womens empowerment

How to Take Care of Your Vagina

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The title of this blog post has me a little nervous of what people will think of me…. just kidding. ; ) 

As women we have, in general, become very disconnected from our vaginas.

In my ever-expanding experience, and consequentially, my world view the physical is ALWAYS, always connected to the emotional, the spiritual and the mental. In a society that tends to restrict acceptable “femininity” to a small and confusing box, it’s no wonder that the physical representation of female power, feminine anatomy, is also experiencing a lot of restriction, shame, pain, and ultimately lack of true care.

My sisters! Our vaginas and womb-spaces are sources of deep, deep power. They are the source of literally all human life! They are the source of our deepest physical pleasure. This is why connecting to and living in tune with our monthly cycles is so healing. 

Our womanly power sources deserve better care, and I ain’t talking about Brazilian bikini waxes or labia reduction surgeries (which, by the way, is the fastest growing type of cosmetic surgery..WTF??). Brazilian waxes and labiaplasty are externally focused on ideas of what is “attractive” or “desirable” and have nothing to do with how we feel about our own bodies; when we’re alone. I’m talking about ancient methods of balancing our hormones, bringing non-judgmental love, attention and focus to this place in our bodies that holds so much intuitive power.

This area of our body is also the home of the root chakra, the energy center that deals with a sense of belonging and safety in the world. When it’s out of balance we can feel anxious, worrisome, unsafe, develop constipation, back pain, or eating disorders. 

To tap into the unbridled feminine power we’ve got to get super comfortable with and take really good care of our vaginas. 

I’ve got a lot to say about this subject, but to ease everyone into this I’ve decided to go over two practices that can help us care for our vagina and womb-space. 

  1. Vagina Steaming

Vaginal (aka yoni, the sanskrit word for vagina) steaming is an ancient practice that has been used for millennia in the eastern world. It is a practice in which a woman allows the warmth of herbal steam to permeate the exterior of her vagina. Respected by healers around the globe, vaginal steaming is an opportunity to reconnect with your body and utilize the wisdom of plant medicine to heal your cycle.

Vaginal steams have been found by women throughout history to:

  • Significantly reduce pain, bloating and exhaustion associated with menstruation.
  • Decrease menstrual flow as well as reduce dark purple or brown blood at the onset or end of menses.
  • Regulate irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
  • Increase fertility
  • Speed healing and tone the reproductive system after birth.
  • Reduce uterine fibroids, ovarian cysts, uterine weakness, uterine prolapse & endometriosis.
  • Assist with the repair of a vaginal tear, episiotomy, or C-section scar.
  • Assist with the healing of hemorrhoids.
  • Relieve chronic vaginal/yeast infections, and works to maintain healthy odor.
  • Ease symptoms of menopause including dryness or pain during intercourse.
  • Detoxify the womb and remove toxins from the body.
  • Release stored emotions and tap into the energy that is our creative potential.

To give yourself a vaginal steam fill a large vase (you want about 2 quarts to 1 gallon of water) with almost boiling water, put about a cup dried balancing herbs (I like these ones but also check out these herbs that are considered good for vaginal steaming).

Place the vase in a clean toilet, remove all pants and underwear (or wear a skirt with no undies) so that you can place your vagina over the steam.

Then wrap your lower half in a blanket and enjoy the steam.

You want to sit for at least 20 minutes, closer to 40 minutes is ideal. Use this time to meditate, listen to music, or journal. Try not to read or get on your phone. Use this time to connect to your womb-space and secrets it has to tell you. 

 

2. Vaginal Egg Wearing 

A vaginal egg, jade egg, yoni egg or love egg – are names for a beautiful semiprecious stone carved into an egg shape and polished to be worn inside the vagina.

Female practice that involves using stone eggs is estimated to be 5000 years old. Eggs carved out of jade were used by empresses and concubines of the royal palace in China to access sexual power, awaken sensuality and maintain amazing health into their old age. For a very long time this secret practice was only available to members of the royal family, and up until recently – to select Taoist practitioners.

Vaginal egg wearing is known to have the following effects..

