This blog is devoted to Mavis — who would be partially horrified and deeply amused if she was still with us and knew I was telling her story.
Mavis took me into her sound healing community in the South of France at a time that I wasn’t feeling so hot, although the mid-July weather was blazing.
I was mid-chapter in my epic global travels, inspired by a drug overdose which led to a spiritual awakening. I had picked up a French stomach bug that lasted for about six weeks and was giving me the most horrendous stomach pain and diarrhea — all the things that bring a young 23-year old woman shame. I was left with a sense of being out of control as this virus ran its course through the soft animal of my body.
Mavis was a quintessential British lady with permed and dyed short, curly, brown hair and a well lined face that easily showed her 65 years. But whoa — did she have a sparkle in her eyes! She was fairly radical for her cultural standards, especially given that she was the founder of a healing community in the Pyrenees. I assure you, growing up in England in the 1940’s did not encourage such outlandish decisions.
As we began to learn about one another over breakfasts of French baguettes and fruit (this was about the only thing I could stomach), Mavis began to share herself with me.
Mavis hadn’t had sex for 25 years, nor had she been naked, other than bathing privately, since then.
Now, this information was about all that I could handle, as I quietly choked on my baguette. I’ve always been very open and free with nudity. I relish the primal, feel-good sensations of that wild and wise part of me. I’ve done stints with nude modeling, and have even lived in nudist communities. I will pass on nude yoga though because naked, downward facing dog totally grossed me out… In fact, one of the top criteria for Nicholas and myself for buying our existing home was that I could be outdoors naked and in privacy.
It’s an aliveness thing. it’s a freedom thing. It’s a connection to something bigger thing. It’s the nurturing of the wise and wild one which is nourishment for our souls.
For those of us that live in urban environments where we are so… well… civilized, I find that nurturing this connection is VITAL. When we are driving 75 mph on the 405 every day, speed reading our emails and gulping our lattes, we get out of sync with the natural speed of life.
What is on your calendar for this week that helps you slow down?

Connect with your senses?

Get out of your head?

Just feel good and get into sync with your natural rhythm — plain and simple?

Do you have a beach walk scheduled in?

Time for gardening?

What about erotic time scheduled with your sweetie?
I stayed with Mavis for about three weeks. I met several of her highly sophisticated European friends and went on fantastic yacht cruises, and attended elegant dinner parties in mansions that I had only seen on the soap opera “Santa Barbara” before. Here, I was a boldly naive and courageous backpacker wearing my Tevas and threadbare cotton sundresses, dining with women who smelled like real ladies, waving their tanned bejeweled arms and flowing about in exotic caftans, laughter tinkling like the champagne flutes clinking.
In these palatial mansions with waitstaff and parking valets, we would gather to chant and tone with Crystal healing bowls, alongside her very fancy friends with exotic names like Jacques and Fernando.
Despite the fact that I felt ghastly because of the stomach bug, I enjoyed these trips immensely. They were equally as enchanted by me and my bright-eyed and trusting worldly pilgrimage as I was by them.
Back to Mavis. I would gently prod her to go skinny dipping with me in the river hole by her house that we wandered to each morning after breakfast. I can still see her crossed arms and tightly pinched face, waggling a finger in my direction with some good old English scolding. “You must be bloody mad to think I would ever show my fanny in public!”
I would chuckle and enjoy the water as she sat on shore reading her New Age books by Shakti Gawain or Shirley Maclaine.
The local swimming hole by her house had the most magical turquoise blue beetles that were iridescent. They looked like they flew off the screen of a Lord of the Rings movie. Hordes of them surrounded us and created a genuine sense of awe.
Per usual, on one of our morning walks to the river, I tossed off my sundress and jumped in the water, enjoying the elemental healing nature, my normal cajoling and beckoning for her to come in.
And per usual, here is Mavis on the shore, in one of those old lady bathing suits that has the ugly tutu attached, looking stiff and deeply conflicted.
Can you relate to her discomfort? You know, when you are being invited out of a comfort zone that you believe is real, yet often sacrifice aliveness and free expression in the name of familiarity? Is there a niggle in you, inviting you to step forward in your job? To have conversation with a loved one that you have been avoiding? Is there something you’d like to experiment with — be it an art project, a sex position or a mountaineering adventure? Some aliveness that is whispering in you yet because you feel so uncomfortable, you stay stuck with your arms crossed?
Then it happened.
She got a very cheeky look in her eyes, ripped off her matronly bathing suit, clamored to the jump off point on a tall rock, and proceeded to let loose the wildest banshee sound of freedom as she plummeted the 10 feet into the swirling water below her.
She was splashing and shrieking and I was open-mouthed and big-eyed from the energy that was uncorked in her. She became like an innocent child — positively delighting in her newfound ability to play.
From that day on, she was naked every chance she could find. At the dinner parties we attended, I would find Mavis naked, out in the beautifully landscaped backyard with ambient light casting a soft magical glow on her somehow more youthful seeming skin. I would smile as I watched her jump off the diving board into the pool — actually, cannonball — with a wild scream on her way down. She relished getting naked and jumping off the yachts we would cruise around on. The joy, the unbridled innocence that came over her is something that I’ve never seen before.
It was as if all of the years of collective British conditioning that snuffed her vibrancy melted and released in that very first jump. She was free!
Are you wondering what happened leading up to that defining moment of nudity that changed her world?
Well, I was too. I learned a lot from this woman.
I believe part of her newfound courage came because she felt safe. In herself and with me. She felt seen. She felt lovingly encouraged — and also prodded — out of her existing paradigm. I introduced her to a new perspective that perhaps she had not known prior, or had barely dared to consider.
We all need a mirror to reflect to us what freedom can look like outside of our limiting paradigms. We need a cheerleader to coax us out of hiding and into our truest expression.

That is what I love about coaching. We enter into people’s lives, these deeply personal expressions of soulful knowing and learned helplessness, and we offer new perspectives. Once our inner eyes are opened to something new, we can’t unsee what we have glimpsed. A glimpse of possibility, a glimpse of aliveness, a glimpse of hope to reinstate a longhand dream. A glimpse into a way of being that is whole-hearted and genuine. Where there is a new sheriff in town named Love and Authenticity.
So, what about you, dear heart?
What is it within you that is busting to get out? Or it is simply fermenting, with no hope for fulfillment?
Maybe it is that new inspiration that you have for a book.

Maybe it is time to leave your relationship.

Maybe it is time to finally be “all in” in your relationship.

Maybe it is an idea within your business that feels so edgy it scares you?
The real question to ask yourself is, “what is the help I need to dare to take a step?” We all need a safe container of trust and loving encouragement to help set us free. When we feel safe, we are more courageous.

I’ve found that this container is built on the foundations of:

  • Belonging: we remember we are part of a bigger story of wholeness.
  • Connection: creates a sense of belonging which fosters trust and heals shame.
  • Intimacy: we are vulnerable with those who are trustworthy and healing occurs.
  • Trust: we regain basic trust, which may have been fractured when we were young.

All key ingredients that coax out authentic expression.
As yourself, what environment, people, structure do you need to help me express my truest self?
Mavis had lived in isolation with archaic conditioned rules and until I came along, she was so comfortable in her rigidity she didn’t even know another way of being was an option for her.
If you consider yourself, where have you not been allowing yourself to get naked? Where have you been holding back from yourself?