Today I’m joined by Josie Pickens, organizer, educator, journalist, and culture critic, to discuss how to be a better lover to yourself, others, and explore intimacy in a more expansive way. Josie unpacks the message behind her essay “Party of One” that was featured in Sex and the Single Woman, and she describes her journey to being in a primary relationship with herself. 

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We also dive into the juicy healing work that Josie has been doing and the ripple effect that it’s had on her life. We touch on our experiences with non-monogamy and polyamory, and celebrate how younger generations are reimagining what’s possible when it comes to love, dating, and relationships.  

Don’t miss this conversation with Josie where we dig into how to be more loving people in a world that tries so hard to get us to not be. 

In episode 407 of the Embodied Podcast we discuss:

  • [3:18] The healing work Josie’s currently engaging in
  • [11:03] How to allow yourself to live your liberation and be nourished, even within the systems that we live in 
  • [15:45] Why feeling ‘enough’ is one of the most abundant feelings in the world 
  • [20:38] What distinguishes hoping from wishing
  • [23:50] The connection between curiosity, surprise, and satisfaction 
  • [28:57] Limitations on how boys and girls are socialized relationally 
  • [38:36] The themes and takeaways from “Party of One”
  • [44:24] What it looks like to be in a primary relationship to yourself 
  • [51:37] Why does the goal of any relationship need to be lifelong companionship or marriage?
  • [54:16] Advice for people who have a hard time making decisions from a place of self-love or self-preservation 

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Resources mentioned by Elizabeth in the episode:

Don’t miss an episode of The Embodied Podcast

Quotes from this Week’s Episode of the Embodied Podcast: 

  • You will change careers. You will change relationships. I am not afraid to burn shit down and start again. – Josie
  • Too often, women are expected to spend their lives over-committed, and never really be in spaces of reciprocity, never receive what they pour out to constantly. – Josie
  • I am in a primary relationship with myself. Because I am able to be in this space where it is me and me, and I am able to meet my needs and think about what those things are and be curious about all of that, it allows me so much space and capacity to pour into my other relationships. – Josie
  • I literally tell people who have romantic interest, you’ve got a lot of competition, and it’s not other people that I’m dating. It is my rich life, my lush life, it is all of the relationships that I am constantly building. – Josie

I just encourage people to make decisions for that person that you are walking through life with, and that’s you. Because at the end of the story, the only person that’s going to have to deal with the consequences of whatever choices that you make is going to be you. So you might as well make the choices according to what you want and what you desire. – Josie

How was this episode for you?

Was this episode helpful for you today? I’d love to know what quote or lesson touched your soul. Let me know in the comments below OR share the episode on Instagram, tag me your stories @elizabethdialto, or send me a DM!

About the Embodied Podcast with Elizabeth DiAlto

Since 2013 I’ve been developing a body of work that helps women embody self-love, healing, and wholeness. We do this by focusing on the four levels of consciousness – physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

In practical terms, this looks like exploring tools and practices to help you tune into the deep wisdom of the body and the knowing of the heart, which I believe are gateways to our souls. Then we cultivate a new relationship with our minds that allows the mind to serve this wisdom and knowledge and soul connection, rather than override it, which is what many of us were taught.

If you’ve been doing self-help or spiritual development work for a while, these are the types of foundational things that often people overlook in pursuit of fancier concepts that often aren’t practical or sustainable. Here, we will focus on building these strong foundations so you can honestly and thoroughly embody self-love. If you’re feeling it, subscribe to the show, and leave us a review wherever you listen from. You can also keep up with show updates and community discussions on Instagram here.

Transcript for Episode 407 “How to Be Better Lovers of Life, Our People and Ourselves with Josie Pickens“:

Josie Pickens  00:00

I think there’s a difference between being self centered in the way that we think about it. Yes, yes, we talk about it. And like what it means to like, be like, I’m here at the root. I’m here at the same. The core is me. The foundation is me, the person that I am walking through this life with good, bad and ugly, it’s me. And so I just encourage people to like, make decisions for that person that you’re walking through life with.

Elizabeth DiAlto  00:29

Hello, everybody. Welcome to episode number 407 of the embodied podcast. I’m your host Elizabeth C Alto. And today we have Josie Pickens with us. Josie is a Houston Texas based organizer, educator, journalist and cultural critic, whose many works focus on race, gender and sexuality. She has been regularly published in Ebony essence bitch, the route caches mic, Madame noir and more. And her goal always is to carry expansive conversations about love. That includes self love, familial and platonic love, romantic love, and community love. And all of her work Josie hopes to answer the question, how can we come better lovers to ourselves to those we love and to the world we live in. And we just had that conversation throughout this entire podcast. I am so excited to to share this episode with you. I hope you will love it as much as I did. The show notes for this episode are at untamed, forward slash 407. And that’s where you can find links to anything we mentioned in the show. 

Elizabeth DiAlto  01:33

As well, for anyone joining us here in real time on Monday, November 14, we are kicking off a free intro to sacred embodiment course, you can head on over to untamed forward slash free dash course for the details. This is going to include six, easy simple embodiment practices for reflection exercises, and two in depth workshops from November 14 to December 12. It’s going to be an amazing experience. I’m very excited to invite those of you who have been curious about what we do at the School of sacred embodiment, deeper into the world and to have a really beautiful and also quite thorough experience over the course of the month of November and December. So again, head on over to untamed forward slash free das course, if you’re interested in that, and let’s get into today’s show. Okay, Josie, I am so excited to have you here. Before I hit the record, I was saying we have a mutual friend brandy Holmes who listen, I’ve been trying to get brandy on the podcast for no less than four years now. I just love her and she has so much great stuff to say about so many things. So I’m saying this here because she will listen to this episode. And maybe she’ll take the public peer pressure to invitation this time.

Josie Pickens  03:00

Randy, this is both of us calling you out. Because the world needs more brandy. The world

Elizabeth DiAlto  03:06

needs way more brandy. So the first question I’m asking everyone this season of the podcast is what is bringing you the most joy right now.

