Fear and my BIG birthday…

I love an excuse to celebrate most anything.
Always have.

But I have a really big birthday this week,
and something happened on Sunday
that has me celebrating much more than just the number.

Photo by Nikhita Singhal

Sunday I happened into a fascinating conversation
with someone on the opposite side of the political perspective.
This doesn’t happen often.
I live in blue country.

We could have spent our time defending our points of view.
But that would have been so boring.
What was fascinating to me was how we’d gotten there in the first place.

That’s when I had my birthday ah-ha.

You see, as kid I was pretty fearful.
Something bad happened to me when I was 4.
And we moved every year until I was 9.
New schools, new teachers, new unwritten rules to decipher.

So I was a careful child, and more than a little anxious.
If I could somehow get it all just right, then I would feel a little safer.

I got good at making the safe choices.
But the fear still lingered.
It always does… until it’s unmasked.

MCC on beach in Maine - 1982

OK, so back to Sunday…
Talking with this quite brilliant man,
I realized that my political views
came from my own personal experience with fear.
I’d never considered that!

Turns out, everyone on the right or the left wants to feel safe.
It’s just our strategies that differ.

But looking at fear,
Learning how to unmask it instead of falling prey to it,
is what I’ve loved about growing older!

Because it’s fear that limits joy.
And no matter our age, joy is what everyone wants in life!

So… tonight I’ll be telling my own story,
talking about how fear ruled my life,
…and how I’ve come to recognize and disarm it when it still tries.

This is what I’m celebrating on this BIG birthday
Instead of wasting even a second bemoaning my not-so-young body.

If you’d like to be a part of this conversation tonight – Tuesday – at 9:15 EDT,
just friend me on FB
and ask to join Divining Beauties, my secret group just for women.
(Sorry guys..
but later this month I’ll be hosting a webinar and inviting you to join in the convo.)

I’d love you to come celebrate with me!
Because making friends with my fear
is what has grown me into who I want to be in the world.

You, too?

Big hugs,
Mary

PS… If you’d like to go a little deeper on this life adventure unmasking fear, and replacing it with a deeper turn-on — real joy — you might like to join me on retreat in Mexico this January. But FYI, Friday is the last day for early bird pricing, so click here to find out more.

Here’s another blog I wrote a few summers ago about facing down the fear, if your appetite is whetted…

COURAGE

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How I’m Surviving in a post-Las Vegas world

photo by NeONBRAND

These are crazy times, Dear Women…

After the torment of this past month…
After Irma and Maria and now LasVegas
We’re living in a whole new paradigm.

On Monday I felt the undertow, threatening to pull me down.
Tossing me in the surf as I gasped for breath.
Really, there’s MORE?!!!

How are you coping?

It’s so easy to get lost in the anguish we see on our screens.
Feeling the pain of so many, dealing with so much!

And here’s why:

It’s natural for our hearts to break
when someone is suffering.

That’s the shadow side of the feminine.
It’s just part of the package.
We feel so much!

But when I’m immersed in grief for what I have no power to change
and overwhelmed by all that I must contend with every day
I can easily lose my way.
You, too?

So this week I’m taking stock. 
I can’t live like this.

Because if I do
I sacrifice my power and purposefulness to despair.

And right now, we can’t afford that, Sisters!
The world needs us too badly!

It’s time to take my own care seriously.
And that means stepping away from it all.

Turning everything off, at least for a minute or two.
Finding moments of quiet to come back to center.
This is the self-care the feminine must have to survive.

But I tend not to do that.
Instead I hang right in there, feeling it all.
Somehow sure that sacrificing myself will help.

This My Dears, is what we’ve been trained to do.
And it just doesn’t work, does it?

But why is it so hard to step away?

I know how a walk in Nature will help.
Or gazing at last night’s brilliant full moon.
Then I can re-member myself again.

It’s just making it happen that’s the trick.

That’s why I go on retreat.
And why I bring women with me.

