Going inwards + Summer Break

 Photo by Jakob Owens, UNSPLASH

Photo by Jakob Owens, UNSPLASH

Last week, I didn't post a weekly blog here, because I had caught a Summer cold that made me slow and low. Yet, unexpectedly both the sluggishness and some days of anxiety, turned out to be a gateway to deep realizations, and while I'm still not fully restored, I'm feeling a whole new level of power rise in me. It reminded me that I usually get sick when I need to process something, and don't feel I have the "right" to do it when I "should" be working. Old conditioning dies hard.

The power of doing nothing

We all need time to go inwards. A Swedish Physics Professor, Bodil Jönsson, wrote a book about time, where she popularized a word which in Swedish is called "ställtid", meaning the time it takes to get things in order, also internally. I would  translate "ställtid to "re-configuration time". It also reminds me of a Polish cartoon I watched as a kid, which was called Professor Balthazar. Balthazar was a kind and crazy looking inventor who had a giant machine into which he put his ideas. The machine was very slow, processing, processing, processing until suddenly, the machine created an elixir in a tube, based on those ideas. What made the cartoon so exciting was that waiting time, a necessary gap of seeming nothingness, where true magic happened.

Going deep and becoming inner-directed

The need for re-configuration time and going deep are supported by science. We need to loiter in order to create at any level of relevance, and it's impossible to be inner-directed without having time to connect inwards. Yet even with that knowledge, it's difficult for most of us to allow ourselves to dawdle; the pressure to do is always on, but in my experience, it's still more challenging for women to allow themselves this necessary diving-deep time. Yet in order to access a deeper level of feminine leadership, it's paramount that we take the time to do nothing, feeling whatever is there, even if it is painful, which allows for being and presence to fill every cell with juicy aliveness. A pathway to do nothing is to reconnect with your sensing ability. As in the photo above, test stroking the skin of your upper hand with your other hand, infinitely slowly, while breathing with your belly and see if you can stay with the sensation for a minute or two. Notice what happens in your body.

Taking my own advice, I'm going to my bi-yearly retreat soon and will thereafter take a Summer break. I'll be back mid August with lots of juicy tips and share some of the very exciting things that are unfolding.

I'm wishing you a lovely, juicy and being-oriented Summer!

Love and truth,
Lotta Lovisa

 

 

 

Shame-Less & The Good Girl Detox

 PHOTO BY WILLIAM STITT, UNSPLASH

PHOTO BY WILLIAM STITT, UNSPLASH

Carl Jung wrote " Shame is a soul-eating emotion". Brene Brown shares this perspective: “Shame corrodes the very part of us that believes we are capable of change." And Rumi pontificates: “Soul, if you want to learn secrets, your heart must forget about shame and dignity. You are God's lover, yet you worry what people are saying.”

Is Shame Necessary?

To be clear, shame is a human emotion, a necessary neurological trait?, that guided us as children, teaching us the underpinnings of morality and of right and wrong. Yet as grown-ups, being hounded by shame is like carrying around a Marine-Corps-extra-heavy-duty-backpack inherited from generations past infused with additional weights borrowed from our social contexts, bringing us to our hands and knees with notions of our insufficiency and inherent badness. If we believe we are "bad to the bone", we will either turn that into a self-fulfilling prophecy or we will almost kill ourselves trying to obliterate the badness in ourselves while trying to let others know of theirs'. In either case, it will kill our spirit and our life-force. It will cut us off from our true potential.

Are there differences in Gender and Shame?

Yet, I believe it shows up differently in women and men (and as always - deep generalizations here, but still relevant). As women we often turn the shame back onto ourselves, becoming afraid of making mistakes, turning into perfectionists, and constantly second-guessing ourselves. We become good girls. For men, shame often turns to self-hatred, which then in turn, more often than not is turned outwards. It's that a-hole's fault, not mine, or I'm going to show the bastards. Either way, shame can give us an endless amount of fuel to perform well or to build empires. Neither of the the strategies, though is based on joy or having fun.

How do we become Shame-Less?

There are essentially two routes. The first and longer route is the one where we through mindfulness become clear on that we in fact are attacking ourselves and when we meet ourselves with compassion. We learn to recognize the "shoulds" in our language, and we eventually  delight in catching ourselves in the act. It doesn't mean that our inner critic goes dormant, but we have a deeper understanding of the playing field. It's a pretty long route, but so worth it! Every time we reclaim ourselves from inner and outer shame, we are reclaiming a part of our soul.

The shorter route, for women, is what I call the Good Girl Detox,  where we liberate ourselves through pleasure. We will still need the first route, if we want to metabolize our shame on a deeper level, but pleasure can truly be an amazing short-cut. Because when we reclaim our bodies and how we operate, and it is based on a deeper truth located in our bellies and in our jewels, we shift. We become powerful and the inner critic loses its choke-hold on us.

