Jivana Heyman 09:58:35
Hi everyone, its Jivana I just want to come on for a moment and thank our sponsor Offering Tree. They're an all in one easy to use community back business that saves you time, energy and money as a Yoga teacher. Offering Tree allows you to create a website in less than 30 minutes. Plus you get a discount through Accessible Yoga. Just go to offeringtree.com/accessibleyoga to get your discount today. Okay, here's our episode.
Tristan Katz 09:59:06
Hi, my name is Tristan Katz. My pronouns are they and sometimes he is a member of the Board of Directors at the Accessible Yoga Association for the last several years and a lover of podcasts, in general, I'm honored to be taking over The Love of Yoga Podcast for Anjali Rao this summer. For those who aren't familiar with me and my work. I'm a digital strategist and equity inclusion facilitator specializing in marketing through a justice and equity lens, and Trans competency training and consulting. I'm a writer and editor, a dog parent, and a longtime practitioner of Yoga. I began studying Yoga in 2000 over 20 years ago now, and I've since taken countless trainings, and I taught Yoga myself in outreach settings for several years. Over the course of our upcoming episodes, I'll be hosting conversations with a variety of special guests, some Yoga teachers and practitioners and some not. And I'm looking forward to sharing these discussions with you as we explore topics such as social change in Yoga, decolonizing fitness, embodiment and consent, parenting and Yoga, and so much more. Anjali will be back this fall to resume for radical work on the podcast. Stay tuned for her much awaited return. And without further ado, here's our latest episode.
Hello, and welcome back. Okay. Since I'm guest hosting people don't actually know me and my sense of humor on this platform. But it was either I dropped my voice 10 octaves or I sang. So hello, and welcome back to the podcast. Would you like your guest? Would you like to just go ahead and introduce yourself and say whatever you would like to about yourself and your work?
Terra Anderson 10:00:53
Yeah, sure. So my name is Terra Anderson. I am a Queer, Trans, white, relatively able bodied at this point in my life, and navigating some neuro divergence these days, human being. I'm a therapist, I'm a intimacy coach, and the bulk of my work really centers, the intersection between healing, pleasure, and social justice.
Tristan Katz 10:01:31
Thank you. Yeah. So listeners, I will be bringing the Yoga to today's conversation. And Tara will be bringing all of their goodness. But I just want to say that because I think that listening to your introduction, some might think why is this individual coming on The Love of Yoga Podcast. But at the same time, I can also imagine that our listeners are like, oh, embodiment, pleasure, justice? Yeah! So thank you for being here to bring it, Terra. I wanted to have a conversation with you to talk about embodiment and consent, and pleasure. These are, particularly embodiment and consent, are feel like topics that come up a lot in the Yoga space. And I wonder if you could start us off by defining how you explain embodiment? Because I think it can be a kind of vague term for many people.
Terra Anderson 10:02:30
Yeah. That's a really great question and I'm really glad that we're starting there. So the bulk of my work has to do with Somatics. And I have this question come up a lot with my clients and my colleagues. And I've found that in the Somatics field, what whether were like you're doing Yoga, Yoga practitioners, or you know, body workers, people are throwing this word around all the time. And I actually think that it's really deeply problematic when white folks, in particular (and largely these days it's white sis het, women) are defining this word defining what it means to be in our bodies. Because this isn't something that, embodiment isn't something that can be co-opted by a certain group of people. There can't be a definition that is given from one person that can put onto another person's experience of their own body. And so I think for the purpose of our conversation, we need to start with looking at the impact of our social identities on our experiences of our bodies. I think that when we're talking about embodiment, what the best that I've been able to come up with at this point, is really looking at one's own experience of presence, having a present relationship with what is happening inside of them on a physical level, whatever that means, for them, having a present conscious relationship with what's happening inside of them on a physical level. And that's the best that I can do. Because that looks so different for so many different people.
Tristan Katz 10:04:20
My brain is already sweeping into a dozen different places. How does it...I'm thinking about trauma in this moment, and how that interferes with our ability to become present or maybe be clear about what is happening. Can you talk about that a little bit? Like how do we, first of all, how do we get present? And I know that could look different for many different people, but like, what does it look like to turn inward? And how does trauma play into that?
