Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ketchup on Eggs: An Anorexic Gives Up Her Game

"If you are a turned on woman, you are a special woman, and have likely paid for it--that very thing that has made you too much to handle, a little different, that makes you feel like your wants are too big--that thing that has been used against you, your huge appetite, is your power. It is not there to be fought or beaten down, it is there to be well fed!"--Nicole Daedone, from her post "Turned On Woman"

I’ve been in San Francisco for eight weeks now. Since coming here, I haven’t had my period. A spot here or there, but nothing more. This is always a red flag for me that the anorexia is back. Or at least my stress levels are up. And I feel a deep amount of shame when I miss my period. It’s a brutal reminder that I am somehow “less than a woman.” I am not a “normal, healthy, mature, sexual being.” I’m sick. A lost cause. Broken. Wounded. Irreparable beyond all measure (apparently with the anorexia also comes the drama queen).

And I have to admit, for the past few months, the voices have been coming back stronger. And very seductive. They tell me that if I am going to be successful in LA, I have to look the part. And that part is of a thin, well-dressed, sophisticated, powerful woman. And anything less than that is simply unacceptable. They tell me that going down just one more pants size will really put me in the competition. They tell me that eating too many carbs/fruit/meat/fat/sugar/fill-in-the-blank will leave me bloated and fat and undesirable. And even more frightening is they know how to hit me where it really hurts. They tell me that if I am not successful in LA, then I have failed my mission on this planet. That all the people who invested in my being here will be disappointed. I will have let them down. Failed them. And then everyone will be wondering how could someone with so much potential end up just a nobody on this planet.

It goes beyond simple vanity. This is my life purpose we are talking about. And anything that feels beyond my control leaves me paralyzed in fear—I mean literally, frozen in a life-or-death struggle in sheer terror. So I reach for the one thing that I can control.

The food.

I recently had lunch with a friend. I had an omelet with salad. He had a fat, juicy burger. And there was a part of me that didn’t want to show him how hungry I was. I also didn’t want to show him how low-brow I could go by dumping about 1/3 of a cup of ketchup all over my eggs. Like somehow I was exposed and my dirty little secret was out. A refined woman should be content with salad and eggs and should leave about a third of the food on her plate. She should use only the finest quality ingredients, not go slumming with Mr. Heinz. And she should take very small bites, take the time to chew thoroughly, never use her fingers and never, ever lick the plate clean.

And yet, everything in me wanted to dump a mound of ketchup on that plate, use my hands to shove it in, over-salt and over-oil everything, lick up the scraps from my dish—and then polish off his burger too.

And this raw, deep hunger leaves me so crippled, that I will go to extreme lengths to manage it so that it never sees the light of day.

This whole internal exchange lasts about 5 seconds. My eating disorder is rather sophisticated at this point, so it looks completely effortless as I gently pick up my fork and take a small bite, lightly dipping it in the tablespoon amount of ketchup I have neatly dolloped on the edge of my plate.

As the conversation continues, my friend makes an admission to me that he has been smoking for the past few months and that he has a whole routine he has in order to hide the secret. My ears perked up. I wanted access to his taboo little world.

“Give up the game,” I told him. “Tell me your routine. Tell me how well you hide your shame. Tell me about how you feel each time you get away with it.”

He smiled. His face got a little red. The balloon of orgasm swelled between us and we shifted a little closer to each other. Then he started to tell me about the certain clothes that he wears. The place around the corner he walks to smoke. The tree he hides behind. The place where he keeps his cigarettes hidden. The concomitant feelings of shame and euphoria that come when he doesn’t get caught. The backup plan he has should someone catch him off guard.

I felt so close to him in that moment—and profoundly grateful that he trusted me, that I gave up one little secret of my own. I told him that I felt a little shameful putting ketchup on my eggs. That somehow, this was a marker of how low and dirty I was. That I hesitated in doing it, and in fact put less on my plate than what I actually desired. He quietly took that in, with only a slight uplift of the corner of his mouth to give away his amusement.

Now I am here. The controlling has gotten worse since the huge change from NYC to SF. And now with the desire to move to LA coming on (with a projected date of April 1 in sight), I feel the fear deep within my core. I feel how utterly helpless I am. I feel like a liability on anyone who comes within 20 feet of me. I feel like I flash bright and exciting in the first few seconds, but when people see the dirt under the shine, they run away in terror and anger that I sold them a false bill of goods. A human “bait-and-switch” if you will.

I started my first diet when I was 19. Atkins. All hamburgers and cheese and bacon for two weeks. It was pretty miserable, but it started a new way of relating to food that has continued to torture me for the past 12 years. It’s an enemy. One that must be vanquished every day. And the less I put into my body, the more superior I feel. The more “together” I think my life is.

I was in NYC when 9/11 happened. 4 days after I turned 21. Quite a traumatic experience for a girl coming into her womanhood. And instead of fully feeling the fear, I hid it in my body and pushed on, using work and relationships to cover up the fact that I felt so frightened and out of control.

I had 3 months of counseling the beginning of 2003, but since then, all the work I have done has been on my own. Co-writing a play about my experiences has helped. Getting coaching has helped. Practicing Orgasmic Meditation has helped. Yoga teaching has helped. Raising $1000 for the National Eating Disorder Association has helped.

But it keeps coming back. Subtle. Convincing. And it just feels so goddamed good each time I make it through another meal without those weak fuckers knowing just how slick I have been. How I avoided eating the “wrong” foods. How I ate even less than them. How little I need and yet I can still top them all.

Except I can’t anymore. I am getting sloppy. Tired. And living in a community with 50 pairs of eyes always around me and other people cooking my food has left me scrambling to adapt my game. But I can’t hide it anymore. I don’t want to. It’s a cold, hard, painful place to live. It’s a second job. Managing your food. Managing your fear. Managing the hungry shadows that bark louder and louder each time my Orgasmic Meditation partner puts his finger on my clit or a steak is put on my plate.

So here I am openly admitting that I am not recovered. Recovering. But not recovered. Perhaps I went into a bit of remission. Sure, since 2009 I have gained 15 pounds. I am no longer playing the how-close-to-under-a-hundred-pounds-can-I-get game. And though that may seem like “progress”, there is still a powerful anorexic inhabiting my mind—and the closer she gets to getting everything she wants, the harder she plays. The stricter her rules become.

The self-sabotaging, anorexic girl needs to stop. Or I at least need to make friends with her. So I have started seeing a nutritional counselor. It’s embarrassing for me to admit that I need help. That I am powerless to handle it on my own. That I am not really an inspiring leader to help others in their process of transformation, but just a tired, hungry woman with a lot of issues. But there you are. My little admission.

