The awakened woman doesn’t
let any man’s wounded
She does not hide her beauty,
Does not dull down her vibrant energy,
She shines her light.
And if that means attention,
from men, women, and those she’s meant to serve,
She doesn’t stand down when she’s not treated right.
She lets him know what she’s feeling
She holds the masculine accountable
to the action that he’s taken,
without blaming him.
She calls him to respond,
and hold a higher
JoyGasm is asking Conscious Leaders to share their practices of Self Love that help them stay strong, focused and powerful as they champion their mission to change the world.
If you only had 10 minutes a day for Self Care, what would you DO?
Elena HarderJoyGasm Founder and Self Love Expert
When I read Claire's answer I seriously shouted so loud, "YES!" and then laughed so hard. I'm obviously a huge believer in orgasmic meditations (like JoyGasm), so I was so happy to see a woman like Claire come right out and say it. Read below the rest of her interview which is awesome too!
What is your take on self-love? Why is it important, and what's the most powerful way you've found to do it?
Self love is self acceptance.. None of us are perfect but the personal development craze has created even more pressure for us as we now often feel that we have to be perfect, think positive all the time and the pressure to be on “purpose” and change the world is massive. Its all nonsense. Self love is about listening to yourself and taking care of where you are right now.
Its important we send more love to our weaker and more venerable parts, so that those parts feel supported and safe. We should never try and hide from them or change them - we just need to support them with love and in time they will dissolve. There is of course a lot more to this but this is my short answer.
What is your biggest struggle in your relationships right now? How has that changed since you started learning about self-love?
So I am single.. My past has been quite tragic in this area over the last 10 years i lost someone through suicide and then when i feel in love again i found out he was leading a double life. I have had a lot of pain, blame and rejection issues to deal with because of these experiences.
Understanding about self love helped me realize that it was up to me to look after my self and understand myself more so that I could support myself. Psychotherapy really helped me release pain and understand my behaviour. I feel that getting therapy was a act of self love and i recommend that everyone does it.
I am now dating, I haven’t meet anyone I have deeply connected with but thats ok. It feels awesome to be able to meet people, enjoy their company and not get caught up on needing them to complete me. Don’t get me wrong I am human and hanging out with couples all the time would unsettle my wounds so I make sure that I always have lots of different types of friends and I make the effort to have a varied social life.
What's the most important skill you've learned to help you deal with the challenges of being in relationships?
Understanding the flow of male and female energy has been a game changer for me. The work of David Deida in particular totally reframed the way I look at dating and my own actions as a woman.
What has been the biggest unexpected challenge you've had in creating your great work in the world?
The biggest issue I have had is with dreamers and creatives. If you have too many working on a project nothing gets done. I never ever thought that this would be a issue, I thought it was the dreamers that helped move the world forward but their is a big difference between dreamers and achievers and it was a big eye opener for me.
“Put your mission at the forefront of your business. Don’t be afraid to talk about it at every opportunity and don’t water it down because you’re trying to sell a product and don’t want to come off too strong. The product is the vehicle that makes achieving the mission possible, but the mission is the goal.
And don’t underestimate your strength or abilities — I see women give away their power all the time through self-doubt. It’s good to reflect honestly about your abilities and how they could be improved, but don’t doubt them. After all, you are the one who had the balls to get the business started.”
Valerie Shakti Bottazzi and I speak about leaving abusive relationships, the ability to become a new person (in this lifetime), being businesswomen and mothers, the experience of post partum depression, and the difference between meditation, visualization, and imagination.
Valerie generously offered us a few of her guided visualizations, and if you’d like to learn more about her offerings overall you can visit her website here valeriebottazzi.com
Get the Goodies
“Suicidal ideation, the act of thinking about committing suicide. Is normal. A normal healthy response to an overwhelming, unrelenting, inescapable emotional pain.”
The words drop into my mind like a hammer. I’m normal. It’s okay. “I wish someone had told me that 5 years ago.” I laugh a little bit, but it’s not funny. I think of the years I’ve spent hiding this part of me, the hours I’ve spent ruminating and pondering what makes me so fucked up that my first thought when something goes wrong is “I want to die.”
The pain I’ve felt at the voice that said,
“I want to die,
I want to die,
I want to die.”
All of this is normal.
“When you get a chance, go with a friend to the place where you wanted to drive off the bridge, be the passenger, and talk to them, share with them what you felt, what you experienced, what your world was like then.”
“I can do that.” I think immediately of the bridge as it crosses Fish Creek park on 22x. How many days of driving that cursed yellow school bus did I think about turning the wheel just enough? Hundreds of times. Today, a question I had never thought to ask rises to my mind.
How much shame did I internalize from feeling there was something really wrong with me for thinking about it?
