Here's the link for the radio show that I did with Tara Sutphen and Marla Maples yesterday, in case you missed it and want to listen:
To prepare for the show, Tara send me a list of great questions, and we didn't have time to get to a fraction of them, but I thought I'd take the time to answer the questions, just to spice things up a bit!
Tara Sutphen's Questions to Dr. Lissa Rankin
Tara: How can women improve their "love parts?"
Lissa: Love them! Seriously, you laugh, but so many women have such negative attitudes towards their girly parts. Personally, I call mine Yoni and we have conversations. I imagine her as a little cartoon uterus with arms and legs, with this Queen Latifah attitude and a sassy streak. She’s kind of like my kid sister. We joke, we laugh, she can be annoying at times, but deep down, I love her, I accept her, and I respect her and all she’s done for me, my family, and my life. If you’re always dissing your love parts, it shouldn’t surprise you if they act up on you in the form of gynecological problems and sexual dysfunction. I teach Owning Sexuality workshops and one of the exercises we do if a body blessing from Pink Sexuality Coach Dr. Rachel Carlton Abram's book The Multi-Orgasmic Woman. To do this exercise, we close our eyes and walk through every body part, acknowledging any negative thoughts we approach and reconfiguring those thoughts into affirmations. So instead of thinking, "Oh, I hate my love parts. My labia are too long, and I don’t like the smell, and it’s ugly down there," turn it around and thank your yoni for bringing you sexual pleasure, for giving you the gift of life, and for being the sacred vessel that it is.
Tara: How can women improve the "big O"?
Lissa: I think orgasm is all about surrender. Sure, there’s a small hormonal part and blood flow plays a role, but if you’re not letting go, you’re gonna have a hard time with the big O. Also, practice makes perfect. If you’re having trouble achieving orgasm with a partner, practice on your own. Learn what feels good when there’s no pressure to perform, then bring what you’ve learned into the bedroom with your partner.
Tara: What is an ingredient or ingredients that you see make happy couples?
Lissa: Mutual respect and acceptance of each other for all you are and are not. If you can give your partner that one gift, and receive it in return, you’re so far ahead of the curve. Everything else is just icing.
Tara: What are your ideas on how a woman should take care of herself emotionally as well as physically? Can you tell us more about your beliefs of a women’s path to wellness?
Lissa: I work at an integrative medicine practice in the Bay area, Clear Center of Health, and that’s what we’re all about. Taking care of yourself physically is the foundation for living a happy, fulfilled life of purpose, but it’s only the beginning. I think we all need to have a sense of purpose and mission in life to be truly well. Many women get so caught up in the details of life that they lose track of this purpose. And I’m not talking about the kind of purpose that leads you to pick up your husband’s socks and chauffeur your kids to soccer. Sure, raising and maintaining a family gives many women a huge sense of purpose, but I’m talking about something that’s more at the core of who you are- in your essence. When you find that purpose and live authentically towards fulfilling that purpose, other things just fall into place.
Tara: What constitutes beauty from your perspective, as we all know that beauty is not just physical?
Lissa: Beauty is that inner radiance you see in someone who is living their dream. Just look at Susan Boyle, the You Tube sensation from Britain’s Got Talent. She may not have the most stylish hairdo or the sleekest figure or the trendiest dress, but that woman is gorgeous. It’s everything about her- her confidence, her talent, the way she carries herself, her courage, her spunk. It’s that inner fire that makes someone truly beautiful and attractive and magnetic. You can be the most beautiful person in the world on the surface, but if you lack that inner fire, the physical beauty comes across as flat.
Tara: Have you noticed any patterns in women?
Lissa: In general, I don’t like to categorize women or put them in boxes. But since my Owning Pink workshops tend to attract women who have lost their mojo, the pattern I’ve noticed among those women is that when crisis strikes them- whether it’s a divorce, losing a job, loss of a loved one, infertility, a health scare, or an empty nest, they get cracked wide open and then they’re not sure how to put themselves together again. I had the same thing happen to me. Within two weeks, I had a baby, my dad died from a brain tumor, my dog died, and my healthy, young brother ended up in liver failure from Zithromax. Prior to that, I was holding it together, but I was not fulfilled. My crisis made me realize that I couldn’t keep living the way I was living or I would die- literally, I would get sick or I would go crazy- something bad would happen. But I had no idea how to do that- only that something had to change. That’s the pattern I see so often. That crisis, as painful as it is, serves as the catalyst for profound change and paves the way for true happiness, but it can be terrifying in the process.
