Truth Bites

On Showing Off

On showing off…

What is the difference between showing off, self-expression or art? What is ego-masturbation and what is pure, creative expression of spirit?

Is it either or? And who gets to decide?

To celebrate ourselves and allow our inner worlds to become transparent, to share our spirit and current inspiration generously with the world, to make poetry with life through all the wonderful ways we can express ourselves – this is our birthright. This includes the right to express our sexuality – the mystery connected to our core essence and very existence.

I have blocked my impulse to express myself so many times. Why? That little whisper, ever-ready to intervene… “Don’t be a show off! They will think you are showing off.”

In a world full of hollow narcism, where the constant need to feed off the validation from others is all around us, we are losing the art of soulful self-expression. When it comes to women and sexuality, we are so saturated with images of women seen through the male gaze, conforming to stereotypes of beauty, images whose primary intention is to seek comfort and validation through being desired, that many of us don’t even dare to try.

I know that on one level this goes beyond gender, however I think that women have a particularly hard time in their ability to express themselves, as the judgments are fiercer. When I listen to the inner critic inside me, it rings of an old paradigm, still lingering, in which women are meant to keep quiet and behave. Don’t flaunt it. Don’t draw attention to yourself. Tone it down. Stop trying to get attention. Stop being slutty. And if you want to be slutty, make sure it’s under the power of men.

Fuck it. Let’s be bold. Every time we dare, we strengthen our resolve to stop staying small. We liberate ourselves from the prison of our social conditioning and move towards becoming more sovereign beings, self-responsible for our own power. We unleash our essence into the world and it feels good! And we might inspire someone else to cultivate their self-expression beyond the influence of fear.

Let’s be mindful of the source and the intentions behind our expression but not allow ourselves to become neurotic with self-doubt. The ego is not our enemy, it can function as our friend, if we stay in compassionate self-awareness. Remembering that the response of those who criticise, often says more about them, than it does about us

On shaming men’s desire

I know that sexual shaming is rampant universally, but through my work I often come into contact with how women – feeling threatened by male desire – so often shame men, sometimes overtly, but often unconsciously. I know many of us have been victims to men’s desire when it has been transgressive and felt disrespectful or abusive, but when we chronically and toxically shame something, it ultimately perpetuates it. There is a time and a place for naming and shaming, but also just as importantly, a need to look at our self-responsibility.
What if as women, when we experience a man’s desire for us, even if it’s a ‘sleazy’ catcall on the street, we remember just for one instant, that underneath, the sacred force of eros: the cosmic connecting and creative force of life, is at play?
What if we recognized the same force in ourself, that may also been suppressed and shamed?
What if we recognised that the more we surpress something in ourselves, the more it will trigger us when expressed in others – and that the more ease we have with our own desire, the less threatened we feel when we experience desire towards us by another.

On suffering

There is nothing quite like suffering as a catalyst for climbing the ladder of perspective. Up and up, each rung a slightly more whole picture, a little more Truth. Each step, you realise you feel a little freer. Every time you pause and take a breath and realise you are still suffering, it’s time to climb again and widen that perspective. At some point on the ladder you look down from where you started climbing and realise that each encounter with heartache is a gift for your future self: a hologram, a truth-containing message that once decoded will set you free. . .

Do we dare to believe?

That despite the savageness of the pain and heartache, that the universe is ultimately benevolent?

Cyclical Living (from a recovering intensity junky)

In this era of abundance of and easy access to intense experiences, there seems to be the tendency to try and cram in as much as possible. Entertainment, festivals, self-development workshops, plant medicine rituals, erotic encounters…we are intensity junkies, our lives a blur, hungrily going from one experience to the next.

The culture of cramming – embedded in a Capitalist, linear system – is a result of our forgetting about the value and importance of cyclical living.

Cyclical living is looking at the natural world around us and its cycles, and seeing how if we wish to live in balance, we cannot value one part of the cycle over another. Cyclical living helps us make the most of and truly honour the deeper experiences we create for ourselves in life.

In the ‘Winter’ or dark moon phase, there is no movement, only stillness and the unknown. This is the phase that gives us the spaciousness to connect with either our rational minds or our intuition and discover what we are drawn to. What will actually serve us? What do we really desire or need? What feels right or what makes sense? When we find our inspiration we move into Spring, or the waxing moon phase…we feel anticipation, we tune in, connect to our intention or do whatever other preparation we need to do. Summer, or full moon and it’s time to immerse ourselves into the experience. Because of the previous two phases that have been honoured, we can really dive deep! Finally, it’s the Autumn or the waning moon part of the cycle and the time for allowing our experience to percolate in our system, to feel the afterglow, to integrate, reflect on what we will take with us and what we have learned.

