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!

 

 

Online Dance Party: Turned-On Living for Tough Times

Tough times call for Turned-On Living.

When life gets hard, it’s time to come back to ourselves.

I’m hosting an Online Dance Party on Wednesday, October 25 at 8 pm ET / 5 pm PT to bring together my readers and clients.

In between songs, I’ll talk about the topic of cultivating  Turned-On Living in tough times. What do you do to come back to yourself during times of overwhelm and discombobulation? Why is it important to keep focused on joy and pleasure even, or especially, when the world is in disarray?

Turned-On Living is a philosophy about returning to rituals of joys and pleasure to fuel ourselves for life, and connecting with our bodies to know what we feel and what we want.

Turned-On Living is also a yearlong small group coaching program that I lead with a curated group of women. The 2023 cohort has been absolutely wonderful. Those women are soon coming to Providence to be together in a retreat. And it’s time to start creating the 2024 cohort.

Are you interested in learning the practices that support living a Turned-On Life, whatever that looks like for you?

We can learn so much from each other. We are all much more similar than we realize.

To learn more about Turned-On Living, check out this page and get in touch to let me know if you want to be considered to be part of the 2024 cohort. We can talk and discover whether it’s a fit.

To sign up for the online dance party, please enter your email in the box below. See you soon, to dance and chat! 

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Helping two young women marry themselves on the Dr. Phil show – a life highlight!

Going on the Dr. Phil show on self-marriage as a guest expert earlier this year in February was what I would call a VERY mixed experience–you’ll get to read all the juicy details in an essay to be published soon in this space. If you are not on my newsletter list already, be sure to sign up to get that post!

But there were some wonderful moments that need to be remembered for the history (herstory?) books.

One of the best parts, for sure, was getting the chance to officiate a self-marriage ceremony on national TV, on a show that reaches two million people per episode. After all the other shenanigans happened on stage (again, stay tuned for the essay), the producers led me backstage where they had actually created quite a sweet space with flowers for a self-wedding.

Who was getting married?  After I got to LA, the producer called me and told me that Kalley Sullivan, the assistant producer, wanted to marry herself on the show, and her sister Camryn, a mental health influencer (and survivor) who runs this YouTube account focused on suicide prevention, also wanted to commit to love herself in a ceremony. They had been so inspired by the conversations with me and the other two women featured on the show, Danni Adams (@amapoundcake) and Sonya Police, that they too wanted to take this bold step, in their early twenties. Way to go Generation Z!

They asked me to officiate the ceremony since I have been helping women to marry themselves for years.

Take a look at the video above to sneak a peak. I love what Camryn says about giving no one else credit for her own growth. The journey of self-care and learning to love oneself is a social one. People help us along the way–friends, therapists, coaches, authors, parents, and so on. We can’t do this life thing on our own. But ultimately we choose to care for ourselves, and we need to give ourselves credit. Especially if life has thrown tough obstacles in our way, such as trauma or severe depression.

I’m sharing this video clip now because I’m especially inspired by the vibes of self-marriage by the Zoom call we just had yesterday afternoon in this year’s Turned-On Living program, the yearlong small group coaching program that I am running that brings together women who have the shared goal of living a turned-on life.

In November, the women who are part of this year’s 2023 Turned-On Living cohort will come to Providence and we will do their own unique self-marriage ceremonies in the woods as part of our weekend retreat to bond in person. Each woman is designing her own ceremony, and we will all witness each other’s vows. I absolutely love it. It’s so fun because everyone gets to be creative together.

If you are curious about marrying (or committing to) yourself but you don’t know who would get you or support you in this journey, check out being part of the 2024 cohort for Turned-On Living. 

Self-marriage is an individual journey but it flourishes with group support, being seen, being known, and being witnessed by others who get it.

Reading Rest Is Resistance on the Week of Juneteenth

It’s the week of Juneteenth, and I wanted to send out a message in recognition.

Juneteenth may be something you have always known about, or, like me, you might have only learned about it in the last five years.

This page from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture breaks down “The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth.”

“Juneteenth marks our country’s (the U.S.’s) second independence day. Although it has long been celebrated in the African American community, this monumental event remains largely unknown to most Americans.”

Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom for Black Americans…a goal we are clearly we are still working to achieve. “Nobody’s free until everybody’s free,” said Freedom Summer activist Fannie Lou Hamer.

Over the last week, I have been savoring Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto, by Tricia Hersey, an artist, theologian, community organizer, and the creator of the Nap Ministry, which uplifts the liberatory power of rest through collective napping experiences.

Rest is Resistance reads like a sermon–and it centers the experience of Black people, for whom rest can be seen as reparations for their ancestors, enslaved people whose labor, bodies, and sleep were stolen. The manifesto makes a case for the revolution that is resting. Hersey makes it clear that the call to rest is for everyone.

Many of my clients struggle to rest. I do too.

