The End of This American Girl and My New Beginning

The End of This American Girl and My New Beginning


“All form must end, departing through a portal into the darkness, so that new forms may emerge from the crucible of clear space. But what is emerging in the womb of Now is not knowable ahead of time, and is not subject to our hopes, fears, or fantasies of control. While the mind will struggle with the wrathful nature of this truth, the heart knows… the body knows.

See that the death of form is filled with erupting particles of life, with magic, and with the fragrance of the holy. You can relax into the very center of the death-rebirth journey, and rest inside the core of the contradiction. Here, the chaos and the glory are one.

There is nothing more alive than that.
There is nothing more sacred than that.
There is nothing safer than that.”

Matt Licata, The Path is Everywhere

 

Six years ago I stood at a major crossroads. I had spent the preceding nine months letting go of every aspect of my identity, ending my long term relationship, losing my career, leaving my home in Seattle, and exploring a whole new way of life immersed in the jungle of Costa Rica and backpacking the world.

Travel was meant to be a brief vacation from reality before I began a new chapter as an interior designer in New York City, beginning with attending one of the top graduate schools in the country. That trajectory made absolute sense to me. Everyone who knew me told me I belonged in New York. I was a gifted designer, I had a flair for style, and I was highly ambitious. New York promised a kind of glamorous excitement that I thought might fulfill me.

But after experiencing a completely new form of existence, where I swam in the Caribbean ocean all day and danced with butterflies and met eccentric strangers and carried all of my possessions on my back, my heart didn’t actually want the path of the fancy New York City designer anymore. Which was very confusing for my mind to grasp.

Despite how much sense it made to me and everyone else, living in a city and attending graduate school didn’t feel right deep inside. What felt right was nature, adventure, and a willingness to lose absolutely everything for the sake of greater possibility.

Standing at that crossroads, without a clear vision of how I was going to financially support myself, where I was going to live, and what would become of my future, I eventually chose Costa Rica. In other words, I chose my heart over my mind. I chose the completely irrational path of love. And that choice rebirthed me into a whole new human I never could have imagined myself to be. I looked differently, acted differently, and most of all I felt differently.

Costa Rica began that journey for me, but that’s not where my journey ends. Like the cycle of life the journey continues on and on and on, always asking me to be true to the feeling of love that wants to break me open more than ever before.

I have come to understand that the path of my personal destiny asks me to face the wildly terrifying and ultimately liberating space of the unknown, over and over again, to free myself of all of the reasons that tell me who I am supposed to be and how I’m supposed to live, so that I completely surrender to the magnificent guidance of my irrationally wise heart. My path requires me to let go and be reborn over and over again.

That is precisely where I find myself now. Writing to you from Guatemala in my little wooden bungalow overlooking the majestic Lake Atitlan, all of my belongings condensed into a backpack, nothing tethering me anywhere, and ready to begin again. After much back and forth I’ve finally released myself from Costa Rica, I’ve stripped away nearly everything I had come to call my own, and today I am officially bringing an end to This American Girl.

Over two years ago I stood at this same threshold, on this same lake, in this same bungalow, looking out at this same view. Through a long digital detox and some very deep shadow work, I realized that I didn’t want the dream life I had created for myself anymore. I could offer you a million stories and reasons for why this feeling rose up inside of me, my spirit gasping for air in seemingly endless open water, but as I’ve come to understand, the reasons don’t actually matter.

Any dream can become a nightmare if it’s rooted in a place of “should” instead of a place of “love.” The mind can rarely make sense of this distinction but the heart always, always, knows.

It’s taken me a long time to finally cross over to the other side, keeping myself in a sort of purgatory meanwhile. But this too has been perfect. I simply could not rush this ending, even though many times I tried. All things die in their own time, and the beauty of that unfolding depends solely on how much you’re allowing or interfering with the natural process while holding yourself in a container of unconditional love.

I interfered with the process A LOT. Understandably so. Allowing didn’t feel safe to me. Just like once upon a time I didn’t know anyone who was willing to leave the comfort zone of a stable career and an obvious path in the Western world, this time I didn’t know anyone who was willing to completely let go of a highly “successful” dream life that so many others envied and desired. Once again I had no clear vision of where that path might take me, and the unknown was too scary to enter.

But these past few months I have chosen to completely surrender to the void and it has allowed me to finally move through the dark death process. I’ve genuinely faced my deepest fears that have plagued me for this entire lifetime and beyond, which has put everything into grand perspective. Words simply cannot describe the beauty of feeling myself emerging into fresh life after a very long stint in hell.

Allowing myself to actually dwell in those terrifyingly shadowy spaces and no longer use travel, work, relationships, and a whole mountain of spiritual tools I’ve collected over the years to fix the ache of dissatisfaction inside, but to simply be with that darkness without knowing when or if it would ever end, was a profoundly transformative process.

It takes a lot of bravery to feel the depths of despair that have been avoided for so long and to not have the answers. That is an adventure of courage, rebellion, and inner revolution reserved for every-one brave enough to pioneer the way for a new humanity.

Through my absolute willingness to be with my darkest fears, to walk side by side with death, and to no longer know the answers for months on end, I finally received an opportunity to authentically choose whether I wanted to live or die. After many weeks of genuinely thinking that I was moving towards death, one night I woke up and with my whole entire heart I not only chose life, I fought like hell for it. I met my demons face to face in this physical reality and I did everything to free myself from their grasp. In the end I won, and was rewarded with the incredible blessing of new life.

This experience taught me that surrendering to the void is a necessary initiation we all must pass through when life calls us to die to who we were and enter the dark waters of the womb to be born again into the light. Sounds so frightening to most, but journeying into the unknown is indeed the ultimate experience we are all really after. It is the experience of being totally alive. Which is the only true purpose in the beginning, middle, or end after all.

Needing to know the answers, needing to know the outcomes, projecting that someone else has it figured out, all comes from the fear of being in the unknown. And yet, the unknown is actually the only space where authenticity can be birthed from.

It’s through this deep receptivity that light can actually dawn. Which is why so many people in the world find themselves stuck in a dull, mediocre, conditioned state of purgatory. That is what most people know. To break out of it means stepping into a completely unfamiliar territory, which feels akin to dying. Being alive means the zombie within us first has to die.

I can genuinely say that the incredible aliveness I feel in this moment has arisen through my willingness to let go of everything I thought I knew and choose to embrace the unknown. To relax out of the millions of conditioned ideas in my mind and to start trusting my intuition. To stop pretending that I know the way, and to slow down enough to let life show me the way. I started This American Girl as an experiment in discovering my life’s purpose. Ironically and also perfectly, my life’s purpose only became clear when I finally allowed myself to let her go.

