We Have Forgotten Who We Are

We have forgotten who we are.

We have forgotten that we’re women of the moon and the sea, women of the tides and the jungles. We have forgotten that we run with the wolves and we swim with the dolphins, that we listen to the wisdom of the trees and we follow the metaphors in our dreams. We have forgotten how to dance in a grove of cypress and sleep among the beetles and bees. We have forgotten our wildness.

We have forgotten that our bodies are gardens where we plant the seeds of our aliveness and desire, and when we water these seeds they blossom into fields of poppy-bliss and orchid-fire. We have forgotten that when we squish our toes into the mud of our spring banks we slide full-bodied into the rush and flood of snowmelt, unafraid of the current and cold. We’re so lit up inside that even glacial runoff can’t extinguish our flames.

We’ve forgotten how to walk barefoot. We’ve forgotten how to get dirty, and not in the pop culture sense. I’m talking about true dirt. I’m talking about dirt that seeps into the cracks in our soles and spreads over our skin in a layer of holy-dust causing us to remember that our original scent is the scent of the earth rising from our pores like steam from freshly plowed fields on a hot summer day. We have forgotten how to rejoice in these bodies. We have forgotten to press our ears to the earth. We’ve forgotten how to listen.

We have forgotten who we are because we’ve been told lies about ourselves, our bodies, and our sexuality. We’ve been told that we’re wrong, bad, or broken in some way. We’ve been told that our bodies don’t look right or smell right, that they’re something less than a cause for celebration and reverence. A long time ago our bodies were honored as gifts of power and all would pray at the altars of our belly, our breasts, our sacred center. Now our bodies are defiled, used, and objectified. We’ve come so far from the days of reverence that it’s hard to remember, even for a moment, that this could be true. You may even cringe a bit while reading this. It may make you want to run.

But another part of you is listening, ears awake, hearts fluttering with yearning. What do you mean my body is sacred? What do you mean I’m a woman of the moon and sea? Something inside of you remembers. Something inside longs to return to your rightful place in the ancestral line, to retrieve the lost legacy so that you can become fully alive and perhaps pass on these teachings on to your daughters and daughter’s daughters. Some part of you wants to remember who you are.

It’s time to remember. It’s time to re-sanctify our bodies, to hearken into our history and remember that we are priestesses and woodland dancers. It’s time to remember that our sexuality isn’t a source of shame and has nothing to do with what we look like or sound like, but how we feel from the inside out.  The most common sexual complaint I hear from women is that they lack desire, but what they don’t see is that healthy desire springs from the hidden and magical places in our own bodies. The cultural myth says that lack of desire is indicative of the wrong partner, or, conversely, that the “right” partner would set you on fire. This is yet another myth in the long series of myths that create unnecessary anxiety in the realm of love, sex, and relationships.

It’s easy to buy into this myth, especially if you’ve experienced high-desire in the past with other partners. But the question to ask is if those partners were fully available, for another culture misfiring teaches us to equate desire with longing: when we want what we can’t have and we use sex as a way to validate our worthiness, our bodies learn to awaken in response to being wanted. We become addicted to the gaze, to the game of chase, to the drama. Everything in the culture – every novel, film, magazine article, and billboard – teaches us from the time we’re little girls to link validation with desire. This is a massive and tragic misfiring. If we are to learn to activate healthy desire within the context of a committed partnership or even alone, this misfiring needs to be corrected.

We can heal and we can remember. We only need to be shown the way. We need the map so that we can reclaim our stolen treasures. We need to link arms with other women around the globe who are also seeking to reclaim what is rightfully theirs, who are ready to travel into the heart of the earth and retrieve the runes and gems that live there. This is what I will be teaching in Sacred Sexuality: A 40-day program for women to heal body shame and ignite desire. I can’t wait to share it with you.

Note: Because this is the first time I’m running this course and I won’t have a co-moderator on the forum, I’ll be limiting the number of participants. The course won’t begin until June 24, 2017, but if you want to be one of the first people notified when registration opens, please enter your information in the box at the bottom of this page. I look forward to meeting you there. 

