They say to pay attention to the things and activities that delighted you when you were younger. What were things you were drawn to do or would find time to do when no one was telling/forcing you to do it? Where were you or what activities were you doing when you lost your sense of time (called “flow” state)? These are clues to help you identify your natural passions and point you in the direction of your life purpose.
This photo of me with my mom, Olga Sente in 1982, is awesome on many levels and helps me illustrate some ideas going on at the time regarding my passions, the environment I was privileged to grow up in, and how I reconnected to my passions despite some detours put in my way.
1. Just look at the BIG hair that was popular in the early 80’s and the red go go boots. Fashion! What we think is so cool at the time, can make us laugh or cringe when we look back on them decades later (think Leisure suits). One thing I love to do is look at pictures of my mom when she was about my age now, especially since she has passed. I envision what my own daughter Natalie will say when she looks at pictures of us together decades later. My hope is that she will have happy memories and know that she is cherished.
2. I love to dance. In high school I discovered dancing and asked my dad if I could get a degree in dance, since he was the one paying for college. He was a practical man, an architect by trade. Ted Sente was a Hungarian immigrant who lived out the American dream and owned his own architecture company. He said politely, “No Clare, you can’t earn a living using your body. It will give out on you one day and then what will you do to make money? You are smart girl. Use your mind to earn a living and make dance your minor.”
So, I listened to his logical advice and studied to be a Dietitian with a dance minor. I tried out for the Redstepper Dance Troupe at Indiana University “I.U.” and enjoyed performing at half time at the I.U. football games. I felt challenged mentally and physically to use both my brain and my body to learn the dance routines. I loved that I had to learn how to get past my fear of looking stupid while learning the new routines each week or get past my fear of forgetting the dance moves during a performance. There were a lot of recurring nightmares about standing in front of an audience and completely forgetting the dance choreography while the rest of the troupe danced on.
After college the dancing was pushed away with work, more school, and later raising a family. It wasn’t until 2005 that I realized how much I missed dancing. My daughter was taking dance classes at the park district and I decided to enroll in the adult belly dance class. When you return to a passion you will definitely feel it. I felt “home” and continued with lessons for years and also took a few Zumba™ certifications so I could teach and share my love of dancing. I incorporate dancing now in my classes, workshops and 1:1 coaching because dancing is a great way to feel connected to your body and activate your senses (and burn calories).
3. The smile on my mom’s face reminds me how much my mom loved and supported me. She was proud that I was a Red Stepper and that happy look on her face represents the love reflected back to me in her eyes, words and body language for most of my life (except when I totaled her new car my senior year in high school, but that’s another story for another day).
In my decades of working with women regarding weight management and now in Empowered Enchantress, I realize how much self-criticism about our bodies exists in our world, especially for females. And how lucky I am that I did not have exposure to this body shaming until I got to college.
I didn’t know that I was raised differently until I went to I.U. and lived in a female dormitory and later in a sorority. Growing up, I never once heard my mom complain or express a negative view about her body or her looks. What I did grow up with was an open-hearted mother who liked the way she looked in a healthy, non-narcissist way. In another blog, I’ll outline further the self care rituals my mom did naturally that helped positively influence my lifestyle and my love life.
For now, I’ll just state the obvious that no one gets to choose the family and culture that she gets born into so I do know just how extremely blessed I am that I was born into my birth family where I felt cherished, loved, and didn’t know what struggling to pay the bills looked like or being discriminated or bullied or sexually harassed felt like.
This low drama, low stress lifestyle gave me two decades of living an idyllic life in an upper middle class suburb of Chicago, the youngest of three daughters all one year apart, and two immigrant parents who came to the U.S. without any possessions and who worked together to build the American Dream. No wonder I had a healthy dose of self-confidence and self-belief.
4. The last point I want to highlight is a life changing class I took when I was twenty years old (about the time of this photo). I took a class that was only available to juniors and seniors at I.U. because there was a huge waiting list for the class. It was a Human Sexuality class and it was the bomb! Indiana University is home to the world renowned Kinsey Sex Institute and this class shared cutting edge information about their research (plus you had homework assignments like going to a gay/lesbian bar and writing about your observations or buying a vibrator, using it, and writing about your experience…..I chose the latter).
I remember feeling so energized taking that class (and using the vibrator). It mixed in topics I was already passionate about studying, like biology, anatomy, and psychology and then added in all this new stuff about sexual arousal and response. I took that class my junior year and knew then that I wanted to be a Sex Therapist!
I told my mom about the class and how it combined all the science that I had already been studying for my nutrition major and how I just “knew” that this is what I wanted to do. Her response was an emphatic “No, Nope, No Way, Not Happening”. We didn’t even get to the “let’s ask your father”. It was a definite NO. End of story. Bummer. How can something that felt so right inside of me, be something that gave my mom such a very negative reaction?
Over time, I’ve learned a lot about how culture affects our opinions about sex. I’ve learned that many cultures don’t talk about sex, and women specifically grow up in heavily sex negative cultures that promote poor body image, feelings of shame, self-doubt, and disgust with our natural body functions.
Luckily, my life journey led me to Thai massage nine years ago, right before my father passed, so I could still joke with him that I didn’t listen to his advice after all about not earning a living using my body. I feel incredibly fulfilled using my hands (and feet) to be extensions of my heart for healing. I envision a world where more families and friends know how to use healing touch as a way to reduce pain and stress. I have the honor of now facilitating workshops that help lovers/partners learn how to use healthy sensual touch as a way to connect and deepen their intimacy.
My passions from over 30 years ago have been magically integrated back into my life in more meaningful ways than when I first experienced them in my youth. I now use my life experiences and my health educator background to offer online classes and 1:1 coaching for women to help them feel sexually confident and lovingly connected to their amazing bodies.
My hope is that when my daughter (and her future children) look at photos of us together from 2020 and beyond, she will be reminded that it’s never too late to change the path that you are on to follow your dreams. When you are on a spiritual awakening path, it won’t matter which door you open first or which fork in the road you choose to follow. Your destiny and your life purpose will be guided back into your life in a Divine way, so you never have to worry that you “missed” an opportunity. Fate will arrange the correct meetings, messages, people, and opportunities that you exactly need at this moment in time to fulfill your life purpose (eventually).
I trust that whoever is reading this blog post, was meant to read it and if you are pulled towards learning more about Empowered Enchantress and working with me, you should follow your internal promptings. The best life you could possibly imagine happens when you follow your intuition and stay open to what the Universe brings you. Many blessings. Namaste.