Belonging Boundaries Confidence Embodiment Emergence Eros Freedom Intimacy Love Ordinary Joy Relationships Self-Compassion The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

Erotic Ladies of an Uncertain Age

What is a “Karen” but a woman who’s stopped touching her p*ssy? A woman whose stagnant eros erupts as rage?

Cut the thinning hair, cover the jiggly arms, and for God’s sake leave that pussy alone. It’s no longer fully alive, like you! Shame on you for subjecting us to your wrinkly face, soft belly, and arm waddles. Nobody wants to see that. You’re embarrassing yourself. Let him close his eyes the whole time he makes love to you, it’s only fair. Embodying eros in midlife form just isn’t appropriate. What are you–French? Don’t wear that thing that makes you feel like you’re at a party where people might skate. You look like a bag lady who lost her cart. Stake no claim in eros though your heart still beats, your lungs still breathe and your pussy still throbs. Doesn’t it?

Those are the kind of thoughts that birth a “Karen”, purveyor of dry brushfire. Does it come from the culture? Sure. But we decide how intimately we collude with that narrative, how wide it manspreads in our minds.

We can learn to hold boundaries within our own minds. Those are ninja-level boundaries and not without risk. No thank you, culture, I’m not interested in that story. Will we get pushback? Sure. And we can take that bullshit as nourishment like a peony does. So much is optional. Not death tho. That’s the real bit here. That’s what this whole thing is about, underneath. Trying death on. Who wore it best? Can you dance in it? Can you sit? Can you breathe? I like this midlife cut, it has stretch in it.

I’ve been leaning into the phrase “middle-aged lady” lately. I am also “of a certain age”, which is certainly 48. I’ve noticed people go out of their way to avoid being a “middle-aged lady”. Why? The middle way is a great path to walk. In the middle of those twin portals–birth and death–is ripe treasure that I’m not about to squander. I live in the middle of a lit paradoxical field. I have my full permission to be a middle-aged lady, exactly as I am.

I haven’t welcomed menopause yet (Shatavari!). From what I’ve heard, it has a way of clearing the field. I hope my hot flashes will bring with them a blaze that cleanses the stagnant bits of maiden left in me. Behold the crone and her earth magic. Womb writ new in full emptiness.

How much of middle aged lady misery comes from clinging to the maiden bits because there is no valued new identity culturally available? I mean, clinging to any identity just brings suffering, but still…

How do we meet that absence? By craving the facial paralysis of Botox? Does it really muffle the whisper of skull? I can’t think of a more literal refusal or our full expression. I love the lines that reach from my eyes all the way down to the middle of my cheeks when I’m really happy. No harm no foul if you’re into it. I think our bodies should express our essence just as we see fit.

But in our culture it’s go maiden or go home. Be young or stfu.

So how to live that crone life lit?

I find the first sticky bit is needing to be an object of desire. What if desire requires no object? What if we allow desire to just be the force of nature it is?

Can I just feel the wind in my hair, or do I need someone to notice me feeling the wind in my hair and put me in their spank bank for later to recognize eros in all that sensation?

When we’re tangled in the effort of pushing, pulling, and putting our desire on something or somewhere, we lose our own voice and the luminous perfection of an eggshell. They are not separate. Delight in both of those things flows with ease from embodied awareness. When we’re performing instead of experiencing eros, we lose touch with ordinary joy.

When I let go of being an object of desire and allow desire itself to penetrate me freely, I am restored to radiance. I am it and it is me, like moon and moonlight. I see the erotic perfection in an eggshell is not separate from the perfection of my pussy. Life force energy coalesced into perfect form. Each is necessary, just as it is. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be here.

My erotic life and my sexual life are related though not the same. They feed each other. Sexual confidence in middle age goes against so much conditioning. I don’t dismiss that, I notice it until it scampers off. I let it draw me deeper into the miracle of my body. Deeper into the mystery of sharing my body with another. The smells, the aches, the new softness of all of it. I could bemoan not “keeping it tight”, or I could revel in my suppleness. I think it’s pretty clear which one leads to orgasm, though that’s not the goal. There is no goal. There is no winning, just more playing.