I teach tools on how we can learn to disidentify from our inner critic in my more advanced courses Eventually, I might do a whole separate course on shame just to deal with this emotion, since it is so pervasive, today more than ever. Yet there are some ways we can started here and now:

Here's this week's tip:

Write down ten 'bad things' you tell yourself about yourself, the things you suspect, or hard-core believe, are "truths" and weave in some shoulds. For example. "I'm a loser". "I should save more money", "I'm never going to lose this extra weight". "I should have made it by now". "I should be a better leader/mom/partner/sprinter...". "I'm never going to meet someone". Go deep, find where the inner critic hurts you. And then learn how to disidentify with these "truths". Judgements usually have a kernel of truth, but they come served with a huge side-order of viciousness, which makes them debilitating if taken at face value. And then find ways to cut the endless inner call to arms. Say Shhhhh.... when you hear the voice inside, or if it's coming through a partner or friend (And it's not our partners'/friend's/children's/parents' faults either. They will of course know how to press our buttons, but if someone said, "you have such ugly green hair," and you have either dark hair or no hair, the comment would just breeze by, you might even laugh at the person saying it, they only impact us because a part of us believe what is being said is true) increase in intensity until we are able to ask these voices to go and f-k themselves. As an alternative, or try both, put a hand on your heart, take a breath and then say, I've got you, or I love you, or You are ok. And then breathe again.

And then do at least three things this week that are pleasurable. Things that fill your heart with joy and put a smile in your eye and in your walk. 3 things that turn you on. The best antidote ever to shame. Pleasure, if allowed, trumps shame all days of the week!

Have a shameless and a good girl-detoxed week!

Love and truth,
Lotta Lovisa

 

“I enjoy being a girl” (woman) – How owning our femininity and sexuality changes how we lead ourselves and others

 Photo by Caique Silva, Unsplah

Photo by Caique Silva, Unsplah

“I enjoy being a girl” is a Broadway tune from 1958 in the US. When I started working with my life and leadership coach, Barbara, in San Francisco in 2004, she quickly realized that I had some deep-seated issues about my femininity, and gave me that song as an assignment to sing and perform for her. It took me until last year, however, before I could feel the truth of those words in my body. How is even possible that I could have rejected the form I came in almost my entire life?

From woman as inferior...

I believe that one of the main reasons is that I saw woman as inferior. Since power used to be a big thing for me, even as a child, I automatically rejected anything I deemed as less powerful. I also prouded myself for being smart, driven and innovative, all qualities that I felt women didn't have an equal amount of. It makes me cringe to even write this, but it is what I was brought up to believe. The only way to handle the tiny problem that I was, in fact, a woman, was to become a "person", a "professional",  to draw as little attention to my female form as possible and stay away from anything that I considered feminine. In addition, or maybe as a result, I’ve carried a lot of shame around my body (weight issues, rejecting my big breasts, feeling disgust about my jewel and having major issues even acknowledging that I had a period and that it effected me hormonally). I'm sharing these sad prejudices about how I used to think and feel, which, btw, subconsciously continued long after I switched "teams" and started empowering women in my late 20s. I mentally made the switch, became a woman's warrior and advocate, but it was not a truth in my body. The rejection of the feminine is not strange in itself, though. It follows the script from the Bible, the Quoran and the Torah, coupled with what even Buddhists and Hinduists saw as gospel, namely that the body itself is impure, and that women's bodies are especially unclean and sexually dangerous, coupled with the notion that women were inferior. What the big 5 taught has then influenced philosphy, civics, and every human-made structure we have, and this programming still runs deep in virtually all women and men on the planet, despite all the progress that has been made.

To woman as precious gift...

Now when I AM enjoying being a woman, (I recently started wearing dresses, and it’s a game-changer! Ha. Wearing a dress was a no-no for most of my life and now I feel like I've struck gold:)) and I support other women making the same journey, coupled with a growing sisterhood around feminine leadership (I also used to reject sisterhood, isn't life marvelous:)), I’m finding being a woman a precious gift. I also see how my former, almost entirely linear mind, carefully sculpted, couldn't appreciate my intuitive and story-telling capacity, nor my yearning for the divine, nor my big heart, which meant that those parts had to be cut off and ripped out. Now, while I still appreciate intellectual discourse at times, it is presence and being turned-on (which I believe are versions of the same) that truly fills me with joy.

What are your own experiences of being a woman, your femininity and being proud of who you are? Have you given it some thought, or taken the perspective, as I did, that we are all 'persons', except for some minor biological differences? If you are a man reading this, what is coming up for you?

