GOOP: Sex, Thread Count, and Intuitive Feng Shui

Put yourself in a stranger’s shoes, and walk into your bedroom. Visualize it. Feel it. Smell it. Touch it. What is your immediate perception of the person who owns it?

That person is you.

Now ask yourself: Is your bedroom a reflection of who you are, and what you want for your future in intimacy?

Whether we’re single, in a long-term relationship, or anywhere in between, a single room—the bedroom—has the power to give us a new lease on life, a reason to be excited, or to let go of the past. Anyone can shift the energy and renew a problematic space: It doesn’t require much more than the desire to begin anew.

The objects we surround ourselves with exude an energy that affects us, and depending on how meaningful they are, they influence how we feel. The bedroom is a reflection of the most intimate part of you. It is where you sleep, dream, desire, and experience love. It is a place where you are highly physical and emotional.

Ask yourself these simple questions:

1) Is your bedroom sensual or soulless?

2) Do you have fresh, beautiful sheets or worn ones?

3) Is your room an ordered sanctuary or a chaotic mess?

All of these factors contribute to the question: Do you own the room, or does the room own you?

Our subconscious beliefs are so deep-seated, they can affect our perception of reality. For example, if everyone sees you as an outrageously funny person, but beneath you’re actually somber, your bedroom might reflect a dreary atmosphere. We are often unaware of our energy blocks, but a strategic approach to your most intimate environment can help you regain control of your life and love.

4 STEPS TO OWNING YOUR SPACE

If you own your sensuality, your room, and your space, your partner can sense it; your partner sees you how you see yourself. Owning your space allows you to share the deepest part of you with someone you love. Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re sharing a space that contains all the unspoken words that you forget to say but still feel for each other. There’s a natural kinetic dance that follows two bodies moving together within the same space. If you’re single, this is a great way to prep before you bring in that special someone or to simply deepen your relationship with yourself. When you’re confident, you walk with a catlike grace—and it all starts with owning your space and your bedroom.

Step 1: Walk around naked in your bedroom. How does it feel? This is your sacred sanctuary. If you’re troubled or feeling despondent in this space, it will show up in your body no matter where you go: It will affect the way you walk and even how you perceive the objects around you. Being naked is a great way to connect yourself to the sensual rhythms of your body. When you’re fully in your sensual self, you will have a heightened awareness of what is out of place in your bedroom. Objects will shout out to you, “Throw me out!” or “Move me!”

Step 2: Write out a list of the characteristics that on your best day you would like to be (i.e., funny, smart, sensual, spiritual, intense, compassionate, sexy). Does your room evoke any of these feeling and aspirations?

Step 3: Now close your eyes and take a moment to relax. Open your eyes, and walk through your bedroom anew, noticing the objects that stand out. Choose the ones that have a special meaning to you. Notice the connection. Are there memories associated with the items? If so, are they pleasing or conflicting? What do the colors and smells you’re sensing represent to you? Connecting in this way instantly grounds us.

It may surprise you to discover how in tune or out of sync you are. If you’re feeling out of sync and are ready to take action, try this technique: What to keep or toss away.

Step 4: Take out your list of descriptive words and look around. The key is not to question or to access feelings about how you relate to the furniture or items; it’s more about moving with the space and how the space is moving with you. (Like your energy, your space will ebb and flow—make sure you’re in sync with it. You’ll know when you’re not because you won’t feel connected with your surroundings.) For example, if you’re looking at your list and the word “sensual” stands out, and at the same time you’re eyeing a throw pillow that looks lifeless, then trust that as your answer. If it’s not a match or even close, make a mental note to toss.

Whatever your style, subtle lighting, pastel colors, and timeless, luxurious furniture create the most nurturing environment. Soft greys, creams, beiges, and earth tones are excellent colors to calm the spirit. Your bed is the place where you renew yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually—the place where you journey in your dreams, a place of healing and physical love, so spend the most effort on it.

