October 27, 2014

A Beyond Survivor's Story: Poetic Healer and Spiritual Survival - Part 1

So, I can't even begin to tell you how excited I am for this upcoming series with poet, author, and survivor, Dolores Miller. I know you will be inspired and encouraged by her powerful story, journey, and writing!


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I began writing poetry as a psychological release. I did not plan to write poetry, or to write at all, but as I was going through therapy to cope with suppressed memories of childhood sexual abuse. It was affecting my adult life and writing became the outlet through which I could best express my raw, often angry, emotions, and it turns out that poetry was the form that best fit my thoughts.
 

Poems just came to me. I would be thinking about my situation, about all that was welling up in me and in between therapy sessions, and a poem would form. A random thought would suggest a title, and I would sit down and write. Since dealing with my past pain, I become more spiritual. A picture of St. Michael, the archangel, occupies a prominent place in my kitchen. St Michael helped me through stress and protected me in many ways as I endured the horrors of child abuse. I also became attuned to Native American culture and named one collection of poems, “Beautiful Warrior,” a term I use to refer to myself.

Most of all, I have become a student of world religions and am working to receive credentials so I can be a spiritual minister to people experiencing ordeals similar to mine, or as intense and be ready to help others who need guidance and compassion to listen to their expressions of distress.

As a child, I saved my life by repressing the horrific experiences until I was ready to deal with them as an adult. Even with being more mature, it was hard. It took the strength of a Warrior; I saved my life by always pushing through even though there were times I thought it would be easier to die. If I can heal


from everything that caused me such anguish when the memory of child abuse occurred, others can heal. From my heart, I want to give hope to others. Everyone has his or her own way of getting through a situation. First, you have to find the truth and to confront it no matter how difficult it is. Then you have to deal with anger and other emotions that arise. These are real and they have to be dealt with and moved from a negative force that limits you to a positive force that puts matters in perspective and sets you on the road to healing. For me, the process took almost 20 years. I no longer need therapy sessions because I have come to grips with what I faced and I am a survivor. I don’t dwell on what happened. I take pride in what I’ve come through and focus on that. That is what healing is about. If I, through my understanding, my compassion, and my belief in the strength of the spirit can help another human being get through the hell I experienced, I feel a calling to do that. Writing was my catalyst. Poetry allowed me to name and express what I was thinking and feeling. Other people will heal in a different way. I am aware of that, and since I am aware of that, I put myself in a position to help and am training so I have all the tools necessary to help.”

I have taken an activist stand, as both an advocate and a donor, to Child Advocates, a Philadelphia-based non-profit that uses its resources to secure lawyers and counselors for children who live or have lived in an abusive situations including sex trades and human trafficking. Spreading awareness about child abuse and petitioning legislatures for laws that protect children and severely punish offenders. Having fundraisers for Child Advocates and giving generously to its annual fund. I am now the author of two books, “Beautiful Warrior” and “Rising Above: The Beauty of Life”. Proceeds from my books are donated to the support center for child advocates. In honor of my mother, who succumbed to a 16-year battle against breast cancer, I work actively to support education and research pertaining to that disease. In support of a close friend and a dear cousin, I also contribute to help people with multiple sclerosis. Helping others heals me.

I was in my thirties when I began having nightmares and visions of sexual abuse. I realized these came from my childhood. My parents adopted me. They raised me. They rescued me. It took me years to realize from what they rescued me.

A poem like "Quiet Desperation," tells what I learned from my ordeal. In it, I write "people are afraid to face the truth and end up, drinking it away, pilling it away, pretending it away, and denying it away." As you've heard, the poem goes on to say "reality" is still there, like a silent storm ready to erupt. Truth is the only way to get free of the pain and fear being encountered. My poem ends by offering "silent prayers of mercy."



QUIET DESPERATION

There are people
who live in quiet
Desperation.

Acting like it is normal.
Afraid to face the truth,
Drinking it away...
Pilling it away..
Pretending it away...
Denying it away...

But it is still there,
Like a silent storm
Ready to erupt....

UNTIL they let the TRUTH free they
WILL LIVE QUIET AND
DESPERATE...DESPITE
The Pain,
   The Fear,
  AND MOSTLY the SADNESS!

DEAR GOD  I PRAY! HELP THEM!

And as I watch them I whisper
Silent prayers of Mercy
From you dear LORD.

QUIET DESPERATION!


 


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Dolores M. Miller is a poet and author living in Philadelphia, PA. Dolores lives with her Knight in Shining armor, Larry, and together they have two grown children. Their four grandchildren are a source of joy and inspiration.

Dolores is a compassionate, giving and loving person. In her writing she strives to convey the message of the human spirit to overcome adversity, see the beauty of nature and know God’s healing love.

Dolores is also grateful for having had parents who adopted her out of a horrific situation. She is a survivor of childhood abuse. She says “there are so many children who are in abusive homes for most of their lives. Making a difference through my work is rewarding and a source of beauty, love and healing for the community… and the world”.

