How do you love? And how are you loved?
As a woman, you are Love. And you need to be loved.
Whether you’re a mother or lover, daughter or priestess, love is what feeds and nourishes you. You need love like you need to inhale, and you need to give love like you need to exhale.
As a woman, you have a singular and unique capacity for love. For kindness, compassion, friendship, appreciation, and gratitude.
Your love as a woman has a very different vibration than that of a man.
Whether you love to camp so you can watch your favorite birds, take care of your little one, serve as a healing practitioner or in a soup kitchen, or simply smile at someone you pass on the street, you know that when you give you also receive. And when you receive, you also give.
Here are 8 ways to adorn yourself with love.
1. Be who you are
Get to know yourself. Authentically. It’s only when you know yourself that you can fully accept and love yourself, warts and all.
Finding real love is finding someone you loves you, not a persona you think you should present.
2. Love yourself first
Learning to love yourself is one of the most important ways to develop yourself. So often, women seek completion in another.
But first, become whole within yourself: be able to be alone, find nourishing contact with friends, and engage in work, art, and activities that fulfill and empower you.
Real love is loving yourself first till you are full and whole, so that you love from a place of fullness, rather than grasping.
3. Know the difference between taking care of, rescuing, enabling, and love
Scores of women come into therapy with quasi-love relationships. They think love is to take care of another at the cost of themselves, enable a spouse or a child, or give themselves away to another by sacrificing their growth and interests.
If you’re a giver, chances are your capacity for receptivity and giving is huge—take great care not to give it away at the cost of yourself! And if you’re a receiver, attune to the other to make sure you give in equal measure to what you receive.
Codependence, abandonment, and low self-worth often play out as “love”, and it’s easy to fault another when you don’t get what you long for. Know the difference. Then heal and develop yourself.
4. Heal your heart so you can fully give and receive
Being alive means inevitable heartbreak, grief, anger, jealousy, bitterness, and fear. But does it get in the way of your heart being fully open?
Perhaps you have walls around your heart? Spend time in nature and with animals to heal. Do what you love, whether it’s painting mandalas, swimming in the ocean, or planting dahlias. Be with people who laugh, know joy, and are heartfelt.
Perhaps you give too much away? So many women find it easier to give than to receive. Learn to take in a compliment, a close hug, a friend’s joy to see you, and your lover’s deep gaze. Inhale these lovings into your cells.
And work with a therapist or healer to clear any blocks you may be holding.
5. Open to love, whatever it looks like
It’s so essential that the energy of love flow through you, literally on a physical heart level. Love nourishes and lubricates you.
Whether you love your lhasa poodle, cooking a meal with friends, or quality time with your lover, bring love into your life. It doesn’t have to be an intimate relationship; activities, friends, pets, art, and nature can be wonderfully nourishing and satisfying.
6. If you want an intimate relationship…
You draw into your life what you believe. Your external reality is a mirror of how you feel about yourself, and what you believe.
What do you believe? Do you believe you’re lovable, worthy, that you can be seen, heard, and known on all your intimate levels? If not, do your inner work to clear, release, and transform your beliefs. Then watch what happens!
Call out and set your intention for the best relationship for yourself. The best relationships help you grow and transform. They are alchemical—they change you despite yourself, beyond all you know about yourself.
Allow yourself to be changed by love. But make sure it’s really love and not something else in its guise!
And sometimes, it’s more complex than working on yourself intensively. There are other factors at play here, grace and your soul purpose. You may be in a lifetime where your main work and lessons are not about intimate relationships, and your heart will love in other ways.
7. Practice love.
Practice love. Random acts of it. Here and there and everywhere. Litter your home and work and environment with them.
Practice deepening your love from conditional to unconditional, from judgment to empathy, from love to ecstasy and bliss.
This practice is so essential for yourself, for our species as Earth-dwellers, and beings in the Universe.
8. Find your inner Beloved
Sink deeply into yourself and what you love to know the Sacred, whether you call it God, Spirit, or the Divine Feminine.
Meditate and pray to connect with this inner wellspring, drink deeply, and you will find you are nourished from within by a never ending fount of the most beautiful Divine Love—deeply healing, holding, sweet, powerful, and magical.
If you are not one with the Beloved,
And if you are in union,
In what other ways do you love? I’d love to hear from you.
[ Click here for the Introduction, Body, Sexuality, Power, and Voice + Creativity posts of this 8-part blog ]
How do you wear your woman power?
Do you tuck it away like a secret? Do you swing it around like a baseball bat? Or do you carry it deep, strong, and full within you like a lioness regally surveys her landscape?
You’ve grown up with stories of power. Myths. Fairytales. Ones your mother told you. Ways she carried her own.