Your bedroom represents you. Being desired and feeling sensual (with the knowledge that you deserve it) are essential: Outfit your bedroom with candles and your favorite scents to reflect that sensuality. As you fall into bed at the end of your day, surrender to pleasure—let yourself melt into your new serenity.

INTUITIVE FENG SHUI FOR THE BEDROOM: 4 TIPS

1. Don’t put the side or back of your bed flush against the wall.Give it an inch or two of space to prevent energy from being trapped. It’s important for your body to have a sense of flow within its sleeping space.

2. Make sure a chair is facing at an angle to the door or the bed. It’s inviting and will encourage your partner or yourself to use it. Otherwise, you’ll pile it up with clothes and won’t sit on it, which mirrors your habit to pile up other things you’re not dealing with outside your room. The bedroom represents the deepest part of you and your body, which is why neglecting it has a counter effect on how you sleep and heal emotionally.

3. Don’t sleep under a window or by an uncovered window, because unless your partner is an exhibitionist, he or she won’t enjoy the lack of privacy and intimacy.

4. Keep the space under your bed clear of clutter: It magnifies the mental clutter you keep in the dark spaces of your mind.


This piece was originally published on Goop.

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Live Your Words in 2018

Can the words we say today create where our minds will be in a few days, months or years? Yes, but they must be voiced with an authenticity and representation of our true feelings.

Today we’re getting closer to understanding that the words we say carry a consciousness that affects not only our future but the world around us, and the effect is snowballing.

We have entered a brave new age of sisterhood, and nowhere has it been more evident than with the #metoo campaign. And it is with great pride that I count friends and colleagues among these brave women who, together, have cracked the glass ceiling.

It’s no coincidence that women have found the courage to stand against emotional and physical abuse. And those who voice their stories have become our modern idols, unafraid to shed their shame. We now recognize something universal is taking place, emboldened by these cries of abuse.

Previously, when a woman was successful, it created mistrust among men and envy among women. Today the divine feminism is being viewed as encouraging women from all walks to connect to something greater. These are our sisters, whose voices are impacting others with clarity and empathy. And 2018 is the year of women. It is our year to transcend.

I remember similar things being said in the 1970’s when the feminist movement had another surge of assertiveness. It was a separatist movement that excluded men and, more importantly, women of color. The bottom line group separatism is not something that endures in a truly plural society. To progress as women, to heal as women, inclusion is vital.

There is a long line of men lined up outside. These are our grandfathers, fathers, brothers, sons, and nephews from a community who support us. “We aren’t all bad,” one young male cries, cradling his baby daughter. “Let me help.”

They, too, want to understand how they can help, how they can be a part of the healing process for the women they love so dearly. These men do not want to be perceived as the enemy, but as protectors who are included in the process. And the yearning is universal.

At no time more than now is it crucial for our voices to be heard. As we look to the future, there is a challenging question we can ask ourselves. How can our feelings and words truly create change? If we are empowered, we are truthful. But to live in this truth the most important thing is not to fixate on what we are saying, but why we are saying it.

Soon, more and more women will be honored for their outstanding contributions, whether working to support their families or communities; their voices will be non-threatening, and their motivations forceful.

If you are questioning the current picture of what it looks like to be a part of feminism, we are witnessing a metamorphosis into humanism with the recognition that everyone has the right to equality.

When you gather with a group of women, or a very close friend, and read out your 2018 action plan, the power of your shared attention will help ignite your collective visions. And that will let you know very quickly if there is real meaning to what you are saying. If you can’t physically get together with girlfriends, speak with them on FaceTime, or Skype. Because your energy shifts into the realm of the intuitive and if you’re going through a troubling time, you could feel a bit disoriented and unfocused doing this alone.

THINK ABOUT HOW YOU FEEL, WRITE IT DOWN & SPEAK IT ALOUD.

