Surf Medicine

The plan has been hatched.  We surf in the morning.

The moment it’s decided, my stomach turns with a mix of excitement and trepidation.

My sleep is not completely sound. I dream of overwhelming orange tides and nosedives into fluorescent pink water.

Upon waking, the anxiety hits again- only stronger now. Closer.

And I wonder: what mood is the Pacific in today? Will she be kind? Or will she insist on tossing me around like a rag doll as a reminder of her immense power? Will she flow with me or beat me into submission?

Then I realize the premise of the question is flawed. Yes, she has a power and a force all her own. But the true wild card is me. The question I should be asking is: What kind of headspace am I brining to the water today? Am I willing to be patient with my learning process, or am I going to push, allowing myself to become aggravated, aggressive and angry…?

Surfing is a head trip.

As an obsessive observer of my own psyche, I’ve come to understand that the things that I’m passionate about, like surfing, can serve as another convenient opportunity to beat myself up. And the headspace that I’m in on any given day is very obviously reflected back to me by the water (pun intended).

We arrive at the beach, and I watch the ocean for a bit, reminding myself that she is Queen and will be as gentle or as brutal as she wishes to be that day. It’s my job to flow with her capricious nature. The more I fight her, the more she’ll turn around and kick my arrogant ass.

A large wave breaks in the distance and my stomach churns again, sending me for a secondary trip to the bathroom. This happens nearly every time I see the water, yet the physical reaction never ceases to surprise me. The last time I felt nerves like this was when I’d would get stage fright before a performance.

My surf sister and I carefully climb through the rocks until it’s safe to submerge our boards. I offer my surfboard a prayer/invocation upon entering the water: “Welcome to the water, baby. May we enjoy some fun rides today, may I learn to maneuver you better with every turn.  But most importantly, I ask that you please refrain from causing bodily injury to myself or anyone else”.  Then we paddle out.

On the bigger days, I do my best to paddle between sets – and since I wear earplugs for my messed up ear drums (from too much water exposure), I can hear my own panting and must remind myself to allow the breath to quicken without allowing the internal panic that sometimes accompanies it to set in.

Once we arrive safely in the lineup, I say a quick ‘thank you’ to my body for permitting me an opportunity to push myself in a sport that requires a unique combination of strength, coordination and agility; a sport that is clearly best learned in adolescence…. Which I tried to do, back then when I was in my physical prime, and failed miserably…in hindsight, it’s clear that while my body was ready, my mind was not.

I allow myself a moment of rest, but internally I’ve already started sizing up the wave situation and the ability levels of the surfers around me.  This is the time when it’s most important to cultivate patience, and yet, I have a tendency to get antsy… My surf sister and I refer to this feeling as needing to ‘feed the beast’.  The beast has been hungry for the exhilaration of that long, uninterrupted ride for at least a week now. So the beast acts from impulse, forcing me to go for any wave that comes along. The problem is…

The first wave sets the precedent.  If I can have a decent first ride, then I know my ego will give me a (small) break for the remainder of the session.  But if the first wave goes awry, well.. . watch out because my self-destructive tendencies are sure to follow.  If I mess up that first try, I become nervous, freaked out and more prone to giving up on myself.  At that point, I’m a lost cause and my entire day is ruined. And if I don’t have a chance to redeem myself, this kind of day can ruin my entire week…or month. It reflects back the places inside me that feel unworthy, scared and lacking in self-confidence and self-compassion.

Other days, instead of giving up on myself, I can become instantaneously competitive. Lately this has translated into me dropping in on waves that are technically not mine; causing me to act dangerously as I get into someone else’s way. Then, instead of apologizing, I become belligerent and entitled. The reasoning behind this isn’t fully clear to me yet, but I think it has something to do with the fact that it’s taken me YEARS to become even remotely proficient at this sport, so somehow in my mind that entitles me to take any wave I’m capable of catching in order to make up for all the years that I couldn’t— or that other people who were better than me prevented me from taking that wave. This logic doesn’t totally hold up, but as I said, I’m not always acting from the most rational of mindsets…

Anyway…There I am, floating on my sweet new board in the middle of the warm Pacific Ocean on a gorgeous summer morning. The crystalline water glistens under the sparkling sun. I spy a school of dolphins frolicking in the distance. This is my happy place. My ideal scene. My own personal heaven…. And yet…I can’t stop obsessing about how I royally f*cked up the last wave I caught. And how the aggressive dude nearby keeps snaking all the good waves.  And then I play the comparison game in my head with my surf sister — she seems to be out here having an epic day. I should be in utter bliss and gratitude, but all I can think is ‘where’s mine?’