The beauty and clarity and freedom I feel writing to you in this moment is unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. Beyond the joy that opened when I first went to Costa Rica. Beyond the possibility that awakened when I first went backpacking. Beyond the excitement of birthing and nurturing and achieving huge success with This American Girl. Beyond even the magic of falling in love. Beyond any adventure I have ever taken before. Because finally, I am living my true purpose.

Life purpose has so little to do with the popularity of your brand or the number of people you’re serving or how fully you believe you’re offering your gifts to the world. Life purpose is actually, so simply, the experiential journey of being alive.

Life purpose reveals itself naturally when you show up with absolute commitment to every single moment, no matter what that moment brings, allowing it to flow in the most mind blowing way possible.

With that level of devotion there’s nothing to free yourself from, there’s only everything to welcome back in. From that space of wholeness you naturally embody the self worthiness that chooses what feels most authentically true to your Self. Whether that’s traveling the world or going home, ending a relationship or being willing to be completely hurt, what you do doesn’t actually matter. Focusing on what you do is actually missing the point.

Growth comes not when you necessarily go somewhere new or create something different, but when whatever you do is inspired by a desire to honestly open the heart rather than keep it closed.

Sometimes that opening requires a firm NO, other times an ecstatic YES, all that is required is whole hearted self honesty and responsibility. This is authenticity and it is as vulnerable as it gets. Choosing the heart is rarely easy but it is always worth it.

With this motivation driving me I continue the next stage of my journey. No longer running away, simply coming home to the truth of the free, wild, magical, sensual, empowered, compassionate, fierce force of love I’ve always been. No longer diminishing myself to fit into any kind of box or to have all of the answers, rather holding all of who I am closer than ever before, so I can share authentic beauty from that level of self acceptance and divine love.

If your soul aligns with these words, I invite you to continue the journey with me. Over the coming months I’ll be taking the time I need to rebirth myself into an even more vulnerably authentic loving expression here to serve this world. My heart is guiding me deeper and deeper into feminine embodiment with full integrity through women’s gatherings, retreats, and workshops, and I will share these dreams I’m secretly holding onto as soon as they are ready to be released. I am patiently excited for what is to come.

Please know that this is not just the end, this is a whole new beginning of something exquisitely beautiful and more bounteous than I can imagine. I’m so blessed for the mystery and fully trust that I will be more available to love, support, and assist others than ever before. This American Girl may be coming to a close, but I am always here.

You can stay connected with me by adding me on instagram @camillewillemain, following me on facebook Camille Willemain, and joining my new email list here. I genuinely love hearing from you, speaking with you, and knowing you.

As a special thank you, I’m offering my premier online transformation course The Freedom Tribe for 50% off until September 1st (use offer code THANKYOU). This is the last chance to join The Freedom Tribe, so if you have been wanting to dive deeply into this life changing work, now is the time. It’s an excellent way to take the inspiration you’ve gained through my blog to a whole other level. Since I’m wrapping up This American Girl and all offerings connected with that brand, there will be no live component with The Freedom Tribe anymore, however you can join our private Facebook group to connect with other tribe members and watch the many past Facebook LIVE calls recorded in the group. Remember to sign up before September 1st, after that I’m bringing The Freedom Tribe to an end to create space for fresh offerings.

If you are ready to part ways, I offer my most sincere gratitude for your presence these past weeks, months, or even years. You’ve meant a lot to me and I fully receive all of the blessings we’ve been here to exchange. I wish you exactly what your soul most craves, wherever that takes you. May you be guided like never before.

Infinite gratitude and deepest respect to my fiercely honest teacher Gaia Ma for initiating me into my shadows and to my wise loving coach, guide, and mentor Dan Regan for so patiently walking beside me through the darkness, for showing me that death is safe, and for ensuring me that I would eventually find the light.

Special thanks to my TRE therapist Natascha Fischer and compassionate energy healer Yvette Doudle for your deeply embodied guidance through this murky terrain. You are angels on my path.

Finally, thank you and I love you to the one who believed in greater possibility, who took a leap to Costa Rica, who handed herself over to the vast unknown, who created This American Girl, and who now trusts me to let go. So much more to come my love, so much more to come.

Pau.
And so it ends.
And so it begins.

Photos by my talented and magical sister @rody_kutza

This is the Magic of Aloha

This is the Magic of Aloha

 

Hawaii called to me the same way they all do. In my quiet moments before falling asleep, during long sunset walks on the beach, and in my deepest moments of despair. Hawaii called to me like a mother telling her daughter to come home.

 

I’ve received this calling many times. A place draws my heart closer and in her embrace I rediscover pieces of myself I left behind. I forget so that I can remember. I get lost to find my way. I let go and I become more whole. So when I hear the calling… eventually I always go.

 

 

This past summer while watching my home in Costa Rica get increasingly developed and wondering if I’d ever be able to move on from my twin flame while living on his land, I remembered Hawaii. I wondered if she was in fact calling me home to the true place where I belonged. I fantasized about a tropical paradise where I could live in absolute peace, beauty, and tranquility, in the highest vibration of love and light.

 

When I returned to Seattle in August, after a very intense few months in the jungle, nursing an enormous infected burn wound, recovering my sense of safety after having my home invaded and all of my belongings taken, cleansing my body like a full time job, and healing through some of my darkest shadows, I planned to head to Hawaii. But Hawaii first guided me elsewhere, through the spirit of Aloha.

 

 

You see, I like to think that like all the greatest medicines from the vine of Ayahuasca in the jungles of the Amazon to the sacred chants of the deities of the Himalayas, Aloha will find you precisely where you are, and gradually lure you deeper and deeper into her heart until your time comes to enter her motherland.

 

So in September, Aloha found me in my motherland of Seattle, Washington. I was walking out of my favorite yoga class, a Bhati Inspired community flow aptly named Yoga Church by my teacher Terilyn Wire, and saw the flier: Lomi Lomi Massage and Hawaiian Spirituality Training Retreat on Orcas Island just outside of Seattle. Something in my gut said yes, and I almost always follow that feeling.

 

 

I arrived to Orcas with no expectations. In our opening circle my teacher asked us to share what brought us. I’m usually quite verbose with my words, but this time I said simply, “because I trust myself,” unsure why I was there, but certain I was meant to be. And so my words carried with them ‘Mana,’ the Hawaiian word for ‘Power.’ Not just any power, the power of pure life force energy that pulses through this entire Earth, that we can only tap into when we’re equally determined and surrendered.

 

 

Throughout the week my reason for being became clear. In our morning prayers and afternoon massage lessons, Bethany brought Hawaii to our home in Orcas. In addition to getting rubbed in coconut oil like adorable little babies all day, and dancing with our hands across bodies like the ocean waves, we lived Aloha.

