Sue Aikens Talks @ Tango, Passion, and Still Pursuing the Dream in Buenos Aires (AKA my first celebrity interview!)

Sue Aikens Talks @ Tango, Passion, and Still Pursuing the Dream in Buenos Aires (AKA my first celebrity interview!)

It was such an honor to interview Sue Aikens, star of National Geographic’s Life Below Zero, and an inspiring icon for independent women everywhere. When we shot this, I truly felt like I was doing my first episode of a celebrity talk show!

Sue came to Buenos Aires to learn tango with me and my team in January 2020. Three years later, we are finally getting this amazing video out there.

Sue is a beautiful, fascinating woman. She says so many powerful and delightful things in this interview. I love the way she talks about living a challenge-driven life. I can identify with that, having taken on so many adventures outside of my comfort zone over the years.

I also love her focus on pursuing dreams at every age. As she puts it, “Just because your body starts sagging doesn’t mean you can’t still live the dream of dancing like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.”

What stands out for you here?

Conversations about Turned-On Living with Newsletter Subscribers

Talking about Turned-On Living… okay, not on Zoom, but you get the point…

Over the last two weeks, my calendar has been busy with Zoom calls talking with women about being part of Turned-On Living 2023, the new yearlong group coaching adventure that I will be leading starting in January.

It’s been a journey that I have enjoyed!

I’ve realized and newly appreciated that being both a writer and a life coach means I get to talk with people who have read my books. This is a gift.

For me, writing is about creating connection, and I love to further the connection by getting to know readers in coaching experiences.

I want to share with you some of the reasons that women have told me they want to be part of the Turned-On Living cohort. First I will tell you about who they are.

Most of the women I’ve been talking with have been following my work for years and many are longtime Quirkyalone readers. Others have been attracted by pussywalking, Wet, my work with tango, exploring intimacy and connection, and joy pleasure as a path of personal empowerment. They are mostly in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. I’ve had one chat with a very mature thirty-year-old woman.

There are all women who want to be part of an intentional group of women who want to make the most of life.

With their permission, I am sharing with you what they told me.

Maggie said, “Ever since meeting you and watching your journey through newsletters, I have wanted to engage in coaching or something else.

I want to center myself in pleasure and intention. I hope that this journey can help me live and act on the things I have been learning from books, mentors, and therapy.

By doing this with a group of other women in similar positions and different world views, I want my desires to evolve.”

Melissa told me, “I’m drawn to the idea of meeting and sharing with other women who are on the same wavelength.”

Another woman said, “I’m solid on my ability to do hard things, deal with challenges, get shit done. I am much more unsure how to feel embodied, sensual, easeful, and joyful.

I am freaked out about being single for the first time in five years. I vaguely want to start dating again but I am feeling disconnected from that part of myself. I would like to feel like the fun, sexy version of myself more often. She exists but has made relatively few appearances in the hard slog of the last few years.

I really appreciate the emphasis on pleasure and adventure, since those are two things I am hoping to create for myself.”

Kimberly said, “I live in my head. I want to live in my body and heart. The ‘kids’ at work call me badass, yet I lack perspective on my accomplishments and belittle them. (I should have an MFA and a couple novels under my belt by now, bangs the monkey in my brain.) Then I judge that, too. The pandemic made alienation and distance feel that much further.

In the whirl of my days, selfing (deserves to be a verb) is the first thing to go. Yet it is also the cushion that centers me and makes me feel alive. I’d like to upend this equation, then slice it up and see what’s inside.

I need accountability/camaraderie/new conversations. I feel like so often I’m catching up with friends and we are scratching the surface, telling family/work/health stories by rote. I want real connection, inner peace and outer freedom.

I want to feel like the days aren’t just rolling by one after the other without depth.”

Kate told me, “I feel like I’ve lived most of my life from a place of turned-on living. I’ve tried to live a passionate authentic life. I’m missing a community to share that with.

