005: Pleasure and the Body’s Wisdom with Cyndi Darnell

Come back to the body — where the wisdom is.

Cyndi Darnell is an internationally renowned sex and relationship therapist. Her approach spans the clinical to the esoteric. She’s spearheading progressive sex & relationships seminars and workshops for adults and clinicians that deeply change people’s lives. Cyndi’s on a mission to eliminate stigma from discussions around sex, erotism and pleasure and changing our fears and transform it into freedom.

In this episode, Cyndi and I discuss:

  • How the sexual revolution missed the boat to discuss pleasure (especially womxn’s pleasure) that center on what each individual’s motivation is.

  • Permission to own your motivation.

  • Understanding the story that you’re holding onto that’s holding you back and causing you pain.

  • Cyndi shares her distinct definitions of love and sex (much like chocolate and red wine).

  • Sex changes over time and so we continue to learn about ourselves.

  • The more we experience ourselves the more we understand our motivations.

  • Internal motivation is vital, know why you want things to change.

  • Sex can be an opportunity to live a more visceral and colorful life.

  • Erotic pleasure relates back to early childhood before we had stigmas, values and judgements placed upon us and receive the smiling gaze of another.

  • Societal misconceptions: the body is inherently dangerous and the intellect is superior.

  • How we participate in keeping myths alive by cutting ourselves off from our own bodies.

  • How to reconnect the body through a daily practice of tuning into the body.

  • Masturbation as a way of integrating erotic pleasure into your life,

  • “Erotic Self Care”

  • Consent Culture and Sex Ed that goes beyond Abstinence, Reproduction and even Consent and includes Pleasure.

  • Tea and Consent video made an assumption that everyone likes tea: oversimplification of consent being yes vs no

  • The real question is ‘what kind of sex do you like?’ Cyndi says this is where the wheels come off for most people.

  • Making a practice of talking about sex and erotism.

  • Cyndi’s erotic awakening story.

  • Coming back to the body, that’s where the wisdom is.


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Find Cyndi Darnell online at www.cyndidarnell.com, on insta @cyndi_darnell, on twitter @cyndi_darnell, and on facebook

Purchase Cyndi’s video series: The Atlas of Erotic Anatomy and Arousal

Attend Cyndi’s Reclaiming the Sensual Body workshop, May 31 - Jun 02 2019 at Omega Institute

Root in with Rebecca’s Connectfulness® Collective for therapists in private practice at: connectfulness.com/collective

Learn more about Rebecca’s relationship therapy practice and intensive couples retreat experiences in NY at connectfulness.com

Join our Connectfulness® Community connectfulness.com/community

Follow us @connectfulness on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

004: Parenting and Reckoning with Your Identity with Mercedes Samudio, LCSW

Mercedes Samudio, LCSW is a parent coach, speaker, bestselling author, and founder of the Diversity in Parenting conference who helps parents and children communicate with each other, manage emotional trauma, navigate social media and technology together, and develop healthy parent-child relationships. She started the #EndParentShaming movement and coined the term Shame-Proof Parenting — using both to bring awareness to ending parent shame. Mercedes is on a mission to empower parents in believing in their innate ability to guide and raise healthy, happy children. 


In this episode, Mercedes Samudio and I discuss:

  • Mercedes' message and passion and how it’s deeply tied to her own healing and her ability to reconcile healing her inner child and how not being scared to discuss her own healing has enabled her to feel more connected to and assertive of her overall message.

  • Dispelling the myth that once you become a parent you’re something/someone else.

  • Parent's internal struggles to heal their own childhoods and how we don’t tend to give parents the space to heal, which is the same space we heal intergenerational traumas. 

  • Parenting identity is all the stuff that comes with the term parenting that you’ve created and held throughout your life: the parents you had, the people you watched parent, what culture and research says about parenting, what society says about parenting… and why it’s so important to reckon with these messages.

