When we feel ourselves connecting to Earth, Spirit, animals, living and breathing and feeling that
- there is vulnerability and insignificance.
But there is also great significance in the awareness of
intricate connective nuances.
INTRODUCING SHAWNREY NOTTO
Permaculture Pinup Featured Model
Article Interview written by J
It has been a full year since we have started the featured model showcase series on Permaculture Pinup. Shawnrey technically takes the position of our second Mz. August, as we started this series in August of 2020. Thus, Shawnrey holds the special title of our 1 year anniversary model. So, we will honor her by sharing this interview and her content for the entire Fall. She's worth it, and you deserve it.
By highlighting Shawrey through Thanksgiving we have the delightful "excuse" to share her amazing video content on our Instagram and Facebook pages. She believes that we can change the world when we start a relationship with our own bodies. We agree with her. We feel her work is aiding in the acceleration of the consciousness shift which will harmonize our relationship with Earth. Her philosophy is very permaculture, afterall - it's scalable. If we can develop a beautiful relationship with our own bodies and senses, we can develop the understanding that we are part of, and thus naturally extend our care to, Earthbody. It's the ol' microcosm to macrocosm concept.
So... let's introduce this Shawnrey. Shawnrey Notto is "the sensual intelligence guide". She teaches and inspires people to reclaim their joy and pleasure. This includes techniques on how to embody self-love. Her duty as a guide is to help navigate people onto a path of living not just fully but joy-fully. Full of what? A fulfillment found through pleasure, and living in a way that is integrously unique.
She is the author of the soon-to-be-published book, Sensual Intelligence: The Lost IQ. She blends 15+ years of dance and performance art, erotic poetry, sensual intimacy coaching, mindfulness, and nude live art modeling to connect mind, body, spirit, and pleasure to heal cycles of shame and suppression and find the joy we’ve always desired.
All of this might sound sophisticated and serious. It is, but Shawnrey would assure you it is also quirky and super fun.
SENSUAL INTELLIGENCE, THE MISSING PIECE?
Shawnrey was chosen for Permaculture Pinup for so many reasons but a major one is the subject of her new book, sensual intelligence. She calls it "The Lost IQ", and we think the education around and activation with sensual intelligence may be one of the key missing pieces to bringing about the collective remembrance of connection to Earth.
Shawnrey says, "in the book and now - when you are not connected to yourself you disconnect from the Earth. Our whole society has been built around disconnection. If we can't connect with our own bodies we will not connect with the Earth as body. We will not see or feel the connection. The extraction economy, slavery and slave holders, it is all from a lack of connection. The book talks about pleasure and sexuality. If you perceive pleasure as taking away from productivity and that is valued, then you won't invest in it, you will avoid it. Ultimately marginalizing sensual intelligence leads to disconnection because connection starts with the senses and pleasure. Pleasure is of the Earth, pleasure is the daughter of Eros (desire) and Psyche (human spirit). To deny that is a domino effect of how we connect or do not connect. Pleasure and sensuality are accessible ways to reconnect to our world, to our Earth, to ourselves."
ALL (EARTH) BODY
As a student and teacher of Tantra, I greatly appreciate Shawnrey's insight and offering. Tantra does not consider the Earth, and all matter within it (and extending out), simply an illusion. Tantra considers matter more like a slower vibration of Spirit or perhaps we can say a distillation of Spirit. This means everything is Divine, and thus sacredness can be found in what some traditions consider the mundane. In the view of Tantra, nothing is mundane. Our body and Earthbody are living, vibrant, animated temples. So, I had to ask Shawnrey about her viewpoint on transhumanism since it is, as I have understood it, much like some spiritual ascension traditions where the body is not considered valuable, perhaps a hindrance, thus something to be transcended. Unlike a simple desire to transcend our individual body and the Earth, transhumanism (the merging with computers) requires a lot of extraction and perhaps accelerated destruction of the Earth to mine and build the infrastructure required for this idea.
"Many people feel more comfortable to leave their body than to be curious, question and connect. As I mentioned before, society was created to disconnect you from your body and that doesn’t mean it is your body’s fault! We were taught to connect or disconnect. So transhumanists, I’ve dated a few people with those ideas and I’ve noticed a lot of people in those communities use drugs to create disconnection. We create a betrayal relationship with ourselves when we are not connected to self, and by extension, the Earth. This becomes a trap of self-betrayal as it becomes a habit of disconnection that then can breakdown interactions and relationships with others, community, and a greater society. And to reiterate, society has been built around this disconnection. If we can't connect with our own bodies we will not connect with the Earth as body. The extraction economy is from a lack of our connection to ourselves."
