Podcast Interview: Why is Aphrodite A Role Model For Modern Women?

I was recently interviewed by the delightful Diana Rickman on her Emotional Freedom Podcast.  You can listen to the interview here.  I would love to hear your feedback:

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At Work You're Stressed - At Home You No Longer Want Sex - What's The Answer?

When you're juggling a high stress job, long hours, big responsibility, possibly kids, and a partner, is it any wonder that record numbers of women are experiencing low desire?

Almost all women today suffer some level of adrenal fatigue - which occurs when our adrenal glands are pumping out adrenaline too often in order to keep us going - and constantly being further stimulated by caffeine and sugar.  Eventually they get tired and stop functioning properly...

The result?  Anxiety, constant tiredness, cravings, weight gain, reliance on caffeine to keep going, insomnia, and loss of desire. The adrenals don't consider sex essential to life, so when they're under stress, they divert sexual energy to keeping the heart and brain functioning properly.

So what's the cause of the problem - and what's the answer?

The cause: Spending too much time in left brain activity and "doing" - and overriding the body and brain's need for rest and reflection.  It has been scientifically proven that women's brain function differently than men's brains.  

Since women became an active part of professional working life, we have learned to rely predominantly on our masculine energy (or yang energy) and left brain function - action, focus, competition, drive - used in hierarchical working environments.  Why? Because we're living in a masculine paradigm - the structures of work and governance were designed by men to match the natural energy and skills that are predominant in men - so any working person, man or woman is assessed on the basis of skills that come more naturally to men.  

Women can operate in this way - and have learned to do so incredibly well - it's just not an easeful or comfortable skill set to be using day in day out. It comes at a price.  Women who are at the top of their game in most industries from law, to medicine, to engineering, have worked incredibly hard to be better at their work than most men.

So what about women's brains, feminine energy and the skills that are born out of that? They are creativity, collaboration, multi-tasking, collective decision making, cooperative working practices, inclusion over competition, and expressing emotion.

One skill set is not better than the other.  They are just different.  Yet the system favours the former.  So we women have learned to master the former.

And it's tiring to be constantly overriding a way of being and operating in the world that has evolved over millions of years. 

In addition, when we spend all day competing and achieving at work,  the result is often coming home and being disappointed with our partner - for not being strong enough, assertive enough, directive enough or supportive enough.  There's no space for him to be strongly in his masculine energy - because we're strongly masculine in ours - and it creates a dynamic where we're either in competition with our partner or we're mates - it doesn't make for a passionate match or lots of desire.  It's unsexy for both.

This isn't about dumbing down, or not being smart, or hiding our gifts in order for our man to feel better.  It's  about recognising that equality doesn't mean "the same as".  We're equal -and we're different.

(Side note - I'm a heterosexual woman and i'm talking about heterosexual relationship dynamics.   There is of course a spectrum of masculine and feminine energy - and not all men (or even most) are at the far end of the masculine spectrum and not all women are at the far end of the feminine spectrum.  As well as differences in sexual orientation, we are also in reality more complex than the binary male/ female gender norms that society reinforces so strongly - but that is not the subject of this blog post (you can read more on that here.).  

 

So how do we find a balance? How do we reduce stress? And get back our desire and passion for life and for our partners?

The answer is to consciously and actively awaken our feminine energy - which for too long has been cast aside as being less important or irrelevant. Here are 4 ways you can awaken your feminine energy:

  1. Reconnect with your body - all that left brain activity can leave you very disconnected from your body - and therefore from your emotional intelligence and intuitive wisdom (which both live in the body) - connecting with your breath is a quick and simple way to bring you back to your body.
     
  2. Spend time in nature - it will reconnect you to the earth and her natural rhythms - it reduces stress and it's nurturing.
     
  3. Dance - it's a great way to get out of the mind and come back to the body.
     
  4. Prioritise touch - whether that's through sex or massage - we need touch and connection - it reduces stress and again brings us out of a busy mind state and back in touch with the body.


    Until there has been a greater shift towards a feminine paradigm in our workplaces, we need to actively call upon our feminine energy to rebalance, rejuvenate and reconnect - and to start to bring back some of that desire and sexiness to our lives and relationships.

If you would like to know more, you can sign up for my free video series Simple Ways To Awaken Your Aphrodite Energy by clicking here.

And if you know you're ready to dive in to create some real change in your professional and personal life,  I will soon be launching an online course on this very topic - watch this space :)

 

 

The Power of Aphrodite – How the Goddess of Love Can Help Us Revolutionize Valentine’s Day

I always hated Valentine’s Day.  I can count on one hand the number of cards I have received in my life.  Hallmark was not generous with me.  I got over it – but it took me a couple of decades.   

I started longing for a Valentine’s card when I was 12, brainwashed into believing my worth as a blossoming woman would be confirmed if I received a mysterious card in the mail.  At 14, I did receive my first (unsigned) card.  My mother insisted on discovering the mystery lover's identity by tracing the footsteps in the snow to my next door neighbor's door.  Humiliation ruined the short lived thrill of this Valentine's initiation.

 

The longed for Valentines Card....

The longed for Valentines Card....

In my twenties during the single years, 14th February haunted me.  I hid at home, staying away from restaurants and bars full of loved up couples.  I felt like a failure.


In my thirties I joined the Valentine’s Day club – and to my surprise it wasn’t fun! I received the over-priced red rose, the fluffy bunny card with Hallmark poem and joined the crowds with my then beloved in our favorite restaurant. It was not the usual relaxed and cosy place.  No - it was filled with the tense vibe of a showy celebration masking deep cracks in relationship heaven – our own included.


