Wholly Erotic. Life itself is a Creative Act.



La Danse (The Dance) by Henri Matisse


Oh, those crazy messages of lack, and shame, sin and fear that’ve been whispered in our ears for millennia.

When we hear such messages over and over, we don’t just hear them, we begin to feel them in the cells of our bodies. Listening to them, you feel what they say. If they stick in our head and move down to our heart, we begin to feel what they say. Then, we begin to believe they are our own messages. Then, we begin to believe they are true.

I’ll let you in on something I’ve discovered. They aren’t ours. They aren’t true. They can be tossed back to those who first began to say them, so long ago.

Don’t listen to them. Or, if they are persistent, pretend your head is a one-room cabin with two side doors where your ears are, and let those messages of lack and shame and fear come in one door and go out the other. They won’t even know, or care, that they passed right through. They’ll just keep on going, whispering, or shouting if that is the case. Let them keep moving the way they are moving. They are looking for a home to land in, but that home doesn’t have to be yours. For them to land, the receiver must be receptive to their guest request.

Put up your ‘no vacancy’ sign.

Then, open the door of your heart to the love that is our universe, to the love that is here just waiting to fill every cell of your body, every fiber of your soul. It’s love. It’s creativity. It’s vibrantly alive. It’s wholly erotic.

Wholly erotic. That’s just it. Eros is a wholeness. It’s been sliced and diced into a sliver of what it really is.

Last Sunday,

I went to see the Matisse exhibit at the Legion of Honor, here in San Francisco. It was a beautiful, sunny Sunday afternoon. I’d just finished dancing – something I adore, as most of you know. I always feel clear and grounded, and a kind of ‘spent feeling’ after dance – like I’ve thoroughly sweated everything out that might be keeping me from being fully present in my body. It’s a feeling of deep peace and simple joy.

So, I arrived at the museum already feeling good. I love Matisse’s paintings. I always have. Something magical happens for me every time I stand in the exhibit room and look at his bright colors, thick powerful lines of paint, and the surreal way he uses white to capture light. When I am in this experience, I feel so damn alive. So alive. I feel the colors’ pulse and the vibrancy of these thick lines of paint. It’s as if the movements of his body to create the paintings come through the painting itself, as if I can feel the dance he did to create the work.

I spent about 30 minutes in the one-room exhibit and then I found the cafe. I’d brought my paper and pen to write. The cafe has a beautiful patio in the sunshine. The museum is right by the entrance to the Golden Gate Bridge, so the air is really crisp and clean, especially when the sun is bright. The light was amazing. So, I sat down to write, pen to paper, filled with so much of what I love.

And the words flowed. They flowed like honey because I felt like honey.

I’d had this image in my mind’s eye of writing right after doing these things that I love, and while being in an environment that I love.

You see, I no longer see that it is selfish or privileged to experience this love and beauty so fully. That does not mean I don’t recognize that I am privileged, that simply because of my race and class I have access to these kinds of experiences that others do not. I know it. And, I also know that to not live the joy, and the eros that is present in this joy, isn’t being in integrity.

“Service can have no meaning unless one takes pleasure in it.
Service which is rendered without joy helps neither the servant, nor the served.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi

If you don’t do what you love, ultimately, what purpose are you serving?

To silence joy, to banish beauty, to not seek out that which awakens my soul and brings her forth into this soul-starved world would make no sense whatsoever. And, it would be buying into these messages of lack, and shame, sin and fear.

If I were simply to keep them to myself, I wouldn’t be living them. But, when I infuse everything I do with this erotic, creative awareness that I am, I am then a vessel that offers this love back out into the world.

What a powerful expression it is to live our full-on, wholly erotic, creative joy. Life itself is a creative act. It is born out of the erotic. When I live what I love, fully, I bring forth love – not lack, nor fear, nor shame.

I sense that is what we are here to do. To remember this love, to remember this joy, to know, deep in our cells, we are life wanting to live not for itself, but for life.


I’m getting ready to open the door to a new offer – a 6-week writing circle.

This writing circle will incorporate so much of what I have learned, experienced, and come to see. It will incorporate the erotic. We will see what we uncover. If you want to be the first to know, sign-up here to receive the news. I’d love to have you join me.



Ripe Impulse – Learning to Trust the Source of Your Creativity

Red Plums

Now it is the crickets
that say Ripe Ripe
slurred in the darkness, while the plums

dripping on the lawn outside
our window, burst
with a sound like thick syrup
muffled and slow

Margaret Atwood, from “Late August”



I feel the impulse. It rises up inside me from deep in the dark. It rises up on its own, like breath.

This impulse is alive, like breath, like me.

This impulse is whole. Everything is contained within. Everything I need in order to express this impulse comes along with it.

This impulse is ripe. And, because it is ripe, the entirety of it is ready to be eaten, tasted, digested, and made new again through expression.

This impulse is wise. It knows what I don’t know. And when I admit I don’t know, it comes. In its own time.

This impulse is responsive. When I listen to, and feel, the deepest longing inside me, and actively create, and engage within, a space for epiphany and insight, it comes. It always comes. In its own time.

My willingness to trust and admit that I do not have the answer to a question I truly want to know serves like a clarion call to grace…to be graced.

Grace comes on its own, in its own time. That is what it means to ‘be graced’.



Something subtle happens when you finally realize there is no better version of yourself to become, when you realize that voice in your head isn’t telling you the truth. After so many years of trying to be more, you stop trying, pushing, and striving so hard. It is then that a presence begins to more clearly make itself known. This presence doesn’t fluctuate between ‘enough’ and ‘not enough’ like our personalities do. In the realization that there is nothing else you can be other than who you are, this fluctuation begins to soften and subside. And as it subsides, this presence becomes clearer and  more palpable.

This presence simply is. And, there is a pulse to its expression that moves through each of us, an impulse to move and express in a certain way.

I call this the creative impulse and we all have it within us.

