When Gratitude Is Toxic

Of all our spiritual practices, the one thing we know we can depend on is gratitude, right?

WRONG.

Gratitude is indeed a blessed, beautiful, important practice, when it is sincere. But when forced, gratitude can be manipulative, toxic and a waste of time.

I spent my 20’s dating, engaged, then married to a wonderful man. This was a man who served me at every turn. He was supportive and caring. I thought I had the husband of the century. So when I felt that something was off in the relationship and developed a mysterious resentment towards him, I figured the problem had to be me.  I was convinced I just needed to become more grateful for what I had.

I wrote gratitude lists for all the qualities I loved about him, which sounds like a nice, wise, spiritual thing to do. But when it came down to it, I wasn’t writing those lists because I was grateful. I was trying to turn up the volume on “grateful”, in order to the volume down on my truth.

Ten years into the relationship, he revealed a deep betrayal that had been going on since day ONE.  Do you know what I feel grateful for now, five years later? MY INTUITION.

In this instance, gratitude caused me not to trust myself. It quieted the spiky, suspicious voice of my truth; soothing and smoothing it like a honey-voiced Professor Umbridge from the Harry Potter movies.

Gratitude was like the shrunken gel air freshener in a smelly gas station bathroom.

Genuine gratitude is of course, important. But when used to push our feelings away, gratitude can be downright toxic. (click to tweet)

An example of this from my current life is the city in which I live. I hate living in North Carolina.

There, I said it.

Am I grateful for the lessons I’ve learned here, and the wonderful people I’ve met? 100%.  Am I grateful for the river, the mountains, the crickets I hear at night? About 20%. I’m a city girl, through and through. In the words of Walt Whitman, “Keep your quiet places by the woods, give me the streets of Manhattan!”

Here’s the thing – that does not make me ungrateful.  It makes me HONEST.

In my new book Club Macaron (available now through May 31st), there is an entire chapter dedicated to this particular kind of honesty, which is what I call Vérité.

Vérité is the French word for truth, but its meaning goes deeper than one word. Vérité is the truth beneath the truth.  Vérité is not nice, nor is it mean.  It is the truth that can’t be glossed over with gratitude.  It is the truth that takes a bit longer to rise because it is not coming from the knee jerk reaction of “I’m fine.”

The moment you enroll in Club Macaron you will receive instant access to the print and PDF book with a whole chapter on Vérité (how to listen for it, speak it, and live it) as well as a members-only class on The Art of Assertiveness.

Ready to trade in forced gratitude for silver tongued truth telling?

Club Macaron is only available for a limited time, click here to join us now!

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Announcement: Love Made Visible

Last night I hosted a gorgeous launch party for my brand new book and program, Club Macaron. (available now through May 31st!) Right before the launch I had an energy work session with my friend Marianne, and heard a message loud and clear:

Work is Love Made Visible. – Khalil Gibran

When I was a child, I had a fairy godmother. Not the portly, gray-haired, wish-granting kind. More like the Mists of Avalon, purple-robed priestess kind. She was wise and beautiful, expertly adorned, kind, and smart as a whip. Especially on rainy days I would roam around the grassy yard barefoot and communicate with her in a secret language.

My fairy godmother, this wise woman with long dark hair and queenly adornments, lived in my heart. But as time went on, she began to feel more like a distant fantasy than a guiding force. I would see glimpses of her throughout my life but mostly reduced her to a childhood game.

Then, one day when I was all grown up, I found her staring at me right in the face.

In the movie Advanced Style, the creator of the film roams the streets of Manhattan looking for incredibly stylish women, preferably over the age of 60. He lavishes them with well deserved attention. They are walking works of art.

These women are more than their Chanel handbags. They are explosions of unexpected, unbridled beauty.
These are our Fairy Godmothers in human form. They bundle crone-like wisdom with timeless sex appeal and an indestructible joie de vivre. They on the cutting edge of The Great Divine Feminine Comeback, and they embody the power that forms the basis of Club Macaron: La Femme Vitale: The feminine life force.