It’s time for this celebration of love to go through a revolution – one which invites everyone woman, regardless of her relationship status, to freely celebrate the awesomeness of love in all its forms.

It's time to call on Aphrodite – the feminine archetype of relationship and love.  Her son was Eros (also known as Cupid). 

How can she free us from the constraints of convention that this celebration forces upon us?


The fully awakened Aphrodite is a wise woman – a woman completely at ease in her body.  She celebrates her beauty (rather than exploits it), she expresses her sexuality openly (rather than suppressing it), she doesn’t need the approval stamp of marriage or a conventional relationship to freely and generously express her gifts for compassionate, heart-centered, loving and relating.  She fully owns and expresses her immense feminine power.  

She encourages us to truly love ourselves – our bodies, our sexuality, our sensuality, our pleasure, and our delight in love and life.  She invites us to slip on our sexiest dress and throw a party of sensual delights, with a feast fit for queens - and art, creativity, delicious conversation and love to share.

She is the embodiment of the sacred feminine. 

And yet today her sacred gifts generally go unseen - or are misunderstood. At best she is revered for her surface beauty - represented by celebrities and models.  At worst, her gift of sexual expression is distorted and exploited (through the porn industry) or suppressed (through censorship), such is her immense power.  Even today she’s a threat to the long realm of patriarchy.

It’s time for us to reclaim our inner Awakened Aphrodite – this cultured, discerning, sexy, beautiful, sensual and truly free part of ourselves.  And what better day to do so than Valentine’s Day?

If you're inspired to awaken your own Aphrodite Energy, join The Aphrodite Empowerment Circle!  It's a 10 week online group journey for women.  Find out more here.

Healing Not Hatred - 3 Steps to Conscious Uncoupling

New Year's Eve brought the ending of my relationship.  Ouch - for both of us.   I learned a lot about what has been called "conscious uncoupling" - breaking up with love and respect.   We had shared so much love, that I wanted our break up to reflect and honour that.  I wanted it to be part of healing the pain of separation, not adding to it.  We spent 24 hours celebrating "us" as a way of letting go.  It was very emotional, tender and healing.  

I understand that 24 hours might be completely out of the question for the majority of separating couples!  However, these 3 steps still apply even when the love has waned..or betrayal or disappointment has slowly (or suddenly) killed the relationship.   Take what time you can...even an hour or two focused on this process has the potential to be very healing.

The point of a respectful break up is to walk away feeling free and complete - do it for you!  It's hard to feel free and complete whilst hanging on to anger, hatred, resentment or bitterness.  

Trying at least one of these steps (if all 3 seem impossible) will help the healing process regardless of where you are starting from.  (Please note - This is only appropriate if the relationship was not based on physical or emotional abuse - it presupposes a relationship that was based on love and respect even if that disappeared somewhere along the way).   You may need to do some forgiveness work before attempting these steps if the break up came suddenly as a result of betrayal.  

  1.  Let go of being "right" even just for a day or so...being right doesn't leave much room for a healing break up - letting it go softens the edges enough to allow in forgiveness, completion, love, respect and freedom,.  Being right is so subjective (even when you are 100% sure you are in the right, it's still subjective!) - and it polarizes you and your ex partner.  It creates a clear division, one on either side of battle lines - unless your ex is ready to give a genuine apology and you are ready to accept it...And even in that rare situation, letting go of being right deepens the acceptance and appreciation of a heart felt apology.
     
  2. Set aside time to honour each other and what you have shared together.   Yes I know this might feel impossible! If you have children, start there...if you hadn't ever met your ex, the miracle of your children being here would never have happened...Build on what you can honour and celebrate from there.  Share your favourite memories.  Share the things you really appreciated about him/ her.  The completion of a relationship doesn't discount the good things that you shared.  Doing this will help you to remember that the whole relationship wasn't a huge fuck up in your life.
     
  3. Talk about the boundaries that will help you moving forward...do you need a period of no contact? Do you want to remain in contact but not see each other?   What do you want to know about (eg new partners) or not?  The answers to these questions will vary hugely of course if you have children together, and depending on the nature of your separation.  Take the time to listen to each other and see if you can come to agreement that works for both of you.   Be willing to share your vulnerability - it opens up space for real and raw communication and that in itself is healing.

    Go gently...it takes time to heal from a break up.  And if you manage to uncouple with some love and respect, celebrate the freedom and sense of completion that brings - and the space for new beginnings to blossom!  

One Simple Step to Profound Positive Change....

 

It's been an intense and tumultuous year for many, me included.

In the last 3 months I was grieving the loss of a relationship.  There was so much pain in this loss, I circled with it for weeks not moving forward, crying a LOT, agonising in my mind over potential solutions (none were forthcoming) - circling round and round with it, torturing myself, my heart aching.  

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And then one evening I caught myself in this cycle - I was at the beach walking at the edge of the water as the sun went down, the sky a soft pink-grey, the wind persistent in my ears, once again feeling the tears coming and my heart aching. My mind had started up again, going over what had happened, how it could have been different but wasn't, what I was making that mean ("I am not loved; I am not supported; I am always alone").

 I suddenly saw myself doing this familiar tortuous cycle. And I chose to STOP.  

I chose something different. I chose to let go of the circling and to let go of the beliefs that were hurting me. I chose to let go of trying to work it out.  

And instead I chose to trust.  

I chose different thoughts.  How did I do that?  I said to myself (out loud) "It is safe for me to trust".  "It is safe for me to let it go".  "It is safe for me to let this situation go to spirit".  

With these new thoughts came a feeling of deep peace in my body.  