Tara: NO single identify defines Lissa....she is more than what she does and strives to be authentic. Can you tell us women how to take the steps to rid ourselves of the stereotype of being what we do?
Lissa: I met this amazing multi-faceted woman last year, who said, “I’m 29 years old. I’m supposed to BE something by now.” I hear this kind of thing all the time. My answer to her was “Honey, you already are.” The first thing I have women do is write a list of what I call their slashes. I’m a doctor/artist/writer/teacher/mother/chauffeur/dog walker/ yogi/ wife/chef….you get the picture. Just write it all down- everything that you do. Then OWN it. THAT’s you. And chances are that what you get paid to do is only one or two of the things on that list, so why would you limit your definition of who you are to what you get paid to do, when all your other slashes are just as much a part of you?
Tara: Have you noticed if women are more in tune with their lives or their spirituality and thus more in touch with their love nature and sex life?
Lissa: More than who? Men? Honestly, I don’t do men. Almost everything I do revolves around women so it’s hard for me to speak to this question. But to generalize, I guess I’d have to say that men strike me as more in touch with their sexual nature and women seem more in touch with the capacity for love. I think women- and again, this is a generalization because I know some men who are insanely in touch- are more in touch with their inner selves and the capacity for spirituality. I think women get more caught up in their heads though, when it comes to sexuality. The #1 request I get from women who participate in Owning Sexuality workshops is that they want help getting out of their heads and into their bodies. The fact that we are in touch with our inner lives gets us caught in our heads. And it’s hard to be present in the sexual moment when you’re busy thinking about whether you’re achieving your purpose in life.
Tara:What do you find makes a woman happiest? Spiritually? Mentally? Emotionally? Physically?
Lissa: Wow. That’s a big question and one I’m probably not qualified to answer. I’d say the answer to that question is different for every woman, so I won’t try to answer for them.
Tara: Do you ask women to change their eating habits? Or recommend herbs or vitamins? Espc if you see a hormone depletion or fluctuation? Or do you prescribe a pill or low dose hormones?
Lissa: Yes, yes, and yes, sometimes. I recommend a whole foods diet rich in organic vegetables and fruits to almost everyone. Personally, I drink about 5 green juices every day ,and although I’m not strict about it by any means- and I do eat meat at times- I eat a lot of vegan, raw foods. I think this kind of diet can be part of a holistic treatment plan for any number of health conditions. Do I recommend supplements and herbs? Absolutely. Much of my practice at Clear Center of Health is about helping women supplement what their bodies might need, whether it’s Vitamin D or hormones. And yes, I do prescribe traditional pharmaceuticals, as well as hormone therapy. It’s all very individualized. I spend an hour with patients when they come to see me, so I have a lot of time to really dig into their health issues so we can customize a treatment plan for optimal health.
Tara: What keeps a woman's body functioning well during the whole cycle of maiden, mother and crone?
Lissa: There are so many answers to this questions, but if I had to choose only one, I’d say proper nutrition. If you’re not fueling your body with what it needs to function, you’re not supporting it to handle these life phases.
Tara: What is mojo and how do we know if we have it?
Lissa: Did you see Austin Powers? He has mojo- meaning that he’s groovy, he’s sexually attractive, he’s magnetic and powerful. So that’s part of it. But there’s more. Austin Powers is a caricature, but what I’m talking about goes deeper. When you’ve got mojo, you’re healthy, you’re in touch with your spiritual nature, you’re expressing yourself creatively, and your life has purpose. You feel radiate energy and you attract good things to your life. When you have mojo, even when bad things happen, you have the tools to cope with them. It’s a lot about confidence. When you have mojo, you believe in yourself, and that makes others believe in you too.
Tara: How can we find our mojo if we've lost it? Can you give up tips to help women at each decade?
Lissa: Teen woman At this age, it’s all about protecting yourself from things can lead to mojo-loss later. So guard your childhood. Don’t grow up too fast.
20's woman This is your time to figure out who you are. If you don’t start doing it now, it can hit you like a ton of bricks when you’re 40. Don’t be so quick to put yourself in some corporate box. Explore. Be curious. Figure out what you love, what you can’t stand, what feels completely authentic to you. Plant the seeds that will keep your mojo alive for a lifetime.
