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The Pleasure and Pain of Plunging into Cold Water, Inch by Inch

 

My fascination began in March 2020, one of those weeks when the pandemic started to get all too real. Quarantine had just begun.

One evening when I wasn’t freaking out reading an Atlantic article predicting how long this pandemic might last (three to four years, I distinctly remember reading), I watched Goop Lab on Netflix, Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness show. Many people enjoy hating Gwyneth, but I like her program’s mission. I enjoy trying out wellness trends too. Heck, I would love to have my own show Sasha Lab. In the first season, Gwyneth and her staff tested out everything from using psychedelics for healing trauma to exploring female masturbation with the queen of self-pleasure Betty Dodson.

The episode featuring the Dutch extreme athlete and health expert Wim Hof (also known as the “IceMan”) sucked me right in. The bearded, ruddy-faced iconoclast talked about how going way outside of our comfort zones by immersing ourselves in cold water can make us stronger. Hof explained that he had worked with researchers at universities for years to demonstrate that cold-water therapy worked to boost the immune system, improve cardiovascular health, alleviate inflammation, cope with depression and anxiety, and control pain. His message, in essence: If you can stand the cold water, you can take control of your health.

Gwyneth’s staff jumped into an unimaginably freezing, snowy Lake Tahoe under his tutelage. I watched, riveted, on the couch, and thought, I could try a cold shower. That night I turned the dial in the shower to the right, but I couldn’t handle the blast. The cold felt water like bullets. I jumped backward and strained to turn the dial back. Wimp, I thought to myself, resigned.

The lure of the cold stayed with me though, even if I didn’t believe I would ever meet its challenge. When I first watched that show, I was sitting on the couch in Buenos Aires, where I had been living for five years. Weeks later I found myself back in Rhode Island, crashing at my mother’s house. It was the beginning of the pandemic when going to Walgreen’s was exciting. Nature was all we had.

I told Elizabeth, my only friend in Rhode Island, that I wanted to try cold plunges. Elizabeth knew a woman who ran a group. She sent me her contact. I got added to a list.

Soon I was getting emails with the subjects “Plunge tomorrow noon” and “4 pm swim—anyone interested?”

cold water plunge rhode island

Mackerel Cove, Jamestown, Rhode Island, March 2021

One April 2020 day I took off on a forty-five-minute drive south to find the plungers. The calm beach at Mackerel Cove in Jamestown is a crescent-shaped cove with soft white sand and calm blue-green waters. The beach was starkly beautiful in early spring. I was glad for the beauty and to get out of the house. Six people emerged from their cars: one man, and five women, donning bathrobes and pink felt ponchos over their bathing suits, swim caps in hand.

I waved hello and introduced myself.

They yelled, “It’s tropical! It’s balmy! It’s so warm!” The temperature hovered around forty Fahrenheit. I didn’t agree, but I found the group charming. In their excitement, these forty-, fifty-, and sixty-somethings looked and sounded like boisterous schoolkids who got together to play. One of them did a jig on the way into the water. I dipped my feet in that day as they plunged but that was enough. I still didn’t see myself becoming one of those people. And that was that.

A year later the pandemic was still raging. The emails about cold plunges started to fill my inbox again.

In early February 2021, I answered one, “I’m coming!” By the next winter of isolation, I had grown desperate. I wanted to do something outside of my comfort zone again after so many evenings spent watching Netflix in isolation. I took up running in the morning, but I remembered seeing something else in those middle-aged eyes: true joy. True joy had been lacking in my life that pandemic winter. I didn’t know what, but I still suspected something was on the other side of the cold water. I wanted to experience it, whatever it was.

The wind whipped across the beach that gray day in late February. In New England, the winter sun descends before 5 pm. I came wearing a bikini, but I kept my pants on and rolled them up to my knees. I walked in up to about three inches, and then darted out of the icy water. In and out, in and out, six times. I didn’t get far. Submerging my ankles pushed me to my limit. Meanwhile, the group stayed in fortyish-degree water for fifteen minutes even when the air temperature dipped to the thirties. Some of them even swam. Their heads capped, they walked out radiant, glowing. Mostly women. I had never seen anything more badass.

One of them told me on the beach, “Just keep coming back and go in as much as you can.”

