Practices for when You’re on Your Knees

Earlier this year, I found myself reflecting, personally and in my coaching practice, on the following question:

What are the practices we can access when we’re on our knees?

By which I mean, what acts of self-care are available to us when the shit is hitting the fan of our life, or we ourselves are hitting rock bottom?

In my client sessions, the question came up in the face of a sense of failure, arising out of not having managed to stick to particular spiritual or well-being daily practices. Whether because of personal pain, or winter weather, it didn’t matter; the sense of failure was the same. But it occurred to me that, like all the best things in life, our practices exist on a spectrum. And yes, one end of that spectrum may be occupied by perfectly executed sun-salutes (not for me, I hasten to add – even and in spite of the fact that Jessamyn Stanley offers online classes, and I think she’s So Awesome) – but the other end is occupied by those small acts of kindness we can access even on our toughest days.

Curious to get some more points of view on the subject – and unwilling to write an entire blogpost about the holistic benefits of drinking tea, which I would have been in danger of doing had I focused solely on my own answers to that question – I reached out to two of my favourite brains to get a second opinion. Luckily for me, said brains belong to two fantastic human beings, who generously agreed to share their thoughts: Mollena Lee Williams-Haas, and Barbara Carrellas. …

Self Love Spells for the Solstice

Dear Beloved*,

What a year we have both had. I hold you in my thoughts with much tenderness as the days grow shorter. During our last phone call, I heard you express a desire to access your inner witch, to find that wise and rooted inner voice and follow where it might lead you. As such, as we journey now into the perilous darkness, I would like to invite us both to find time to tend to our tender selves, and share with you some of my favourite possibilities for witchy self-love. I wrote at length in my last post about the medicine of the natural world – so for the purposes of this post, and with respect for the temperature outside, I will focus on activities that can be done indoors! …

Earth, Sex, Magic – an invitation into the Family of Things

Dear Beloved*,

At the end of September, I’ll be running a day workshop called Earth, Sex, Magic. As you can probably guess, it is an invitation into relationship with what our shared favourite poet Mary Oliver calls “the family of things”. I’ve been wondering how to articulate to my community why it feels vital to spend a day (and indeed a lifetime!) indulging in that relationship – so I thought I would write to you about it, because I know you understand, and see what unfolds.

Discernment and the path to Erotic Empowerment

Last year I promised to write a post about practising discernment. This is a subject that I frequently find myself delving into with clients – particularly when they are embarking on new chapters in their erotic lives. A vital part of personal erotic empowerment is the ability to sense – to discern – which of the Spectrum of Possibilities available in any given erotic scenario feel good to us, and to trust and value ourselves enough to base our choices on that discernment. Our ability to practice discernment is inextricably linked with our ability to be in self-consent – self-consent being a necessary base camp for any journey towards erotic self-actualisation.

So what does the practice of discernment look like? What are the mental, emotional, and physical steps that make up an act of discernment? …

Things I Can’t Explain

I can’t explain to you how sex will be if you do the work.

I can’t explain the way that, when you make breath a practice, a sensation that was once as though at a distance will consume your whole being.
I can’t explain how, by following the breath into the places in yourself that scare you, you will unlock pathways in your body that pleasure will travel along like wildfire. …

Permission to enter the Spectrum of Possibilities

As a psychosexual coach, I treasure those moments when I’m approached by clients who are standing on a threshold, and looking for someone to cheer them on as they step over it. While I’ve accompanied clients over thresholds ranging from career changes to bereavement, inevitably, the thresholds I’m often approached for are those that fall under the broad umbrella of GSRD – Gender, Sexuality, and Relationship Diversity. From first forays into non-monogamy, to that oft arising question, “Can I call myself queer?”, one of the joys of the job is undeniably supporting clients to find the permission to embody new identities and explore new lifestyles – and getting to see sides of them that were previously stifled start to flourish.

However, one of the things that I’ve noticed causes seekers to falter on those thresholds is the impression that many of the communities and narratives surrounding GSR diverse identities exude – that you’re either all in, or you’re out. …

Diversity Practices for Deepening Intimacy

A couple of weeks ago, I did something which, at the time, felt enormously risky. I lead an experiential session on diversity for the Interfaith Foundation that ordained me.

The reason doing so felt as acutely vulnerable as it did goes something like this: Diversity is an arena where, especially as a white person raised in western culture, failure is guaranteed. There are no two ways about it; fuck ups are inevitable from my particular privileged vantage point. Besides which, inclusion looks different to different people, so there’s no “getting it right” for everyone. And yet diversity is also an arena I believe we have to be willing to step up and into, in order to really have a shot at creating welcoming, inclusive, and safer spaces.

As if this wasn’t enough, the subject is one that feels profoundly personal. Certainly, diversity is something I care deeply about as a practitioner; I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating on a diversity guide for professionals in my field over the last few months, and the topic of how to create more inclusive spaces within the limits of my resources is one I wrestle with on a regular basis. But more than that, having grown up outside the UK, and received my fair share of “go back to where you came from” messages; and having more recent experience of being a gender non-conforming person navigating heteronormative culture; diversity matters to me in a way that runs deep.

So there I was, sharing something I cared passionately about, but could not possibly claim to be an expert in, and which has the potential to cut me to the quick, raise old scars, and leave me feeling exposed and vulnerable.

Not entirely unlike opening up to intimacy, in other words. …

Ritualising Intimacy – or, What Does Magic Have to do with Sex Anyway?

Twice this year I have had the exquisite pleasure of training a group of sexuality practitioners in the art of Ritual Fireplay. After the most recent course in Stockholm, a day immersed in ritual, bathed in firelight, and interspersed with sweet sounds of sensation and release, I’ve been thinking a lot about magic.

Specifically, why magic and ritual are woven around and through so much of what I offer in the work that is Making Love with God. …

On Letting Go

Disclaimer dear reader: letting go is neither my favourite thing, nor my forte. But lately I’ve been hearing whispers that letting go might be just the thing for me right now in a few areas of my life. And when I go out walking, I cannot help but catch my breath at just how beautiful the trees make it look.

So it is that, in the last few weeks, I’ve noticed three things about letting go: …

The G-Word Revisited

The evening is well underway when myself and a friend sit ourselves down for a catch up in the Earth quarter. It’s a Koinonia event, based as usual on the four elements. Next door, the Water space is a quiet haven of cuddling couples and massage swaps; upstairs, the sound of the base in Air – the dance floor – mingles with more suggestive sounds from the designated play space that is Fire, and drifts down to us where we sit, next to the bar spread with home-cooked treats. My Terrific Team are on duty, and my work for the moment is done – so I’m at liberty to indulge in a good long chat about semantics.

You see, my friend is confiding in me his reservations about attending one of the Making Love with God weekend intensives. Whilst he’s quick to affirm how much he enjoys Koinonia evenings, and how much he trusts me, he admits he is still put off by the “God word”. Could I do a little re-branding he wonders, acknowledging in the same breath that he’s aware how much of his wariness around that term is his “stuff”. He’s a dear friend, and we’re both always up for grappling with problems of a metaphysical and morphological nature, so an excellent conversation ensues – but it got me thinking it might be time to revisit the G-word issue again, and see if I could put any more minds to rest around why I use it. …

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