She who feels delicious, gives deliciously 🌼

Look around you…spring is here! One of my favorite practices is to use Mumma Nature as a mirror. Today, as I write this, I see tulips blooming outside my window and the squirrels and prairie dogs pursuing pleasure and play. 

How are you nourishing yourself? 
What playful practices are you engaging in? 
What feels yummy? 


These questions might seem frivolous and even silly. I get it. In a world where so much is going wrong….how can nourishment, pleasure and play be relevant? Isn’t it self indulgent? 

Sister, I’m here to claim that it’s not. This world needs you at your best. Because when you are at your best (secreting yummy chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins), you radiate high vibes that in turn benefit every being you come in contact with (this is all backed up by quantum physics but I’m not going to get into that because left brain stuff is not my forte and I trust that you get the gist). 

So….in the name of whatever is holy and sacred to you… please take off your shoes and go frolic on the green grass, sing a spontaneous tune, allow yourself to be intoxicated with the scent of a flower (lilacs!) and eat ice cream (or any other treat that your little one loves).

A note on pleasure…

In our last Women’s Temple we savored the realization that pleasure is innocent and always available. All you need to do is turn toward your inner child and ask her, what would feel good to you right now? Then get really quiet and listen. Honor her impulse. Act on it. Let it feel good. 

Yummy nourishment practice recorded in my sweet Colombia for you…

Indigenous wisdom from my motherland and why PLEASURE is vital

* The mochila is a sacred, womb-shaped bag carried by every arhuaco. Woven solely by women with a particular thought in mind ( i.e. masculine thought, home, higher self), she creates a story that supports and accompanies and protects her husband and children on their everyday life.

* The mochila is a sacred, womb-shaped bag carried by every arhuaco. Woven solely by women with a particular thought in mind ( i.e. masculine thought, home, higher self), she creates a story that supports and accompanies and protects her husband and children on their everyday life.

I recently spent some time with the arhuacos, a group of indigenous people that live in the sacred mountains of the Sierra Nevada of Colombia.

The arhuacos live in complete devotion to the earth and her rhythms. They track the moon’s cycle and pay close attention to their dreams. They call upon the support of the elements and the mothers and fathers (moon, earth/sun, mountain) and are one with the web of life.

I spent nights by the sacred fire, weaving my own mochila*,  listening to their stories and ancient, wise ways. Many stories spoke to the deepest parts of my feminine soul and I look forward to sharing them with you as I continue to integrate this potent, life-altering experience.

I’ll start with Ati Naboba’s story…the lady that loves to create. Powerful and exquisitely beautiful, she follows her body’s pull to be penetrated by pleasure.

Ati Naboba is deeply in tune with her body. A creatrix of beauty, she loves to make love and follows the impulse to do so…unapologetically. She makes love to men, women and other beings, raising her vibration to a state of orgasmic and embodied delight.

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Concerned  by her untamed ways, the town’s council decides that she must be contained and puts her in jail. Removed from the world and unable to couple, she channels her sexual energy into weaving and out of her hands, fueled by her creative power, the mochila* emerges. Each mochila she weaves has a specific intention chosen by el pensamiento (feminine thought) and tells a particular story. 

Ati Naboba gets us directly in touch with one of our feminine superpowers: our ability to birth a deeply fulfilling creative life through entering the PLEASURE portal. She’s connected to her pelvic bowl (womb, vagina, vulva) and allows it to feel good. Also, I love that instead of becoming victim to her circumstances when she’s placed in jail, she uses her superpowers and creates beauty and meaning. 

pleasure noun
plea·sure | \ ˈple-zhər

: DESIRE, INCLINATION
wait upon his pleasure
— William Shakespeare
2: a state of gratification
3: sensual gratification
4: a source of delight or joy

The pleasure portal can be accessed through many routes but the common denominator is your sweet, wise and sovereign BODY. Your throne is your pelvic bone! Think about it. This is the place out of which life originates. Whether it’s a baby, a project or a relationship, you have the power to create something magnificent when you allow the queen of you (because that is what you are…a potent, intuitive sensual queen) to take her seat and guide your life. And pleasure is the portal. Pleasure is not dirty or bad. That’s just an outdated, patriarchal message that you received. It’s not yours. What’s yours is your birthright to feel and be in touch with “down there”.

“When you're able to receive self-love + experience pleasure without thinking it's dirty or wrong, you're able to open yourself up to receive in ALL the ways - physically, emotionally AND spiritually.”
~ Lisa Lister

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You can connect to your womb space both sensually and sexually via the 5 senses, visualizations, deep breaths and direct physical touch. I personally love to eat chocolate or a fresh piece of fruit and FEEL how my pelvic bowl buzzes with delight. She loves it. 

So set some sweet and nourishing lady time for yourself. Light a candle, play some drum music, breathe into your pelvic bowl and let her know that you want to get to know her better. Eat chocolate, dance, gently caress your body and let her guide you.

tree inspiration 🌳

I’m currently basking in the medicine of my motherland, Colombia. She is wild and sensual  and incredibly generous with her tropical fruits, birds and colorful florecitas. Pure eros! This time however, I’ve fallen in love with her trees.Moist, interconnected and deeply rooted, they mirror back to me the gift of being a feminine creature. 

Women throughout the world are feeling the call to re-member the ancient way to serve our earth, ourselves and each other. Firmly rooted, interconnected and unapologetically powerful, trees are the prefect mirror of this ancient~new way. 