And just like that, I’ve tapped deep into my shame and unworthiness issues.  We all have them. But mine always seem to surface around the things that I enjoy the most. It’s always been this way— with acting, writing, dancing…all the things that I enjoy, and have been pretty proficient at, but feel like I’ve never quite managed to excel at…are the things that I turn against myself to prove my own unworthiness.

I try to practice some good old-fashioned ‘thought stopping’. I take a deep breath, and attempt to change my attitude.  But it’s too late. The tone has been set and I can’t seem to shake off my self-flagellating funk. I think about how long I’ve been trying to learn this sport, how much farther along I should be, how everyone else makes it seem effortless, and I keep struggling. And it snowballs into the “I’ll never be any good at this. I’ll never be any good at anything. Ever. Again.” spiral.

But here comes the reversal. Ready? I’m on to myself now.  So, seeing the pattern has allowed me to alter it.  And though I still can’t always do it instantaneously, I have managed to learn to breathe into my frustration and cultivate an inkling of patience with every flubbed wave.

And lately, there have been those handful of days…. Those beautiful, rare, delicious days, when I’ve managed to turn things around, even after a tragic first wave.  And that’s when I can return to my bliss and remember how nothing in the world lights me up like the feeling of harnessing the power of the ocean, if only for just a few seconds. It feels like pure magic. Like, it shouldn’t be possible. But it is. And here I am, doing it.  This is the stuff of dreams…and with every successful wave, I become that much more motivated to get out of my own damn way.

Hitting the Sweet Spot

Ready or not, here comes a huge dose of TMI!

I’ve mentioned it before, but for the purposes of the following story, I feel the need to reiterate that I have a tendency to jump on everynew age wuwu bandwagon that comes along: plant medicine ceremonies, remote energy healings, recently someone told me about Goat Yoga- are you kidding? I’m in! ….what can I say – I’m a ‘seeker’?!

And in the spirit of ‘seeking’,I, like many of us living through the impact of this #metoo moment, have been revisiting my personal history and taking inventory of the ways in which I’ve either empowered or disempowered myself sexually over the years.  As I unpack the following experience, I realize it falls somewhere in between. I was shooting for empowerment…but what I walked away with was something more akin to compassion. Here goes:

A few years back, I asked a friend where she’d met her husband. When she replied that it was at an OM retreat, I was over the moon! Because…by Om retreat, I thought she meant a situation where you sit around and chant ‘om’ all day, maybe practice a few sun salutations… AND meet a man to boot? This is definitely my jam… As it turns out, OM is short for Orgasmic Meditation. Very. Very. Different.

What is Orgasmic Meditation? Glad you asked. If you haven’t already googled it, let me give a quick roundup:

It’s meant to be a practice of connection – usually between a man and a woman, though it can also be between two women. (since it involves stroking of the clitoris, a woman is always the recipient).

In the practice there is a ’stroker’ and a ‘strokee’ (my terms, not theirs). For the purposes of this explanation, let’s assume that the stroker is the man and the strokee is the woman.

The stroker is responsible for providing a ‘nest’. This consists of: three pillows- one for the woman’s back and two for her legs- a glove, a timer and lube. The strokee undresses from the waist down and lays in the nest. The stroker will apply grounding pressure to her legs, then he’ll provide a ‘non-value’ noticing statement about her vagina. Something like…’Your labia looks very pink and plump today’. Yes, seriously.

