Ashley Madison Hack Exposes Our Sexual Shame

Shame, let alone sexual shame, is a topic that does not get much discussion but I’ve been thinking about shame often these days as I review what’s working and what’s next in my life. “Shame on you for doing coupleformxyz,” is something most of us hear from our parents. Most of the topic of shame seems to revolve around sexual shame once you get to adulthood. But what is shame and why wish it on someone?

Shame is not an emotion. To me, shame – especially sexual shame, is a social control mechanism. Usually it is applied to girls and women, but it is not an exclusive feminine domain. Sexual shame is dictated by society based on judgments about “good vs bad” and “wrong vs right.” That’s probably why is it so often applied to women. It’s been an effective social control device for most of our history. Our sexual shame is a learned behavior.

Sexual Shame and Ashley Madison

Now the Ashley Madison hack has exposed hundred of thousands of married people willing to cheat on their spouses. Only three tiny towns in the U.S. were immune from the allure of Ashley Madison. Yet, when names became public, sexual shame rose up like a giant nuclear mushroom cloud. Tearful television confessions, even suicides, have followed in the wake of the hack of the website Ashley Madison. And it all stems from our shame about our bodies and sex. Such a sad commentary on our society.

With all the high-def televisions and the emphasis that our culture places on youth, most middle age women have convinced themselves that they are not beautiful or sexy or worthy of being adored. The amount of body shame is enormous. We cannot believe that anyone would desire us now that ____ (fill in the blank – scars, flab, moles, impotence, wrinkles). Again, body shame is not the exclusive province of women. Men are concerned about impotence as well as the amount of hair and where it is, their skinny legs or whatever.

So we flaunt sexual images to sell products and services, but we can’t talk to partners about what we like, our limitations, or our body shame. Instead we open accounts seeking anonymous physical intimacy and when our desires are exposed we cry and even kill ourselves. There is something very wrong with us.

So let’s start healing this sexual shame. Let it begin with you. Have an honest dialogue with your partner. Look in the mirror and see how beautiful you are. When shame, especially sexual shame, comes up, take a look at it. Where’s it coming from? Do you really believe its underlying premise? Examine it and discard the crap that is no longer true for you. In the same way that Louise Hay believes that healing your emotions can heal your body, radical honesty can heal our sexual shame.



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The Artist’s Way Book

So much time has flown by without an update. I wanted you to know about The Artist’s Way book and art club, since that has occupied my time.

The Joyful Artist Studio has been officially closed since November. I’ve not found a new home for it (or me) yet.  At this time, it’s an Artist’s Way book club. We will begin again on September 1st. If you’re interested in joining an Artist’s Way book club group and live around Lake Worth, check it out.

If you don’t know about the Artist’s Way book, it’s a classic by Julia Cameron. The Artist’s Way book spurs you to examine your beliefs, how you treat yourself and your art, and helps you catapult your creativity in a supportive environment with other creatives.

The thing that tends to happen, like any book, we start out with good intentions. Along about week seven or eight, something else takes precedence and BOOM, we fall off the beam and many never return to finish the Artist’s Way book. The book club gives you some accountability. The simple art and craft projects help you get back in the flow.

Artist’s Way Book Club Facebook Group

Not only do you have the support of other creatives at the weekly meetings, you also get to join a secret Facebook group of others who have completed the Artist’s Way book and art club. The group provides ongoing inspiration and just keeps growing and getting better with each round of the Artist’s Way book club.

You also get invited to a monthly playdate with all the alums of the club. It’s a time to check in, hold yourself accountable and have some fun with us. 😊

So if you’re stuck in rut, feeling like you lost your groove, come discover how the Artist’s Way book and art club can get you back in the flow of creativity and life.

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First Quarter

Wow did we already finish the first quarter of 2014? Where is the time going? I just realized that I hadn’t been here in awhile so I stopped by and was surprised to see the New Year’s Questions still up on the site with a new year post. Oh well, good intentions gone awry.

Mom placed on Hospice last month so her condition is deteriorating or accelerating, depending on your perspective. She got a Booda chair so she can be positioned to stay upright as she fades out. Planning to see her next week in person, after a three month hiatus.

If you haven’t seen it, please check out my new art studio website Joyful Artist Studio and Creative Lab. If you are local, come by and play with us!

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New Year, New Beginning, New You?

So much hoopla over the new year beginning this week! The debate over goals versus intentions versus themes. I don’t know about you, but it has been an exhausting holiday season for me and I did not follow through with some of my usual traditions this year. Perhaps that’s why I feel a little off kilter. Or maybe it’s just that they keep sticking holidays in the middle of the week this year!

Whichever perspective you choose, if you want to the choose the best you for the year, I highly recommend engaging in some sort of ritual or tradition around the new year. This year the new year and the new moon correspond so the frequency is very high around change. My favorite year-end ritual is to journal on a list of questions about the year. If you’d like a copy of the questions, enter your name and email address over in the right column and I’ll send them right over to your inbox.

Don’t worry. I don’t send a bunch of emails. I’m not very regular with the emails at all. I don’t view this a broken so I’m not going to fix it this year 😉

New Year Suggestions

If you are looking for inspiring emails that come with more regularity, I would suggest hopping over to Joyful Artist Studio & Creative Lab and getting on that list. At this moment, I am uploading a new series on upleveling your creativity over there.

