Hello, Lovely Soul! Discover the Lunar Secrets: A Practical Guide to Embodied Womb Wisdom

Dr. Willow Brown

The Tao of Business: How Cultivating Yin Energy at Work Can Address the Crisis of Burnout

And a new perspective on the Future of Work

By Katharine Bierce

With inspiration from Audrey Lorde, Rita Shimmin, Robert Horton, Rev. angel Kyodo Williams, bell hooks, adrienne maree brown, Lee Holden, Liya Garber, Dr. Willow Brown, Mimi Kuo-Deemer, Alexis Sheppherd, authentic relating, Aristotle, Buddha, Lao Tzu, and others

The global coronavirus pandemic has shifted business, perhaps permanently. More and more thought workers are working from home. Some companies may not assign dedicated desks to workers ever again. And although many are suffering, for the top few percent, business is booming – especially among companies that facilitate remote work. And at the same time, even at companies that appear to be thriving financially, employees are facing increasing levels of burnout.

Although the vaccine will help improve our health and potentially our stress levels, the expectation of booking back-to-back meetings all day without downtime that we used to have (for travel, for getting between buildings at corporate office campuses in person)… well that’s not going to work anymore.

Everyone is talking about the Future of Work, as if productivity, telecommuting, and the future are the only things that matter. 

But to borrow a page from the great philosophers, from Aristotle to Buddha to Lao Tzu and beyond – what makes life worth living? What is the good life? What is good work? How can we be more mindful of the present moment? In corporate terms, how do you improve employee engagement and reduce burnout? 

Silicon Valley companies, of all companies in business, are constantly searching for the Next Big Thing. 

I think the Next Big Thing is in reimagining creating company cultures and ways of working that are in balance with what I call the Tao of Business. 

How can you love people and run things, and do so by not doing?

-Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, translated by Ursula Le Guin

Women in Business and the Future of Work

For too long, women who want to rise through the corporate latter are expected to become like men, or at least embody the unhealthy aspects of masculine energy. When it is imbalanced or overactive, masculine energy is hyperactive, thinking, running around trying to fix something all the time. It’s exhausting. When it is balanced, masculine energy is action in the service of one’s highest values or intentions. 

When it is balanced and healthy, feminine energy is receptive, wise, nurturing; open to receive the gifts of the universe that want to come through. (I don’t know as much about an excess of feminine energy as I tend to run a lot of masculine energy in my system.)

Energy, Culture, Emotions and Balance

The thing about the “feminine” and “masculine” is that they are energies, which any person of any gender can have any amount of. The important thing is balance. Masculine energy is like the fire of the sun and feminine energy is like the water and nutrients in the earth: you need both sunshine, water, and nutrients to grow food. If you just have summer all year round, with not enough moisture, plants die. Burnout happens.

Nature has seasons for a reason: rest is important. Time in nature is cyclical, not linear, and the idea that we can or should be “always on” is absurd as the idea that we should have eternal summer. As we honor the cycles of the seasons in nature, how can we honor the cycles of nature within our own bodies? The Taoist perspective is that humans are not separate from nature. The idea that we are separate causes problems, such as burnout. 

Especially if we are raised in a Western culture that emphasizes thinking over feeling, doing over being, the individual over the community, separateness over connectedness, it is easy to get stuck in unhealthy or imbalanced energy patterns. As a person who identifies as white and female, I’ve absorbed a lot of unhelpful views about how I “should” be in the world. The idea that I “should” look a certain way, have a certain weight, body type, skin type, productivity level, what counts as “productive” (e.g. doing rather than being), or only express happy emotions externally and something is wrong if that’s not the case… I’ve internalized the patriarchy when I succumb to the narrative that if I’m feeling bad, it must be my fault, that I’m doing something wrong. 

I’m focusing on the feminine & masculine energy flows, or yin and yang energies, because I identify as a cis female and this is a convenient example. However, this analysis also applies to other under-represented minorities in business and intersectionality.

Many of the people who get funded by Silicon Valley venture capital are young, white, able-bodied, cis men. How we shift cultural patterns of imbalance in capital flows might start with how we shift our own patterns of energy, both in ourselves as well as our communities and companies. 