  • Increase libido and awaken your sensuality.
  • Increase natural lubrication – even after menopause.
  • Can help harmonize hormones.
  • Develop an intimate and loving relationship with your vagina, your entire body, and ultimately yourself.
  • Strengthen and tighten vaginal wall and increase sensitivity during intercourse.
  • Help to have easier orgasms
  • Assist in strengthening uterine muscles to prepare for childbirth and speed up recovery time after birth.
  • Strengthen pelvic floor to cure incontinence and prevent prolapse in the future.
  • Gain Control over the vaginal muscles.
  • Reduced PMS symptoms, menstrual cramps and the duration of the menses.

To learn more about vaginal egg wearing or get your own vaginal egg check out this website

 

What do you think? Are you up for trying this? Send me a line and let me know! 

 

 

Can You Be Trusted with More?

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We talk a lot about what we wish we had. We tend to talk a lot about how “nice” it must be to have more money, a new car, a dream home, hired help, fancy vacations, great relationships and friends, and on and on. We tend to talk a lot with people and in our own heads about how things would be different if we just had a partner, or more money, or a different body. 

We don’t, however, spend a lot of time considering if we could actually handle what we say we wish we had.

Can you be trusted with more money, deeper relationships, more influence or power, a more fancy job, a nicer/bigger house, more happiness?

What if you were given everything you say you want tomorrow.. without going through the process of creating it.. would you keep it for very long?

There is a much quoted fact about lottery winners...in most cases in a few short years the winners end up in the exact same financial situation they were in before they won lottery.

Every time we “level up” in life, it comes with a whole new host of challenges, requirements, and responsibilities. Can you handle those? 


The truth is: you can have whatever you want. You have the means to decide to go after pretty much any goal you can think up. This world has so many opportunities for you..it’s figuratively dripping with them. You’re not any different or less capable than Beyonce or Bill Gates. They’re human too. They have just the same amount of hours in the day that you or I do.


The problem is it’s really easy to think about what we want and feel like a victim because we don’t have it and focus on what we don’t have instead of what we do have. It’s the norm. It’s the everyday vibe permeating most of our society. It’s really easy to say, “I wish I was a millionaire with the happy marriage and rocking health.” But it’s a lot harder to actually do the things that would lead to having those things. So we just decide it’s not for us, and keep pining over someone else’s life. 



So my message to you today is this: next time you find yourself wishing you had something else, ask yourself, “Could I be trusted with it?” There is no secret sauce, no different kind of person. We’re all just people. Some people have just decided to focus on what they do have control over and slowly, over time using those things to leverage themselves into whole different realities. 


If you want deeper, more fulfilling relationships, are you committed to staying open and vulnerable, even when it’s super uncomfortable? Are you committed to being honest, but kind with the people around you so that you feel fully understood, but also respect your partner’s or friend’s or family’s feelings? Are you wiling to take time away from what you want to do, to spend time doing what other people want to do. Are you willing to be available to your partner or friend or family member? Having deep, full and mature relationships requires that we become more deep and mature ourselves and that typically requires discomfort, doing things our ego would rather not do, and showing up over and over again.


If you want to be healthier are you able to decide to go to bed at a reasonable hour, skip social engagements, and make more time for yourself? Are you committed to speaking love to yourself and giving yourself compassion when you fall into old habits (news flash: self-berating doesn’t work!)? Are you willing to take advice from others who have done what you want to do as far as health? Are you willing to change your lifestyle? To be healthy and vibrant we need to have a lifestyle that supports vibrancy.


If you want more money, are you willing to gain financial literacy, make sound investments, and actually look at your bank accounts, credit cards, and loans? Are you willing to take risks financially and invest in your future? An issue I see with most people when it comes to money making is that they are too scared to put in the initial financial risk to get the return. Money wants to be in flow, it doesn’t want to stagnate or pool. To make a lot of money, you’re going to have to take substantial risks and get WAY more comfortable and literate in finances. 

There is never any “destination” in life. There will ALWAYS be challenges and hardships and growth required, no matter what you have. That’s the beautiful nature of being a human. As you gain more of the things you want, you will be required to change and shift. 

So the question isn’t whether or not you’re “lucky” enough to have the things you want. It’s "Are you actually willing to make those changes and shifts that would make the kind of life you say you want possible?"

It’s actually COMPLETELY OK if you are not willing. Maybe there is something you’ve been saying you wanted forever and you realize that you’re actually not willing to do what it might take to get it. 

