And, when I am done crying, only then, do they set my tears down. Gently.
On the table, "Oh look," they exclaim, "a rosy ruby, an emerald of the deepest green, a perfect pearl."
On the parched and sandy soil, my tears seep through their fingers, and drip into the ground. Together we watch a once-in-fifteen-years flower bloom, its delicate petals open to the sun. Wide eyed we hold hands and watch as a little desert frog emerges from its dry hibernation, mates and lays eggs, and then slips back into the mud just as the land starts to crackle and dry, nestling down for another long slumber.
Yes, I have sisters who catch my tears. And, when I find myself spinning alone in the dark, wondering which way is up, my heart breaking in two, I call them. And, they listen to my tale through the moans and the hiccups. I call them, and they tell me back my story. I call them, and their gentle voices soothe. I call them. I call them.
Oh, I have sisters, tear catching, dancing, singing sisters wearing beautiful dresses, gowns covered in mirrors.
I love them, my sisters. I love how my call to them saves me. I love how they tell me things I wish I had the wisdom to tell myself. I love to hear their voices. I love me shedding my tears and them catching in cupped hands, my tears. I love them, tears and sisters; sisters and tears.
A couple of years ago I realized that there wasn't a Vacation Fairy who was going to drop down out of the sky, bop me on my head, and send me on vacation. Oh, I dearly needed one of those little fellas, whom I imagined to be somewhat round and small, floating in the air on tiny wings, and dressed in a flowing shimmering gauzy gown and purple high tops. I never ran into a Vacation Fairy, and yet I desperately needed one to come my way.
We were struggling. We had financial trouble and bills from medical care for our sick son. We were several years into slogging our way through his illness and recovery. I was working full time and managing our household (just barely, and you can ask my mom who could hardly stop herself from picking up and cleaning when she dropped by.) My darling self-contained daughter was somewhat neglected during this time as we had turned all of our attention on the big, overwhelming, pressing issues we faced.
Yes, a Vacation Fairy was sorely needed in our house!
We hadn't gone away as a family, in, well, we hadn't ever gone away on a family vacation! Yeah, we had taken a week to visit in-laws here and there and I had taken the kids to the beach with my parents. But, all this big stuff had hit us square in the face just as we were starting our little family, just as we were beginning to create our own family traditions. So, yeah, we didn't have our family vacation tradition in place yet. We had nothing we could sink comfortably back into during times of trouble. And, so, if any family ever did need a Vacation Fairy, it was ours, I tell you!
Only one never came. Cause, guess what? There is no such thing!!!
I am telling you ladies! There is no such thing as a Vacation Fairy, much less one for each family.
I realized this after struggling with my feelings of rage and finally feeling ready to release rage from my grip. I had rage! Rage at my husband for NOT taking us on a vacation. Rage at him for NOT joining my parents on the vacation they provided. Rage at him for working so damn hard all of the time and having little energy left for our family and for this vacation that he wasn't even giving us! (hmmm, did I think HE was the Vacation Fairy??)
Oh, I thought I had it right when I started expressing my desires, after all, isn't that what I was learning with this Pleasure Revolution thing?! To express my desires, sisters?!!
So, my vacation desire went something like this, "My *#%&ing husband should be going on my %*#% family vacations that my parents are providing for FREE. GRRRRR. If he doesn't figure this out, why I'll, I'll, I'll..."
Hmmmm, no luck.
After that didn't work, I tried, "I desire for MY husband to join ME and our kids on family vacations. After all, THAT'S what husbands do, don't they." Hmmm, a little cleaner language now but full of read-between-the-lines hostility.
Still, no luck.
Then one day, it hit me! I had a craving. Deep in my bones. Down in my soul. I wanted to be on the beach. I wanted the warmth of the sun on my naked skin. I wanted the wind to play with my hair. I wanted to hear the sounds of the birds in the trees and sense the swooshing of the waves as they rolled onto the sand. I wanted the coconut man to crack open his coconut and pour the warm white liquid into my cupped hands so I could lap it up.
I could feel that desire clearly and sweetly as I wrote it all down and seduced myself with the pleasure of my imagination.
And, then, I let it go free.
