⚡️Kristen Kalp - Make more meaning w/my books, breathwork, and biz coaching.

Ahoy there!

I help creative entrepreneurs make more money and meaning through breathwork, books, and business coaching.

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The Sex Episode.

banana

Last week was the cannabis episode, which was, honestly, harrowing. To record and to share. I told Bear I was pretty sure it would end my career, that all my clients would abandon me, and that I’d never work again. He said, “Have you ever felt like this before?” “YUP,” I answered, “so many times.” Every time something awesome is about to happen, in fact. So, I hit publish and then geared myself up for another round of more of the same.

This week, it’s another taboo: sex! I can feel my palms sweating as I type. I’m sharing anyway. You can listen in or keep reading…

Let’s start back in the day, shall we?

Throughout my teen years and high school, I went to various ultra-conservative Christian workshops and meet-ups in places as exotic as Orlando and Salt Lake City. I was on the Bible quiz team. I came thiiiiiis close to signing a True Love Waits pledge. (True Love Waits being a pledge that says sex is for marriage, and signing means you agree.)

Sex wasn’t something that was talked about, ever, for any reason, unless it was to shame someone for having it before marriage or for being gay.

Pile on the feelings of a shy kid who’s also smart (read: dudes don’t speak to me unless they want to copy my homework) and suddenly you’ve found someone who is TERRIFIED of sex. When, exactly, in the marriage ceremony does sex go from being forbidden to being something that is glorious and wonderful, fully condoned? How does that work? Why is God such a prude? How are we supposed to shed all that shame of doing a forbidden thing in mere minutes on our wedding night? I never found good answers to those questions.

I was a fairly late bloomer all the way around, with regards to my body. I came to sex late and with much gratitude. (As in, someone is willing to have sex with me! Yay!) I didn’t wait until marriage, but I was pretty picky and have a short list of sexual partners.

I was 20 when I had sex for the first time, and WEE IT WAS ALL THE FUN I LOVED IT SO MUCH. Then I had more sex with the same person, and HOLY SHIT IT WAS SO SO AWESOME.

Then I got married. To a different person.

As I’ve discussed before, my marriage wasn’t about sex or enjoying sex or exploring sexuality. It was about ‘working on’ the marriage from the moment it started.

Six years into the relationship, I had convinced myself that I was broken and/or asexual in order to avoid confronting the deeper truth: that I was not and never really had been attracted to the one person on earth I was committed to having sex with in this lifetime.

Which is when I discovered Kim Anami.

…and she sort of ruined everything.

If you also feel broken or like you’ve shut down completely and totally — which is a dramatic shift from how you were previously — I recommend picking up Kim Anami’s Well Fucked Woman course. Or if you’d like to have a libido and…don’t. WFW is all about the tricky work of reconnecting with yourself and with your own sexuality before you attempt to add a partner into the mix.  Even if you’ve got a partner, I highly recommend it.

If you’re ready to explore partnership in sex, I can’t sing the praises of Kim Anami’s Coming Together course enough. I’m gonna tell you what I’ve learned from her work, and what you might learn, too.

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1.) You are not broken. You can have every type of orgasm. Yes, you.

One of Kim’s primary tenets is that everyone can have every type of orgasm if you have the corresponding body parts.

So, clitoral orgasm? Check.
G-spot orgasm? Check.
Cervical orgasm? Check.

You can have all of those orgasms, period. Even if you’ve never had any at all.

…if you’re like, ‘Wait, WHAT THE FUCK IS A CERVICAL ORGASM,’ exactly. That’s why you need Kim’s work. It’s the holy grail of connection and intimacy, available only after you’ve done the work of being seen, clearing the space between you as a couple on a regular basis, and having a few other orgasms to get the body going and to step into sexual flow.

The good news is: now you’ve heard of it. You can go try it out. And make it happen. (If you want help, look no further than Coming Together.)

2.) Not all orgasms are simple pleasure.

This was a shocking revelation, and I would have thought something was completely and utterly wrong with me if I hadn’t been intimately acquainted with Kim’s work.