Josie Pickens  03:18

I am doing really juicy healing work. I don’t necessarily like to call it shadow work or these things like I have been bent the last couple of years really like working on the draping, some pattern and trauma and all of these things and I’m about to be 40 thick, coming up in a couple of weeks. Scorpio girl and what’s bringing me joy right now is that seeing that healing work is working. It works. Yes, it works. And I end like being on the other side. Like only, you know,

Elizabeth DiAlto  04:04

whatever you want here.

Josie Pickens  04:06

Okay. Like, holy shit, I get to have a whole new life. Yeah, a whole new experience. You know, because now I get it. I feel like I have figured out my cheat code. Yes. And that is making life so good. And we are me and for like everybody that I’m in relationship with. Like, I’m a mom. Like it’s improving my relationship with my daughter. I have an almost 17 year old when I think about how I’m able to move in relationship with the work that I do around social justice. Like everything that I’m doing all of the relationships I have are really like in such a good place because I’m in a good place. So just the no healing work is difficult, but on the other side, so much joy and goodness,

Elizabeth DiAlto  04:57

this is the best so my work I do do healing work professionally? And often in the middle of a workshop or a class or something? I’ll be like this shit works. Yeah. Yeah, you know, like the work works when people are sharing like in our membership community, their wins or their progress or how they applied something and now they’re having a different experience. I’m like, eight work.

Josie Pickens  05:21

Words. Listen, you gotta get down and dirty with it. But the ascension? Yeah. The rise back up,

Elizabeth DiAlto  05:30

you know, so amazing. And congratulations. Good. Thank you. Because it is hard. It’s no joke.

Josie Pickens  05:36

Oh, man, I was telling a friend who is kind of I think we’re all I think globally planetary, really, like, there’s just, we all are in the base, the pandemic, where, where we all are like, Wait, then things have to change. This was a work any one of my favorite writers in thinker, and Arundhati Roy wrote this wonderful essay, and I can’t remember the publication. But she said that the pandemic is a portal, title of the ESA. And I feel like for so many people, that’s been the truth. Even though we are deep in this thing. Now, it has been a portal where people are like, wait, I have to figure my shit out. Because we are going back. Yeah, you can only go forward. Yeah. Well, Eric, a lot of people are in their faith. And I was telling the person I’m like, you know, it feels like you are fighting for your life and moment. It’s true. We are fighting for a new life,

Elizabeth DiAlto  06:41

a new life. I’m loving. I’m loving all of this so much. This is you know, when the pandemic came, because this is how I look at everything. I really, I don’t put a lot of labels on myself. But something I do truly, very deeply identify as is a mystic. So I’m always looking at everything through a mystical lens. And I’m like, There’s no way the whole world is about to go through some shit. And we’re not supposed to have absolute massive shifts with it, it around it through it. And on the other side of it.

Elizabeth DiAlto  07:14

Yes, we have no choice. No choice. And the only choice we have. I mean, choice is an interesting word, right? Because you know, the work you do to certain people, their circumstances, the systems, their traumas, ancestral stuff. Choice is an interesting word. Because sometimes there is conscious choice available. Sometimes there’s really not. So the thing on that, that I always like to remind people is there’s so much more than we think there is

Josie Pickens  07:41

yes. Abundant?

Elizabeth DiAlto  07:47

Yeah, we all love making, I feel like it’s a pastime now especially on like Instagram via memes to make fun of like New Age, spirituality, abundance and manifesting, but I’m like, if there’s anything I want to talk about the abundance of all day long, it is choices.

Josie Pickens  08:03

Yes, that’s it. There’s so much abundance, and so many ways, we, you know, allow ourselves to believe that it’s possible. Have a friend, her name is Nina, Nina. And she always one of the things that she can tell me that always kept me motivated in the work that I do in so many ways is like, love and change are always possible. Yes. And that is something that I live by in every facet of my life. And that, you know, we’re thinking about loving change, and like how that how we are able to access that it is through the belief that there is an abundance of all the good shit. Yeah. So much available. Yeah. So and as you said, of course, we understand that we’re hearing in the US living in under a, in a capitalist of them that is trying to take us out every day. So all day, every day, every day. So of course, you know, conversations around abundance and scarcity kind of shift depending on your experience. But when we’re talking about the ability to reroute our lives and change something and like especially by the interior part. I feel like there is abundance. They’re always available to tap into the police.

Elizabeth DiAlto  09:29

Yeah. All right. So for some reason, I feel like I want to ask you this right now. Especially because what you said about what’s bringing you joy is the healing work works. And you mentioned you’re about to be 46 So I turned 39 Just in September. I’m a Virgo love Scorpios though, an astrologer once told me like you and Scorpio women specifically are like peas in a pod and I get it. We’re intense. We go deep. Standards are off the charts. It’s like I get you

Josie Pickens  10:00

I, too, I was one of my best friends is a Virgo. And I always tell people, I don’t know that I could date a Virgo again, but definitely

Elizabeth DiAlto  10:09

a Virgo in your corner for sure.

Josie Pickens  10:13

It seems like you need a Virgo in your life.

Elizabeth DiAlto  10:16

We all do. We need Scorpio. I mean, we need all of us. But you know, we’re allowed to have our biases. So I have this little thing around when we talk about capitalism and all these things, we can get carried away in angles of the conversation that are eternally disempowering. Right? And it’s like, listen, I know, we want to dismantle everything, but most of us here, we’re not going to see it. Yeah, in our lifetime. So how do we live within it, like our friend brandy, who we keep talking about? I’m just gonna keep mentioning her name to again, keep inviting her to get her ass on the show. She teaches her laughter yoga, and she calls it lol live our liberation. And so post all this healing work, and you have so much rich life experience, we’re gonna get into two. But how? What are some of the ways for you, that are like, how you allow yourself to be nourished and to feel and live your liberation, and have abundance and be abundant? Even within the systems that we live in?

