I am very good at my work as a therapist. I am a master artist in the medium of imagination. An intrepid explorer of the realms of the psyche. A wizened dragon slayer for hire.

I am not very good at describing this in market accessible ways. I can be concise, but then It feels flat, or opaque – so I get descriptive, and then I go on for pages and pages – ultimately loosing my own point. The difficulty i’m having in describing what I do doesn’t match the ease and flare with which I actually do it.

So, i’m soaking up soul-filled guidance and then trying it out. and for me, this kind of learning involves trying on an outfit, prancing around for a while to see how I like it and then tossing the discarded garments all over the place with my sense of what I’m trying to accomplish coming clearer. In short, I’m making a damn mess.

The mess I’m making is this lovely website and my constant revisions. Sometimes I edit a few words here and there, other times I re write *everything*. Sometimes it’s because i’m so on fire with inspiration I *have* to capture it. And Oh, I feel deliciously clear. Until I don’t anymore and something starts to feel uncomfortable or incomplete or unintentionally inaccurate. And, I hope you’ll forgive me, because I’m not trying to be confusing or to unsettle you (although I have a natural tendency to disrupt the status quo – it’s part of my magic) it’s just that usually, my unsettling affect is much more elegant. But all my creating and then tearing it up and starting over again is one of the ways I move right up to the growing edge of a limitation, pressing my nose against it and letting my breath fog up the shiny surface of it until I shatter it or shove through it or melt it with love.

The great thing about the internet is that nothing is written in stone. I can edit and revise and try on new hats all day long. I might not generate much of a reader base with my antics, but aside from alienating you lovely people whom I eventually hope to attract back to this space, I am free to muck about as much as I need to in order to figure this thing called ‘marketing’ out.

This is a great thing about life, too. You get to make a glorious mess of it. Revel in the unfinished, inelegance of it. There’s room to try out things you aren’t good at, room to risk looking foolish over a bold choice that lands all wonky, straining itself in the attempt. I encourage my clients to take this exact kind of risk. Because doing anything your own way, inspired by what is unique in you is always a risk. You can learn from people who have been risky before you, find inspiration in their boldness and courage. Ultimately, though, you’ll be the first example of your way of doing things being a success.

I don’t want to help make things tidy and straight forward, I want to help ruffle them up. I actively hope you’re making a mess of things and will gleefully provoke the courage in you to break some rules and color outside the lines a bit. I love to see boldness bursting out of you with an unexpected YES! for something you’re willing to try out and have no idea how it will go.

Taylor at Too Good to Fail writes beautifully about why taking the risk of not looking good and not getting it right really isn’t the end of the world like it seems to be. I recommend printing her post and reading it to yourself as a bedtime story for the next month until your bones remember that the stories of your life never end, there is always another story inside all the other stories ready to unfurl itself the moment you’re ready to experience it.


What is needed is a renewed humility. We are not the masters of the sources of happiness; they ever elude the appointments we make with them, springing up when we least expect them and fleeing when we would hold them close. The excessive ambition to expunge all that is weak or broken in body or mind, to control moods and states of soul, sadness, chagrin, moments of emptiness—all this runs up against our finitude, against the inertia of the human species, which we cannot manipulate like some raw material. We have the power to avoid or to heal certain evils, yes, but we cannot order happiness as if it were a meal in a restaurant.

The Western cult of happiness is indeed a strange adventure, something like a collective intoxication. In the guise of emancipation, it transforms a high ideal into its opposite. Condemned to joy, we must be happy or lose all standing in society. It is not a question of knowing whether we are more or less happy than our ancestors; our conception of the thing itself has changed, and we are probably the first society in history to make people unhappy for not being happy.

The thought I had reading this was: no wonder self-esteem is so elusive, all wrapped up as it is in images of perpetual good moods and positive outlooks. but our low moods and involuntary, out-of control parts swirl and swim under the surface and confuse the source of the pervasive sense of insecurity that hang limp in the air, charging the air between us when we meet, crawling under our skin.

But the low moods aren’t the cause of that heart-shivering unsteadiness. Having turned myself around over and over to face what I am conditioned to avoid and ignore, I’ve learned in my bones that my strength and confidence comes from having learned to turn toward all the undesireables. What knocks me off my balance is the moment I believe in the unacceptability of anything other than the status quo.

