COVEN. CALL. THREE.
CATHERINE HUMMEL & LARA CATONE.
"SELF LOVE & SELF PLEASURE."
ABOUT CATHERINE. Catherine Hummel is your guide from Blah to Blissed! She helps women who’ve lost their spark (or maybe never had it to begin with) fall head-over-heels in love with their exquisitely exceptional selves. As a life coach, yoga teacher, Reiki practitioner, circle facilitator & workshop leader, she's coached tons of women back to wholeness and a (comfy) place of profound self love through one-on-one coaching and transformative group work. As a former addict and master player of the compare and despair game, she knows it’s possible to metamorphose from empty, bored & riddled with shame to exploding with passion, appreciation & love for life and who you are. In fact, She believes every woman can achieve deep inner peace, unshakable confidence & adoration for all of who she is - especially with the right teacher, mirror & guide at her side.
Lara Catone is inspiring women worldwide to reclaim their health and the wisdom of their bodies. As a writer, yoga teacher and sexual wellness coach, Lara supports women in aligning with their reproductive cycles, finding sexual wholeness, navigating changes during the childbearing years and owning their authentic feminine expression. Lara has spent the past 15 years studying the healing arts and has attended over 50 women in labor as a birth doula and midwife assistant. She is a certified Sexological Bodyworker, Somatic Sexologist and yoga teacher with a decade of experience. She is a sought after speaker and teaches workshops and retreats worldwide. Lara is an active blogger and the creator of the podcast, Sex Lab with Lara. She is regularly featured as an expert in the media including Playboy TV’s Sextreme Makeover. Lara is an innovator in the modern expression of yoga bringing into union the ancient feminine arts with modern science. Her teaching style is at once profoundly deep and irreverently playful creating a warm, safe space for students to open.Lara has recently launched The Artemis School for Women’s Sexual Wellness to train and certify other practitioners in Women’s Holistic Sexuality. In 2015 Lara is also releasing her revolutionary program, Restore Your Core: Strength & Vitality for Moms. Lara’s mission is to contribute to the evolution of women’s holistic wellness and sexuality, empowering radiant health and pleasure for all.
Sarah: Hey, okay so welcome to another extremely feminine night of the Coven Conversations. This is call three of thirteen. Somehow the weeks are flying by. I was just telling our first sister speaker tonight Catherine Hummel about the energy of today. She's been dancing through it, I've been trying to ground through it with socks and tea, and soup. Still feeling like there's a bolt of electricity running through me. Let's just try to further ground a little bit coming into our bodies, which is our work to move from the head into the body, from fear into love. Close our eyes ... feel into the hips, into the feet, into the belly, into the heart. Take a deep inhale from the base of the spine. Up through the crown and then out through the mouth.
Three more of just breathing in through the nose ... up along the spine, through the mouth. Take a number three inhale ... exhale when it feels right. Maybe calling in the north, or the earth and it's grounding. Mother earth to hold us in this work, to stabilize us, to feel that we are deeply held in this work. Thanking the north and the earth for coming in. The earth of our bodies for being grounded in this work. Then calling the east, air, inspiration, maybe we be inspired, may Catherine and I be guided through this work. Thanking the winds of inspiration and the winds of change. We dance for it for coming in tonight.
Calling in the south that beautiful passion, and desire, inspire for this work. We're going to talk a lot about being turned on, having our fires relit tonight. When we're turned on we can do our work in the world, and we can turn our lights on and attract the women who we have a soul contract with to wake each other up and heal each other.
Then moving to the west, water, the womb of the world. Our tears, mother ocean. Healing through her, with her in resurrection and rebirth. May we be reborn from this work. Then of course spirit, self, god, goddess, whomever you want to call her, that hire self, that divine within and without. May she be with us tonight. May this work serve not only us but all those in our orbit, the extended orbit, the creatures of the earth, mother, mother earth, the ocean, the brothers and sisters and children of this planet as well. The feminine. May the feminine rise and heal imbalance of the masculine to return us to healing harmony like the sun and the moon.
Okay gima and welcome Catherine Hummel. Hi.
Sarah: Catherine is a radical love coach. The reason I'm really attracted to Catherine is because she's completely authentic in the, my story is your story Magdalene vibe of I'm going to tell you everything and I'm going to show you. I've been there, and I'm not higher than you I'm your mirror. If I can do this you can too, you can heal. I did it, and I've been where you are. Also sometimes when a teacher she's not one of those teachers that's high on the mountain top shouting down at you, she might be one step ahead of you on the path, turning around to put a lantern and be like, "Go this way, it worked for me." But then without judgement and total compassion if you go your own way. Because I know because I've done work with Catherine and it's a very accepting, loving place. You can tell she comes from a deep well of her own self love and lack of judgement, and compassion for herself that she can offer that to her clients. So hi Catherine.
Catherine: Hi Sarah, thank you so much for this opportunity, and for the beautiful introduction.
Sarah: Yeah it comes from my heart. I really feel that deeply about you and just like every woman on this call when the goddess said coven conversations, she started to give me a line up like a Broadway chorus line. We're all in this blanket of sisterhood, you're one of the threads that she really wanted to represent a certain story of the feminine tonight. You were like, "How do we know each other?" That's often the case is that it doesn't feel like there was one specific instance, like maybe we've always known each other sort of thing. We did meet two and a half years ago now, do you remember that?
Catherine: Yes I do. I cannot believe it's been two and a half years. To think of where we each are right now from where we were then is so unbelievably powerful. Yes I do remember the moment of seeing one of your raw Facebook posts, and my heart saying, "Talk to her, reach out to her." It was about sobriety, and sharing with you that I was a fellow silver sister. That if you ever needed anything that I would be more than happy to hold space for you, and so it began.
Sarah: Right. That's how a lot of these relationships begin, is we just feel this impulse like I need to reach out to them. It's always right is the saying, even if they don't write back right away it ends up being right. But I also don't want to completely claim the term sobriety because I think of a silver person as someone who like once every three months I end up having a couple glasses of wine, and I usually end up texting you like, "Damn it." Because I'm in a place where it no longer serves me. What had happened was I had been drinking my whole life, I was a party girl, we talked to Liz Davis last week about the party girl to healer path. The thing about being a healer is what life asks of you, is to be healed in order to heal others. It asks you to hit this kitsch, this resonance of healing within your own self first. Before you can change the world you must change yourself.
What life was beginning to ask of me is that I start to heal, really heal the substance thing. I thought because it was just "wine" that it was okay, but I didn't realize it was leading to what Sheri Healy calls, she was my coach at the time, one woman that called the crazy eight, up down, up down. It was pulling me back to this dungeon of despair that I thought everyone who drinks felt. I thought that everybody had two glasses of wine and then the next morning wanted to kill themselves. I thought that was normal. I also didn't hit ... I had hit a bottom now five, six years ago when my ex left me, but because I was "functioning" I wasn't getting DUI's I was on the outside fine.
I remember writing this post of, "This no longer works for me," it was much rawer than that. I referred to the goddess Chhinnamasta, who the Chhinnamasta actually cuts her own head off to serve her blood to others. She's actually so selfless that it's not serving her, you know what I mean. I was sort of in that place with my service. Where you said one of your raw Facebook posts, I've moved in from the rebel maiden stage, to the mother who can self-protect the child. I wasn't there every part of our path and evolution, and especially the maiden, mother, crone, each evolution of the woman serves. That post serves a lot of people to go, "Wait maybe I need to look at this too." Just by here is my story, I'm not telling you what to do but here's my story. That's how we can safely not be in a place of as teachers or coaches it's like do this, it's like, "Here's what I did."
You reached out and you have ... what I want to know about is your path to sobriety. When did you become sober?
Catherine: I was going to that in one second. I just realized listening to you Sarah that when I'm closing my eyes and going back to that moment, what was happening inside of me was that I had an offering. It was literally like you were offering me so much online. I was reading what you were posting and feeling connected to you. Then in the moment that you posted that, it was like I could meet you. When I think of this circle right now and what you've created, and what happened to me the first time I sat in a women's circle of equal parts, all important. All having unique gifts and offering. My heart just like pumped that word out of my body listening to you. I wanted to offer back to you something that you had been giving me in following you're posts. It was just like this massive heart blast for me to reach out to you and say, "I'm here. Walking side by side," and I got sober.
I stopped drinking at twenty-years old.
Sarah: Right when everyone starts.
Catherine: Yeah, six days before my twenty second birthday. The joke is that I didn't make it a year legal.
Sarah: That's what I love about you. Is that you're just so open, and now I have to stop you because when talking about in women's circles is the work of Mary Magdalene. In coven we're talking a lot about the divine feminine and the divine masculine, and we'll get to you finding your divine masculine in a little bit. Magdalene to Jesus Christ was the divine feminine to Jesus's divine masculine. He bowed to her teachings of she would always teach in a circle, outside I'm the earth. She would teach in a circle, and what's the circle it's the shape of the earth. It's the shape of the moon, it's the shape our womb. She would teach in circles to show that everyone was equal and there was no leader, and that we all shared my story, you're story and learned from each other's wisdom.