Terra Anderson 10:04:49
Yeah, I actually think that the one of the defining elements of trauma is the dissociation from presence in one's body, the experience of being present in one's body as unsafe. And so the healing of said trauma, one of the pathways to that is actually building, regaining that pathway, to come back to a conscious relationship with the body that you have. And so you know, when I'm looking at at the social locations piece, one of the things that I think is really important to start this conversation is to recognize that we are right now, in the psychology field, starting to write to really acknowledge that oppression is a developmental trauma. And so when we're looking at different social identities, we need to recognize that our locations in society and the oppression that one has experienced, because of those locations, has a direct impact on our ability to be in our bodies. And actually, I quite honestly think that not only does it have an impact, but the purpose of oppression is to dissociate us from our bodies. That is actually the the point of the spear. In the way, yeah. Yeah. So, go ahead.
Tristan Katz 10:06:21
No, you keep going, keep going.
Terra Anderson 10:06:23
Um, so in terms of, you know, the impact of trauma on embodiment, I think that when we're talking about this, we really need to be thinking, you know, everyone needs to be thinking kind of for themselves, like, what do I need in order to regain my relationship to this form that I'm in? And what are my personal pathways towards that? What are my personal goals for that? Because any one healer can't put those goals onto another person. Right? It really needs to be the individual who's experiencing their life through their bodies, that dictates for themselves, what does it mean for me to have a conscious relationship with my body? Given where I'm at, in my lived experience.
Tristan Katz 10:07:10
Do you think that all dissociation is my brain wants to put dissociation into the bad category, and I can see myself wanting to even like hierarchize, like, as if being connected to your body is the top priority and anything less than that is somehow less than, you know what I'm saying? Like I and that all dissociation is bad.
Terra Anderson 10:07:35
Yeah, and I actually think that that comes from...that's a very privileged messaging. Yeah, like, actually, that, you know, that that's really easy for people who have a lot of privilege to say. And that's partly comes back to this thing that's like, it's really problematic for very privileged people to divine embodiment, for that reason, right? I feel and this is only, you know, based on what I'm recognizing in my career, from my locations with the clients that I work with, who are predominantly in the Queer community is that I've noticed that what matters is actually having consciousness about the state that you're in. So if you are conscious about the fact that you're like, I'm going to I'm gonna have a moment of dissociation. I'm gonna have a moment where I check out of the six variants, and I consciously leave and then when I come back, I'm conscious that I'm back. That's the thing that matters more than whether or not you have moments of dissociation. Because dissociation actually gets to be a tool, a really important one, it's a, it's a adaptive function of the body. And so to say that it's wrong is to other or marginalized, like a function of our bodies. Right. And so I think that if we're really like looking at a holistic view of this, the most important thing is our conscious awareness and our our ability to choose with as much agency as we possibly can, given our contexts, when we leave, and when we stay and how we do that adaptively. Right.
Tristan Katz 10:07:37
I know, for Yoga practitioners, this question might feel redundant, but I want to ask it anyways, how do you Terra, either for yourself personally, or with your clients? Like, what are the tools to check in or come back? You know, does that make sense? Like, how does one stay in their body? And what does it look like to even know, like, oh, I'm checking out versus I'm staying?
Terra Anderson 10:09:56
Hmm, yeah, so I think, you know, if there's a muscle, and if I, if I give you an example, it's gonna come from what like my stage of development in this, the development of this muscle, right? And so I think for people it's going to look a lot of different ways. But one example I could offer is like, I'm sitting in one of my grad school Somatics classes. And I had a really hard time in grad school, because I was working through a lot of my own sexual abuse and being in grad school to become a Somatic therapist is basically therapy bootcamp for three years. And so I'm sitting in this class and I have this moment where I can't be there anymore. I can't be there consciously in my body, I can't be there mentally anymore. And I check out. And a few minutes later, I actually don't know how long it was, I arrived back in my seat. And I had a moment when I was like, Oh, wow, I just went somewhere. I just went somewhere. I was gone. And now I'm back. Okay, what was the last thing that I remember hearing? What was the last moment that I felt like I was consciously present where I was? And by doing that practice a few times, you know, over time, I started to realize what it felt like, right before I left my body and what it felt like when I landed back in my seat. And by looking at, by starting to consciously recognize the bookends, I gained more agency over when I left and when I stayed. And so I think that that's a really important tool, to kind of look at like, okay, what are the Somatic markers? What what is my body experiencing, right before I check out? And what is my body experiencing when I come back? And by doing that, starting to feel it right before it happens. And so to bring awareness to that moment, right, before it happens, so you have a choice at that gate and you get to say, okay, am I gonna walk through this gate? Or am I gonna move through this gate? I'm gonna move it through this gate and leave because it feels adaptive and choiceful for me in this moment, I can't be here. Or do I feel like I actually want to push this edge? See if I can stay? Or do we want to make a different choice and actually get up and leave the room or leave the conversation and not weather the storm this time? Right? Yeah.
