On Receptivity: Or, YOU NEED TO RELAX OKAY

We need to learn how to receive. How to relax. How to let go. 

If you’re thinking, Alessandra, I know how to relax, I am so chill, I would like you to try this. The next time you are laying in bed, ready to go to sleep, can you pay attention to your body and notice how much you are actually gripping? Your shoulders, your hands, the corners of your eyes, your jaw, your feet. How many neurons are still firing? How much tension is left inside your muscle fibers as you attempt to ease into your pillow? How safe do you feel in your own bed? How much do you trust your mattress, the ground, the grass, the earth to support you?

Receiving is uncomfortable. Whether it's a compliment, a gift, a hug, a blessing, how often do we respond with, "oh no, I couldn't possibly" or "you should't have" or “no thanks, I got it”? How often do we feel unworthy of receiving?

It's totally bonkers, right? We've become so conditioned to fiercely value the independent and self-made. Those who don't need anyone but themselves. Those who grind themselves to the bone unassisted to get things done. That's the image we get, but how do we get through the quiet moments without a partner, a tribe, a community? Not to turn this into a critique of late capitalism (jk I'm always looking to critique late capitalism), but look at the ads and messages we constantly receive! Don’t sleep, eat or see your children. Just do, make, create. Hyper masculine,* Hyper sun. Hyper ha. Hyper yang. If we don’t supplement that with equal parts nurturing, feminine,* moon, tha, yin, we fall apart. We need both sides. We need the cycle, the compliments the whole.

What I mean is, unclench. What I mean is, let go. What I mean is do nothing, which is not as simple as it sounds. What I mean is find the worth in your Self. Separate from your looks. Separate from your achievements. Separate from the gold stars and trophies and promotions. Separate from your bank account, assets, titles, accolades. Separate from the parts we cling to for validation. 

There is a lot of trendy talk about “self-care.” This is definitely what I am advocating for, but there are specific distinctions I want to make. Self care is something you do for your Self. For your own body. Paying attention to the details of your being and what you need. Paying someone else to massage or manicure you is not self care. Massaging your own legs and discovering the grooves of your muscles is self care. However, allowing yourself to fully receive a massage from someone else is an act of receptivity. There are so many differentiations and overlap. Can we play with and enjoy both?

Masturbating is self care. And I don’t mean mindlessly fumbling about, staring at a screen, or turning on a vibrator. I mean feeling each and every touch. When was the last time you allowed yourself to receive an orgasm? The last time you relaxed into waves of ecstasy instead of pushing and forcing your way to a climax that remains just out of reach? 

Eating is self care. When was the last time you allowed food to nourish you instead of shoveling it into your mouth between meetings? The last time you felt how your lunch made you feel?

When was the last time you felt the effects of your cocktail? Let it swim through you between tastes instead of slipping it like an oral fixation between awkward sentences and boring small talk?

And even when we start to pay attention, are we staying in the moments as we inhabit them? When you’re in the bathtub, are you allowing yourself to float freely, feel the warmth of the water soothe you? Or are we running through our wants and needs and desires and to do lists like never ending scrolls on Tumblr. Our brain is like a website, if we keep scrolling down and loading more content, we will crash. There is a limit to how much we can hold. Can we hit the pause button in earnest?

These are my observations and confessions. No one can house a double cheeseburger from Shake Shack faster than me, but I’m trying to slow down. To savor. To receive. It's as if effort to unclench has become more difficult than maintaining the strain of tension, and that's where the work comes in. It's like using pliers to open up and detach the pieces that cling together in an act of protection. I invite you to submit.

Yoga, therapy, acupuncture, massage, tarot, writing, improv. These are not all the tools, but these are the ones I have found the most helpful. To help me connect, receive, open. It’s not flicking a light switch. It’s years of practice. Of loving it and hating it. It’s hard. But I'm slowly learning to relax. And receive. And listen.

 The Empress and The Queen of Coins from The Fountain Tarot

The Empress and The Queen of Coins from The Fountain Tarot

The Empress welcomes us to receive. To use our power to effortlessly attract what we want. Can we trust her? Can we trust each other? Can we loosen the focus of our structures and let our desires manifest effortlessly? Not by shoving the puzzle pieces into place, but by allowing yourself to find the right pieces as they come to you?

