Danger Junkie of the Soul

My current practice: Sharing my process and feelings while I still feel vulnerable.

I avoid conflict. I take complete responsibility for processing my own emotions. I value my alone time enormously. I don’t like to ask for help. I need to know how I feel before I can share it with anyone else.

The total sum of these qualities means that, when any kind of trigger or bubble of fear/anxiety/strong emotion arises, I retreat. I go within myself to fully process the feeling and return to a place where I feel safe and grounded before I even bring my inner turmoil to anyone’s attention, which can be anywhere from 2 minutes to days after the fact.

I don’t think that I am unique in my behavior. Humans make foolish decisions when we’re afraid, and we don’t like to make ourselves more vulnerable while we already feel compromised. For most people, however, I imagine that this takes the form of stuffing down their feelings and never looking at them until they explode. For me, it means that I go quiet until I have thought through it all and can express myself clearly.

I exhibit this behavior pretty much exclusively in relationship. I didn’t realize that this was the case until the last guy I dated expressed some frustration that I wasn’t sharing my feelings in the moment. When I reflected on this with a medicine sister, she replied with astonishment that I am one of the best she knows at doing this in the context of healing work. Immediacy, perfect clarity and ease of expression come to me effortlessly when working with clients and anyone else in my life, but as soon as I have to practice this with a partner, fear wins.

I decided that I would like to cultivate that skill of immediacy and vulnerability in my relationship dynamics. It feels important to practice this valuable tool, even though it scares the crap out of me.

And so, I lovingly devote myself to sharing my crippling fears, my debilitating anxieties, my bursts of terror and my spirals of shame while I am feeling them at the time. I am currently exploring a new relationship with a wonderful man who has very compassionately witnessed my moments of fierce emotion, listened to my feelings and held me in a state of ease and grace as I fumble my way back to equanimity.

I am definitely improving at this skill. The presence and peace with which I am met in these tumultuous moments have allowed me to bring these dark, twisting anxieties to the light to discover that perhaps they are less unlovable than I imagined. I certainly process these feelings much more quickly than I used to, but I suppose that makes sense. Trying to hold your own safe container while simultaneously addressing whatever emotional imp needs soothing in the moment takes some significant energetic juggling.

I love doing the things that scare me. I experienced one moment in particular last week that literally rendered me speechless out of sheer emotion: terror, shame, grief, trauma and despair all coursing through my chest in equal measure. And even though it felt like the most gut-wrenching thing in the world, I collected my breath and forced myself to speak it aloud. I noticed with some detached fascination as I did so that words could hold so much power and potential for healing. Witnessing myself in my terror and pushing through what feels like some form of death, then discovering that I still draw breath on the other side of the experience, is an intoxicating super power. Maybe this is what danger junkies feel when they risk life and limb. Maybe I’m a danger junkie of the heart and soul.

Examining those beliefs that we all have—the ones that shriek “No one would love me if they knew!” fascinates me beyond measure.

What terrors and anxieties hold you fast in their grip? What fears do you clutch so tightly to your chest that they rot away at your heart?

Are you ready to speak them aloud so you can begin to loosen their hold on you?

From one Danger Junkie of the Soul to another, I’ve got you. Let’s do this.

Love and Sex Magic

Originally published on Eagle Song November 14, 2015.

In the last several months, I have had so many fantastic conversations with various amazing women about Love Magic and Sex Magic. Just the other night I was speaking with a new friend, a lovely empath who is self-employed as a sex worker, and halfway through the evening I realized I should have been recording our entire conversation because it would have made a fascinating podcast episode. And last week I spent an afternoon catching up with two medicine sisters, both powerful healers, one of whom has worked for years as a professional dominatrix in New York. Add to that my weekly women’s group meeting (where one of the members is a dancer who works at a popular strip club in town) and the recent conversations with medicine sisters not employed in the sex industry (Shamans, empaths and lightworkers all), and the result is an amazing picture of the true depth of healing power that comes from the Divine Feminine when she works through Love and Sex Magic. Holy cow.