In an economic system that focuses on constant growth and productivity (the ‘summer’ phase) it is not surprising that we adopt this in our personal lives, even those of us who do not feel particularly supportive of Capitalist principles.

But by going from one intense experience to another and skipping most of the cycle, we are not really honouring our experiences or engaging with life as deeply as we could be. We tend to make poorer decisions, are less present, end up just going through the motions and diminish our capacity for learning. And we are often disrespectful to people and plants (in plant medicine rituals) as a result.

Cyclical Living can be applied to many things, including the way we manifest projects and do business. Wow, would life be different if we looked to nature (and our wombs, for they are also cyclical) for wisdom and inspiration!

On Female Sexual Dysfunction

“The medical establishment tells us that about 50 percent of women have so-called FSD (female sexual dysfunction). I think the “dysfunction” happens when our body says “NO” to regular old “friction” sex because we long for the “YES” of conscious touch, worship, and honoring of our most sacred temple space within. Perhaps this is wisdom not dysfunction.”
~Lisa Schrader

On men feeling small

If women are to be given equal value and importance in the world and our power and the medicine we bring, accepted and honoured, then I believe that men must learn to meet their feelings of inferiority and smallness, when they arise. Of course we all have feelings of being small and insecure – and so much of the bullshit that happens in the world is due to all of us avoiding and compensating for these uncomfortable feelings. But it is particularly when men do this in response to the ‘strong woman’, that I personally find frustrating and hurtful.

Looking around me, I see so much behaviour in heterosexual dynamics involving men avoiding situations in which their sense of masculinity is threatened, by feeling out of their depth, lost or smaller than women. Sometimes avoiding intimate encounters with women they deem as strong all together, sometimes habitually going for younger, less experienced women so they can maintain their sense of pseudo-masculinity.

I get it. We have been conditioned to have very narrow ideas on what it is to be a man. Men are meant to be consistently cool and in control and masterful. But if you really want women to rise, to speak up, to shine our essence and medicine into a world that so desperately needs it, as a man there will be times where you will feel small.

You will feel overwhelmed.
You will feel lost and confused.

And that’s ok.

And if as women we expect men to become friends with these feelings in response to us, then we have a responsibility to stop thinking of men who are vulnerable in the presence of our power and complexity as ‘weak’. We have a responsibility to challenge our definitions of masculinity and to see how they may not be serving us. We have a responsibility for our actions to be in integrity and to stop protecting men from feeling small and stop protecting ourselves from the discomfort of feeling like we’re too much.

What would the world be like if we acknowledged that feeling out of our depth and unsure of ourselves is not only part of life, but a frequent and potentially welcome consequence when learning and growth occurs?

Fuck being a ‘real’ man.

Fuck the polished, inflated exteriors and the limiting ideas of what we think is expected of us. Being a real human being involves befriending ourselves in our entirety and realising that feeling weak or small at times is part of life. Right?

Giving & Receiving

To give and receive is one the most fundamental energetic movements of life. Every breath we take contains this wisdom. And like all the most profound things in life, there lies a paradox – that in its full beauty and potential, by deeply giving we can receive, and by deeply receiving we can give.

But looking out into the world, for the most part it appears we are supremely rubbish givers and receivers… and are not even aware of it! All this beauty and nourishment that mama earth offers us and we’d rather destroy it than receive it. So much martyrdom and boundary-less giving. Taking rather than graciously receiving. So much muddied ‘giving’ as a sneaky attempt to actually get something.

What went so wrong?

When asked, most people will probably say they are more comfortable giving than receiving. In so many ways we have been unconsciously indoctrinated to see being receptive as the weaker position. And when we receive we ARE vulnerable. We’re not as in control as when giving. Our defenses our down. We run the risk of desiring and not getting our desires met. Or the vulnerability in getting our desires met and the intensity of joy this might create, which we humans, tragically seem to be afraid of or feel we don’t deserve.

And I believe that the two poles go hand in hand… when we cannot receive properly, we cannot truly give and vice versa.

When we are not able to receive properly and stick to our comfort zone of ‘giving’, without realising it, we are often taking, rather than giving, and giving in a way that primarily feels good to us. I have had countless intimate encounters asking to receive something else and a man losing his interest suddenly, because it’s not within his agenda and/or because his ego is so wrapped up in being a good ‘giver’. Tragically, I think that women are so used to being taken from in the name of ‘giving’, that most of the time we don’t even realize. And not to single out men, of course women are just as culpable – I have given affection and attention to men in order to receive validation back my whole life long. My self-doubt has caused me to block myself from receiving properly, creating chronic burn outs. My own struggles are definitely the catalyst for my work.