We could also call it the love impulse. It is love and it wants to have its way with us.

Last week, in my current group of Becoming a Force of Nature, we explored module five and its corresponding practice, “Follow the Ripe Impulse.” Every time I teach this work, I practice again, alongside.

This practice of following the impulse is at the heart of leading from your personal creative resource, what some might call Essence, or Soul, or Spirit. I also call it Love.

The creative impulse always comes from within you. It is never outside of you. Ever. It can be like a nudge. Or an arrow shooting straight up through your core. Or a soft tap on your inner flesh, a sudden silent utterance from your heart, a sensuous swelling in your womb.

The beautiful thing about it is that once you begin to follow it, you soften for you realize there’s nothing to figure out, only an impulse to follow. The impulse will guide and everything you need to know is inside. When you trust this, you become the vessel, and you begin to follow.

The process to getting to the place where you feel and know this presence and impulse isn’t linear at all. It’s a deep dive into the unknown. You come upon rocky terrain, dark shadows, creatures who seemingly have bad intentions, but who ultimately are there as some of the wisest Sherpas you could be blessed to come to know.

And even when you know this presence and feel the impulse, it doesn’t mean the mind doesn’t flare up over and over again, trying to figure out. This happened to me this week. My mind went wacky. I could feel it flare up and, when it did, I lost sight of this impulse. Instead, I got caught in the crazy looping of trying to figure things out, of circular emotions, and almost a panicky feeling. Thank goodness it wasn’t too long before I caught myself, realizing that I felt so crappy because I was caught up in it. Sometimes when this happens, all I can do is laugh, because it is so funny how the mind makes up these entire worlds filled with only dire possibilities.

In the course, this week we are following the live-with, ‘Follow the Ripe Impulse’. A live-with is a guide to help you put what you’ve learned into the real world – it is contextual learning.

I wanted to share it here because I think it is such a helpful thing to realize that who you really are is leading you from within. When you begin to feel this and follow it, you become less and less concerned about what others think and more aligned with this impulse. It is very freeing. And it isn’t easy. I don’t know anyone who has had any easy time with this. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it.


Here’s a snippet from the course live-with, in case you want to play alongside of us!

Feel for the Ripe Impulse: desire, question, longing

Always, the live-with is relatively simple. If you do nothing else, simply feel for the ripe impulse.
You’ve let go of expectations and relaxed the judgment.
You’ve become awake and aware, and can hear and feel and sense the wisdom of your body.
Right here is the present moment. Here is the sea of infinite possibility.
Here is where the ‘New’ is breaking on the horizon, bubbling up from the sea of possibility, making itself known.
Before the ‘New’ breaks open, we have no idea what is coming.
But, we CAN feel for the ripe impulse that tells us where to place our attention, what to feel for, how to respond, and what to respond to.


And if you’re interested in finding out about the course, (Becoming a Force of Nature), or wish to sign-up to be notified when the course opens for registration again, you can do so here.


‘Red Plums’ by Nick Saltmarsh on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0


Maybe there is really only ONE story in life – the story of learning to be real.





Everything points to this, to the realization that to be happy we must live what we love, we must find our true selves, our north star.

Instead, we learn at an early age to leave ourselves, to forget what it is we love, to take on roles and identities that veil and hide our true selves. It’s something that comes up with EVERY coaching client, and every student in my creativity courses.

I’ve always had a way to speak to this ‘thing’ we humans do, but recently I came across a speaker and video that put it all into really simple words. A friend and colleague recently shared this video (below) by Dr. Gabor Maté. It is long, and it is worth every moment. While Dr. Maté is speaking to something much larger, and something very important for us all to be aware of, a part of his video is about attachment and authenticity.

Dr. Maté explains there are two things a child needs: attachment and authenticity; but when the child is young, these two things most often are at odds with each other, so the child goes for the one things she needs – to be attached to those who will make sure she survives.


“The story of your childhood is that you were born with the gut feelings intact and connected completely. But at some point something happened to you. At some point you got the message that in order to survive and to be acceptable you have to suppress your gut feelings.

Here’s how it works. Children have two needs. Infants, any human being We have two basic needs. the more immature we are the more important the first need becomes. and that’s for attachment. Attachment means the connection with another human being for the purpose of being taken care of. That’s an absolute need of a small child. Can’t live without it. Impossible. That’s one large need.

Another need however we have to function as full human beings is to be authentic. Authentic means that we know who we are, what we feel, are able to express it, and able to honor it in our behavior. So we have the need for attachment and the need for authenticity.

But what happens if in order to attach we have to suppress our authenticity, because our parents can’t handle who we are, because they can’t handle our anger as two year olds, because they can’t handle our expression of our needs, because they’re too stressed, they’re too needy? We suppress our gut feelings because the expression of them would bring us into conflict with our caregivers. 

Our problem as adults is that a lot of our behaviors are coming out of our need to attach…at the expense of our authenticity.”


What happens when we must have attachment to others who require us to be something other than what we are? We attempt to become something we are not. At least we think we do. We can’t ever be what we are not…we just pretend to be.

We are loved unconditionally AND conditionally, and it’s the conditions that are required for love that are the same conditions required for attachment.


This is it. The big enchilada. This is the journey from living by our ‘gut instincts’, to the conditioned – and hopefully back to the unconditioned. This is the human journey, the human story…the story of learning, again, to be real.


One of the most popular children’s books of all time, The Velveteen Rabbit, is a story of  becoming real.

“When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”  ― Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit


And who is the child in your story? YOU. Only you can love yourself enough, unconditionally, to be real. Only you can provide this attachment. It’s an inside job this unconditional loving.

For this is where we discover true love – a love that allows others to be real without our need for their approval of our realness, and our approval of theirs.

This attachment is a place of belonging to self, a place where you come to know and feel good living in your own skin, where you trust your gut and heart, and stay true to you.

I know it has been my story.


