Archive: Vulnerability

October 24, 2019

What happens on a Vibrant Living Retreat?

I’ve been back from Italy for over a month and I’m still basking in the afterglow of that marvelous time. So many people have asked me what we do on retreat and I find myself having a hard time coming up with the right words.

We connect

We grow

We laugh

We move our bodies

We explore pleasure and joy and sensuality and presence and emotions and open-hearted living and desire and boundaries and naming our wants

We eat (we eat sooooo well)

 

We explore

I can tell you that before the retreat many of the participants told me that wanted to change in some way…and that as I was leaving the villa I felt transformed.

Powerful things happen when we gather in community and share and name things that are scary or exciting or vulnerable.

Here are some of the other things that happened on this Vibrant Living Italy 2019 Retreat.

 

We stayed at an incredible villa with a pool and a private chef.

Nikki lead us in yoga for an hour and a half every morning.

We named intentions for the week, created soul collages, pulled cards and also created a vibrant living playlist.

I lead classes.

People shared what was on their hearts.

We went wine tasting (at a vineyard owned by an incredible woman).

We took a few trips to nearby towns – visited churches and wandered down alleys and shopped and ate gelato.

We talked a lot about what we want – how to identify, the importance of naming it and how to move toward it.

I shared that this retreat was a big want of mine and it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t said it out loud during a Portland retreat the year before. And later that day we headed to dinner at a restaurant in Lucca.

I had told some of the women about how much I love pistachio gelato and how excited I was to have it that afternoon. As we walked to the restaurant they asked if I had had my gelato and I oohed and ached about it. Ten minutes later we sat down at the table and the owner greeted us and looked at me and said, “You are going to love our special. Pistachio Pasta!” (of course I had it and I’m still dreaming about it!)

There were many moments like this that are not quantifiable. Sometimes magic happens on retreats.

There were so many beautiful moments and interactions that were influenced by the glorious combination of the 10 women who joined us.

I am changed. And I am forever grateful.

The experience was so powerful for both me and for Nikki that we’ve already decided to go back to Italy for Vibrant Living Italy 2020 next fall!

I’ll be sharing those details soon!


October 13, 2019

Tending a Broken Heart

The loss of a relationship, a job, friendship, a dream, a loved one, etc can be so painful!

It’s easy to want to shut down the pain or numb the experience. It’s easy to want to skip this part. It’s easy to want things to go back to the way they were before you felt this way.

We don’t always feel the growth or the expansion when we are in it. Sometimes the learning or the evolution is more obvious later…after we’ve moved through the pain. And in order to get there, we do have to move through the pain.

If you are finding yourself with a broken or tender heart, here are some things that may help.

Shutting down, disconnecting, or pretending you aren’t in pain doesn’t actually initiate healing…you may feel temporary relief, but the pain becomes encapsulated and continues to live in your body

Feel your feelings 
again and again

Do things that are good for you
move your body
take a bath
drink water

Get support
Be honest about your hurting
Let your people wrap you up in love and comfort

Check your stories
Don’t romanticize
Don’t villainize
Take accountability for your part

Get clear about what you want to bring with you and what you want to leave behind
Set some boundaries
You may have to change habits as you heal.
What do you need in terms of space?
What do you need in terms of time?

Be gentle with yourself.

Treat yourself the way you would treat someone you love

Be patient

It’s hard. I know.

Remember that this part is temporary.
And necessary

This part will lead to the next part.
And the next part is going to be LOVELY!

PS – if you are going through a breakup, our Swoon Episode – Breaking up is hard to do:Breakup Recovery may help.

Filed under: Break-up,Grief,Love,Self-care,Self-love,Support,Vulnerability — admin @ 9:32 am

June 7, 2018

Giving and Receiving Real Support

Support

One of the things I’ve noticed when someone who is well known dies by suicide, is that people are quick to try to figure out why.

They want a reason…maybe because a reason gives us the illusion of control…or maybe because as humans we are meaning-making creatures.

I also see a flurry of posts about mental health, getting support and reaching out if you are struggling. And yes, if you are struggling and are able to reach out, do! Get support. Make requests. Let the people who love you know how they can help.