Cultivating balance at work

With that in mind, here are some practices, inspired by the Taoist perspective.

Balanced or Healthy Yang (Masculine) Energy

  • Be impeccable with your word. 
  • Act with integrity.
  • Cultivate good judgment: 
  • Be clear on what your values are, and integrate them into your life. 
  • How can you be a servant leader: understanding the needs of others and integrating them into your perspective and actions? 
  • Ask more questions: draw out the best from your team by listening.

Balanced or Healthy Yin (Feminine) Energy

  • Start with feeling: what do you notice in your body, throughout your day? In each activity? 
  • Ask yourself throughout the day: what do I need right now? 
  • Act as if your feelings matter. 
  • Start a meeting with a minute of movement, dance, or even silence to reflect on what your highest intention is for the meeting.
  • Be sensual: How much attention are you giving your five fabulous senses, compared to the sixth sense door of the mind or thinking? For example, eat lunch outdoors: Taste your food. Smell the fragrance of some tea. Hear the cars or the birds going by. See the colors of the sky or plants or buildings. Feel the touch of your socks in your shoes. 
  • Time is cyclical. How are you following it? Consider using the phases of the moon to make sure you have time for rest and renewal. Before the new moon, whether it’s the one in the sky or the cycle in your body, remove three things from your calendar or your closet. Making space to clear out the old helps make way for the new. 
  • Plan your activities according to the seasons: Spring for new beginnings, summer for if you want to take an extra course on top of work, fall to harvest your accomplishments, winter to do less and reflect. 
  • Listen to silence. Contemplate your intention before speaking. The wisdom that comes from silence gives birth to kind thoughts, words, and actions.
  • Choose yourself first before your work. Your health and happiness are more important than your work. What does it look like to set healthy boundaries with your work? If you work from home or remotely, what ceremonies can you create to start and end your workday to maintain those healthy boundaries? 
  • Say “no” to at least one thing a week. If you can’t say no and have it be respected, your “yes” doesn’t really matter. This is true of both personal relationships and work commitments. If you have trouble prioritizing things at work, talk to your manager and get clear on their priorities! 
  • Affirmations (which are distinct from goals or intentions), inspired by Liya Garber:
    • I choose to let go of what is not important.
    • It is OK to have ease in my life and work at the same time.
    • It is OK to take care of myself.
    • Money is energy, but it is not my god.
    • I listen to space.
    • I work in the vibration of the divine feminine. 
 A photo of the Tao Te Ching book in a garden.

To close with some more inspiration from Lao Tzu in the Tao Te Ching, translated by Ursula Le Guin:

Knowing other people is intelligence,

Knowing yourself is wisdom.

Overcoming others takes strength,

Overcoming yourself takes greatness.

Contentment is wealth.

To be comfortable in the cold, keep moving;

to be comfortable in the heat, hold still;

to be comfortable in the world, stay calm and clear.

What other practices help you balance yin and yang at work? 

Email me at info@businesscasualyoga.com with your comments! Or work with Yin Wellness master teacher Willow Brown, who taught me a lot of what I know here.

About the Author

Katharine is a yogi and a techie who first studied qigong and Taoist philosophy with Willow Brown in 2016. As a yoga teacher and meditation enthusiast, Katharine enjoys supporting others in finding ways to integrate mindfulness and compassion into their busy lives. Although she started practicing yoga as a teenager, she really got hooked on the practice while putting in 12 hour days as a consultant in New York City. She completed her first 200-hour yoga teacher training in 2014 and is an RYT-200 Yoga Teacher, Reiki Master practitioner, and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Chicago. Katharine works full time in technology marketing at a Fortune 100 company based in San Francisco.

Disclaimer: Opinions are hers and not those of her employer.

A Journey to the Heart of the Beloved

A leap of faith — that’s how I would describe the big plan I made two years ago. It was new, challenging, and somewhat scary… but I did it anyway.

It was in October of 2021 that I decided to try my hand at tri-coastal living.  

The big dream was to live between Maui, Santa Cruz, California, and Europe.  So I did just that. I spent 6 months in Maui, 4 months in Santa Cruz, and 3 months in Europe, a little over a year in total.

