In Your Own Words

I’m not doing a "resolution" this year. Listen to it: Resolution. Just the word alone feels so hardcore, so absolute, so non-femme. I’ve decided that instead of resolutions, from now on I am going to have "Revelations."

So, here is my New Year's Revelation for 2009…

I’m in love.

I sit in my office over here at the S Factor LA studio and reflect back on 2008. It was an intense year, a wild ride, a wicked lesson in perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness. 2008 reminds me of the lyrics to Beck's song, "Loser":

In the time of chimpanzees I was a monkey,
with butane in my veins so I’m out to get the junkie
with the plastic eyeballs, spray paint the vegetables,
dog food stalls with the beefcake pantyhose,
kill the headlights and put it in neutral,
stockcar flaming with a loser in the cruise control…

Who else on this lovely planet could come up with lines like those? These lyrics play over and over in my mind these days because we as a culture are in "a time." We are in the midst of one of the most fluctuating, incendiary, intense eras in history. The world order is changing and here we are in front row seats being sucked into the ruckus. Whoa, the markets crash, then rise, then crash, then rise like a swelling, turbulent surf. The masculine power structure based on money, which turns into greed and hoarding is faltering, weakening and wobbling, and in many cases losing its footing. And in the not so far away distance, the feminine energy is stirring. We may not have broken any glass ceilings for women last year but we sure did shine a harsh light on the horror of sexism in the American media. Saw it in its "full monty," we did.


I think of the growth and continued evolution of S Factor, the feminine factor. Just look at the S culture all around you. Yes you, reading this editorial, you are an S woman. You are a woman looking for something more. You are a woman who has inhaled the fragrance of wholesome sexuality through body freedom and asked for more. See, an S woman is not exclusively a student who has taken a class in a studio. Although, this is a sweet and tremendous slice of S deliciousness. An S woman is any woman whose ears have perked up at a dinner party after overhearing another woman mention an S stageplay. An S woman is a woman who has read even one issue of the Global S newsletter. An S woman is a woman who has done even one secret hip circle on her own at home, for her own love and enjoyment of self. An S woman is a woman who has thought, "There is more for me." An S woman wants to be heard, she wants to express what is uniquely hers, she wants her presence felt.


My 2009 New Year's Revelation is, "I am in love." I am in love with you, with this culture. I am in love with women who care and demand and insinuate themselves fully into the world. I am in love with being a woman. I am in love with having a daughter who I can help navigate her way through this world. I am in love with the promise of the future with the feminine riding high in the driver's seat. I am in love with the possibilities.


Allow me to introduce you to the voices of some S women who have shared pieces of their journey with me via email over the past year. Voices so vivid, so arresting and so touching and funny that they carry their tune better than I could possibly do justice. Listen to them sing...

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Hi Sheila,

I had an amazing time last night. Thank you so much for offering [the Body Whispering] class and spending the extra few hours for us.


I have a funny little story to tell you regarding S Factor and the recent Yorba Linda fires.


I live in Yorba Linda and the fires were so close that we had MANDATORY evacuation. The police were at my door telling me to get the hell out! The fires were 400 yards away! As I left my home, I realized that there were not enough fire fighters in our community. What about the flying embers that START the fire? The fire fighters were there to put out homes that were engulfed in flames...the ones that were too late. So as I tried to return home, the police already put a blockade up. My husband, the resourceful man that he is, snuck back into our home. I did not want him to be there alone so my friend and I ran up a back horse trail to my house. The horse trail is about 1/2 a mile all up hill, which did not put me out of breathe AT ALL!! Then we climbed a steep 30-foot slope and climbed our 8-foot fence. S Factor totally kicked in through all this. AS smooth as BUTTER I climbed up that metal fence and gracefully climbed shaking of the fence or hesitation…I flipped my gorgeous leg up and over!


I was so impressed and shocked with myself...the first thing I thought of was S FACTOR BABY!! Only that could have prepared me to run up that trail and climb that damn fence. So even out of the studio my body does amazing things!

Thanks again,
Arjin Kim


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Dear Sheila,

Little did I know what incredible relationships would be formed when I walked into that yoga studio on California Street nearly 2 years ago!


September 12, 2008, otherwise known as Ike, wreaked havoc on our lives and home in Tiki Island/Galveston, TX. Our home became uninhabitable. I lost nearly all of my book of business for the home health company that I work for, and was placed "on hold indefinitely" for the hospital where I take calls for the local organ donor program.


My "new" husband, (we were married in August) and I have moved into an apartment until we can get our home back, thus paying a mortgage and rent and double utilities... Needless to say, I miss terribly my life pre-Ike. Getting back to "normal" has been slow in coming. However, I have learned to appreciate small victories... One, was getting back to class. Sheila, the whole time, from the time we evacuated Tiki, to the time we were able to get back, Becky Spence, was there texting me to make sure we were all right and weren't in need of anything. She has become way more than just my S Instructor. She and my other S sisters, like Brianna, Brandy, Diana, Nicole, Sommer, Jillian, Leigh Ann, and Tonya rallied to help us get on our feet. I will carry their friendships with me in my heart and treasure them dearly. These are friendships that, had I never gotten the nerve to go to that workshop, wouldn't exist. They have truly become my sisters, and I will love them with all my heart. They have enriched my life in more ways than I ever would have imagined. They are truly one of the "victories" that I have come to realize out of this tragedy, and for this, Sheila, I thank you too! If you hadn't taken the chance on Houston as a location, well... you can figure the rest.


Be proud of your Houston staff... they are gold!

Full of S love,
Gina Seinsheimer

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Dear Sheila,

I have had many funny occurrences that you all might be familiar with. See if you relate to any of these:


You know you are a S Factor devotee when…


…you tell your hairdresser to cut your hair so that it "swings best for S pole class" (sometimes you give demos for the stylist, just to be accurate).


…you can't dance in public anymore without grabbing your body and/or hair, while doing hip circles.

…your iPod is full of Erotic Creature inspired songs for class only.


…every time you go out to a new club, bar, or even house - you envision where you wish they would put a pole for you to play on.


…whenever you need to think of a "happy place," you can only think of your S Factor class.


…you want to move to New Zealand or Tuscany but can't because they don't have an S Factor studio there yet.


…you see burlesque dancers on stage dancing on poles and you find your heart uncontrollably pumping and your mind reasoning how you are going to get yourself on stage as well.


…you find yourself begging your girlfriends to not tell newly met men about your S pole dancing...good things are best found out over time...not in the first 2 minutes.


…you choose what food to eat depending on whether you have class or not.


…people who know you well refer to you as the woman "who pole dances for exercise."

…you start questioning whether you would rather behave as you, or your Erotic Creature - in your every day behavior.


…you deeply wish classes were four hours long, twice a week.


…you plan all your trips around your dance class.


…the thought of not being in class for one week makes you feel a little ill.


Feel free to add other funny or poignant incidences to this list and pass it on - I'm sure there are plenty!!!

Much Love,
Dana M. Gillespie

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Ahhhh, I couldn’t have put it more eloquently. Let’s move forward into 2009 with the knowledge of our feminine. We have a new year, a new administration, a new philosophy, a new chance. And I hope you are feeling what I'm feeling. Ready. All the steps we have taken to move forward are finally, actually moving us forward. I feel proud and emotional and stoked and giggly with anticipation to experience this new chance and change with you. The possibilities abound. Next year this time, we'll look back and around us and see a greener planet, a more feminine planet, with a newly revived economy, peace abounding, and a global embrace of the feminine.


I can dream. And dreams, as you have seen this amazing January, come true when you dream hard enough. Come dream with me.