It All Counts (On Softening, Trust and Gratitude)

  I’m proud of myself that I started my day with answering a few emails, and then immediately jumping onto my mat and doing an hour of stretching/yoga.

It felt good to spend time with my body again, even if my mind was wandering most of the time.

It will come.

Towards the end, when I was doing some simple sun salutations, I was filled with gratitude and chose to practice some self-forgiveness.

I’ve been so hard on myself in the last few years,  keeping myself in a holding belt of constant self-judgment, criticism, and bullshit that led to self-doubt, sticky stuckness, and the inability to trust myself.

And then beating myself up for not being able to move past all this, on top of it.

[Note: yes, even I, get into loops of stuckness and paralysis born out of self-punishing thoughts. It’s time I shed the layers of shame about it, and show up as I am: human.]

I felt myself soften today.

Felt so much gratitude for just being alive. For this experience and all the experiences I’ve had in this life, the good and the bad.

Even if the bad are not completely resolved and I don’t know if they will be.

I’m grateful to be alive.

And I guess it doesn’t much matter what I do with this life as much as it matters that I live it and that I’m alive.

It all counts.

It’s all experience.

I feel softer, slightly, towards myself.

The choices I’ve made have brought me to this moment, and this moment, feeling this gratitude filling every corner of my being, is precious.

I want to cry but the tears aren’t coming yet.

All in due time.

I know my undoing is coming, and it’s coming softly.

Unravel. Unfold. Unfurl.

The chrysalis comes to mind. That mush that isn’t formed, which will become a butterfly but has no shape yet.

In this place, I trust.

  

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Wake Up with Me

I recently committed to 3 hours of movement per week.

My body has been asking for it, and I’ve been much too sedentary since I’ve been working so much with my computer.

I fell into a rut of feeling too tired to exercise, which was enabling a downward spiral of staying put >> low energy >> staying put.

I did pretty goody the first week, but it felt constraining after, and I’ve been moving around so much that making it to the gym has been a bit of a challenge.

I thought my commitment to movement had to be something like working out at the gym or some formal class.

Instead of giving up, I decided to include movement in all forms, and counting dance breaks and walks and stretching into the 3-hours per week commitment.

The last few days I started adding back a practice of stretching and dancing in the morning, to warm up my muscles, wake up my body and ground into it to start the day deliciously.

This is the result:

 

I’ve found, or rather ‘re-membered,’ that this morning ritual shifts completely whatever I was feeling, that I can tap into the wisdom in my body, and it wakes up my appetite for something healthy and nourishing, as opposed to some sweet treat in the morning.

It frees up my back, I feel lighter and more nimble, and it sets me up to make decisions based on what is good for me instead of what feels good in the moment.

I find myself fighting less with myself and having to use my will power a lot less. Instead, I just feel like doing what I need to be doing for myself.

It’s fantastic, and I’m so happy I’m remembering this practice and feel so committed to continuing it.

And it occurred to me, that perhaps you’d like to come along for the ride.

Soooo…. I’ve been toying with the idea of a series called Wake Up With Melody, where I post a video of my morning routine, share about the music, and thoughts on current events and something to inspire you.

What do you think? What kinds of things would you like to see in this series?

Don’t be shy! Let me know in the comments!

And if you’d like to receive these, please sign up for the mailing list here.

This is your formal invitation into a more intimate slice of my life, where you get to wake up with me and maybe dance along.

Big love and gratitude always,

 

Melody

Isabel Allende on Dancing

A friend of mine recently shared this with me on Facebook, and I find it so poignant and delicious I had to offer it to you as well.

Isabel Allende’s description of the sheer letting go and reconnection/alignment that happens when we dance with abandon is just breathtaking.

“Mi primer recuerdo de felicidad, cuando era una mocosa huesuda y desgreñada, es moverme al son de los tambores y ésa es también mi más reciente felicidad, porque anoche estuve en la plaza del Congo bailando y bailando, sin pensamientos en la cabeza, y hoy mi cuerpo está caliente y cansado. La musica es un viento que lleva los años, los recuerdos y el temor, ese animal agazapado adentro. Con los tambores desaparece la Zarité de todos los días y vuelvo a ser la niña que danzaba cuando apenas sabia caminar. Golpeo el suelo con las plantas de los pies y la vida me sube por las piernas, me recorre el esqueleto, se apodera de mí, me quita la desazon y me endulza la memoria. El mundo se estremece. El ritmo nace en la isla bajo el mar, sacude la tierra, me atraviesa como un reláampago y se va al cielo llevándose mis pesares. Baila, baila Zarité, porque esclavo que baila es libre – mientras baila.”