Here’s what I think is missing in this discussion – most people who are really struggling aren’t able to reach out. Demanding that people should have reached out or asked for support can be judgmental and blaming.

This winter I had the flu. It was awful! I was in bed for days, feverish, coughing so hard it hurt and every cell in my body ached. I was miserable. I totally needed support. And you know what? I was suffering so much, that I didn’t have the capacity to reach out and ask for help. Many of my closest friends and family didn’t even know I had the flu until I was “better.” I was focused on getting well (actually because I was dehydrated at one point and kind of hallucinating, I was really just focused on staying alive, that’s how rough this flu was). I had a couple friends who checked in on me during that time. One sent a message and I replied telling her I was really sick and she sweetly told me that if I needed anything to let her know. It was so nice and thoughtful, and also…I didn’t even know what I needed. I was too sick to be able to think or identify needs or make a plan or make a request. One of my friends who knew I was sick checked in and offered to bring food or offered to pick my daughter up from school. And that was the kind of help I was able to receive. All I had to do was say yes or no. That experience really helped me understand how hard it is for someone to reach out when they are struggling.

When some is struggling their entire capacity is being taken up by the struggle. There isn’t anything left. And even though a text message or phone call might not feel like it’s a lot,  it is too much to demand from someone who is depressed or anxious or grieving or really sick.

So in addition to asking people to reach out when they are struggling, I think we could also do a better job of reaching out to the people we love and seeing how they are. Check in with the people you love. Ask how they are doing. Get together. Be honest with each other. Share what’s on your mind and in your heart.

And if you have a friend who is grieving, or struggling with illness or mental health challenges or just having a hard time, offer tangible ways you want to show up for them. Don’t wait for them to reach out. Be proactive. Take action.

If you want more ideas about how to support a friend who is struggling this post will help.

Filed under: Communication,Friendship,Grief,health,Support,Vulnerability — admin @ 5:57 pm

January 19, 2018

Be Your Own Beloved: a gathering for women

be your own beloved

Nikki Weaver and I are thrilled to offer – Be Your Own Beloved!

Together we’ll explore what it means to love, honor and cherish ourselves!

One of the things we hear over and over from women is that it is so hard to prioritize yourself. Maybe you don’t have time or energy. Maybe you feel guilty or selfish. Maybe you are just too tired or depleted. Perhaps you don’t even know what it means to prioritize yourself. We get it. We know it can feel hard or even foreign to really focus on yourself (and asking you to do more than prioritize yourself, but treat yourself like you are beloved, may even feel scary!)

We also know the power of self-care, self-acceptance and self-love! We know that amazing things happen in your life when you love yourself and honor yourself. And we know the power of gathering a group of women! We know how validating and life-giving it is to sit with other women and laugh or cry or listen or share and hear, “me too!” or “You are not alone!”

Powerful things happen when we gather. Beautiful things happen when we gather. We are so excited to gather with YOU!

Together we will explore –

Self-care, self-love, self-acceptance – what do they all mean and how do you do them?

Being in your body and feeling pleasure in your body

What it means to be your own BELOVED

Light movement and exercises that will help you delight in your own body

Exercises and practices to help you honor your own wants and needs and treat yourself like the precious woman you are!

A Few Logistics –

April 21st from 11am-3pm

This event is limited to 12 women

We will have snacks and drinks

The location is NE Portland. We will send you the address after your register.

The cost is $100

Registration is closed. Subscribe to my free newsletter to receive updates about our future offerings.

What would it be like to also attend to your own wants and needs? What would it be like to prioritize yourself and your pleasure? What would it be like to be your own beloved?


June 12, 2017

Does your partner know what you want?

relationship romance

Have you told your partner how you like to be seduced?

Have you shared what makes your body sing and your lips part and your back arch?

Do you ask for what you want (in and out of the bedroom)?

I hope so.

And if not, what gets in the way?

Many of the people I talk with share that they shouldn’t have to tell their partner what they want. They say it takes the romance or excitement out of it to have to say it out loud. Or they say it makes it less special if they have to ask for it.