I cut myself off from the waist down the minute my former husband said he wanted kids, then used my lady bits as an emotional trash can for lots of years because it was a damn good hiding place. It was rarely accessed in sex because that part of the relationship had died. It was impervious to the work of body-based professionals like masseuses and aestheticians because it was always off limits.

I shoved my feelings about the patriarchy and sexual violence and injustice and the wage gap into it. I shoved the pain of my marriage into it. I stacked boxes and boxes of brokenness in every available corner until I literally couldn’t breathe into my body any further than my solar plexus.

Your lady bits are the perfect hiding space. Clearing that space takes time.

Clearing the garbage took years. Years of going past my own boundaries of pleasure — of how much delight and goodness I was willing to let myself experience — as well as years of trusting Bear and our partnership in deeper and fuller ways.

Most of all, it took years of not shaming myself for my own reactions.

When you commit to coming together in all the ways, you naturally open up space for any reaction to an orgasm to be on the table. You might sob. You might wail. You might laugh. You might feel waves of ecstasy that go on and on. You might issue guttural noises from your throat. You might shake and flail and kick. You might push your partner away or draw them closer. You might go for a combo of these things. Each and every one of those reactions is completely valid and acceptable.

Bigger, deeper female orgasms (which I’m speaking about because they’re the only kind I’ve ever had) often build like a storm, and they can ride the line between pleasure and pain. They can clear any pain you’ve tucked away in your soft tissue, any wounds you’ve carried from past lovers, and any emotional debris that’s getting between you and your partner. Or you and your life. Or both.

I’ve experienced orgasms that made me feel like an ascended master — enlightened, floating, and full of bliss — as well as orgasms that made me feel like a hermit crab without a shell — defenseless, frightened, and utterly vulnerable. Literally scared to exist.

Bear’s job as a partner has been and still is to make a space safe enough and big enough for all of those reactions to be not only okay, but welcomed. To be a soft space when tears are coming. To hold me through sobs of despair and pain. To let whatever is happening, happen, without trying to make it go differently, and without paying any attention to how sex ‘should’ look.

Where porn is all moaning and ecstasy and doggy style pounding, real life making love is a continuous transfer of energy that might sound and look sexy, or it very well might not. That’s okay.

Deep orgasms bring you back to life, and that process is neither linear nor straightforward. But it is worth it.

3.) Clear the space between you.

Female bits are wired for depth, both literally and metaphorically. We crave deep knowledge of our partners’ brains and hearts and thoughts…and then bodies.

Kim taught me to return to the space between us and to clear it relentlessly. Any small slight is discussed, because discussing small slights means they don’t turn into resentment, judgement, silence, passive aggression, or just plain aggression.

If your partner spends every waking minute on the phone, there’s no way your pussy is wet for them.

If your partner reveals nothing of his or her soul to you (and you’re in a committed relationship, not having a fling), there’s no way you’re having more and more amazing sex as time goes on.

If your partner has stayed exactly the same while you’ve grown and changed for the better, your sex life will suffer for failing to discuss that growth.

When resentments and hurts between you and your partner build, the debris tends to accrue in your genitals.

OF COURSE you have no libido when all you talk about with your partner is meal planning and scheduling and budgeting. There’s nothing sexy about picking up chicken fingers on the way home, or figuring out how to pay the mortgage again this month, but we’re often so busy that we try to get away with calling that intimacy.

Clearing the space between you means you’ve done the hard work of being human together, showing one another your true selves, and picking each other as partners for another day.

That’s square one.

That’s not an impossible goal or a pie-in-the-sky circumstance. It’s not a fairytale or the basis for a sitcom.

Clearing the space between you is the cost of having an extraordinary sexual relationship.

This is, hands down, THE hardest part of your time in a relationship. It’s easy to skirt issues, sweep them under the rug, bury them with busyness, or pretend sex isn’t at all important. I’ve seen women turn to me, time and again, to tell me they’re broken, when really they’re experiencing partnership issues that go back for years, if not decades. Clear the space, clear the space, clear the space. Kim does an intro to non-violent language and communication that’s super helpful for getting started.

4.) Use the breath as a powerful tool.

I was mostly unaware of my breathing until I came across Kim’s work in 2012. Of course I’d been breathing for three decades, but it had never seemed to need my attention or effort.