Your friends can help you detect if your holding onto fear and likewise, charge it with power if it’s in alignment with your heart. It is your process for change: you need to ask yourself the questions, and answer with truth and then dare. There is nothing to be feared for being honest, only something to be gained. And there is NO SHAME in not feeling ready to speak but listening and taking time.

There is a network of like-minded women wanting to envelop you, who will help you to heal and activate your desires very quickly. Words with passion and feeling will diminish fear, and they will activate the empowerment that is available to everyone should they choose to accept it in their hearts.

Whatever you value the most — from humanitarianism, motherhood, science, activism, politics, and education — it is our time to move forward; to journey together with our incredible strengths. We are the ones who weave the foundation that will stand the test of time. We are the women who dare. And we’re doing it right.

There is nothing more compelling than women banding together to ride the collective wave. Create your power pack in 2018 and dare to live your words.

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This piece was originally published on the Huffington Post.

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GLAM: Suzannah Galland Shares How Couples Should Split the Holidays Between Families

It’s that time of the year, full of snow, Christmas carols, and holiday shopping. That also means it’s time to decide whose family you will be spending the holidays with- Yours, or your partner’s. How do you tackle making this milestone decision? Glam.com helps answer this question in their latest article, featuring relationship expert Suzannah Galland.

The article discusses how to make that decision, and what solutions may be available to couples in this situation. Glam.com brings in another relationship expert to address this step in the process. “But once you and your partner have made your decision about how to divvy things up,” says the Glam.com, “What about breaking the news to your family without hurting their feelings or causing a fight? Suzannah Galland, a life advisor and relationship expert, recommends prepping exactly how you want to the conversation to go before it takes place, taking into consideration what your family’s questions and concerns might be and how you can quell them.

‘Imagine your ideal outcome, and think the opposite,’ Galland says. ‘Write out the hardest questions you or your family may ask, even if they’re never said. For example, your mom may ask you, “If you’re not coming home for the holidays, do you even care about this family?”‘

‘By coming up with answers to these worst-case-scenarios, you’re building confidence– and learning where you shouldn’t tread,’ Galland explains. She also suggests role-playing the conversation with your significant other and giving honest feedback to each other about where your responses may be falling short. It’s important to go into the conversation with your family with a cool head and to allow them to vent if need be.

But, Galland says, ‘Holidays are not about pleasing everyone, they’re about our intentions. And with patience, compassion, and sensitivity, we can make our loved ones feel cherished throughout the holidays.'”

Read more on Glam.com >>

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Obsession and Erotic Love

We are, at times, most excited by those lovers who are the worst possible people for us. More and more we are becoming conscious of the wild mazes of eroticism that define everybody’s private lives, but especially those of women. The global success of the sexy bondage saga 50 Shades of Grey surprised everybody but the millions of women who were reading it. When we look at the meaning of “erotic,” it is important to distinguish that sex and love are not always the same thing. “Erotic love is not merely sexual,” Erich Fromm writes in The Art of Loving, “It craves fusion, and overcoming separateness. It loves from the essence of the self to the essence of the other. Erotic love, experienced thus, is a constant challenge; it is not a resting place, but a moving, growing, working together.”

My client Olivia is well educated and was raised a good Catholic. She is well-traveled and speaks several languages. She came to me with a particularly complex psychological problem. It wasn’t a chronic affliction such as alcoholism or drug addiction, but it was compulsive and endangering her sanity. It required what might be called innovative emergence.

She had been rejected by a man she loved, or at least it felt like love to her. She took it hard. They had been an extremely erotic couple. She was introspective and intense but loved to laugh; he was wild, a playful chameleon who adored playing sex games. They were a great lustful fit. Once their honeymoon phase ended, he was ready to move on. He would disappear for days without warning, then turn up unexpectedly with a new sex toy. His behavior was crushingly hurtful. Olivia was going quietly out of control.

She began stalking him at all hours, even driving by his house at four in the morning to see if the light was on. She wasn’t getting any sleep and as her jobs were freelance, she was highly dependent on making a great first impression. However, now she was looking like hell as she’d go in bleary-eyed to meet with her prospects. She felt she was going mad, but couldn’t do anything about it.