Just this, just now. Just a middle aged white lady, being the be: wild heart, wet pussy, wind in hair.

You have your permission.

Attachment Belonging Boundaries Confidence Embodiment Emotional Sobriety Eros Freedom Fuck Suffering Intimacy Love Ordinary Joy Relationships The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

Let’s Talk About Middle-Aged Online Dating

One useful thing I learned over my last two rounds of app dating is this: A man who wears sunglasses in his main pic is avoidant 100% of the time. Give it about 10 messages and it’ll be clear. You can also give it a year–the data comes out the same. I don’t have a giant sample size, but big enough. Do with this data what you will.

I’m 48–a middle-aged woman–and by all accounts I should really hate online dating. It should make me feel terrible about myself, less than human, disenchanted with humans. I would have had to feel pretty terrible about myself already for this to be the case. Like all of our social media tools, feeling victimized by them seems a dishonest position. Yes, they’re manipulating our attention. Exercise discernment.

My mother suggested I leave Maine and move back to Philly where the numbers would be better. I told her I only want one and was far more likely to be resonant with someone who loves Maine as much as I do.

This time, I added in my bio, “What’s your attachment style?” I figured some self-awareness around this icebreaker would be a good way to vet. It was. When they didn’t know I offered a link to this NPR quiz.…/whats-your-attachment-style-quiz

No one said no to taking it and sharing their results. This surprised and delighted me. It led to some interesting conversations about the value of such a metric, how it changes, and how we’ve been and how we’d like to be. It was heartening. There were also jokes. It opened the field to vulnerability from the start. And why not? Nothing squashes pleasure like defense. And why not meet each online dating encounter from a place of pleasure?

Also tho, in the app-based stage of a connection, I don’t give anyone the “benefit of the doubt.” What is that anyway? If I have doubt about someone in the space of ten text messages, there is unlikely to be benefit in continuing. There’s mutual curiosity or there’s not. There’s openness and play or there’s not. By the time we’re 20 messages in, there’s a plan to meet. I have lots of wonderful online friends. I’m looking for irl smells.

This has made the whole enterprise feel like an adult round of duck duck goose. Not everyone was up for play. Some people really see online dating as more of a job interview. Some people feel really resigned about the whole thing. Some people really hate their lives. Some people tell jokes about murdering their wives. That was just one guy, but still…

I had just one full yes right up my midline this time. He was way outside my usual preferences. He is an unvaxxed, gun-owning, libertarian who listens with actual interest to Tucker Carlson and has only the vaguest notion of who Beyoncé is. His love language is, “Underpromise and overdeliver.”

Instead of clutching my delicate liberal pearls, I found this polarity irresistibly hot. When he gave me a hands-on archery lesson, I found it even hotter. Preferences! They really do swap surprise for suffering.

He is those seemingly unaligned things. He is also open, present, comfortable in his skin, has a deep secular spiritual life including being expert in human design (?!), plays guitar and sings, has mad skills, and I feel seen and cherished. I’m received how I receive. I’m available for that.

Will it last?
Does it matter?
What is happening?

I only ever ask that question when I mean “What WILL happen?” When I just can’t abide the uncertainty. What IS actually happening in this moment is usually pretty clear. Clarity is received, not grasped at. And even more than that–it’s fun to be surprised by what emerges. Like really fun, if that’s how you’re turned.

Emotional investment is in this moment. Relationship is in this moment. We can agree to have more moments, but everything else is wide open. I welcome this deep play.

So yeah, I’m basically just writing this today to celebrate all the replenishing pleasure in my glorious middle aged white lady life as I hum along between the portals of birth and death and find this spot drenched. Do the swiping! Do the swiping! It’s just people, just like you.

