Overheard in Bali at the Yoga Barn: “I would rather go home and use my yoni egg”

Overheard in Bali at the Yoga Barn: “I would rather go home and use my yoni egg”

 

in Bali

I was sitting at the cafe in the Yoga Barn in Ubud, Bali, almost a small college campus of yoga and spirituality when I overheard three women talking.

“Then she said, I would rather go home and use my yoni egg at the end of the acro-yoga class. She said we need to normalize it. Just talk about it.”

I smiled to myself and knew I would have to join this conversation.

Yoni eggs, if you are not aware, are egg-shaped stones that women insert in their vaginal canals to help increase blood flow, tone, and sensation in the pelvic floor muscles for their well-being. There’s a debate about whether yoni eggs are safe to use, and I actually do have an opinion, but I’m not going to wade into that controversy now. Because that’s not the point of this blog post, and really, their conversation was more about the boldness of using the term “yoni egg” in casual conversation more than it was about the practice itself. That’s what I’m most interested in writing about too: the language.

“I teach about that,” I interjected from across the table. We were sitting on loungey, couch-like things. Yoga Barn is a place where it’s easy to strike up conversations with strangers. It’s probably one of the places in the world where you are most likely to overhear people talking about “yoni eggs.”

“What do you teach?” one of the women asked.

“I teach pussywalking,” I said, and let that bomb drop. Using the word “pussy” in casual conversation is probably even more radical than talking about yoni eggs, but now that I have been teaching pussywalking for ten years I have gotten accustomed to the joy of letting the shock of the word set in on people’s faces.

“What’s pussywalking?” two of them asked at once.

I explained that I teach women, and now even men sometimes actually, to connect with their bodies through breath and other awareness practices to source their personal power, energy, and confidence from the pelvic region of their bodies. I talked about the tremendous sensitivity of the internal clitoris that exists inside our bodies, beyond the little external dot that we are taught to think of as the clit. I explained that the pussy can be a hidden source of power. And of course, even using the word “pussy” can be transformative.

In the last round of Turned-On Living, my yearlong group coaching program (adventure), getting over the taboo of saying the word itself was a huge conversation among the women. One of the women in the group even practiced by writing the word “pussy” more than fifty times on a small piece of paper and posted it to our Whatsapp group. The image was so funny and cute.

When I was growing up, the only time I heard the p-word was when young men in Camaros shouted the word out to us young women on the streets of Providence. The p-word was some kind of bizarre insult. Of course, it’s meant to convey weakness, when the truth is the opposite: our pussies are quite strong.

Actually, I like the p-word. It’s cute and cuddly and funny, unlike the c-word. I only got to this level of comfort of reclaiming “pussy” after years of immersion in female sexuality workshops in the San Francisco Bay Area where others used it and normalized it for me. Getting used to saying it out loud was a process that took time, just like it was for the women in Turned-On Living.

There are a lot of hidden benefits of getting comfortable with using taboo language and talking about our sexuality and sexual energy. When you get into bed with someone, you can be more comfortable with talking about your body. You an also more easily talk about sex (and bodies) with other women.

In Turned-On Living, we talk about “pussy energy” and practice pussywalking for an entire year while I bring together all I know about empowering yourself as a woman in this world. Along the ride, we get really good at talking about our “pussies.”

I interviewed each woman at the end of the year to find out what was most transformative for each of them. One of them told me that using the word many times over the year helped her find her voice in general, in relationships with men, with setting boundaries, with talking about what she wants and likes and what she doesn’t.

Here’s some of what she shared with me: “As a Gen X person, I grew up and became sexually mature at a time when consent was not a part of the landscape. Our bodies were dirty and dangerous. That was the underlying message of society’s narrative. The way to stay safe was to cover up our bodies and shut them down, and then turn them back on, on-demand, to please and tend to the needs of men in socially sanctioned sexual relationships. That led to disconnection from the tender, vulnerable parts of my body.  

Pussywalking has stimulated my dormant body awareness, much like a body scan does, and gives me agency over my body and female genitals. Embodiment is so big and so new for me (the journey began before Turned-On Living) that I don’t know how or what to articulate about it.

But I can say this: normalizing that I do have a pussy, and there’s energy there, is big for me. I mean, I’ve had a great sex life. Been there, done that. It’s been wonderful. But I think underneath that early social conditioning, that it’s dirty, and unsafe, and you need to lock it up and hide it away. Because that’s what we heard: ‘You’re gonna have your period. You’re going to get pregnant. You’re going to get an STD.’ There’s never anything positive said about the pussy. So I think this was a space where so much positive was said about the pussy, like, “Take a moment get in touch with your pussy.” Oh my gosh, I’m thinking about my pussy right now and saying that out loud to other women. Wow. So yeah, it’s almost indelible, I almost can’t articulate the power of it.”

Yes, reclaiming this language is big–which is why those women were talking about using the word “yoni egg” out loud and why I am talking to you about reclaiming the p-word.

 

 

I’m in Bali for the next two months focused on a creative project. In between this deep dive into my writing, talking with my 1:1 clients, and doing Kundalini yoga, I am forming the new special group of women who will be part of the next Turned-On Living cohort. We start in June and go for a year. We meet once for a soul-commitment ceremony retreat. The max group size is ten, so the experience is intimate. You learn what I have learned about female empowerment in order to create the life you want, by connecting with your body. The intimacy (and my unique teachings) make the group special.

I will do a Zoom session sometime soon from my place in Bali to talk you through the curriculum so you can find out about what you’ll learn in the community experience of Turned-On Living. Be sure you are on my newsletter list if you want to be invited.

If you are feeling called to Turned-On Living, you can write me and request a copy of the curriculum. I talk with each person to form the right chemistry in the group: like-minded women with a shared goal of living a turned-on life.

Curious? Tell me more about you and what draws you to Turned-On Living when you fill out this simple form.

 

Throwing up in Doha–and the Courage to Travel Alone

one of the enchanting pedestrian streets in Istanbul, on the European side in Cihangir. Just loved those umbrellas!

I left some audios for a close friend last night, and she wrote me back, “I love living vicariously through your travel adventures,” and “‘Throwing Up in Doha’ is a great title for a memoir.” This isn’t a full-blown memoir. It’s a humble blog post. But I will tell you the story of throwing up in Doha, anyway. (Doha is the capital of Qatar, in case you didn’t know–I don’t judge you. I didn’t know either. And it’s only in the last year that I learned to pronounce “Qatar.”)

I left that message with a friend to let her know that I have been going through a lot since leaving for this trip on February 14. My first stop was Istanbul for a week, then four days in Singapore, and soon I will be heading on to Bali for two months where I will continue to work with my clients remotely and focus on a creative project. My hope is that the availability of cheap healing massages and the energetic magic of Kundalini yoga will help me make headway on a writing project. I am very happy that I am finally living this dream, which took a ton of work to make possible.