And so it went. I came through February and March and didn’t make it any deeper than my knees. I developed a reputation as a shrieker. I would yell and throw my arms in the air, the 45-degree water an assault on my toes, ankles. and calves, and throw my arms around like a windmill to release the pain. The women taught me how to warm up my feet after plunging (bring bottles of hot water and a basin for a spa bath post-plunge).

post-plunging spa

post-plunging spa

My envy grew every trip. This was a higher level of joy these people got out of cold-water plunging than anything I have ever seen from my fellow Americans. The group called themselves “What’s Wrong with These People People?” One day someone shouted to them from a car, “What’s wrong with you people?” The name was born. These were definitely among the more interesting characters I’d met since returning to Rhode Island.

Plungers are not your average people.

One day walking on the beach toward me, the tall, bald Michael the leader of the pack, 68, a retired scientist and high school swim coach, shouted into the air with his arms raised to the sky, “What’s wrong with us? We feel like this! I turn into a love machine. I love everything, the sand, the sky, people! It’s like that! Something about what the cold does to your body unleashes that.”

I made about fifteen attempts between February and April.

One afternoon I drove to the 4 pm meeting spot with the conviction, today will be my breakthrough. I don’t know if I am going to turn into a love machine but I am going to get into the water.

That weekend I happened to read an essay in The New York Times about a woman who turned to cold-water therapy after an unimaginable tragedy. Her husband killed their two children and then himself. She had come to stay with her aunt on Long Island and found her way to a small group of her own. I understood the attraction. There had been one day after a writing class when I felt a heavy load of shame in my body after presenting work; intuitively I knew the thing to do to shake off those feelings in my body would be to join the group. Even when I only got into my knees or hips, the cold zapped me like a kind of shock therapy. The sensation was so strong that it wiped away negative emotions and took me right into the present moment.

The obliterating quality of the cold water renewed me, even when I didn’t get all the way in.

Inside that gorgeous essay about grief, I found a simple tip.

The writer said, get into shoulder level and breathe thirty seconds to get to the other side. OK, I thought, I will try.

That April afternoon in Jamestown seven of us met. It was a windy, sunny day, on the brink of spring. The water registered at forty-five degrees, bath-like compared to the thirty-nine when I started coming in February.

I walked in with the group further than ever before past my knees, past my hips, and let the water shock my belly. My hands presented the biggest challenge. They hurt the most. I didn’t want to put them in. But I did. I submerged my hands and then my shoulders, breathing to a count of thirty. Around twenty-nine, the pain gave way to vibrating numbness on my skin. A minute or two after counting, the strangest thing happened. My inner fire lit. Somewhere deep inside of my guts a heat built, a contrast to the cold water surrounding me, and the dark water turning into a strangely silky viscous thing. I started to float with happiness, this bizarre combination of cold water surrounding me, a furnace within.

One of the other plungers wore a waterproof watch. “How long has it been? How long has it been?” I asked obsessively. I wanted to quantify my breakthrough.

I stayed in for fourteen minutes that first time, so insanely gleeful.

You never forget the first time.

cold water plunging wim hof rhode island

My breakthrough day in Jamestown, April 2021.

 

The air felt surprisingly warm that day when we got out. It was 50 or so on the beach. My legs and arms and chest blotted red, dotted with blood vessels. We looked like lobsters coming out of the water. My hands hurt. My hands felt stiff.

“Don’t worry about that,” Mike said, as he saw me regarding my hands. “Cold-water swimmers call it claw-hand. It’s the first sign of hypothermia but it’s not serious, it’s just the beginning.”

The dull ache in my hands faded enough for me to use my hands, pouring my bottles of steaming hot water into my foot basin. I stepped in. My blocky feet thawed as I stood there on the sandy beach in Jamestown by a bridge and behind a hotel, sailboats moored, dormant until warmer days. The high came on gradually. I started to finally feel it, the thing I had been after all along, the bodily joy I had lusted after for months started to take root.

It’s hard to describe the feeling but when the physical reaction came on it was like a flood of warm lights turning on inside, lit up from within. Since then it’s become clear to me that the colder the water is, the more endorphins are produced in the reaction. In this way, swimming in the winter can become even more pleasurable than in the summer. The French call orgasm petit mort, or little death. You die from the intensity of the sensation, then you are reborn. The cold water is a petit mort.