I’m also letting you know I’m holding a Boundaries and Belonging session on Saturday April 23rd which is a half-day where we pick up a whole lot of litter from your field so you can have a clearer view of what belongs there and what does not. It’s fun to be surprised by what emerges there too, even along the wet cave wall.

There’s also a new 3 month F*ck Suffering group starting on 4/26. DM for more…or email

Belonging Buddhism Embodiment Emergence Eros Freedom Fuck Suffering Love Meditation Metabolizing Relationships Self-Righteousness The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

Buddha Pudding

Before Gautama was officially THE BUDDHA, he was an ascetic. Which is some kind of fruitless exercise in separation, if you ask me.

When he first arrived at the fabled Bodhi tree he was sick and weak and nearly dead from the denial of his body that he was convinced was the path to enlightenment. Such is the way of the immature masculine. He thought he could get there by controlling his mind. He thought there was a “there” there.

So Sujata, a milkmaid, comes to the Bodhi tree to make her devoted offering to the tree sprits for giving her a child and a wonderful husband, as she did on the regs. She sees Gautama there, a bag of bones. She thought maybe he was the tree spirit, somehow exiled from the tree itself. Not far off, really.

She went home and filled a golden bowl with rice pudding, as an additional offering, because how miraculous is it when spirit is made flesh? Even when that flesh has been so diminished. She presented him with the pudding, hoping that it would make all his wishes come true, as hers had. 

He ate it.

He was utterly rejuvenated by this feminine offering. To thank her, he threw her golden bowl into the river as a form of divination to determine his next steps. Apparently he didn’t trust his intuition yet.

Thus fortified, he was shortly thereafter enlightened and became the Buddha that we all know and love.

So the story goes.

In all the celebrations of Buddha’s enlightenment, Sujata is rarely mentioned. And nowhere can I find what happened to her bowl after Gautama threw it in the river. I’m guessing he didn’t return it.

I tell you this story of Gautama and Sujata to emphasize how simple life on the path can be if you’re Sujata and how complicated it can seem if you’re Gautama. And yet Gautama’s story is the one we all hear about. The one who made life difficult and then didn’t and then became a historical figure for telling everyone that it’s easy as pudding without giving credit to the woman who gave him the pudding. 

A classic religious trope. 

Let’s not embody it, okay? 

Sometimes things happen that we most definitely don’t want. We lose people, we lose things, we lose money, we lose our golden bowl—but we don’t have to lose our shit. We don’t have to create loss, create failure, create suffering. We can meet and metabolize everything as it comes, as simply (though not always as easily) as we can eat pudding. We can open wide and take it all the way in. We devour the invisible meat of viruses, spores, pollen, and so much more with every breath. We can’t be separate no matter how much we try. We are always devouring and being devoured. Know this. Taste this. Trust this. 

Belonging Blame Boundaries Ecology Embodiment Emergence Emotional Sobriety Eros Freedom Fuck Suffering Metabolizing Oracle of Emergence: An Evolutionary I Ching Ordinary Joy Self-Compassion The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

Balance is Bullshit

By the time you’re feeling in balance, you’re already ripening into something else. Like the tempered bullshit I spread out all over my garden, both balance and bullshit are always already giving way to new growth.

Balance is of the moment. When it arrives, I love it. When it departs, I love it.

Balance emerges from the reversals, like you.

My capacity to welcome and metabolize whatever comes, to absorb what nourishes and shit out the rest, is my lifetime practice.

Arrogance Belonging Confidence Ecology Embodiment Emergence Emotional Sobriety Eros Freedom Fuck Suffering Intimacy Love Ordinary Joy Relationships Self-Compassion The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

Emerging Weird

Hello, I’m new here.

I repeat myself a lot lately. I still can’t remember what I’ve said and what I’ve only thought. A year of solitude really showed me just how much my thoughts shape my reality, whether spoken like a spell or not. I could conjure all manner of states, alone in my room. I have developed an enthusiasm for the sound of my own voice which I should probably rein in a bit.

How about you?

What’s your new weirdness?

How’s your foal wobble showing up?