Josie Pickens  11:18

Yeah, is curiosity is big on that list. I always tell people will be like, oh, you know, you do all of these things, then, you know, this idea of like intelligence or smartness? And I’m like, not really, really. I’m just curious, I lean into curiosity. And when I lean into curiosity, it makes me curious about like, all kinds of things and people and experiences, because I’m like, I didn’t really have questions about this, or oh, there’s something in biting me. Think that, like living in a space of curiosity? And inquiry is like a really big part of that. For me, that’s like, number one. Always, always like, be curious, find ways to be curious, because that is how, first of all these issues that we are looking at, and constantly examining and trying to overcome in the system. Like we have to be imaginative. And we have to be curious, in order to tackle that. And even in our personal life. Like, let me be curious about oh, I’ve been doing a lot of somatic work lately, and like getting into my body and being curious about that, like, oh, how do I feel about that? Let me check in with my body is because the mind be lion. But the Barbie can bore so even in ways of inquiry, and they’ll curiosity, being curious about new experience. So I have always really loved art. I consider myself an advocate of art and a creative myself. But I was always very curious about art making process. So one of the things I love to do is meeting my artists, friends and their studios. So I can ask a bunch of question. Yeah, I always have so many questions, living frugally by surprise, like I would walk her husband home when she talks about that, like, I am able to kind of stay in a middle ground. You know, it’s kind of like the Buddhist principle of not being too high and so that you won’t end up too low, but just trying to thank you that, you know, but then when you stay in that even space, it allows space for like Wonder and like supply. Yeah, I think that is also very big for me and just like being committed to hope and joy. Yes. And understanding that both of those, it’s a practice, abolitionist thinker, Marian kava, who I got to chat with a bit last week and listen to a keynote that she delivered has been called that the hope is a discipline. And I believe that although joy is the discipline, loving the discipline, like all of the things that we want to leave and lean into in order to make our lives better, it takes practice, you know, and I think when we realize that it’s so much easier when we are trying to accept it, but like when we are feeling less hopeful, understanding that Oh, like this is a practice. This is a discipline. This isn’t just something that’s going to show up on you know, our happiness. Our joy isn’t just something that someone else give the or that is just going to magically appear one

Elizabeth DiAlto  14:54

day. Yeah, that does not just like roll in like a breeze. Yeah, it

Josie Pickens  14:58

does not and which is contrary to what society and Hollywood, everybody teaches them, right? Like, oh, we’re gonna just one day we’re going to wake up and have all of this shit that we want, without any effort without any work. And that is just not the case. You know, I was still looking at hope, joy, love all of these things as a discipline, as a practice, I think it’s also something that allowed me to continue moving forward in the work that I do and just the vibe in this world because people be I hear people in world B world in.

Elizabeth DiAlto  15:45

All right, I wrote so many notes, there’s so many things you were saying, I’m with you on all these notes, I want to come back to what you said about living frugally by surprise. One of the most satisfying so I started my business in 2011. And I came up in some of these like entrepreneurial groups and circles that were like these Boss Babes before there were Boss Babes, you know, and

Josie Pickens  16:11

maybe when they were nice.

Elizabeth DiAlto  16:15

I mean, so much of it was about, like your money being a reflection of how much you actually love and care about yourself, your confidence, your worth all this stuff. And I struggled so much, because I appreciate money as a tool, but I’m just not real money motivated. I’m not like very materialistically. Like, my home is like a sanctuary, like I spend good money on certain things. But most stuff, I’m like, obviously, like I’m a little bougie about like a handful of things. Everything else, like I don’t need it, and I don’t give a shit. You know, like, have those anchor things. So there was a book and I never even finished it. I like got the gist and like a couple of chapters. One of them was called the energy of money. And one of them was called the soul of money by a woman named Lynn twist. And she mentioned sufficiency. And I think this was like 2012 It was because that was I remember being in my New York City apartment, downtown. And I was like, oh, and ever since I started orienting around sufficiency. Like what’s enough, the feeling of enough to me is one of the most abundant feelings in the world, because then I’m not chasing shit.

Josie Pickens  17:29

Yes. And that is something that I’m really, really, really working on. Is this idea of like, what is a minimalist life? Like what is because the more minimal our lives, the less we need? Yeah, the more we get to experience and the less stressful our lives. Because there’s

Elizabeth DiAlto  17:51

so many less distractions. This, I started doing some ancestral that people listen to podcasts are like here she goes again, about the ancestral healing where I started doing this. Two years ago. Now it was right around, like, literally, as we’re recording this today is October 25. This week, in 2020. I had started this like intensive with a guide to do some ancestral healing work. And the first thing we looked at, was eliminating distractions. And like you use the word stress, and you use the word effort and discipline earlier. So to reduce stress, and to be able to even have the capacity for effort and discipline, we have to eliminate distractions, like, what’s the shit that just drains the battery in the background of our lives? And thinking we like need and want all this stuff? Whether it’s material stuff, or other people’s time, energy, attention, whatever. Like, this is my forever journey, like what’s distracting me like hacking away? Distractions?

Josie Pickens  18:54

I love that question. That should be like a daily question, like, pouring my focus today. And where am I being distracted? Or what is distract?

Elizabeth DiAlto  19:05

Yeah. And in my case, sometimes it’s being distracted. Because and we’re gonna get to this I actually, I recently got this book Sex and the single woman and I didn’t even know you had an essay in there. Until I was asking Brandi, what would you love to hear us talk about? And I read your essay and I’m like, Oh my God, because I’m on this. I’m calling it my sacred Slit Experiment.

Elizabeth DiAlto  19:30

Oh, I love diving into non monogamy and polyamory, but we’ll get to that. I wrote it down. But I want to come back to hope or did you have anything else that you wanted to add on anything else we just said because it’s juicy. I see you over there like, Yeah,

Josie Pickens  19:46

I’m sitting here thinking about that. Like I’m taking notes myself. Like, I mean, to me like a daily question. Like, you know, girl, what is it? What is distraction? What is A day giving, what do you need to pour your focus into? And what do you need to eliminate? Yeah. And I think that, again, going back to discipline if we make that a practice, become like second nature, right? Yeah. Like, oh, I wake up, you know, I do my morning routine, I drink my water. And I asked myself like, Girl, what can I giving around bullshit? How do we get Matt out here?