I’ve asked a lot of questions. Feel free to sit with them before you answer them for yourself, and, as always, I’m here to listen, share, discuss. 



*Reminder that when I say masculine and feminine I don’t mean male and female. You may prefer sun and moon, ha and tha, or yin and yang to describe the same thing,  but I find masc and femme to be helpful qualifiers, especially in the context of tarot.

On Intuition: An Awakening (or how I learned that anxiety is not a weakness)

Living inside your body is hard. If you’re prone to anxiety or any other kinds of hyper awareness and discomfort, you could develop pretty harmful habits just to survive. It may feel like this supreme weakness. Why do I feel this unbearable jolt of electricity when I hear the phone ring? Why do I jump to 1,000 horrible outcomes before anything even happens? Why is my brain broken?

Well, this kind of hyper awareness kept our ancestors alive when the dangers were far more threatening than a shitty text or an overbearing boss or client. When that freak out feeling happens, and a bear is attacking, that shot of adrenaline keeps you alive. It's how our ancient counterparts managed to survive, reproduce, and pass on those gene. I repeat: Feeling anxious is how we once survived. In the modern world, however, it’s really freaking inconvenient, definitely, but it’s not weakness. It’s the reason you’re alive at all.

On the days I feel good, I almost feel silly about all my little worries. All the little boxes of doubts and hang ups and years of conditioning that kept me quiet and scared and sad. But on the days I feel bad, it feels like I’m falling down a serrated crack into the center of the earth, into a part of myself that is empty, that is a black hole, that will never end. That feeling, that gripping and tension in every muscle fiber of my body, that’s resistance. That’s the supreme discomfort of not listening to your body. 

When your feelings are routinely dismissed as trivial by parents, teachers, lovers, friends, it’s easy to feel the initial pinprick of a bodily response and say “NO THANK YOU.” But that never works. That leads to built up tension. Shoulders that hike up to your earlobes. Lower back pain. Knots in your calves. Tendonitis. Tension headaches. Yup, all that repression has to go somewhere, and that somewhere is definitely inside your body. Yikes. 

 The High Priestess and The Queen of Cups ask us to listen deeply in The Fountain Tarot.

The High Priestess and The Queen of Cups ask us to listen deeply in The Fountain Tarot.

What does all this have to do with intuition? Well, in being so uncomfortable and therefore disconnected from our bodies, we lose that guiding compass that lives inside us. If you hate the feelings within your body, it becomes easier and easier to dismiss it completely. Have you felt yourself shut down, block out everything around you, feelings, sensations, words? Like viewing the world through a fishbowl lens, looking down on yourself as if you were a hovering spectre, or as Get Out so succinctly put it, from the “sunken place”? 

I have found that the times I feel the most uncomfortable, the times I could really use a drink or a pint of ice cream or whatever substance is your go to (this includes sugar and TV), those are the times my body has been begging me to pay more attention. To stop masking these feelings with rolls of duct tape like the pacifier I clung to as a child until my mother told me the pacifier factory burnt down all mine melted int he dishwasher to wean me off. Sometimes our internal mother needs to step in and say, “no, now you listen.”

Often when a client asks me a question, they are either asking the wrong question or they already know the answer. It’s just hidden behind other messages. Messages from society, our upbringing, the many faced internal selves who have their own ideas of what good and healthy look like. Today we are so over stimulated. So burnt out. Constantly connected. Constantly on overdrive. Maybe the remedy isn’t more of something, something new, something better, upgrade 3.7. Maybe we need less. Less noise, less notifications, less busy-ness, less metrics. Maybe we can ditch the Fitbit and listen to what our bodies are saying. 

Logan: Consequences, Relevance, and Visibility


  20th Century Fox / Marvel

20th Century Fox / Marvel

If you are reading this, I am assuming you have seen the new X-Men / Wolverine installment, Logan, The first “superhero movie” that is actually a fine crafted piece of cinema. I loved this film. I cried many times throughout it. I am not interested in “reviewing” this film, but I have a few points I am interested in exploring. 