That's the power of a circle is that everyone rises in their power and on one is left there, and no one is greater. You and I have talked about how to dissolve shame, and you've talked about ... what did you say to me yesterday about dissolving shame?
Catherine: It's in the place ... I am neither better than nor less anyone else. When I think of the healing, one of the many, many ways in which we're all healing ourselves to heal the planet is when we fully arrive there. I'll go into that obviously and what that means in the way God sees me and sees you, sees all of us, the experience of love the essence of love. That was it. I am neither better than or less than anyone else, because for most of my life I was less than. That's the only way I operated for a really, really long time. A really long time.
Sarah: Would you say that drinking played a part in that for you?
Catherine: Absolutely. Absolutely. There's so much, I've been feeling all of this all day and all of these parts of my story, and all of these parts of who I am that I'm so excited to share. I hit my "bottom," my first intervention rather when I was actually nineteen years old. For most of my life I was really the teenage years when everyone started drinking I was actually afraid of drinking. I didn't want to be out of control, biggest joke of all now. I was afraid of being out of control until at sixteen years old this super cute, eighteen year old boy offered me alcohol. For some reason up until that point I had been saying no, and now on this particular day I said yes. I blacked out the first time I drank, and the only thing I remember from that night is this boy saying, "You drink really fast."
Then three years later I'm face down on the floor in my home in New York where I grew up. I had come home for college over Thanksgiving break and I then got sent to a therapist. On our second meeting this woman said to me, "Have you ever thought about alcoholics anonymous?" I was like, "Listen lady I'll keep you busy with my childhood, we're not going to talk about my drinking." And so I didn't do anything about my drinking at nineteen. Then I did something about it at twenty-one.
Sarah: Why and how did you finally do something about it?
Catherine: The first piece that I was thinking about in service to everyone in this group is to talk a little bit about the way in which I was shut up as a little girl. I was a little girl of, "You're too loud, you're too much, you're too emotional, shut up." That's what was said to me at four, five, six, seven, eight years old. When I think of the essence of the wildness of the feminine and the chaos, and the extreme of everything that we can hold, it was like I was told to make it stop. That's why I picked up the drink in the first place, because it was, I don't want to control myself anymore. I can't take it anymore. To shut myself down, to try to keep it all together, and do the right thing, and behave appropriately whatever the heck that meant at the time. So I drank to be free, at least that's what I thought I was feeling.
Then to come to the stop was when it really was not fun anymore, and I knew that I wasn't free. To the best of my ability as this insane twenty-one year old was, "I am not free." The day I stopped was July 1, 2009. I woke up that morning and it was like all of my ... I literally do remember sitting on the edge of my bed, and everything that I'd dreamed about pass through my eyes. I dreamed about having kids, I wanted to be a mom since I was five. I was obsessed with being a mom, and realized now at the time because I really wanted to healthy mom and my body wanted me to mother myself, so I had to get there first. I dreamed of a relationship. I dreamed of having lots of friends and having this house by the beach, and being of service to the world.
In that moment I realized that if I continued to behave the way that I was behaving, which was drinking every single day, and throwing up every single day. Throwing myself at men every single day, none of the things that I dreamed of were going to happen. I didn't realize that at the time of course, but I now know that it was my first experience of understanding alignment, and do my behaviors match my soul's desires. The process of healing to me is about coming home to what that really feels like and looks like. What is true for me. Wanting something because I want it, not because everybody else has it or that's what I should want, or that's what I should do. That was my moment.
Sarah: I would say now you're pretty much manifested your dream life. I think that a lot of time we talk about owning that sobriety.
Catherine: Yeah that was the foundation. That was the foundation. You know I'm having this funny feeling with the word manifestation lately, and maybe we can have a conversation about that. About how I really think it was about being able to receive my dream life.
Sarah: I'm going to go with that because anytime ... actually I've played with this a lot and it works almost all the time. If you put ... it's not about gender, but if you put manifest it's more masculine that you're trying. It's like when you manipulate something you're in your masculine. When you surrender you're in your feminine and you're receiving. That's why life always goes so much better when you let go. We talked about last call it's actually harder to let go because it takes a ton of faith, and a ton of trust, and surrender which again is the feminine.
What I've been experiencing with this coven that's blowing me away is it's humanizing me, this communion with these like hearted sisters in a way that I'm actually, I'm feeling so relieved. What we continue to talk about is a lot of times these divine feminine spiritual goddess warriors we become too masculine with trying to get our message out. We stop opening up and receiving. I can feel my heart just opening up. What my inner voice is saying is like it's opening to receive and to make room for this dream life of mine that wants to come. That I don't need to "manifest." Although when Isha and I talk about it from the girlfriend manifesto we call it womanifesting.
I agree with you. You cleared a space and got clear, and clean enough. That's what I fine with sobriety is I couldn't believe the clarity I had. The awareness it created of what I was doing to get in my fucking way all the time, and sabotage again and again what I was doing. I blacked out the first time I drank too, [inaudible 00:21:24]. I was looking for a way out the day I came in [crosstalk 00:21:29]
Catherine: A way out, exactly, exactly.
Sarah: Somebody handed me a bottle of Wild Turkey at sixteen and I started feel less and less in reality and I liked it. I was like, "I'm going to take this all the way down the rabbit hole." It plunged you back into a way worse reality.
Catherine: I went from feeling everything to feeling nothing and that was it. When people are like, "How the hell have you recovered?" The answer is that I've been willing to have the breakdowns. I have been willing to cry my face off on the floor for ten hours. I've been willing to be enraged. I've been willing to scream. I've been willing to be enjoy. That's it, that's it. If there is one magic secret it's I was willing to feel every time. Once you took the alcohol away from me I had no choice because I had no way to numb out the way that I had for so long. Believe me I found other things. I can't eat peanut M&M's anymore, so there's that. But that's it.
Sarah: Well that leads to something I want to talk to you about which is, you did find other ways. Four years into sobriety you're sitting on a floor with a broken heart, chasing after a guy and surrounded by spiritual books, and you realize you're a love addict. Tell me about that?
Catherine: When I think of what ... I mean I didn't even know the term for many of the years that I was struggling with it. It's the addiction to looking elsewhere. It was like once you took alcohol away from me we all know it's an inside job. It never was actually about the alcohol, it never was actually about the peanut M&M's. It was never actually about my ex. It was about the fact that I put everything outside of me. Happiness was outside of me. Love was outside of me. God was outside of me, so therefore I could actually find it. I could never actually have the experience of whatever it is that I was wanting. It's the same idea we talked about pedestaling yesterday. She had something that I don't. She's more amazing than me, everything is outside. The love addiction was being able to see, I thought love and happiness was in this fucking person. Turns out love doesn't hurt ... let's just land on that for a moment.
Everyone take the breath that into every cell in your body. Love doesn't hurt. Love feels good. Love is peaceful and fun. I didn't know how to have fun, I stopped having fun for several years. Because everything was so heavy, and so serious on my healing path. The love addiction piece was being able to see that love is not outside of me. So long as I think that I will forever be in a struggle. The deeper work, and now that I do it with my one on one coaching, and the programs I've created, is all about looking at how we can't escape childhood, we can't. My love addiction was a direct result of how I was parented. That was how I was able to learn to have compassion for myself. Because how could I be mad, because that's what I did for a really long time when I was in the love addiction. I'm four years sober, I'm doing the work, I'm reading the books, I'm going to workshops, I have a coach, like what the hell more do you want from me.
It was, wait I have to look at the pattern from when I was a little girl, and what it was that I was seeking. Then learn how to fully re-parent myself, and learn that love is inside of me. Then what that experience gave me was the breakdown was the way in which my ego had to totally collapse because I had to look at all of the ways that I put things outside of me more important than what was inside of me. That was the breakdown, look at how you think this person is you're happiness, and this person is love, and this person is going to save you. It was wow, what do you do when I have nothing left to grab. Then it literally on the other side of that was actually accessing my heart.
It was now not just these little pretty quotes on Facebook of love yourself and blah, blah, blah. But actually the embodied experience of I can feel it when I put my hand on my heart. I can hear my heart. I know that I'm full and whole, and I no longer have the fear of abandonment. That's my mission this planet to help all women eliminate that fear.
Sarah: Three things about that.
Catherine: You've got it.
Sarah: One is the self-caring is huge and I'm still in it. I'm trying to take really good care of me because you know I got majorly abandoned. I have major, as Jessie Heid talks about, match stick girl syndrome, orphan, scavenger for love. No one really can abandon you when you grow up, that's it. It's the self-abandonment stops when you stop abandoning yourself. The other thing is you and I talk about God a lot, we're like super into God. I think what happen to us was ... I'm going to speak for me and maybe it resonates with you. Is that when there was nothing to turn to, when every bridge had been burned. When there was nothing I could snort, or eat, or anything outside of me anymore, I had to turn in. I fell to my knees and that's when it happened, when God was inside of me.
I think when you finally have nothing on the outside that's when you go inside. When there's nothing to distract you anymore, because there's nothing left really.