In her book “If Women Rose Rooted”, Sharon Blackie writes, “to change the world, we women first need to change ourselves. And then we need to change the stories we tell about who we are. The stories we’ve been living by for the past few centuries. The stories of male superiority, of progress, and domination don’t serve women and certainly don’t serve the planet.” (Here’s the link to the book. I highly recommend it!)

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This transformation is no small task and it takes time and dedication. A beautiful and simple practice that can support us on this journey is to BE with trees. To feel their powerful transmission and generosity. To hug them. To feel their roots and splendor, their support and generosity and their delightful Shakti (life force). To listen to what they have to teach us. Trees are home to thousands and take care of each other. Their roots are interconnected and they are constantly communicating with each other. I have a vision of a world in which women live by the same principles. Connected, supported and protective of each other’s unique expression. 

If you feel inspired to learn more about the magic of trees and would like to support an organization that weaves feminine empowerment with these beings, please check out TreeSisters. They are doing incredible work with restoring the tropical forests around the world. I’ve been supporting them for years and feel incredibly grateful for their contribution. 

Your Blood, your cycles and why this matters

“The psyches and souls of women have their own cycles and seasons of doing and solitude, running and staying, being involved and being removed, questing and resting, creating and incubating, being of the world and returning to the soul-place…” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes

I was 20 when I stopped getting my period. The combination of years of birth control and an overstimulating and stressful life triggered my health crises. Not bleeding was one of the many symptoms I was living with. “What a relief” I initially thought. The idea of not having to deal with my monthly “curse” sounded great. As time progressed and my symptoms got worst however, I realized something was off. Way off. It was a terrifying time. I looked outside for the answers yet quickly found out that traditional doctors in fancy white coats did not have answers. They threw around various diagnosis to try to make sense of what was happening to me. Deep inside however, I knew that what was was happening to my body was not only physical but emotional and spiritual too. I knew I needed to heal from within yet had no idea where to begin.

And then I met her. A dear friend invited me to sit in ceremony. I journeyed deep into myself and met a beautiful elder woman. She had long white hair, wrinkly hands and fiercely gentle eyes. She was healthy and strong and deeply connected to her body. I soon realized that she was me….the elder, wise version of Karina Maria. She looked into my eyes and whispered, “enamórate de tu feminidad / “fall in love with your womanhood.”

This encounter catalyzed my journey of healing from chronic illness and an ancient (ancestral)  disconnection from my feminine body and Her wild ways. One of the most valuable “gems” that have come out of this initiation is that I’ve learned to reclaim and live in accordance with my natural rhythms, embracing that I’m a cyclical creature. Today, my menstrual cycle has become the centerpiece of my self-care. I organize my life around it and honestly, I can’t imagine my life without my monthly inner dance of death-rebirth, rest and creativity. I find that even when life is full and I have a lot going on, becoming aware of where I’m at in my cycle is enough to to foster a deep sense of connection.

As women, we tend to cycle through four inner seasons every month (hormonally, emotionally and spiritually). Learning to tune into our cyclical nature and planning our life accordingly is a key way to living a life full of vitality, creativity and an overall sense of ease. Inspired by the work of badass trailblazers Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Frances Goodall, Alexandra Pope and Lisa Lister, I’ve separated the four weeks into our four inner seasons (approximately). Think of  each week being a particular medicine chest with treasures to offer (the days I mention here are estimates as each woman’s cycle varies). Before you read on, know that technology is a great ally when it comes to tracking your cycle. Apps like iPeriod, Period Tracker and Ovia are all awesome.

Your Inner Winter

  • Begins 2 days before you bleed and goes through day 5-7

  • Is the time of the month to rest, carve out space to be in solitude and dream

  • Our bodies secrete oxytocin, the love/bonding hormone, creating a sense of being cuddled and loved (relax into it!)

  • Cleansing Time. Your blood is cleansing (physically, emotionally, psychologically). Your body’s perfect intelligence composts whatever you might have been carrying that isn’t yours or doesn’t longer serve. Stillness and introspection support this process.

  • The veil between worlds is the thinnest and your intuition is loud and clear. Journaling, solo walks in nature and creating art are all helpful practices to help you stay deeply connected to yourself.

Your inner Spring

  • Days 5/7-12/14

  • Time of renewal and inspiration

  • Natural rise in energy, an uplifting quality

  • Slow, easygoing awakening

  • A time of youthfulness and hope

  • Possibility of new beginnings and a new way. A potent time to nurture your intentions

  • Like the maiden, you arise from her winter cave feeling refreshed and restored

  • Time to envision your dreams and delight in your body

  • Time to allow for something new to be conceived and created

Your inner Summer

  • Days 12/14-19/21

  • Time of expansion and creativity

  • Rise of energy

  • Peak of your cycle (sexually and creatively)

  • Ovulation time ~ Full Moon ~ Fullness of being

  • Time to bring your visions to life

  • Tending to others. Most connected to other people, it’s easy to love others

  • Time to give voice to your truth and share your ideas with the world

  • Warrior/mother archetypes

  • Time play and delight in your sensual and sexual nature

  • Pleasure, pleasure, pleasure!

Your Inner Fall

  • Days 19/21-26-28

  • Energy turns inwards

  • Tender time

  • INTUITION heightens

  • Often gets the bad PMS wrap but really is an incredibly rich time to tune into our inner compass and deepest truths (pure insight!). Carve out time to FEEL it all.

