happily, yes!

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Everything About Sex is a Personal Choice

A client of mine was distressed over some recent sexual activity in which she had engaged.

Because it was out of the realm of that what she has been taught as “normal”, she felt ashamed of her actions. This sense of guilt and degradation caused her anxiety and had caused a somewhat depressed state that she was having difficulty moving through. She called herself a slut for engaging in a unusual sexual act, even though it felt good while she was doing it.

Read this post on elephant journal!


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Why Yes, I Do!

I just returned from five days of bliss. They were at once some of the most challenging and most beautiful days of my life. I went up to the mountains with a dozen other beautiful goddess/priestess/fairy women on a retreat, and I dug really deep. Guided by Meggan Watterson, a gorgeous creature and true embodiment of love, we all delved into the deepest nooks and crannies of our beings to see what could be revealed. (I highly recommend checking out her book, Reveal. It is pure magic for the soul.) This retreat provided me with the vehicle I needed to finally, finally take my own hand and say “I do” to myself.

I originally came up with the idea for this story a few months ago after reading a blog post by Kate Northrup entitled, “The Infinite Possibilities in Saying ‘I Do.’” (You can find that here.) When I read it, I was really struck by her statement that, “The time and energy we save when we are willing to make a clear decision sets us free,” and that, “The fact is we can only be where we are. And if where we are is mired in half-baked commitments and half-made decisions, we’re not only missing out on everything that’s going on around the universe, we’re also missing out on the only moment we can possibly experience anyway: right now.” She elaborates on the energy saved by knowing, truly knowing what it is that you want and committing to it.

When I read those words, I knew that I wanted that. She was referring to her upcoming wedding and the vows she was about to take with her now husband, but when I read those words I wanted them for myself. I realized fully and completely in that moment that until I could say those words to myself, I would never be able to truly find my way in this world.

Throughout the last several years, I have been courting myself, so to speak, and not always in the most healthy manner. It’s been better than in the past, for sure, and I’ve made some pretty big leaps. But I still didn’t own myself. Early this year, I came out of two relationships that blew up because I wasn’t fully in my power and committed to my own highest good. I had allowed others to make decisions for me and then stood back so that I wouldn’t get in the way. I sacrificed my true value and my deepest dreams because someone else thought it should look a different way, and I believed that their way would be better than mine. The truth of the matter is that their way is better than mine, but only for them.


As I branched out on my own, feeling more fully empowered than I ever had been before, I published an article about vaginas that placed considerable emphasis on my own. (What can I say? We’ve got a great relationship these days.) I felt back on track with what was important to me and the message that I have to take out into the world so that I may help others to heal as well.

This was an act of reclamation for me. I first wrote it two years earlier and my boyfriend at the time was terrified that I might publish it. And so I didn’t. As I emerged from the cocoon of these other two disempowered (for me) relationships, I kept glancing back at that article. It had never left me, and every once in a while I’d pull it up and give it a once over. It was outdated in a few places by this point but I really wanted to breathe new life into it. It finally came, and despite a fear that nearly paralyzed me, I sent it to elephant journal and they accepted it. As scary as it was, it was the most empowered action I had taken in years. The direct result of the publication of this article is that it put me in contact with Meggan. When I came across her book, Reveal: A Sacred Manual for Getting Spiritually Naked, I ordered it immediately – NO hesitation. I just knew that it was going to be delicious fodder for my soul.

In her book, Meggan discusses seven veils of initiation that we go through. The fourth is that of reclaiming our Divine worth, and she describes a process of awakening that she undergoes in which she understands that worth is not earned or proven – it is claimed. I loved this. I licked it off of my fingers and savored it in my mouth. I took it out and tried it on for size. I wore it with blue and green, with jeans and with skirts. I applied it with my mascara, and I took it out for walks. I was in the process of breaking it in. It felt good and I knew I loved it but there was a little something that wasn’t quite right with the way it fit, like an itchy tag or a piece of thread that pokes your side.

And now most recently, during the course of five love filled days in the woods with my fellow seamstresses and dream weavers, I got to really try this idea on and make the necessary alterations. With the help of this community of women led by Meggan, I was able to make the needed changes. I got to experience my worth through my own soul, through the actions of the Divine, and through the loving and tender expression of my sisters.