But man, woman, nonbinary person, it’s been a rough two weeks. To recap, my father has been in and out of the hospital twice in the moment when I was about to leave the US and then a week later when I was due to fly from Turkey. It’s hard for me as an eldest child to step back and let my younger siblings, who are wonderful, and totally on it, take responsibility when I am away. There’s guilt to feel, and to release. Luckily, blessedly, after a ton of uncertainty, my father is doing much better, so we are all tremendously grateful.

There have been other things, like getting accidentally punched by a woman in a Turkish hamam, and living through a corneal abrasion for two days. Yes, the hamam experience was fantastic, and the inside of your eye can hurt badly when someone hits it. During these travels, there has been a relationship issue where I realize that I have been deluding myself in fantasy, longing for something that was never an option. and that has been humbling to face. My goddess it’s hard when I realize that I make the same mistakes over and over again. That comes up for a lot of us as we get older. There’s been a lot of looking in the mirror, and getting punched in the face. What can I say? It’s brave to look in the mirror. It’s the only way to evolve.

a snuggly street cat cozies up to the door of the place where I stayed with a friend in Kadikoy

But back to Turkey. Istanbul is spectacular, bursting with history, culture, street cats (watch the lovely documentary Kedi to learn about how Turkish people care for stray felines communally), food, warm people, and very flirtatious men. The cab driver from the airport told me I looked twenty-seven. That’s pushing it! Istanbul is a completely unique city that brings together the secular and the nonsecular, but also overwhelming. Fifteen million people live in Turkey’s capital, more than New York. Istanbul is the biggest city in Europe and straddles the Bosphorous, a natural waterway between the Black Sea and the Sea of Marmara. It covers more land mass than New York City.

On one side is Europe, and on the other lies Asia. I stayed on the Asian side in Kadikoy, which is said to be calm compared to the European side, but this bohemian alcove of a million coffeeshops still thrums with energy and bars, restaurants, and bazaars (markets). I have never been in a place with more cafes! Almost every day I went over to the European side, which could be a journey that took three or four forms of public transport or a cab ride that could take an hour and a half because of hellish traffic. I stayed out late four nights during that week, mostly at milongas dancing tango. All of this added up to exhaustion by the time I was packing my bags.

By the time I left for Singapore, I was depleted, beyond needing a vacation from this vacation. The flight from Istanbul to Doha was the most cramped I have ever been on. I was seated between an unsmiling woman and an unsmiling man. There was a very strange moment when, after I asked the flight attendant for a drink, and she passed me a tiny can of Diet Coke, the woman turned to me and asked if it was possible for me to not drink a Coke near her. I said, “I don’t understand,” because I was frankly flummoxed. She darted up and out to the first class section, and stayed there until we landed.

To say I was rattled would be an understatement. I hadn’t slept more than three or four hours a night in several nights, and all the stress was catching up with me. I had the irrational thoughts that I had traumatized this woman, and she cursed me. By the time we landed in Qatar, where I would be catching the next flight to Singapore, the pressure in my head started to squeeze my brain. I’ve had about 10 or 15 migraines in my life of varying intensity. Sometimes I throw up. Something must connect the gut and brain in the migraine state. So that was the situation, probably borne out of lack of sleep and stress. I was shielding my eyes to block the light on the way through the massive Doha airport (the number one thing to do in this state is to seek darkness) and then I found the most luxuriously, blessedly pristine bathroom by the gate. I threw up in the bathroom a few times, telling myself, “This is miserable but I will get through this.” That was my mantra.

When I saw myself in the mirror I thought, I do not look well. Why remember the bad moments from traveling? Because they are all part of the mix. People say they want to live vicariously through my adventures. Well, traveling can be quite challenging at times, especially in a city like Istanbul that is so vast with so many hidden places and confusing directions. But I love it. I still love to travel, and often I travel alone. Traveling is worth throwing up in Doha: I guess that is what I am trying to say.

While I was in Kadikoy, on the Asian side of Istanbul, I made this little video about the courage to travel alone, and the angels that help us when we run into problems. I was inspired to make this video by a conversation that I had with a Turkish woman whom I met in a remarkably friendly cafe called Tribu (Italian for “tribe.”) (Watch this little spontaneous video I made with the owner to learn about the cafe–and maybe someday you will visit).

This woman who had worked for the Smithsonian in DC after doing a masters in art history in the US was telling me about a solo trip that she had taken to a Greek island, and a moment when her phone didn’t work and she couldn’t find the place where she was staying. Someone came along to help her find her hotel. That sounded familiar. That is my experience too. Countless times when I have been traveling alone in South America, Europe, and Asia people have helped me when I was lost, sick, or injured.

Angels do come to help. Many of my coaching clients want to travel alone but they get worried with reasonable concerns. I made this video below to encourage other women to travel alone. Because even though shitty things like “Throwing up in Doha” happen, I would still say that traveling alone is worth it. More than worth it. It makes our world bigger. It makes us feel alive, More things happen when we are alone. And we are never totally alone. Angels will come forward. It’s important to acknowledge that and be grateful for them. 

Here’s the video I made for you walking through the streets of Kadikoy in Istanbul about solo travel. I hope you enjoy.

Are you planning any travels, solo or not? Let me know in the comments.

Self-Compassion for Quirkyalones, or, Learning to develop your “oh honey” self-compassionate voice

Do you worry that there might be something wrong with you because you are still single?

Then, watch the above class, Self-Compassion for Quirkyalones! Let me know how it goes for you when you do the journaling exercise we do together to develop your self-compassionate voice, and what you learn from the others who attended live, and who shared so bravely and freely.

Here’s a full disclosure. I asked ChatGPT to list the top ten self-critical thoughts of single people. I wrote, “What are the actual self-critical thoughts that single people say to themselves? In quotation marks, inside someone’s head.” The AI machine spit out results, and I edited them to make them more real based on what I have heard from the people I have coached and talked with over the last 20 years, since publishing my first book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.

Note: I have mixed feelings about ChatGPT, and negative feelings about AI, so I am being transparent with you in service of keeping the human vibe going in my newsletter and blog. The robots are coming!

Here’s the edited list:

  • “I’m still single. What’s wrong with me?”
  • “Everyone else seems to be in a relationship. So, again, what’s wrong with me? Am I unlovable?”
  • “Maybe I’m too picky. Maybe I should settle for someone to avoid being alone.”
  • “I must be undesirable if I can’t seem to find a partner.”
  • “If I were more attractive/confident/successful/not messy/some non-specific thing that no one could ever really say, maybe I’d have better luck finding a partner.”
  • “I always mess things up in relationships. Maybe I’m just not cut out for love in this lifetime.”
  • “I’m falling behind in life because I’m not in a relationship like everyone else.”
  • “What if I end up alone forever? Will I regret my choices?”
  • “Maybe I need to change myself to fit what others want in a partner.”
  • “Will I ever find someone who truly wants to commit to me? Why would they want to commit to me? I have so many problems.”

Do any of these sound familiar?

The key to turning the self-critical voice around is first learning to recognize the thoughts as critical, rather than the “truth.” The second step is learning that another voice can take the mic.

