Category Archives: relationships

red tent revival returns 17-21 May

Shakespeare mug

Today I heard a woman named Kristin Sweeting Morelli say something that rocked my world.

“Shame can only live in darkness.”

She said it in the context of people — of women in particular — keeping to themselves the things they were most ashamed of about themselves and their experiences, whether they were at fault or not.

Shame doesn’t belong only to the miscreants, the cheaters, the liars, the politicians. Everyone carries shame about something in their lives, and in our world today, women feel shame surrounding so much.

Shame for being fat. For being old. For being educated. For being a stay-at-home mom. For having children — for not having children. Being divorced. Staying in a relationship that’s bad for you. Being successful. Not having a job.

And, pretty much universally, women are shamed about that which makes them fundamentally who and what they are: feminine beings who come into this world as highly sensitive and sensual creatures.

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It isn’t until women are able to feel safe in their communities (whether these communities are friends, family, a partner, or an organization) that they can begin to shed that shame. Safety is the foundation of vulnerability — which is one of the most powerful forms of connection and healing there is.

I’ve been part of Kristin’s special tribe of women since its inception in late 2013. I’ve witnessed the unfolding of countless women into something so sacred and beautiful that I’m struggling coming up with the words right now.

As an invitation to catch a glimpse of what this tribe is about, Kristin hosts an immersive, radiant online festival celebrating what it means to be a woman . . . what is the Potent Feminine, and how to access her. Because every woman has it, inside. But in a culture of to do lists, multi-tasking, carting children around from activity to activity, business, eating junk, and generally feeling like we must be Superwoman, most of us have lost touch with her. We’ve settled for toxic relationships and environments and neglected our own self-care, wearing this as a badge of honor.

How many of you reading this would actually take me seriously if I asked you to take a 15-minute break between your workday (or watching your kids) for yourself to just get in your body and dance?

I feel like so many of you just rolled your eyes and muttered your own version of, “Yeah right. After I cross off A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H . . . from my list, maybe I might get around to it.” Like any other modern-day woman, there are times I feel like this too.

Let me tell you about Kristin. She was a self-made multi-millionaire by the age of 30. Do you think she might know something about that go-go-go lifestyle?

She has also overcome a number of physical and emotional trials that I won’t get into right now — challenges that no human being should ever have to face, let alone as a child. The fact that she has been able to rise above these challenges and shed the shame that came with them is for me a shining light of hope for the rest of the world.

So about this online festival. It’s called the Red Tent Revival, and this is how it works: each night, for five days, Kristin livestreams an hour of dance. Dance, for me, has played a significant role in my own freedom as a woman and as a young stroke survivor who was once paralyzed on a half of my body: After the stroke, I stopped dancing for about eight years. When I started again, I felt like I had liberated myself from a prison of my own making.

This time it runs from 17-21 May at 8pm Eastern.

What kind of dance do we do in the Red Tent? Every installment is slightly different, but I had the privilege of joining Kristin in Boulder this March to attend the Revival in person, so this particular iteration of the festival is especially sacred to my heart. (She is rebroadcasting it because back in March she was going through some really intense personal issues.) The first day, we kicked off with some drumming and allowing our bodies to respond to the beats.

Day 2: CONSCIOUS BURLESQUE

Photography by Kat Bartell at Eye of the Kat Boudoir Photography

Photography by Kat Bartell at Eye of the Kat Boudoir Photography

We started off with burlesque, led by Mad Ame Merci, a beautiful soul who teaches Conscious Burlesque.

Conscious Burlesque is not just about stripping off your clothes and teasing the audience. I’m a frequent audience member at various cabarets and burlesque shows here in the city, but Conscious Burlesque is a different art form.

Mad Ame Merci performed a gorgeous piece she created to show us the sad unfolding of a stifling relationship she had gone through, and it sent chills through me (through all of us). I loved the contrast of the ugly (smearing her lipstick off as she pulled off her gloves, for example) against the beautiful choreography. It was raw; it was real — it felt to me like the tragic love story so many of us have lived.

Day 3: SENSUAL DANCE

My first experience with sensual dance under Kristin’s guidance was on my first day in her tribe. I was so moved as she led us to consciously choose parts of our bodies to love. It started simply: begin with a part of your body you find easy to love, like your hair or your smile . . . but then gradually moved to loving the parts that are more difficult.