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I am writing this down for the world to read. Yes, I am giving up my game. Maybe a healthy dose of vulnerability will disarm the power the anorexic girl wields over me and then we can sit down together for a cup of tea.

  1. I eat by myself as often as possible. Pretty obvious, but this keeps anyone from feeling my hunger and watching me in my weakest moments of giving in to eating. It also keeps the annoying questions to a minimum (Is that all you are eating? What is that? Can I have a bite? Why don’t you eat meat? Want some of mine?)

  1. I prepare all my own meals. Again, obvious. It allows me to know exactly how many calories are in it and ensures that “safe” foods are only included.

  1. If I have to go out to eat, I try to go to a place that has some sort of “serve-yourself” buffet line. This way I can control what goes on my plate and portion sizes.

  1. I restrict certain foods from my diet in the name of health or personal intolerance. And the beauty of this one is that I can easily get away with it in our culture. We all know that we shouldn’t eat McDonald’s or sugar or too many carbs. Because Oprah/Vogue/Morgan Spurlock/my yoga teacher tell us so. So if I tell you that I can’t eat “that” because it has meat/soy/gluten/dairy/white carbs/sugar/non-organic/GMO products, you will completely understand, give me a free-meal pass, and no one will be the wiser.

  1. If I have to go out to a restaurant, I look at the menu online ahead of time and decide how I will mix-n-match my meals to include only acceptable foods. This way I won’t fumble in front of other people and give up my game. What’s even better is when I can call the restaurant in advance and find out what substitutions they will allow me to do.

  1. Since I live with other people, I hide the “good” foods to the back of the fridge and put the bad ones out front. This way everyone else will eat the “bad” food and the “good” will be leftover for my meals. Even better is when I can set the “good” food to the side somewhere, with my name on it, to ensure that no one will eat it.

  1. If I go out to eat and I don’t have the option to order a meal of only “good” foods, then order as much “good” food as possible, then give the bad food away. This not only ensures my safety, it also makes me look like a selfless and giving person because I am sharing.

  1. If I go out to eat with others, I convince them to order the “bad” foods that I am really craving and then order just a small plate of “good” food for myself. This way I can be around the “bad” food, maybe even ask for a bite (which is also a good cover for looking like I am a “normal” eater), but I am silently sitting back superior while watching others give into their animal cravings.

  1. I have my list of excuses of why I can’t eat ready. There are truly a million I could come up with, but the top ones include: I’ve already eaten, I’m not that hungry, I can’t have that in my diet, I am not a fan of that, I’m feeling sick today, I’m too tired to go out, I don’t have the money to go out, I cook healthier anyway, I’ve still got plenty of leftovers, etc.

  1. I stay in charge of the kitchen in all its aspects. Harder now, but still doable. That includes shopping for food, cooking the food and packaging the leftovers. This way I know what foods to offer others (the “bad” ones) and which ones to set aside for myself (the “good” ones). Also I can make sure that my portion sizes are acceptable (i.e. small) and offer bigger ones to others. This gets the food out of the house faster. Because there is nothing more terrifying for an anorexic than lots of uneaten food just hanging around the house. It’s like an alcoholic just hanging out at a bar. The constant call of temptation is only 20 feet away.

  1. I have lots of gum, mints, water, tea, coffee, vegetables, cough drops on hand. This keeps my mouth busy and my belly filled up so I don’t actually have to feel the real hunger underneath.

  1. I bring “safe” snacks in my purse for when I am “on-the-go.” This keeps the hunger away as well, especially if I am in an area of “unsafe” foods or end up at a restaurant with “bad” foods. What’s really classy is when I can sneak off to the bathroom, shove the food in my mouth while standing in the stall, then head back to my friends with no one knowing the difference. My rebel is satisfied, my hunger is squelched for a moment and no one saw me in my ugliness.

So here I am. Naked in my shame in front of my friends, family, enemies and strangers. Each day is a package of excruciating choices—this food and that food; in front of this person and not in front of that person; this indulgence and that restriction, etc.

Because as slick and sophisticated as this game is, I also know that a bigger one awaits me on the other side of addiction. One where I am acting in film with major Hollywood players. One where I am teaching Orgasmic Meditation to thousands of people. One where I am making a lasting impact on the evolution of human consciousness. One where I am building and fostering deep and intimate relationships with friends and lovers. One where I have the energy, speed and skill to keep up with the best players in the field. And one where I feel my true power and the freedom that comes with making friends with my appetite.

Quite frankly, I am just tired. Exhausted. I want to feel alive. I want to feel like I am surfing on top of the wave, rather than fumbling and drowning each time the ocean swells. I want to feel the thrill of surprise and the freedom of being in flow, rather than the bondage of fear each time my edges are stretched. I want to be a responsible adult—making a living wage and consistently being well-used in service.

This is where you come in. To keep me awake. For the price of playing a bigger game is the dropping off of the old one. And now that you know my secrets, I can’t hide anymore. I can’t slide back into lazy, destructive patterns that keep me small and safe. I have no choice now but to burn through this piece that has consumed the past 12 years of my life.

My friend gave up his entire game in exchange for just one secret from mine. Ketchup on eggs. And this one admission has changed everything.

I will make the same offer to you today. I have given up my game. If you want to play, I’m only asking for one secret from yours. You don’t have to post it to the world. You don’t have to tell me. You don’t have to tell anyone. All you have to do is tell yourself (that’s the only person that really matters after all). Write it down. Admit your dirty, little secret. Acknowledge it. Feel it in your body. Take the time to listen to what it’s saying. Why it entered into your life. What function it serves. What gift it has to offer.

You have little to lose (5 minutes and a sheet of paper) and a world of desire to gain.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Orgasm in the Marketplace: Engaging Hunger, Turn On & the Shadow

December 2, 2011, 4th St and Mission, SF

I went out yesterday afternoon on an errand.  I wore a short, black dress for the unseasonably warm December day in San Francisco. Low-cut. Spaghetti straps. I was only going to the dry cleaners, but I felt “on”. I felt good. And I wanted attention. I walked downstairs. The men in my community started flirting with me. Watching me as I walked to the bathroom. As I swung my hips. As my legs swished past each other in my arrogant strut. I could feel just how badly they wanted to fuck me. I loved it.

And then I turned the corner. From my insulated little block, I headed towards the open streets of SoMa. And at first it started with just a guy on a bike with a bright orange shirt.

“Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey girl, I’d like to get to know you!”

He bellows this as he circles past me a few times. It’s harmless. I crack a smile. “Approve,” I say to myself. But some part of me is starting to shrink back. I walk down Howard, past a grocery store with immigrant workers unloading boxes from a truck. They take their time to watch me as I walk past.