What I have learned is…. in going after my BIG Dreams, I’ve discovered what I am made of.  When becoming or creating something you’ve never had before, you have to let go of so much of who you’ve been and what you’ve had.

I had to let go of a lot!

I started off my journey in Maui in November 2021; I needed to see if I could live solely from my online business and step away from my clinic time with patients.  

It was not easy, there were many moments of nailbiting stress around finances.  And though I was very fortunate with housing arrangements in Maui, in that they came easily and naturally, I had to move around quite a bit.

In fact, I lived in five different places during those six months. The longest I lived in one place this past year was two and a half months in a home in Maui.  

I knew the island had deep medicine for me and wanted me there because of the magical way housing kept lining up, even the kind where I could have my puppy with me.  He loved running on the white sands of Waimea.  I trained him to sit on my sarong and wait for me while I went out and did my daily ocean swim. Those were some blissful moments.

Whenever the tightness and stress of making this BIG dream a reality on a budget started to ache in my neck and left shoulder, I’d hightail it to a waterfall and reconnect with gratitude for what I did have. 

Maui showed me deeper levels of sensuality through the land, the waters, the beaches, and the lovers than I ever knew possible.  As my body ignited and my heart opened, I stepped into my feminine and sexual power like never before.  

I got to explore all five of the sexual blueprints and try on the full array of my selves as a sexually sovereign being.  

I believe this powerful inner transformation is what led to my union with Leah Piper and the birthing of our new Podcast and Business – Sex Reimagined, which is a really BIG dream come true. One I was not expecting or manifesting.  

The Start Of A Beautiful Journey With Fellow Sexperts

I remember the first time I sat as a student of Leah’s, I thought, “Damn, I would love to teach with that woman. We would make an amazing team.”  

It took us three years to actualize it, but now we are an amazing team, and we are having so much fun collaborating with each other and with many other amazing Sexsperts in the field.  

Our deepest commitment in the birthing of this dream is to help our audience open their hearts and minds to new possibilities for intimacy and love.  

This dream was born and came to fruition on the magical island of Maui.  I’m so deeply grateful for my time there and all the medicine it provided.

I made many other incredible soul connections on Maui that supported me in this first leg of exploring my BIG dream. I feel there are some fun future collaborations to explore with some of these magical Maui beings!

When One Door Opens, Another One Closes

While on Maui I got word from my Santa Cruz landlords that they were selling their house. My home.  My beloved home of 13 years!

I lived in and loved my beautiful temple home in Pleasure Point, Santa Cruz, through so many chapters of my life, and I did NOT want to give it up!

I tried to figure out a way to buy it, as it had always been a dream of mine to own that place.  I had visions of taking my last breath in that home, but alas, that was not to be my fate.

In the end, I had to leave Maui early, head back to Santa Cruz, pack up my two-bedroom house and vacate the premises that had housed me, nine of my girlfriends, one boyfriend, and little River’s first two years of life.  

So many incarnations and lessons learned in that home. I will always think lovingly of the years I spent there.

It was very painful to let go of my main source of stability in the world, but once I surrendered and gave in to the way of the universal flow, it became less painful.  

And through the process, my bond with TRUST grew ten times deeper.

During my four months in Santa Cruz,  I not only said goodbye to my home of 13 years, but it felt like maybe I was saying goodbye to my 23 years in Santa Cruz.  

The thought of finding another rental made my stomach churn due to the astronomical rental rates.  Gone are the days when you could rent a two-bedroom home by the sea with a hot tub for $2700/month.

This was NOT part of my big dream. I never wanted to let go of Santa Cruz, I just wanted to share my life with Maui and Europe as well.  

But was it really letting go?

My Outer Beloved

It was all a bit confusing because while it felt like maybe this was the end of my time in Santa Cruz, I knew there would always be something drawing me back to this beloved community and town.

Perhaps that’s why the universe opened the path for my heart to drop into deep love with a man I called my Outer Beloved.  

This was the man I had dreamt of being in union with for ten years.  We’d circled around one another in the community for decades, but our alignment had never been such that we could explore our relationship intimately. 

Over the summer, our alignment was there, and we began the dance, which was seeded before I left for Maui and continued to grow and be nurtured by three-hour conversations between Cali and Maui.