But wait…
Isn’t that just a bit self-indulgent
when so many are suffering with so much?!!!!

What I’ve found is that stepping away from the craziness
for a day or a week
can actually begin to reset our cultural patterning.

It’s nearly impossible to make real change otherwise.
Especially in the midst of rapid-fire tragedy.

To come back to our destiny,
to live in the aliveness and empowerment that the world most needs,
We must have pleasure!

WHAT? 
That’s ridiculous!, I hear you’re screaming…
“When the world has gone this nuts,
you want me to hide my head in the sand,
whistle some happy tune,
and pretend it’s not happening?”

No, Dear Sisters.
Please. Our empathy is what makes us so beautiful!

But here’s what’s true:
We must have real pleasure to balance the difficulty of being human.

And I don’t mean another glass of wine or binge-watching Game of Thrones.
That’s just the easy default when the day’s too under-pleasured.

Here’s the problem…
We easily lose touch with all that’s meant to bring us pleasure!
…all that’s actually here to get us through these crazy times we live in,
…the sweet morsels of joy that are just waiting there.
They can mitigate the overdrive we live in
and the overdose of bad news we hear every day.

Haramara beach

We live on an exquisitely beautiful planet,
yet we don’t know how to truly take it in

… how to access the full measure of support and delight that is our birthright.

I’m guessing you weren’t taught to receive these moment-to-moment pleasures
through your senses, body, and deeper being.
Not if you grew up in this culture.
I surely wasn’t.

What I’m talking about is a deeper kind of Turn-ON
and what we need to thrive
in the kind of world we’re living in now.

Because drowning in the current is no help to anyone.

It’s why I make it a point to get away,
and why this week I’m making it a little easier.
Just through Sunday, October 15th
I’m taking 20% off the cost of coming to Haramara with me.

Here’s a video I made about the retreat…

Awakening Your Divine

We need real tools,
a strategy and a set of practices that can shift us
away from perpetual struggle
and into the moment-to-moment pleasure we were built to enjoy.

That, Sisters, is my work.
and why I take women away with me for a week.
We need a pleasure intervention
and a good bit of re-training in delight.

A little dose of paradise doesn’t hurt, either.

So take a look.
Then join me at Haramara this January.
And feel free to touch base if you have questions.

No matter if you’re retreating with me in Mexico
or taking a moment right now to listen to the rain,
you can reclaim the pleasure your body and being were meant to give you.

If you just step away.

Why history still holds us hostage in the bedroom

It’s an epidemic. The way women make do in the bedroom.
I know because I hear their stories every day.

I’m still in the afterglow
from my Awakening the Divine Feminine women’s retreat this past weekend.
Discovering just how much more pleasure there in is life than we make do with.
(We even went skinny dipping!)

But too many of the stories we shared had the same theme.

Despite all our sexual liberation,
and with advice about sex everywhere,
something strange is going on here…
And we don’t have anywhere to talk about it
if we dare to even admit it!

In last week’s blog
I ran through a slew of reasons why we settle for what’s not really working.
How we hope it will change someday.
Or sadly, why we just get used to doing without.
And reaching for pleasures that sabotage what we most need.

The story is age old. Your mother probably did it, too.

In fact, that’s how the world ran until not so long ago.
For millennia women were expected to do sex the way the guys did it.
And now with so much male-created porn on the internet, we’re even more convinced.

You see, before the 60s
it was a radical idea for women to expect pleasure in the bedroom.
True!

So it’s little wonder most of us still don’t quite know how to make it happen.
And why we still make do with giving him what makes him happy,
instead of knowing how to get across to him what we want
… just hoping the next time will be different.

But women, here’s the truth…
For most feminine-essenced people, his way just does not work for us!
And here’s why…

The penis is directional.
It knows how to get to the goal
in the most efficient way for the biggest bang for the buck.
Right?

