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Archive for the Self-Awareness



who is this She that’s coming again?

let me explain.

these last few winter months, i’ve been reviewing my year of exuberant HIGHS and dark LOWS.

nathan and griffinHIGH: my son took his first wobbly baby steps and his first toddling run on the beach. every morning he wakes up singing “twinkle, twinkle, little star” but uses “mama” for every word. one of his first complete sentences was, “no owie. happy me, mama.” his baby-laughs heal all that ails me.

LOW: i swam in near despair for nearly 4 months as my post-weaning disregulated hormones hijacked my sanity. i got acne (i’m 41 for goodness sake!), insomnia, anhedonia (the inability to feel emotional and physical pleasure), and 10 extra pounds. i doubted daily that i would ever feel like myself again.

HIGH: i offered my mentorship program for the first time, a wild, wondrous success. women thanked me, saying, “thank you for bringing me back to life,” “now i know what it is to be a woman,” and “nothing is, or ever was, wrong with me. i was just too busy to listen to my body.” if i died today, i would be happy.

liyana leading

LOW: i took the advice of my mind over my body, even know i know better. i wasted nearly a month working on a project i knew in my heart and body wasn’t right. self-prescription: burn big time in the fire of my own medicine. ouch.

HIGH: i have on spiritual speed-dial seven muse/friend/entrepreneur/mentor/biz-whiz/edge-cutter sisters. i do a daily dance of booty-shaking gratitude that i called in and sustained this off-the-charts circle of sisterhood.

liyana portraitLOW: i’ve raised my fist to the sky and wailed, “i just can’t do it all: be a great mama. friend. lover. wife. house-mate. businesswoman. learner. earner. compassionate communicator. i can’t do it.”

i forgot that everything takes four times as long and is four times as complex to pull off than in my pre-baby life and i assigned blame to my personal shortcomings. i forgot that my minor superpower is bringing pleasure to most unpleasant things. i forgot to step back, to rest and to ask for help.

liyana mexico

HIGH: i feel beautiful, smart and capable in my husband’s gaze. every year, for ten years, we’re careful to have a honeymoon-like adventure and every year i want to marry him all over again. in fact, i’m at this very moment writing to you from mexico, 85 degrees, bikini on, this year’s adventure ON.

HIGH. LOW. HIGH. LOW. this too shall pass.

exuberance. despair. exuberance. despair. this too shall pass.

during the short, dark, dank, depressing days of Winter, i always doubt if Spring will come again.

and She always does.

Spring comes again. light, strength, change … they always come again.

 

heroine's journeyin my mentorship program, Woman: The Embodiment Experience i teach women how this Winter-Spring-Summer-Fall cycle maps onto our monthly feminine cycle. the exuberant HIGHS and dark LOWS we go through, they are not a mistake or faulty wiring, as most of us think and are lead to believe. it is these cycles – and knowing exactly where we are in ’em – that is actually the key to our true feminine power.

so “Summer” becomes code for the week (more or less) of any given month when you’d be ovulating: you feel like a million bucks, you glow like a second sun, you are feisty, inspired and unstoppable. HIGHS are what summer is all about.

“Winter” becomes code for the week (more or less) of any given month when you’d be bleeding: you feel ugly and stuck. you know you can’t do it. you doubt and despair. you wonder why anyone wants to be around you. LOWS are what winter is all about, and winter always seems to last longer than any human can bear.

so how do we spend as little time stuck in Fall and Winter and as much time sunning ourselves in Spring and Summer?

here’s my best playbook for we women:

1. embrace the paradox.

being a woman, having ups and downs built in to your delicate wiring, knowing this too shall pass while knowing you can change anything, can be crazy-making unless you throw up your hands, laugh and shake hands with the cosmic riddle that is The Feminine.

2. listen to your inner-guidance, soul-truth.

at the end of the day, only you know. who else would know, but you?

say, “thanks anyway, cosmo. sayonara, well-meaning advice. get thee gone, latest fad. hush, must-read blog. silence, gossip rag.”

keep the council of your own heart and bones. they are wise beyond measure.

3. sisterhood, sisterhood, sisterhood.

get as many women as you can fit in your life, who share your values, coax out your best and around whom you feel whole and beautiful.

listen to them.

i know i just said only listen to yourself and only you know. there’s that paradox thing again, what can i say?

a True Sister will remind you you’re not at the end of your rope, it’s just Winter time. she will see blindspots you never can and will help you avert disaster. she’ll be so gorgeous, accomplished and wise that sometimes you’ll feel small and lame next to her – and she’ll snap you out of it in a hot minute, a shiny mirror to your always-was-there brilliance.

4. welcome the Winters.

invite them in to sit and have tea instead of making them wrong.

open your arms to your hot-mess-ness instead of playing the fool’s game of perfectionism.

or else you’ll feel wrong, crazy and broken … like clockwork … at least every 28 days or so.

because when you welcome Winter, you gain the perspective that your LOW is part of your process. it’s meant to be there, it’s your teacher, it’s an asset not a liability. Winter not where your story ends, it’s where it begins.

if you try to rip yourself out of Winter times too quickly, you’ll fumble your lesson and you’ll miss that red-hot kernel of your strength and power that you only get by keeping afloat way, way after the point you were sure you would drown.

5. do your deep, internal work.

sometimes you just duck for cover and wait for the storm of Winter to pass. sometimes time takes care of it for you. (hallelujah!)

and some miseries can be shifted. forever. thorns transformed into pearls. never to return. (hallelujah!)

