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Over the summer, I decided to let go of the ‘Should’ books. These are the ones that caught my fancy. Enjoy!

The best of the summer so far is Free Fall: A Late in Life Love Affair by Rae Francoeur. Such a gorgeous story of a woman starved for pleasure meeting up with a skilled, seasoned lover whose intentions are to ‘separate her from her propriety’. (Swear, I’ve used that phrase as often as I can since I read it in her book). Once the affair begins, the two lovers plan weekend romps to enjoy nudity and wine. Along the way, she navigates her Ex and his mental illness, her nasty boss, and she still manages to fight fairly with her lover despite distance. Francoeur’s writing is racy and gorgeous, just like the man awakening her body. I adore the dance between his aggressive, physical masculinity and her feminine surrender. Perfect read for summer, for gentlemen or ladies!

High Fidelity was next for comic relief, and I think I may understand men a little bit better now. Ultimately, I think this book is about insecurity and trusting love. I was surprised to read that men have idealistic hopes about marriage too, like finding exotic panties all over the living space, or long, smoldering glances over dinner from the adoring wife. I think Nick Hornby captures the reality of that gray area between college and adulthood perfectly. Overall: fun, interesting read.

Last one. I read a book that had me crushin’ on a crush on a gay man. How I Learned To Snap by Kirk Read is one of those I laughed, I cried, I felt inspired sort of stories. I’ve never really witnessed violence toward someone else just for being different, so reading his account gave me an entirely new perspective on how difficult it is to be harrassed about being gay, especially so young. And Kirk had some friends he could be comfortably himself with – imagine the kids who don’t, and have no idea how to deal with something that confuses the hell out of them, and incites torture from people they’d otherwise try to impress. I mean, the teenage years are difficult enough. But despite ridicule and violence, Kirk never stopped believing in himself, his writing or just his right to be loved, heard and respected, too. And he never lost his sense of humor – at least in the book. I was completely inspired by his spirit.

His mom is such the unsung heroine of this story for letting Kirk make his own decisions and having her way with his dad, so that Kirk could make his mark in theater. I absolutely loved this book, and in a perfect world, it would make a great addition to English Lit assignments. We all need to learn some empathy for our peers in high school, and maybe this would ease the knots of tension for a lot of gay and lesbian students.

Happy Reading!

xoxo

I started this blog because I wanted to talk about sex. I had no idea I’d soon be single and that sex would be the farthest thing from my mind. Or, that I’d be getting so naked with myself, literally and figuratively, than I’ve ever been in a sexual relationship. And at the risk of sounding like a yogic hippie, which I suppose I am, the getting naked has been possible because of meditation, safe spaces, a funky new brand of yoga and a life changing book.

This is the incidental story of how my intuition led me to uncover an infection that’s been going on for months, without my really being aware of it.

On Sunday, I decided to take therapy into my own hands, and in 9 emphatic pages, I unleashed my fury and pain toward my Ex.

Then, I burned it.

Along with pictures, cards, ‘love’ coupons, and a shirt that just would not die.

Then, I needed a mood brightener, so I danced the dance of the gods and followed up with some yoga nidra and crazy intense breathing. It had been a long time since I’d experienced the buzz of serious meditation, and damn, it was nice.

Because my massage therapist swears by the cleansing power of apple cider vinegar baths, I indulged for probably the 3rd time this week. My whole plan was to let out the emotions over my once-lover, then wash it all away and be done with it. Once the thrill of the warm water wore off and my mind started to wander, I decided to use a meditation from Wild Feminine.

And this is when the pain became tangible.

I think you’d need to read Wild Feminine to understand what I mean, but I used a pelvic bowl clearing exercise, and I uncovered a lot of tension in the front quadrant of my root. As in, I felt overwhelmed with crazy sad emotion, and I wanted to cry and be hugged and yet I just needed myself, all at once. And I wanted my book so badly to read over certain parts and understand more about this area of pain, and yet all I could really do was breathe. And just feel the tension, and breathe, and breathe, and ride it out. To let go of the emotion and find calm again, even though when I’m in that moment, it’s hard not to wonder if I’ll ever see calm again.

