2 Keys to Every Transformation and 3 Ways to Make it Happen Over the Next 13 Weeks

suzanne-d-williams-794133-unsplashTransform… really?
Does your cynic scoff as much as mine at that overused word?
Can anything really change that much in just 13-weeks?

Celtic legend says that seeds do.
They rest in the dark for an entire season
Before stirring beneath the soil for their triumphant blossoming.
Imagine having an entire season to rest!

Winter is that season in the natural world.
We’ve been given 13 weeks of percolation
to take us from Winter Solstice to the Spring Equinox in March.
From longest night and shortest day to light harmonizing in time.
And it all begins next Friday evening.

But rest?!? Really?

The only way to let the dark time transform us
is to take matters into our own hands, Dear Ones.

In my last blog I suggested a very practical process
for creating a few precious minutes in this dark time for the next 13-weeks’ intentions.

One season isn’t much time really.
Or is it?
It’s enough for a seed to go from invisible to revealing its stunning beauty.

You see, every seed — and every artist of life,
no matter their medium —
must align with the natural forces that govern substantive transformation.

Creative flow can only happen if it’s held by some sort of structure.

If you know me even a little
You know that I’ve been rebelling against structure for most of my life.
Because it came packaged as rigid and punitive discipline.
Not really joy’s style.

Thankfully, fairly recently I’ve gotten a whole new take on structure…
(I’ll be sharing WAY more about that in the New Year, so stay tuned!)
And my life is flourishing as a result.

What I now know is
that it’s structure that holds the life of transformation I’m loving living!

See if this applies to you…

There are 2 kinds of structure absolutely essential for a seed to blossom
or a human to live a happy and satisfying life of beauty and artistry.

Obviously, the right circumstances or tools must be there
water and sunshine
paintbrush and canvas
pen and paper (or computer!)
inspiration and ideas

But something else is essential or nothing will really happen.

Every delicious creation reveals itself in structured time.
And showing up in time is what allows the creative process to be birthed.

So here is query #2 for your solstice season…
What tools do you need to let your next creative transformation happen?
And what sort of structure will you create to hold you in time

I invite you to use the next 13 weeks to bloom yourself into your next gorgeous revelation.

Dream into something you really want now…
(check out blog #1 for a bit of guidance) 

And then, over the next few weeks,
create a scaleable plan to allow for its inevitable growth.
This is how you make your desire — and your joyous life — real!

This dark time is made for inner exploration.
But that potent opportunity is only available if you make it happen in time.
I’d hate for you to fritter it away consumed by the season’s parties and busyness.
Your own precious life’s potential is too promising to waste.

I leave you with this question…
How will you value your fully-lived life enough right now to create a structure to hold its Springtime blossoming? 

Enjoy the quiet quest, Dear Loves!!!

PS… If you’d like a hand to hold for a season of transformation, here are 3 ways to be transformed in the next 13 weeks. Which one sounds more like you?1. Spend a season of intentionally structured time with me. Drop whatever’s standing in the way of the life you want and claim the joy and fulfillment that’s been waiting for you all along. 

2. Come with me to Haramara January 26-February 2. Because my retreat sold out in October (YIPPEE!), I’ve been given another casita and a dorm space if I want them. Is a Mexican deep dive into awakening the long-denied pleasures of body and soul calling, Sister?

3. AND if your desire is for more, I have one spot available in 2019 for a year’s pleasure exploration with me. Private. In-person, on line, (or both). Uniquely curated. My life’s worth of learnings, just for you. Hmmmm. Imagine!

If you’re not sure which one is you, click here to book a 15 minute convo with me.

What’s waiting for you in this darkness?

andrei-lazarev-719761-unsplash
It’s almost the solstice… the darkest time of the year.

Over the thousands of years before electricity made us forget what darkness gave, most folks weren’t going to twinkling holiday parties in mid-December.

Instead it’s likely they used this darkening time to rest, to take stock.
How was the harvest this year?
What grew well, and what should I do differently next spring year?