I’m single with no kids so I recognize that it may be easier for me to live this way. But I have hope that there are other people in the world who have chosen to live their life this way and want to share that and experience that with others.

So I guess I’m looking for community. And also for support in continuing to live this way and maybe inspiration and guidance to help me to expand.”

It’s been a beautiful experience to talk about the power of being part of such an intentional group. I’m excited about the adventure we will be co-creating.

Turned-On Living will be an opportunity to practice being open and vulnerable, to be known by others, and to learn how to both give and ask for support.

If you want to read more about what we will be doing, read this curriculum that lays out the topics we will be focusing on month-by-month.

A year is a long enough time to really get to know each other and form bonds. Who knows what lifelong friendships will be formed? What adventures will be had?

There is a possible retreat that will happen in the last quarter of the year. I am leaning toward doing an optional “Dancing in the Woods in Rhode Island” weekend during the foliage season.

There are a few more spots open.

I am taking these conversations seriously by talking in depth with each person.

Creating a group is an art… we are going to be together for a year! So I want this to be an amazing group.

I am wrapping up the final interview/application calls by the end of November.

These interviews need to be booked by the end of the month.

If being part of this cohort for 2023 is intriguing to you…

Go ahead and fill out this form to tell me about you.

We can begin the getting-to-know-each-other process to see if it’s a fit for Turned-On Living 2023.

May we connect in one way or another!

Sasha

Creating Space for Your Next Steps… A December Workshop

Are you burned out, or feeling stagnant at work?

Do you long for something different for your work life? Do you want to have a more heartfelt engagement with your work?

As I talk with my clients over the last two years, I notice that more and more of us are re-examining our choices after a multi-year pandemic.

But when you don’t know what you want to do next, and every day is a fire drill, it’s easy to get stuck … for months, or even years. 

If this sounds like you, I would like to invite you to our 4-Hour Soulful Work Reboot workshop this December.

My friend and fellow coach Jade Strattner and I are bringing together a group of women with the shared goal of imagining next steps and new possibilities for 2023.

This workshop is for women who have traditionally been high-achievers, conscientious types who work hard to do and be their best–and are longing for fulfillment and balance in their work lives.

This will be an intimate space to get real, be open, share, and envision together.

We don’t imagine you will figure EVERYTHING out in four hours but you will get unstuck and invigorated on a path to follow in the coming year.

The Four-Hour Soulful Work Reboot will take place over two Saturdays, December 3 and 10, 12-2 pm.

We have separated the workshop into two (2) two-hour chunks because we have so much to share with you, and four hours on zoom is deadening!

The pause in between our sessions will give you time to reflect and ideate.

Expect to come away invigorated and inspired with concrete next steps you can follow up on in 2023.

What will we talk about?

  • Our current experience with work
  • How and why are we each redefining ambition
  • What a heartfelt connection with work feels like for each of us

What will the experience be like?

  • Embodied–Getting out of our heads and into our bodies
  • Joyful–Express, learn, dance, and laugh
  • Intimate and Supportive–Each workshop will be limited to 20 women, integrated with a pre- or post-Lab thirty-minute one-on-one mini coaching session to help you get the most value out of the group session.

Spaces are limited (20 women max) so don’t delay to sign up.

If you are interested, and unsure if this is right for you, send me an email about your personal situation.

I’ll read it over and let you know if this is a match for you.

Look forward to hearing from you!

Some Reflections on “Selling”

I had an interesting experience last week when talking with a woman about joining Turned-On Living, my group coaching program for 2023. This is something very new and exciting to bring together a cohort to explore a year of “turned-on living” together.

She asked me to “sell her” on it and I noticed that I froze up when she made that request. I never want to feel like I am “selling” anyone on anything I am offering, whether it’s coaching, an online course, the Tango Adventure (not offering it now, but I spent years “selling” that), or anything I am doing. I want people to want to do whatever I am offering. It’s a little bit like romance: if we are dating, I want you to want me. I don’t want to sell you on the value of dating me!