For a newbie lover, there’s the risk of falling in too deep; and until we make sense of our needs and wants, it’s doubtful we’ll learn how we communicate and behave. There is always a dynamic that plays upon two distinct categories of need in a pair of lustful lovers. In the first category — which defines Olivia — there is a terror of abandonment coupled with a high that comes of being wooed and seduced. In the second category — that of Olivia’s lover– there is an almost obsessive attraction to the neediness and vulnerability of someone like Olivia. She, on the other hand, coming from a strict religious upbringing, feels the pleasure of being “a bad girl.” Their relationship becomes a dance in which her need translates into jealousy and anger while for him the exciting terror is not fear of abandonment but of being overwhelmed by her need.

One lover fears being left, the other fears being devoured. This can be a turbulent cycle, and as Olivia discovered, even possibly lethal.

I took her predicament very seriously. “You’re going mad,” I told her straight out. If she didn’t pull out of this tailspin, she might break down altogether and be carted off. I was serious!

Smart and sharp a soul that she was, she agreed, but told me she felt helpless. “I don’t know how to stop.”

Someone else may have scolded her, threatened or shamed her over stalking. My attitude was, that’s her indulgence and it cannot be stopped: Let her act upon the impulse, but improve her strategy by giving her a healthier new action. If anything, this was a pre-step to get her into therapy.

First, I sat her down, put on music. “Close your eyes and picture him,” I said. “What is the light like in the room where he is? What do the floorboards feel like under his feet? Is he with anybody?”

Olivia was open to such suggestion and complied. She stayed sitting there, eyes shut, and projected herself toward him in her imagination. She was stalking him in her mind now, but in a way, that did not step over a boundary nor put herself at risk in terms of exposure or well-being.

You may call what I proposed an insane suggestion. But it worked. It provided a stage where there was protection. The more she stalked in her mind, the less she felt the need to do so in reality. Her obsession died quietly in her armchair over a series of nights with a glass of merlot and the blinds drawn.

Although Olivia’s is a particularly grey story, we need to be aware that our deepest sexual fantasies can interfere in our hunt for that ideal partner. This is the most dangerous aspect of our searches.

Love doesn’t exclude lust, just the opposite. Because the passion it can inspire cuts directly past all our layers of polite social disguises. The pleasure can be all consuming and the danger is that we will put its gratifications ahead of our own survival.

If we exclude everything that is not love, what are we left with? If erotic love is not a selfish act, then the core of true love must be about giving.

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Being Born Both: Sarah Graham’s Solo Show ‘Angels Are Intersex’

Sarah Graham was born intersex, or as she jokes, “a woman with balls”. As a child, a gynecologist told Sarah’s parents that her ovaries were cancerous and that she had to have them removed; much later in life, she discovered, to her horror, that “those weren’t ovaries, they were testes.”

Sarah’s solo show, Angels Are Intersex, shares her personal story — from childhood to adulthood — of discovering her own gender and sexual identity. Her discovery has given her the confidence to break the norms within our gender-obsessed culture. She’s funny, painfully blunt, and trying to piece it all together. Now she laughs about it, and will make you laugh too.

Angels Are Intersex is a courageous way for Sarah to tell her story and to aid the fight to end unnecessary surgeries on babies and children. Working with her director and now partner Jessica Lynn Johnson, they created an emotionally charged work, selected to premiere at Son of Semele festival in Los Angeles, and are hoping to tour around the USA then Europe.

I know Sarah; I’ve worked with her; I’ve counseled her, and yet this was the first moment she allowed me to walk in her shoes. It was shocking because I never knew her pain.

Sarah’s go-to place was one of solitude. That child, growing up with no one to guide or support her, fixated on the prospect of a miracle from God. She created an image in the mirror of herself as special and holy, just like the story of Mary giving birth to baby Jesus. The marvel of such an act firmly shaped her beliefs. When she learned that it was not her ovaries that were cut out, but her testes, her reflection in the mirror became a monster. With no one to help her process the truth, Sarah fell into years of drinking, drugs, and abuse.