Elizabeth DiAlto  20:27

Yeah. And even like, what, Matt, what’s important today? Because sometimes I let myself get distracted by things that just don’t need to be in today. Hey, yeah, I love that. So I want to come back to hope. And I would love I can already tell like, by the way you speak and think that I just want your opinion on a personal exploration. I’m on my podcast, sometimes these my greedy curiosity. I lately have been distinguishing discerning between hoping for things and wishing for things. And the way I’m orienting around it, I had to bring in wishing, because there’s certain things that I’m done hoping around, because it’s too painful. Because for me, hope implies like wishing and hoping both implied possibility. But then there’s like probability. And there’s certain things in my life that I’ve stopped hoping for, because I have so much evidence that the probability is really low. So in hope there’s like a longing and like a desire for probability, in spite of whatever possibility, but in wishing, I’m like, Oh, I can still wish for some stuff, but wishing to me feels much less likely, but still allows me to hang on to the possibility despite really low probability, does that make sense? Love that I needed a difference.

Josie Pickens  21:53

And love the distinction between those two things. I think that that’s though, I’m going to share that with my organizing friends. Because, you know, it’s like you said earlier that we’re all that we’re imagining, we may not see it, working into the future. And so just learning the difference between like, Oh, this is something that I can be hopeful about, because it’s something that I can see happen. Yeah. Something that I can see moving. Right. And like being able to discern the difference between that and a wish that is still beautiful. That is still possible, right? Maybe not probable. In this moment,

Elizabeth DiAlto  22:37

you have, and then that helps me like what you were saying around discipline and effort. I’m gonna put more effort. I’m gonna have more discipline around the things I’m hoping for, not the wishes. I’ll entertain the wishes. Some, you know, but I can’t give energy to the wishes.

Josie Pickens  22:55

Yeah, like, they’re, they’re like, stars in the sky. Like, wow, like that. It’s palpable. And I can’t wait. Grab it. You know, but hope is something that maybe I can hold. You know, like, maybe one day I own this.

Elizabeth DiAlto  23:14

Yeah. So does that make sense to you?

Josie Pickens  23:16

It does. I love that.

Elizabeth DiAlto  23:20

Because that was like, you know, I just love words. So sometimes I’m like, Am I just bullshitting myself and antics

Josie Pickens  23:26

I like I love the distinction between those two things. And even when we think about wishing, you know, wishing upon a star it is, it does be more, like less tangible. Yeah, like not a direct vision. Mm hmm.

Elizabeth DiAlto  23:45

But those things are inspiring. And imagine I love that you use the word imaginative. Yeah. So you also mentioned earlier, how the curiosity leads to wonder and surprise. And next to that, I wrote down satisfaction because being able to get to like Wonder surprise, or as an adult, to me, feels real satisfying, because that feels like one of the things that will just put like society in the big broad stroke. It’s not trying to let a grown up to do.

Josie Pickens  24:19

Yes, that’s it. I was reading a post the other day where a woman was like, I am a vital failure. She’s like, all of the shit that I was supposed to do any event. However, you know, I am out here, unmarried, childless. no college degree. I never stay at a job. It’s soon as I’ve started reaching a level of like, I feel like a level of success is something I’m doing. I’m on to the next. Like, everything that society says I am not supposed to be exactly who I am. And I love it here to join me. And I think that That is it like that satisfaction of just being able to, I read that and I was like, I want to go there. But there were I can, like, take off the weight of all of these societal standards of like everything, and just that I’m actually not interested in doing any of this. Yeah, create a whole new way. I feel like the kids get it. Yeah, oh, I am now doing movement work full time. But before that, I was a professor. And I’ve taught 18 and 19 year old, like college freshmen, and it was like the best, because they kept me youthful, and my language and music and all of those things, but also, like, they’re like, setting shit on fire. Like, now I’m not, I’m not about to stress myself out to work to be a part of the system that doesn’t give a shit about, you know, I’m not going to buy your house. No, I’m not going to work in a corporate office. I actually wanting to be a digital nomad. You know, like, No, I’m not investing in the symptoms, I’m creating my own thing.

Elizabeth DiAlto  26:20

I’m working with this branding company this year work, play branding, and they do a photoshoot for photoshoots over the course of the year, which is a stretch for me, I’m always wanting to have a better relationship with like that kind of creative expression. Yeah. And my photographer for my last year, which I did in New York City was 20. And I mean, I know you said you have a 17 year old, you used to work with 18. And this is like a genre, like a cross section of humanity that I barely get any engagement with people like young people in that age. So I had so much fun, just like chatting with my photographer all day. And that’s one of the things she was saying. She wasn’t like, interested in the relationship and these things, and I’m like, Oh, girl, I wish. Yeah, I’m 19 years behind you. Like, you know what I mean? Like, yeah, not 50. You know, like, it wasn’t until like my mid 30s, like 35 that I was, I started to question like, do I want a partner? Or do I want a roster? Like I don’t roster feels objectified to me. I’ve since shifted my language to say constellation of companions, because that feels more humanizing. But she was 20. And she was already on that trip. And I was like, good for you.

Josie Pickens  27:30

Girls stay there. They write their

Elizabeth DiAlto  27:33

air. Until if anything, like really deeply moved, you’re inspired? Because like, the time I wasted wanting a husband and looking Yes, and being with try to get shit to work with the people. Yeah, it was never gonna work with.

Josie Pickens  27:49

Yes, I tell young women all the time. I’m like, do not. I was like, You know what? pretend as though, you know, man, if you’re interested in men, like two young women pretend as though men don’t even think that like they’re not even on your radar. Like, do because so much of our lives. And then oh, my god orient itself around men’s approval and men’s desire for us or lack of desire. And you know, whether we are going to be chosen as a partner. And I’m like, posing thing. Yeah. And it’s a scam. Because it’s like, all the time, I’m telling you, I’m like, you know, then your life fighting to be a wife. And then you get in that shit. I say this as a divorce baby, you know, you get in it. And you’re like, I have been trying to do this shit since I was 20. This is not enjoyable. Like.

