Aging: Coming to be a wild soul alive in an erotic body.

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poppysusannahconwaypost

 

Today is Susannah Conway’s 41st birthday. She’s a friend. She’s a creative soul. And she asked fellow friends and bloggers to help her celebrate growing older by writing on the truth about getting older. 

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Update 2/20/14 – You can now download the collected posts that celebrate aging. It’s a beautiful eBook.

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I’m a bit older than Susannah. I’ve been here on this earth for 57 eventful years…and they have been EVENTFUL. But life is, is it not? Life is full of events we have no idea will take place before they happen. It’s a mystery. The whole beautiful, frightening, glorious thing is a complete mystery.

I pondered what to write about since Susannah first asked. I realized I could write about how…

… grateful I am to be alive after my beloved husband died so young, never to walk his daughters down the aisle, and never to hold his grandchildren. I could because it is incredibly true for me. Each year as I turn a year older, the first thing that comes to mind is this – how grateful I am for another year.

… lovely it is to grow older, that beauty awaits at every turn. I could because it does. Growing older has helped me redefine beauty, because the traditional definition, glaringly short-sighted, would have us believe beauty makes a fast getaway as we age. It doesn’t. Rather, I’ve found that the ageless heart begins to make itself known and speaks of beauty in an eternal tongue.

… we are each so damn lucky to be here, to be walking on this earth, to be given life, not only once at birth, but with every breath. I could because we are.

… our bodies age into luminescence, into a kind of translucency that begins to reveal our true nature: Light, wisdom, agelessness from behind the veil. I don’t really know what it is about the aging process that brings translucency, but it does. I do know that I feel more revealed, more humbled, and less like I am pushing against and more like I am moving with. The body grows old and wrinkles.  The skin thins, as does the hair, but the eyes glow and the silence within grows. There’s less and less color and vibrancy on the outside – hair, skin, energy – yet more and more light on the inside and all around…if we let ourselves be revealed. 

All of these are true. As I grow older, more and more each day I feel a sense of deep gratitude for this experience. A full and rich sense of gratitude that I get to be here, to come to know the sacred by living in this female body, this beautiful, aging, wrinkling, joyful, erotic body.

This wild passionate sensual life is just that – erotic. Sprouting. Leafing. Blooming. Fruiting. We are tender tiny shoots who are growing into wise old beings with full blooms and fully-globed fruitflesh hanging from every branch.

Yes, there are days when the joints hurt. Yes, the hair turns gray (and we can choose whether or not to let the gray show without having to feel like it’s some moral dilemma). Yes, the closer we get to death the more we face our mortality. But none of these things have to take away from the opportunity we have to reclaim our erotic nature for the life-giving force that it is, to live life in the female body with passion and desire, with a fully blossomed sensuality and sexuality that opens to everything out of love.

We are erotic creatures, just like the rest of Nature. Every thing dies, but before life dies it is ALIVE without questioning what is happening to it. When we open to everything because the love within is SO alive and fragrant, we live the fullness of the seed from which we came.

THIS is the work we women, especially we who are so blessed, privileged, educated, and aware, get to, and must, do. As Anne Baring writes,

“Each woman who gives birth to herself and responds to what life is asking her to accomplish, contributes to the survival of our species and the diminishment of human suffering.”

I’ve found that while my mind has tried to figure out how I can ‘help’ the world, my body simply wants to love what it loves, and my soul longs to sing the song only she can sing. My body still loves what it loves, wrinkles and all. 

As women, living our erotic, sexual, wild nature brings something back into the world that has long been missing. How could we women live our joy when we believed there was something deeply wrong, flawed, and perhaps even ‘sinful’ about our nature? What has it cost us as a species to forget that life itself is an erotic, joyful, sensual mystery?

Joy, eros, fragrance, passion bring forth life in ourselves and in the world. At the core of our female bodies is a deep seated love of pleasure. I’ve found when my body is joyful and knows pleasure, my creativity shoots out of me like sprouts out of the soil, reaching for the light, impulsed by the erotic goddess.

So what if not nearly as many find me ‘attractive’? So what? It’s damn freeing, I’ve found. Damn freeing to not try to be living up to that attractiveness scale. I can’t possibly live up to it – not using that scale. But when I sense myself as a fully alive, sensual, sexual creature? I feel the attraction impulses firing within my own being, protons and neutrons held together by the strong force, neurons firing away.

How much more alive might you be? Might we be? Can we women be?

Happy Birthday, Susannah!

May we give birth to our sacred, alive, erotic nature and live what life is asking of us.

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Orgasmic Creativity

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Closeted & Chained

What keeps us closeted, chained and afraid to be our fullest, most joyful, most orgasmic selves?

What keeps us from being fully expressed?

We can only answer these questions for ourselves, but I have a sense that fear of failure, or looking bad, or succeeding wildly, might in some way be at the center of this.