 

I liken Aloha to Pura Vida in the sense that it encompasses an entire way of being. Aloha literally means ‘Behold the Breath of God,” quite a nice way to say ‘Hello,” but like Pura Vida it’s really a form of reverence for the gift of life. The ‘Ha’ is the breath, and the breath is the carrier of spirit. From Heaven to Earth we breathe.

 

 

Lomi Lomi massage is an embodied Hawaiian practice in restoring ‘Pono’ or balance on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual plane by delivering the body pure Aloha. Whether you’re giving or receiving a Lomi, Aloha works through you. I could see it on my teacher Bethany’s face, which glowed like a newborn baby. “It’s all the Aloha!” she replied with a smile when I asked for her secret.

 

I recall receiving a Lomi our second day of the training from a man in our group, and giggles erupting out from my entire body. I asked myself if it was appropriate to be turned on while receiving the massage. At the end, completely surrendered, I realized that was the first time I actually felt like I’d been made love to by a man. No fluids necessary, just pure Aloha.

 

 

Over the week I had the opportunity to massage everyone. Doing so cultivated a special kind of intimacy, ever enhanced by our sharing circles and Hawaiian rituals for honoring the divine in one another. Aloha is just another way of saying Namaste after all. Sleeping in a house all together, sharing our meals all together, enjoying magic excursions around Orcas island together, we quickly became ‘Ohana’ or family.

 

 

Perhaps most powerful of all was when we came together in sacred circle for a traditional Ho’opono’pono ritual.

 

If you don’t know it already, Ho’opono’pono is an ancient Hawaiian ritual for forgiveness. It’s best known these days as the mantra “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” But Ho’opono’pono was originally a form of meditation used in communities when anyone felt like they had been wronged. Ho’opono’pono kept peace and balance within the Ohana to prevent any form of emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical disease.

 

But see these days few people have the patience or the humility to sit in circle and right their wrongs. So Ho’opono’pono can certainly be used to heal imbalances or heaviness felt with those we’re unable to connect with physically, with global atrocities, and with any form of conflict or turmoil within ourselves.

 

 

Choosing to offer the drama to Ho’opono’pono means you’ve decided you’re ‘Pau’ or finished with it. Not that it won’t continue to release or work through you, but that you’re tired of the victim story. Which is the essence of forgiveness: you’re so tired of the drama that you finally surrender your need to be right or to blame, and in our surrender you open to the unknowable truth that nothing is to blame for anything because all is here for your perfect evolution.

 

As we sat in circle and took turns speaking “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you,” to whatever person, belief, drama, or perspective that confused us from seeing our divine light, tears flowed and hearts came home. While I started practicing Ho’opono’pono years ago, this circle helped me understand it on a far deeper level and I felt ready to fully commit to it as a way of life.

 

 

A core tenant in the Lomi Lomi lifestyle and Bethany’s teachings is the simple mantra, “I am enough,” that resolves essentially any form of wounding. This realization, “I am enough,” arises from an open heart that quiets the seeking mind. Lomi Lomi as a body prayer offers the receiver the understanding that they are enough. There’s no need to fix or heal in Lomi Lomi, just to remember the divine perfection that’s already there. When we understand that we are enough, we understand that all beings are enough. Otherwise known as unconditional love.

 

Our final day of the training we exchanged massages and I paired with the last person I had yet to work with: my roomie and soul sister Faeryn. By the end of the massage I remember feeling softer than ever, as vulnerable and fragile as a newborn baby, glowing in the sheen of coconut oil and aloha. Bethany saw me in fetal pose wrapped up in white sheets and colorful sarongs and came over and started stroking my head. Then the tears came along with the realizations. My heart opened wide to unconditional love.

 

 

I went into the bathroom to shower and took a look at myself in the mirror. “I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.” I started to cry and apologize to myself. In that moment I realized how my own disbelief in the truth of “I am enough,” manifested most dominantly through seeking romantic partnership. I had grown so much, empowered myself so fully, but there was still part of me dissatisfied with life and myself because “he” hadn’t arrived.

 

In that moment though, I knew that I was enough. I told myself “I’m sorry for searching and searching and searching for the one, when you’ve been here all along. I promise to stop cheating on you by looking for someone else to complete you.” Pau. I meant it. Finished.

 

 

That evening I danced as I often do, opening my body with my breath and the flow of music. As I dropped into the rhythm, eyes closed heart open, the visions came. First through rainbows that poured in from all directions, dancing with me playfully and making me laugh and smile. Then as I stomped my feet to the tribal rhythms, I saw my selves with my eyes closed. Every version of me. Me as a child, a teenager, a young adult, so many phases and ages. We danced and celebrated together. We celebrated our journey, every perfect divine moment of it. And one by one each of me returned to me, making me even more whole.

 

Aloha.

 

 

Fast forward three months later, back in the jungle of Costa Rica. I carried Hawaii in my heart offering Lomi Lomi massages to friends, sharing Hawaiian chants on my Jungle Goddess women’s retreat, and making Ho’opono’pono my daily ritual in my journal, aloud, and in the mirror. I started researching possibilities for spaces where I could bring my retreats to Hawaii. I announced my projected Hawaii retreat dates to my email list and got lots of interest. Friends told me I clearly BELONGED in Hawaii.

 

And… I felt dissatisfied with Puerto Viejo. I felt an inner struggle and restlessness amidst the stress of making huge changes in my business while being triggered by the small town drama and the guy I just could not seem to shake. I expressed it as wanting to live somewhere with a higher vibration with people in a state of greater abundance, sharing their gifts and purpose more fully with the world.

 

 

That’s when my mind turned to travel, the thing that has saved me from uncomfortable situations many times in the past. Maybe if I left I’d be free of the discomfort of passing my twin flame every time I went to town and of watching the construction workers widen the road and of wondering if or when I might be robbed again.

 

In my restlessness I felt an urgency that told me time was past due for going to Hawaii and that somehow all of my problems would disappear as soon as I arrived in the islands. Which of course isn’t true, but my innocent nature likes to play that game sometimes to take me on a detour that eventually brings me home to my inner fulfillment.

 

So I booked an inexpensive flight to Hawaii for March 7, 2018, not knowing what or why I’d be going but needing that life raft on the horizon.

 

 

Interestingly, after I booked the flight, things in my life began to rapidly change. Without taking you on the journey of another story that I’ll share another time, I will simply say that over the course of one day I completely released all of my attachments and desires that I still carried for my Costa Rican twin flame and started the sweetest, most innocent, absolutely wonderful romance with someone completely new.

 

This dramatic shift in energy swept away the dissatisfaction I felt towards my home, amazed that I could meet a new man so full of Aloha right in my tiny jungle and be free of my karmic past after so many years of suffering. In my mind I began to delay my plans for Hawaii and open into the possibility of what had just arrived. Hawaii could wait.