When I was leaving on that breakthrough day, one of the women in the group came over to her car next to mine.

“So you have been coming all this time and this was the first time you felt it?”

“Yup.”

“You must really like to torture yourself!”

“Maybe. I guess I had faith that I would eventually get there.” 

Of course, she was raising that age-old question: do we dive in quickly into the waves or cautiously enter inch by inch? Everyone finds their own way, if we are persistent enough. Maybe what I loved most of all in that moment was my persistence. When it comes to accomplishing big things, there is nothing more important than persistence.

Have I kept up cold-water therapy? Am I still plunging? Yes. A year later, I am still at it, feeling more like an official group member. I got all the way into the water up to my shoulders on January 1, something I am proud of, but I’ve taken a break recently as the air temperatures dip to the teens. I have my limits. But you know what? I also take cold showers now. Transformation is indeed possible.

I sometimes ask myself, Why? Why do you drive forty-five minutes each way to do something that most people regard as insane? Isn’t there an easier way to feel good? Why not play a joyful playlist and throw your own private dance party at home?

We need many strategies to feel good in our bodies, at least I do. Cold-water plunging is a special pleasure. Sometimes I think it’s the people—the opportunity to share this incredible, outside-the-comfort zone enthusiasm with the other plungers gives me energy for life. The group plunge is a communal kind of orgasm. Sometimes I think it’s the intensity—the pleasure matches the pain. That intensity feels like a confirmation of what it feels like to be a human being, a sensitive one anyway. And of course, there is the possibility of a lovely after-effect. The coldwatergasm can last for hours.

As it turns out, doing this one hard thing has helped me to do other hard things. I often think, if I can do the cold water, I can do this too. Get through this break-up. Publish that book.

I recently re-watched the Goop Lab episode that originally inspired me. I was struck by how much didn’t even register the first time. The idea of getting into the cold water so bowled me over. In the episode, Hof talks about how he turned to cold water immersion to get over the suicide of his wife, the mother of his four children. I didn’t remember that. One doesn’t have to be recovering from tragedy to turn to cold-water therapy—people plunge for many reasons—but that deeply therapeutic, wiped-clean effect does seem to be part of the draw for many. Wim said his children helped him survive, but the cold water healed him.

“You can go into the cold water and adapt, and with that, you become the alchemist of life itself,” he said. I smiled at this thought as I watched on the couch the second time, two years later. I knew exactly what he meant this time. Amen.

Michael, the swim coach, and I celebrate my breakthrough plunge a week later 🙂

our group plunging new year's day jamestown ri

New Year’s Plunge, 2022

Rhode Island PBS recently came to film a segment with a few different groups of Rhode Islanders who dare to swim in frigid waters during the winter, and my group is the first to be profiled. You can meet Mike the swim coach here for yourself. Look for my butt around 4:48 as we enter Third Beach in Middletown, Rhode Island. 😉

Trick or treating as a childless, fortysomething woman. I mean, WHY NOT?

trick or treating as a childless fortysomething woman – yes it can be done!

After Tanya and I hit up a few houses trick-or-treating on my block, collecting Dark Kit Kats and Smarties, I tried to convince my friend that people might be taking us for teenagers.

At the next house, a sixtyish woman dressed as a witch wryly asked us, “Aren’t you too a little old to be trick or treating?” There was a glint of amusement in her eyes, however, and it turned out she loved our costumes. She, like all the other adults, offered us candy.

Tanya was “the wolf in cheap clothing” with a big animal head obscuring her adult face and price tags for $1 pinned all over her outfit–everyone is going to love you with that terrible pun! Tanya was literally spreading joy around the neighborhood. I was wearing a Russian Doll/Matryoshka costume, ironic since a Russian doll is a traditional representation of the mother carrying a child within her–ummmm, we were trick or treating as grown adults without any children!

We joked about going out with a fake child (marionnettes?) as our costume, but in the end we learned that adults — even childless adults — can successfully trick or treat, at least in my relatively progressive neighborhood in Rhode Island.