The upside of this messy rebirth is the freshness of even the most fleeting connection; my face in a wild rose, the new, expanded coffee shop around the corner, full of unmasked faces talking, sipping, smiling. So many radiant faces to bask in.

I’m delighted as a puppy who might pee on the floor. Every moment of eye contact runs through me like a thunderbolt. Some people seem put off by this. I’m emerging weird.

I’m meeting myself, as I’m reintroduced to society. I’ve found myself emerging in conjunction with a new relationship, so the newness feels even newer, and even more richly uncertain. I’m meeting him and myself at the same time. We are a little system, each of our selves an emergent property in the ecosystem of ‘together’. I am tender. I am sweet. I feel innocent in a way I don’t ever remember feeling. This is not who I was. She was lost to Covid.

After about 6 months of solo quarantine, running myself through the full human spectrum of feels over and over again, all by myself, I didn’t have it in me to believe my thoughts anymore. Every loop of thought felt like a solo show. The audience was no longer buying it.

When my Vito the Sweeto died last January and there was no touch, no hugs available in my grief, it finished me off.

Around the day Vito died, my sister conceived. This was every spiritual trope I’ve ever heard writ intimate. Birth and death were the same. They feed each other all the time. They nourished me too. What could I possibly still be afraid of?

In February, I went on a night hike in the forest and cried for hours into the biggest white birch I could find. All the losses of the year fell into her and tumbled down into her roots, rose up and out of her branches. I gave her all of it until our quiet winter pulses matched. It was the most intimate touch I’d had in 11 months. I was completely held.

When Vito died, lots of people said, “Stay busy.” Why do we suggest this to grieving people? It’s really the worst advice. I stayed busy like a caterpillar, melting. I kissed all my monsters right on their gooey mouths until they felt loved enough to leave.

I found my bones and found that what I put back on them was entirely optional.

What am I going to carry forward? Nothing but a sense of discovery. I was prepared to be surprised by myself, prepared to emerge from this moment rather than the last one or the next. Just this. Just as it is.

I had conversations with mushrooms. They were like, “Respect the dark, it’s what everything emerges from. Most of life happens where you can’t see. When was the last time you saw your own heart? But you know it’s there, amirite? Trust the dark like that. Don’t over think it.” It was good advice. Mushrooms are wise.

My sense of being an emergent property of the broader ecology rather than a separate self seems irreversible. I can’t sustain the illusion of separation and really, why would I bother? It’s the root of all suffering.

Lately, my foundational belief is Ram Dass’s, “We’re all just walking each other home.” There’s no space for arrogance in that and plenty for confidence. We walk with not just the human each other, but the more than human world. We are all in this together. Every bee, every peony and me. Family.

I can’t measure what the peonies have taught me. They are unabashedly, fragrantly and floridly themselves. They can’t show up otherwise. From the first red shoots that pop from the empty garden in early spring, they grow relentlessly, intimately summoning the ants they need to crawl all over their fat buds in order to open. Then they blossom and get real sloppy. The herbaceous varieties can barely keep their heads up. I have to provide a metal exoskeleton for them of they’ll flop right over into the dirt. They are more than they can handle. Cut some away and they right themselves. They are generous. They are too much and just right. They are definitely my kin.

Now rest. Now sprout. Now leaf. Now bud. Now blossom. Now shed. Now replenish. Now rest. Do this next. Just this. This is how you emerge. Okay. I can do that. Thanks, peonies. The next right thing is always clear, even as the why is uncertain.

When I paddle out, the ocean looks like a circle. The ocean is not really a circle. I trust this without proof. I’ve only ever really seen the whole ocean on a map. I will never see all of it at once. It reveals itself with each stroke, each felt bob of my little plastic boat.

Hello, I’m new here.

I just keep showing up, wet-winged and enthusiastic. Can I stay in beginner’s mind and not try to establish a self again? Can I tolerate innocence? I don’t know. I don’t need to. It’s way easier to love not-knowing, even when it’s uncomfortable, than to flail about grabbing at straws. I’m developing a real kinky love of discomfort. It’s most erotic.