 

 

But my new romance shifted as quickly as it entered, and I rapidly found myself reliving all of the lessons of my past relationships. Essentially, it triggered my core wounds of rejection, separation, and unworthiness. I was facing it, healing with it, and more open than ever, but it was hard to say the least. I could barely get out of bed, cried whenever someone asked me how I was, and decided to put all of my work on pause as I attended to my inner crisis. Hawaii began to sound better and better, like a life raft floating just a month away.

 

There’s much more to this story, but for now I’ll simply say, that while I wasn’t sure I was ready to leave Puerto Viejo, Hawaii seemed like a nice break. I was ready to open my heart to somewhere new. To experience another kind of paradise. To see if I could meet people, and especially men who were walking a similar path to mine. And most of all to receive Aloha straight from the ‘Aina’ (the sacred land).

 

 

I got to Hawaii essentially out of money, behind on work, and unsure why exactly I went there. Somehow I thought I could write my book, manage The Freedom Tribe, promote my next retreat, pick back up with blogging and social media, all while exploring a new place without any sense of plan, structure, or budget.

 

But Hawaii had her own plan for me and all she asked me to do was allow it.

 

 

Synchronistically my Lomi Lomi teacher had already moved to the Big Island and invited me to come help out on the next training. One of the training participants picked me up from the airport and we quickly realized we were soul twins. We shared a car, sang all of the same songs, and literally read each other’s minds. We stayed with friends and had pajama dance parties in the kitchen, shared meals together, and quickly learned all of the local spots under the guidance of our Hawaiian goddess big sis.

 

It immediately became clear that we had entered what the Hawaiians call the ‘Pa’a’ or ‘The Now’ also known as ‘Vertical Time’ and ‘God’s Time.’ Each day felt like a lifetime and we laughed each time we realized what had transpired since… yesterday?! After a few days I accepted this wasn’t the time to focus on the linear progression of my work, this was the time to remember what brought me to Hawaii. So I surrendered to the Pa’a and I went with the flow.

 

 

In God’s time we swam with sea turtles, floated in jungle lava rock pools, chanted in the back of an underground cave, hiked down into Waipio Valley and discovered raw sacred magic, stood in the pouring rain beside the most powerful waterfall I’ve ever seen, taught a bunch of tourists at a roadside farm stand about cacao, met a giant crystal, made friends with tree cutters and took all the young coconuts we wanted, found the best Thai restaurant outside of Chiang Mai, called in the Hawaiian ancestors in the middle of a lava field under the stars, reunited with a Costa Rica soul sister at a clothing optional hippie drum circle, let ourselves become Pele and erupt like volcanoes of powerful rage, got all slathered and Lomi-ed each other like Lakshmi, surrendered so deeply into forgiveness and created vast space, reclaimed our wholeness in Pono, and got a big huge dose of Alooohhhhaaaa.

 

 

It was also cold and rainy almost every day, I froze in my tropical outfits, the beaches were covered in lava rocks or crowds of people, the cost of everything was so high I couldn’t afford to travel there independently, it was way, way, way less Hawaiian and more Americanized than I expected (HELLO it’s the USA Camille), I had to drive to get anywhere, my body felt restless without enough exercise, the vibe felt either really touristic or hippie in a weird way, I had a hard time going with the flow and not exerting my will, I missed my alone time and felt desperate to write and create, and I didn’t really feel like I was in… Hawaii.

 

Isn’t it interesting how you can paint something as perfect or shitty and somewhere in the wholeness of both you find truth?

 

 

Knowing my style, everyone told me… “Go to Kauai!” And actually, the Hawaii I dreamed of sounded much more like Kauai. But it was dumping rain on Kauai and the timing just didn’t seem quite right. So I checked all of the islands for the best weather. Considered Maui where another friend lives and I might find a chill little surf town. Checked in with friends on Oahu. Researched flights to Bali. An inner restlessness kept me searching searching searching.

 

And what was I even looking for? I’m no stranger to this dissatisfaction that keeps me moving, going, traveling, looking for the next best place. Looking back I could see how many times on past trips I rushed through, not feeling content with anywhere, hoping that by being somewhere else I’d feel the way I wanted to feel. I remembered how going somewhere else didn’t actually resolve my discomfort, if anything it amplified it.

 

 

What was the discomfort that pulled me out of the jungle this time and sent me to Hawaii? Oh, right, the discomfort of romantic rejection. Of not wanting to relax into a space where I’d be confronted with those emotions and escaping it by going somewhere new. The discomfort of the inner conflict that could not reconcile me being valid without him being wrong.

 

I chose that as the focus of my Ho’opono’pono while on the land in Hawaii. As I’ve learned in my own Ho’opono’pono practice, it wasn’t about resolving anything with him, but resolving what felt disharmonious within me. We came into circle and I offered my prayer.

 

 

“I’m sorry for thinking that I was supposed to somehow get it right with him. For thinking that I failed or messed it up. I’m sorry that I needed him to be bad or wrong for me to be allowed to be hurt and angry. I’m sorry that I don’t know how to resolve that contradiction. Help me.

 

Forgive me for thinking that how it evolved was a problem instead of perfect. Forgive me for focusing on what felt bad instead of what felt good. Forgive me for feeling it as heavy instead of light. Forgive me for trying to force it into something other than what it was meant to be. Forgive me for being afraid.

 

Thank you for reminding me what it’s like to love again. Thank you for showing me what I really want and deserve. Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for this space and time for healing.

 

I love you as the radiant, alive, magical, beautiful woman that you are. I’m so glad I get to do this with you. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love you.

 

Pau.”

 

 

My urgency to escape the present moment, to NOT reside in the Pa’a, came from a feeling of lack. A feeling of “not enough” which is simply a feeling of being separate from God. The rejection I had felt from this man or the one before him or the one before him, didn’t make me separate from God. It just triggered the wound sacredly placed for my own healing.

 

Sitting behind me in the circle I began to feel a different kind of Ohana. All of the men of my past, sitting behind me, supporting me. And they did all support me in their own unique perfectly designed ways. All helping me become the whole woman I already am and am destined to be. I felt stronger with them there, the more I allowed them to step in, behind me, the more myself I felt. Then with my eyes closed I saw my sister Dannie like an angel holding my hand. She may have been back in Puerto Viejo, but I felt her beside me, supporting me in the loving way only she knows how.

 

 

I called in Aloha, breathing from the highest source of spirit and delivering it to the body that just wants to feel safe here on Earth, receiving the reminder “I am enough.” “I am enough.” “I am enough.” When I remember that I am enough, all is enough. This is Pono, the realization that all is as it should be.