I don't have to work it all out. I don't have to carry all of this. I can simply trust and hand it over and keep on going with my life, creating what I love, connecting with people I love - and trust in the unfolding of my soul's dream.

Have I done any circling with unhelpful thoughts since then? Yep :) Those habits are deeply ingrained, whether they are beliefs around love, or work, or purpose - they all come down to a version of "I'm not good enough".  Every friend and client I know has their version of it going on.  But we all have a choice. And having made that choice in the middle of a very painful situation, it has become so much easier for me to make it again - and so much easier to me to step out of that cycle and choose something different. 

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To change my thoughts.  One simple step to profound and positive change. 

Give it a go :) 






Are You Choosing Love or Fear?

Love is a courageous journey.  The first heart break is such a shock, some choose never to risk that level of pain again. My first heart break lead me to abandon my career and take to the seas (literally - I learned to sail and became a sailing instructor). 

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Others throw themselves into the next relationship, hoping or expecting the new love to heal and fix that old pain. Others bargain with it.  I will love a little bit. I will let it out in small chunks - maybe I will see you once a week - and then put it back in the box again and move forward with my life safely, until I'm ready to let out another chunk.  

This is not love.  Love will not be bargained with. If I try and control love, this is simply allowing fear to control me. 

So what allows some to choose love with all the risks involved, and others to reject it completely or try and bargain with it?

It comes down to TRUST. Do you trust yourself? Do you trust love to be guiding you on a path that is meant for you? 

Love lives in the body. When I'm connected to my body, I can feel my own love. I can feel my own support network. I can feel my ability to be ok. I can feel my ability to make choices that are right for me.  I can feel when a risk is based in love - and when it's not.  

Fear lives in the mind. It trawls through memories agonising over what I could have done differently...If only I had said this, or not done that....And then it stresses and worries about the future...how much pain might be involved if this new lover decides to leave me...and all the reasons why they might leave me. 

Being connected to myself, my own heart, my own inner wisdom means that I am safe to choose love. I am not looking for that safety from someone else.  And I am not allowing the mind to run away in a fear based story.  The mind wants guarantees. Safety clauses. Answers. Maybe that's why we have marriage - it gives the illusion of safety that the mind craves. 

I'm noticing the see-saw between love and fear as it plays out in my own life (and in clients' lives - there are many parallels!)...where those close to me have chosen fear...where I have chosen fear.  How re-connecting with myself strengthens my faith in love. And when those I love choose fear and I choose love, all I can do is trust - and keep moving forward.  

3 Reasons You're Struggling To Meet Your Soulmate

I spent large chunks of my early to mid thirties single and frustrated.

I really wanted a loving, committed relationship and couldn't understand why I never seemed to meet men I was interested in - or in fact any men at all. Almost all my friends were women, I never got asked out on dates, and no one even flirted with me.  My self-esteem wasn't great, and I felt really unlucky. I had no idea that I was the author of my own circumstances.

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It wasn't until I had a sexual and spiritual awakening that my blocks to relationship shifted.

So where had I been going wrong?  

There are 3 massive mistakes many single women make that keep them struggling to meet their soulmate:

  1. Low self-worth.  There are many ways this shows up.  Here are just a few of them:
  • Not prioritising self-care - so not looking after your health, body, emotional well-being; not making time for relaxation, fun and play
     
  • Not receiving touch - either from another through massage or hugs; or from yourself. Self-pleasuring when you are single is so important to keep your sexual energy flowing - and to receive a regular hit of oxytocin (the feel-good hormone released at orgasm)
     
  • Fear of intimacy - subconsciously avoiding relationships because you are scared of the vulnerability of real intimacy, physical or emotional (or both)
     
  • Sabotaging potentially great relationships because you are suspicious of anyone who shows interest in you
     
  • Choosing unhealthy relationships (eg being lied to, left or cheated on) because that's your comfort zone

2.  Reinforcing thoughts and beliefs that create an experience you don't want

I hear so many women say that there are no good, single men left. The media loves to support this story.  In almost every place I have lived - big cities, small towns, different countries - I have heard this myth perpetuated. Stop telling yourself this.  It becomes your experience of reality.

3. Trying to make it happen with the mind

Love is not a problem to be solved, or a puzzle to be worked out.

Trying to work it out with the mind makes it a struggle - lists and logic are not helpful here. Many women have lost touch with their feminine wisdom - which lies in the body's messages not the mind's.  

Get back in touch with your body wisdom - and let got of the struggle. 

If you want to learn more, I recently ran a free online workshop 3 Massive Mistakes Single Professional Women Make That Keep Them Struggling To Meet Their Soulmate.  You can still register to receive the replay until Sunday 6 November 2015 midnight NSW time. Click here to receive the recording..

 

Are You Worried About Never Meeting Your Soulmate?

Are you single? You're successful, you have great friends, and a fully functioning life...AND you never seem to meet the right partner?

You are not alone.  There are more single people in the world than ever before.  91 million people in the world today are using online dating apps (61 million of them men - so if you are a single woman wanting to meet a man, they are out there!).

10 years ago I was living in Sydney, and I was unhappily single.

I had no male friends, no one ever asked me out on a date, and I wasn't meeting men I was attracted to.

Eventually I tried online dating - and the story was much the same...the one man I was really interested in cancelled our date before we even met.  So I had some miserable, dull, tense, uninspiring, stressful, tiring dates - and after a few weeks gave up.

I was convinced there was everything wrong with my external circumstances - all my friends were talking about how there were no decent available men in Sydney.  Even the media were jumping on the scarcity bandwagon with articles appearing in newspapers and magazines confirming our worst fears that single women were doomed.   During this time a friend moved 4000km to escape this Sydney based man drought - only she didn't meet her man in her new city either.

