Boss Up with Bevin Your dream life is at the end of your comfort zone

2013-11-25

A Great Way to Deal with Yucky Feelings: Emotional Freedom Technique aka Tapping

In advance of the #thx4support event on Thursday I wanted to talk about a tool that has been enormously helpful in my life to deal with yucky feelings (on Triggergiving, I mean Thanksgiving, or any other day).

This summer I worked with a woman whose work with lesbian survivors of sexual trauma involves using Emotional Freedom Technique, colloquially called “Tapping.” I had heard of it before but never really learned about it until Dawn told me about it. She walked me through the basic steps, and honestly it seems so simple it can’t possibly work. But, as my health coach Vic from Heart Beets Holistic said about Tapping, “The neuroscience is there. It really works.”

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So I gave it a shot. And a few months after starting to use it in areas of my life I was finding the most difficult to navigate, mostly money stuff (growing up working poor problems, like scarcity and fear) and residual grief from a break-up, my life in both of those areas has radically improved. I don’t know that Tapping is the only thing that worked but things have gotten better and it’s a great tool so I have been telling everyone I know about it.

Here’s how it works. If you have a yucky feeling come up, you start Tapping. For example, when I feel fear come up about money, my whole insides tense up. My stomach goes in knots and my heart hurts and I just have a total physiological reaction. What I do when I feel that way is I start doing the tapping sequence (and apparently there’s no exact “right” way to do the tapping, but lots of people say starting with the pinky sides of the hands hitting against each other) and naming the emotions that are coming up with me. Then I do the whole tapping sequence and usually end it by saying what I want to release and tapping my head.

The real powerful part of this, I think, is naming your feelings honestly. Even if you believe working with the meridian points is all made-up, being able to name the feelings you’re having is so incredible. We’re taught to swallow our feelings, not express them. So I express my fear that there will never be enough, that I will always be broke, that I don’t have enough money to pay for things, that I won’t be able to live my life as an artist. Then I release them. I sometimes follow-up with affirmations because I like the antidote to fear and insecurity with positivity. (In the foregoing example, “I live an abundant life and the Goddess takes care of all of my needs… I have more than enough to cover my bills and give money generously, etc…”)

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The idea is that Tapping helps you move the trauma out of your body. It’s an energetic release that works spiritually, physiologically and emotionally to acknowledge the trauma response and let it go. I know a lot of people who have worked with Tapping to deal with significant life traumas and it has really helped them. I believe if it can work with people on the really big stuff it can also work on the smaller more chronic issues that block us from our path.

I am a fan of free call-in seminars and I did one in September that was about releasing fear around money. I was so annoyed that I spent an hour and a half listening to this call and the “how” of it was only five minutes about naming your money fears and releasing them through the tapping points. It’s also much easier to learn the tapping points in a video. My favorite how-to video is below. Five minutes with one of my favorite spiritual leaders, Iyanla Vanzant. She has an incredible show on OWN called Iyanla, Fix My Life. I highly recommend it.

Again, it feels wild that it’s so simple.

My yuckiest feelings sometimes come up for me when I’m in transit, especially in the subway. Mostly when I’m moving my mind is going the most rapidly. One time I found myself tapping while on the F train and felt a little weird about it. Vic says that you can tap on just your finger tips because those are meridian points as well, but sometimes I just tap for real anyway because I don’t really care what people think of me on the subway and, honestly, tapping is the least weird of the weird stuff I’ve seen happen on NYC Transit.

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If you’re going to be dealing with hard things on Thanksgiving, Tapping is a great idea to have in your arsenal! I think having a tool box of things that help you stay grounded and centered is a great way to pre-plan for hard stuff. If you’re new to Tapping, maybe sketch out a list of the meridian points to tap and keep it in your purse or pocket and excuse yourself to the restroom to let it out. And don’t forget to follow hashtag #thx4support on Thanksgiving to be part of a whole community of folks supporting one another through the holiday!