And then I turn onto 6th street. Clumps of men standing everywhere. Hungry. For everything. Drugs. Food. Connection. Pussy. Care. Love.

“It’s only one block,” I think to myself, clutching my bag and covering my exposed chest. And how I hate myself for this. A guilt rises in me that screams, “You arrogant, little white princess. Look at you running. How would you like to be fucked now, huh? You have it so good. And what did you expect wearing something like that?”

I move quickly past as one of the guys screams out, “Hey, I like them legs! Mmmm mmmmmm…”

I duck into the cleaners—safe for now in this business-focused interaction. The script has been worked out and rehearsed in this scene and my sex has nothing to do with it (or so I tell myself).

I head out of there, back to the urban jungle of 6th street, and quickly start to make my way home, when I see a very old man hobbling (drunkenly) down the road. He has a deep limp, a cane and very floppy sandals that do not bode well for his intended trajectory towards the sidewalk curb. I keep moving though—until I hear a crashing scrape just behind me. The man has fallen over and is bleeding from his ears (though, by the looks of him, the blood could have been present even before he hit the sidewalk). Myself and three other men (one of them wearing a suspicious Fedora hat) gather around.

“Are you alright man?” one of them asks. “Hey, hey don’t move,” he says. He starts banging on the locked gates of the shelter, trying to get some assistance. The door is open. I can see people inside moving in response to the situation at my feet.

The situation. This man is not a man, but a situation. And I am frozen. Impotent. This human being is lying here in front of me. Completely out of contact with the present, and yet he is still a human in need of immediate attention. All the horrible, self-centered thoughts come up.

“What if I touch his blood and get some sort of disease?”

“What if I bend over and expose the fact that I am not wearing underwear to the denizens of 6th street?”

“Am I really helping him here or just standing here because I think I should help?”

“What if I go to pick him up and clutches at my breasts or bites me or hits my face?”

I feel so ruthless and disgusting. The men who reflect my light are worthy of my time and attention, but those who reflect my shadows are to be handled by those of a lesser kind.

And when I see that the shelter workers have it handled, I rush on (but not before Fedora man offers me a piece of silver to buy—never miss an opportunity, that one).

I think I hear one of them commenting on “that girl that’s running away,” (or is it just my own conscience—a sort of vanity-driven Tell-Tale Heart?) as I turn the corner onto Howard street into the sunshine of the late afternoon. As I make my way down the final stretch onto Moss, I catch from the corner of my eye an older man slowing down and to stare at my ass.

I make it back home and somehow feel saddened. Not quite crushed, but muted. Dampened. And confused. How much of that was me in my own shame-y, me-centered world imagining everyone looking at me and how much of that was actually the cloud of others’ starvation engulfing me. A little of both, I imagine.

And this leaves me wondering: how do I go out into the world and shine my turn on and still stay conscious and feeling into all the pain that surrounds me, while still maintaining healthy boundaries? How can I both in approval of my extreme vanity and humbleness. My insecurity and confidence? My repulsion and my compassion? When am I acting out of “shoulds” or daring myself into some extreme situation just to prove how brave I am and when am I outing out of true desire?

Honestly, I don’t have a clear answer for any of this. The only things I can come up seem vague and not very comforting, but there are a few:

2. Remember that you are not alone. We all have our vanity. Our insecurity. Our entitlement. The places where we more important than others and the places where we feel like pathetic pieces of shit. It’s in remembering our common human frailties that the seeds of compassion are sown.

3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. To look a little rough and ugly. That’s living an orgasmic life. In the involuntary. Without a Step-by-Step How-To Manual. Just a present-moment compass and some vague sense of North. Learn the lesson, say you’re sorry, clean up and move on.

4. Express what is real for you in the moment. If you are feeling scared and want to run away, admit it. If you are repulsed, don’t try to be a “good, loving person.” Just admit you are repulsed. Until you are comfortable looking at ALL the emotional options on the table, you will continue the unconscious pattern of choosing the “shoulds” as opposed to being authentic. And then you are not truly free.

So instead of getting caught in the mire about how I am not Mother Theresa and I should have kept my turn on out and I should have more approval and say thank you and smile and be nicer to people, I just said Fuck It. I am freaked out and scared and horrified and hate my sex and hate the world and wish everyone would just wake up and take responsibility for their lives so we can all tap into our orgasm and live from purpose and desire so we find love for ourselves and stop war and save the planet and be ready for the next evolutionary phase of our existence. Is that so much to ask?!

OK, maybe I put a little too much pressure on myself. But this is the edge I am riding these days. Living a turned-on life and exposing myself to a hungry world that either tries to kill you with a jealous hammer or suck you dry of your turn-on.

What that also requires of then is to acknowledge the places I am hungry. I think that’s the biggest piece for me to get here. Their hunger reflects my own scarcity. And I don’t want to look at that because then I have to admit that I am not independent, invincible and can hold it all together. I see the beggar in me through their eyes. I see the hustler in me through their words. I see the vampire in me through their actions. And no amount of glossy, attractive men wanting to fuck me can cover that up.

But if I can learn to love myself here, then I can truly learn to love it out there. Then wherever I am, no matter who is there, there will be no need to cover the flame of my orgasm.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

150 miles on the back of a Harley: A Lesson in Trust

Early morning mist in Calistoga
"Do you have patience to wait til your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving til the right action arises by itself?"
--Lao Tzu

I’m having a hard time trusting the universe right now. Or rather, it’s not that I’m having a hard time trusting—it’s more like “Why am I still here? Am I insane to trust this? Am I looking at the world with Pollyanna, rose-colored glasses?”

I got to San Francisco five weeks ago. Since then, I have had a falling out with one of my dearest friends, I can’t seem to find any reliable source of income to save my life, I haven’t performed on stage or film in months and the littlest things make me burst out in tears. I feel a profound sense of failure much of the time and a general confusion about who I am and what I am supposed to be doing in the world. All I want to do is go home and have my mother take care of me.

“Who’s gonna save me!?”
“When is it all gonna pay off!?”
“I’m a good person, when do I get to be in the spotlight?!”

I hear my whiny little victim voice. I pay attention to her, listen to her, love her, and then keep going back into the fire.  Where I face all the ways I steal energy from other people. Where I flash a lot of sexy bravado, but run away at the most tender intimacy. Where I take shortcuts in getting what I want rather than standing in my power and simply asking. Where I kill other people (with a smile on my face) because I am secretly jealous/threatened/insecure.

And I am supposed to trust that everything is being perfectly handled by the universe to guide me in fulfilling my sacred contract?


