Archive | sensuality

A Dangerous Woman

[Edited 17 Apr 2016, 5:33 pm EST]

When I wrote this post yesterday, I wanted to say certain things. But I think it didn’t come out all that great. Let me try again. [Also, because I think it’s important for people to see imperfection and honest messes, I am leaving the original text, below the new post.]

Ariana Grande- pop star- has a new single out called ‘Dangerous Woman,’ and I love the song. Except for one thing: she sings this song to someone else. She’s not feeling like a dangerous woman on her own, from an internal sense of herself. She’s only feeling like a dangerous woman in the presence of someone else.

In our society, a truly dangerous woman (not just a sexually adventurous one) is one who lives and acts from an internal sense of herself.

That woman, the one who does not need to relate, is dangerous because she does not need your support or permission to be who she is. A dangerous woman doesn’t obey the law of Western society which asks her to seek permission and validation from outside herself.

I am learning this lesson afresh.

I am integrating my sensuality and sexuality and I am feeling a different connection to those energies and experiences. Instead of needing someone to express myself with – so that I can feel and understand myself in sexual and sensual ways – I am living this way. I am becoming this, rather than needing to express it outwardly so much.

I am beginning to locate my sexual power not in my ability to express it to or with others, but in how I feel inside myself- and how I live from there.

This is not to say I’m perfect at it. People say I exude sexiness and strength and I still have trouble seeing it and feeling it fully. I still project my desires onto other people. I still feel strange holding sexual power and not doing anything with it. I still feel like a newbie every time I open to a new level of my sexual energy and letting it flow. But stepping forward into it is really the only option. (It is the adventure of life- being scared and stepping over the boundary anyway.)

Perhaps we do need to express ourselves to others before we can internalize something and just be it. Perhaps we need to make sense of it before we can bring the concept into ourselves, before we can embody it. But I wonder if locating our power outside ourselves isn’t something girls are taught to do. (In fact, that is exactly what girls are taught to do. And boys, to a great extent. We are taught to obey society, all of us.)

I got a new tattoo on Thursday. It is a tattoo to crown myself as the Empress of my own life. My power resides within me, on me. I am a dangerous woman, but not because you make me feel that way- I am dangerous because of who I am, deep inside myself, and the fact that I will not obey social norms anymore.






I’m going to talk about one of the deepest teachings I share with my clients. And I’m sure there are 20,000 things wrong with doing that from a business perspective, but today that doesn’t matter. Because I want women (and men) to be free.

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

Women are taught to know themselves by relating to other people. 

Women, even as young girls, are taught that we cannot know who we really are until we begin interacting with and relating to another person as who we are or who we believe ourselves to be.

Think about that for a sec.
We have to relate to others in order to know ourselves.

I think that is kinda messed up.
I think that is kinda patriarchal.
I think that might limit women and men.

Women are more likely to be relational than men. This is partly due to hormones (it’s true, but only a little tiny part of the equation) and muchly due to socialization. And because we are more relational, we are more likely to define ourselves by relationship. And to create ourselves by relationship. (Men do this, too, but on a less obvious level, I think.)

This can be wonderful. It can also be awful.

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

When we create or know ourselves only by relationship, it can take us further from who we actually are. Goodness knows there are bazillions of gals who don’t know who they really are, so they don the latest fads or the ideals of their group and take that as their persona.

The other difficulty is that, if we practice at or try to develop a new part of ourselves and we are rejected by those we relate to, we believe the rejection is a judgement of who we are or who we are trying to become. That we are bad or inadequate or something else negative because they rejected us. In fact, someone else’s rejection of us is only an indicator of their preferences.

Their rejection has zero to do with the goodness or authenticity of who we are or who we are becoming. (But it takes time and practice to understand this.)

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

The real gold of this idea- that we must relate to know and understand ourselves – is that it isn’t true.

We do not need to relate to another to know who we are or who we are becoming.

Others may spark something in us, help us open to another aspect of our true Self, but we do not have to stay connected to them to become the true Self.




When I was going through the Sex Surge, I wanted a man (who was not my husband) very desperately. And I wanted him because I believed, with him, I could finally:

  • be sexually free
  • be sensual all the time
  • express my passion
  • create (sexually, verbally, spiritually)
  • deeply connect on many levels

I finally (finally) figured out that I could be these things without him. The Joanna I imagined myself to be in his presence was someone I could be anyway. This man sparked a desire for growth in me, but it didn’t mean I could only grow (and become) with him around. [In fact, he never knew about these desires.]