56 comments to We Have Forgotten Who We Are

  • Kathleen

    Oh, thank you, thank you for this timely message. Three years ago my partner of 21 years and I divorced because our sexual relationship had been dead for many years with no hope of returning. Yesterday he came over to help me with some gardening, and we had such a wonderful visit. After he left I sobbed and grieved for missing his friendship. He is a wonderful man and in the very beginning, when we were teenagers, we had a thriving, (yet still repressed in that we couldn’t TALK about sex), sex life. He was always so so good to me – so respectful, so loving. But I wanted to have a sexual life. I would have intense sexual dreams and wake up so devastated that they were just dreams.

    Today I was starting to wonder if I had made a grave mistake… Maybe his dear, loving, supportive friendship was the best thing to ever happen in my life. Because I’ve certainly dated some awful guys since then! (But i’ve had some great wed, too.) Maybe divorcing him was the worst mistake I’ve ever made. There was no hope for sex, but I did love him very much.

    Your essay reminds me that I wasn’t wrong to crave a sexual life. I am a daughter of the moon and the wolves. To be fully human, sexuality is part of a healthy life. I tried my best to rekindle our sexuality, but he was not interested in talking about it or therapy or touching. Your essay encourages me that to be a sexual being is to be alive. I want to be alive and I will wait for a respectful, emotionally available, fully open man this time. I will hold the high watch. Thank you so much.

    • Thank you, Kathleen. You’re absolutely aligned to crave an alive sex life, and it’s too bad that he wasn’t available to create that with you. Sexuality in relationships is complicated by many factors, including dynamics between partners that go underground, but when those factors are addressed and we commit to opening the channels that lead to aliveness, we can co-create a beautiful and fulfilling sex life, both alone and in loving partnership.

      It’s essential to understand that it’s okay if sex lives stagnate; in fact, in longterm relationships, that’s almost inevitable. And it’s okay if there’s low drive in one or both partners. What matters is that there’s a willingness to learn, listen, become curious, and explore together. And if that’s not there, we can still become curious about why that isn’t there. There’s so much room to grow in intimate relationships as long as both people are willing to grow. And sometimes it’s best to start with the underlying issues that develop over years and years together that lead to sexual stagnation rather than taking directly about the sex itself. I’m curious if he was open to therapy of any kind…? He sounds like a great guy and I’m wondering if the relationship dance between you led to sexual stagnation and, if the dynamic was addressed, the sex could have been reinvigorated.

  • Kami

    I’ve been waiting for this course! Please sign me up! Thank you, Sheryl.

  • Cassie

    Hi Sheryl! Thank you so much for bringing attention to this topic which often causes so much shame sadly. I am glad to know I am not alone. All of your words spoke to me, but the part about experiencing previous sexual desire with unavailable partners is absolutely true. But I can see now that so much of those sexual experiences was based on trying to be validated and wanted to “get love” from someone instead of the actually sharing sexual intimacy and connecting with my own body. Now in a loving and healthy partnership with a man I am attracted to, I am experiencing anxiety and lack of desire. I know this is a call to turn inward rather than run away, and I am committed to the process. I look forward to this course and I thank you very much for offering it. (I am about to purchase the breakfree course but also know I will benefit immensely from this one!)

  • ColoradoGirl

    What a beautiful new body of work Sheryl! Congratulations on the creation! 🙂

  • ann

    My husband and I were celebate for many years before marriage due to religious beliefs, but after a point it became easier as we got used to it and became the greatest friends who enjoyed cuddling immensely

    After marriage, sex occured but was infrequent though has gotten better. I enjoyed it but felt much difficulty with a) french kissing/making out, though we smooched all the time, french kissing caused me much more anxiety than with sex and b) having sex face to face ie missionary. Though I find my spouse to be very attractive,he has a beautiful face, I feel so intimidated with being face to face with intimacy. I tend to recoil with a french kiss, when he tells me Im beautiful, or when I get touched down there

    Im wondering if my years of restrictive sexuality have hurt my chances to have a healthy sexual life. Its something I often regret

    • This course was created to address exactly what you’re describing, Ann, and I hope you’ll join us. It’s NEVER too late to learn how to shed some of the shame that is preventing you from opening, and that’s what you’ll be learning how to do in the course.