6. when you get the full-body YES-nudge, say YES.

this is your soul calling to you from the other side. go. jump off and fly toward it.

even though your feathers might get singed, this YESing of your desire will always exhilarate you and reveal another sliver of your Truth.

(and conversely, when you get the full-body, scalp-tingly NO, stop in your tracks. back off.)

heeding your YES and your NO is never something you’ll regret.

so, to my original question: who is this She that’s coming again?

Spring, sweet merciful Spring is just around the corner.

my mentorship program, The Embodiment Experience, my sweet, powerful, life’s-work, magnificent, magnum-opus program, is just around the corner.

your next HIGH, sweet, affirming HIGH is just around the corner. (and yes, so is your next wild and wise LOW…)

so keep an eye out.

i’ve much to share with you in the coming weeks about seasons, cycles, mentorship, jealousy, the science of why pleasure is a non-negotiable for women, your sexy wild woman’s wisdom, and the bass-ackward, often awkward, always awe-inspiring way we women can claim it ALL for our very own.

to you,

liyana signature - magenta

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i had dinner a while ago with two of my girlfriends at a sumptuous French bistro by the bay in San Francisco.

these women are both stunningly beautiful, smart as whips and entrepreneurial wizards.

one’s married to a gorgeous surgeon at the best hospital in SF, is about to give birth to her first baby any day now and is glowing and at ease since she just put two year’s worth (!!!) of income in the bank so she can give herself completely over to mommy hood.

the other had recently spoken to an audience of several thousand people, is in an epic love affair with a millionaire celebrity hottie and was sharing about her travels with dear girlfriends to four exotic countries last year while bringing in near seven figures in her biz.

they both radiate health, style, quiet self-confidence and soul-deep contentment.

i was showered in enough brilliance to put PG&E out of business and light up the evening skyline.

so, then the question is: was i crawling out of my skin with envy? did i carefully watch what i said, for fear of seeming stupid or inept? did i worry they would talk shit about me later? did i feel less beautiful, less successful and less lovable as i compared myself to these women and their lives?

READ: did i worry if i could really trust these women?

the answer is NO.

HELL NO.

and here’s WHY:

i find that one of the biggest energy leaks for women is the fear and mistrust we have of other women. (if you like it, feel free to tweet it)

over thousands of years (for as long as women have been dependent on others for our food, care, roof-over-our-heads, money, reputation and personal power), we have grown to see other women as threats.

if someone else has control over the stuff you need, you can very quickly get into competition with the other folks who might get your stuff instead of you.

:: she comes from a better family than you? she gets married to the powerful bread-winner, not you.

:: she’s more beautiful than you? she gets the love affair, not you.

:: she’s smarter than you? she gets the dream job, not you.

:: she’s sexier than you? she gets the love. the loyalty, and the soul-bursting orgasms, not you.

:: she makes more money than you? she gets the admiration and the status, not you.

there are two really big stinky problem with this popular line of reasoning:

1. competition is not women’s true nature.

2. there are enough love affairs, dream jobs, love, loyalty, orgasms, admiration and status for every woman. and plenty left over.

many of us women are no longer dependent on others for the stuff we need to flourish. (no not ALL women, not by a long shot. but probably YOU)

however, we can still see other women as threats, to be competed with and preferably bested. we still have left-over and outdated mistrust coursing through our DNA, built up over thousands of years.

not ALL women are trustable, yet. but A CERTAIN KIND of women is thoroughly and powerfully trustable:

:: she is no longer at war with herself, but who has befriended herself.

:: she reveres her body, learns the language of her inner wisdom and prioritizes her juiciness. because of those things, she then starts to trust her self.

:: she no longer sees herself as a wild beast, just waiting for her to loose the reins of control for a moment, only to run off into the wilds of fat-lonely-ugly-broke-toothless-and-homeless.

:: she is fueled by her sensuality and trusts her desires to lead her.

:: she is rockin’ her own unique brand of the feminine. (this one’s tweetable, too!)

:: she’s no longer trying to GET; she has an overflow to GIVE.

:: she coaxes out your best: instead of feeling smaller and less than in her presence, you feel that the brightest, most glorious version of you is not just possible, but probable.

because of all this, she’s the kind of woman who is thoroughly and powerfully trustable.

your body, your woman’s body, is hooked up to infallible divine guidance. the energy that courses through your veins is the same that infinitely renewable Source that powers life itself, so you can create a baby, create a business or create real change in the world.

i stand proudly astride my soap box and say (because i know for myself and have observed in other sassy lassies): a woman’s true nature is overflowing-enough-ness.

in fact, here are some snapshots of women who graduated from my mentorship program, The Embodiment Experience.

every single one came in asking the question, “can i really trust other women?” and came out with these answers:

“where as before I didn’t trust women friends and had some really toxic experiences of gossip and lack of support, now i have loving, connected, empowered and supporting relationships with women that feels like sisters. there is support to shine in the world, for me to be who I am and be held in loving light as i hold my sisters in loving light.”

“I was able to connect with other women before, but I was always holding something back to keep me safe from getting hurt. I now see every woman as my sister, loving her deeply. I am surrounding myself with support from women in my life and instead of seeing it as taking away my productive time. i see it as life-giving requirement.”

“i now have an entourage proclaiming my power and the value of what I bring to the world. I’ve rarely felt as powerful as i do in the witnessing of this group of women.”

“the women who I experienced this group mentorship with are in my life forever. The bonds we built between each other are those of immense trust and understanding. They are an extension of family for me, and I am forever grateful for having them in my life.”

