what is the risk of living fully?

This is a little meta. Or maybe more a bit like taking the local bus rather than the express. But bear with me.
I want to point you to this essay about the film “Free Solo” (trailer). That essay will take you to the documentary itself, about climbing El Capitan alone and without ropes. From that stop, you’ll have your own journey about the questions of courage, risk, perfectionism, and purpose.
This movie, even just the thought of it, makes my body tense. I hold my breath. Yet I also feel seduced by an invitation to know the potential we hold within each of us.
If the veil is thin, shimmering and undulating in some psychic breeze, then that movement invites the question: what makes us feel alive and how much more room might we actually have in that aliveness?


Components of Combustion

Components of combustion
What does it take to safely light things up?


com·bus·tion – kəmˈbəsCH(ə)n/
  1. an act or instance of burning
  2. a usually rapid chemical process (such as oxidation) that produces heat and usually light  ;  also : a slower oxidation (as in the body) 
  3. violent agitation – tumult

This summer’s wildfires—in California, across the west, in Europe, and even the arctic circle—have ignited needing only three components: air, fuel, and spark. They spread a visceral and primoridal fear as they destroy land, lives, and threaten the air we breathe. Yet they also bring life, unleashing the potency of serotinous cones that open in the heat.
It’s hard to imagine, but in a few months I might be grateful to curl up next to the contained heat of a wood fire: burning brightly but contained by hearth, dangerous carbon monoxide and other byproducts carried safely up the flue. This combustion is ancient and I am grateful to the inventions that make it safe.
I’m on a long drive right now, relying on the internal combustion of my car’s engine. Back in the day, when automobile engine’s were simpler, a balky engine could be diagnosed by checking the four fundamental components: air, fuel, compression, spark. All four were necessary for the smooth running of an engine which is really a series of small repetitive explosions safely contained by the strong metal of the engine block. Remarkabley, all four continue to be present in the right proportions for mile after mile. Small wonder!
And just a few week’s ago, I was in the desert heat at our Portals of Pleasure retreat, witnessing with wonder the process by which humans could combust, burn off the residue, ignite change—all while anchoring deeply, tethering themselves lest their heat rise too quickly.
Heat. Combustion. Potency. Big powers to play with this August. But so much potency too.
Looking forward to hearing what Alex and Zed are firing up this month.


Season 3 preview: the Wonder Body adventure!

Join Amy and Alex for an all new Season 3 of the Pleasure Lab podcast, starting in July.
We’ve even got a little teaser for you in this short bridge episode of the Pleasure Lab.
While Season 1 was Zed and Amy in wacky conversation, and Season 2 was interviews with leaders and innovators in the field of embodiment, Season 3 will focus on Wonder Body: A Sophisticated Coloring Book for Curious Adults. Each episode will be a dive deep into one of the concept in the book: a sense, an energy, or a pleasure. We will link downloadable pages with each episode so you can color along as you listen. Not only will Amy and Alex describe what’s in the book, but they’ll also reveal the untold stories and surprises behind each spread of  poetic words and whimsical images.
Won’t you join us?
Thanks to the folks on Patreon who are supporting this podcast and all of Body Trust’s other work! Go visit and become a patreon yourself to support the free podcasts, newsletters, and resources that we create for you.
Music: Grateful to Little Dog Big Ears for their Creative Commons licensed music She Sees Mice (intro and outro). Make sure to subscribe in iTunes or Sticher. And give us a 5-star review in iTunes, it helps us reach more beloved explorers.


Been there. Done that.

Sometimes it can be hard to crawl out of the cave after a long winter’s hibernation.
Not only because I am stiff and undernourished, having worked through all my fat stores over the winter (oh, if only that were true…read this interesting article on the metabolic winter we may be missing!).
But also, because I’m a bit jaded. I think I know what I’ll find once I step back out into the sun.
Been there. Done that.
Obviously, I am wrong, but how can I remind myself of that. How can I have a tangible scientific proof!
Well, self, here are just a few recent examples of when thought we knew everything, but didn’t:

  • A new organ human organ—the interstitium—is discovered in the body. A fluid filled mesh throughout the body may be the key to communication.
  • Beautiful trove of phantom quartz crystals laying in plain site, that is if you happen to be a tree planter wandering through the British Columbia forest.
  • The quest to understand female ejaculate continues, with recent findings showing a mix of urine and PSA (prostatic-specific antigen).
  • The movements of the oceans are creating a 2nd magnetic force here on earth

So, self, get off your butt and crawl your way out into a world full of surprises.
Spring has sprung!
— Amy


Embracing the inconvenient

Sometimes the struggle is the whole point
The other day, I swiped across the off-white surface of the book I was reading. Nothing happened. I tapped harder on a single word, hoping the definition might pop up and save me from having to reach up onto the shelf and pull down the dictionary for an analog search. Sometimes, I love convenience.
But other times, convenience reduces friction and makes life feel too slippery.
Sometimes, it is only inconvenience that gives us a chance to connect to one another, to break out of our insulated bubbles of our Spotify channels, our podcast stream, to speak to the person next to us, say when the internet goes down or our phone battery dies.
But it wasn’t until I read Tim Wu’s wonderful essay entitled “The Tyranny of Convenience” that I got it what was irking me about convenience:
“Today’s cult of convenience fails to acknowledge that difficulty is a constitutive feature of human experience. Convenience is all destination and no journey. But climbing a mountain is different from taking the tram to the top, even if you end up at the same place. We are becoming people who care mainly or only about outcomes. We are at risk of making most of our life experiences a series of trolley rides.”
Does this resonate for you?
Inconveniently yours,


Can you sense the pace of change?

