The Altar


The Altar

This Body
with all of its stories,
living in this mind,
containing this spirit
is the shape of me,
a vessel

with just enough history
to tell you a secret
that I can only keep for so long.

There is a moment in time
when you realize that
every experience,
each moment of friction and
tenderness and love,

even anger with its
sharp tongue and flailing limbs
or elation with equal surrender,

every touch
hands seeking some understanding
shoulders brushing
hips thrusting,

even those pristine moments alone
when you wonder where Love went,

there is a moment in time
when you realize
that everything is for you.

And so you turn
every sweet kiss
every raw wound
every whispering risk
every emotional collision
and passionate decision
every awkward embrace
and every divine union,

you bend and lean and pull and fall
into each breath
to pray yourself open,
to see that you
with your skin covering muscles and tendons and bones,
you are a vessel with life pouring through you.
Your structure
built out of ancient wisdom
conceived from light
and woven together with a thread
of man and woman,
you are fragile and supple
and certain and solid.
You are scent
and skin
and heartbeat
and breath
and a myriad of rhythms
that pound and beat
and shush and slip.
You are fertile
and luscious.

You are an altar.
You are a temple,
stained glassed eyes
carved gate of rib cage
drum of heart
curved archway and steeple of limbs
cherished cup of pelvis
chalice of lips
incantations of tongue
receptacle of ears
woven parchment of skin,
folded open
to trace fingers across the sacred text of you.
— By Jaime Williams

Each of us have experienced those defining and difficult moments where we feel like there is nothing positive that can come from our circumstances.  We embody sadness, anger, fear, grief, shame.  Time becomes a slow weight, the hands circling with a heavy cadence, a thrum uttering “I am alone”.  The world widens often when we see situations across the globe that we deem greater than our suffering.  We compare and gain perspective, step out of our prison, never fully realizing that we have had the key all along.  What if we could change the picture, bury the prison and instead imagine a kind of ritual.  No longer trapped by our suffering we would give ourselves permission to explore each emotion fully, we would forge a deeper connection to our own strength, resilience, understanding, compassion and wisdom.  What if grief, fear, sadness or anger…what if they were waiting to be experienced?  What if they were equal to joy or elation?   Measuring them, balancing the weight of each, could suffering then be replaced by experiencing?  Each moment that carves us out in some way, that brings us to our knees, could become a ritual that opens us to unfamiliar territory in ourselves, necessary darkness, satiating silence, penetrating ache, a baptism of crying, deep relief in laughing, even those sensations that have no name. What if these experiences were the only way to our freedom?  What if our bodies were temples?  Though temple is often a word riddled with historical judgment, oppression and greed, it could be reclaimed, unhinged from its ancestral burdens and barriers and tethered to the original root “a building for worship”.  Imagine the possibility that each experience we’ve had is a moment to bow into ourselves, to surrender, to embody understanding, to honor our intricate fragility more deeply, to recognize that we are holy.  The world would become a different place or at the very least our internal world would begin to expand into the world we live in, reflecting a kind of vulnerability we haven’t ever fully accepted as an asset.  What if we nourished parts of ourselves that were hurting, shamed, isolated?  Would this kind of presence, generous compassion and unapologetic living allow us to become more vital, more malleable, more clear and ultimately more authentically connected to those around us? 

 

Nothing separates us from one another more severely than the belief that life is against us.  And shame, self-criticism, comparison often lock us into this belief.  If life was against us we’d have to live in such a way that was protective, vigilant, isolated and cautious.  It is clear these are ways of being that have become so familiar we have come to believe they are essential for our survival.  Imagine becoming the guardians of our temples instead.  We would utilize boundaries because we were wise or following our intuition, rather than protective shields because others can hurt us.  We would operate with compassion and honesty rather than pity and placating.  We would stop being accommodating and start being clear and receptive.  Those same experiences that have the right to destroy us would instead reflect the kind of impenetrable beauty that arises in the most surprising places.  We could make a mosaic out of the shattered pieces and strengthen the fractures rather than substantiating the injury.  We could build a shrine out of the rubble.  We could experience the way in which something wild, fragile and organic grows through the cracks of our armor.  Those experiences that seem unbearable, that may unravel everything beautiful for a time, would no longer be obstacles to freedom but doorways to liberation.

 

Reflecting on the places in my life that were the most difficult, has allowed me to see the way in which certain painful moments have added so deeply to who I am.  That was not true for me years ago.  I could not have said boldly that what I was going through would lead me to living a vital and satiating life.  That being said, I have never been through a war, never lost a child, never been raped.  These experiences are not the ones that have formed me and for that I am grateful.  I can only imagine what it would take to grow through that kind of pain, I can only imagine the amount of time and great care that it would take to heal and build something new out of the broken heart these burdens create.  Our ability to live as if we were temples requires an abiding presence, a willingness to experience and ultimately whole-heartedly embrace those parts of ourselves that hide in the shadows.  The truth is we have to go through them no matter what and one of the only things that makes difficult experiences worse is fighting the emotions that have built naturally as a result of the way our lives unfold. 

 

This one precious life has so far been such a humbling experience.  The stained glass windows that I look through, made from shards of glass that were formed out of my experiences and hemmed together with an alchemy of emotions lived, heightens your beauty.  The colors that I get to see you through are ones that I have held long enough to understand and I’m so grateful that I get to see you through them.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.    

 

photos compiled by Kalyja Rain Bear of Bear Bones Photography
thank you to all the women who were able to wear my words.  You are  part of a tribe of beautiful people who have changed my life and I'm so grateful.