  • ann

    Also, congratulations on your new course it looks beautiful

  • abigail

    will this course be good for very shy, conservative and inexperienced people? I do have children but still feel like a child myself in this area so am intimidated by the concept of this course even though I am desperately looking for help…

    • What a great question, Abigail, and the answer is absolutely yes. My courses are very gentle and safe places to explore our most tender and vulnerable areas, and this one will be no different. As always, you can do as many or as few of the exercises you feel comfortable with, which means you can pace yourself if it feels like too much. I hope you’ll join us.

  • Leah77

    Hi Sheryl,
    Wow! I am SO excited, I wanna cry! Thank you, thank you for this gift you are about to offer us all. I know I’m not the only one who is desperately eager to dive into this sacred work! I love the picture you chose for your blog post. It speaks to me about the light, hope and freedom that lies just a little way beyond that “barrier”. And I love that you chose late June to launch the course – summer solstice (in the North) and a time of budding sexuality, blossoming….if ONLY we can allow ourselves to do so. There is so much pain in that withdrawal from opening at a time of year when the whole world, including all of nature seems to be opening and rejoicing! It’s so hard not feeling part of that….but this year, I think I feel ready. I certainly feel ready to take your hand and others’ hands and start the journey together. Thank you!!! 🙂 All my love, Zoe xxx

    • Thank you, dear lovely Zoe! Yes, all of those choices were intentional, especially the launch date of the course. I had originally thought to launch in spring when all is awakening, but then summer, with its full-tilt bloom, seemed more aligned. I’m so excited to share this journey with you! xo

  • Eleonora

    Hi Sheryl,
    Thank you for creating this well-needed course. The topic of sex is really loaded for me. I hope that I will get a spot on this round of the course and, if not, later. I signed up for the early bird notification.
    Kind regards,

    • Hi Eleonora: Registration will open in a couple of weeks, and as you’re signed up for the early bird email you’ll be one of the first to be notified. As spots will be limited for this first round, I encourage you to register as soon as you receive that email so that you can secure your spot. I know it’s a bit confusing because I’m announcing it now but I’m not opening it for registration for a couple of weeks! I look forward to seeing you there.

      • Eleonora

        Thanks. I think it was very clearly explained. I will definitely register as soon as I get that email and hopefully secure a spot. Great to know that the registration opens in about a couple of weeks. Looking forward to seeing you there too!

  • Anna

    Hello, I’m really excited about this course. I’ve always struggled with my sexuality and although I have been sexually active for for 7 years, I’ve never been able to orgasm. Not even by myself. Also lately I’ve been struggling with my sexual orientation and wondering if I might be more oriented along the gay side of the spectrum. Do you believe this course would be able to help me with sexual dysfunction? Learning to let go of whatever mental blocks I have that’s keeping me from orgasming. Also to help me figure out if I am gay? I know sexuality exists on along a spectrum, and I’m currently in a long term relationship with a man who I care deeply about. However I wonder if my love is more platonic than romantic. I have taken your relationship anxiety course and I’m still unsure.

    • You will learn about your sexuality and your body in depth through the course, and through that learning you will open to yourself and to your partner in new ways.

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl,
    Yet again another wonderful blog! We live in such a fast pace world that we do truly lose our identity, we are literally like robots, we feel we are on this planet to be to serve others but not serve primarily from our hearts but mainly to survive. The animal kingdom is exactly the same. We think first for our children and family to the point of exhaustion that i wonder how we function as humans. Yes, we do rest but for alot of people the rest they take is not sufficient enough for their health. We basicaly live in fear. Even if we feel the passion and have hard working ethics beliefs, we are still ignoring our inner calling for attention. We come last. Its more challenging for us highly sensitive sweet souls. I find when im working that my inner soul cries for attention. What helps me are the children i look after they give me a reason to feel with my heart when its not frantically busy. Life is hard but it dosent have to be that hard if we change our thinking. Positive thinking makes a huge difference. I choose to work 3-4 days now. I come first. But everyones circumstances are different.

