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Winter’s Sensuality + Imbolc

I will be honest: Winter is not my favorite season for indulging in my sensual side. It’s cold, and I hate the cold (my husband knows that, when I die, I want to be cremated. I detest the thought of laying in a casket, cold, for eternity). And it’s been really fucking cold here the last week, polar vortex and all. I’ve had to wear two layers of everything this week: pants, shirts, socks, gloves. It’s made me feel warm but also slightly inflexible. 

What I’ve come to see in the depth of this cold is that there is a lot to appreciate about the sensuality of winter if I look at it from a different angle: what makes me feel warm, cozy, and safe. Then it’s easy. 

Hot tea with cream + lots of sugar (what is tea if not a vehicle for sugar and cream?)

Being covered in afghans while watching a movie

Favorite soups and warm bread

Coming in from the cold

Flannel sheets

The funny little chugging hum of humidifiers (I am the Keeper of the Humidifiers at my house)

Ass hot showers with lots of lotion afterwards

Long hugs (hugs and hugs and hugs)

Giving myself permission to be a lump

Indulging in social media more than usual

Small reading breaks through the day

The sound of frozen leaves crunching when I walk the dog

Getting creative about keeping sex warm and comfy

Sweating like crazy on my bike on Saturdays (feels good to get red-faced hot, sometimes)

Wool socks and gloves

The sun finally coming back 

Winter’s sensuality might be slightly harder to find, but it’s there. And it worth indulging in, if you ask me. Winter is a time when we need more joy, more connection, more warmth, and comfort.

 I hope you can find the time and space to find your sensual pleasures during this time of year. It is helping me keep my sanity when I feel downtrodden by the cold.

 

Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash

 

Today is also Imbolc, the half way point between Winter Solstice (darkest day of the year) and Spring Equinox (when the light and dark are equal). I could not be happier for this day because it marks the time when farmers would have begun to look at the signs for when Spring might arrive and begin planning for the future of the year. A favorite ritual of this day is to “bless the seeds” for the harvest of the coming year. 

Earlier this week I was having a very day-dreamy sort of day and I kept bringing myself back to ‘reality’ and focusing on the work I had to do. Turns out, it was a perfectly good day to day-dream, astrologically speaking. I should have gone with my gut! In any case, I think “blessing the seeds” of the year isn’t just about what we have to do in a practical sense, but also about what our dreams are for the year ahead. Yes, we traditionally do this at New Year’s but there’s no reason we shouldn’t regularly indulge in our dreams and desires for what we wish to create- and Imbolc is a great time to do this. 

Here are some things I’ve been dreaming about:

Getting my book about the Sex Surge edited and to the book designer.

Our travel for the coming year.

Concerts I’m going to see this year.

Plans for my own personal retreat (something I haven’t done in a couple of years).

Severing the final bits of an energetic connection. I couldn’t decide if I needed to continue with a “compassionate, soulful, seeker who is healing” energy or just go subtle “psycho hosebeast“* energy- but what I realized is that I don’t need to do either. I can simply continue carrying the peace I feel forward into the future and let the rest go. I love the fact that being a woman (and a witch) means I have access to the full realm of feminine energies, including the toxic ones, when needed. 

The husband and I had a big, deep discussion two nights ago. The one where we re-visit everything about our relationship, what it needs, what it’s based on, what we want- is it still working? is this still what we want? At one point I actually offered divorce as an option to fix some of our current problems and we decided to take it. Just kidding. (My husband said the sweetest thing about my offer, “I could feel, from the bottom of my toes rising to the top of my chest, a giant, ‘NO!'”) So we’re walking into some new depth in our relationship and it’s weird and new, but it’s also good because it’s more truthful than ever before.

I’m definitely day-dreaming about my future work. Not sure what direction it’s going to go, but it will definitely change. That is- is it not? -the definition of day-dreaming.

Playing with ideas for finishing the decorating in my bedroom and making it a truly cozy nest that’s beautiful and unique.

I’ve been thinking about my spiritual practice a lot. I want to deepen it and get back to some studying I’ve neglected in the last six months. More meditation, more reading poetry and spiritual guidance, more practicing with the tarot. 