That’s how the male body works,
and masculine energy, too.
The world’s been built with it.
It’s why we can fly cross-country in 5 hours instead of riding horseback.
Thank you, masculine assembly-line efficiency…
(and the men and women who worked there!)

Photo by Laura Gariglio on Unsplash

It’s also why my dad hated to stop the car on trips to let us pee.
He just wanted to get there by the fastest, most efficient route possible.

Then there’s my mom…
She’d have liked to stop at the roadside to eat our sandwiches,
maybe find a picnic table by a field or brook,
instead of passing our waxed paper bundles back to us from the sack by her feet.

That’s how the feminine works!
A man or woman’s feminine energy cares more about how delightful the travel is.
How comfortable the seats are.
If you have your favorite music playing.
Who you’re sitting beside.

The feminine is about pleasure.
The masculine gets stuff done.

When it comes to the bedroom,
the fast fuck rarely gives a feminine being the kind of ride she’d most enjoy.

Instead
it’s all the little things that gradually turn her on

and eventually turn her into bliss.

And that, My Dear, may not be involve getting to the usual goal of orgasm.

The one thing I find myself nearly always suggesting to clients I work with,
(whether single or coupled)
is this…
Slow down! 

Isn’t it time to bring the feminine back into life and the bedroom?
If what you want is more pleasure,
then always making orgasm your goal may just be what’s ruining your chances.

Of course, the same goes for life!

Not unlike last week’s antidotes to remedy our habitual making-do,
consider shifting one thing this week,
in and out of the bedroom,
to focus on your real pleasure
instead giving in to that damned efficiency tyrant within.

What one thing will make a difference?
Maybe taking orgasm off the table just this once…
and exploring your or your lover’s body, strictly for the fun of it?

Or seeing just how much pleasure you can feel with the least stimulation?

Be creative.
Let you own inner masculine and feminine work together.
He makes the plan. She decides how she wants to feel.

The more determined you are to stare down
your well-ingrained, cultural preference for efficiency,
the more pleasure you’ll find yourself enjoying,
no matter where you’re playing!
I promise!

 

Is ‘Making Do’ your MO – especially in the bedroom?

Priscilla du preez-98671

That’s the question I find myself asking again and again of clients and friends…
and me, too, much more often than I’d like to admit.


Is “making do” your MO… especially in the bedroom?

We say you’re waiting for the right moment
…or the right words
…or the right mood
to somehow ask for what would really work…
what would really feel 
g o o d.

But that moment just doesn’t seem to come. 

What’s up with this weird voicelessness we still tolerate
… especially in sex?!

This summer I’ve been fascinated by how my feminine-essenced clients and those who are more masculine struggle to communicate… or just don’t.

And I’m shocked by what I’m discovering…

On so many fronts women speak out for what’s right,
stand up for others, 
risk conflict or worse to let our voice be heard.

But if you’re like millions of other sexually-confident women
it’s hardest to COMMUNICATE about what’s most intimate…
and especially what’s not working so well.

So women make do with a mediocre (or worse) sex life
or search from partner to partner,
hoping to find one that finally gets how to please us…
without us needing to say a word.

Here’s the really sad news..
Making do is why WAY TOO MANY WOMEN – by middle age –
give up on sex altogether. 

It’s just not good enough to bother! 
(Or we despair that there’s no one out there worth the effort.)

So we make do with substitute pleasures anywhere we can find them.
Let’s see… the refrigerator? Facebook? Pinot Grigio? Amazon?

And if you do have someone to share your bed,
Making do can feel like this crazy either / or conundrum …

Do I make do as a people-pleasing compliant, eventually dis-interested wifey
OR
should I just give up and leave in frustration.

All because there just doesn’t seem to be a way to bridge
the arousal and communication gap.

WHAT TO DO?



First, take a breath…
I know, it’s a lot.

When I began writing this blog, it seemed simple enough. 
Lay out the problem and offer a few suggestions I’ve seen work.

