The Both/And Life

I’m waking this morning holding so much.

My January retreat in Mexico is sold out! (or almost)
That was huge news for me.
It was the blog I’d scheduled for this morning.

But then on Thanksgiving day my dear friend Ditte took her last breath.

How can I hold both?
How can I feel it all?

I’ve been with Ditte much of the past week,
in the hospital and then at home.
Holding space. Waiting.
And then on the day America reserves for giving thanks,
Sharing the honor of holding hands with her family
in reverent thanks, to clean and anoint her body.

This morning I’m living with the sweetness of our long friendship.
Our sisterhood over the successes and disappointments of shared projects.
Our children’s struggles and their happy successes.
So much deep feeling and love.

And in this luminous time beyond time
— almost incongruently —
I have this happy news to share.
Last year filling my retreat was a struggle… yet Ditte was able to be there!
But now it’s sold out, (or was until earlier this week when one woman needed to cancel. Somehow I don’t feel the least worried.)

Here’s what I’m getting…
Life gives us this opportunity to feel it all – all at the same time!
We get to have the highs and the lows.
I’m calling this a blessed both/and life.

I don’t want to numb out all that I’m feeling right now.
I know that numbing part of it will diminish the rest.
I want to feel it all.
Every moment.

Today I’ll be saying my last goodbyes to Ditte.
There will be more tears.
And at the same moment her home will be filled with such love!
All of us celebrating her life…
and the transforming power of love to help us feel all that connects us.

Ditte will help me remember
why I believe we must go deep in our connection to our bodies AND our deep heart.
Because all of it is here for us to taste.
There’s no way to separate body and heart…
or much of anything else that’s here to help us be fully human.

It’s connection that we all long for.
Connection with the joys and sadness of living in a body on this beautiful earth.
It’s our connections that make life this precious.

This morning I will let the rain touch me.
I will let the sweetness of my morning chai comfort me.
I will let the arms of friends encircle me.
And I will be so grateful to be feeling it all.

Thank you for being there with me, Dear Ones!

PS — If that spot at my retreat in January is calling you (or one of the two more that Haramara just offered me), check out the details or reach out to me. I’d be so happy to have you come along!

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.

Is it intuition or wishful thinking?

How do you tell for sure?

For most of my life I was surprised when my wild guesses were on target.
And weirdly, they were, more often than not.

But I had no idea how I knew what I knew.

It was all kind of spooky – so I didn’t bother to notice the patterns.
I’d usually just toss it off as luck.

It’s what most of us do.
We have a hunch that we label as silly
…or maybe a gut feeling we just ignore till it goes away.

These days, though, it’s more than just my gut that sends signals.
My whole body sings! REALLY!

I don’t know how else to describe it…
But with every passing year, the signs are more indisputably clear.
This is how feminine wisdom works!

Then, as if I ever doubted,
last Saturday morning my intuition came on line
more powerfully than I can remember,
tingling to get my attention in every cell of my body!

But some background first…

I’m in Hawaii this month, soaking in the love of my new grandbaby, Hazel!
(Don’t miss us on FB.)

Last weekend I took a quick flight over to Maui to meet up with Tamara,
my dear friend and colleague of 10 years.
Laughing and reminiscing, I began to realize just how aligned we still were.
AND what a powerful duo we’d be!

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In that moment, overlooking the surf from her balcony,
there was no ignoring the tingling in my face and chest.
Like every cell of my body was saying YES!
I’ve come to recognize this as my ultra-clear guidance for the next right step.

So right then and there,
I asked Tamara to join me to co-lead my Awakening retreat next month in Mexico.

And here’s why…
Tamara brings vast experience and skills in holding space for women’s transformation.
She’s cultivated a deep sense of determined, focused masculine energy
IN ORDER TO
flow in her gorgeous feminine beauty.
That… or course, is what this retreat is all about!

But what I love most about this dear sister is that
she knows how to revere the feminine!

She masterfully holds space for women to feel safe.
And that’s what every woman needs
to release all that blocks our radiance and brilliance.

I can hardly sit still as I write this,
feeling into how it will be — the two of us as a team
and imagining all that will be birthed
for every women who will be at Haramara this January.

So, Dear Sister, if you’ve been putting your own wishes on the back burner,
…too busy with the holidays to even consider what you really need,
…thinking a few New Year’s resolutions on January 1st will be enough,
STOP now, and feel into what’s true.

What do you most need to live your beautiful, full-out and joyous life?

My Awakening your Divine Feminine Self retreat in Mexico is just over a month away.
If this retreat might be your answer, please don’t wait.

A gorgeous group of women have already booked their flights.
But I have to give firm numbers to Haramara next week.
so take this little step right now…

Anytime you need to know your own truth,
(And for now, what your own wisdom knows about the retreat,)

Sit still for a moment.
Take three deep quiet breaths.
Place your hand on your heart.
And ask your question….
            Is now the time for me to more deeply awaken my beautiful feminine soul?

In this moment, notice how your body is responding?
You might have felt your torso pulling forward.
or a subtle tingling in your hands (or whole body – like me).
or maybe a lightness and fluttering in your chest.

How does your body say its intuitive YES?

Imagine how great it would be to know how each woman reading this
experiences her own unique intuition’s signals.
Can you tell us in the comment section below?

And if that YES was about the retreat
then click here to book a chat with me.

We’ll see if this is the next step for you right now.
(And only if it’s in perfect alignment with your inner wisdom.)
I may also be able to help you over the hump we all have
when we’re contemplating something big and important.

Now that was fun! Thanks for playing along.
And don’t forget to leave a comment down below!

I’m sending you big love, Sisters!

PS…So no matter whether Mexico is calling you
or you just need a bit of sisterhood guidance, I’m always here to chat.

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.

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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!!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.