Annapurna Woman: Jena La Flamme
How do you start your day?
Above all, I start my day slowly. Before I even get out of bed, I contemplate the day to come. What do I desire to experience? What outcomes do I want to create? I visualize the day as I wish it to unfold.
Also in bed, I meditate, sometimes lying down, sometimes sitting up, sometimes in the form of self-pleasuring.
Once I’m out of bed, my first stop is the kettle for black tea with organic full fat milk. My second stop is dancing. I used to practice yoga in the mornings but I’ve discovered that a morning practice of dancing is even more enlivening for me than yoga asanas are.
Now it’s time for breakfast and then to conquer the world … pleasurably, of course!
What do you do when you are overwhelmed or stressed?
I make a brew of herbal tea and cup the mug in my hands, soaking in the heat. It is said that holding a hot drink makes us kinder, and I believe it. Drinking the warm liquid helps too.
I’ll also clean and organize my home or office space, and light incense or burn sage. Puttering around the house, creating physical order and beauty in my environment, calms my nerves and makes me feel better.
To express my feelings I may put on some emotion-filled music and sing my heart out. I may call a friend, or write out my frustration in a private Facebook group that I share with close girlfriends. Being transparent about what’s at the source of the frustration feels supportive, and a good cry can help too!
What gives you the feeling of true bliss within?
Dance is my favorite and most reliable practice that gives access to bliss. With music playing I bend my knees, which opens my hip and spine joints to move more freely. When the mind is allowed to come to rest, our natural underlying state of bliss that we are usually distracted from and overlook, becomes apparent. All it takes is being willing to turn down the volume on your thinking and bring your attention to feeling.
Other sources: Singing, acupuncture, massage, hot tubs, steam baths, an ostrich feather drawn across my skin, slow kissing, unhurried sex.
What are you currently reading?
By my bedside table: “Warrior Goddess Training: Become the Woman Your Are Meant to Be,” by Heatherash Amara
By my desk: “Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus and Working Smarter All Day Long,” by David Rock
In my backpack: “Women, Food and Desire,” by Alexandra Jamieson
On my altar: My own book that just came out! “Pleasurable Weight Loss: The Secrets to Feeling Great, Losing Weight and Loving Your Life Today.”
On my bookshelves: More books that I can finish! I’m a bookworm with an appetite for reading bigger than I can keep up with. I fantasize about a solo vacation with books as my only companions.
What are you listening to right now?
Ayla Nereo, specifically her recent solo album “Hollow Bone.” Transmitted through her intoxicating voice, her lyrics feel like the wisdom of the ages. I love singing along and contemplating the embedded messages.
I’ve also been listening to an audio program the she created called “Receiving Song,” that is about learning how to write songs.
Wildlight, a collaboration between Ayla Nereo and her husband David Sugalski, specifically the album “Hers Was Thunder.” I can’t stop dancing when these tracks are playing.
Other beautiful artists NIMITAE, Desert Dwellers, Rising Appalachia with the Human Experience, Random Rab, Govinda, & Gotan Project.
What is your go-to simple recipe?
Root vegetable soup with onion, garlic and herbs/spices and tahini. It’s so incredibly easy and always tastes different depending on the specific vegetables or seasonings I use. The leftovers keep well, too.
What are some simple things you do for self-care?
- Dance at home with instructional DVDs, mostly Belly dance and Bollywood dance,
- Skin care, massage, acupuncture, conscientious oral hygiene.
- Creating my bedroom as a sensual boudoir where a mood of peace and pleasure predominates
- Walks in the park
- Naps as needed
- Down time with girlfriends
- Creating alters or interior décor that makes my home feel like a temple.
- Eat nourishing food
What does nourishment look like to you?
I think of my body as a living, breathing, wise, intelligent, decision-making female animal, whose nourishment my life literally depends upon. Her nourishment therefore is of critical importance. To me, embracing nourishment means granting my body the right to have needs, and responding to those needs joyfully. Rather than resenting that my body must be fed, exercised and loved, I embrace these needs as sacred offerings to the one that keeps me alive—my beloved female body.