I was worried about coming home, about the birthing process of leaving that nurturing womb and coming back to my life. So many powerful shifts occurred for me, and I pulled out of the haven in the Catskills with a sense that it could all be lost if I didn’t fully commit to myself and live in alignment with that commitment. I had been given the how-to’s and now it is up to me to create the lasting change. Only I can do this. I remembered the idea for this article and it settled in me as I drove away. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I cannot lose the light that I’ve fought so hard to ignite. And that means that I have to say “I do” to myself. I have to continue to check in and act in accordance with the spark within me that has been calling so patiently yet persistently to me. I have to stop denying it, for to abnegate it is to betray myself over and over again. I must stop believing that my welfare is dependent upon anyone else in any way, and really embody the knowledge that I am my own deepest and powerful ladylove.

Through a lovely act of grace, I received a beautiful gift of integration. The anchor set and I feel rooted in it. As I was getting ready to get off of the plane, I received a text from a delightful man that I’ve recently spent a little time with. I’d been caught up in the habitual “I wonder ifs…” of this new connection as I sat there on the plane getting ready to embark on the next phase of my journey. As I pondered the questions, I realized that they didn’t feel so great. I felt the work that I had done, and I felt the light within me glowing. I reclaimed from deep within me the knowledge that how he feels about me in no way changes who I am. It is so obvious, and yet it had eluded me for years because I wasn’t comfortable with who I was; I always felt like I had to measure up to some invisible standard that was out of my reach. Because I couldn’t see it, I needed others to set the bar for me. I hadn’t claimed my Divine worth, and I had been living out of alignment with my true essence. In that moment, I knew that I had lifted that veil. I took Meggan’s words, “Worth is not given, it’s claimed,” and I draped them over me in beautiful, sexy, vibrant red silk, and then I claimed her affirmation fully, completely as my own: “I. Am. Worthy.”

Red Silk


Conscious Celibacy Vs. Not Getting Laid.

My most recent musings on sex and relationships as published on Jen Pastiloff’s Manifest Station. Thanks for reading!

The Manifest-Station

Conscious Celibacy Vs. Not Getting Laid by Janet Raftis.

Something strange is afoot.

I don’t want to have sex. I mean, I do, of course; sex is awesome. In fact, I’d love to have sex. The difference is that the type of sex I’ve used as a crutch in the past just doesn’t sound appealing anymore. And that’s not to say there was anything wrong with that and I am in no way judging or condemning casual sex. It has definitely served a wonderful and fulfilling-in-many-ways purpose in my life. Some of the best sex I’ve had has in fact been outside of a formalized relationship. The reason that it doesn’t attract me anymore is completely beyond the scope of a kiss or even an orgasm. It has to do with me.

For many years there was a part of me that didn’t feel like I deserved to have it…

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That Glorious Vagina!

Vagina. It’s amazing how much controversy this little word can create.

Summer’s Eve, the marketed queen of supposed feminine hygiene, creates items specifically for the vagina, yet even they can’t say the word in a commercial, either avoiding it altogether or most recently, referring to it as the “V”. Not only that, but the mere reference to the product as being for the vagina causes the man in the television ad to break out into a mental litany of hyper-masculinized imaginary activity.


Read the entire post on elephant journal here:


Stepping out of the Shadows

I need a good cry. I feel the tears pooling up behind my eyes and I wonder why they just won’t come out already. Maybe it’s because despite the sadness that I’ve been feeling lately, my life is really great. It’s amazing in ways that I didn’t know possible in the sense that for the first time ever I value myself for the treasure that I finally, finally know myself to be. I’ve stopped taking everything so personally and am in a state of mostly acceptance about what the Universe is laying out for me. When I’m in tune, I am guided in a way that feels rare and precious to me.

I’ve been on this path of discovery that has taken me around some mighty strange twists and bends over the past year and especially the last few months, and because of the fact that I’ve been laser focused on how every little bit of it impacts me and shows me what needs to be healed, I’ve been both amazingly self-assured and deeply sad. It’s time for me to not just let go of a relationship that means a lot to me, but to let go of a myriad of false beliefs and programs that have been running in my background for oh, thirty years or so. Even though these patterns and behaviors have been harmful to me, they still feel comfortable, sort of like a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. I know I can’t touch the stuff anymore, and I really don’t want to, but sometimes I look at it with a longing that transcends my understanding. I suppose it’s because when I was younger, all of these behaviors and beliefs cropped up as a mechanism for me to feel safe in the world. Lowering a veil over your eyes can be a comfortable place to be and I thrived in an environment that allowed me to only pull in the bits and pieces that I wanted to acknowledge.