But it’s now 10 days later. 
This is far more fascinating and complicated than I’d imagined.
So there will be a sequel… or two.
But for now, let’s start right where many of us are.

Last week my client Kristin put it this way…
“I don’t want to seem demanding
or worse, needy!!!
or emasculate him
or hurt his feelings by making him feel like he’s not doing it right.
We’ve been through this so many times!
I’m pissed off, hurt, disappointed…
And I feel like I’m going crazy,”

Of course she eventually looses it in frustration.
She can’t stand this man she hopes she still loves
and melts down into the raving bitch she hates in herself.

Then leaving sounds like a huge relief! 

All because these two are at a loss for how to skillfully communicate about what works best for each of them.

Why is this SO HARD!?!

Here’s the first onion layer of why I (and maybe you, too) have been known to make do. Then I’ll share a few solutions I’ve discovered over the years.

When we love someone, we love to make them happy. It feels sweet!
But confrontation doesn’t.
Why rock the boat by being difficult?, we might think.
Here’s why…

Estrogen makes feminine-essenced people naturally connection-oriented and conflict-averse.

Without it, humans wouldn’t have survived as a species!
So women learned to compromise our own desires and take care of everyone else’s needs.
But in the process we can lose track completely of our own.

So often I’ve heard the lament, “I don’t really even know what I want anymore.”

Then, like Kristin, we feel lost and confused.
Playing pleasing wifey clearly hasn’t brought the happiness it promised.
But the bitch isn’t that appealing, either!

So it’s time to step away and get some clarity.
Time for a little triage…
Time to make your own pleasure important again.

Are you ready for today’s challenge?
We’ll get to the bedroom by Thursday’s blog.
But for today, first things first!

How much pleasure can you allow yourself to receive from the smallest of the day’s delights?

Seems too simple, right?
But don’t be fooled.
This is real research.
And it can change your vision forever.

What’s there, just waiting for you to notice it…
waiting to bring you a moment or two of pleasure.

It could be something as simple as the blue sky,
or the clouds.
Or how good it feels to have your hands in warm sudsy water,
or the intricate scent tones of your morning coffee.

Can you allow yourself 10 seconds to really take in that joy?

What is here in your life already, just waiting to please you?

If you spend the next few days committed to coming back to your pleasure in a determined way, you will find it much easier (and more fun) to allow yourself permission to be more fully pleasured in the bedroom.

This is a skill, Dear Friends.
And likely one you weren’t taught in school.

You might even put up a few stickies on the kitchen cupboard doors
or the bathroom mirror to remind yourself.  

Enjoy our little experiment… and share below how it’s going.
What are you noticing?

Ok… I’ll be back on Thursday
with a few juicy facts about arousal differences and why we (ok, I) have so easily fallen back into making do instead of making my own pleasure as valuable as my partner’s.

Is it time to say goodbye to struggle?

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 11.59.33 AMLike those great sandals you’ve loved all summer…
Or the childhood friend who doesn’t quite fit anymore…
Or even the meditation practice that’s taken you deeper than you would have imagined not that long ago…
Sometimes it’s time to say goodbye.

Sometimes a conscious leave taking is appropriate.
It clears the decks for what’s been wanting to come in, but has no space.

In July I said goodbye to an old way of being. I knew it was time. But I needed a kick in the pants. I said yes to a week away with a brilliant shaman, Rose Khalsa, and gave myself the gift of a vision quest.

I already had a vision for my life. What I was questing for was a clearer view.

And that’s what happened as I lay on my sheepskin for three days, doing very little, looking up through the branches of beech and maple to clouds floating past in a perfect azure sky. Reviewing my life. And opening to Wisdom.

The message that came to me again and again, the one I often just can’t hear through the distracting noise of my constant busy-ness was this:

Relax, Dear One. Drop the struggle. You don’t need to try so hard. Receive the nourishment that’s poured out for you. Everything you need is here, and more.

WHAT?!! ”But I have so much to do! If I don’t do it for myself, who’s going to give me what I need? Where am I going to find the time to do something else?”