 

In the Pa’a I could see that dissatisfaction only arose when I thought I was anywhere other than exactly where I was supposed to be. Dissatisfaction may have sent me to Hawaii, but I knew I had the power to feel content right here right now in Hawaii by trusting that I was exactly where I was meant to be. How could I tell my mind I didn’t need to be somewhere else? What could I do to feel safe enough to relax and slow down?

 

 

My answer surprised me… by going home. Not in that very moment, but in general. All these years I spent looking for home all across the world, failing to acknowledge the very obvious fact that I had already found my home. Somehow life blessed me by bringing me home at the very beginning of my travels. Puerto Viejo was my home. Of course. How could it not be? In six years of hopping around the globe it’s the only place on Earth I’ve found where I feel at home.

 

 

So instead of looking for something better, or forcing myself to feel at home when I don’t, why not celebrate the fact that I’m so blessed to have a place where I can walk for hours down deserted beaches, swim in the Caribbean sea with no other people around, hang out with monkeys in my garden, ride a bicycle and never drive a car, feel my absolute healthiest, get young coconuts for fifty cents a piece, have cacao ceremonies and dinner parties with the most beautiful Goddesses who just so happen to love me, and be allowed the space to offer my gifts and retreats to all those who are willing and ready?

 

 

Maybe Puerto Viejo wouldn’t be home forever and maybe this fantasy I’ve had of creating my ultimate sustainable eco-retreat center paradise on a wilderness beach in Kauai with the man of my dreams who adores me fully is in fact my destiny. But right here, right now, in linear time, Man’s time, it’s not yet the time. And how or why is that future vision any better than this present?

 

Rather than rushing to get to the ultimate vision, what if I could just savor the sweetness of being in the Pa’a, the now? There’s no rush on this journey of my life. And right now, I have all that I need in Puerto Viejo.

 

 

With that realization I suddenly felt so free. Like I released this pressure to make every place I traveled to my home. If I acknowledged that Puerto Viejo already had everything that I wanted, I could travel simply for the fun, for the expansion. I didn’t need to find a more beautiful beach (impossible I’ve discovered) or a more aligned community or a more exciting lifestyle. I could appreciate each and every destination for its true uniqueness knowing that I had a home waiting for me.

 

Experiencing more uniqueness and expanding my perspective was truly what sent me traveling. Not a quest for another Puerto Viejo, a discovery of something totally new. My intention is always to let the special secrets of another magical land make me more whole.

 

 

Simply by remembering what my intentions were for coming to Hawaii in the first place, I was able to relax into the Pa’a, rather than feel restless in searching for home. I reflected on the months prior when I took the Lomi training, booked the flight, and finally decided to get on the airplane. My intention for coming to the Big Island was to see if I could find a very special spot there to lead a retreat, to connect with Ohana, to deepen my Lomi practice, to see if I could find home, and to crack open to Ho’opono’pono.

 

 

In a matter of two weeks I had fulfilled all of these intentions. I decided that the Big Island wasn’t my style and to return to Kauai to look for a retreat space when it would be better weather and I had the money to do it my way. I connected with Ohana every single day of my trip and learned to be less individualistic, not easy for me but a good practice. I got to spend a whole week with my Lomi teacher and receive even more wisdom than before. I came to the obvious realization that I already had a home. And while I left before the Ho’opono’pono workshop I had originally wanted to attend, I remembered Uncle Harry’s wise words that my Lomi teacher shared with us again and again, “There’s always another way to do everything.”

 

For now, my other way is to carry Ho’opono’pono in my heart, and to allow the wise secrets of Aloha to continue to reveal themselves in their own perfect timing.

 

 

I’m sorry for any time I’ve seen myself, my family, my friends, my lovers, my teachers, my sisters, my brothers, my community, the creatures, the elements, the land, as anything other than Enough.

 

Forgive me for ever wishing that life were different than it is right here right now. Forgive me for thinking that I’m supposed to get it right instead of acknowledging that everything is right now.

 

Thank you for always, always, always, giving me exactly what I need, even if I don’t always like it.

Thank you for never giving up on me.

 

I love you.

That is all that ever was and ever will be true.

 

 

Pau.

Aloha.

Mahalo.

Pura Vida.

Namaste.

 

Wisdom inspired by my teacher/sister/friend Bethany Boulger, The Wise Secrets of Aloha by Uncle Harry Uhane, the 4th Gene Key of Forgiveness, the Hawaiian ancestors, the Halau, my selves, and pure Aloha.

 

When Nothing is Ever Good Enough for You

When Nothing is Ever Good Enough for You

 

Do you know that feeling of utter dissatisfaction?
It’s that feeling of… not good enough.
I know that feeling oh so well, and I think it’s an epidemic among travelers.

 

We’ve got this freedom to be anywhere, do anything, and yet… often it’s still not good enough. We so often compare a place or an experience to something from our past, and nothing seems to measure up. We lose our sense of wonder and gratitude. Yes, I have certainly felt this way.

 

 

But my dissatisfaction started way before that.

 

I remember in my pre-travel life, how dissatisfied I was with…. everything. My relationships were never good enough. My friendships were never good enough. My creative projects were never good enough. My home was never good enough. Restaurants were never good enough. Saturday nights were never good enough. Nothing was ever good enough.

 

When I left to go live in the jungle of Costa Rica, that did not change. I did not suddenly feel perfectly satisfied, even though I thought I would. I complained about basically everything the first week I was there. From our bad water pressure to non functioning wifi to how isolated we were to how seedy the bars were to how expensive the restaurants were.

 

But then… something changed. I changed. Suddenly, everything was ok. Everything was beautiful. Everything was enough.

 

 

Because I slowed down enough to witness the perfection of the way the waves turn lavender just after five. Or the way that the little beach crabs scurry across the shoreline and burrow themselves in the shoreline. The way that the monkeys howl when cars go by or it starts to rain. I slowed down, and remembered that everything is ok. All is well. All is perfection.

 

But see… I have forgotten that many times over the years. I have fallen again and again into the shadow of dissatisfaction. Finding every possible person or circumstance to blame for why I don’t feel the way that I want to feel.

 

So many moments I spent in paradise, living in a way that so many others fantasize about, yet feeling… bored. Disconnected. Antsy. Trying to fix it by shifting my location. By spending more money. And most of the time that doesn’t actually work. 

 

 

And while the danger of being someone who travels the world alone is that you can constantly feed this dissatisfaction by changing everything all of the time, the medicine of being someone who travels the world alone, is that when it’s just you and the wide open road, there’s no one to point the finger at except for you.

 

So I have learned again and again to turn inward. To stop expecting the world around me to be better than it is, and ask myself what within me feels lacking in love. ‘Cause that’s all it’s actually ever about.