You know, I thought for a second about whether I should (hmmm, notice that word...) whether I SHOULD include a description of my children or my husband on the beach with me in that desire...after all, they are my family, and wasn't that what I wanted, them with me on vacation?? I decided no. Not no about them being there. But no, I didn't need to describe them being there. I wanted to tap into what I was feeling on this desire vacation. I'd leave the "who was with me" open to interpretation.
Well, do you know what?!? The offers came flooding in!
First, a weekend in South Beach Miami with a group of amazing women in a class I was taking. Then, after I sent a copy of my desire to my auntie who has a house in Belize, she graciously offered to host a family vacation there. She even had the coconut man!
After that, my fabulous husband came home announcing a barter he had conjured. He would rebuild a table in exchange for a week at a vacation house on a private beach. How brilliant! And, I hadn't even read the desire to him! I simply had stopped hounding him and started focusing on my pleasure!
I went to South Beach with the girls and twice my little family went to the beach house. All three of these vacations left me feeling like a movie star.
We haven't made it to Belize yet, but the idea of the trip started a delicious effort to get to know my aunt and uncle better. Recently transplanted back east from California, my aunt and uncle were new to my kids and husband. So, we started a "get to know you before we travel all the way to Belize and stay with you for 10 days" campaign and created a closer relationship with that auntie and uncle for all of us. How scrumptious!
And, as you can see, EVERYBODY benefited from my desires! Which leads me to the following conclusion: Desires come from a divine source. No need to edit. No need to judge. Just desire.
Desire, ladies, is Divine!
A week of spring cleaning and feeling right about herself. A week of celebrating herself with brags, thanking the Universe with a long list of things she was grateful for, expressing her deepest most delicious desires, and sharing all of that with us. A week that felt strange and new and not a little scary - after all a hard shell does such a nice job protecting from the jibs and jabs of the world, but soft slippery skin, now that's a totally startling feeling.
Minus four pounds and in her new skin, she noticed the breezes, the sun warming her, the risk, and a delightful one at that, of the possibility of sun burn. Risks, you see, are delightful when they are fully owned by you! Yeah, this all felt new and exciting and weird. It was as overwhelming as walking for the first time. Or maybe, like walking for the first time after a lengthy recovery process, during which even the doctors predicted life in a wheel chair. In a way, this fresh moist silky skin felt somehow remembered. Remembered from when? in early girlhood, from ancient times, on the dance floor, in the ocean waves, through ecstasy in bed...
I remember the moment that I finally realized that the world was big enough for me, that I didn't need to keep myself in a box. That even conservative Richmond had the balls to meet me in my full and glorious Goddesshood. That my marriage was big enough for me. And, if at any time anything felt claustrophobic, that it was up to me to stretch it and redefine until it fit me fabulously.
What an amazing moment! I literally danced around the halls of Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts, grabbing sister goddesses, and squealing, "The world is big enough for me! Richmond is big enough for me! My marriage is big enough for me!"
I can't tell you how delicious that feels, to finally know that I am right in this world. That there is not one little itty bitty thing about me I need to change. That in all of my outrageousness I am absolutely perfect. In my sassy, saucy, quiet, loud, angry, noisy, silly, sexy moments, I am Divine. That I don't need a shell or a box or anything to hold me in or hold me together or keep me from scaring or scarring the world. Nope and no thank you to boxes (unless they hold new shoes or presents) or shells (unless I am picking them up off the beach or cradling them to my ear to hear the ocean).
YES!! to wet, slippery, silky skin!!! YES!! to stretching and moving and taking up space!!! YES!! to creating the marriage, community, city, and world of my desire!!! YES!! YES!!! YES!!!
The four pounds, by the way, came off not because she's dieting, which she isn't...but because she is filling her life with more, Pleasure!!!
But I was enjoying a fabulous lunch at Can Can yesterday with two lovely Sister Goddesses, when desert was served. Oh, no! The three flavors of homemade sorbet were NOT the ones we ordered!!
Now, I have to tell you that I am a Goddess who loves perfection in food: the perfect taste, the perfect presentation, the perfect thickness or thinness of sauce. In fact, as a teenager enjoying ice cream in Friendly's with my high school pals, I would send back milk-shakes that were too thin!!
Anyway, we were enjoying our deliciously chilled pear cider served in Champagne flutes, when our server brought out the wrong sorbet flavors.
My life flashed before my eyes.