Our hearts and minds were on the same page, and it felt like it was time to get our bodies together.  

A nine-day visit when he came to see me in Maui opened us to the possibility that the sapling that was growing between us had the potential to become a great big tree. 

Upon my return to Santa Cruz, we continued the dance, and a tree did grow.  

By the end of my four months, we were committed to being in each other’s lives for the long haul, we talked ring size, living together for four seasons, and my BIG dream of teaching and traveling with my Outer Beloved.  We used this term generously with each other.

It felt like my new temple-home had arrived, and it was present every time our hearts were near each other.  I felt more at home in the arms of this man than I had anywhere in the world.

As the time approached for me to pick up the final leg of exploring this Dream-Life, our bond seemed to be growing exponentially.  We said goodbye and assured each other that neither of us was “going anywhere.”  We were right here together in the union of our heart’s temple.

The Sail to the Dream Life

I set sail for three months in Europe.

I kicked off the journey with a stop in the Bahamas for a retreat with my dear friend for his 60th birthday.  

A beautiful pod of people circled up for his celebration. We swam with the dolphins daily, practiced yoga (led by me – so fun to drop into my teacher self), ate amazing food, and sat in the sacred ceremony until our hearts were blown wide open.  

We learned so much from each other, from the amazing crew we sailed with daily, and from the dolphins, who spoke to us through third-eye dream realms and waves of high frequency.  Letting us know we were exactly where we needed to be on this life path, experiencing exactly what we needed in order to learn the deep lessons that would guide us as we moved forward.  

I left that week on an emotional high only to live out another BIG dream of leading a personal pilgrimage through the sacred sites of the ancient Celtic lands of Cornwall. My inner druid was in heaven!

I led one of my incredible sexology clients on a journey to her own Inner Beloved.  We danced naked with the standing stones of Boscowan Un and the Merry Maidens.  We cultivated chi with plant ancestors in the botanical gardens, made love to her deepest heart’s desire through tantric practices in the moonlight, and prayed at the altar of the red well in Avalon.  

She was completely transformed!  And I discovered that this longtime DREAM of mine was on point! I was made for these personal pilgrimage retreats. To hold space at the deepest level for a single client or couple gives me a powerful sense of being on purpose and allows me to use all my gifts in a way that is fully acceptable and transformational for them.

After these two retreats, I was feeling really good about myself, but then things turned, and all that good feeling about myself crashed hard!

A Twist Of Fate

I made my way to Italy, where I joined up with my very best guy friend and his soon-to-be bride, plus 50 other wedding guests, and proceeded to go completely oblivious the first night of the four-night event. 

I triggered the bride at her deepest core wound and was severely chastised by her girlfriends for being too sexually open.  I was not even aware I was doing anything to cross anyone’s boundaries.  Completely unconscious. 

I learned so much from this experience, not only about the importance of containing my sexual energy in certain circumstances and certain groups but also about how to navigate through extreme emotional upsets.  

The wedding incident shocked me to my core.  What I thought was a perfectly normal act turned into me wearing a scarlet letter on my chest, being cast out of the wedding at 3 am, and potentially losing my best guy friend of 20 years.  

That has yet to be determined.  

I hope and pray that his bride and I can eventually get to the point where we laugh at the whole thing one day, as it really was blown way out of proportion due to unhealed traumas in their own relationship.

What I learned is that when you are exploring and expanding your sexuality at the level I have been, you are liable to experience a BIG contraction or two along the way.  

This one was HUGE for me.  It was like a slap in the face that woke me up to so many crucial lessons about stepping into full sexual sovereignty.  I honestly never realized before that my standing in my sexual power was a threat to some women.  

I have spent the last two decades helping women through all the many transitions of womanhood (menstrual issues, fertility, childbirth, menopause, sexual embodiment, and feminine empowerment), so I had only ever thought of myself as an ally for women.  

What I see now, as I step more and more fully into my own power, is that if a woman is still struggling with her own sexual wounding or wounds with the masculine, someone in my position needs to be conscious of that and aware that sexual triggers are easy to set off and hard to mend.