For me, this was my left arm — at the time, I was still holding grudges against the left side of my body for betraying me after the stroke.

It was like the first day I started writing my memoir. A barrier had been lifted, and the tears began to flow. Forgiveness and love began to replace the resentment and disconnect that once existed between me and my body.

Attend the Red Tent Revival here.

Day 4: BELLYDANCE

Photography by Art of Seduction Chicago

Photography by Art of Seduction Chicago

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found myself mesmerized by Shakira music videos. It’s less about the music to me and all about her movements. In my early 20s I vowed to one day move like Shakira, and while I’m not there (like, at all), experimenting with bellydance is always a fun ride. The isolations and the undulations make me feel so sensuous.

Kristin brought Sadie Marquardt, one of the bellydance global community’s most prominent figures, to guide us in some basic bellydancing movements. She was incredible!

In the spirit of full disclosure, though, I have to admit bellydancing has always been a bit of a challenge for me (especially in the presence of others) because it exposes the part of my body that I’ve spent a lifetime trying to cover up. (Shame lives in darkness, right?)

But Kristin created an environment in which every body type, any kind of belly — reminding us that women’s bellies have life-sustaining qualities and that that’s where our power lives — is wonderful and accepted.

Hearing this made me feel safer in the presence of my own self-judgment, even when I was participating in the Red Tent from the privacy of my own home.

Day 5: SAMBA

Samba is a sort of street dance they do in Brazil. My favorite part is the costumes: full plumes of giant feathers, feathers, feathers! As a student of ballroom dance, I have had quite limited exposure to samba personally, since it’s a slightly different animal altogether.

On the final day of the Revival, Sadie returns fully covered in beads and feathers. It’s fabulous — and then we learn a basic routine. (It’s a cardio workout!)

THE INTERVIEWS

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After the live dancing sessions each night, two virtual “stages” will open up: the Aphrodite stage and the Kali stage, each containing an exclusive RTR interview for you to watch and learn from for the next 24 hours. These interviews are the meat of the Revival because it begins our “coursework” into the Potent Feminine.

Back when I was going through a dark, painful breakup, I helped myself through it by learning from relationship experts. In that journey, I always resonated with a lady named Alison Armstrong. To my delight, Kristin invited Alison into the Tent with her brilliant work on The Queen’s Code. This groundbreaking work has shattered what I — and most other modern-day women for that matter! — have always believed served us in the world. . . . Through Alison’s Queen’s Code work, we have learned a completely new, counterintuitive way of operating with (and not against) the men in our lives. With Alison’s insights on the strengths and weaknesses of both masculine and feminine energies, we have learned how to empower ourselves as well as men in the world at large. No longer do we as women need to put men down in order to feel safe — and I believe this is the newest chapter of feminism.

Within the Red Tent Revival, Alison was gracious enough to share a four-part series on how to be the queen of your own life. The final day was especially powerful, as she and Kristin took us through a sacred ceremony to end the war between the sexes for good. It was epic.

Besides Alison, Kristin invited other cutting-edge experts to discuss their areas of expertise: Sheila Kelley, the phenomenal creator of S Factor, who demystifies the Erotic Creature within every woman. (As an aside, please take a look at her TED talk, which I adore.)

There’s Dr. Debra Wickman, a gynecologist who specializes in reconnecting women with their own anatomy and shedding light on the years of darkness we women often have with our lady parts. For me, this was absolutely amazing and sacred.

It was then in her interview with Laura Silva (daughter of the man who brought us The Silva Method), Kristin said, “Shame can only live in darkness.” I believe this to be the fundamental belief under everything we do in the Red Tent Revival and the Pleasure Tribe — to bring the thoughts, beliefs, behaviors, unconscious patterns we brought with us out into the light so they no longer live in darkness and can finally heal.

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OWN THE REVIVAL/JOIN THE RED SISTERHOOD

Throughout the Red Tent Revival, you will have access to not only the dance sessions and the interviews, but you’ll have the chance to enter Kristin’s “WOOHOO” contests, and you’ll receive some exclusive Secrets of the Red Tent.

own it

If you decide the material you’ve seen in the Red Tent is valuable and you want to keep it forever, you will have the chance to own the Revival and all its videos as well as some divine bonus content Kristin made especially for us. You can also choose to join me and my sisters in the Pleasure Tribe and the RED Sisterhood — it’s a yummy community of beautiful connection, exploration, and celebration. I’ve been part of the Pleasure Tribe for 18 months and counting, and I would never go back.