So the ultimate choice then is to choose the unconditioned: unconditioned love, unconditioned self, unconditioned life. Life won’t put conditions on you. Others will.  The opportunity is to not do it to yourself, but rather to love yourself without conditions, expectations, and judgment.


Life won’t present you with conditional attachment. You are already part of life. You belong. Right here. In your skin. Notice that…that life doesn’t present you with conditionality. 


Living in the unconditioned means being free to be you…and it means the acceptance that to love another is to release the need for them to be anything other than what they are, even if they act out in response to your being authentic by un-attaching from you!

Living authentically then is also letting go of needing Life to be anything other than what it is, and presenting anything other than what it presents.

As children, we make this trade-off to ensure our survival. As adults, in order to ensure the survival of the soul, we must return to being real and to discovering this place of maturity. 


And living Unabashedly Female is exactly this. What behavior do we suppress, what knowing do we suppress, what feelings do we suppress in order to stay attached to a system and culture that only accepts us if we DO NOT LIVE our power as women?

What do we hide about our female authenticity so that we will be acceptable…so we won’t be TOO MUCH…because a system can’t handle the power of the feminine?

To ensure the survival of the soul, we must live what we are.


Maybe there is really only ONE story in life…the story of learning to be real, to be unabashedly REAL in a female body.


You can watch the whole video with Dr. Maté. The part I mention is around 38 minutes in. If you can, listen to the whole thing because he speaks great wisdom about anger, emotions, and boundaries, too!


When we love the whole human experience, we are the miracle.

You have been taught many ways
To mend your broken heart.
But have you asked your heart
If it wishes to be mended?

We are a species teetering on the brink. War, Fukushima, financial markets collapsing, global warming, governments in complete dysfunction, etc. We have pushed our ways of greed and control and domination so far that we may have pushed ourselves right over the brink.

Power wants to promote fear, and asks us to believe that love, tenderness, and compassion are weak. But they are not. A broken open heart is not weak at all.

Yesterday, Author Andrew Harvey shared this on his Facebook page:

Dear Friends,

It is time for everyone to become aware of what is at stake in the unprecedented crisis of Fukushima. Please turn to the website below and share the information with all your friends.

In this shattering time, I find three things essential: deep prayer, profound attention on loving everyone in our lives with intense compassion, and renewed commitment to go on serving whatever circumstances God may decide to be necessary for our transformation.

Ground yourself in your divine consciousness, surrender to the mystery and pray for deeper and deeper trust in the alchemy of divine wisdom. Do not be afraid, for the Living One is never closer to us then in our hour of deepest need.


 A few years back, I worked with Andrew Harvey through his Institute for Sacred Activism, where he taught us to blend our deep love for the divine with the creative impulse within us for activism.

I don’t know the truth of what is happening at Fukushima. I don’t know that any of us truly know. On one hand, it sounds like what could happen could be absolutely devastating to the human race, as well as so many species and flora, water systems, etc. On the other, it doesn’t serve us to become filled with fear about something that hasn’t happened.

Yet, these three things:

  • deep prayer
  • profound attention on loving everyone in our lives with intense compassion
  • renewed commitment to go on serving whatever circumstances God may decide to be necessary for our transformation

are needed simply because we’ve reached a point of crisis that our thinking just can’t resolve. Whether it be in response to Fukushima, or so many of the other grave situations we have created on our planet, these three things are exactly what we must do.

I would add that the third one - whatever circumstances God may decide to be necessary for our transformation – is what is at the root of our creativity.

As Osho wrote, “God is in the new.” The new is where transformation happens. And for anything to be truly creative, it must be transformative, meaning we acknowledge we do not know…and then we step, willingly, into the unknown.


The other morning, I was lying in bed waking up and contemplating how much my soul loves beauty – and then I felt the most amazing love holding me…love from the inside. It caused me to weep, the kind of tears that simply run out your eyes and down your face.

In response, I wrote this:

When beauty comes to live in your heart, love is the child that is born.

And then, I wrote this:

As I was waking up this morning, I realized something. I realized that what I love – true, deep, cell-vibrating love – breaks my heart open, makes me smile from my whole body, and in one single flash takes me home to what I’ve longed for and searched for all my life.

My heart does not want to mend right now. Rather, if I allow myself to go there, my heart continually moves toward grief, toward feeling what is here, toward love. It continues to move toward finding the deep well of organic compassion that the deeper recesses of the heart knows well.


I went to bed last night with a heavy heart. My heart has broken open so many times in my life, and last night my heart was heavy with the grief of what we’ve done to this beautiful world we’ve been gifted to be a part of. My heart was heavy with thoughts of what my children and grandchildren will experience in the coming decades. And, I realized that I am much closer to the end of my life than the beginning, even not knowing when my day to die will come. And in that realization, something softened. I realized I have lived a good life. I’ve been gifted with so much. It is easy to be in the habit of wanting more and more and more, yet in that moment of seeing a very possible painful future for my grandchildren, I realized that even if I spent the rest of my life in conscious service to the divine to be a source of love, I could never repay what I have been given.


Then, I awoke in the middle of the night with a very clear picture of what must happen. I was shown something profoundly simple, yet incredible beautiful. It wasn’t an image (or promise) of everything being okay. Instead, it was an image of what we are truly here for in these times.

I could see that we are here to LIVE the Miracle – to BE the miracle. The miracle isn’t outside of us. The miracle is us. Living from love rather than fear is the miracle. Living as prayer. Moving from being meaning making creatures to love making creatures.

As I lay in bed, I remembered what The Course in Miracles says about miracles – that a miracle is the shift from fear to love.

Our lives can be an offering of this shift. But to really live this, we can’t choose what we love. If WE are the miracle then the shift from fear to love must be with our whole being for the wholeness of life.


When we love the whole human experience, we are the miracle.