It’s like trying to keep waves still so you can stand on a surf board. To have any chance at sturdiness as a wave swells under you you have to *move* with it, learn to turn your entire body into an instinct for the ocean.

I would rather be free than happy. Free to dance with the morning rainbows, swirling and giddy. Free to feel despair later, when what I expected of myself turned out to be just out of reach for this one day. And then free to dance again. I can’t reduce my sense of myself to one side of the equation or the other. I am whole and at peace with who I am *and* I crave what is more in me. I am intensely serious about everything that happens around me – but I am also completely taken over by the tint of ecstasy in the bright edges of a perfect stranger’s eye when they glimpse at me and see my own ecstasy and we both know for a stolen moment that all is well right now whether we ever figure out the crazy mess or not.

The sadness or anger or limpness that inhabits you is not a failure. You’re not broken for being confused or overwhelmed or getting sick or feeling pain. Freedom can’t be compelled or controlled by making lifestyle choices – it doesn’t come to you in stuff you can buy or in the exact right 7-step workshop or in only using positive words and never complaining. All that does is cut you off from what makes you vivid and true.

I hope for the liberation of both for you. I am the queen of both – Whatever paradox you straddle and feel compelled to pick a side and declare your un-yielding loyalty to on the fumes of insubstantial promises of perpetual happiness. It’s a trick, you’ll end up brittle or tossed around by everything unwanted that comes anywhere near you, bewildered and wondering where your flow went without you. Don’t do it. Be sovereign and do both, have both. Don’t choose between your two extremes, your multiple options. Don’t strangle the sweet rhythm of the vast ocean that is you. Float on it and dive into it, find yourself stranded in the empty middle of it waiting for a breeze to fill in your soul-sail, ride it to shore.

I hate the word therapy. I was trained as a ‘spiritual psychotherapist’ and the terms is more accurate than other terms to convey what I do in the literal, mundane sense. But I don’t feel mundane or literal when I’m actually doing it and I don’t for a moment feel it captures the spirit of what I love to do.

But I don’t know a word that will do it better. I know a thousand words I like better and any one will be the right one today, for you. tomorrow, for me. But I’ve never been able to choose one without feeling like it, eventually, turns me and the work into a caricature.

The word therapy is both meaningless and loaded. It means so many different things that using it means I still have to qualify what I do anyway. And to some people it has pleasant associations. But despite fiercely loving every aspect of my work on behalf of others and being profoundly devoted to my own inner work – I have definitely struggled with some of it’s unpleasant connotations all the while I worked to earn the label.

I’m uncomfortable with the way it has come to mean you’re broken and I know how to fix it. Or that you can’t handle your own life and without my help (or someone’s help) you wont be able to pick up your pieces. Or that I know secret methods of psychological re training that will unlock things that are only mysterious to you because you’re weak and probably stupid and definitely broken.

And when I’m not feeling turned -off by the word, I’m feeling disappointed in it’s failure to put it’s finger on the pulse of what I do.

It doesn’t tell you there is a great mystery involved to be in awe of and reverential toward that welcomes you into it and teaches you everything you need to know to be who you are in wise-time and in wise-ways.

It doesn’t tell you about the profound intimacy involved between you and me. How exploring your inner realms is not about static insights that you bounce off of me as a clean and unresponding slate – because who’s life actually works like that? sure the insights will come – but what will you *do* with them? Learning to use them means needing someone to use them on and someone to use them with. It takes a stunning kind of openness – brazenly willing to be human and to be affected.

It doesn’t tell you what it will feel like to have me invite you to connect that deeply with yourself and then to me to feel your way into understanding the complex dynamics of relationship and decision making.

It doesn’t tell you that you will find in yourself a ravenous hunger to take that invitation on.

It doesn’t tell you that you bring with you the courage, strength and clarity that eventually turns into stamina, wisdom and power that makes you *feel* like a different person in a different life – even though there is surprisingly little distance between them when you start out.

It doesn’t tell you that sometimes you stumble into your revelations in a sudden flash that also continues to permeate your entire being over the rest of your life, surprising, delighting and confusing you.