So many years later,
no matter how modern and productive we may be,
the season’s darkness is here
to do its work in us.

All those lights make it easy to avoid though.
I’m so busy, busy, busy during the holidays.
Not you, too, Kristin!?

The bah humbugs are bound to take over.
And all these flickering lights and ho ho ho’s just make it more intense.

Years ago I called my brand of late autumn struggle seasonal affective disorder.
And it’s true that sunshine helps.

But I’m discovering that there’s clarity waiting in the dark.

What if we haven’t evolved so far as we think.
What if, like our ancestors,
what we need most right now is time to take the year in?

To look back.
To be quiet.
To listen to our inner knowing.
To decide what needs to shift
so we’re ready for Spring and what wants to bloom.

Since the solstice is this Friday, here’s the question I’m asking now…
Where do I want to be 13 weeks from now?
How do I want to feel when Spring arrives this March?

Lately I’ve begun to ponder and plan my work and life over the 13 weeks of each season.
Instead of the pressure of a New Year’s resolution,
Before each equinox and solstice
I give myself the following powerful inquiry.

I create space for these precious few weeks of dark time to feed me.
Maybe I’ll find a few moments as the morning’s late sun begins to rise,
or I’ll make space just as it’s beginning to go dark outside.

I bring my journal,
light a candle,
And just sit, gazing out the window for a bit.

Then I ask into the darkness…

What change wants to come?
What’s begun that I want to feed?
What needs to drop away so I can live my joy?
What do I most want my life to feel like on the Spring equinox in March?

I wait. . . until the answers find me.

This is the time to make yourself the priority you need to be in order to move with purpose and joy into what’s really your deepest desire for the new year.

What if you gave yourself the gift of quiet darkness over the next few weeks?

Or, if you’d like, I can help.

If you’ve been doubting your light, Dear One,
I want to hold a candle to help light your way.
It’s not my candle though. It’s yours.
Together let’s reignite what’s always been within you.

Could This Day Be Just A Little Bit Better?

Do you have 10 seconds right now to find out?

I’m sure you’re as crazy busy as I am.

This morning
as I was running up my garden steps to the car,
(not noticing much of anything but my mind’s agenda)
the scent of my peonies stopped me mid-stride
and pulled me back down the stairs.

Those 10 seconds with my face in theirs made my day.

Last month it was my lilacs.
Daffodils before that.
Spring is a sensual feast I inhale in great gulps.

That’s why, now more than ever
— whether I’m thriving or feel totally overwhelmed —
I will not miss this wake up call to life.
It’s just too good!

I think that’s a big part of what our sensesare meant to do,
partnered with Nature’s abundance.

They’re here to wake us up
and turn us on again to the joy of living!

And with beyond-belief springtime bursting all around us,
all we have to do is give it 10 seconds.

This kind of sense pleasure does it’s own sort of shouting,
but only if we let ourselves be seduced.
It lays in wait to make us smile,
to ease the hard times,
and infuse our days with wonder!

What a shame we get lost in our thoughts
and forget to look up.
Turned off to the joy we were built to know.

Now THAT just wouldn’t do!

So… I’ve made you 12 days of reminders.
I’m calling it “Turn on in 12 Days”
Little emails to land in your inbox.
Snippets from my joy to yours.
My gift in honor of Spring!

Get yours here.

Do you know the difference between sex and sensuality?

Because I’m just back from my women’s sensuality retreat in Mexico and about to go off to Costa Rica to lead another, this question is really up.

But why does it matter?

Even more importantly, why should you care?

We’ve had many women interested in our “Discover Your Sensual Self” retreat in Costa Rica, but several have told me they heard the word “sensual” and immediately got scared – is this what Mary offers, some kind of kinky swinger’s sex retreat?

So I decided to have some fun clarifying what this retreat — and my work — is really all about, and why sensuality and pleasure are so central to your health and happiness as a wise and mature woman.

First of all, what is the difference between sex and sensuality?