Realism and Violence

I am not typically a fan of hyper HD. It takes me out of the world and makes me feel disoriented and weird because it’s usually presented more to show off technology than in the actual storytelling process. In Logan, however, the super HD (I know there is a new name for the next level one, but I don’t really care) articulates details of the story. You can see the lines on Logan’s face. The veins, the scars, the cuts, the discoloration that comes with age. Every wrinkle, every gnarled knot of scar tissue serves to present this latest version of a well known character. Every sag of once taut skin reveals the deteriorating cells of a once immaculately regenerative body.

This also makes the intense gore that much sharper. This is a world with consequences. There is no Bobby Drake skating around making snowballs, we have Delilah freezing a Reaver’s arm and smashing it to break his hold on her. It feels very much like the evolution of the genre. It’s not Frank Miller’s dark noire aesthetic. It’s the horrify reality of what manifesting mutant powers would mean to the bodies surrounding the superpowered (like the slashing of Logan and Laura or the insane twig explosion. What the hell WAS that?) within a Western structure. Furthermore, the horror of what an aging Professor X looks like and is capable of, coupled with the pain of accidentally killing his beloved students, presents an anguish that Patrick Stewart executes to heartbreaking effect.

The Nameless Women of Mexico

In this iteration Laura / X-23 and the other mutant children, were carried to term by Mexican women, the only evidence of whom is a series of bloody hospital sheets. It's a sharp imagine of visible invisibility, acknowledgement of existence, while still remaining off camera. The violent manipulation of female bodies as a method of breeding soldiers (or laborers in a capitalist society during times of peace) is a tale as old as the patriarchy. The violation and disposal of Mexican women, however, specifically reminds me of a harrowing essay by Miriam Zoila Pérez, “When Sexual Autonomy Isn’t Enough: Sexual Violence Against Immigrant Women in the United States.” In it she explains the explicit danger Mexican women face when crossing the border (from repeated rape to torture to death) as well as within the U.S. and the heightened danger of being a female immigrant without documentation and the sexual exploitation that often accompanies that status. 

From the sea of blood and government sanctioned invasion, rises Gabriella, a Mexican nurse who provides the only documentation of Transigen's cloning operation, acts as Laura’s surrogate mother, and helps many of the children escape the hospital. I hate that she is killed. I hate that these are the only adult women in this story (besides one other brave woman of color who is also brutally murdered EDIT: I just realized every adult character dies, but still). I understand this is a specific story, and a very well told one, I just need more adult women being seen and heard, you know? I only hope the memory of those bloody hospital beds sticks in people’s memories the next time someone chants about building walls or votes against defunding international women’s organizations. (EDIT: Literally no one is talking about this in all the reviews and analysis and it is blowing my mind and maybe proving my point about visible invisibility.)

Child Refugees versus the Military-Industrial Complex

The climax of this film shows a bunch of Latinx kids (along with their trusty Canadian friend / paternal figure / personal hero / did you see Bobby with his vintage Wolverine toy??) taking down a corrupt body policing biotech military group on their way to freedom and a hug from Justin Trudeau. The refugee children that were created by the big bad corporation have to destroy them on their way to freedom. This also opens the door to a new generation of super diverse mutants. The sacrifice of mothers often paves the way for the next wave of growth and progress.

I love this, but the politics of this world are complex. Mutants have been all but wiped out. Charles has accidentally killed X-men and civilians. X-genes have been sampled and used in attempts to weaponize children and manipulate female bodies. Are mutants too dangerous to take care of themselves? What happens when mutants age? How does the X-gene evolve and affect the deterioration of cells? Which X-men did Charles kill? AND WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED TO ERIK??

On a serious note, there are real children who are actually displaced out there. Children who have done nothing wrong, but have had the bad luck of being born in a place where conflict is happening. Conflict that our government has had a large hand in (and both parties are guilty of waging it). I won't belabor the point, but I hope this helps open the dialogue for folks who didn't quite have an entry point. Basically, I hope the magic of comic book characters can break through some cognitive dissonance.

Things I Found Delightful

Laura yelling in Spanish and punching Logan in the face

Shane (1953) and the eulogy

Laura turning the cross into an X

Bobby and his Wolverine action figure

The blue tinted shot of Charles in the big metal thing with light holes

Caliban's last stand

Caliban's desert outfit

Charles' final speech to not Logan

Everything about the Munson's except when they die

Laura's unicorn shirt

Everything about this version of Charles Xavier

"So this is what it feels like... Don't be what they made you."