La Isla Bajo El Mar Isabel Allende

My translation:

“My first memory of happiness, from when I was a snotty, bony, dirty little girl, was moving to the sound of the drums and that’s also my most recent joy, because last night I was in the Congo square dancing and dancing, without thoughts in my mind, and today my body is hot and tired. The music is a wind that takes away the years, the memories and the fear, that crouching animal within. With the drums, the Zarite of every day disappears and I go back to being that girl that danced when she barely knew how to walk. I beat the ground with the soles of my feet and life rises up my legs, runs through my skeleton, takes over me, takes away my melancholy and sweetens my memory. The world shivers. The rhythm is born on the island under the sea, shakes the earth, goes through me like lightning and goes up to the sky taking with it my heaviness. Dance, dance Sarite, because the slave that dances is free – while he dances.”

The Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende 13

What’s your reaction when you read this? Do these words reflect your experience of wild dancing?

Something Quite Wonderful Happened the Other Day

Something quite wonderful happened the other day, and it brought a beautiful epiphany with it.

I had the joy and pleasure of spending 2 1/2 weeks with a man that shows up and respects me and loves me up in the best of ways, without making me wrong in any way when I behave in a way that doesn’t suit him.

Talking about it, yes. But no shaming.

It has been beautiful, and now he is back in Germany.

I could share with you at length about how healing this has been in terms of experiencing what it’s like to be with someone that won’t blame me, run away, treat me like a child or shrink himself to avoid confrontations. And maybe I will later on.

But the point of this particular post is something else.

The day he left, while there was some sadness, I was so full.

So at peace.

My heart felt open, my chest expanded, my shoulders back…

And I noticed people, especially other men, interacting with me in a different way.

I found it curious and amusing.

What was different?

Ah! As I walked, there was a calmness about me.

I was so full, that there was none of that internal sense of seeking, wanting, desiring attention or love from others.

I was just walking and enjoying my walk for myself.

It felt good, and I realized that this is the reason for that mysterious ‘when it rains, it pours’ effect that happens whenever we start seeing someone and all of a sudden more people hit on us.

But that wasn’t the epiphany I mentioned at the beginning.

That one came the next day, when I went to Daybreaker, a morning dance party (best way to start your day!).

As I danced, I noticed myself comparing myself to others.

Oh, she dances better! Oh, he’s getting attention! She’s so hot!

I noticed my dance became about getting attention. Out-sexying others.

When I tuned in, I could feel that vacuum feeling of seeking, needing, wanting that love and approval from others.

And I had a mini freak-out, cuz I didn’t want to lose the sense of fullness I had had up until that moment.

I looked around, and I saw so many people doing the same. And others who weren’t at all concerned with that, and just having a good time.

And then I looked within again, and reminded myself that I am loved.

There’s no need to seek it.

And, what’s more, even though that feeling came about this time because of the time I spent with someone else, it didn’t have to come from the outside.

I could just focus on all the love that’s already there.

Loveliness

I closed my eyes, and brought my attention to that. I filled myself up with it again.

And my dance changed.

I danced for me.

I danced because I felt so good that my body was moved.

And throughout the rest of the day, everything that happened was gift after gift after gift!

I reconnected with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, and there’s a possibility that I might sing in a production.

I got home and took a delicious sleepy warm nap on my couch.

Then I did some work on the computer, and effortlessly (when lately it has taken so much effort) took myself to yoga class.

The class was perfect, and left me feeling so grateful.

Then I glided home, and the most delicious warm and refreshing breeze accompanied me caressing my skin as I walked…

Only to find out that my upstairs neighbor, who practices classical piano every day, had been joined by a violinist.

I swooned!

Could it get any better??

Every single one of my senses had been stimulated, and it was almost too much.

My point is…  this is what happens when I shift my approach in life from seeking love, to knowing I’m already loved.

It has nothing to do with whether there is someone else there to love me, and everything to do with practicing feeling the love that’s already there.

It’s vulnerable… a part of me keeps feeling like it can’t last. But even that feels good, and I know there will be another up as much as there will be a down in this roller coaster of life.

So.. Can you find it?

Can you tune in, remind yourself of all the ways in which you’re already loved?

I’m not saying in a woo woo way, ‘loved by the universe,’ etc.

Whatever.

I’m saying in real, concrete ways.

Do it now.

Fill yourself up with it.

Live your days from this place.

This perspective changes everything.

It’s not that obstacles won’t be there. It’s not that things will just be easy, because of the ‘law of attraction.

It’s much more basic than that.

Approaching life with a sense of already being full changes the way we view obstacles, and we start moving out of a sense of wanting to do something instead of seeking acceptance or proving our worth.

Effort gains purpose, instead of being something we have to do.

Choice becomes available, and a sense of freedom has room to grow.

All through taking a bit of time each day to focus on how loved we already are.

Will you try it?

I want to know how it goes! Will you tell me in the comments?

What’s Your “ON” Button?

Hello, sweethearts!

 

How are you this rainy New York day?