It doesn’t tell you that being confused is actually a profound accomplishment- because it means you’ve somehow come to the edge of all that you are sure that you know (we all know what it looks like when someone avoids the idea that they might not know or be sure or have the answer to something – they don’t strike us as particularly strong) and had the wherewithal to wonder what else might be true and useful about you.

It doesn’t capture the quirky and ridiculous parts of delving into your writhing and gorgeous mess.

It doesn’t tell you that there is something mythical and magical about the way the process changes when you are joined by someone who can see the undercurrents of where you are and who has your back as you wander around in new places and brings a light and a humour to your unthinkable.

But what do you call them? They’re not always professionals – they’re not always human. But we know it when they are with us. we can feel the way they infuse what is happening, what we are noticing and wondering with an ineffable quality – meaning? tolerability? a way of drawing our attention back from the nonsensical fragments to the pattern each one makes as a whole? Or just the feeling of company while we do it ourselves – that the sense of a strong presence somehow makes the space feel bigger, time feel like less of a persecution and the nitty gritty take on new shades and nuances that almost remind you of fun?

What word would you use to describe all that?

God speaks to each of us as he makes us,?
then walks with us silently out of the night.

These are the words we dimly hear:

You, sent out beyond your recall,?
Go to the limits of your longing.
?Embody me.

Flare up like a flame?
and make big shadows I can move in.

Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.?
Just keep going.
No feeling is final.
?Don’t let yourself lose me.

Nearby is the country they call life.
?You will know it by its seriousness.

Give me your hand.

– Rainer Maria Rilke

‘Let everything happen to you…’

I feel the seductive beauty of that instruction with an ache in my collar bone. A lust for the parts of life I hold myself away from – it’s a yearning to live as near a luminous, unleashed lustre as I can stand and that means bearing the wrench and wreck of all that we avoid.

The sluggish shadows of disappointment my eagerness and anticipations make.
The quivering shadows of vulnerability my courage cast.
The dense shadows of my blind spots – all the things about me everyone else can see but me….

When I falter and find myself grasping at smoke I reach out for another person to be near enough to me, looking at what I can’t see yet, to coax out my bravery in the seeming threat of those shadows. Because I want to let more in.

To blaze.

In my work I respond to those who reach out to me when they feel themselves suffocating in their own shadows. My job is to listen deeply and witness simply the ‘everything’ that is happening to them and notice the god that is dancing in those dark and heavy places with its divine hand outstretched to take you out of the limits of the world and back into yourself.

Tell me, what is the everything that is happening to you now.

A Story

January 20 2011 - In: Uncategorized Erin


Lately I have stumbled on a number of internet spaces of women sharing their perspectives on beauty and sex and passion and how they cultivate it, what they think about the lack of lustre other women lament in their lives – and I wanted to speak, too. But I have no program, or steps, or system. I can’t articulate a philosophy or outline a point of view. I don’t have a package to sell that will unlock the mysteries of your womanhood or manhood. I think of myself as a skilled guide and mentor *because* of this, but it can make it difficult to offer a thought or two on things outside the immediate and most personal.

What I have is my own hunger to be able to take in and pour out the ravishing of life uninhibited.

What I have is a story. Still being told, in fact…

The first part is how we’d met. That was through an organization inspired by a popular spiritual writer. Although our purpose in gathering was impossible to determine no matter how many meetings we had. It was always a small gathering. I had initiated the meetings so I did a lot of talking, invitingly: Please someone else have thoughts, too. And he never did. But his attention was alluring to me. Innocent, and total.

The numbers dwindled quickly and the meetings tapered off. We were people sliding off tilting ground. And the sequence of events was so indistinct I don’t remember anything about how it happened, but it came to be my birthday. And he knew And he came over. We didn’t hang out as friends at this time so I think he must have come over for a meeting that no one else attended (only my housemate and her daughter were there). He had white flowers for me. I sat in a desk chair, blue padded back, springs, swivels. He sat at my feet. Still not saying many things, and yet, I still remember the caribbean sound of his voice. He smelled like a clean smoke. He never fiddled.

Did I mention the bright discomfort of my restless legs out loud or had he sensed it? because to me, his attention was it’s own entity, I would have agreed to any mythology alighting on him in that moment.