La Femme Vitale is a power we see play out in movies like Mary Poppins where the innocent genius of children calls forth exactly what the family needs, even if it is not what the family wants. A strong-willed, fiercely loving woman who knows her own mind and is in charge of her own magic appears, and the entire family, not just the children, is forever changed by her attention.

La Femme Vitale plays a starring role in the movie Chocolat, where the lead character Vianne sees an entire town suffering under the crush of puritanical doctrine. She fearlessly unleashes the sensual power of her ancient Mayan chocolate recipes on the town. Like a superhero, sporting red shoes instead of a red cape, she faces enemies at every turn. But she refuses to censor who she is and what she loves. As a result, the entire town springs forth into a newer, freer, more loving existence.

In real life, the examples of La Femme Vitale are endless. It lives in Maya Angelou’s poetry, Frida Kahlo’s painting, Aretha Franklin’s voice, Jane Goodall’s activism, Coco Chanel’s innovation, Julia Childs’ roast chicken, and so…much…more.

It’s the tears that form in the corners of your eyes when you hear the song, Ave Maria. It is the ecstasy you feel when you bite into a ripe fig still warm from the sun. It is the ache in your heart when you see suffering, and the conviction that courses through your veins when you take a stand for change.

La Femme Vitale not only lives in you, it IS you. YOU are a Femme Vitale.

Club Macaron, very simply, is a place where Femme Vitales gather to celebrate the arts of sensuality, spirituality and style.

At the start of last night’s class, I was surprised to introduce myself not just as Kitty Cavalier, but as Mary, my birth name. I believe it is because this is the most authentic, genuine work I have ever produced. It comes straight from my heart. My Fairy Godmother is smiling.

Club Macaron is love made visible, and I am so excited to share it with you.

This offering is only available through May 31st. Click here to learn more, get your hands on the book and join us.

J’adore,

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When Positive Thinking Starts To Drive You Insane

Lemon Drops,

I remember when I first learned about the power of positive thinking.  For about a week, I felt amazing and empowered.

But then I found, I had never felt more insane.

While I do believe we can use the mind to choose our thoughts more carefully, changing how they are created is not the mind’s job. Not at all. That job my darling, goes to what I call your R.F.N.S. – Your Resplendent Feminine Nervous System.

Allow me to elaborate with a page from my new book, Club Macaron, which makes its grand debut Thursday night:

Our nervous system is The Great Communicator. Its sole function is to relay messages between our body and our brain. Therefore, every thought you have is a consequence of the state your nervous system is in at that time.

Have you ever noticed that you could go to bed feeling hopeless about a situation, but after a really good night’s sleep, you wake up with a totally different outlook? Or have you ever been pissed off by your partner’s annoying habits one day, but after a great workout, the same habit appears almost cute?

The difference is not the situation, but the state your nervous system is in when it experiences the situation.

You may have been taught to care for your circulatory system through exercise, or your digestive system through diet, but the extent of our education about the nervous system is usually limited to: take a deep breath and relax. Our overall need for relaxation is great indeed, but relaxation is actually only one pebble on the shore of what your nervous system needs to find its sweet spot.

The Sweet Spot is the feeling you get when your feel-good hormones of serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin are flowing free. Your body feels well tended, and your emotions are at ease.

When you are in the sweet spot, it doesn’t matter if you are strolling along the Seine River or pumping gas at a rest stop, your body feels ALIVE and ENGAGED with life, and your mood and emotions follow suit.

When a woman’s nervous system is well tended, she is naturally seduced by life. (click to tweet)


So you see my love, trying to use your mind to change your thoughts is kind of like using the same consciousness that created a problem to solve it.

It’s time to let your body do the talking.

This Thursday May 17th at 7pm, I’ll be raising a glass to my new book and teaching a free class on how to keep your nervous system hummin’ like a little red corvette. Join us!

At this launch party & free class  I’ll be sharing:

  • Why I created a club named after a cookie
  • The moment that inspired me to write a brand new book (read: crusty yoga pants)
  • The one tool that changed everything for me around pleasure, sensuality, and femininity (It’s free, and it’s available to everyone.)