  • The healer woman/shaman within awakens. Instinctual powers arise

  • Great time to assert boundaries

  • Potent time to discern and get feedback around what is working and not working in your life

  • Reality check. Time to check in and adjust accordingly

  • Time to shed and listen

  • Time to go inwards and commune with your inner world

  • Journaling. Journal prompts that you can use include: What in me is dying? What behaviors no longer serve? What am I ready to let go of?

  • Energy decreases, so slowww down

  • Prepare to receive your moon-time (blood-time!)

I hope that you find this helpful and feel inspired to dive deep into connecting with the magic of your cycles. Can you imagine the moon resisting the inevitable waning that comes every month? I sure can’t :).

Two books that I adore and will support this exploration:

Lisa Lister’s Your Lady Landscape: Trust your Gut, Care for “Down There”and Reclaim your Fierce and Feminine She Power.

Christine Northup’s Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. A classic!!

With love,

KM

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Sacred Ritual: Practices to Feed your Daily Life

An overall sense of wellbeing lies in the little things that you do throughout the day to tend to your feminine soul….sweet and simple.

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I recently printed new business cards and added Sacred Ritual as one of my offerings. But what does Sacred Ritual actually mean?

Sacred Ritual can be an intentional, well planned ceremony with a particular purpose. Examples of these rituals include doing a soul wander on the land, connecting with the new or full moon and it’s particular medicine, a self-marriage ceremony and transitioning from maiden to motherhood. These are all beautiful and very important rituals that  a woman’s life with meaningful connection to herself and the web of life.

The other the sort of Sacred Ritual that I’d like to address today speaks to an intentional attitude of weaving little practices into your day that lead to a sense of nourishing connection to yourself and support you in coming back home. One of my dear mentors Merryl Rothaus LPC, ATR talks about the practice of pairing intention with action. According to her, it’s all about taking daily actions and infusing them with intention and magic.

Some mini Sacred Ritual practices include:  

Body Rinse: Take a moment to rest your hands on your body. If you have a meditation practice, you can stroke your body from head to toe and allow your hands to greet and bring presence to your temple. Then you can begin your sitting practice. Another perfect moment to practice this body rinse is when you're applying body butter or lotion on your face and body. Instead of rushing through it, take a few moments to lovingly massage your belly, breasts and thighs.

Essential Oil Reset: Essential oils are powerful allies to keep us feeling healthy and inspired. Rub a few drops of high quality essential oil (I love doTerra’s oils) into your palms, create a cup with your hands, bring them to your nose and take a few long, generous inhalations. Breathe, soften, receive. I love to start my day with rose oil, frankincense throughout my day and lavender before going to sleep.

Putting your bare feet on Mumma Earth: Research shows that direct contact with the earth allows the nervous system to relax and restore. Visualize your feet growing deep, moist roots. Inhale bringing life-force through your feet into your body. Exhale relax into Her support. 2 minutes will do wonders.

Self-love whispers: An important part of my healing journey has consisted of learning to talk to myself in a radically loving way. It’s amazing to notice how this voice has significantly quieted my inner critique, who used to be sooooo loud! As you get into your car, go up the stairs, take the elevator or put your shoes on…whisper to yourself things like: “you’re beautiful”, “relax, you’re held”, “I’ve gotcha”, “soften.” Neuroscience shows us that the way you talk to you yourself, rewires your brain into an overall more relaxed and joyful existence.

Breathe!: Last but not least…..our dear friend breath. So simple and always available and yet so easy to forget it’s right here for us. A series of 5 round of deep breaths that consist of long, yummy inhalations and soothing exhalations will immediately create a sense of ease. This reminds our system that things are okay, no matter how crazy intense life can feel.

So here’s to the beauty and simplicity of mini Sacred Rituals. I’d LOVE to hear how it goes for you with these practices so please share below! Also, remember that the key to rewiring our brains and rewilding our bodies lies in repetition. So if you feel called, chose one or two rituals and infuse it presence and practice.  

In service of sacred simplicity,

 Karina Maria

Holy YOU (guided meditations for breast love, anxiety and embodied rest)

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Happy Holidays. As in holy days. Dark, quiet and mysterious….this is a time to surrender to winter’s invitation to rest, dream and tend to the sacred in your life.

The word sacred comes from the verb sacren, “to make holy”, “to set apart and dedicate”.

So in the midst of what tends to be the busiest and most hectic time of the year, I want to invite you to set apart some time to slowwwww down, go within and celebrate yourself and that which deeply matters to you.

One of my favorite practices in the dark days is to pray. I pray for the women, for the little ones here and yet to come. I pray for the good men and the awakening of many more. I pray for love. More generosity and less greed. I pray for mumma earth and her healing. I pray for my familia, my tribe of sisters and my incredibly brave clients that inspire me every single day.


Here’s a version of the buddhist metta (loving kindness) meditation that we practice at the ashram with my teacher Chameli Ardagh.

May I have loving kindness
May I be well
May I be happy and at ease
May I have loving kindness

Followed by:
“may you have loving…” (someone you deeply love)
“may you have loving…” (someone you are struggling to love/understand)
“may all yogini sisters have loving…”
“may all beings have loving…” (animals, plants and unseen world included)

Try this practice for 21 days and see what happens. My heart definitely opened to more love.