I believe that learning how to give and receive deeply is such a powerful key to dancing masterfully with life, healing the planet and living in our potential.

How do our dysfunctional patterns around giving and receiving in an intimate encounter affect what happens in the rest of our lives? What does the complex interplay of biology and gender conditioning have to do with it? How do we allow ourselves to receive deeply and fully? What do boundaries have to do with giving and how are we able to give with joy and devotion, from an empowered place?

What is Strength?

What is strength?

I am being spanked so hard by life right now, so magnificently confronted with what feels like every single limiting belief I have around what it is to be strong. Lovingly yet firmly guided, to see that anything other than truly walking my talk is no longer possible.

Awakening from a life-time of judging and inwardly condemning that which I have perceived as weak, the consequence of my obsession of staying ‘strong’, is that I am chronically exhausted, have frequently isolated myself and created a life that is no longer sustainable, nor enjoyable.

Maybe it’s because me and life have been having some heart to hearts recently, and came to the consensus this can’t really continue, and so I get to have a series of chances to let old beliefs die, one after the other…. my fear of asking for help, depending on others, feeling and caring deeply, showing emotion publicly, admitting struggle, owning my needy little girl, surrendering, trusting and opening my heart to a man again. I have spent a life-time keeping certain sides of myself secret, because I have deemed them as weak.

The paradox: what if we discover our strength by owning and revealing the parts of us we judge as weak?

This is me.

Tender and fierce, melancholy and exuberant, full of doubt and self-possession, breakable and resistant, capable and yet utterly dependent, wild and contained, a wise witch and a lost little girl.

There is nothing that I am not.

On Sexual Liberation

When I was younger, I used to think that the way we free ourselves from the repression of our sexuality was to reduce sex until it became meaningless, to have no boundaries, because boundaries meant shame and shame was bad. It took me hanging out at a porn shoot in L.A for a week and witnessing the extent to which sex can be meaningless, to see that I was climbing the wrong mountain, and that I did not feel free or at ease at all on my quest.

Being involved in the burgeoning ‘conscious sexuality’ scene these last ten years, continuing my quest of peeling away layers of conditioning, I have often felt like a freak or misfit and doubted myself. I have never really enjoyed going to play parties. My lovers are few and far between. I do not always want to be physically close or hug people all the time, like is often the case in this scene.

I realise now that there has always been a subtle undercurrent pervading this scene: the belief that being sexually liberated means having few or no boundaries. The sexually liberated woman is always up for it, and if she isn’t, it must be because of her frigid conditioning. Maya Yonika talks about ‘Patriarchal Tantra‘ in her article, which has some pretty astute observations!

Liberation lies in deeply listening to and honouring ourselves. Finding boundaries that may be ‘natural’ boundaries or they may be self-protective boundaries resulting from wounding, but being gentle and tender with ourselves throughout, not pushing, not letting the view of others on what is normal or right send us off kilter from our path of truth.

I have now stopped calling the spaces I facilitate ‘sex-positive’, but rather ‘person-positive’. Sex is welcome, but it’s not about sex. It’s about welcoming all of who you are – the frisky parts, but also the tender, vulnerable bits, the bits you judge, especially the bits you feel like are not allowed. There is no pressure to feel sexual. What happens in a space when we let go of what we think should happen, when there is pressure to have a certain outcome, and we just dive into the rabbit hole of truth in each moment, with ourselves and each other? I am coming to a place of peace within myself, the more I give myself permission to just be me, regardless of the expectations of others.

Totally Fucking Uninspired

Totally. Fucking. Uninspired.
I am in the midst of total lack of inspiration at the moment.
There is nothing that is exciting me and I have no creative urge, no ambition.

I used to be an inspiration junky! in the past I would be going through an existential crisis right about now. Especially as I make a living from being inspired.

But everything is cyclical and just as there are seasons on the planet, the creative process is cyclical too… there must be a winter, a period of non-doing, of resting, exhaling, listening, waiting. This is where good ideas come from! Bad ideas and bad business decisions often come from an addiction and fixation on constant creation. And the world is pretty much addicted to constant doing and accomplishing.

There is such a beauty in winter. In coming back to the self, in simplicity and the essential, the resting in non-doing. At first it requires such trust, that the outward and creative phases of Spring and Summer will reappear, but when the awareness of the cyclical nature of life becomes embodied, the trust is just there and we can really enjoy this phase.