When I discovered unimaginable beauty in the deep waters of grief, I thought I was going crazy at first. How could I feel beauty in this place? But when I let myself love that beauty in grief, I began to feel real and whole again. I felt as human as I did when my daughters were born, when I was alive with both physical pain and sheer unimaginable joy.

It was hard and it was beautiful. Right now we are living in hard and beautiful times, but we will only know the beauty and the full human experience if we feel what is happening, and we open to the whole spectrum of human experience. It’s the beauty of being human…not just in the good times, but in the hard times as well.

Those of us who’ve been sheltered for all of our lives with entitlement, privilege, and safety have known life from only these places…but life is a vulnerable proposition. Underneath a life of relative safety and ease, the rest of life’s experiences lay dormant simply waiting to be known. If we are to love life, it means loving the whole of life…the entirety of what it can mean to be a human being.

This is the miracle. Living this love in the midst of the turmoil, and feeling what it is to be connected, alive, human beings who love this planet, love each other, and deeply love life – right in the shadow of death.

It’s not to romanticize it. That’s not it. I wasn’t romanticizing Gary’s death. The very real living of the grief, the feeling of it deeply, there was the beauty of being human. Not just in good times, but in really, really hard times as well.

After all, death is always here…even when we pretend it isn’t.


A few months ago, I went to hear the visionary author, Charles Eisenstein, speak in the city. After his short talk, the audience asked him what it will take to make the shift from our current situation to the kind of world so many of us envision.

His reply? “It will take a miracle.”

As the audience took in his reply, my sense was that people wanted something more substantial. They wanted to be told of something they could do. That’s just my sense, but it’s what I felt. Sometimes that feels easier…just tell me what I can ‘do’ to fix things, and then everything will be okay.

But that isn’t what is true here. Although action is needed, it’s not the action we are used to taking that will shift us, because our current thinking keeps us acting in the same old ways.

As I saw what I saw last night, I had the ‘Aha’ around miracle. We’ve been conditioned to believe miracles occur outside of us, by some miraculous hand and that hand bestows them upon us. Instead, I see that what is new for us human beings is to come to know that our very lives are miracles, that when we shift from fear to the love that is at the heart of what we are we are a living, breathing miracle.

To face whatever comes with love is to love this human life – all of it, without condition, without demand – not just the pretty pictures, but the whole of it.

When I’ve been in deep grief in my life, what has happened every time is that I came to a place where I asked to be relieved of my own self-focus and self-concern. Each time I could see that the ways I focused on my own worries and fears simply got in the way of my ability to be helpful to those around me who really needed me. In those moments, when I prayed for this release, it was given. In that giving I came to directly touch, and share, a love that had no fear.

There is nothing for us to be waiting for. We ARE the miracle wanting to be lived. And, as Andrew Harvey says, “the Living One is never closer to us than in our hour of deepest need.”



Dark Times? Stay steadfast to the wisdom of your heart. You are in beautiful company.



When I was a teenager, I would sit on my bed and listen to the folk songs of my era. Late sixties, early seventies was a beautiful time when much of the music offered a new way of seeing things. There was an energy in the air of Love, of the possibility of living differently.

I remember the feeling in my heart. I remember feeling this deep connectedness to Life.

I remember the Beauty.

I remember hope, a hope that seemed to have a powerful life of its own.

Lately, I’ve been listening to this music again. The Beatles, Neil Young, James Taylor, Carol King, Crosby Stills and Nash, were some of my favorites. When I listen, I feel those same feelings of connectedness and hope. But along with those, I also feel a steadfastness that comes from age and wisdom. I now know, as experience, things I only dreamed of back then. I now know that it is possible to make this shift to peace, to compassion, to Love.


As a species, we are facing, and have been facing, choices that demand we find a new way of being, living, and creating in this world. The old way of domination and control have brought us to, not only other beings’ actual extinction, but the brink of our own.

I know it can be hard to stay with what you know in your heart when all around you are images, feelings, words, and rhetoric that attempt to manipulate and intimidate you to disbelieve what you know.

Do not listen to those voices that try to condemn you for your open and compassionate heart.

Do not listen to those voices that keep trying to push the illusion that might makes right, that toughness will always win out over compassion, reconciliation, and tenderness. 

Don’t listen to those voices, AND don’t close your heart to them. Those voices are inside you, too. They are inside all of us.

“The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart.
The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”
~ Carlos Santana

Compassion, reconciliation, tenderness, and resiliency are qualities of the heart and they can be fierce in their commitment to love.


Stay with your heart. Hold beauty there, the beauty that constantly graces us in each moment. Even in these difficult times there is beauty. And, beauty is not what we’ve been taught to believe it is. Beauty is all around us, in every moment, and you know it when you encounter it by its fiercely tender powerful effect on your being.

The forces against awakening to our oneness with all of life, both inside of us and outside of us, are still functioning from a belief of separation, one that manifests in forms of tribalism that many will tell you is how human beings are. Period.

But this is the opportunity at hand: to realize, both inside and out, that what we truly are is not this behavior that’s been lived out by humans over thousands of years. What we truly are is love, is compassion, is the One that breaths all of life.

The future for our children and their children is bleak if we do not make this leap of consciousness.

People will say over and over and over (I hear it all the time) that what we see in the world right now is proof of what we are. But do not believe it. Much of what we see in the world right now are the EFFECTS of believing what we’ve believed. We see now are the forms that our thoughts and beliefs and fears have created. AND, if you look and feel, really look and feel, the bright green new shoots of something new, very new, are here. They are the sprouts of a new way coming into being. Perhaps these sprouts have sprouted from the seeds that we sown back during those years of the music that guides us to something different.


“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” ~John Lennon

When you doubt yourself, remember you are ‘not the only one’. You are in beautiful company. By staying steadfast to the wisdom of your heart, you invite others to join you. They will feel your steadfastness.

Until recently, I would let the words of others cause me to question my wisdom, what I know in my heart and soul. No more. There is no time for that.