In some ways, I think that we’ve been condition to think that. We see it in movies or read about it in books. We dream of someone who will know our body better than we even know it.

So if our partner doesn’t know how we like to be kissed or what kind of foreplay we like or how to help us have an orgasm…we get annoyed. Or we get critical. Or we shut down. We blame them for not being skilled enough or intuitive enough.

And really it’s not fair.

If I asked you to make my favorite cake but refused to tell you what kind of a cake it was or how to make it, would that be fair?

Your partner can’t read your mind.

If there is something you would like, ask for it. There is no shame in asking.

And if you don’t know what you like or what you want, take some time and let yourself be curious. Explore on your own or with your partner.

(I  also know that some people have asked for what they want and aren’t getting it. Perhaps your partner needs some sex education. Or maybe your partner needs to work on listening or remembering what you like. It’s frustrating when you have been clear about what you want and you aren’t getting it. Check in with yourself about this. Does your partner not know what you want because they aren’t paying attention? Or is it because you haven’t asked for it?)


November 24, 2016

5 ways to heal your heart

broken heart

What do you do when your heart is hurting?

How do you grieve?

How do you cope with loss?

What do you do when your feelings are hurt?

What do you do when a relationship ends?

How do you go on when your dreams are crushed?

Do you try to cheer yourself up? Do you get trapped in a cycle of despair? Do you disconnect from your feelings completely? Do you feel stuck or lost?

There is no easy fix for heartbreak. We also have a lot of messages in our culture about “bucking up” or not being a crybaby or getting over things. We call certain emotions “positive” and others “negative.” Also, let’s be honest, it doesn’t feel good when your heart is hurting. It makes sense to try to avoid feeling way. But stuffing or ignoring your feelings doesn’t usually help heart ache (it often prolongs it).

Here are 5 things you can do when your heart aches.

Feel your feelings

The only way out is through. It’s hard to believe when you are in the midst of pain that one day you will feel better. Just like the sun rises after a long dark night, you will feel better eventually…but night comes before the dawn. Cry. Spend the day in your pjs. Get angry. Don’t ignore the pain. Move with it and through it. Cry some more. You don’t need to deny or ignore your experience.

Get support

Take to a friend. Find a therapist. Join a support group. When you are in pain, it’s easy to feel alone. While you are a unique person with unique experiences, pain and heartache are universal. Having someone else who can remind you that you are not alone or say “Me too” can be wildly comforting.

Ask for what you want/need

What will help you feel better? What do you really need right now? Once you identify it, ask for it. We all process grief or sadness or pain a bit differently. The people who are close to you may not know what will be most supportive for you. Check in with yourself and then share your requests with them.

Take action

If your heart is aching in response to injustice or pain in the world. You can take action in response. Volunteer, donate money, find a way to show up and support the people and causes you believe in. If you’re experiencing a personal heartache, you can still take action. Take a walk. Get rid of clothes or belongings that no longer reflect who you are or how you want to feel. Clean your house. It’s easy to feel helpless and stuck when you are hurting. Feeling your feelings is different than giving up or feeling stuck. (If you are prone to depression or anxiety taking action is very hard to do alone. Support and empathy will be essential helping you heal your heart.)

Give love

I know from experience that when I’m feeling sad or lonely, one of the things that helps is to share love with others. First though, I need to feel my feelings and identify what I need and get support so I feel like I have the capacity to give love to another. And then reaching out with a card, doing a random act of kindness, letting someone know I see them or admire them, or helping someone feel special can actually make ME feel better. This won’t work if you are not also willing to receive love and get support. If you try to give love when you are depleted, you can feel resentful.

Living and loving and being present means sometimes your heart will hurt. And when it does, I hope these actions will help you move through the pain and back toward open hearted living.

Filed under: Change,Emotions,Love,Self-care,Self-love,Support,Vulnerability — admin @ 10:27 pm

December 12, 2015

Share Your Love

There seems to be a lot of pain, sadness and heartache in the world right now. And it’s easy to get overwhelmed, get angry, feel sad, feel helpless. And all of those things are OK. I’ve also been thinking about what I can do right now and what I want to do right now in response.