Were we nervous? VERY! OF COURSE! Trick or treating as a childless, fortysomething adult was an adventure way outside the comfort zone. I hadn’t gone trick or treating since my sophomore year in college, and really had no idea how people would react. I was prepared for people to judge us. But actually, everyone welcomed us.

There are plenty of parents out there in costume handing out candy and walking around with their adorable kids, and hey, if you happen to not have kids, why can’t you trick or treat too?

As Tanya and I discovered, trick or treating is still one of the best ways to meet your neighbors. If it’s scary to meet new people, then it’s all the better. Halloween is the holiday to get your spook on.

Click over here to watch a video we made at the end of the night talking about what we learned about the mildly subversive activity of going trick or treating as childless, fortysomething women, using the Russian doll as a microphone.

I currently have a big candy haul in my kitchen in a bowl, the majority of which I cannot eat because I have celiac disease (no gluten!). Want the candy?

glutenous candy stash to be distributed


Give a shout out on the comments of the video!

Chatting about self-marriage on Despierta America

Me encanto la charla! I loved being on Univision’s ¡Despierta América! (that’s “Wake Up America,” a kind of Good Morning America aimed at the Latino audience in the US) talking about self-marriage and what I do to reconcile with myself after a big internal conflict … give myself a kiss and buy myself chocolate! This interview was funny!

I love it when the interviewers ask interesting questions. Paola Gutierrez asked me what made me fall in love with myself enough to marry myself. I thought for a second and said, “My sensitivity.”

Awwwww. I fell in love with myself all over again.

if you understand Spanish, watch this interview! Or even if you don’t speak Spanish. This chat has buena onda (good vibes).

Three-page gratitude list…even in this disaster of a year

To all my readers, those in the US and not,

Happy Thanksgiving!

Today is probably the best, purest American holiday based on a value that I most appreciate: gratitude.

It’s not always simple to access gratitude for the blessings in our lives–and there’s always something to be grateful for. I just wrote a three-page list of everything and everyone I am grateful for and there is so much. Even in this disaster of a year there is so much!

There was one Thanksgiving, maybe 2012, I spent alone in the year after I got diagnosed as celiac. I couldn’t deal yet with navigating life gluten-free at Thanksgiving. I spent the day alone in my Oakland apartment making a pot of chicken soup and dwelling on gratitude, which actually took me to a kind of high solitude state. This was the opposite of loneliness, of lack: I felt so abundant dwelling in myself, thinking about all the goodness in my life. I realized then it was possible to go on a gratitude fest alone on Thanksgiving. I love social Thanksgivings too–don’t get me wrong–but it was nice to realize that there was another solitude-filled way to celebrate too.

This year will be a combination for me: solo time today and tomorrow my family will gather for an outdoor Thanksgiving. Today it’s raining.

I’m grateful to all of you who have been readers of my books and corresponders from the newsletter, those who are eager for my memoir to come out (you help me keep going), those who have come on Tango Adventures and participated in online classes, those who have tried out pussywalking and written me about their experiences, and my coaching clients who I find to be amazing people. You quirky people are all pretty fantastic. I hope for new things to emerge to engage with you on after I finish up with this book – so stay tuned for 2021!

I hope you have a beautiful day whether alone or together. Make a list of everything, everything you are grateful for. It’s fun. Three pages minimum. Get super granular and quirky.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sue Aikens was here with us for a Tango Adventure!

[During Sue’s Tango Adventure, I did an interview with Sue on what drew her from northern Alaska grizzly bear country to the wilds of tango here with us in Buenos Aires. Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel so you get word when the video is edited. It’s a chance to discover a totally different side of Sue Aikens, a most fascinating woman.]

So guess what everybody! We had the amazing, unfathomable Susan Aikens, star of the show National Geographic documentary series “Life Below Zero” with us here in Buenos Aires for a Tango Adventure! Sue is an outdoorswoman, adventurer, survivor, hunter, angler, businesswoman, loner, and now… a new tango dancer.