One of the needs of your RFNS (Resplendent Feminnine Nervous System) is beauty and music.  To start tending to that need right now ANd heighten the pleasure of anticipating Thursday night, enjoy this exclusive Club Macaron playlist. (Big shout out to Club Macaron member Xandra who inspired it!)

CLUB MACARON PLAYLIST

click here or press play below

Enjoy the affect this music has on your body chemistry while doing the dishes, driving to work, dressing for your day or undressing for your evening….

Until we see each other Thursday!

Avec L’Amour,

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Get Penetrated by the Present Moment (Free Class)

 

Recently I was speaking with a friend about the topic of being in the present moment.  We were both aware of the immense power that this ability brings.

Not only does being present allow us to enjoy simple pleasures and profound beauty in life, it is also the key to speaking your truth in difficult situations. It helps you be a good listener and a great lover.  When you are in the present moment, you manage your time well, you make eye contact with the people you care about — you even become a better cook! (An area where I need all the help I can get.)

My friend told me about the first time she ever saw the Eiffel Tower in person.  “I was standing there with my fiancé and I said to him: ‘I can’t wait to travel even more.  I’d really like to see the Taj Mahal!”

This moment was a wake up  call for her. 

There she was, a desire she longed for her whole life coming true before her very eyes. But rather than letting the moment in, all she could do was push it away with greater desires for the next best thing.

Can you relate?

Do the words “this isn’t it” run through your head like a mantra? Whether it’s your partner, your job, your home, your life path — what  seemed like your dream come true at first, once met with reality, all of a sudden, “isn’t it?”

You’ve done meditations. You’ve written scores of morning pages. Maybe you’ve even walked on hot coals. You’ve done so much to learn to “be” with who you are and what you have, and yet, nothing seems to actually PENETRATE you.

If this feels true, I invite you to join me for a fun, sassy, new approach at my free class: Get Penetrated by the Present Moment, happening Thursday May 17th at 7pm ET.



Meditation, breath work and other forms of building present moment awareness are great and all, but they can sometimes feel so disenchanting.  If you’ve had a hard time being consistent with them,  it’s not that you’re undisciplined, it’s just that you haven’t found what really works for you.

In this class I will be sharing how build your present moment awareness in fresh, snazzy, new ways.  We will also be raising our glasses to toast the debut of my new book and program “Club Macaron: Charm School for Femme Vitales.”

The tools I will be sharing with you at this class have massively changed my life, and the lives of my clients. I can’t wait to share them with you — see you Thursday night! 

Love,

 

 

 

 

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Tiny Change, Huge Result

It was day three of a nasty cold, and you know how difficult nighttime can be with a racking cough and stuffy nose. Before bed, I assembled an artillery of defense on my nightstand: a cluttered mess of cough syrup, tissues, cough drops and Vicks Vapo Rub.

It all looked so…DEPRESSING.

“Wait a minute” I thought. I grabbed the tin platter from my dresser that my perfumes had been sitting on, stuck a flower into a vintage bud vase, added my medicinal array in an orderly fashion and voila! Instant beauty. My new tray of treats caused my nervous system to relax. As I climbed into bed I felt like I had gone from a cold clinic to the Ritz hotel.

Such a tiny change, such a huge result. Such is the power beauty has.

Beauty is prayer in it’s original form.

(Click to tweet)

Since before we had words to speak, we used beauty to communicate things like thank you, I love you, I honor you, I’m grateful, please.

In these violent times, beauty can be seen as a frivolous luxury. And yet, is our collective discourse and agitation not simply a symptom of the way we have forgotten the true value that beauty brings?

As a child and young adult, where I found solace and respite was in the world of beauty. Initially, with the naïveté that is natural to youth, I thought beauty meant keeping up a flawless exterior. I used beauty to conceal the shame of feeling like my insides were permanently dirty from how I grew up. I invested almost all my time and money in trying to make things “look good.”

I no longer use beauty to cover up.

I use beauty to express and honor the woman I have become.

My signature red lipstick has nothing to do with trends. Red is the color of passion and power. In Feng Shui, red is the color of good luck. I use red to adorn my lips the same way one would light a red candle at Christmastime; to express joy, celebration and wonder.