Developing an “oh honey” self-compassionate voice can literally change your life. It has mine.

If you struggle with any of the above thoughts in your head, I implore you to watch the video above, an hourlong community free online class I taught to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of my first book Quirkyalone! This was an extraordinary gathering with wonderful people, and the information shared can make an impact on anyone’s life. Let me know what you discover in the comments.

P.S. We spend a whole month on self-compassion in Turned-On Living, my yearlong group coaching adventure that goes for real transformation in a curated group of women. I’ve noticed that developing the “oh-honey” self-compassionate voice is the game-changing first step, and the foundation, for any meaningful change. If we don’t work on self-compassion first, we lose all our energy beating up on ourselves as soon as we start to go outside our comfort zones.

If you want to build the life-changing skill of being kind to yourself, you have to practice. It’s not so different from going to the gym, or learning tango or any other dance. You have to practice to see results. The best way to learn anything new is to do it in community with others who share the journey. That’s why I created Turned-On Living as a curated small group program.

We get started in June. The group is forming now. Check out the page and see if it’s calling you.

Celebrating 20 years of the Quirkyalone Movement on Zoom

This month we are celebrating twenty years of the quirkyalone movement since the publication of my book Quirkyalone: A.Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics. 

The publication date of Quirkyalone was January 6, 2004. On the morning of Saturday, January 6, 2024, I decided to be spontaneous. I sent out a message to my newsletter list inviting people to join in for a Zoom session to honor the day of publication that very afternoon.

Lots of people responded! (If you are not on the newsletter list yet, what are you waiting for? This is how you get invited to such special impromptu gatherings!)

In the Zoom session (watch above!), I was blown away by the people who showed up and the stories they shared about how the book hit them in their lives way back when, and how they have carried Quirkyalone with them as an important foundational concept. 

We were joined by Walt Jacobs who has been part of the quirkyalone movement since nearly 2000 and strongly identifies as a married quirkyalone, and people like Rosemary who had just heard about Quirkyalone in the last few weeks. We were joined from people all over the world in fact, from Russia to Australia to Canada to people all over the US.

The beat goes on! While there are a lot more podcasts, books, and movies out there portraying the lives and choices of people who don’t settle in love,  and consequently spend quite a bit of time being single, the message of Quirkyalone will never stop being relevant because it makes room for all of a complex experience: enjoying being single, wanting love and intimacy at the same time.

I am always moved by the kind-hearted nature of the people who join Quirkyalone events too. In twenty years, that’s one thing that has not changed.

During the Zoom session, I read the original 700-word essay, a highly crafted piece of writing that I spent over a year laboring over obsessively, as it was published in my own magazine To-Do List back in 2000, and then Utne Reader. So settle in for some story time.

Listen in and let us know when you first encountered Quirkyalone!

If you are a loyal Quirkyalone reader–and there are a lot of you out there!– one of the best things you can do is to write a review on Amazon or Goodreads. That will help me get my next and third book Wet out to you. Your support is appreciated!

Self-Compassion for Quirkyalones: A Free Live Online Class to Celebrate the Book’s 20th Anniversary!

How do you learn how to love yourself no matter what, especially when things are not going well?

What: Join me, Sasha Cagen, life coach, author, and founder of the Quirkyalone movement, for a free class on learning how to be kind and gentle with yourself with the skill of embodied self-compassion.

You will learn about three practices of self-compassion that you can use in your everyday life to calm and center yourself with love. We will try out at least two or three of them together.

I am offering this special free class to celebrate the 20th anniversary of my book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, because I want to connect with the many readers and clients who have been part of this journey for the last twenty years.

When I wrote Quirkyalone, I was only 30 and I wasn’t a life coach yet. I knew a lot, but I hadn’t spent 13 years yet helping others to evolve, heal, and get clear about what they really want in life and then live it. Now I know quite a LOT, and I would love to share some of the most life-changing things I have learned with you.

When: Sunday, January 21, 12 noon ET/9 am PT. Please change for your time zone! This class will go one hour, possibly 75 minutes if we need the time. Arrive on time!

Where: On Zoom. Sign up here to get the link! Enter your email and you will get the info.

Cost: This special class is free, and it’s done with love and joy to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Quirkyalone, and to connect with all the wonderful clients and readers who have been part of my world over the last 20 years.

What to bring: A journal, your body and your willingness. We may dance!

++

Despite years of “working on yourself,” do you still find yourself wondering, “Is there something wrong with me?” because you have been single for a long time, months, years, or decades?

Do you find it hard to be kind and gentle with yourself when you are out there navigating dating apps, dating, or thinking about dating?

When you get involved with someone, and things don’t work out, do you blame yourself? Or when you are navigating conflict in a current relationship or get triggered, do you gang up on yourself?

Would you like to learn how to come back to yourself as your own best friend and greatest supporter, especially in the places in life that make our quirkyalone hearts most vulnerable?

Now, that’s a tall order in this society that is designed to make us doubt ourselves, but let’s see what we can do!

I am hosting this special, unique “Self-Compassion for Quirkyalones MasterClass” as part of my 20th Anniversary to celebrate the publication of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, which came out with a big bang in 2004 (see chat with Anderson Cooper) and has been attracting kindred spirits ever since.

Learning to love yourself is the heart of the quirkyalone journey. Developing the self-compassionate voice is the heart of the journey we all go on, as we get older and learn to “mother” or “parent” ourselves. There is nothing more important than learning how to be gentle with yourself, which is why this class is useful and potentially life-changing for anyone.

But it’s definitely true that when you are single for a long time, and your life has not gone according to plan, whether it was your plan, or society’s, and you are doing hard things like putting yourself out there on dating apps looking for love (or sex, or whatever you are looking for!), you ESPECIALLY need to learn the skill of self-compassion. We can learn to have our own backs.

Self-compassion is a learned skill that they don’t teach in school (I wish they would!).
It took me more than a decade as a life coach working full-time, and twenty years as the author of Quirkyalone to learn the deep importance of self-compassion myself when I was going through a brutal breakup.

When I finally learned actual practices of self-compassion that I could use on a daily basis as a balm and a corrective, I felt my own inner world shift. I could FEEL self-compassion as a warmth in my heart, to identify self-critical thoughts as they are happening, and create a more loving, “honey, it’s OK” voice in my head to soothe myself.

I have come to see self-compassion as one of the most important practices that has changed my life, and the lives of my clients. I want to offer this class as the skill we delve into, and I am so looking forward to sharing with you.

How to join us? Go here to enter your email address.

You will get the Zoom info over email.

If you are not already on my newsletter list, be sure to sign up there too so you can hear about events beyond this 20th-Anniversary celebration.

Here is a Facebook event invite you can share to invite friends. This class is open to all.

I can’t wait to see you!

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them here as a comment or send a message.

It’s time for the 20th Anniversary Celebration of Quirkyalone!

My first book Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics was published on January 6, 2004.