Okay, not my whole life, just the last two times I had been out to eat and the server had not brought me exactly what I had asked for. Both of those times the server had come out with a smile and left our table crestfallen, because I had pointed out his or her mistake and expressed my dissatisfaction.
As his arm lowered our desert bowl to the table in slow motion worthy of a Hollywood movie, a light bulb went off in my head. I had the brilliant idea to practice my Praise Sandwich. Actually, after noticing the second sad server leave my table a couple of weeks ago, I had given my actions some thought and was determined to express myself differently next time. I had been waiting for this very moment to redeem myself and try something new.
Mama Gena calls it "man-training cycle" in her book "Mama Gena's Owner's and Operator's Guide to Men". Drs. Steve and Vera Bodansky call "the sandwich technique" in their book "The Illustrated Guide to the Extended Massive Orgasm" I call it the "praise sandwich". And, it can be used in any situation where you want something specific from someone is trying to serve you.
So, I set my hand gently on his arm as he lowered the plate to our table. I looked softly into his eyes. And, I cooed, "This is beautiful. We ordered two scoops of coconut and one scoop of mango. We'd like coconut and mango instead of this." With a smile he whisked the bowl away. In less than two minutes he returned with another filled with not three, but four scoops - two coconut and two mango!
The glimmer in his eyes and the smile on his face was filled with all the love and pride of a pre-schooler bringing his mama a homemade mud pie. Beautiful!!!
Treated so fabulously, we felt like the Goddesses that we are.
Given a problem to solve, sandwiched in between sincere praise, he was inspired to bring us something bigger than we had desired, something more than we had requested, something totally perfect for the moment.
Mmmm, that's how delicious it is to be served!!! And, that's how much fun it is to serve up the praise sandwich, even in a fancy restaurant like Can Can!!
Thank you Goddess, I'll take more please!!
Love and Pleasure, Always!
Sister Goddess Elli
Which pleasure muscles did I exercise this weekend? I think it was the sisterhood muscle, along with the "accepting pleasurable offers" muscle and, of course, the fabulous sex muscle. But, what in the world does all of that have to do with hair loss, and (gasp) spanking?
Well, I'll tell you... I've got this fabulous little boy who is my son. Now, we've gone through the wringer with this one: 11 heart surgeries, numerous dental surgeries, and now, athletes foot! Under the weight of his illnesses, my parenting skills slipped. The poor kid got indulged, I am sad to say. Oh, that might be fun at first. But, being spoiled does nothing for social skill development!
Anyway, it has been my desire to give him a better and more delicious set of social skills. So, over the past three years I've been deconstructing my parenting and reconstructing it as best I can. We've worked through a lot of things, but there still seemed to be this hump we can't get over... his compliance!
So, because nothing else seemed to be working for me and the professionals (we went to a therapist when he was misbehaving in school last year) said he was perfectly fine, I thoughtfully decided to try spanking: a couple of quick swaps on the butt, immediately after the infraction. I'd tried everything else and I had come to the conclusion that this was the only thing left to try.
I gave it a shot.
And, my hair fell out.
Okay, not all of it. But, for the past two weeks I've noticed clumps of hair in the shower drain, similar to the amount I lost each time I took him for surgery. I'd been trying the spanking for two weeks. Hmmmm.
I didn't put two and two together, but my friend did, and that's what I want to tell you about.
Over the years I promised myself and my kids that I would never spank them or hit them. I always address this with anyone who watched my children - no spanking allowed, no one can hit, neither children nor adults. I've even mustered all my courage to address this issue with my dad!
I went against my own moral code when I tried out spanking.
So now, I had a deep dark secret, one that conflicted specifically with my beliefs (I guess that's what a deep dark secret is!!) As much as I wanted to get help, to find a different way to discipline my son, I found it too hard to talk to anyone about my secret.
How did I make my way out of this dark hole...
First of all, I gave this problem to my Higher Power. I handed it right over to Her (I totally connect with the Divine Feminine). Holding out my hands in the shape of a bowl I said out loud: This parenting stuff is yours, I can't do it without you!
Second and very deliciously, I accepted an invitation to a pleasurable experience. One of my girlfriends called me up last minute inviting me to dinner, her treat. Well, as a sister goddess, I am committed to accepting all pleasurable offers!! So, I said yes!! Spontaneously on Saturday night I left my hot hubby home with the kids and enjoyed a long relaxing evening with one of my girlfriends.