When you add a scarf to your outfit that brings out your eyes, when you sprinkle green parsley over pink salmon, when you toss rose petals into your bathwater; I urge you to remember this simple fact — every act of beauty is a form of prayer.

Every day is a new opportunity to experience the healing power of beauty, but creating a unique, authentic style can feel overwhelming and intimidating. That is exactly why I’ve created a powerful free guide to show you how to find your Signature Style. 

More than how we dress, style is how we EXPRESS.

You know that feeling when you find a piece that was just MADE for you? Like a beautiful thing inside of you has just found its soulmate outside of you? What if that feeling wasn’t something you had to wait for destiny to bring? What if you could study, cultivate, and master it, so that feeling fabulous about the way you’re dressed becomes the rule, not the exception?

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A Power That Ripens With Age

Image: Ari Seth Cohen

In the opening scene of the documentary Advanced Style, the creator of the film roams the streets of Manhattan looking for incredibly stylish women age 60+. These women are walking works of art. They are more than their Chanel handbags. They are explosions of unexpected, unbridled, feminine beauty.

These are bold, brazen babes who are fiesty, zesty and chic as f*ck.

They bundle crone-like wisdom with the timeless sex appeal and an indestructible joie de vivre. They on the cutting edge of The Great Divine Feminine Comeback, embodying a power that only ripens with age: La Femme Vitale. The feminine life force.

La Femme Vitale lives in Maya Angelou’s poetry, Frida Kahlo’s painting, Aretha Franklin’s voice, Jane Goodall’s activism, Coco Chanel’s innovation, Julia Childs’ roast chicken, and so…much…more.

La Femme Vitale is also the basis of my new book, Club Macaron, and I am pleased as punch to announce that today you can officially download a sneak-peek chapter: Finding Your Signature Style! 

SIGN UP HERE TO GRAB YOUR GUIDE

This 21-page gem is loaded with fun quizzes, beautiful images and invigorating exercises to stoke your creative fire, making the daily act of dressing feel decadent and delicious!

 

SIGN UP HERE TO GRAB YOUR GUIDE

(In doing so you will also automatically be invited to the party of the season, Club Macaron’s coming out party on Thursday May 17th!)

I am so thrilled to share this beautiful book with you, and to enjoy the sweet, long seduction leading up to the big reveal.

Love,

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When Things Seem Impossible


Just a reminder beauty, that no matter how impossible things may seem at the moment, truly, anything is possible.

I mean think about it. The acid in your stomach right now could dissolve a piece of tinfoil.  If the outside of your body came into contact with it, it would literally eat you alive.  But it stays in there, all neat and tidy.  If that kind of divine technology that exists INSIDE of you, then truly, anything is possible.

If a woman’s body can produce a fully formed baby girl with a spine, eyelashes, nipples, two hands and and two feet, and if that baby can then roam the earth for a good 80 years, creating more babies inside her own body as she goes, then truly, ANYTHING is possible.

If the absolute uncertainty of winter; that cold, grey, frozen state that so resembles death, at the very last minute decides to do a 180 and produce cherry blossoms and snow drops and clover fields, then truly, anything is possible.

Fish can breathe underwater girlfriend. Anything is possible.

When I pause to look at the table I’m writing on on right now, I think of the person who designed it, the tree that became it, the invention of GLAZE! My heavens. This table is not just a piece of furniture. It is a series miracles strung together, one after the other after the other.

If you feel in need of a miracle today, I urge you to look out the window, or down at your knee joints, or over at the table in the corner, and remember:

Miracles are not the exception, my love. Not even a little bit.

They are the rule.

Love,

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Preparing the Guest Room for God

New Blog: Preparing The Guest Room For God

 

Cherubs,

For a little over a year now, every single day, I have meditated. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes, sometimes it’s 20, but I can say with conviction that meditation has been become a fixed part of my life.

Meditation is a squirrely business. Like all good spiritual practices, just when you think you’ve got it figured out, you realize you have no idea what you’re doing.

I begin my meditation with prayer, and in that prayer I tell my higher power that I am open to any downloads and insights that want to come through in that time.