Figuring out how to increase my social justice work. What do I care about the most? Where do I want to put my time and dollars this year. Also, getting rid of people who think Jordan Peterson is some kind of intellectual.

What are you dreaming of for this year ahead? Now is the time to go back to your dreams, your seeds, and bless them with your work. It will be time to plant them soon- to take up the work that results in harvest. But for now, it will do to roll them in your hand, dreaming of what they might become, and offering them the blessings of hope and desire.

May your desires feel beautiful, joyful, and worth your time.

Big love from the path,
Joanna :: xoxo

* it actually looks like the psycho hosebeast energy worked. yay! but also, after a couple hours of it, I realized I didn’t need it. so, also yay.

And hello to any new readers from my other site. Welcome! P.S.- Don’t sign up for the newsletter, I never send one. :o)

 

 

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2018: Growth and Gratitude

I don’t think I’ve ever written an ‘End of Year’ post here. Or, if I have, it’s been a long time. In any case, I feel like writing one today, so here we are.

Some years I have been very into reviewing the past year and making big plans for the coming year. In years past I have also picked a Song for the Year (although, wow- looks like I did that once– ha!). Last year I simply wanted to read 3 books a month and keep up with my bullet journal. I read 18 books total and kept up with my bullet journal about 60% of the time. I’m actually not disappointed with those results, because this last year felt like a baseline year, but I want to do better this year.

This year, I want to keep up with my bullet journal, read 20+ books (which I’ve actually listed out in the hopes it will keep me on track), but I’m also adding picking a word for the year, and keeping a section in my bullet journal for a gratitude practice. I’ve struggled with gratitude in the past, so it’s kind of weird to be into it now, but I think it’s time for me to expand my heart and spirit in this direction.

[[I’m still super in love with The Little Paris Bookshop. I find myself reading it very slowly. There are gems like this everywhere: 

“Not get over it, but…then? What then? What task do the departed want us to do?”

That was the question that Jean Perdu had been unable to answer for all these years.

Until now. Now he knew.

“To carry them with us- that is our task. We carry them all inside us, all our dead and shattered loves. Only they make us whole again. If we begin to forget or cast aside those we’ve lost then…then we are no longer present, either.” …

“All the love, all the dead, all the people we’ve known. They are the rivers that feed our sea of souls. If we refuse to remember them, that sea will dry up, too.”

I love all the men in this book; they are so honest with themselves.]]

::: ::: ::: :::

To start that, I wanted to look at the things I’m grateful for from this year. And also where I’ve grown- because that’s my favorite thing.

We spent our first full year in our new house this year. I love this house. I finally feel truly at home in this particular pile of sticks (it’s a really nice, comfy pile).

We got a dog. I love her.

My family and I travelled to Paris for the first time ever (well, it was the first time for me and my kids). I wrote about it here and here. It was one of the most thrilling adventures of my life. (I want to go back!)

I have been struggling with my hypothyroidism symptoms for two years and I really dug into my own fat phobia and fat shame (even though it was just 15 lbs- it was uncomfortable) and learned some new things about my self and my self-esteem and social conditioning. It’s hard to shake off, but I’m working on it.

On the flip side, I started a new supplement that makes my thyroid meds work the way they should, so my hair is growing again, my nails are growing, and I’ve lost enough weight to actually fit into my pants- even my favorite skinny jeans! The irony and ‘once you let go of it, you’ll get all you want’ energy is not lost on me.

After last week, I’m full of gratitude for simply being upright and breathing.

I’m truly grateful for my partnership and my partner. We have what a lot of people crave- and we work to make it great, it’s not just luck. And I’m just grateful for him and how we make it work.

I’m truly grateful for my kids and how much joy they bring to my life. They are amazing humans and I’m glad these particular souls are the ones I was given to parent.

I’m grateful for all the struggles I’ve had this year. I’ve learned a lot.

It’s been fun to start playing with magic and spells this year. (You may or may not know: I’m a witch.) As one of my teachers notes: you learn something new every time and I’m stumbling towards greater understanding and capacity.

I’m also very grateful that I have been given the chance to fight for some things that are very important to me and to fight to stop things that are morally and spiritually repugnant. I’m trying to use my privilege to make the world a better place- and this has been weird and uncomfortable, but also a good practice.

