This week I am so inspired by Beyonce’s performance from the MTV Video Music Awards. The part I especially loved is the quote from Chimamanda Nogzi Adiche.
The full quote is, “We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man.
Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don’t teach boys the same?
We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are.”
The following is a journal entry from when I started to wake up back into myself.
Januray 21st 2007 at 9:54am DFW airport
Well as scary as it is I have come to many conclusions to my month of self exploration and discovery at home with family. Although, it was a short break, I’ve made huge moves within myself. I have been meeting boys and fucking them for years, and yes that’s enjoyable to a point, but then I’m left feeling empty inside. I love sex, but I’m over just getting fucked. I deserve to be loved and worshipped, and not just someone’s play toy. If I do want to fuck someone he will respect me then it's okay. This whole thing may sound contradicting, but to me it makes perfect sense. A part of me loves to be made love to and a part of me loves to be fucked, why do I have to choose? It’s my life. I’ve got hurdles to jump over and conquer on this but I’m ready. Please universe give me strength when I’m tired or weak. Help me have faith in myself and stick up for what I want. Keep those away from me that are parasitic and just want to suck the life blood out of me. The new Liz will be unshakable, strong, see and love myself for what and who I truly am. I am a beautiful, intelligent, fun-loving, loyal, and strong woman!!!
It is okay to be sexual, intense, intelligent, emotional, and strong. It is okay to decided you want to change something then revert back to your old ways, just bring more awareness into your actions the next time. It is amazing to be yourself. It is beautiful to be vulnerable. It is beautiful to be all the parts of who you are. It's okay to be all of things as a man or woman. No filters needed. I send you all love and light.
I arrived at the guest house and immediately I realized that this is NOT the house that I had been seeing during my Skype sessions. I would later find out that was the retreat center down the road. The place was a dingy old house with home made bunk beds and old pillows and blankets everywhere with crack head neighbors living behind us house. There was nothing luxury about this place. What made it brighter were the ladies inside making some amazing raw food treats in our tiny kitchen.
I made my way into our “room” only to find two sets of bunk beds, one book shelf for storage, and one closet. For four ladies. For two months. I had never done any communal living like this so naturally I was petrified. I finally got to meet Bill a few hours after my arrival. I was excited to finally meet the man behind the screen. He seemed in that moment very genuine even though underneath I was worried about the housing situation because we were also doing the training there. That’s a lot of time in the same space with the same people. I kept on reminding myself of that, to take myself out of my confront zone and dive into other area of interest, my sexuality and how to help others with theirs.
My first full day in Hawaii I swam naked in the ocean with the dolphins, rode my bike along the breath-taking coast line, and ate fresh fruit off the tree. I felt I was in heaven and the miscarriage, relationship, and Austin all seemed so far away and I couldn’t have been happier. The first week of training went well and I loved the women I was staying with. By the beginning of week two everything started shifting again.
Suddenly in the training we went from dancing and eye gazing to getting naked. I love being naked. It does not bother me as long as I am choosing it. It’s a different when someone tells me I have to get naked. I felt this hesitation in me, but I did it anyway because I was there to learn and do what it takes to learn this information. I was unwavering in my dedication to learn so much that I blinded myself.
One morning Bill decided to use the milk specifically labeled, "for tea use only.” Having milk for tea is not important to most Americans, to New Zealanders it’s a serious business, and we are supposed to be living in community and respecting each others wishes. I personally had to strain myself to be quiet every night because everyone went to be early and I am a night owl. Bill just wanted to make the rules and not play by them. In doing so,he lost our trust one by one.
The Kiwi finds out the milk is gone and starts to ask people about who drank it. Bill just hides and pretends like he doesn’t hear anything. The cleaver Kiwi picks up on this and calls him out. He can’t admit he did it and its at that point that he looses the respect of the group. Then things start unwinding faster and faster. There is fighting in front of the group, a refusal of getting any money back even for unused sessions. Eventually, the Kiwi is shocked and appalled by Bill’s behavior that she leaves the program. One down, three to go.
Bill had also at this point inappropriately grabbed and wrestled to the ground. He thought that he was being playful, but that playtime was unwanted by the woman and unprofessional. We were all starting to noticed his boyish need for attention from the ladies and when he did not get it he became frustrated. When confronted he was unwilling to admit to any wrong doing. The remaining ladies of the guest house asked him to maintain distance from the house if he was not teaching. He did not comply. We stopped learning anything during class and Bill just kept asking everyone why we were not liking the program, but had no interest in hearing anyone’s wishes. He just wanted everyone to get over the lack of program there was and have a “fun, sexy time”. More evidence that he didn’t have a clue what he was doing. I stayed hoping and praying it would change.
Week three. Three out of four left in the house. It’s just me left. I thought, I can get him back on track. I can help steer us to a place where we can get to the information and let go of the idea that everyone was going to have a hot sexy time with the people at the training. The people at the training were lovely, but if I wanted a hot sexy time I would have stayed in Austin for the Summer. I was Hawaii to learn and grow.