Tristan Katz 10:12:37
Can we tease it apart a little bit more than what is leaving versus staying mean? Or look like? Is it as simple as like, oh, I can feel my toes in this moment. And now I can't?
Unknown Speaker 10:12:52
No, I don't think so.
Tristan Katz 10:12:54
Yeah, say more. Because I'm like, what is leaving just daydreaming? Do you know what I'm saying? Like when you leave? What are you doing? Or what is one, I know I don't want to generalize, but what is one doing when one leaves versus staying? Like what are the points of reference or the ways to understand what's happening? And what does it look like?
Terra Anderson 10:13:17
Yeah. Yeah, um, I can tell you a couple of things that folks might want to look for inside of themselves. But I can't I can't generalize and with a lot of these questions that you're asking, I really feel sensitive to that because I don't want to name something that couldn't be generalized for a lot of people, because it's just don't work like that. And so I think that, you know, some of the things to look for is, you know, where does my mind go? Right? Can I actually attend to the thing that's happening in front of me or do I need to mentally depart? To think about the grocery list or to daydream, or to black out entirely and just have no recollection of what's happening in my consciousness? Or some other version, right? Another example is actually to lose awareness. And I think a lot of us this is actually our status quo, unfortunately, but to lose awareness of our breath, any sensations that are happening in our bodies, really the awareness that we have a body at all and to instead kind of grip on to the moment and say, like, okay, I'm so I'm really gripping consciously on this conversation that I'm having. And I'm not attending to anything else that's happening inside of my, my vessel here. That can feel dissociative for some folks. Yeah, I'm trying to think like, what are some other markers. I can tell you what it sometimes looks like, you know, it sometimes looks like someone's, you know, the eyes glaze over. Or maybe they're, they're the directionality of their eyes change, the expression on a person's face might change. The tone of their muscles might get extra hard or extra limp. There's some physical markers you can pick up visually. But in terms of what's happening inside of the individual, it vary so much, truly.
Tristan Katz 10:15:25
Yeah, I appreciate that. I wonder if you can speak to how a sense of embodiment informs our ability to practice? I'm thinking about consent. I'm thinking about hearing a clear yes or no. I've also recently been told and instructed that, that consent and yes or no is actually a spectrum and not binary, that there's like moments in between the yes and the no. Can you speak to embodiment in relationship to consent and hearing like, this is good. This is not okay. Like, how does that, yeah, how does that work?
Terra Anderson 10:16:03
Yeah, totally. I actually want to go back real quick before there's something else I really need to name around what does this dissociation look like? Dissociation can look like any normal moment in a person's life, like it doesn't actually need to have any of those physical markers I named. Some of those are, you know, are things that you could look for. But especially when we're talking about adaptive, chronic or developmental tools that our bodies like innately have to deal with trauma, to deal with oppression, a lot of us have to walk around in a state of dissociation, in a state of armor. And it looks very much like a person is present. And looks very much like a person is here and doing the things going through the motions. And maybe they aren't totally, because they can't be because of the context that they're in. Right? So I really just want to name that it doesn't just look one way. And it could look like you just go on about your day. Okay, terms of consent, right? So, embodiment (present relationship with your body - I'm gonna say that again, as a definition - present relationship with your body) is, I think, one of the most vital tools when we're talking about consent, because, in the words of Martha Graham and some other people probably also, the body never lies. And so there are a lot of influences when we are faced with a decision of a yes or no, especially when there's like high emotional stakes. And we're really easily swayed by all of those other influences. Our bodies however, tend to give us information that we wouldn't otherwise consider if we were just making a mental decision. And so to get a full, full or some people say in in the field like a full body yes, where like every cell in you is just like I'm so here for this. To get a full answer. Whether that's a yes or no or a maybe, whatever. Having a relationship with what is happening inside of you somatically is a real is a really incredible tool. And can, I think, be a compass when folks are having a hard time trusting their yes or their no. Building back that bridge to really understand what's happening for you, in your body can actually give you more confidence in trusting like, this is where I'm at. This is where I, this is where I'm at with this decision. You feel really important with that.