Sex is a looooaded word. So much baggage attached to these 3 letters! So let’s stick to this definition: sex means the act of sexual intercourse.

Sensual, as we use it here, is defined as connecting with the senses. The way I see it, it’s the pleasure of being in a body – of being embodied. Sex may be a part of the picture, but certainly not the whole picture.

The practice of attuning to your sensuality is simply focusing your attention on your senses — the passion, the creativity, the vitalizing enjoyment they create — in order to become more deeply connected with your body and the pleasures of living.

daniel-wallace-386738

Is the pure pleasure of being in your body something you can relate to?

I understand if the answer is no. By the time we hit our 40’s and 50’s, most of us are worn out, stressed out, burnt out — and feeling good in our bodies seems like a thing of the past.

And we’re so overwhelmed by our responsibilities that we rarely make time for purely pleasurable experiences outside of eating and drinking. And even these are often hurried, unconscious, and guilt ridden.

Or, somewhere along the way we forgot that sensual pleasure is healthy, self-respecting, and a source of energy to sustain our lives and work.

The story you’ve probably heard is that it only gets worse from here, and that the best you can do is slow down the wrinkles and the weight gain by denying yourself the few sensual pleasures you get from food and drink.

Who wants to do that? You need more pleasure, not less!

Here’s why you need to connect more fully with your senses and get real pleasure – you will experience:

  • Remarkably lowered stress along with feeling calm, centered, and joyful
  • Greater mental and physical energy and vitality
  • Easier weight loss, more self respect, love, and compassion
  • A mind that looks for pleasure instead of struggle
  • More enjoyable sex (yep-sex is a sensual pleasure also)

michael-podger-32058

Ask yourself: 
What foundational lifestyle habits do you practice to refresh, to revitalize,
to engage – sensually – with life? What do you do to truly be embodied?

Why go all the way to Costa Rica?

To sense. The lusciousness of the jungle, the warm perfumed air, the abundance of flora and fauna, all combine to put you at ease in your body, which is the first step to connecting with your sensuality.

To pattern break. Being in a new and unusual environment helps you to let go of old patterns and rituals that undermine your experience of daily pleasure. You create a new template of practical easy-to-integrate practices that easily translate into your life back home.

To connect. Being in tropical nature helps you re-calibrate your nervous system. It’s easier to release all those worries and mind games when you return to your body. You remember that you are a part of nature. You’re revived and rejuvenated, and even feel surprisingly safe. Far safer than you’re likely used to feeling.

To ditch winter. We spend most of our lives within four walls, in cars, and in winter, covered with layers of clothing. There is a unique pleasure in being outside in the open air.

To feel better than you have in forever. New place, pattern break, warm, rich tropical air. All good, great vacation. But this trip is an opportunity to learn a language of sensuality, to learn different techniques and practices, from qigong to yoga, and to discuss and explore them with other women.

jeremy-bishop-131063

What will you come back with?

  • Relief! A renewed connection with self and your intuition.
  • A new joy in living in your body, no matter its size or shape.
  • A more thorough knowledge of your body’s pleasure pathways.
  • Practices that revitalize and sustain you.
  • A kinder, gentler way of relating to yourself and your body.
  • The ability to find pleasure and connect to your sensuality when you most need it.

Katherine Miller and I will be guiding you through simple practices to restore trust, vitality and harmony so you can start having fun in your body again: Qigong, Jade Egg, connecting to pleasure in eating, music, meditation and yoga. And this is just the short list!

debora-tingley-54716

“I can’t believe how different I still feel 4 months after the retreat.
Little by little I’ve dropped the critical voice inside that hated my body.
The more I tune into my senses, the more I enjoy my body and my life,
beyond all my lists and responsibilities.”

Imagine the possibility of being excited to be in your body, in anticipation of the pleasure you will experience each day… 

That is my definition of an embodied woman. This is what this retreat is all about – coming home to yourself through the sensual enjoyment of your environment – what you eat, drink, feel, smell, touch, sense, and hear.

