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What do women want?

April 21, 2011

Belly-Centering BreathI knew it when I chose the word.


Inviting women to empower ourselves by honoring and energizing our bellies was knocking on a door that would be hard to open. Possibly impossible to open. That door had been slammed shut for so long, locked tight, rusted on its hinges.

If nothing else, I’m a maverick. Maybe I liked the challenge of flipping denial into awareness, scorn into gratitude.

Maybe I liked the shock value of saying the unsayable. Pointing out what everyone and her sister would rather ignore. Declaring that our bellies — the focus of so much shame, pain, neglect, abuse, and self-hate — are portals to every treasure we seek. Proclaiming that through the belly, our body’s center, we’re already linked to Source Energy.

Source Energy? That’s God, Goddess, whatever you call the Great Mystery that creates, sustains, and renews the world. Put yourself in the stream of Source Energy and pretty much whatever you want is yours: creativity, courage, confidence, purpose, vitality, validation, security, abundance, intimacy. Oh yes, and great sex.

[Sex & the Sacred Girl comes to town this summer: July 12-17, just 25 minutes north of Asheville.]

The Woman’s Belly Book: Finding Your True Center for More Energy, Confidence, and Pleasure lays out the good belly-Great Mystery connection in detail. It provides all sorts of activities for befriending the body’s center. It provides power-centering yoga moves that energize the belly and activate our link to Source Energy. It reveals our body’s core as pipeline between heaven and earth. As far as I’m concerned, The Woman’s Belly Book spells out the Secret of Life.

The book has received a warm, enthusiastic welcome from its many readers. Now I’m wondering how to connect this take on the Secret of Life even more directly to what women want and need.

So I’m asking: What do women want? (What do you want?)

I’ve been listening. A few weeks ago I was at a gathering of gifted, wise, accomplished women. As we were checking in with each other, a woman I’ll call Margaret shared that she’d be going to South Africa in a few days to join a friend doing relief work in an impoverished region. How was she preparing for the trip? She’d gone to a healer to learn some techniques for grounding.

Suddenly, the room became still. The air crystallized. She had our attention. The woman sitting next to Margaret turned and asked her calmly, also urgently: Is there anything you can share with us?

We listened intently as Margaret described the two techniques she had learned. Both techniques involved visualizing a stream of energy flowing through the core of her body, through her pelvis, down into the earth. Both mobilized her pelvis in relation to the earth, applying breath to amplify the sensation of energy streaming through her body’s center. The Woman’s Belly Book provides such techniques, experiences, and benefits galore.

Ah, I thought: Women want “grounding.”


For me, “grounding” has meant being stuck, immobile, limited. As in parents saying to a teen: “You’re grounded.” As in “Your flight’s been grounded because of snow.”

Then there’s the electrical sense: If you’re going to fool with current, you’d better ground yourself so electricity won’t run around inside your body. Same with lightning: Put that rod on your roof. Then, if lightning strikes, the high voltage will go direct to earth.

So why might women want “grounding”?

I went to Chicago and to Everett Ogawa’s Integral Bodywork studio to find out.

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