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I’m fundraising to support QueerFatFemme.com! If you’ve been touched by the site, please consider donating money and getting a really cool prize! Folks in NYC can give $40 and get gourmet cupcakes made by the Rebel Cupcake Princess, Morgan! These are incredible cupcakes you basically can’t buy anywhere else.

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Morgan, talking about the background of the Riots Not Diets cupcake (a reclamation of past grapefruit diet trauma) at Rebel Cupcake in May. Photo by Gizelle Peters.

2012-04-17

Sleep is my Party Drug

Many folks will be familiar with the show Downton Abbey that has swept through the hulusphere. The first season is on Netflix watch instantly, second season I think is on hulu plus now. Get on it if you like things that are nighttime soapy and vintage realness it is totally that sweet spot shows like Mad Men fill.

Anyway, in the first season Lady Grantham says to her eldest daughter Mary that she should get a good night’s sleep. Mary quips, “You always say that.” And Lady Grantham says, “That’s because it usually does.”

I keep thinking about this scene lately as I cultivate my sleeping habits amidst a lot of life schedule changes.

I notice how well a good night’s sleep treats me the next day. How much self care there is in turning off the internet at a “reasonable hour”, whatever that means. For me that means setting myself up to sleep for 7-8 hours. Feels like a luxury given how much I need/want to accomplish in a given day and how much play time I want to squeeze in there. But accepting my human limitations is one of my great spiritual lessons and, unfortunately, I know that means prioritizing sleep over all those zombies I want to serve cheeseburgers in my clickie clickie game.

I have a lot of admiration for people who can sleep very little and thrive. In accepting my own human limitations I am accepting human diversity and props to my siblings in the struggle who can handle life, art, activism, family, work with very little sleep.

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I’m pretty excited about this sweater dress. I got it vintage for only five bucks, right before it got too warm to wear it.

I have had a ton of conversations lately with folks about how much fun we’re having going to bed early. (Usually when a topic is coming up in conversation that’s how I know I am brewing it for my blog.) Just this morning my pal Austin was bragging that he got to bed at 10:30 the night before. Time Out New York called me a Plus Size Party Girl and I know that to be true. However, I also know it is true I need and want to sleep. The tried and true way that I’ll be totally on my game when I go out is to get a lot of rest the night before. A good night’s sleep is my party drug.

Sure, there are times in my life where I’m all go go go, one social engagement after another. But if I don’t factor in necessary sleep I will inevitably get myself sick. At that pace, also, I certainly don’t enjoy things the way I want to. And what is the point of living an incredible life without the time and faculties to savor it?

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Macy agrees.

Lately I’ve been going through one giant fiasco after another. Seriously, the shit storm has been Saturn Return in proportion, yet I am 33 and supposed to be past my Saturn Return.* Personal life, financial life, work life. All requiring attention, solutions, strategies, and going to bed with the faith that everything is going to feel better in the morning. And it usually does.

I’ve been hella anxious lately. There’s not a lot in my life I can control right now but the stuff I can I’m totally going to control what I can. So I gave up coffee again and get enough sleep.

Sleeping a lot on the weekends has also helped me cope. My emotions have a very tight correlation to my body and all the stuff I’ve been going through is exhausting. Relenting to that and reveling in the joy of sleep has been great. A weekend night of 10 hours is really amazing to me these days.

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“Well, nobody likes their job, nobody got enough sleep.”

I’m always checking in with myself regarding depression, since it runs in my family and I am prone to bouts of it (and the oh so obnoxious seasonal affective disorder where just the lack of light bums me out). Sleeping a lot can sometimes mean I’m depressed but I know right now I’m just making sure I can be the best Bevin I can be under the circumstances.

So. Self care. Sleep. Sleep as a means of coping. Sleep as a means of energizing to enjoy the most out of parties and life. Here’s to lots!

*If any of my readers out there are astrologers and want to barter for a reading I would be so down.