Sarah went through therapy, became a therapist, and found answers — but not to her own questions. So, she went on a spiritual journey of self-discovery; maybe to find God, or an angel, or both.

Sarah called out to the world’s Big Religions to find her self-appointed angel experts. A muslim scholar, a rabbi, a English vicar, and a life advisor walk into a bar… except it wasn’t a bar, and this isn’t a joke.

The first person Sarah interviewed was Jihad Turk, a muslim scholar and President of Bayan Claremont Graduate School:

“In Arabic, the word for intersex or hermaphrodite is pronounced hoone-ther. Ironically there isn’t a gender neutral term, so you are stuck with a Who-er or a He-er, him or her. And God is not gendered in Islam either- so God is referred to as Who-er (male) because there is no gender neutral pronoun.”

And then there’s Rabbi Michelle, who tells her there are six recognized genders in Judaism, including Ay’lonit:

“An Ay’lonit is a person who is identified as female at birth but develops male characteristics at puberty and is infertile, and there are 80 references in the Mishnah and Talmud to this Ay’lonit and 40 references in classical Mishnah, the Jewish text …”

Cut to the vicar, who explains:

“Male is good and female is good but it’s still separation, and in a sense, it has to be about separation for us to biologically reproduce- and at death when our spirits leave our bodies, the male and the female is joined together in an angelic being… A unity.”

Their explanations give some context to what an intersex person is in the theological sense. But evidently, there is a lack of intimate knowledge even in holy texts regarding the ramifications of social rejection or acceptance.

Intersex people are as common as red heads — about 1 in 2000 births — but there are less than 100 openly intersex people in the public domain. Those who are born intersex feel exiled, isolated, and alienated.

And then there’s me, the life advisor.

Here’s an excerpt of what came up in our session: “We all have our differences, and it is evident by how we identify ourselves. It is your right of passage; you have the right to be.”

With someone like Sarah, who has struggled with understanding her existence, “the right to be” was an essential concept. The right to be is not about identity, or how we identify with others; it’s more to do with the experience of our journey — our right to be whole.

Living in a world of duality, she was constantly gripped by inner conflict. She desperately wanted to know the “answer” to integrating both selves. I explained that our world is polarized and at war in a battle of the sexes. If the rest of the world can’t figure out how to unite male and female, how could she expect to solve the problem all on her own? “Keeping your secrets to yourself is a way of hiding. It keeps shame living under the surface.“

Angels are Intersex is a journey of heartache to connection. It will make you laugh and will leave you speechless. Above all, you are invited to support the fight of gender-neutral rights: Like Asia Kate Dillon’s character in Billions, Sarah is now using “they”: a non-binary pronoun embracing a whole person regardless of gender. Sarah feels that this pronoun is true to their new understanding of self and finally allows them “their right to be” whole. This might be a mindbender to some, but Sarah is inviting us to join the conversation… So let’s start talking.

Twitter: @AddictionExpert

Instagram: @AngelsAreIntersex

Facebook: /SarahGrahamSolutions

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This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.

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Thank God For Good Theatre – ‘This Our Now’ Review

In these turbulent times, survival is dependent on whether you either rise to the top or fall to the bottom; living in the middle is obsolete. This Our Now, one of the best plays I have seen in decades, rebrands what it means to be ‘the top’.

This one-hour marathon energizes and invites the audience to dive into the wells of their own unresolved journeys, with the knowing that in the end, there will be balance. As the audience experiences both the love and pain of the characters, this fast-paced 60-minute show moves us to identify with questions of “Should I stay? Should I leave? What do I want?”