 

Though, even that became a new path for dissatisfaction. An endless quest in fixing myself. In trying to make myself better so that life would be better.

 

 

Don’t get me wrong… dissatisfaction has granted me so many gifts. It has been a wonderful blessing.

 

Dissatisfaction is what got me out of my box traveling the world. Dissatisfaction is what helped me create my own business and transform and expand it all of the time. Dissatisfaction is what inspired me to serve others, to help them create a more inspired life. Dissatisfaction is what brought me onto the path of yoga, dance, tantra, lomi lomi, and so many other beautiful healing modalities.

 

Dissatisfaction refined me into the person I am now.

 

 

Yet… the seeking isn’t actually what ever brought me where I wanted to be.
You know what did?
Relaxation.
Slowing down.
Re-membering the rhythm of nature.
No matter where I am.
I can find bliss NOW.
By simply. doing. that.

 

Yesterday I came home fully to that understanding.

 

 

I left Puerto Viejo last week… from a place of dissatisfaction. I’m on my way to Hawaii. A place I thought might be more “perfect” than the place I’ve called home. A place I thought might satisfy the ache of longing that resides within me​. It’s been my dissatisfaction in my jungle home that no place seems to compare to, that has gotten me to go and have other experiences. To expand and to grow.

 

Before leaving Costa Rica, I decided to treat myself to a vacation, and a yummy relaxing retreat at a resort in Santa Teresa on the North Pacific Coast. Not to transform. Not to fix myself. Not to be better. Just to relax and enjoy.

 

 

Funny enough… what I immediately experienced was dissatisfaction. Dissatisfaction over why the South Caribbean is more beautiful, more lush, the beaches are nicer, the vibe is wilder, and on and on. Dissatisfaction over why I don’t like resorts and how inauthentic they are. Dissatisfaction over the retreat itself, comparing it to the retreats that I’ve created and finding every seemingly logical explanation to justify why it wasn’t good enough. Dissatisfaction that I wasn’t transforming, fixing myself, and becoming better.

 

While I could justifiably judge and pick apart every aspect of my experience, the same way I did in so many places all over the world, the same way I sometimes pick at my skin, or dissect every mistake I make with men, or analyze all of the ways that I show up in the world as not good enough, having those reasons will never make me feel better. They will never make me feel safe.

 

 

They can show me what I value. What choices I want to make in the future. Where I want to aim. But the only thing that ever brings me the wholeness that I’m always seeking, is relaxing into my true nature, which is love.

 

Taking my own advice, I have been slowing down. Remembering to breathe more deeply. To do less. To share less. To contain more. To be present with my discomfort so I can feel safer with me.

 

 

Yesterday, with the stillness that tells me I am safe, I sat watching the firey red sun melt down into the horizon, something I never get to see living on Caribbean Coast. At the very moment that the tip of the sun became swallowed, a flock of pelicans flew across the sky. Everything in perfect timing. Perfect rhythm. The divine orchestration, the divine perfection, of nature.

 

I stripped off my clothes and walked down to the ocean.
“Nothing is ever good enough for you,” I said to myself.
“Can’t you see how hard I’m trying? I did all of this for you. I brought you here to make you happy. Can’t you see how much I’m doing to try to make you happy? Would you just appreciate it?”

I laughed and shook my head because I knew I was right.
“Look around you. What could possibly be wrong with this? Can this just be good enough? You’re staying in a beautiful room, you’re eating beautiful food, you’re with beautiful women, you’re held by beautiful teachers. Let it be enough.”

 

 

I laughed and I cried. Apologizing again and again to myself for not seeing myself as… enough.

I apologized to myself for being so uncomfortable recently, that I refused to be present with the man who simply came into my life to teach me and had to push him away instead.

I apologized to myself for thinking that the way I reacted was somehow wrong or that I could have or should have done it better.

I apologized for seeing anything about me or my experience as anything other, than the divine orchestration, the divine perfection, of nature.

 

And I decided.
To let it be good enough.
For now.

 

Why Do We Scare All of the Men Away?

Why Do We Scare All of the Men Away?

Are you one of those women?

You know, the one who cares too much?
Wants too much?
Says too much?
Feels too much?
Loves too much?
Is too much?

Who doesn’t do casual?
Wears her heart on her sleeve?
Falls too hard and too deep?

Are you one of those women
Who blames herself for the times she softened and got hurt?
Who thinks she’s never chosen because of her worth?
Wonders if she will ever get what she deserves?

Who does it all to try to fix herself whole?
Can’t understand why she keeps falling into the same hole?
No matter how she grows rejected seems to be her role?

And there’s every explanation that we could ever find.
They’re scared of our greatness and they think we’re too good.
We are too enlightened to be fully understood.

We’ve got too many daddy issues and so we can never trust a man.
We’ve got too many mommy issues and became her in the end.

We never learned with the last guy so we’re in a karmic wheel.
We should learn to get better at pretending not to feel.

We are just too intense for anyone to handle.
Maybe deep down we don’t think that we are lovable.

I will tell you sister I’ve been this woman many times.
The one who lures them then scares them and can’t understand why.
Whose mind is so sharp I over over analyze.
Who has tried to deny love under an indifferent disguise.

But when I soften my heart I remember something wise…

Life gives you exactly what is meant for you.
So maybe there isn’t anything you need to do.
But simply fall more in love with you.

Maybe he didn’t choose you
because that’s the very thing you need to do.

Maybe the men never come not because you need to change.
Maybe they all leave because it’s you who needs space.
Maybe life is offering you love in his place.

So if you hear me dear one who feels tender and scarred
you are so worthy just as you are
I know it’s not easy I know it’s fucking hard
but you are learning the true path of the heart.

Life has not forgotten you.
All is coming.
Just keep breathing.
Just keep loving.

You are everything.
You are enough.
You are a miracle
You are love.

A Love Letter From a Woman to Her Jungle

A Love Letter From a Woman to Her Jungle

 

When I touched you today
it felt like the first time
like the first time I touched you.

And when I saw you
I saw you more beautiful
than I forgot to remember you.

 

 

No mildew of old stories
no residues of past pains
no expectations or plans.

Just you and I in the absence of everything.

 

 

Your shores kissed my feet
sea swept across my skin.

I giggled and smiled and
gave in to your gift.

You and I were enough
as perfectly this.

 

 

I didn’t blame you
for anything or anyone.

I didn’t sob on your shores
over who you’ve unbecome.

I relaxed into your presence
and there we became one.

 

 

Then the waves came crashing
like they always do.

You like to try and drown me
don’t you?

You teach me to be humble
FUCK YOU, love you, God you.

 

 

And in your brightest light
I see my darkest shadow
triggering that old victimhood.

But you sprinkle me
with sweetness
stars that kiss me like no one else ever could.