Kim’s courses helped me use the breath to stay present, to ride my own edges, and to distribute feeling and pleasure from my nether regions to the rest of my body. My lower half slowly came online with a combination of masturbation and the breath.

I can now control the intensity of my feelings with the depth of my breath. I can stay fully present with Bear for longer periods of time when I ride the breath. I can feel orgasms in my fingertips and toes when I ride the breath.

Better sex is often a matter of paying attention to the most ordinary thing we do each day.

When we’re truly present, we’re with our breath.
When we’re with our breath, we’re also with our partner.
When we’re with our partner, we deepen connection and intimacy.
When we deepen connection and intimacy, we become better versions of ourselves.

It’s so simple and so challenging, too.

5.) It gets better.

When you’re deeply committed to both your own growth and your partner’s growth, amazing sex isn’t the anomaly. It’s the norm.

Just as there are worlds you can explore only on your own, there are worlds you can only explore with another human.

You have an animal side and a softer side. You have harsh edges and abandoned boxes of garbage you can’t seem to shift. You have energies locked within you and forgotten. You have lands whose gates have been thrown open within you. You have rivers of delight flowing through you. Those are all on the table when you start coming together.

You find new ways to please each other, new ways to communicate with each other, and more depths to explore. Always.

The commitment isn’t for the faint of heart, but it pays dividends of ease and trust; pleasure and comfort; gratitude and bliss.

Kim’s Coming Together course is full of so much more than this tiny little introduction can contain.  Click here for the free video series that will help you figure out whether this is right for you — and whether you choose to pick up the course or not, paying attention to her work is highly recommended.

The course is organized by which body parts your partner has and how to please them. It sticks with ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ polarities more than strict male/female or strictly hetero language.  However! You will be disappointed if you or your partner are trans because that isn’t specifically addressed in the main or supplementary bonus materials. If you know of a course that *does* include that information, I would be *thrilled* to hear about it and to share it!

P.S. Here’s my interview with Kim about the Well Fucked Woman course!

The Cannabis Episode.

cannabis

Six years ago, I promised that if and when I found anything that helped me beat Seasonal Affective Disorder — aka winter depression — I’d let everyone know. Little did I know that instead of sharing some rad supplement or kickass energy work, I’d end up talking about one of American society’s biggest taboos: cannabis. Weed. Marijuana. Ganja. Mary Jane.

Whatever you call it, my inner Nancy Reagan is SCREAMING right now. 

I’d never given cannabis a try (except that one lackluster time in college), so all of this was/is new to me. Buds, bongs, joints, highs, edibles…all of it.

I’m telling you what happened when I smoked weed for the first time, as well as what I’ve tried, what worked, what didn’t, and why I’m (finally) not depressed in this episode of the podcast!

If you’re curious about cannabis, currently suffering from depression, or already love this wonder plant and want to hear my take on it, listen in!

Please note: I am not a medical professional, a therapist, a budtender, or any sort of cannabis expert. That’s exactly why I’m sharing! Any Google search will reveal endless amounts of data about cannabis, but stories about peeps overcoming their own D.A.R.E. program demons are much harder to come by.

P.S. Want to hear about other forms or rad healing magic?  Breathwork is right up your alley.

There’s no substitute for being seen.

Last week, we talked all about the dangers of the instant: instant solutions, instant answers, instant answers to difficult and complex problems.

We talked about how the instant is meant as a shortcut to certainty, and in the meantime it cuts off depth, meaning, and the practice of craft.

As I sat with the episode, and listened to it on a gorgeous drive through the Philly springtime, it struck me that we haven’t finished diving into the instant.

That leads us to this episode of That’s What She Said: there’s no substitute for being seen!

More than cutting off depth and meaning — which are abstract concepts — we often use the instant to prevent ourselves from being seen.

If we could just fill our dockets and calendars and coffers without ever being vulnerable, we think we’d be blissfully happy. Maybe those sales funnels made of fill-in-the-blanks, or that strategy ‘proven’ by so many people will do it — and will require nothing of our souls! LET’S GIVE IT A TRY.

Only.