3 Guided Meditations to support you in this busy season:

Body Scan Meditation to relax and restore (bedtime medicine)

Breast Love Meditation

Anxiety and Monkey Mind Meditation


One last thing before I sign off. I want to suggest a super simple and lovely Christmas gift for yourself and other women in your life….a hot water bottle! Yup. I absolutely LOVE mine and use it throughout the month and especially when I’m bleeding. It keeps my womb warm and super cozy. They sell really cute “sweaters” for it on etsy or you can make your own! Here are a few related links:

AQUAPAPA Large Hot Water Bottle with Big Heart Red Knit Cover
Hot Water Bottles on Etsy
DIY Hot Water Bottle on YouTube

May you remember you are holy and sacred and absolutely wonderful, okay?

Thank you, I love you (and a few gifts for you on this Thanksgiving season)

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There is a Goddess I love who embodies beauty and bliss. Radiant and overflowing, she reminds us of what is possible when we live in harmony with ourselves and the world around us. She is a great Goddess to hold in high regard in these trying times of mourning and dis-ease, when many of us feel the impulse to collapse and contract from the pain of it all.

This Goddess’s name is Lakshmi. Beautiful. Bountiful. Blissful Lakshmi.

In working with different Goddesses, we learn to “tune into” different vibrations or, as my teacher Chameli Ardagh would say, radio stations.

The way to tune into Lakshmi’s radio station is to appreciate beauty and to live from a place of gratitude and generosity. As humans, we have a propensity to focus on what’s negative: on what’s wrong, ugly, or missing. Scientists have coined this propensity as the negativity bias. Simply put, negative experiences tend to exert greater psychological impact on us than positive experiences of the same magnitude. In order to combat this propensity (that tends to increase when the going gets tough), we scan for the positive and instead, take in the good, the pleasurable, and, yes…the beautiful. Lakshmi shows us the way.



Gratitude Practice

Lakshmi teaches us to re-member and celebrate the miracle of this body we inhabit and the beauty that surrounds us. For the next 21 days, right before bedtime, make a list of 8 things you are grateful for. Think of moments during your day when you felt pleasure, love, or contentment. Then take a moment to breathe into your womb-space (if you do not have a physical womb, you still have a powerful energy center). Feel her stirrings, feel your heart beating and the way the exhalation relaxes your entire system. Notice the miracle of your body and how it is orchestrating for you to be alive in this very moment.


Generosity Practice

The act of being generous feeds us. In the movie Amelie, the main character portrays this beautifully when she consciously commits to bringing joyous support to other people’s lives. 

Feel into a generous act that you can do for someone else and do it. Maybe it’s giving out flowers in the street (I did this a few weeks ago and it was wonderful), or giving a heartfelt compliment, or offering to support someone who has their hands full (with groceries or a child). Try it. Honor the impulse and follow it. Notice how it feels in your body and heart to spontaneously give. Risk being vulnerable. See what the Goddess shows you. 

Goddess medicine in dark times

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It's in the air. The stirrings of a way that is no longer acceptable. The anger, fear, frustration and empowerment women are experiencing throughout the United States as the current political reality points to personal pieces of our story. Of HERstory.

Stay with all that is moving through you, woman. Let it alchemize into pure power and strength. Tend to your voice and what wants to come through. Gather in circle with other sisters, share your passion, go see a counselor....remember that it has to hurt before it heals and that it won't hurt forever. We are weaving HERstory today.  

Goddess Durga is called to battle when the world is falling apart and a more feminine way is needed. She sets out to chop off the demons’ heads with the fierce intention of bringing balance and harmony back into the world, in the name of love. These dark times call for an inner balance of our yin and yang energies. Durga is a great teacher when it comes to this inner balance. She embodies her yang energy with the fierce strength of a mama bear, while deeply connected to her receptive yin, allowing  her hips and yoni to move in rhythm with the tiger she rides, firmly rooted in her heart.

Gracias!

Karina Maria

What turns you on?

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What turns you on?

Feeling seen, moving your body to a soulful song, eating a delicious peach, perhaps?

To be turned on by life is to be willing to tune into your senses and live in a state of receptive delight.

It’s to allow yourself be touched and moved by your sensual nature and move towards what bring you pleasure. In that process, you surrender to slowing down and letting the good in.

It is safe to slow down… allow your body to love what she loves...trust in her erotic intelligence.

Mini practice: Close your eyes and take three deep, generous breaths. Ask your body: what would feel good to you right now, dear one? And wait for her response. Maybe it’s stretching, or walking outside and putting your feet on the grass. Maybe it’s savoring a hot cup of tea or howling like a coyote. Whatever it is, let it feel good. Unapologetically good.

For thousands of years, we ladies were demonized for enjoying and celebrating our bodies’ innate impulse to experience pleasure. Driven by fear, we were taught to shame (as in “I am bad”) and reject the sensual animal within. This rejection led to mistrust and fear of our own nature…and our deepest source of power. Reclaiming our eroticism is a necessary part of our awakening and the doorway is through our sensuality (of the senses!).

Entering this exploration through your body is the foundation for a life guided by pleasure and delight…as opposed to duty, fear and judgment.  

Mini practice: Make a list of things that bring you pleasure. Allow your body to inform your answers. Be uncensored. You might be surprised by what comes through :).

My list includes spending time in nature, physical touch, baking cookies, leading women’s groups and dancing to Latin tunes.

Make sure you carve out some time to honor your list! Remember,  it’s the doorway in….

In gratitude,

Karina Maria

Lady books I love and highly recommend

Little things bring me more joy than laying on the grass (or on a couch!) and reading (or listening) to a good book.

Here are some of my favorite, powerful lady books that I hope you’ll enjoy:

 

When Women were Birds ~

A lovely book about the raw beauty of a woman who’s grieving her mother’s death and the magical connection between the feminine ways and the wild, winged ones.