I’ll address what you may be wondering . . . I am part of Kristin’s Impact Posse, which means I’ve volunteered to help spread the word about her work. The Revival is completely free, but if you opt to make a purchase, I do get a commission.

Back in March, I committed to helping raise funds for one of my R.E.D. Sister’s Red Mastery journeys, so if I do make any commission from this promotion of the RTR, half of it will go to my friend’s fundraiser. I believe in Kristin’s R.E.D. movement with every cell in my body (R.E.D. stands for “Radiant, Erotic, Divine.”) — so my question for you is, will you have the courage to discover your inner R.E.D. goddess?

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you in the Red Tent!

Pamela Hsieh signature

[rant] did i express a need or a desire?

I’ve been eager to address this issue on my blog for a while . . . With travel in July and then an absolutely transformative extended weekend “spirit staycation” in Schaumburg at Tony Robbins’s legendary Unleash the Power Within seminar that then set dynamite to so much of my life, it’s taken me this long to truly get settled back into the everyday of normal life. (I tend to take the time I need to reset.)

UPW Tony Robbins

Unleash the Power Within via tonyrobbins.com

Anyway, I’m back, baby! Today I’d like to talk about the concept of creating needs in prospective clients. As businesspeople (or salespeople or whatever — and 100% of working people are marketers in whatever it is they do), sometimes it is a common practice to make assumptions about other people’s needs and then accidentally come across as annoying or pushy.

You know what I mean. People in sales don’t have a bad rap for no reason. (To be clear, I also plan to write a post about the fallacy that selling is evil. More on that later, but for the record I have no problem with the sales industry.) I for one will be the first to admit that I don’t mind being sold to — in fact, if you have a solution to a problem I’ve got, tell me what I don’t know! Share your product or service with me, and if I resonate with it, I’ll either look you up, keep you in mind, or buy on the spot.

But this does not give businesspeople permission to swoop down and play predator. I’d say the vast majority of people out and about feel similarly, that they are more than willing to trade dollars for value. Naturally, value differs from person to person. For me, it’s just about the easiest thing to sell me a book or a fitness program because I value reading, learning, and exercise. But I know some people who wouldn’t exercise if you paid them, but something like a video game means the world to them.

People value different things, and unless you personally know these people or they have told you explicitly what they need or desire, do not make assumptions. ESPECIALLY if you have never actually spent the time to get to know these people!

Let me repeat that. Before selling to somebody, you must invest the energy to make a connection with that person. Don’t tell me you don’t have the time — if you want your brand to be associated with integrity, good service, and authenticity, you absolutely must build relationships with the people you work with. People trust people, not companies.

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That said, though, when money comes into a relationship, it becomes a business transaction. That’s fine, and someone is far more apt to exchanging her hard-earned dollars for product/service if she believes you care about her. Do you? I hope so — make it your mission to reach out and offer your product or service only when you can really see how you’re meeting these people’s needs or desires.

Now, this is the key. Before you start shooting off your pitch, ask yourself two key questions. Did she express a need? Did she express a desire?

When I say “express,” I mean “explicitly say” or “imply.” I do NOT mean that you get to conclude she could really use your service, your widget, or opportunity based on how she appears.

Look, when I was an undergrad I was told I “looked like a party girl.” Since I never brushed my teeth with a bottle of Jack or left a trail of glitter in my wake (#Ke$ha) — oh, and in case I didn’t make it clear in my first post on networking, I hated parties filled with strangers — this was pretty inaccurate. I was also approached walking around on the quad by sorority girls inviting me to check out their houses. (I spent exactly zero seconds in my seven years of undergrad in frat houses and maybe two hours at my friend’s sorority event one time.) I’m not saying that these people offended me; they didn’t, but they did make some off-mark assumptions about me and my lifestyle.

(By the way, I know what you’re thinking, and no, I was not a hermit at university. I still made friends and went to parties when it felt okay.)

You just simply cannot know what someone is or isn’t interested in before you engage in conversation and actually bother to find out.