Your power is linked to these stories. And of course, to your mother.
Perhaps you’re a Sleeping Beauty, waiting for your charming prince to ride up, awaken, and lead you to your queendom. Or a Little Red Riding Hood, the ultimate good girl who gives her power away, doing just as her mother and the wolf tell her to. Or as the Indian Sita whose power was duty and self-sacrifice and obeying her husband’s word. Or even as Snow White’s evil stepmother, whose power and creativity are so twisted like gnarly roots that she can’t bear to see them blossom in another woman.
The beliefs and models you grew up with shape who you are and believe a woman can be.
To come into your own power, you need to revisit these myths. Debunk all that needs to be debunked. And create your own myth.
Your power, your mother
You may be like your mother, excelling at what she did, whether it’s making the best lasagna, running your tailoring business, or photographing lions in Africa. You feel her sure and present guidance as you take what she gave you to new heights.
Or you may have torn out the back door as fast as you could to be anyone but her. If she baked lasagna, you sprint to become a Wall Street powerhouse. If she ran the snappiest tailoring business in town, you settle into a camp chair to paint sunsets.
Is there more to your power than what you’ve received from her or run from?
So often, women assume that being powerful is to be like a man. There are thousands of unhappy women in the corporate world. If you’re one of them, that may not be where your power lies.
You need to find your own power, not follow what society says is powerful. Whatever speaks to you, whether it’s sculpting, teaching, or piloting, is where your power lives.
A whole woman’s power
A whole woman owns her own authority. It comes from within. It’s not handed down. Even if she’s an heiress, she must learn to be a fair queen.
A whole woman searches far and deep within her to grow into her full power. Her quest is like climbing a rock face with crags and crevices. Foot hold by hand hold, she must discover her strength, her resilience, her voice, her talents, her unique who-she-is-ness. She waters and fertilizes herself. She finds others to help her grow and bloom. When finally, she stands tall and straight flowering and fruiting in the clear wild air—free, powerful, and true.
Here are ten ways to adorn yourself with your power.
1. Get in touch with your instincts
Your instincts and drives hold the keys to your power. What do you love? What makes your body sing? Get to know and live from your “wild, instinctual self” as Clarissa Pinkola Estes says in Women Who Run With the Wolves. Follow your instincts’ energy to lead you out of unhealthy relationships and situations towards your joy and strength.
2. Commune with your power animals
Do shamanic work to meet your power animals. Shadow aspects of yourself, they will approach and guide you for they hold some energy or power you need to reclaim. In your everyday life, have pictures of them around you. Commune with them. Embody and dance with them, letting their energy inhabit your cells.
3. Become intimate with your shadow
Your shadow holds all the luscious juices that you may have needed to keep down, keep out, keep away from others’ and your own eyes. Often, the very aspects of power you despise run the show and keep you from fully owning your power.
Get into therapy. Have your dreams analyzed. Do your inner work.
4. Rewrite your myths
The stories you heard as a child and how your mother and grandmother live trap you in a box of what a woman is and can be.
What are your myths? Ferret out what’s true and what’s illusion, like the little boy who said out loud, “But …but the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!”
Then rewrite your own …who do you imagine a woman can be? You can be?
Become conscious of what you’re unconscious of, personally and collectively. When you individuate (a term coined by Carl Jung), you heal, transform, and become whole as you reclaim and integrate all the parts of yourself. And you become your own person, beyond your family’s and the collective’s identity.
6. Be completely true to yourself
Shed everything that isn’t authentic for you, everything you needed to layer on to keep you safe or loved or approved of. Layer by layer, strip away what’s false to go deeper towards your truth, your talents, your joy. Where you’re utterly yourself. Singing your truth. Strong in your walk. Holding your head high.
7. Wield your powers
Your powers are your gifts and talents. Your power is in them. Whether you’re a mother, corporate dynamo, animal communicator or an artist, your power lies in your powers. Nourish them and bloom.
8. Know your life purpose
Your power lives almost entirely in your life purpose. Once you realize what you are to do in this life, your soul power flows into and fuels you from within.
Until you get clear, your life can feel like you’re simply moving furniture around.
9. Be relational
Feminine power is relational. Your power is in relationships—with people, nature, and beings. You flourish when you relate with others. Power is not a commodity or being better than. Share, not hoard, your power and encourage others to have it. If you’re in a position of power, be a queen who rules with fairness and love.
This is not to say that you give at a cost to yourself.
10. Discern and flow
Different people and situations require different amounts of power. You don’t need a baseball bat when a feather will do, and vice versa. Being discerning and fluid with your power is moving through the world like an elephant, powerful yet gentle, subtle, and nuanced.