A few weekends ago, I got an invitation to spend the night in Calistoga, right next to Napa. A night away from it all and among the beauty of wine country sounded like a dream to me, so I immediately said yes. The catch was that it was a 75-mile trip north and I would have to ride on the back of a motorcycle. Well, I’m a tough bitch, I thought, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

Whoa. First of all I had some intense gear to wear, plus a heavy backpack. Second of all, the seat can get mighty painful to your lady parts after straddling it for some time. And third of all, there is no freakin’ seatbelt (windows, airbag, protection, etc.) on that thing. It’s just you, the asphalt and a lot of metal zipping by you at 80 miles per hour.

This was an experience in total trust. I had to trust that my driver knew how to handle the machine and not play my usual helpful-but-fearfully-controlling-backseat-driver. I had to pay constant attention to the road and to the turns. There is no enjoying the scenic view and jamming to your favorite tunes. You lean when he leans. You brace yourself for the bumps as they approach. You hold tighter as he accelerates. You remain still and centered as he slows down. It becomes an intense meditation—and if you check out in any way, there is no reset button. So even though there’s cold rain and wind on my thighs and my feet are vibrating intensely and my shoulders ache and my wrists are sore from gripping him and I am silently freaking out as we inch past 50…60…70 mph, I just stay focused on the ride and don’t let go.

Because I know it won’t last forever.

So this is where I am now. Through the crying and depression and lack of focus and intense fears and ugly parts of myself, I know it won’t last forever. And it is a necessary step on my path in order to enjoy the warm bath and fine wine to come. And I know it’s worth it. I can feel it deep within my core.

My night in Calistoga was an extraordinary collage of wine, food, spa and landscape that was well worth the price of cold fingers and a sore butt. And when I look at my desires for my life (to create films that bring the taboo into light and find the gift within it), I think to myself, “ Well, I suppose I should actually feel what it is I want to express if I am going to express it.”

So now, this trust has become sort of a game. Can I actually love my crying fits? Can I enjoy feeling the pain of a thousand unfulfilled desires burn through me? Is there a chance to “get off” in this wet, slimy, hairy underbelly of existence that keeps pulling me down?

Really, the choice is clear. Anything less than a full, surrendered “yes” is a step back towards suffering and victimhood.

Incidentally, the 75-mile ride back down to San Francisco, was a LOT friendlier. The sun was out, I knew how to handle myself on the bike, I had a sense of how long it was going to be and I asked for towel to cushion my ass. I suppose life really is just a practice in exploring our edges and pushing our boundaries beyond our known limits. And then that which we found unbearable before, becomes easier to hold as we expand.

That is, until an even scarier ride comes along…and then we do the whole thing all over again.

All photos copyright Candice Holdorf. Taken at Solage resort in Calistoga, CA. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Occupy My Heart: An NYC Love Story

13 years, 1 month, 8 days.

13 years.
1 month.
8 days.

How do you measure an era of one’s life (ok, that sounds a little cheesily Rent-esque, but you get the point).

That’s how long I lived in New York City—that sprawling, electric rainforest of cultures, experiences and concrete. Lots of concrete. Love it or hate it (or love to hate it), it’s a city that demands to be respected and pushes you to the edge.

I arrived there one week before turning 18 to embark on the dream of an acting career. I left at 31 to embark on an evolved version of my dream: to bring orgasm to the world through acting in film (if you had asked me two years ago if I would have ever written that sentence, I would have looked at you like you had three heads).

I lived in Washington Square, Kips Bay, South Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Morningside Heights, Yorkville, Washington Heights, Cobble Hill, Astoria and East Elmhurst (with a 2 week stint in Midwood, Brooklyn thrown in for good measure).

I was in Brooklyn during 9/11 (four days after my 21st birthday), walked from the Upper East Side to Times Square during the 2003 blackout and spent part of my last evening in the city at Occupy Wall Street.

I worked in the offices of NYU, behind the bar of an East Village 24-hour diner, taught in the studios of numerous yoga spots, served coffee at the Washington Heights Starbucks, sold jewelry at a fine crafts gallery in Brooklyn, and coached many people in the subtle but extraordinary practice of Orgasmic Meditation.

I performed in theatres in the Lower East Side, Times Square, Hells Kitchen, the Upper West Side, Chinatown, and both the East and West Village. I co-founded a theatre company that is still going strong and co-wrote/co-produced a play that went on to the 2007 NYC Fringe Festival. I shot an indie film and numerous commercials all over the tri-state area.

And yet, none of this really matters on the surface. What stays with me is the feeling I have when I look back. The lightness and freedom when I fall into a pile of fresh snow (immediately followed by the dread I feel when hiking through the dirt slush that hugs the curb for the next 3 months). The sticky, thick wetness of a NYC apartment in summer—sans air conditioning. The electric buzz of Times Square blinking her offerings to tourists hungry for…well…whatever they can imagine.

And the people. Actors, writers, musicians, yogis, teachers, students, homeless dudes, people posing as homeless dudes, drug dealers, waiters & waitresses, prostitutes, lovers, haters, fighters, peacemakers, Wall Street champs, drag queens, buskers, subway drivers, bodega owners…I can’t possibly list them all here.

My last day in NYC was a Friday. October 7, 2011. Warm. A little Indian summer just before the apple-crisp winds of autumn. I spent the morning packing up the last of my things. Sent a few last minute packages in the mail via the post office a block and a half away. A bus ride and a few subway stops later, I’m in Union Square. I swing by Trader Joe’s for a bottle of wine (thank-you-gift) then walk down Broadway and stop by the $1 shelves of the Strand. Looking for an airplane book (something Paulo Coelho-ish?), I instantaneously stumble upon The Celestine Prophecy, a parable from the ‘90s focused on the energy of the universe, synchronicities and the next phase of our evolution. “How perfect is that?” I think to myself. And in that moment, a book by that exact title (How Perfect is That) pops into my view. Follow the synchronicities. I walk through NYU land, past Tisch, beyond Houston and into Soho. I make a quick stop by my work and then I am off to the southern tip of Manhattan.

And it is here, at Occupy Wall Street, that I finally felt like I was perched on the perfect bridge between the life I once wore and the open space I now faced. I know the rosy, warm, soft hum of human connection, having spent time in SF and Burning Man and through practicing Orgasmic Meditation. And right there, in the cultural epi-center of the planet, the energy of fiscal greed was alchemized into pure love. It blew my mind. I could dance here to the drummers and whatever came out of me was innocent perfection. Old men, young girls, dirty punks with metal in their faces and crisply-dressed Wall Street players (their ties coming out of place as they self-consciously swayed to the beat) all met there. All accepted exactly as they were. Myself included. And for a few moments, in that swirling, intoxicating rhythm of my heart, I fell through the veil of self and other. We all…just…were. Together.