But it was my body that registered the first message as wisdom. I couldn’t ignore it. There was this deeper layer of what I’ve been teaching and preaching for ages. The essence of the feminine IS to receive.

We just don’t know how anymore.

(My Dears, don’t be fooled. The feminine has very little to do with what we think of as femininity, at least in our culture. I wasn’t wearing frilly dresses and high heals out there in the woods.)

You see, every day we live primarily in our masculine energy. Doing. Achieving. Being productive. Getting to the goal, only to drop into bed, exhausted. Even on our days off, we have our lists. On vacations we pack the days. Then we numb out so we don’t feel how deeply discontented we are. It’s clear this isn’t working. We just don’t know another way.

But there IS another way. And it involves learning how to receive again.Maybe just for three breaths. From the sun. From the morning’s chill. From this moment’s pleasure, often found right here in our bodies. When we listen.

This is the message that’s been pouring itself into my book since July. Along with the practices to help us all remember… Remember how to live in the joy of our feminine. And still make life work.

Saying goodbye to struggle starts when you decide to balance the effort you expend with one moment’s pleasure. Maybe right now?

On this one in-breath, receive the scent of your coffee, the crunch of buttered toast, tonight’s luminous almost-full moon. Please, Dear Woman, don’t put off taking in all the joy you’re starving for until everything else is done.

Don’t deprive yourself by trying to push through. When you feel depleted, just stop for 10 seconds! Look, listen, taste.

If this sounds too simple, well… it is! Receiving is what we’ve been waiting for. It’s totally natural to us.

The hard part is saying goodbye to the old habit of pushing it all away. We know that path so well. It’s often in the struggle that we feel worthwhile.

That’s why we need reminding. And why I offer my work. Message me if you’d like a helping hand.

In whatever way suits you, join this revolution. Take back the pleasure you were meant to know and live. It’s just one decision, right now.

Celebrating the freedom of menopause this Independence Day

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Some mornings are hard.
No… some mornings are just plain terrible!
There’s no other way to put it.
And since my hormones started to change 10 years ago, it’s gotten a lot worse.

But there are saving graces to the rollercoaster that is menopause.
And discoveries that have made this time of my life
the most powerful and free.
These are what I want every menopausal woman to celebrate this Independence Day.
Here’s my story —

Too many mornings, before I even open my eyes
I’m assaulted by the what-I-didn’t-dos,
The should-have-saids,
Or the oh, SH*T, I-forgots.
Yesterday’s slip-ups are bad enough,
But by now, I have years of could-have-beens.

Add to that the might-besthe what-ifs
and — starting a new business in my 50’s –
the I-CAN’T-figure-this-outs!, and the I-just-don’t-know-hows!

The worst part is that every one of these thoughts sounds like the Truth,
subtle murmurings of some oracle from Delphi.

It’s easy to get lost in it all,
Pull the sheets up over my head and try to ignore the crazies.
Or get lost in my phone to silence the ranting.

These morning terrors, as I call them, don’t make the list of the usual shifts during menopause.
But anxiety and depression are common to many women as their hormones change.

Without the heavy doses of estrogen to mitigate our minds’ obsessive tendencies, those first thoughts in the morning, or any other time, can easily turn toward fear and regret.

But miraculously,
most mornings my terrors let up if I just put my feet on the floor.
Then I can make sense of the diatribe
and get on with my day.

It’s taken me years of struggle to recognize what the mind does, unchecked.
And how to sort the helpful from just plain fiction.

But that can be tough when I’m sleep deprived and alarmed by frequent memory lapses.
Then it’s easy to fall victim to the fear…
“I just can’t keep it all together like I used to!”

And, Dear Women, there’s some truth to that.

But here’s why I think the insights gained in menopause have the potential to make this time the most powerful of my life, and perhaps yours, too:

  • Because I can’t abuse my body anymore and expect to shake it off, I’ve learned to listen inside and attend to myself in a way I never had before. Now that’s self-care.