I’m blessed to know some amazing people who are showing up in so many loving ways. I’m hearing about friends who are writing love notes with her kids and leaving these notes on cars in parking lots (how great is that??? Especially right now. Go to the mall, and leave love notes for all of the exhausted and stressed out holiday shoppers. Let them know they are not alone in this world). I have friends who are putting together bags of food and essentials and giving them out to homeless people. People are showing up with love. Even when they are hurting. Even when they are scared.

When I feel sad, when I feel scared, when I feel overwhelmed; I want to know that I’m not alone. Do you feel that too? The desire to be connected. the yearning to feel close. The sweet warmth that comes when someone tells you, “I’m thinking of you“.

One of the ways I’m trying to spread more love into the word is by sending out one love note in the mail every week for the next 55 weeks. I’m doing this with my daughter. We made gratitude cards this Thanksgiving. She painted them and I wrote a little message. We had a fun time making them and we received such loving response to them, so we are going to do it again and again and again. I’m sure you’ve had the experience of the right text, or letter or email or words coming at the right time. We are hoping to be that for someone. It’s a small thing. But it’s a thing we can do easily and with joy in our hearts.

Love Notes

I know that with all the hate and unrest in the world now, that there is more to be done. I also know that love begets love. I know that what you put your attention on amplifies. So I’m starting with love.

How are you sharing your love in the word?

“It is better to light one small candle than to curse the darkness.” Eleanor Roosevelt

Filed under: Community,Friendship,Love,Support,Vulnerability — admin @ 9:12 am

June 18, 2015

50% off all PDFs – Save The Date!

Save the Date – From Friday, June 26th at 5pm EST – Monday, June 29th at 12pm EST you can purchase any of my Self-Study PDF’s for 50% off!


We are nearing the halfway mark of 2015. In the beginning of the year it’s easy to have momentum and excitement about change and focusing on yourself. I want to make it easy for you to honor your commitment to yourself and your relationship – now is a great time to honor your relationshiprelease shame, discover your sexual desire, connect with your body or focus on self-love.


blossom risk


I love helping women create a deeper connection with themselves and with their partners. These classes are a wonderful way to explore intimacy and cultivate pleasure.  Visit my class page June 26th – June 29th and purchase any of my e-courses for 50% off!


May 6, 2015

Turned On: awaken your want and dare to desire

Turned On FINAL sans dates - lorez

TURNED ON: awaken your want and dare to desire

A course devoted to pleasure and creation, intimacy with ourselves and connection with the world.

Because it is all connected, and some part of us knows this, always.

Because it just may be possible that what you seek is also seeking you.

Because you’ve been asleep, or you set aside those parts of you that were hungry for experience and expression, and now everything inside you is restless to wake up and be turned on to life, the ecstatic and the voluptuous and the clarity in moments when it is just you and the morning and the quiet and you know the names that live just beneath your skin.

Because you want to know what it would look like and feel like for your sensuality to belong to your spirituality instead of severed into two separate selves.

Because asking, just taking the risk and asking for what we want, is not something we are taught how to do, and it might feel really good to have a place to practice and play with what it feels like on the tongue and in your heart and the sound of your own voice coming out clear while you are celebrated for daring to desire.

Because the answer just might be yes.

Because intimacy is about a way of being in relationship with life herself, turned on to the vibrations of creativity, erotic and messy and glorious.

Because it feels like this moment may be your moment, the one where there is no more waiting,

and you begin.

Let’s ignite the spark, heed the hunger and dive into desire.

Let’s practice and play together.


Two weeks of immersion into beauty and substance,

provocations of imagination

and real life ways to explore your own awakening,

diving into the uncharted territories of our own true want.


TURNED ON:

awaken the want and dare to desire

January 4th – January 17th, 2016

Together we will be:

Listening to our desire, from the center and out to the edges.
Learning how to ask for what we want, and practicing in community.
Connecting to pleasure and what feels good, and how this infuses our offerings and informs our loving.
Taking risks and claiming our truths.
Honoring the body’s language and welcoming her wisdom.
Heating things up in the daring desires and the daily rituals, so whether we are walking down the street on our way to work or stepping into a new love affair or showing up for the art that has our deepest devotion, we are, in every way, turned on to life.