Before I leave for Kona, Hawaii for the weekend I decide to speak with Bill. I tell him everything I’m thinking. That if you want to teach about sexuality you can’t do it in a run down house, unorganized, and focusing on trying to make people get naked because it fits what YOU want and not the group. I pleaded with him to ground the energy of the group down and back to teaching. I somehow wanted to get it to shift it back to the first week that we were there. As I jumped into the car to leave for Kona I was hopeful that things would be different on Monday, but my stomach was in knots.
When have you felt your inner guidance tug at you and yet you ignored it? When have you stayed too long in a situation that you know will only worsen? When was the last time you wanted something so bad that you didn’t care how bad it was just wanted to finish it? I felt all these things and more during this time. It’s easy to get caught up in the rational of things and lose track of what your heart is saying to you. See if you can start to practice trusting your gut in your everyday life. Stayed tuned for the third and final part!
It is amazing what can happen in just one short year. When I normally think of a year its no big deal time moves by quickly. It’s when I reach a bench mark of time that you realize just how much actually did happen in just a short year of life. To me, its not the easy times that compel me to grow, but rather the difficult, heart wrenching, confusion that is the most transformative if you let it. Because really when do we do anything life changing when we are comfortable.
Recently, I just got accepted and started going to school for sex coaching. It is not the kind of coaching where I am standing in the room yelling, “Go, go, go” but rather someone who has a bunch of different proactive solutions or tools to give to an individual or partners. Just because we have the parts does not mean we automatically know how to use them in all the amazingly incredible ways that are available to us. This is also not the first time that I have ventured to learn this kind of work and almost never ventured to do it again. This blog is about choice of circumstances, let it break you or build you
Last year I enrolled into a program on the Big Island of Hawaii to learn about conscious sexuality. I had been working with this man, let’s call him Bill, via Skype to help me heal some of the sadness that I was feeling from my current "relationship". I use relationship loosely because we were only sleeping together, and it ended up resulting in a plan b that didn’t work right away. About month later I woke up in the middle of the night covered in blood. After going to the doctor I found out that it was an early miscarriage. So there was some guilt, sadness, confusion, rejection, judgement, shame the list goes on and on. This person I was seeing would barley acknowledge me in public and then we had this whole other world behind closed doors. It was tearing me apart.
I also was in funk with work. I had been at lululemon for 4 years and needed a change. Everything I had originally loved about it slowly got taken away as it came more corporate. I wanted to focus on my healing career and do something to give back to people. All these things combined, I put everything on the line and set off for Hawaii for a two month training that would absolutely change my life, and did it ever.
I got on a plane to leave it all behind, to start something new for myself. I thought I would learn more tools to help empower others and bring joy, bliss, and connection into their lives. I felt that I was strong enough to do this intense training so I could bring it back for other ladies that wouldn’t want to do it. I also decided I would be totally sober and eating raw for the entirety of this trip. I had the highest hope for myself, the training, and my career.
When I arrived in Hilo, Hawaii I got picked up by a cheerful lady from New Zealand and I fell in love with her instantly. The drive to where I was staying in Puna, HI it was absolutely breath taking. Its so raw there. Black lava, massive lush trees, mountains, little to no development, its beautiful. I was full of excitement, wonder, nervousness, trust, and happiness. Then we arrived at the house we are doing the training in and everything dropped inside of me. This was a bad idea. I knew instantly.
When have you had an intense time in your life where you feel you just want to run away and start all over again? Do you feel like your problems won’t follow you if you move somewhere or travel to some other place? Believe me, you can run all you want but there is only one person you are truly running from: yourself. No matter how hard you try to ignore it what plagues you on the inside, it will always be there getting bigger and bigger until you meet yourself. Stay tuned for the rest of the story as the plot thickens.
Before I did yoga and energy work with myself I was lost. Completely and utterly lost. This is an old journal entry from college before I truly found myself, which continues to unfold more and more everyday. There are glimmers of the bright soul underneath and with a little work, the light within me has come to the surface. The thing to remember is change is possible if we allow it in as a possibility, to integrate and unfold into our lives.
10/9/04 at 1:03 am Madison, WI
I can’t find my glasses the room has this blurry feel to it and I’m wondering if that is how I feel in my life. I saw the movie “Alfie” tonight and it was pretty good. Jude Law is gorgeous. But, it made me wonder, can people really change that quickly? In just a few short months or years? What do you have to do to change into the person that you want to be. Since I have taken time off school to work as a waitress I feel that I have changed. I am really ready for learning and understanding what it is that I want. Including how I want to be treated and treat people, to be a better girlfriend, sister, daughter, cousin, friend. I’m sick of bullshitting people and talking shit behind peoples back, but there is sometimes nothing I can do to stop it.
I feel I play this role sometimes to just fly below the radar. Like at work, everyone thinks I’m the hot, blonde idiot, and in a way I play that role. Underneath it all, I know I’m not and that underneath it all is a beautiful, kind-hearted, fun girl that has interesting things to say, yet I don’t say them. I have this crazy party girl reputation and part of me loves it, but more of me hates it. It takes so much for me to go out and put on the mask of people pleasing, but I do it because what else I am supposed to do. I’m not saying that I want to stop it all and become some loser, I just want to be the girl that has her shit straightened out, whatever that looks like.