Tristan Katz 10:19:05
And I'm assuming then that when we well, first of all, can you tell us what it might look like to hear a yes or no? Like, what are some of the signals?
Terra Anderson 10:19:17
Oh, gosh. Um, so, again.
Tristan Katz 10:19:22
That general, I know...different bodies, different experiences.
Terra Anderson 10:19:28
So I, I think for a lot of folks, some of the things that I've heard many times, many times, and I really want to emphasize that for you, dear listener, you need to look at your own body and see what this is like. And maybe I can give you a little tool for that in a moment. So for a lot of people, nos tend to have a couple of characteristics like a slight lean back in the body or a twist away. Maybe a contraction of some sort, like contraction in a throat or solar plexus or stomach, right? There might be a density that happens like my body just gets a little more firm. Often, there's an experience of weight that happens, or maybe a desire to move away like to flee. Some people have the experience that their hands want to come up in front of their body, like a like a physical barrier. So there's a lot of different examples, those are just a few yeses often feel, for folks, like a lean in like a lean towards right. Just a slight center of gravity movement or pull towards there could be like a pull in the solar plexus. Some people feel an opening in their bodies, or that their their cells kind of relax. I've heard people name that their, their skin tone feels like it loosens a little bit. You know, they're really, really slight sensations that will give you information about what your yes and your no is. And so what I would invite folks to do when you're really looking at like, what is this for me? What is my embodied yes, my embodied no, is to actually come up with a couple of examples in your life where you were very clear, yes. Like you had that experience of everything in me, I can trust this yes and a very clear no. Give yourself a few different examples. Really go into them, really feel them for yourself. Like, imagine yourself in that situation again. So make sure that it's a situation you feel comfortable imagining yourself in again. Imagine yourself in that situation, track your sensations in those moments when you're making your decision. Track like, Okay, what was happening inside of me? Can I recall what those feelings were like? When I was a yes or when I was in no. And you might start to to notice themes that come up. And that's a really important just beginning tool to kind of feel like what is my marker in my own body that I can really trust?
Tristan Katz 10:22:19
And then I'm assuming if we, if one hears and no and overrides it. Talks (I'll just speak for myself) if I'm if somebody is asking me or suggesting something and my body full body is telling me no. And I think well, I should do this anyways, for whatever reason, and I override my no. Am I then, on some level, communicating with my body that (I'm thinking about trust and self trust) am I interfering with my trust process? What do you think? I think yes, but I want you to speak to it.
Terra Anderson 10:23:00
Yeah, I, I believe that over time, we as human beings, especially ones who deal with really trying to keep themselves safe in the world, are faced with many, many, many instances chronically, where our bodies tell us no, this isn't right. And we have to do it anyways to keep ourselves safe. And over time, that can strain a person's relationship with their body and kind of feel (remember your body is you) and so there's a level of mistrust in yourself that sometimes that starts to breed. And I believe that one of the, one of the pathways back home to oneself is to really start to heal that pathway. And make amends with oneself around like, okay, there have been many times where I overrode because I felt like I had to. And I want to make that right with myself. And that process of making amends with one's own body, regaining trust, repairing that relationship is such a delicate, beautiful, powerful experience. I mean we talk, some people talk, about empowerment in this field, like, personal empowerment, whatever, yadda yadda. I think that, if there is, if there is a felt sense of that word in myself, it is about the journey of repairing one's relationship with one's own body. That leads to whatever people call empowerment.
Jivana Heyman 10:24:50
Hi, everyone, I just want to pop in here really quick, and remind you about our sponsor Offering Tree. As Yoga teachers, we our own business managers, website, designers and producers, it's a lot. And Offering Tree offers an all in one platform that makes it easy to succeed while we're doing all the things. And I just like to say that through this partnership with The Love of Yoga Podcast, Offering Tree has shown that it's committed to supporting accessibility and equity in the Yoga world. Offering Tree is a public benefit corporation and they're driven by a mission of wellness accessibility, which we share with them at Accessible Yoga. As an Offering Tree user, you'll get to join a supportive educational community. And you'll also get free webinars with top experts in wellness and entrepreneurship. And of course, you get a discount. So go to offeringtree.com/accessibleyoga to learn more, and to get your discount. Okay, let's go back to the episode.