How it works:

• The course is two weeks, with devotion and desire coming straight to your inbox Mondays-Fridays.

Content includes writing, video and audio recordings from both Julie and Isabel. There will be prompts for reflection and contemplation, exercises and experiments to play with, and questions to contemplate in your own process. It’s like a combination of a beautiful treasure hunt, a long love letter, and a permission slip to get curious and learn what works for you in your own awakening.

There will also be a private facebook group for those who want to come explore and practice together.

We get to enter into these adventures with the support of others walking through their own doors of discovery, where we come together to experience the power in our own desire, the freedom to want what we want, and the practice of communicating with clarity to those we love and the wider world. Here, turned on, co-creating with life force.

When you are turned on to life, it’s not just your sex that is saucier. Life itself expands. Passion is ignited. The experience of being here, awake in the world, is true intimacy. Let’s create a place to experiment and explore, to get naked with ourselves and walk awake and unbound, into the living.

xoxo

Isabel and Julie

TURNED ON:

awaken the want and dare to desire

January 4th – January 17th, 2016

$54.00

Registration is currently closed.


Julie Jeske

Julie Jeske
I am a sex therapist who helps clients increase intimacy, passion, sexual satisfaction and pleasure so they can develop a deeper connection with self or others.

My goal is to help demystify sex. I want to bring sex out of the shadows and into the living room. Let’s shine a light on sexuality and intimacy so they are no longer big scary things, but rather something that everyone feels they can embrace and enjoy.

isabel abbott profile pic

Isabel Abbott

I am a writer, artist and activist.

Fallen in love with solid ground, with belonging to the body and the holiness of hunger, I write and speak on the sacred and profane, on choosing wholeness.

With a professional background as a birth and death doula, a sex educator and an embodiment and movement workshop facilitator, I work with those crossing thresholds, questioning their gods, wrestling with their love, grieving and dying into life.




October 17, 2014

Shower Your Partner with Love is HERE!

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With so many things competing for our attention, it’s easy to put your relationship on the back burner. When there are deadlines at work, wee ones tugging on your sleeve or dust bunnies the size of elephants taking over you home – showering your partner with love is often not even on your radar.

Shower Your Partner with love is three weeks dedicated to you and your partner. Three weeks of love and attention and romance and intimacy. Three weeks to take you from comfortable to connected – from after thought to after glow.

This self-study PDF is for anyone who is in a loving relationship and wants –

  • To feel more connected
  • More romance
  • To make their relationship a priority
  • More joy in their relationship
  • Greater ease with sex or talking about sex (and more pleasure, passion or connection during sex)
  • to focus on the positive in your relationship
  • Tangible ways to help your partner feel loved and for your partner to help you feel loved
  • Daily connection or shared ritual in your relationship
  • More kindness in your relationship

What we’ll cover –

  • Specific ways you feel loved and how to share them with your partner
  • Cultivating gratitude in and for your relationship
  • Creating daily connection – no more ships just passing in the night
  • Ways to interrupt negative cycles and ways to create positive ones (love begets love, passion begets passion, hope begets hope)
  • Deepening intimacy – in and out of the bedroom
  • Sex – you know I couldn’t host a class for couples without throwing sex in there!
  • Romance
  • Small things you can do to make your relationship a priority
  • Giving and Receiving
  • And More…

How it works –

The online course took place earlier this fall. You can now purchase the complete PDF that includes video, audio, writing prompts, activities and exercises. The PDF is laid out so you can complete it in three weeks or do it at your own pace. I’ve given you something to do with your partner or for your relationship each day for three weeks.

I also included a bonus 21 ways to shower your partner with love after you complete the course!

It’s a tune up for your relationship. Three weeks dedicated to your love. Three weeks where you can really focus on each other. Three weeks where you can feel adored and also adore your partner.

Cost: $59

Add to Cart

You wouldn’t expect your garden to grow without tending it. You don’t expect your car to run without filling it with gas or changing the oil. Your relationship (and your partner) will flourish when you put some energy toward it.


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