I had this urge to dunk my head under the water, and I know I have sensitive ears, but I decided I was going listen to my intuition. So I dunked, twice, and nothing alarming happened. Then for good measure, I showered off after my bath, to make sure all the bullshit went down the drain.

And, let’s be honest: so I wouldn’t smell like apple cider vinegar.

The rest of the night, I felt like I had water in my ears. Watching TV was painful because everything sounded so fucking loud. So I kept laying on my right side, thinking I needed to let the water drain out.

It didn’t get better.

I slept on my right side, woke up, and again, no change.

Actually, it was worse.

I remembered using alcohol to get water out of my ears from swimming when I was younger, so I grabbed some en route to work.

Then, the lovely google people confessed that alcohol: not the best idea for your ears. And I started to realize that the water wasn’t sloshing around, like a normal swimmer sort of feeling . . . it felt much deeper. As in, the shit’s not going to come out.

EXCELLENT.

It’s at this point that I started to question my intuition.

Dammit, I KNOW I have sensitive ears, yet there I go, just obeying the little voice. Well, fuck that, I’ll just shower next time. No dunking for me. Etc.

By the time I saw my doctor, I found out that I have a hardcore ear infection that has nothing to do with bath water.

And so, my intuition saved me, because the dunking shook up the fluid in my ears so I’d notice that I’ve got quite the problem going on here.

Cheesy {but true} yogic moral: It’s amazing what’s revealed when you allow yourself a safe space to listen.

And yeah, it could all be coincidence, etc., but I think that’s the thing about your intuition. You have to trust in that little voice, and you may not have real proof, ever, but I’ve found that more often than not, trusting the voice pays off.

Especially when it makes no sense at all.

Well hello, Friday. So nice to see you.

I read a life-changing book that I want to tell you about, and yet it’s difficult when it’s a book I needed so badly, so explaining why I love it may be convoluted and excessively personal. Even still, it’s a personal sort of book and I think if every woman were raised to think about their bodies like this book inspires me to, the entire world would change dramatically.

Wild Feminine by Tami Kent offers women a new way to love themselves and their bodies. And it has to be the most holistic, powerful and practical approach I’ve ever seen.

But that doesn’t mean it isn’t challenging – – because it requires women to take responsibility for their wellbeing and their bodies and their own healing.

Essentially, Ms. Kent translates how life affects women’s bodies and how women can affect their lives through taking care of their bodies. And this is her mission: she is a physical therapist with training in massage, energy and other areas related to moms & babies, and she has a woman-centered practise in Oregon addressing imbalance in the pelvic floor. She does this by noticing the energy patterns in the body, assessing the health of the organs, and using massage to release tension.

In her book, she explores how the body tells women’s stories, and their relationship to their power, to femininity, to creativity and its cycles, to relationships, to emotions, and to stress. As she goes through the major reproductive organs, she offers stories from her practise and tools for the individual to start on for their own personal healing.

I came away wondering this:

What if women treated their bodies as the doctors administering prescriptions (a hot bath, a girl’s night out, an artist’s playdate, no sex tonight, much sex tonight, just time alone for me, rest rest rest) and knew how to interpret and release tenderness, pain, and/or tension in their body?

What if relying on one’s intuition and what felt right in the body was the default position for women? How would that change our choices, relationships, hobbies, careers and bodies?

What if women were taught to love and listen to their feminine body’s needs, rather than view the body as something to control, starve, and stuff into shapes and ideas of superficial beauty?

It’s a seductive idea: women owning and nurturing their bodies and taking on the world from a place of groundedness. It’s a bit radical. It feels overwhelming to me right now, at the beginning of this journey. And yet, I’m inspired by the hope I found in this book, of the amazing resource that is my relationship with my body.

Actually, I’m inspired that this book even exists, let alone that Tami Kent has a practise wherein she sees and soothes women on a daily basis. I realized that all those self-esteem books I’ve eyed before have little meaning if I could find the power within my body and live from the wisdom of what’s right for me.