Now, go forth and be powerful!
In what other ways do you adorn yourself with power? I’d love to hear from you here.
[ Click here for the Introduction, Body, Sexuality, Love , and Voice + Creativity posts of this 8-part blog series. ]
[ Images: Dan Colcer, Alfred Weidinger; Ed Schipul ]
Your body is an instrument of love and desire. Of passion.
Your sexuality is what makes you most feminine, most woman.
Becoming a whole woman is to discover and own your temptress and seductress, your skilled lover, even your sacred prostitute. Your love goddess…are you Aphrodite or Venus, Rati or Kali?
Becoming a whole woman is discovering and playing with the full range of your sexuality.
Find your unique sexuality
Your way is your way. Different from any other woman’s.
You may be comfortable in your naked skin or prefer to cover up. You may thoroughly enjoy your body and sex. Or feel fear, pain, or numbness. You may relish flirting, foreplay, and sexual intimacy. Or you may have a mix of feelings, both enjoying and struggling with it.
Sexuality is incredible. Yet it can also be incredibly complex.
You inherit so many judgments and prejudices that your original sexual innocence is often lost. And abuse, assault, commercialization, and religion stifle free flowing sexuality, casting a net over its wild and free and open nature.
Women’s sexuality has been oppressed and often under assault for centuries. And still is. You may need to work to become a whole woman and return to original playful innocence.
Here are some ways to do that.
12 ways to adorn yourself sexually
Your presence is, perhaps, the most important aspect of your sexuality—it’s an aphrodisiac. How present are you to your sensations and emotions, to yourself and your partner? The more in the moment and present you are, the more you experience your sexuality’s heat, light, and love.
Attune to and enter the experience of desiring and being desired as much as you are able. Flow with the river as far as you can go. If you’re in a long-term relationship where the fire of newness ebbs, learn how to continue desiring your partner—essential to keeping intimacy fresh and alive.
3. Take responsibility for your sexuality and passion
Know your turn-ons and turn-offs, safety and edges, pleasure and boredom, whether self-pleasuring or with a partner. Be open to change and evolve as the tides of your life and partners shift.
4. Become intimate with your own unique eroticism
Know your needs and edges. What do you need to feel safe and move through the different stages of lovemaking. What pleasures and satisfies you? And what are your edges? Your erotic growth and capacity is often around your edges—work them. And if you can, with your partner.
5. Become a sex goddess
Develop your skill and subtlety just as you would any art or science. Inform yourself. Give yourself a travel guide to the world of sex, whether it’s about techniques, the Kama Sutra, erogenous zones, or the range of sexual possibilities that intrigue you. Explore sacred sexuality. Take a workshop.
6. Conscious breath
Your breath is a portal to your senses and sensuality. It carries you into your experience. Discover and experiment with it. When intense feelings and sensations arise, learn to use your breath to ride their waves as well as to surf you more into pleasure.
7. Cultivate pleasure
You have vast capacities for pleasure. For ecstasy and bliss. Your body, as an instrument, can play and be played in an endless variety of ways. Enjoy your practice!
8. Seek out professional help if you’ve been sexually abused
Get therapy. Find a sexual healer. It’s easy to minimize abuse since so much secrecy, shame, and guilt often accompany it. It’s critical that you not be alone with this but get help.
You’re not alone. 1 out of every 6 American women, and 1 in 4 internationally, have been victims of abuse. Almost half the women who enter therapy want to work on their sexuality.
9. Work through your emotional triggers and constrictions
Perhaps you’ve inherited guilt about pleasure. Or have emotional ties to a parent which you need to cut. Or inherited ideas from your family, culture, or religion about how a woman needs to behave or be sexually. What’s true for you beyond what you’ve been handed down? Get beyond ideas and ideology into the warm experience and wisdom of your body. Again, get help for these often bury deeply in your psyche.
10. Communicate and attune
If you’re with a partner(s), express what you appreciate, want more of, or how to be touched differently. Likewise, encourage and welcome feedback from your partner(s). How attuned and connected are you with your partner?
11. Expand your sexuality to your other chakras
Choose whether you want to include more levels to your sexuality, such as ground, power, heart, expression and play, intuition, and Spirit. How much can you open to feeling on all levels? The more aligned with other chakras, the richer and fuller is your experience.
12. Dance with the masculine and feminine
Explore these powerful polarities, and play with receiving and asserting, with giving and taking. You have both energies in you and can dance fluidly between and with them.
In what other ways do you adorn yourself sexually? I’d love to hear more about it here.
[ Click here for the Introduction, Body, Power, Love, and Voice + Creativity posts of this 8-part blog series. ]