It took me an embarrassingly long time to realize that my healing and energy work was as deeply integrated into my sexual and love relationships as it was into every other aspect of my life. After all, just because I wasn’t consciously “doing a healing session” on my partner doesn’t mean that healing work was not taking place, maybe on a deeper level than either of us realized. Purely by virtue of the fact that I am who I am–a Shaman who has committed her life to working in service to Self and Spirit and offering healing to the collective consciousness of All That Is–anyone who spends time with me, or comes into contact with my writing or any other manifestation of my work in the world, will receive the ripple effect of my healing work.

I think my first conscious inkling of the fact occurred sometime early this year, when my partner at the time mentioned something about my “Reiki hands.” We were cuddling in bed and I had my hand laying flat on his chest, right over his heart. “What do you mean, my ‘Reiki hands’?” I asked, pulling my hand away to look at it, as if that would explain his observation.

“There–you took your hand away, and the difference is just as if your hand were heavy and you removed a weight. Not in a bad way, but in that it has a definite presence,” he said.

“But I wasn’t intending to do Reiki on you,” I replied, obtusely.

“It doesn’t seem to matter,” he replied, smiling. “Your Reiki is so in you… it’s just there.”

Even after that conversation, it took me until just recently to cultivate a more tangible awareness of the concept. Prompted by some summer romances that all included some serious “I have no idea what the hell just happened” moments of moving massive amounts of energy, I began to consider things in the light of sex magic to see if the idea offered any more information.

As soon as I looked at my romantic and sexual history through the lens of treating these interactions as healing experiences, the pattern became clear. I mean stupid obvious. Here were all these men, most of whom would never think to seek out my help in a professional context, who needed deep healing. So instead of hiring me, they showed up in my life to receive healing work through the magic of love and sex.

It also helped me gain some serious perspective when my medicine sisters and I shared our stories of love and sex magic. I finally recognized the difference between a love relationship in which healing occurs as a function of the love already present, and a healing relationship in which love manifests as a means for the healing to take place. I realized that most of the confusing terminations to many of my relationships could be attributed to that very distinction: I have always operated from the place of being in a loving relationship where healing happened to take place, and I see now that many of these encounters actually existed in the realm of a healing relationship where love existed as a means to facilitate the healing. No wonder it didn’t work out.

But, through this lens, I’ve been able to fully appreciate the depth of some of the healing that has taken place, both for these men and for myself. I am absolutely amazed at the beautiful opportunities for growth, safety, awareness, transparency and healing of all kinds that have resulted from the love and sex magic that I have shared with them. The more I learn, the more firmly I believe that Love and Sex Magic are some of the most potent forms of alchemy available to humankind.

This new awareness of mine has also served to offer healing to my understanding of past relationships that either ended painfully or in confusion. The most recent example is my latest partner. He and I had our third round of breakup two weeks ago, after dating on and off for a year and a half. The more I move through the process of grieving and bringing understanding to this relationship, the more apparent it becomes that this was a healing relationship in which love manifested as a means for the healing to take place. This in no way diminishes or makes any less real the love we have for each other–this man helped me discover the depth of my heart and my enormous capacity for love–but I’m realizing more and more all the ways in which it was truly a healing interaction. We showed up for each other in some enormously powerful circumstances, and I will be lovingly grateful for the rest of my life, but healing was always the primary driver of the relationship. And that’s exactly how it needed to be.

I have also noticed (and conversations with medicine sisters have confirmed that they have seen this as well) that, when love and sex magic create opportunities for healing, people don’t always take them. I suppose this is the case when an opportunity for healing becomes available through any means, but the circumstance when someone says no to healing created through love and sex magic results in its own kind of tension, especially when misunderstanding about the nature of the relationship comes into play. Of course, humans on this planet have the power of free will and may choose whatever windows of opportunity they wish to pursue (or not), but not accepting the energies offered through love and sex magic holds its own brand of pain for all involved. (Unless the sexual healing takes place in a professional context, and I’ll return to this idea later.)

Again, I will use the example of my latest partner. Knowing what I do now about the primary energy of our relationship being that of healing, it’s easier for me to see all the ways in which we were in service to each other. At the time, however, I saw how much I wanted for him to fully step into his power so he could show up completely for his own life and for me. I spent the majority of the relationship waiting around for him to take this window of opportunity that I was creating for him with the magic of my love, but he never did.