It didn't occur to me - or my friends - to look within at our internal circumstances.

After several years in Sydney I went through a significant transformation which altered my life path forever - I discovered tantra and sacred sexuality and experienced a profound sexual awakening.  

Suddenly my world seemed to be full of interesting, desirable, single men - who were interested in me!

I have lived in 4 different locations since then - different cities, countries, and towns with very different demographics - and in each one this belief amongst women has persisted that there are no available men.  Interesting that I often meet single men struggling to meet a partner too....

My beliefs had been shaping my experience of reality. 

This is just one of the mistakes single women make which sabotages their relationship dreams - and which I'll be unravelling in my free online training next week The 3 Massive Mistakes Professional Single Women Make That Keep Them Struggling To Meet Their Soulmate.  If you would like to join this free transformational training, you can sign up here.

I am passionate about sharing the tools I have learned - so others have an easier path to love! See you there :)

 

The Most Effective Personal Growth Tool You Will Ever Need

You’ve done a million workshops and courses, you’ve read the self-help books, you say the affirmations, you write your gratitude journal, do your yoga practice, listen to Abraham Hicks; you manifest and meditate. 

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And somewhere in there you find time to earn a living, have a family life, and maybe even a social life – at the end of the day you are exhausted just by the sheer effort of trying to hold it all together, as well as be the best possible version of you.

I totally get it. I was a perfectionist - and later graduated to self-development junkie.   As a child, I was studious and good.  I excelled at school and went on to become a barrister.  I pushed myself to succeed in a man’s world.  Successes barely registered – a few minutes of satisfaction before the anxiety of the next case began. Failures on the other hand were worried over for weeks.

The death of my father kick-started a soul urge for something very different – for an exploration of self which became a spiritual journey - yet still with that flavour of striving to be perfect.  

I left my legal career,  I studied, meditated, went on silent vipassana retreats, spent months in the Amazon jungle taking mind altering plant medicine.  I went on a deep sexual awakening journey through tantra and sacred sexuality courses.  I emerged as a somatic sexologist and relationship coach. And still this urge to be better continued – the not good enough voice, the one more course to complete, the striving and pushing to be more.

I recall the epiphany that shifted my perspective. 

I was coaching student sexologists on their intensive training.  Part of my role was to participate in the activities when needed.  I had just received an intimate body work session and was lying on the massage table in a meditative state.   There was a sense of something emotional stirring, but I didn’t feel tearful – or really anything much – it was just a subtle nudge of something deep within.  I could hear the sounds of completion all around me, our facilitator prompting us to gather in a circle. 

Out of nowhere, a deep and strong energy moved through me, rocking my body and from the depths of my being a howl emerged that was long, guttural, earth shattering, other worldly. 

A full minute passed before it was complete. It came in waves. A hush fell over the room, a stillness descended. I felt a deep peace in my being. Then ecstasy bubbling up; laughter.

In that stillness a KNOWING emerged - there is nothing to improve, nowhere to go, nothing to achieve.  I only need my own acceptance.  My own love.  My own compassion.   

I was bathed in it – acceptance and love coming from within.   

Have I now let go of my rituals and routines, yoga practice and meditations?  No – yet now there's more gentleness to my routine.  This softening is my practice - and yes often I slip back into pushing and striving – it’s a deeply held pattern! Not just my own – but a collective one. 

I remind myself to treat myself as I would my own child – with deep acceptance, love, compassion and gentleness.

I wonder, with curiosity rather than striving, what is there to discover today in this body; in this life?

If you would like some inspiration on how to develop greater self-love, you can find inspiration in my free video series 7 Steps to Self-Love here

8 Steps to Thriving After Your Relationship Break Up

If you're experiencing the pain of breaking up with someone you love, I'm with you.

My own relationship recently ended. I'm being called to walk my talk, and draw on all of my resources, the advice I give clients  and my experience of previous break ups.   If you're going through a break up and wondering how you're going to survive, let alone thrive, this is for you...

1) Feeling is healing

Now is not the time to suppress your feelings.  The root word in emotion is MOTION - emotions need to move through.  You will survive the pain of heart break (and so will I).  Cry, wail,  get messy, do what you need to do to feel it.  If you try and deny or suppress your pain, it doesn't go away, it just comes out in other ways - usually through your behaviour (e.g. avoidance or addiction) or through the body in aches, pains and illness. 

There is a caveat to this - don't dwell in the past, re-playing mind movies of you and your ex (neither the good, the bad or the ugly) as that is just self-torture rather than allowing emotion to be felt and released.   Feel it in the body. 

2) Mine the Gold

Relationships are gold mines of self-knowledge and learning.  So when you are ready, make sure you know what the gold from this one is.  It might be negative gold ("I will not compromise my dreams/ goals/ self-worth/ safety/ integrity for a relationship again") or positive gold ("I'm grateful to have loved and been loved so deeply - I now have a greater capacity to both give and receive love").  In truth, it's all positive gold because all the learning creates new steps in your pathway to your relationship and life goals - to which you are now several steps closer.

3) Get Productive

Relationships take time and energy - particularly when they are about to end.  Channel the extra time and energy you now have into the projects you were neglecting as a result of the relationship.  This is hard and SO worth it!  Grief is debilitating - and if you keep stepping forward into your life, you will be rewarded.  A couple of years ago, I navigated a particularly painful break up by committing to a 40 day yoga challenge.  I had been wanting to develop a yoga practice for the whole relationship and hadn't been to one class. In some ways, that challenge saved my life. Was it hard to get up at 6am every morning? Yes, particularly on the mornings I woke up crying.  But the daily practice (many of which I wept my way through) gave me hope and faith in my future.  