Making a living without ever showing your true self — particularly for those among us who are sensitive AF, who are artists, who are empaths, who are committed to soul — will likely fall flat.

We hide, and we’re tempted to buy Instagram captions and stock photos and templates and blueprints because surely, surely, the answer to thriving in business can’t be that we show the world our true selves.

THE HORROR.

After a decade in business, and having talked with many entrepreneurs, I’ll put the most basic hiding we do into two main categories.

If we’re busy, full to the brim, over-scheduled, or otherwise at capacity, we’re afraid to show people how tired we are. Not tired like, in need of a nap, but tired all the way down. ‘Three weeks of solo vacation might be a start’ tired.

We turn our Pinterest-ready Perfection Porn Cannon to Maximum, and we show the world how not-tired and engaging we are right now.

If we’re not busy, we’re afraid to show people that our days are not full of the work we profess to love. We spend our time worrying about clients, trying to get clients, making offers, and worrying about money.

We turn our Perfection Porn Cannon to Ultra Super Whoa, and we show the world how very BUSY we are at every level.

Neither option allows us to be seen.

Being affirmed as not tired, as a superhero, as a ‘how do you do it all’ human, isn’t accurate when you are crawling through the dirt on your knees, begging for rest.

Being affirmed as a busy, full-to-the-brim business owner isn’t true, either, when your inbox is empty, your phone isn’t ringing, and you’re looking at part-time jobs to fill the gaps.

What we need most when we are struggling is to be seen.

A few years ago, a wildly talented photographer wrote a deeply honest blog post about how little money all those thousands of likes actually pay, asking people to actually hire them if you admired their work. As in, pay me I’m awesome. It was MAGNIFICENT.

They were seen, they were paid, they have never been more popular.

Likewise, those who are courageous enough to draw boundaries and say no, they can’t actually work with 427 peeps a year are far more likely to sell out the capacity they do have when they slow down, ask for help, hire staff, and/or raise prices.

Are you tired? At capacity, spent, or otherwise full?

Grab your calendar and start putting X’s in the calendar. Give yourself a week off — even if it’s to sit at home playing catch up or to watch Game of Thrones from beginning to end — and then put one Firm Day Off per week on the calendar. Not a half day. Not a sort-of evening. A full day. Each week.

The space you’ll create will start to work on you — to remind you of why you’re alive and why you’re doing this whole entrepreneurial thing in the first place. You’ll know which step to take from there.

Are you bored, not-busy, or wondering where to get clients?

Stop pretending you’re booked until 2024. Get yourself one client at a time: stay on it, follow up like a champ, and get off the screens and out into the world whenever possible.

It’s also helpful to acknowledge when slow business isn’t your fault.

Look at the seasons of your business and acknowledge them honestly. My peeps disengage HARD in the summer (because summer is for being at the beach, not working on new business practices), and they start paying attention again with back-to-school season. Any attempts to market a new thing will be much, much harder for me in August than in September. You probably also have seasons, and working with instead of against them will do wonders.

Once we’re past the basics, there are sneaky and subtle hiding techniques we use to keep ourselves only partially visible.

Have I used these?  Of course! How do you think I know about them?

Before we go any further, unfollow, unsubscribe from, and otherwise actively ignore all those who teach you how to be shinier, flashier, and less yourself. This means those who are selling you a lifestyle, business model, or aspirational ideal that is not only never going to happen, but also detrimental to your health or way of being.

I can’t follow stylists anywhere, for any reason, because I get oddly obsessed with how PERFECT everything looks and how my life falls so miserably behind. Like, yes I have that one hyacinth bloom framed in golden light, but the floor is also covered in dog toys and a puppy who’s 75% potty-trained.

The least obvious but most common hiding tactic we employ is actively hiding the full reality of our lives from ourselves.

Refusing to admit truth within ourselves means we can’t deal with it in the outer world.