We are coming up on the twentieth anniversary of its publication! I was in a state of shock when I realized it a couple of weeks ago.

So much happened in those first few months of publication in 2004. The book made a lot of waves!

I got up to do about six interviews a day for two months straight. (Which resulted in a big insomnia crisis that took two years to recover from, if you want to know the truth.)

That time was a whirlwind of talking with Anderson Cooper on CNN, meeting people who passionately identified with the quirkyalone idea on book tour and then at the launch party in SF at the club, The Rickshaw Stop, that attracted 350 people. The Fire Department came to shut down the party.

Quirkyalone also led to so many future events, friendships and conversations. It led to “quirkyalone” becoming an official slang word on dictionary.com.
I am still in awe and in deep gratitude and perplexity over it all.

I am going to do a kind of appreciation of that moment and all that led up to Quirkyalone, including the publication of the essay in the premiere issue of my magazine To-Do List (where the idea first appeared) in 2000.

This appreciation will take the form of a kind of retrospective on Instagram and in my newsletter. In January, I will do some free online events (TBD) to honor the best of where Quirkyalone has taken me and us over the last 20 years, all I have learned in helping people with identify with the quirkyalone spirit of self-love along the path of finding love, within yourself, with others.

If you are not following along my Instagram or newsletter, sign up! I will put the links in the comments.

Time to reclaim January 6.

Making Decisions Somatically… According to What Feels Good in My Body

Morning of the Soul Commitment Ceremonies, Turned-On Living 2023

I am increasingly making decisions by connecting with my body, and its many sensations. And I love that.

I want to share something quite personal with you today about this trend. It’s not new for me (I’ve been living with an ear toward my body for about fifteen years) but it’s growing in steam and power. It’s not as if I never share personal things, but this one requires me to slow down and think about how to tell you. Here’s what I want to tell you. This somatic-decision making thing.

In early November, I hosted this year’s Turned-On Living group in Providence for our in-person retreat.  The women came from Charlotte, North Carolina; Toronto, Hoboken, New Jersey; Austin, Texas; and Seattle, Washington. When I told people at home in Rhode Island that the women were coming from such diverse places, they acted impressed as if I had hit the big time. Well, that’s just how it was. This year we came together as a group of women from these places, and this was our moment to meet in person. As two of them said at our first dinner, it would have been unfathomable not to come.

We have been getting to know each other on Zoom since January, so we would be in person after ten months of meeting online in those little squares. We were three-dimensional people in the flesh. We’ve talked about such intimate things, in months with topics ranging from prioritizing pleasure to anti-people-pleasing to visioning and getting clear about what we want for our lives. What we really, really want, not what we are supposed to want!

We danced in the woods on Saturday and then co-created the soul commitment ceremonies at a farm the next day, choosing songs for their pussywalks down the aisle, talking about the adornments they would wear as symbols of self-commitment. The ceremonies themselves were gorgeous and uplifting like I have never quite experienced. At the lunch to celebrate the soul-commitment ceremonies, I surprised them with a Death by Chocolate Gluten-Free cake, made for them, decorated “Happy Soul Commitment!”on the frosting with their initials. That was fun! 

I was sitting with myself a day after the retreat, feeling into the spaciousness and calm that was generated in my body because we got to be in person. So much love, so much support, so much acceptance in those days with these vibrant, fun, surprising women. There’s something different and special about being physically together with the foundation of trust, ease and camaraderie that had been built virtually over time. It’s different than a retreat where you don’t know the people beforehand, and might not see them after. We were a group that that been together ten months and had two months to go. 

I was working on some questions about my business, planning next year, what comes next. This year has been a great experience, so I have wanted to do a second Year of Turned-On Living but have been struggling with timing and energy because it’s not easy for me to teach and market at the same time.

As I played with answers and dates and made lists, I realized that I wanted to slow down. I wanted to push the start date of Turned-On Living back from February to June, for a variety of reasons, that would make me feel more rested, and ready, giving me enough time to digest the lessons of this year. 

Now this would seem like a small thing, but it was not a small thing. Changing this plan was revolutionary to me! Gosh darn it, I could choose a pace that would feel good in my body when I imagined the path forward, not send me into a spiral of clenched fear that I was going to be exhausted for the next year.

Am I not the boss of my own life and business? Even though I have reinvented myself and my life many times, living in different countries too, and I have specifically chosen to be a self-employed entrepreneur, I sometimes forget that I am in charge, that I have more agency and freedom than I realize. We all get to choose many times, more than we realize.

I felt really good making this decision. And how did it come to me? The idea to push timing back came to me through my body, through a warmth and spaciousness in my belly. When I imagined June, I could sink into the couch and feel relaxed through my middle and even my thighs and down to my toes. I was choosing a future that would feel good to me. Here is a big value of being a sensitive person who is quite in touch with my body; the body can be an excellent rudder for decision-making.

The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain, a book we read during the Embodied Confidence Month of the Year of Turned-On Living, provides evidence that the best decisions come from a variety of inputs. Not just from our brains but from all points in our bodies. The chapter “Thinking with Sensation” dives into research showing that Wall Street traders who were most successful in making money were not the most educated; they made them based on gut hunches and whispers they could feel in their bodies. They could make decisions quickly, almost like animals.

The book is utterly fascinating. I am a bit animal-like in my decisions too, though I don’t make them quickly, necessarily. I do listen to whispers in my body, pulses, and their opposite, deadness. This deep, ongoing listening to my body is not something that came to me naturally. It’s the result of many years of practice; my mind is very active too and can keep me stuck with analysis paralysis. 

Listening to my body’s impulses has taken me to many places far away from home, to California, to Argentina, to Bali, back to my native Rhode Island, to tango, to the people who have been influential for me. Listening to my body is also how I healed my body from the aftermath of a secret kept of a single incident of childhood sexual abuse when I was six, because that took me to tango and South America, but I didn’t realize what I was doing at the time. I was just following instincts. Body-based instincts are important. This is what I am writing about in Wet. All about how I got so connected with my body.

My advice about decisions? Think things through, do your research, make your lists, and also make sure you pay attention to your body. Feel into how future ideas, yesses or nos, or schedules, land in your viscera, your organs, your cavitiies. 

We talk about body intuition quite a lot in Turned-On Living. How to make decisions by being in touch with your body, speak up, say no, set a boundary, do something different, because you feel it as a truth in your sensations.

Listening to your body can get complicated. Because sometimes the body does lie. Here’s one example. Your heart is pounding. You are feeling like you are going to die; but you are not. You are having a panic attack. It can be a journey to get into a long-term relationship with your body and learn how to read yourself, repeatedly inquiring to find patterns of wisdom.

It makes me happy to have this clear example of listening to my body to make an important decision that improves my quality of life, or I think it will. I adore the clear decisions that feel good in my body, expansive, enlarging. They can be rare jewels. Not that I can predict exactly what will happen–who can ever predict what will happen? 