  • Newly Married

    For me ever since I opened up about my sexual past with my partner after he asked me its like shame got in the way and now I dont even want to have sex anymore, my sex drive is to the lowest and sometimes the fact that he brings it up that I had sex and how he gets jealous makes me not want to have sex or touch him anymore because I am shameful of my sexual past. he says he doesnt judge me but I feel judged because he brings it up.

    • It sounds like you’re projecting your own shame and self-judgement onto your partner. The course is designed to address shame in depth.

  • Lovingkindness

    Sheryl, this course does not apply to me (yet – I am not there yet in my healing 🙂 ) but I want to thank you for your beautifully written blog posts and your offerings to the world. Good luck with the new course!!

  • Elizabeth

    This is so exciting! I’m reading Women Who Run With Wolves at the moment thinking, Sheryl has read this, Sheryl has definitely read this. Thank you so much <3

  • Angela

    Thank you Sheryl xo

  • agnes

    I’m so so ssssso thrilled about this new course being on offer. I will definitely be signing up at some point in the future. I see myself doing this work for life.

    I have had a hard time with my sexuality, particularly since finding this blog. All my life, I have strived to be the cultural ‘ideal’ woman – slim, tantalisingly sexual, charismatic, witty – the kind of woman it seemed men wanted me to be. I chased and dated men who excited me sexually (i.e. desperately unattainable men, whose main attractive quality was that they didn’t really want me) and eventually left those that didn’t (which hurts, knowing what I know now). These are the ideas we grow up with and they’re everywhere, even though they don’t serve us. Hot, sexy women dress in stockings and know how to dangle men on a string. They never make themselves fully available so as to always keep the ball in their court (and avoid the pain of rejection).

    I’m so at odds with my sexuality now. I don’t know how to connect to it without being this ‘ideal’ woman. I don’t know how to do it whilst making peace with my body as it is now (far from the ideal), whilst being accepting of my body hair, my ‘undesirable’ flat bottom, my small breasts, my natural facial expressions during intimacy, my ‘unsexy’ hair, my bare makeup-less face, my over-full tummy. For years, I’ve kept telling myself that once I am that woman, then my sex life will truly begin. Now I’ve let go of that, how do I connect to my sexuality? How do I be intimate without thinking about what body angles look good, what’s meant to feel good, what ‘looks hot’ to my partner.

    Sex is when I tend to experience my worst intrusive thoughts, too. Then there’s the battle of having that in my head, whilst also feeling aroused by sex. But of course, if you panic and think ‘oh my god please no, you can’t get turned on by that’ you probably will, because that little rebel imp of the mind always serves you things you don’t want to hear, feel and see. It feels so cruel of my mind to do these things to me and I resent speaking to it as a loving parent. It doesn’t deserve a loving parent. I’ll never forget, the first time I experienced an orgasm, I was also experiencing some of the very worst intrusive thoughts I ever had. This obviously creates a link between the feeling of arousal and the bad thoughts. Probably the stickiest thought web to attempt to dissect.

    If anyone has any book recommendations or advice for dealing with any of this, feel free to send them my way.

    Congratulations on the course, Sheryl. Very excited for myself and others to experience it.

    X

    • This is exactly what the course will address: re-wiring our faulty conditioning and healing from body shame so that we can feel alive and present with our committed partners. It’s like the Trust Yourself program except for sexuality in the sense of learning about how much we externalize our sense of Self/Sexuality and learning to drop into our bodies so that we can feel present during sex and connect from the inside-out.

