You, too? A channel for Love

I was a young mother, finally taking a nap after hosting a big New Year’s Eve party the night before. As my head was sinking into the pillow I caught sight, AGAIN, of the dead branches on a ficus tree near the window.

Damn it!
I was going to get rid of that ugly thing!

In all the chaos of my wild life with a 3 and 6 year old
remembering to water the poor tree had been WAY down on my list,
for way too long.

But as I drifted off to sleep
The tree began to speak to me.
       (WAIT… don’t leave yet!)

“I know I’m ugly.
I know you want me out of here.
But I have something I want to tell you.I’m only here to love you.
I’m just a channel for Love.And not just me.
Everything is here to love you.

Every bald of grass, every cloud.
Every rock and plant and breath of air.
It’s all here to love you.

We’re all just love, being what we are, for you.”

OK, I know!
I’m as hard boiled as the next person.
And I’m not one of those people who remembers her dreams.
But this one has never left me.Because if every blade of grass and leaf and cloud
is here to love,
— just by being grass or leaves or even clouds —
then so am I.I must be here to love, too.
To be a channel of Love.
Love expressing through the uniqueness of me.

Only some days I forget!
Some days my channel of love gets all gummed up.
Then every cell in my body feel tight.
I’m full of doubts or overwhelm,
afraid… or worried… or stuck in some old story of my not enough-ness.

But sometimes, somehow, I do remember.

It can happen when I’m out walking in the woods.
Or holding a newborn.
Or dancing.
Or just sitting quietly, taking a breath.
Then that channel of Love that I am somehow gets clearer.

I’m sure you’ve felt it, too, Friend.
There’s a sense of spacious centeredness bubbling up through you.
Or joy you didn’t expect.
Or just a gentle sweet feeling of safety and belonging.

That’s when I can be patient
remembering that my friend is doing the best she can.
Or generous when I’m cut off
knowing that guy’s probably having a really hard day.

On days like that
I know it’s all just Love.
That the grass and leaves and clouds and all of us
Are Love, being Us.

The trick, though, is remembering!

And what stands in the way every time
are all the habits and beliefs we’ve built since childhood to try to keep safe
— or that’s what we think.
(more on that next week)

Clearing Love’s channel
means investigating the muck that’s still there.
It means being curious about what I still do
to try to compensate for having not gotten the love I needed way back when.
This is the work of evolving.
It’s how we awaken to remembering what is really true!

This is the awakening so many of us are doing these days.
It’s what keeps me hopeful in the face of such much tragedy and darkness.

And it’s what I do with my clients every day,
whether we’re talking about relationships or sex or whatever else.
The work is just remembering the Love we really are
And walking back home together.
.

So… do you want to know the end of the story?
What happened after my dream with the ficus tree?

Well…
5 days later Love did its thing
And we conceived our third child.

Forever sharing Love,

PS…If you’re curious about exploring remembering the Love that you are more often, I invite you to come schedule a chat. My treat. Let’s walk back home together.

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.

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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)

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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.

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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!

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“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.

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.

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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.

What magic do you want to conjure this solstice?

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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!

Welcome to the Holidays

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It’s upon us… this last and darkest month of the year.

If you’re feeling tired, and maybe just a little reluctant to jump into all the holiday festivities, there’s a reason.

Until gas and electric lights illuminated our evenings, these dark months were for resting. Dark came early. The crops were already harvested. Those proverbial long winter’s naps were a fixture of December.

Bodies are slow to evolve! But these days, just when we most need to do less, invitations and events fill our calendars like over-stuffed stockings on Christmas Eve. And we think nothing of it.

It starts out feeling like fun, right? All glittery and sugar-coated excitement.

We go to more parties, buy more presents, and drink more cocktails. Did I mention the cookies? All this doing MORE is way LESS satisfying as the month wears on.

We’ve been taught (mostly by our consumer culture) that more is better. We think that more will make us feel full, feel loved, feel like we’re enough.

Instead the hollow emptiness afterward, the crash-and-burn fogginess, the TOO MUCH-ness of it all is anything but a pleasure.

I’m wanting to do the holiday season differently this year.

You, too?

Dear Ones, our light and love is needed more than ever right now. I’m sure you can feel it. And doing too much just erodes our feminine capacity to care.

So let me ask you, what would truly please you this month? Please let us know down below….

Maybe you’ve had enough of the self-abuse we’ve come to call celebrationGetting swept up in it all, filling your calendar and cramming more in, making it look all tinsel-bright, and convincing yourself you’re having a really great time.

Maybe, like me, you’re ready for a holiday that is truly pleasurable, one that has more to do with flowing than pushing, being nurtured by natural beauty than having to buy and wrap it all. Maybe you’d like a season that allows you to remember your feminine caring place, what’s most needed both for you and this poor confused, but dearly beloved world.

So… last week I made a little list (and checked it twice!) of 12 sparkling ideas. Ways to return the holiday to its joy. To come back to our bodies and senses, to embrace the beauty all around us, and to empower our hearts’ light to brighten every dark corner with love.

12 Tips to Revive the Joy of the Season and Your Feminine.

It’s just a little pdf with my secret sauce. My gift to you this holiday season. Unwrap it here. And share your own secrets below. Our shared light is what illuminates the world.

Happiest of holidays to you, Dear Beauties!

A Deeper Turn-On?

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A deeper turn-on? Huh?

It’s about pleasure in the body, most definitely..
But it’s more…

More than the momentary high of a great orgasm,
…though there are little-known practices that create the magic.
More than someone else’s slow hands,
…though that’s quite a delight.
Even more than all the best techniques in the world.