2012-03-06

Get Me Embodied: Ecstasy is Necessary Book Review and Interview With Author Barbara Carrellas

Barbara Carrellas radically changed how I saw my sexual identity without even knowing it. I went to a workshop she gave at the Lesbian Sex Mafia on fire play. Even though I had existed in community with tons of kinky folks, I never thought it was for me. And then I saw how empowering and beautiful it was to set someone on fire for pleasure and connection. All of my fire safety skills from Girl Scouts were so thrilled about the care and attention put into the act, and I was immediately drawn to the kind of connection and trust created through those acts.

Barbara is an author, sex/life coach and sex educator. Her new book, Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide, is on a blog tour and today is my day! Welcome to the blog, Ecstasy! Would you like a cup of tea?

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Me and the Miracle Whips, a feminist performance troupe from LA.

I said hell yes to the blog tour mostly because I think Barbara is awesome and also because I want to learn how to have better, more fulfilling sex, I identify as being in the relentless pursuit of my joy and getting a galley copy of her new book is a pretty rad perk of being a blogger. This book was beyond anything I imagined it was going to be.

This book is an empowerment manual for embodiment. It is a road map to learn how to go into your body and get to know yourself on a physical, mental, emotional and spiritual level. I spend at least 6 hours a week diligently working on these connections for myself and there was a lot I learned about myself within the first seventy pages.

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Photo and body paint by Camrose Artes Infinitae.

You begin to examine your values, needs and desires are right away. I was really surprised when I was working through my values, since this timing coincides with my thinking and talking about how I find balance and settle on my priorities. Distilling your core values to six main tenets tells you what your priorities should be, gives you some guidance as to how to align your life.

Get a cute notebook when you’re getting the book. You’ll need it for your work going inside and becoming the expert about your own body.

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It can be frustrating as a single person without many regular sex partners to want to improve your sex life and not really know where to start. I am a big believer in the power of attraction–that you attract what you put out. This book is a great place to work from within to draw to you what it is you want from a partner. I felt not once alienated by my single status. Barbara also begins the book by giving a shout out to “they” as a gender neutral singular pronoun and the book is explicitly queer positive.

I was able to ask Barbara a few questions that I thought the readers of Queer Fat Femme would enjoy and also really just wanted to pick her brain for things that were going to help me on my ongoing journey for body self-love. It’s win-win, we’re all on the same team!

What is one great thing that folks who feel disembodied can do to open themselves up to ecstasy?

Breathe-often and deep and full. Send your breath down into your torso so deeply that you can tickle your genitals from the inside. Use your breath to experience your body from the inside out. When we feel disembodied we often feel like we can’t place our bodies comfortably in the world. Go within. Try and sense the universe inside your own body. When you orgasm, instead of trying to blast out of your body, dive deep within. Revel in the love and dark mystery of your inner-verse.

Do you have any advice on learning to feel comfortable with a new sex or play partner?

I like the Tantric approach. Accept what is the way it is. Don’t fight it, use it. Sit across from your partner, gaze into their eyes and breathe. This will no doubt be uncomfortable at first. Don’t fight it. Giggle and squirm if you need to but don’t speak. Just keep breathing and eye gazing. As you breathe, gently allow your feelings of nervousness or fear to begin to move toward excitement and anticipation. You will both soon feel an emotional space open up that is safe and comfortable to occupy together. You might want to follow that with some wordless, safe sensual touch. Then you can begin to speak. Whatever kind of speaking follows (negotiation, limits, safer sex, desires, etc.) will be much more easily spoken and received.

How can we help ourselves feel worthy of joy & ecstasy?

Ask yourself, “If I did feel worthy of joy and ecstasy what would that look like? What would that feel like? What would I do or do differently if this were true? If you can’t imagine this for yourself, imagine how someone you admire would feel or act. Then fake it till you feel it. I mean it! Act “as if.” Think of this practice as your emotional rehearsal space and show up for rehearsal daily. You will eventually-probably soon-feel some measure of joy and ecstasy. That will lead to more joy and ecstasy. The joy and the ecstasy will eliminate any feeling of unworthiness. One caveat: this is not a one time transformation. It’s a skill. Once you’ve learned the process you can use it whenever the not-good-enough feelings threaten your joy.