Why do you do me so hard and so good?

 

 

It’s not easy being your lover
but hey I guess that’s our play.

Forgive me for the times I leave you
forgive me for wanting to stray.

Thank you for being here
thank you for letting me stay.

Forgive me because one day
you will actually push me away.

 

 

Even though your wildness
shows me where I ache.

When I cherish your beauty
there are endless angles to thank.

So thank you simply
for always being you.

I love you forever and always
even when I forget to.

 

Playa Chiquita

 

Thank you for how much you’ve taught me
about how to unconditionally love.

I love you for breaking me so badly
I surrendered to becoming my one.

 

Puerto Viejo

 

Home you are this heart of mine
that forever will be true.

Home is where I feel together
the divinity of me and you.

 

 

When the moment arrives
for us to say farewell
please know that I will always
remember your intoxicating spell.

Please know that even if I
run away and create something new
I will always and forever
remember the gift of you.

 

This American Girl

 

And if for whatever reason
it hurts too much to come back again
please know that in my heart
I am with you to the end.

For perhaps I am a woman
who was born to forever roam
but you will always and forever
be my sacred rebirth home.

What I’ve Learned From Four Years Without Sex

What I’ve Learned From Four Years Without Sex


When people discover that I’ve been celibate for the past four years

they always ask me if it’s by choice.

 

They must be trying to figure out if I’m
a) totally repressed (by choice) or
b) totally undesirable (not by choice)

 

And I don’t exactly know how to answer, because I’m neither… and I’m also both.

 


Four years ago did I intend to lock on a chastity belt? No. Did I take on a challenge for bragging rights? No. Did I do this as a sort of tantric power practice? I wish. Have I wanted to have sex many times over the last four years? Hell yes.

 

So I guess the answer is… no I did not choose this.

 


But, at the same time, I have had plenty of opportunities to have sex in the last four years. Come on, I’m a young woman traveling the world alone, living in a Latin Caribbean surf town. I have said no to many invitations, covert and sometimes very overt, for sex. I’ve even turned down opportunities to have sex with amazing men who I really really liked.

 

So I guess the answer is… yes I did choose this.

 


While I may not have exactly chosen to be celibate for the last four years, I have decided to honor my innocence over my desires. To treasure my heart and my worthiness over my quest for external love. To treat myself the way I deserve to be treated. And to only be so vulnerable with someone when I actually feel safe enough to experience the full spectrum of both pleasure and pain with him inside and outside of me.

 

And that has not yet happened. So here I am, continuing to love and honor myself whether it happens for me or not.

 


To be completely honest, last year when I wrote my post What I’ve Learned From Three Years Without Sex, I kinda thought I was about to break my celibacy. I figured, ya know, I’ll just write this post now so I can get the lessons out, move on, and get laid already.

 

But every time the opportunity presented itself, I felt a deep sense of compromise. I didn’t feel loved, cherished, or sacred the way that I wanted to. Because I have learned how to love myself that way, emotionally and sexually, and I really can’t settle for less.

 

I mean, the thing is, I haven’t actually gone four years without sex. See, I’ve spent the last four years making love to myself in every possible way. Becoming a supportive stable father and an unconditionally loving mother for my inner child. Being the cheerleader and best friend that I already have so many of around me, all of the time. Touching and treasuring myself, my sweetness, my body, my beauty, like the mythical man my heart has ached for all my life.

 


Frankly, I have no idea when I’ll have sex with another human again. But I do know that I can make love in any moment, because I am love. This has been my greatest learning from four years without sex, becoming the love on the inside that I was always seeking on the outside. (Read more in my post: How to Love Yourself Like You’ve Never Been Loved.)

 

Not to say that I don’t sometimes forget, or it’s not at times hard, or I don’t fall into my shadows, and I don’t get insecure. Ohhhh, I do. I go through all of it ‘cause I’m all human. But I can say with one hundred percent certainty that after four years without sex, I am finally in a totally committed relationship with me. And that seems like a pretty huge accomplishment worth celebrating.

 

Here are some of the realizations that helped me get here…

 

Sex is Sacred


About two years ago I discovered the path of tantra, and it completely shifted my relationship with my sexuality. By understanding sex, with myself and also with others, as a practice that could help me become more embodied as my highest self, I began to see it as something deeply sacred. In the past my sexual experiences were typically in committed relationships, but they were always dissatisfying on some level.

 

Tantra showed me that when sacredness, or God, is excluded from anything, it will always feel lacking. Reading Enlightened Sex and Dear Lover by David Deida I began to experience sex (with myself) as more than arousal and orgasm, but as a practice for softening my armor and opening up my heart. Like my yoga, dance, or meditations, having sex with myself became a journey in exploring myself, releasing emotions, and opening to spontaneous insights.

 

Meeting couples who were on this path, and men who also desired it, showed me a far more beautiful possibility for my sexual experiences. I knew that when I did have sex again, I wouldn’t settle for less than making love to myself, my man, and the entire cosmos. I knew that I wanted sex that would melt and blossom me open to become the love I’ve always been.

 

My Needs are Mine


Like food, water, and sleep, sex is something most people think that they need. Fair enough, we have the innate desire for sex that can arise in intense urges. However what can often happen, is the same way we may justify emotional eating as a need for food, we may become addicted to certain kinds of sex or certain kinds of sexual partners. The same way we might think we need sugar or caffeine, we think we need sex with that one person who got us high on oxytocin that one (or one hundred) time(s).

 

When you’re addicted to something, you’re dependent on it. You become a victim of that thing outside of yourself by projecting your needs onto it. Completely abstaining from sex was like detoxing off of that sugar and caffeine. It gave me back the power to realize I didn’t need those men, I just needed love.

 

Without the quick love drug from outside sources, I became responsible for filling this need myself. This is truly my most helpful discovery in perhaps my entire lifetime: when I take responsibility for my own needs I’m no longer a victim of anyone or anything. When I take responsibility for my own needs, I am fully empowered to do something about them. So, when I take responsibility for my own needs, I am free. And freedom is an essential ingredient for true love.

 

You’re Not After a Person, But a Feeling


As a woman who tends towards romantic idealizing and intense infatuation, when I develop feelings for a man I can get tunnel vision. I don’t fall often, but when I do, I only have eyes for him. This can be a beautiful thing. It’s an aspect of true devotion, something I treasure. But, it can also be a trap, expecting that person to fill my needs. (See above.)

 

When I notice myself tiptoeing towards that edge, I take a pause and ask myself, “What is it that I’m hoping this man will make me feel? What does his presence ignite within me? What does he represent for me?” Usually there is some kind of particular feeling that I’m desiring in that moment. Once I realize the feeling, I have the power to choose experiences that will bring about that feeling. I’m no longer dependent on him to feel the thing that I want to feel.