  • worrier96

    Sheryl,

    This blog post is so empowering. It almost feels as though we are connected in some way- I’m a filmmaker and have been writing a short script that is so strangely similar to what you have written here!! I wonder if you would be interested in contributing to it? The way you write is so beautiful and I would love to relay what you have written here into the script. (It’s a short inspirational type of film).

    I am SO excited about this new course. Sexual aliveness/sex in general has always been an issue for me, especially recently so this is just amazingly timed. I’m definitely registering!!

    Thank you Sheryl for making me realise how normal my experiences are and for teaching me all that you have so far. I never thought I would get to a place where I would come to understand my ‘RA’ (i call it), but thanks to you I now do, and I am still with my wonderful partner and learning and growing everyday. I used to feel afraid because I’m a bit younger then some other course members (20) but now I actually feel blessed because of how much I have learnt (I guess this is why many say that the anxiety is a gift, right?) I honestly would not be here without this work <3

  • Someone

    Hi! My sexuality has been connected to unavailable guys and how they saw me. I never felt that I wanted sex to be tender. In my current relationship I want tenderness with my boyfriend but sex seems aggressive which makes me not want to do it with him. I am scared sex will turn him into a monster. Afterall that is what I looked for in guys during sex for many years. Now I am scared of sex.

    • Someone

      If anyone has similar experience or book recommendations I would be thankful. Thank you Sheryl for bringing up this subject.

      • Aggressive sex when you’re wanting tenderness will shut you down instantly. It’s essential that you’re able to talk with your partner about this so that you can find a way to connect sexually that feels safe and connected for both of you. Is he open to talking about it?

  • Someone

    No, sorry for the unclear message. My boyfriend is not agressive. It is rather that I associate certain actions, like him touching my breasts, with aggression. That the actions involving sexual arousal are inherently aggressive. I want tenderness and can only get to us hugging and kissing but if we do something more linked to arousal I get scared. Since I was a teenager sex has felt as if the man is somehow (playfully) “attacking” the woman, and her sounds are similar to as if she is in pain. I was attracted to this for many years.

    Now it is as if I still live with that image of sex, and often project the characteristics of an objectifier onto my boyfriend. I dont want that “fight” anymore, but tenderness. But sex to me still feels like a fight hence I dont feel like having it. This causes big problems in my relationship.

    • I’m glad to hear he’s not aggressive. It sounds like you’re projecting the past onto him, which is very common. This is exactly the kinds of issues we’ll be working through in the course.

  • Katie

    Does anyone else struggle with finding other guys attractive whilst in a relationship? I feel guilty for finding someone else attractive. When I’m at work, sometimes not all the time I wonder when I’m serving food/drinks if a guy is looking at me, if they find me attractive and it makes me feel like I’m trying to impress them with being good at my job. I’ve never had all this before, even with all this in my head. My boyfriend is the only man I want, I don’t want to be with anyone else so why is my head wondering if guys are looking at me and making me feel like I’m trying to impress/look good in front of them :/

    • blual

      I’ve got a friend who is like that. I believe it’s not about wanting to be with another men but about a deeper need for attention, validation. Smthing like you can exist only if you seduce all men, if you look interesting in their eyes. My friend has a family history that explains it…
      I think it’s a “psychological thing”,it’s not about the relationship.
      But anyway i guess every woman would like the attention of all men deep down, it’s just that it can be done so we have to adapt :).

      • Katie

        Thank you for your reply, I’m glad to know it’s not just me. When I’m at home with my parter I don’t even think about it, and then when I’m getting ready for work it’s like “oh another day with having to have these thoughts” before me and my partner got together I used to love getting attention, I was pretty much single for 5 years. But I have no interest in whoever these thoughts are based around, I’m only interested in going home to my man. See I have these thoughts like “are they looking at me? You’re trying not to look at them. You’re trying to look good at your job in front of them” blah blah and they can kinda base/latch them onto one person, the minute im out of work it disappears.. the other week at work I was putting my hair down when I finished my shift and my head was like “you’re trying to make sure you look nice in front of them for when you walk out the pub” and when I walked out I was on the phone to my boyfriend but at the same time my head was wondering if this guy was looking at me. I guess everyone likes getting attention cause in a way it makes you feel good about yourself. I guess it just all depends on how you act if you were to get attention. If I ever get attention I act so off and cold with them because I’m not interested.