In general, decisions that feel physically spacious have a way of panning out in magical ways, giving me not necessarily what I said I wanted but what I most need. And there are always surprises.

We can’t control everything but we may be able to control more than we think. 

So I sent out this essay/email to share with you this story….

And also to tell you the new liftoff dates for the 2024-2025 cohort of Turned-On Living.  

We are now kicking off in June.

The interviews to form the group will happen in January. The group will be closed by February 1.

This gives you a lot of time to get yourself settled between February and June. 

If this group is any indication, all groups of TOL women will be FIRE, as Gen Zers say. 

Want to learn more? Go to the new web page for Turned-On Living with photos from our recent retreat, dancing in the woods and the soul commitment ceremonies at a lovely farm outside Providence.

If you feel inspired to be part of the next cohort read this page and then …click here to tell me about you.

The True Story of My (Ill-Advised?) Appearance on the Dr. Phil Show…

outside the dressing room

Over the last year, many people have asked me, “How did that happen?” In other words, “How did you wind up as a guest expert on the Dr. Phil Show?”

Yeah, how did that happen? It’s a good question, and a story that apparently must be told. There is nothing quite like having a televised discussion about self-love turn into a political debate about “animal marriage” with a Trumper on Dr. Phil, who is not officially a licensed psychologist. And you heard that from Dr. Sasha…

Here’s where the story begins. Picture this: a dreary, dark January late afternoon. I was resting at home in Providence, Rhode Island, with slight flurries of snow outside and a cup of tea on the bedside table. My laptop perched on my thighs, and I was lying on my bed, staring at the screen. I try to avoid working in bed, but the end of the day brings low willpower. I had just opened up my email for the 37th time; a more exciting-than-usual message sat at the top of my inbox.

The subject line read, “Dr. Phi Inquiry.” What? My heartbeat sped up.

Kalley, an assistant producer, had written. “1 hope you are well! I am currently working on an upcoming episode that will discuss the empowerment of sologamy.”

Sologamy? I hate the word “sologamy.” Sologamy sounds like a sausage. But I know the word, because many other people have reached out to me over the years to get my “subject matter expertise” on it. “Sologamy” is a media-created word that has become associated with the practice of self-marriage, the ritual of creating a ceremony of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-compassion in adulthood. Some people call it a “soul commitment.” The producers wanted me as a guest expert. “You were referred to me by Amen Jafri. After looking at your website, I feel like you would be an incredible asset to the conversation.”

Everything Kalley wrote made sense. I helped Amen on her documentary about self-marriage. Over the last five years, I have become a go-to expert on the growing worldwide trend in Vice, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, ABC News/Nightline, 20/20,  and more. I wrote about self-marriage in my 2004 book Quirkyalone, and have guided single and partnered women on the process of marrying themselves or making a soul commitment. In Argentina, I became something of a minor celebrity as the first woman to marry herself in the country when a TV interview about my 2014 ceremony in Buenos Aires’ Japanese Gardens went viral.

Kalley shared the film date in Los Angeles, February 7, and asked for a call. I thought about it, then texted news of the inquiry to my best friend and the man I was dating at the time. “One step closer to Oprah?”

A giddy feeling came over me, a flush on my cheeks. Getting interviewed by Oprah has always been my dream. When Quirkyalone was released way back in 2004, I got a ton of attention: CNN, NPR, New York Times, etc., but not the ultimate quirkyalone (Oprah). (Quirkyalones are people who don’t settle for less than what they really want in a romantic relationship.) Dr. Phil was discovered and promoted by Oprah. Maybe Dr. Phil would lead me to my inevitable interview with the woman herself!

In retrospect, this line of thinking doesn’t make sense. But hey, that is how my thoughts went at that moment.

Over the next day, I tried to forget about the inquiry. I was about to leave for my first trip to Argentina since the pandemic, where I lived for six years until March 2020. The dates would conflict. I had already purchased plane tickets and rented an apartment in Buenos Aires. But I am a curious person. I couldn’t control my curiosity.

++

Kalley and I talked two days later. Kalley told me that when Miley Cyrus’ song “Flowers,” about celebrating self-love after her divorce, became Spotify’s most streamed song in a single week, the Dr. Phil staff decided to devote the Valentine’s Day show to an unconventional topic. She told me they were doing more issue-oriented shows now. OK, I had no idea what Dr. Phil did previously. I had never watched the show. But it all sounded good.

Kalley asked me to make a video telling Dr. Phil why he should have me on the show. Speaking to Dr. Phil in a video seemed like a hokey thing to do, but I agreed and made the video in one take the next morning. I spoke about how women lose themselves in relationships or the search for love, and how the ceremony of self-marriage becomes a way of taking responsibility for one’s own happiness. I hit send.

Really, I didn’t know why I was even trying to get the producers to want me. Kalley told me the show had a rule against paying for international travel; I wasn’t going to pay to reroute my trip. I sent a proposal that would have them paying for a ticket from LAX to EZE (Buenos Aires) but I didn’t expect them to accept it.

++

Fast forward 36 hours. I was out for drinks with my new friend Sheri in frigid Providence. My phone rang! Kalley told me the producers wanted me on the show, and they approved the travel to Argentina! I pumped my arm in the air, nearly knocking over my Prosecco. I would lose a week of rent in Buenos Aires, but I wouldn’t lose money on the travel (and even gain some miles). I continued to pump my arm up and down like a trucker honking a horn. Oh yeah, I was a badass, asking for what I wanted, and actually getting it!

Feelings of triumph gave way to more complex feelings minutes later.

My phone lit up with messages from Sheryl, a friend in Buenos Aires who spent many years as an investigative journalist. First came a February 2022 link from the New York Post: “Dr. Phil show staffers decry workplace as ‘traumatizing’ and a ‘war zone’”; next a story came from a Buzzfeed News (RIP) investigation: “Current and Former ‘Dr. Phil’ Employees Say The Set Is A Toxic Workplace. The Show Says Everything’s Fine.”

Sheryl is the kind of friend who tells me things I don’t want to hear.

Oh no. I had only looked at the website’s home page and saw they had just done a show about older women feeling invisible, called “Aging Out Loud. I had given the producers the benefit of the doubt and assumed the producers were genuinely interested in women’s empowerment. Was I going to spread a message of self-love or get used and abused?

Right there in the restaurant booth, I called my friend Clyde Ford, who has been a publishing mentor over the last few years. Clyde has published twelve books, on topics as varied as race and healing through touch. Clyde enjoys appearing on right-wing radio shows and arguing it out with the other side. More than ten years ago, he appeared on Oprah to talk about his book on racial equality; the producers also booked white supremacists. He’s been in the trenches.

“So do you think I should do Dr. Phil?” I asked.

“Definitely,” he said. “That’s what you do as an author. You take opportunities, you take risks.”

I nodded. I tended to agree with Clyde.

But I still wasn’t sure. To go on Dr. Phil or not? The question turned over in my stomach over the next day. I liked the idea of bringing a radical idea like self-marriage to people who might not have heard of it, and maybe it would help me in my coaching business and to sell my next book to a publisher.