And "Daddy" 

Love Your Self, Love Your Privates: A Post V-Day Special

Last night I read tarot for 20 women at a wonderful event called ((F*CK LOVE)) Me, Myself & I at one of my favorite workout spots, 305 Fitness. Reading for so many people back to back, you notice trends, and a lot of us have similar things going on despite the particularities of each of our ripples.

I ended up discussing, and advocating for masturbation with 80% of these women. I actually talk about this a lot with most of my clients, and while I don’t usually discuss it this frankly in a public forum, I feel compelled to address some hang ups and call upon particular kind of self-love for all who want to hear it. 

(I have written this post with trans inclusive language in mind, but we are all still learning. Talking about privates in this context feels tricky since I don’t want to assume what anyone is equipped with. If there is better language I can be using, please let me know. You can message me on social media or email me. <3)

We have a pretty icky relationship with masturbation as a society. Despite our obsession with sex and the constant parade of photoshopped, commoditized, fetishized, etc female bodies (and a sprinkling of male ones) being shoved in our faces 24/7, what is your relationship with your own privates? And why do I find the word genitals weird and silly?

Although I’m not the biggest fan of Sex and the City and find a lot of that show’s messaging problematic, a really great example of what I’m getting at is that episode where we discover that Charlotte has zero idea what her own vagina looks like. It’s this whole thing where the gang gets her to use a mirror and see what’s going on down there. I know a lot of people who relate to Charlotte. Who neglect their vaginas and have never looked their lady parts in the eye and said, “I love you” (I have never done that, but I will now). Why are we so afraid of vaginas? There are freaking horror movies about them. (Or is it just that one?) And some of our “worst” curse words mean vagina (you know, family favorites like “cunt” and “twat”). These are the places through which literal human life first greets the world. They’re like the opposite of the Death Veil in the Department of Mysteries (Harry Potter reference for the uninitiated). They’re like the Life Veil. Why are they bad words?

I feel like penises have a little more exposure since they are kind of just out there, and there’s old statues with penises, (this may be flawed logic, but it’s working for me right now), but I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of folks with penises, have hang ups about their junk. And why is “junk” even a word for genitals? Why do we call a reproductive organ that also provides pleasure trash? 

 The Magician, The High Priestess and The Devil from The Fountain Tarot and The Wild Unknown (Plus, an njoy Pure Wand)

The Magician, The High Priestess and The Devil from The Fountain Tarot and The Wild Unknown (Plus, an njoy Pure Wand)

I included The Devil in this image, because this card is so interesting to me, particularly in this context. In pagan tradition, the Horned God represents masculine creativity and the wonder of nature, but long ago, Christian tradition warped that image into a fiend that is out to seduce and drag us all to hell. I think a similar warping has happened to us with relation to our sexual desire. From over exposure to pornography to under education of what real consensual good sex can be, it takes a lot of self-inquiry and guesswork to move past all the confusion.

So what can we do with the reality of this, the fact that we are inundated with messaging that makes us dislike or at the very least disregard our privates? We start by getting intimate. By listening to our bodies. No matter what we have going on downstairs, we start by loving it. By exploring it.

It’s sacred place of pleasure and life, and it’s fucking beautiful. It’s called the Sacral Chakra for a reason, so even if you can’t actually create life, or you have some sort of Hedwig situation, the energetic blueprint in that area of your body is a sacred. So touch yourself. Learn yourself. Know yourself.

I would like to invite you to start without the internet. To touch and look and feel with genuine curiosity without an end game or orgasm in mind. Then, there are plenty of resources (and I do not mean porn) to help level you up. OMGyes.com and Kim Anami come to mind. Then, make it a sacred practice. Light candles, use essential oils, buy toys (Eve's Garden is my personal favorite spot in Midtown Manhattan), find the ritual in loving yourself. 

It takes a lot of practice to evolve past the instilled hang ups of being brought up a Catholic Cuban (or whatever your particular cocktail of conditioning might be) in a sex shaming society. I am still not 100% there. But without the mud, there is no lotus. Without digging through out messy hang ups and patterns, we don't get the break through. So stroke, tease, play, fondle, press and do what you will. I hope that love will follow.