Look at the new. Feel it in your body, in your heart, in your soul. The new is what is coming into being. Allow these shoots to spring forth in your heart. Allow them to perfume your words, your acts, your prayers, your song. Allow them to guide your action in the world. As long as you follow the truth in your heart, you do not have to know where you, or we, are headed. You cannot know. But your heart can guide you.

May you know that you are always graced with beauty even in what seem to be such dark times. Hold beauty in your heart. It is a form of prayer for your more loving, fiercely loving, nature to pour forth.


ps This post was fueled by darjeeling tea and serenaded by sixties music. If you sit still and listen, you just might feel that transmission.


Dance to Break the Chain


On Sat Jan 26, I participated in a flash mob for One Billion Rising. If you don’t yet know what this is, take a peek here. Short version – it’s Eve Ensler’s vision to have one billion women strike, dance, and rise to end global violence against women. One in three women on this earth will be sexually abused or beaten in her lifetime. One in three. Think about the women in your life. Out of every three, one will have to endure this violence. And, you might even be that one in three. I am.

At this time, 190 out of the world’s 193 countries plan to participate.

You probably all know what a flash mob is. This was not really a flash, but still a mob…about three hundred of us. We gathered downtown, across the street from the Ferry building, and right near San Francisco’s financial district. We were there to perform the dance that Debby Allen choreographed for One Billion Rising to the song, Break the Chain.

Many women and men volunteered their time to help teach, to organize, to set-up, and to ultimately help to put on this day, as well as the other four performances to be held in the next month or so around the San Francisco bay area.

On V-Day, always held on Feb 14, VDay, we will gather again, this time at the Civic Center in San Francisco to do the same dance, and in the evening in Fairfax to dance a 5Rhythms wave – all to strike, dance and rise, in support of ending global violence against women.

On this day, though, I was deeply moved by what I experienced dancing to rise up, in solidarity, to this violence, and to the complacency so many of us seem to have to the kind of culture that breeds it. I’m a dancer. I love the dance. I’ve been dancing for over ten years, now, and lately many of my friends from the coaching world have begun dancing, too. Friends I have known for these ten years danced alongside me.

On this day, the dance was holy – holy moments of dancing with 300 other women and men; holy moments literally dancing to Break the Chain, as well as metaphorically to break the chain; holy moments dancing with my whole body and whole heart for everyone who cannot dance, everyone who is not free.

My friend, Amrit Rai, and her husband Larry came to the city to watch the dance. They are both part of my dance community. I spoke with Amrit after the dance, and she shared her experience of watching. She spoke of the depth of feeling that she witnessed as we danced. Her words pointed to something very similar to what I felt dancing, yet she wasn’t dancing. I asked her to share them here:


“When Larry and I first arrived I felt immediately uplifted as the collective field that was forming was one of inclusion and joy. The thought of witnessing a herstoric, dancing event in the financial district environment had me curious. On getting there we were immediately whisked onto the stairs by a couple of women in the crowd. We had the perfect view overlooking the center area where the dancers were starting to gather.

The most moving thing to me was seeing so many familiar faces from the dance community and to see a united moving body– moving together on behalf of women’s rights and freedom.

The dancers and group energy field was infused with heart — I couldn’t help from clapping and singing in solidarity.

I noticed that the dancers were the most moved of everyone in the crowd. Tears, expressions of awe and reverence were visible in their faces and palpable.

My sense of it was that it is important to be a direct participant in such a movement– that the actual embodiment itself makes a deeper commitment to what it is we are standing for, or rather dancing for – being a participant is at the core of the change.

I am happy that the collective WE is bringing light to such basic issues using such potent healing modalities, LOVE and UNITY– so much more energetically potent than protesting, and the embodiment piece is brilliant– wisdom in action!

Resonance informed transformation. Infectious and unifying! I loved it!

I left there with true hope in my belly for a loving and humane world. One in which life is celebrated and every being feels a deep sense of belonging.


When we act from our deepest desires, and from our own internal knowing, a powerful force is unleashed.
When our action is grounded in something we truly love, as it is here in the dance for me and for so many of the people in the dance community I am so lucky to be a part of, joy is also released, joy married with a desire to serve healing and life.

Our denial can be great; I know mine is. For me, denial is a many-layered thing. Denial creates a fog that makes it easy to continue functioning in the day-to-day, all the while underneath it we know we are not listening to our hearts, and we are not taking responsibility for the wellbeing of life. When we get into the body and feel, we can no longer deny what is true. The body moves toward life, toward love. The body moves toward healing.

On Feb 14th, VDay, we all can rise. Just think of the shift on our planet when One Billion women (and the men who will take the step forward to dance alongside of us, knowing that violence against women is not just a women’s problem) dance for liberation, dance for the end of the status quo, dance for freedom from violence for everyone, the entire planet will feel it. Think of the joy we will release through our feet, feet that connect with the earth. The earth needs to know joy, too.

Amrit is right: To embody this movement of rising, this movement of solidarity between women and men, this movement of love is an incredible experience. To feel it in your cells, to engage the body in dance, in music and joy, is to bring one’s whole self to stand for change.

What I noticed was that I wasn’t fighting against, but rather I was dancing for a new dawn, a new day. Dancing with my dancing friends, with such beautiful music and moves, for freedom from violence amidst the tall buildings of San Francisco’s financial district was surreal. It was as if two worlds were colliding for me. Dance is something that I do where most of the rest of the world doesn’t see it. To bring so much love and passion out into the street taught me something. It taught me that dance must no longer stay separate form the rest of my life. What I experience on the dance floor is holy. And what I experience dancing out in Justin Herman Plaza was holy. Dance is holy joy.

In the evening of Feb 14th, on V-day, Stacey Butcher and I will be hosting a 5Rhythms wave in Fairfax, a small town in Marin. Kim Rosen, a poet, will also join us sharing some of her spoken word poetry. It will be a joyous rising up, a striking for justice and love. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please join us. You can sign-up here.