Over the last five years I’ve been lifting that veil slowly but steadily. At times it’s been almost imperceptible, but recently I feel like it’s getting yanked off my face. I’m seeing why I’ve been so comfortable in the shadows for so long, how I’ve never felt that my light was strong enough or important enough to be the brightest in anyone’s life, most of all my own. I’m seeing how I allowed myself to be dwarfed by others and by life and by myself just so that I could stay in a place that seemed to be less vulnerable. I understand how I believed that stepping into the forefront of my life threatened my very foundation.

Despite making huge strides in this arena, I recently considered sliding into the shadows again in a relationship. It wasn’t even expected of me, I just felt myself desirous of slipping into that space of delicious darkness and secrecy. It’s easy to manage something if you don’t have to be held accountable to it. If I can keep my emotions safely tucked away, I don’t have to worry so much about what I may lose. Retreating into the penumbra also allows me to create my own set of boundaries, something that can be very enticing to someone that has trouble establishing and maintaining them. Getting through the boundary creating phase of my life (2012) was challenging in ways that were terrifying, though ultimately gratifying. Now that they have been identified, I’m beginning to understand that not everyone or everything belongs in my life in ways that I before believed possible or necessary.

I’ve done a lot of growth and so I was surprised when this popped up again. I packaged it really nicely too, I’m sure in the hopes that I could deceive myself. There were many wonderful things about the relationship, and I learned more about myself in this short dance than I have in a while. The reason for this is that I went into it with my eyes wide open, and despite the fact that I considered sliding into an unhealthy safety zone, I was in such a state of awareness that I was able to literally smell the fear that had provoked it. With that, I had the opportunity to hold my own hand and walk myself through the process. I called on a few trusted others as well, but the main thing was that I refused to close my eyes no matter how painful it got or what came up. I may not have handled everything perfectly, but I do feel like every step along the path – even the so-called mistakes – were actually mirrors allowing me to see what I needed to tend to.

I’m ready to let go. In all honesty, there is a big part of me that doesn’t want to do so. The petulant child in me wants to twist and manipulate things to be the way that I want them to be, but the adult in me knows that is not the answer. I tried to do that for a good thirty years with no success. I’ve learned that letting go really is letting God. I have to make space in my life for the something better that always comes along whenever you release that which doesn’t support your highest good. I know this to be true because as I’ve let go of the relationships and situations in my life that didn’t enhance my growth (even when it wasn’t my own idea), I’ve been able to let in many amazing people and opportunities. I have co-created more wonderful and fulfilling friendships in the past year than I had in the preceding 10 and my support system is so strong that I never have to look for a shoulder to cry on.

So here’s my true confession: Sometimes this healing stuff really sucks. Sometimes it is so hard and the not-numbed pain is so intense that I want to throw myself down on the ground and pound my fists and scream. Sometimes I do scream. The unbelievable part is that with each passing day it gets easier and easier. The pain passes more quickly and I no longer blame myself or anyone else. I don’t take it all so personally anymore and along with the pain comes the joy of feeling a wee bit more miraculous and alive every day. My senses are honed and there is a remarkable amount of clarity in my life. My life is so full of love and beautiful people and blessings that I have to keep expanding just to accommodate it all.  In the end, it’s all worth it, every last bit of it.

 Banksy Red Balloon


On the Other Side of the Coccoon

I can’t stop feeling. I am feeling everything I’ve ever felt and everything I’ve never felt. The tears are pouring out of me like Iguaçu Falls and my body is shaking and I feel as though I’ve been cracked open. Every emotion that I could possibly experience is just seeping out of me, sometimes creeping, sometimes gushing. These are the “good” emotions too – the happy ones. I can flip from tears to laughter without even a hiccup and feel both oh so completely as they vibrate their way through my body. I’ve become one big raw nerve ending, and everything that touches me makes me quiver. And shake. And then tremble.

This feeling of being so so alive is wonderful. I am really, truly going through the most amazing and remarkable period of my life, and I feel the blessings all around me. I’ve met the most fabulous people over the past few years and gained a few friends that have become the cornerstones of my existence. I have opened up and blossomed and stepped into my power, and I’ve done it by being wholly and authentically ME whenever possible. Even when I thought that the fear would paralyze me, I have just stepped through it, one tiptoe at a time.