And that is entirely his decision. Even though the relationship included some serious pain, I have zero regrets about spending the time and energy that I did with this person. After all, I still love him deeply, and I am working to transmute it into a love free from attachment and in complete acceptance of the healing nature of our relationship. And with this new layer of understanding, I feel as though I am more capable of receiving all the gifts he offered me while we were together, and of seeing all the ways in which love magic works below the surface.

I have also had experiences with other people who shy away from fully immersing themselves in the opportunities created by the healing of love and sex magic. Their interaction with me prompts an energetic shift in their awareness that scares them, or brings up something that they are not prepared to confront, or a decision that they are not ready to make. I briefly dated a man last year who had so much shame boil to the surface about his struggle with cocaine addiction that he could no longer see me. Another man earlier this year experienced some strong emotions after being intimate with me. The sensation overwhelmed him and he shut down in fear, despite my efforts to help him place his feelings in a healthy context.

This is where I return to the idea of professionally facilitated sexual healing. In speaking with both my dominatrix and sex worker friends, they said that creating the space for healing to occur through sex was the majority of their job (whether their clients realized it or not…mostly not). My dancer friend and I have also talked at length about the safe healing container that she facilitates when interacting with her customers. In each circumstance, these women use sex magic to create a window of opportunity for healing for their clients, who may then choose to accept it or not. Hearing about some of the profound personal breakthroughs and revelations that these men experience under the guidance of facilitated sex work is absolutely fantastic. It was fascinating to speak about the trauma work I’ve done with my clients and to hear from the dominatrix perspective about how BDSM can be such an amazing tool for healing deep shadow. When people accept the opportunities created for their healing, healing occurs. And love and sex magic work on some of the deepest wounds known to humanity.

Who exists in the world who does not need some type of healing? And how much of that pain and trauma could be released through the powerful alchemy of love and sex magic? I’m not necessarily advocating that people go out and hire sex workers, but if that’s your thing, go for it. Rather, I will absolutely advocate for bringing impeccable awareness to the healing potential of love and sexual relationships. Through some serious oversight on my part, the idea never occurred to me that, “I am a healer and healing is present in all aspects of my life, therefore healing is present in my love and sex life. The same awareness and capacity for healing which I hold to the rest of my interpersonal relationships must be present in my romantic and sexual relationships as well.”

I already feel the effects of this new awareness (particularly around the distinction between love relationships where healing happens, and healing relationships where love manifests) and I look forward to implementing these ideas in my experiences moving forward. I have yet to see a limit to the depths to which we humans can reflect each other. Love and sex magic are some of the most potent forms of alchemy, and when used with deep awareness and understanding, the opportunities for reflection and healing are endless.

Even Warriors of the Light Must Work in the Shadow Realm

Originally published on Eagle Song October 1, 2015.

Between the Autumnal Equinox and the Lunar Eclipse, last week offered plenty of opportunities for review of the last few months.

I had a really challenging summer, and I know I’m not alone in that. Starting right around the solstice, I found myself confronted with manifestations of the Shadow Realm in every facet of my life:

I faced the fear of losing my home when the lease ended on my house and my landlord became completely unreachable.

I broke my heart ending a relationship with someone I love dearly, then faced the emotional turmoil of beginning new connections while still moving through the pain and sorrow.

I grew increasingly alarmed as I watched my savings account dwindle to almost nothing as I barely worked for three months.

I butted up against antiquated, dogmatic ideas that directly challenge my work and the manifestation of my life purpose.

I suffered two rounds of a dry, grief-based cough that lingered for weeks and drained me of my energy.

I spent sleepless nights feeling as though I was being shredded into millions of tiny fragments as the energy ripped through me.

And yet, throughout it all, I knew that I was fine. I was able to surrender to the Shadow work completely, knowing that every challenge was temporary and within my capacity. I am so proud of myself that I was able to move with grace through one of the most intensely difficult periods of my life thus far. And after all that, I still have my house, I am building new, loving connections, my calendar and bank account are filling up, my physical body feels healthy and vital and my conviction in my work and my path is stronger than ever.

This is truly the path of a Warrior of the Light: to move through the Shadows with grace while practicing radical trust. I know that every step I take for myself ultimately puts me in a better position to facilitate the same journey for others.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am so happy and grateful to do this work, today and always.