Sue is a rare female star who gives women across the world an example of a woman who lives life on her own terms, way off the beaten path of modern life, with humor and a spark for life outside the comfort zone. Her native intelligence shines through on her show as Sue constructs everything she needs in the extremely remote location she lives in up in Northern Alaska. But Sue is also very sociable and curious about the world and people. You can see the hilarious parts of Sue here:

You can see the tough parts of Sue on display here:

So what’s the scoop? If you are like me, and never watched “Life Below Zero,” Sue lives in isolation 500 miles from Fairbanks and just a few miles from the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge at Kavik River Camp, an exploration camp she has created to enable people to explore nature in the area. You have to take a plane to get to Kavik. Sue built her own runway! (And many other things.) The show depicts the daily battles to survive in a harsh climate. Sue has become one of the favorites on the show (check out the passion of her fans’ reviews on this page) with many women and men fans who revere an independent woman. Fans of the show have followed Sue’s challenges with recovering from a bear attack (the bear had her head in its mouth but she escaped) and a snowmobiling accident.

Sue told Men’s Journal, “I had to sew my own head together, and my arm, and before my hips popped out, I went across the river, found the bear, shot him, called the trooper, and there I lay for 10 days.”  According to the story, she was “finally taken to Fairbanks for treatment, and later to the Lower 48 for hip and spinal surgery.”

Clearly Sue is fierce. A survivor with a verve for life. But she is more than just an Alaskan survivalist. She also loves exploring cultures. She wanted to explore following in close-embrace tango and her own unique feminine side. Sue came to Buenos Aires with our Tango Adventure team to explore Argentine tango. She was very clear she did not want ballroom tango. She wanted the original: the energetic connection that is uniquely created in the tango embrace. For a woman who lives in isolation battling to survive in the most remote parts of Alaska, the choice to explore the culture of tango in Buenos Aires is….well, in a word…remarkable! All we do is hug people all day long.  There are no words for this! Sue often talks about living outside the comfort zone. I love this quote she gave in an interview, “You’re never more alive than when you’re on the edge.”

What I’ve discovered about Sue is that she is very funny, caring and thoughtful–she is quite the woman. The more I get to know her, the more blown away I am. She shows us the possibility of transformation, for sure, and the many experiences we can live in one lifetime, as you can see in the photos below.

Many online say Sue has more balls than a man, but I would say she has ovaries. Why is courage associated with balls? Come on, let’s find some more body parts to associate with bravery, ladies!

Here are some snaps and one video clip of Sue dancing from Sue’s Tango Adventure with us . . .what’s truly remarkable is that Sue came to us a total beginner. After a two-week Tango Adventure she was dancing fluidly with our shining star taxi dancer Roberto. The amazing tango development was a credit to her innate capacity to learn and find balance in her body (she sure does take on physical challenges) and to the awesomeness of our Tango Adventure team, clearly!

With TFG (Tango Fairygodfather!) Kevin

Out dancing with Nico, one of our favorite taxi dancers, and TFG (Tango Fairygodmother) Wanda, both key member of our Tango Adventure team

Dancing with Gustavo, another key member of our Tango Adventure team, at Plaza Dorrego, one of the friendly milongas we take you to.

Testing out the new tango dress while shopping for tango shoes

Having merienda (afternoon snack) with Sasha, the head honcho 😉 and soul of the Tango Adventure and Solo Chica Tango Adventure Coordinator Julia who makes the magic happen

Subscribe to my YouTube channel to see the interview with Sue on why she felt drawn to Argentine tango. We talked about lots of great stuff, like living outside the comfort zone and drawing boundaries without being an asshole. Sue’s capacity to be direct and assertive while also being really nice kind of blew me away. Role model alert.

Sue is one of many, many women and men who have joined us for Tango Adventures. Every single one of our participants has been a shining star. You don’t have to battle bears to come. If you want to explore coming on your own Tango Adventure, take the first step by checking this page then entering your email address to start the dance. 

Bringing self-marriage to Argentina!

photo by Julia Ribeiro / shot while filming a “nota” for the Argentine news program TeleNoche about self-marriage in the Japanese Gardens (where I married myself in 2014!)

What happens when a national news program in Argentina wants to know about the American woman who married herself in Buenos Aires? That happened this week. The interview was all in Spanish. Oh my god, it was amazing! We shot this very entertaining video in the Japanese Garden in Buenos Aires–exactly where I married myself five years ago!