Witch ~

A witch is a wise woman, a healer. Yet for so long the word “witch” has had negative and shameful connotations. In this book, Lisa Lister explains the history behind witchcraft, why identifying as a healer in past centuries led women to be burned at the stake, and why the witch is reawakening in women across the world today. I felt my bones sing to the rhythm of Lister’s wisdom and felt the witch archetype move through me in a whole new (and exciting) way.

 

Love your Lady Landscape ~

“Love Your Lady Landscape” is a healing journey through the terrain of what it is to be a cycling woman. When we aren’t in alignment with our feminine essence, we can experience exhaustion and overwhelm, lack sexual desire or passion for life and generally feel out of balance. In this book, Lister takes us through a series of practices that include Earth-based spirituality and movement to help us reconnect and realign with our power. Her humor, authenticity and overall badassery are woven throughout the book.

Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” ~

Woman, if you do not know of Dr. Brene Brown’s work, please look her up! This Texan researcher has ventured into exploring taboo topics like vulnerability, shame and guilt. In 2010 her work went viral with her video, The Power of Vulnerability (LINK to Video). She is hilarious and as real as they come. “Daring Greatly” is a deeply inspiring book about the importance of embracing our imperfections and living vulnerably in order to create and live a fulfilling life.

 

Tiny Beautiful Things ~

Cheryl Strayed is authentic and hilarious. “Tiny Beautiful Things” is a heartbreaking, inspiring and soulful compilation of stories about people seeking advice on love and life and everything in between.

Novels:

I love to read historical novels about strong and fierce female characters. Few things bring me more joy than curling up in a hammock while being transported to far away lands.  If you’re like me, I highly recommend that you read “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant,  “The Dovekeepers" by Alice Hoffman and “The Passion of Mary Magdalene” by Elizabeth Cunningham. These three novels are rich tales of ancient womanhood, family honor and good old fashion love that you will not be able to put down!

Relax, read and enjoy :)

Warmly, 

Karina Maria

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On devotion and deeply fulfilling self-love

I recently came home from a retreat in the magical island of Corfu with my teacher Chameli Ardagh. We gathered in circle, like women have done for thousands of years and practiced with Radha, an incredibly potent Goddess of love and devotion. My time with them was powerful beyond words and I’m only beginning to feel into the gifts of their particular medicine. It is from this place of “uncooked” integration that I’m honoring my impulse to share my journey with you.

Radha is Lord Krishna’s beloved. Their love for each other begins in childhood and blossoms into adulthood. Wherever Krishna goes, Radha accompanies him. Her devotion towards him is unwavering and deeply passionate. Nevertheless, their love is a star-crossed lovers kind of love and due to very different destinies, they cannot be together. Krishna returns to his home to fulfill his princely duties and Radha stays in their village as a gopi, “cow girl”. With Krishna’s departure, Radha’s heart shatters and she throws herself into her grief, very much like she threw herself into their love; with absolute surrender and willingness to feel her longing.

For the rest of her life, Radha continues to adore Krishna and sees him everywhere she goes. Her love for him transforms into a love for God, a love for life and off course…herself.

The first time I heard Radha’s story, I cringed. This level of devotion and surrender towards her lover seemed unreasonable and frankly, needy and quite co-dependent! I was raised to be a strong woman after all.

But here’s what I’ve come to understand: beyond her love for “her man”, Radha’s love points to something greater. It points to our willingness to enter and deepen our relationship with the Divine, with that which is greater than us. It speaks to our capacity to engage in a wild love affair with life and it’s beautiful and mysterious ways. Krishna is a doorway into that deep love for the beloved the Sufis so beautifully speak of….he/she who is God/Goddess and lives within us.

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So, my dear, what if you could live your life through Radha’s eyes? What if your partner, your child and your work in the world were all portals into that divine love affair? What if you said yes to fully entering it? Knees trembling and heart racing? My heart delights in this possibility.

Radha does not hesitate. She honors her longing and rides it all the way into deeper connection with herself. Two feet in. Wholeheartedly committed. She’s a badass warrior of love and I’m so grateful for her teachings.

I find that as strong, independent women a vital part of our journey towards wholeness is to reconnect and reclaim this innocent way of loving. It is humbling and incredibly vulnerable because it asks us to let another person reaaaally in, deconstructing the idea that we need to protect our hearts, stay “strong” and “have it together”. Allow yourself be needy and tender. Let yourself long for what you long for and open to LOVE. After all, this work is the greatest gift you can give yourself (beyond whether or not it is reciprocated). And remember that true strength resides in your vulnerability (check out Brene Brown’s awe-inspiring work on the power of vulnerability).

This summer Radha taught me about a very different way. As the practices opened and softened my heart, I got a taste of the most exquisite feminine strength. A strength that comes from the depths of my heart and womb. A strength that is soft and spacious and that whispers, “open, love fully, love deeply, do not hold back….I’m here”, “open love fully, love deeply, do not hold back…I’m here”.

And so it is!

In devotion,

Karina Maria

Give Yourself the Gift of Support

For more than a decade I have been working with women. In my experience, when we say YES to ourselves, nothing can stop us. It is my honor and life passion to accompany you on the sometimes heartbreaking, often beautiful and always sacred process of coming home to you.

And as a counselor, I want to you to give yourself the gift of support:

Increase TRUST in yourself ~ Connect with the deep knowing that you are enough, practice deep listening and learn to recognize and transform your "inner critic" and the voices of shame and self-doubt. They are trying desperately to protect you and can actually become your best ally when you renegotiate their role in your life!