As a female bodied person, I feel very blessed that I also have this wisdom stored in my womb. My body knows these cycles. It knows that there are times for coming out into the world (hello ovulation!) and a time for bringing attention inwards and stillness (menstruation). (I recommend reading Lisa Lister‘s book ‘Code Red’ if you are a female-bodied person or know one :))

What would planet earth be like if we all listened to the wisdom of the cyclical nature of life, and allowed our lives to be guided by it?

On Penetration

I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I’d never have anal sex with a man who hasn’t been penetrated himself… I’m not really one for principles… and besides, who hasn’t done slightly questionable things in the name of being turned on? ;)

But I find it so amazing how obvious the difference is between men who have been penetrated themselves and men who haven’t.

There is something about a man who has embodied the surrendering and opening and trust that’s required in anal penetration, who has been able to discern conditioning from truth around being a ‘real’ man and is so comfortable in his skin, and in his manhood that he is able to go deeply into this way of engaging.

It goes way beyond sex and asses…. it requires a profound and far-reaching rebellion against our conditioning around gender, and the ripples of this are huge….

And the effects are so beautiful… I find men who have gone there have much less tension in their bodies, feel much less ‘rigid’, are better lovers as they have more empathy and are just more ‘well-rounded’ overall as they are not polarized on one side of the spectrum.

On Prayer

Living in a culture that values the head over everything else, as I enter events and rituals that are heart-spaces, I always meet a wave of sadness in me as I acknowledge what a process it is, to transition… to move from a cerebral gadget-riddled ADD culture of disembodiment and disengagement, of spreading oneself thinly, to the spaciousness and presence required to journey layer by layer into the depth of the heart.

How sorely we need these communal heart spaces…whether rituals, plant ceremonies, sweat lodges, prayer circles, or heart-themed workshops and events… so that our little hearts can become big again and we can practise what it is to pray… to thaw into feeling once again, to deep connection, to listening within us so that those messages of what is truly burning at the core of our being can be expressed…whispered and bellowed into the belly of the great mystery. Humbly and shamelessly. 

Prayer has no rules. Prayer is not always polite or proper. Let it be awkward and tentative, as we fumble through our words, but when we get through those layers and meet that surge of what’s really burning – not what we think we should prayer about – there is such power in that pureness. In a world obsessed with superficiality and appearance, in containing, sterilising and manicuring, let our prayer not be polished, let it be messy and wild. Let it be audacious. Let it wake us up out of our slumbering and numbness so we can remember what is truly important in life ♥

Feeling pain as creative activism

On feeling helpless in a world that seems to be crumbling before our eyes…

Each moment brings possibilities for creative activism.

In a world that teaches you to be an obedient and numbed little consumer, to listen to authority rather than yourself and to abandon oneself, the practise of self-care and self-love is a crucial act of political rebellion. Maybe it feels small, but don’t under estimate it.

Today I woke up and chose to be quiet and listen to myself and give myself space to ask myself what I need. “I need time and space to feel!” my little heart said. And so I waited until it started to crack and the tears came and I cried a bit for myself and my pain, and then cried a bit for all the pain I’ve suppressed over the years through distracting myself and being afraid to feel deeply, and then cried a bit more for all the unshed tears in the world. Allowing our hearts to crack and those layers of pain and deep longings and desires to be met…the waves of self-kindness that follow, ebbing and flowing, is perhaps the greatest form of prayer and the greatest catalyst for truth-inspired action that can then follow.

Creating time and space to feel deeply is such an integral part of self-love. To hold oneself in one’s deepest pain, like a mother loves her child. In a world where everything needs to look polished, contained and in control, to embrace the confusion and messiness and vulnerability of simply being a human, navigating our paths through this crazy thing called life, lies a power greater than we realise.

Vagina Dentata

A curious thing it is, that the default world feels ok with the yin qualities of the vagina – their capacity to receive a penis – and rather less ok with their yang qualities, like their capacity to ejaculate, menstruate and give birth.. Except of course when they lubricate – that’s ok because it’s interpreted as a sign of validation .
The world seems to be a bit fascinated by these ‘yang’ qualities but obviously also threatened (remember it was only last year that the British government banned female ejaculation in porn).
Someone used the word ‘vagina dentata’ in association with me a couple of weeks ago and I burst into tears. I did not realise how much charge this image carries for me. It’s not exclusively fear and threat that’s inspired this concept (sure, it can also be interpreted as empowering to women), but a good portion of it has very ugly, patriarchal roots.
The ‘vagina dentata’ originates from folk tales in many different cultures from all over the world. Some researches have posited that it expresses the threat sexual intercourse poses for men who, although ‘entering triumphantly, always leave diminished’.
What do you think?