A deeper turn-on comes from learning to access the source of your turn-on.
And that is YOU.

You won’t find it in the perfect body you wish you had,
or some fabulous setting or future time when you’ll finally be ready,
or even someone who knows how to take you there.
(OK, so that is lovely,..)

No, this deeper turn-on is available right here… and right now.
In fact, you already possess the tools to bring it on.

I’m talking about what comes from living fully connected to yourself…
Your senses.
Your body.
Your inner quiet.
Your intuition.
Your enough-ness.

It’s knowing how to more fully receive what is already there.
No working! No trying!
No walking on your knees through the desert for a hundred years, to quote Mary Oliver.

A deeper turn-on is just about remembering what we’ve never been taught.
It’s about cultivating the Feminine. And indeed, it is Divine!

But we’re constantly putting out and producing and trying to cross everything off our list. That, My Dears, is living in masculine energy. It exhausts us because too much of it is just not healthy or natural to our feminine essence.

A deeper turn-on comes from accessing the vitality and sustenance of your larger body, the natural world.

That’s Divining your Beauty. It’s what I’ve been writing about these past years. It’s the territory I’ve traveled and the path I wish to share with you. ​

Nature is a Seductress

Road between mountains

Nature is a seductress. And a good one. She knows her power but has no need to force herself upon you. She makes you think this little affair is your idea, that you made the first move. You can’t remember when she first caught your eye. She was just somehow there. And all you knew was that being with her felt fabulous.

You lay on the grass, she held you. You wondered at the stars, she mesmerized you. You splashed in the waves, she frolicked with you. Her breezes softened your tension. Her icy gusts slapped you awake.

She wasn’t always gentle. Nature made you stand up and take notice. Pay attention. She could be a formidable adversary to challenge your mettle, to draw out from you your best. But all along, no matter what she dished out, her tender comfort was like a balm to you.

Often you were distracted, forgetting her altogether. You could hide out in your mind, but she was there, too, of course. Or hang out on your screens, but she would wait.

It was easy to think of her as “other.” And not all that important, really. Not like your plans or creations. You thought they were all yours. Only she knew better.

You could come back to her whenever you wanted. Climb her hills, dip into her waters, soak in her rays. She let you think it was your choice, the tip of your hat to her beauty. Thank you, Ma’am.

It was only when you began to take notice, to see her for who she really is, in her full majesty – to feel her subtle allure and stand in awe of her seemingly simple presence – that she began to more fully reveal her mysteries to you. Only as you took her in your arms and heart, confessing your love through devotion and reverence, did she bless you with her fuller flowering.

Then the panic set in. You might lose her altogether. Everywhere she’s being lost. Forgotten. Ignored. Abused. 

Or you could lose your freedom. Be forced to concede your dependence. Yield to a closeness that could leave you naked and defenseless. Relinquish your hard won control. Surrender to an unnerving vulnerability that incited peoples before you to worship her. Where would your precious independence be then?

Ah, well…as with any love affair, there’s always the push and pull. When love is this deep, it’s unsettling. You succumb, only to retract again, afraid to lose yourself or be left bereft. Within her constant holding, it’s too easy to grow complacent. Easy to neglect her. You will abandon her again and again, lose touch with her rare beauty, so available is she to you.

Only when the void becomes too unbearable do you return, confessing in wonder that you could have forsaken such intimacy for the shiny trinkets that caught your eye.

So let your life be this dance with Nature. Be tempted to fall deeper into her love. Offer yourself up for a lifetime of entrancement. Why hold back? You know she wants you.

Give yourself to her magnetism. Let yourself be seduced by the delicate touch of her breath, drawn in by her bird song, entranced by her honeysuckle scent. Indulge yourself in her innumerable delights.

Receive what she offers. Why resist such bliss? You’re already lovers for life.

Let the seduction begin.

Choosing what exactly fits

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It’s time to guard your preciousness, Dears…It’s just too easy to be swept away by the excitement of the season. To say yes to every delicious invitation and delightful morsel. Each year I notice the pull to indulge in all the sensual delights of the holidays. But when I do, the hangover I endure by New Years makes me regret it all. On autopilot, having taste every last cookie and drop of champagne, I wake up grumpy and exhausted. Too often I’ve come crashing down into January, mad at myself for overdoing it and annoyed with everyone else, just wanting a little peace and quiet!

Here’s the problem as I see it. Instead of living every day as sensually alive women, too often we starve ourselves of the most satisfying pleasures — genuine self-care, reverence for our deepest desires — and then overindulge, thinking we’re making up for all our betrayal. But that empty feeling inside still lingers.

This is NOT how we are meant to live. 

Not if we want to be embodying full-out and powerful lives of joy and happiness… to be in integrity with our deepest needs and energized for what the world most needs of us. Living the sort of pleasure that deepens into joy and contentment isn’t about having more or less, but instead is about being present enough to choose only what exactly fits in this moment. It means slowing down enough to notice in the first place, to really hear your desires. It means valuing yourself fully enough to notice when a no will actually mean more pleasure… and when your yes is an emphatic, no-holds-barred “​YES!”

The ancients used this dark time each year to go deep into quiet and reflection. They understood our intrinsic connectedness to all of life. So, instead of flying in the face of the cycles Nature gives me — and then diving back into the new year exhausted and drained   — I want to use this turning of the calendar to listen to my own still small voice, reset my physiology, and claim my purposeful intentions for 2016.