Coming home to Self-love ~ As cliche as it may sound, self-love is the portal to a life of deep and meaningful connection with yourself, your calling and your relationships. Transform the barriers that get in the way of your most authentic and vibrant self. 

Creating and living the life you love ~ You are here for a reason. The world wants the medicine you and only you can provide. Tap into your life’s purpose and in mythologist Joseph Campbell’s words, "follow your bliss." Gather the courage (from the french word coeur, which means heart) to be seen and heard in what your love. I will support you in navigating this frightening and exciting exploration of falling in love with and pursuing your calling. 

Transitions ~ Discover ways of feeling connected to yourself when things fall apart (relationships, work, moves) or don't go as expected. As women, we are cyclical beings. Like the tides and the moon, nature's cycles are our greatest teachers when it comes to embracing loss and change. Dark, challenging times hold bountiful gifts. The practice of surrendering and learning to stay with the painful "muck" of life often leads to joyful transformation and freedom. Find and connect to that inner resource that is always available to you, no matter how shaky the ground beneath you feels. 

Mother daughter relationships ~ Renegotiate and set healthy, sustainable boundaries, break the shame and blame cycles. Transform caretaking into caring. Bring to light and transform beliefs that have been passed on by the generations of women who have come before you. Learn to feel the healthy outrage, honor what you've been through and nourish your own inner child from a deep well of internal resources. Forgive your mother for her shortcomings and step into co-crating a new and healthy relationship. 

The Mother Wound ~ Your mother could only love you to the extent to which she loved herself. Unknowingly, many of us are walking around looking for that deep, unconditional love that we did not get as children from someone "out there", be it our biological mother, our partner or the world as a whole. As painful as this realization can be, it is also very good news because it allows us to awaken to the reality of becoming that good enough, abundantly loving mother to ourselves. In this sometimes painful and yet immensely liberating process, we set our outer mother free and can step into being our fullest selves. Radiant, empowered and free. 

Goddess Work ~ When I was a little girl, my grandmother introduced me to Mother Mary and her boundless capacity for love and compassion. Simultaneously, my mother and I went to a Hindu temple were I met Durga, Lakshmi and other Hindu Goddess. Ever since, I have been fascinated by the archetype of the Divine Mother and have studied Her myths and presence in many cultures. In these patriarchal times, exploring Goddess mythology can offer us a powerful opportunity to awaken and connect to her various manifestations that live inside of us. Through this work, we come home to the embodied experience of feeling deeply held and empowered as we move through our lives. The Goddess is always here. Are you ready to feel her?

Being single ~ Never before in history has there been so many single women. The decision to embrace single-hood as an opportunity to get to know yourself and craft your life in a conscious and fulfilling way can be the greatest gift to yourself and others (including a future partner). In Kate Bolick's words, “Being single is like being an artist, not because creating a functional single life is an art form, but because it requires the same close attention to one's singular needs, as well as the will and focus to fulfill them. Just as the artist arranges her life around her creativity, sacrificing conventional comforts and even social acceptance, sleeping and eating according to her own rhythms, so that her talent thrives above all else, nurtured the way a child might be, so a single person has to think hard to decipher what makes her happiest and most fulfilled.” (from Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own)

Grief ~ Losing someone to death is devastating beyond words. Grief work is the work that none of us would voluntarily sign up for yet sooner all later, it comes knocking at our door.Whether you’ve lost a parent, a child or someone in your community, grief is painful and messy and requires patience, commitment and attention. I will support you in navigating the tricky terrain of loss, holding space for the often overwhelming and conflicting emotions and thoughts that tend to arise when grieving. Committing to this process can allow you to move towards creating a new way of being in relationship with your loved one. I volunteer for TRU Community Hospice leading grief groups and hold this tender work very close to my heart. 

Illness ~ "When good health feels far away, we are taken into places where our faith in life can flicker" (Francis Weller). As an unexpected visitor, illness knocks at our door. It demands to be seen and felt. Often, the more we ignore it, the louder it becomes. By slowing down and getting to know illness, we can learn a great deal about it’s message and invitation and develop a new relationship with its presence in our life. 

Navigating BIG feelings ~ Do you often feel overtaken by anxiety, anger or depression? Your feelings are messengers that want to be felt. Challenging feelings are painful to feel and we tend to develop strategies to avoid them (I get it, often they are not pleasant!). However, as you probably already know, feelings don’t go away and really want our attention. Developing a different way of being with them will soften their intensity and give space for calm and acceptance to emerge. I will provide you with tools and strategies to befriend these visitors. 

Transforming relational patterns ~ Through practicing mindful awareness, you can open to a whole new way of being with your significant other and improve your relational presence, communication skills and overall connection. 

Being a foreigner ~ Are you from a different country or have a bicultural background? If so, you have probably experienced the challenges that come with wanting to honor your roots and simultaneously wanting to foster and create a feeling of belonging to the United States. Racism, oppression, speaking a different language and feeling like you don't belong neither "back home" nor here are common themes that can impact your wellbeing. Through the use of ritual and art, you can weave the different threads of your journey and your roots and deepen your sense of belonging....to yourself.

To become or not to become a mother ~  If you are a woman in your thirties and forties, you have probably wrestled with this question. Having a safe space to explore this question, uncoupling your wants and deepest longings from societal or familial expectations can be a very illuminating and freeing process. For many women, motherhood is their calling. For others, the knowing is not as clear and exploring the possibilities of a child-full life verusu a child-free one is an important process. 