4) Keep a journal

Friends are great for listening to your hurt, disappointment, anger or whatever else is coming up for you post relationship - but there's a limit.  And often receiving another person's input (e.g. anger on your behalf) is not helpful.  So write it out - all the rants, wonderings, questions, hurt, disappointment, hope, grief, doubt, love, gratitude - do not edit. Let it all pour out.  This can be a great way to start the day (it's like a brain dump creating space for something new) - but do not limit it to the mornings only.  Carry it around and write whenever you are freaking out or drowning in pain.

5) Take a Complete Break

Do not see, call, email, text, message or Facebook stalk your ex - for as long as it takes for you to truly let go.   You are going through a withdrawal - it's like coming off heroin - it hurts - it's hard - and it's necessary for your well being.  You may only need to take a break for a short time, or for some people, forever.  However, if you do the all the other steps here, you have a good chance of moving on more quickly.  Letting go does not mean no longer loving your ex.  It means they are no longer (energetically) filling the intimate partner space in your life and you can genuinely be friends without craving something more. 

6) Stay Connected

Make time and space for supportive friends and/ or family.  It can be tempting to stay at home at painful times, but getting out, connecting and having fun is essential for moving forward and also staying present, rather than dwelling in the past. 

7) Write Out Your Goals

The end of a relationship is also a new beginning - so get clear on what it is that you want in your life and relationships from now on.  Write it out as it if has already happened - be very specific (with both date and outcome) and express in the goal how you will feel when it's happened.  This is a powerful way to create hope and forward momentum through ritual. 

8) Practice Kindness

Practice being kind to others - helping others is a great way to stay present and feel good and move the focus away from your own pain. 

Also, be extra kind to yourself - through gentle self talk (avoid re-running conversations or events that you wish had gone differently!), looking after your body with exercise and good food, getting enough sleep, and if possible receiving a massage, or some other kind of body work or healing session to help you through this stage.  

Feel it, learn from it, focus, connect, write it, envision the goal, be kind - and get ready to thrive in the next awesome chapter of your life!

 

 

4 Tips to Deepen Sexual Intimacy

When I was younger, I was so anxious to be doing the right thing in sex – to be seen to know what I was doing and to be a good lover, and to be desirable.  Given that I didn’t feel that any of these things were true, it was usually an anxiety producing experience!  

Any sense of needing to perform kills good sex.   Good sex requires intimacy.  When deep intimacy exists between you and your partner, sex can leave you feeling truly loved, seen and free to express yourself in all your magnificence. If sex isn’t doing that for you right now, these 4 tips will help you to connect more intimately with your partner.

1. Communicate

Firstly, communicate the stuff that is getting in the way of you feeling connected to your partner.  If you are feeling anxious about his dinner date with an old girlfriend, say so - not to stop him going or make him feel guilty - but so that you are being real.  When you show your vulnerability it allows an opportunity for real emotional connection - and for you to be supported and reassured.  If you sit on those uncomfortable emotions, they don't go away.  They start to form a barrier to intimacy - and that leads to disconnected sex (and often lack of desire for sex).

Secondly, communicate your desires. Expecting your partner to magically know what you want often leads to disappointment and frustration.  Asking for what you want is empowering and sexy, particularly when done in an encouraging way.  Show your arousal and ask for more of what works for you.  Yes it's vulnerable - and it's a turn on for your partner, which fuels great sex.

2. Build emotional connection

Trust, safety and emotional connection are the building blocks of intimacy. So take the time to build this with your partner.  You need to have a true friendship in which it's safe to share your hopes, fears, hurts, triumphs and disappointments.  When you take risks in what you share with each other, it builds trust. If you only show your happy "everything's fine" face and bury the rest, intimacy doesn't stand a chance.

3. Connect more deeply with your own body

Great sex happens in the body, not in the mind.   Make sure you're in it.  Stay present. If you are drifting off thinking about dinner, tomorrow's must-dos, or fantasizing about someone or something else, you are not present.  Sex triggers some powerful emotions including uncomfortable ones and this can cause a disconnect and checking out. Check in with yourself, am I really here? Use your breath to come back in and use your voice. Making sound increases sensation and presence. 

Also make sure you are touching your body and exploring your body for pleasure outside of sex with a partner. Self pleasuring increases your knowledge of what works for you, and helps you feel nourished and good about being in your body.

4. Let go of the goal

If you are striving to reach orgasm. or thinking about whether your partner is or isn't nearly there, you are missing the opportunity for deep intimacy.  Try letting it go and being present with what's here now between you.  It can open the door to a much deeper, heart connected experience that goes far beyond physical pleasure.

So be willing to be vulnerable, communicate, build trust, let go of performing - and get present with the delight of being deeply intimate with your partner.  

If you would like to know more, I am running a free online workshop 4 Steps to Better Sex next Wednesday 23 September 2015 at 10.30am AEST.  You can sign up here: http://bit.ly/register4stepstobettersex

3 Beliefs You Need To Attract Love

If you are struggling to find a partner, it might be time to stop – take a breath, relax, change your perspective – and let love find you.

1)      Believe that it is possible

According to the media there are basically no single men left anywhere in the world.  Every place I have ever lived – big cities, tiny townships and everything in between – in many different countries – I have met gorgeous women lamenting the lack of single men and blaming that for the lack of intimacy and love in their lives.  I was one of them – in my 30s I lived in Sydney and fully believed that all the great single men were already taken.  And so I went years without even a date!  It’s a myth. We create our reality with our thoughts – our beliefs.  If you believe there are no available men, there aren’t any available men.   If you believe there are –  watch them appear. 

