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.
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
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.
Day 4: BELLYDANCE
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!)
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.
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.
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!