After our call, however, I reflected. I joined a yearlong business coaching program for 2022, which is in part what has inspired me to offer a yearlong program myself. Meg, the woman who runs the program, in my view, “sold” me on joining by painting a picture that showed me I could learn how to work on my book and grow my business at the same time (for years I thought I couldn’t do both and focused exclusively on the memoir while maintaining the same offerings).

I am now grateful that Meg “sold” me on that vision because, in fact, I have been able to do both in 2022, and that was a breakthrough. Many other wonderful things have happened as a result of my participation in that group business coaching container, and the decision to join has changed me and my life for the better–really for the rest of my life. Now I look back and see her as taking a stand for me and my growth.

So I realized that I could “sell” this person on the experience. I wrote her a longish email spelling out what I saw for her, based on my own experience of being part of such a group. Because I actually do believe that being part of my program will change her life for the better. She has told me what she wants out of it, and I believe she will get those things, and more. Also I really do believe that being part of such a group is in and of itself a transformative experience, and that we need to feel solidarity in all these tender, vulnerable places where we are often shamed and feel alone. And there will simply be so much upward spiral with a group of women supporting each other to live a turned-on life!

Entrepreneurship–or being a freelancer, or doing anything creative in the world–is such a journey that requires everything. No paycheck is dropped into the bank account regularly. You/I have to stand up for your own value and create what you want to offer for the world, and then, yes, SELL people on it. Now I feel really glad that this woman asked me to sell her, and that I found my way to feeling good about doing that. “Selling” can have a connotation of lying. It can evoke desperation. I certainly felt that way when I worked in more traditional business roles for a tech company. But in the end, I was telling the truth as I see it. It’s liberating to stand in that space and fully own the value of what I am offering.

I hope these reflections can help you stand in the value of what you are offering to the world too!

Talking about Getting WET on Virgin.Beauty.Bitch (new podcast!)

Listen to “VBB 215 Sasha Cagen on her Memoir titled Wet — a Story of Healing through Sensuality!” on Spreaker.

So excited to share this recently recorded podcast with you…

Christopher and Heather of Virgin.Beauty.Bitch are all about unpacking female stereotypes and creating a space where women are not afraid to be defiantly different. In other words, the hosts of this podcast are right on. This might be the most fun interview I have recorded, ever.

We start with that time in my mid-thirties when I was trying to get serious about being a woman, when expectations mount. I was trying complete the mandates of adulthood.

All that stuff like finding a partner in time to have a child (cue the biological clock ticking), saving to purchase a home, and funding my retirement account.

The time pressure was making me dry, so I decided to escape Silicon Valley and ran away to South America to get WET (aka find myself and happiness again by listening to my body’s desires), despite my quite persistent fears that I might be totally fucking up my life.

The themes of WET are focused on a woman’s journey to rediscover pleasure and joy. Prioritizing joy and pleasure shouldn’t be revolutionary because we should all feel free to seek out a beautiful life for ourselves and a daily experience of enjoyment without shame. But it is indeed revolutionary in a world where women are expected to drop their own needs to put others first and to accomplish certain milestones above all else.

We started off this way, with Christopher asking, “Now Sasha, Wet. It’s the name of your memoir, a story about healing through sensuality. But let’s rewind the story to when sensuality and your body might have been the last place you looked to find personal power. Who was that woman? And what’s on earth happened to her?”

We talk about:

  • The fear that our lives are not working because we haven’t achieved some arbitrary line of success and all the gears get tripped up. We need WD-40! We need to be lubricated! We need to get WET.
  • Why a big part of my message is about inspiring women to connect with their bodies and pleasure for their empowerment, and confidence, and to accompany their healing journeys from past trauma
  • The importance of speaking up for yourself and what you want in bed with your partner–and how that connects to your empowerment in general
  • What turned-on living means to me (not just sexually)
  • My take unpacking the archetypes of Beauty, Virgin, and Bitch for women. I am particularly drawn to reclaiming the “bitch” to reclaim anger.