The Aftermath

Because I was so rocked by this experience, I lost the confidence I’d been reveling in only days before. I was feeling insecure. 

Traveling on my own through Italy no longer appealed to me, so I reached out to one of my Maui men, who I knew was traveling through Europe. We’d talked about linking up at some point if it was in flow, and now it felt like it was.

I needed to be with someone who understood me and who I didn’t have to hide parts of myself from in order to be accepted and loved.  Thank Goddess for friends like this.

Turns out he was going through his own dark night of the soul,  feeling deep heartache and loss from a former Beloved of his own.  Our two wounded souls were a match to meet up and mend and heal.  

We met up in Turkey, a land that had always intrigued and called me but was NOT part of the BIG dream.

Istanbul brought mind-blowing mosques, strong Turkish coffee, rich culture, whirling dervishes, and deep heart healing accompanied by powerful intimacy that allowed us both to get back on track with our Inner Beloveds so that we could do what we both came to do, which is help souls find their way to radical self-love.

Cappadocia, a region south of Istanbul, called to his soul, so we followed that and hopped on a flight to what turned out to be another planet.  

OMG, the place is truly otherworldly, if you have been to Cappadocia, Turkey, reply to this post and let me know what you experienced there; and if you have not yet been, put it on your bucket list!  

We met and fell in love with a woman there who completed our journey to the heart of our own Inner Beloved.  She brought so much depth to our time in Turkey, and for me, it felt like I was reconnecting with a lifelong BFF.  Her journey parallels mine in many ways, and we continue to learn, grow and share with each other.  

Another Big Emotional Blow and What Got Me Back on My Feet

Portugal was next, a country my soul had been telling me to visit for years.  

I would often hear from Spirit, “Once you go to Portugal, you will never want to leave.”  

I thought I would find “home” there, but instead, I found myself with a deep longing to go “home” to Santa Cruz, not because Portugal isn’t amazing and gorgeous, but because I could feel things starting to shift in the heart of my Outer Beloved.   

It was hard to be so many thousands of miles away from him and feel him needing to simplify his life, which potentially meant releasing me as his Outer Beloved.

During my second week in Portugal, we had a heart-to-heart via zoom, which left me gasping for air. It was my second BIG emotional blow.  

Another shock to my nervous system left me trying not to drown in the tumultuous tides of emotions that were sweeping me to and fro.  The thought of losing him made me nauseous and short of breath.  

We had started out our intimacy dance on the understanding that we would be non-monogamous, but after a life-altering concussion, he felt he did not have the capacity for that. 

So what did that mean for us, with me being all the way over in Europe trying to make this BIG dream of tri-coastal living a reality?

It meant he chose to take his heart in another direction.

Through the deep heartbreak that followed, I discovered a path to getting out of the storms of emotion that had been keeping me distracted from being in Pure State.  

I was ready to give up the extremely high highs and very low lows that had me feeling like an emotional ping pong ball for months. I was ready to take myself deeper into the Tao and live in equanimity.

Through a series of events, I found a spiritual teacher in Portugal,  a man who lovingly guides individuals to their purest level of inner peace.  

Mooji Baba, helped me find my way back to the only thing that really matters in this life. 

It is beyond faith, beyond trust, beyond knowing.  It is a state of pure consciousness that opens the heart to radical acceptance and peace.  

It is cultivating the kind of contentment the Buddha, Jesus, and many other mystics have taught.  I HIGHLY recommend it!

This is when my BIG dream shifted radically! 

My Biggest Realization

No longer do I care about living here or there or who I call my Outer Beloved.  

I am now fully surrendered and at peace with what life wants for me.  I no longer manifest specific things, places, and lifestyles, but rather open myself up as a vessel for whatever is the highest good for me and all those close to me to come with ease and grace.

I have been in deep practice of the “middle way” for decades, but through this past year’s ups and downs, emotional upsets, and moments of absolute elation, I’ve discovered a new meaning to the “middle way.” 

No matter what comes next, and no matter what desires of mine are actualized or not, I am free.  This freedom comes from releasing control of things I have no control over.  Things that are surely going to shift and change no matter what.  

Things that make me feel happy one day and riddled with anxiety the next.