Elizabeth DiAlto  28:50

Listen, I’m sure we have some listeners that love being married. But I know we have a lot who really do not understand you figure it

Josie Pickens  28:57

out. And even in good marriages, like finding partners. It’s a lot of work just because of the way that we were socialized and conditioned. Right? So a lot of times, even our men who are wonderful and want to be wonderful partners, many times unfortunately, just don’t have the tools to do that. Exactly. You know what I mean? And it’s not because of will or desire. It’s about what we teach boys and what we teach girls, and relationally. Like about relationships. We teach girls from such an early age. Hey, like your function in the world is to, you know, marry and have children and that is going to be the highlight of your life. You’re never going to be celebrated more than on your wedding day. I don’t give a shit what you do.

Elizabeth DiAlto  29:47

Oh my god. You know, and I mean, I tell you something funny.

Josie Pickens  29:51

Boys. They aren’t taught anything about relationships and are taught to be individualist and able to go out into the world on their own own and not have those relational skills. And then these two people come together with very little guidance. Often, even if we think that, you know, we’re looking at what was modeled for us, it’s still a learning curve. You know, and it’s rough. Even when it’s good, it’s rough.

Elizabeth DiAlto  30:19

Yeah, I’ll tell you something funny. So, I mean, I got the idea, originally from Sex in the City. I don’t remember what was the reason that Carrie Bradshaw threw herself a party, other than she wanted someone to buy her Manolo Blahniks. And a longtime client of mine recently turned 40. And she threw herself a big birthday party, and I was like, This is what I want to do. I’m like, Listen, I don’t know if I’m ever getting married. Even if I meet someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with. I personally am not interested in like a big wedding. I would love to do something like really private and sacred, and like, really not invite anybody. Right. But I’m gonna turn 40 Next year, and I’m like, I want the big party show. Like I literally already sent out save the dates for my 40th birthday, to a bunch of friends and family. And with the little note that just said, Listen, I’m never getting married or like, I’m never going to have a wedding. Even if I get married. I’ll have a little thing. No one’s invited. But I really want to have like that lifetime, the party of a lifetime. So I’m doing it for my 40th birthday. Celebration, celebrating you. Yeah. And I have an aunt. I mean, my mom and her sisters, two of her sisters are very, like Christian, relatively conservative. And my one answer response. She says something like, will cherish you no matter what. As if to imply that I might somehow think I am any less deserving of cherishing if I don’t get married. And I’m like, that’s not the question. Like, I just want to have a party. We don’t need an excuse to get together. We could get together and I’m like, no, like, I want to gather my friends and family. She just compute.

Josie Pickens  32:13

Yeah. What Why would you want to celebrate being 14 year old and not

Elizabeth DiAlto  32:19

child free? Like I don’t even say childless. I say child free because it is delightful choice for me. I sent a screenshot of the text to my brother and he goes, I had to put down my phone and walk away because this hurt my soul. So it’s just like, some people just can’t fat like you said, all the things. Like we get to opt like I am a societal failure as well on a number of levels. And it’s kind of the best for me.

Josie Pickens  32:52

Yes. I tell people all the time. I’m like, listen, let me tell you twice, divorce a bunch of engagements. Like I’ll try it. I’ll try it. I’ll try it. But you know if and I work in and I work in and that is the way that I approach life. So people are like, oh, you know, you will change careers. You will change relationships. I was like, I am not afraid to burn shut down and start. Oh,

Elizabeth DiAlto  33:20

yeah. I’m not an indoor either. I


knife life, you know? Yeah. Why don’t know that y’all are out here. living the same life over and over every day. Sure. Sounds worrying. Hiring. Oh, give me something fresh. Like I reinvent myself constantly.

Elizabeth DiAlto  33:45

Yeah, I’m with you. Um, yeah. Well, I I get that. That’s not for everyone. But you should try it. At least try it.

Josie Pickens  33:55

Try it. You know, you can always go back to your old life. Yeah, that thing is not going anywhere. Nah, no. With things that have been my big thing. I had a series of tweets that went crazy viral like they’ve been it’s been retweeted that, that that thread has been retweeted like 12,000 times. Wow. Crazy. And that’s it. I never when I have quote unquote, viral moments. I’m just like, it has nothing to do with me. Has everything was to do with a message that coming through. Yeah. And it was me talking to a mentee. And my mentee asked what what? You know, 45 year old do you tell 25 year old and I was like I would tell myself to quit everything wet. So often. Women particularly are just taught to stick it out. Stick everything out. Terrible relationship. a terrible job situation, man, when I say relationships, I don’t just mean everything in the relations, right? Like, whether we’re talking about work, whether we’re talking about romantic relationships, sometimes friendship, sometimes we got to quit our family member, you know what I mean? If they are toxic to us and all of that. And so it’s like, so mental, often women are expected to over commit and spend their lives over committed, and like, never really being in spaces of reciprocity, never receiving what they pour out to constantly, constantly pouring out. And so often, we’d be women. And we have watched live their lives in that way. And they are exhausted and sometimes sick, and so often sick. Yeah. You know, so I’m, like, just quit with with the job, but the relationship like what is on the other side of that, and it’s not like, you can’t, oh, you quit a job. It’s not like you can’t find another job, or you’re doing the same thing and go back to that old job or whatever it is, like, step out, that’s what I would have told myself. That over invested in all, you’re not even gonna remember that guy’s paint, you know, you’re gonna remember like the nickname that you and your girlfriend’s made up for him in the chat. Yeah, remember big nose, Brian. That was a moment.