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2)      Believe in yourself

Believe that you are worthy of love. Know that you deserve to be adored. Know that you are desirable.  Treat yourself the way you want to be treated. So talk to yourself lovingly – as you would to a close friend or loved one.  Stop and listen to your inner voice (you may find it’s a constant background hum of negativity).  If you wouldn’t talk to your close friend like that, don’t talk to yourself like that!  This probably won’t be an overnight change – it’s a practice.  I regularly catch myself having a not so kind inner dialogue going on.   Once I’ve noticed, I take a step back and change my tone and self talk. 

You may find that your inner child needs some nurturing to really begin to believe in yourself. Often the hurt and small parts of ourselves stem from our child self that never had a chance to heal.

3)      Believe you can have the relationship you want

Firstly, know what it is you want.  Not the outer qualities and attributes so much as knowing how you want to feel in the relationship.  Then think about the qualities you admire in friends, and the qualities you have or aspire to have yourself.   All our relationships are mirrors of what’s inside.  If you feel abandoned in relationships, where do you abandon yourself? If you tend to feel neglected, where do you neglect yourself? Grow the love you want to receive from the inside out.

Relationships can be our biggest teacher – and biggest source of joy.  Look within, trust yourself, believe in yourself – and become a magnet for the life and love you desire.  

7 Reasons It's More Than OK To Be Single

One of the most distressing things about being single is being in a near constant state of resisting what is and wishing life were different –

that there was someone by your side at parties, someone to meet you at the airport or someone to hold you after a bad day.  It can seem as if the whole world is a couple and you are the only non-couple misfit.   You can start to feel like a failure and that being single is an affliction – almost a disease! Remember Bridget Jones? (It’s hard for me to forget as by the time the movie was reaching icon status, I was an early 30s singleton called Bridget…as I was constantly reminded!)

What’s needed is a change of perspective.

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If you focus on all the things you wish were different, your thoughts will be dominated by lack – and this affects your perspective on everything. So to help you shift your perspective, here are 7 reasons why it’s more than OK to be single :

1)      A good night’s sleep. No snoring, no bed hogging, no anxious sleepless nights worrying about the latest argument.  Your bedroom is once again your sanctuary.

2)      You get to learn healthy boundaries – if you have people pleasing tendencies (as I do), relationships can end up being a compromise of core values and needs – or rather abandonment of your needs for the sake of keeping the relationship alive. This is your opportunity to start to value your needs – so when you do meet your next partner, they value them too.

3)      Freedom. There is enormous freedom in being single, particularly if you don’t have children, but also, often when you do. I know many single parents who have shared care – with at least a few days, sometimes a week child free. While this can be a painful adjustment, once made, there is freedom to claim who you are, beyond the roles of wife, husband, mum, dad…If you want to sleep in til lunch time, you can. Don’t want to go out today? No problem. Find out who you are when you just get to be you.

4)      Reset your life. This is a chance for a reassessment. If you got together with your ex when you were young, you may have lost sight of what you now want in life. Your life goals, desires and dreams may have drastically changed. Find out what your priorities are and start to live by them.

5)      Re-invent your social life. This is a great time to invest in old friends who you may have inadvertently neglected.  It’s also an opportunity to make new friends, revive old interests, and find new ones. This kind of newness is exciting and stimulating.

6)      It's an opportunity to sexually explore. Often sex becomes non existent, infrequent or routine in long term relationships.  You may or may not want lots of new sexual partners now you are single.  If you are ready to explore with someone new, you get to express yourself in ways that you may not have felt able to in your previous relationship.  Even if you’re not ready to explore with someone else, this is the perfect to explore your body and  potential for pleasure through self-pleasuring.

7)      After having alone time to nurture yourself, reassess your life, explore your pleasure and create a new social life – you are much more ready for a healthy grounded relationship and to attract in a partner who truly matches you.

Do You Have The Courage To Be An Intimacy Warrior?

Loving someone is a courageous business. Most of us want true deep love and intimacy in our lives, and when it's absent, imagine it coming wrapped up in a comfy blanket, with some organic chocolate and rose petals on the side.  

In truth, love is a messier business more like open heart surgery.

Because it IS open heart surgery. There is no intimacy without vulnerability. Intimacy demands that we let our guard down. We take off the safety brake.  We reveal our tender heart, hoping that it will be met with love and tenderness. But love is always a risk.  It doesn't come with any guarantees - even the "lifetime" guarantee of marriage now lasts less than 9 years on average.

Many hopeful couples go through the wedding ceremony declaring til death us do part, because they really want a signed, sealed and delivered safety contract.

It's an illusion of safety.  Love is a warrior's path.  My own exploration into intimacy lately has at times shaken me to the core. A whole day (of potential productivity!) lost feeling dizzy, tender, and raw. Intimacy strips away our veils and invites us to live more fully and vibrantly.

And it's a fine line between courage and foolhardiness.

Heart break can leave us overly cautious.  And wondering why we are not meeting a gorgeous partner effortlessly and joyfully! That invisible armour is doing its job effectively. There ARE ways to attract in new love and intimacy without risking total annihilation.  And yes you still have to be vulnerable - this is not the comfy blanket side road ;) I'm running a free online workshop on this topic. You can register here: http://bit.ly/newloveandintimacy

How Shame Can Help You Grow Intimacy

My van – a Ford Econovan with a bed and Ikea mattress in the back – is a powerful symbol in my life.