So how is body and gential ownership related to our leadership, or feminine leadership as I choose to define it, and what changes when we own our femininity and our sexuality?

1.  We become grounded and powerful. When we start liking, heck, even celebrating the very fact that we are women with a base in our bodies and in our jewels, we move from feeling inferior (again, this is usually a subconscious sentiment in both women and men), and the shame disappears (or at least lessens - shame is deep-seated in both women and men for many other reasons too). We stop being as reactive, aggressive/passive aggressive or victim-oriented, and we start appreciating men more. We are more in connection with flow. This translates to the very fact that everything we do, whether it’s a negotiation, a missed deadline, or a creative project, gets easier and lighter.  According to some depth psychologists, it's impossible to have access to our full power if we don't own our "genitals".

2. We become happier and have more energy. When we start running our sexual energy, which is vital for our well-being, and turn on our jewels, we are flooded with Dopamine, Oxytocin and the light in our eyes is lit. We become more creative, have almost an endless energy supply, which is the opposite from being sucked dry by living of our adrenaline and the glass becomes half-full. Incidentally, we also end up having more fun.

3. We become inner-directed. When we are connected with ourselves at our most basic and instinctual level, we become inner-directed and care less of what others think. Instead of living out of our heads, often driven by idealism and the search for purpose, we are more present, we live closer to presence and essence, and we find that our connection to spirit is no longer found outside of ourselves, but at the very core of our being.

If this resonates with you, notice during the upcoming week all your associations of the feminine, of women, and in particular your body, your breasts and your jewel, and your sexuality. What comes up for you? If there is a rejection, is it possible to hold it with some kindness, and just breathe into it?

Have a juicy and woman-proud week!

Love and truth,
Lotta Lovisa

 

"You must ask for what you really want"...

 Photo by Nine Kopfer, Unsplash

Photo by Nine Kopfer, Unsplash

Rumi's famous words still touch me because of their truth, and because it's still difficult to own our desires fully, especially as women. We happen to have an extra chunk of estrogen that we've been marinated in since the womb, which makes us exquisitely attuned to others, but often surprisingly clueless of what we want ourselves, which is compounded with our cultural upbringing. (Even though the latter is slowly changing. It seems, at least in some instances, that younger women know more what they want). Furthermore, as I wrote in the post two weeks ago, we are very good at accomodating to others, which in itself is a psychological construct affecting women and men alike.

Ask me twice

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, the Jungian psycho-analyst, said in audio-book that a man needs to ask a woman twice to find out what she really wants. For example: He might ask her: "What movie do you want to see?" She responds: "It doesn't matter. Pick whatever." Then comes the crucial step of asking her again. "What movie do you really want to see". Which is when she will share her true preference, which most likely wasn't even known to herself before being asked a second time. Without the second ask, she would, most likely, have been mad as hell at his poor movie-selection ability.

Yet, while it's great if men learn to ask women twice, we ultimately have to learn this for ourselves. Not in the least when it comes to how we want to be touched, made love to, and what we need in terms of adoration and support. But also when it comes to work and career. For example, say that you are highly attactive on the labor market and get tons of offers, which is a bit similar to being popular on the dating market with many suitors. Do you pick what is being offered, at the conditions stated, or do you choose what you want yourself, the way you want it? Or do you redefine a project to better suit your needs instead of accepting the offered set-up?

Do you know what you want?

In order for that to happen, we need to make the journey of discovering of what we truly want. I remember when I started my life over in my early 30s, having moved to San Francisco from Sweden. I was a workaholic with no preferences about anything except for work, books and global concepts. It took so much effort to learn, for example, which music I preferred to listen to, which was topped only by the gargantuan task of figuring out which men I was attracted to, especially in a new country. At that time, I was almost completely linear, so I made lists and tried for everything, which included men, music and other areas of interest. Today I can hug myself for my cluelessness and clumsiness in my discovery process, yet also salute myself for trying to bring light to my unknown desires.

In which areas do you know what you prefer and in which areas do your eyes glaze over? How much do you follow what your partner prefers, for example, because you haven't researched your desires, or felt that they weren't important enough? Or if you followed the latest trend because everyone else was doing it, without really feeling if that is in line with your desires. When I was living in Venice Beach it was astonishing to see all the reported injuries of everyone doing cross-fit 5 times a week, just because it was the latest fad (in Sweden everyone now needs to have at least a marathon and a "Vasalopp", a cross-country skiing race, and preferably an Iron Man too - leading to similar injuries).

Now, what are your needs? And how do we ask for them?