His hands were firm and warm, pressing over my jeans, into my muscle. He kneeded upward, toward me. It was bold, and still innocent. He gave off no shyness about the space he took up or the intimacy with which he touched me. The conversation in the room was casual, including him in the moment, excluding him in the dialogue – he was always both there and not at the same time. I was afraid to breathe for blowing the moment away, for not knowing then, in my girl-heart, how to accept the adoration of a man.

Because I didn’t. I knew *something* was happening – that I wanted it with butterfly flutters inside my skin. I felt the way the atmosphere weighs down on you when you’re trying to connect to something, grasp it, grok it while it’s still just outside your range, I had no idea how to let go into him.

So I was also nervous. Self – conscious, too. In the exact way that compels you to poke at a delicious moment, to feel for it’s edges, cling to it maybe, tear at it. To want to destroy it precisely because you want so badly for it to be indisputably real. I didn’t know yet how moments can’t exist autonomous from the people inside them and that I had to hold up my end in order for it to continue. Instead I talked and talked trying to push the intimacy away from me with a helpless compulsion that matched the force of my hunger to move toward it. I tried to figure him out, make him come clear in my mind – supposing that if I knew what he was thinking or feeling or what he was like overall, I would know what I wanted. I didn’t understand instincts and impulses and that wild call of desire.

I never look in his eyes like a woman and take it in, receive the gift. I look everywhere else. I want it to end so I can relax. I never ever want it to end…

The next part is where I am left holding the deflated balloon of the moment in my hands. Left to puzzle out from the yearning in my body, the regret and embarrassment in my heart, the cascade of thoughts in my mind – How could I grow to ensure that next time, I wouldn’t hang limp and childish in my role?

And I think of that as the origin of my wild courting of desire and a wisdom for my wants.

Its where my music, my words, my relationships had their being – from my need to know what I wanted and to have the strength to withstand it. I never wanted to be left, again, without the clearness and boldness to take it in when it was offered. I wanted to have the balls to watch life be sexy, to watch people be sexy with life, with each other, with me. I wanted to have the patience not to rush a seductive narrative as it unfolded. I wanted to know every way my body spoke ‘I want…’ so I could let my body move toward what it loved or lusted for.

After all this time, even now, the rawness of an intimate moment will knock me off my guard, sting and choke at me. And if i’m not attentive i’ll recede into that chatter that forms in my mind to block the ache of wanting and fear out, scratch along the sides of my throat and out of my mouth like damp cotton to press it down, drown it under that heavy sogginess of droning nonsense. If I’m alone when it hits, I can accomplish the same destruction by spending all day on the internet…you know how that is, I’m sure.

Which is the work I come back to over and over. Mary Oliver says it: my work is loving the world. Mine to. All my intellectual pursuits, daily interests, ways of occupying my time. The boldest way of being me is letting my body and being be ravished by the world. The worst part of my life are all the moments I couldn’t let that happen – and all the reasons why and all the ways I avoided it. My maturity grows in relation to how directly, how immediately, how innocently, and without shyness I could be open to the wildest love. And this doesn’t mean thinking everything is wonderful all the time. This isn’t about only doing pleasurable things and ignoring the boring stuff – or pretending the boring stuff glitters. It means, to me, not hiding. Not hiding from what needs to be done, or from being adored alike.

The last part is your story of desire, of your man or woman body becoming a better home for your self. In some way, tell your story. Because it aches in you to be expressed and explored.

Nobody can tell you how. Not really. Over time, a good therapist may be able to give you the tools for you to come up with your own solution, but that’s not the same as saying therapy is the answer.

That’s why this shit is hard. You gotta do the work yourself, one shovel full of crazy at a time.

from dearcoketalk

I think this is part of why it can be hard for me to describe what therapy is or what I do as a therapist. Because the one thing we really want – someone to tell us *how* – is the exact thing I can’t actually do.
I have tools that work for me, ones that didn’t work for me, ones that are interesting but i haven’t tried yet, ones I know about from other people’s use – a pretty extensive repertoire, really – But I have no idea what the process will be like for someone else and even if we can come up with a bunch of great things to try *you* still have to go back into your life and *do* it. In my estimation any good therapist is clear on that – that there’s a big difference between a therapy session and doing the work in your own life – so what’s the point?