 

We travel ever upwards (we hope).

Photo by Reid Zura on Unsplash

 

The other side of this year has been about growth. Growth, in my experience, is about the places where we cry, gnash our teeth, surrender to reality, and then we learn to behave in new ways. Better boundaries, clearer goals, letting go, and the like. It’s the hard work that our hearts and souls demand of us.

I got some very clear guidance a month ago about what’s next for me:

  • Telling the whole truth, instead of just doling out pieces of it.
  • Limiting connections to folks who are on my level (or will at least try to get there).
  • Continuing to be passionate and fearless and letting go of those who don’t want to run with me.

These are the things I’m taking into 2019 with me, the new ways in which I will behave. I also learned some other things, too.

One of the biggest lessons for me this year is that I’m probably going to be attracted to other people at various points in my life. For the first 22 years of knowing my husband, I was never attracted to anyone else. But then, the Sex Surge happened, and I’ve been attracted to two other people. One of the clearest things I know from all this is that it’s probably going to happen again, and how I handle it is the most important question. Do I want to destroy my marriage for a crush or somebody who is cute or intelligent or interesting? Nope. Not a bit. So, I proceed with that end in mind. Having a crush or a sexual attraction to someone else isn’t going to kill the great thing I’ve got with my husband; I know that now. But I also need to be mindful of my needs and what lines are crossable/not crossable and to enjoy the gifts of relationship and attraction.

Related: sexual energy does not need to be coupled to sexual expression. I am reminded of this constantly. Sexual energy – libido, turn on – is simply the most heightened aliveness there is. It isn’t required to be expressed in any sexual way- there are a thousand creative and joyful ways to live it out besides with your clitoris/penis. It can simply shine straight out from your heart.

I also figured out something a couple of days ago that I’ve been struggling with for a bit. Bear with me- this is one of things where the puzzle pieces came together in my mind but I might not always write clearly about it. Nevertheless, I will try.

There has been a lot in my social media feeds the last couple of weeks about soulmates and woundmates and such things. I’m not a big believer in soulmates, but I am a 185% believer in soul work. Soul work is the work that we are called to do, in our heart or soul, because of an interaction with or attraction to someone else. I’ve been dealing with this kind of connection for more than a year- can’t quite connect, can’t fully let go (or be let go of, in this case). And as I was thinking about this a couple days ago, I asked myself: what do I know about this already? The answers were clear and also interwove with each other to create a new level of understanding for me.

First, I know that the kind of push-pull attraction that can’t let go is always about something else. I bolded, underlined, and italicized that for a reason. Sexual attraction is the easiest doorway for connection so that people can come together and do whatever work it is their soul is asking for. Especially if it’s a connection that can’t seem to resolve one way or another. The attraction is the big door that they need to go through, the sexual nature of it is the neon arrow that flashes and points towards the door, drawing them in. If the attraction brings them to connection, it’s done its job and they will walk through the door to the work they need to do.

Second, I was reminded that there are a 1000 steps between attraction and fucking.  What that means in this case is that people can be attracted in that “can’t let go” kind of way, but there are many levels at which to connect. Let’s look at them in these categories: talk, touch, kiss, fuck.

If there is soul work and it’s being brought out by attraction that won’t quit, you have to interactyou have go to through the door to figure out what the work is. But you don’t have to give in to the depth of desire; you can simply talk with the person. Talking is difficult, in some ways, because you’ve got to keep your desire in check. It’s also difficult because you’ve got to be as honest as you can possibly be – but telling the truth based on attraction is usually a big leap. (Not for me, honestly- I crave to both tell the truth and be told the truth by others.) Most people would rather slip into the ease of sex than talk about what’s going on between them. You have to ask big questions and be totally honest with yourself and the other person: Why are you attracted? What makes it difficult to let go? What do you want from a connection? If we did X, what would that do for you? As you reveal the answers, the work you’re supposed to do for soul growth becomes clear- it shows you an old wound that needs healing, it shows you a further step you need to take, etc. And, of course, talking is the most spiritually and emotionally clean option, so it’s sort of easier in that way.