Having spoken mostly from the woman's perspective, men might have an equally difficult task in a different way. If we look at the teachings of NVC, Non-Violent Communication, Many men struggle with a different level of asking for what they want - this being related to their needs (even though most women fall into this category too). Marshall B. Rosenberg shares an example from his book Non-Violent Communication, when he ends up being surrounded by a group of gang-members, who are very close to attacking him. They feel disrespected and not heard, and they aren't aware of that feeling respected is what they truly need. Marshall Rosenberg shares in his book how he patiently, and courageously, my comment, keeps validating what they feel, essentially helping them voice their needs, until their animosity disappears. So many conflicts are about us not feeling heard, and not knowing how to ask for what we really need.

Desire as a practice

When I started teaching the practice of writing desire-lists to the women I worked with (and several men too), it felt a bit frivolous. What's the point of doing a wish-list like children write for Santa? Wishing for the flashiest things and luxurious travels? Isn't that just another example of a materialistic world-view? Today, I believe that each desire is an entry-point to something very powerful - especially if we can follow the desire to its deepest roots, without shame or trying to censor ourselves - and without the attachment of making it happen. Which is also a core tenet of Tantra. Each spoken, or stronger, written, desire, affirms our life-force. It ignites something inside us. It turns us on to life. If we can follow our desires down the rabbit-hole, we might find enlightenment, or at least a spiritual practice at the very bottom of it.

Taking our time

One more reflection on learning how to ask for what we really want is to allow for things to unfold in the way that it takes for us to become clear. I've learned myself that especially in high-charge situations, or when I'm around people I don't feel I can be truly me, I benefit highly from asking for a reprieve. Even if it is for an hour, a good night's sleep, or getting back in a couple of weeks. While it's getting easier, in some situations, I'm still  fascinated by how much time I need to get clear on where I stand when being asked about something. What is your experience with taking your time?

Circumventing our negativity bias

Adding a final perspective on the importance of asking for what we really want is that it's only then we can counter our negativity bias, which I've written about before. It's so much easier to complain about all the things that aren't to our liking, and what we don't have. When we start focusing on what our hearts and jewels want, we circumvent the negative neural pathways. We  become solution-oriented, activating our frontal cortex, and feel much more empowered.

A desire-focused practice

For this week, if there is desire for it:), practice writing a list of desires, 20 each day, and see how that affects you. The most important recommendation is to be specific and search for the underlying feelings. If you want a new sofa, what type of sofa, color, sensation, brand and how do you want it make you feel? If you want multiple orgasms, detail what that means to you. If you want to be seen and heard, what does that mean to you and from whom do you need it? Describe it vividly.

See if you can be your own desire-detective, be curious, without shame and see what comes up for you. What happens if you allow all of these desires? Your longing? If you can feel your desires in your body without trying to make them come true. How does it feel to desire fully in your chest? In your belly? And in your jewel?

With a practice of asking for what we really want, we can reach our soul's longing. Which will keep waking us up to the fact that our 'one and precious life' is breath-takingly short and just longs to explored in all its juiciness.

Have a desire-soaked week,

Love and truth,
Lotta Lovisa


 

 


 

3-Year Anniversary of Moving Back to Sweden - Grace, Fate and Destiny

On May 31, 2015, I immigrated back to Sweden from the US, so I've almost reached my 3-year anniversary. Nothing could have prepared me for how difficult it would be, nor how blessed I would feel today.

Moving to the US was connected with so much joy, hope and expansion. It was a life-long dream come true and I never thought I would come back. After 15  years in California, Sweden was something from my faded past that I didn't relate to. Thus moving back became like a prison sentence. All my misgivings about Sweden and of being a Swede had to be faced down. All the things I had been running away from had to be reckoned with. And then there were alI the countless minute differences in the everday aspects of life that make Sweden and the US (California) like two separate galaxies. Like how you walk. How you smile. Or cross a street.

I never believed it would be so grace-filled, guided and amazing either. Don't take me wrong. Several of the misgivings are still here. Yet, and it's a big yet, I feel an immense gratitude for being able to be here, for all the support I've been given and for all the amazing people I know and have gotten to know. I still keep my options open in terms of where I will end up long-erm, but for now, I can just see how essential it has been for me to return. Without it, I wouldn't have become real or true.

That makes me reflect on grace, fate and destiny. And how mysterious it all is. We resist something that we don't want, and yet that turns around and becomes our biggest gift. I never planned to do the courses working with women, sexuality, soul/spirit and leadership that now have changed my life. I never expected that I would find myself as a woman, in Sweden, of all places. And I never believed that it was in Sweden where I would get to that point where presence, truth and pleasure are the bright beacons of grace that keep guiding me forward.

So what is it that guides us? What is the fabric of grace, fate and destiny? Is guidance always there, and we just fail to recognize it because we resist it or deny it? Are we following a grace-guided maze of fate and destiny that is non-negotiable, but we take it to be free will? I don't know. What I do know is that I know very little, and that the more I trust the present moment, and that the experience I'm having is here for a reason, I can surrender, and the better life gets. Increasingly I sense that I'm not the only player on the chess-board called my life.