He then puts on the glove, applies some lube to his fingers, sets the timer and proceeds to stroke the upper left hand quadrant of the woman’s clitoris for exactly 13 minutes. Exactly. The strokee is encouraged to give adjustments: less pressure, more to the left, etc, without feeling apologetic, and the stroker is encouraged to respond with a simple ‘thank you’. It’s all very regimented and scientific, considering there’s an exposed vag involved…anyway…

…for obvious reasons, I was skeptical. Much more skeptical than I was of stranger things like burning neurotoxins derived from frog venom into my skin for ‘cleansing’ purposes. Go figure. So, like a good little seeker, I did my research.

I watched a TED talk with the woman who founded the movement – Nicole Daedone. She was a researcher and had put in her 10k+ hours on this subject, and she made some incredibly salient points about how women’s pleasure should be prioritized more, how the OM practice is rooted in our fundamental capacity for connection, and most importantly, how orgasm is vital for women’s health. Who’s gonna argue with that?

As an aside, let me also cop to the fact that, at this point in my life, I was riding on another wuwu bandwagon. I was getting my masters degree in Spiritual Psychology, and many of my peers were connecting to their Divine Feminine. Talk of communing with one’s ‘Inner Goddess’ was all the rage that year, but, as I dropped in to chat with my own Inner Goddess, I’d sadly discovered that she’d left the building long ago— likely sometime during my angry feminist phase in college– and I hadn’t caught a whiff of her since. It was definitely time for the two of us to get reacquainted.

So, I signed up for a Saturday OM intro session. I showed up super nervous, but also determined. I made an internal promise to commit 100% to whatever the day entailed. When I got there, I looked around and noticed a few good-looking, age appropriate men. And everyone present had a bit of that new-agey, open, slightly hip but not -too-out-there vibe. So I thought, ok, maybe this isn’t as weird as it seems.

I tried to maneuver my way into a seat next to one of these viable gentlemen, but because I’m always late, there was only one seat available – next to a nice man named Joe.

Oh, Joe…sweet, lovely Joe… Joe was a 68 year-old, overweight, balding, retired Los Angeles County Sherriff.

I think you can imagine where this story is headed…

Anyway, the two workshop leaders took the stage. They were a sexy, charming couple who’d met doing this practice. Another positive endorsement for Om-ing.

The leaders did a great job of explaining the practice, then proceeded with a demonstration. This is where it started to go off the rails for me: In something reminiscent of an ancient virgin sacrifice – a woman in a white robe came up onstage and laid on a table, exposing her vagina out towards the audience. The workshop leader began stroking her, and off she went. And off and, off and OFF! I’m no expert in female orgasms, but I firmly believe this woman really got off. Watching it, I felt equal parts inspired, intimidated and embarrassed.

Finally, it was our turn to try the practice. The workshop leaders had made big deal of empowering each woman in the room to feel comfortable saying ‘no’ to any stroker who asked. But when Joe, the 68-year-old retired LA County Sheriff asked me if I wanted to ‘om’, for some god forsaken reason I said ‘yes’.

Truth be told, I felt sorry for him. He’d been so kind and had been paying attention to me in a very careful and respectful way, and I could tell that he’d been working up the nerve to ask me to OM all day. I could pretend that I said ‘yes’ out of compassion, but really, I think it was out of guilt. I knew that if I didn’t say ‘yes’ to Joe, no one else would. And I simply couldn’t stomach the idea of poor Joe, having dropped the cash to be there, driving home utterly defeated.

So that’s when I began justifying the experience to myself: I thought, the true purpose of this practice is connection. And I really believed that to be the case for Joe. I mean…he was retired. Living in Pomona. Alone. Who was I to deny him this experience…?

So, alongside some other women in the room who’d stayed to practice, I went over to the nest that Joe had carefully and lovingly laid out for me, and I dropped trout. Vag out. Fully committed. And then…

I caught a glimpse of poor Joe’s face. He looked terrified! When it came time for him to do the ‘non value noticing’ of my vagina, all he could muster was ‘it’s really nice’.