Holding my breath, I slipped out gently (so as not to tear the fabric that snuggled the group) to a friends place on Wall Street. I connected with her, floated on back up to Union Square for some goodbyes at Bar 13, and then made my way to the R train (the first train I took when I moved to NYC in 1998) for my final subway ride.

And as I stood on the late night platform, the raspy, singular sound of a man and his guitar jangled in my ear.

His song?

New York State of Mind.”

Now…how perfect is that? 

All photos and video shot at Occupy Wall Street, October 7, 2011. Copyright Candice Holdorf

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Orgasmic Living: Peak, Excitement, Play

The Open Road on the Way to Burning Man.
Copyright Candice Holdorf
“When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.”—Paulo Coelho

I am sitting in San Francisco writing this blog. At times I find myself amazed that I am here, working with OneTaste. Already, I can feel my tumescence rising. How do I fit in? Am I taking up too much space? Am I irritating people? How can I be best used? What do I really want? Do I deserve it? Am I asking for too much?

Frankly, I have gotten just about everything I have asked for. It’s funny to notice my discomfort in this situation. As soon as it’s offered to me, I want to reject it and ask for just a little bit less (don’t want to appear too greedy). Or I want to explain myself to others as to why I deserve what I want.

Let’s go back about 2 weeks ago. I began talking to one of the senior teachers at OneTaste. I knew, deep in my soul, that I needed to be a part of the new Orgasmic Meditation (OM) course in Los Angeles at the end of October. I feel that the next phase of orgasm includes bringing prominent people from the media into the movement. Also, I have an incredible desire to act in film—independent film that pushes boundaries and explores the “dark night of the soul.” So it all just made sense.

But as the conversation continued, there was more. Oh yes, a lot more. A deeper hunger emerged. A desire to move across the country, move in with the OM community, work with OneTaste, get trained in Orgasm, connect to my burner tribe, and (quite frankly) have sex. A lot of sex. A lot of good sex. And OM. A lot. 5 times a day. To connect deeply, fully, organically to my hunger (which for many years I had seen as my arch adversary).

The discussion lasted a few days, over email. Proposals were written. Negotiations made. But nothing set in stone. Then finally I began to see how (like a good girl) I was waiting for PERMISSION from other people (my bosses in NYC, my clients, my teachers, my friends) to “allow” me to make this change. And I thought to myself, “Dear God! This is my one and only life! The only person responsible for it is myself…and you know? The rest of the world will go on just fine if I leave NYC—in face, the world may even be better off if I follow my desire.”

So I gave myself one week. One week to leave my jobs, to say goodbye to my friends and clients, to ship my life across the country and take a big fucking chance that it would all work out: money, orgasm, a place to stay…everything. A lot can happen in a week. As Paulo Coelho says “A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” I was completely capable to move across the country in a week. In fact, I was being called to do so.  I hit a peak and it was time to change the stroke. To keep going in NYC would drain me. Irritate me. And over time, a layer of resentment and bitterness would seep into my body.  It was time to leave. To go in a whole new direction.

So, though there were moments when I got choked up my last days in NYC, it felt so right. Saying goodbye, over and over, I felt a little more of the old me letting go and creating space for the woman I am becoming.

And now…I am living in my purpose, aka the excitement channel (in orgasmic terms). A time to create. A time of limitless possibility. A time to take responsibility for my desire and be bold enough to ask for what I want.

So. Desire. Orgasm. Purpose. Life. I am here. I have shown up to the game. Let’s play.

PS: Look for a later post on the magical experience that was my last day in NYC. Abundant with synchronicities and deeply fulfilling, the city and I shared a sweet goodbye that reminded me of why we fell in love in the first place.

Friday, September 16, 2011

If You Build It, They Will Come (But What If I Don't Know What I Am Building?)

My friend Lance and I as Vestal Virgins at Burning Man
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less-traveled by/And that has made all the difference. --Robert Frost

When I decided to move to the west coast, my intention was always to land in Los Angeles—and it still is. The film industry beckons me, as does the prospect of bringing Orgasmic Mediation to the myriad of package-pretty (but sensation-lacking) actors and actresses living in Tinseltown.

I had a plan: save up some money, buy a car and drive directly to LA at the beginning of 2012.

Only now, a pesky little gnat has taken up residence in my heart: Desire.

I recently spent four weeks out west, both in San Francisco and in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada as part of set-up and tear-down crew for the annual Burning Man festival (if you don’t know what that is, I really can’t explain it here, but trust me, it is a life-changing crucible of transformation). During these weeks, I experienced what it was like to feel validated as a sexually hungry woman. I felt creative in ways I never imagined (I painted a bunch of tables for Center Camp and gave a talk on creativity, purpose and orgasm—two things I have never done before!). I lived an existence where magic and synchronicity were the status quo. I celebrated my 31st birthday on the playa. And I found my people. As I write this now I am starting to weep. Family. People who see all of you and love every little crazy, creepy, freaky, dirty, shiny, golden scrap of your wounded being. People, who when I say “I am sad” or “I am angry”, say “Great! Tell me about it!”—not the usual “Get over it” or “Awww, everything’s gonna be ok.” Most of all, I learned how to better express my own love. To not hold back out of fear of what the “Other” is thinking, but to just fucking stand up, look someone in the eye (with love and without entitlement) and say “This is what I feel. This is what I want.”

So now, all I can think about is how the hell I can get to San Francisco as soon as possible. Not in a passing “I’ll spend a week there on my way to LA” kind of way. But in a serious, 3-4 month energetic fortification before making my way to jungles of Los Angeles. As in buying a one-way ticket two weeks from today, donating most of my possessions and shipping the rest. Tying a hasty little bow on this 13-year love affair with New York City.

The thing is…I’m scared. Really. Do I have a job in SF? No. Do I have a place to live? Well, maybe a crash pad for a few weeks, but certainly nothing really affordable for me right now. Do I have a car (so I really need one)? A plan? Any real good reason to do this?

I mean, this doesn’t make sense! I just signed a 3-month teaching contract at the City University of New York. I have clients at the studio I teach out of in Soho. I need to be saving money now and moving costs a lot of money!

And yet…it all just feels like an excuse to me.

Because the bottom line is that my desire is calling me in a BIG FUCKING WAY to SF—right now in this very moment (oh man, here come the tears again).

I know what you are thinking: “Oh Lord, another one of these people who is making crazy life changes after going to Burning Man.” I hear you. But, this isn’t my first time at the burn, ya know. It’s my third, so it’s not as if I just experienced all this opening for the first time and I have decided to sell my life and become a monk in the Himalayas. I mean, I already started selling everything I own last April. I already had a plan to go west for the past year. And I am keeping in step with the purpose I was put here for: to perform and to bring OMing to everyone. It simply feels like I am now listening even more closely to my body, which yearns to accelerate at a pace I had not anticipated.