What comes up for you when you read this? What is your relationship with the big events that have shaped your life - that you have labeled good and bad? Do you feel yourself to be the map-maker or the one following an already plotted path? How have you experienced grace? Please share in the comments below.

Have a mysterious- and grace-filled week,

Love and Truth,
Lotta Lovisa

 

Standing In Our Truth & The Spiritual Journey

 Photo by Senjuti Kundu, Unsplash

Photo by Senjuti Kundu, Unsplash

The first year I came to Burning Man (2004) in the Nevada desert, I was in awe. Of everything and everyone. To see and experience everyone's weirdness and uniqueness, which opened up a deep longing to express my own weird and to be true, all of which came to have a major impact on my life. In 2006, my third year at Burning Man, the patina had worn a bit thin. I could see that despite the beliefs and proclamations of radical self-expression, everyone looked the same.

One truth about us human beings is that despite our longing to be different, we also have a deep biological yearning to accommodate. Even "burners" accommodate to be radically self-expressed, 'the Burning-Man way'. If we enter the business world, we discover that everyone dresses the same, even though there are subcultures with slightly different dress codes. It takes a lot to break the norm and to follow what's true for us.

The Spiritual Journey

Some say that the spiritual journey is increasingly about surrendering ourselves and our ego structures. While that resonates deeply with me, I would say that the spiritual journey is to an equal amount the deepening process to stand in our truth. Which is multi-layered in itself, since our ability to handle difficult truths, especially about ourselves, unfolds, at a frustratingly slow pace.

Ending accommodation

A pre-requisite for any truth-traction to take place is to stop accommodating. Which is WAY easier to write and say than to do. Despite being more aware of how I do it, I would say that I accommodate at least 100 times a day when in social settings. It's the small stuff. I smile back because someone smiles at me. The neurological mirroring knee-jerk reflex. I see someone walking towards me on the pavement engulfed by the parallel dimension that is our i-Phones, and I move slightly aside to avoid a head-on collision. Someone says something nice to me when entering the office doors and I feel compelled to answer in kind. Etc. While you could call all of these small accommodations social lubrication or just plain old courtesy and not a big deal, it adds up, and these actions are to 99% unconscious.

We start seeing how our accommodation affects our ability to express our opinions at a meeting, to have a different view-point, or world-view, political opinion, religious or spiritual expression, and maybe the most difficult of all, to be emotionally true. To be able to say to a colleague that we don't feel safe in their presence, or to express to our boss that we get a knot in our bellies when she or he walks into the room, or to tell our partner that we no longer are turned on by him or her, which makes our hearts pump so fast that we can't breathe. Yet it's only when we become aware of our accommodation that we can start connecting with our bodies and and sense the the toll it takes on us to accommodate.

Even conscious bullshit is bullshit

Yet, someone now might protest, how can we even function in society if we don't accommodate? It's part of being human, right? Maybe. Or maybe not? Maybe we are reaching a place and time in history, at least for us who live in a privileged  democratic setting with people who are conscious, where we need to start being more truthful? If for no other reason then that our bodies ALWAYS know when we bullshit. We can override our feelings and sensations, but the body records everything. Like the infinite naughty or nice-list that Disney taught us was held at Santa's place. The difference being that the body actually does register everything.

Truth and the Spiritual Journey

Each truth we express, each time we don't accommodate automatically, each painful and pleasure-filled emotional truth that we acknowledge, especially to ourselves, starts cracking us open. From that rises more of our infinite capacity. Our extraordinary potential starts to blossom. We begin the journey of coming home to ourselves. To our highest selves.

We become radically truthful, which on a clothing-level might look like a Burner,  a suit, or a sexy dress, or all at the same time:), yet since we live from the inside out, it's not about following external cues. Instead we dress in whatever feels true to us, and that we are fully owning and enjoying our expression of this truth. There is nothing that spells healing for the world than people who own their stuff and strut it good. Real good.

Have a truth-saturated, expansive and non-accommodating week,

Love and Truth,
Lotta Lovisa

5 Steps To Awaken Your Feminine Leadership

 GABRIEL GARCIA MARENGO, UNSPLASH

GABRIEL GARCIA MARENGO, UNSPLASH

Hi Gorgeous!

This week, I wanted to share how you can awaken your feminine leadership in five steps.