It represents –

1)      Lack of safety and support

2)      Shame

3)      Fear

4)      Homelessness

Yikes! It broke down on Saturday night when I was an hour away from home, in an area I didn’t know. It was cold and dark, and I felt vulnerable. I didn’t know what to do. I called my lover for help.

It was really difficult for me to ask for help.  I felt ashamed to ask.

I bought this van at a very vulnerable time in my life.  I had just left a relationship with a man I loved and moved back to Australia. I was grieving deeply.  I was in shock. I was homeless. I arrived at Bondi Beach, suitcase in hand. I bought the first van I saw because I didn’t have the energy or will to look at any more.  From that first moment, I felt shame about this decision – about not having more strength or good sense or stamina to find something better.

my van

In the end I didn’t need help to get home on Saturday night (except from the good old NRMA!).  And yet this incident revealed to me a way of being in the world that I had not been aware of before -  that I go through life feeling unsupported, believing that I should be able to handle everything myself.  I had bought a van rather than a car because if I remained homeless I would always have somewhere to sleep.  No wonder I had hardly ever slept in it, and have never been on a camping trip in it! It represents fear, lack of support and homelessness!

Realising the depths of this fear and shame was uncomfortable.  I felt dizzy and tearful all day. And feeling it allowed it to pass. I spoke with my lover about it.  It eased.  I heard that I was supported, and that it’s ok to ask for help. 

Shame is isolating. It’s debilitating and exhausting.  It takes effort and courage to move out of it, to reach out, communicate, to connect.  And it’s rich ground for growth when we do those courageous things. This is what grows intimacy. This is part of what creates a strong foundation in relationship – revealing the parts that we don’t believe are loveable. Those parts hiding in the shadows deserve love too.  We don’t have to do it all alone. 

 

What are you ashamed of?

I was not one of those pretty, bouncy, popular girls who sailed through high school with yummy boyfriends and delicious, life-affirming first sexual experiences.  I was shy and awkward and much taller than all the boys.  I was convinced that any attention I got from boys was not real.  I still feel sad for my 16 year old self, who knocked back boys with apparent callousness but really because I couldn’t believe that they were actually interested in me – I thought they were going to ridicule me and reject me.

I felt shame – for not being desirable or attractive (my perceived reality).

After I turned 18 this sense of shame around not being good enough for a boyfriend turned into sexual shame – I believed that I had missed the boat to move from sexual novice to expert in an acceptable time frame!  I was so ashamed that when I went to uni (in a different city) I pretended to have had boyfriends and to be sexually experienced, and lived in fear of my new friends finding out the truth.

This shame led me to miss out on many wonderful relationships.  It stopped me sexually expressing myself. It stopped me being able to receive love. 

Shame had created this huge barrier to intimacy and kept me a prisoner for years.

I was finally freed from it when I had a relationship with a man who was so in love with me that I had the courage to admit my “shameful” secret.  And of course the drama, rejection and ridicule I had feared for so long never happened. 

Through my clients I have learned that sexual shame is incredibly common. Although the story and experiences attached are different, so many of us carry shame around sex – whether that is about not being good enough, not “normal” or unworthy to experience sexual pleasure. It is the cause of much distress, loneliness and sexual dysfunction.

How do we move beyond shame?

-       Have the courage to be vulnerable and authentic.  In other words share your fears with someone trustworthy.  This could be a close friend, or a professional therapist or coach.  Shame thrives on secrecy.

-       Develop self –acceptance. You are aiming to speak to your inner self with the same compassion you would show a close and beloved friend.

-       Parent your inner child. Your wounded inner child is the one attempting to keep you safe.  Seek professional help if this feels too difficult to do alone. 

-       Celebrate you!  One way to do this is through creative expression.  I love to dance. It helps me get  into my body, have greater love and acceptance for myself, express myself authentically and joyfully and feel really alive. It’s a great launching pad for letting go of shame and expressing yourself fully in the world.

Shame hides in the shadows of secrets. Don't let it control your joy, pleasure, connection and loving

The Truth on Trust

I used to torture myself in new relationships – COULD I TRUST THIS MAN? WAS HE GOING TO BETRAY ME? I was equally unsure when making big decisions, agonizing about whether I would make the right one. 

And then I realized one day that my uncertainty and insecurity came not from the situations and relationships I was in - it came from within. 

It’s so easy to look outside of ourselves and seek safety in a relationship, job, or situation – rather than looking within for safety.

When I’m tuning in – to my own intuition and my own body wisdom – and TRUSTING it, I am guided. I get clarity. I know what to trust, what to allow into my life, which situations to walk away from.  My mind still sends me into crazy-land if I let it – but if I take the time to tune into my body, that creates inner calm – and I begin to trust myself again.

Fear still comes up, But I don’t become the fear. My inner compass stays steady. Even when (to my mind) a person or a situation doesn’t look how it “should”. If the situation or person is trustworthy, my inner compass knows - and trusts.

So if you are single and wanting a relationship based on trust – start developing trust in yourself.

And if you’re in a relationship that feels like it lacks trust, go within. Find your inner trust, and you’ll find your way through to clarity. 


Self-Love is the New Sexy

Have you ever stopped to listen to the constant internal dialogue that’s going on in your mind?

I’m so stupid! If only I hadn’t…I would have got the promotion

I’m so useless – we'd still be together if only I had...

I should have lost weight then I could have.…

Maybe you’ve done loads of personal development work. So now the flavour of your inner critic is more along the lines of:

I shouldn’t talk so negatively to myself!

I should be able to accept my body as it is!

I should have done my meditation this morning!