Which is to say, I’m just going to keep emerging weird. You?

Attachment Belonging Boundaries Ecology Embodiment Emergence Emotional Sobriety Eros Freedom Fuck Suffering Intimacy Love Ordinary Joy Relationships Self-Compassion The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

No Grabbing

My practice has shifted far away from the NorCal days of, “I’m pretty sure that’s not your spirit on my chin, can you grab me a tissue? Oh no, totally, I’ve been fully illuminated by your wand of light, thanks!”

I’ve been practicing celibacy this year. Why? I wanted to be responsible for my heart. I noticed I’d been handing it off like a relay baton. “Will you please hold this sloppy thing? It’s making a fucking mess.”

I didn’t expect my year of celibacy to be the most erotic of my life.

Taking the craving for another person off the table, I’ve been able to move into deeper intimacy with the world itself. Opening more to shared breath, shared space. Who is in the popcorn aisle in the supermarket? Oh, hi. We are in an intimate relationship. I mean, I don’t say that. That would be creepy. I just quietly open to the resonance.

I can’t help but notice the intimacy of breathing in and breathing out and be lit by the quick tilt of presence and impermanence. There’s already someone else in the popcorn aisle. It’s only ever just like that.

Once I commit to being wider, deeper, softer–more permeable to the daily string of tiny intimacies–I open to a fundamentally erotic orientation with life itself. I’m alive with the interpenetration of all that is.




I experience people differently.

There is a reliable tenderness.

There is a reliable resonance, as if each person were secretly humming and as I enter their field we meet in a chord.

This is totally possible in the popcorn aisle.

It feels very nice.

I highly recommend it.

Then what is there to crave with all this intimacy all the time?

Lol. I’m a person. The soft animal gets hungry.

Like what do you do if you encounter a tone that feels so resonant for some unexplainable reason you think your heart will quite possibly explode like actual popcorn? How do you not crave that? Or run from it? Is there a middle way?

Oh, good question.

Follow up question:


That’s a REALLY good question.

Following resonance is tough sell, I know. it’s the making love to craving’s fuck.

It takes time and attention. It emerges from presence. It requires mind, heart, pussy to all be on board and in line.

That’s quite a bit of wrangling. There’s more ease in softening.

Following resonance means no grabbing for anything outside myself. When I want to grab, I ground. Like just sit right the fuck down on the actual ground. Not in the supermarket. Later.

This does not, it should be said, make me want to stop grabbing. It just puts my grubby hands in my own damn lap for a minute, so I can notice their twitch. It keeps me still so that I can’t inflict my grabby crave on unsuspecting bystanders. It reminds me that my impulses are my responsibility to metabolize.

I love the twitch. I’m alive. The twitch reminds me. I can let it leave my hands like baby bird. I’m still here.

The thing about following resonance over grabbing is, it requires absolute trust. If it’s resonance, it’s resonance. If it’s grabbing, it’s fiction.

The only way to know is with an open hand.

Arrogance Attachment Belonging Boundaries Confidence Embodiment Emergence Emotional Sobriety Eros Freedom Fuck Suffering Intimacy Love Self-Compassion The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

How To Be Too Much

“I’m too much,” is an old story I told myself about myself. Feeling like “too much” was the paradoxical companion of feeling like I was not enough.  A paradox is not a problem. It’s a potent field with lots to notice. Ricocheting between the poles of too much and not enough, trying and failing to control myself, convinced of my brokenness, I felt there was plenty to hide.

Here, look at this sparkler!

“Too much” is distraction and defense. You won’t be able to see me if I’m swinging a sparkler around and that was just the way I wanted it. I found myself leaking energy all over the place, eager to find someone, anyone, everyone other than myself to hold what I could not.

Nothing sincere is ever too much, no matter the vivid volume. But when the ego is so busy trying to please, save, seduce, blame, and otherwise manipulate some food into its belly, it’s hard for sincerity to break through the sludge.