I wrote my literary agent Jill Grinberg asking her thoughts.

Jill wrote back, “Hi Sasha! Dr Phil is the #2 Talk Show in the US which is pretty major exposure. It could be good to be able to say in the book proposal you were recently on national TV. Did you talk to the producer today? Do you know what the bent of the show will be? I know the topic is self-marriage, but what is his agenda?”

In the end, I said yes. Was it the right decision?

++

My plane arrived in LA on the night of the Grammies. Traffic was terrible on the freeways, the driver who met me at the airport told me. He sent me a text when I was still on the tarmac. “Your chauffeur is waiting.” That text alone might have been worth the price of admission.

Something about this surprise trip to LA signified things going in a good direction in my life, but was that true? If I had stayed in my job in Silicon Valley fifteen years ago instead of becoming a life and executive coach, perks like a paid driver at the airport might be part of my life, but when you choose to be self-employed, no one else pays for a driver at the airport. The driver also told me, “Welcome home.” He thought I was a Los Angeleno. I spent nearly twenty years in the San Francisco Bay Area, and still feel like a Californian at heart. So that felt sweet too.

I spent the first night with my friend Ali in Echo Park at her home because I wanted to be on the West Coast earlier to lead a group coaching call, and Dr. Phil only paid for one night of hotel. In reality, the treatment was not so luxe.

My friend Jenny flew down from San Francisco. Ali and Jenny, two of my oldest California friends, would both attend the studio audience the next morning. There was something incredible about that. We met for dinner at my hotel the night before; by 9 p.m. I told them I needed to go to bed. I woke up at 3 a.m. to go over the questions the producers sent: You have been studying self-marriage for over 20 years. Has this become more popular in recent times? Why is self-marriage important? What is the main message about? What are some misconceptions of self-marriage? Can you be married to yourself and someone else? Are women’s standards rising? How is self-love being preached today to the younger generation?

A driver picked me up from the hotel lobby at 7:30, and brought me to the CBS studio lot. After a Covid test, the production assistant took me to a small dressing room, where I would spend the next few hours alone.

Many people have asked about hair, makeup, and wardrobe for the Dr. Phil Show, so I am going to tell you the truth: the hair and makeup was pretty fucking awesome, and were among the best parts of the whole experience. When I appeared on CNN, I got zero help with hair or makeup. They plopped me down in front of a camera to talk with Anderson Cooper. I don’t think I understood the power of makeup before the Dr. Phil Make-Up Artist sculpted my cheekbones. I took about 5,000 selfies in the dressing room.

before hair and makeup

The hairdresser did an excellent job. Of course we had a good chat too.

Never had a make-over like this before!

one of five million selfies I snapped in the dressing room

Next, the wardrobe came. Those two women steamed my dress, and gave me a narrow belt, nude stilletos, and pantyhose. They took photos to send to the Executive Producer for her approval. Clearly, guests’ appearances were very important to the producers.

What they sent to the producers for approval!

Finally, the most important knock came. It was time to go down to the stage.

In the hallway, I met two other women who had married themselves and would be guests on the show. One of the women wore a bright blue pantsuit and a necklace that said, “amapoundcake,” which turned out to be Danni’s social media handle for her work as a body image coach. Sonya wore a peach pantsuit with a brighter orange blouse below it. Sonya was a business owner in Colorado. They were both Black. I asked one of them if they knew each other; she said no. We were all new to each other. I learned later that the producers put us in different hotels.

The handlers then led us down to the stage. At that moment I felt on top of the world, buoyed by a camaraderie with these two women. Even if some people judged us as insane, narcissistic, pathetic, unmarriageable, or whatever insults people wanted to throw at us, we were strong and knew self-marriage as a beautiful path to take. At that time, the show felt like a culmination of the last 20 years of my work on women’s empowerment.

National attention for self-marriage! Whoo-hoo, I was feeling good!

The production assistant sat me and Sonya in the front. While we were waiting for the show to start, Sonya and I chit-chatted about dating as self-married women (there are some things you can only talk about with another woman who has married herself).

I looked across the way and noticed a white, tan, blue-eyed preppy thirtysomething guy with a sweep of neat hair to his left seated also in the front row. He had a kind of pastel look to him, like he lived in Miami, or appeared on the 1980s show Miami Vice? The producers were looking for a man who married himself to be on the show. Was he the man they found? I tried to make friendly eye contact, but Mr. Miami Vice looked away.

When the show began, Danni sat up on stage first with Dr. Phil. Danni invited dozens of friends and family to her recent outdoor self-wedding, so different from my ceremony, which I did in a much more private way. The producers played a clip of her vows, “Will you commit to never giving up until your dying day? Do you promise to value yourself?” Danni also left small bags with rings in them on each person’s seat, inviting people to marry themselves.

Danni explained, “I overcame a lot of trauma, and it inspired me to marry myself. I realized I wasn’t living for myself and this wedding was my chance to start over.”

I loved Danni’s story, specifically, how she invited others to pledge love to themselves and that she brought healing past trauma in the conversation. Trauma rarely gets talked about in media stories on self-marriage, but finding wholeness is often a part of the journey. Many of us would not be drawn to self-marriage if we had not felt damaged or broken.

By this point, I was thinking, FANTASTIC. But when Dr. Phil introduced the man sitting on my left on stage, the mood rapidly shifted. Mr. Miami Vice actually founded The Right Stuff, a dating app for conservatives. Huh? Dr. Phil next dropped this bomb, “John also served as the Director of the White House Presidential Personnel office during the Trump administration.”

Wait? What? Are we on Sunday morning Fox News or Dr. Phil?

My mask has always served me. People always tell me that I look calm when I don’t feel that way. At that moment my ability to look confident when I was anything but inside was being utilized to the nth degree. I started to disassociate, to have an out-of-body experience mixed with confusion.

“You’ve got a problem with this,” Dr. Phil asked Mr. Miami Vice. “What’s your problem with it?”

“My problem is that it’s making a mockery of a very sacred thing. I think if you want to celebrate yourself, that’s great, I just think there are other ways to do it.”

Mr. Miami Vice started to rant about conservatives being called crazy when they worried about people marrying multiple people, marrying themselves, marrying animals, marrying objects.

What? What are we talking about? Are you really worried about animal marriage? Don’t you think it would be a better use of your time to worry about … I don’t know…climate change?

The producers emailed me questions to prepare for the show, but they never mentioned this was going to turn into a political debate.

I didn’t know where to start, but I had to get myself out of a freeze. Over the past year, I had been training with Katie and Gay Hendricks, two therapists-turned-coaches who teach courses in Body Intelligence. The Hendricks speak about the importance of telling the microscopic truth when in conflict. “Telling the miscoscopic truth” means revealing the sensations you are feeling in your body. It’s a way of inviting someone else into your reality.

What came out of my mouth came naturally as a result of those trainings.

I said, “When I listen to you, I just feel really tense and kind of afraid.”