And third, I handed her my heart. I told her my secret.
I could do this because I have brilliantly sucked in sisterhood. I've got girlfriends who find me right and cheer me on. Goddesses here on earth for me to hug and to touch and to share food with and to dance with. Many of them right here in Richmond! They are women who are on the front lines of the Pleasure Revolution, rethinking the way we look at the world and our place in it.
So, on Sunday, I woke with renewed commitment to peaceful solutions. I met each and every one of my son's infractions with a time out for him. The sweet boy doesn't usually comply with those at all (Are you at all surprised?!? This is one of the reasons I had succumbed to spanking. If he won't go to his room when I ask him and he continues to misbehave, what other options did I have?!?!)
Timeout on Sunday meant that I scooped him upstairs to his room as soon as I issued the edict. My one hand on his sacrum (a perfect spot to cradle when you need to move someone along) and the other on his arm. Up I took him to his room. "Come down when you are ready to...(what ever it was that he needed to correct at the moment)" I did this consistently and for every misbehavior, big and small.
Wow!!! Much better than the spanking!! By the end of the day, there was compliance and love in the house again. With spanking there may have been compliance but I certainly didn't feel the love and I am guessing that he didn't either.
And now, I eagerly anticipate each and every moment with both of my children. Arms out, hands in bowl shape I gratefully shout, "Thank you Goddess, I'll take more please!"
I am eternally grateful to have friends, sister goddesses, each one of whom will hold my heart in her hands.
I desire my heart to continue opening to them. I desire peace and love in our home.
Oh, the sex!! I forgot all about the sex!!! I had the most fabulously orgasmic dreams this weekend. All three nights!! And, I expressed my love and sexiness to my husband all during the day, sitting on his lap in the living room, hugging him in the hall, kissing him in the kitchen. He graciously held me in his arms, containing all of my light filled energy, which must have related to the transformational weekend I was having around parenting, don't you think?!? Mmmmm, even with our clothes on the sexual connection is divine! And, I am grateful for him!!
Love to you all, and pleasure always!
Sister Goddess Elli
Hey Darlings -
Here I am on my fourth merry-go-round of our family vacation in August. I love it!!
So, big deal, a ride at an amusement park, you say. Well, it was a big deal, for me. You see, I used to get extremely anxious any time I took the kids to a place like this. I'd worry about spending too much money on food or games or rides. Worrying the day away, I'd miss the opportunity to have fun. More often than not, I wouldn't let us go anywhere near an amusement park.
This summer was different, because I brilliantly and completely surrendered to my husband and his plan for our vacation. He took us on a trip filled with family visits and day trips. We went to the Bronx Zoo. We went sailing with his brother. And, we visited four different amusement parks in one week!
I used each excursion to exercise my pleasure muscles. I relaxed into receiving the specific pleasure my fabulous husband was offering me. This let me find perfection in the day and pleasure in his gift. Thank you Goddess, I'll take more please! More surrender and more gifts!!
I enjoyed it all - the candy, the pretzels, and the long lines. But, darlings, I have to tell you that I found special delight in riding the merry-go-rounds, which you can certainly see from this picture...am I poll dancing or riding a merry-go-round???? Hmmmm, good question!!! Either way, I am having FUN!!!
I am so grateful for all I have learned at Mama Gena's School of Womanly Arts over the years about filling my life with pleasure and for the fabulous opportunity to share what I have learned about pleasure with women in Richmond. Come join me on my merry-go-round: my next class starts in less than a week!!!!
Love, Sister Goddess Elli
Hey darlings, I received a copy of this fabulous email from Sister Goddess Donna, Pleasure Poetress, Mama Extraordinaire, Brilliant Wife, and Fundraising Queen. She has recently moved back to town from New Orleans and plans to take my next Pleasure Revival class. I love what she has written and so I asked her if I could share it with you on my blog. She agreed! Whoo hoo!!
Here it is...
Hello Lovely Ladies of Richmond and Central VA!
I may have sent Elli Sparks’ Pleasure Revival info to you while I was in New Orleans, and now I am back in RVA to put my money where my mouth is. I would love to have the “pleasure” of your company on my personal pleasure revolution. It would “please” me to be part of yours as well!