I have had the misfortune to have networked with many women recently who forgot to actually ask me anything about me or my life, which is fine. It happens. But they then proceeded to promote their opportunities, events, and products to me over and over again to the point that I actually got pretty upset.

They both sell beauty and skincare products. The fact that my skin may look great does not automatically mean I’m what Jenna Marbles calls a “goo hoarder” (YouTube it). On the contrary, for me, it means I’m good, thanks.

From www.zazzle.co.uk

From www.zazzle.co.uk

I also had a graphic designer single me out at a networking event recently (as in, in front of every person there) for having home-made business cards. She assumed I needed someone to do them for me because I was doing them myself — by the way, I like the way they are, homemade or not. My company is also finally allowing us to create our own webpages this coming fall, so it makes no sense to order new cards at this juncture. And I enjoy creating my own marketing materials! (Call me a control freak, but I designed each and every one of my blog banners from this one to Rehab Revolution to Premier Pamela, as well as the one for my parents’ restaurant. If I had the patience to adapt graphic design seriously into my marketable repertoire, I’d happily do so.)

I hope this rant inspires you never to make assumptions again about what someone needs or desires before you go ahead and create these for him. Worst-case scenario? Can you imagine if you were a personal trainer, you ran into a stranger who was a bit overweight, and you said, “Hi! You look like you could use some exercise. Look me up”?

I think that’s ’nuff said.

Here’s the thing, though. You can encourage them to express their needs or desires by asking the right questions. But you’re not going to go anywhere if you then feel you need to convince them of anything and do the “hard sell,” because then it becomes more about you and not about serving them and offering them a solution to their problem.

Perhaps you’ve done everything right. You’ve established a relationship of trust and camaraderie and you’ve asked them the appropriate, non-pushy questions. They’re either not interested or it’s not the right time. Don’t sweat it — now is the best time to reply with a friendly, “Great, if anything changes and you think I can help you out, please let me know. Do you know anyone else who might benefit from [my product or service]?” Asking for referrals is a sound practice that can greatly multiply your client base, so get in the habit of doing so.

And as always, if you hear they do need or desire a certain connection with a specific type of person (“a chiropractor,” “an accountant,” what have you), jump at the chance to connect them! Remember, networking is also about creating connections that don’t have anything to do with you, either. (Like the callback? Eh, eh?) Put out that positive energy and it’ll reward you in return.

[love] in memory of matt ryd

When I was a senior in high school, I was involved in each of that year’s shows (fall play, spring musical, spring play). High school was kind of a lonely time for me, so by the last year I found a lot of solace in drama club. One of the most active members of drama was a guy named Matt Ryd, who was always a fun — and funny — guy. Really good guy.

After we all graduated (he was a year younger than me), I discovered that he was also a musician. He actively promoted his music, but because we weren’t close I never attended any performances. To my surprise, sometime last year (I believe), he came out with a video explaining that he had for a long time been struggling with an eating disorder. He checked himself into rehab of some sort to get better, and excused himself from social media, leaving us with the video to help spread awareness of what he had been living. Once he returned to society, I honestly thought things were going well for him.

It is with a heavy heart that I tell you all that I just found out he took his own life this past Sunday. Although I couldn’t have known, it makes me feel (hindsight being 20/20 or not) like I was partially responsible. Not because I was ever mean or nasty to him, but because I hadn’t gone out of my way to ask him how things were. I assumed they were fine. Plus, he always had no shortage of praise, recognition, or comaraderie, but quite obviously, he was still a tortured enough soul who desperately sought peace. Of course, I and anyone else who knew him wishes there were something we could have done to prevent what happened.

Ladies and gents, let’s walk away from this reminded that we must (not merely “should”) go out of our way to connect with people and remind them of how much love and support they have behind them. This applies to friends, family, significant others, children, the people who are estranged from us (probably most of all). Think about how bad it makes you feel when someone asks you how you are out of formality and not because they actually care.

I’m committing myself to looking at people in the eye when we speak, even if it is only a momentary exchange, and being the best friend/sister/daughter /writer/personal accessories stylist/me I can be. I call this divine interruption — the events that happen outside of our control that shake us up and give us a reality check.

Please keep Matt (and anyone who is suffering in silence) in your thoughts and prayers. What does his story inspire you to do differently? Share your ideas and revelations in the comments below.

Read Matt’s obituary here.