The audience laughed. Mr Miami Vice said nothing. Later people told me I demolished him but I wasn’t looking to destroy anyone. I was just looking to say something after these men who knew nothing about self-marriage hijacked the conversation. The editors wound up using that high-sensation line as part of their promo for the show. (See below clip!)

Dr Phil next brought up Brad Wilcox, sociology professor and director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, who also knew nothing about self-marriage and talked about the importance of people tying the knot in their twenties.

The conversation turned into Dr. Phil fretting about self-marriage spreading, people getting married less, and having fewer children, which could spell a declining birth rate and economic disaster for the country. The show had become ridiculous. Apparently now getting married is our patriotic duty.

By this point, I forced myself to intervene again, telling Dr. Phil during the commercial break that I had something to say in response to Brad Wilcox. Here’s what I said.

I did as well as I could, considering the madness coming out of their mouths, but I wish I could go back and be even more clear. I would say, “Brad, we are here today to talk about self-marriage, which is a ceremony that allows a woman or a man to celebrate their lives and honor their priorities and values. It sounds like you are advocating something else: forced marriage to another person. What do you propose? Should we marry anyone that we can find on Tinder during our twenties?”

Also: “Dr. Phil, why are you drumming up controversy by talking about immigration and the declining birth rate? Do you prefer that women don’t love themselves, and stay in whatever relationship they can get? Would you prefer that women don’t have power?”

“And wait, did anyone ever say that people here on stage who have married themselves are against marriage? I am willing to bet that all three of us on stage would marry another person if we found someone we wanted to marry.”

The “other side” kept going on and on about the “sacrament” of marriage. Marriage is a “sacrament” because God’s love then becomes expressed through a couple’s union. OK, but didn’t Jesus actually say the most important thing to do is to love your neighbor like you love yourself? To love your neighbor, you need to learn how to love yourself. The people who are causing the most havoc in the world surely do not love themselves.

There were sweet moments in the show, like when Dr. Phil asked if anyone in the audience would marry themselves; hands shot up. A young guy said said he would. He clarified that he wouldn’t be cheating if he married someone else. He would forgive himself. That guy was great. Generation Z is primed for the concept of self-marriage like no generation that has come before them.

I got to officiate a ceremony that ran during the credits. Kalley and her sister Camryn wanted to marry themselves on television and they wanted me to guide them. The producers set up a beautiful backstage green room with flowers. Camryn said moving things: she wanted to give herself full credit for her trauma healing. Again, trauma was present. Perhaps that was the high point of the show for me.

++

After Ali and I got in the car and started looking for a place for lunch, I started putting the pieces together. I banged my feet against the dashboard of her car in rage. I could not believe the producers mainstreamed Mr. Miami Vice, who helped to orchestrate a violent coup against the government of the US on January 6 that resulted in five deaths, as the “other side” on a daytime TV show. Mr. Miami Vice (and I am not using his name here for a reason) should not have been on stage next to us. The producers had no business giving someone like that a platform, and certainly not about a topic he knew nothing about.

The producers took good care of me with the make-up, travel, and hotel, but I didn’t like their “surprises.” I called Kalley from lunch and asked her if she knew they had also booked Mr. Miami Vice. She said that she didn’t and that she thought his craziness made us look better. That’s probably true (we did sound sane in comparison), but still, it was unfair to throw me into a political debate with a Trumper and a conservative sociologist without giving me notice so I could prepare.

A week later I shared what happened on a coaches’ community page with Katie Hendricks. Katie wrote back, “Oooh, you survived an encounter with crazy, congrats! Media, especially Dr. Phil, has veered off into conflict porn. I experience TV as an opportunity to get skilled at encountering the unexpected. Enjoy the ripple!”

Katie nailed it. Conflict Porn. That’s what Dr. Phil and most American TV talk shows want for ratings. The show didn’t want real dialogue; they wanted shock, gotcha moments, and stupidity. A client told me in a session a few weeks later that she was proud to see me up on stage speaking up for self-marriage, but she didn’t understand why Dr. Phil flew me out to LA if he wasn’t going to give me more airtime. Yeah, you and me both sister.

Another client from the 2023 Turned-On Living group wondered if the producers didn’t tell the women about the political people coming on the show so we would look dumb. I wouldn’t go that far. I believe the producers genuinely wanted to have a conversation about self-marriage, but they were operating within such a sick workplace that the “other side” became a Trumper. They certainly didn’t operate with integrity.

Drama was the star of the show with Dr. Phil in the judge position. He is not a judge I would trust. When the cameras went off, his jaw went slack. He seemed to be quite the phony.

Was it worth it to disrupt my life to be on the Dr. Phil show? I can’t say I regret the decision, but then again, I have a hard time regretting any choice because I learn from whatever happens. Would I go on the Dr. Phil Show again if the producers invited me back (which is not going to happen because the show is now off the air)? No! Certainly not! As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

When I think back to Clyde’s advice, “Authors take risks,” I think yes, that’s true. Authors do take risks. Simply by writing our books we take risks. To experience the fullness of life, and get one’s ideas out into the world, we have to take chances. If I get the opportunity to talk about something I sincerely believe in or want to promote, like my next book Wet, my coaching program Turned-On Living, or pussywalking, the sexual-energy mindfulness practice I created, on a large platform, I check out the opportunity. But I would also follow Jill’s advice and ask hard-hitting questions. Hindsight is 20/20, but now knowing what I know, I would have quizzed the producers about the “opposing” side.

Did going on Dr. Phil change my life or help me in my business? Not really. Let’s face it. My clients are not watching much daytime TV. I got a few weird emails, the most memorable from a man who somehow seemed to think I was going to meet him in a motel in Texas (???), a fantastic makeover, and a free trip to California where I got to spend time with two of my oldest friends. I met two trailblazing women who also married themselves. I built my confidence in my ability to speak up in any situation. If I can talk to Dr. Phil about self-marriage, well, shoot, I can do anything. At the very least, I got a story.


Liked what you read? Want to get future essays, blog posts, and other updates about what is happening in my quirky world and what I am offering? Sign up for my weeklyish newsletter.

Want to explore making your own soul commitment (or marrying yourself) within a group context of a yearlong exploration of pleasure, joy, and self-worth? Check out my small group coaching program Turned-On Living and enter your email to start a conversation with me about being part of the 2024 cohort.

Coming soon: Pussywalking Down the Aisle to a Soul Commitment Ceremony

Inside the Rosemary’s Fig “tunnel” at Gather Farm, where the self-marriage/soul commitment ceremonies will take place

In a week, the intrepid women who make up my Turned-On Living 2023 group are coming to our weekend retreat in Providence, Rhode Island, where I now call home. This is a momentous moment! We will be together in the flesh! We have been together in a yearlong adventure of Turned-On Living through months like Anti-People-Pleasing, Embodied Self-Compassion, Visioning (Getting Clear About What You Really Want) .Rest/Digital Detox, and Prioritizing Pleasure. Now is the time when we get to know each other as living bodies, outside of the little Hollywood Squares boxes we have all come to know on Zoom.