The Support Center for Child Advocates has a special place in her heart. For all the children committed to the care of Child Advocates, they work to ensure safety, health, education, family permanency and access to justice.

Each book sold, benefits the Support Center for Child Advocates of Philadelphia. The Support Center for Child Advocates provides legal assistance and social service advocacy to abused children. The mission of Child Advocates is to advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect in Philadelphia with the goal of securing a permanent, nurturing environment for every child. They seek to protect children by securing social services, finding alternative homes and helping them testify in court against their abusers.
 

Dolores dreams of a better world and strives to make a difference, especially in the lives of children. Dolores was adopted out of a terrible situation and she can’t imagine living her entire life in that environment. Child advocates seeks to better the lives of those in danger.
 

By purchasing books from the Beautiful Warrior you are providing support to the children and those in need – allowing Dolores to continue in her great works. Books may be purchased through www.beautifulwarrior.com, Amazon.com, or Barnes and Noble.

October 19, 2014

Playing the Shame Game

This week, I am so excited to continue this series with Xanet. In today's post, she daringly models one of the key strategies for ridding ourselves of shame.


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Before I became a sex and intimacy coach, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about shame.  I understood the feeling of embarrassment, like when I said or did something stupid, but shame was not really on my radar screen. And there’s a reason why… my shame was so deeply repressed that I couldn’t even access it.  The shame memories I had of being caught playing doctor with my best friend in first grade and several other powerful childhood memories around sexual pleasure, were simply not available to me.  Of course it didn’t help that no one was asking me about my experiences of shame.  But truth be told, had the question ever been asked, I’m sure I wouldn’t have been able to talk about it.

Therein lies the problem…because shame is something that we don’t talk
about.  It’s so shameful, so insidious that we can’t even bring it up except in therapy or a workshop setting.  And yet shame drives so much of our behavior, especially around our sexuality. 

In my coaching, I like to help my clients understand their own sexual blueprint. Our sexual blueprint is developed very early in our life, typically in our early childhood years.  Our sexual blueprint consists of the early messages and experiences that we had around sex and shame always plays a huge role in that blueprint.  Everyone’s shame experience is different but we have all experienced shame… that is a part of human existence.

So let me give you an example of how this plays out.  I met a woman who had an early sexual experience with one of her pets…  He liked to lick her vagina and she experienced pleasure from it.  However, she knew from earlier shame experiences that what she was doing was bad and that if she was caught she was going to be punished and experience a lot of shame.  So the pleasure that she felt was mixed with fear and shame. 

Twenty years later this woman was extremely uncomfortable with oral sex and could never relax enough to experience any pleasure.   It wasn’t until she was able to bring this shame memory to consciousness in her 40’s and then share it with a group of people in a workshop, that she was finally able to heal this shame experience and begin enjoying oral sex again.

That woman was me.  And this is part of the way in which we banish shame.  We presence it, we talk about it, we share it with others, we normalize it.  We quickly learn that we are not alone!  There are other people in this world that also had the same type of experience we did and suddenly we’re not feeling the same charge around it.  An enormous, huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders.

Those of us who have experienced deep sexual trauma and abuse have our own version of shame, and those feelings can be even more intense and insidious.  But being able to release the feelings of shame in a whole and healthy way without experiencing re-traumatization is one of the keys to having a positive sexual relationship with ourselves and our partners.

Body shame is experienced by almost every woman and many men.  How many of us are unsatisfied with the way we look, how much we weigh, the size of our breasts, penis, thighs, etc.  The list can go on forever.  The fact that both men and women are constantly inundated with unrealistic images of perfect bodies and body parts continues to play a huge role in our own body image issues.

Body shame often makes us feel like we’re not loveable, and we’re not sexy and we’re not worthy of someone’s attention.  It causes us to do things such as have sex under the covers or always have sex with the lights off.  And we can’t fully be in our pleasure or in our bodies when we’re worried about what our partner thinks. 

In our November 5th Teleseminar:  Girlfriend Sex Talk:  Five Ways to Juice Up your Sex Life Now, we will explore what our shame reaction is.  Understanding how shame shows up in our body is a really important tool for being able to have more pleasure in your life.   Typically when we experience shame, we feel ourselves contracting in some way.  And when our body is feeling constricted, it is impossible for us to relax so that we can feel pleasure. 

Learning how to banish shame is an important step in experiencing better sex and more pleasure.   Let’s practice normalizing shame by playing the Shame Game. Find a trusted friend or partner that you can share some of your shame experiences with.  All that person needs to do is to listen to your story without judgment and without trying to console you.  If you do the same for them, you will be on the road to banishing shame.  




If you'd like to explore the topic of shame further, I invite you to join me this Thursday @ 6p PT for a free teleseminar, Shake Off the Shame: How to End Self-Judgment & Self-Blame.

rachelgrantcoaching.com/shakeoffshame



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Xanet is a sex and intimacy coach, tantra teacher, and sexological body worker who has worked in the health care field for over 25 years.  She works with individuals and couples using a variety of modalities to help them explore different paths of pleasure within the body, increase their sexual energy, enhance intimacy and help heal emotional and sexual wounds.  Xanet is a Somatica® Trained Sex and Intimacy Coach, and is certified with Charles Muir’s Source School of Tantra and The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. She has also completed the Sky Dancing Tantra Teacher Program with Steve and Lokita Carter.   


