I am a big fan of Pattabhi Jois’ Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga practice. I love the physicality of it — having danced in ballet and the theatre for almost 20 years (not counting ethnic and belly dancing), my body really responds to the physical demands of Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga. I recently got back into it…. and I’m so sore…. :-)
I make sure to distinguish between ashtanga, which means “eight limbs” and refers to the eight “steps” or “branches” of yoga: yama, niyama, asanas, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, and Jois’ yoga practice that he called Ashtanga Vinyasa.
As I have just begun my campaign for United States Congress, I am stepping up my personal activism to a whole new level of engagement. And so, I wanted to post Jois’ closing prayer that is sung at the end of every Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga class:
Svasthi Praja Bhyaha Pari Pala Yantam
Nya Yena Margena Mahim Mahishaha
Go Brahmanebhyaha Shubamastu Nityam
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi
Which translates to this:
“May the rulers of the earth keep to the path of virtue
For protecting the welfare of all generations.
May the religious, and all peoples be forever blessed.
May all beings everywhere be happy and free.
Om, peace, peace, perfect peace.”
A-women! (Okay, I added that bit right there.)
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Being a Lakota from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, Sunny is a staunch advocate for reproductive rights for indigenous women. Though she is very shy as a person, she is not shy about the lack of pro-choice options for indigenous women being a direct result of colonialism.
We also touched on the topic of what is happening in Texas with the anti-abortion bill before the state legislature, a bill that 80% of Texans oppose, but that the Repugs are trying to pass anyway. (More on that later!)
Sunny is also the subject of an upcoming PBS documentary, Young Lakota, and she was the recipient of the prestigious Emerging Leader Award by the Ms. Foundation.
Have a listen to the replay, and follow Sunny on Twitter: @SunnyClifford.
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© 2013 by Trish Causey. All Rights Reserved.
If you know me, you know I cover New York’s Broadway theatre for a living, doing write-ups for shows, reviewing shows and cast albums, and hosting my own radio show, Musical Theatre Talk, on which I chat with Tony Award winners, Bway designers, and composers — I’ve even covered the Tonys! I do all this from Mississippi…. Yes, Mississippi…. How?…. I’m damn good at what I do…. (And I occasionally fly to New York.)
But there are other things you may not know about me….
In 1994, I discovered a quirky independent Australian film entitled Strictly Ballroom. Almost 20 years later, Strictly Ballroom remains in my list of Top 10 Best Films of all time.
The basic tenet of the film is a quote, supposedly of Spanish Romani origin, that goes, “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” I have taken this quote and sentiment as the “theme” for 2013 as well as for my updated website, and my continued activism on my “secret” blog that I sort of kept from my “respectable friends” because it deals with subject matters too indelicate for polite company.
For the past year, since starting my “secret” blog, I have lived in fear of what others would think — that they would shun me, rumors would start, and I would be all alone in the big, scary world.
What the FUCK was I thinking?!
Of course, I’ll be shunned. Of course, people will talk. THIS has been the one constant in my life — being the black sheep of the family, having family and so-called friends disown me for being truthful to myself and living that truth in the open, standing up for what I believe in, speaking out for other people’s rights as well as my own. Why the hell would I be surprised for people to abandon me now?!
The fear began at age 9 when I was molested by a neighbor, a teenage girl down the street. She knew how to get me to keep silent — she threatened to tell my mother. My mother was an evil bitch, a Catholic zealot, dependent victim, and recreational martyr. I wasn’t sure what was being done to me, but somehow, my mother was bound to twist it to being my fault. That threat — that fear of being shunned by those who were supposed to love me — had lived with me for years, well into adulthood.
At 21, I was raped. (No, Republicans, it was not your definition of “legitimate rape.” It was just date-rape, just me being violated in my home by someone I knew well, which I know doesn’t really count to you as “rape-rape” even though 80% of reported rapes are committed by someone the victim knows, not the stereotypical boogey-man.) Again, I lived in fear of others finding out, of being shunned and ridiculed by those who were supposed to love me, so I didn’t tell anyone — not one person, not even the police.
Since I was 13, I’ve spoken out on many things in regards to human rights and civil rights — sometimes in regard to how it applied to me as a woman, a bisexual, a heathen pagan. Mostly, however, I’ve fought for human rights on the macrocosmic scale — I’ve fought for the principal of the basic right of <__insert human rights issue here__>.
This time last year, something happened within me, and I could no longer keep all of this inside. I created my “secret” website and blog that I absolutely love writing. Yet, I lived in fear that if my family found out, I would lose the last of my family who still talk to me… and worse yet, my activism for women’s rights, women’s body autonomy, women’s sexual health, and my own personal journey in healing from sexual abuse would be used against me by my soon-to-be ex-husband to take my child away from me…. I repeat… I’m in Mississippi… not New York….