Would love to hear what resonates for you in this podcast.

You can listen at the top of this post, or click here to the podcast on Apple podcasts.

After you listen, leave a comment or send an email!

xo Sasha

P.S. If the intimacy of this conversation appeals to you, and you want to be part of similar conversations in your own life, you should absolutely check out my new yearlong group coaching program Turned-On Living 2023. I am curating a small cohort of women and talking with each person to create the group. We start in January for a year of turned-on living. It’s going to be amazing.

Want to know more about Turned-On Living? Click here.

Spaces are limited … so if this catches your interest to know more then apply by telling me about you and what you would like to get out of this yearlong program (adventure) here.

Connecting with Your Body: The Surprising Way to Channel Your Most Brilliant Self

Alert fellow lovers of exploring body-mind connection!

We talk about getting out of our heads and into our bodies….but why? Why is that important?

On Friday, September 16 at 2 pm, I am giving a keynote address at the Providence, RI Women’s Business Summit with my own answer to that question.

I’ll be talking about “Connecting with Your Body: The Surprising Way to Channel Your Most Brilliant Self.”

Since the pandemic, so many of us are feeling disconnected from our bodies in these long days staring straight ahead at screens… we start to feel lifeless, even trapped in our chairs.

So how can connecting with your body (aka methods such as @p_ssywalking) help with your confidence for a job interview or a dating event? Or figuring out the next move in your career? Or simply to feel alive?

I will be talking about how I use body connection in my own career and personal life and how my clients do too.

This Friday 2 pm event is free. The link to sign up is HERE, so come join us.

I will be the first speaker among some other interesting women, including a professor from Brown University who will be talking about life as a roller coaster. Yes.

The event will be recorded so we will share the video with you later!

Any questions, put them in the comments. Hope to see you there!

Your Pussywalking Experiences…Share Them Here For My Research

Pussywalking is a sexual energy-mindfulness technique that I created to help women center their awareness in their pelvic region, and then observe the difference this simple shift makes in their posture, energy and mood as they walk. It’s not about turning you into a sex object, it’s about turning you into a sexual subject who is in touch with your own body as a source of renewable energy and confidence.

It’s the PURRRFECT approach to women’s empowerment.

I am looking to create a body of stories about what is possible when women put their awareness “down there” as they walk. I have heard so many fascinating stories from my clients and students, ranging from the cosmic to the hilarious.

Female sexuality as a whole is so woefully underresearched, so simply talking about what happens when we mindfully connect with our internal anatomy is ground-breaking and revolutionary. We can literally teach each other what is possible by mapping our stories. So I wanted to create a structured way for you to share your pussywalking experiences with me for my research.

Have you been practicing pussywalking, for a day or a year? Has anything interesting, amusing, or extraordinary happened to you as a result? This could be about the way you felt inside as you practiced your pussywalk, and what it spurred in you, or about how others responded to you.

If so, please head over here to this Google Form and share your story.

Nothing will be shared publicly without your permission, so you are safe telling the truth, the full truth, and nothing but the truth of it! Can’t wait to read your stories.

Pussywalking… a talk at PechaKucha Providence

On stage at PechaKucha Providence, sharing my vision: a world where women are powerful because we are connected to our bodies

Oooooh, I’m excited to share my #pechakucha talk in #Providence on #pussywalking! The formal title: “Pussywalking: What it is, why it matters, and how you can practice it too.”

If you are new to Pussywalking, this is a simple way for you to tap into your sexual energy for a confidence boost at any time, in any context. Pussywalking is a method that I have been developing for the last ten years and sharing in my workshops and with clients. Any woman of any age can do it. All you have to do is activate your energy through your awareness.