I drift in and out of life chasing down love and relationships to try to fill this void of emptiness I feel on the inside. I can’t think about this anymore… my head rushes with confusion and feeling stuck inside this role I’ve created for myself. I’m going to bed. G’night my sweet journal and true friend.
When I started to rewrite this journal entry a lot came up for me. I instantly remembered how I felt in that moment laying in my bed writing that entry. All of the confusion in my mind, the doubt in my self, the web of craziness I had created for myself in my life, and how to even get out of it. It made me feel like I had no outlet to be myself except in my journal. I also still very firmly believed at that point in time that I was dumb and had nothing to offer other than my looks, which is funny because I didn't feel beautiful either. I felt a tugging at every part of my being and the only thing I could do was run from myself and ignore what I felt within and choose to focus on the material world.
What role have you created for yourself that you feel you can’t escape? What are you gaining in that role as long as you continue to play it? Why do you feel it's unsafe to truly be yourself? Do you equate going out and partying as a way to define yourself as cool, if so, why is that true for you? These are some of the questions I ask myself as I read through my old journal entry. Perhaps, you can ask yourself some of these questions as you examine your own life and the roles that you play. Enjoy the process. We are not our past, nor our future, only the present.
Turns out that the quote by Sherrilyn Kenyon, “If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it was, and always will be yours. If it never returns, it was never yours to begin with.” has some truth in it. When I realized I had lost it the necklace in the middle of teaching my yoga class. I felt this paranoia come over me, but I had to remain calm since I was teaching. When I was done I went back to the place where I thought I had lost it, in the water spill off of Barton Springs where a ton of dogs play. I felt this was the impossible dream of finding the necklace but I had to try. While I was searching I spoke with the woman sitting on the rock where I had been hours earlier. I ask her, “Have you found a silver necklace by chance?” She replied, “No, I haven’t, but when these things happen pray and you’ll get it back.”
I thought to myself, “Yes, of course some stranger will find my necklace that has absolutely no contact info tied to me and I’ll get it back, I’m feeling a no on this one.” I knew I had to change my mind set, so I took her advice found my center and prayed.
I had already written my blog and made peace with loosing my necklace from my Mom when I got a text of surprise. Elis, had my necklace! She messaged me days after the shoot. I was absolutely elated! I had been speaking with my sister, Kate, and she said she had also lost an earring that she loved from Bali on the streets of San Franisco. She, like me, went back to find the earring without any luck. We talked about non-attachment and the process of letting go and finding your prayers and trusting in the universe. A part of me felt guilty I had found my necklace and she hadn’t found her earring. Like magic, today she called me as I sat down to write this to let me know that 2 days later in the busy streets of San Fran she had found her earring. Now THAT is cosmic!
We are creating our realties based on our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. When something intense comes up, ask yourself, how can I be more centered in this situation? What is the message or lesson for me? Take a few breaths and let it go because if it comes back, that’s when you know. Light and love.
The other day, I had the pleasure of booking a photo shoot with my very talented friend, Elis Avellan. (www.alicerabbit.com) The shoot was for gathering materials to use for my offerings, but also for looking into my soul. They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul, so being in front of another lens must make it a mirror. I use mirror not in the "mirror mirror on the wall" way, but a mirror for observing how we judge ourselves, essentially when we judge others. Standing in front of a camera is a very quick way to meet yourself and all the things you are terrified of revealing.
For me, what comes up is the fear of coming across too sexy or that it will be perceived as me trying too hard. When I look at that as a mirror for myself, I realize that it is how I judge myself. Finding moments when I am fearful of fully being who I am, sexy and all. Like in life, I had great cheerleaders today encouraging me to relax and be myself. After a few of the “pats on the back” I was finally able to let go and allow all of myself to come through. When going back through the photos, what I found was very interesting.
I’m not just sexy. I am beautiful, cute, joyful, innocent, playful, clumsy, adventurous, and free. We are never just one thing, even though we like to think that we are. The thoughts go something like this for me, “If I’m sexy, then I’m not innocent, if i’m not innocent then no man will ever love me, and I don’t want to be alone". The more I observe my actions, thoughts, and feelings I realize that I have my own demons from a culture that does not fully embrace empowered women. You can only be the Madonna or the whore. From being fully exposed at the shoot, I learned the lesson of non-attachment to the linear thinking that goes on in my head. Because in a world filled with infinite possibilities, X plus Y does not always equal Z.
In addition to this freedom from exposing my soul in front of a camera to show to other people, I lost my most favorite necklace. A necklace my mom gave me when I turned 21. I have worn it for nine years solid and today, it slipped off my neck without me knowing. I went back to the place where we did our shoot trying to find this necklace. I felt that it almost defined me because I wore it so much. Then it came to me...sometimes to learn the hardest, most expansive lesson, we have to lose the things that we cling and attach ourselves to.
Two things I let go of...fear of fully being myself and letting material items define what love is. My mom loves me whether I have that necklace or not. I love me whether I’m half naked in a public swimming hole or not. These things do not define us. They help shape us. This is how I fully exposed myself to the rawness in front of the lens and in the introspection of myself.