Tristan Katz 10:25:52
I wasn't expecting to go here. But now I'm wondering about I'm thinking I'll just speak for myself personally, like the amount of times my body essentially told me from an early age Tristan, you're Queer, like you're having a visceral response to, you know, your friend who is of the same assigned whatever gender sex is you and I and yet I overrode it, right? I like ignored it, I pushed it down, I didn't think about it. And it came up, again, some sort of somatic experience of you are turned on and attracted to people, who aren't cis men, and how many times I overrode that for so many decades. Can you talk about, like, the role of all of this in this heteronormative society and how we reckon with our identities that we're told don't deserve to exist, or that we don't deserve to claim or live into fully? Does that make sense as a prompt or a question?
Terra Anderson 10:26:53
Absolutely. Yeah, truly. So if we think about cis heteronormative society. And I'm gonna imagine Is it is it safe to imagine that listeners know what that means?
Tristan Katz 10:27:07
Define it just in case. If you, yeah, however, you want to.
Terra Anderson 10:27:14
Yeah, Ithink basically, I think the most, like simplistic and route definition is that our society holds the belief and operates under said belief that people who have the same gender identity as they were assigned at birth and people who are heterosexual are normal, and everyone else is adjacent to that norm in some way. And so there's a lot of implications of that defined normal, that other and marginalize and oppress and wound everyone else. I would also say this is a different conversation, but I would also say that it wounds cis het people as well. So operating under that normal, that cis heteronormative society, if we imagine it like a river, right, and there's a really strong flow to that river, really, really strong flow. Those of us who don't naturally go with that flow, need to find a way to stand up and get out of that river. Need to find a way to like be ourselves against a really strong, really strong current. And so when we're getting all of these signals, in our bodies throughout our life, it's like our bodies are saying, like, you're going in the wrong direction. Hey, stand up. Hey, find a bolder find something to grab onto, so that you can, you know, find a way out of this current, but the current is strong. It's really strong. And I think that one of the things that pains me the most in the work that I do is how many Queer and Trans people blame themselves, for how long it took them to recognize who they were. And that, that is tragic to me, because it's not our fault. Because we didn't choose this river to be born into. Because there aren't very many people around who are throwing life vests out, and you know, trying to help pull us out. It's really, it's a really, really powerful metaphor, I think to for what we're talking about. And our bodies know. Even in subtle ways, whether they're conscious or not. And I think that there's a level of trust that we can give over to our bodies, understanding of who we are really, really early that can start to heal some of that, like internalized shame, about not knowing is to trust it. Like my body's always been here, my body's always been doing this thing, whether I recognize it or not, you know, for me, in my gender, I didn't come out. I didn't even, like start to recognize myself until my mid 20s. And I, I got, I spent a lot of time kind of gatekeeping myself, because I was like, man I loved dresses when I was a kid, I loved all of these, like, quote unquote, societal, girly things, you know. Like, Trans people are supposed to know when they're, when they're small, you know, like, that kind of thing. And I think a lot of people gatekeep themselves in that way. But when I really listened when I get quiet, and when I feel the through line of my body through my life, I've always been here, I've always been in this form. I've always known myself, even if it wasn't conscious, even if I was like flowing hard and riding those rapids and like, I'm doing it, I'm in the river, you know, having a grand old time. At some point, something like told me, No, you need to get out this isn't right anymore for you. And that trust is really important, I think.
Tristan Katz 10:31:39
I had so much emotion pouring, like coming into my eyes listening to you share all of that. Thank you. I know you did. How does this I mean, we've kind of already started going there. But I'm curious if you can talk about the connection between embodiment. consent, and I just want to say too for, for folks around the consent piece, I think so much in the Yoga space, we talk about consent from the perspective of touch, which is super important. And then I think that there's a large cultural or rather, the conversation couldn't be larger about consent from a sexual and intimacy perspective. But I when I say the word consent in this conversation, and I feel like this is what I'm hearing from you, Terra, is that we're just talking about like, every day, yes or no to anything like there are so many things that we consent to all the time that aren't related to sex or physical touch. And our culture doesn't teach us that. Is there anything you want to say about that before we talk about pleasure in this conversation?