30's woman This is the decade when you THINK you have the most mojo usually. You’re still young, you look hot, you’ve survived your twenties and are hopefully getting a sense of who you are, and you may have hit your stride professionally. Which means this is the decade when you’re really at risk of becoming a work-a-holic. If you define yourself completely by what you do your forties are gonna be tough. Take the time to nurture aspects of yourself that are completely unrelated to your work. And start looking deep within to uncover and identify with your inner beauty. Then, as your body starts to age, you can truly age gracefully, without clinging to the physical beauty that may change over time. If you start identifying with you inner beauty when you're still young, you'll be much better prepared for aging. And you'll revel in the wisdom you gain over the years, rather than mourning the loss of your "beauty."
40's woman This is the decade when women get caught in the crossfire of their lives. They’re often juggling a family, a career, and taking care of aging parents. Often, this is the age when a crisis hits- they lose a parent, they get divorced, they’re diagnosed with breast cancer. Then all the sudden, all hell breaks loose and they’re mojo goes out the window. I guess they call it midlife crisis for a reason, because women in their forties are often in search of their mojo. I think this is a really important time to find yourself creatively, if you haven’t already. Putting yourself in touch with the creative genius with you can help you find the path back to happiness and fulfillment. And remember that you don't have to take a painting class to be creative. We all express ourselves creatively in different ways, be it gardening, cooking, setting a decked-out table, sewing, writing in our journals, scrapbooking, or making candles. Take the time to nurture yourself, rather than immersing yourself in caring for others constantly. While this might sound hopeless, it’s not. The forties is the time when many women experience their deepest growth and begin to connect with their true essence, so while it can be painful, it can also be the best time of your life.
50's woman The 50’s are hard because of menopause. Many women struggle with the loss of their fertility and what that means socially. They also suffer from health effects related to the loss of estrogen that can turn a women who was full of mojo in her 40’s into a sleepless, forgetful, sweating, weepy mess. This is a time when it’s really important for women to find a doctor they trust who can help them navigate this confusing time. But don’t despair- much of this is reversible, and many women are able to transition into their crone phase by embracing the wisdom they have attained from 5 decades of experience. I love the idea of crone celebrations that honor women as they hit menopause. Rather than mourning what you’ve lost, why not celebrate what you’ve gained?
60's woman While the 50’s can be confusing, the 60’s can be clarifying. Often, the kids are grown, careers become less demanding, and health issues can force you to slow down and smell the flowers. This is a time to get in touch with what keeps you young- whether it’s grandchildren, creative expression, outdoors activities, or volunteering your time to help others. It's important to have purpose in your life. So get involved in the community, enrich your life with creative activities, and stay physically and sexually active. It helps your vitality.
70's- 90's woman I see a lot of women who are in their 60’s who have really come into their mojo. They survived their 50’s transitions and they’ve come to recognize that their value lies outside of youth. They’ve accepted their beauty, their flaws, their spunkiness, and their limitations. Some of my most imcredible mentors are in their 70’s and it gives me such hope for getting older, because each year, these women get better and better, like fine wine. I just met the most amazing woman in Laguna Beach named Glori Fickling, and she and her husband wrote a series of books called the Honey West series, about the first female private investigator in fiction history, back in the 50’s. I met Glori because she attended an art show I had in Laguna, and she was so radiant and full of mojo that the group of us invited her to dinner, where she was the life of the party. After dinner, she invited us back to her home, where she introduced us, with such reverence, to the photos of her beloved husband who had passed away. She shared the memorabilia of what they had created together, and her pride in what they had accomplished was evident. But Glori wasn’t done living. It’s not like she was stuck in the past. No- she’s a journalist reviewing restaurants and art shows and hiking up the hill to her house every night after attending some social function in town. She’s an icon in Laguna Beach, and in my opinion, she is the queen of mojo. How does she do it? She’s physically active, she’s active in her community, and she gives of herself in service to others.
I think you can have mojo at any age. My website www.owningpink.com is all about giving women exercises and other tools to help them reclaim their health, their femininity, and their mojo. We’re about to start Mojo Mondays, and every Monday will be an exercise you can do at home that is specifically aimed at helping you find your mojo.
Anyway, those are the questions I got through! There were more and we'll probably do another radio show together, so stay tuned! For more information about Tara Sutphen, visit her website www.tarasutphen.com. To learn more about Marla Maples, visit her website at www.marlamaples.com.
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