A few hours later I’m a passenger in the car, on route south to a family dinner. I’m dressed up and excited to be going towards my beloved’s families house to spend time with them. The traffic slows, but it’s the wrong time of day for rush hour. It must be an accident. We wait in traffic for a while, and as we pull slowly past the scene, I see clearly, the side of a car smashed in, the back passenger seat, where Alex would sit. It fills my stomach and my heart with dread, I hope dearly there were no children in the back seat. I feel deeply “I would be so sad if my son died.” This in itself is a relief to the cold hearted “It would be a relief to be free.” a few years back that was my internal response to moments like this.
As we pass by the accident, we both get quiet. The car is filled with a clear sense of the frailty of our mortality, the real possibility of losing the people we love on short notice, and it brings it all back to reality really fast. I squeeze his hand, and we sit in silence for a while.
A few KM later, as we exit onto 22x, I realize that this is the moment of speaking my thoughts to die on that bridge.
That moment is happening today.
That opportunity to be listened to
is happening today.
I quickly check in with Dan. “Are you able to hold space for me while I share about this place that I have been suicidal?” He says yes, and I am so greatful.
As we drive forward my voice starts speaking, and it feels not quite like my voice, but the silent repressed voice of all the times I have driven here. I speak in the present tense like it’s happening now. Like I’m walking through my thoughts.
“This is where I start thinking about running off the road. Before the bridge, so the bus would land in the water, and we’d drown. Less chance of survival. But the angle is tricky. Some days I speed down that off-ramp, feeing into the speed build, I’d need to be going fast to break the median. I remember feeling the courage it would take to take the plunge. Somedays it was exciting to feel the excitement of getting close to that moment.”
I can feel my body tingling all over, there is a visceral sense of relief, of being seen, heard and felt. I understand why I was invited to do this. I know I will do it again in other moments of pain.
“I feel I am useless. I feel I am helpless to change it. The kids I am driving are so far gone off the autistic spectrum, they are incapable of living normal human lives, I would be doing their parents a favor to end their lives and the suffering of parenting a child like that. But Alex was on the bus most days, I didn’t do it because I thought out of all of us, he might have a future. I couldn’t take that away from him. I couldn’t take him away from his grandparents like that. ”
My body starts shaking, and deep tears flow to my eyes. I wonder at the pain I must have been in all those years ago. I see my pain through a new lens.
“Suicidal ideation is normal.” I think to myself. Time to REALLY let it go.
“I hated that job, I hated the kids I drove, I was filled with contempt every day. I hated waking up early every morning and slogging through the cold weather to pick them up. So they could sit like lumps on the bus, and sit like lumps at school. They had no future. The bus never really got warm, even with three pairs of pants, and a big jacket and scarf and hat, and big mitts and the heat cranked. I was always still cold.”
I remember the strictness of my playlist. Only happy tunes, happy words, happy themes to the songs I listened to. No sadness allowed. I clung to joy like it was a life preserver in the middle of a choppy sea. I forced myself into it all winter, being the most upbeat person on the team, I stuffed my pain. I remember the joy in my heart when spring started to come that year, and I finally felt the sun on my skin again. I remember thinking “I thought I would die, I thought the winter, and the cold would kill me. ”
We pass the bottom of the bridge and head up towards the next offramp. We are passed the point of no return. I whisper. “This is where I was always silently relieved that I had decided not to do it.”
He says nothing, but I can feel him there. Listening to my pain, heart open.
I get quiet again, and sit with my feelings, with the tingling sensation in my scalp, hands, and spine. I know I’ve just healed that time of my life, and that desire to die on a deep level today.
It’s time to return to the lovely conversation we were having before this moment started. I shake my whole body and make a silly noise. I take a deep breath in.
“I’m complete. Thank you.”
He squeezes my hand, and we sit together in silence for a while before returning to our conversation. I hold his hand, watching the city lights sweep past us, and into the night, as we enter the countryside. It’s beautiful to be here, alive and enjoying the drive.
**** If you or someone you know struggles with suicidal thoughts. I wrote this today to let you know that you’re normal. It took me a lot longer to ask for help than I’d like to admit, and I know that it’s hard. But asking to be heard is one of the crucial steps in recovery, along with learning to love yourself. I feel I did it backwards, I feel it might have been easier if I’d know how to ask for help but it might also be a chicken/egg type thing.
If you need support in learning to love yourself, check out the 60-second depression recovery/self love hack I created in the darkest of days to help myself find the courage to keep going. JoyGasm.me/LOVE
Today I write to honor the season’s changes. The changes in our lives. The death in preparation of rebirth that is the “fall”. This is a moment to celebrate, a new beginning.
I have been a traveler for many years. I have traveled far and wide, and it was in my travels that I met Grandma Kaarina, on Christmas day a few years back, we were both there soaking up the Mexican sunshine. I had run away from the Canadian winter that year and many before. In fact, it has been 6 years since I’ve done a full winter. 10 since I did it on a regular basis. When I was 21, I did my first full year of summer, traveling to Australia, and when I returned I knew that I would not return to that cold, I had no desire to return to winter.
Yet this year I am choosing to stay. To embrace winter. Why?