Then, there’s touch. If the sexual attraction is strong enough, touching can sometimes tell you a lot. What happens when you touch? Does the desire dissipate or shift in some way? Do you have any kind of visions or memories? What does your body do? What feelings run through you? You have to be very mindful and attentive to what happens in your body if you go this route, but it can yield a huge amount of information about the work you need to do for your soul. If you add talking to the mix, you’re probably going to hit the target very quickly and figure out why you’ve been connected to this person.

Next is kissing. This level of interaction is where the emotional entanglements can lead us astray from the work we have to do, but the intensity of connection can give us much deeper information about what’s going on in the desire for connection. You have to really ground yourself in awareness and attentiveness if you take this route. You have to ask all the above questions, plus things like, “Did I feel relief in kissing them? Was it a relief of sexual tension or a relief like coming home?” What did I see in my minds eye when we kissed? What happened in my body? What memories arose? You need to be able to disentangle the sexually related feelings from the emotional lessons it brings up. Of course, kissing is so much more fun than just talking or touching, but it’s also more dangerous if you’re not careful or not with someone who knows how to handle the energy and what develops.

Lastly, of course, is having sex. Most definitely, this is the easiest (and probably most desired) option for people who feel pulled to each other. It’s very pleasurable. It doesn’t require much thought or trust- you just give into the feelings and desires. (I find it incredibly interesting that it’s easier to have sex than it is to talk when we’re in these kind of soul-attraction relationships. I think that says a lot about our humanity and how comfortable we feel with sharing our souls; we’d rather share our bodies.) Of course, having sex dissipates a lot of the sexual desire and tension, but it also entangles us emotionally and energetically in ways that might make it more difficult to find the nature of the soul work the two people need to do. Again, mindfulness and self-awareness are key. That said, I believe that sometimes this is exactly the right choice- there is no other way to find the work that you’re being asked to do.

I figured these things about because I got very close to being able to talk to the person I have this kind of connection with. It super sucks that I’m not going to be able to have the talk, because that only leaves “figuring it out on my own” as my way to deal with this. Of course, figuring it out on your own is also totally viable, but it takes a lot more work and it often takes a lot longer. Growth junkie that I am, it’s what I’ve got, so I’m using it. Because one thing I also learned this year is that when people say ‘no’ to connecting or interacting, you let them be. Not everyone wants to learn or help their soul heal or grow, and that’s their decision.

The coolest thing about figuring this out is that I can be totally fearless the next time I’m attracted to someone. I know that attraction is just the doorway for the work. And I can decide what level of interaction to ask for. I am wise and attentive and aware and so I’ll gain a lot from whatever way the other person and I connect. Because I understand how it works, I can walk into it with more clarity and skill and openness (and less attachment, hopefully). It feels really grounding to have previous lessons come together like this and help me understand how to handle these kinds of attractions in the future. Even if I don’t get to have my conversation, I get to have this understanding and that’s so awesome it kind of makes me cry.

::: ::: ::: :::

This year has given me a lot- a lot of grief and struggle, a lot of growth and grace. I’m grateful. I don’t have many plans for 2019- except as listed above. I think Life is enough of an adventure on its own, I don’t need to go looking for much new! exciting! stuff. And I don’t need to set high expectations for myself anymore (I’m sort of over that).

Fellow travelers, I hope that you’re finding useful lessons in your life – this year, this month, always. I hope that the lessons your soul seeks come to you with grace and desire and fun rather than the spiritual equivalent of being whacked upside the head with a 2×4. We all have things to learn and trials to bear- remember not to compare your miseries with another’s. I hope that, whatever it is you have to learn, you are given an equal measure of joy. And I hope you strive to become ever more your self.

I will leave you with another excerpt from The Little Paris Bookshop because I think it is so fitting:

“On the postcard Perdu wrote Catherine that night were the phrases Max had invented that afternoon so he could present them to Samy at dinner…

Star salt (the stars’ reflection in a river)
Sun cradle (the sea)
Lemon kiss (every knew exactly what this meant!)
Family anchor (the dinner table)
Heart notcher (your first lover)
Veil of time (you spin around in the sandpit to find you are old enough to wet your pants when you laugh)
Dreamside
Wishableness

The last word was Samy’s new favorite. “We all live in wishableness,” she said. “Each in a different kind.”

