I am a feminist , I am a sexual educator and above all- I am a woman.
This past year I have seen and heard biting and cutting remarks from heroes and heroines of mine and I would like to share what I’ve learned.
I would like to address Donna Karan, Marianne Williamson, Psalm Isadora- and many other figureheads that we turn to for direction and apologize for not letting you be human.
I started teaching tantra in 2015. Except, the tantra I was learning, I couldn’t find anywhere else in the world. I didn’t want to create spaces for over sexualization or new agey touching. I wanted to create a conversation around tangible tools to feel safe in my body. To reconnect my body to my mind and my soul.
I started reading Osho, watching women like Kim Anami and Psalm Isadora. Knowing that there was something unlocking in me. I opened my practice in 2015 and had a few clients, but it was a hard sell. How could I communicate that I wanted sex to be normal and I wanted orgasms to be a form of mediation without sounding paltry in our society?
Life became a lot easier in 2016 when Donald Trump put the word “pussy” on everyone’s tongue. People were ringing my phone off the hook, telling me their stories of abuse, trauma, shame and disconnection. Things began to shift.
Harvey Weinstein was then exposed as a sexual predator. The hashtag #metoo flooded my news feeds, and again, my phone was ringing off the hook.
I found myself at a movie screening last night at Donna Karan’s place, Urban Zen. The statement of her flippant dismissal of sexual assault played through my mind. My initial reaction was a clenched “Uh, oh. This is going to be interesting.”, but I took a moment to pause. Had I not had 2 lessons this week in not villainizing people, but looking at their actions?
Earlier this week, a rather nasty article from The Daily Beast came out about the death of my teacher and mentor, Psalm Isadora. Yes, she committed suicide. Yes, she was a controversial woman who triggered me like no other. This article made her life and her death into a Hollywood Gossip column. It was a cruel and powerful reminder of how our world is shifting. Going out the door are the days of absolute leaders and guides (wahe guru). I see a shift in society and perspective. Millenials no longer believe everything they read and no longer give all of their power to famous figure heads.
We are learning to value ourselves and not the infallacy of the rich and famous.
There is still stickiness and old conditioning around, but it’s heading out the door.
I read the article, acknowledging that my teacher was in fact a lot of things, but not a criminal, a succubus or a fraud. She was a woman. She had her own pain, made a ton of mistakes, and changed my life. Does one word or action that we disagree with take away a legacy of powerful medicine and inspired work?
I was at a Marianne Williamson lecture last week and I heard a sharp dismissal of the #metoo voice that shocked me to my core. I was livid. It was insensitive and cruel from a woman I admire and love so deeply.
The next week, the day the Daily Beast article came out, I was fiercely defending the privacy and humanity of Psalm, when my attention switched to Marianne. “Well, she was out of line. There’s no way I’m going this week to her lecture. It was absolutely wrong.” As I stomped around midtown and swam in my judgements, I noticed my surroundings. I was no where near the coffee shop for my 11:00am appointment, I was standing in front of Marianne’s apartment building.
And it hit me. She’s just a woman, and so am I.
This powerful lesson lead me to showing up Tuesday, mic running for Marianne and helping her take inventory of her books. Feeling solid that she is a human and so am I.
Last night again, I learned this powerful lesson. Part of me went to this event to be in the same room as Donna Karan. To watch her. To study her. To feel if she had an agenda or a frigidity.
Except when I met her that night, she was just a woman. Just like me. She’s loved, she’s lost, and she loves some more. She went into depth of the work of her late husband, giving me a tour of his art studio, sharing her passion for people, healing, and love.
And I realized, one bad statement to the press shut my heart to a person that has spent her life creating spaces of healing, creating opportunities to love and to expand. She is also subject to her conditioning and her pain.
I also see myself. The big opportunities to travel, to speak, to teach on women’s rights, sexual health and sacred sexuality. I am doing my life’s work, and yet, I am a woman. I don’t have as much experience, I didn’t study with every teacher in India, I don’t have a degree in Psychology, but I know myself. And I know my work. As we move into an era of trusting ourselves deeply and not putting so much weight in public appearances, I ask for mercy. Just as I would give to you. Give to Psalm. Give to Marianne and Donna.
Do not give your power to celebrities, so that when you are devastated, they are stoned. We are all just people. Do not take someone down for being human.
I know from my experience how important using your words, expressing your pain, recapturing your voice is. It’s the first step to great change. Sometimes we see people getting stuck in this stage, only wanting to express and not doing anything about it. Which is where it takes compassion to see that everyone is in pain. It’s just the world we live in.