And, at that center of it all, what might really be holding us back from true creative joy is the fear of fully feeling…period.

Fully feeling our range of humanness and our sacredness, and the intensity of those feelings may just be at the heart of why we stop ourselves from knowing creative joy.

I know from my own life experience, I’ve only been able to feel deep and profound joy because I’ve felt deep and profound sorrow. The heart doesn’t judge… it feels the totality of experience.

A while ago,

perhaps six years or so, I took a class called mess-painting. Mess painting is a kind of process painting, where you use tempera paints, brushes and wall street journal pages to burn through layers that keep you from your deep creativity.

In the six-week process, I painted in my own apartment, in a tent of plastic sheets that I hung from the ceiling. This is a very messy process. I painted six days a week, at least twenty paintings in a session, where each painting was created in the span of two minutes.

In mess painting, the process is to cover one full sheet of Wall Street Journal paper (the ink used doesn’t run) with paint using brushes and any of eight specific colors. That’s it.It’s a very physical process. You have to move quickly. There is no time to think about what colors you want or how they should go on the paper. There is only enough time to move the brush to the color then to the paper, allowing something more present than thought to choose which color and where to place it.About four and a half weeks into the process, I suddenly felt a very different energy begin to move through me. It felt wild and untamed. It felt animal and soulful. I had the overwhelming urge to drop the brush and dive in with my body. I painted with my fingers, hands, and elbows. I couldn’t get enough of my body into the process.I painted until the energy quieted. And then I wrote this:

When I mess-paint, I come alive. I can’t wait to pull out the colors and begin. When I am painting I am totally engrossed. I love to see the colors mix together on the paper, to see what transpires in a given session. I find I can’t get enough of me into the mess – hands, fingers, fingernails – I am so taken with the paintings that I keep watching them as they dry, dying to see what beauty is there. What are the qualities of my painting? There is an energetic pulse to it. I can feel my soul coming through me. Does it come charging through me like a tiger? Does it spread itself on the paper with love and softness, or even reckless abandon?

It is akin to intimacy – when there are no longer any barriers between another and me: when clothes are off, small talk is quieted, distractions are gone, and there are only the two of us in conversation. The language is intimacy. The “words” are infused with love and deep meaning. There is a direct channel open where truth and soul are shared without reservation, without holding back. Passion, desire, and love all come pouring forth into this conversation between two beings. That is the incredible connection and intimacy that I long for. That is the juice I find in painting. When I create art, it is an individual act. It feels like connecting with myself in a deeply intimate way.

After writing this, I felt a peace I had never known. I felt no fear. None.

As I read again what I wrote then, I can feel the joy I felt in the liberation of this fiery, orgasmic, instinctual self. I can feel the love and aliveness, and my soul’s desire for connection and expression. The direct connection between creativity and sexuality is right there and so plain to see.

So, when it comes to being creative, ask yourself these questions:

What will you do knowing you will fail (not that you are NOT going to fail) that you will fail?
In some way, no matter what we try, we fail…and in some ways we succeed. It’s a both/and. In order to know one, we must know the other.

What are you afraid to feel fully? Where do you stop yourself from fully feeling?

If your creativity was an orgasm waiting to happen, what would bring you to that orgasm?

Sit with these questions. Allow them to run and swim and jump through your body. Let them loose to follow their own flow. See what shows up.

A wonderful friend and colleague, Chris Zydel, recently shared this:

There is nothing in this world that you can’t do as long as you are willing to begin by taking the risk of doing it very, very badly.

I wonder. I wonder what kind of creative joy we would know if we let loose this much? Let loose to create exactly what we desire to create REGARDLESS of how well (or badly) we do it, or whether or not we fail (or succeed).

All of our expectations keep us so locked up. IF something is really creative, it is new. Brand new. Meaning, we have NO IDEA what will happen and what will transpire because of our creation.

Can we stand on the threshold of this ‘not-knowing’ and let go? Can we feel what comes without blocking or stopping or containing ourselves? Can we experience this fiery joy?

As I tell my clients, the energy of creativity and sexuality are the same. The rise up from the same place in the body. They are our life force. That’s why we feel so alive when we allow ourselves to let go. I suggest to my clients, especially if they are feeling blocked, to have sex, to experience orgasm, to let go into this experience, so they can explore what creative orgasm feels like.

And, I offer this to you. Will you let yourself open to orgasmic creativity?

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This post is an offering to the profoundly creative and sumptuously sensuous women whose work I love: JenMarianne, & Susannah. They invited some of their fellow creators to write on Creative Joy and I’m honored to do so here.

Download and enjoy this beautiful compilation of writings on Creative Joy.

Check out and register for for Jen, Marianne & Susannah’s retreat in July so that you might discover your Creative Joy.

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