We dance at the start of all our weekly meetings as a ritual to get present. Now we will be able to rock out with each other in person! On the agenda: dancing in the woods in the riotous New England fall foliage.

On the last day of our retreat, we will be doing self-marriage, or soul commitment, ceremonies at Gather Farm, a beautiful spot near Providence where magical yoga, dance, and meditation classes happen in nature. I am so excited that we are going to be doing the ceremonies in such a gorgeous natural spot!

the land at Gather Farm, where the soul commitment ceremonies will take place during the Turned-On Living retreat!

The self-marriage, or soul commitment, ceremonies are a chance to pledge inner love in simple vows witnessed by the other women and me, kindred spirits on the path of Turned-On Living. We have talked about how they will pussywalk down the aisle. Pussywalking is a big theme in Turned-On Living, a practice we return to again and again as a mindful embodiment of self-appreciation and confidence in the way we walk through the world as women.

Now here is something interesting. I am not sure how many of these women would be doing a soul commitment, or self-marriage, ceremony this year if they were not part of the Turned-On Living group.

Most of them came into the program with other desires at the forefront, like wanting to learn how to have fun again, or to get clear about what they really want for their lives. They wanted to have meaningful conversations in a consistent community of personal growth among kindred spirits. Self-marriage was not at the top of the agenda. In fact, most of them are calling it “soul commitment” rather than self-marriage because that language resonates more. Maybe soul commitment is the eating broccoli of personal growth – something you know could be good for you but it’s a bit scary and maybe even too healthy to consider!

Here’s why I bring this up. There is a power of being in a group to take you to places that you might not get to on your own.

There is a particular power in being part of a small group in particular, that meets consistently and really gets to know each other, not in a performative way to sound smart or special, but in a real way where you can let your guard down and show up as yourself, in all your real glory.

When we are in a group, we can learn from each other, witness each other, and get lifted up by the support of knowing that we are not the only ones trying something new. This  was definitely true during the Anti-People Pleasing month of Turned-On Living, perhaps the most confrontational month that had us looking at people-pleasing patterns of being “too nice.” There is nothing like ignoring your own truth that will drain your turn-on for life.

I am excited about meeting these special women!

In the meantime, I am starting to talk with women to form the cohort of special women who will make up Turned–On Living 2024. If reading about these adventures tugs at your soul, reach out and set up a time to talk. I talk with each person in the cohort to form the group, because it’s a small group and we are together for a whole year. We will get to know each other and discover if Turned-On Living is right for you. I take a lot of care with the group because it’s all about creating a feeling of safety and belonging, where everyone feels comfortable being real. That’s where the good stuff happens, in realness. Take a look at this page, and book a call or enter your email to start the conversation.

Filling My Cup with Pleasure… in a Flower Bath in Bali

Relishing a flower bath at Karsa Spa, in Ubud, Bali

Receiving a traditional Balinese healing massage and then soaking in a flower bath in Bali at the extremely special Karsa Spa was one of the highlights of my (first) three weeks on this magical island.

If you are headed to Bali anytime soon, I definitely recommend you bookmark the Karsa link — and reserve in advance. Massage and flower bath places abound all over Bali (what a place after my own heart!) but Karsa is special and it can take time to get a reservation. (If you check out the other pictures on my Instagram feed you will see more.)

The flower bath was part of the 10-day retreat led by my business coach of the last two years, Megan Taylor Morrison. Meg had heard Karsa was amazing from a longtime Bali visitor and it is!

I was last to emerge from the flower bath in the group because I could not tear myself away from the lush flower petals surrounding my body. I truly felt like I had been dropped in a peaceful heaven. Let’s call it a peak sensual moment! Over the last fifteen years, I have developed quite the capacity to savor physical bliss in all my trainings and explorations of sensuality (you’ll read more about that in WET when it’s finally ready for you). I can safely say this Karsa flower bath in Bali was maybe one of the most blissed-out times in my life that did not involve sex, drugs, tango, or Paris. Ha! I could have stayed in another hour. I plan to go back.

Savoring pleasure – and prioritizing and discovering it – is a big theme in my yearlong group coaching program Turned-On Living. During the year, we have monthlong themes, involving experiential “playwork” and reading. One of the early months is “Prioritizing Pleasure.” Why? Isn’t pleasure trivial? Isn’t sensuality hedonistic? Not really.

What if I tell you that your ability to slow down and savor pleasure is critical for your ability to develop self-worth… and even boundaries? Having been working with women and sensuality and sexuality in life coaching for more than a decade now, I can tell you that many women clients suffer from a pleasure deficit, not exactly what is technically called anhedonia, the inability to feel pleasure, but something close to it.

We are not working in the realm of diagnosis, we are working in the realm of real life. Most of the women I have coached feel some degree of resistance to feeling pleasure. They often feel like we have to be doing something to help others or improve themselves. Or what if we try to engage in pleasure or self-pleasure, and it doesn’t work? Performance anxiety creeps up around pleasure! The modern world has us avoiding rest and focusing on the next thing on the to-do list.  

Just think: how often are you without your phone, simply savoring being in the moment? Pleasure is a kind of breathing meditation. 

It can be hard to change your habits in isolation, which is why it’s so useful and helpful to be in a small group of women who have a shared goal of living a turned-on life.

This is a big reason I created Turned-On Living. There are ways we can learn together from each other in small groups that we can’t do alone.

Through Turned-On Living, I guide you in a yearlong adventure of exploring pleasure, boundaries, antipeople-pleasing, getting clear on what you really want for your life, pussywalking your way to your full empowerment, and more. This is a self-development program with a focus on embodiment. We talk, dance, and get into our bodies. We form a curated group of women to explore what it looks like and takes to live a #turnedonlife.

This is the time of year when I start talking with women to create the group for next year. 2024, we are looking at you.

If you are curious about being part of the group, what we do, and how Turned-On Living could change your life, take a look at this page, and enter your email address here to start the conversation.

I will send you the curriculum and costs so you have all the information, and if it feels like a potential fit, we will do an interview. I talk with each person in-depth to create a supportive, uplifting supergroup.

Another way to learn more about the vibe of Turned-On Living is to attend an Online Dance Party on October 25, at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT. In 2023, I am all about doing Online Dance Parties on Zoom to connect with readers and clients.

In between songs, I will be talk about Turned-On Living for Tough Times, and you will learn more about the program of Turned-On Living.

So here you go, important links…

GO HERE to sign up for the Wednesday, October 25, Zoom Dance Party on Turned-On Living for Tough Times, and to learn more about TOL 2024. Feeling tense? Stiff? Curious? Excited? Sad? Nervous? Let’s dance it all out!

GO HERE to learn about Turned-On Living and what we will do over a year together in a small, curated group. Enter your email and you will get the full curriculum with all the monthly themes and cost information. If it feels like a potential fit, we will do a personal interview.

See ya there!