Big love and happy New Year’s Eve,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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The Best Worst Christmas Present

I’m posting this at exactly the moment yesterday when I got to experience something in my body I’ve never experienced before: fainting.

We were on a Christmas walk yesterday when I started feeling a little weird- and then I started feeling a lot weird. And about thirty seconds later, I passed out. When I came to, I thought I could get up and walk the two blocks back home. And about thirty seconds later, I passed out…again.

I got to ride in a red sleigh (also known as ‘the ambulance’) which was directed by not one, but two guys named ‘Nick.’ Two Saint Nicks driving the sleigh- hey!

As we made our way to the hospital, I was overcome with something that was a cross between labor pain and food poisoning. Which is to say, it was almost the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life, coupled with feelings of nausea and the wish that I would throw up (because it would feel better than the nausea). The symptoms of shock arrived next.

In the end, we found out that I was severely low on a couple of electrolytes and I was treated with IV meds and left the hospital around mid-morning today. But I learned a few things I wanted to share.

Our bodies are beautiful and fragile as fuck. I train my body to be strong and listen to it so we have a trustworthy relationship, but getting sick always throws me for a loop. It’s good to be humbled sometimes and remember just how valuable and easily broken our body is.

I am indescribably grateful that my body did exactly what it was supposed to do. Passing out twice was exactly the right response for what was going on in my precious meat suit and I’m so glad it did what it needed to do. I’m also incredibly grateful to have a partner who was trained as a CNA so he caught me and lowered me to the ground safely, twice.

I am so glad that intravenous medications are available to me. Modern medicine is the only reason I’m alive.

 

It’s the small things.

Photo by erin walker on Unsplash

 

I got the chance to practice some radical relaxation in the hospital. It’s nearly impossible to sleep in a hospital (which is sorta silly if you think about how healing sleep is, and you can’t get much of it in hospitals) and so I had to practice deep relaxation to get myself in a calm, healing space. I’m glad I have years of meditation practice under my belt to make it easier to settle, breathe, and focus.

I am incredibly lucky to have good health insurance. I would not have healed as quickly without it. (We need nationalized medical insurance in America. There is no way around it.)

In my quiet time, I was able to figure out how to express gratitude to someone who I really only connect with via social media. I have been wracking my brain for the last few days trying to figure that out. And then, once I got quiet and settled, an option appeared.

For the medical staff that cared for me, I am also deeply grateful. From EMTs to nurses, pharmacists, x-ray techs, CNAs, doctors, et. al. Total gratitude.

For the ways that family cared for me while I was in there. Even though our Christmas was slightly ruined and slightly late, it was still merry.

I’m not going to be as ‘bright’ as normal for a few days as I heal, but I am so glad to be breathing. Life is such an amazing gift. I am even more grateful for the simple things (mineral levels that are on target, decent food, warm blankets) but I’m also truly glad to be alive and feeling mostly normal today. This is, perhaps, the dark side of sensuality. When things don’t work as we wish for them to in our body, it is a different perspective on sensuality and what we are willing to feel and experience with our body. Are we willing to stay with the pain, the disappointment, the difficulty of the body? Because that’s sensuality, too.

I hope you’re well, fellow travelers. And I hope this reminded you to enjoy the feeling of health and wellness. And to be grateful for the small things: being alive, feeling well, breathing, moving.

All my love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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Solstice + Full Moon

Let me tell you a story about what it looks like when the energies of the year and the planets (and moons) hit people who are sensitive to them. It’s about the Winter Solstice today, the darkest day of the year, and the full moon that is happening on the same day. The dark and the light.

Yesterday was a shit show for me. The perfect storm of difficulties.

I am on meds that mess with my HPA axis and so I have been dealing with excess cortisol (by ‘excess’ I mean my body is being constantly flooded with cortisol. It makes me feel anxious, tired, scritchy, and I don’t sleep very well. This is not great for my attitude.)

I am prepping for the holidays. Anyone will tell you this is stressful, even as it’s fun.

PMS. (Enough said.)