Fresh faced, “good boy” actor Casey Dunn gives an impressive performance as B, particularly when he allows you see through the cracks in his bravado into the character’s humility. Actress Alexa Radson as C opens with a superficially opinionated facade, only to have her walls cave. In the end, she’s left helpless to face an ugly truth. Her bravery as an actress, to take on a challenging role that none of us – even in our worst nightmares – want to experience, is a tribute to her talent.

From L to R: Casey Dunn, Alexa Radson, and Nate Werner

Nate Werner, as D, is a fascinatingly unusual and emerging character actor whose performance is so engaging that, in spite of his character’s pitfalls, makes it impossible for you to hate him. The character’s relationship with change is nothing more than a futile resistance, and Werner’s depiction is an exquisite example of how most of us deal with emotional barriers.

Finally, as A, Olivia Cordell is both actor and playwright of this tour de force. She’s provocative and passionate in character (and in life), which magnetically draws the audience in with an instant reminder of how essential it is to fall in love. As we see her character question the ideology of a woman’s independence, it is, without a doubt, a moment to reckon with.

Casey Dunn (L) and Olivia Cordell (R)

Director Aubrey Rinehart, with experience in film direction, supported by assistant director Kimia Yazdi’s nuanced eye, had the daunting task of taking a chaotic, flighty, nonstop script and successfully shaping it with sensibility.

To say I’m a fan of this great team of actors is an understatement. Coming from a theatrical background as I do, it is unusual for me to rave about fringe productions. We rarely see a team dedicate themselves to the arts in such a way. I came away with the need to grab a drink, talk my truth, and fearlessly fall in love.

This Our Now, by Olivia Cordell, is playing as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival at the Stephanie Feury Studio Theatre, 3656 Melrose Avenue, until June 24th, 2017. Tickets are $12 and are available at www.hff17.org/4294. Visit www.facebook.com/ThisOurNowPlay for more details.

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This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.

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THE HUFFINGTON POST: The Quickest Way to Tell If It’s Love

suzannah galland love expert

Making love to anyone is a prospect that we should always approach with caution, however impulsive we may feel at the moment.

There are categories of need in every intimate bond: safety, security, strength, recognition, acknowledgment, respect, tenderness, trust, loyalty, and a sense of belonging.

These needs come in many guises, but if you can name just one or two core values that you both share, that sets you on the path to healing the bond. And if you can’t, take this as a sign that’s something’s seriously off.

We spend so much time thinking and analyzing what’s in front of us and what’s happening around us that we dictate what our future should be; that is, we orchestrate the events to suit our desires and propel ourselves into a state of act and react.

If you feel as though your romantic relationship is struggling, it is important to take a minute and ask yourself some simple but essential questions:

What do I need?

What does the other person need?

Do I feel okay about asking for it?

Can they comfortably ask for what they require of me?

When it comes to romance, ask yourself what aspects are most important to you. Is loyalty the primary thing you seek? Is it safety and security? Or a love mate with similar interests?

Then ask yourself a few questions about your partner:

Who am I being seduced by?

What is this other person’s primary desire, and is it opposed to mine?

Could this trigger the love addict in me?

If we follow our gut hits, we get the opportunity to observe the signs that are put in front of us. There are always signs if we look for them, and they are put there for us to sense and act or react upon.

When we do give love, remember that our euphoria can switch off our hearts in subtle ways. Before making that jump with anyone, think about what values align with your core, and know that the partners you choose will be much more aligned with what you really want.

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone — we find it with another.” – Thomas Merton

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This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.
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GOOP: The Thrill of Dating in Your 40’s — and Beyond

Dating should be fun: The thrill of waking up next to a new lover—feeling their soft breath against your body—is fantastic at any age. But dating at forty-plus is too often cast in a sad light by the media, so for some, the thought of being single and forty (or older) brings to mind what one doesn’t have, or is losing, as opposed to what you do have—or are even gaining.