Then he began stroking. I closed my eyes, trying to connect with my Inner Goddess… when… I felt something wet, dripping onto my leg. I opened my eyes to the horrible realization that poor Joe was sweating so profusely, that he was dripping sweat onto my leg. And onto the pillows. And onto my vagina. There was sweat dripping EVERYWHERE.

That was my internal breaking point. I was finally forced to ask myself: What in the actual fuck was I thinking? How did I get here? Why didn’t I just say ‘no’? And dear God, has it been 13 minutes yet?

Then I started retracing my steps. What had I actually expected from this experience? Pleasure? Transcendence? Empowerment? Because, in theory, I’m a total proponent of everything this practice stands for. But in practice, all I’d really been doing all day was emotionally taking care of Joe.

Then I looked around the room and realized that, in that moment, the whole room/practice/situation felt like a weird intersection of spiritual, clinical and culty-weird to me.

Also- and this might not come as a big shocker- but not only was it the longest 13 minutes of my life, but unlike the virgin sacrifice from earlier, I did not get off.

But thenSomething shifted.

Because, once the 13 minutes finally ended, I’d come to a HUGE realization: The experience had been empowering. For JOE. When I looked up at him, there was an unbridled look of triumph and accomplishment on his face. The man was literally glowing. The kind of glow that can only come from a new lease on life.

Do I think it was my magical vagina that caused this glow? Possibly. What woman wouldn’t want to think so? But the truth is that Joe had conquered a fear. And I had somehow contributed to his triumph. And it kinda felt good.

So, looking back on this experience, I have mixed feelings. Should I have been more empowered and said ‘no’? Probably. Should I have prioritized my own comfort and pleasure over Joe’s? Definitely.

…And yet… given the opportunity to do it all over again, would I have done anything differently? The honest answer is: probably not. Because, truth be told, it did feel good to do something for Joe that day.

As we were leaving, Joe’s confidence had shot through the roof. He handed me his card and said, ‘If you’re ever writing a script and need some consultation on law enforcement, call me”. And he left a new man. And though I could’ve felt weird, violated or disempowered, I actually felt proud… of Joe.

The corollary to this story is this: When the OM workshop leaders offered us a one-time-only ‘special’ on future sessions, I bit. And though I put it off for another 2 years, I went back a second time. And I did the whole thing again, seeking the same pleasure/empowerment/transcendence, I suppose…(but that’s another story for another blog/day).

Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that this practice was not for me. But I don’t regret the experience. And if there is one take-away here, it would be: when I can show compassion for myself AND for another person simultaneously, that is— excuse the pun—the sweet spot!

photo by: Max Rovensky –

Is it possible to be both spiritual and political?

Here is a question I’ve been wrestling with lately:  How do those of us who are trying to evolve from a spiritual perspective engage effectively in today’s darkly political world?

I was taught that you don’t fight hate with hate. As one mentor drilled into me ‘the energy of againstness doesn’t bring us closer to a world filled with love’. And yet, I (like many liberals) pretty much slept through the Obama years because someone I trusted had the wheel — I can’t afford to stay asleep anymore — not in today’s world. So…where is the line between effective engagement and spirituality? How can we be of service without getting swept up in the tsunami of ‘againstness’ or ‘hate’?

I think a small part of the answer lies in embracing our innate power. What do I mean by this? Well…

As I’ve admitted before, I’ve always been both a spiritual cynic and a full on wu wu convert.  So when I first heard myself referred to as a  ‘light worker’ I did a spit-take with my Chai.  Then laughed my ass off.

But here’s the thing— without getting on a rant about the abysmal state of the world— let’s all agree that these are chaotic, unsettling and terrifying times.  And if there is such a thing as a ‘light worker’, well then folks, I hate to break it to you, but we are them. To quote a friend’s song: We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  And we are needed now more than ever.

If I were reading this, my reaction at this point would be exhaustion. ‘What? You mean we need to do even more work? Shouldn’t we all get a momentary ‘time out’? Take a collective nap?  You know what, stop the world, I want to get off!’