  • The ongoing struggle to sit with our own imperfections, to-do lists, navigate parenthood and hold it all everyday and how to manage the complexities of deepened awarenesses. 

  • The myth we've bought into: that parenting has to mean something and the guilt, shame and fear that comes with that. 

  • Mercedes' book, Shame Proof Parenting, and the journey that writing the book has taken her on. There is no A-Z process of raising a human because there is no A-Z process to being a human. And how the book is starting to shift mindsets. 

  • Representation — the parenting world is predominately made up of White women and many modern parenting methods require you to be a part of a culture that sees you. When BIPOC, Adoptive, LGBTQ and Special-Needs mothers try to enter popular modern parenting realms, she may be the only one there, and the only one in her family/community that’s doing it and it can be really difficult to continue on in a space where there is no one else there that looks like you/understands your struggle. 

  • We talk about how frustration fueled Mercedes to create the Diversity in Parenting Conferenceand what the conference is all about: if you’re a parenting or mental health professionals who is looking for more skills in how to work with diverse parents and family populations. 

  • Deeper messages about why representation matters to help everyone feel validated and seen. 



Find Mercedes at shameproofparenting.com 

Learn more about the Diversity in Parenting conference September 13-14, 2019 in Anaheim, CA at diversityinparentingconference.com (early bird tickets available through March 2019).

Join Annie Schuessler and I for the Signature Retreat April 25-28, 2019 at Menla Resort in NY, learn more at connectfulness.com/signature-retreat

Root in with my Connectfulness® Collective for therapists in private practice at: connectfulness.com/collective

Learn more about my relationship therapy practice and intensive couples retreat in NY at connectfulness.com

Join the Connectfulness® Community connectfulness.com/community

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

003: Erotic Simmering and Lasting Love with Stephen Snyder MD

Dr. Stephen Snyder joined me to talk about keeping erotism simmering in long term relationships. 

Dr. Stephen Snyder is a sex and relationship therapist, Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and the author of the acclaimed sex and relationship book, LOVE WORTH MAKING: How to Have Ridiculously Great Sex in a Long-Lasting Relationship.


In this episode, Dr Snyder and I discuss: 

  • The nature of desire and why you don’t need it. 

  • Why we make ourselves crazy trying to cultivate desire.

  • How we can practice a-tuning ourselves to our long term partners through mindful moments of inspiration. 

  • Why frustration is a good thing in relationships.

  • The ticket to keep a long term erotic connection simmering: getting dumb and happy with your partner.

  • How to be seen, speak up, and find your voice. 

  • Selfishness + making it easy. 

  • Taking selfish joy in the other person’s existence inside the bedroom.

  • Outside the bedroom, being able to assert what you need, think and feel even when the other needs thinks and feels something different; this creates the core of the couples confidence and creativity together. 

  • Why pressure tends to make the erotic mind rebel. 



Find Dr Snyder online at loveworthmaking.com and sexualityresource.com

Sometimes a change in surroundings can make all the difference. Come away with your partner and combine the core elements of a spa retreat with a personalized deep dive into Connectfulness® couple therapy, and return home restored and deeply aware of your relational patterns. I’m booking one Private Couples Intensive Retreat Experiences per month. Learn more at connectfulness.com/intensive

Learn more about my relationship therapy practice in NY at connectfulness.com

Join the Connectfulness® Community connectfulness.com/community

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

002: Buddhist Wisdom for Relationship Discomfort with Susan Piver

Susan Piver is a New York Times bestselling author of 9 books including her latest, The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships, and a renowned Buddhist teacher. 

Susan joins me to talk about how to survive the inevitable discomfort of relationships and how she discovered what she’s called the Four Noble Truths of Love during a rough patch in her own marriage while thinking they might be through and not knowing where to begin. Which is when a voice whispered to Susan “begin at the beginning, at the beginning are four noble truths.


In this episode, Susan Piver and I discuss:

  • How to work with discomfort.

  • Discernment is the byproduct of awareness, provides a sense of guidance and clarity.

  • “I spent too many years trying to be a different kind of person.” --Susan Piver

  • Awareness is an operating system that can help us to accept one another and make room for differences.

  • I read and we discussed this passage from Susan’s book The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships, “Love seems custom made to evoke the deepest woundings and thereby forces you to choose over and over between you puny fearful self and your heroic genius self. The closer you get to another person the louder your sorrows shriek, the more frightened you become. The more you scare each other. All resulting in some very weird battles that have nothing to do with what’s actually happening.”

  • The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism

  • Life is suffering. 

    1. The cause of suffering. Grasping.

    2. The cessation of suffering. This condition can be alleviated.

    3. The path to no suffering. The noble eightfold path will lead you out of suffering. The eight steps are: Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Concentration

  • Susan’s Four Noble Truths of Love:

  • The truth: Relationships are uncomfortable.

    1. The cause: Trying to make them comfortable is what makes them uncomfortable.

    2. The cessation: Meeting the discomfort together is love.

    3. How to work with it all: The eightfold path

  • Compassion helps us to not see others behavior as a threat.

  • Relationship suffering exposes everything about you. 

  • How to soften into self and let yourself be as you are. 

  • The importance of working on ourselves as individuals, how our minds mix, and why the way you talk to yourself is likely to bleed over into the way you talk to others. 

  • “The more human I am, the more genuine I am, the less likely I am to weaponize my way of being against someone else.” --Susan Piver

  • This is not a way to fix the mess, rather a a way to enter the mess. 

  • What happens when we feel our feelings of unworthiness, stop fighting the feelings and relax with it and why doing so can help us to be more effective. 

  • “Root of fearlessness is curiosity. Everybody knows how to be curious. Everyone can be fearless.” --Susan Piver

  • Being really human in relationship with another person while you tolerate the discomfort, while you learn to soften and be kind towards yourself and one another even when you’re having all the big feelings.

  • Susan’s Open Heart Project virtual mindfulness community. 



Find Susan online at susanpiver.com.

Root in with Rebecca's Connectfulness® Collective for therapists in private practice at: connectfulness.com/collective

Learn more about Rebecca's relationship therapy practice and intensive couples retreat in NY at connectfulness.com

Join the Connectfulness® Community connectfulness.com/community

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

001: Welcome. Start Here

Welcome to the Connectfulness Practice Podcast. Here we settle in to the murky, tangled, and freaking hard parts of life to restore our relationship with the self, so it can ripple out to the people we love, the work we do, and the world around us.

We can’t fix what’s wrong if we can’t talk about it. We can’t move the conversation forward if we’re not willing to be real about where we are now. And unless we push the edges of what it means to connect, nothing will ever change. I’m your host, Rebecca Wong. Every month I invite a fabulous, big-thinking guest to join me to talk about what it means to be human together. We’ll have deep conversations about the big stuff –– life, love, and legacy –– and how you can foster connection for yourself. Let’s start to reconnect the world, one conversation at a time.


What to expect in future episodes:


  • We’ll be exploring how we talk to ourselves affect the world we live in and the relationships we have and stories we tell ourselves make up who we are how we show up in the world and how we continue to show up and the choices we make. They make up the biosphere, the air we breathe.

  • How to soften our own edges and create space for growth and intimacy.

  • I share a story about lobsters and how discomfort precedes growth, vulnerability, strength, confidence and intimacy..

  • I outline themes and topics we’ll be exploring in future episodes including the deep work of looking at ourselves in relationships, remembering who we are, exploring how do these ideas of who we are get formed, transgenerational trauma, epigenetics, neuroscience and creativity.

  • My vision is to create a community to learn together, you’re invited to join the connectfulness® community.

  • Expect new episodes to be released once-a-month.

  • Write me and let me know what you’re thinking about and want to hear in future episodes.