Hearing Stories Of The Other Women Empowered Me To Look Deeper Within Myself

**** Here’s a written and visual testimonial from a woman who attended one of my Bodysex Retreats just over a year ago

“I spent my 20’s working to establish myself in my career and finding a husband and becoming a mother.  By my early 30’s I achieved all these goals. 10yrs under my belt in my careers, a wife and a mother of 3. I had nothing else to achieve. I was happy and content. I was good at my job and continued to learn and grow.  I was a good wife. I was a good mother. Into my mid to late 30’s I continued to improve myself in these 3 areas of my life. I put on some pounds (after I’d lost the baby weight) and was working to embrace my new squishy, motherly self. Intercourse with my husband became more enjoyable as my reproductive disease (endometriosis) that had caused painful intercourse went into remission because of my pregnancies. I started to look toward opportunities that would make me a more rounded person, a better me, a better wife and mother.  To challenge myself and push my boundaries I travelled to Saskatchewan to attend a BodySex workshop. My whole life changed.

I don’t even know that I can put into words how and why.  The scariest part of the weekend for me was the group massage portion. I didn’t want to touch my sisters and I really didn’t want them to touch me. I sobbed my way through the exercise and was showered with love from my sisters. I came to realize I need to touch people meaningfully. Hug longer, make eye contact more often. I realized that my career had gotten in the way of my personal life and I’d come to see touching people too clinically.
 
Hearing stories of the other women empowered me to look deeper within myself. My husband and I had always had a satisfactory sex life. In the 1.5yrs since I did the BodySex workshop it has continued to get better and better. I’ve let down some of my guards and become a more genuine version of myself. Each new layer I peel back leads us to new places and a new level of intimacy.
 
I look forward to attending more workshops in the future and encourage all women to attend at least just one.  I didn’t get what I thought I would out of the workshop. What I came away with was so much more than I ever could’ve predicted.  1.5yrs after my 3day work shop it still continues to change and shape my life.  I am forever grateful that I attended.”

Alicia

“How Bodysex Has Changed My Life.” Part 2 of 5 ****Body Acceptance****

****** The following quotes and photos I’m sharing with permission by women who have attended at least one of my Bodysex Retreats. Thanks to all of you for showing up allowing me to see you in your full light and beauty and for you to see mine. <3

“ Bodysex helped me to accept not only my physical body, but my bodily functions. I’m no longer ashamed of my bleeding and have learned to (when life permits me) allow my blood to flow out of me instead of plugging it to avoid seeing it. Watching it drip out is like wow this is fucking cool shit here! I bleed to create life.”

“This is me and I’m okay with me”

“My skin is all of a sudden saggy in many places it wasn’t before (hello 35!). rather than feeling bad/weird about that, i’m fascinated and in love with it.”

“Even more than body acceptance i’d say honouring of my body and all it is, does, has done for me.”

“Physical and emotional comfort in my own skin”

“The permission to adore and care for and nourish my body has stayed with me.”

“I hold my physical space in the world differently now. I historically have curled my shoulders down to conceal a large bosom and also protect my vulnerable core. Now, I lead with my solar plexus, my power, which makes my tits jut out, but i feel strong, not ashamed.”

“I’m so comfortable in my body that I hated and kept hidden for so long, that I have to remind myself that I can’t just be naked all the time. “

“Sex used to be lights out face hidden and now I’m lights on, legs spread “This is Me!”

“Masturbation has been a way for me to heal my body shame. By touching myself – and I mean my whole body – I have become more compassionate and less judgemental about the parts that I thought were ugly.”

Our Scars Are Illustrations Of The Stories Of Our Lives

A hospital chaplain says that the dying have a lot to teach us on how to live our lives better while we still can. One of the most frequent yet surprising regrets she’s found, especially from female patients, is the fact that they hated their bodies for so many years. Only now, when that body is truly failing, do they realize they should have celebrated it.” 

A couple of weeks ago, while recovering from surgery to remove a tumor on my thyroid, I spent the night and day on the South Saskatchewan river. I’d been told that I should avoid the sun to lessen the severity of my scar, but I knew that there was nothing that could be more healing for me than the sun on my body, sand in my hair and the river under me.