Isn’t Barbara so smart and grounding? I feel calmer just reading her responses. Imagine how great it would be to see her live! Check out her book tour schedule here.

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Me, Kay Ulanday Barrett, Kit Yan, Drae Campbell, and Miss Mary Wanna at Cupcake Cabaret, a show about the radical act of self-love and empowerment I produced last winter.

The book is out and you can buy it! I, of course, as always implore you to get it from your local feminist sex toy store or indie book store. But if you want to buy it online you can do it through this link. Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide

And there’s so much to read about Ecstasy is Necessary all along the blog tour! Here’s the schedule below:

1 March Kate Bornstein : Kate Bornstein’s Blog for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws.

2 March Viviane : Viviane’s Sex Carnival~A Blog about Sex and Sexuality.

5 March Betty Herbert : Love in the Long Run

6 March Bevin Branlandingham : The Queer, Fat, Femme Guide to Life (That’s me!!)

7 March Kendra Holliday : Striving to bring shy folks out of their shell, and offer a safe haven for those exploring their sexuality and creative side

8 March Sinclair Sexsmith : The sex, gender and relationship adventures of a kinky, queer, butch top

9 March Nancy L. Hill : Cultivating a Beautiful Life

12 March Andrea Zanin : Thought on Sex and Life

13 March Rubyyy Jones: Love Lust & Light

14 March Jill Boyd: Smart-ass Virgins Make Better Whoopie

15 March Heal Your Life: Live blogging with Barbara!

2011-08-22

Music Monday: Lovers!

Filed under: The Whole Shack Shimmies — Tags: , , , — Bevin @ 2:23 pm

I spent part of my afternoon at the coffee shop on the corner. I know the barista because she’s a musician who has toured and recorded with some of my pals and I complimented the music playing. She said “I listen to it for the bass.”

People listen to entirely different aspects of music–some are in it for the beat, some for instrumentation. I feel that music is a language and I’m always in it for good lyrics and an emotional journey. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens, I want to feel ALL the feelings in the music. Sometimes I want it to hurt so good.

You know who will give these feelings in a way that my fellow musical emotional cutters will totally appreciate? Lovers will give it to you in the hurty way–hard and with a tortured look in their eyes.

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Photo from LoversAreLovers.com


“What a drag not to know how you are, or which of us got the raw deal. I was a dagger but in whose heart? I was the dirt beneath whose wheel?”

I’ve loved Lovers, this magical queer outfit from Portland, OR, for years. I first learned of them from a mixed mp3 dump from an old friend of music I needed to listen to during my catastrophic break-up in 2007. On it was a pre-released copy that was labeled only “Track One”, “Track Two” etc… so it was just words and private emotion. So special, but totally eclipsed by the genius of their latest release, Dark Light.

I saw Lovers live for the first time at Michfest a couple of weeks ago and have renewed my love for them from a firey and passionate place in my heart reserved for the most poetic and heart-breaking music.* You know how some music can take you on an emotional journey and relies on the instruments? The way Carolyn Berk sings you can tell she’s feeling every moment.

Some of the songs, like “Don’t You Want It”, are so heartwrenching you see Carolyn singing and it’s like she’s saying all the things you needed to say when you were broken on the kitchen floor wracked with sobs and she is sobbing right there with you.

Just watch her do it, here in this video.

Even if you never listen to a Lovers song, read the lyrics and you’ll know what I mean.

I think if you like The Blow, Rilo Kiley, The xx, Camera Obscura, you’ll definitely like Lovers. Though I like Lovers best of all of these bands, so there you go.


(There is a link from this video to this indie rock playlist that includes a free download of Barnacle.)

The new album is supreme, but if you want to dally in some of Lovers’ earlier incarnations I’ve loved the songs “Let’s Stay Lost” and “Where Are You Tonight?”

But, really, you just want to go spend $8.99 at Amazon and buy yourself Dark Light, turn off all the lights and enjoy your time with Lovers. Or if you’re in the UK prepare for their upcoming tour your way this Fall.