This interview was a chance to spread the concept of self-marriage as a ritual of self-love and -acceptance in South America in Spanish on the biggest nightly news show in Argentina TeleNoche. Since then I have gotten lots of media requests from radio stations and newspapers in Argentina. 

Just as a reminder, self-marriage does not at all imply or require being single. I’ve helped married and single women marry themselves in my coaching practice.

I see comments on social media arguing, “But constructing a beautiful relationship is so important.” I agree!  Perhaps some who marry themselves don’t want a relationship but that’s not my approach in my own life or with my clients. In my view, self-marriage is not a rejection of intimate relationship but a foundation for it. Self-marriage is the foundation for everything. 

I also want a loving committed, interdependent relationship with a man. That’s the vulnerable part of me that might not get seen in my advocacy for self-marriage or Quirkyalone. If that sounds contradictory, so be it–it’s really not not. Loving ourselves helps us love other people. Being kinder to yourself helps you look at a a loved one, a friend, or strangers, with a softer, more loving gaze. I can’t say that marrying myself made me a perfect person, but the ring is always a reference point to remember the way I want to treat myself and others.

That’s the deep side of self-marriage. There’s also a hilarious side because marrying yourself can be pretty fun. With Jason Mayne of TeleNoche I was able to be more myself than I am in most interviews.

When I talked about Quirkyalone with Anderson Cooper on CNN the interview felt like a battle. When you go to battle you’re tense. When you’re joking you can be more relaxed. Maybe it’s was Jason’s sympathetic genuine millenial vibe, that we were in a park, or that I was speaking in a foreign language. Anyway, he managed to bring out the best in me. We had so much fun! 

Watch the video and let me know what you think.

 

For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, my team and I translated the interview. 

Jason: And this ring, what does it mean?

Sasha: Well, it’s a commitment to myself, that I’ve taken that step of marrying myself.

Jason narration: There is a movement that grows in the world that is called sologamy or self-marriage, people who marry themselves. And one of the references is now in the city of Buenos Aires. Let’s go talk to her because I want to know what this is about. How is it that you marry yourself, is it a traditional party? No? Well, here we’ll see.

Sasha, what’s up?

Sasha: Hi, how are you?

Jason: Very good! I want to see this, what you have here. Is it a commitment ring?

Sasha: Oh well, yes, it’s my commitment ring with myself.

Jason: What does this ring mean?

Sasha: Well, it’s a symbol of the fact that I took this step to marry myself. As a symbol of self-love and self-acceptance. 

Jason: And how long have you been married?

Sasha: It’s been five years. We’ve been together for 5 years!

Jason: Where did you get married?

Sasha: Here, in the Japanese Garden.

Jason: Where are you from?

Sasha: I’m from the United States, I fell in love with tango, I moved to Buenos Aires, I decided to marry myself and I did the ceremony here in the Japanese Garden.

Jason: And does it have something to do with not expecting the prince and going against all that societal pressure of marriage?

Sasha: Yes. I was going to be 40 years old and I had not married a man yet and I wanted to do something for myself, a ritual. About being an adult, being a woman, taking charge of my own happiness. And also my self-acceptance, that’s a very profound thing.

Jason: Did you tell your friends, your family that you were going to marry yourself? What did they say to you?

Sasha: Well, I told very few people, because I knew that most people would not understand. My mother told me, whatever is good for you is good for me, but I know she thought I was crazy. And that’s OK.

Jason: So it’s about not depending on sharing moments with another person, its about feeling feeling good being yourself?

Sasha: Yes, and I also like to be in a couple. Getting married to yourself doesn’t mean that I want to be single, it’s not like that. It’s that I want to take care of my happiness, when I’m single or when I’m with someone.

Sasha: For me, what is fundamental is to write the vows.

Jason: You wrote the vows?

Sasha: Yes, of course.

reading the vows from five years ago, translated to Spanish

Jason: These are the vows of your self-marriage?

Sasha: My self-marriage yes, because I can also marry a man. it’s not exclusive, it’s very polyamorous.

Jason: The polyamory, I like it, you already stole the concept.

Sasha: Yes, we are in everything.

Jason: Okay, for example, what does it say?