Confidence arises from the ability to fearlessly face the ego’s neediness, even when it feels unbearable.  The love my ego grabs at outside of me, is already in me. Not until I notice that I’m already full can I sincerely share. If I believe something’s missing, I’m constantly grabbing at anything I can to fill that hole. That’s addiction and it’s not just for addicts.

If I can BE the hole, just abide in emptiness, I fill like a self-replenishing well.

Does that sound mysterious or just uncomfortable? I find it easier when I approach the hole with spacious awareness, then I get a real good sense of how it fills. I come to trust this.

Nature doesn’t abhor a vacuum, she embraces it. Emptiness, when we notice it, is as elusive as balance. There but for a moment before ripening into something else. Which means I don’t have to force-feed myself or anyone else. The grab and clench is insatiable, because what I would fill is already squeezed shut by the grabbing and the clenching. This is how to become a hungry ghost. Always too much and never enough. The hungry ghost can get no nourishment.

I went from having shame around being “too much” to wearing it as a badge of honor: “You better fucking believe I’m too much, and here’s some more!” But if I really want to connect, expressing myself that way is insincere.  I had to learn to be right-sized and tempered by self-compassion, which will spill out all over the place if you let it. That’s a generous sort of spill. Very different from the self-centered mess of leaking.

There’s value in having the skill to modulate my expression, to wield my energy with agility so I can be responsive and better received. If my full expression just shuts people down, what am I really in service to? Not connection. And if I’m not really connecting, I’m not in service to anything at all.

Being responsible means learning how to hold anything and everything that comes through me. Not hold it in, clenching; but hold it steady, soft. Let everything I am becoming rest within my skin, expanding it, allowing it grow more permeable.

Being responsible is not asking anyone else to hold what I won’t. I don’t throw parts of myself that I can’t or won’t love at other people like a ragged hot potato. Anymore. I used to do that a lot. “Here, hold this thing I think is shitty about myself and prove to me that it’s not. You’re my lover/partner/friend/family. Validate me! That’s your job!”

No, it’s not. It’s no one’s job to validate you. Witness you? Sure. Validate you? No. And if they did? Then what? Like an insatiable hungry ghost, you’d just be back for more tomorrow. No one can transmit confidence to you. No one can transmit self-compassion to you. No one can rescue you. No one can oppress you. The only thing anyone can do is witness you noticing where you are blocking what is already there and point out some clogs you’ve missed. You find compassion in yourself, for yourself, and let it spill. Not until you open enough to give it can you really begin to receive it from anyone else.

When you allow self-compassion your life force starts to flow unabated again and you can see that you are a ridiculous, flawed, and sovereign human. Responsible. Powerful. Loving. Free. There’s never been too much of that, but here’s hoping.

Belonging Boundaries Ecology Embodiment Emergence Emotional Sobriety Freedom Fuck Suffering Intimacy Love Metabolizing Ordinary Joy Relationships Self-Compassion The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

Boundaries and Belonging

If separation is a lie, what is skin for?

The permeability of my skin shows me that I’m specific but not separate from the ecology I’m emerging from. I’m part of everything around me, the human and more-than-human.

Boundaries allow me to drop down fully into my skin so that I can notice the space I inhabit beyond my skin. I can notice the radiant heat of my skin going out beyond me like a scent. Never lost, always moving, I leave traces.

Do those traces pollute or clarify?

I’m responsible for noticing this.

Who I am is always emerging, not solid. What remains through the emergence is a note that is sung in multiple songs over time. A note I came into the world with. A hum under my skin. A clear essence that is distinctly mine. Not special, but needed.

Boundaries let me keep that note clear. Boundaries acknowledge my conditioned identity and land me back into my essence. I can feel the tone change when I clench. When I’ve gone out of tune, I know I’ve stepped off the path.

When do I clench? Usually when I’m trying to push myself into a sense of belonging. To attach myself to people or situations despite a lack of resonance. To wedge myself in where I don’t belong.

