Saying Goodbye To Girlfriend Envy On Woman’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day, and I think that is a perfect day to call an envy and jealousy ceasefire among women. There’s a not so new envy in town, that has become hot again, or maybe it never went away. Something right up there with penis, purse and Louboutin red-soul envy. I’m calling it “Girlfriend Envy” and it has made a reappearance alongside all of us freshly minted “goddesses.”

What? You haven’t noticed all of the “Goddesses?”

Well, maybe I see them more because I’m a Sex/Fertility Educator with a “New Age” bent, but I am surrounded. And that’s a good thing. It means we women are coming into our own, mortal “deities of creation” in one form or another. We’re not just sex goddesses, we’re media or financial goddesses. Powerful women abound and the world’s a wide open pantheon waiting to be filled.

And the Goddesses connect with each other, and become friends. We pitch Red Tents, and dance in circles. Until one of us get’s a book deal, or loses fifty pounds or snaps an appearance on Dr. Oz.

And then, the tent can turn green.

I asked one girlfriend who is also a colleague about this uniquely feminine jealousy and this is what she offered:

“Jealously among women becomes an opportunity to see the stories that we have believed about ourselves that have kept us from being our authentic self. Envy is a revelation of all the stories that I have kept to myself regardless off what everybody else thinks. And I not only turn it on myself, but I can turn it on you.”

Another girlfriend said this: “What is it about the ‘Tallest Poppy Syndrome’ with women? Why do women look at other women – successful women – who have really achieved something wonderful and resent them, attack or cut them down in some way! I am so tired of it. It’s hard enough for us together to break through the glass ceiling. We need to get each others backs, not climb over them so we can get to the top. Why are we looking to behead the tallest poppy in the field? Do we really think that if we pull her down that our star will rise? Do we really think that her success replaces our own?”

That is the crux of it. I think women are so frightened of the small playing field that is available to us, that we feel compelled to act like destroyers to have room to grow. It’s just not true and it’s time to change all that.

It’s time for us to really accept to our “Goddess Energy” which is about connecting, creation and building community, not war and dominance. Women are magical when it comes to growing things and it is time that we grew the playing field so that all of the poppies can grow tall.

When “girlfriend envy” starts to turn in on itself, no amount of feminism will save us.

So if you feel it coming on, stop and notice it.

Why are you feeling threatened or jealous? How can you grow the field instead of looking to bomb it?…

On The Path To Becoming A Woman In Full

I  sometimes grow tired of the terms “Second Adulthood”, “Divine Feminine”, “Goddess” and even “Mid-Life Crisis. But lately I feel as if I am surrounded by women who might be described with these labels. These women are doing more than stepping forward and asking to be heard – they want action! And what I love about these women is that they are willing to work and take real risks for what they want.
This woman is looking for something more in her life. She is no longer willing to settle for a life that simply nourishes her.

This is a woman that is above the level of survival – she has that part figured out.
Now she is hungering for something that will not only recharge her batteries, give her life purpose, provide her with adventure, but she is also wanting that “something more” to fill her piggy bank.  I prefer to see these women as resilient explorers setting out on an odyssey to live the second or third part of their life – full court, with no excuses for their desires. In my coaching practice, I call these women my “Women in Full” and they are showing up more and more every day. These women have started to figure out that there is a connection between their relationship with their own sexuality and how well they are able to live their lives.  And these women are reaching for the thread and needle, bravely trying to knit themselves a new relationship with their bodies. It’s as if they intuitively know that if they can figure this piece out – all the rest of it will come together.
I am remembering the opening circle at Back to The Body: A Sensuous Retreat For Women. There is a grittiness on some of their faces that communicate  “I was strong enough to show up here – now what are you going to teach me?” quickly followed by “Don’t waste my time.  I am on a mission to recreate myself and perhaps this is a part of the puzzle.”
Oh yes – these women are game.  They are going to get down and personal with each other. Open their hearts and even drop their shorts. They want to find out everything there is to know about being a woman in full because they know that somehow it’s here, inside themselves and they are committed to not stopping until they find the key.…

A Dirty Little Secret

Here is just one of my dirty little secrets: I may not be that different from you in so many ways.

What may make me a little different is that I am completely willing to be seen in my own vulnerability (which hopefully makes you willing to be seen in yours).  I am willing to be in our  humanness together. I study what makes me tick like crazy, and I won’t be talked out of my own pleasure.

My biggest purpose is to be a bridge for others to find their bodies, understand their sexuality, and embrace their pleasure. It’s that simple. I am a bridge. A creator of possibility, a cheer leader, an educator, and a guide. Nothing more, and certainly nothing less! It’s a big calling!

I think the first step in what I do, and the success that I have with women, is the understanding that I am simply “one who came before”, and it is from there that I can be an advocate. The biggest challenge that most of us face, on this journey towards living a pleasure filled life – is how to create it and maintain it.