I have to say, there’s something so soothing and comforting about waking up to the pitter-patter of raindrops.

Maybe it’s because it brings memories of snuggling up under a warm comforter, sighing deeper into a cocoon made up of warm sheets and soft mattress.

Mhhmmm….

 

In any case, I’m writing today because I’m excited about a new discovery I made about myself last night.

 

I’m usually very calm, and people always tell me how grounding it is to be around me.

My pace is a lot slower than most people’s in this hectic city.

My energy level a lot more even than the crazy rollercoaster of sugar-highs and sugar-crashes most people engage in every day.

In my life, everything is slow and steady… Much like one of my power animals, the tortoise.

I went to the monthly Full Moon Party my friends at Unitribe put together at City Life Wellness, a community oasis in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

It is always a beautiful family gathering, full of love, fun, and celebration. And lots of dancing!

In any case, I had just arrived and hadn’t made my way inside yet. I was chatting with some of the people who were catching some fresh air outside, one of them a musician who was playing Brazilian drum.

As usual, I was pretty chill.

But as soon as I got inside, the drum music got into my body and my energy level skyrocketed effortlessly.

 

Whoa! I was shaking my hips, dancing and jumping like a tribal mad-woman. Or rather, the Earth Goddess that I am.

 

Now, this is pretty normal for me because I absolutely adore dancing. And I absolutely adore dancing to live drums.

But the insight came when the drummer, who had seen me outside all calm and chill and my usual grounded self, came to me later to comment on how much he enjoyed how high-energy I was while I was dancing.

Whaaa???

While I had experienced this switch before, it wasn’t until he said that that I realized…

 

Drums are one of my “ON” buttons!

 

They are one of the things that turn my body on so much so quickly, no matter how tired I am.

And in such an utterly delicious way!

 

Jump in!

So, tell me…. What are your “ON” buttons? Mayhaps you inspire the rest of us to try the same.

Naked Wellness is Going International!

Ok. So this isn’t so much a blog post as it is an announcement.

And I’m so very excited to share it with you!

I kind of ruined the surprise with the title but, in my defense, I couldn’t help it. It’s just that I’m that excited about it!

Are you ready?

Here goes…

On February 27th, I will be leading the Come Back Into Your Senses workshop in the sweet paradise island of Koh Phangan, Thailand.

!!!

Yes, it’s so very hard working from paradise…

……

Oh. Where was I?

Right! This is the part where I explain what exactly this workshop is about. Which is…

We’re not just minds, and we’re not just souls.

Our bodies serve a purpose, are incredibly wise, and they deserve to be honored.

So, if by any chance you happen to be around (or decide to stop by), please do yourself a favor and stop by the Life Spiral Center at The Sanctuary, Koh Phangan, to remind yourself of why you should stop fighting with your body to behave the way you believe it should, and reconnect with the many pleasures of having an embodied existence.

We will experiment with breathwork, meditation, sensual movement and mhhhhmmmmoaning!

By bypassing the thinking brain, we will open up the communication lines with our body, gain clarity around its needs, boost our confidence, creativity and sensuality and have a magnificiently fun time getting out of our minds.

As a result, we will be able to tap into our body’s wisdom as another tool to go after our dreams and find more joy and pleasure in life.

Ahhh… the joy!

Ahhhhh… the pleasure!

And it’s all happening in beautiful southern Thailand, where we can run into the sea and have delicious fresh young coconuts after we’re done with the workshop.

Mhhhhmmmmm….. I can’t wait!

Getting Back Into Your Sexy – First Edition

I don’t particularly like list blog posts because I don’t like telling people what to do.

It’s my mission to let go and not be a control freak.

I’m not here to direct your life.

So I figured I could make this into a series instead of a list, the added benefits being that I can keep adding stuff, and you won’t have to be stuck reading a neverending post.

Yes?

Ok. Here we go!

My sexy? What is this woman talking about?!?!?

You know when you’re all caught up in your head, overanalyzing everything to the point of paralysis?

Those times when you have a gazillion possibilities staring you in the face, and you don’t know which way to go?

For those moments of “well, I could go this way, which would be great because of a.b and c. But then I miss out on x. Or I could do it this way, which solves that. But leaves me without b. No, no.. I got it! Wait.. No. No, that doesn’t work either. Hmm… I’ll sit on this some more and see if I come up with something new.”

Blah. Blah. Blah. Blechh.

If this sounds like your rambling inner dialogue, the one that keeps you stuck in the same spot forever and ever… You know what I’m talking about.

And you are the person I wrote this for.

Your sexy is that place where you know in your gut what the next step is, and you take action.

You flow, from a deep-driven desire.

Kind of like when you have that special someone in the bedroom with you, and you’re following your natural instincts.

There are no doubts, no thoughts. Just…

Sweet action.