Pregnancy ~ As a pregnant woman you embody the full potential of life. Deepen your connection with the being that lives and grows within you and receive support around preparing for birth and the major changes that will come with your baby's arrival.

Mothering ~ You give birth to your children, you care deeply for them and with their arrival comes a completely new life. BIG and overwhelming feelings tend to arise in this new stage. Practicing mothering yourself while mothering your little one(s) will allow you and your family to have a fulfilling experience.

Reproductive Mental Wellness ~ Reproductive challenges affect many women and can lead to feelings of devastation and hopelessness. Emotional and psychological support can be extremely helpful when navigating these difficult times. Specific challenges can include infertility, miscarriage, abortion, high-risk pregnancy, IVF, traumatic birth, ovarian/breast cancer and postpartum anxiety and depression.

Sexuality ~ For many of us, our sexual and sensual nature is deeply connected to shame, guilt and trauma. Patriarchal messages around our bodies not being lovable and the sad reality that most of us have experienced being intruded upon have led many of us to feel unsafe and disconnect from our wise bodies. As sensual beings, an integral part of our healing is to reestablish body safety and reconnect with what feels good. From this place, we can create a new relationship with pleasure that will deepen our sense of self-love and will transform the way we open up to others. 

 

Schedule your complimentary phone consultation and work with me by clicking here.

My Healing Manifesto

I love manifestos. My favorite ones include the Holstee Manifesto and Sark's Being a Succulent Wild Woman. I like to think of manifestos as guide posts for the courageous journey of coming home to ourselves. After years of holding space for women, I have come to value the following guide posts.

Karina Maria's Healing Manifesto:

Mindfulness is medicine. This moment. This breath. This tight tummy.They are all portals to greater intimacy with yourself and the world around you.  BE HERE NOW. This very moment is all you have, and it is full of loving potential. 

  • Your body speaks. Your body is infinitely wise. By slowing down and learning to listen to the body's messages, you can discover a radically new way of connecting to your life and intuitive knowings.

  • Self-attachment is the way to a joy-ful you. Most of us learned to judge and abandon ourselves at an early age. Those days are over. The extent to which you can connect to and accept yourself (yes, even those parts that are really difficult to love) is the extent to which you can connect to your life and others.

  • Your inner work benefits every-body. Doing your work is not self-indulgent nor "selfish". On the contrary, the way to healing the world around you is through healing yourself first. When you gift yourself this gift, every-body benefits from your presence. In Marianne Williamson's words, "as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same".

  • There is nothing wrong with you. I believe in the basic goodness you possess and the innate brilliance that has allowed you to go through everything you have to be here today. The parts of you that cause you suffering want to feel supported and be seen. Transforming shameful perceptions and patterns into love is a cornerstone of this work. 

  • Your emotions are longing to be felt. Emotions are energy that wants to move. As big and scary as your emotions may seem, by turning toward them in a supported and mindful way and giving them loving attention, you can free yourself from a life full of constriction, avoidance and pain. 

  • Vulnerability pays off.  Vulnerability. That excruciating sensation of feeling raw and naked as you are seen in your uncertainty and emotional exposure. Often, you want to avoid it at all costs and yet research shows that when you allow yourself to be vulnerable your capacity to belong, love and empathize significantly increase. It is through the discomfort of being cracked open that you can re-awaken to a new way of being where authenticity and freedom lead the way. In Dr. Brene Brown’s words, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” 

On Goddess Bhuvaneshwari and Her Loving, Spacious Embrace

“Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes. If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralyzed.

"Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding, the two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as bird wings." ~ Rumi

Outside the birds are chirping and the buds are slowly but surely opening up to a new cycle, a new season. I smile as I feel the warmth of the sun on my face and the promise of warm evenings to come. 

Two nights ago it was the new moon. The darkest and most potent time of the month. Full of possibility. We gathered in sacred circle and practiced with Bhuvaneshwari, she who holds the cosmos in her embrace. Bhuvaneshwari creates the universe out of her own body and hence is the void out of which all manifests. She is vast and spacious and has the capacity to simultaneously hold the entire spectrum of being woman; from the dark, painful contractions to the ecstatic, joyful expansions..with love and tender care. You can offer her your entire experience and she will hold and transform it in her cosmic womb.

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Like the moon, Bhuvaneshwari is a mistress of change. She embodies the cycles of creation, fullness and dissolution. So as I sit and listen to the birds singing, I tap into my own cycles. I feel into the new moon and my own moon-time (menses time) and feel the void of potential. I feel into what is dying and plant the seeds for a new chapter, a new lunar cycle. Then I tune back out and feel the fertile springtime. Her sensual invitation to open up my body and heart, expand and dance. I call in the Goddess Bhuvaneshwari and offer her my entire experience. The contracted parts and the expansive ones. Close. Open. Close. Open. Like the heart in my chest, like wings of a bird. I relax into the deep knowing that I’m held by something great and vast. I’m held by the Goddess who can simultaneously hold two opposite experiences and reminds me that all of my experience is welcome. And for a few breaths, I feel infinite. 

What in you is dying? What are you letting go of? 

What are you birthing? What in you is blooming? 

Can you feel Bhuvaneshwari’s loving embrace as you explore these questions? 