It’s so simple and so difficult, all at once.

My wanderlust is high high high right now, and I want to stash several flowy dresses and comfy shoes in my bag and hail a flight to Oregon, stat.

Thank you, Tami Kent, for the most gorgeous book about femininity I’ve ever read.

4th of July 2009 was going to be difficult to top: skinnydipping in the Berkshires under a bright, full moon with 5 other ladies, and chai tea to warm us up afterward. Niiiice.

And perhaps I didn’t exactly top that, but I came damn close, if only because of this lingering memory I have of a shirtless stud breaking up wood for the bonfire I was sitting by. I’m pretty sure cougars are much older than my 29 years, and I’d bet this particular hunk was barely, if even, 20, and so maybe that isn’t enough of an age difference, but Samantha Jones: I GET IT.

A day of baseball, a night of drinking, and a morning after of shopping was exactly what I needed to feel like I’d been on vacation, when really I was just livin’ large 2 hours from home.

Now that I’ve had a night to recover, I’m back to reading my mind-blowing, body-loving book and this quote has been replaying in my mind all day:

“Your root conveys your relationship with expression, whether you tend to hold yourself back or let yourself go.”

I know where I fall between those two extremes.

I also know that I’m capable of breaking open and letting go. I’ve held myself and let myself be held for two months now, through grieving and sadness and relief, and it’s no small victory that I feel so intact right now. Stronger than ever, in fact.

And as I’m taking a look at my root, at the story my body is telling me about how my life affects me, I realize softening and letting go is a must for me. It’s scary to trust in how you feel vs. what you think you want in the moment, but I’m learning that I Always Know.

Truth? I fantasize about the Cougar, too.

I wanted to be the Cougar, because I thought those women had the experience and wisdom to Know What’s Best. As though their knowledge could make decisions for me, and in essence, save me. From mistakes, from a broken heart, from a potential divorce, from making the wrong decision. And yes, I’m sure they do, and I’m sure they could give advice that would ‘save’ me. But I realized that no one else can know for me. I love the cougar idea, but I don’t need to wait til then to make decisions or feel safe knowing what I know.

And if I’m mentally unsure, my body isn’t.

So yes, the hunk was handsome, the beer was . . . cold, and the different city brightened my spirits, but the more amazing discovery was my creativity. I let go of my old lady bedtime, my punctual meal times, and my own bed, and realized I felt more like myself than I have in a long time.

Join *8Things

Magpie Girl inspired some loveliness today with a gratitude list, and this is my version:

1. Warm, sun-shining, flip flop weather
2. Mellow mushroom bought by The Bossman for lunch, YUM
3. My supportive and loving and twisted and crazy family
4. Winston, the fierce boy cat who’s stolen my heart, even though he’s serious when he scratches
5. The women in my life who tell the truth, love fiercely, and laugh much
6. The tiny, playful, gorgeous birds I see in the mornings
7. My healthy body
8. Eat Pray Love

Lovely soundtrack for this post, courtesy of Alanis Morisette:

spread the love –
xooxox

Divine Winks
Divine whimsy and fantastic music. I heart Sera Beak.

The Bloggess
Oh, how she cracks me the fuck up.

Yummy dinner
I improvised with tomato slices instead of bread, topped with fresh basil. Mmm.

Susan Sarandon! Bull Durham! Goddesses!

Loving the Female Body in the most holistic, beautiful way
A bright star in my life right now. Also: I have a crush on Portland, Oregon.

xoxoxo

A peek at my bookshelf as we blast into 2010:

Something More by Sarah Ban Breathnach, using a fancy sketchbook from Papaya Art

Princesses and Porn Stars: Sex, Power, Identity by Emily Maguire, my favorite author

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

Dance of the Dissident Daughter by Sue Monk Kidd

The Lost Diary of Don Juan by Douglas Carlton Abrams

Intuitive Advisor by Mona Lisa Schulz

To Bed or Not to Bed by Steve and Vera Bodanksy, famous for the hour long orgasm workshops..