At Burning Man, my intention was to let go of the Good Girl/Princess and to step into the role of a Queen. Though there is still always work to be done here, I feel as if I shed a huge part of the last 10 years of my life on the playa. And in this lightness, I have found an immediacy, a weightlessness and a freedom in life. I can’t return now to the old ways of living: holding myself back, waiting for the right moment, scrimping by on “just enough”, living in the land of “if only” or “what if.” The moment is now. Always. The moment is right now. It’s simply up to me to choose which direction to go…

Photo Copyright Candice Holdorf

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dropping the Fairy Tale: Good Girls vs. Good Women

Anne Hathaway from The Princess Diaries

Once again it’s time for another one of those posts that explores the finer distinctions between two seemingly similar subjects (you may remember an earlier post of mine, What do you REALLY want: Desire vs. Craving).

Through the questions that arise in coaching sessions to observations made in nail salons to my own personal journey, I have discovered that we as women have a hard time letting go of the “good girl.” You know, the one all in pink who sat quietly in church, never tells a lie and is the apple of daddy’s eye? No, you don’t, because she doesn’t exist. As much as we try to be that “good girl,” our desire and orgasm sneak out in a lot of ways. It can leave us feeling exhausted doting on others and guilty in our inadequacy. Or perhaps we’ve rejected our desire for so long, we react in anger and blame those who “took advantage of us.”

In any case, we are grown now. Free women to choose what we want, whenever we want it…right? Well, not exactly. Our bodies may have matured, but the way that we interact with the world has changed very little from when we were 4 years old. In fact, we still live in a society that very much reinforces the notion of a high-class lady as being pre-pubescent thin, beautiful and, above all, very proper. Any other type of woman is troubled, too much, crazy, a slut, etc (you’d never see Prince William fight for the hand of someone like Lady Gaga, even if he were madly in love with her).

So I’ve come to set the record straight and help out my fellow ladies who are working on finding their voice and coming to their power. No, to break out of the “good girl” mold, you don’t have to become Lady Gaga (though I love that woman with every ounce of my being). But you will have to confront and let go of a lot of old ways of relating that kept you safe and comfortable in the past.

So, without further ado, I bring you the Top 10 ways of telling a “Good Girl” from a “Good Woman.”

1. A good girl runs from fear. A good woman embraces it.

A good girl doesn’t want to rock the boat. She’s afraid of hurting people, going outside the box…essentially she is afraid of life. A good woman doesn’t escape her fear, but she leans into it, because she knows her ultimate fulfillment comes from discovering the desire on the other side.

2. A good girl denies her hunger. A good woman relishes it.

“Oh, no thank you, I’m full.” “Oh I’ll just have the diet platter.” “I’ll skip dessert. I’m being good this week.” We’ve all heard the catchphrase of women still caught in “good girl” mentality. And we also know that women dieting are more likely than not having orgasms. And this doesn’t mean that a good woman is stuffing her face all the time and pigging out on cheetos and bon-bons. But a good woman slows down and knows herself well enough to choose what is nourishing and relish every bite…whether it’s the grilled fish and asparagus, or the double chocolate chip cake. She eats life to feed her soul, not to numb the sensation.

3. A good girl withholds. A good woman adjusts.

A good girl is going to tell her partner what she thinks he wants to hear, but in the process, she holds back a piece of her voice. That unspoken desire sits in her body and, over time, rots into shame and resentment. Over time, she will (consciously or unconsciously) do things to her partner to punish him…and ultimately herself. A good woman tells her partner the truth. She approves of him/her and learns to calibrate her words so she can be heard and received, while fully expressing what it is she wants. She adjusts her partner (and is desires to receive the same kind of attention and honesty in return).

4. A good girl receives with guilt. A good woman receives with grace.

Good girls may accept a gift, but there is always a string of “you shouldn’t have” or “that’s too much” or “you didn’t have to do this” that comes along with it. She has to knock herself down a few notches in order to make it acceptable to receive, lest she feel her hunger (and subsequent shame) that comes with receiving. A good woman says “thank you”. Just thank you. Because she knows she is worthy (without the insecure timbre of entitlement). She listens to her hunger, knows when she is full and pours out genuine gratitude.

5. A good girl does what looks right. A good woman does what feels right.

A good girl follows a tried-and-true structure that will elicit positive reinforcement from her partner and the people in her life. A good woman moves from an instinctual compass. While it may look messy from the outside, deep within her body, she knows it is the path for her.

6. A good girl stuffs her anger. A good woman alchemizes it.

Good girls don’t get angry. Bullshit. They just stuff it until it seeps out as passive aggressiveness. A good woman acknowledges her anger in the moment and feels into it so she can know where she is out of integrity in her life. From there, she can use the force of that anger as power to change course.
7. A good girl strives for perfection. A good woman lives in perfection.

A good girl lives her life seeking to perfect perceived “impurities” in her life, so she is never fully able to relax and drop into the present, lest someone catch a glimpse of her ugliness. A good woman sees every moment as perfect, with both it’s divinity and it’s humanity.

8. A good girl’s desire is frozen. A good woman’s desire is dynamic.

A good girl is bred to want the same thing every day and desire only so much as is socially acceptable. She has lost the connection to the freedom that comes with spontaneity. In fact, she will often deny that she wants the very thing that will give her the deepest satisfaction. A good woman’s desire ebbs and flows like the tide: small and humble in one moment, wild and tempestuous in the next. But it is always, always authentic and she is constantly seeking to expand her container to hold more.

9. A good girl submits. A good woman surrenders.

A good girl submits, relinquishing her power to perceived “authorities” in order to escape the clamoring cry of her orgasm. A good woman surrenders control to her orgasm, and thus holds her own amongst the truly powerful.

10. A good girl waits for the fairy tale. A good woman creates her own legacy.

A good girl is still trapped in a tower, like a virginal princess waiting in vain for Prince Charming to save her. Over time, she can turn jaded and bitter, a “victim” of the happily-ever-after story she bought. A good woman turns the key to the door, descends the tower staircase and, like a Queen, enters the vast terrain of her own pleasure. It is from this empowered place that she can choose the life she truly desires.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Cancer of Hopelessness: How one crazy dude and two rock bands whacked me from despair

I’ve been rather low these past few days with this feeling of “why bother?” I can work hard my whole life and will it really make a difference? Am I just a dreamer who has lost touch with reality? Who cares about my selfish little dreams when there are people on the planet who are starving, being beaten and mutilated, and who don’t have the freedom to speak their minds? Shouldn’t I just shut up and be thankful for all that I have?