First I need to define what I mean by Awakening Feminine Leadership. The way I summarize a whole school of teaching is to call it juicy, empowered and inner-directed. I will go into a detailed description down the road, but for now, you can read a quick intro here. There are currently many offerings teaching women how to step into leadership, raise their voices, and build businesses, which I believe are deeply important. There are also a growing bounty of programs for women wanting to step into their feminine power, often defined as softer and less thrusting, many times connected to the divine feminine. Which is wonderful and sorely needed as well.

What is at the core of what I'm offering is that feminine leadership awakens at the body level, more specifically, between your legs and that eros plays an essential lead. Your jewel is your seat of power and when this part of you is activated, when "she" is turned on, it will change how you relate to the world, how you lead yourself, how you create and how you engage with and lead others.. This is not only about a different perception of yourself, it is a physiologically, neurologically, psychologically and even on a soul-level different state. I will write more about this further on as well, but for now, let's focus on the five steps:

1. Become a BFF with your jewel. Use a hand-mirror, say hello to your jewel, praise her and learn how to pleasure yourself with presence and with all your senses. The more you recognize her holiness and hotness, the more you will see that mirrored back to you, even in a complicated negotiation at work.
2. Sway your hips - a moving meditationon with perks:). Sway your hips on your way to work or to meetings (in order for this to happen you need to walk more slowly and with awareness. You can see it as a form of walking meditation with benefits). See if you can be fully present while swaying your hips and enjoy the sensation in each step you take. It's a great way to get embodied and access your femininity and it's equally beneficial for releasing tension in your lower back and hips.
3. Take regular dance breaks. Take a wild dance break, in the morning, at noon, and before an important meeting. It's good for your brain, it destresses you, and it helps you move into your feminine empowerment, while adding more pleasure into your life.
4. Initiate a 'good-girl detox'. Go through your to-do list that is filled with shoulds and musts, like being the one taking on all the extra projects at work, offering to organize the outing at school (unless, of course, you really love it) and overall, see if you can cut down at least 30% of your current undertakings, so you can free up more time for being.
5. Prioritize going inwards and creating alone-time. Cultivate presence through a sensing practice, you can download my honey-filled version here for free (scroll down and sign up), through a daily meditation practice and by spending 30 minutes alone each day, if possible at least a few minutes in nature.

These are all simple steps, but they will make a big difference if you practice them daily. More and more research shows (which the spiritual masters always have known and taught) that the way we transform our existence is not by the grand gestures, or by moving to a mountain top in Tibet, but what we practice on a daily basis.

Have a juicy, empowered and inner-directed week!

In love and truth,
Lotta Lovisa
 

 

The Pressure Path vs The Pleasure Path

Jordan WHITFIELD, UNSPLASH

Most of us have been schooled in the path of pressure. We've learned how get adrenalized close to a deadline, and when a project is completed, we jump into the next one, create to-do-lists that never get shorter, no matter how much we accomplish, and the pressure is always on.

However, most of us have not been taught in school, or elsewhere, in the ways of the pleasure path. Frankly, for most of my life, I couldn't even conceive there 1) was such a path 2) what it had to do with me 3) how on earth I could get anything done through pleasure.

It's still a discovery each day, and I find myself reverting to pressure, even when writing about pleasure, which I find such a lovely irony. It is also a reminder that years of conditioning, especially at the level of the nervous system, don't change that easily.

 CARLI JEEN UNSPLASH

CARLI JEEN UNSPLASH



Here are the three things that I've learned, and teach, on how to switch gears:
1) Get out of the head. Take a break and move away from the war-zone that is our heads, and move into our bodies. First by taking a couple of deep breaths, and then by putting on some music and taking a dance-break or skip the music and just shake out the body. Like animals do when they've been in a stressful situation. Essentially, we need to end the contraction and move into a physical and neurological state of ease. Oh, and connecting with the jewel on a conscious level helps too:)!
2) Surrender. So let's say we have a deadline and we realize that we  can stay up the coming two nights and get it done, but that it will cost us dearly, and that there is a new deadline around the corner after that. The first step is to surrender to the fact that it is too demanding and start questioning and negotiating deadlines that often are arbitrary in the first place. What is possible and reasonable?  If it is a hard deadline that can't be changed, we can lower our own ambitions, see step 3. Another great way of dealing with pressure is to start creating much more space in our calendar and not let any new assignments in.
3) Letting go of perfection. Pleasure and perfection are at direct crossroads. Perfection, according to Jungian psychoanalyst Marion Woodman is an addiction that needs to be treated as such. Perfection eats life for breakfast. Another way of looking at perfection is to see that our inner judge is at work, the one that is terrified that we will make a wrong move, so we better check that writing ten more times before we let it go (looking at me:)). Letting go of our inner judge is a process too, but just to recognize that it is at work, is a great start. One of the best ways to discover  that our inner judge is running the show is to recognize the use of the world "should".  "I should have gotten that revision done last week". "I should have done a better job". "Someone else should have done their job right." 