On slut-shaming men

I know that sexual shaming is rampant universally, but through my work I often come into contact with how women – feeling threatened by male desire – so often shame men, sometimes overtly, but often unconsciously.

I know many of us have been victims to men’s desire when it has been transgressive and felt disrespectful or abusive, but when we chronically and toxically shame something, it ultimately perpetuates it. There is a time and a place for naming and shaming, but also just as importantly, a need to look at our self-responsibility.

What if as women, when we experience a man’s desire for us, even if it’s a ‘sleazy’ catcall on the street, we remember just for one instant, that underneath, the sacred force of eros: the cosmic connecting and creative force of life, is at play?

What if we recognized the same force in ourself, that may also been suppressed and shamed?

What if we recognised that the more we surpress something in ourselves, the more it will trigger us when expressed in others – and that the more ease we have with our own desire, the less threatened we feel when we experience desire towards us by another.

You are not alone

So much drive, so many quests for being happy, for getting on with life, putting on a brave face, sugar-coating, trying to be be perfect, hiding our perceived weaknesses.

Is being happy and functional in a world with this much imbalance and suffering even sane?

Today I am comforted by the words of Krishnamurti: “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

My heart beats for all the humans who know their privilege yet struggle with mere existence. For the misfits and edge dwellers, the artists and who turn their pain into their creations, the sensitive ones who dance the edge of curse and blessing in their capacity to feel, the lost ones who cannot find their place, those of us who struggle with addiction, psycho-somatic health issues, and the daily heartache of acknowledging dysfunctional habits.

You are not alone.

The Dark Feminine

The European fairytale hag, Medusa from ancient Greece, Hel, the Germanic Goddess, the snapping vagina in Navajo culture, Ereshkigal of the Summerian Inanna myth, Kali, Lillith…

Throughout our human history, we have collected myths and tales of the Dark Feminine. We see her from afar – exotic, somehow in her distance and in her darkness, and powerful although how and why, we cannot quite comprehend. We are too busy pointing fingers, bemoaning the catastrophes of Patriarchy to pay her much attention.

But she is there within all of us, ever present, cackling away, and the less attention we pay her, the louder the cackling becomes.

How do you experience her?

For me, she represents the dark side of desire. The part of me that wishes to smother, to devour, to control.The side that is unable to let go, that will manipulate in order to get what I want. The part of me that wishes to consume another’s innocence and youth.

We can jump up and down about patriarchal paradigms all we want. We can talk about men dominating and conquering all we want. But if we don’t own those parts of us that are contributing to the system we long to transcend, we are lost.

Splish Splash

“All of the fluids in our body become moist when we are moved – we cry, we lubricate, we bleed, all of the numinous experiences of our bodies have to do with moisture. And it’s moisture that brings life to this planet.”- Jean Shinoda Bolen

Recently hundreds of thousands of people gathered all over the world to pray in gratitude and reverence for WATER, the blood of our planet.

I only found out about it afterwards, but hey, every day, every sip, drip and splash is a good time to connect to the preciousness of water <3

What is Wild knows how to Thrive

What a simple action, yet we seem to have forgotten it: the art of listening.

Through listening, our senses can start to open to all the subtle yet powerful guidance that our earth – and what is wild – offers. We can begin to see the simple abundance that is offered, the layers of nourishment for body and spirit, and the state of gratitude that naturally follows.

The more we listen and receive, the more we become aware of the ways in which we are aligned and in balance with life and its flow through us, and the ways in which we resist, reject or suppress.

What is wild knows how to thrive.

It understands that our awakening into thriving is our deepest nature and calling.

We just need to listen.

I only had sex for money once

I only had sex for money once.

It had been a fantasy for a long time and although I skirted around the edge of the sex industry for years and have also been an outspoken advocate for sex worker rights, it only happened once.

I was so curious. Would it be pleasurable? Would I feel ashamed? Empowered or powerless? And so I allowed my curiosity and desire for truth to guide me and arranged a meeting in a hotel with some one – a government official I believe.

45 minutes later, I was standing by the door about to leave, 500 euros clutched in my hand.

He looked at my sheepishly, muttering the words “Next time it will be better”.

The moment that followed only lasted a matter of seconds, yet in that moment profound insight came tumbling through.

The vulnerability in being a man.

The power in being a woman, who owns her allure.

As women  – of course as humans, beyond gender as well – we don’t realise how powerful we are: as mothers and bringers of life, as guardians of our earth, as mystical, beguiling and sensual beings who are longed for and desired. Lets rise up in that power, not use to manipulate or make men feel small, but use it to speak our truth, show the fierce and tender love towards our planet how and see just how much beauty we can create.