Elizabeth DiAlto  36:33

So this brings me back to and I love this. Because same again, when I asked brandy like, what should we talk about? She mentioned how much she loves, that you are always talking about how to love in the way you put it in the beginning, in a more expansive way. Right. And this is something I am also about, like, how can we just be more loving people in a world that tries so hard to get us to not be loving? Yes, yeah. So in your essay in sex and the single woman, I have to tell you, I’ve never felt more seen than in the part where you said, I sleep with books in my bed. And it was also funny, because it was like right around it had a conversation with this man in my life, who he’s a friend, we’re in the friend lane. But we have this like, connection and chemistry and animation that just like you cannot categorize, but we have never been intimate physically with each other. But it’s still just like, the brand sex the cat like, it’s all I’m like, this is such an erotic connection, even though our lips have never touched. I love that. So there’s that. And I had to go through a period of like, resentment and like, why can’t we because I’m just realizing the programming, like you were saying earlier in some of your healing work, just like rewiring like, and just seeing how I was missing out on the love that’s available with him. Like, there’s six Greek words for different types of love. And I’m out here wanting the arrows because it’s all I’m programmed to friggin want with a man because I’m straight. But anyway, we were having a conversation. And I was saying, like, I don’t sleep well, next to people. So even if I do cohabitate with someone eventually or find myself in a partnership, like I don’t really like sleepovers. Yeah. And also because I always have books in my books and journals in oracle decks.

Josie Pickens  38:36

Yes, absolutely. Like, yes, the title of the essay is party one. And I think that I, when I look back on those days, this was before I got married before I had my daughter, I don’t think that I appreciate it. Like how rich it was just be able to exist and have faith have that kind of autonomy. Where it’s like, I just do everything whenever I want. Like and that was part of it. Like I don’t have to clear my betta for some, unless I choose. Then I need to go very quickly. Because my partner in bed, my books, my journals and like, you know, and that’s a that’s a beautiful thing. I think I’ve returned there. I am single right now. And I again, I’m getting to that point where you are always like, there used to be a time where I would because I am poly I cycled through relationships. I consider myself a serial monogamist and there will be times when I would be single and I would be like a missing connection and touch and cuddling and all of that. And now I’m like I don’t think that I want that even when there’s opportunity. I’m like I would run Ever not actually, I am going to go ahead and go. Or like, oh, I have a really early morning. Yeah, good I am, I am in finally in a phase where it’s like, and I talked about this in the day, I am in primary relationship with myself and me. And then because I am able to be in this space where it is me and me, and I am able to meet my needs and think about what those things are, and be curious about all of that. It allows me so much faith and capacity to pour into my other relationships, it allows me to one of the wonderful things about like the healing work that I’ve had to do, a lot of it hasn’t been around like connection and relationship is that I have, as you said, like I’ve been able to experience and really understand, like, I have so much love in my life so much. Sometimes that chokes me up. Only to feel worthy of like, all the ways love shows up in my life, like all of these really rich, intimate relationships that are and I was telling someone the other day, even my friendships are very romantic. You know, not sexual, but they’re like, I date my friends. And I want to like, bold them and like, connect intimately with them and listen to their dreams and like really, really, that and be deeply connected. And I don’t know that if I was so focused on romantic love, that I’d be able to like enjoy my friends in that way. Because what happened, society tells us women, that the most important relationship is your romantic relationship. And like every other relationship is just filler until you get to that place. So what do women do a lot of times, they abandon these long standing rich, beautiful friendships, the minute that they feel like they’re on their way to some destination with a romantic partner. And in actuality, our authentic relationships if we’re honest, many times if we’re reflected also our most satisfying relationships. This

Elizabeth DiAlto  42:26

is one of the reasons I started taking non monogamy and polyamory seriously, because when I was looking at my friendships, I’m like, I’m like, really well nourished here. There’s actually not that much that I need, that only a romantic partnership, or a man or a sexual connection could give me. And so when I started, it started as sacred slot summer, but I decided to just dedicate the whole last year of my 30s to it. So now it’s the sacred slot experiment. I was like, What do I actually, like crave, need want desire that I could only get from men, and then zooming out. And I know we’re speaking a bit heteronormativity extra speak about men and women. And so mostly in a straight context. But you know, I’m always telling people put this in your own context, because a relationship like this goes, the dynamics might be a little different, depending on who what gender identity, sexuality, whatever. But like, a lot of this is basic, just inter relational stuff that could apply to anyone or anything. And so the other thing was really, this kind of goes back to the hope and wish thing. Ultimately, I have a wish for a partner, like a life partner, I might I still have a question mark around it. But part of why that’s moved into the wish and not the hope category is because like you said, a lot of men are struggling, they don’t have the tools, and the effort it would take to actually partner with someone at this point in my life. It’s actually not effort I’m interested in making most of the time like, I’m always willing, like one of my prayers, oh my god, this is up to you. If you want this for me, I want it but like, you’re gonna have to smack me across the face with it because I’m not trying to be and

Josie Pickens  44:24

being where you are, and I feel like I’m in a similar place where I’m like, my life is so full and lush. Yes, the word lush like I just love that I can so lush and green and like, supple and sweet. Can you who’s adding to that? Who’s adding? Who is me who is not going to come up in here and subtract. Like who and who can compete. I literally tell people who have romantic interest. I’m like you got a lot of competition and it’s not a The people that I’m dating, it is rich life, my Lush life, it is all of the relationships that I am constantly building, I am doing so many things that I love. And I am fed from there. I am deep in community love, like Bell Hooks, that’s one of the things that she talked about it that community love is really what we should all be striving for. And every relationship that we have should pour into this community love, right. So like, all of that is better. And it’s so good. I mean, what you what you got? Yeah, that can even compare. And I’m open to hearing what you have to say about that. But like, we don’t think for one moment that I am in any way, desperate for better. And I’ve been reading a lot about how many men and I say this with compassion. Even when I say what I said earlier about, like, men, unfortunately, not having the tools. I talked to so many men who are so devastated that they cannot show up. relationally Yeah, the ways that their partners want. As fathers as sons, you know, when they have parents that are aging, many of them wish that they had the tools and the capacity for that. So like I say this with compassion, when I say there’s so many men, I’ve been reading a lot about men really being faced with the kind of lonely that they have not before. And it is because women are looking at life differently. And there is no longer I think about and I talked about this in the essay, my mother, married at 18, you know, and she got married, in the 60s, where she couldn’t even she could not have leased an apartment on her. I was talking to a woman who has been doing reproductive justice work since the 60s and 70s. And she talked about how a woman couldn’t get birth control without her husband signing off on it. So like where women are now, in some of us, because of the lack of capacity and tools that people that we’ve wanted to partner with have, like, are just thinking differently about, like, what life is and how it can look. I think about that all the time. I’m like, I love my daughter to life, you know, did I really have models for what life looked like being child free? And if I had have made the decision, right? If I really could have imagined the life because I loved being I love being if I could have imagined a life of just that what I’ve chosen today, you’re not I mean, and so younger women are asking themselves the question, and they are saying no. And because of that, though many men are facing a kind of loneliness, because it’s like, you know, there is no longer a need, like you have to be desirable. Right?