If this was your reaction, then you are clearly misreading this post as some kind of call to action.  Let me assure you that I’m way too lazy and self-involved to call anyone to anything. I would never encourage you to commit to anything that I’m struggling to commit to myself. (The only reason I made it to the women’s marches and  gun march was because I had fired-up friends who pushed me and made arrangements).  But I am saying that spiritual seekers can’t afford to stay asleep or willfully ignorant to the epic social wars happening all around us.

Recently, a spiritual teacher (whom I admire greatly) told me about how she and her husband spent the first few years of their relationship going further and further into the ether.  They followed a strict vegetarian diet, renounced the media and wore only organic cotton; mostly in the color white.  And she was happy in that bubble.  But she freely admits that it was, indeed, a bubble.

Ultimately we both agreed that our generation of ‘light workers’ (see what I did there?) are not meant to sit atop an isolated mountain, contemplating consciousness, sipping air and staying safely above the fray.  Our job is to bring as many palatable learnings as possible back down to earth and into a damaged society which obviously needs our wisdom.  Otherwise, we’re all just on some self-involved, psychedelic mastubatory trip…

‘Ok.  Fine. I’m a ‘light worker’. What now? Where to start?’ Oh, the overwhelming nature of that question!

I, like many, am simply not sure what kinds of actions can really affect change. But I’m thinking that maybe, just maybe, if we all take small, incremental actions whenever we are called to do so, the impact will be great over time…?

The actions we take can be as small as giving up a seat to an elderly person, or volunteering with a friend at a shelter once in a while. Donating five bucks to Planned Parenthood, or some other cause we believe in. Or maybe it’s simply not engaging with a difficult family member who’s baiting us over social media?  Taking the high road, but doing it from an informed, passionate yet loving place?

At the end of the day,  it just seems that we need to commit to showing up every time we’re called and capable.  And, at the very minimum, we VOTE!!  But more so,  kind of like a superhero in training, we embrace our ‘light-bearer’ status so that we are ready to bring the light into every room, every situation and every day.

What do you guys think?

WARNING: may cause feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Sometimes you’ve gotta go it alone.

WARNING: embarking on the spiritual path will cause feelings of loneliness and isolation.

One thing no one warns us about as we embark on the path of self-discovery is this: The journey often involves leaving people behind. People we are close to. People that we love.

Your family doesn’t understand why you’re not eating the processed foods that you once devoured, and why mindlessly watching sports or being on your phone after a holiday meal no longer feels like ‘quality time’. Meanwhile, your friends don’t understand why the ‘new you’ prefers kale and kombucha to a beer and burger.  They wonder why you swear off the energy-suck of technology for days on end, and why everything that comes out of your mouth suddenly sounds so embarrassingly raw, earnest or preachy. The things that used to be fun (mosh pits, clubbing, Burning Man, getting mind-numbingly wasted) give way to yoga, sitting in silence and radical sobriety. Granted, some of this simply comes with age and maturity, but the ‘seekers’ tend to get there faster (and, in my case, with much more self-righteousness).

As we get closer to discovering our ‘truth’ and our connection to the divine, we initially become untethered from the physical world and feel like we’re floating in the ether. Alone. Eventually, we come to understand that we are never alone, but that esoteric knowledge doesn’t always buffer the loneliness we feel in the physical world reality, nor does it make up for the fact that keeping company with our once favorite companions now feels empty and unfullfiling.

Personally, I’ve found the problem with any kind of accelerated growth is that everything feels either deeply meaningful or supremely meaningless. When on this trip, we start to see things from a totally different elevation, thus small talk and menial chit chat seems more banal than ever.  We also see clearly the bombastic actions of small yet powerful men (yes Trump, I’m talking about you) as nothing more than the egoistic play of greedy, overgrown children.  Suffering, put into a spiritual context, takes on new meaning as well… And anyone who doesn’t understand our new vantage point seems to be living on a different planet. Or maybe we’re the ones who have shifted into an alternate dimension, since  everyone is now accusing us of being the ones who are ‘out there’.