So checking in with ourselves, after our dance break, and seeing that we will do what we can, and that that will be good enough is a great way to get started on the pleasure path. It is also a reminder to not treat "life as a problem to be solved, but rather as a reality to be experienced" according to Kirkegaard or according to Osho, as "a mystery to be lived".

Choosing the pleasure path instead of the pressure path is a choice we will need to keep coming back to. A choice to be taken again and again. If we truly believe that it is possible to live from a place of juiciness, empowerment and inner-direction, we need to make pleasure a priority. Pleasure will have to trump pressure in our own inner world, and be something we really want in our lives. Imagine if life could be lived from that place of play? And to see life as a mystery to be lived?

Have a lovely and juicy week!
Love and truth,
Lotta Lovisa
 

 


 

 

How to choose pleasure even when life sucks

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How to choose pleasure even when life sucks

Increasingly, I recognize that not only joy, but pleasure in itself, are states of awareness, of presence that function at a higher level of existence. Our brains are wired to focus on the negative; a survival skill, which usually goes under the name of negativity bias. In short, it is absolutely natural to dwell on our fears, worries, judgments and to compare ourselves to others, feeling like we are missing out, a.k.a. FOMO. Tara Brach, a lovely and wise Buddhist mindfulness teacher and psychogist, talks about that we keep being in a trance when we lean forward instead of being here. Which is what I wrote about last week, and that I'm super-duper good at.

Presence

The solution lies in getting out of our trance, and to move into a state of presence. It has to be a choice of being here, rather than getting stuck in our minds of wanting to be somewhere else. Tara Brach, in one of her latest talks, quotes a passage from the book The Snow Leopard by Peter Mathieson when we he meets a Lama who is crippled, can't move and hence is stationary in the Himalayan mountains. When he is asked how he can be so happy, being so crippled, living a very small life, he laughs wildly and responds. "Of course I'm happy. It's wonderful. Especially when I have no choice". Peter Mathieson is astonished at the whole-hearted acceptance - and so am I, and it also makes me happy.

Pleasure as a shortcut

Even if we aren't practiced Lamas, we can get there through mindfulness, remembering that we are in a trance. There is also is a shortcut to get out of trance, especially when life sucks: embodied pleasure. More specifically, and now I'm referring to us ladies again, the pleasure point that is located beneath our belt:) (I have a feeling a lot can be applied to men too, but I'm speaking to what I know). Mama Gena speaks and writes about her experience when she was learning the art of pleasure and asked to turn on her pleasure, even when she is not feeling it, as a practice. Which, to her astonishment, she realizes that she can. I'm learning it slowly as well, even though it's so easy to forget to practice it. Here's how I broke out of my trance of blues today:

1. I realized that I had a sleep deficit that was weeks overdue - so I went to bed early, which was a first way of reconnecting and of showing kindness towards myself and my body.
2. This morning I was still a bit sluggish, so before I did my regular practices, I took two minutes stroking her, my jewel, only for the sake of getting out of trance, which helped me remember that I indeed have a body.
3. Then I talked with a friend who is also part of the pleasure club, and the heaviness that comes out of being in trance (being stuck in our minds) dissipated.

Over the day, I recognized that writing helps me out of my trance too, as well as coaching. A wild dance in the living room adds an additional flavor. But it all starts with a recognition that I am stuck in trance - and that I can do something about it.

For women, in particular, we have also been given two other tools that are linked to one another - pleasure - and sisterhood - where the former is always available if we practice it, and the latter is something we can learn how to cultivate.

Sometimes I'm so astonished by this power, the power of the feminine, the power of presence and the power of the jewel - helping us to recognize pleasure, especially when we don't have a choice - that I feel like it should be yelled at from the rooftops, or patented:), or both.

To a highly pleasurable week.

In love and truth,
Lotta Lovisa

 

Savoring the World

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One core tenet of Tantra is to Savor the World. Exactly as it is. Instead of saving it or trying to make it different. I spent most of my life working on the latter, with the slightly ambitious goal of changing the world. (I even had a blog with that name - and I gave myself 365 days - haha. Aging has its absolute perks). Now I'm in a different relationship with the world. Instead of treating it as fixer-upper, the world and I are, for most of the time in the friendship category (even though I must admit that ice-lined pavements mid March is putting a bit of a strain in our relationship:)), which at times turn straight into a full-fledged love affair.

So is wanting to save the world wrong?

It depends. Jack Kornfield, a meditation teacher and psychologist, put it like this: 

"If you want to save the environment, save it because you love it, not because it needs saving".