Silence is no longer an option.


Break the Chain Lyrics

Lyrics by Tena Clark
Music by Tena Clark/Tim Heintz

I raise my arms to the sky
On my knees I pray
I’m not afraid anymore
I will walk through that door
Walk, dance, rise
Walk, dance, rise

I can see a world where we all live
Safe and free from all oppression
No more rape or incest, or abuse
Women are not a possession

You’ve never owned me, don’t even know me
I’m not invisible, I’m simply wonderful
I feel my heart for the first time racing
I feel alive, I feel so amazing

I dance cause I love
Dance cause I dream
Dance cause I’ve had enough
Dance to stop the screams
Dance to break the rules
Dance to stop the pain
Dance to turn it upside down
Its time to break the chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain
Dance, rise
Dance, rise

In the middle of this madness, we will stand I know there is a better world
Take your sisters & your brothers by the hand
Reach out to every woman & girl
This is my body, my body’s holy
No more excuses, no more abuses
We are mothers, we are teachers,
We are beautiful, beautiful creatures

I dance cause I love
Dance cause I dream
Dance cause I’ve had enough
Dance to stop the screams
Dance to break the rules
Dance to stop the pain
Dance to turn it upside down
It’s time to break the chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain

Dance Break Inst.

Dance, rise
Dance, rise

Sister won’t you help me, sister won’t you rise x4

Dance, rise
Dance, rise

Sister won’t you help me, sister won’t you rise x4

This is my body, my body’s holy
No more excuses, no more abuses
We are mothers, we are teachers,
We are beautiful, beautiful creatures

I dance cause I love
Dance cause I dream
Dance cause I’ve had enough
Dance to stop the screams
Dance to break the rules
Dance to stop the pain
Dance to turn it upside down
Its time to break the chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain, oh yeah
Break the Chain

Strike | Dance | Rise


Women’s Love

Magnolia Flame

Women loving women.

Women trusting women.

Women healing women.

Learning to trust and love women has been a long journey for me. I’ve fought it and I’ve longed for it. Along the way, I have been a lot of things…sometimes kind, sometimes not; sometimes forgiving and deeply caring, sometimes jealous, undermining and a whole host of things part of me would rather not acknowledge, but nonetheless are true.

Learning to really love means meeting ourselves in places we’ve hidden away. I am grateful for the friends who’ve been straight with me about my behavior, both light and dark.

Through all of these experiences, I have come to know this:

There is a unique love that women have for each other. Opening to and embodying this love will change your world, which in turn will heal our world.

When I speak of this love to the women in my life, they acknowledge this love. They know this love, yet it’s seldom spoken about in the culture. It’s a powerful force. When women come together in love, we recognize our power together. When women come together in love, life heals. When women come together in love, we are no longer so easily shamed and or see ourselves as powerless.

It is high time we come together in love. Life beckons us to this love, to heal that which keep us from knowing it.

Leap Day call

The other day, just last week, I hosted a leap day call. On the call, I spoke of how each of us is sacred…every cell, every atom is sacred. And, I spoke of really seeing each other, how doing this is so healing for us all.

When I, a woman, truly and deeply see you, another woman, this love pours forth; love for ourselves and our womanhood, and love for each other. This love then flows out to all of life.

I held the call on Wednesday afternoon. When it was done, I was elated. I felt like I had shared something that really wanted to move through me. I reflected on the comments of the women on the call. They shared both pain and joy, fear and inspiration.

Something healed right then and there on the call. I could feel a healing within myself from participating in the call, from sharing my wisdom. I could feel a healing within myself from taking in the wisdom of other women, and from taking in the collective field that formed because we came together with open hearts.


The next day, I felt grief rise up, a grief of both fearing and desiring to open my heart fully in relationship. When I was with my late husband, I wasn’t as aware and conscious. I opened my heart at the level I could, and he was deeply respectful and loving.

As I’ve become more conscious, and now know the love that is inherent in a woman, I long to be partnered with someone I can open to in this way; someone whose touch is reverent; someone who wants to love the fullness and power of womanhood, not a muted form of it.

This grief was raw, not reasonable nor rational. It lasted through the evening and into the early morning hours. And then, as it moved through, I could see the innermost space of the heart is only for the divine. It is a place that is solely for the divine, a place that when I honor its sanctity, I feel more tenderness and love for myself. When I honor the inner sanctity of the heart, I open to myself with love, and in turn, open to another.

Knowing this sanctity, I have the full power and awareness to say, “No”, to any touch that is irreverent…including my own touch to myself.

I climbed out of bed and felt serenity and a kind of deep peace with everything as it was and is. I took a walk in the sun, a long walk. I was out longer than expected. As I headed toward home, knowing I would immediately hop on a two-hour call when I walked in the door, I checked my email by phone to check-in to anything I needed to respond to.

A Gift

There in my email was this gift: a comment left on the blog about the leap day call and what followed from listening to it.

“I listened to your wonderful Leap Day call last night, and I wanted to share the beautiful spontaneous loving experience I had. Just shortly before starting the call, I had put warm grapeseed oil, on my hair. I’ve been using pure grapeseed oil as a body moisturizer, after the shower. It’s quite lovely. As I was listening to the call, I was massaging the oil into my hair and scalp, which then turned into massaging my neck, and my face. It felt so wonderful, that before long, I retreived the bottle of grapeseed oil, and was massaging oil onto all of my body. It was such a beautiful experience. Sitting here, in the candlelight, listening to your beautiful voice, and feeling energetically connected to all women, and loving my own body, so tenderly and compassionately. What a beautiful gift.

Something has been shifting in me lately. For a long long time, I have felt that it is unsafe to be female…to be a woman. And so I have been hiding my femininity…my beauty. I had become hard, because it felt like the only way to survive. But lately, after much hard work and soul-searching, I have been feeling a softening happening, along with the wisdom that I now know how to keep myself safe. I have been allowing my femininity to re-surface, and it is such a glorious feeling.