I have been getting better at pacing myself, taking more breaks in the middle of the day for yoga nidra (or non-sleep deep rest). Dance breaks to a song from our Turned-On Living 2023 playlist are the best–they keep my life force going! Of course, there are always middle-of-the-day fifteen-minute pussywalks to tap into the core sexual energy that is always available for us when we turn it on!

It took me longer than I wanted to write this newsletter. The desire to work tempts me–to be productive, to do more, express and connect more often. But there is always so much to do, and as I get older, I don’t want to work in the evenings or on weekends. I want to rest!

If taking breaks and turning off your mind is a struggle for you too, I heartily recommend Rest Is Resistance. Opening up a page at random helps me to rest more with a feeling of solidarity about its importance.

Here is a passage I found at random just now: “All of culture is working in collaboration for us not to rest, and when we do listen to our bodies and take rest, many feel extreme guilt and shame. Embrace knowing that you have been manipulated and scammed by a violent system as powerful evidence. Now with this knowledge you can grieve, repair, rest, and heal.”

And…”Resting is ancient, slow, and connected work that will take hold of you in ways that may be surprising. Let your entire being slowly begin to shift. Get lost in rest. Pull up the blankets, search for softness and be open to the ways rest will surprise and calm you.”

Yours in honoring Juneteenth, and valuing rest and freedom,

Sasha

P.S. I am reading Rest as Resistance in preparation for August, our month dedicated to the theme of rest in Turned-On Living. I’ll let you know how we expand our capacity to turn off from work and tune into doing nothing, wandering, and daydreaming after we live the experience!

P.P.S. This blog post went out in my newsletter the Sasha Cagen Weeklyish. It’s not social media or even a Substack. It’s simple. If you want to get the newsletter and never miss news from me, please go ahead and enter your email address here!

 

 

Are you “too nice”?

Are you “too nice”?

This month in my yearlong small group coaching program Turned-On Living we are looking at patterns of being “nice” and perhaps “too nice.” We are looking at whether ”nice” is honest.

May is the Anti-People Pleasing month in Turned-On Living. Every month has a theme in service of creating a turned-on life.

For sure learning how to say no is necessary to say yes to life and what you really want. And speaking up is required to live a healthy life.

And yet it is not easy to change these patterns. I have struggled with elements of people-pleasing my whole life. I’m getting better every year at being real and am so enjoying being with a group of women on this yearlong journey.

How about you? Are you sometimes “too nice”? And does becoming less nice mean “toughening up” or just loving yourself more?

If you want to look at your own people-pleasing patterns, and what it takes to change them, I highly recommend these resources:

  • The book Not Nice: Stop People Pleasing, Staying Silent, & Feeling Guilty… and Start Speaking Up, Staying No, Asking Boldly, and Unapologetically Being Yourself by Aziz Gazipura. You can find Not Nice and all the other great books we are using during our yearlong journey on the Turned-On Living 2023 Bookshop.org list. (Shout out to Bookshop.org, a socially conscious way to buy books online and support indie bookstores!)
  • This piece on Chief.com, which has hit home for a few of my coaching clients: Respect Me, Maybe? How ‘Soft’ Language Could Be Hurting Your Career. I work as a Guide for Chief, so I get a lot of their great content in my email inbox, and like to pass along the best wisdom.
  • From Kara Loewentheil of Unfuck Your Brain, this podcast episode on people-pleasing.

All of these resources will provoke you. Books and podcasts are great, and…

If you want one-on-one support to work through your people-pleasing patterns in service of your turned-on life, you can reach out to see if I have space for a new client in my coaching practice.

If you would like to do this work with a group of awesome women dedicated to their own personal growth, you can put yourself on the waiting list for the next cohort of Turned-On Living. I will start talking with folks in September to form another special group to kick off in 2024.

Thoughts? Leave them in the comments!

Dear Dr. Phil: Why you should have me on your show about self-marriage

As I’m preparing to write my behind-the-scenes blog post about being on Dr. Phil (not using Chat GPT, which I am still resisting!), I uploaded this video to YouTube.

After our initial phone call, the producers asked me to make a video telling Dr. Phil why they should have me on the show as a guest expert. This four-minute chat into the camera is what I sent.

I got to say many more substantial things in my “audition” video than on the actual show! 

The story of how the producers found me and what it was like to be flown out to LA to be on Dr. Phil will be coming soon.

I’ve been busy with my move into a new home, but now there are only three more boxes to unpack.

I am excited to get back into my writerly creative flow and share the backstory with you. Stay tuned. It’s my intention for my own Turned-On Life to do a lot more authentic, personal essayish writing this year.

P.S. This month in Turned-On Living, my group coaching program based on everything I have learned for coaching women for the last twelve years, we are moving into the topic of ANTI-PEOPLE-PLEASING.

It’s time to learn how to live from desire rather than obligation.

If you too are one of those “too nice” women who is ready to learn how to be kind to others while also being true to yourself, and you are curious to be considered for the next cohort of Turned-On Living, leave your email here to begin the conversation.