What’s mine never needs to be forced. When there’s resonance, there’s ease. The song is simply sung. Things flow. Boundaries are needed when ease stops. Boundaries perpetuate ease.

When a push is coming from me rather than through me (this nuance is in the body, not the mind) I know it’s time to pause and pivot.

When my nervous system is beyond capacity, I pause. I can’t set a boundary if I’m spinning out in my head. I can’t set a boundary with a dysregulated nervous system.

I can’t state my skin when I’m not in it.

Boundaries bring me back to my body, the instrument that emits the tone. Where I attune from. When I am unboundaried and in fear or anxiety or people-pleasing or some other form of self-abandonment, I go flat or sharp. I’m in depression or anxiety, if you like the psychological model–but if I chant those diagnostic words long enough, loud enough, I no longer hear the native hum of me.

Those labels keep me separate, broken. Believing there’s something wrong with me that requires eternal, external fixing. There’s nothing to fix. There has never been anything to fix, not even the past.

I give primacy to a spiritual, rather than a psychological, point of view. In that view, I have always been perfectly myself. When I go out of tune, it’s because I’m squandering my spark on things that are not mine. I’ve let my preferences push my note out of tune. I’m using my spark for brushfires when I could be using it for a hearth fire.

This is not pathology. I am being summoned to turn toward truth, despite my comfort and my preferences. Ease is not always comfort. Ease doesn’t stagnate.

When I go out of tune (and this is a felt sense, rather than a thought) it is a call to set a boundary within, around my preferences–and without, on those who would insist I keep attending to what’s not mine.

When I discover that what I wanted doesn’t belong with me it can be painful. That’s when self-compassion is so important. If I let self-compassion fill me, it will spill out. I can release with love. I can’t know compassion until I surrender control.

I can realize grief as an almost unbearably potent expression of love. When our hearts are open, they’re woven together in belonging. When we clench, we cut the threads. Grief is inherently wide and soft. It becomes hard when we resist it.

Only when I allow my own shadow to lie across my lap, can I look it in the eye. Poison can be medicine when I temper the dose. Medicine can be poison when I don’t. When I can trust myself to set and hold boundaries, it’s easier to regulate my nervous system. It’s easier to see that everything is medicine.

How can we know when to hold a boundary when we’re conditioned to mistrust ease? When we’re taught that pushing through to exhaustion and beyond is a virtue? What would happen if when we fell out of ease, we set a boundary?

What if we said:

“I have to pause here.”

“I’m not available for that.”

“This doesn’t feel good to me.”

“I need some time and space to listen for what the next right step is.”

“No thank you.”

Would this require us to dissolve bonds? To change jobs? To dance more? To open our throats and sing our note, even when it chokes out as a sob? Would that be unbearable? Or would abandoning our essence be more unbearable?

When I pause, I can titrate. I taste a little of what knocks me off the path and metabolize it before I can know whether I need to taste it again. I take the space to notice if this is my reaction coming from an old story or fear or if what’s presenting itself is just not mine. I can ask myself in the pause, “Is this my old stuff or is it the truth of this situation?”

Boundaries let me see that I have everything I need, even when I can’t seem to get what I want. When I’m surrounded by what belongs with me, there’s ease. There’s clarity. There’s ordinary joy everywhere I look. I’m exactly where I belong. This keeps me open and boundless in my capacity to receive. It keeps me generous with myself and others.

Boundaries deepen embodiment. When I’m at home in my skin, I can really listen. I lose the whirr of my identity turbine and realize how perpetual its background dissonance is. I can hear the harmonies of entangled life and witness them with delight.

When I know how to set boundaries, I also learn how to let them go. I gain the skill to adjust the transparency of the veil between myself and the ecology I am always emerging from. I trust that what’s mine will hear my note in all its native clarity.

I move through life as life moves through me.

Boundaries lead to belonging, belonging leads to boundlessness and again and again and again.