Well, she says it: This shit is hard. Fucking hard. Self awareness isn’t anything like the ‘think happy thoughts’ spirituality permeating our culture. And it’s not genuine if your sense of yourself is just based on general psychological theory or smart things other people said. Spirituality and psychology can be useful diving off points but it’s always hard to look at yourself with the glamour and sparkles stripped away. It’s hard to strip yourself down to the bones and then stand there still long enough to notice something useful. No matter how familiar you might be with the concepts of selfishness or cruelty or pain and other undesirable human experiences when you see them attached to you, it hurts.

There is a clear difference for me between doing it and not doing it. Being committed to self awareness and not being committed. Talking about it isn’t enough. Being interested isn’t enough. But it takes just as long sometimes to figure out what committed really is for you and what it isn’t as it does to actually then proceed with the nitty gritty. It’s unromantic. And i’m not even talking processing trauma or being emotionally stunted or dependent. Just plain, everyday life done consciously – pursuing self awareness is overwhelming.

So why do it alone?

you don’t have to wait for a single or particular kind of person or life circumstance…

Flight From Embodiment from Alliance for Wild Ethics on Vimeo.

And let it have its way with you.

The invitation is everywhere. For me, it came in his body possessed by his music. Just watch how he coils around his violin willing to do whatever it takes to produce the sounds demanding to be made. There is the building of tension on his face as the intensity of sound builds and a release of bliss as the music moves from his soul, through is arm and out through electrical currents into my ears, and my soul.

Obviously his skill is inimitable, genius. His compositions are exquisite in and of themselves. But it goes beyond that. I love to watch how his bandmates communicate with each other on stage, the body language is intimate, spontaneous, seductive – its like eavesdropping on a sexy and dynamic language.

There is a reason I would rather watch music being made or be part of making it live than recordings – because it is more than vibrations in my ears. If I relax into it, the sounds take me on a journey through a range of emotional landscapes elevated into mythical realms as though they are being told to me by the gods themselves.

I can tell it’s magic by how the entire stage transforms. And I might be left out by not showing up with my heart open. but there is no other requirement of me. His passion is indiscriminate. I feel that passion truly works that way – it cares if you’re open, but doesn’t seem to have many other requirements.

So on christmas eve, I open to a passion that infuses my time with my family, for the treats and food and the time I spend with the cold and dark or in love and delighted as they come. And I give thanks for other passionate people existing in the world, sharing their gifts, inspiring us with their rawness. If you get a chance to see Dr. Draw live – do it.

…let the darkness come upon you and sit with it a while.

This post is a treasure I collected from Witch, please!. It gripped my attention and brought me to an attention for this season that settled into my bones.

Understanding nature in the way she describes – by allowing it all, not trying to tie it up in rainbows and make it candy scented – but being willing to dance with what is dark and brutal about it, applies to the deep work of the heart, too. Getting in touch with your passion, your creativity, your power – It can feel a lot more like meeting Death, than the vitality we might hope for – that comes, but in season. And when its a dark time for you, remember these words:

There is beauty in the destruction of things that no longer function as they should. There is a peace that comes from saying goodbye to what was and letting Death take what we cannot hope to keep. There is strength found in embracing the darkness not as some tarted up fantasy fuck, but as she really is, cold and deadly and incredibly beautiful. Love Winter. Love cold. Listen to the wisdom of the frozen season and befriend the darkness. Fast, and know emptiness.*** Keep the Night’s Vigil and know exhaustion. Die here and be reborn a different flower in the spring. This is the sacred cycle. This is the truth of Nature.

This is Winter. Welcome!

Soul of Sex

December 20 2010 - In: Uncategorized Erin

1 comment

While reading ‘The Soul of Sex’ by Thomas Moore, I had so many sparks flying – things I wanted to share here and how they intersected with experiences I was having. But when I sat down to write I couldn’t untangle one from the other and follow a cogent line of thought from inspiration to conclusion. There was simply too big a chunk of inspiration at once. I was brimming and spilling with things I wanted to touch on. I couldn’t just choose. Instead I’ll write several posts. Missing some things I wanted to grasp until they come around again. And they will overlap. Excuse the redundancies.