Elizabeth DiAlto  48:21

It makes me sad. I was on a date a couple of months ago, and at a point in the night, the guy looked at me and he went, Wow, he’s like, you really don’t need anything from me, do you? And I said, I really don’t. And what’s amazing then is if we spend more time together, you’ll know it’s because I really want to not because I’m trying to get anything from you. And to me that is more liberating. Like oh, but that’s a different type of being chosen out some kind of need or transaction, which to me sounds way better than like, Oh, someone wants to make a baby. Someone wants to be a dad. So he needs somewhere to plant his seed person. Go down that road, but and the guy he was like, he like shook his head like he understood like he got it. I never heard from him again, which I could have told you right there in that moment because I could feel his need to be needed as like the thing that is why you partner with people. Yeah. So I do I really see this. You know, people talk about paradigm shifts all the time now but like, it really it really is shifting and it really is

Josie Pickens  49:34

something for women too. It’s scary for every type URI. frightening to imagine life outside of this. One way of living that you’ve been told it is one script

Elizabeth DiAlto  49:47

and not just hold like it’s everywhere, right? Every damn movie, the book, the romance novels, the stories even like it’s in children, like every it is important like every where I The way things are done.

Josie Pickens  50:02

That’s it. No alternatives.

Elizabeth DiAlto  50:04

No alternative alternatives. Yeah.

Josie Pickens  50:10

I talk to people about being poly. You know, of course, I always want to make it factual. And I’m like, there’s so many ways to like, exist in polyamory. And I’m like, when I explain to them about this idea of like, No, I’m in deep relationship with myself. And then I choose my approach. It’s not that I cannot choose sexual monogamy, or whatever kind of monogamy that I want. But just understand that this is a choice that women get to make choices to so often it’s like this idea that we almost kind of expect men to be nominal, right?

Elizabeth DiAlto  50:48

Or to at least be oriented that way. And that if they’re choosing not to, they’re making some sacrifice for us.

Josie Pickens  50:56

That’s it and they’re going against something that is like primal, yes. In order to like not a lot of times be unethically ethical, in their nominal Agami. So like, but they’re the idea that like women are wired like it is nature, instead of nurture, right? Like we naturally are monogamous. And it’s like, no, that’s not true. If I am choosing to be monogamous with you, and I move in and out of that, if I find someone who’s worthy, but like, also understand it’s a choice is the choice that I will retract. I am not getting what my needs.

Elizabeth DiAlto  51:37

Yeah. And even that, and I know we’re starting to wind up, but I love this. You didn’t say it explicitly. But you said something about moving in and out of relationships. Like why does the goal of any relationship need to be like lifelong or marriage? Why can’t the goal just be let’s have like the best for me, I like to look at it as like, what’s the medicine that we have for each other? Right? Because I work with a Chinese medicine person. And you know, when when you get herbs, it’s not like Western medicine was like, Cool. Just take this pill for the rest of your life. that’ll handle that symptom, right? In Chinese medicine, it’s like, cool, we’re gonna take these herbs until that thing resolves itself, then you won’t need those herbs anymore. So it’s a medicine, right? I find relationships to be medicinal, right? It’s like, what’s the medicine we have for each other? And maybe it’s like, for this moment in time, and then it shifts into this, maybe it’s sexual and that it’s not, or maybe it’s not, and then it is, or maybe like, you know, there’s just so many different ways. We might have met, even our friendships, right that we cycle in and out of, sometimes we circle back, they fade out, like, you know, that quote, it’s cliche, but like, the reason season lifetime thing. Through it, it’s like nature. That’s how nature works and move.

Josie Pickens  52:58

Absolutely. And like very light on the lifetime. Right? For a season, yeah, a few things last a lifetime. And especially if you’re talking about nature, nothing lives forever. In nature. You know what I mean? And I think that you’re absolutely right, in thinking about relationships in that way. It’s like I said earlier, I’m on my ninth life, like, you’re constantly changing and evolving, what your standard is, what you might have liked and enjoyed and desire is going to change and it’s so unfair, to hold yourself, them where, where those things have changed, and how to hold other person if

Elizabeth DiAlto  53:42

that’s what selfish, as you were saying all these things earlier, I actually wrote down the word selfish. And we can wrap up here because especially as a mother, we didn’t even really dive into that the narrative completely changes around focusing on yourself once you have a child. So for anyone listening, and again, people listening might be in long term, monogamous relationships, or commitments or whatever, and be like, Okay, now I see some space or some possibility to have some freedom or some more autonomy or to develop a deeper relationship with myself in a primary way before anything else. What advice as someone who it sounds like, you’ve really been working that muscle for a really long time for the people who are self conscious or worried about being selfish, or who received criticism because I’m sure you have. Oh, yes. Forget that label that they’re being selfish. What do you have for those peeps?