(i’m opening up applications for this year’s mentorship program in a couple weeks, so stay tuned!)

when a woman’s well is full, it naturally overflows in the juiciest of ways on to other people. you get clear on what you want to contribute to the world. you value your voice, tremendously. you take pleasure in your daily moments NOW while you yearn deliciously for WHAT’S NEXT on your adventure plate.

around you, people can’t wait to be their best selves. your presence is firestick, lighting a flame in their hearts.

can you really trust other women? no, not all of them.

but can you trust the lit-up ones? the ones that are at home in their skins, who have found a compass at their core, who know their worth and who are rocking their own unique brand of the feminine?

HELL YES.

you can trust that kind of woman with your child. with your newest, tenderest desire. with the keys to your Porsche or your raw, hurting heart.

you can trust her to hold you with love and respect. you can trust her to call bullshit on you when you need some stretching. you can trust her to remind you of your beauty and brilliance (randomly, and when you need it most).

i have purposely surrounded myself with THIS kind of sisterhood: i hang out with them, mastermind with them, cry with them, celebrate with them and dine with them.

i have purposely aligned every bit of my teaching, leading, writing and coaching to SERVE the emergence of THIS kind of woman.

in the presence of their firestick beings, the world becomes LIT.

i pray you have at least one woman like this, if not a dozen, surrounding you.

if not, please get one or some. please. your life – and the woman you know yourself to be – will transform.

the first step is learning how to trust your own bad self, your own woman’s body, so you become that open, confident, tail-swinging, trustable woman who attracts similar women, to her.

so here’s a nice practice, to start it off, and start rocking your own unique brand of the feminine:

1. start with your envy of her. (really)

let’s say her six-pack abs make you green.

2. then, ask yourself if you had that thing you envy, how would it make you feel? what would it make possible for you? (really dig down on this one)

let’s say you come up with something like:

it would make you feel powerful, strong and sexy. it would then be possible to feel lovable and capable of having a beautiful relationship.

3. KNOW THIS: you would not notice that thing in her, if it wasn’t beginning to burn and blossom in you.

that’s how it goes with women. you wouldn’t even perceive her abs (that shorthand for power, strength, sexiness, lovability, etc) if the potential wasn’t IN YOU ALREADY.

4. so, lastly, ask yourself, “in what ways can i notice that in ME today?”

so, in the six-pack-abs example, you’d ask yourself, “in what ways can I notice my power, strength and sexiness today? and while I’m at it, my absolute lovability?”

if you let her, your sweet self will begin to gather evidence of your lovability; she’ll collect examples of your power and strength to lay at your feet and she’ll wink at you, “oo-la-la, sexy!” many, many times in your day.

5. join the conversation below and share the thing you tend to be most envious of, in other women.

do you tend to notice her six-pack abs or luscious hair? that she makes “six figures” and drives a hot-shot car? that she always seems at peace within herself?

and hey, i’ll share, too. only fair, right? i bet you that my flavor of “other-woman-envy” might come as a surprise 😉

(envy doesn’t go away, you just get better and better at transforming it!)

to YOU, stepping fully into this kind of woman (and surrounding yourself with a bunch, too),

LiYana



in this vein of how you do one thing is how you do anything …

… if someone observed you making love or in orgasm, what would they infer for how you lead your life?

by O, orgasm i mean, yes, sexual arousal and sensual expansion, but i also mean: your pleasure, your bliss, your ability to relax and receive.

which sounds most like how YOU do the DO?

THE RUSH JOB:

* how long is this going to take? i don’t have time for this!
* can’t we do this later?
* oh, ok, i’ll do you a favor.
* now i’m taking too long.

THE PRINCESS:

* you’re here to serve me, right?
* how do i look?
* am i doing this right?
* not sure how that was for you, but at least i got mine.

THE RENUNCIATE:

* sex? orgasm? pleasure? what’s that?
* oh, i gave that up for lent 7 years ago.
* feel good? i’m too busy feeling bad so i can deserve feeling good.
* enjoy myself? i’d rather not. it’s rather messy and i might look stupid.

THE MARTYR:

* YOUR pleasure might matter, but mine? not so much.
* oh, well, if we must, i’ll “think of england.”
* don’t worry about me, i’ll be fine.
* la-la-la-la-la (fingers in ears)

why exactly do i care about your sensual pleasure? as much as i want for you plentiful and heart-expanding Os, what i really care about is that you as a woman are sensually expressed and sensually filled up.

you, sensually expressed. you, sensually filled up.

WHY? because that’s when your feminine genius struts her stuff.

that’s when you’re naturally shining brightest. tapped into your calling. brave, clear and full of moxie.

that’s when you are your tail-wagging-est, largest-hearted, sassiest self.

now, i’ve known this without a shred of doubt for years.

and over the past months, i’ve been diving into some ground-breaking medical and scientific research that can now document the PHYSICAL connection between a woman’s PLEASURE and her CONFIDENCE.

let me say that again: not just the EMOTIONAL connection (which i bet you can feel, right?), but PHYSICAL connection. on the level of nerves, chemicals and hormones.

the exceedingly brief reader’s digest version is that the physical experience of pleasure for a woman causes her brain to release (among other chemicals) dopamine.

dopamine = sass, sure-footedness, zest for life.

want to be confident? you need to be a pleasured woman.

i’m obviously obsessed with the exact potent combination of understandings, practices and ways of being that have women IGNITE and be the brilliant badasses we truly are.

it’s partly because i’ve been happily and myopically focused on my high-level mentorship program, which will be open again for 2014 applications in a few weeks.

it’s a cauldron in which i’ve combined ALL of those potent ingredients that truly blossoms our WomanNess.

turns out, your sexual energy is the same as your creative energy. and, where you might have blocks sexually and sensually, there are often parallels to where you might be blocked creatively.