Even if you feel totally out of touch or completely at odds with your body, you can learn how to fall in love with it again, by tuning in and creating an environment that supports that.

And, you can come to Costa Rica where we have a whole program designed to fully support your journey into the realm of relaxation and sensual pleasure.

Get all the details here.

There is still time to register and get a ticket, but don’t delay, there are just a few spaces left and the retreat starts March 3rd!

I’d love to hear what you already do to connect with your sensual self. What’s your all-time favorite, sure-thing way to connect? I’m taking a survey… so leave your wins here.

En-joy it all,
marysig

P.S. Remember, the retreat starts in just one month, and you can still find great tickets out there! Check out details and register here.

How 5 minutes by your window is like a week on retreat in Mexico

I arrived back home Sunday morning from a week in Mexico leading my women’s retreat, “Awakening Your Divine Feminine Self – A Deeper Turn-ON.” 

There’s no denying the pleasure of crashing surf, exquisite accommodations, and pristine nature all around you. Maybe you caught some of my shares on FB or Instagram.

When I got home I made the video BELOW because I want anyone to experience what we just lived in Mexico on retreat.

And sure, you can get this without traveling 3000 miles, but on the other hand, sometimes we need to break the pattern we’re stuck in — and then the best thing to do might just be to go really far far away in a totally different environment…  maybe like Costa Rica a month from now!

No matter where you are right now, here are 3 tips, 3 simple practices that can make your experience more powerful and delicious.

  1. Look out the window. Just look outside. Be here quietly. We did a sit spot – a practice I learned from Jon Young – for 20 minutes every day. But a breath, just a short minute, can hugely expand you awareness and pleasure. Just sit here quietly and experience what’s here in your environment.
  2. Watch your senses. Watch what you hear. Watch what you smell. Watch what you feel. Watch the experience of seeing what’s there, really noticing the contrasts, noticing the percussiveness of sounds. Just noticing what’s there. Don’t make it right or wrong. Just be in the moment.
  3. Feel your body. Feel where you’re sitting. Feel the sense of this being in this space… and not the thoughts that can go along with whatever you’re feeling. We’re so in our thoughts – and out of our body – so much of the time.

That’s it. Those are 3 of the simple practices that we landed in Mexico to bring presence, pleasure and delight, right here, right now, no matter where you are.

Take these tips into your life, especially if you’re in the chilly north. And let me know down below, right now, which one you’re ready to make part of your daily practices. I consider each of them a meditation, as fully as I do my traditional sitting practice.

And if your appetite’s been whetted, I’m off to warmer climates again in March – this time to Costa Rica with Katherine Miller, menopause expert and dear friend. Learn to expand your pleasure potential by establishing habits of reverent self-care. See more here or email at info@diviningbeauty.com for more juicy details.

3 Words to Live by in 2018

You might tattoo these words into your consciousness
for a more joyful,
peaceful,
and purposeful
2018.

 

Remember
your deep and innate connection to your feminine essence.

It’s inevitable that we overdo and work too hard in a culture that rewards abuse. When we learn to listen with compassion to our bodies’ messages, effort drops away and we’re revived.

 

Reclaim
your joy by prioritizing stillness and solitude.

Hearing your inner wisdom can only happen when you allow (and this means schedule!) centered, quiet space to listen. This is vital self-care and the one choice that can transform all others.

 

Receive
the ever-present blessings of beauty from the natural world.

In any moment, no matter where you are, there is at least the smallest bit of restorative transformative beauty waiting for you to notice it. Any day’s difficulties will melt if you’ll open your eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin to welcoming this gift for your sustenance.

 

 

Do you need more than just a vacation?

Brrr, it’s cold outside this morning.
There’s no doubt that winter is coming!!

Untitled design-5

If you’ve started to dream about escaping to some warm spot this winter,
you might know already that you need more than just a vacation.

You know you want to come back with more than just memories.

You need to to come home to yourself!
… with real tools to warm the winter from the inside out,
no matter how cold it is outside.