We are getting our rescue dog tomorrow, which is also joyful-stressful.
(Oh, my god, she’s so cute!)

I engaged with the idiots. (I am forever trying to point out, “Hey, your life could be better if you’d stop X.” Surprisingly, it never works. <– That’s a joke. I gotta learn to stop; it’s a huge energy drain.)

Not enough meditation.

Not enough sleep.

Desire without grounding.

Not enough sensual practice.

That’s the dark. That’s the Solstice part. This day of the year is the day with the most dark, the least daylight, of the year. It’s a time when we turn inward, towards what is deeper in our hearts and minds. We all know that our internal landscape differs from year to year (and day to day). But this day is also for celebrating the darkness inside ourselves. I am particularly fond of this practice, but when it feels chaotic, like yesterday, it’s harder to want to turn inwards and connect with it all. At the end of yesterday, I thought “What the fuck is wrong with me?!?” Which is always a good way to know I’m looking at my darkness- the behaviors that make me wonder who I am, because they don’t fit the picture I have of myself.

 

Photo by Rose Elena on Unsplash

 

On the flip side is the full moon. Although, maybe it’s not the flip side. The full moon illuminates our lives- shows us what’s working and what isn’t. It is a place to see clearly into our deeper emotions, desires, needs, and fears. Again, sometimes this is beautiful and sometimes it’s not. It can also be the phase of fruition, or a reminder of our fullness.

I tend to get a little ‘buzzy’ around the full moon. My energy is heightened and I feel a little jolt of electricity all over – although, with the cortisol, who could tell the difference? Because of the dark, though, the moon is shining her light on where and how I understand my darkness and how I make use of it.

After the shit show of events yesterday, I meditated for an hour. It was very grounding. (There’s an old adage that says, “If you can meditate for 30 minutes, do that. If you can’t meditate for 30 minutes, meditate for an hour.” Meaning, if you can’t find the time to meditate, you probably need it worse. It’s true.)

I had a good cry. The kind that opens your heart.

I read something really beautiful about blow jobs and it helped me understand why I enjoy giving them so much.* (I’ll share it later, it really resonated for me.)

I watched The Sound of Music and the song, “My Favorite Things” reminded me that I’m most satisfied and grounded when I’m in my sensual practices. I made space for them last night.

A friend reminded me that I have no understanding of the magic that is retail scheduling, so maybe I should just chill.

I turned back towards a practice I found useful in the Sex Surge- to notice the difference between a superficial want -to see someone NOW- and my deeper desire -for connection and communication. When I connect with the deeper desire, the ego is less involved, and I can be far more patient. (The person I’m trying to connect with was also kind enough to stop by and let me know they are still there. It was noticed and appreciated.)

Enjoyed some super….slow…sex. Super slow. Squeezing every little bit of pleasure out of each movement and connection and it really helped me get back in the wholeness of myself- not just my mind, not just my body, but the fully connected whole.

The light of the full moon showed me what was and wasn’t working, what I needed to get back to, and that there was still a fullness inside my self that I could turn to, believe in, and use to support myself. My sensual practices, my delight in sex, the feeling of when I am fully in my body (not just my head!) all helped me to recover a sense of myself. That’s not to say there isn’t work to do on some of my dark spots- engaging with the idiots, lack of meditation, superficial wants- but that turning back towards my light gives me the strength and support to work on my darkness.

Certainly, this is the essence of the Solstice- to be drawn inwards, to see the dark, but also to find comfort and warmth and connection such that we can deal with the darkness. There is a reason these ‘festivals of light’ happen at this time of year- it is to remind us that we are in the dark, but that the light still exists. It will probably still take me a few days to get back on top of myself, but that’s also the beauty of the Solstice and the full moon- the energy lasts for a few days; it gives us time to work with things.

Tonight we will be having our Solstice meal by candlelight and exchanging handmade gifts and finding gratitude for this darkest day of the year. I hope you find your dark and your light on this Solstice + full moon night, too, fellow travelers.