When I got back home I noticed how the browning of my skin made the stretch marks on my body show up even more. Like my body’s own kind of intricate artwork I couldn’t help but think how interesting and beautiful they were to look at. This was remarkable considering that only 4 years previously, at my first nude Bodysex workshop, the part of my body that I was most terrified of the other women seeing were my stretch marks.

Even though I’ve spent the past few years getting used to and learning to really enjoy being naked, I won’t pretend that I have no more body shame. I believe shame comes in layers, and each time I expose myself and peel back a layer, I get closer to the root of what my shame is really about. My scars and stretch marks may be illustrations of the stories of my life, but the actual story is in what the illustrations signify to me. That’s the part that’s the most difficult to come to terms with and what I think we are really afraid that others will see when looking at us.

On the outside my c-section scar tells the story of me having surgery to deliver my babies.
On the inside the scar tells a story of me failing at what I wanted most in the world.

On the outside my stretch marks tell a story of a girl growing and changing through puberty, pregnancy and the normal ups and downs of life.
On the inside the stretch marks tell a story of me feeling abnormal and ugly.

On the outside, the most recent scar on my neck tells a story of removing cancerous cells so that I can live.
On the inside the scar tells a story that I’ve done something wrong for this to happen to me.

Thankfully my first two stories are no longer relevant to me or my life. I am still sad that I didn’t give birth naturally but I haven’t failed at motherhood. And when I’m not noticing the beauty of my stretch marks, I usually forget I even have them.

I know that it’ll take time for me to come to terms with my new scar, and the layers of stories that lay beneath it. But when I was lying naked in the sand along the river, I didn’t feel like I’d done anything wrong to deserve it. I felt more competent, loved, supported, beautiful and alive than I’ve ever felt in my life. Whether my scar fades or stays the same, I hope that this is the story behind the illustration that I will celebrate.

Naked In Nature

One of my favourite things about doing Bodysex as a full weekend retreat is that it gives the women more time to settle in and enjoy a space where there are no roles or masks to wear. As the weekend goes on and our armour falls away, we loosen our bodies, open our arms, and celebrate the unique beauty, talents and gifts that each woman brings.

At my retreat this past March some of the women – along with a guitar, ukelele and drums – stayed up late writing the lyrics and music to a song they titled Naked in Nature. When they called me in to hear the final version I alternated between laughing and crying over each verse.  I don’t think there could be a better way to sum up what the Bodysex experience is all about than the words to this song, and if I could gift this experience to every single woman in the world I would.

The women who attend these retreats come from all backgrounds and work all kinds of professions. Our ages range from 20 – 68. We are all mothers, daughters or sisters. Some of us hate our bodies and some of us don’t. We all have different reasons for coming but regardless of what they are, we are all sexual and we are all brave.  Bodysex is a space to celebrate the freedom to be who we are,  our naked bodies, the depths of our pleasure and the mutual acceptance of each other – wherever we are on our own personal journey.

The lyrics to this song and the photos I’ve included give only a small glimpse of the incredible power of a group of women free to be “beauty-ful with nothing to hide.”

Naked In Nature

“I wanna be naked in nature
with the sun on my skin
I wanna be one with all things
around the place that I’m in

I wanna have sex on a secluded beach
with a blanket below me
a brown bag bottle within reach
and a northern light show (a plate of nachos)

I wanna be naked
I wanna be naked in nature
I wanna be naked
with the sun on my skin

I wanna be a body sex woman naked outside
masturbating on the grass with flies on my thighs

I wanna slip into the water
let it ripple my lips
turning and burning
with a swing in my hips

I wanna be naked
I wanna be naked in nature
I wanna be naked with the sun shining in

I wanna be one with my sisters
their hands on my skin
their love flowing over me
and soaking right in

join the circle
cum with me
leave your armour behind
we are all beauty-full
we’ve got nothing to hide

I wanna be naked
I wanna be naked in nature

I wanna be naked
with the sun on my skin

I wanna be naked 

I wanna be naked in nature

I wanna be naked with the sun shining in.”

**** lyrics by my beautiful Bodysex sisters. You know who you are.

****photos posted with permission.  Photo credit to Meghan Mickelson http://meghanmickelson.ca and Studio Stiina http://www.stiina.net

My next Bodysex retreat is June 2-4th. Book here: http://natashasalaash.com/summer-2017-bodysex-workshopretreat-date/

I Came Home And Stripped Naked And Looked In The Mirror And Said “You Are Beautiful, You Have Beautiful Curves.”