But what I’ve found with my clients is that being single “later in life” can be really glamorous in some ways: For many, there’s a freedom that hits at some point in your forties. Whereas more women in their twenties and thirties are looking for a partner to have children with, this becomes less the case as we get older. What many of my clients are looking for in their forties and beyond is love and/or simply fun, often less-freighted by needs surrounding building a family, financial stability, etc. Another benefit of dating at forty is that you have the confidence that comes with experience. I see a difference in how women in their forties walk into a room, the way they can make heads turn and pulses race. It’s a radiance, a power from within. Call it a sexual glow, or just plain sex appeal. Whatever it is, it’s alluring.

“Being single ‘later in life’ can be really glamorous.”

Still, you might think, the on-again, off-again dating game is overwhelming—which is true, it can be, at any age. For many of my single clients, examining and re-setting their fears and intentions around dating helps them to find enjoyment in it that they might not have felt before. What we project and how we attract others has everything to with what’s buried beneath, whether curiosity or fear. Dating can be both perplexing and hair-raising. But it can be wildly exciting, too.

I sometimes use word association techniques with clients to bring awareness to the role that perception plays in their dating life—it illuminates how vital it is to check in with yourself.

Coral, forty-two, explained that dating had left her feeling abandoned. She felt manipulated to please her (male) partners, and felt overly needy herself. The first word that came to mind for her when I asked her to think of the word man was power. When I asked her to think of the word, woman? Soft. For Coral, this revealed how polarized she was going into dating and relationships.

Another client, Jennifer, age forty-six, described the people she was dating as shallow—players who valued looks over connection. Like Coral, Jennifer associated men with strong words (albeit negative ones like a$$hole). In contrast to Coral, though, Jennifer herself also identified with the word power. What Jennifer came to realize was that she liked to have control when dating and in relationships, and so, too, it seemed did the men whom she’d been involved with in the past. It was no wonder she demonized her exes—she didn’t perceive any harmony or balance when it came to dating.

For clients like Coral and Jennifer (and other clients like them), reflecting on how they view themselves helps balance their approach to dating. What you think, you project and, in turn, attract.

“We are pre-programmed to feel desire, to connect with others, to fall in love (and I don’t just mean one time, with one person).”

While this self-work can take many forms (from therapy to meditation, etc.), and can be difficult, it’s actually surprising how relatively straightforward it is for many to tap into the power of their own desires—and to harness that energy toward their dating experiences. We are pre-programmed to feel desire, to connect with others, to fall in love (and I don’t just mean one time, with one person). This doesn’t disappear with age.

When it comes to romance, we’re often enticed to follow fads or fit into social norms—to think of dating later in life as unnatural (there’s something wrong with me). Our drive for perfection can override our sense of self-worth, and obscure our desires, even to ourselves. Our desires can drive us at every age if we let them. The benefit of being guided by desire at forty, as opposed to twenty, is that you have more freedom, plus the wisdom of twenty more years of life to accompany you.

 

This was originally published on Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop.

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THRIVEGLOBAL: Getting Inside Your Desire

Picture a beautiful handbag. It belongs to you. The stoic but soft fabric, the shine, the gold-rimming, the chic timelessness it exudes. It is gorgeous, and it is something to stroll with proudly. But it is only the outer layer. The inside is what holds the real worth. The photographs of your children, the notebook with moving thoughts, perhaps your passport to the world beyond, the keys to your home, your glasses to properly see what is in front and what is behind.

There is the outside and the inside. Both essential. And in some ways, this is symbolic of desire and will. The outside, the desire, is one thing. The inside might be rugged or raw or dirty or composed, but it is your will. It holds everything you purport to be. With only a glossy external desire comes emptiness. But when it contains something deeper, something that stems from the inside, that is will. Without it, we will only ever be skirting our surface.

Like inside and outside, the difference between desire and will is striking. We use desire for everything. It’s a fundamental part of us. Yet whether you’re dating or job hunting, it is doubtful you’ll get what you want if it comes only from this superficial space. Or, if you do get a lucky break, it won’t last long or the rules change. Your primal scream is in full mode. “Why can’t I have this?” transforms into “Why don’t you like me?” It’s doubtful that you will ever go beyond until you embrace using your will.