 

A podcast about listening to the body to make big life decisions, overcoming New England Puritanism, and more

It was a massive pleasure to talk with fellow Rhode Islander Dave Ursillo for his podcast the New Story.

In Dave’s former life, he was, according to his LinkedIn profile, “a political insider, policy nerd and aspiring Presidential speechwriter at governmental offices on state and Federal levels, including the White House Council on Environmental Quality in 2008 and for a gubernatorial candidate in 2009.”

Now, like me, he has channeled his energy and concern for a better world into helping others tap into their truest callings. Dave is s a storytelling coach with a thoughtful podcast The New Story about the narratives that shape our time, and a therapist-in-training.

In this provocative conversation (Dave provoked me!), we dug deep into personal stories I haven’t shared in other interviews.

Dave titled the episode “What stigmas and stereotypes cost women” and it’s about that and much more.

We talked about:

–The kind of clients I find myself working with in my coaching practice: I’ve always attracted thoughtful women who don’t want to settle in life or relationships. More generally, I attract women who are asking the question, “What do I really want?” and want to get out of their heads and into their bodies to move beyond the social conditioning that often cuts us short from answering that big question.

–The personal story of how I got sucked into Silicon Valley during my thirties when I cofounded a street fashion startup and then got disillusioned and left the U.S. for Brazil, where I hoped that a more sensual culture would help me reconnect with my authentic self. We also talk about why my time in Silicon Valley was so alienating. I could see the writing on the wall about how social media was going to f#$@ all of us, in particular our ability to connect with ourselves.

–How feeling the drum of samba music in the streets and reconnecting with wildness in culture and nature helped me to cleanse my mind for a minute and feel present and alive

–Going with my body’s instincts vs. ticking off the box of what a professional woman in her thirties was supposed to do next (buy a condo, find a husband, etc., etc.)

–The treasured experience of quirkyalone solitude, and developing a mindful way of being in connection with yourself and others

–Making sense of the word “embodiment”

–How growing up in the Puritanical environment of Rhode Island shaped me and how I have been liberating myself from those influences ever since (and helping others to do the same).

–Coming back to New England as an adult and discovering the pockets of subcultural communities of resistance and aliveness formed in reaction to the dominant repressive culture. Whatever is violence-inducing will produce pockets of safety and community.

–The Scarlet Lettering that persists in our society when a woman seeks to embrace her sexuality and sensuality, and what this kind of rebellion and resistance feels like. I talk about how I help my clients to do that in a safe environment. Safety is a prerequisite to feel pleasure.

–Linguistic interventions of reclamation: How saying the word “pussy” out loud is a big deal for most women and can be a transformative path in and of itself. We talk about my new Turned-On Living group coaching program and how speaking that word has been a challenge for everyone in the group. We also talk about the joy and liberation that awaits us on the other side!

–Pussywalking, of course! And the difficult challenge of inserting the word “pussywalking” when I appeared on the Dr. Phil show on self-marriage in February (what a lost opportunity!). LOL. LOL. LOL.

–The need for a new word to connote strength in women. Don’t say we have balls when we are brave! What’s so strong about “balls” anyway? Ovaries is not going to work either, so what is it?

–Learning how to ask for what you want is about learning how to generate magic in the world

–Learning how to be your own best friend, and how this is a universal journey for all of us: men, women, and non-binary folks.

This was such a fun and lively conversation.

We both enjoyed it, and we hope you do too.

Let us know what you think in the comments!

And if you have a new word to suggest to connote female strength that comes from our sexual anatomy, we are all ears! 

Bringing embodiment and self-love to the masses on the Dr. Phil show on self-marriage (!)

Being on the Dr. Phil show on self-marriage was a wild ride, to say the least

I said, “When I listen to you, I feel tense in my body,” to the conservative man they brought on to be my foil, I fell back on all my somatic coaching training because I was truly at a loss for what to say with all the nonsense coming out of his mouth about people marrying animals!

Sonya and Danni, the two other women who appeared on the show to share their stories are truly spectacular.

Together we helped to show that what at first seems like a weird idea really is not.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter for the juicy stories that are yet to come about how this came to be.

If you are interested in marrying yourself with guidance and support, you can  join the next cohort of my group coaching program Turned-On Living, where you get to enter into the process with the support of other women on the self-love journey.

And… let me know what you thought about the show!

Would love to hear any and all reactions! With a caveat: no hate tolerated. Any nasty comments on this blog post will be deleted.

PS  August 16, 2023: The YouTube account that hosted the full episode got deleted. I’ll look for another recording. To get the full story, read this account published in November 7, 2023, “The True Story of My (Ill-Advised?) Decision to Appear on the Dr. Phil Show.”

 

With Sonya and Danni, the other two (fabulous) women guests who married themselves, on the Dr. Phil show. Thanks to assistant producer Kalley for the photo. I helped Kalley and her sister Camryn get engaged to themselves after the show!

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, “I haven’t lost that yearning, simply because we grow up, and parts of our bodies sag, doesn’t mean that we can’t pursue the dream.”

What stands out for you here?