That’s good. Now you know. You can take that space in your brain back and fill it with something you are willing and excited about doing.

Deciding we are willing or deciding we are unwilling to do things both give us power. Knowing where we stand gives us the solid base for jumping off and changing our life. Maybe for years you’ve been wrestling with the idea that you should work out every day to be healthy. But when you really sit down and examine it, you realize, you actually aren’t willing to do that. You’ve got too many other things going on. You do realize that you are willing to workout three times a week, however, or just on the weekends. This is SO much more productive mental health-wise and physical health-wise to know that’s what you’re willing to do. Then you do it and you save yourself all the grief of worrying about not working out every day. 


We get to decide what we’re willing to do and what we’re not. It’s not about getting all the things, it’s about remembering we get the choice to decide what we’re willing or unwilling to do. And move on from there. 

I’m with you. 

The Importance of Pleasure (and the truth behind sugar cravings)

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Ever since the Love Rising podcast episode with Carli Jo  (listen to it here) I have been thinking a lot about pleasure and what it means, how I get it and why so many of us women struggle to experience and value it. 

I am not necessarily talking about sexual pleasure, although I'm also not not talking about sexual pleasure. The way we do one thing is the way we do all things. But for all intents and purposes we can just say we're talking about pleasure in a general sense. How much do we ENJOY our lives? Do we take pleasure in waking up? Going to sleep? In eating our food? In our body's movement? In playing with kids or pups? 

It's so funny how when something "pings" me, as the subject of pleasure did in our podcast conversation, it starts to show up everywhere. It's kind of like how you hear a word you've never heard before once and then you hear it everywhere. One of the lessons I've learned in the last couple years is to pay attention to these synchronicities as they normally lead me to healing breakthroughs or realizations. So.. as this synchronicity would have it, in my therapy appointment today, pleasure came up.

Without getting into too much detail, my therapist actually asked me, “where do you experience pleasure in your daily life?” 

And I stalled. 

I was left searching for a bit. 

When I did answer I said, "In yoga: when my breath, body, and mind, are all aligned." Once I can get my monkey mind to calm down and connect into the breath, yoga is a place that I consistently experience pleasure. There is a flowing grace that comes when you are internally present and aware of your body. There aren’t any stories going on in my mind; no threat of my phone buzzing or my computer dinging. When I know I am contained by the mat, the room, and the hour of time to just move and breathe and connect.

I am someone who takes the idea of pleasure pretty seriously already. This isn't the first time I've explored pleasure or flow. I've been wrapped up in that go, go, go lifestyle before and I know no matter what kind of success or astronomical levels of productivity you reach, if you're not enjoying it; it doesn't matter. So the fact that I have been so disconnected from my own pleasure lately is a little alarming and a great wake up call for me to tap back in to enjoying my daily life. Letting go of the masculine pushing/doing energy yet again and flow into that open receiving energy a little bit more. 

One thing that happens when I get pulled into that productivity equals worthiness mindset is that I start to crave sweets. And this totally makes sense. 

When we have a pleasure deficit in our lives we'll try to make up for it with quick shots of "junk" pleasure. Sugar, junk food, drinking alcohol, binge watching TV, etc, all these things give us the guise of pleasure and "taste" good at first, but leave us feeling disconnected and unfulfilled. Because what we really want is deep, juicy, wholesome pleasure. The pleasure that comes in ordinary moments of presence. The pleasure that comes from using all five of our senses in the present moment. 

I know that when I start to crave sweets or fall into my personal pattern of emotional eating.. I don't need more discipline. I don't need more "willpower", I actually need more slow, flowing, pleasure in my life. I need to turn inwards and notice the ecstatic pleasure of breathing, eating, BEING. 

If you find yourself always wanting ‘something sweet’ after dinner or having urges to go out and “let loose”, or just feeling generally ornery or lacking in enjoyment in life, in sex, in work; in everything; my invitation to you (and myself) is to go find something in everyday life that brings you pleasure and do it as much as you can. Try to find as much pleasure as possible in everyday moments. 

Find pleasure in savoring your coffee. Find pleasure in walking your dog. Find pleasure in driving to work. Find pleasure in eating your lunch. Find pleasure in the sun shine. 

Let’s all commit to more pleasure in our daily lives and I bet we’ll see some miraculous changes in our health and the health of the world.