Catherine: Right, and the whole time, at least what was true for me was my heart showed me how it wasn't working. That was the awakening. It was literally not just that I'm constantly looking, it was this, "It's not working. That's not the answer." I've shared it with you before, I broke up with this person eighteen times over three years.
Sarah: That's insane.
Catherine: That's insane. What's so amazing is each time I would get back together with him one was like getting high, but two it wouldn't even feel good. There was one weekend where I ended up going out to California to visit him. We'd get back together and I get back to Boston and I start crying hysterically on the floor. There's this little part of me, this tiny little part of me that's like, "Love probably doesn't feel like this. If you're with the right person it doesn't feel like this." What I deeply believe and that I am deeply passionate about is actually helping women look at the addiction to pain, because that's all love addiction is. That the course of miracles tells me that God's will for me is perfect happiness. When I understood that, when I really got that. Not just intellectually but when I felt that in my body.
God's will for me is perfect happiness. I am meant to experience joy and beautiful things. Then when I gave myself permission to actually feel joy, because I was in pain for so long, then I was free. Then I was free and I didn't want this person anymore. Then I could make space for the man that God had planned for me. When I say God I mean love. I mean the energy of unconditional love, genderless.
Sarah: Right thank you for that. The third thing I was going to say is you see all these self-love posting and stuff. What is really hard for a lot of people about that is what if they don't know what love is. What if they've never been treated like that. What if they've never had it, what if they never had it. It's like love yourself. For me a lot of us are coming from broken homes where we didn't know love, or we've never been in a healthy loving relationship.
What would you say to someone that's like, "What the fuck, I don't even understand what love is." What would you say to that woman?
Catherine: That's so perfect, and I'm so happy that you ask that. Because that's that ... When I say, "Oh these freaking quotes online," that of course is the energy. What I believe and what has been my experience is giving someone permission, giving yourself permission to first feel the grief of what you did not receive. Because what the inner child wants to do, and this is the one of one coaching work that I do. What the inner child wants to do is say, "Okay I didn't receive it as a kid but this person looks like, feels like, talks like mom or dad, now I'm going to partner up with them and they're going to do for me what mom and dad didn't do. Then I'm going to be whole.
What I say on day one of coaching is, "I'm not going to be able to coach you to happiness, I'm going to coach you to wholeness." Healing literally means to make whole. The path to love, what is love, what the fuck is love. If I don't know what love is, it's the way that you feel when it's not necessarily with the person. That energetic experience of when you are with a friend and you can't describe what it is that you're feeling but you're laughing and you're free. That's the energy of love.
I don't know anyone who's had the experience of not feeling connected. Even if it's just for one second. When I got sober I understood enough that that one second feeling that I would feel once every five years with a friend, or at the beach, or playing in the rain, or listen to my favorite song. That one second of little minute joy, and freedom and peace, I knew that that was possible for me. That's love. It's being willing to say, "I didn't enter this planet in order to feel pain, that is not why I'm here. I'm here to have the experience of love." If I become willing to look at what I did not receive, and look at the way in which I think I'm going to now get it as an adult. Do the work to rip away every single piece of me that is blocking me from the experience of love. Which for me means the experience of my own heart. Because we don't enter the world not knowing what love it. We actually know how to love and we know what it feels like, we just forget along the way. So the process of healing is how to remember.
Sarah: That's the whole of course and miracles thing right, that love is what we came here with, and here is what we learned.
Catherine: Right, right.
Sarah: Tell me what you've gained from course in miracles, because I know you study it?
Catherine: Everything. Of course that's like the trick question, "What have you gained," is actually about what you've lost.
Sarah: Yeah good one.
Catherine: But in the simplest form is the recognition that I am not of this world. If I look at the way in which my thoughts are dictating everything, and this is what I was thinking about while I was dancing. I was thinking about the word stories. I was thinking about all the stories I used to hold about myself. I'm broken, I'm wounded, I'm stupid, I don't matter. Those were stories about myself because someone else told me they were true. My parents not being able to love me has nothing to do with whether or not I'm lovable, and that's what we do. "She doesn't love me so therefore the ego says I must be unlovable."
The course and miracles helps me to see how to completely eliminate every thought I have about myself that is not in alignment with love. And how to transform that so then I can form my own personal experience with God, my personal relationship with God, and my personal experience of love. That's what the course and miracles has given me. The understanding of who I truly am ... and how the only block is in the mind.
Sarah: If I were triggered by the word God, would you tell me again what God is?
Catherine: God to me is love. I should say I was raised in a catholic home.
Sarah: I was going to ask you that?
Catherine: We would go to church on Sundays. Then we'd come home and my mom would beat the shit out of me. My mom would make me go to Sunday school in the morning, and while we're getting ready for Sunday school she's telling me that I'm a stupid little bitch, and why can't I do things faster. Why can't I get in the car faster. I need to get to Sunday school. I learned my first experience of God, was a punishing God. You better believe that when I walked into the rooms of alcoholics anonymous and God was written on the twelve steps, I was like, "You've got to be kidding me." That was the last thing I wanted. Here's the joke, like jokes on me around I ... When I was a kid we all had little tiny memories, even if it takes a moment to close your eyes and go all the way back to one experience of being a kid and being so connected to nature, to a toy, to a song, to whatever experience that you're having. That was God.
I understood that I mattered. That I was important. That I was loved. Then someone taught me and told me otherwise, and because I'm a kid and psyche actually hasn't fully developed yet so that I can understand that I have free will. I therefore say, "Oh what mom says must be true." Then I have my own experience of recognizing I'm triggered by God, because what are the thoughts I'm having right now. What's the God that you believe in right now that you're begin triggered by? Because the God that I was triggered by was the punishing God. It was like, "No thanks not believing in that one.
So really I am a proponent of the twelve steps, I know it's not the path for everyone. It's one of many things that have supported in my path to healing. But the truth is is that it's brilliant. Step one, I am powerless. Okay the way in which I source power, from my personal will is not working. Step two, came to believe that a power greater than myself can restore me to sanity. Step two is about begin able to say, "Well what the heck to I want to believe in?" My first experience of God was to take out a piece of paper, I wrote God at the top and underlined it. Then I said, "Okay what qualities does this God have to have in order for me to believe?" At the time I wrote big. Twenty-year old Catherine just wrote big, because I had a lot of problems, so this God has got to be super big to help a sister out.
Then I wrote loving. Then a couple months later I wrote forgiving. Then a couple months later I wrote non-judgmental. Then a couple months later I wrote what's best for me. Here's the biggest human joke, and I share this all the time. When I'm drinking I go home with strangers. You hand me a pill, I don't ask you what it is and I put it in my mouth. Then you ask me to pray to a powerful, loving, forgiving God and I have to think about it. I have to think about whether or not I believe that I am being cared for and love, but I go home with people that I don't know their name.
Before course and miracles I understood enough that whatever it was that I was believing in was big, powerful, forgiving, and loving, and wanted what was best for me. Then the course and miracles helped me to really, really come home to the truth of who I am and understand that God is not separate from me. I will say that I think that was the problem with the twelve steps for a while for me. I didn't realize it of course until five years into sobriety. It kind of perpetuated this idea that God's outside of me still. I'm powerless so therefore I must pray to this thing that's outside of me, rather than what my mentor would say to me who is my first teacher in course and miracles, Billy. He would say, "Catherine where are you sourcing from today? Which part of you are you going to sour energy from? Are you going to source energy from the addict, from the ego, from the insanity? Or are you going to source energy from the part of you that is light and love and grace?" That was when I really started to get it.
It was just about that. It's just where am I sourcing my energy from. Simply we could say am I sourcing energy from fear, or am I sourcing energy from love, but it's a part of me. The addict is just a part of me.
Sarah: You had told me a story about sometimes you still catch yourself praying in the way of like, "Please approve of me." Will you elaborate on that?
Catherine: Sure, sure. I was telling a specific story of when I was saying the prayer, and in the moment I realized that I ... and this is maybe two years ago now when I just started the course. The way that I was praying was like I was talking to something outside of me. Like a little kid bringing home her homework assignment and being like, look what I did, didn't I do a good job. In the moment as I was praying, of course once you start clearing out the truth is that you can hear loves voice inside of you. Sarah I know you have the experience too you can hear it inside. You can hear the voice.
I hear the voice of I love you no matter what. It was like, "Wow, okay. You love me no matter what." It means you love everybody no matter what. This is self-love. This is self-worth. That I'm not worthy because of what I do in the world. I'm not worthy because of what I look like, I'm not worthy because I have a partner or not. It's I am loved no matter what, and my God the human ego cannot comprehend that. We do the best that we can to understand that that's the way that we are loved by the power that created us. That I am loved no matter what, and that takes the pressure off. I'm not loved because I have five likes, or five hundred thousand likes, I'm loved no matter what. Then when I source energy to do my work in the world, and I know you feel this too Sarah and that's why I respect you so much.
When I source energy it's recognizing that I am just doing that, I am sourcing from love, from the beloved, from God. Not from Catherine, not from Sarah. I'm the channel of my true self.