Things are quickening, beginning the process of change and growth, starting to stir. We take collective note through Groundhog Day and Imbolc but, sometimes, it’s really hard to sense the ‘readying’. Sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the slowly evolving drama.
So take a look at the NOVA video and see all the many ways—pretty and grotesque—that plants unfold. As I watched, I could feel that very same process in my body.
Where are you moving out? Is that process of change perhaps a little less pretty than you thought it might be? I know it is for me, but that’s OK.
Watch and feel.


Are your nose hairs freezing?

Now, I realize the irony of saying that from the warm, dry, safety of California. My nostalgia for all things snowy and icy may indeed be a romanticized version of the past. Have I forgotten the freezing of nose hairs? The scraping of windshields with a credit card? The disconcerting ways a car can pirouette when it finds itself on black ice?
But the truth is that every time I return to a winter climate I find myself relaxing in a way that a sunny beach never evokes.
The bundling of layers (long underwear, turtle neck, sweater, jacket, hat . . .) makes me feels like a warrior. The starkness of tree branches denuded of leaves, making their essential skeletal forms stand in stark relief, greet me like queer dance party of diversity (who knew there were so many different shapes, sizes, and branch configurations that could still describe “a tree”). Even the acoustics of sub-freezing temperatures brightens my ears, perking them to the crunch of frozen snow underfoot, the crack of ice stretching in it’s pond, the clear echo of chickadees flitting branch to branch. Winter is a synesthesist’s delight with sense stretched and altered and blended in surprising ways.
In winter’s barren landscape, I feel held and met.
Things are clean.
Which brings clarity . . . or atleast quiet . . . and hope to know what’s next.
How goes your wintertime? Anything crystalizing?
— Amy


The winter solstice brings Body Trust’s December pause, Pleasure Lab Podcast Season 2 Episode 8

Zed and Amy take note of December’s Winter Solstice and describe why Body Trust is taking the month off. Our shortest podcast ever (00:02:12)!
See you in January. 🙂
Music: Grateful to Little Dog Big Ears for their Creative Commons licensed music She Sees Mice (intro and outro). Make sure to subscribe in iTunes or Sticher. And give us a 5-star review in iTunes, it helps us reach more beloved explorers.


What defines your limits?

Sometimes I need to find some relief from the onslaught of news
Part of resilience and self-care is knowing when I’ve had enough, when my system needs some “down regulation” as Lizz likes to say, and when it is necessary to intentionally search for something positive. When those moments come I sometimes turn to Positive.News.
That’s where I found this article about folks defying the limits of age. Whether the dancer who began his career at 79 or the man who began primary school at age 84, I am inspired by them. It’s not so much because they are defying society’s stereotypes but because they are defying any internalized ones. They’ve had the courage to lay claim to their desires, even if they seem crazy, and go after them, knowing they are unlikely to become ‘superstars.’ They have been willing to find the outer limits of their aliveness, even as that edge of potential shrinks with age. They have found resilience in the push/pull between possibility and death.
What are you longing for? What’s the thing you’ve always meant to do? Now’s the time!
— Amy
source: Helen Cathcart/Bolder


Re-Storying and Restoring: Writing through Trauma; Amy Butcher Interviews Jen Cross, Pleasure Lab Podcast Season 2 Episode 7

Amy talks with writer, performer, and educator Jen Cross about her new book and how writing is an embodied practice available to all of us, not just to heal trauma but also to celebrate our passions.
Find out more about Jen here:
Jen’s recently published book is Writing Ourselves Whole: Using the Power of Your Own Creativity to Recover and Heal from Sexual Trauma
If you are in San Francisco, come to the book’s launch party on December 5, 2017 in San Francisco (more info here)
Other resources mentioned:
Peter Levine, Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma
Pat Califia, Macho Sluts and other books
Dorothy Alison, Bastard Out of Carolina and other books
Pat Schneider, Amherst Writers & Artists method
Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Women Who Run with the Wolves
Laura van Dernoot Lipsky, The Trauma Stewardship Institute
Music: Grateful to Little Dog Big Ears for their Creative Commons licensed music She Sees Mice (intro and outro). Make sure to subscribe in iTunes or Sticher. And give us a 5-star review in iTunes, it helps us reach more beloved explorers.