When we decide to stay with our internal selves in this way (not seeking the other) we are actually creating intimacy with ourselves– we are connecting with and accepting ourselves. And we are not running to the other because of our own internal anxiety at having abandoned ourselves.

If we stay with ourselves in this way- defining ourselves without the other- we will also see where we are addicted and where we are needy. [And I just wrote- and deleted- another 400 words about neediness in relationships. Because not all neediness is bad. But, I think it needs its own blog post.] When we run to the other to continue defining us we have to ask why.

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

Once we know, especially as women know, that we can define and become ourselves without relating to the other we are dangerous. We have crawled out from under yet another societal rule that keeps us hidden, ever striving (and therefor ever tired), and small.

I am a dangerous woman now.

I choose to be the Empress.
I choose to be sensual.
I choose to be sexually free.
I choose to create deep connections.
I choose to express my passion.

All without anyone’s help or permission.

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

I don’t want this post to be about rugged individualism and refusing connection. Connecting is one of the best parts of being human. (So many good things about connecting that I just want to gush!) But we must also know ourselves as ourselves. This is one of the most beautiful paradoxes of being human- the need for connection and individuation. It is a dance of learning to love both.





Empress ::: Rising

bathtub filling with water, candles at the side, and a woman's thighs peeping above the water


Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these broken wings and learn to fly

I know now how the butterfly feels in her cocoon. So recently a caterpillar. Knowing she had to find her way into darkness. And then coming apart. Completely apart.

Unraveling into a fiery soup of all the pieces and puzzles of herself. What will stay? What will go? What new will I become?

I careen in spirographs of release, grief, fear, confusion, hope, joy, dreams. It is draining. But the only thing to do is keep going. [Surrender? Yes. Quit? No.]

And then that new song played on the radio and I knew exactly what I was becoming. The pulse pulled together all that was still useful and all that was about to be.

Just like that, inside my cocoon, I swayed and giggled myself into who I am becoming. A new rhythm. Slower. Breathing. Healed. Loved.

All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to arise.

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

Blackbird singing in the dead of night
Take these sunken eyes and learn to see

I know why they think we are witches. We get into a steaming hot tub of water and 20 minutes later we come out different.


We are magic, you know. We are divine magic, ladies. We transform ourselves all the time.

|No wonder we are frightening. Only a rare strength can match us.|

I will claim my magic, my divinity [between my legs]. I will own it. I transform.

I am who I am and no other. If you cannot honor me, you don’t deserve me.

All your life
You were only waiting for this moment to be free.

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

Blackbird fly
Blackbird fly
Into the light of the dark black night

This is how the Empress rises.

Out of a dark pool of water.

Into the dark night.

Dancing naked with the moon.

Owning her self + her journey + her power.


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

Men may resurrect inside caves. Where they can break dead bones and create and yell and reverberate and re-vibrate into a newer version of themselves.

But women do not resurrect. They are reborn. We birth in water. In dark. Behind the thicket. With the moon. And the nocturnal creatures to lend energy and safety.

This is not Christian Easter, it is the wild Ostara.




Valentine to Mid-Life Woman

I said I would post about my dreams for my new year today. But I didn’t have the time, because I had a great birthday, instead. So, I will post tomorrow. For Valentine’s Day, here is a lovely poem from David Whyte.

Valentine to a Mid-Life Woman

Mid life woman
you are not
invisible to me.
I seem to see
beneath your face
all the women
you have ever been.

Midlife woman
I have grown with you
in another parallel,
breathing with you
as you breathed,
seeing with you
as you see
lining my face
with an earned care
as you lined yours,
waiting for you,
as it seems
you waited for me.

I see your
inner complexion
breathing beneath
your outward gaze,
I see all your lives
and all your loves,
it must be for you
that I wanted to become
more generous,
a better man
than I could ever be
when young,
let me join all your
present giving
and all your receiving,
through you I learn
the full imagination
of every previous affection.

Mid life woman
you are not
invisible to me,
in you
I see a young girl,
lifting her face to the sky,
I see the young woman,
haloed in light,
full and strong,
standing before
the altar of time,
waiting for her chosen.

I see the mother in you,
in your past
or in some yet
to be understood
I see you
adoring and
I see you adored,
and now,
when I call your name
I want to see
day by day,
the woman
you will become
with me.

Mid-life woman
come to me now,
I see you more clearly
than all
the airbrushed
girls of the world.