The truth is that things are always changing – emotions, circumstances, living situations, BFFs, work in the world, and physical sensations.  

The one thing that does not change is the state of being that witnesses all of this change.  A state of pure consciousness, a state of equanimity, a state of unprecedented peace, and a place of pure contentment.  

Some call it the Tao – a field that cannot be explained in words, a field that can not be created or taken away. A field that is always there and can only be experienced through attention and awareness.

I am choosing to spend as much of my waking life in this field as possible.  

I trust that my devotion to this “middle way” will guide me to the best life for my soul’s journey.

And if you’ve read this far in the blog, I want to thank you for listening to my story. Now it’s time for me to listen to yours.

Email me at connect@drwillowbrown.com and tell me your deepest longings, heartfelt desires, or present experiences that overwhelm you and draw you farther from your Inner and Outer Beloveds. I’m all ears.

Cranio-Sacral with Dolphins

What is Cranio-Sacral anyway? Most people know it feels good and it works wonders, but what is it really?

Here’s my one liner: It is a healing modality that uses the rhythm of your cerebral spinal fluid to realign your skeletal system so that your entire nervous system can reset.

My patients rise from the table and feel like they’re floating away. Many report having visual experiences, deep releases of physical pain, and sometimes tears of joy or tears of pain will flow forth in a movement toward complete healing.

Recently I had the honor of fulfilling a lifelong dream of traveling down to the Bahamas to do cranio-sacral work with very sick patients in the water surrounded by healing dolphins. It was a profound and powerful journey to say the least.

Here is the message that both the patients and myself heard from the dolphins:

We are a web of healing, of pain, of light and of dark. We feel one another without even knowing the other’s story. We integrate whether we want to or not and whether we’d like to admit it or not this makes us stronger.

The power we possess when we unite as one is limitless and can heal the entire planet. How we touch each other’s lives and how we blend into each other’s energy is profound and can carry us to the moon and back if we let it.

The feelings of doubt, inadequacy and unworthiness peak when we disconnect from this web.

When we try to separate ourselves and become independent from one another, this mistake can lead you astray for a lifetime – if you let it. But if you stop to listen, to tune in, you will hear the universe speaking to you saying lean in! 

Lean in to the support, the messages, the hearts, the vibrations, and the sounds that are carrying you on this journey! 

The reality is that you are not separate from the person next to you. Nor are you separate from the bird, the ant, or the dolphin next to you. Inside the unity of this world you have EVERYTHING you need to succeed! In love, in relationship, in pleasure in light, in acknowledgements and in riches; you have the choice to tune into this ever-present web of life, and use it to your advantage.

No matter who you are, you are here; therefore you are gifted, blessed and alive!

No matter what your traumas are or your pain or the injustices you have suffered, your root is your essence and your essence is a ray of light. So shine your light, shine it as bright as you can and don’t shrink in the light of another, don’t shy away from the magic you possess. 

There will be times of turbulence, there will be times of stillness, and there will be moments in between in which you can just glide through life. Do your best to appreciate them all! 

They are all part of the web, they need each other to continue to thrive. The ever-present expansions and contractions that life brings are crucial to the ongoing vitality that comes through you.

Even in death there is a final expansion followed by a final contraction and as you ride that last wave (in this life) you have the opportunity to leave a legacy behind!

What legacy do you want to leave behind? How do you want to be felt by others? Tune into that and start embodying that feeling now!

The only thing that ever gets in your way is you! So step aside my friend and let the energy of life take over!

I will never forget this powerful experience I had with these healing dolphins, nor will I forget the amazing results each patient got from being in the water and get worked on by multiple therapists, including dolphins!

It was delightfully joyful, deeply spiritual, and sensuous through and through!

Sending you Dolphin Kisses!

Un-Claim Your Shame

Shame is one of the most debilitating emotions a human can endure in this life, and for many it can last a lifetime.

What is Shame, actually? 

Let’s break it down. Physically shame feels like a sinking inward, a recoiling of the heart, a rounding of the shoulders, a posture of protection. Emotionally it is an oppression of your inner flame. Shame is when you are made to feel like you did something wrong, weather that is the case or not. Shame gets lodged in your body in an instant and can forever get triggered each time you are reminded of that scenario or feeling. So, one small moment in time has the ability to form your path for life, if you let it.