Terra Anderson 10:32:42
You know, I actually want to make it more granular than that and maybe bring it back to Yoga as someone who's practiced, you know, like, throughout my life. When I'm, when we're talking about consent, I'm talking like moment to moment, choicefulness in your body. I'm not talking necessarily just about big decisions. And I am certainly not talking about only the moments where like, you're like, Yes, I'm here for this touch or this sexual advance or no, I'm not. Those are really big pivotal moments. And I think we do ourselves a disservice when we think about consent as like a big moment thing, and not as a continual practice. And so, you know, if you think about consent, like breath, like it's something that you could potentially over time build hold such a relationship with it, you're you're checking in with it always. It's something that's operating in you from moment to moment, and you're having a deep relationship with it as a function of your body. You know, I think about in Yoga spaces like, there are moments when the flow in a Yoga class is too fast for me, I don't actually want to breathe in and out in the moments when the teacher is telling me to breathe in and out, right? My body's a no for that. And so it's moments like that, where we actually invite people to find their own rhythms on their mat. And to have their own, like, their own experience in that space be around a really choiceful honoring of those rhythms, rather than someone putting a flow onto somebody else's body. More that the teacher gets to open an invitation. And then the students get to find themselves in the invitation. That's my hope around this conversation in Yoga, specifically, is that it's a moment to moment thing.
Tristan Katz 10:34:54
Thank you. I'm wondering, I want to talk about pleasure. But now I'm wondering about, like, the basic life stuff that I don't want to do. Like, I have a clear no to, I don't know, taking out the garbage. I don't want to take out the garbage. I hate taking out the garbage. I'm just using this as an example. But But I have to do it. What is it that I'm telling? Like, what is that dynamic?
Terra Anderson 10:35:25
I think it comes back to caring for yourself. Like what is the most loving thing that I can do for myself right now? And you know, there's a little bit of that, like, I don't know, maybe self parenting thing that happens. And those moments where maybe the most loving thing for you is actually like, I am not going to take out the garbage. And I'm going to deal with that all week long. You know, where like, I didn't get the I didn't get the bins out to the curb and so now I've got a very full garbage bin for a week. You know, and maybe you know that and you consciously decide that for yourself. Maybe everything in your body is like oh my gosh, stay on this couch. Don't bring the garbage cans to the curb. And you're like, you know, the most loving thing for me right now is I really have to get myself up. And body, I hear you. I'm going to come back and I'm going to love on you. I'm going to curl up on this couch. As soon as I get back. As soon as we get back into the house from taking the garbage out. You know, it's really about like, what is the most loving thing that I can do for myself? What is the most caring thing in the larger picture? Yeah.
Tristan Katz 10:36:44
Thank you. I will eat breakfast after this. Not, because I should but because it's the most loving thing that I can do for myself. Will you connect this conversation to pleasure like maybe that's the prompt, just talk about pleasure in this conversation. Terra. Go!
Terra Anderson 10:37:10
So, we're talking, we've been talking about somatic cues, right? Like, how does your body tell you what it wants? And what it doesn't want. What is, what are the breath patterns, the sensation patterns, the movement patterns that show up in your body to tell you to guide you in directions around what you do and you don't want? I think that when we start to get a really deep relationship with those cues, we start to recognize that actually like what's coursing through us what's telling us what we want and what we don't want. What is guiding our yes or no is actually arousal. And I'm not talking about sexual arousal. I'm talking about like lifeforce. And when we're deeply connected to our lifeforce, where we have more access to feel good feelings. Just period, end of story. There is more possibility that we can access pleasure in mundane moments that we can have more good feelings in viewed throughout our day and throughout our lives when we're in contact with our lifeforce. And so I think that that's a pretty clear pathway to living a life that's full of ecstasy, in one way or another to carve out as many moments as possible. They don't need to be big moments, but little, tiny mundane moments where we can actually feel what is right in this moment. What feels good in this moment. You know, I, I see a lot of clients who are in really dark places. And one of the things that I often invite people to do to start building their relationship to pleasure is when their whole body is in pain, or when their emotional body is just aching to find one place in their physical body, that is a neutral, like an ear lobe, or the tip of a pinky, or your left nostril. Right, that is just neutral. And to start to really feel, allow your whole consciousness to be enveloped in that neutrality. And then maybe over time, we build our capacity to locate a place in our body that actually feels good. Like, oh, my gosh, I love the warmth of my left hip on the seat. Right, the feeling of this shirt that I'm wearing, falling down the back of my body feels so good. And really to start to actually become conscious of those sensations, such that we can tune into them in moments that are that we need it when we need it. Right. And I think that if we are not aware of our bodies, we we have less opportunity to experience pleasure. And we feel more devoid of those things and more dissociated from our lifeforce. Dissociated, not in a choiceful way. Right. And that I think can lead to a lot of pain and suffering. And so I personally have like a, you know, I'm an I'm an intimacy coach, and I talk about sex all day long, and it's a great life. And I think that, personally, what I've come to recognize is I believe that pleasure is actually the antidote to most things. I really do. I think that pleasure is, is a key ingredient to meaningful life. I think that it is, it is a pathway, a map to meaningful life, to the life that we actually want to be in. And our bodies are one of the only ways that we really experience pleasure. And so having that relationship, that conscious relationship with one's body allows you to do that, to map that. Yeah.