I became a warrior
only to earn
your present
mature affection,
I bear my scars to you,
my eyes are lined
to smile with you
and I come to you
and unshaven
walking rough
and wild through rain
and wind and I pace
the mountain
all night
in my happy,
at finding you.

Mid life woman,
in the dark of the night
I take you in my arms
and in that embracing
invisibility feel all of your
inner lives made touchable
and visible again.

Mid life woman
I have earned
my ability to adore you.

Mid life woman
you are not invisible to me.
Come to me now
and let me kiss passionately
all the beautiful women
who have
ever lived in you.
My promise
is to you now
and all their future lives.

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

God bless David Whyte, who knows how to speak to the heart of this woman. Yes, you have earned the ability to adore me.




My Fortieth Year :: The Reckoning

Last year, on February 14th, I turned 40. I had a wonderful celebration with friends from near and far and a lot of dancing. It was really beautiful and fucking fun. I spent the day of my birthday with a good friend and my family; there was adventure. And I wrote a manifesta for turning 40. Because I was so damn excited about it.

There have been many beautiful moments in this past year, for which I am grateful. But my excitement at the self-proclaimed ‘Year of the Snake’ was short sighted. The theme of this year has been frustration and despair and fear.

‘Year of the Snake’ was probably the most apt way to describe my year. Many layers were shed and the scales of illusion fell from my eyes.

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

To start, I shed the layer of my humility. I am vain. I have lost more hair  this year due to my thyroid condition. Almost everyone says they don’t notice, but I do. I have felt sad and desperate as I watch hanks of hair wash down the drain. I have grieved and had to reconcile with myself, again and again, who I will be and how I will feel beautiful with less hair.

Progress on this front has been poor. I am vain. I miss my hair. I want more of it to grow back. I remind myself that most people can’t tell. But I cry when my head is cold as I go to bed at night. I keep hoping that the right combo of medication and nutrition will finally kick in and I’ll have my hair back.

I have learned about my own vanity and shed any idea that I am humble.

I have also shed the idea that I’m capable self-love all the time. I’ve gained weight as a result of the thyroid issue as well. Admittedly, not a lot for most people (whiiiine, skinny girl). But it has been enough to make me feel uncomfortable in my body. And I HATE this. I hate feeling that I cannot do what I wish with my body. I hate feeling uncomfortable as I undress during sex.

I don’t know that I’ve made much progress on this front, either, except that I’ve read a lot about fat shaming and see how it is at play in my own head. Is it ever fun to see what’s in our own heads, like this? The ways we are biased against ourselves? No, it sucks. In the last week, some of the weight has come off, and I have felt so grateful and relieved.

Finally, I had my psycho-spiritual ass handed to me last week. I was treated to a very sad and regretful look at how I hide from life in fear. When I am afraid I cannot get what I want, I run and hide- never facing my fear, never asking for what I want, and thereby never getting it. I am not always brave.

There are so many places in my life I have faced my fears and become stronger and made my life my own. But now I know there is another place that needs healing and empowerment. Recognizing this has made me weep and has also caused me to take a good look at my illusions about myself. I thought I was fearless, I thought I loved myself utterly, I thought I was healed. I was a fool.



I’m learning from all of these experiences and working at healing them. I enjoy the hair I have – still purple! – and say prayers of gratitude to it and for it. I am working hard to maximize my medication and nutrition so more hair might grow.

I am also practicing accepting my body for what it is, right now, and enjoying it as much as I can. I am refusing to let my life be limited by my poor thoughts about my thighs.

Lastly, in small ways, each day for this past week, I have checked in with my broken heart. In actuality, I am healing quite quickly. That happens when you decide to feel everything as it happens and not store it away for another day. I am listening deeply to where Life suggests I should go in order to heal further and it is working.

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

In many ways, these negative experiences are sensual experiences as well. There are certain feelings in body, mind, and soul when we live through fear, frustration, and despair. They are not the ‘fun’ things we think of when ‘sensuality’ gets defined. But they are just as true.

I was talking to a dear friend a few weeks ago about how shit this year has felt. She reminded me that in her 40th year she asked for a divorce. And then found her way back into a very wonderful marriage with the same dude. This gives me hope.

I plan to post on my 41st birthday as well. I think I will have smaller dreams, perhaps with less excitement. But I will be standing in a place where I see myself more clearly. As I write this, I realize what a gift that is.

Yes, I would rather have gone through (and be going through) all this pain and know myself and my life more deeply, than to have remained at a more superficial level.

In ways I never expected, then, this year has been very good, indeed.