We also get a bit of the preacher complex and feel it’s our duty to spread the gospel. We begin extolling the virtues of meditation (or, in my case, plant medicine) to anyone who’ll listen. The problem is, everyone we truly care about is oblivious and completely indifferent to the seismic shift happening within us. Eventually, we give up and spend most of our time with the like-minded folks who we know are onboard with our way of thinking.  But preaching to the choir soon creates its own sense of frustration and isolation, so we simply retreat into ourselves; which, according to all the spiritual texts, is where we should’ve been looking for connection all along.

Once we learn to connect to ourselves, the process deepens us and teaches us to see everyone’s ‘essence’ instead of judging them for not being ‘on our level’. (Yes, I know how douchey and hippier-than-thou this sounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true) This is when coming back into physical world reality is much less painful, though we’re still unable to reconnect with the people that we’ve since outgrown.

When missing the closeness I once shared with now distant friends, I remember this adage:

‘People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime’

And here is the good news: the people who were meant to walk beside us throughout this lifetime will catch up. Eventually. And in their own good time. (hint: you don’t need to push them, though a gentle nudge once in a while is ok).  Heck, some people will even surpass us, depending on their own growth trajectory and/or karma. And those friends that came into our lives for a reason or a season, well, they can still be honored, loved and appreciated… from afar.

And the second bit of good news is this: we will come back down to Earth. Or, rather, we will learn how to multi-task and keep one foot planted on terra firma as we continue to commune with the divine in the ethereal realms.  Living in the physical world will become more of a ‘moving mediation’ and our sense of humor will return— often enhanced— now that we’ve come to understand the cosmic joke on a whole other level.

The only bit of bad news is that there is no going back.  So, if this experience resonates with something that you’ve been through or are going through now, it’s time to pull up your big girl/boy pants and travel as far into the ether as you need to, knowing that you will return to find your equilibrium – and your people… Eventually.

Love the Meltdown

Love the Meltdown; Break down to break through.

I’m going to venture a guess that many of us have been here:

It’s Saturday night. Or perhaps its an arbitrary holiday…like, say, Valentine’s Day…?

Your love life has gone the way of pay phones & fax machines…or sane leaders (missing you Obama! *Sigh*).  And all your go-to party people have made fabulous plans that somehow don’t include you.

Thus, you find yourself wandering towards your couch with the necessary provisions: A remote control and bong in one hand, and your favorite blanket, salty snacks and a vibrator in the other.

This emotional state, extrapolated to it’s logical conclusion, ends in an epic meltdown. The quintessential ‘how did I get here and why does God hate me?’ sort of meltdown.  The kind where you ugly-cry into the couch because you are convinced that you are– at your core– profoundly unloveable, and a hideous chunk monster to boot. 

So…here is my confession: I’ve learned to love this cry.  Because I’ve finally come to see it as a time of deep catharsis and vulnerability between me and the universe….

But it wasn’t always that way.

It used to be that these meltdowns were when I’d make bargains with God and with myself. When I vowed to be better, try harder and workout more. I’d also vow to use the sheer force of will to finally bring all of my untapped potential online. I would muscle through, and force the universe to finally give me the relationship/career/body that I felt entitled to. 

And somehow, those vows made me feel better…because it felt like I was ‘doing’ something to fix things.  But as I’m sure most of you will attest, these kind of vows — born of despair and self-loathing— often don’t ‘take’ and quickly go the way of New Years resolutions. And it’s not long before you’re leaving more mascara stains on the couch for all the exact same reasons. Or, worse still, using the failure of enacting these vows as further fodder to beat yourself up when things don’t instantly change in your world.

So, as I’ve dug deeper into myself and the ways of the universe, I started to ask:  What if I didn’t make any deals with myself or God in that emotional state? What if I just let myself ugly-cry?  What if I did my best to accept my current circumstances and let the neglected little girl inside of me throw a giant, destructive tantrum? And let the hateful teenager scream and yell until she had nothing left…? What’s the worst that could happen? If I’m convinced that I’m unloveable anyway, then, essentially, I have nothing to lose…

In the midst of this experiment, I realized that once the little girl and the teenager had their tantrums, the wise grownup inside me finally showed up. She reminded me that I’m blessed, beautiful and deeply loved.