Josie Pickens  54:36

Hmm. It’s such a touchy subject, right? Because as much as we hate to admit it really kind of socialized to be people pleaser. Really hard to fight against that. Like I am doing healing work around that myself. And I never imagined that I was a people pleaser, and had to like finally sit down with that part of myself. So disappointing. I was like A girl. What? Pleasing? Are you serious? Yeah, we all are kind of socialized to be that way, but with the heart back against that, but at the end of the story, you are walking with yourself. Yeah. And that’s it. My baby girl was not a baby girl anymore. She can’t wait to get out of the house. Like she’s almost 17. She’s like, she wanted her birth college store this summer. And I’m like, holding back tears watching her get on the boat to go. And they told her that she’s like, I’m out of here. I remember when she was very small. And my daughter was a preemie she in the hospital for months I had. So I was like, fifth, still a bit of maybe still a bit of a helicopter, Mommy. But like I was holding on so closely. And I remember one day I was out with her. And I was fretting over her because, like what a gift it is to have a child survive something like that. All of the odds were stacked against her. She weighed a pound and an ounce when she would Wow. When I was able to, like, bring her and have her with me and care for her. I was ranting about being perfect in everything and just holding herself hopefully, I remember being out with an older woman or being out in an older woman stop. And she was like, she was like, that’s your only one? And I said, Yes, ma’am. And she said, Oh, just be careful. Because your babies leave. And so often, so many of the people that we think are going to be here forever. It just doesn’t work out that way. Because again, reason reason, rarely life. It’s real. You know what I mean? And so all you got is you. And that’s not to say that we should be self centered, and only think about ourselves, but like we should, that we should interact. But think there’s a difference between being built into it in the way that we think about it. Yes, yes, we talk about it. And like what it means to like, be like, I’m here at the root, I’m here at the same. The core is me, the foundation is me, the person that I am walking through this life with good, bad and ugly, it’s me. And so I just encourage people to like, make decisions for that person that you’re walking through life with. And that’s you. Yeah, you because at the end of the story, the only person that the person is going to most have to deal with the consequences of whatever choices that you make, is going to be you. So you might as well make the choices according to what you want, and what you desire. Because if the truth doesn’t work out, you’re going to be the person who was responsible for cleaning up the mess. Make your own man, those spend your life cleaning up everybody else. There’s going to be a meant that you have to clean up, like let it be your mess. Yeah.

Elizabeth DiAlto  58:03

As you’re saying all this, you know, you mentioned the thing earlier about bell hooks and the community love and as you were talking about, like focusing on your own self and roots, I’m imagining, you know, like the roots of the trees, how they all like interweave and interconnect and they can send nutrients. So like not nurturing your own self, your own roots actually puts the community in harm’s way.

Josie Pickens  58:28

Absolutely. And everything in harm’s way. Yeah. entered or reentered therapy. A couple of years ago, I was empty, empty. I was in a relationship that was so codependent and this person was just like, honestly sucking the life. Like, literally, it felt like I’m a single mom. I was the professor at that time and working with students who needed a lot of academic help, but also needed a lot of nurturing and support. So if I in every role I was pouring out, and I had not established that or had I couldn’t understand why I felt impeded, like Yeah, girl because you’re pouring everything out. And you aren’t requiring you aren’t in relationships, you’re not choosing relationships, where you are being poured back in. And that is where the idea of like being in primary relationship with myself kind of kicked off because I was like, the thing about it is when you pour into yourself, and you’re able to there’s like so much more. Excellent. Yeah, make sure that you’re well it’s all of ours. Then you have capacity to share. You have the capacity to share. You have the capacity to drink. You have the capacity to build loving relationship, because you’ve started with you. Like that’s the thing we talk about relationships. It’s like whatever you’re seeking in relationships, figure out how to give that to yourself. Yeah. So if you’re thinking about like, How can I be a better lover to others? Like if starts with you being a better lover to you, though,

Elizabeth DiAlto  1:00:10

there’s really no way around this. Like this whole conversation has been just saying that over and over and like different 40 different ways. But it’s because it’s so counterculture and counterintuitive, but yeah, realists. Thank you.

Josie Pickens  1:00:26

Oh, you’re so welcome. I enjoyed this so much. So

Elizabeth DiAlto  1:00:30

glad. So if people are like, Oh my god, I love her. Where do they find you? Like, where do they hang out? Where do you hang out? Where can they read what you write? Find all your things?

Josie Pickens  1:00:39

Oh, good. So usually I am. I post a lot on Instagram and Twitter. So I’m at Jo Nubian J ONUBIAN. We’ll put

Elizabeth DiAlto  1:00:53

links in the show notes, too. Yeah,

Josie Pickens  1:00:55

on Instagram and Twitter. And they’re always linked happening there, where you can read my work, or find out what I’m doing. I’m in Houston, Texas, doing all kinds of things all the time. So I usually post things on Instagram about that. And Twitter. Lots of my ranting goes on on Twitter. So those are like, definitely two places are the places catch me.

Elizabeth DiAlto  1:01:16

Right. Well, thank you so much. And then also to wrap up just one more invitation to our friend brandy to get your ass on the podcast and we love you.

Josie Pickens  1:01:24

Do it, man.

Elizabeth DiAlto  1:01:28

So, love this conversation. Thank you again.

Josie Pickens  1:01:31

You’re welcome. You’re welcome. I love that as well. And thank you for having me.

Elizabeth DiAlto  1:01:38

All right, everybody. Thank you, as always, so, so much for listening to the show. If you enjoyed this episode, feel free to slide into my DMs at Elizabeth C alto. Let me know what you thought you could share it up on your social media platforms. Share it with your friends, like rate review the podcast wherever you listen, you know how to do all the generous, amazing stuff when you enjoy the show. Thank you again for that and as well next week. I’m excited to bring you Alicia Halpin we are going to be talking all about embodiment from a nervous system and Cymatics perspective. So those of you know, I do sacred embodiment. We go more for integrating physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, but it’s very much informed by trauma healing Cymatics and the nervous system. And Alicia, this is what she specializes in. So she’s gonna get us up in the nitty gritty details of that stuff that I don’t particularly explore in depth, but it’s super important to this work. Can’t wait to share that one with you and we will see you next week.