It’s not always easy for anybody – even me. I struggle too.

But what I don’t do is argue myself out of pleasure.

And it is what I listen to almost daily! People who are filled with possibility who almost daily argue themselves out of their own pleasures. There are so many reasons: their marriage feels stale, there isn’t enough resources for pleasure whether it is time or money, or their body is not ready for pleasure whether it’s health or the perception of what a body should look like that can be SEEN in pleasure.

My life changed when I put a “Pleasure Plan” in place. I still do it.

The calendar is very important to me.

Where am I feeding myself pleasure? What are the dates? I plan and sometimes budget for pleasure.

Pleasure doesn’t have to be big stuff! It can be planning to see friends, eating an ice cream with complete consciousness, feeling your body while you dance or do yoga. There are all kinds of pleasures. Make a list of what brings you pleasure. All of it, the big stuff and the small stuff and then sit down with your calendar and plot it out. You need vitamin P.

In the end, no one can do this for you. You can hire guides like me to support you. I have lots of different types of guides in my life. They are indispensable to me.  You can go on retreats like “Back to The Body: A Sensuous Retreat for Women” and get a great big booster shot of pleasure. Totally yummy! And sometimes what we need to change our course.

But in the end, you are responsible for planning AND maintaining your own pleasure, and bringing it into your life.

Please don’t argue yourself out of it!

Take a cue from this poem by Neil Gaiman

“Sleep my little baby-oh
Sleep until you waken
When you wake you’ll see the world
If I’m not mistaken…

Kiss a lover
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure…

Face your life
Its pain,
Its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken.”…

When Self Loathing Comes A Knocking

Most of us want to feel hot and sexy. We want earth-shattering orgasms – and to feel like those women look in those damn magazines sipping a Margarita with smoky eyes who are about to have the most incredible sex in the universe. Right? Maybe? Who knows – but I hate them.

Self Loathing

Seeing those images can make me feel confronted with what I am not and leaves me with this feeling that I am not enough. More than that – it is this feeling that I will never have in my life what I truly want because I just don’t look like that.

And what is it that I want – you may ask? It’s a simple thing really….I want to be deeply desired, and feel free in my body. I want to be able to know that I am sexy from the inside out and truly believe it – all the time! I want to be able to walk around naked and not worry about my ass shaking in a bad way! And don’t give me platitudes.  I know them so well I could sing along.

I want to get so lost in my own wanton sexiness that orgasms flow from me like a water fall.  I don’t want much – I just want to dance in my own inner sexy wildness! Is that asking for so much?

Lately, as I prepare to go on the first of many healing retreats, I have really been confronted with my own self loathing. It is shocking that I can still go to those places of calling myself names. After all, this true confession is being spoken by a woman who has professed to the world that I have conquered body shame and self acceptance by embracing my sexual pleasure. Am I a fraud – or am I simply real and honest? The fact is – that I have healed so much of the damage that I have walked around with for most of my life when it comes to my body image and my sexuality – but everyday as my feet touch the ground – it takes a little bit of courage to love myself just as I am. And that is the truth – to say anything else would be to over promise healing – like those 30 day miracle diets on television.

Several months ago in Wallstreet Journal there is a great article, Conquering Fear which is all about those nasty little voices in our heads that tell us that we are not enough – that we are fat and stupid. That our bodies are ugly – and that our boss hates us.

My book Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner (Rodale January 2011) is all about my funny, sexy, unconventional path to falling in love with myself again in the most unbelievable way…. And I did.

But  every now and then I get tweaked in an unexpected way. There are a few new videos that have been posted of me on You Tube from a conference that I recently spoke at – and frankly they make me cringe. I hope you enjoy them.  They make me cringe.

Every time I watch them – I get taken out of how I was “feeling” when I made those videos and I get stuck in how I believe I look. I hate my neck. My face is too round. I have a double chin in that angle. How did they shoot that angle? And I stop feeling sexy. Instead I get filled with self doubt – and worry. You see – I am a real woman. Isn’t that reassuring? I am not going to give you pleasure platitudes and tell you that if you do this or that – all of your inner fears will go away completely. They don’t. But it can get better.

This is what I can promise. If you work on embracing who you are – every single day just like a religious practice – things will change in your world.

In so many ways – it is like developing a healthy eating and exercising plan. There is a lot of self talk, and self encouragement that needs to happen. I have to do it too – even now.  Especially now! The voices of fear that tell us that we are not enough – or are broken in some way – don’t ever really go completely away.

I hope that by showing up and being honest about how I feel and how I move through all of the hatefulness that I can throw at myself will inspire you to do it too. The fact is that most of the time these days – I feel smoking! I have a swagger to my step – and kick to my heels. I dress like a diva with a wink! And I still feel bad about my neck a lot.  You see – I still  have really big moments of self loathing. It’s all a part of the process…..…