On the other hand, maybe you want to start healthy eating this year. It made a huge difference in my life when I got allergy testing and eliminated some foods (wheat, sugar, corn) from my diet. You don’t have to have expensive testing, you can do this yourself if you are committed to feeling better.  The email series on the Start Healthy Eating site walk you through how to clean up your food choices.

And if you are looking at ending your marriage this year, I still offer limited representation for Florida divorce cases. Check it out at or



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Jumping Off the Cliff – and Into Life Purpose

It’s been a while since I started seriously searching out my life purpose. Suzanne Falter and Jeffry Van Dyck introduced me to the idea of having a Life Mission and it resonated with me deeply. I know not everyone is motivated to seek out this kind of info. But I am. It’s the way I was built.jump-off-cliff

I came to this unexpectedly when I traveled to Austin to an event hosted by Suzanne and met many of my online pals there, including Amethyst Wyldfire and Sharon Martinelli, who turns out, lives near me. It was a wildly synchronistic weekend. We did an exercise and I got a ton of info about the people I was supposed to work with but no clue as to what or how I was supposed to do it. It was frustrating.

True Purpose Training

So I thought perhaps I was meant to help others find their purpose so I trained in the True Purpose method with Tim Kelly and Jeffrey. Again, I was able to access a boatload of information but no hows or whats. That was at the end of 2010.

In early 2011 I said “yes” when I meant “no.”

When my gut said “no.”

When my heart said “no.”

Maybe it was fear. Yeah, it was fear. And so I defaulted to old behavior and basically put Continue reading

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Intuitive Painting: Let Go of Judgment

For my birthday I went to an Intuitive Painting Workshop. I love the community that Nadine has built around her studio, the Artful Dreamer. I love the process of creating and it has been fun attending workshops and circles and other events over the past year.

If you’ve never heard of it, here’s how Nadine describes it

Intuitive Painting is about paying attention to your experience (your process) while you paint from your HEART instead of focusing on the painting (the product).

You get to use paint to:
play with your inner child,tame your inner critic, listen to your intuition, & express without words

We begin with meditation, movement, painting with your heart…

It has been a year of cracking things open so I figured, on my birthday,  Intuitive Painting, why not? I could use a break from that inner critic. she can be a real talkaholic sometimes.

Judgment & Criticism

It was liberating to shut my inner critic off and just play for the day. It was also a little scary stepping into the uncertainty and out of judgment. Lately I’ve been examining all the judgment I have, especially what I heap on myself. Looking at these various judgments that I’ve made, I’ve come to realize that a great deal of them came from others. I just adopted them without actually determining if they were something I believed.

Most of us grew up with thee sort of unconscious judgments getting implanted. Try the following money judgments. Maybe you have them too:

Continue reading

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Staying Cool When the AC is Out

Let me just begin with a confession: I like cool – I get grumpy when I’m hot. This summer has been hot hot hot in South Florida and twice my air conditioner has died. It’s under Fruit on Displaywarranty, but it has still made for some super-hot days waiting for the repair.

My house is older and was built before AC was around, and it had features like a whole house fan (removed before I got here), cool quarry tile floors and trees planted around the south and west sides. Luckily I have ceiling fans in most of the rooms. Of course, this is all well and good but it still gets REALLY hot when its 92 outside.

I looked around for some tips to stay cool when the AC is out. Here are my favorite ones:

  • Close south and west-facing curtains or blinds during the day for any window that gets direct sunlight.
  • Take a (lukewarm) shower but don’t dry off totally, then sit by a fan. You can also use a cold compress on your neck if a shower isn’t feasible.
  • Drink up! Hydration moves blood to the surface more efficiently, and allows you Continue reading
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It’s Okay to Be Judgmental When It Comes to Your Over 50 Fitness Program

With a million different fitness programs out there, you need to have a way to judge which one if right for you, especially when you are over 50. Hmmmm, don’t like judging? Then shall we call it “evaluating” an over 50 fitness program? over 50 fitness program

Most of all, you have to like the activity. That goes without saying. That’s because if you don’t like it, eventually you will stop doing it. So like is the first factor.

The second factor is that the fitness program has to involve some cardio. I don’t like to sweat but the fact is, the heart needs a workout – of the physical, not the emotional kind. So your program should have part of it devoted to cardio.

Next I think your exercise program should strengthen your core. This is really important if you want to stay mobile. If you don’t believe me, go to a nursing home and see Continue reading

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Progress Principle: Motivation to Change

over 50 fitness programI’ve been thinking alot about how to maintain the motivation to change. It seems like some people can naturally do it, while other people find it difficult to keep motivation for change going – especially when it comes to doing things that are good for you. I know it’s not just me – everyone I’ve talked to about it seems to agree. So why do some people poop out while others seem to keep plowing through?

One thing I noticed when I started exercising was that tracking my activity helped me maintain it. I noted how far I walked each day and totaled the mileage each week. Jerry Seinfeld calls this “Don’t Break the Chain” because, each day his goal is met, he puts an X on the calendar. Then he tries to not break the chain of Xs on his calendar. Just seeing evidence of progress keeps you motivated to maintain your progress.

Cascade Effect: Beyond Motivation to Change

Recently I learned that beyond maintaining motivation, tracking can motivate you to make additional changes. Social scientists call this the cascade effect. I know that some of you will rebel at the suggestion that you keep a diary or notes of your activity, your food intake, Continue reading

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Best You Quote

“Change is constant and change is inevitable but personal growth –what you do with it, whether you grow with it, whether you become more, whether you decide to grow with what’s happening in your life –that’s a choice.” Bob Proctor

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