I was a HUGE skeptic before dabbling. I thought what the h-ll is this load of bull but turns out it not! It’s actually really great. And if nothing else, it is a really nice way (and excuse!) to concentrate on what makes you feel good. And for me that means I can tackle almost anything when I feel good. Maybe it is the same for you.
I am really looking forward to the class and to meeting other women in Richmond who are interested in giving themselves and everyone around them the most enjoyment their lives can offer (and more!). You do not have to summon every ounce of energy for this…it about focus, direction, knowing yourself.
Think it’s all about sex? Wrong! Think it’s about a selfish way to consider yourself first and no one else? Wrong again. Pleasure begets pleasure—for you and anyone party to it. You probably already know this but if not, try it out for yourself. It is about working with “what you’ve got” and enjoying the “skin you’re in.”
May sound cliché, but it feels good & it makes living a lot easier and fun. It’s also about realizing and knowing your passions/dreams and living in a fulfilled way. It’s not to say that you don’t already do this…sometimes we could use a refresher course, a new perspective, a few friends along the way.
Think you are all set and don’t need it? Well done you! I want to be there! I wish that I could say that this is a part of my entire life but I get stuck at points in work life and family life and would love to make it smoother, happier, and more emotionally, spiritually and financially rewarding. (And I will! hee, hee!)
I hope that you will consider taking advantage of Elli's class. I would love to see you there.
Sister Goddess Elli shares her story...
Seven years ago I birthed my second child, a gentle green-eyed boy, little brother to a bright and beautiful 2 ½ year old sister. A son, a daughter, a loving husband, and a stay-at-home mom – life was perfect!
Nine months later and one week after September 11th, a pediatric cardiologist diagnosed our sweet son with a double heart defect. He had been born with this one-in-a-million defect. He would have a shorter and more difficult life because of it. And, there was nothing we could do about fixing it.
A mild underlying depression that had been with me throughout adulthood expanded into a sinking sadness and lack of hope. Communication in my marriage suffered. I was physically available to my children but rarely emotionally or spiritually there. Our family situation was deteriorating and putting us dangerously close to falling into the 80% of marriages that fail when presented with a very sick child.
During that time, I met a woman. We shared first names. However, Eleanor was tall and blond and I am petit and brunette. Something, maybe it was her name or maybe it was divine guidance, told me to befriend her.
I am lucky I listened to myself! My children are lucky I listened. My husband is lucky. Nearly everyone I know or meet is lucky I listened because Eleanor introduced me to Mama Gena’s
Eleanor turned me to Mama Gena’s website (www.mamagena.com) where I bought a copy of Mama Gena’s first book. I read it and started practicing the Womanly Arts.
Eleanor took a class at the
During that time, I also addressed my son’s illness with the loving support of my new group of “Sister Goddesses” (that’s what we call each other at the School of Womanly Arts, because, as Mama Gena says, as women we are all sisters and there is the divine feminine in each of us!). I sought out the world’s best pediatric heart surgeons. I requested their opinions. With loving and divine guidance, I chose to take our family down a long and winding road filled with numerous heart surgeries to repair my sweet son’s heart.
During the six and a half years it has taken to repair my sweet son’s heart, my darling daughter, who has fallen in love with the theatre, wrote her first plays: “The Woman Who Lost her Purse” and “Money Chaos”. She has written others since, but you don’t even need to see her plays to guess what kind of other stresses our family faced during those difficult years!
Half way through the eleven heart surgeries, I took my first class at Mama Gena’s
I took several classes by phone before Mama Gena closed the School momentarily to reinvent her curriculum. In the spring of 2006, she presented her Mastery of Pleasure Program to the world. My husband and I were in the midst of our deepest financial woes so, call me crazy or call me brilliant, I wanted to learn more about the Power of Pleasure, so I paid several thousand dollars and enrolled. I attended her amazing 6-month program during the fall of 2006 and again in the following spring when I served as a "Big" Sister Goddess providing leadership to one of the small groups within the Mastery program.
After two years of connecting with "Sister Goddesses" based in NYC, I decided that I required sister goddesses in Richmond in order to live! The original group had since moved on, with two moving out of state to pursue their desires. So I am now teaching what I had learned from Mama. Combined with my own experiences I am offering “Pleasure Revival Meetings” in Virginia and Maryland!
I would love to turn you on to the Pleasure Revolution too!!