Someone told me today, this first day of 2012, that I had the right to be more full of myself. That people might not know what I am capable of because I can come off as kind of quiet and unassuming. The night previous, I had dinner with some new lovers who were remarking at how confident they felt I appeared, especially for my age (ripe, old 32).
So, what’s the answer … am I shy and insecure? Or am I empowered and confident? The answer is: yes! In celebration of my wholeness, I’d like to share some of my major accomplishments and learning from 2011.
1. I survived my first intense primary poly relationship and prolonged break up and came out the other end with a clear vision of what I want.
That clarity feels incredibly empowering. Now, dating feels much more like an adventure in truth. I am able to let go of connections that aren’t a “hell yes” for either person, without taking it personally. I look forward to expanding my pod of conscious lovers and sensual friends in 2012, with gratitude in advance for all the lessons they will teach me. I am in awe of the continual growth and wisdom that this form of open relating provides, and while I know I have only scratched the surface, I am honored and humbled when people come to me for “poly” advice. I know that to share my thoughts and experiences in this realm is as important and rewarding as teaching any other part of my spiritual practice.
2. For the first time in my life, I came out of a deep, sustained depression without the use of medication.
I attribute this to a renewed dedication to self-care and a tireless search for a mode of therapy that could help me get to the core of this life-long pattern. Low and behold it was my own thoughts! I feel much better able to intervene when thoughts begin to spiral into dark, emotional stagnation. I also feel empowered in the ability to sit with these emotions for a day or two, listen to their wisdom, and let them pass without guilt or shame that I should be doing anything but that.
3. For much of this year, I was able to prioritize self-care like I never have before.
I worked out at least once but usually twice a week with a personal trainer for the entire year. I learned and experimented with some Ayurvedic practices. I learned how to cook some amazing food. I lessened my meat consumption and developed a new love affair with leafy greens and lentil soup. I got countless massages and acupuncture treatments. I did yoga and meditated more. I deepened relationships with a core group of friends that I could call on for instantaneous support. Even while depressed, I fought the usual pattern of isolation and attended countless workshops and community gatherings, and did so with a new appreciation of why this is an integral part of my self-care plan.
4. I spent more time in the places I love with people I love than ever before.
I made first time appearances at Canyon de Guadalupe and Whole Being Weekend, which unveiled my love for traveling in community and experiencing how nature amplifies the love we cultivate. I reprioritized and honored my spiritual Mecca—water—by going to Harbin Hot Springs at least five times. I also swam in the ocean at least 10 times, and a few of those times I did so naked with friends.
5. With the support and collaboration of an amazing business partner and genius business coach, I managed to grow into the role of entrepreneur.
I connected with my desire to lead and nurture a company culture that values authenticity, creativity, and work/life balance. I hired two employees and made more money than I ever had in my life.
6. I’ve gained a thorough respect for my womanhood and what it means to honor, rather than dread menstruation.
I’ve stopped taking birth control pills, reduced my use of tampons, become best friends with my menstruation-calendar Android app, eliminated the use of pain killers for cramps, and allowed my self one day off of work a month for a personal “red tent” experience. AND, with the help of some amazing friends and lovers at Tantra Palooza this year, even painted my body and mountains red!
7. I rediscovered my artistic side, first with pens and pencils and later with henna.
I created colorful vibrant artwork on days that I couldn’t even get out of bed. I henna tattooed countless friends and some very happy little girls at Whole Being Weekend, and even managed to matte and frame some pieces and gift them to friends and family. I also tip-toed into theatric arts by performing a spontaneous personal narrative about my de-virginization to a group of about 20 at the Tantra Theater auditions, and stepped into forum at least five times.
8. I finally put some of these tools I’ve been learning to use and initiated difficult conversations with friends and family.
And while this piece is still a work in progress, I feel MUCH better equipped to speak my truth, to reveal my wants and needs, and to stop avoiding things out of fear of rejection or of hurting others.
9. I took concrete steps to turn intentions into reality.
In November, I set an intention to do two Tantric sessions by the end of the year, and did three (four if you count the one I did today to ring in 2012). I also set the goal to open a savings account at a credit union and accomplished that. Additionally, I planted the seed to grow a free and sustainable weekly women’s gathering here in San Diego and am thrilled about how much it has already grown and seems to be resonating with the community.
10. Last, but definitely not least: I redefined my relationship to God, Tantra, and spirituality.
I believe that a divine spark underlies and perpetuates this universe and the infinite wisdom of its science and beauty. I believe “God” is this spark. I believe that spark is inside of all of us. I believe amazing things happen when we tap into that divine energy and share it with others. I believe many things get in the way of us experiencing this, most notably our thoughts and the meanings we choose to believe or make up. The world is no less beautiful to me without the layers of meaning (both good and bad) that I had previously attached to it … in fact, it is much more beautiful when free of humanity’s attempt to tarnish and control reality by arbitrarily defining every last detail of it, especially its spiritual and esoteric realms. I believe Tantra is my chosen path to explore this as it honors every part of this messy human experience, encourages me to enliven my senses and fully inhabit my body, push my emotional edges, to know myself, to love myself, and to unlearn everything I am taught and reconstruct it in the core of my being, for the core of my being, so that I can simply BE.