Our mindset and our inner critic alters our experience of life. And to create a mindset that helps rather than hinders us, we need self-love.

Self-love is not the act of becoming ego centric. It is the act of bringing compassion to yourself. So when your child or friend is hurting, you comfort them right? You remind them of who they really are – that they are amazing and capable and that they are not defined by this event or day that has knocked them down.

Self-love is the act of doing that for ourselves.

Yet as the above examples show, it’s usually not just a case of deciding to be different. It takes practice, and that practice happens not in the mind but in the body.

We need to strengthen our self-love muscle so that it’s strong enough to spot the inner critic at work and not identify with it. It will still be there, doing its thing, but its voice will stop having authority.

So how do we do that?

By consciously choosing self-love as a practice - by doing body based practices so it becomes habitual and the inner critic loses its power.

If you would like some simple practices to follow, you can join my 7 Steps to Self-Love here. It’s free and it’s fun! Click here:  http://bit.ly/7StepsSelfLove

Self-Love is the new sexy :)

Soul food is not a luxury…

Recently I sought advice from a wise woman. She told me firmly and repeatedly “stop pushing yourself. Have fun!” Finally the penny dropped.  There is one thing to intellectually “get” something and it is quite another to really feel it in the body– and it felt like freedom.  My soul had been crying out to me -

HAVE FUN!
BE IN JOY!
START LIVING NOW!

Finally I was listening. I got that this is it - this moment right here.  It doesn’t all start tomorrow, or when the house is clean, or you have lost 10 pounds, or you have met your soul mate, or you have landed your dream job, or you have written your bestselling novel, or you have launched your successful business.

I realised that I had not really been experiencing life at all.

I had been putting off actually allowing myself to enjoy life until I had achieved certain things.  I didn’t deserve to have fun until I had “got somewhere”. I was allowing shoulds to rule my life – I should have done this or should have achieved that today. That sneaky little word – should. It seems innocent enough, but its purpose is to eliminate joy.  

I realised that pleasure and fun and joy are not luxuries to be earned through striving and hard work.  They are soul food. They are necessary. All the pushing and striving was strangling my dreams, not feeding them.  There was no room for creative flow and universal magic to help me on my way.  

This evening I walked to the beach at dusk. The final dog walkers were heading home. A tiny frog crossed my path. The cicadas’ night time chorus merged with the roar of the ocean. The reds and greys of the mackerel sky were quickly swallowed by night’s arrival. I swam naked, enjoying the cool water against my skin. It was pure pleasure, the joy of just being. Allowing all that doing, and all the shoulds to fall away.

Being fully present in your life brings pleasure. Get up at dawn and watch the sun rise. Take your shoes off and walk in the dewy grass. Splash in the ocean. Play in the snow. Find a cosy corner in the library and read a great book. Be really present with your child and be in wonder at her ability to have fun. Take pleasure in each experience, knowing that these moments are it. 

The joy is right here right now.  

What's your impossible dream?

When I was a teenager, music was my life – I studied it, and played in bands and orchestras every weekend.

And at age 18, I abandoned it all.

Fast-forward 25 years later, I found myself at music camp filled with fear and excitement.

I soon found that everyone was very friendly and I was loving exploring music in a new way. Every morning I woke up happy and excited. 

Then half way through the week I woke with a sense of unease and sadness thinking of the evening ahead. I had had a restless night, dreaming of snakes slithering through my home shedding their skins. 

That evening was Café Night – an open mic night when students had the chance to get on stage and perform. I knew I had nothing to offer. And yet deep down I wanted to perform something.  It felt really important. I saw the significance of the dream – an opportunity for transformation - yet felt powerless to act on it.

I told myself that next year I would have something I could perform.

I was standing waiting for class, when another student asked me “What are you going to be doing this evening?” I felt the beginning of tears somewhere deep, and told him I had nothing to offer. “Sing something,” he replied. “There must be a song you like.” He turned and wrote my name on the performers’ board, and pointed to one of the teachers -   “He’ll help you get ready.” I felt ridiculous and embarrassed, but knowing I could change my mind at any time, I asked the teacher who agreed to help.

We met later in the afternoon. I was very nervous about singing in front of him – when I was 8 the music teacher refused to let me in the choir and I had never shaken off a fear of ridicule around being heard singing. I sang really quietly hoping his guitar would hide my voice. He gently told me that the object was for everyone to be able to hear me!

How was I going to sing in front of a hall full of people, many of them professional singers?

I called a friend for advice.  “Don’t worry about what it sounds like. Just be 100% in it, really feel it, put passion into it, connect to it”. His message hit home. I understood why I wanted to do this so much – to touch the audience and inspire them.

I knew I needed to find a hidden part of myself - my Inner Diva. The part of me that has no fear of being seen or heard – the part that can fill a room, command attention and inspire. So I decided to dress up to find her.

Wearing a long red dress, a red wig, and red high heels, I stood on the stage and took a deep breath. Standing there under the lights holding a microphone for the first time, a calm took over me. The nerves were there, but something else was there too. A knowing that I could fill that room. I took another breath and poured passion into the first line of Leonard Cohen’s "Hallelujah."  

Was it perfect? No. But I really rocked it! I was fully in my body, filling the room, and touching the audience, inspiring them to sing along in the chorus.  

I found my Inner Diva. 

I did something I thought would never be possible and fulfilled a dream.  I believed in myself and went for it, knowing it wouldn’t be perfect but that I had the ability to connect and inspire.

So if you have an “impossible” dream – take a deep breath, give yourself permission to not be perfect, and take that first courageous step to fulfilling it.  

It’s so worth it.