“Where’ve you been?” I ask her, “I could’ve really used that compassion like two snickers bars ago”.

“I’m always here.  But you needed to feel the feelings and express yourself before you could hear me. NOW you’re cleansed and ready to receive the goodness. Sometimes we all need to break down to break through”.

At this point, I realize that I’m too emotionally wiped to tell her she’s full of shit or punch her in the face. In fact, I kind of welcome her non-judgy wisdom and her sophisticated taste in shoes. So I listen…

And she reminds me of everything I know in my core to be true (but have forgotten in this moment of despair):  

 I am a child of God.

I am loved.

I am blessed.

I am beautiful

I am worthy

And, I will thrive again…maybe even as early as next Saturday night.

So, fellow traveler, on this day (originally intended to celebrate ‘unconditional love’) I hope that you’ve also allowed yourself a safe space to release the shit without judgement, knowing that breakdowns often clear the space for the light to shine in. 

A ‘wee’ too wu wu?


A while back I was sitting naked in a small sauna with 12 other hippies —as you do , ya know, in Portlandia— when the subject of drinking one’s own urine came up—as it does, ya know…nowhere else in the world…

Luckily, this wasn’t my first Bohemian rodeo, so I knew better than to ask if they were serious.  Not only were they serious, they were adamant.

Apparently – according to the Homeopath and the Natureopath- drinking one’s pee first thing in the morning provides anti-bodies which fight off illness and disease and miraculously cure all manner of ailments, from MS to psoriasis.  But, no matter how much my friends extolled the virtues of drinking my morning pee, I simply couldn’t wrap my mind around trading in my vanilla latte for a self-inflicted golden shower.

In fairness,  I did ask myself: If I had a terminal disease and I was told the only way to cure it is to drink my urine, would I consider it? Maybe. But anything less dire, the answer is a resounding “Are you f*cking kidding me?”

So, my next question is: if we were truly designed to drink our urine, WHY IS IT FLOWING OUT OF OUR BODY? My understanding is that it’s because my body is ridding itself of the things that it doesn’t want. #biologicallogic

But I think the real question is this: How do you discern between a weird ‘wu wu’ fad, and something that has actual healing value for your body (or psyche)? We’ve all lived through a myriad of ‘superfoods’ starting innocently enough with blueberries and kale, and descending into the madness that is wheatgrass, goji berries, acai, chia, flax, quinoa, turmeric…need I go on?

Am I saying that none of these have healing properties? Of course not!  I am personally guilty of sampling all manner of wacky Ayurvedic and shamanic medicines and healing modalities. Some have worked, others left me feeling coo coo for cocoa puffs— at the end of the day, it’s all about personal experience and discernment.

But what I am trying to say is that maybe we— as in, those of us who are proponents of alternative healing modalities— need to ground some of these fads so that the holistic movement doesn’t seem so flaky.

Yes! to the basics: eating healthy, less processed, more veggie-based food.  No! to  placenta tartare, coffee enemas and, definitely, drinking urine.

I mean, even if drinking your pee does have value, it’s so far ahead of the curve that I believe  pushing for it actually does the movement towards holistic healing a disservice.

I also believe that if we can raise the bar towards basic healthy mindsets, the rest will follow…in time.

And in the meantime, we – meaning all of humanity – need to learn to walk before we can fly….or poop before we can pee…or, um, what am I trying to say? Hell, I dunno…just drink your 8 glasses of water per day, dammitt!

The ‘Single Girl’ Addiction

The Goddess called me. “Come to the beach. Alone.”

I was in Thailand as the 7th wheel on a romantic trip –tagging along on the honeymoon of two close friends, and two other couples.