Your will is your very life force. It’s the atoms that comprise the very being of who you are. It’s is the air you breathe, the universal force you faithfully salute, your gateway to joy. When using your will, you express your truest self, where you are always seen. You cannot teach someone to see you. And those precious moments where they do happens with the grace of your will. It is what others around you don’t see from the surface at first glance, but it is what others will not forget once your will has had a chance to peek out.

Your will is your way into the world, personally and professionally. Knowing your will, holding on to your will, is a first step to being seen. You don’t have to yell it out to everyone; it is just there. When you feel it, and accept it, you will shine.

You’ll know when it happens, and it may feel terrifying. And if you decide to ignore such a quest, there will be consequences, and it will feel like you’re surfing against a tsunami.

Life was never meant to be a struggle, and if you’re feeling it right now, take a moment, a very long moment and give yourself permission to invite it in.

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This piece was originally published on ThriveGlobal.

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THE HUFFINGTON POST: For The Women Who Dare

“Women don’t have to wear pussy hats, or protest, or yell. Do your job!” Says Kimberly, who’s proud to stand against the current women’s movement. She believes that protesting means “we’re sacrificing our femininity. It’s obnoxious and makes us more aggressive.”

As Kimberly proves, not all women feel represented by the women’s movement, and are even offended by its use of the word ‘women’. Though some struggle to find their place, whatever their gender, they don’t understand that the women’s movement is fighting to protect us against the policies that hurt us – such as cutting funding for women’s health organizations or publicly shaming a woman’s fundamental right to choose.

But women are rising against the dark forces. Some of us are protesting, while others are working to transform in measured numbers. And whether we join the organizers of a protest march, or contribute to our local communities, we are united to fight against economic, social and racial injustices.

Today we see our pains and injustices severely magnified by social and political ideologies that are threatening to steal our liberties. Women know this struggle better than anyone. Through the rise of feminism in the 1960s and ‘70s, many of us women (as well as men possessed of strong emotional intelligence), have suffered a long fight for equal rights with little more than dead ends.

Many women are questioning the current picture of what it looks like to be a feminist. To some, it feels limiting; but to those who are confused or on the fence, know that being a feminist does not rob you of your feminine essence. Far from it. It offers an empowering invitation to stand as one for the fight for civil and equal rights.

Centuries ago, women were rarely valued or had any position of authority. We fought hard not to be submissive and were treated like slaves, breeders – or perhaps even worse. But in our hearts, we always knew our essence was birthed from mystery, endurance and sacredness. And although it is different, it is every bit as powerful as masculine energy.

A women’s strength is still ranked by her hardships. Today, though we celebrate being seen, we also refuse to allow those hardships to dictate us. We know how to do something tangible and understand the sacrifice it entails.

During an era of change, no matter how we close our eyes to the distractions, we know the answers lie within the cosmos of our souls. We ask for a world where we’re valued, a demand that’s centered in self-dignity – a need to stay empowered, stately, and firm as we address systemic issues. We also understand the meaning of benevolence, and we’re willing to put our life on the line to help another person.

Whatever you value the most – from humanitarianism, to motherhood, science, activism, politics, or education, it is our time to move forward; to journey further and deeper into our incredible strengths. We are the ones who weave the foundation that will stand the test of time. We are the women who dare. And we’re doing it right.

There are millions of women who are not mentioned or will never play a part among prominent female leaders. These women make a profound difference with our children, in education, in civil rights and much more. For all the unnamed women, who are not acknowledged; you are the ones who weave the foundation that will stand the test of time. We thank you for your outstanding contributions.

“The idea of being a feminist… so many women have come to this idea of it being anti-male and not able to connect with the opposite sex, but what feminism is about is equality and human rights. For me, that is just an essential part of my identity.” — Lena Dunham

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This piece was originally published on The Huffington Post.
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