The death, that is at at the heart of winter, is something that is a source of renewal, a source of connection, a source of life. This is a necessary part of life. A part of the natural cycles of life. Each plant dies and is reborn, each generation has its time. Yet in my life I have denied this seasonal cycle for many years. I feared the darkness, the cold, the isolation in a basement suite that the winter threatened. I feared seasonal depression, suicidal thoughts unchecked, and the pain of being alone.
It’s not surprising, having been raised in a culture that embraces the youthful face, and rejects the elder. In a culture that isolates in little box houses, and keeps us churning in consumerism. It is not surprising when the media tells me that the new is to be cherished, and the old discarded. If I was not productive in those winter months, I was without value. To be discarded. Of course, I would run away. Of course I would avoid that death. What value would death have to a culture that praises baby faces and the newest fad week after week, after week, after week.
But I have not denied the symbolism of death totally, for I have had some wise teachers, and I have learned to create my own deaths and rebirths, separate from my journey with the seasons. Seeing each country, each city, each moon time as a moment of death and rebirth. A ceremony to celebrate becoming reborn.
So when I returned to Canada in the spring, I knew that I would die. Not physically die, but to metaphorically die. To die as an ego. To die to the part of myself that need to do it ALL ON MY OWN ALL THE TIME. To die as an individual, and be reborn as a collective. The energy these past few weeks has been so strong there were moments when I wondered how would I even know what to do, without the kind voices and faces of those who live and love around me. How I would have survived without a friendly face who I knew was on my side. The collective is strong.
Yet I have spent the better part of the last few years being the embodiment of aloneness. Loneliness. Alone. Not peaceful and alone like the monk on the mount, but fearful. Fearful and alone. Not fun. Isolated. Socially rejected, but by my own choice and habit. Always the outsider. Always the minority. Traveling, with me, myself, and my son.
He and I have known change more than stability in our lives, and in this time of massive change, maybe we are more poised than others to deal with the instability of these times.
Now having returned to Calgary, now it is time to anchor into a community and become WE.
Not me. We. We can save the me. Me is lost now without the We. We are a collective soul, a collective evolution, a collective tribe. Spanning far further and wider than most could imagine. Every country I touched, I found people, young and old, seeking the knowledge that they were not alone in having woken up. Seeking community, a return to the land, and a hope that there is a better way to live. This is not only my journey, or your journey, but the larger journey of the soul of our time.
“The next Buddha will be a Sangha,” said Thich Nhat Hanh. It is time to learn to open up to the tribe. To share the pain, the burdens, as well as the joys and the celebrations, and to rekindle the village. To relearn what the village is and can be for me. Who I can be in it, how I can be of service in it, and how we can share the bounty and the challenges of life together.
The challenge for me now is to love myself so much that I can finally accept into my life, heart, and soul, the friendship which was torn from me at 10 years old when I moved and created the TRAUMA of relocation. To honor the intergenerational nature of this trauma, as see also that I am the one that passed on deeply to my son by bringing him to 11 countries in 5 years. To forgive me in that, and to find peace within. To allow the winter to bring its death, and to let it wash over me, to rest deeply in the darkness. To huddle closer to those around me, also in search of the light. And when the time comes, in its own time, to find ourselves, the tribe, the village, the community, peacefully budding into blossom in the spring.
When we listen from the inside out..
When we listen to the heart that beats inside our chest,
when we listen explicitly to the inner wisdom,
the beauty, the knowing, the power of the divine that is inside of us.
We create. As I am doing now, as I have been doing.
As YOU have been doing.
We are 100% responsible for our own lives. We CAN, have and will, find 100% joy for all our creations.
We will find ourselves crying on the bathroom floor, and smile inside or outside, at the passion of it.
Our most beautiful life is created here in each moment.
It rankled at me, and made me frustrated, that he could not see the illusion of tomorrow that was pulling him.
I feel that lots of people, including myself have fallen under this illusion of “work now, for reward later” I am proud to say that I am now successfully living for now, while rewarding myself now, while also creating a beautiful future.
See I don’t believe you can get to a beautiful future by worrying. I know from my experience, it doesn’t work.
People have called me self centered, people have called me hedonistic. I don’t care. My life is more delicious to me than anything anyone else has ever presented to me, and I dig it. 🙂
I love for every single person I meet to feel as inspired by their own life. To realize that every moment they are alive is completely of their choosing and that it’s beautiful in how it serves.
Sometimes it’s “negative” and then serves as a reminder. A reminder to be present, to love, to be at peace with the moment.
And each and every moment is true, is beautiful, is whole and it’s own. And so you too feel true, beautiful and whole.
And what else have I wanted but that. What else do any of us desire but that. (and a new bikini! to show off the hot bod I’m finally proud of!! lol)
I Love you!
With inspiration and Bliss!!
Ever felt like you were stuffing your emotions?
Ever felt like you got lost in telling the “story” of how you’re feeling?
Ever wondered if there was a better way to process and move through what you’re feeling?
How do you even begin to learn how to feel safe to express your emotions?