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They are so tender and so good looking. Photo also from LoversAreLovers.com

*I wore a big sunhat and sunglasses to the show so no one would see when I openly cried during the show which I totally did.

2010-05-20

Love Snippets

I have been thinking and talking about love a lot lately. I’ve gotten some amazing anecdotes from people. I’ve been writing them down in my tiny notebook.

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I wish I always looked so put together when I am writing something down. Also, I wish I always had my BFF Rachael looking over my shoulder, but it is sort of like that considering I consult her at least once a day.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in love.”

Me: “Really?? How is that possible, you’ve had so many boyfriends.”

“I always like to keep one foot out the door so that I can leave at any moment. Besides, the way you all talk about it [referring to my friends] why in the world would I want that? I never see you experiencing the upside!”

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“Do you have confidence that you will fall in love again?”

Me: “I am skilled in dozens, or even a hundred things… Falling in love is something I am adept at, and comes easy. I fell in love by accident most recently. I know I’ll fall in love again. Whether or not I fall in love & it is reciprocated is an entirely other thing that I have no control over. That’s where faith comes in. Do you?”

“It is all I believe in.”

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“I’m going to see [her girlfriend] this weekend. I think she’s going to break-up with me.”

Me: “Oh no! I am so sorry!”

“It’s okay. The way things were going she was just being shitty to me. At least now she’s being honest about her emotions. I’d rather know that it’s going to be over with. And I have a laycation coming up with someone in a couple of weeks so that softens the blow.”

Me: “Imagine being excited about a break-up.”

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From a private comment to my last entry about someone being broken up with for being glitter and with someone operating in an emotional beige zone, I read this part of it and had to snap because I was reading it and agreeing so heartily.

At this point in my life — where I’m learning how to allow myself to have desires and feelings (about things like kids or family or love relationships) and not censor them before they’re even allowed to emerge — being with someone who’s interested in imposing emotional limits from the start is a bad idea.

Wow. Yes. And having the wherewithal to actually articulate that is so leaps and bounds into being in touch with your desires and feelings. Sometimes I feel that there is this pressure in the dating community to be so cool with just being casual and having “no labels” and not processing. Not that I love processing, but I feel some elements of social pressure exist to just kowtow to the people who are commitment skittish. Likewise, there is a lot of pressure in other circles to BE MARRIED and HAVE KIDS and assimilate to heteronormativity. There has to be some delicate balance between u-haul lesbianism and enjoying things casually.

I have a friend who uses the term “intimate casual”. It leaves the door open for intimacy in whatever form that will take but also not putting big expectations on things. I think it is possible, but not when you’re so concerned with policing your emotions lest you scare someone away.

I think people who are checked into their emotions are less likely to be scoundrels. I realized that in the long aftermath of my broken engagement that he was never really checked in with himself emotionally and never told me when the landscape changed. Instead he cheated.

This is why I have made it my business to start loving conflict. Having conflict with someone at least means I know where they’re at emotionally, without having to worry if someone is hiding stuff from me. (This is a process. I still hate conflict. But I am trying!)

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A note on my last post about glitter and beige. I’m not trying to say glitter means extrovert, beige is introvert. I know plenty of glitter introverts. I also know plenty of stage personalities who are also introverts. And being a stage personality is only one example of a glitter personality. I am just trying to call out a beige privilege in dating–a lot of people leave glitter in the dust for someone less intense/less complicated, etc… No shade to beige identified folks.

However, I will say if you find it hard to wear your glitter on the outside, I encourage you to try. It takes a lot of chutzpah to be in touch with what you are passionate about and share it with people, in ways that make you comfortable but also get you out of your comfort zone.

Rebel Cupcakes gotta work hard to stay fabulous–sometimes it feels like a never ending battle to express yourself and feel good about yourself in a world that is telling you that you are always too much for it. I am confident it is going to pay off. Being true to yourself is ultimately a winning battle.

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3/4 of the Baconettes at the last Rebel Cupcake. The next one is June 17th!

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I leave you, my romantic, ever hopeful sweethearts, with a poem by one of my favorite new-to-me poets. Regie Cabico:

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