and honour ourselves is the extent to which we can love and honour another person. It’s a full-time gig and for many of us there is a lot to unlearn, to heal, to acknowledge, and integrate.

It’s not a rational, conceptual activity but there are many, many ways…and from my experience is what they have in common is being PRESENT and EMBODIED.

That’s what this work is all about…

Big, loud love.


Receiving the Worldwide Womb Blessing

The Worldwide Womb Blessing happens five times per year with an ever-growing number of women (& men!) participating each time.

The Womb Blessing is an attunement and an evolving journey welcoming the energies of the Divine Feminine into our lives and allowing this sweet experience to guide us ever closer to knowing, appreciating and living our unique selves.

Whether this is your first time or whether you are a returning participant, I’ve prepared this blog to make participation easy and clear. You can participate on your own or you can invite your friends and create a circle.

First things first: remember to register at your chosen time (listed are UK times, so do the calculation for your region). Men can find out more about their gift and register here.

Things to have beforehand:

  • 2 bowls (per person), one should be water-proof and the other non-flammable
  • 1 tealight (per person)
  • 1 main altar candle (can also be a tealight)
  • a lighter or matches (to light the candles)
  • a shawl
  • a small snack
  • the meditations/instructions (a link to these is sent to you when you register for the blessing)
  • flowers (optional)
  • altar items (also optional, can be anything that is special to you or reminiscent of the season or reminiscent of divine feminine energies or all of the above)
  • For the October Blessing in the northern hemisphere you will also need a doll & some white string/thread – this is optional and depends on whether you plan on doing the season’s ritual/meditation (which I recommend). This can be a simple thing you create such as a stick with ribbon tied around it or it can be a doll that you already have.
  • Time blocked off (30 minutes before the blessing time, 20 minutes for the blessing itself and I like at least 30 minutes after the blessing’s end)

On the day of:

  1. Begin to prepare about 20-30 minutes before your chosen time. Set up the space where you will do the meditations and receive the blessing. Set up your altar if you are choosing to do this. You will set 1 bowl to the right (of the altar if you have one or to the right of where you will be sitting if you are not creating an altar) with the tealight in it. The other bowl you will place to the left and put some water in it.  (see pic below for an example, this can be so simple, nothing fancy required!)
  2. Get comfortable on the floor on a cushion or sitting in a chair. If you are on a chair, make sure that your feet are flat on the floor.
  3. Read or play the audio of the pre-blessing meditation & visualizations (there are two: the ‘Stirring the Waters’ and ‘Womb Tree’)
  4. At your chosen time, prepare yourself to receive the blessing. Set a timer if you wish for 20 minutes. Use your shawl to cover yourself or your head to create a bit of a sanctuary. Get comfortable either sitting or lying down.
  5. Receive for 20 minutes and delight in the energy.
  6. You can end here and drink the water in your womb bowl and have a snack to ground yourself. Thank the Goddess for her blessing

OR

You can participate in the post-Blessing meditation and the season’s ritual:

  1. Come back, stretch a bit and get comfortably seated.
  2. Read the post-blessing meditations (these are the ‘Ray of Light’, ‘Sharing our Sisters’ and ‘Honouring our Ancestors’ meditation for Oct)
  3. Drink the water in your womb bowl, and eat your snack to ground yourself. Thank the Goddess for her blessing.

 

As an Advanced Moon Mother, I am privileged to participate in the Worldwide Womb Blessings by sending energy with my sisters, and by answering any questions you might have. Please feel free to connect with me.

I encourage you to participate each time and to share with your friends. It is all too easy for the day-to-day grind to wear us down and each Womb Blessing is a chance for renewal and rejuvenation. The experience is unique each time and always what we need.

Much love

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Romancing Self

Photographer: Carl Warner

Photographer: Carl Warner

I’ve been in somewhat of a swoon these days. And last night, I had an insight that allowed me to name it.

I’m in a romance with myself.

(I just giggled writing that, like in the most delightful way.)

I’m in pursuit of romancing myself.

And this realization came about in particular the other night as I was walking a beautiful tree-lined street near my current home in downtown Toronto. How beautiful are trees at night in the summer time? The slight rustling of the leaves, the wide canopy overhead, the gracious and tremendous presence they hold.

It thrills me every time. And reminded me in an instant of many years before being thrilled by the same thing but also somehow negating the joy and the pleasure of the experience because I was alone. I felt lacking in romance because nobody was there with me to enjoy it with and so the setting (which is also ultimately my life) was lacking. I was missing what I didn’t have and consequently missing all that I DID have.

So it was a sweet moment of embodied realization to come to; that I was deep in romance with myself. What better person could there be for me? Who else is so uniquely equipped with the key to what turns me on? Who but me can be the ultimate authority on my wants and needs?

So why not give it and appreciate it, fully and completely.

And, don’t get me wrong.

I love sharing moments with other people.

(And I love being swept off my feet by a lover, and swooning over loving, generous gestures.

I love long, hot, deep kisses.)

And…

I still come back to and take responsibility as being the ultimate source of romance and ‘swoonness’ for myself. I swoon at the beauty of the moon, in savouring the feel of warm breezes on my skin, on creating beauty in my life in all sorts of different ways (from tending to my altar on a daily basis to changing all my passwords to phrases that bedazzle me!).

I cultivate romance through womb space practice and meditation (which I’ve shared about in other pieces here) and continually bringing myself back to a grateful state. Continually appreciating and growing gratitude for my life and all that features in it, allows me to look for the diamonds, allows me to see with different eyes, allows me the openness and curiosity and receptivity for new things to arise as well.

Look, I get that these are challenging times. (Myself, I’m typically overcome with some intense despair or grief and cry at least once a day. But even that is a kind of romance, holding myself and allowing emotions to move through me without judgment.)

But what I have been coming to understand is that the way we take care of ourselves, the way we fill our cup, the way we ensure we are lit up and nourished with enough pleasure is the only way that we will collectively find the healing needed for our families, communities and our planet.

I’m not kidding.

If we as women aren’t nourished, pleasured, happy in as much capacity as we can be, no one else around us will thrive. So I’m calling on you (and we’re all depending on you) to make your own joy, make your own romancing of yourself your priority.

What does that mean to you? What special gifts can you begin to give yourself today?

PLEASE. Start now.

Image: Carl Warner


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