Healing Wise by Susun Weed

New Menopausal Years the Wise Woman Way also by the amazing Susun Weed

Vortex: Law of Attraction Assembles Cooperative Relationships by the Hicks and Abraham. My first Hicks/Abraham book, and I’m quite intrigued.

and

Meditation Secrets of Women Discovering Your Passion, Pleasure and Inner Peace by Camille Maurine. This is an ongoing, delicious read that is transforming my meditation practice and the way I relate to all of my life.

The Bonus Round:

Your Spacious Self: Clear Your Clutter & Discover Who You Are by Stephanie Bennett Vogt. This is a biggie for me. Clutter: Booooo! My soul loves space.

Women’s Anatomy of Arousal by Sheri Winston

and a fun DVD adventure from Annie Sprinkle: Sluts and Goddesses. 😉

It all started with a delicious Girl’s Night Out and a five hour conversation about relationships, gender, the state of feminism, sex, and personal growth.

Next came copious journaling and the start of a new book: The Return of Desire by Gina Ogden.

In the course of my Seduction journey, I’ve read my fair share of books on Better Sex. And most of them include sections about body image, cultural affects on sexuality, religion, and sexual abuse. So I’ve certainly perused my sexual history before, and of course, I’ve ranted and raved in journals about the ill affects of being raised in the Bible Belt where Abstinence Reigns.

I may have felt a little bored reading over those same sections in this book, until I started noticing personal trends I’d never thought about before. More writing. I meditated using her suggestions. And even though I’m new to the concept of integrating spirituality with sexuality, I started to realize how dramatically separate I’d always kept those parts of life.

Precisely because I’d been taught to.

I’d never really considered that an ecstatic sex life could be spiritually meaningful. I’d been very passionate about the need for an ecstatic sex life …. mostly because I wanted to feel normal. And normal people who weren’t fanatically religious like my family seemed to be satisfied with their sex lives, and subsequently, happier people. More relaxed, for sure.

But I realized this morning: maybe the religiously fanatical people dislike talking about sex because then they’d have to acknowledge the melting pot of paradoxical bullshit that they created to keep teenagers from having sex … or even healthy desire.

If you think sex is inherently wrong before being legally married, what do you do when you feel sexy while single?

I was operating from a place of wanting to be good for so long that internally, I equated no desire as being good. I spent my teenaged years in Fundamentalist Christian school covering up my cleavage, always being conscious of what I wore, trying not to give the wrong impression of myself. And by that I mean, the impression that I am a healthy, sensual woman, aware of her femininity and capable of feeling pleasure.

So when I started having sex, and wanted to have better sex, and dammit, to feel sexy, I felt weird because all of that felt new and uncomfortable. I remember journaling that it felt like a mask that didn’t quite fit.

I felt jealous of every woman who exuded sexuality.

Now in retrospect, I see that I was trying to prove to myself that I was capable of feeling – being – sexy. And the more I felt I failed at that, the harder I tried to get it right.

I didn’t want to fail at being a woman.

With all the anti-pleasure training, it had never occurred to me that we were all naturally sexy. I simply thought something was wrong with me in that department.

Because coupled with the religious bullshit was the more ‘normal’ insecurity of not feeling pretty.

Couldn’t tan because of my delicate fair skin – felt inferior.

Felt fat because the other girls in my class were so lithe – counted calories. (Turns out, all that ‘fat’ was actually a set of voluptuous hips that I’m now proud of.)

Shy, shy, so shy, could barely speak a word to any of my crushes. Meaning: no dates til maybe senior year.

As I’ve grown into my body and my femininity, I know that the more I find to love about my physical beauty, the more there is to love. And that feeling sexy is much sexier than looking sexy.

It’s possible that my mom never felt sexy. She’s never felt pretty, I know that. She’ll talk about that, but sexy isn’t something that’s talked about – she’s shy about showing her cleavage, even now. Maybe she doesn’t know what she’s missing.

So that I did know, and sought out desire, makes me feel grateful.