CREATE as in make art, make love, make business, make babies, make friends and make a home.

most women think pleasure is worse than a four-letter word. most women pattern their own sexual energy from of man’s:

1. get hot quickly.

2. come as fast and hard as possible.

3. done.

but listen: it takes the average women around 20 minutes of playing around to even START to get aroused. straight up intercourse doesn’t yield climax for over 80% of women.

we often have no idea what pleasures us uniquely, that it might be a different beast from his altogether. (and any other woman’s for that matter).

men and a lot of women learn about what sex and pleasing their partners should be and look like, through porn. which is a lot like studying a paper menu and trying to recreate the meal from the black-and-white words on the page.

bottom line: for most of us, it’s an outside-in job.

i say, our sensual lives should be an inside-out job.

i’m all for the fabulous quickie. hard and fast Os aren’t a problem in and of themselves.

but when it’s ALL you know, when you aren’t on intimate terms the vast sensual landscape that is your birthright, when you don’t take your pleasure seriously – in and out of the bedroom – then i take issue.

i say it again: want to be confident? you need to be a pleasured woman.

the degree to which you are sensually expressed and sensually full-filled is the degree to which you feel truly alive. it is not only fun and pleasurable, it’s the key to your juice and brilliance as a woman. (like ‘er? feel free to tweet ‘er)

so maybe you’d go instead for guidelines (for sex and for life) along the lines of:

THE SAVOR-ER:

* savor.

* stop. breathe. feel.

* reach up and into sensation in order to feel more.

* notice urges and impulses as they come up, share them (boldly, kindly and exuberantly) with the knowledge that if you were thinking it, likely they were too.

* remind yourself: it’s good to feel good. your hunger is holy.

* this is a great spot. let’s linger here for a nice, long while.

* the more I’M having a pleasurable time, the more HE is and THEY are, too.

* how can we make this the most fun possible?

* there’s as much (or more!) enjoyment in the journey as in reaching the destination. (ever notice how much more fun it can be to get ready for the party than the party itself?)

* let’s widen the aperture of our senses to drink in more of life.

* let it in. let it come.

o, oh, O,

liyana signature M



each year as the leaves turn orange and brown around the edges and the nip of cold sets in in the air, I start to have dreams of my father.

after several nights in a row of these home-comings, i remember that the anniversary of his death, the day of the dead, is coming close.

it’s been five years, and so today i celebrate? no. grieve? no. bow to? yes, this long stretch of time since i got to hold his strong hand, behold his beautiful mind, feel his beautiful heart.

to some of us, hearing “all parents love their children (no exceptions)” sounds just about right.

to others, it’s unbelievable, a monstrous statement, irreconcilable against an childhood so dark there are few words.

but it’s true.

even though they were cold or mean or violent or insane or dangerous, the most human part of them always did and always will love you.

even though their actions and words may be far from congruent with love, still they always did and always will love you.

retrieving that love is one of the most courageous things you can do in your lifetime.

from Mary Oliver in her book, Dream Work:

A Visitor

My father, for example,
who was young once
and blue-eyed,
returns
on the darkest of nights
to the porch and knocks
wildly at the door,
and if I answer
I must be prepared
for this waxy face,
for his lower lip
swollen with bitterness.
And so, for a long time,
I did not answer,
but slept fitfully
between his hours of rapping.
But finally there came the night
when I rose out of my sheets
and stumbled down the hall.
The door fell open

and I knew I was saved
and could bear him,
pathetic and hollow,
with even the least of his dreams
frozen inside him,
and the meanness gone.
And I greeted him and asked him
into the house,
and lit the lamp,
and looked into his blank eyes
in which at last
I saw what a child must love,
I saw what love might have done
had we loved in time.

i’m grateful my father and i, both parents and i, did love in time. there was nothing as dramatic as this poem in my past, but for some i know this hits home.

i think we all disbelieve, even if infinitesimally, that our parents love us.

and some of us get the gift of believing again, fully.

of opening back up to love, even if we stay closed to the dark and dangerous parts.

and those bits of missing vitality flow again through our veins.

here’s my prayer for your own opening, whether a small unfurling of your palm or a large chasm yawning in your heart.

viva la dia de los muertos,

 

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have you ever read an article or poem that rings so true you feel like you could have written it? and that is so good you wish you did write it?

this one is all that for me and so i share it with you. it’s The Call, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

The Call

liyana“I have heard it all my life,
A voice calling a name I recognized as
my own.

Sometimes it comes as a soft-bellied whisper.
Sometimes it holds an edge of urgency.

But always it says: Wake up, my love.
You are walking asleep.
There’s no safety in that!

Remember what you are, and let this knowing take you home to the Beloved with every breath.

Hold tenderly who you are, and let a deeper knowing color the shape of your humanness.

There is nowhere to go. What you are looking for is right here.
Open the fist clenched in wanting and see what you already hold in your hand.

There is no waiting for something to happen, no point in the future to get to.
All you have ever longed for is here in this moment, right now.

You are wearing yourself out with all this searching.
Come home and rest.

How much longer can you live like this?
Your hungry spirit is gaunt, your heart stumbles. All this trying,
Give it up!

Let yourself be one of the God-mad,
faithful only to the Beauty you are.

Let the Lover pull you to your feet and hold you close,
dancing even when fear urges you to sit this one out.

Remember, there is one word you are here to say with your whole being.
When it finds you, give your life to it. Don’t be tight-lipped and stingy.

Spend yourself completely on the saying.
Be one word in this great love poem we are writing together.”