Belonging Confidence Ecology Embodiment Emergence Emotional Sobriety Eros Freedom Fuck Suffering Intimacy Love Metabolizing Ordinary Joy Self-Compassion The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

Be the Bee, Honey

If the bee devotes itself to the love of tumbling in roses, from that devotion to erotic chaos the order of hexagons naturally emerges from the biological system

The bee’s ecstatic service produces hexagons. 

But if you asked the bee, “What is a hexagon?” It would be like, “WTF are you talking about?”

This is the eros of ecology.

This is the feminine. 

The yin.

I don’t care what you call it, just don’t abandon it. 

In other words, trust the F*CK YES, as the bee does when it perceives the rose. 

Embody the F*CK YES and allow it to make the field of practice a very large and subtle refuge for you and others to be revealed.

Bear witness to not knowing. Carry on tumbling in roses and the hexagon will surely emerge. 

This is faith, in my opinion.

It is also awe.

Wax melts, moon wanes–oh!

Belonging Embodiment Eros Freedom Fuck Suffering Intimacy Love Metabolizing Relationships Self-Compassion The Feminine You Deserve Gentleness

F*ck Suffering

Hey, Suffering. Come on in. Do you want tea? I haven’t seen you around for awhile. You’ve been pretty quiet lately. I was beginning to think you forgot about me. Of course you’d come around again. We’re in it for life, you and I. 

You’re so stealthy, just showing up on my doorstep out of the blue when I least expect it. I mean, you could call first. By why would you, when you know I’ll always welcome you with open arms? I wouldn’t say I’m excited to see you. That would be a lie. I welcome you anyway.

The last thing I want is for you to camp out on my porch or stare at me through the kitchen window while I’m doing dishes. If there’s one thing I know about you from our long intimacy, it’s that you’re not going away until I let you in and find out what you’re doing here.

You said I called you. You show me on your phone. It was a butt dial. I never call you on purpose. I mean, look Suffering, I forget about you all the time these days. Out of sight, out of mind. Thanks for not taking it personally. You complain a little about the disrespect, that I don’t take you seriously anymore. You stay anyway. We catch up. 

8 years we had together, back when we were exclusive. I only wanted you. Remember how joy kept hitting me up? So tempting! I always let him know there was only you. Can you still call it a dark night of the soul when it lasts 8 years? I think in some states we were common law married. 

The way you used to look at me! So hungry. Not the casual way you look at me now. Old friends now. Nothing to hide. You scared me, at first. You can be so intimidating! So intense! You carry the fragrance of killing. 

Oh yes. There’s a tinny undertow of salt and blood to the smell of you. I didn’t believe you could be gentle until I let you hold me. I didn’t know tenderness until I fully gave myself to you. Until I surrendered. 

You saw how scared I was and you were patient. You just kept holding me, even as I wriggled. You would not enter me without consent. You would not force yourself inside me. I could say no for as long as I wanted. You waited. You always do. 

You would settle for nothing less than full melt. Open eyes, open throat, open heart, open arms, open legs. Open. Suffering, you waited for me to trust you completely. To no longer have any reason to fear you.

There were places inside me I couldn’t touch until you touched them. Until I let you all the way in. Places I had looked away from for so long and buried so deep I was numb. You explored territory I forgot I had. There were things I couldn’t–wouldn’t–see until I saw myself in you. Until I saw how I looked in your eyes. I learned where my skin was from how it moved against yours. You devoured, nourished, transformed me. It was most intimate.

I didn’t know what would be left when you were finished with me. I thought I might just be dead, or a puddle on the floor. And so I was. Until I wasn’t. Nobody but you can do me like that, Suffering. Blow me open to the whole wide world. Split me open everywhere and flood me till I gush. 

I’m glad we can be friends now. That you can come over for lunch, stay for the weekend. That we can meet and metabolize. Absorb what nourishes and shit out the rest. Hanging out with you is always transformative. You see things I can’t. You will always be smarter than me. I like that about you. You really keep me on my toes. As friends with benefits go, Suffering, you’re the best