The loving self massage was yet, another turning point, in me accepting myself, and my feminine nature. And a powerful message revealed itself to me. I have been craving physical touch lately. Not just any physical touch, but the wondrous touch of another who adores me, and sees my inherent beauty. It has been a long time, since I felt the tender touch of a lover’s hand on my skin, and I’m quite certain that I’ve never felt it, in the way that I deserve to. This need has been an ever-present companion, in my thoughts, and yet, it felt like there was still a wall between me and receiving this loving touch. There was. It was me. I was not treating myself, and my body, in a way that expressed love and tenderness…and yet, I wanted another to do just that. I was expecting someone else to do what I wasn’t willing to do….to love myself, love my body, love all of me, just as I am. To adore and nurture, treasure and cherish me.”


I was struck by the synchronicity of our experiences. She was listening to the recording, which opened her to a powerful revelation about her own self worth and healing. She was learning to touch herself with love and reverence.

During that same evening, I was opening to the sanctity of my own heart, and of my connection to the divine, also desiring to be loved and touched again with reverence.

Women healing women healing women…all being healed by the flow of the divine creation that flows through women.

There is something powerfully healing in women that is needed in our world. It is this love. It is this creativity. It is this vulnerability and willingness to share with the world.

This is how we create.

When we offer ourselves and our creations to the world, trusting that each one is exactly what the wisdom of life is pulsing to share with the world, healing happens. Love happens. Connection happens. Relationship happens.

How powerful it is to align with this wise, sacred creative force.

So, I want to know.

What creation wants to be born through you?

What might it take to trust deeply enough in yourself and in the life moving through you to create it?

I know there are voices that tell you differently – both inside you and outside of you. I know this.

AND, the creation wants to be born anyway, does it not?

Can you feel it?

Can you give way to your creation and allow it to flow through you into a world that is so hungry for this sacred, wise love?

I know what flows through you has a direct effect on me, on the world, on life.

At the heart of it all, this power is creation itself.

Do whatever you need to do in your life to honor what wants to be born and give birth to it.

I am, right now, taking in a spoonful of this medicine. I have something very important that is dying to be born. I’ve allowed it to languish and I can no longer allow this.

I know the power of giving and receiving, and the power of knowing the sanctity of my own heart.

Never has there been a more important time than now to be what you are: a sacred creative being expressing through a woman’s body.

Never has there been a more important time than now to be Unabashedly Female. click to tweet this…


If you’re inspired to listen to the call, I’ve decided to keep the registration open for a few more days so you can have access to the recording. You can sign-up here.


Silence Thickens


I sit in silence, open, waiting, still

I whisper, Yes.


Love comes.

Love reveals itself,

Offers itself, over and over.

Waves of love

Crashing onto the shoreline of my heart.


The world is not as I think it is.

This ocean of love,

infinitely vast and deep

calls me to its shoreline

and asks me to enter in.


I don’t know what to do with this much love,

Except be still and receive.

Tears fall.

Body fills.

Silence thickens and stills.


I tremble as love finds its way into me.

It makes its way along the edges I’ve used to define myself,

And in its wake the edges fray and soften.

Lines blur.

Definition grows watery.


All dissolves.


Image by Rudy A on Flickr Some rights reserved


The ABC’s of Self-Love: R is for Release


This post is part of The ABCs of Fierce Love, by Stratejoy. When Molly suggested I write about Release, I knew exactly what wanted to be written. I’m honored to be one of 26 writers sharing wisdom about fierce love. 

Release of the Doves

First, a story…

Over the first ten days of February, I attended a silent retreat with Adyashanti, an American-born teacher of awakening. For each full day, along with 231 other people, I was silent. We meditated much of each day. This isn’t the first time I’ve done a silent retreat, but it is the longest one I’ve done…and it was the most profound.

Adya shared with us that the Divine is constantly and continually revealing itself to us in every moment. And everything it reveals to us is exactly what we need, when we need it, for our liberation…liberation from our own minds.

There were many ups and downs during these days. Just like in life, there were moments when I was confused as hell, moments when profound insights would come, and moments when nothing much seemed to be happening at all.

One moment in particular, though, speaks to the word release. I was sitting in the dining room drinking my chai, nibbling on my breakfast, and staring out a window that overlooked a green meadow and the pacific ocean. It was a beautiful morning.  I’d just finished the morning meditation, but nothing in particular was up for me. I was feeling very open.

Suddenly soft tears began to fall as I felt what seemed to be gentle waves begin to wash over me. At first, I felt some resistance to what was happening, but then my eyes instinctively closed as these waves grew stronger and caused me to turn within. The waves became deeper, and so I drew even more deeply inside, letting go into the waves. These were waves of love….sweet, silent, pulsing waves of love. It was as if an ocean of love was rhythmically washing over me, just as waves kiss the shore.

I’ve never been loved so deeply, so softly, so generously, so undeniably. Love washed over me, into me, around me and through me. I was immersed in an ocean of love…all in the midst of a silent yet bustling dining hall. This beautiful moment lasted close to 45 minutes, and at the end I knew I had been released into love.

It was a two-way love affair. The more I trusted what was being offered, the more I began to open to this love. The beloved loving the lover. The lover basking in the beloved’s love.

What keeps us bound up from this love?

Now, I imagine many of you have experienced what I did in some form. You don’t have to be silent or at a retreat or even thinking of love to experience such love. There is not necessarily any rhyme or reason to how, why or when such experiences show up.

We are always being loved. The divine is always offering itself up to you. Always. Always showing itself. Always revealing itself.

Which brings me to release, and you, and the Divine.

If this is so, what keeps us from knowing this love?

What keeps us from releasing ourselves into this great love?