This is why I take women with me to Mexico every January.

2015

Don’t get me wrong…
I love sand between my toes.
Sun softening my tight muscles.
Whales playing in the distance.

But I know from years of experience
that women need more than just a break.

We can’t help but lose our innate connection to joy living like we do.

Isn’t it obvious?
The feminine withers with constant productivity.
…living tethered to our lists.
…falling into bed at night, too exhausted for pleasure.
…always feeling there’s more to do and never enough time!

If this is what happens to us living in this hyper-masculine world,
what we MUST HAVE are practical tools to come home to ourselves!

IMG_1276

We need to laugh and play and dance in these beautiful bodies,
in the company of women, seeing us in our best.

We need to remember what truly sources our pleasure,
deeper than our usual escapes.

We need to learn simple practices –– ways of being – not just doing,
that can easily be infused to lighten the daily grind back home.

BUT MOST OF ALL
we need to shift the way we think about ourselves.

And that, Dear Women, takes more than sitting in a therapist’s chair,
or reading the best self-help books,
or listening every Sunday to Oprah’s inspirations.

The shift I’m talking about takes time.
And guidance.
And a reframe toward beauty.

So, please, feel into yourself right now.

Is this shift what you’re most wanting?

I’ve made time in my schedule this week for one-on-one conversations.
Because that’s often what we need to get clear.
No convincing. No cajoling. We have enough of that every day.

Screen Shot 2017-11-19 at 8.44.59 AM

Just real talk about how your life is going and what might help.
You can book a time here on my coaching page.

No matter what this winter holds for you,
You deserve to live your most joyous and fulfilled life.

15 Seconds of Pleasure

I don’t remember an autumn like this one. Every week, some new assault. History-making hurricanes, fires, and political revelations feel like the new normal. I feel the trauma that so many have suffered…and yet, there’s no time to collect myself. Life has never felt more full. You, too?

This fall, even our beautiful New England maples never turned their usual red. What is going on?

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 5.51.44 AM

Seems like a sign… so like every other animal right now, I know I’d better prepare for what’s to come.

Squirrels lay up a cache of acorns so they don’t starve. But when I’m so busy handling the day-to-day craziness, it’s easy to put off my own inner preparation, and just hope for the best.

But this year, I can tell already that I can’t afford my usual naive optimism. So I’m feathering my winter nest with warmth in every way possible.

But more than the usual self-care, it’s soul-care I know I need.

When I allow myself reverent care for my real needs I feel resilient and alive… and then almost magically, I’m most able to handle whatever comes my way.

Because I’ve never needed them more, I’ve come up with 3 essential — and amazingly simple — soul-caring shifts to help me thrive this winter.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing these and more through email and as mini-reminder videos on FB. Here’s the first… and stay tuned for more to come.

1. Take a 15 second Beauty Break
When my day is extra full, it can feel like I can’t spare the time for even a shower, much less a hike up my favorite trail or a long hot bath. But I know I can spare 15 seconds!

So as often as I remember, I just stop and notice what’s around me. Simple!!

There may not be red on the hillsides this year, but the blaze of yellow out my window is the gift in this moment that can take me out of my too-long to-do list and help me gain perspective. It’s also a real kind of joy that seems to almost magically shift my day.

fullsizeoutput_29c3

This winter I’ll be making it a point to really enjoy what’s there! What my senses can taste, touch, smell, feel, and smell turns out to be the very best tool to ease my perpetually overworked mind and bring joy to an otherwise exhausting day.

And here’s a little trick. I even put stickers up on my kitchen cabinets and bathroom mirror. They simply say, “STOP AND ENJOY.” It’s the conscious shift from struggle to joy that I know will make the real difference this winter. So I’d better build in the habit now.

Give this a try, right now. Look around. Spend 15 seconds — 3 slow breaths — really taking in whatever pleases you in this moment. Then take a minute to let us know how you feel afterward in the comments below.  What 15 second slice of joy did you allow yourself to enjoy today — and how are you changed?