* * * * *

another call: resist the moment to click away from this page and hurry on about your day. take one moment to comment and excavate the nugget that spoke to you. sharing it here will emblazon it in your psyche as a flashbulb of learning, an X marking the spot on the road-map of your soul, a breadcrumb on the trail of your truth.

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photo by InHerImage



in case your week could use a shot of truth, here’s one straight-up, The Invitation, an otherworldly one from Oriah Mountain Dreamer.

The Invitation

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon. I want to know if you have touched the center of your own sorrow, if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shriveled and closed from fear of further pain. I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own; without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, be realistic, or to remember the limitations of being human.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself; if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul; if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not pretty every day, and if you can source your life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still stand on the edge of a lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “YES!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for the children.

It doesn’t interest me who you are, how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.”

* * * * *

you know what else interests me? what landed most squarely in your heart reading this.

please: resist the moment to click away from this page and hurry on about your day. take one moment to comment and excavate the beauty that spoke to you. writing it down will emblazon it in your psyche as a flashbulb of learning, an X marking the spot on the roadmap of your soul, a breadcrumb on the trail of your truth.

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a couple months ago, i was invited by Your Tango to create a series of videos along with John Gray (the Mars/Venus guy) and some other great minds/hearts in the relationship sphere and i’d love to share a hot one with you today … it’s on jealousy.

jealousy’s a hard one. some say THE hardest one.

i say it can be a blessing. i say, throw your jealousy a party.

the shelf life of any emotion can be only a few minutes when we neither feed it nor deny it. often, if we feel it fully and drink in the wisdom contained in it, it passes of it’s own accord. otherwise it can stay for a lifetime.

this is a practice i call the Strong Emotion Tea Party. you take a STRONG emotion, like jealousy, and instead of inflaming it or trying to douse it, you invite it to sit down with you at the table, you pour you both a fragrant, steaming cup of consciousness, and you get CURIOUS.

you can do this practice after or before the strong emotion occurs, by setting some time aside, getting quiet and asking yourself these questions, as a writing exercise. you can also do it in the moment when you experience said strong emotion.

here it goes:

1. identify a strong emotion. envy and jealousy are great ones to use.

2. track the emotion in your body and take a catalogue of your physical sensations:

what are you feeling and where are you feeling it? (for example, a tight abdomen, a flush in your face, your heart beating faster, etc.)

if this alone is intense, practice visualizing the sensations running throughout your body, collecting at your center, and then running down your legs and feet into the ground (like a grounding rod would with lightening).

3. what is the belief that goes with this emotion?

what might this mean about you or your life? what could happen as a result?

what is the worst-case scenario, if all that happened? (really go there). would you be able to handle it?

4. what does this emotion have to say to or request of you?

yes, personify and anthropomorphize the strong emotion. give it lungs and lips. ask (and listen): what is it’s positive intention is for you? what superpower of yours might it be linked to?

for example, it’s positive intention for you might be to keep you from getting your heart shredded again. or to keep you connected to your mother, since her most prominent emotion was jealousy.

and superpower? perhaps (as you ask and listen), you hear that your jealousy is connected to your amazing ability to call bullshit on a situation (including yourself).

5. if this emotion were pointing out ways you are dimming your light, what areas of yourself and your life can you brighten? [tweet me, hot stuff!]

(this is the best part! worth the whole party! and the perfect topic to comment on, below, yo!)

6. if this emotion was a sign to let you know, “it’s your turn to shine” what would be your next step?

optional: notice that you didn’t die, and it wasn’t too much to bear, even though it may have been quite intense and painful.

seriously sassy love,

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NOW IS THE TIME

liyana silver

Now is the time to know
That all you do is sacred.

Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God.

Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
With veracity
And love.

Hafiz is a divine envoy
Whom the Beloved
Has written a holy message upon.

My dear, please tell me,
Why do you still
Throw sticks at your heart
And God?

What is it in that sweet voice inside
That incites you to fear?

Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.

This is the time
For you to deeply compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred. {tweet, tweet, baby}

~ Hafiz

if you don’t know of Hafiz, he’s the crazy cohort and inspiration of Rumi (the rather famous 13th Century mystic poet). Rumi’s the more well-known one, although Hafiz is the reason Rumi got all Divine-Love Crazed in the first place and couldn’t help but speak beautiful love haikus and epic devotional tales all about it.

i often think that if Hafiz was alive today, he might look (and act) like that guy with the really long dirty beard on the corner, spouting poetry enthusiastically at the pigeons, his grungy backpack his only possession. that guy, when you see and hear him, you might cross the street, just to be sure.

another contemporary of Hafiz and Rumi was a woman poetess who chose to wear no clothing, Lalla. he poems are just as feisty as Rumi’s and Hafiz’s, all about the worldly ecstasy of communing with the Divine. if Lalla was alive today, she might look like the dreadlocked, bare-breasted mama rocking out to the drum circle at the street fair. that lady, that in your head you might label either brave and beautiful – or a hussie.

in fact, if Buddha was alive today, in his pre-fame era, he’d be that weirdo nerdy guy in high school that didn’t say much of anything, and just sat … and sat … and sat … under the tree in the yard. and you might wonder, from your table flecked with safe comrades, if he was special or just sorta slow.

like Joan Osborne said, what if god was one of us? what if the seemingly weird, colorful, odd-ball and out there, were portals to mystical wisdom and wormholes to sacred love? what if they too were tattooed by the searing embers of the Divine?

maybe instead of crossing the street, keeping your distance, or letting your mind stop with the finality of its judgment (there are other options after judgment), you’d lean in close. you’d get curious for their story. you’d search their eyes for the stamp of All-Holy, because if god’s among us, and i’m sure she/he/it is, her/his/its sense of humor would indicate that she/he/it would show up in the most unlikely of places.

so, your mission, should you choose to accept it:

:: look the super market checker in the eye and beam love into his/her heart.