Which is what I believe to be true today as well. If we are in the present moment, and start or get involved with something that we love for its own sake, which then happens to have a positive impact on people, or the planet, right now (it's impossible to know the impact of our actions 100 years from now) then that's paradise, free from cause or outcome-orientation. The motivation is coming from a savoring energy instead of a saving one.

The way the savoring energy can show up in our bodies is when we are joyfully relaxed, connected to all our senses and our hearts, and in my case,  it makes me want to throw a dance party, blow a kiss and pull out my pink boa:).

If we contrast that with the saving energy in our bodies, connected to the cause we are passionate about, we can detect it as a leaning-forward energy, with intensity, stealiness and tension focused on the problem that we want to solve, which also can show up as a burning sensation of frustration.

An alternative to contraction

I never knew there was an alternative to to contraction and forcing my will upon the world. I didn't know that savoring the world is about seeing how the world desires me right back (how trippy is that!). Now I feel like I struck gold:) and I love to share this juicy feminine way of relating to the world, which is what I offer through my courses and my coaching.

What is your relationship with savoring vs saving? How does it show up in your body? And how can you invite more a sense of savoring in your own life? And how would that impact how you live, lead and create?

Next week, I'm offering a limited number of free exploration sessions if you are curious about exploring working with me, and/or want to address an issue that you are dealing with - or is just longing for more savoring:). Sign up here!

To a savory-filled week!

Love and Truth,
Lotta Lovisa

Holding Life Lightly

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There is a fascinating correlation between courtesans, Tantrikas, Dervishes and other enlightened beings, such as Dalai Lama. They all hold life lightly. Dalai Lama is frequently caught jumping up and down on his sitting pillow with glee. Osho, a Tantrika, was known for his laughter and clarity. One of my Tantric yoga teachers said that you can easily see when a Daoist, Tantrica or a Darvish enters a room versus a Buddhist or an Ashtanga Yoga follower or teacher (I started out in the Ashtanga Path and also became a teacher in that tradition - the yoga-tradtion of A-type personalities, as someone quipped to me). The latters are heavier, more solemn, and the former, more serene and vibrant. Which also can be found in many courtesans of the past.

When we hold life lightly, we stand with one foot in our regular life and one foot in what's bigger than us. As what I learn in the path that I'm following, the Diamond Approach, being in the world but not of the world. We can hold ourselves, and our egos, with compassion, almost like being bemused by watching a child's dramatic displays. We don't get stuck in it. And that is also what is true if we follow a path that is pleasure-focused, where we are connected to our jewels. Because it's easy, especially in a world of suffering, to give pleasure a bad rap, or that alternately it becomes shallow and more about instant gratification instead of the life-force that it is. Increasingly, I see these two paths as deeply interconnected or maybe even one and the same.

In what situations do you feel weighed down or contracted? How does it feel in your body? And in what situations can you hold yourself lightly? And watch yourself with compassion? How does that affect your body?

My course about the above and the importance of awakening to the feminine is starting March 13. Check it out here.

Love and Truth,
Lotta Lovisa

 

Becoming Visible

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Writing my first post here on this new blog, I wanted to speak to the power - and the issues with  - becoming visible.

Ever since I got back to Sweden 2,5 years ago after 15 years in the Golden State, I've struggled with my identity, and how to be fully authentic in who I am now. After so many years away, where I had changed into a very different person than the one who left Sweden, I met my old self or rather old selves upon reentering Sweden. Which caused a lot of anxiety. Since I also had to figure out how to make a living, it was so easy going back to the "business-me", which was the Lotta I left behind. But she had so little to do with the person I am today. My fantasy-writing was one aspect of me that needed to get expressed. Yet what came to be the most important part of me, for now, to express, is my love for working with women, and this time, connecting women's "jewels" (a.k.a. yonis or vaginas) with women's strong connection to pleasure, creation and eros, which is very different than solely relying on our often well-equipped brains to make things happen. When we are connected to this force-field, which also helps us connect with something  bigger than ourselves, we blossom - and the world blossoms. Owning this fully, however, speaking publicly about it, has been a journey in itself, and before I could fully own it, I couldn't be visible either.

And that is the crux of becoming visible. The more we reveal of our deepest selves, whether it's through our music, our writing, our speaking, our art, the more "dangerous" it feels. And quite frankly. It is perilous. Especially for women. Yet, the price for staying silent and being hidden is so much higher. Life was never meant to be safe. The more we contract in fear, the more diminished our lives get, and as a result, we end up withholding our gifts and our essence from the world. As Zola wrote, "We are here to live out loud". Which I'm, finally! ready for. How about you?

In the coming weeks and months, I'll slowly but surely reveal me, with all my imperfections, even on video-camera, phew:), but it's a process that I'm also excited about. My hope is to inspire you to do the same.

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In Love and Truth,
Lotta Lovisa