Sarah: This is kind of a double headed question because it ties in to partner love. You have said to me, you and I talk a lot about you have to find your true self, fall in love with yourself before you can fall in love with your true love. Or to find you're true love you have to find the true you. There are different ways to say it, and I'm always working a catch phrase in my head, I can't control that. You would say to me this winter when I was going through my dark time, you would say, that you would pray to see yourself through the eyes of God, which is through the eyes of love. That was the step to meeting, I don't know if I can call him your soul mate, you're partner, your beloved, but Andrew. Andrew is probably a love that you would never have imagined you could have had when you were drinking?
Sarah: Just tell me about that? Tell me what it took for you to find your true love?
Catherine: What it took for me to find my true love was the recognition that love was not outside of me. What I see so often is the special relationship, which the course does talk about, which is what my love addiction was about. Which was that person is mine, only mine. From there jealousy, comparison, control, insanity. Rather than what the course taught me and what myself love work taught me, which is the experience of my own love, the recognition that I am whole, and I have everything. And who I partner with will be a choice. I will chose to spend the rest of my life with someone, and I will know that I love that person when there's nothing I want to change about them. Then that person will make the choice to be with me.
Because the insanity of the situation with my ex, and I know in thinking about feminine, like having the feeling. Love doesn't hurt, and so I had the intuitive feeling that this person was not good for me, and I continued to get in a relationship with him.
Sarah: All the red flags.
Catherine: Right. As one of my friends used to say don't paint the red flags blue. But with my ex it was that he was not anymore committed to me than I was not committed to being with him. So that was the in and out. That I wouldn't stand in my truth, which that you were not good for me and I'm not going to be with you. It was every time he came back it was like, "Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah, sure." Any more than he was saying, "I'm committed to you." Because any time we would have any disagreement or any little hiccup he'd break up with me. And so the love addict always chooses the love avoidance. Someone who's totally in capable of giving the love addict actually what she wants, and it can be a man as the love addict as well. But that's what's so sad, and that's why I'm so passionate about the healing it's because as long as I stay in the pattern of love addiction I will continue to choose partners that can never give me what I need, because I'm looking for something outside of me.
Andrew was a manifestation of having me experience of my own love. Fully arriving and I have everything. I am love. I am whole. And now from this amazing space of joy and love, and clarity on what it is that I want in my life and my vision. You know I keep talking about that all the time, that's my stick as well. That the ultimate partner is someone who shares the same vision as you in what they want for their life. I don't know, I can post it in the Facebook group of my experience in Hawaii las year, one month before I met Andrew, were my heart wrote me a love song. That had to happen. That absolutely had to happen in order to experience Andrew, and to receive Andrew. Because it was that I knew that I was worthy and deserving of receiving epic love, which we all are. Write that down, everyone listening, I am worthy and deserving of epic love. That I am whole, and I have everything, and I will make a choice for who I want to spend the rest of my life with.
If that's something that I want because the course tell me too that I love every one there isn't special love. I don't love Andrew more than I love you Sarah, more than I love every woman on this call, more than I love myself.
Sarah: You're touching on something that I wish we had a million hours to talk. You're touching on so much and one of the things is the way we're programmed not to love those who love us, but to seek the love of those who don't love us. And the approval of ... I mean I will get hundreds of women writing the nicest things on something I write. Then that one woman who says, "You suck." I'm obsessed with it.
Catherine: That's part of our brain.
Sarah: Yeah. I've gotten better and better after five years of you suck, but there's so much here and there's so much to talk about. One of the things I'm must so madly in love with you about is your humanness and you're authenticity. We had talked about that you had to sold me which is obscenely funny now that you know me. And in general the way that you talk about nobody is [inaudible 00:49:18]. But when you described that you had ... well you've talked about it, do you have anything else to say before I sort of tell the story I told you yesterday?
Catherine: Sure, the only think I will say is to watchthe projection is that you have something I don't. That's love addiction. That's addiction. Everything outside of me, you're more powerful, you're more beautiful. He's more powerful, he's so amazing, he's whatever. When I was healing I would be driving around in my car, this is three years ago now in the breakup with my ex. I'd go, "I'm amazing too. I'm amazing too. I'm amazing too. I'm amazing too god damn it." So that's the teaching. She's amazing just like me. She's such a powerful teacher just like me. She's a powerful healer just like me. We are everything, nothing is missing. I also know that online is like one one-hundredth of who we all are.
Yes I did say, "God what are the things I would say," but along those lines. She is so authentic and I'm not. She's so powerful and I'm not. It was all of these things that I hadn't yet fully embraced within myself and that's the magic. Thank God for the mirrors, but we need the tools so that we can own those part of us too. That's the healing journey.
Sarah: Thank God that we're all so different that we're not alike. You are so good at doing Catherine, specifically your purpose. If you can see your path it's not your path. That's why I got so confused when I started out in this work I was like, "Do I have to be Catherine Bootic, do I have to Elaina Brower, do I have to be Gabby Bernstein." I would dilute myself.
Also and I worked with Shackti on this a lot, is like if we can see it we are it, good or bad, negative or positive. The stuff that drives me crazy about somebody else sends alarms bells within me because I'm like, "Shit I got that thing."
Catherine: Yeah we are whole. This is wholeness. I am everything.
Sarah: Yeah like, "Oh God that girl she's so messy it drives me crazy." Oh that's co my messiness drives me bananas, whatever it is. There's this teacher Elaina Brower who was really ... I'm really attracted to the chaos and the mess and the humanness of people. I'm really into that, like Anian Nin and Georgeo Keith, just so human. I remember thinking Elaina Brower thought she was perfect, or came off too perfect. All polished in cashmere, ninety-eight pounds, and very famous. I remember this aversion I had to her, and then my friend wrote to me, "Did you see her talk about her affairs today?" Then I was like, "What." I got really intrigued and then she was talking about her addiction to wine. Suddenly I was madly in love with this woman like, she had an affair, she had an addiction. It was incredibly compelling for me.
The way that you deliver, like I walked in and I saw God, and I was like, "You got to be kidding me." That humanness, it is the feminine of opening up, here's my closet look at my skeletons, I have them you have them. It's okay, it's better than okay. It's going to be okay. [ina
Catherine: I told you this yesterday and I'll say it again, the moment that I knew that I loved Andrew. That it was so unbelievably clear, was after sharing. We had gone on several dates okay, things were going well. Then on one particular date I share about my trauma history, I just go there. I've been sexually assaulted five times by five different people. I was sexually abused as a little girl. This is what I've gone through. The difference is that the way that I shared it, which is not from a wounded place, it was, "I'm someone who's experienced these things, it doesn't define me." Because a lot of times with ex boyfriends I would share those things from the wounded. From the little girl that says, "This has happened to me please save me." I shared it from this is something that this is a part of me, this is part of my story.
He received it as an equal. Not in, "Oh I'm going to be you're knight in shining armor, I'm going to make everything better for you, and I'm going to baby you." It was this moment of he just receive it, he never interrupted me he never tried to fix it, he never tried to change it. He received it and looked me in the eye and said, "You deserve someone like me." That was the moment that I knew and I immediately started crying and said, "You just demonstrated to me how much you love yourself." To me there is no sexier quality. That two people who are whole are going to be able to find each other. That self-love is when I can own every single part of me without wishing it was different, without wanting to change it.
And knowing that I am not my body, I am not what I look like, I am not even my purpose. I'm not what's happened to me. I'm not what I've experienced. I am love and light and a unique expression of it. It is my responsibility to show up fully in the Catherine expression, in Sarah's expression, in Debbie's expression, in Kelly's expression. Whoever you are, and that is self-love. That I am neither better than or less than anyone else, and I have a unique imprint in this extraordinary world. I don't want to be anyone other than me.
Sarah: I took some big steps being myself today and I really freaked out and got a little scared. Then I was like, "Who am I supposed to be besides me?" There's nobody else for me to be. You're basically talking about most of us go into relationships to be parented but you're talking about this partnering verses parenting basically, and he partnered you he didn't want to parent you. We haven't really talked about how, we only have a little bit of time left her, but how did you become a healer, how did you leave ... did you leave a corporate job? Did you walk that bridge?
Catherine: I did. I graduated college and went to grad school for public health. I was deeply passionate about women's health, I was studying maternal and child health. I was always obsessed with women's bodies, what they could do, how to be healthy, how to feel connected. I wanted to be a midwife, I thought that's what I wanted for a long time. Then after grad school I immediately got a job and was working for a non-profit in Boston. Becoming a healer I went to a workshop and I went from such a limited view about who I was. Back to the stories I held about myself, "I don't matter, I'm a girl who's been sexually abused. I mean nothing. I'm broken. I'm wounded." To attending this workshop which was the first experience of, "I can be anything. I am limitless. I am powerful. I am Catherine, I want to be Catherine."
in a meditation at that workshop after the meditation I took out my journal and all of a sudden I was writing fifteen pages of the way I was going to help women. I was twenty-three years old. I was twenty-three years old. I still have that journal, I don't even know where the heck it came from, but essentially it was all along the lines of, "I am going to give back to the world what has been given to me in the way that I was getting sober and starting to feel better about myself." That was what I wanted to do. It was, "I'm going to give back." I therefore chased every possible way to heal and create the open channel, and to learn about self-love. To learn about love. To learn about re-parenting. To learn about love addictions, and to learn about the path to healing.