Which people do you need to ignore or unfollow for a while?
What do you know needs to happen, but it’s not yet on the calendar?
Which programs do you need to schedule or to delete because let’s be honest, they’re not happening this year? (Those can be programs you run in your business, or that you’ve purchased to work on.)
What do you secretly believe is going to happen in your business — and how are you making your worst fears come true? (i.e. You’re afraid you’ll never have enough clients, so you don’t respond to those who ask to hire you and become clients.)
Which products, services, or people do you resent in your business?
Can any or all of them be eliminated?
What is dying to be born? (Yes, you’ve heard this question before, and NO, I won’t stop asking it.)

Those questions are wily. They don’t necessarily have answers that are obvious to others from the outside looking in, which is why you’ve got to pull up a seat at your own table for a heart-to-heart.

At least one of those questions should have sparked a bigger, deeper task you can do to stop hiding in your business.

Now, we move on to the much simpler task of scoping out basic hiding places in your work.

Is your full name clearly associated with your business?
Is there a headshot of you on your homepage that does not include your lover, kids, pets, or career accessories?
Do you have a concise and accurate ‘about’ page on your website?
Do you follow up with those who wish to hire you promptly, and more than once?
Do you repeat yourself — i.e. stay on it — or do you hope everything you offer will sell out with only one casual mention?
Do you have a clear capacity count on your homepage and in your social media bios if you’re currently too busy? (I.e. there are 18 spots left for the year)
Is there anywhere that you’re hiding behind other people’s blueprints, templates, or strategies for your livelihood?

I completely understand these impulses to scurry away from the limelight or to expect your work to ‘speak for itself.’ Being seen is hard work.

Refusing to be seen — sending in your shinier, flashier, more successful and breezy representative — will only distance you from your own life and business.

Do you expect your work to ‘speak for itself’ instead of making and repeating offers regularly?
Do you share un-retouched or otherwise ‘real’ photos of your life and experience?
Do you ever show your peeps what it’s like behind the scenes in your business?
Do you ever let peeps see your face on video, such as on Instagram Live or Facebook Live or Youtube Live or Whatever the Kids Are Using These Days Live?
Do any strategies that used to work but don’t anymore need to be eliminated?
Where do you actively hide your life (home, kids, partner, office, schedule, other jobs) from your peeps?
Are you hesitant to share your work with your community, with friends, or with people in your real life?

We are far more likely to hire you when you are real — when you refuse to style your kids’ messes for Instagram or when you are truthful about the challenges you’re facing.

Hell, we’re far more likely to hire you when we can see that you’re an actual human.

We don’t need you to be perfect.

We need you to do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it.
We need you to be honest when you fuck something up.
We need you to do your best work, and to create the boundaries that make the work possible.

We need you to be human.
And you need to be human, too.

It’s the way to fulfillment and to growth.

There’s no substitute for being seen.

To put it another way! Let’s fill in some blanks.

I know I hide when I encounter _________________, and I hide even more when ___________ happens. I let _______________________ mess with my head, and I let ___________ hold me back.

One way to counteract my own headgames is to ___________________.

My version!  I know I hide when I encounter enormous dreams, and I hide even more when winter happens. I let cashflow mess with my head, and I let fear of debt hold me back.

One way to counteract my own headgames is to actively try hearing ‘no’ more often by making more asks for interviews, collaborations, and new clients.

Speaking of asks! I’ve got 5 spots for KK on Tap open, and you’re invited to work with me! If you’ve been listening to the podcast or reading the blog for a while now (looking at you, peeps with more than a year of watching me under your belt), there’s a damn good chance we should work together.

KK on Tap includes quarterly 1-on-1 coaching calls, quarterly group coaching calls, access to my extensive archives, a free seat in the Voice workshop, and a phone-a-friend emergency call to keep in your back pocket.

It’s intentionally paced to be slow and steady, so your business life can unfold naturally over the course of a year. (A lot can happen!)

It’s also priced at $225 a month, which is a damn bargain, and I promise that price will go up significantly the next time spots open.  Current KK on Tap peeps are experiencing record-breaking income in their businesses, launching new products and services, tweaking their business models, and actively doing the work of being seen.

Reach out and talk to me — k@kristenkalp.com — and let me know how you suspect I can help. We’ll pick through your mess, toy with new ideas, try on new ways of being, and then I’ll hold you accountable for whatever it is that’s hardest to do right now.

P.S.  I hate having a coach.  😉