Tristan Katz 10:41:39
Is there anything that you want to say about...I don't know, I'm wondering about the role (I'm going back to the conversation around privilege and pleasure)...is there anything you want to say about that?
Terra Anderson 10:41:55
Yeah. You know, systems of oppression, really aim to gatekeep who gets to be in their bodies. Whose bodies are safe, and whose bodies are not safe to be in. Who gets to experience good things and who does not. Whose bodies are expendable and whose bodies are are worth good stuff in life. And I think that, you know, there is real impact that oppression has on the accessibility of pleasure for all of the reasons that we spoke to here. And so the I think the bottom line for me, is that we, we do live, we do live in bodies, we can't really leave them entirely and still be alive. They are a vessel on this planet. And so for every person in whatever social context they're in, whatever body that they have to find their own pathway to build a conscious loving relationship with their lifeforce and letting their body be the bridge to that in whatever way feels accessible for them. You know, that's, that's really the invitation here. And when I talk about pleasure, when I talk about embodiment, I'm not talking about the thing in the bright lights that everybody's like, flashing you/capitalism, like this is what it looks like. That's not what I'm saying. I'm talking about your unique individual moment that feels true for you in your body. Not what you're being sold. Yeah. And so I think that, you know, when we're talking about oppression and social justice, and I say something like, I believe pleasure is the antidote, I actually mean it. I really do. Just like I believe that, you know, embodiment is a is a healing pathway for trauma. I believe that pleasure is a healing pathway for oppression, because (or the trauma of oppression, let's say that) we can't necessarily, I don't know that we're going to heal oppression, you know, by yeah, by feeling good. But there is a there is an act of rebellion in that, you know, when everything in the system is, is trying to strip marginalized people from their experience of their bodies, and trying to get them to believe that they are unworthy. That when we can really come back to our felt sense of our life force, that is an act of rebellion. And, yeah, I just, I think that it's the key. I really do. And why not? Also, just why not? Why not feel good? You can.
Tristan Katz 10:45:10
Well said. Is there anything you want to say about this conversation? Things we've discussed or your work that you have not yet shared?
Terra Anderson 10:45:22
Um, yeah, there's a body of work that I'm kind of carving out with my dear friend and colleague, Weeze Duran, and we're really looking at how embodiment and pleasure can be a pathway to personal liberation. We're looking at what we're calling intrapersonal activism intra as in like within, within oneself. Intrapersonal activism, which is really the work that we can do within ourselves, to free ourselves, to do the personal liberation work to actually like, get out of the binds of all of the internalized oppression bullshit that we take on over this life in this world. And we're starting to teach on it. And really give people the tools to do the work to come home to their bodies to track and map consent in their bodies to build a relationship with their life force to find and free their pleasure from the binds of oppression, internalized oppression, and to do that amends work. That personal amends work from living a life of overriding ones no. And to really, it's become a really powerful body of work. That's it's really starting to, I think, change some people's lives. We've run like one cohort of our big programs, Pleasure and Peace, and we've got a couple of smaller offerings that are coming out that are more intensive, like four week deep dives versus the long haul, like one year program. So yeah, we're doing we're doing good work around it, loving it.
Tristan Katz 10:47:21
Thank you. We will link to the things in the notes of the show. Thank you for being here. Thank you for this conversation.
Terra Anderson 10:47:31
My pleasure, Tristan, thank you for having me.
Tristan Katz 10:47:33
It's a pleasure. It was a pleasure!
Terra Anderson 10:47:35
It was a pleasure!
Tristan Katz 10:47:47
Thanks so much for listening to the show. Please be sure to subscribe, rate and review wherever you're listening. And we'll look forward to joining you again soon for our next conversation.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai