Essence of Embodiment
an introduction to somatic trauma resolution and a relational healing experience for 8 women and femmes of color who are ready to embody their self-worth, uphold their sovereignty and express their sexuality for the sake of personal and collective transformation.
Dear woman and femme of color,
What if it were possible to feel and embody your inherent self-worth from within, to soften into receptivity of all that you’ve been longing for?
What if it were possible to uphold your sovereignty with integrity and grace, because of the unbreakable trust you have for the internal compass within?
What if it were possible for the expression of your sexuality and whole-hearted medicine to be emergent, shameless and powerful?
What if you could experience greater vulnerability, intimacy and pleasure in your all your relationships, having the capacity and desire to show up more fully for each other?
It wasn’t very long ago where these qualities were mere wonderings and desires for me. I didn’t think I could actually fall in love with myself over and over again: to not only break the spells of my complex developmental and systemic trauma, but to also experience pleasure and joy, to be in the embodied expression of my erotic-essence nature.
It didn’t come easy, I won’t lie. It required that I grew my somatic capacity for discomfort and pain, and learned how my physiological trauma responses had run my entire life:
• Appeasing and assimilating so that I could feel safe enough to belong.
• Overriding my limits because I didn’t know how to sense for them.
• Projecting my self-worth in codependent relationships and overachieving.
• Shame and withdrawal as the protection against my inherent power and sexuality.
It might seem like a lot to work through, but I’m here to tell you: healing is possible and is already happening, because you are HERE.
There is an intrinsic wisdom within your body and soul that knows how to heal, if only we were to slow down and co-create the conditions for it to become louder than your trauma responses.
There is also an archetypal developmental path of healing that I learned from my mentor Rachael Maddox in the ReBloom body of work. It’s worked wonders for me, and I’d love to share it with you.
This, alongside my years of experience in facilitating healing sessions, community medicine, and embodiment practice, is my offering to you.
“The erotic is a resource within each of us that lies in a deeply female and spiritual plane, firmly rooted in the power of our unexpressed or unrecognized feeling. In order to perpetuate itself, every oppression must corrupt or distort those various sources of power within the culture of the oppressed that can provide energy for change. For women, this has meant a suppression of the erotic as a considered source of power and information within our lives.”
– Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic
It’s our time, dear women and femmes of color. We can no longer afford the suppression of our erotic-essence. It’s time to meet the “unexpressed or unrecognized feeling,” as Lorde says, as a radical act of liberation.
Essence of Embodiment exists as a space for us to do so.
The embodiment of your erotic essence
I want to co-create the container that can hold the wholeness of your lived experience. To hold the truth of your power, the depth of your feelings, the emergence of your erotic essence. To practice being embodied vessels for your personal and our collective liberation, tapping into your soul’s intrinsic capacity for healing and regeneration.
I’ve been meeting a lot of femmes of color who crave a safe-enough space to center and explore the nuances of their lived experiences shaped by complex developmental and systemic trauma. Our shared desire to embody our self-worth, sovereignty and sexuality is often the emerging blueprint within us in a culture of internalized oppression.
The more I work with these beautiful humans, the more it clear it becomes that we need each other. We must co-create spaces where we can heal our bodies, talk about the hard things, and co-create a relational culture that is led by interdependence, inter-sovereignty, integrity and compassion.
I’m here to offer that. Wholeheartedly.
“The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. It is an internal sense of satisfaction to which, once we have experienced it, we know we can aspire. For having experienced the fullness of this depth of feeling and recognizing its power, in honor and self-respect we can require no less of ourselves.”
– Audre Lorde, Uses of the Erotic
This is for those who:
- Identify as Black, Brown, Indigenous, Woman of Color who may also identify as queer, transfeminine, transmasculine, nonbinary, and/or femme.
- Wants to deepen her embodiment as an act of reclaimation, healing and inherent power.
- Want to feel connected to an intrinsic capacity to heal that is amplified by the awakening and embodiment of your soul’s essence-nature.
- Want to understand how trauma is keeping you in the same cycles of internalized oppression and how to re-pattern towards choice.
- Might be in or have experienced codependent relationships and want to practice interdependence instead.
- Are tired of feeling anxious, overwhelmed, ungrounded and really want to feel resourced and resilient.
- Might feel low self-worth and/or difficulty in knowing, asking for and receiving what you need and want, especially in relationships with others.
- Often feel lonely, isolated, and/or are afraid to or don’t know how to build meaningful relationships and connections.
- Often take on too much energetically, emotionally, physically as an empath and/or caregiver.
- Wants to grow healthy energetic sovereignty and develop a supportive provider & protector inner relationship.
- Wants to feel safe to embody and be seen in your erotic essence and sexuality without shame.
- Are committed to the discomfort of cultural change and want to grow your capacity to being heard and seen as a leader.
- Might have histories of abuse, neglect, or childhood developmental and/or sexual trauma.
- Longing to deepen your relational skills because you want to experience more safety, intimacy and pleasure.
- Might identify with a leadership role– facilitator, activist, coach, teacher, therapist, healer… whatever you do to create change.
- Might want to learn how to facilitate a trauma-sensitive, body-based community offering in future.
“Denise created a brave and consensual space for me to explore my trauma and healing through the wisdom of my own body. As someone who has felt out of place and unsafe my entire life existing as a WOC, Denise gave me the tools to cultivate safety and belonging in both my external and inner realities so that I can better move with intention and integrity in all aspects of my life. She embodies a leader full of strength, honesty, and compassion through their programming and facilitation.”
✨ 2-day opening weekend for welcome and orientation, setting up our time together, getting to know our community and container.
✨ 7 powerful, relational core sessions of 2.5 hours with short lessons on somatic trauma resolution, real-time somatic practice, with storytelling and community medicine.
✨ 7 somatic practice sessions to amplify your blueprint of health, deepen your embodiment practice, expand your range of resilience for iterative trauma resolution.
✨ 3 community circles led by Celine Jusuf for integration and digestions, making connections and building community.
✨ 2 guest speaker workshops facilitated by powerful BIPOC embodiment teachers on systems of oppression and sacred erotic movement arts.
✨ Tons of permission to bring your whole, messy, raw self to all our spaces. Big questions and fears included.
✨ Big love and compassion for your stories, your process, your needs and your desires. All of you is welcomed.
✨ Curiosity and care around how the content and facilitation of our container is impacting you in real-time.
“Denise has a loving, infinitely compassionate and expansive, and wise, attuned, & receptive heart for holding others, holding space, and being in radical relationships with others. The work they have done to be a lover, healer, facilitator, patterns-of-trauma disruptor, teacher, learner, healer, and guide of QTBIPOC souls also seeking and practicing liberation, self-love, care, and community which will heal & save us all shines forth in every short conversation they have, every circle facilitated, each interaction, every thought of engaging with the wholeness of another person. Your heart, soul, and lived experience are centered when you’re with them; they practice radical, consensual relationships in which there is growth and patterns for safety, trust, joy, and feeling held. Through working with Denise I have learned that their commitment, skills, and receiving their natural medicine is so finely attuned to others – to me in our relational space, to the groups I have been that they held – they really show up and do the work to have a felt-sense of trauma-informed care and facilitation for BIPOC femmes and to support our collective liberation. Denise is the wonder of relationships and trust and through knowing or working with them, my own relationship with my body, self-trust, self-agency and autonomy, and respecting and living in the body & heart I reside in have expanded and exploded into so many more colors, grown in presence and are much more alive.”
Somatic trauma resolution and nervous system care
Relational skills for creating safety and intimacy
Co-creating culture in community and storytelling medicine
Fri & Sat, August 20th-21st, 1-4pm PST
- Welcome and Orientation
- Community Weaving
- Thresholds Ritual
- Belonging as our Blueprint
- Emergence of your erotic essence
- ReBloom SoulSeed
- Intro to somatic trauma resolution
Presence at this weekend is mandatory for necessary orientation to the program content and integration.
Core Group Sessions
Fridays, 1-3:30pm PST
- Sept 3rd: Your Soul’s Embodiment
- Sept 17th: The Subtle Bodies & Relational Field
- Oct 1st: The ReBloom Gatekeeper
- Oct 15th: The Science of Trauma
- Oct 29th: Breaking the Cycle
- Nov 12th: The ReBloom Expressionista
- Nov 12th: Celebrations Closing Ceremony
Presence at these sessions are mandatory as they are central to the medicine of this offering.
Somatic Practice Sessions
Wednesdays, 4-5pm PST
- Aug 25th: Resourcing & Rootspace
- Sept 8th: Orienting & Grounding
- Sept 22nd: Softening & Receptivity
- Oct 6th: Energetic Sovereignty
- Oct 20th: Centering& Integrity
- Nov 3rd: Pendulation & Titration
- Nov 17th: Embodied Essence Flow
Three community circles facilitated by Celine Jusuf.
#1: Return to Essence Nature
August 15th/16th tbd
#2: Interdependence & Intersovereignty
September 12th/13th tbd
#3: Caring for Our Bodies: Choice Points & Trauma
October 10th/11th tbd
Sacred Erotic Movement (Trauma-Informed)
Sept 20th, 2pm PST
Rie Katagiri is a teacher and mentor providing sacred embodiment practices and somatic healing. She is the creator of Erotic Movement Arts® (EMA), a female centered, pleasure guided, sensual movement method that empowers women through awakening their female erotic energy. It integrates a female-centered orientation of dance, yoga, qigong, pole dance and Shakti centered tantra.
This gentle self devotion movement practice honors the body as our sacred homeland in which we can cultivate, steward and inhabit pleasure, power, creativity and kindness.
Survival and Belonging: Choosing Embodiment in the Face of Oppression
Oct 8th, 11am PST
Jennifer Sterling is a bestselling author, registered dance/movement psychotherapist, and the creator of Bodyful Healing — an initiative that offers support and resources to Black women living with depression. Having witnessed and experienced the effects of oppressive systems on Black women, Jennifer’s work focuses on reducing the stigma around mental illness within Black communities and educating others on the adverse effects of oppression on Black women’s bodies.
One of the primary goals of oppression is to create disembodiment — separate us from our bodies and thus our individual and collective power. This workshop will explore the ways in which oppression affects the body and offer space to explore the possibility of consensual connection and belonging despite.
Tier 1- $2500: This is for you if you tend to stress about finances, don’t have any or much savings, and have just a little leftover after paying bills.
Tier 2- $3000: This is for you if you are generally at ease with finances, can pay all your bills and have some expendable income or savings.
Tier 3- $3500: This is for you if you are comfortable with your finances, can afford to go on vacation and have expendable income and savings. This tier helps pay it forward to our scholarship fund!
You will first be asked to schedule a feeler call with Denise before filling out your application. This is, after all, a relational healing body of work 🙂
Will you have payment plans or scholarships available?
Absolutely! We just need a $500 deposit to book your spot, and we have 3-5 month payment plans available, depending on which tier you’re selecting. This makes sure we’re all covered on our end so everyone gets compensated.
We currently have a small fund for scholarships available, and can chat more about it on our feeler call. Send in an application!
Will this be an intimate experience or a large group space?
We value intimacy and vulnerability and it can be hard to do so with many bodies in a space. We will not be enrolling more than 8 participants.
What are your accessibility accomodations?
We can have closed captions during live sessions and on recordings upon request. Let us know how to create a more accessible container for you.
Can I apply if I am white-passing?
At this time, we are currently not accepting applications from white or white-passing folks.
I won't be able to make some of the sessions, will I still be a good fit?
It’s totally okay if you can’t make some of the session, however the Opening Weekend and Core Sessions are mandatory as this is where the bulk of the magic and medicine will happen. The container is designed so that we get the most out of being together in a relational healing and community care environment.
All sessions will be recorded, though!
“Denise has helped me put language to experiences that have spent so long swirling around inside of me. I have many words and embodied moments to describe how Denise’s radiant spirit and skills with intuitive work have renewed and empowered me. As a result, I can’t wait to continue letting myself be curious, playful, and grateful!”
“Denise has honestly been an amazing mentor. She has so much wisdom and knowledge. She teaches in such a gentle and non-judgmental way. You never feel like she is above you. She makes you feel like an equal and makes sure to let you know you have the answers inside you and you are capable of self-healing. She is an amazing guide to help with working through that self-healing journey. Through working with Denise, she has helped me get to the root of my anxieties to start healing. For the first time in my life, I have seen a decrease in my anxiety and I finally have hope that I can manage it. I’ve been able to have more confidence and finally feel like I’m worthy. Before working with Denise, I was always subconsciously trying to numb my feelings. Now, I have confidence to face my feelings and work through them rather than hiding from them. I also have more awareness to my unhealthy patterns and the tools to work to change them.”
“Y’all. She is the real deal when it comes to deep healing work. While healing has been a long and arduous journey for me, what I learn from Denise has always felt like the forefront of my progress. I love to support her because she shows up again and again walking her talk. She embodies and exemplifies what she teaches, AND doesn’t act like a superhuman or holier than thou. She embraces her humanity by humbly and vulnerably sharing about it with others.”
“Denise has been my client for the last year, and all I have to say is – she is walking her talk. Radically embodied. Full of heart, wisdom and knowing. And would be a phenomenal somatic guide to anyone on a journey around self-worth, owning and honoring needs in relationships, sensing and honoring healthier boundaries, expressing your truth in tender ways, or making your ancestors proud. She’s a gifted soul and a sage guide and I highly recommend working with her!”
I used to be afraid of my own power. Power, as in my capacity to love my own damn self so fully that it brings me to my knees. Power, as in the embodiment of my essence-nature so effortlessly that unconditional love pours through me. Power, as in the emergence and expression of my sovereign sexuality so shamelessly that I live in accordance to my own desires.
As I think about the evolution of my sexuality- from childhood shame and abuse, adolescent shame and repression, adulthood assault and hyper-sexuality- to falling in love with myself and experiencing pleasure and erotic energy now, I know that what Lorde says in “Uses of the Erotic” to be true.
It’s true that the more I’ve learned how to be with the depth of my pain, allowing it to consume me, to be surrendered into its fullness, I’ve also learned how to be with the depth of my pleasure and joy.
It’s true that the more I’ve sat with the grief of loss, the fear of not having, the self-isolation of trauma, “the chaos of [my] strongest feelings,” the more I have experienced the greatest satisfaction of receiving all forms of care and love.
However, simply ‘feeling my feelings’ isn’t quite the whole picture.
As someone who grew up with complex developmental trauma; experiencing childhood sexual abuse, parental neglect and separation, unsustainable provision of resources, all inside of a colonized developing country wrought with religious oppression, and a lineage of Eastern patriarchy… feeling my feelings as an embodiment of my power was most certainly unavailable at best, dangerous at worst.
Feeling my feelings meant that I’d have to come face to face with the reality of my trauma. It meant that my body would often go into a threat response, relying upon tactics for survival because the feelings I felt due to the conditions of my childhood were too big to hold on my own.
Instead, I learned to suppress my feelings, for not only was there no one to receive them, but they were too complex to understand. In effect, I’d hyper-focus on getting the care and containment I needed through appeasing. I learned to be nice and convenient. I learned how to read a room and find out where I was to be made useful. I learned how to anticipate the needs of others and got really good at meeting them there.
All the while, my own needs for receiving relational care and safe containment for my vulnerable and authentic expression atrophied.
I thrived on being needed, becoming the mother to anyone who were both willing and unwilling participants. It made me feel useful, worthy of taking up space.
There was absolutely no room nor time for feeling my feelings.
When I first moved to America, the feelings were too great. I got hooked on sex and weed- a byproduct of having experienced sexual assault just months before and having to assimilate into a new culture, while leaving my own family and home.
I gave and gave and gave as much as I possibly could. Incredible blowjobs for the secret hope they’d love and care for me. High-scoring grades for the desire to be acknowledged with pride by my father. A ridiculous class schedule, two majors, three jobs, multiple extra-curricular leadership positions, a writing gig, all for the sake of being noticed for the repressed pain I felt inside. It all seemed very normal then.
When my mother died around the same time I broke up with my long-distance ex of four years, it was all too much. It was the summer of 2014 and my body could no longer hold all the grief.
It came crashing through me like a tsunami on the shores of Aceh. I wailed and wept in my tiny college dorm-apartment, my roommates at work at the zoo, or back home for the summer.
I made a secret pact to myself then. A re-commitment to my own damn self. At the time, it was simply to be able to choose who got to experience my body. A reclamation of my sexuality that came after the emotional storm. Chaos of feeling, indeed.
I met my now ex-partner in the summer the following year. Up until then, I was still looking for love and care inside of my sexuality. I kept getting disappointed, over and over again, hoping that the next arms that held me would be the one to contain the depth of my repressed feelings.
Of course, the universe works its magic in mysterious ways. My then partner and I got swept up in a whirlwind of love, lust and longing. Two broken puzzle pieces finally finding its match. I found someone to take care of, to feel needed by, to please and feel worthy of taking up space with. He found someone to take care of him, to be hopelessly romantic with, to take home to his own mama, to fill the void he’s had since his own boyhood.
Within the first 6 months of our partnership, I remember laying in his bed at his sister’s home in New York. Sobbing myself to sleep while he played pool in the basement with his brother-in-law. Something felt direly missing.
I couldn’t name it then: We were so madly in love because we filled the gap of our greatest trauma- two slices in our wholeness attempting to complete one another. A codependent dynamic that felt right yet wrong at the same time. There still wasn’t room for my emotions. There still wasn’t room for my truthful expression. I didn’t feel safe or acknowledged for who I was. How could I possibly be held and cared for when I was doing all the holding and caring for?
It’s been almost six years since then. A lot of feeling, healing and coming back into my own wholeness has happened since; a concurrent pulling apart of the codependent enmeshment and the reclamation of my own sovereignty and worthiness. A ton of being held in containment (read: community, mentorship, nature, spirituality) to explore the depth of my feelings and resolve trauma while getting what I needed for so long: the unconditional love and safety to be my whole self.
Only then, the capacity to feel my worthiness.
Only then, the emergence of my sacred sexuality.
Only then, the experience of my own power.
Denise (she/they) is a queer non-binary Malaysian Chinese immigrant of Daoist ancestry. They are a somatic trauma resolution practitioner and the creator of consensual culture. Her highly-sensitive attunement to the subtle energetics of both relational and collective bodies supports her work as an intuitive space holder, embodiment educator and circle facilitator for BIPOC women and femmes. Their work prioritizes somatic care, decolonial worthiness and BIPOC-centered liberation and healing. She’s currently exploring her emergent erotic essence-nature through pleasure practices such as dance, writing and relational intimacy.