Big love from the inside of the mess,
Joanna :: xoxo

* If you read any of my posts and think, “OMG, a woman who likes sex and blow jobs!” and you think friending me on Facebook is a good idea, let me just say: nope. I don’t accept friend requests from dudes I don’t personally know. But also: I talk about these things not to excite men, but because I believe ALL women should be able to talk about their sexual needs, likes, dislikes, preferences, expression, etc. – and not have it be a big fucking deal. I (or any woman) should be able to say, “Jeeze, I really need an orgasm today,” in line at Starbucks and not have people laugh, cringe, or freak out. I talk openly about my sexuality because more women need to do it so it’s fucking normalized. If women don’t feel safe talking about their sexual needs in front of you, you might wanna ask yourself why. Also: I have a husband and he’s the only one getting any of that action from me for the foreseeable future (because safety). If you wanna talk to me, there is a contact form and an email address available to you.

 

 

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Getting Naked Is Good For Your Soul

I was going to title this post, “Get Naked With Me,” which would have been enticing enough, but probably not exactly fulfilling, because I’m not getting skin-naked.

I mean, it’s certainly quite vulnerable to take off all our clothes and show our body to someone else, especially if it’s not ‘perfect’ by social standards. But that’s not the kind of naked I’m interested in today.

Today I’m interested in the kind of ‘naked’ that bares our heart and soul. It is the kind of ‘naked’ that comes from telling the truth.

I started this blog as a place to tell my truth. I was going through the Sex Surge at the time, trying to make sense of it, trying to understand how I could be attracted to other people besides my husband, trying to deal with my sexual and sensual energy, and other musings about how I see the world and what I believe and I how I live on a day-to-day basis. It’s been a place where I can be completely open about myself + who I am + what I think because I don’t have to defend myself if I don’t want to (I hate getting in fights. Hate.).

I’ve talked about what it’s like to be lost.

How many of us speak ‘trauma’ as native language.

Growing into the truth of my Wild Heart.

The difficulty and beauty of letting go.

Learning to accept my own desire (a hard-won truth!).

[And sometimes just the truth of what’s on my iPod and why.]

And getting naked in this way – telling my truth – has always been good for my soul.

When we tell the truth, it gives us space inside our minds and hearts. We are free because we are clear. There is no lugging the truth around, hidden behind us, anymore. It feels good.

This is not to say that telling the truth isn’t difficult or ugly. Sometimes the truth is ugly. Sometimes the truth is difficult to say.

I think of the truths we have to say in intimate relationships that are ugly or difficult.

I think of the truths that have been said about racism, sexism, and systemic oppressions of all sorts- terribly ugly and difficult, but so very necessary.

I think of the truths so many of us have told about our families, truths which distance us from them forever.

I think of the truths so many of us have not even admitted to ourselves- about what we truly think or feel- and how that keeps our soul in the shadow.

Some of us run from other truths that might bring us joy, because they will first mean ugliness and difficulty, perhaps destruction. But that makes them no less true, and not telling them leaves us no better off.

 

Photo by Jason Schjerven on Unsplash

 

I am a big fan of telling the truth, of going naked with our heart and soul. Because, even if it is ugly or difficult, I have only seen good come from it in the end.

For instance, when I read the truth of BIWOC online, and I see my part in their pain, it’s not fun (I feel like the most spiritually ugly person there is when I realize how I have participated in the oppression of many others), but it has always lead to me trying to do better, to be better. I know it has been healing for these same women to share their truths (for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is finding community and support by doing so).

When I have told the ugly truth to a friend who can listen with love, I have always felt better. When I am the one to listen, I always feel it is a great honor to witness someone else’s truth. Because I have chosen to tell the truth about my own darkness, it is so much easier to hold that space for others- I really don’t mind listening to your darkness.

By the same token, when I have told joyful truth, when I have heard joyful truth from others it is always a beautiful thing. When someone speaks their truth about what is in their heart, that is a miracle- like a bird set free, in its proper place in the world.

Of course, getting naked like this takes practice. Takes courage. Takes having a safe place to do it. Sometimes that’s the arms of a friend, sometimes that’s just standing by the ocean, screaming our truth into the waves. But telling the truth has always been a boon for me and those I know.

Telling your truth, getting naked with your heart, is good for the soul. I promise.

May you have a safe place to tell your truth, to get heart-naked.
Big love,
Joanna :: xoxo

 

 

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