How Beloved Coaching Was Named
I was sitting with Ash, one of my dear ones, at the Chapel Pub in Portland...fresh out of sex coaching training and trying to decide what to name the business I was about to bring into the world. I wanted a name that held deep meaning for me and expressed the fullness and tenderness of the work.
I shared with Ash that I couldn’t come up with anything that felt right and that I didn’t feel like I could move forward with my business until it had a name. And she, in her magical wisdom, asked, “Well, what’s your favorite poem? Maybe that will give us a clue as to what you should name your business.”
I couldn’t remember the name of the poem, the same way I can’t always remember who sings my favorite songs, but I knew the first line by heart. What I did remember was that it made me tear up every time I read it. Every. Single. Time. I knew that it was a written expression of my internal experience; of the way I saw the world. And of the spiritual connection that remained after I separated myself from the church.
So like I said, I know the first line by heart.
“Start seeing everything as God,
But keep it a secret”
I quickly typed that into the almighty google, took a sip of my tequila, and clicked the first link.
As my eyes swept over the familiar text, I felt it swell in my heart and (of course) tears filled my eyes.
“Holy fuck, this is it! Beloved Coaching.”
There in the pub, where the ritual of meeting for tots and booze and hugs and sharing hearts was a sacred part of our beloved friendship, I read her the poem.
I Am So Glad
Start seeing everything as God,
But keep it a secret.
Become like a man who is Awestruck
Listening to a Golden Nightingale
Sing in a beautiful foreign language
While God invisibly nests
Upon its tongue.
Who can you tell in this world
That when a dog runs up to you
Wagging its ecstatic tail,
You lean down and whisper in its ear,
I am so glad You are happy to see me.
I am so glad,
So very glad You have come."
By the mystic poet Hafiz, rendered into English by Daniel Landinsky
This poem is the namesake of Beloved Coaching and the heart of the work that I get to do in this world.
Quite often our journey of sexual healing or erotic empowerment begins when we hear that still small voice inside of us saying:
Maybe I’m queer
I’d like to experience sex without pain
I wonder what it would feel like to have an orgasm
I think I want more than one boyfriend
I don’t like intercourse
I want to masturbate, but I don’t know how
We hear that voice, but we keep it a secret because each of us has our personal fears and shame about pleasure and sex. Our world is actively sex negative, so speaking our erotic truth can be vulnerable and in some circumstances, dangerous.
For those of us who grew up in the church; we were taught to separate our spirit from our flesh. We were taught that our bodies were temples, but there was a specific way to worship that involved “purity”. We (especially those of us that the church saw as girls) were taught that our bodies did not belong to us. Spirit and flesh. Sacred and profane. Binaries that split us from ourselves and our own embodied knowing.
Again, that first line, that I know by heart.
“Start seeing everything as God,
But keep it a secret.”
The use of God can be activating. Sometimes, those of us who leave the church also feel like we have to leave our connection to the divine/universe/sacred in an all or nothing break and it takes time to sort through the complexity of that experience. We have to set aside our connection to the divine to pursue our exploration of our sexual selves. Honoring that experience, we can replace the word God with something else, something more embodied, more erotic.
Start seeing everything as sacred, but keep it a secret.
Start seeing everything as connection, but keep it a secret.
Start seeing everything as pleasure, but keep it a secret.
Start seeing everything as sex, but keep it a secret.
Coaching is where these secrets can be held and nourished and celebrated. It is the place where you get to choose what love, pleasure, and sex mean to you and how to communicate that with others. Where beloved you can explore how to access increased pleasure and build skills that help you show up more fully for yourself and your partner(s) in erotic experiences.
Then, as you are ready, you can share your secret(s) with others in your life… and at that point, what was once secret can become a possibility of shared mutual pleasure, a gateway to deeper connection, and a powerful voice fighting against the collective sexual shame harms us all.
Offering the understanding that everything can can be connective, sacred, pleasurable, or erotic and that you have choice in the ways you want to engage in these experiences is the heart of Beloved Coaching; most especially for the post-Christian beloveds. And why there wasn’t any other choice, but to name it after this poem.
In all the ways that I get to interact with you… via social media, a workshop or in 1:1 work, I can say with a full heart, in the words of my dearest Hafiz,
I am so glad,
So very glad You have come*."
* pun very much intended if orgasm is something you want to celebrate. ;)