I now experience that I will be different every day and who knows what I'm going to want to do with my life five years from now, five minutes from now. But this is what's true for me right now, this is what I'm being called to share right now. Truthfully it was always about self-love, because of spending so many years hating myself and moving away from the old stories I held about who I was. To understanding the truth of who I was. On the day that I met Andrew, the day, the first date when I went home and was lying in bed God said, "I want you to teach other women how you got right here." Because I came home from the date at peace. I wasn't full of adrenaline, I wasn't wondering if he was ever going to call me again. I wasn't, "Oh my God did he like me," blah, blah.
I just ... and I had gone on several dates with other people that were fantastic. I met incredible men. I was dating from this place of just radiance and wholeness, and magnificence, and curiosity about men and deep appreciation for men without needing anything from them. When you don't need anything from them they want to give to you even more, because that's the masculine to give. That was when I really understood. Since then I've really claimed the relationship coaching, and the relationship healing, and sharing my exact path. I do that in one on one coaching, and then I have a recent program that I just launched called 'The Path to Love - Healing your heart and opening to receive the life and love of your dreams.' Staying away from manifestations and really in claiming the understanding I have now which is that it's all about being able to receive that what's meant for us.
Sarah: So beautiful. We have to let Lara on pretty soon actually. But I remember calling you this winter when I could talk to nobody but you really. Because I was in such a deep relationship with my divine masculine, for him he had manifested as Jesus Christ in me because I was so into the Magdalene. I remember I could feel him when I was sleeping. I could lean up against him in the grocery store line. It was with healing my relationship to the masculine which is part of the wholeness. Because as somebody that's been abused, molested, raped all that, I had deeply traumatized relationships. That was that wholeness in me, that masculine that rose up in me, the protector, provider. He cared for me, held me in my meditations was very real. You were the only person at the time that could ... actually one other plan that I could really explain that he's my boyfriend right now and he's the best one I've ever had.
Catherine: Healing your relationships with men is one of the modules in 'The Path for love', because that for me too was very powerful because I didn't trust men. It's both healing inner masculine and outer masculine. Learning how to trust my protector, provider. The part of me that can go after my dreams too, the part of me that can create and be focused in my goal and have boundaries in relationships, and say no when I mean no. Then to trust the outer to let the man be the man in the relationship, rather than what I used to do which is try to control everything, everything.
Sarah: Ringing several bells. People can find you at WWW.CATHERINE-HUMMEL.COM , and you're in the Facebook group. I will send an email with your information. I just want to thank you.
Catherine: I am so grateful, I am so grateful. I have so much faith in the healing of this world, and of all of the women who's lights are turning on.
Sarah: Thank you, it was a true pleasure Catherine.
Catherine: I do feel like I could talk to you all night.
Sarah: We'll have to do it soon when I'm back in New England.
Catherine: Yes, yes, yes. Well wishing you just a beautiful evening and the best of everything.
Sarah: Lots of love, I'll talk to you soon. Thank you. Lara?
Sarah: Hi, how are you?
Lara: I'm well.
Sarah: Everyone this is Lara Catone. She is a women's special wellness coach. She's the founder of the Artemis school. She's an amazing yoga teacher. You're a doula as well right Lara?
Lara: I am yes. I'm not practicing much as a doula, but I have been a doula and I love birth, and still work with women in the childbearing spectrum indeed.
Sarah: A women's protector, and health advocator, and teacher, and gatherer. Let's get into it, how are you?
Lara: I'm great. I'm transitioning from taking in ... I've been vendors to convent conversations today. I just listened to Catherine's interview and I'm just like wow. A lot of deep, deep stuff that you're offering. I'm feeling all of that stirring inside of me. Also connecting into my own juiciness for our talk.
Sarah: Oh good, awesome, awesome. Catherine and I sort of touched on this a little bit. When you and I talked a little bit before this interview, or this conversation, I was mentioning how masculine so many of us have become in this sort of warrior goddess movement. We sort of walls back up, and Catherine even talked about the word manifest. We talked about oh there's too much manipulation. I know that in the Artemis school you really go for women opening, and receiving, and surrendering. You want to talk a little bit about that, about what I just said?
Lara: I've been on my own journey with all of that and apprenticing to Artemis, and owning myself as an Artemis woman. A woman one in herself. A woman who knows what she wants in the world, and is not afraid to go for it. I think I get a little choked up around still, and I'm constantly inquiring about this. When I had interviewed people for my podcast I'm often asking people about this idea of the masculine and feminine. Part of me wants to really get away from that type of separation. Then part of me really understands the importance of looking at these sort of different poles.
Also looking at the range of feminine too. Yes the feminine can be the warrioress, she can be the protector, the Artemis archetype. She can also be firery and fierce. She can also be lunar and watery. I'm really in a place of embracing all of those aspects. Being a woman who's been told my whole life I'm too independent, or just given the message to not speak up. I know you just talked a little bit about that as well. We are indoctrinated into this, I guess you could call it masculine world. Although I don't think it's a healthy if you want to say divine masculine, or healthy masculine expression. I think it's fucked up for all of us. Labeling it masculine then also puts a lot on the masculine, and the masculine is just as distorted as the feminine right now. There's just an imbalance.
I think we are taught the values in our culture is to succeed, is to acquire. These are old values from a long time ago, thousands of years ago, in the beginning of agriculture and the idea of owning property. Owning, acquiring, gathering, manifesting, creating the American dream, sure is that more masculine, yes. Also to get outside of that which you are doing through these conversations, it takes a lot of imagination and creativity. I just want to say we can't shame ourselves, or feel imbalanced, or wronged in ourselves for doing business in the way that we've taught to do business. Or going after things in the way that we've been taught to create things or go after things.
For me I'm on my own journey of really learning to receive too. I've been really exploring this idea of magnetism rather than manifestation. For me it's magnetized. I want to just give credit to Sophia Thom, that's really her platform. Is magnetizing and receiving. I share this and support women in this process, and I'm in deeply in my own journey with this this year. Actually the Artemis school I mean that for me to receive that was a big flexing or working out of that muscle so to speak, that receiving muscle. Really cultivating that.
Sarah: Tell me more about the Artemis school? First of all for women who don't know Artemis the goddess, I guess one of the things I know about her is that she has a bow and arrow, so that means she's sort of clear about what she's going after. Which you're right that's a feminine goddess going after what she wants. That's wholeness in its own way, that's balance?
Lara: Yeah. She's a virginal goddess which means that she contains an equal, healthy alchemy of masculine and feminine. I love how this feeds into what you and Catherine were just talking about in terms of becoming whole in one's self, and not looking outside one's self for completion. When she partners with a male partner she is can do that from this place of fullness and wholeness in herself. The Artemis archetype is one of independence. She is a pioneer she loves the forest, the wilderness, and it can be physical wilderness, or the metaphoric wilderness. She is foraging with her bow and arrow. She's got her eye on her mark but the path is not cleared, she is clearing the path to get there.
In some ways she's really strong and fierce, and then she also is really loving in that she's really a sister to women, and she's the patroness of midwives, of midwifing. She is associated with that birthing and those kind of ... she's not necessarily associated with the maternal qualities ... that's not true, there are aspects of her that are associated with maternal qualities as well.
Sarah: How did she come to you, was she someone you were always called to? How did you [crosstalk 01:13:26] your school?
Lara: No. I wanted to name my school after a goddess of course that just felt right to me. I have this book of every goddess name possible and all the qualities. I kept looking at the more traditional goddesses that were associated with sexuality. A lot of them have been over used in lots of different ways than the ones that were associated with love, and sensuality, and sexuality. A lot of them are very common. Artemis kept jumping off the page at me and I kept being like, "No she's not the right one, and I don't really like that name." I kept searching, but then finally on a mystical full moon it just came through.
I was actually grieving the loss of my dog and so I was really raw and open. You know how those moments are it just came through like, "No, this is Artemis and you need to get onboard with it." I was like, "Okay fine." From that place I started to really get to know her. I actually went through a lot of life transition this year in my partnership. Reading this book about Artemis along the way and just really learning about her and embodying her. It provided so much healing for me like I said, because a lot of the things that perhaps make me a specific kind of woman, I'm not the fair maiden that's for sure. I was like, "Oh I'm actually understanding myself so much better through my relationship with Artemis." Then the women who started showing up before the Artemis school that really resonated with that name and they had been on their own journey, and they totally got it right away, like of course it's the Artemis school.
My ultimate mission is one, to awaken women through their pleasure but there's also that real desire to create a safe world for women, and to protect women, and to sister women. I have a ten your old niece and I want this world to be a really safe place for her. That's Artemis, she is the protector, and also the pioneer. I've been a pioneer my whole life and I've always carved my own path, and as you know that's not always the easy way to go. Yet there's something inside of me that doesn't allow anything other than carving my own way, kind of the curvy path you know.