I used the little snippet from the book in pursuit of a tangent of my own on Desire so I thought I would present the thought in a fuller, original context. The conversation shifts from Desire alone to its role in soulful sex.

And that’s a topic I love exploring – how soulful sex fits into an unleashed life – so here are some decadent morsels from the Erotic Intelligence subchapter.

In order to discover the sublime joys of sex, we may have to develop a special kind of intelligence about the erotic life. As a therapist I found that one word characterizes most people’s attitude toward their own sexuality – confusion. They don’t understand their attractions and desires. They feel generally that their sexual lives are and have always been a mess. They believe that they are blind and powerless in the face of passion. They sustain the hope that one day they will find sexual bliss, but so far that hope has not been realized.

I find that my sexual life sometimes *seems* like a separate thing to deal with apart from my creative health or spiritual growth or intimacy in the social realms, or the development of my intellect – well, separate from all the rest of myself in general. I’m supposed to talk about it as though it is. Do I have a satisfying sex life is asked as though its different question from whether i have a satisfying life. But it isn’t. I feel my creativity the way I feel my sexuality. And my comfort and ability to unleash passion toward anything is inextricably linked to my feelings of the erotic energy in me. My soul speaks to me through my sensuality – I can’t separate out the wild health of my sexuality with the needs of my soul in any of its expressions. This confusion Moore refers to – not understanding my desires or attractions, feeling overwhelmed by a passion, disturbed even – I know it. And i’ve seen it filter into all sorts of unexpected restrictions. Restrictions that have relented as I sought to understand the intimdating desires underlying them.

The ego trusts the mind, and so we often look to a book or an expert for guidance through sexual confusion. The soul, on the other hand, operates primarily on the principle of eros. Desire and pleasure are signlas of its current condition and need. Erotic intelligence requires that we appreciate these usually neglected feelings and use them as guides.

And isn’t this just a terrifying suggestion: to appreciate our neglected sexual feelings? those desires that flash their heat in us when we least feel able to acknowledge them. And yet, we must – eventually, turn toward that heat and be bathed by it or burned as it requires.

Desire has its own intelligence. If we think that the mind is the best guide through life, we will make choices by gathering opinions and weighing the options. But if we follow the soul, we will understand that desire is also an indicator of what is needed and what is best. We may be confused, especially at the outset of desire, about the exact nature of our soul’s longing, but over time we will become clearer about what the soul is seeking. This is a dynamic way of life rooted in deep longings that call for a response, rather than a static way based on fixed ideas about what is prudent.

Foregoing prudence is a shameless rebellion that makes my skin tingle. Certainly the part of Unleashing that excites me the most. Not being held down by fixed ideas – but allowing a wilder instinct have its say. Always learning more and more ways to do this wisely and deeply. Allowing me to have a stronger trust, which lets me have more profound intimacies in my life. I love even more being in a position to help others strengthen their own experience of trust and gain deeper, more intimate experiences of their own.

Because the soul is so deep and so high, when we are connected to it – mainly by being responsive to its desire – our very sense of self has a sublime quality. Today some would call it personal excellence. Renaissance people spoke of it as virtue, by which they meant not moral integrity so much as personal power and capacity.
Many studies on sexuality and agression make it clear that eros requires a solid sense of power. In mythology Mars is a special lover of Venus. She smoothes his harshness, and he gives her sensuality an attractive measure of strength and forcefulness. Powerful and creative people are often sexually attractive because of the mysterious connection between sex and strength.

I love the idea of being responsive – responsible – to desire. That Desire calls us to develop our personal power, our inner core of strength. Not to dominate or destroy or force – but to make us able to respond to desire, follow through on the tasks our soul set out for us and to be accountable for our influence on the soul’s of others throughout our pursuit of our desires. I find that incredibly sexy. and soulful.

May our listening to the tugs and nudges of our attractions and pleasures refine our ability to sense the subtle. May our devotion to Desire cultivate a wisdom in us of our true strength and power so that we can respond to life and beauty and love as it calls us. Respond with courage and integrity. And passion unleashed.

I’m Erin

I am an aerialist, comedian, writer and sex icon to the world.

Find me on instagram: erinunleashes


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