You can connect with her at www.powerofpleasure.com.







October 13, 2014

Finding Pleasure on the Other Side of Pain

This week, I am so excited to bring to you a series by Xanet Pailet, who is not just an amazing coach but was a fast friend. In today's post, she is sharing with us her own story



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I’m Xanet Pailet, a former health care lawyer turned sex and intimacy coach.  I am delighted that Rachel has asked me to share some of my story with you and I am excited to be partnering with her on an upcoming teleseminar.  The work that Rachel does with sexual abuse and trauma survivors is so incredibly important, and I share her passion for helping to heal sexual trauma and wounding.

My journey into sex and intimacy coaching and sexual healing was a surprise, even to me.  Ten years ago, when I was 44, I was living the good life in New York City.  I had two wonderful kids, a successful husband, my own thriving healthcare consulting business, and I was producing Broadway musicals on the side. I was the envy of many of my friends.  But as we all know, appearances can be deceiving.

What my friends didn’t know was that I stopped having sex at age 29 after my second child was born because it was so painful. I hadn’t been sleeping in the same bed with my husband for over 15 years, that the only touch I received was from my children, and that I had never experienced an orgasm. Sex was a total drag for me and I wondered what all the fuss was about.

What I didn’t know at the time was that I was in good company.  According to a recent Kinsey Institute Survey over 30% of women report having painful sex. I know that for me sex was always associated with medical issues. Endometriosis, terrible side effects from the pill, endless infections, painful medical procedures, and morning sickness for 9 months straight. I felt that my body had completely betrayed me.  So not having sex seemed like a really good idea at the time.  No wonder orgasms were elusive and pleasure was not in my vocabulary.

I realize now that what I experienced was deep physical wounding that created sexual trauma in my body.  My body literally could only associate sex with pain, discomfort, and fear.  I was so anxious about not wanting to feel pain during sex, that my vagina literally closed up, and went into a protective mode.

Once sex became a major issue in our relationship, as I see with so many of the couples that I work with, our relationship fell apart.  One of our strongest human desires is intimacy and connection.  It is what fuels the flames and keeps us emotionally and physically healthy and sane.  I am certain that but for the fact that my younger son was empathic and knew that I needed a lot of physical touch and cuddling, I would have left my marriage of 28 years a decade earlier. 

I was 50 years old when I was introduced to Tantra and sacred sexuality by a man I met on OK Cupid.  Tantra was the doorway to my sexual awakening and healing.   For the first time in my life, sex was not about the mechanics. Rather it was about the union of our physical, spiritual and emotional bodies. The lack of goal orientation of either orgasm or intercourse allowed me for the first time in my life to RELAX and simply RECEIVE.  And over time, orgasms of all types and flavors (full body, energetic, G spot, nipple) became a major part of my life regardless of whether or not I had a partner. 



As I became in touch with my own sexuality and bathed myself in orgasmic energy on a daily basis, my life started to transform.  I didn’t have a clue why that was happening but of course now I totally get it.  You see, orgasmic and sexual energy is our life force energy, and there is nothing more powerful on the earth.  As Naomi Wolf so brilliantly spoke about in her book “Vagina”, the vagina is the center of a woman’s power and creativity.  When we are in the flow, we attract all that we want and need in our life—money, good health, successful business, loving relationships.  And when we are disconnected with our life force energy, we get depressed, gain weight, feel helpless, trapped, and have discordant relationships.

So I did what any sane person would do… I packed up my NYC apartment, left my friends, family and my business, and moved to the San Francisco Bay area where I received my own version of a Ph.D in sex.  I studied intensively with the leading Tantra teachers, Somatic Sex Educators and Coaches, Sex Institutes and Trauma Specialists. 

I found the missing part of my life which has now become my life’s work.  To help women heal the shame and wounding around their sexuality, reclaim their pleasure and transform their lives.  To help normalize the conversation around sex in this country.  To be proof positive and demonstrate through my teaching and coaching that we can all find pleasure on the other side of pain.


I'll be back next week to share more, but in the meantime, if you'd like to learn more about my upcoming teleseminar,  with Rachel, you can go here

http://rachelgrantcoaching.com/girlfriendsextalk/

5 Ways to Juice Up Your Sex Life Right Now!




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Xanet is a sex and intimacy coach, tantra teacher, and sexological body worker who has worked in the health care field for over 25 years.  She works with individuals and couples using a variety of modalities to help them explore different paths of pleasure within the body, increase their sexual energy, enhance intimacy and help heal emotional and sexual wounds.  Xanet is a Somatica® Trained Sex and Intimacy Coach, and is certified with Charles Muir’s Source School of Tantra and The Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. She has also completed the Sky Dancing Tantra Teacher Program with Steve and Lokita Carter.   


You can connect with her at www.powerofpleasure.com.










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