Sarah: Yeah I wouldn't know anything about that. I remember once I was sitting in a yoga studio and I was flipping through a magazine, and you were a model in it, a yoga model. What I didn't really talk about, when I met you which is really less than a year ago but seems like seven thousand fucking life time's ago as far as our incarnations, the way our lives have progressed, and evolved, and changed. I was really intimidated by you because first of all I was new to LA, I didn't know anybody, and I didn't want to be there because it's really not where my ... I believe in my soul hurting. My soul really wasn't supposed to be there, it never felt like my home.
I was with you guys and you guys all lived in LA and you're really close, and we were down in Guadeloupe canyon hot springs, Mexico. Basically we got there and everybody stripped, I didn't know I was going to tell this story. I was like, if I could have been wearing a snow suit right, and put up a wall ... I did it to be cool, I was so uncomfortable with my body, and you were just like, you didn't have the normal things of either trying to be my best friend right away, or you're like being really cold. You were just so cool and I don't know if you feel this about yourself, but you definitely had this, to me, like a deep rooted confidence. You sort of glided around the canyon. Very in your body but also sort of ethereal, an very comfortable in your body. I was like, "Shakti tell me about Lara?" She was telling me that you were a pioneer for women sexual wellness and healing.
I think I told you a little bit today some of like deep rooted sexual shame stuff, and it's caused such trouble or gotten me so hurt that I have ... basically I've numbed myself, I would say numb and nunned right. I've [inaudible 01:19:50] my sexuality. I don't even know where to start with you Lara. This is the energy that's been in my body all day. It's like I could cry with tears of relief that we're talking about this, but I'm also like if I ever talked about sex growing up I was dirty, I was bad, my mouth was washed out with soap. Once I almost date a boy in church and I got grounded for a week, because I said he was cute. So that I was bad, I was a slut, maybe we can get into slut shaming in a little bit but-
Lara: Sure yes.
Sarah: I feel like yeah. I remember watching 'Fried Green Tomatoes,' that movie and they had a women's circle where a woman came over and showed you a mirror to your vagina. All the women were like, they'd never seen it before, they'd never seen their own vagina before. That's kind of where I've been with that. Men have seen it but I haven't. There's so many places I want to start but maybe we'll find a way in in a second. Even your talking about receiving pleasure, every time a man's started to go down on me I won't let him because I'm so ashamed of my vagina. Then when you were on our call on 'Waking the Wild Woman' you were talking about our clitoris and I was laughing, but also like, "Where is that?" You know what I mean.
Maybe you can pick a piece to go from. Why is it that s sex so taboo, why is that? And how did you become someone who'd be stigmatized and talk about it? And what is your path to sexual healing been in your relationship to sex?
Lara: Okay, I'm going to start with one of those questions. I love your truth, and it's such a service to all of us to get to listen and witness because you're not the only one. I get to travel all over the country, and sometimes all over the world and talk to women about this. What I've learned is that every woman has a story around her sexuality, and her sexual shame, and her body, and what she's disconnected from etc. it's important to recog ... yeah where does this come from is a really important question. It is part of if we want to talk about masculine and feminine, and the patriarchy, and even another way of looking at that is the empirical cultures. Again this idea of acquiring and ownership of property.
For a long time women have been included in that as property, as something to own. It hasn't been always been this way, but it has been for the greater part of the last ten thousand years or so. If we go back to tribal times where when people lived together in groups in tribes, and shared everything, there was this greater sense ... I mean I've simplified my language and simplified the story just for the sake of time. The sense of equanimity between men, women, children, everybody was contributing. Everyone had a role to contribute to the survival of themselves and the tribe.
The other interesting thing about this time is that they did not understand the male role in conception until gosh maybe 10,000BC or 8,000BC up until, or maybe 7,000BC. Up until that point for twenty thousand years that people were on the planet, they did not understand the male role in conception. I just want to invite a pause here and for us to consider what women's sexuality would look like if we didn't understand the role. If we didn't think we needed, and men didn't think they needed to participate in the creation of a baby. Women were revered at the creative, the creative vessel. Her womb, her body was the creation of the universe. She was creating with the universe, and it all came through her. So she was the goddess or the earth mother, and no one owned her or her child. Her child belonged to her, and maybe her mother, or maybe the whole tribe. It wasn't owner over this is my kid, this is my wife, very different.
They shared everything including sexual partners. There also wasn't this idea of monogamy which also created this ownership situation. People just had sex. They had group sex, they had sex with multiple partners. There's lots of different configurations. Women were the total authorities over their bodies for the most part, and their sexuality. Then we can get into the time of the goddess temples, priestess temples where women were giving, sharing the sexual rights. Because again they were revered as being the connector to forests, the connector to oneness. So men would come to the priestess temples to unite and divine union with forest through a female woman.
Then at the same time agriculture started so people stopped being nomadic, and they started to set up shop in one place. Instead of traveling to the resources they had to create the resources. Men all of a sudden had a lot of free time because they weren't out hunting, they were herding animals which gave them a lot more downtime than they used to have. Women were actually still quite busy doing what turn from gathering work to having lots of ... they've always had lots of babies throughout history, paleolithic, and neolithic times. Having lots of babies, tending the house, tending ... women were kind of the original farmers. They were the gatherers. They knew about the seeds, they discovered planting seeds would bring more plants.
This hierarchy started to happen ... again simplifying a lot of this. Then we saw some tribal people start to have a different belief system where they started to believe moving from the goddess to a male god. Even in goddess culture there was always a male consort. There was always god and goddess, and moving from that paradigm to one in which there was one god and it was associated with being male. Slowly, systematically over a period of again thousands of years literally the priestess temples started to get shut down, and women sexuality was shamed. Women became property just like the cattle, and the herding animals, and the homes that they were building. Women at that time became second class citizens. This is where some of the stories and the bible, it was out of this time where we have the story of Eve. These stories that pin women with this evilness around sexuality, the temptress. On and on we go.
The point is that it hasn't always been this way, and it happened a long fucking ... Most of the time people were on earth it was not the way it is now. But we do have a history now of about ten to twelve thousand years where women have been oppressed. And our sexuality has been vilified. Our full expression of our pleasure, and our emotions, and the feminine has been literally crucified. Witches were burned, and have all these different periods throughout history where we created kind of this evil story around some of the things that we're reclaiming here, which is woman as priestess, as healer, and medicine woman, as witch. All of this was present and all of this had to go underground because of the ... is a big question. It happened slowly over a periods of thousands of years.
Now we are coming out of that thankfully with a real awakening I feel like. Then even in the past couple of years I'm really excited about what's shifting because even with recent movements in feminism which is just a whole rabbit hole in and of itself. I feel like the more I study and also embody and know the priestess path I'm seeing how the feminist movement was essentially taking on the characteristics of the masculine. So looking for equality in terms of the masculine. Only very, very recently accept for pockets few and far between, on a mass level are women actually reclaiming their pleasure out loud. Female pleasure means sensuality, being of the body, embodied, being one with the earth. Being one with source, all of these things.
I feel like pleasure and sexuality is really the final frontier. That's why I'm doing this particular mission. I really do believe, I'm dedicated to a task of supporting women to awaken to their pleasure and their desire. I think women are guided by their desire, and being cut off from our wombs, from our pussies, from our parts, cuts us off from knowing our desire. For me desire is the compass. The pleasure helps us to know that we're on the right path. I think if every woman was in her pleasure then we would have a very abundant space world. So that's what I've decided that the way I want to devote my energy. Not just decided but I supposed it's called [inaudible 01:33:56] and gotten clearer, and clearer that it took half of awakening pleasure.
I'm actually quite serious about that. Also there's a lot of fun that can be had on the path as well.
Sarah: Has this always been your path? How did you get so passionate about it that it became your calling?
Lara: Yes I believe it's always been my path. I feel like I was connected. I've been aware of my body and my sexuality for as long as I can remember. Yes like other women, it was shamed, it was punished, it was you know I was told it was wrong. Then also I'm very grateful because I feel like I've also maintained ... I've had sexual abuse and molested. I've had all the experiences that would shut me down, and have in certain ways. Also I feel like there's always just been this ember, or kernel present with me that's kept me coming back to the love for myself and the love for my body, and the expression to my body. It's just sort of the way that I'm wired. Thankfully I was always in embodied practices since a young age which helped like dance, and then yoga later on, and now dance again. All of that's really helped.
Sarah: We talked about Artemis and we talked about her being your guiding light for this school. If we're going to talk about slut shaming, maybe we should talk a little bit about Lilith. I know that one of your passions is reclaiming the exiled parts of ourselves which is the work of the wild woman. That Lilith as one of the first architects of which and wild woman, exiled from the garden because she refuse to sleep under Adam. And shamed for her free sexuality, the way she wasn't afraid of her own body and her own sexual desire. Would you say that Lilith plays a role in what you do? Or do you have a relationship with Lilith? ...
Sarah: Okay there you are. That was scary, okay hold on a second. Are you there?