 

Curiosity

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I have had an active healing arts practice for eighteen years and I currently notice the vibrant and enlivening sense of a new beginning.   Becoming a Sex and Relationship Coach has palpably enhanced my vision for the rest of my work as a healer.  As a certified Somatica Method practitioner I have solidified my understanding that my vocation is an extension of what I love about life.  I love alignment on all levels, alignment within myself, to those around me, to the source of life, to the natural world. 

Curiosity seems to be the key for me in regards to staying aligned.  The places in my life in which I experience a lack of alignment and suffering are the times in which I feel positioned or afraid.  Becoming curious tends to undermine suffering and alleviate a sense of being separate from connection to our loved ones, a greater purpose and ourselves.  A good place to begin being curiousity is in regards to our bodies.  When it comes to our bodies and ailments, diagnosing specific problems that we experience in order to treat the problem is extremely helpful and necessary, but stopping there can be a missed opportunity.  Staying curious; slowing down in such a way that we become familiar even with what it feels like to breath, can give us one of the keys to curiosity and lead towards connection and healing.  Breathing slowly in and out and sensing the way that breath fills the lungs, expands against muscles and tendons and bone, adjusting the body so that the skin feels the last push of breath expanding to capacity, can awaken curiosity.  This can bring us into a state of listening, of knowing the first step of what it may take to experience healing in the body.  At the very least it will help us remember that we have a body which sometimes is easily forgotten as we race through life. 

Curiosity is helpful on many planes.  Those of us in partnerships or marriages for many years tend to loose curiosity about our partners.  We become comfortable which is natural but it also causes us to fall asleep and can ultimately swallow the expansiveness of love.  Staying curious in relationship is recognizing the benefit of “not knowing”.  Curiosity can be harnessed in many ways, some simple and some more difficult.  Asking questions is a good beginning.  In conflict we tend to revert to assuming the problem has to do with recognized habits in our partners.  Sometimes conflict arises partially out of asserting what we assume is the problem rather than asking questions that might uncover something deeper.  Our projections and assumptions are results of being positioned and afraid.  Curiosity allows for the possibility of true intimacy, connection and at the very least, roots us in love. 

What I have come to find over time is that one of the ways to establish patterns of curiosity is to recognize the benefit of connection.  One of the passions I’m nurturing in my healing arts practice as a Sex and Relationship Coach is looking for ways to nurture connection in community.  If you are in a romantic partnership whether it is just beginning or has been growing for years, consider enhancing your relationship through a four part series with other couples on a similar path.  Here are the details

I am so grateful for the ways in which I get to grow next to each of you.  

Living powerfully with your partner in the world

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•a four part adventure for your relationship•

•heighten your passion and bring your relationship to the next level•

We spend enlivening hours dreaming up mission statements for the organizations and communities that excite us, imagine the possibility of creating the kind of romantic relationship that not only was filled with play and passion, but also was profoundly impactful in the world.  Build community over four months with four other couples who want to clarify, nourish, revive and renew their relationships with the intention to build love, passion, understanding and support around having inspiring partnerships.   

You can either bring together couples with whom you have already created sustaining relationships, or you can be placed with other couples that you will grow to know over the two-and-a-half-month journey.  


at the completion of the series each couple will:

  • cultivate a deeper connection with your partner through four ninety-minute counseling sessions for the duration of the series; 
  • uncover what aspects of the relationship are serving the partnership and which behaviors, attitudes and patterns are no longer feeding the vitality of your partnership;
  • awaken the passion in your lives as a couple and as individuals;
  • discover more intimately what the purpose of your relationship is;
  • create agreements that will support you individually and as a couple; 
  • meet four times as a group to support one another as couples, become allies for one another and become curious and excited once again about those aspects of your partnership that may have fallen into the background of busy lives.
  • manifest a powerful and profound commitment to what you are creating as individuals and as a couple in the world.

what you can expect as you work with me

I am playful, direct, compassionate and extremely excited to help you find ways to create a passionate and vital relationship.  My approach as a Counselor and Sex and Relationship Coach is a commitment to following the path of deepest curiosity as your ally in the realm of profound connection and intimacy.  While sessions may be focused around talk, they also encompass practices that enhance connection with the body (fully clothed); relaxation through breath, identifying sensations in the body by exploring the emotions we may be resisting and many other experiential practices that allow the collaboration to move towards re-aligning with our enlivened selves.      

Though I have studied a substantial amount of research developed over years by well renowned Counselors, Therapists and Psychologists, I am most excited by the way in which healing occurs in surprising ways; acceptance, forgiveness, love, grieving, laughter, desire and so many other aspects of the human experience, that when given authentic presence, can move mountains in us.

registration details for each couple

Time Commitment:  Four  ninety minute private sessions as a couple, four two hour group sessions, and weekly guided prompts and a partnered support created to help you with your intention over a period of three months. 

Group Meetings on Calendared Mondays from seven o'clock to nine o'clock: Follow the link to the Couples Series to find out the next offering for this series.

• four 90 minutes private couples counseling session with Jaime

• four 2 hour group gathering for couples gathering, facilitated by Jaime                                         

• weekly prompts through email

Each week during the four month journey, you will be given guided prompts to heighten your connection both to yourself in the world and your partner.  You will be paired with one other person in the group to support you as you move more deeply through the process.

Cost: $660 per couple for the 2 month series

Location for Couples Session:  
970 East Main Street, Grass Valley Suite 104

Location for Couples Group Gathering:  
To be announced; facilitated by Jaime

You can register by pushing the RSVP button.  For more information call Jaime at (530) 559-2944 or email her at jmedoubleu@gmail.com


Contact Jaime Williams through email at jmedoubleu@gmail.com or by phone at (530) 559-2944 to collaborate on how to make this series the best possible fit for you and your partner.