Sasha: I promise to follow what I love, my passions. I promise to fall in love with others’ imperfections as well as I fall in love with mine, because I’m not perfect.

Jason: There it is …

Sasha: I promise to see myself beautiful and accept my sexuality.

Jason: These were the vows of your self-marriage …

Sasha: Yes.

Jason: After, for example, was there a honeymoon?

Sasha: Well, there was a day to celebrate with friends, the honeymoon is still coming.

Jason: It’s pending.

Sasha: It’s pending.

Jason: And marrying oneself is only for women?

Sasha: No men can also marry themselves.

Making some very important point about self-marriage to the crew!

Sasha: In 2004 I wrote this book (Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics), and this book is the first place where there was published writing about self-marriage in a book. I did interviews with other women who had done it (married themselves) in California.

Jason: At what time did you say I want to marry myself?

Sasha: That was some months before my 40th birthday, I was very anxious.

Jason: How is the wedding ritual?

Sasha: Yes, there were many cases when women who wear the white dress and do the whole party. Everything.

Jason: You got gifts for self-marriage?

Sasha: There were gifts that were very sentimental, but not a lot of money. My self-marriage was very inexpensive, very economical.

Jason: Are there companies that offer self-marrying services?

Sasha: There are a few. There’s a box you can buy from the internet to help you with your process, and I see it as very economical, compared to the United States. Getting married in the US is very expensive, and we see what happens in many weddings and for me here is something very economical option that will help you a lot. And you’ll never divorce yourself.

Jason: So more economical, and you won’t get divorced if you marry yourself!

Sasha: Yes! And you’re free to do what you want.

Jason: Could it be that this is the key to happiness?

Sasha: It could be, yes!

Jason: Since you didn’t do something . . . as part of the production. (Takes out fake bouquet of flowers.)

Sasha: Oh no.

Jason: Here we throw the bouquet of flowers to the back.

Sasha: For the next. Let’s go. (Throws bouquet backwards to Jason)

Jason: Yes! I never thought this moment would arrive and it arrived.

Sasha: It arrived.

Jason: Thank you Sasha.

Sasha: I’m so happy for you.

Jason: Now the only thing that is missing is the ring and I’m all good. And the honeymoon.

Sasha: Let’s do it.

Jason: Thank you.

Pop music plays… 

Analyzing the light and where to shoot – these guys were hilarious. The tattoed sound guy thanked me and said my story would help him get his mother off his back because he could tell her he was marrying himself.

Are you ready to come marry yourself in the Japanese Gardens in Buenos Aires? Or in some other beautiful spot in this city, or in your own city? It’s all possible! I do help women and men, single or already married, marry themselves through my coaching practice so if you want some support to take this step yourself, you know where to go. Check out my coaching page and request a consult.

My team and I have also welcomed women to marry themselves or do their own personal honeymoon with a Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires. If that gift to yourself appeals to you, check out the Solo Chica Tango Adventure. With Solo Chica you will not be solo long, just like when you marry yourself you might attract better offers after you take a stand for your own self-worth!

Reviving Sensuality in the Digital Age. An interview with Kaamna Live

What is sensuality and why does it matter? Our culture is obsessed with sex. Sex matters of course. But we rarely talk about sensuality. I want to talk about reviving sensuality in the digital age when we are all too often burying our heads in screens.

In this video with Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan on her new Internet talk show Kaamna Live I made sensuality a priority in my life by leaving Silicon Valley for Brazil back in 2010. In this interview I explain why I made sensuality so important for me at a time when my life was going downhill in many ways.

That move led me to Buenos Aires and tango. The search for sensuality continues because as I see it I need sensual fulfillment to be happy, healthy, and in touch with what I want and don’t want. Being in touch with my sensuality actually helps me make decisions and feel more worthy and whole. We get a lot of valuable information from our bodies but we can only feel those pulses of information if we are in touch with our senses.

In this interview we talk about why reviving your sensuality matters for your health and well-being, which celebrities are sensual and which are not, and how you can make playing golf a more sensual experience. Ha. And we should not miss the obvious point: giving focus to sensuality will make you a better lover. As Kaamna so wisely points out in the video: Men, take note!

Does sensuality matter for you? How do you trigger yourself to get out of your head, off the computer or your phone and back into your body? Where do you find sensual delight?