14925546_10153808477937003_6875086268705420528_n

I haven’t finished my write up from this past weekend’s Bodysex retreat but a couple of testimonials have already come in. Here is one of them. I’m so happy for her!!!

“That was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. All of those women made me feel so comfortable and every one of them are so real!!!! I need more sisters in my life to make me feel that way. I came home stripped naked and looked in the mirror and said “you are beautiful, you have beautiful curves.” Today and going forward I am gonna love myself and exercise and eat healthy and nourish my body and make love to myself……. And fucking orgasm. YES!!!!! Thank you for helping me find myself again.” 

 

Each Fabric And Each Woman Has A Different Story

full-quilt

This is a beautiful story – written by Lauren who has sat in the circle with me 3 times – about the quilt she made in exchange for her friend to attend my upcoming workshop. To me it epitomizes exactly what the Bodysex circle and sisterhood is all about………..

Over the last few years I’ve been on a journey, supported so often by Natasha and the other women I’ve shared the circle with in her workshops. I feel like I have come so far, feeling generally grounded and connected to myself. I wish more women had the chance to experience the loving environment Natasha creates. I have one friend in particular that I believe would love the experience and it would be so good for her. At various times I’ve even tried to figure out how I could afford to just pay for her to attend. So, this summer, when Natasha posted a request for someone to sew a couple quilts for her office in exchange for counselling or workshop services, my mind started swirling. I had so many ideas. I was so excited and had to get in touch with them both right away. I have been working on the first of two quilts that will hopefully help provide Natasha’s clients with some extra warmth and love.

This sewing project felt amazing, as I poured so much love, energy, and intention into each step. Throughout the work of planning, cutting and sewing I have reflected on my own experiences within the circle and continued to process. I remembered each of my circle sisters and the many other women who have influenced and supported me.

Before I had even talked to Natasha about the quilt, my mind went instantly to circle imagery. I knew I wanted to create a circle to represent the circle of women in Natasha’s workshops. I have so much fabric and scraps and old clothes to repurpose, it was like an adventure picking out the pieces that would go together. I found twelve different fabrics to represent the twelve women in a circle.

I look at the fabric. I see the two pieces I bought traveling alone in Thailand which have been used at different times for table cloths, a skirt, wall hangings and a few handmade ornaments. I see leftover pieces of fabric from baby carriers I made for a dear friend as well as two other women. I see a skirt my mom made me almost twenty years ago, and the outfit she made me for grade seven grad. I see a dress I made myself that I loved so much but never quite fit properly. I see a piece of fabric I think my sister bought so many years ago that I can’t even keep track of all the incarnations of decorative and functional uses it has seen. I see my kids curtains from their room when they were tiny. There’s also a piece of fabric that I loved but never got around to making the intended project, a piece I scavenged years ago from my mom’s fabric stash and an old favourite pair of pajamas. In each piece I see myself, through the actual memories and through the varied styles (sometimes subtle and winding, sometimes bold and vibrant, sometimes quiet and subdued). It’s also fun to look at the styles and imagine which one best suits and represents the women I got to know in the circle.

Each fabric and each woman has a different story, similarities and unique beauty; they (we) are now forever connected to each other. I feel like the quilt shows the light and love we each bring into the circle and the energy we shine outwards in our lives after we leave the circle. Once the fabric was pieced together, I saw an eye shape that I hadn’t planned. It’s funny, once I noticed it I couldn’t miss it. I think that connects me to the sense of feeling truly seen that was at first a little terrifying and then so soothing. This quilt and my experiences of the workshops have so much story woven into them.

The quilt itself is imperfect and flawed. My technique is improvised and made up. My stitches wobble and waver just as my body and confidence do. I cringe at the thought of a real quilter looking at it, just as I once cringed at the thought of revealing my imperfect body. It reflects so much of me and my journey with my circle sisters. Even as I sit writing this, with the quilt around my shoulders, I feel held and safe. I dearly hope that many other women can accept the love and energy of other women daring to be vulnerable together.

lauren-in-quilt