Well, no. First of all I know that all that talk is just my fear and my shame around asking and receiving what I want. Those voices provide a strong argument for me to NOT do the scary, hard work of being an advocate for the dreamers and the optimists and for the people who believe that if I touch just one life today, even anonymously, then that will be “enough.”

Technology is advancing at an exponential rate. Will social progress come along for the ride and bring issues like gender equality, global poverty, religious freedom and environmental conservation to light? To my surprise (and despair) an overwhelming number of people I know do not think so.

There seems to be an all-pervading cancer of hopelessness that is seeping into our culture and keeps us from living our natural state of joy, grace, pleasure and abundance. It disguises itself in many forms. There are those who sit back and say “There’s never gonna be peace anyway, so might as well let the bastards blow each other up.” Another group may say, “That’s happening over there. It doesn’t affect me. I’ve got my own to take care of.” And then there are others who are aware of what’s happening but get stuck in their anger, righteous indignation, and separation from humanity. “How dare THOSE people shit all over the planet and ruin it for the rest of us.”

We’re all stuck. For every tweet that goes out to topple the repressive regime in one country, there is another self-serving group waiting to grab power. For every step forward, it feels like we end up twenty steps back from where we started. We are all living life as fast as we can in the hopes to die number 1.

And yet…I can’t help but return full of hope. There is something in me that won’t let me quit. Call is purpose. Call it orgasm. Call it the silly dreamer sickness. Yes, we are bombarded with images of despair now more than ever. But that is in fact exactly what we need to take the first steps towards healing. GLOBAL AWARENESS. 100 years ago, someone in a third world country would not have even known that riches exist for someone like him. Now he knows it’s possible. A woman who is forced to hide her sexuality in an extremely oppressive society now knows that somewhere in the world exists a place where she could express herself. A gay kid trapped in the reddest of red states now knows that somewhere is a place where his love will be legally honored. And we can no longer turn our eyes away from the truth that another person’s pain is our own. We can now put a face to the “global issue.”

Awareness leads to possibility which leads to hope. And hope is what keeps us alive in the darkest hours. Yes. It’s gonna get messy at first. Anytime you start airing out dirty laundry, the resentments will spill out all over yourself and others. In fear we try to hold onto them and cast them onto others in blame. It may feel safe and comfortable in the moment, but that’s the easy way out. The path sustainable change is to recognize those resentments as unexpressed desires, take responsibility for them and ask for forgiveness from those we have hurt along the way. Only as the old energy passes through us are we able to clear a space for the frozen pain to melt and the wounds to heal.

A final story: I walking home this afternoon. I had my ipod on. Beautiful day. I was just starting to emerge from the feeling of hopelessness that had being weighing me down when out of nowhere: WHACK! This homeless-looking man passes me and (intentionally) hits me hard on my upper arm. I stand there. Shocked. People are staring at me with looks of confusion and concern. One girl asks “Are you OK?” I touch my arm to check for bruising or blood and nervously laugh. “I’m fine,” I say. I turn to look at my attacker and he is mocking me. The way I touch my arm. The way I am laughing. As if I am some stupid bitch. Again, I am shocked. I can see this man is clearly unstable. I drop into him and feel not anger, but a deep sadness at how far gone he is. What amounts of pain must he have experienced that he must completely check out of life in order to cope? I turned away and kept walking. One man looked at me and in solidarity said, “What a douche.” But I didn’t feel like dismissing the attacker. He was alive and real, just like me. I softly said, “He’s obviously not in his right mind.”

I continue on and notice a deep welling in my throat. Hmmm…hope. Is there any hope of help for him? And if not, what about the millions of others around the world? If hopelessness is right here in my neighborhood, how the hell can I even think to be of service to those around the planet? I feel the despair creep back in.

And that’s when the universe steps in. At that moment Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” starts to play on my ipod. OK, I know. It feels like a moment out of cheesy movie. But as I turned the corner onto empty Newtown Rd, the tears began to pour out of me. I suddenly had this rush of gratitude. Of remembrance. Oh yes, belief and hope are who I am and I am here to walk through the shadows to help others see what is possible. That there is life on the other side. That dreamers are not unrealistic fools. The crying overpowered me. My heart cracked open in the middle of the street. And then (just when I thought it was over), Ben Harper starts up next with, “When She Believes.” Now if that ain’t a sign from beyond, I don’t know what is. The tears start up all over again. Cleansing, sweet, open, grateful. I am finally in communion with that part of me that knows I am exactly where I need to be in this moment.

Next time I see that guy, I am going to say, “Thank you for waking me up! May your journey bring you freedom. There is hope yet.”

Photo of artist Aaron Bohrod's painting Dreams. Courtesy of SIUC Museum.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Embracing the Spiritual Paradox: The Sacred, The Profane, The Mundane

All right. I can feel it. This is going to be one of those entries that tries to mash up 15 journal entries into one barely coherent post. I apologize in advance. I’m not a writer. I just play one on the internet.

So, what does spiritual mean to you? Is it something high in the clouds? Pure? Is it deep and connected? Is it trippy altered states of being? Is it devotion to one omnipotent being? Is it being in nature? Or something completely different?

I say yes. Just yes. Whatever your answer is, yes. And your answer, yes. And your answer, yes. Because the bottom line is that ALL THAT EXISTS IS SPRITUAL. PERIOD. To deem one area of your life as being “spiritual” (i.e. when I do my meditation) and another as non-spiritual (i.e. when I drive my car or scream at my child) is to create divisions in your life, namely, the good, the bad and the boring. And this division leads to an underlying tension in all that you do. When things are good, fear of losing them creeps in, so you must grip, lest they slip away. When things are bad, you must reject and shut out the world. When things are boring, you must constantly seek out anything to fill the emptiness. All of these are ways to escape the present.

We’ve all felt “sacred” moments in our life. The sun making its first appearance on a fresh spring day. Sculptures of beautiful men and women. A baby being born. Our first kiss. A song. A group in deep prayer.

But what about when you are sick on your knees and hanging over a toilet? How about when you are washing lettuce? How about when your anger and jealousy consume you? How about when you are unlocking your door? How about when your marriage ends or your mother dies or you see people killing each other in foreign countries because everyone has a different name for “God”?

This post is not just about “sacred sexuality” or “sacred prostitution” (which is where most people go when they hear the union of sacred/profane). Indeed, what the hell is “sacred sex” anyway? What makes intercourse that is done with breathwork/chanting/eye-gazing anymore spiritual than a fingerbang in the bathroom of a nightclub? True, participants may be more conscious in one scenario than another. Participants may be more in alignment in their personal integrity in one scenario than another. Maybe not. But all experiences stand alone on their own as spiritual and opportunities to plug into ourselves deeper. It’s just our idea of that we believe spirituality to be that keeps us grasping for certain experiences in life and avoiding others (which is the fundamental nature of suffering).