But the other day as I was sitting there, I noticed that a part of me was secretly calling out “Yup! Open for business over here! Any downloads you want to give me God. Anytime. I’m READY. Just lay it on me.”

And I humbly I realized that once again, I had adorably missed the point.

In declaring my readiness, what I was really doing was setting up the expectation that if I was gonna meditate, I had better be getting something out of it.

But making sure divine messages get through exactly when I want them is not my job. My job is just to make sure the guest room is ready.

When a guest is comes to visit, I wash the sheets, elegantly fold the towels, and place fresh flowers on the bedside table in preparation. This ritual is something I have almost total control over. What I do NOT have control over is the timing in which my guest arrives.

And so it is with meditation. In meditation, I am clearing the space in my mind for the divine to enter in its own time. Those insights may happen in the moment of meditation, or later when I’m driving down the highway, scrambling eggs for breakfast or putting rollers in my hair.

Just like guests are more likely to visit when they know there is a place to stay, strokes of divine inspiration are more likely to be heard when the space of quiet has been cleared.

Silent meditation is one of the ways I make space to hear the divine more clearly. Hiking in the woods, dancing, enjoying my body through the senses, are just a few others.

What works for you? I’d love to hear your list in the comments!

With Chocolates on the Pillow,

 

 

 

P.S. – there are now only two spots left for the Tuscany Retreat this fall!  Click here to learn more and join us for this sensual education of a lifetime!

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Your Mess Is Part of your Zest

Lipstick on your teeth.

Farting in a yoga class. 

Finding a melted wad of gum in your purse that has coated your keys. 

Feeling insecure.

Yelling at your partner instead of communicating your truth.

Eating your kids cold macaroni and cheese out of the pot because you’re too tired to make lunch for yourself.

TO LIFE!  (raises coffee stained mug filled with champagne)

Listen, being woman is a messy affair. We sweat. We bleed. We cry.

We stink. We’re hairy.

Our hips shake when we walk and our boobs swing when we dance.

We work, we play, we laugh. 

We fight, we rage.

We create the entire human race inside our own bodies.

I mean, we’re practically Vikings.

Life as a woman is truly a mosaic. There are as many smooth pearls in this work of art as there are spiky bits of glass.  There are diamonds twinkling right alongside bits of aluminum can, and shiny porcelain next to rough, rugged clay.  That is what makes it so interesting.

So flaunt those flaws honey.

Your mess is part of your zest. (click to tweet)

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8 Awesome Party Ideas For Grownups

party ideas

 

Dear Ones,

It’s Friday night.

You’ve had a long week and are dying to go do something fun, dazzling and exciting. You scan the local calendar for music, art or dancing, but don’t see anything that tickles your fancy. You text a friend to see if they’d be up for a night out, but they already have plans. You prod your partner for a date night but they are already in their PJ’s.

You sigh, flop down on the couch, and resign yourself to a boring night in.

Perhaps you enjoy boring nights in (I often do!), but you still long for exciting, enticing invitations that will create meaningful connections and lasting memories.

Does this experience sound familiar?

Are you waiting for the social life fairy to bonk you on the head with her wand?

When I moved to from New York City to the Blue Ridge Mountains two years ago, I know I sure was. I spent many weekend nights alone, frustrated, wishing for my N.Y. days of spontaneously meeting up with a friend for a late night at the 24 hour spa, or gathering for Sunday brunch and eating exotic food that I still can’t properly pronounce.

Living in a smaller city has pleasantly shaped me in many ways. It has made me less impulsive and more responsible. I am so much happier with so much less. I’m not constantly chasing the comet’s tail of excitement wherever it will lead, and I feel so much more content with who I am.

But no matter where I live, my culture loving, razzle-dazzle, inner Zelda Fitzgerald will always be alive and well in some capacity.  And this is a woman with NEEDS.

I adore this quote from the New York Magazine column, Ask Polly:

“When you go from doing whatever comes up and hating it, to being a visionary socializer who makes inspired, exciting plans with people who are deeply craving new, more meaningful ways of interacting, your life will change.”