:: listen to the street poet’s words as if encoded with a message for you from on high.

:: shake your ass a little bit as you pass by the drum circle disco, and see if you can’t feel your own kundalini rising.

to Love in all his/her/its forms, and to your comment below,

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PS: yeah, yeah, yeah, LiYana; love yourself and stop fighting with yourself, but HOW?

that’s the whole point of my mentorship program, Woman: The Embodiment Experience, my 5-month beaut of a high-touch program, which concludes this week. to take a look-see and be notified when applications for 2014 are open, click HERE, lovely.



(this article was first published in New York Spirit Magazine (October/November 2007) in my then column titled, Enlightened Sex in the City)

happy womansince i write this grandly titled column, Enlightened Sex in the City, i figure it couldn’t hurt to start by trying to pin down this slippery eel, “enlightenment.” the term for me is a bit like “carbs,” which includes equally a piece of Wonder Bread or a fresh peach, two very different animals indeed. as i see it, on one hand, enlightenment is a realization of one’s Self with a capital “S”, being awake to one’s nature, or an abiding realization of what does not die when mind and body does. from this place, an “enlightened” one often exudes happiness, fulfillment and loving kindness. on the other hand, i hear enlightenment referring to a cultural and moral standard for behavior and comportment in life; as in it is more enlightened behavior to tell the truth, less enlightened to lie, cheat or steal.

for my purposes, i refer mostly to the first “definition” of enlightenment: a deeply personal realization of who you ARE, fed by your own direct experience. this can be different indeed from how you comport yourself in life. i am less interested in behavior, and most interested in experience, since your direct experience often dictates your behavior.

a while ago in an issue of “What Is Enlightenment” magazine, i ran across this quote by Leslie Temple Thurston: “Many years ago, i found myself asking Spirit what it would take to save the world. And the answer came clearly and immediately: a lot of enlightened women.” this doesn’t mean a lot of women ACTING enlightened, or behaving in the “enlightened” fashion de jour. this means a lot of women fed by the realization of who they ARE, awake to their nature, alive with the privilege of being a woman, turned on (sensually AND spiritually), turned up, full of light; and then living, acting and behaving from there.

how exactly are women the key to “save the world?”

i’ve spent most of my life throwing myself headlong into research of this seemingly elusive condition, happiness. one place that yielded incredible bounty was Morehouse, an intentional communal living collective, offering courses on communication, sensuality, man/woman dynamics and what they have found, in their 40 years of research and experimentation, it takes to have a happy, fulfilling, fun life.

in the courses i took, the dynamic and authentic teachers offered their observations of what works, and what doesn’t; they “describe” rather than “prescribe.” in their observation, the health and viability of a group, whether that is as large as a culture or as small as a relationship, can be measured by the happiness and turn-on of the women in the group. {whoa. tweet that!}

and it is from here they start: when the women are happy, everyone is happy; when they women are unhappy, somehow no one else is happy for long. and if you look around in your own life experience, you’ll likely notice that most women around you are shut down and pissed off. maybe you’ve never even seen what a happy, radiant woman looks like.

it’s a good thing to define “happiness,” too. there is no universal standard; you know when you are happy and when you are not. generally, though, as defined by the veterans of Morehouse, happiness is a function of approving of what is, not what you wish to be so. when you find your life and your self good, right and wonderful, you are happy.

as many advances and liberations that women enjoy currently, we are still considered second-class citizens. our cultural, societal, economic, emotional, medical, sensual – and many spiritual – belief systems are all prejudiced to reference the male as standard. any straying from the standard is considered deviant.

so women, like other oppressed groups, have learned – as those considered to be deviants learn – that it is not safe to be as we are and that we are not welcomed as we are. we have learned that since the playing field is not equal, we have to lie, cheat and manipulate to make up for the unfair advantage in order to get what we want. we have learned that what we want is not important; we have learned to bury what we want – or we attempt to not want at all. The result is a bunch of royally pissed off women, swimming in a sea where we are constantly found wrong and bad; hungry and depleted at every level.

the remedy is simple. FILL UP the women.

as i practiced the simple, organic, generous philosophies of Morehouse, my heart and head blew wide open. IMAGINE: recognition of the anger i didn’t even realize i had; a system that saw me, appreciated me and invited me to do the same; actual tools to lead a happy life.

i took the courses to work out some kinks in my relationship to myself and in my partnership; and i began see all the ways i was doing a disservice to me and my relationships by focusing on what wasn’t working, since that put my attention on what was wrong or bad. there is an astounding universal law at play: you can’t move from bad to better, you’ve got to go from bad to good, and then from good to better. It’s just the way the progression goes: bad to good to better. no short-cuts. the magical thing is to start from finding good, right here right now.

and from this heart-opening, gratitude-overflowing place of what is already good, you can address what’s not working and help things to move toward better. whether in work with couples or an individual woman, this is where we start – from what’s already good. only from good, only from approving of what is so, not what we wish was so, can things get better. any person, but especially a woman, who can find her life and self good, begins the necessary process of filling up.

