Making Self-Love the Real Deal on Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day vlog image

Hey There.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m wearing red. Maybe you are, too. Maybe you’re thinking about flowers and chocolate and other things to celebrate this day.

Whether you’re partnered or not, I thought I’d share with you what happened last night in my world. For 7 years my friend Pooja Karina and I have offered a pre-Valentine’s event for local women called “Adoring the Beloved of Yourself.”

It’s so easy to assume that Valentine’s day is for people who have partners. That’s the obvious conclusion. But what I know is that what’s most important thing about this day is LOVE. Celebrating this holiday that someone put on the calendar in February is really an opportunity to celebrate self-love.

So last night, with 20 women sitting in a circle we talked about what it is to enjoy and really live in the pleasures that are here in the moment… instead of denying ourselves, overworking, and then vegging-out into all sorts of things that are just not that reverent to ourselves.

Looking ahead, these women each made a commitment for the next 40 days. Just as Lent is a set period of time for letting go of pleasures, this is a time for prioritizing the pleasures that help us to enjoy every moment… not the pleasures that we have to buy, but those here, now.

Women decided to commit to enjoying the bird song every morning, now that the birds are returning. Others chose to promise to touch their bodies first thing in the morning before they get out of bed, appreciating how well it works and how beautiful it feels.

There are so many ways to prioritize the beauty and pleasure of life instead of suffering, instead of slogging through and then not really giving yourself what you need.

So I invite you to do this, too… to make a commitment to yourself for the next period of time. Would you devote yourself to one practice that honors in the beauty and reverence for your body and senses enjoying present moment pleasure.

You can write your commitment below and share it with us. My promise is to put on the calendar a 5-minute break to dance every day, just to enjoy music. I love to dance. And I get busy and just don’t do it.

Let me know below what pleasure you’ll promise yourself this Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy.

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.

 

 

When you feel secretly alone and depleted….

The holidays can be surprisingly lonely.

All those shoulds just illuminate how disconnected we sometimes feel.

And yet social scientists say we’re interconnected beyond our wildest imaginings.
They have proof… And so do I.

Last Thursday eleven women who were strangers to one another just two months before

stood in a final circle, arms entwined,
celebrating their own personal project victories over the past 8 weeks,
planning their next walk or coffee together, 

and vowing never to say goodbye.

When women come together for more than just small talk,

determined to see the highest in each other,
something fundamental changes.
Science calls this resonance. Mirror neurons firing in the brain.
 

I call it Sisterhood.

It’s what happens when we vow to stop the comparison and catty criticism.
When we choose to let down our guard and be vulnerable.
To be nakedly real and honest about what’s actually happening.

THEN instead of what we most fear – judgment and rejection,
we fall into a rare and precious state of Grace.

Women rarely feel this safe with one another.
Who doesn’t have a mean girl story from middle school, or maybe last week?

But there is a movement happening,

and it’s not just isolated to where I live in the Berkshire Mountains.

Women’s circle culture is blossoming everywhere.

It’s blurring the usual boundaries of age, race, and sexual orientation.
Because there’s no denying the truth that women have known for millennia…

The old patriarchal pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, DIY culture never did work.

The truth is… we all thrive in connection.

We’re infinitely more powerful and purposeful when we work together.

Remember the Women’s March last January?

It’s the feminine that circles us together.
That rails against injustice. 
That cares for the weaker ones.
The feminine knows how to nurture connection to the mysterious heart of life itself.
Sitting in circle last Thursday,
the differences that seemed so obvious that first week among strangers have disappeared.
(Actually I’m having a hard time remembering them now when I try.)

Our hearts have opened. Our minds and arms, too.
As the circle was stacking backjacks and folding up blankets,
two already-too-busy women offered to help a third who’d been struggling to find a home.
“She’s our sister,” was all the reason they gave.
This is the kind of world I am determined to create and live in.
And Sisters, it’s our choice!
I want to live, encircled by women:
1) who are thrilled when I succeed …and help make it happen.
2) who will hold me when I’m wobbly.
3) who help me remember who I really am when I turn my mean girl on myself.
4) who stand arm in arm, happy to help, when any one of us needs a hand.
You, too?
Here’s how we make that happen:
We let go of the comparison trap.
We lose the subtle put downs, of yourself or someone else.
We vow to see each person (including ourselves) in their highest.*

But how, right? 
I mean of course you want to drop your comparisons,
and see yourself in the highest light,
but no body taught you how to do that in a lasting way.  

That’s where I come in.  

Unlocking your divine sense of belonging,
your enthusiasm, passion for life, and brightest energy
is my sacred speciality.  

If you know you want to feel more connected, authentic
and part of a tribe that is both safety net and launching pad,
click here, book a time for us to talk,
and if I know I can help, I will.  
 
So let’s consider, how do you make sisterhood happen?
Don’t leave without letting me know in the comment section below.

Love, 

Mary

*PS… Ready to know what it feels like to have a professional show you your highest potential, and the step-by-step plan that makes your best life your new normal life? Click here, book a time for us to talk, let’s make 2018 your year.

2015 Haramara women
PSS… Can’t wait to feel the connection and sense of belonging you where born to experience while your winter-bones thaw in the sensual delight of sun, sand and deep sisterhood?  Join me in a cozy group setting in Mexico next month.  There are just a few spots left!  It all starts with you booking a call with me, here’s that link again.

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?

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 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.

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.

Finding sweetness beyond Valentine’s Day

No matter how
​or even if
you celebrated Valentine’s Day last week,
there was no escaping it.

But beyond the red foil wrapped
chocolate hearts everywhere
is something more essential and true.

We live in a world full of infinite sweetness.
Noticing is the challenge.

Now more than ever, it may be what we need most!

In the comment line below
share the everyday practices you choose
that sweeten your day.