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.”
Justine (Stiina) was a participant of my first Bodysex Retreat and, while I didn’t really know her before that, it became apparent very quickly that she was an artist who truly enjoyed creating art on people’s bodies. As the weekend went on -and the rest of us got over our issues with accepting love and gifts from another – it was a common sight to see Justine (often naked) creating art on different women. Being on the receiving end of this I can’t express what a gift it was. I’m usually the one doing the mothering and having another woman braid and touch my hair or gently adorn my skin was wonderful and healing for me.
Justine registered again for my second retreat and after that I knew that I couldn’t imagine her not being there. I decided to offer her a permanent seat in the circle as my gift to the other women. Much like Patti, Justine brings something special to the weekend that I don’t – and I want the other women to be able to experience it.
Bodysex is a time for reflection, healing and celebration. By making it into a weekend retreat it also becomes a time to be mothered. Thank you SO much Justine for making our space more sacred through your loving touch and beautiful art. I can’t wait to share the circle with you again this Friday.
I wish all women could really know and have the experience I just had in Saskatoon with Natasha and the eight other special women who are now my courageous and brave forever sisters. There is nothing like it. Nothing. I have attended many workshops of all kinds but they do not compare to the absolute rawness, vulnerableness and authenticity of Bodysex. Designed by women and only for women I am given total permission to express myself, and I mean all of me. Moreover I am held by others in full acceptance of my expression and I them. The reason for this, unlike all other learnings, is that there is a foundational inclusivity of our sexuality. Together, yet individually, as each other’s witnesses we look fully at our sex, we touch it, we talk about it, we sometimes cry and laugh about it and we experience the profound pleasure of it. For me this brings me ever more closer to my wholeness. My sexual self is often left out of many learning modalities as if it doesn’t exist. But not in the Bodysex circle, it is in fact the key that brings a new awareness and a new connection to ourselves like no other.
I know that visceral fear women have, because I have had it too, of breaking cultural taboos. After all, it has always been our burden to carry on tradition so that all does not fall apart. And yet, in my experience it is within the breaking apart, away and/or the breaking down that my true essence is unearthed and ultimately embraced for everything that it is. By that I mean when I brave the territory of going against the grain of what is culturally acceptable or the norm, I see and know that the world does not end, I don’t end, and if anything I build a new path or maybe find the path that was always there awaiting me. I can fearlessly walk this path acknowledging and declaring the real me. This process cannot at all happen without other women. They are my mirrors, my reflection back, my sisters in self discovery. I support them and they support me in my expression of pleasure, of love, of pain, of strength, of weakness, and of joy.
And who is the real me? I am many things but what showed up for me this time in the protected warmth of the circle of women is my wildly orgasmic self unafraid to take up space with my sounds of primal pleasure, with my big body, and with my heart that embraces the women around me. I am a woman who unabashedly shares the stories of my six decades of juicy fun sexcapades and who now, because of the strength I have found with my Bodysex sisters, makes conscious effort to let go of that which is not serving me and joyously make room for better things to come.
I feel inspired, grounded yet flying high, rejuvenated and looking forward to what Bodysex will bring to me because each time I participate I get taken to a deeper understanding of my purpose and a commitment to have my life be pleasurable as is my birthright.
A thousand thank-you’s, Natasha for giving us this experience with such grace, enthusiasm and sensitivity. I love you!
This past weekends Bodysex workshop was held at Ancient Spirals Retreat Centre, where images of spirals were represented throughout the building and surrounding land. Spirals come in many different shapes, colours, and textures and to me each curve represents the unknown, anticipation of what is to come, darkness around unseen bends, and light when something new is discovered. It has been said that a person needs to travel deep inside themselves in order to find the place where their sexuality lies. I believe that this weekend’s Bodysex retreat helped each of us women on our journey inwards, to further explore the curves and colours of our own spirals.
The first step of the spiral began when we took off our clothes, sat down in the circle and shared our stories. No words can convey how much I appreciate being able to share such intimate stories with women older and younger than me. We all hold different wisdom and yet as I listened to each women speak I recognized a part of my own self in all of them. It seems that we all just want to be seen for who we are and it is so comforting to know that I’m not alone in that. With this understanding I gained strength as we took the next step in our spirals towards the vulva show and tell.
For many women, the show and tell is the scariest part and as the facilitator I have the privilege and honour of guiding the women through it. Sitting with each one, close enough that my arm is over their leg, I see the same image as they do in the mirror between their feet. I can feel the fear and nervousness in their body as they open themselves – sometimes shaking and often apologetic about what I am seeing. I marvel at the unique beauty, colour and shape of each woman and together, looking in the mirror, we witness a visual awakening – much like a bud in bloom. Shame literally means “to cover”and just like ourselves, our vulva just wants to be seen……..They are all beautiful and one woman shared that it helped her heal a lifetime of genital shame. Watching her fall in love with her pussy was pure joy for me and, I hope for her that it will be a burst of light in her own journey inwards. As always we named our vulvas together and I couldn’t help but feel that the names signified in some way the unique journey that each woman is on.