 

  • Since I can’t count on my mind to pull up the name of someone I met at a party two years ago I have to be honest and say so. That’s something I wouldn’t dare have done at 30.

 

  • With anxiety greeting me many mornings, I’ve developed a series of first-thing-in-the-morning grounding practices in Nature, bringing me back to myself and truth every time.

 

  • Because I’d never manage to keep my busy life straight without it, I give up trying to manage it all myself and let iCal and a few practical systems keep all the details recorded for me. I could have used these tricks years ago.

 

  • Because my imperfections are getting pretty clear to me (and everyone else) I’ve had lots of opportunities to practice being more honest than ever with the world instead of hiding behind my shiny veneer of perfection. The pressure is off — and I can relax and have fun.

 

  • And, with less estrogen pulling for connection with everybody else, I don’t care as much about what people think of me. I’m content being me! Saying what I think! And getting out there to bring my gifts to the world, even if I mess up along the way. Now that’s a biggie!

​So, it’s your turn… What did I miss? How have you turned a menopause challenge into deep self-care? What wisdom have you gleaned from these changes? PLEASE share, Dear Sisters.

I believe menopause is meant to be a joyous maturing into ourselves. And in a culture that idolizes youth, we need all the reminders we can get – and give to one another. So share your struggles and let’s SING YOUR PRAISES! ​

What magic do you want to conjure this solstice?

silhouette-holding-hands

If you’re like me, you could use a weekend at the beach right about now.
…a few days lounging with your sisters,
eating healthy, laughing long, and going deep.

Maybe you’d like to wake in the morning a few steps from the beach, sand between your toes, learning a few simple yet powerful practices to keep your spark ignited and alive.

How about a little sun (OH, YEA!) and the sunshine you feel inside when you’re in touch with the joy of your own innate beauty,
remembering your sensual self and the pleasure you were meant to live?

That’s the reward for taking time away!
Every one of us needs reminders, especially now, living in this soul-crushing and pleasure-depleting world!

My dear friend and embodiment coach Shane Kulman and I are putting the final touches on our Magical Feminine Summer Solstice Retreat at the Beach June 16-18…

That’s just around the corner.
But maybe you’ve been waiting.
Trying to make it through on your own.
We just so happen to have a few spots left.
Are you tempted?

Just a short ferry ride from lower Manhattan,
Rockaway is funky and fun!
The beach house is, too!
We’ll be touching back in with our sensual selves…
and playing together in ceremony and silliness on the beach, around a fire, in circle, and out about town.

Sound like fun?
Click here to see the Rockaway waves rolling in and more about the weekend!

Most of us don’t do much ceremony or ritual.
Traditional religion’s rigidity sullied much of the sacredness of these ancient and indispensable practices.
But people were working ritually with Nature’s elements — earth, air, water, and fire — farther back than we can know.

Here’s the good news!
A ritual is simply an intentional practice that’s repeated. You create the meaning… and the magic!

Without our conscious action on the physical plane we tend to float through life, losing focus and reverence for our own deeper selves.
At least I do.

Each month with the moon’s cycles — and every season — I’ve found it powerful to create ritual for letting go of what’s just gone down and creating the future I most want.
Maybe you do something like this, too?

When I look back, there’s always some left-over flotsam I need to shake off 
— messes I’ve created, or habits or beliefs still standing in the way of my joy.
I like to use fire to ceremonially burn away and release the stagnant goo holding me back.

Then I sanctify my intentions for the days and weeks to come, empowering my dreaming into specific promises to myself, simple actions I’ll take to make them real in my daily life.

There’s wisdom in setting aside this kind of time to honor and empower ourselves.
And… when ceremony is done in community and coincides with the earth’s cycles,
that’s when real magic can happen.

It’s also why Shane and I have created this Magical Feminine Summer Solstice Retreat.
After such a difficult time, we deserve some powerful SUMMER conjuring!

