Including the Excluded: A Gratitude Practice for Wholeness

Tis the month of November when the theme of gratitude shows up all over the place. . . billboards and coffee mugs and memes galore.

It’s relatively easy for many of us to feel grateful for what we like and value, or what we are taught to believe we should like and value, yet embracing the opposite end of the spectrum is often a tall order.

And there most certainly IS an opposite end of the spectrum.

There are the parts of our body that we ruthlessly judge, whether it’s the way we look or smell or respond to certain situations. Yes, stretch marks and body odor and performance “issues”, along with all your other companions, I’m talking about you!

There are patterns and beliefs that we keep clinging to even when we know they don’t necessarily serve us or support the most ease, joy and connection in our relationships. Hello plopping down in front of the screen rather than looking into our partners eyes or feeling ashamed to like what we actually like in life!

How do you meet the parts that you feel shame or even repulsion to, the parts that you want to run away from or fight against?

Could you imagine intentionally practicing gratitude when those feelings arise, treating them as messengers sent to point you toward a part of yourself (or of another) that is deeply needing to be met and held with compassion and love?

When it comes to our Erotic Wholeness EVERYTHING must be included, most especially what has been excluded.

Shadow and light. Good and bad. Beautiful or ugly. These really have no distinction when it comes to our wholeness. All of ourselves must be in the mix if we want genuine intimacy. And we must make space for the same in others.

This is NOT me saying tolerate cruelty and harm and welcome abuse and toxicity into your life. What it is is an invitation to consider where judgments, prejudices and other internalized conditioning have cut you off from being your fullest self and welcoming the fullness of others.

That is a genuine possibility for all of us, if we practice and choose it, over and over again.

So why not start right now?

It’s probably not all that far from the surface to find something you’ve been holding with criticism and contempt about yourself or an intimate in your life. Call that to mind, let yourself feel the hot flush of shame or the impulse to distance from it or whatever your body’s reaction is.

Then try leaning in.

Take a deep breath, fortify yourself, choose to open your heart to the possibility of gratitude. Notice how it feels to slowly, even just a tiny little bit, make space to embrace this aspect of you or your loved one. Bring some curiosity and compassion to it, ask what it needs or what it has to show you.

Yes, it can be this simple. Not necessarily easy, but pretty simple to deliberately practice gratitude. And once this practice takes root and becomes a norm in the intimacy you experience with yourself and with others, you will feel the change. Things will shift. You might feel as if you’re looking out – at yourself, at your love, at the world – through different eyes.

About

Erotic Wholeness Guide

I believe that each of us tending to our personal erotic liberation is an essential contribution to our collective liberation.

My journey began as a precocious child who loved to dance, move, touch and speak her mind boldly. I once thought I’d become a lawyer and spent more than a decade building a successful corporate career early in my adult life only to find my heart calling for something radically different. That call led me to blaze a path across the terrain of sexuality, somatics, social justice and soul.

Inspiration and guidance have come to me from many sources, including the potent voices of the Black intersectional feminist movement, the pancultural wisdom of many earth-based traditions and powerful modalities such as Somatic Experiencing and Sexological Bodywork.

I’m deeply honored to serve and inspire in the ways I do.

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