women are in need of nourishment, emotionally, physically, spiritually and sensually. ESPECIALLY SENSUALLY. a gratified woman is a unique and precious commodity; she is a fountain overflowing. giving from surplus creates more; giving from deficit creates anger and resentment, even if you are really good at hiding it or burying it. a woman in sensual surplus is a delight and a gift to everyone around her. a hungry woman might just be the meanest thing around. {yep, that’s another tweetable!}

research indicates that between 30-50% of women have difficulty or never experience orgasm or satisfying sex. sexual pleasure is mostly defined by penetration and orgasm standard as that of a man’s – but this does not necessarily take into consideration the physiology and make-up of most women. our religious legacy is that most of our problems started with the lustful, sinful nature of Eve – culturally we have a deep mistrust of women’s sexuality. many spiritual traditions define enlightenment and spiritual ecstasy from a male perspective – so often women try to fit themselves in to a model of spirituality that is passed off as a universal model, but is more a male model. it still costs more to dry-clean a blouse than a shirt, and a woman still earns about 77 cents to a man’s dollar. but regardless of how, why, when and where, you need only to look around to see women drying up and gasping for air.

how then to feed and fill up a woman?

women are accustomed to being overlooked, ignored and disregarded. or objectified for what’s skin-deep. the simple and powerful antidote is to see us, TRULY appreciate us and to give us your full-hearted regard. we want to be noticed not as a formula or how close we’ve come to emulating a male model of success in business, spirituality or sex, but as a unique being. this may seem overly simple, but it is the profound start to a much-needed cultural shift.

women want to be radiant and happy, but we cannot wait around for guys (or people in general) to catch on and start paying attention to us. it starts with taking personal responsibility for our own happiness. it starts with a large dose of courage to find ourselves and lives right, right now. all this, i have noticed over 5 year of working with clients, takes a huge paradigm shift. it takes a level of understanding how you are wired and what to do with that. it takes a realization that if you are losing, it is by your compliancy. it takes the ability to communicate, to tell the truth, to be open and vulnerable. In working with women, this is where i always start.

women start to fill up when we find ourselves regarded no longer as second-class citizens; when we begin to realize we no longer have to lie, cheat or manipulate to get what we want; and when great value is placed on or happiness. only when saturated in our own goodness and rightness can we women awaken to our very nature; only from a place of surplus can we behave with loving kindness, compassion and radiant light.

it may take a long time of this to fill us up – our wells might be very dry indeed.

when you have to pick either the chicken or the egg – focusing on the happiness of the women or of the men – you have to pick the women. a happy woman naturally wants everyone else around her to be happy and get exactly what they want. this is not necessarily the case with happy men. a happy man is a GREAT thing, but he does not necessarily affect the level of happiness of the group, as does a woman. and often, what makes a happy man is that his woman is happy; if she worries about whether he’s happy, her worrying makes him unhappy.

it is not that men get ignored in this equation. it does no good for either gender to feel disregarded, unable to give their deepest gifts. generally what happens when a woman receives attention and approval from a man is that she wants more than anything for him to be happy and enjoying his life. a woman who is full and gratified is full of the very creative life energy that created us all. anything that is full overflows generously on everything that is in its path.

here we are, men and women alike, in the middle of our lives playing the game of love, sex and relationship, and playing it from an enlightened perspective. the founding father of Morehouse, Dr. Victor Baranco says, “If you’re going to play the game anyway, why not win?” it would seem the winning formula is to start with approving of and placing attention on women, nourishing us in all our dry, cracked places. women also need to take full responsibility for our own happiness, not to delay our joy one moment nor wait an instant for our culture to catch up. and somewhere in the middle, the women get watered.

is a woman who is happy and radiant a fully enlightened being? i say YES. however, rather than speculating, let’s ask HER (aka YOU), shall we? and either way, i figure, a world abounding happy women, defining “happiness” by our own surplus and generosity, defining “enlightenment” by our own lit-up behavior, is a pretty great start.

to the FULL you,

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PS: being a happy, turned-on woman means you are, well, TURNED ON and being guided by your sensual intuition. every time i mention this in print or in a live talk, i always get the retort, “yeah, i’ve followed my turn-on and my sensual intuition before, and i cheated on my husband or i gained 20 pounds or i quit my job and ended up in bankruptcy.”

SO, does following your woman’s intuition mean you end up fat, broke, lonely, demoralized, homeless and toothless?

i’ll set the record straight in an upcoming article, and so i’d LOVE to hear YOUR story of how following your woman’s intuition (especially the sensual longings) ended you up in a bad, bad place. email me directly or share your story in the comments below.



when i first started coaching over 12 years ago, i faced a paradox that so many coaches and healers – or really anyone with a service, skill or product to offer – face: being a great coach and healer is only part of the deal; i also need to find people to pay me to get coached and be healed.

this is also called “sales and marketing,” 😉 an arena in which i have felt, particularly in my early years, perpetually in the slow lane and honestly, quite wary of. (although these days i can’t throw a mouse without (gently) hitting one of my friends who is somewhere between genius and savant in the field.)

for me, it was truly depressing to realize that being an excellent coach doesn’t automatically mean you’re set with folks lining up at your door who want to pay you to coach them. marketing and sales more important than my craft? considering that was almost enough for me to throw in the towel.

i was resistant at first because i didn’t want to stretch to learn something new.

after i got over that hurdle, i had to stare down the popular belief that taking money for healing isn’t spiritual and generally means you are a bad person.

after i healed that uncomfortable soul contusion, i uncovered another zinger, which is more like my friend Lisa Fabrega puts it: “that marketing is slimy, smarmy and manipulative. many entrepreneurs try to avoid it. we say, ‘it feels inauthentic. i don’t think it’s fair to manipulate someone into giving me their money.’”

i had to look at this new dragon in the face and ask, “is it inherently true that when there’s money changing hands there’s manipulation present?”

i think the main cultural reference point that defines what we think about sales and marketing (at least, it’s true for me) comes from era of charlatans and snake oil salesmen, and then rapscallions of early advertising, figuring out how to push people’s buttons to get us to buy something that we don’t need – or is even harmful – but is touted as something without which we’d be in danger or is “all the rage” and vital to our keeping up with the Joneses.