You can watch on YouTube for a higher quality video, or on Instagram to also see the screens that I presented.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Sasha Cagen (@sashacagen)

In this talk, I admitted to being scared. This was the biggest crowd I have shared pussywalking with, and to give this talk in Rhode Island where I grew up felt both exhilarating and terrifying. I’ve always felt there is a kind of hostility  toward sexuality and sexual energy in Southern New England, the area where I grew up. Maybe it’s the memories of all the young men who yelled “pussy” out the window of their Camaros at me and my friends when we were young, going out for the night in Providence, or maybe it’s the ghost of the Puritans, or the witch-burnings, still hanging out in the architecture.

On the other hand, I’ve always known since I moved back to New England in 2020 that eventually I would share my message of empowerment through connecting with our bodies and sexual energy in this part of the world, where people need it even more than in California or Buenos Aires (the two places where I spent most of my adult life, until now). And indeed, the experience of giving this talk was amazing. The people in Providence are pussywalking-ready! You can tell by the crowd’s reaction.
I loved sharing my vision: a world where women are more powerful because we are connected to our bodies from the inside out.

I would love to keep going giving pussywalking talks. I am ready for the TED stage now. Are you a TED organizer or do you have another event where I could spread the gospel? Let me know.

At the end of the talk, I put out a call for scientific collaborators to study the effects of pussywalking on women’s posture, confidence and well-being. I am serious about this. Just as Wim Hof has found scientific researchers to study the effects of his breathing and cold-water exposure methods, I think it’s time for study of the effects of what happens when women activate the sexual energy in their bodies as they walk.

Do you know anyone in psychology or neuroscience who might want to partner with me? Reach out here.

And let me know what you think about the talk in the comments!

Creating the World We Want to Live In, One Small Space at a Time, Post-Roe

My phone has been blowing up with texts since Friday afternoon when the news came out about the US Supreme Court overturning Roe, and I suspect yours has been too.

Here are some of the texts I have gotten over the last two days:

“hi thinking of you today, hope you’re hanging in there as world events implode”

“Numb, sad, angry over here. Anyone need anything?”

“Also furious and had a good cry last night”

“Sasha, have you heard the terrible news about Roe? I want to scream at the top of my lungs.”

“Our foremothers gave us Roe with their blood, sweat, and tears. They wanted it to be our birthright.”

“Hi. Hope you are ok. This is horseshit.”

Yup. This is horseshit. Two months ago when the draft of the Roe opinion by Alito was leaked, I wrote this blog post, “I’m feeling numb, how are you doing?” 

Now that the actual opinion has come down, I feel more angry than numb. How about you? I think that’s how it works with feelings. We have to feel each and every one of them to get to the next one.

I heard something beautiful on the radio this weekend from Jenny Slate, an actor and comedian being interviewed on NPR about her new film, “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.” She said, “…as a creative person that, you know, it’s heartbreaking and terrifying what the Supreme Court has decided. A lot of artists say, you know, you have to create the world that you want to live in.”

We do have to create the world we want to live in, and that’s what I am going to be doing over here – inviting you all to join me in creating the world we want to live in.

I also was moved by something that Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez shared in an email from her Instagram. She was asked about hope, and the very simple, wonderfully blunt question, “Are we screwed?”

She wrote something so beautiful and true in response that I want to share it here.

“My honest view is that things are likely to get harder before they get better, and we will need to stick together.

What is important in moments like these is not to think in binaries. Good/bad, screwed/not screwed. There is no doubt that things are bad. Some things, really bad. And they may likely get worse. But that does not preclude the fact that slowly but surely, some good can be growing as other things fall apart. This is not some syrupy, sweet silver-lining case for optimism. Rather, it is about a choice all of us have to make in life, either consciously or unconsciously: will I be a person who is safe and creates good for others? Will I be a person who stands up? Will I be a person who primarily minds my own business and serves myself or try to be part of something bigger? Or will I be just a passive, “neutral” observer of it all?

What I sometimes tell my staff is that the world we are fighting for is already here. It exists in small spaces, places, and communities. We don’t have to deal with the insurmountable problem of coming up with novel solutions to all the world’s problems. Much of our work is about scaling existing solutions, many created by small, committed groups of people, that others haven’t seen or don’t even know are around the corner.