Lara: Yes I'm here.
Sarah: Okay we lost you at the Lilith question. Did you hear the Lilith question?
Lara: Yeah interesting, interesting.
Sarah: It was really interesting.
Lara: I heard you start to talk about Lilith, but I don't think I heard the actual question.
Sarah: When I think of slut shaming I immediately think of Lilith. I think of exiled from the garden because her free desire. I think it's so interesting, I haven't been cut off on these calls, and I always feel like there's such resistance when you shift a paradigm. . For those who don't know the Lilith archetype, exiled from the garden for refusing to sleep under a man, which was sort of a metaphor to be under a patriarchy, but also sexually refused to sleep beneath him. Wanted her freedom, and her sexuality.
When I think of slut shaming I can't help but think of her, and I don't know what you think of that?
Lara: Oh yeah, I mean that's the time I'm talking about is the original slut shaming where all of a sudden women who were essentially offering, giving the sexual rights and the connection with god, goddess, source. All of a sudden they went from that place to literally their temples being burnt down and being essentially enslaved or cast out. That's some real shit. Lilith was a hand maiden, in Nana's temple. She was one of these priestesses. Yeah I absolutely think that was the original slut shaming for sure. There's a lot of parallels there.
Sarah: Tell me your definition of slut shaming?
Lara: Well, I also wanted to share that I was really bullied and slut shamed. I was also slut shamed by my mother, to the point where I changed schools in seventh grade. So I've really been through slut shaming.
Sarah: What was that story, why did you have to change schools?
Lara: It was just a such a hostile environment for me to be in, and I didn't adults helping me cope though it so I ended up moving. My parents were divorced and I wasn't getting along with my mom. I literally had bodyguards at school. I had people that had to walk me down the halls because it was unsafe for me. I was constantly being threatened to be beaten up, and did finally get in a fight, and just decided to move to my dad's and change schools for a year. I ended up going back to my other school eventually, but it got so bad that I just had to get out of there.
Sarah: Why were they persecuting you like that?
Lara: That's a great question. When you ask when did this work start, I feel like again my whole life has prepared me for what I'm offering now and continues to do so. I guess people would say that I was super cute young girl. The boys really liked me, and I was pretty confident coming into seventh grade. There was a bunch of eighth grade girls that just did not like that. This was started before I ever kissed a boy, the slut shaming.
Slut shaming is really about, it is a form of bullying. It really is not necessarily about sexuality, although it is. It's kind of a tricky thing. You don't have to be sexual. It's really a way of cutting someone down. It's very specific to women, slut shaming doesn't happen to men, which is something important too.
Sarah: It doesn't and I think of it in our pop culture like when Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Patterson, I don't know if you know that the Twilight. She was slut shamed, how dare she have a separate partner from one partner. How dare she have more than one partner. How dare she not be monogamous. The idea that a woman would crave sex outside of her relationship. It's also a form of witch hunting in its own way, attacking your femininity.
Lara: Yeah, yeah, and so going back to Lilith this is what happen women were fully sexually expressed at one point. For me the creative life force, sexual energy, source energy is all the same. If we can diminish someone's sexual expression we're cutting them at their very core of what they believe their worthiness is, of how they can fully express even their voice. The womb energy, the creative womb energy and the creative throw energy are very linked. Then also the vagina and the voice are very linked. It's just really interesting when we attack a woman's sexuality we're attacking a core of who she is.
Sarah: Attacking her life force?
Lara: Yeah exactly. It's about really just shaming her and deeming her unworthy and bad.
Sarah: I know why I'm so nervous today, because my major witch hunt have all been by women about a man. My biggest one was I slept with someone I shouldn't have, and I got so bullied and shamed for being bad, for being a bad girl. That's the deep, deep core wound I have. This exilement wound is the wound of the witch. She was excommunicated, killed, or exiled, never to come back, cast out. Your work is so important to return sexuality to a healthy conversation and a healthy ... Tell me what a woman with healthy sexuality walks like, and looks like? What her life is like, if you could?
Lara: The first thing that comes to me is boundaries. She had really clear boundaries in her life, and discernment. I think it's perfect that you coupled this with the self-love talk, because I can keep referencing and returning to that. She loves herself. What else do I want to say ... She's expressive, she uses her voice. She can look men in the eye and she does not cower or fear men. That's been a huge thing for me. My shift in how I feel in the world, particularly in relation to, other women like you said. Because it can happen through women shaming, or men being really needy towards you, I use the word needy instead of creepy.
She knows herself and she is coming from herself, and that's the most important thing. Verses there's a lot of influence, and this is why it takes some time to start to deconstruct this for ourselves. Even when I was teaching about pleasure at the Artemis school someone said, "Wow you're not talking about pleasure in the sense, you're kind of redefining all of this stuff. So redefining pleasure, redefining orgasm, redefining sexual empowerment." Because if we're looking at ... I don't really want to name people, but just certain women in the media. Immediately we might say, "Oh that's a sexually empowered woman," but we can also quickly see where she's selling herself, or how she's selling herself, and is she acting in response to what an industry wants her to do and expects of her. Verses is she coming from her true authentic expression. It takes some time to discern that for ourselves, and also looking at the outside world.
It's something that I, an inquiry that I am constantly engaged in. What does a sexually empowered woman look like. Because we don't have many examples right now.
Sarah: You said the word orgasm and most of us when we think of sex we just think of getting to orgasm. For you I bet sex is so much more than that right?
Lara: Yeah. I teach a lot about that. Shifting from goal orientated to sex, so if we want to talk about masculine and feminine sexuality. And bringing the feminine, or we could say yin aspects, receiving aspects back to sexuality really shifts the paradigm. Going from this goal oriented meaning, goal as in must get a penis in a vagina, if we're talking about hetrosex, or penetrative sex. That's the end all be all. When there is a whole range of ways to be sexual that honestly are often more fulfilling for women than penetrative sex, more pleasurable. A woman's entire body is wired for pleasure. When we make it just about intercourse, when we make it just about the genitals, or when we make it just about genital orgasm or climax, we're missing the full range of flavors and textures of sexuality, and so part of that full expression.
The reason I know that women are wired for pleasure is because we have a clitoris which is the only organ in the human body designed purely for pleasure. It has twice as many nerve endings than any other part of the human body. If that doesn't tell us that women are wired to move from pleasure and to receive pleasure then I don't know what does.
Sarah: I'm just thinking about you as a little girls getting shamed, and bullied, and what's sort of coming together in these talks that we might heal the world from our deepest wound. I don't know if that feels true to you, but it sure feels ... All I can do is talk about my depression, and my need to love myself and somehow that heals others. And my fight to be free of my demons. That is my work, and it's helping others.
That's not a normal story Lara, that you need a body guard to walk down the hall. That's a big story you have, big history right there. The fact that you turned that darkness, that alchemy of dark to light is the work you do, and the de-stigmatization of something that if the sex was healthy in this planet we wouldn't have so much rape and pron. If it was a healthy discussion and something people didn't feel shamed about, things would be different I believe. Do you believe that?
Lara: Oh gosh yes, absolutely, absolutely. That's really why I do this work. I mentioned I have a ten year old niece and an eight year old nephew, and I want them to be in a safe world. That really changes your perspective when you have children or children that you really love. I don't want them to go through the experiences that I went through. So I want to change this for future generations. And absolutely if we take sex out of the darkness, out of the shadows and we can just talk about it, then we're not going to have all of these distorted expressions of sexuality, absolutely.
I mean there's other places in the world, Europe for example they don't have as many of the distortive sexuality stuff with children, etc. as we do here. They have a much healthier relationship with their sexuality. That's why I do this work, and I do it for the men just as much as I do it for the women. I'm really keep feeling into how my work, because men need just as much of the healing as women do around this, absolutely. I keep looking at how I can create a bridge for the men and serve the men. Because as I'm working with women then they want their partners to be experiencing what they're going through. Because if women keep evolving at this rate we're going to have a hard time finding men that can hold that container for us.
So we have to get the men on boarded and become allies to them, not keep making them the enemy. Just like we can make other women be enemies through your example of you had sex with the wrong person, and slut shaming, etc. whether we're doing that with women or making men the bad guys, none of that is serving us. It's like we need to come toward each other and love each other, and tell our stories, absolutely.
Sarah: How does a woman who's been cut off from her femininity, her sexuality, how does she tap back into her pleasure, and desire, and move from that place? ... I'm sorry [inaudible 01:54:31] noises like that probably help.
Lara: Yeah. I think there's many pathways to get there. My brain just gets this enormous download and I have to sift through it all to try to share something really concrete and valuable. I think I really like the idea of self-pleasure practice, which is super fucking edgy for most people.
Sarah: I love it, tell me about that.
