July 27, 2017

Summer Solstice Cocktails

Relocating back to California from Tennessee has been an extraordinary journey. You know that feeling of things aligning when you’re in the flow? That’s how it’s been, from friends in Napa offering us their guesthouse until my sweetie finds a new position and we know where to nest, to the serendipity of talking to the wine buyer at the local Trader Joe’s who also happens to host a TV show where I’ll be a guest soon.

I just knew that things would begin to happen fast once I got back to CA. I had no idea how fast and how abundant that flow would be. There’s so much happening that I’ll soon be adding an “Events” section on my website. Don’t want to inundate you with emails about all the cool things coming up, so they’ll be here and I’ll blog about them. It’s a potent mix of experiences and activities that is swirling in the glass of my life.

The wave of interest and desire for finding intimacy and sexuality after a cancer diagnosis is big. There’s a raw nerve of sadness, grief, fear, and numbness that’s mixed in with hope and hunger.

Our sexuality is so much more than what happens with our genitals and some fluid exchange. The facets of emotions, thoughts and beliefs, spirit, cultural mores and bodies radically changed by cancer and treatments, is a very potent cocktail. How do you sort through all the ingredients to create a blend that nourishes you?

A good place to begin is to make room for the full range of emotions you may experience. Sitting with a dear friend (or your sweetie if you have one) who is willing to listen as you empty out is immensely helpful. Holding emotions inside can magnify and distort them and over time, it’s much harder to tap into the inner torrent.  This can feel like a Molotov cocktail, one that can explode at any moment.

Release some of the pressure by talking about them to someone who can receive you and your feelings with love and kindness.

How to do this? Reach out and ask your friend to spend an afternoon or evening with you, with the understanding that it’s about supporting you emotionally. You may not need hours, but you also don’t want to rush. Choose a place where you can be alone and undisturbed. Bring a box of tissues and a glass of water. Light a candle if you like ~ you get the idea. Set the stage for safety and intimacy.

Set the context so that you feel safe, heard and held in the cradle of their kindness and love for you. Ask your friend to listen with an open heart, and to simply listen as if they’re receiving a precious gift ~ you. They are! Sometimes it’s helpful to gaze at a candle rather than into their eyes because that can be distracting. Experiment to find what works best for you because this is for you. Tell your friend that you’re not asking for a response, that there’s not a problem to solve, that this is for you to empty out and make some inner space and be witnessed in that. Ask them to receive you fully.

Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. Begin to bring your awareness to your heart, the metaphoric place for our feelings. Ask your heart what it wants to speak, as if it has lips.  I know, this is a funny image. The point is that this is not a thinking process, rather an emotional journey.

Let the feelings flow in whatever way they arise. You may have words, you may cry, you may sit in silence and feel the waves as they rise and fall. Let it flow until you feel done, which may be a few minutes or a long while. Be patient with yourself and this process. If you’ve had feelings bottled up inside for a while, sometimes it takes a little while to access them. Trust that you’ll feel and express what’s needed for you.

When you feel finished, tell your friend that you’re done for now. Look into their eyes and take a breath. Thank them or give them a hug to show your appreciation. If you used a candle, blow it out.  This is a signal that this time is complete for now, which lets you and your friend honor what’s just happened.

What’s in your Summer Solstice Cocktail of emotions? As you empty out, what’s there now? Do you feel a little more room inside? Less room? Whatever you’re feeling is just right for you, so please try not to judge what just occurred. Let it be. Let you be. It’s all you and you are beautiful.

Perhaps you can add some gratitude and appreciation to your cocktail? As you give yourself time to empty out, you can experiment with the emotional ingredients that nourish you. What are yours?

Cheers!

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