After reading that quote I realized that when it comes to my social life: I must be the party I wish to attend.

“But I don’t know how to throw a fabulous party! Besides, I don’t have that many friends!” are all thoughts that may be running through your mind, as they did mine.

What I have learned from my own experiment is two key things:

1. Anyone can throw a party, for any reason.

I’ve thrown heartbreak parties, sensual chocolate tasting parties, it’s-Tuesday-night-and-caramel-corn-exists-so-let’s-celebrate parties. It really doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. Spending tons of money and cleaning the house within an inch of it’s life are not requirements to throw a great party. If you’ve warm bodies, focused attention and good lighting, you’re already ten steps ahead of the game.

2. Everyone you know is longing for meaningful, in-person connection.

In-person connection is a delicacy these days. We are DYING for a reason to get out of the virtual world and dive into real, live conversation.  The best party memories are not made by the quality of cocktail napkins, they are made by the quality of connection between the people who attend.  Remember this as your priority to prevent getting lost in the swirl of trying to create the perfect party.  You already are the perfect party!

So, where to begin? Don’t worry doll, Kitty’s got you covered with eight jazzy, snazzy ideas to put this insight into action and be the party you wish to attend!


8 AWESOME PARTY IDEAS FOR GROWNUPS

 

  • Pampering Party

Have everyone bring over their favorite spa products for a group spa night! You could even hire a massage therapist.  Have everyone contribute $10-$20 and offer chair massage in another room while you and your friends catch up over cucumber water on the couch.

  •  Sommelier Wine Tasting Party

Most local wine shops would be thrilled to have you come to their store (or may even be willing to come to you) to host a group wine tasting. Or to keep things more simple, ask each person to bring their favorite bottle of wine with them to the party, and to do a little research on it in advance, then share that info with the group!

  • Oracle Dance Party

If your friends are open to a bit of woo-woo comin’ through, gather for an Oracle Dance Party. You’ll need space to dance and an awesome playlist with different kinds of music. How it works: each person gets a turn to sit in the center of the circle and share for a few minutes on an area of their life where they need support. Then, you hit shuffle on the playlist, and everyone gets up to dance the full song, listening for messages as they move. The group then returns to the circle, and  shares insights, messages or intuitions they received for that person in their dance. Credit to Rochelle Schieck and my Qoya family for this super fun, incredibly meaningful party experience!

  • Lingerie Party

Many lingerie boutiques will happily close early for a group to come in for a private shopping party. The staff will give you detailed attention and often offer fittings. You could even hire a burlesque dancer to come in and teach you some sensual moves to kick off the night! Tip: Bring your favorite shoes and do your hair and makeup to prepare.  I always find my lingerie shopping feels infinitely more luxurious experience with these details attended to!

  • Arts and Crafts Party

Are you a sucker for the sight of construction paper and a glue stick? Does glitter make your heart beat a little faster? Does a watercolor set make you swoon? Host a gathering for creative playtime! You could make homemade greeting cards, art postcards, or just create art for arts sake!

  • D.I.Y. Dinner and Dancing

You serve the Hawaiian fare while one of your friends learns and teaches the basics of the hula. Or, you learn a few Flamenco steps and put your friends in charge of the Paella and Tempranillo. There are literally thousands of videos on YouTube to learn the basic steps of almost any kind of dance. Add a little regional dish and voila! A magical evening is born. Samba and caipirinhas here we come!

  • Costume Seance

Invite each guest to dress up as their favorite historical figure. Light candles and say some prayers. One person sits in the center of the circle, and guests take turns asking questions of the person in the middle, who answers as the person they have dressed to honor!

  • Heartbreak Party

Some of my most cherished parties have been celebrations of life’s most difficult moments. I have had breakup parties, divorce parties, parties to honor the dead, rage parties, you name it! Choosing to celebrate the dark times rather than pushing them away changes our perception of difficult moments. (The people of New Orleans do this so well.) Second line parade here we come!

I hope you enjoy these party ideas, and that they spark your own limitless imagination. What are some of the most memorable parties you’ve ever attended? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! 

Wiggling and Giggling,

KITTY_CAVALIER_ICON(1)

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