Sunday, November 13, 2011

Off to NYC

I ended up taking a wrong turn as I drove into New York and thank goodness for my little buddy's GPS system (and thank god I paid a tiny bit of attention when Rob showed me how to use it.) I was sort of cavalier about the whole driving thing. I didn't think I'd get lost. But I would have been doomed or at least very very late if I did not have that nifty little thing. Holy crap. New York City is big and there are many many roads.

I met up with dear friend Miranda in her cozy studio apartment in Brooklyn with its high ceilings and such a light open feel I just wanted to just snuggle down there, but I was there for a pleasure camp adventure, so I dropped my things and off I went to the subway.

Off the subway, up the stairs and my first corner I saw this! The Empire State Building!
It felt so exciting to be in New York City wandering around alone at night.
I used to travel when I was a younger childless woman and I miss that feeling of floating along, watching the world around you and seeing where you end up. Ahhhh.

Pleasure Camp turned out to be a weekend of bonding, sharing, dancing, singing with 30 wonderful women and generally getting in touch with our neglected inner animal.

This song:

One Love by Sarah Tavares was our theme song and we danced to it alot. We used it as a love song to our own bodies. "I love you. I can't live without you. I know you can understand me. I need you." It was a sweet and dramatic shift to focus on feeling pleasure in the bodies we actually have, not feeling frustrated and annoyed by the needy body that keeps demanding sleep and food when neither is convenient (or at least that's how I often feel. "Really! You need to eat again. Cripes! Didn't we just do this!?")

Jenna LaFlamme the founder of Pleasure camp has 5 presuppositions
1. Your body is a living breathing, feeling, decision-making animal.
2. Weight gain is your bodies cry for attention.

3. Pleasure is a trustworthy, intelligent guiding force.
4. Weight loss emerges naturally when the right conditions are in place.

5. Until sexy is safe you'll never lose weight.

These are each mind bending on their own and together they create an enormous and delicious shift in perception.

She asked us to imagine that our body and mind were like horse and rider. Many of our horses had been neglected and abused. So, instead we talked about cultivating a respectful dialogue between mind and body, asking the body what it needs.

"What do you want?"
"What are you trying to tell me?"
"What do you want to eat?"

And make it a team decision between body and mind.

I thought often of the Mary Oliver poem Wild Geese and that line:
"You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves"

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the

are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

© Mary Oliver

We talked about embodying the divine feminine and celebratin g life, love, sex and food. Being present for everything. We got gift bags with bright ostrich feathers, books galore and blindfolds. We took turns with partners. One would have a blindfold on and the other would take her time stimulating all the senses other than sight. Feathers, chocolate, raspberries, essential oils, blueberries and banana. It was intense, but there was alot of laughter.

We had homework.

The first night it was to find the full moon and stand in her lig ht for a bit, even there in the big city, we found nature and its womanliness shining right up there in the sky.

I called home to say hello and then I made it to Miranda's on the subway, my pink ostrich feather sticking out of my bag, fluttering in the rhythm of the train. I loved the subway alone, just sitting there with nothing to do but look around and breathe. I did some of my emotrance homework that I have been having a hard time finding time to get done. When can I just sit there at home or at work and just focus on how energy feels moving through my body? The subway was the perfect place.

Slept well and woke up to my water glass mysteriously pink. I was half asleep and was quite mystified, but when I sat up it was my feather reflecting in my gla ss.

An intense fun filled day followed.

Lectures, practical advice, dancing and more homework.
This time at lunch here is some of the assignment:

"When you eat, make sure you are sitting down and then br eathe three times before you begin eating. Continue to breathe mindfully as you are eating--breathing through your nose and expanding your belly as you eat through your mouth.

Seek unadulterated pleasure in every bite you eat. Aim to extract as much pleasure as possible from the experience of eating and the food itself. Do this by slowing down and breathing and feeling your body. Pay attention to what you taste, smell, see feel and experience. his will activate your body's natural appetite control."

I got to know and really enjoy some great women over lunch as we tried to breathe, taste, enjoy and talk. We kept forgetting, "Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be breathing!"

We did much more and the day ended at 7p.

Union Square after class for some Whole Foods splurges and another full moon sighting.

Subway fun. Can't imagine lugging the entire drum set down there.

Miranda's door! Home in the city! Miranda was out with family and I had her lovely apartment to myself. I drank tea and had a hot shower while looking over my books in the quiet. It was magnificent, but I was starting to miss the family. Interesting.

Last day of the weekend, loved how this curtain was floating in the evening breeze.

We had a lecture by Danyelle Demchock of gluten free and gorgeous
that was very motivating about going gluten free. I've been very reluctant to admit that I have a gluten sensitivity. It just seems so trendy and annoying, but she addressed the immune issues and other symptoms that were familiar to me so I think it's time to give it a try.

A note from a fellow pleasure camper. I thought it was wadded up gum she wanted me to throw out for her.

But she smiled and said, "No, it's a note for you. Read it!"

I opened it at back at my chair.
It made me smile.
And I took a photo.
I love Pleasure Camp.

The gorgeous Hindu goddess who held the lemons in the kitchen.

The spread of healthy snacks they provided.

It was a wonderful program. I felt so lucky to be there. There was so much going on and so much information I could go on and on, but I wanted to write this and post it. I will share more.

Jenna came up to me during a break and excitedly grabbed my arm and said, "We picked you for the scholarship because you're an herbal witch and you're in touch with the magic of the Earth."

I was shocked, but not shocked at all. I was quiet for a moment and then replied, "It's true!"

Then she said, (all paraphrasing here..) "We also picked you because of your blog. You're out there and you'll spread the word!"

"I will!" I said and I will.

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