On Magic: An Initiation

Often, we are so distracted by the reality and structures we have created for ourselves, we forget to acknowledge the magic in our lives. Especially now, during this drag of discord and danger, usurping and disunity,  where we love to paint pictures of apocalyptic mayhem. But magic still finds it's way through the dark corners of every great labyrinth. Often, we let it slip past us. Often, we aren't paying attention to the subtleties.

And everyone talks about magic in their own way, right? If you're religious, you may talk about how God works in mysterious ways. We have the chakra system as a visual representation, and can feel the magic of the mind body connection (the psychosomatic connection is a real scientific phenomenon by the way). Hell, even atheists have the magic of math and science, the golden ratio, algorithms galore. If you don't think spinal cords and hip joints are magic, then you must also hate small animals because DAMN THAT EVOLUTIONARY PROCESS IS NUTS.

My favorite kind of magic is the subtle kind. I spend a lot of time making eye contact with strangers and offering a smile. In New York City, this hobby ranges from invigorating and uplifting to quite depressing. A lot of people won't meet my gaze. Others can't seem to manage even the slightest twitch in their mouths (although this could be a lack of time to react we are all busy folks up here). It doesn't feel great to offer something to someone and have it rejected. It feels vulnerable and icky and especially lame because why am I even sad about this random person not smiling or looking at me? Who wants to expose themselves like that in public?

I do. Because there is a special kind of magic in the times that you catch the eye of the right person. I was walking along 40th street the other night and caught the eye of a man who must've been in his late 30s. He was sitting at the window of Le Pain and we locked eyes for maybe 3 seconds. I smiled. He smiled. But those smiles are beyond smiles. It's like two capital s "Selves" tipping their hats to each other through the fleshy vessels of our bodies. Like a deep acknowledgement that we are alive on this planet and we see and honor one another. It's like namaste. "The divine light within me sees and honors the divine light within you." For those 3 seconds, nothing else matters and I can just barely taste the meaning everything.

 The Magician from The Fountain Tarot

The Magician from The Fountain Tarot

Now that may seem excessive, but I swear it's the smallest things that can make the biggest impact. That's the kind of existence I want to cultivate. The kind of power I want to manifest. The kind of boundary defying connection that can save the world. It's those moments where I remember we are not our thoughts and our personalities and the things we love and hate about each other. That's when I believe in magic again.

This is not to say that larger action and motivations are not vital! To truly move through this life we have to made plans, execute them, write, create, implement. Magic doesn't manifest without action. Intentions are not enough to affect the world around you, but a little focusing of our powers, the conscious intention of where our power is going is the difference between paving your path and getting lost of the rat race. So what do you want to manifest? Where can you shift your intention to create? Where can we use the magic of connection as fuel, the magic of action to manifest? And perhaps, through these subtle shifts, we can discover our power. Discover our limitless ability to manifest. And maybe we can all believe that we are all witches and wizards after all.

Killing the "self" to Live: Apocalypse Now

Today I woke up sick. This is not a metaphor. I woke up achy and congested in the lungs. Unable to drag myself out of bed at my self imposed 7 AM wake up call. I stayed in bed and lazily "meditated" until I finally sat up. I grabbed my cell phone which had been chirping at me in 10 minute intervals until now and started scrolling around mail, facebook, instagram snapchat... a habit I am working on breaking. Oh I thought, It's inauguration day. My hazy mind let the details of this drip out of my ears while dreams of dystopian fantasy occupied my brain. 

With a leaden melancholy sticking to the corners of my ribcage, I spent the day sipping tea and bone broth and making spreadsheets and business cards. I called Oscar so I could enroll in an insurance plan. I called a financial advisor to help me navigate the new world of freelance and self-employment. I felt good. Productive even. But then I checked in on the shit storm and sunk into a lull for the rest of the day which included Yoga Teacher Training homework, reading The Mirror of Yoga by Richard Freeman.

Yoga philosophy can be kind of depressing. The corporate facade of this philosophical practice will paint a picture of freedom and sunshine and tight pants and green juice, but the journey to liberation is a dark and messy affair. Only when you destroy your sense of self, I mean get in there and murder your ego and any sense of individuality, can you even come close to liberation and freedom. You will have hints and tastes of it. You can even delude yourself into believing you've made it. But most of us cannot hope for that kind of enlightenment in our lifetime.