(amazing hair tonic! night fears begone!)
early ads

in our individual and cultural DNA, we’re wary of being conned. we equate advertising – or selling something – with being sold a bill of goods, our weak spots preyed upon for someone else’s nefarious gain; getting tricked out of our hard-earned money and left a fool.

under this ethos, as a coach, i worry if i charge for my services, or charge too much, i’m conning some poor sucker out of his money. and as someone looking for coaching, i worry that parting with my money makes me a fool.

it’s only fairly recently (at least to my eye) that there’s been a shift in the prevailing winds, in which marketing could be reframed as means to authentically offer a service to a group of folks who are hoping and praying for exactly what you are providing; that sales could be re-understood to be a blessed rubber band that connects you to exactly the right-fitting people; that spending money could be re-considered to be investing in yourself, with returns that come less via monetary interest, but via YOU, as a happier, healthier person, having the extraordinary experiences you want most. following this possibility, “investing” – aka spending your hard-earned cash – can be a win both for the person spending the money and the person receiving it: both get confirmation that they are WORTH INVESTING IN. often, the larger the investment, the bigger the breakthrough and the longer the lesson lasts.

we are – at least, for sure i am – catching up to the idea that getting invested in and investing in ourselves can be a sacred, squeaky-clean honest set of actions that creates nothing but win-wins; that both the spender and earner can feel like they got the best deal. {tweet it}

my friend Stacey (who’s the creator of Holistic MBA, a program that trains coaches and healers in marketing and sales through methods that don’t include selling your soul to the devil), told me, “i see selling as offering a resource that someone who didn’t know about before. when you present the resource the other person has a choice to take it or leave it.”

so as the cultural tide turns, we then have to turn our scrutiny inward and ask ourselves (to paraphrase Stacey again, who’s one of those business/marketing/sales savant friends that surround me), “when i’m selling something, am i truly conning someone into buying something they don’t want or need and that may harm then? is the thing i’m offering actually of value, useful and worthwhile? could it change their life? is my motivation to be of service?”

in the quiet truth of my heart, i asked and asked … and came to the place of knowing from tip to toe that my offering is in fact of tremendous value. i can say without doubt that whomever i work with, their life will change dramatically for the better, for good.

so, then, if we are a fit – if what i’m offering is what they truly want –  i’m actually doing them a disservice by NOT offering them my shizzle and presenting it in the most appealing, clear way possible. in fact, i have an ethical responsibility TO offer it. and in fact, i have an ethical responsibility to offer it at a price point that allows me to walk my talk, live what i’m teaching, thrive and not burn out; and that has the buyer stretch into a new level of believing they are worth investing in.

“otherwise,” Stacey reminds, “you ain’t gonna have a business because no one is going to understand your message.”

so, how do you know if the coach/healer/service/product you’re considering investing in is pure of heart, clean of hand and not a flim-flam con-artist? here are 8 hopefully helpful questions to activate your own Knowing and clarify your conviction to leap into their arms:

  1. does their offering have you start to see things for yourself that you’d not considered possible before?
  2. does their process for taking you from where you are to where you want to go, seem “workable” to you? (you know, “6-pack abs in just 6 seconds” likely ain’t “workable”)
  3. do you feel like they “get” YOU and see YOU?
  4. do you feel more expansive and more confident in yourself as you consider their shiz?
  5. will this investment put you or anyone you care about in major harm? (most $$ investments i’ve made that were worth it felt a little – or a lot – painful, but didn’t stretch me or my fam into financial damage).
  6. do they walk their talk? are they a shining example of what they are teaching? and, in their BEing, do they inspire you to step up into your own version of what they are offering? (or, do they seem so perfect and untouchable that you feel you’re a lowly nobody, if only you’d be lucky enough to touch the hem of their garment?)
  7. and then, mind aside, does your BODY feel like you should invest with them?

i’ve made some bad “investments” on my path, to be sure. (my dear friend Elishia calls it “life tuition.” it’s true, some breakthroughs are more expensive than others and some lessons last longer than others) but after each one (after i lick my wounds), i ask myself, “what worked about that? what would i do again next time and what would i do differently?”

and then next time i’m keener in my hearing of my YES and my NO and more congruent with what’s a great use my of money. so the 8th question to ask yourself is,

8. how you can hone your intuition and sharpen your inner Knowing through the scrutiny that’s only possible with hindsight?

and in case you ever waver, you are more than worth investing in, friend. always.

best, LiYana

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PS: about the whole walk-your-talk thing … i’m excited to be featured TONIGHT in the Healthy Passionate Woman’s Summit, a dive into how we can stop being last on our own to-do lists. Mary (the host) and i will be discussing what i would say to a woman who is holding back or doubting her ability to discover and unleash the healthy passionate woman inside her. one of my favorite discussions! Grab a seat here.

PPS: my friend Stacey? well, she and her business partner Carey are offering their Holistic MBA Core Training Program, but only for another couple of days. Stacey is one of my best friends, Carey is a former client and both are luminous geniuses in the arena of getting the hang of sales and marketing while remaining the authentic, scrupulous healer/coach you currently are. it’s a phenomenal program, one i wish i’d been able to cut my teeth on, in my own early days. Check it out here.