Practicing Peace with Ourselves for the Benefit of All

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The #metoo movement, the Time’s Up Campaign, and the massive energy behind women’s empowerment and what we expect from others as women has me all fired up in so many ways. 

It’s kind of like waking up from a life-long dream… 

Wait.... of COURSE, we need to speak out about the daily misogyny we experience as women! 

How could I have just been letting the cat calls, the uncomfortable comments like 'your jeans look like they fit really well,"or the lack of respect I feel, every time someone chooses to comment on a physical attribute of mine, instead of commenting on the attributes of my mind, my intellect or my kindness? I was just letting that stuff “go” as “part of the life in this world”. 

It is majorly messed up alarmingly often women get sexually assaulted in their homes, places of employment, etc and don’t speak out about it because they are worried about retribution, judgment, and being seen as the one who “stirs things up.” 

Well it’s over, time is up now. We WILL STIR THINGS UP, because we are all humans beings who deserve to be respected and seen for more than our bodies. 

This is a great rule of thumb. 

This is a great rule of thumb. 

The thing I want to write about today is more about the source of this misogyny and how we, as women, can also be the perpetrators of violence. In our society when we think of violence we generally think of physical violence: inflicting physical harm to someone else. However, I want to expand that definition to any type of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual harm we cause to ourselves or others. 

We must realize that gross and extreme examples of violence aren’t just random acts. Like all things that go against the goodness of human nature, they build up slowly over time. Definitions and boundaries; slowly being eroded with small toes over the line of decency. Something, and then another thing, and then another thing, gets shoved underground, passed off as "normal", and eventually all these subtly not-OK things begin to fester, become toxic, and turn into something really ugly. 

In the case of extreme acts of violence, it’s the more indirect acts of violence that are consistently permitted on a larger, broader scale. When these seemingly “small” harmful acts are allowed, deemed normal, or seen as necessary, it is inevitable that larger, more extreme acts of violence will eventually take place. In this way, the violence we perpetrate on ourselves on the seemingly inconspicuous levels contribute to the society-wide severe violence we seen in our culture. That is why, as women, we must say “no” to any and all violence inflicted against us by other people, but more importantly the acts of violence we inflict on ourselves. 

Internal violence is pervasive. These violent sentiments can show up in so many seemingly “normal” actions. Suppressing our hunger is an act of harm to our bodies. Overeating to fill an emotional void is an act of harm to our emotional state as well as our physical bodies. Deciding to push our bodies way harder than they want to be pushed in the gym is harmful. Eating junk food mindlessly. Starving ourselves. I would argue, that certain types of plastic surgery could be considered acts of violence towards our bodies. Literally cutting our skin, manipulating precious body parts to be closer to a standard of beauty that society sets for us and has nothing to do with our worthiness. The way we talk to ourselves, treat ourselves, and the disrespect for our bodies and what they need/want/are asking for, is a massive source of “subtle’ violence in our world. 

We can’t expect people who don’t love themselves to be able to love other people. It truly does, and always will, start with us. {This isn’t a call for the victims of sexual assault or violence to blame themselves, and if you’ve been violated or had violence done to you by someone else it was not your fault in any way, shape or form.} We all have to realize that we must stop the violence where ever we can. We must say “NO” to the violence perpetrated against ourselves in the form of negative self-talk, cruel self-commentary, and the assumption that we need to use harsh language or action with ourselves to create internal/external changes. 

Non-violence and peace starts with you and me. It starts in our ability to forgive ourselves. It starts with allowing ourselves to be flawed, and still speak to ourselves lovingly. It starts with complete and radical self-acceptance. It starts with having grace with ourselves. It starts by refusing to inflict violence on ourselves. 

Practicing peace towards ourselves, daily, will allow peace to overflow from our hearts and into the collective. As we are less judgmental of ourselves we become less judgmental of others. As we become more kind with ourselves, we notice we are kinder to others.

So let’s say “time’s up” to the violent, abusive thoughts, behaviors we have been perpetrating on ourselves. Let’s bring awareness to where we are allowing violence in our daily lives, and start to choose Love instead. As we build the momentum within our own lives, we will see it spread out to others. 

I'm with you relearning how to treat myself with more love, forgiveness, and allowance every step of the way.