So while we can’t change the world in a day, we CAN and do have the power to make our own world without our four walls, or our own blocks. We can grow from there with the faith that somewhere out there, everywhere, others are doing the same.”

I decided to take the teaching of pussywalking online after I worked through my own feelings of numbness, because I knew that this day was coming, and that seemed like a contribution I could make to others if I could break through my own fears of teaching such a taboo thing to a larger group of women around the world.

I definitely don’t want to appear to be using this tragedy as a marketing opportunity, but in fact, the truth is that the anticipation of finding ourselves in this unthinkable moment is what pushed me to bring the teaching of pussywalking online to reach more women. I really believe these workshops can be one of the small spaces that AOC is talking about that can empower us to do good in our own lives and to make this world a better place.

The patriarchy does not want women to control their bodies or prioritize their own pleasure. It is precisely this trinity of power, pleasure, and the female body that the mostly old white men on the Supreme Court, and the patriarchy in general, are so afraid of. It’s the subtext beneath overturning Roe. Our connection with our own pleasure, even subtle pleasure, is a source of power. Reclaiming our bodies, and our joy, helps us to physically engage with the world.

We are doing the first live, online pussywalking workshop Tuesday night.

If you would like to join us, there are a few spots left. No one will be turned away for lack of funds, so if you can’t afford the cost, and want to come, then send an email.

And, it’s just good to be in the company of other women right now. And men, thanks for supporting us. This is not just a woman’s issue. Obviously pregnancy itself takes place because of the participation of men, and women.

Here is the link to sign up.

Hope to see you there!

P.S. I also got this beautiful text message from a European reader:

“I read the news on Facebook. Women’s rights on abortion have gone [in the US]. But we are Diana, Artemis, Venus, and Penelope. We have to fight for a better world.”

Getting Real on “Spinsterhood Reimagined with Lucy Meggeson” (New Podcast Interview)

Lucy Meggeson who lives across the pond in the UK, who is great and hilarious, and who is definitely my kind of woman (I bet we could be BFFs if we lived in the same city), interviewed me for her new podcast Spinsterhood Reimagined.

Here’s the description: “Are you single, childfree, and tired of the stigma attached to your ‘spinster’ status? Are you actually having an awesome time, loving your life because of the freedoms afforded to you as a result of being alone and not having kids? Or are you not quite there yet? Either way, this is for you.”

Lucy’s mission is to help other women who happen to be single and childfree know their own value, and that their lives are just as meaningful as anyone else’s. Knowing that working with single women has been a focus of my coaching practice, she asked me all kinds of juicy questions. Because she made me feel so comfortable, I told her the truth, the whole truth! I so suggest that you give this one a listen!

Lucy asked about:

  • The best part of being single, even when it’s not your first choice
  • How I finally found peace in not becoming a mother, and appreciate my life on its own terms, after years of struggle with that topic
  • My own relationship history: quirkyalone and quirkytogether. I am known for celebrating singledom but I’ve actually always been pretty relationship-oriented! In this episode we talk about women who want to be quirkyalone, women who have always been in relationship and haven’t paid as much attention to their own needs and desires, and how I help them get clear about what they really want in relationships and life, and live fully.
  • How I used to be embarrassed to call myself a life coach, but not I’m embarrassed by it anymore now that coaching has grown and gotten more respect, and more people are wising up to the value of hiring a coach
  • How I draw on tango and physical mindfulness practices like pussywalking to help my clients step into their power at work and in relationships, and become the women they want to be
  • The power of listening to your body (and developing your sensuality) to make better decisions and change your life

We had so much fun recording this episode, and we hope you enjoy it! Let us know what you think in the comments, and be sure to leave Lucy’s podcast a review if you like it.

Here’s a funny little promo Lucy made for the episode. Lucy used to be an audio engineer at the BBC. Can you tell?