No matter where you are on June 21st, don’t miss out on the magic that your ancestors knew. 
How will you let the upcoming summer solstice — the longest day of the year — empower your intentions for more purpose and pleasure?

Please share your ideas here! And be energized by the wise women of this community. Our words inspire!

If stress has you living in less joy than you know is your authentic essence, this is the time to let the summer sun ignite your bliss. And enjoy!

2 NO-FAIL steps to turn down the drama

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​Today will inevitably bring me some drama.

There’s a stoplight on my way to town that seems to hold forever when I’m in a hurry.
“This always happens to me. Someone should fix that stupid light!”
Or “Dammit. I did it again! Will I ever learn to give myself enough time?”

Lately I’ve noticed the stories I dream up,
either furious with the world or turning the knife on myself.
Crazy how the mind creates all this drama,
habitually choosing blame and anger to manage the yucky feelings inside.

Here’s what’s helped.

Just noticing is the first step out of the craziness.
Letting go of whether I think it’s good or bad.
Just noticing.
Hmmmm… Interesting.Then a clearer head can actually choose what’s next.
Maybe one deep, slow breath can work just as well as swearing to release all that tension that gets bottled up inside.I need my mind to make a kinder choose —
maybe to instruct my shoulders to release.
Then I’m OK.

Mind and body working together. Noticing and choosing.

As with any spiritual practice the work
is to notice the thoughts and choose to come back to the present moment.
Again and again.
And what’s more in the present moment than the body?
Every moment. Here you are.

This moment is neutral.
It’s my thoughts that make it positive or negative, dramatic or not.
My choice. Yours, too.

Unfathomable Horror and Saving Graces

​March was tough. A sort of confused, in-between month. My eager forsythia, tempted to bud out way too soon, were lambasted by two feet of snow. The news felt no different.

My personal life felt like that, too. I’d thought my book was about to be done. But I saw a truer way through, I tossed it all up in the air again for another revision.

After months of clinging to a promising but in the end, insufficient relationship, I say goodbye. A sad ending with such a good man. And again, I felt the familiar loneliness of dinner for one.

There will be days like this, my Mama said. And weeks. Months sometimes. Promises and disappointment. Hopes dashed. Life bumps us around, and we have bruises to show for it.

But there are saving graces, too.
Moments of awareness that are waiting to turn these times around.

Last week while in Washington DC visiting my fabulous grown-up boys, I spent an afternoon in the Holocaust Museum. It was time. Hall after hall of pictures and sound reels moved me even more than I’d expected. Darkness engulfed my soul, as it is meant to do.

…And then I walked outside to sunshine and cherry blossoms, equally impossible to ignore.

Really?!! How could there be such horror… and then this beauty?

​Beyond answers, I’m convinced that it’s nature’s beauty
that is the salve meant to help us make it through. 

Driving back from the airport, through a seemingly lifeless Berkshire countryside, it was the delicate still-attached beech leaves fluttering in the wind that felt hopeful, parchment-white against the brown backdrop.

I could have missed this gift. It was a cold, gray day. I was tired from the many flight delays. But this habit of mine of seeing beauty – of noticing what’s actually there to be received – won out. And my grumpy mood was lifted, at least a bit.

My kids say I’m way too naïve, even escapist. They may be right, but I do somehow see beauty when I most need it. The beauty of dawn’s light releases me from my nighttime self-doubt demons. This morning’s bird song is what eased my knotted heart, still clenched from yesterday’s NPR story about one more dead man trying to cross the border.

The more I open to feeling the world’s suffering,
the more I need its beauty, too.
And it’s here, everyday, often right in front of me,
​waiting for me to notice!

But here’s the catch: It takes practice to see beauty. To hear it. Practice to be here, in our bodies, alive to what is just as true as the darkness – and perhaps more essential – if we are to stay upright and on purpose.

Martha Graham’s words apply as well here as to dance.

“Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent.” ​

​It’s choosing to receive beauty, again and again – like practicing over and over a dance movement – that allows us to choose how we see the world.

And in times like these – when our energy and action are most needed – simply finding beauty may be what could save us. ​

I’d love to know what practices you do to make more permanent an outlook that supports your joy and effectiveness. What tools do you rely upon? Share with us, the community of practicers!

3 Macho Habits of Successful Women that Sap their Feminine Juice

In my work with women over the past decade, three fallacies stand out as the prime killers of women’s turn-on. And they all have to do with time.So think about your life now.
What causes you stress around time?1. Rushing
Because we think there’s not enough of it,
or that we always need to do more to move up the ladder,
or just because there’s just too damn much to cram into every day,
we rush.

We run to the car or bus (and not just to burn a few extra calories).
We leave too little time between appointments, and then speed in a frenzy to get there.

This adrenaline driven life isn’t what allows for our feminine flow.
Then we resort to coffee and chocolate get us through the day when energy inevitably drops.
By dinnertime, there’s really nothing left for anyone, least of all, ourselves..

So today, experiment with not rushing.
Give yourself more spaciousness…
…permission to live like a queen instead of a slave to your life.

2. Multi-tasking

Multi-tasking is natural to the feminine. In pre-historic times,
women needed the capacity to nurse the baby, tend the fire, and keep an eye out for the cougar that lived just over the hill.
That ability to do so many things at once
Is what makes us so good at life.But we’ve taken this too far.
We’re driven to pile more and more on ourselves, not wanting to waste a second!
Talking to a friend on the phone… but also eating lunch… and scanning FB … and… and…Watch how uncomfortable you may feel to just eat when you eat.
How tempted you are to pick up a magazine or book.
To do so many things instead of being fully present in this moment, in your senses.

Make eating an experience of pleasure,
Enjoying the tastes, textures and color of your food.
instead of allowing your pleasure to be diluted by distractions.

3. Over-giving 
Because we are women, our estrogen encourages us to connect.
We are constantly looking out for the benefit and wellbeing of those around us.
That natural tendency makes life beautiful.
It’s what provides the glue and joy for friendships and family.

It’s who we are. We value our connections to others.
We give.
But too often women find their identity in giving to others.
Constantly scanning for what else is needed.
Concerned most with everyone else’s welfare…
before we even consider what we might actually need.

Or maybe you give yourself the mani/pedis, the spa treatments.
But really… do these really address your deepest needs?
I know, I love the pampering, too. It’s fun and feels good.

But I watch how easy it is to do those things and not really listen to what I most need.
For silence.
For time in nature.
For stillness.
For resting.

Those deeper needs we may not even notice in a day that’s so full,
when we’ve been pushing so hard, rushing so much, multi-tasking all the time.
By the evening, when we’ve taken care of every one else’s needs, we collapse.
There’s no chance to actually find real pleasure.
We’re deaf to our bodies’ calls.

So what can we do?
Here’s my suggestion….

All through the day, there are opportunities to stop…
Just for two breaths or 10 seconds.
To notice the beauty around you.
To notice the silhouette of a bare tree trunk against the winter sky.
To notice the quality of light,
The beauty of life around you.

This is where pleasure happens.
And what can bring feminine balance to a crazy, full-on, hyper-masculine life.
Then the rest of life has the possibility to be full of a moment-to-moment pleasure we are starved for.

When we give ourselves these moments to stop.
To actually feel and sense what is happening right now.
To find the pleasure that’s actually there…
Then we have a richer experience of our lives.
We are more in our feminine.
We can enjoy life more.
And we have much more, in the end, to give to others.

Brilliant women… please let me know in the comment section below how you manage these pesky habits. How are you restraining the urge to RUSH? What are your go to tactics for getting your MULTI-TASKING to serve your feminine? And… how are you bringing moments of attention and JOY into your day to day lives? I can’t wait to being this conversation.