While on the surface our reasons may seem different and unique, I imagine at the root they are pretty much the same. I know for me, what kept me from knowing this love as an experience were my deepest fears that who and what I am was somehow other than this divine love…that my basic nature was not love, that it was somehow broken, dark and not worthy of this divine love.

I imagine somewhere deep inside, you have similar fears.

Just for a moment, imagine this…

Imagine being set free, completely and utterly free to be you: the you you know you really are; the you you hear calling to you, the you your rational mind can’t begin to fathom exists.

When I ask you this, does it cause tears to fall and your heart to quiver? Or, perhaps there is an immediate response inside that this doesn’t pertain to you?

I know that so many of us are kept in bondage by beliefs and fears that who and what we really are is somehow not enough or okay or … fill in the blank. I also know that there is a deep instinctive drive to wake up to who we are. As the years of our lives pass by, this drive to wake up becomes stronger, while the bondage becomes more painful.

The drive you feel inside to reveal and release yourself is a natural, sacred, organic drive to heal into wholeness, to be the soul you truly are, to live a life of truth. The drive you feel inside is to know this Love, this sacred Love, as who and what you are.

No matter what, you are Loved

No matter what has happened to you in your life, your innocence and basic goodness have not been, and cannot be, diminished. 

No matter how your body has been treated, by you or by others, you are loved.

You are beautiful because the core of who you are is beauty itself.

All of you is loved, even those parts of yourself you’ve told yourself could never be loved. You are loved in your softness and your hardness. You are loved in your shyness and your ferocity. You are loved in all the ways you are.

Even if it feels like it will, your heart will not break if you feel all that you’ve feared feeling. The bindings that have grown around your heart will break, causing your heart to break open…and that is a good, good thing. This love that abides in all that is will open your heart. All you have to do is say, “Yes”.

What keeps the real you bound? Whatever it is, it is no match for Love.

What would it take to release you? Again, it is love.

Love such as this is always, always being given to you. You need not fear it, because that’s what the real you is… you are love. You are fierce love. You are soft love. You are the truth at the heart of love.


I’m not saying it will be easy. It has not been easy for me. Not one bit. It takes a burning desire to know this love. It takes a willingness to feel all that you have not wanted to feel.

The thing is, we are wired for this. It is only our minds, and the products of all of our minds, that constantly tell us differently. But, we are wired for this.

You don’t have to believe in God. You don’t have to believe in a doctrine. In fact, let go of any beliefs you have. Let go of how you think it should and will be.

Your doorway in is your longing…the longing to know love, to be loved, to be love; a longing to return home, a longing to no longer hide yourself.

Touch into your longing. Touch into your knowing. Touch into your own heart.

Reach out to the Divine and ask for what you long for.

Open to the realization that you can trust… in life, in love, in yourself so that you may receive what the Divine is offering.

This is self love: Self loving self.

Release is just a ‘Yes’ away.


You can find out more about Molly’s ‘The ABC’s of Self Love Blog Crawl + Treasure Hunt’ here.

image by massdistraction AttributionNoncommercialNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved


The Wildest Place


I am, at once, both a wild being and a soft open vessel.

I rise to meet you and I shy away from being seen.

Wildness does not necessarily mean big and loud and fierce. Sometimes it is the wildest place in me that is the most shy, most hidden in the shadow, most afraid of being caught.

Wild @ Heart

‎Jeanette Winterson writes

“What should I do about the wild and the tame? The wild heart that wants to be free,
and the tame heart that wants to come home. I want to be held. I don’t want you to come too close. I want you to scoop me up and bring me home at nights. I don’t want to tell you where I am. I want to keep a place among the rocks where no one can find me. I want to be with you.”

There is a wild nature in women. Of course it is so. The deepest darkest mysteries of creation dance their dance in a woman’s womb. Blood flows; milk pours forth; a woman’s body is creation made manifest.

And, I know that womanhood is a vulnerable experience…especially where so many images, sound bites, and representations all would have us believe women’s bodies are simply objects to be dominated and controlled. How do we come down into the power and heart inherent in this female body, when there are subtle, and not so subtle, messages that our bodies are not our own, that our sensuality is for others, that our deepest nature is suspect?

I am no longer interested in being held by one who does not, and cannot, honor the entirety of this female nature.

I am no longer interested in being seduced by those who offer love only if I hand over my personal power.

It no longer interests me to be with someone if I must shut down, turn off, trade in the very nature that is at the heart of the wild feminine.

I know now that I will no longer turn away from either the wild or the tame, or anything in between in me. I know that it is I that can no longer seduce myself into handing over my personal power, or holding myself in a way that does not honor the entirety of this female nature.

I will no longer turn away from this vast dance that repeatedly calls me to enter.

The cauldron of the vast space of creativity pulls me down into it, into a force both fiercely loving and infinitely empty. In this dark place, I am becoming. I turn and turn again in this becoming. I am destroyed and created. I am torn apart and perhaps I will be born anew.

I have tried to avoid this. I’ve tried for years to avoid the inevitable. In the words of a brilliant teacher, “Resistance is futile”.  At some point, this becomes perfectly clear. And as he also offers, resistance is the doorway in. Go directly into that which you most resist, and go with an open hand willing to receive what that resistance offers.

I’ve loved and I’ve been loved, and I am learning that love is not what I believed it to be. I am learning to listen to the poets, the mystics, and the teachers who, over and over, point to a love that is an infinite ocean, wild and chaotic. Rumi, Oliver, O’Donohue, and Adyashanti all speak of a love that our minds cannot even begin to fathom.

To me this is one of the hardest questions to live: Can I open to real love, not the projection-filled romantic love we’ve been conditioned to think will fill the hole inside, but true love, a love that is asking to pull me into its vast ocean without a life preserver, because it has no desire to preserve the false self that fights it.

In the end, the deepest places in the heart answer to no one except the One who weaves the threads of our existence.


wild@heart by mademoiselle louise on flickr Some rights reserved

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