Lara: Designing a pleasure practice which ... and I've written extensively because I've done numerous pleasure practices, and I've extensively about them. Including practices in different ways to set it up on my blog if people are interested in guidelines and support. Committing to, it can be as little as seven days, or thirty days, or forty days, of practice of dedicating some time each day to yourself and to your pleasure. It can be as simple as, "I'm going to sit here and put on hand on my pussy and one hand on my heart and breath. And try to feel my pussy, or feel my clitoris, or feel my pelvis with my breath." And I'm going to create this connection between my heart and my genitals. It can be masturbation that could be, or I prefer to call it self-pleasure. It can be a full on self-pleasure practice that includes genitals. It can be rubbing a delicious oil on your body. It can be rolling around on your floor to a great juicy song.
Just taking time out each day to dedicate to your pleasure, and then begin with the resistance that shows up and the stories that come along with it, the belief system that you have around your own pleasure. Because we have been taught very covertly even that our pleasure is not valid, it's evil even. That it will attract bad things or bad situations. We're told that about our bodies in a lot of ways. The first thing we hear if a woman is assaulted it's like what was she wearing as if it's her fault. There's many ways that we cover up our pleasure, our bodies, and even our puritanical kind of culture of like we have to work hard and pleasure is superfluous or useless.
There's a lot of belief systems we have about pleasure so creating a practice around giving that to yourself. If you have a way, a lot of people have a certain way that they self-pleasure or masturbate. They do it the same way all the time. This is also a way to really start to blow open what's possible sexually, and to feel your full sensual body, and engage all of your senses. Verses making it just about genitals and just about orgasm. There's many things that can come out of this practice.
Sarah: It's funny I still have that resistance every time I self-pleasure, this is bad and I have to move through it. Or God's watching and thinks I'm bad, or my ancestors or something. Then I have to like remember Magdalene, Magdalene teaches this. I have to go back to Magdalene.
We're just going to go just a few minutes over because we started a few minutes late. There's a buzz word of buzz term sacred sexuality, what does that mean to you? How do you speak on that?
Lara: That's a great question. I think everything is sacred. I come intellectually from a neo ... not a neo a classical tuntra background. Which really teaches that all experience is holy and sacred. Even the profane, even the painful, even the wild, the messiness, I think it's all sacred. I do think our sexuality is a way to really it is about this cosmic union with the divine, with source, with mystery. There's so much available there in our sexuality beyond just what's happening in out physical bodies. Sexuality in and off it ... or the act of sex is an ecstatic trans ..., transcendence is a tricky word because we think of transcending the body. I want to just say that I'm not talking about transcending the body, but it is this transcending experience. And we have to get into a trans-like state to fully go into arousal and orgasm.
It's inherently designed to wire us up to the cosmic and the mysterious. So yes I think sex is sacred. I think anal sex is sacred. I think having sex with multiple people is sacred. I think being abstainet is sacred. I think it's whatever, being asexual can be sacred. It can all be sacred. Also that doesn't mean we need some crazy ritual or we need to every time we have sex feel like we're fucking God, or Jesus, or the goddess. It can be real and human and still be sacred.
Sarah: I told you that I sat down in front of ... I put Pee on my altar, for those of you Pele is the fire goddess of Hawaii. She's incredibly passionate of the volcano, that lava we all have inside of us. My landlord's amazing she likes to say that we should all "walk wet." She said, "Walk wet girl," she's this cowgirl. Pele said to be, "Sarah if you're not," because I've become so dried up and really I love you talking about that we shouldn't delineate too much between our masculine and feminine. But I had become so over masculine in a lot of ways. She said if you're not focused on your passion and your pleasure what are you doing. What are you living for if you're not living for your passion and your pleasure. And so I just wanted to share that.
You used the word arousal which a couple years ago I would have giggled like a little girl about that word. Why do you think it's so important that we should be aroused and turn on as women?
Lara: I just want to say from my own experience, and I've talked about my wounds, I've talked about where I've come from. I want to mention that I started having sexual intercourse at the age of thirteen, and I had sex with a lot of boys. I had a lot of shitty sex. Sex for what we would call "the wrong reason," I had for many, many years. Where I am in my life right now is I am living orgasmic in my body. I'm talking beyond just a genital climax, but literally everything I do generally if I'm on the right track is juicy, it's orgasmic. I can conjure and be in this energy all day long. It's an invaluable to all of us.
Again I really believe that women are wired this way. And I don't say that for people to feel broken, I just say that for us to know what's possible, because again we don't have a lot of example of what's possible. What it really looks like and feels like to be sexually awakened in the body. I'm forgetting your original question.
Sarah: Why should we be aroused and turned on?
Lara: Why should we be aroused and turned on? I would just turn that around and say why shouldn't we. Because life, why not. Life is supposed to be delicious. And not just say that we're not supposed to have challenge and heartache. That's all part of life too. I'm not just saying that we should all be blissed out pleasure heads. But I'm talking about a deeper pleasure where we experience pleasure from many aspects of our life. And even as we're moving through the painful experiences, wow the pleasure that's available as we move through those painful experiences ... I would say just because it feels amazing, it will help to magnetize whatever it is that you desire because you will be connected to those desires. And you'll be so called vibrating at that level of that desire if you're really truly feeling it.
Arousal is a whole other topic that I teach a lot about, female arousal. Because most women are not getting fully turned on when they're having sex. Most take enough time, we don't even know what full arousal looks like. So there's so many parallels here to one, like really learning our parts and what's happening in our bodies. Because if we don't know what's there then how are we ever going to awaken it and experience it. Sometimes we have a random awakenings and stuff starts to come through. But for the most part if we can't name it then it's dark, it doesn't exist.
That's why I do real true sex education, and I can talk about the energy and the ecstasy and the feminine and all of that. But really understanding what's happening in our physical bodies also anchors what's possible for our pleasure. So being aroused and turned on is just a wonderful way to interact with the world and to be happy, and juicy.
Sarah: Joy is what we keep coming back to. Is that that's our compass?
Sarah: If I were to take the Artemis school, I know that I would learn how to listen to my body right. What else would I learn if I took the Artemis school?
Lara: There's three distinct modules and they all have different anchors. I probably don't even have time to go into everything. It's really a full spectrum women's, reproductive health and sexuality. I frame it as I'm equal parts mystic, and equal parts scientist. That's what you get. You get to experience the priestess path and embody that. You're also going to get clear science about what's happening in the body. I'm teaching these things that have been extracted from our education, from our medical schools about what's happening in the body with arousal, what's happening with your fertility and menstrual cycle. How do you heal these things, and I'm giving really tools for this.
Essentially it's a certification program for sex educators, so you'll be a certified ... if you go through the whole program you'll be a certified sex educator, and practitioner specializing in women's holistic sexuality. It's very holistic mind, body, spirit, all of it. We look at belief systems and teaching people skills on how to coach and how to listen to their intuition. I have a whole module around postpartum sexuality and restoring the core, which is another passion of mine, the pelvic floor and the abdominals. We get into all aspects physical, chemistry, biochemistry, hormones and the mystical realms as well.
Sarah: When you said you redefined pleasure can you speak on that quickly or briefly? Not to rush you but I just wonder how you redefine that?
Lara: This is a reflection that one of my students had, I think it was actually Shakti who was in our module and also teaching part of it. Because when we talk about pleasure from a general American culture, we think about let's go get drunk on Friday, or let's go on a shopping sprees. We have these distorted ways of pleasuring which actually are numbing. They're not pleasuring they're numbing. What we again the general American culture tends to numb the body and numb pleasure in the name of pleasure. What I'm talking about is real true awakening in the body and experiencing the body. Pleasuring from a place of wholeness, not from a place of covering up, avoiding, distracting.
The tools that we use for pleasuring or the pathways that we use for pleasuring and are guided by it, is different than our general understanding. Does that make sense?
Sarah: Yes, yes. Lara how can the feminine heal the world?
Lara: She is healing the world which is good news.
Sarah: Yeah that's good news.
Lara: By speaking, by embodying, by showing up fearlessly, by being turned on in the world, that's how the feminine's going to change the world. She will be turned on, she will be unapologetic about her turn on, and she will express it fully.
Sarah: Where can people find you?
Lara: LARACATONE.COM, and ARTEMISSCHOOL.COM if they want to learn more about Artemis school. Those are the best places to find me.
Sarah: If I wanted to work with you one on one is that possible too?
Lara: I work with people on phone and Skype, I work with people in person. I have my private practice. Then I do travel all over the place. If people that are interested in the Artemis school we would get on the phone and talk, they would have a personal conversation with me to see if it's a good fit and to learn more about it.
I also offer free thirty minute consults to people who need support around sexuality or reproductive health, etc., finding their power. That's all available and they can find that through either website and connect with me that way. I'd like to offer that to all the women in the coven.
Sarah: Thank you. Is there anything else you want to offer?
Lara: Yeah I just want to say keep imagining what's possible and that none of us are broken. We're just in the process of awakening and remembering. What is possible is beyond what we've been handed, what we've been given. Keep going with the desire for more, keep following that, and follow that thread of pleasure and see how and where it leads.
Sarah: Beautiful. Thank you so much for your time and wisdom and your path, it was beautiful.
Lara: You're welcome, my pleasure.
Sarah: My pleasure, that was the kicker. That was the kicker, we can sign off there. Thank you so much Lara.
Lara: Okay blessings.