Actually, most of us don't have any interest in that kind of self-inquiry and development. How much easier is it to remain complacent or become a master manipulator, feeding our egos with a barrage of false identities and accomplishments? Projecting our self-esteem and self-worth onto accolades and victories. It is hilarious the things we do to feel something like acceptance.

You see, none of it matters. Not one single thing. And instead of depressing, why is that not liberating? Why isn't is a massive relief? We all gain things and we lose things. We grow old and we die. We are all dying. Right now. From the moment we are born, we are dying. Everyone you know will die, and eventually, no one will remember you. Why are we so afraid of that? Why are we so afraid of death? Of the temporary nature of this universe. Of endings? Why don't we celebrate the beauty of the life-death-life cycle and the phoenixes that are born from the ashes?


 Burying Point Cemetery in Salem, MA

Burying Point Cemetery in Salem, MA

And that means the Fourth Reich will end. The collapse of democracy will end. Every horror we will endure will end. If not today, then tomorrow. If not this year, then in the next four. We were asleep for a long time. A lot of us still are, but we have the opportunity and the obligation to push through the contraction and birth pains of this new cycle. Because Donald Trump and his supporters are us. We are made of the same stuff. The same elements and molecules and atoms. We are all connected, not in a "woo-woo" way, but scientifically every atom is in some way touching one another through the air and touching every other person. Our electromagnetic fields are constantly overlapping and intermingling.

That doesn't need to make you feel forgiving or compassionate. You don't even need to buy into it. However, if you choose to rise up, resist and seek change--seek to complete the cycle and bring in new life--know you are doing it for everyone. For every person on this planet. For the planet itself. When it gets hard, feel discouraged, feel like giving up, and then rise up again anyways. This is going to be difficult and trying and a lot of the time the worst, but we must stand up for each other and give voice to the voiceless and PROTECT THE VULNERABLE. 

I won't be marching in Washington DC this weekend, my loves. I have chosen to stay and continue my Yoga Teacher Training so that I can teach you guys some sweet moves and dope philosophy that makes you feel sad sometimes but giddy other times. You are all in my heart and I will be here to hold space for you upon your return. Stay safe and stay fierce and I hope to make a cameo in midtown Manhattan during my lunch break!

On Leaping: An Invitation

I wrote a short blog post last August in anticipation of what was to come. You see, I was planning to leave a wonderful and stable corporate job to explore myself and find work that was more aligned with my highest and best self. I was studying with amazing teachers and exploring parts of myself I had buried over years of collegiate education and expectations and the years that followed.

And now, five months later, I have done exactly that. I am a free agent of sorts, wandering endlessly in a trail of my own making. It’s beautiful, and exhilarating, and frightening as fuck. I spent almost a full year preparing, but nothing really prepares one for the reality of forging one's own path. For the thrilling panic of being in charge of your own life. As much as we long for freedom, too much really is scary. It’s so very weird to say it, but there is a dull comfort in obedience and conformity.

That is the choice, I guess. Comfort versus freedom. But we don’t grow in comfort. Stability makes us stagnant and stale, and I have never wanted an easy life. I want to explode like a ton of dynamite, evolve like a high level Pokemon and push the boundaries of what my brain believes I am capable of. 

And so, the journey begins reading and writing and performing and healing and expanding past the limits of the meat sack I live in. Learning how to form an LLC, shop for health insurance, and master the kind of self-discipline that keeps me from playing Final Fantasy VII all day (I mean... what). 

I invite you to share this journey with me either by following along here, signing up for my newsletter, working with me one on one, or collaborating on creative projects. There will be laughter, tears, break downs, insights and things I haven't yet dreamt of. Can't wait!

 The Fool from The Fountain Tarot

The Fool from The Fountain Tarot

The Void, The Blank Page, The Origin Story

I have been living in and finding comfort in the void lately. In tarot, The Fool lives in the void. All potential, ready to leap. In the particularly earthy feminist lore I've been consuming lately, the void is where we come from. It's the source before the spark. And here, it's is the blank page, as I wonder how to translate my potential energy. 

It's a terribly uncomfortable place to sit still, anticipating the upcoming hurricane. Queasy with doubt. Equal parts bursting with excitement and trembling in fear. But there's nothing else to it. Not really. Not until we take the leap out of the void and into life, carving out our origin story. And so I guess this is it. The first stroke of paint on the path of autonomy.