A meditation to feel Bhuvaneshwari’s loving embrace

  • create a cozy nest to lay your body in (blankets and sheepskins are lovely)
  • lay on the ground and place your hands on your womb
  • inhale all the way into your womb
  • exhale, soften your entire body
  • repeat 5 times
  • close your eyes and imagine you are floating in a vast and tranquil ocean
  • the ocean is red, the color of creativity
  • the temperature of the water is warm and feels lovely on your skin
  • Inhale and bring your attention to the places in your body that feel contracted, tight, in pain
  • exhale and visualize the water penetrating and soothing these areas
  • repeat 5 times 
  • with each exhalation, visualize the warm, red water softening and opening the contracted areas
  • stay with the feelings that arise, offering them back to the water and bring Bhuvaneshwari’s loving presence as witness 
  • relish in the experience of feeling deeply held and opened by this vast ocean of love
  • you are held

In service,

Karina Maria

On Loving Your Way Back to Wholeness

In a culture that is invested in making us feel constantly unlovable, it’s no surprise that many of us walk around doubting our worth. A low self esteem is usually the product of negative messages that we received at a very young age and that we’ve carried with us since, like a heavy sack of rocks. Whether it was family, school or society in general, the little girl in you convinced herself that she was flawed, never enough and somehow broken. 

The way many of us learned to cope with these painful messages was by hiding our imperfections and trying to prove the world that we were “perfect”, like hungry ghosts running around earning medals and trophies and trying bloody hard to look like magazine cover models. 

We learned to talk to ourselves with disdain and harshness and learned to reject and mistrust our bodies. The “never enough” bar constantly moving further and further up, leading us to conclude that clearly, we can’t get ir right. 

Radically, unapologetically.... YOU

Radically, unapologetically.... YOU

As I write these words my heart aches, my jaw is clenched and my heart is racing. I’m pissed off and oh so sad. Patriarchy (which I like to define as a society in which certain men make the rules and women go along without their power nor their voice being honored) really did us a number here. It convinced us that our inadequacies are real and that we are forever doomed, stuck in this hamster wheel of criticism and never enough (sadly, the media makes millions from this very real wound).

And then I remember to take a deep breathe. I place my hand on my perfectly imperfect belly and soften. HIStory does not have to be HER story, your story..our story. We can learn to rewrite it together and step into our fabulousness together. After all, as on of my dear mentors would say, we all haver an inner pearl that deserves to shine bright.

So this act of learning to love yourself and being unapologetically YOU is radical and goes against 3,000 plus years of HIStory. The word radical comes from the Latin word roots. This work asks that we go back and reconnect with our roots to reclaim a new and simultaneously very old way of being in our bodies and this sweet and fierce Mumma Earth that is our home.

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It requires deep commitment and a willingness to embrace discomfort. A willingness to sit in the fire of vulnerability and difficult emotions as we get acquainted and learn to LOVE all of those parts of yourself that you’ve been invested in getting rid of. Yes, I’m talking about the needy, the jealous, the moody, the rude, the scared, the doubtful, the flappy, the “too much”, the “not enough”, the saboteur, the raging and the highly emotional ones of you. And guess what…the more you learn to love all of these parts…the more you will set yourself FREE. Free to be your wildest and most authentic self, free to speak your truth and say your NO’s and sing your YES’s. Your freedom is contagious and will inspire others to dive into their own radical journey of reclaiming their perfectly imperfect wholeness. 

And you know what? These imperfections that you spend enormous amounts of energy (and money) criticizing and rejecting are what actually what makes you super duper lovable. I promise you so. It’s time to make peace with all of who you are and set yourself FREE..It’s time to come home to your wholeness sister. Let’s be radical…together :). 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. 

In love,

Karina Maria

** To schedule a complimentary consultation with me, click here

The Goddess and her badass medicine

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Who is the Goddess?

I talk a lot about the Goddess these days. I weave her into sessions with clients and teach workshops about her various manifestations. But WHO exactly is the Goddess? Women want to know…

The Goddess is source. She is the Great Mother who gave birth to the universe and inhabits it. She who was revered, celebrated and deeply honored for thousands of years before patriarchy took over. She is the Shakti (creative energy) that makes your heart beat and the flowers grow. She encompasses and embodies all of the flavors of being a woman. Gentle and fierce, wild and tamed. Loving and tender and simultaneously terrifying. She is deliciously sensual, infinitely wise and at times very innocent. She is the holder of paradox. She is paradox. She lives through myths and lives in you. All of her manifestations are flavors of your essence and she invites you to awaken to your wholeness. 

What does Goddess work look like? 

There are thousands of manifestations of the Goddess across the globe. When we gather in circle, we practice with a particular Goddess by studying aspects of Her myth and then dive into experiencing Her ways through a series of practices. 

For example, when we study Durga, we learn about her courageous, radical commitment to fighting her battles, out of devotion to what she most loves. We feel, court and awaken the fire of our love and longing. HHHmm. Can you feel her moving through you as you tap into a current battle you are fighting? Yes, you are not alone. Durga Ma has your back. 

The circle has your back too for it provides a loving container for the connection we are working with to deepen. As women, we are not meant to do our spiritual work on our own and learning to trust in the many boons (gifts) that come from letting ourselves be seen and supported by sisters is in my opinion, the sweetest part of this awakening practice. 

If you feel Her calling, please join us on our 3 week Spring Goddess Series coming up in a few weeks. For more information and to register, click here

* If you can't make it to this circle, new offerings are on their way, including a virtual Goddess circle! Subscribe to my newsletter (bottom of my Home page) and I'll keep you posted. 

In love, 

Karina Maria