Doing the Bodysex workshop as part of a full weekend retreat meant that we were able to continue travelling our spiral long after the workshop hours were completed. We took several winding steps along our individual paths while being physically nourished with delicious food. Conversation and laughter flowed as we shared stories of relationships, lust, pain, heartache, addictions, recovery, sexual abuse, and longing. Some spent time alone reading, journaling, walking, skiing, doing yoga or sitting in silence and I marvelled at the respect given for boundaries and space as each woman navigated the twists and turns of her own personal spiral.
Something I hadn’t anticipated was how the women would make the weekend their own by sharing talents or gifts that were unique to them. Tarot cards, building an alter, fire blessing, hair braiding, listening with presence, preparing food, and offerings of homemade creams and oils. It was like one big seamless slumber party with each gift helping and encouraging us to enter into new turns in our spirals. It reminded me how our sexuality encompasses and is enhanced by parts of ourself that have nothing at all – and yet and everything – to do with sex.
After the second day of the actual workshop was over and we began our last night together, one of the women suggested that we recreate the “erotic recess” by pleasuring ourselves in a circle around the fire. Hearing this and seeing the nods of agreement from other women, I knew that the weekend experience had undeniably impacted their lives in a permanent way. Here we were – about to break the deeply ingrained cultural taboos – by having our first masturbation circle outside of the workshop hours!
Taking yet another step deeper into our spirals, seven of us joined in and – dragging mattresses across the floor – formed a circle around the fire. Lulled by the sounds of one woman’s very loud hitachi vibrator, and shouts of “Dear God” and “Jesus Christ” we laughed until we cried, touched ourselves with new found love and orgasmed at the same time. It was a spontaneous and true celebration of pleasure and sisterhood.
This weekend I journeyed deeper into my inner spiral surrounded by a circle of sisters – some of whom I knew and some whom I had never met before. I had been nervous about being in shared accommodation all weekend thinking that I might need time alone to process. But being there I realized how nice it felt to have their presence with me as I travelled through the light and dark bends in my own spiral. I was grateful that they treated me like a peer and not like someone who has “arrived” at a destination. I’m on my own journey.
Full of gratitude and love I give thanks for the weekend, the trust in me, and for being allowed to witness the stunning beauty of:
Mary, Red wolf, Peach, Braided rose, Wishbone, Precious frisky, Turtle, Shelley, Pearl and Fox.
With love and gratitude,
My next Bodysex Retreat will be in May. Details to come or pm me.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Maryanne Williamson
A friend messaged me this morning saying that she was experiencing a “vulnerability hangover” about something that she had shared in a group. I mirrored back to her similar feelings about something that I had also shared and, while we talked, it became evident that what made us feel the most vulnerable was that we had shared our successes. We had shared a strength in something that we were overcoming, and by doing so, we felt exposed.
My story growing up was that I was dumb. I don’t think that anyone told me that story but my sisters were exceptionally smart and I was seen as the “people” person. All of my adult life I’ve felt inadequate around “educated” people. I would shrink in academic conversation – every once in awhile sticking in something that hopefully sounded a bit smart??? – while thinking that I was a complete idiot and they must be thinking the same thing. Going to school for counselling was terrifying for me and with each class I was sure that my instructor would see how dumb I really was. But it never happened. Academically I excelled and with this “success” I began to see myself in a new story. I am smart. I’m not stupid and I do have valuable things to add to conversations. With this realization also came fear. Staying small, quiet (yah I know everyone is laughing at me using that word) and hidden meant that I couldn’t disappoint others. Being exposed is a double edged sword.
As the conversation with my friend unfolded I was struck by the reality of what we were saying. Our stories, our inadequacies, our traumas, our broken parts are our ARMOUR. Some we have chosen for ourselves, some were told to us by others, and some have been brutally forced upon us. We may desperately want to let them go, but we may also be desperately afraid of letting them go. Without our armour we have no excuse to not shine.
As children we learned to protect ourselves from the uncomfortable feelings of rejection, dismissal, anger shame etc. We made ourselves small so that we couldn’t be noticed, we made ourselves helpful so that we couldn’t be punished. We hid, we faked, we went deep inside ourselves – essentially doing whatever it took to feel safe. This protective mechanism kept us alive when faced with real or perceived dangers, and safe when we didn’t always feel that the big people in our lives could protect us. But as we grew, these mechanisms held us back. They limit our chance at being hurt but they also limit our chance at greatness. In that way they no longer serve us.
I hear women so often saying that they are scared to sit in the Bodysex circle because they are afraid to face their own reality. Afraid that once they take off their armour – their clothing and their stories – they won’t be able to be small anymore. It is a valid fear and one that comes at a real cost. Not everyone will be okay with your greatness and many will feel insecure around you. But this is only because they’re afraid of their own greatness and of being reminded that they are holding back from it as well. Realizing and actualizing our greatness doesn’t mean that we no longer have the less great parts. I’m perfect testament to that. I fuck up daily and maybe sometimes I fuck up to have a reason to hide – reason to not do this work, and to run. Or maybe I fuck up just cause I’m human. Who knows.
But what I do know is that sitting naked in the Bodysex circle is a profound act of bravery and in doing so you will be changed forever. In that circle you aren’t the victim, you are just you. By simply being ourselves – “liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” See you in the circle.