        • Katie

          It just makes me feel guilty/unfaithful in a way because then my heads like “why are you bothered about getting attention when you have a boyfriend, oh you definitely must not love him then” I could have the most attractive guy ever give me attention and ask for my number or whatever and I would still always choose my man.

        • blual

          Yep, my friend told me the same thing, when she is with her boyfriend she doesn’t think about this anymore (maybe because she’s got his attention already).
          Maybe you could try to be less harsh and judgemental on yourself. If you feel like this is because you need the attention, it’s not a bad thing, it is just something you really need for yourself. An you’re not harming anybody.
          I’m convinced that if you can accept this trait as..human you’d be happier.

  • Katie

    And sometimes it’s like I’m trying to not think those things so my head is like “you’re trying to not look at them, you’re trying to act like you haven’t seen a cute guy, you’re trying to act like you don’t care about impressing them” blah blah. this isn’t every day just sometimes

  • Jenna

    Hi Sheryl,

    Do you have an idea of how much the course will be?

    x

  • Lindsey Viebrock

    I’ve been waiting for this course for such a long time!! I feel very little if no desire for my husband, and I know that part of this stems from my not being attracted to stable. When we first started dating he was in a bad place financially, made poor decisions, didn’t make me a priority, and I couldn’t get enough of him!! It was after a breakup, then getting back together where he pledged his commitment to me and said those terrifying words, “I’m not going anywhere” that all I see are the things I don’t find sexually attractive. I don’t know how to have a fulfilling sexual relationship with someone I love. It has made me even question if I was gay!! I hate this and want to awaken a sexual desire for my husband. I’m hoping so much that this course helps!!

    • You’re not alone and that’s exactly what the course is designed to address. I’ll open the course for registration on June 2nd (if you’re on the early bird list), and the course will start on June 24th. I look forward to meeting you there.

  • Katie

    is it intrusive thoughts making me feel guilty for finding someone else attractive. When I’m at work, sometimes not all the time I wonder when I’m serving food/drinks if a guy is looking at me, if they find me attractive and it makes me feel like I’m trying to impress them with being good at my job. It’s like there’s a voice in my head saying “you keep looking at them, why do you keep looking at them and wondering if they’re looking at you and trying to look good in front of them when you’re in a relationship” I’ve never had all this before, even with all this in my head. My boyfriend is the only man I want, I don’t want to be with anyone else. before my boyfriend I was pretty much single for 5 years and I did like getting attention. So now it’s making me think that I miss being single. & that I’m only with my boyfriend because I love the idea of a family life and I can get that with him. I don’t want that to be the case 🙁 I’ve been feeling okay for a few days and then it just popped back up again last night but focused on a different scenario. I am going to get the course, I’m just waiting until we come back of holiday as we go away in like 4 weeks

    • Katie

      This is what all my thoughts are based around at the moment & I have noticed sometimes I work it is like I’m trying to look good infront of people/impress them but If I was ever to get a guy try and talk to me and whatever I am so cold with them so they know I’m not interested. So I don’t know why my head is making me feel like I am by telling me I’m looking at them or if they’re looking at me or that whenever I’m doing something I’m acting in a way to look good incase they’re looking. It’s really annoying

      • Katie

        Sometimes aswell I look at him and feel sorry for him, sometimes I’m scared that I’m wasting his life being with me and he could be with someone who has all the love feelings for him and doesn’t have all these thoughts about him. I just feel sometimes that I’m wasting his life for him. I don’t want this to be the case though.

  • Someone

    Hi again, I wonder if you have any books or other resources to recommend for learning how to connect tenderness and sex, for people that don’t connect those two automatically? For people who have viewed sex as porn for many years and want that to change. In the meantime while waiting for your course I mean.