Prior to the honeymoon, during the first few days in Bangkok, I could ignore my singleness and blend with the few other non-partnered guests.  But after the wedding ceremony, the other singles peeled off and the rest of us flew to an exotic resort on a remote Thai beach. Here, amongst the crystalline water, the white sandy beaches and the sexy sunsets, it became impossible to deny that I was on a romantic getaway with me, myself and I.

In the past, I would’ve been sad and lamenting my predicament. I would’ve gone into some kind of ‘why not me?’ story in which I was victimized by my tortured romantic history and feeling punished by the universe.

But not this time. This time, I came to a realization: I actually really enjoyed being alone. It was easy. Not to mention familiar, comfortable and safe.   I’ve come to identify as the independent single girl. In fact, I realized that I’d been wearing that identity like a badge of honor.

The dialogue in my head runs something like ‘I’ll show the world that you don’t need to be partnered in order to be happy and fulfilled—screw convention! I will not conform to being a dutiful lover/partner/girlfriend because society tells me I should’.

I recognize that, to some degree, this inner dialogue comes from my ego.  But I also believe it’s important to model independence for other women; a healthy self love and self reliance that comes from the attitude of ‘I’m open to love and partnership, but since it hasn’t showed up for me yet in a form that feels right, I will still relish every second of my life, continue to deepen in self-love and live every day to the fullest… until that person does show up for me”.

The moment I arrived at that resort, the Goddess (I’m pretty sure it was Yemanja) whispered in my ear: ‘It’s time for a Baptism. You are ready to fully blossom into your divine feminine. You are ready to receive love and open your heart. Come to the beach. Alone. And we will do this’.

So I walked down the secluded strand until the emotion overtook me, and I couldn’t walk any further. In that moment, I felt fully into all of the safety, ease and security that I was giving up by opening my heart to someone. But I also understood that it was time to put aside my old, outdated identity and to step into something terrifying, yet potentially expansive. It was time to lay down my armor and allow the mirror to show up in the form of a looming partnership awaiting me back at home.

So, I turned towards the horizon and walked in until the water enveloped me completely, feeling the ocean’s unlimited expansiveness as the perfect metaphor for the state of being I’m ready to step into.  I was talking to the Goddess the entire way.  I told her that I understood what was needed, but I was scared. She comforted me and encouraged me to feel into all the fear and doubt. To validate those feelings, but to challenge the thoughts that might’ve built up those fears in the first place.  The failed love affairs of my past no longer need define me and keep me isolated on an island of emotional safety.

And now, as I fly home, I’m feeling into the full magnitude of my commitment to this new state of being.  I must learn to honor myself and my needs within the confines of a partnership…and to shed any remaining bits of the identity that keeps me locked safely on that self-contained emotional island called ‘single girl’…

I am still scared, but also hopeful. And I trust that the Goddess has my back all the way.

Spiritual Cynic- A Walking Contradiction

It’s often been pointed out to me that I’m a walking contradiction; guilty of being both ‘hippier than thou’ — a true new age ‘woo woo’ believer– AND a harsh and unforgiving critic of the ‘New Age’.  I chalk it up to my personal duality. I love to play in the dark and then transmute it into light. At my best, I do it well. At my worst, I’m a whiney, complaining biyatch. You will likely see both aspects of me here.

There are so many things that are ridiculous about my woo woo brethren and the things that they believe. And yet, I believe in, and worship all the same things; Ganesh, aliens, cranial/sacral therapy, açaí… You name it, and I’ve likely tried it and extolled its virtues. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t also find these things hilarious and ridiculous. So, in an attempt to explore the dichotomy within myself, I’d like to get my thoughts out so that maybe a personal integration becomes possible.

I also intend to explore my own personal journey of deepening into presence and acceptance.

I’m sure, like all best laid plans, there will be major detours and I’ll probably get lost somewhere along the way.  But for the most part, I’m excited to explore the weird, beneficial and hypocritical aspects of all things new age: From Ayurveda to Ayahuasca, Alien Abjuction to Ecstatic Dance, and Bigfoot to Orgasmic Meditation.  More for my own sake than anyone else’s, but if someone happens to be paying attention, thank you and I look forward to getting lost (and found) on this journey with you.