Healthy, fresh, nutrient-rich food obviously has the potential to be highly nourishing, but any food—even foods you wouldn’t normally choose—can be nourishing to your body and soul if embraced with peace in your mind and gratitude for your heart.
Anything that stirs your senses, inspires your mind, and opens your heart to feeling love and feeling loved, constitutes nourishment. All it takes it the willingness to be nourished.
How do you make space for play?
I schedule work to start at 11am or later, giving me the morning to be playful and curious. Singing and dancing along with music are my easiest go-to forms of play that I can do anywhere not matter how little time I have on my hands.
Because I have a tendency to fall into patterns of being too serious (truly!) I make a point to have friends that are playful. Making time to be with these playful souls is guaranteed to bring the energy of play into my life.
I also make a point to go out to parties where I know there will be dancing so I’m bound to get out of my head and into my female body. She always knows how to play if I give her a chance.
What are some favorite mantras you cling to?
“God helps those who help themselves.” I learned that one from my Mother and it’s taken me far! Be the creator of your own good luck.
“I’m creating this.” This is mantra I turn to in situations where I am feeling victimized by circumstance. Instead of putting the blame onto other people for my negative experience, it reminds me to take a step back, notice where I am contributing to the situation, and helps me shift my attention to creating a different, more positive experience instead.
Jai Ma—A Sanskrit Mantra that means “Praise to the Mother Goddess.” It’s a simple mantra of recognition of the glory of the divine feminine energy that pervades all life.
Om Shiva Shakti—A reminder of the union of the feminine and masculine principles within ourselves and the world at large.
Please share some words of wisdom you’ve learned as a direct result of soulful and embodied living.
My access to embodied living came when I realized that my body is not a possession owned by my mind, like a slave to a master, but an independently wise and intelligent being. I discovered that my body is a she, not an it, with valid needs and desires of her own, that I needed to listen to, and respect.
Since then I’ve learned that our bodies are not to be controlled or even transcended, but to be embraced as the “primary relationship” our lives. How we feel in our bodies lays the foundation for our experience of every thing else. In our culture, we are trained to treat our bodies the way we’d treat an enemy, not a beloved, and we must each face and challenge this conditioning. No matter what, we must learn to trust, love and adore our bodies, otherwise we are distrusting, loathing or mistreating the source of our life force, and we will never feel our best.
Happily, when you do get on your female body’s map, you discover that her mother tongue is pleasure. She loves what I call true pleasure, the kind that is sustainable and makes you feel great in the moment and afterwards, without a hangover or ill after-effects. This is the sacred pleasure that nourishes and heals you. This good feeling is a biological requirement, and if you miss out on it, your body will fight to get it through compulsions for food or substances. So let go of your conditioned guilt and shame about your pleasure, and let yourself return to the innocent, wise knowing, that “if it feels good it’s good for you. If it feels bad it’s bad for you.”
About Jena La Flamme
Jena la Flamme is the author of "Pleasurable Weight Loss: The Secrets of Feeling Great, Losing Weight and Loving Your Life Today,” and expert in Pleasurable Weight Loss. She helps women worldwide lose weight, be at peace with food, and feel great in their skin, in healthy, lasting, pleasurable, natural ways—without dieting, deprivation, or giving up chocolate.
Jena spent a decade struggling with a painful, punishing relationship with food, weight, and her body, before she eventually discovered these secrets she now shares with the world. She takes a stand against all punishing methods of weight loss and is an advocate for a kinder, more loving and compassionate, feminine approach to weight loss and overeating.
Jena’s unique approach to weight loss has made her a much sought-after teacher. Jena has been featured in Elle, Glamour, and Prevention magazine, and works with women of all ages through her live Pleasure Camps, online programs, website, social media outlets, and private coaching. You can learn more at www.jenalaflamme.com or get her free program “7 Days of Pleasurable Weight Loss” at www.PleasurableWeightLoss.com.