Let us know in the comments.

Pussywalking’s Media Debut in Blood and Milk!

pussywalking’s media debut in Blood and Milk!

I’m thrilled to share with you the media debut of PUSSYWALKING with this excellent piece written by Maya Frost published in Blood and Milk, a fascinating website devoted to  what it’s like to live inside a female body.

Maya and I had lunch in Buenos Aires and I filled in her on the history of pussywalking — how I discovered it myself on the way to a job interview in downtown San Francisco (that I subsequently nailed, rosy and glowing ;)!) and how I have been teaching it since 2014 in my Tango Adventure workshops and with my clients.

A number of you were kind enough to respond with your willingness to talk with Maya. She spoke with you about your experiences and uncovered a number of diverse benefits from pussywalking…from alleviating back pain to helping actors embody their stage presence…what a difference it makes to walk through life inhabiting our pussies!

Here’s that article again…

It’s a great one so please be in touch and let me know what you are discovering.

Pussywalk on into 2019.

xoxox

Sasha

P.S.  I’d love to hear from you on the benefits you are experiencing from pussywalking after you give it a try–or two or three. If you haven’t already watched the videos, head to this page and be sure to sign up for my special pussywalking newsletter here. That way we will be especially connected for this conversation.

PPS For in-person support with your pussywalk, we are doing a group Tango Adventure May 4-10 and we have one spot left!

Tonight’s Fun: Dirty Dancing

Since adults sometimes have trouble having fun and pleasure (especially adult women I have noticed have this problem) I have decided to create a new category for my blog, “The Point of Life is to Enjoy.” With these posts I plan to chronicle what’s fun in my life. I’ll post to encourage myself to seek out fun and pleasure while I encourage you to find it in your own life. Feel free to comment and tell me your fun. 

 

She’s like the wind

There was no hesitation on my part when I saw the ad for an outdoor showing of Dirty Dancing  in Buenos Aires. I clicked “going” and invited my Colombian friend Ale. I didn’t know if Ale had ever seen Dirty Dancing but we both dance tango and Dirty Dancing is the ultimate dance transformation movie so I wanted to share it with her. Dirty Dancing came out in 1987. I’m willing to guess that I saw it at least five times when I was a teenager and I’m pretty sure I saw it again at an adult slumber party. It is a classic and must be shared.

The event was Cine in the Garden at Congo Centro Cultural, a salon for music and a jungle garden for movies and other events like around the world in 80s music, or funk, or a jazz sextet. The place is, as they say in Spanish, preciosa, or divina. Modern chic interior that opened to a tropical garden with comfortable wooden benches and a waitress taking food and cocktail orders. I ordered a mojito!

Dirty Dancing surprised me by how much it stood the test of time. The movie is such a physical, sensual movie of awakening. It’s eternally pleasurable to watch Baby go from awkward to confident, playful and sexy when she puts lipstick on while practicing dancing outside by the staff quarters.

Now that I dance tango I see the dance teaching by Patrick Swayze’s character as spot on. His teachings about balance, the frame, and feeling the music as a heartbeat are all transformative lessons of dance.

“Too romantic,” Ale said, wrinkling her nose, but it was very funny. Sexy too. It’s fun to watch the hyper-romanticism of a 17-year-old. Baby is so courageous with her feelings. Inspiring! What if I was that bold with telling a man how I feel in my forties? It’s easy to get scared and guarded as we get older.

I don’t get the feeling that Baby and Johnny will get married but they changed each other’s lives for the better. A short relationship can be life-changing too. The movie’s got the romance, dance, youthful naivete, goofy characters, critique of classism and of sexism, of living without legal abortion. Dirty Dancing, I am prepared to argue, may be the most fun movie ever. Man Dirty Dancing really has it all.

I heartily recommend watching again especially with a big group of other women who cheer when Patrick Swayze says, “Nobody puts baby in the corner.”

Awakening the inner dancer in nature

Touching dance lesson scene

Do you want a big dose of fun and adventure in your life? Whether you come on your own or with a friend, fun is available to you.  Check out the Sola Chica Tangasm. That’s my new way of helping you have an amazing transformative experience in Buenos Aires through tango.