The suggestions you will find throughout this series will take you out of your mind so that you can take action outside the bedroom.

Actions that have to do with finally getting your thing out of your head and into the world.

Making it happen. Finally!

These techniques will help you bypass your thinking brain, so that you can make decisions from your more creative side and your intuition.

When you quiet all those thinking voices, you just know what the next step is.

There’s no wavering, no questioning.

The best way, in my experience, to get out of your mind is to move into your body.

Into your sexy.

So here’s the first way I use to achieve that:

Music and Movement

This is not the first time I’m writing about movement as an exorcism.

That’s because it works.

Put on some of your favorite music. Try to make it something without lyrics (or with very few ones), so that your thinking brain isn’t activated throughout the exercise.

Close your eyes.

Take a deep breath and focus on how the air travels in through your nose and into your belly and lungs.

Then turn your attention to the music.

Let the sounds wash over you, focusing on how they feel on your body.

For this exercise, I enjoy using music with a deep bass. I can feel it reverberating in my core, and it’s like it’s making its way through every single cell in my body.

Inevitably, this leads me to movement.

I start swaying, my fingers tap, my arms move, my hips…

My body starts dancing out of its own accord.

Letting the music play you like an instrument is a beautiful thing.

But perhaps this doesn’t get you to move, and that’s ok too. The point is to focus on the sensations in your body, and to remember to keep breathing deep, beautiful breaths.

This exercise is designed to help strip you of inhibitions, and all those paralyzing questions.

What are your thoughts? Please leave your feedback in the comments section.

Orgasmic Dancing: Exercise and Exorcise

When was the last time you let yourself go into your body and let it move whichever way it wants?

Without censoring.

Without allowing self-consciousness about how you may look stop you.

Without a care in the world.

Just. Moving.

Just. Dancing.

I’m going to guess it’s been a while. I know, up until the past year, it had been too long for me.

I had forgotten what it felt like.

Do you remember dancing like this when you were a child?

This was before you learned what dancing was “supposed to look like.” (and who makes those rules, anyway??).

It was fun, wasn’t it? Real fun.

Grounding.

Expressive.

Liberating.

I’d been having somewhat of a down day last Saturday, when I went to the GlobeSonic event at i70, one of the piers in New York City. The DJ’s were spinning from 4 pm til midnight, and a whole bunch of people gathered to sweat, celebrate summer, and relish in our ability to move to the beat.

And it brought home, again, how much of an exorcism dancing can be.

As I got into the music, allowing my body to do its thing, I left all my worries on that floor. All the stress was pushed out of my body through my pores in the form of sweat.

As I connected to all that creativity and sensuality (by which I mean that delicious awareness of your senses that makes you feel alive), I felt the power rising from deep in my belly, up and up, passing behind my heart, and into my throat…

The pressure building and building.

It was orgasmic.

Actually, it was better than orgasmic; I could make it last as long as I kept moving, and gave me the same afterglow.

You can see me practically moaning in this picture:

Spontaneous orgasmic dancing in progress

Wooohooooo!

The pressure was so strong I couldn’t contain the hollering (and from the sounds around me, neither could the rest of the crowd).

My friend Andi was in awe. We’d never hung out in this type of setting before, so she’d never seen me like that.

But I didn’t care. It was something that required expression, and I was free to express it.

After all, that was what the whole shindig was about:

Expressing yourself with your body.

But in a way, I wasn’t really dancing anymore. I wasn’t moving to the music.

I wasn’t in control anymore. The music was.

The music was playing my body.

It was liberating and exhilarating and a total complete and natural high.

There is such beautiful power and connectedness in these… rituals.

And that’s what they are. It’s no coincidence that most cultures developed dances and rituals around them.

There was nothing funny going on. Nothing to laugh about.

Yet I laughed out of the sheer bubble of happiness that couldn’t be contained anymore.

Why not?

So many times we stop ourselves from expressing how we feel because it’s not “the right thing to do” in a particular situation.

Let me ask you… Who cares??? And, again, who makes those rules????

It’s quite an experience to do this with a group of people, giving each other permission to let go and express and leave everything on the dancefloor.

This is why movements like 5Rhythms, a dance/meditation practice based on “sweating your prayers,” are so successful.

But you don’t have to join a group if you don’t feel ready.

So, if you’re ready for some long-lasting dancing orgasms of your own…

Put on your favorite music, close your eyes, and drop into your body in your own living room.

You’ll start off slowly getting into it. Shyly, even though you’re all alone.

Just feel the music and let your body do its thing. You’ll find yourself wanting to dance a particular way at the beginning, and that’s ok.

As you go, you’ll start loosening up. Getting more creative.

Letting go.

Try this for at least 30 minutes.

It’s not only great exercise, but also a magnificent and fun way of exorcising.

Jump in!

What’s your initial reaction to this post? If you tried the exorcise, how did you feel?