A few days ago, while looking ahead to running for public office and knowing my “secret” blog would become public knowledge, I began to update my personal website. For some reason, the quote from Strictly Ballroom resounded in my head: “A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.”
As happy as I am in my life as a single mom, a writer, an activist, a dreamer, I still lived in fear — which meant my life was not really my own. My fear still controlled me.
I knew then that I will no longer live in fear of losing people from my life. People who shun me for being an open, honest, and unapologetic loudmouth activist are missing out on one hell of a person in their lives. Their shunning says more about them than me. In fact, today on Twitter, I saw this quote in someone’s bio: “If you judge me, you don’t define me. You define yourself.”
So, here goes…. I’m coming out of the blogger and activist closet to let everyone know about my site and blog, ArousedWoman.com. (Begin shunning now….)
“Arouse” means “to stir to action, to awaken.” To me, this perfectly summed up my activism and the awakening I was experiencing on so many levels. A year of secret blogging later, I am proud to say I have a small following of readers — okay, they’re a fabulous fan-base whom I love dearly.
Here’s some more shun-worthy information:
I have never orgasmed during sex… but then 70% of women have never orgasmed during penetrative sex. I thought the problem was me. Turns out, not all of it was my fault. Some of it was the guys’ fault (okay, a lot of it has been the fault of the men in my life). A lot of it was the fault of the sexual abuse I suffered as a child and as an adult, and much to my surprise, a great deal of my issues with sex have come from the sexual harassment I’ve suffered since I suddenly developed breasts one night when I was 10. Therefore, I have written about my abuse as a kid as well as my date rape experience. I’ve written about my lifelong hatred of my breasts, as well as my fear of intimacy. I even wrote about my own Steubenville-esque experience that I was still carrying shame over.
I’m glad to say I am a multi-orgasmic woman — enjoying spontaneous O’s even! I have documented this journey in my DailyOJ posts. I am happier than I’ve ever been in that department… so much so that I now help others — men and women — with their sexual journey and sexual healing by answering their questions in my AskTrish posts and on Twitter. I love reading the comments by my readers on my blog and Twitter — they seem to like my OpEd pieces especially:
- OpEd: How I Like My Sex… Bare…
- OpEd: The Face of Orgasm: Is Your Woman Faking Orgasms or Not? (’cause really, most men are kinda clueless)
- OpEd: Fucking Cherokee Men (and Other People of Color)
I also review products including sex toys, books, lube, and music.
Still reading all this?…
AND I post erotic pictures on my AW Tumblr…. (no, not of me…. yet….)
AND I’m planning on hosting sexual wellness workshops….
AND I’m preparing an orgasm training workshop….
AND I’ve published a sample chapter of erotica on Amazon.com Kindle, that’s FREE for Prime members. (Tempted? Go ahead, you know you want to check it out…. I’ll wait right here for you to return…)
Oh…. you’re back? Great… Where was I…….
And is now a good time to mention I had to have a medical abortion in 1997?…. No?…. Oh…. Well, then, I guess I’ll save my tale of spending 20 minutes on the kitchen floor in such horrendously painful, incapacitating contortions I could not crawl across the floor to reach the phone to call 9-1-1… (twice)… for another time.
Still reading? Wow.
And I hate religion…. I am a very spiritual person, but religion is little more than man-made rules set by a core group of wealthy, powerful elitist men who suppress the masses into subjugation and adoration through machinations of fear and guilt — and who usually HATE WOMEN…. I don’t dislike the followers of religion necessarily — I like the UU’s, and I’ve never met a Methodist I didn’t like.
AND I am the Queen of Musical Theatre…. Seriously.
Now you know. My secrets are out. I no longer have any fear. My life is a life fully lived and living!
Judge me. You will be defining yourself, not me.
LOVE THIS? NOT SO MUCH? Leave a comment below! And feel free to share on social networks.
I am a woman and a single mom. Notice for whom this particular drill by Black&Decker would be a “great gift.” Is it Walmart or Black&Decker who thinks a mom, wife, or girlfriend (or female carpenter) should not buy a drill… or perhaps tools, in general?
Is this yet another way women’s equality is systematically undermined by patriarchal (RWNJ) culture and male-dominated corporate America? Isn’t this the 21st century?
We already had to fight the “legitimate rape” bullshit from the GOP, the shocking laws being passed in Arizona and the proposed bills in New Mexico. So #WhereAreTheWomen here? Is this more of 2012’s #WarOnWomen? Hmmmmmm…