 

For example, I was in a very tumultuous love affair for many years, feeling like a total victim, and had very little desire to let go. I was suffering a lot and knew that I needed to, but I wanted this man so badly that I was willing to stay in the drama. But a higher, healthier part of me knew I deserved better, so I did a lot of things to be my own therapist. One of which became asking myself every time I pined for him, “How do you hope he’s going to make you feel?”

 

I was able to identify that whenever I was with him I felt very alive and present in my body. I felt a wildfire that excited me. This told me that what I was really after, was the feeling of ALIVENESS. It didn’t resolve things overnight, but every time I got into the victim mentality, I would ask myself, “what can I do right now to feel more alive?”

 

Just like your needs, your desires are yours. Which means that once you understand what they are, you have the power to bring them about within yourself. No person has control over you being able to feel the way that you want to feel.

 

Walls Are a Good Thing


I can’t tell you how many times I heard people tell me I was too guarded. Not surprisingly that criticism often came from men who wanted to sleep with me. But it didn’t always. It also came from friends, from healers, and from intuitives. Many people told me that I had walls up, that I wasn’t emotionally available, and that’s why I hadn’t been with a man in so long.

 

This really confused me because I thought I was TOO vulnerable. TOO open. TOO available. So I doubted and questioned myself and tried to be even more vulnerable, open, and available. Which led to me attracting men who were not desiring what I desired.

 

Until a few months ago it dawned on me. From reflecting on my relationship patterns and childhood conditioning over the years, I suddenly had an epiphany. I was not afraid of intimacy. No, intimacy was in fact one of my deepest desires. I was actually afraid of codependency. I was afraid of relationships trapping me and keeping me from my own unique blissfulness.

 

I realized that the walls I had created were not keeping me from being intimate with others, but were actually there to help me stay as happy and free as I knew I could be alone. If I wanted to let my walls down and invite people in, I needed to become clearer with my boundaries so that I felt safe enough to do so. My loyalty belonged first and foremost to myself, so I promised my inner child that I would keep her safe, even if that meant having walls.

 

Honesty is Everything


When it comes to romance and sex there can be so many mind games. Let’s face it, on some level we’re all afraid of rejection and that’s what unconsciously drives us to withhold love from one another. The fear is completely understandable, but I now see that it’s the very thing that keeps us from true intimacy.


I learned this lesson through platonic friendship with a dear sister of mine. I was going through a very intense time (you can read about it in my post When the Jungle Burned Me) and so many of my insecurities and fears demanded my attention. As my friend tried to support me I noticed how guilty I felt in letting her. Facing this discomfort required I first be completely honest with myself. Which is certainly where intimacy begins: within you.


I got honest with myself and named my shadows. Amazingly, once I did they weren’t so scary anymore. Telling her my insecurities was harder, but I did it. And she shared hers with me. The healing was profound and I felt closer to her than ever before. It was me withholding from myself and from our relationship that caused the illusion of separation that I had been suffering over. Honesty bridged that gap.

 

A couple of months later, I chose honesty in a very uncomfortable situation with a man I had a confusing relationship with. We had been playing this game for a couple of years, not naming what was going on, and I felt insecure. Honesty is such medicine for insecurity as it brings absolute clarity to confusion. I told him honestly how I felt, he told me honestly how he felt, and it instantly became clear: we were not wanting the same thing. Boom. Done. Easy!

 

While that realization was disappointing, it was also liberating. I didn’t have to figure it out anymore. It was clear. I could let it go. I could move on. I’ve come to understand that choosing honesty means honoring my worthiness over my desire for someone else to accept me and valuing intimacy over avoiding discomfort.

 

In short: all intimate relationships require honesty. Get honest with yourself and be brave enough to be honest with others. Graciously do this while taking full responsibility for your own needs instead of blaming others. This is the key to deepening your relationships and filtering out the ones that are not for your highest good.

 

Intimacy Goes Beyond Sex


This was a big realization for me: you can be intimate with someone without having sex with them! While I’ve had very few sexual partners and have always been extremely particular, I’ve also been totally addicted to sex. And I now understand why. In some of my relationships sex was the only time I felt a deeper connection. My constant need for sex was actually a need for intimacy with my partner that I didn’t know how to ask for, give, or receive otherwise.

 

By abstaining from sex all of these years, I’ve learned and practiced so many ways to experience intimacy with my family, my friends, my community, strangers, and yes even men I’m sexually attracted to. Compassionate listening, eye gazing, tantric breathing, cuddling, massages, sharing stories, having adventures, giving without holding back, and learning how to be a kind, loving human, have all shown me how to feel close and connected without taking any of my clothes off.

 

Intimacy is simple: fill yourself with the love you are, and offer that love without holding back. Paradoxically, the clearer your boundaries, the more freely you can do this.

 

I Am Enough


I really can’t tell you who it was that pointed out how much I tied up my self-worth with sex. But whomever it was, thank you.


Like with any addiction, it takes complete abstinence to break the unhealthy pattern. I had a lot of unhealthy patterns surrounding sex. Mostly, I used sex to get the love that I didn’t feel like I deserved. I used it to manipulate my boyfriends into giving me more attention. I used it to get men who were clearly unavailable to offer me whatever leftovers they could scrap together. I used it to continually hurt and abuse myself by accepting a lot less than what I deserved. I traded my honor for an hour of the closest thing I understood as love. Because see, I completely confused sex with love.


Now I understand that sex can be love or sex can be neediness pretending to be love.


When you’re feeling needy, nothing can ever be good enough, and so you feel separate from love. That is, until you begin to look at each of these needs and nourish them as the lover no one else was ever willing to be for you. Which has been my practice all of these years. Seeing my needs that arise, not having a man to fuck them away, and learning to fulfill them myself instead.


Naturally, the more I give love to these places inside of me that feel separate from love, the more I feel worthy of love. The more I feel like I am love. Which is to say, the more I remember that I am enough.

 

Some Things Are Worth Waiting For


Have you ever had that experience, where you’re really craving an avocado but all you can find is still slightly green and hard? I mean, you could probably use one now. They’re… close. You could cut one open. Slice it up into plasticky pieces. Chew on the semi hardness. And while it might be slightly tasty, you probably won’t satisfy the craving. You won’t get that sweet buttery creamy melt in your mouth deliciousness that only a perfectly ripe avocado can offer. You’ll likely be highly disappointed. 


So even if you really want an avocado right now, it is better to wait. Cause a ripe avocado is worth waiting for. Meanwhile, you can appreciate the mangos, papayas, and coconuts. There’s so much more to eat in this world than just avocados.


(Photos by my brother Devin Gabhart)

 

Tell me, what have been your greatest lessons through having, or not having, sex?