As I pull together 20 of the world’s leading experts on Love, Sex, and Relationships for my 3rd annual Tele Summit “Alchemy of Sex, “ the topic of Shame is coming up quite a bit. What is Shame? Where does it come from? How can you heal it? All of these questions are answered in this year’s Free Virtual Summit, so keep an eye out for that in Sept.

You may remember a time when you were a child and an older sibling or parent shamed you for an action that you took in perfect innocence. Like the time your mom yelled at you for drawing on the walls with your crayons, or that time your older brother made fun of you and teased you for the way you played pretend with your stuffed animals. Shame can shut you down. These are mild examples, and in some cases shame can come from sexual, physical or verbal abuse, but the truth is unless your experience of shame has been acknowledged, addressed and healed it can affect you just as deeply no matter how severe or “normal” it was.

Shame is a rabbit hole that keeps going and going, until you learn to stop it, clear it and un-claim it. 

To un-claim your shame is to no longer have it on your radar, meaning that it doesn’t even occur to you to feel shame. Growing up in Southern California in a small town near L.A. there where beautiful girls in my high school class who were getting boob jobs and nose jobs at 16; image was everything! I knew I had to be thin and pretty and smart or I would never be loved or accepted. Not by the boys at school, not by my friends, and certainly not by my parents.

This message of “not being enough” might sound familiar to you. It’s a message that is imprinted onto you throughout your life and it carries on into your early adult hood, keeping you from living out your fullest potential in this world. It dims the light within you that is your vitality, creativity, confidence, and authentic drive.

This deep sense of shame can inhibit you well into your 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and beyond, it will affect you relationships, your finances, and your health if you do not choose a different path. A path of being worthy!

Now let’s talk about shame in regards to sex. If you were fortunate, your first sexual encounters were with a significant other in a safe and supportive space.

If you were anything like me, on the other had, it was the exact opposite. It was far from safe and far from supportive, it may have even been nonconsensual. Causing you to shut down your pleasure centers and associate sexuality with being bad or wrong.

That’s no way to live!

Sex is one of the most beautiful gifts we have been given in this lifetime. When you are unable to open this gift and see all the beauty inside you are missing one of the most magical parts of the human experience.

So how do you heal from shame, much less un-claim it?

You have to start by identifying that there is shame. It can be helpful to know where it comes from, pinpoint the incident or time in your life.

Exercise: Un-claim Your Shame

I recommend finding a special place in nature or in your home where you can be still and quiet enough to tune into the place in your body that you feel shame, notice the sensation of it. Is it tight, constricting, numb, dull, achy, or sharp? Does it limit your breath capacity; does it affect your heartbeat? What happens to your nervous system when you feel this shame?

Once you have identified where it is in your body, and what it feels like place your hands there and begin to breathe into that place, expanding your inhale consciously into that place to create more space there. If you would like to you can exhale with a sound, maybe an “AAAA,” sound to begin with, which might morph into deeper throatier sounds or even animalist growling sounds. Repeat that breath, using the inhale to create space and using the exhale to release and clear out the current sensations of shame from your body. Do this as long as necessary until you feel the sensation in you body change.

Depending on how long the shame has been there and how deeply you feel it, you will want to keep doing this practice. I have had clients clear substantial amounts of shame in 1-3 of these sessions, for others it can take 1-3 months. You will know when you are complete; trust your deep inner knowing.

One of the things shame does is take you away from trusting yourself, and you will see that the more you clear the sensation of shame the more you will begin to trust yourself, and your future will unfold in a new direction.

Through this unfolding, you will begin to stand up for yourself, your confidence will rise and you will begin to experience a deep sense of knowing that you are worthy of love, you are worthy of joy, and you have worth.

I encourage you to find support on this journey of un-claiming your shame, as it is helpful to have an objective perspective while working out the stories that created this shame to begin with. Shame gets so ingrained in your consciousness; it can be difficult to separate yourself from “it.”

I am here in full support of your break-through; please don’t hesitate to reach out!

I am wishing you a life full of joy, light, vitality and phenomenal self worth!

Willow Brown L.Ac.