What if we explored the possibility that THE UNIVERSE DOES NOT MAKE MISTAKES. Can we expand our perspective and hold the paradox that everything, from Wall Street tycoons to rapists to priests to crack addicts to paint drying to the Dalai Lama to George Carlin’s seven words are all expressions of Spirit and offer an opportunity for connection and self-reflection.

Doesn’t mean life is easy. Or pretty. Or nice. Or exciting. Hell it downright sucks a lot of the time. And yet if you can slow down and simply feel what is (underneath your history or expectations), you would see the miracle it took to bring you here. Mel Robbins has a great TEDxSF video where she says that the odds of being born in this moment in time are one in 400 trillion! Now imagine those odds coupled with another person being born in this moment AND the odds of your two sharing the same energy field. Now imagine more miracle-people moving in and out, like threads on a loom. What an incredible tapestry of life you weave. And you are an expression of Spirit. And so is the chair. And the floor. And the cockroach. All these pieces coming together for you to interact in service of self-realization in your one miracle-life.

Furthermore can we begin to see that pain is actually a gift on the journey. Your anger and fear provide valuable information as to where you are out of integrity in your life and where your desire lies. Your grief in losing a loved one is a chance to crack open your heart and cleanse your soul of past residue. War is a reminder that there is still so much work to be done in the INTERNAL landscape of our spirit (as Osho says, “You cannot change the society first and hope that individuals will change later on”).

So notice where you are fixed in your perspective in life and try to invite in a new way. Notice who or what you deem as “worthy of your attention” and who is not. Notice who you blame for all the world’s problems. Bush. Obama. Republicans. Corporate America. Porn. Hollywood. The Government. Your Parents. Whatever. Then invite the possibility that all that is just is. Begin to take responsibility for your own life. Begin to accept the challenge made to you on the miraculous day of your birth: to come to know yourself and your soul’s purpose through self-discovery in relationship and integration (not in avoidance, rejection or “rising above”) to all that is.

You chose this life. Really. If you don’t like it, you can bitch and moan and blame and try to run away from it and into the “sacred.” Or you can choose to accept responsibility for all that you are, find the Spirit that already exists in this moment and move forward empowered to create the life for which you were born.

For a brilliant (and more succinct) view on the topic, check out Ken Wilbur’s talk on Beauty and Spirit, where he explores the Good, the Beautiful and the True (in my language, the Sacred, the Profane and the Mundane). Shout out to Jason D. McClain who brought this stunning video to my attention.

Photo of Titian's Amor Sacro Amor Profano. 1513-1514. Galleria Borghese, Rome

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Take Responsibility for Your Orgasm (for Women Who are “Too Much”)

…and really, what woman isn’t too much? Even the mousy, little librarian types at some point in their lives got the message that they were “too much” and to manage that, they squashed their orgasmic energy down into this tiny little thimble that they try to tuck away in the back folds of their skirts.

Ladies, the cat’s out of the bag. I see you. You have a volcano of raw, potent power just aching to be expressed, no matter how many times you try to sweetly deny it, act out in anger or run for the box doughnuts. Not only do I know you are powerful, it is in fact your sacred RESPONSIBILITY to cultivate that power and use it in service of evolving the planet.

So, go ahead, do us all a favor and add ‘orgasm’ to the top of your very busy to-do list (no, not after picking Billy up from soccer and making dinner…to the top).

Because when you don’t come from nourishing fullness, deep desire and pleasure, you are running on empty. Dry. Drained. Irritated. And it’s painful to watch. And because you are trying to hide the mountain of orgasm that you do possess, your energy leaks out in some very unhealthy (and often addictive) ways. Some more socially acceptable than others, but none in the best interest of your creative potential.

Maybe you constantly seek out relationships in order to quiet that nagging hunger you feel when you are alone and use seduction as a tool for the attention you crave. Maybe you try to stuff it down with binge eating or numb it out with the latest reality TV show. Maybe you use self-deprecating humor to deflect from the pain of your void. Maybe you lash out and blame everyone around you who you perceive as trying to ‘hold you back’ or ‘violate your rights’. Maybe your passive aggressiveness seeps out the sides like a sticky tar that keeps you frozen in fear and fury. Maybe you starve your orgasm to get the ultimate prize—weighing under 100 pounds (yeah, that one almost cost me my life).

The list goes on. Ladies, the time is now to recognize our power and take responsibility for it. It’s as if we women are the size of the Atlantic Ocean and we’ve been trying all our lives to fit into Lake Michigan. We dam up our waters, keeping them tightly reined in, but eventually we spill over and all the people we love get washed away. So we feel guilty and try to suck it in even more. Or we tell off those motherfuckers who just couldn’t handle us.

But now (thankfully) you know the truth. You are an ecosystem, teeming with vitality! Expand your container. Create the space to hold your bigness. Flow out to the edges of your known world so you can discover the life that is meant for you. And from your vast fullness, you can now carry sailors to new shores. Be part of the cycle that will nourish life on the planet. Provide a home for the myriad of sea-dwelling creatures. Your feminine energy is the planet’s greatest untapped natural resource.

You might be going “But HOW do I do this???” Great question. Start with slowing down and making a gentle inquiry as to where you are in life. Are you living a life of pleasure or just hoping to make it through the day? Where are you out of your integrity? What are the little ways you cheat yourself of the fullness of your life? Where do you cast blame on others for your problems? Do you wake up in the mornings excited about your life, or dreading it? Is your sex life fulfilling or empty (or non-existent!). Stay curious and compassionate as you ask yourself these questions, as they can bring up a lot of feelings of anger, shame, fear and guilt.

Other tools you can use are creating gratitude lists, practice speaking your truth (I recommend responsibly enrolling people you trust in that game), closing open cycles, doing anonymous acts of service, taking time for self-care and letting go of toxic relationships. But the biggest piece of advice I can give any woman is to OM. Setting aside 15 minutes per day to surrender in a safe container that is created purely for the exploration of orgasm is nothing short of miraculous. You will alchemize your energy into pure gold.

It may seem selfish and weird and awkward and you may fumble on your journey towards grace and power. And that too is part of your beauty. The hiccups. The slips, trips, falls and imperfections are what make you so unique and devastatingly irresistible to all who come into your sphere.

So laugh. A lot. And have courage. Trust in who you are and what you know. The world awaits you…

Photo copyright Candice Holdorf. Red Sea, Eilat, Israel