All of these layers that have been lying dormant for many, many years are rising to the surface as I slough off the epidermises of numbness and scales and armor that protected me for most of my life. Each piece of patchwork in my shield is the result of some little slight: the many times that I was asked if I’d stuck my finger in a light socket growing up, being laughed at for having to wear a head gear, the names I was called, not getting picked for the team I wanted to be on.  It was created for every time that I was felt ugly and less-than and insecure and inadequate. It helped me through the big stuff too: the rape and the mixed-up bag of heaviness that followed that, the too-many losses of friends that I have experienced, the break-ups, my divorce. It all felt like so much noise, and the only safe way to deal with it was to pretend it didn’t matter – to shut it down, laugh it off, solder on another piece of metal.

I became really good at creating distractions that could deflect things off of my shield. I picked up addictions like candy at the drugstore, and I created chaos around me so that I would never, ever have to look at the mess inside of me. The more the storm outside me flared, the safer I felt inside of me. I projected images to set up around me of things that I thought I’d like to be: fun, adventurous, courageous, a world traveler, exciting, open-minded, and happy. I was and am those things, but the irony is that I created that persona because I was so afraid to show the world how scared, lonely, isolated, and sad I was. I threw the outfit over the armor every day and carried on.

When the pain got to be too much, I let go. Just a little bit at first. Committing to not taking a drink or ingesting a drug was the first step. I didn’t do it to start feeling things; I did it because I couldn’t manage my life anymore, and because I was afraid that I’d fail my son. It surprised me when I started to drop back into my body. It felt tingly, and I sensed that a teeny tiny part of that armor had melted away. Quitting smoking followed and then coffee and various things in my diet that I’d used to comfort me and hide me. With each molting and shedding, I felt just a little more alive. I started crying more and I started belly laughing more. I started telling people that I loved them, and I really meant it all the way through my being. I did a lot of healing work and gave myself over to it authentically, allowing Spirit to work her magic on me. I watched as a lot of the shame and guilt that I’d allowed to weave its way into my armor began to fall away. I began to honor myself in a way that felt like I’d come home. I fell in love and I fell out of love. I grew and I continue to grow. And with every passing day, I have been allowing myself to feel just a little bit more.

Which leads me to now: Here I am, crying and crying and crying, the tears rolling down my face in my meditation this morning as Deepak talked to me about miraculous relationships, sliding down my face and into my ears this morning as I lied in Savasana, rolling off the tip of my nose as I drove home from yoga, and hovering in the corner of my eyes as I wait to clear up the heartache that is really a heart bless. Crying and laughing, I let go just a little bit more today. I calmed my grip on a fear that has been dogging me all month, and then I released a love that was remarkably important to me but that now no longer serves either of us. I also let go of my friend Paul that made me laugh every time I saw him and that transitioned unexpectedly last week taking his laughter with him. I put my trust back in the Divine that everything is going to be okay, and I released the need to try to control it all.

I wouldn’t trade this pain for the world, because it is me. It is more me than anything has ever been me. It is wrapped up in this deep knowing that I AM what I AM. I am all of it: the sorrow and the pain, the laughter and the often inappropriate sense of humor, as well as the incredibly compassionate, empathetic, and loving healer that reaches out a hand to anyone that needs it. I am so grateful to know myself so completely that even this pain comes to me as a blessing that I AM here – right here, right now, sharing with you so that we may have this moment together. I love you and I thank you.


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Place the Oxygen Mask Over Your own Nose and Mouth First…

Totem Guidance


As a child, I remember being baffled when during the safety review at the beginning of an airline flight, the flight attendant (stewardess back then, and almost always a stewardess, which is pretty relevant to this topic), would announce that the adult should put the oxygen mask over their nose and mouth first before placing it over their child’s. This wounded me on a deep level; I couldn’t believe that they’d ask my mother to take care of herself before she took care of me, as I perceived that it was the mother’s job to take care of others before herself, always and period.

As I grew and became a young woman, I matured into this role of caretaker, an expression of my bewilderment with the dynamics of the oxygen mask. I believed that it was my job to make sure that everyone around me was okay at all times…

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