WHO TAKES CARE OF WHOM
We sometimes ask our models when they knew they cared for the Earth. Shawnrey says she knew the Earth took care of her from an early age.
"My first memories, maybe 3, 4, or 5 years of age, were of a garden and beyond that a big field and a big forest. I remember feeling the magic of it all. We had snap peas, collard greens, and okras.
I grew up in a military family, so we were not in one place for a long time. So when we moved away from the property with the garden, our food became more canned. Hamburger Helper sort of thing. But I remember getting food straight from the Earth, being with family to get food for the table, and the smells of it all. You know, my family has lineage stemming from slavery within the United States. They had to till the Earth but not for them. One of my grandmother's firsts memories was picking cotton with her mom. Regardless of that aspect of their life, I think about my lineage here and how they were connected to food and Earth in a regular way. I find it interesting how we move away from the land into cities and how things break down health-wise and with family. So yes, I have a connection with Earth and Nature. To me it is family-oriented, nourishing, and connected to history and lineage."
Reflecting some more on her family's military service "tour", living in Arkansas, Germany, D.C., and the Arizona desert, Shawnrey added.
"We moved a lot but it also gave me access to Earth, the untamed and untempered. I think to myself sometimes how if I had grown up in a city instead, how I might have been scared of Earth if I did not have exposure to it. Earth composition and smells elicit in-body and spiritual experiences. In Arizona I talked to lizards and quartz crystals. I connected with them, considering them gifts to the Earth. This was our time at Army Forth Watchuka Sierra Vista. There was a very distinct smell of the wash out when it would rain in that desert".
Although Shawnrey currently does not have a garden, she has had urban gardens or various plots in San Francisco over the years. And she had a secret, she seemed eager to divulge. She loves compost.
"Oh I think compost is so beautiful. I love the cyclical process. The eating of food and discarding that then tends to transformation. Big pieces breaking down going into the darkness. Worms and heat. I love plunging my hand into it to feel the pulsing of Life. Decay, Life, beauty, and back again."
PERMACULTURE IN THE CITY
"Herbs and collards", was Shawnrey's response to what she used to grow in her urban garden. She mentioned this gardening project was co-created with a friend and it was "beautiful bonding time". Gardens are great but permaculture does not require land for your own food forest or a garden of your own. An easy way to think of permaculture is how to create permanent culture that is regenerative, honoring, and in balance with Nature. Permaculture can be lived in different ways. As Shawnrey is a maestress of pleasure and self-love, she likes healthy boundaries. One being, what she is doing with her time. She has been focusing on her book, and so she explained how instead of urban gardening for salad greens, she learned how to wild forage.
"Yes, I like to do wild foraging in the Oakland hills. I take a walk for my future salads. I learned the urban plants, search for and find things like minors lettuce, nasturtium, dandelion, and mallow root leaf. I gather herbs like mugwort for incense or spritzers and other herbs for addressing health problems naturally and for free. This is how Earth takes care of us."
Curious, as I have never wild foraged, I asked how one avoids dog pee.
"You learn to pick off the main path." (think winky face inserted here)
One of the classic questions we had asked every model over the last year was what a sexy future looked like to them. We loved Shawnrey's response.
"I feel we are in a big transition. There is revealing and healing and yet divisiveness and... it feels like a death rattle. Things are breaking down, the systems that were working are no longer working, cracks are showing more and more. There is fear with this shift. We have not been taught in a modern western society a way to live cyclically, holistically, regeneratively - so there's a lot of uncertainty. It’s disorienting and scary and chaos. If we had truly connected to the Earth as a whole perhaps we would not have made these systems, or maybe it’s part of the cycle. But the fear is from not being connected. So how will the future be sexy? We might have to redefine what sexy is. I believe what will become sexy is what keeps you alive in community and have you feeling connected. When things change what we value changes. What nourishes our lives changes. What is going to feel sexy might be feeling like you are part of a tribe, so you belong and create together.
So I do want to bring up something provactive...
Some people think sexy, and they think sex. There are sex-positive parties here in the Bay and what I have noticed is some of them promoting the usage of dissociative drugs, such as K. I have heard people say they felt a sense of wrongness about it. This is because we are supposed to be connected to the body. Our body, mind, and spirit communicate with each other. Consent is sensual. You cannot have consent without the sensual. To give permission and create a contract you must be connected to sensual intelligence. If you disconnect, then you are not able to have consent, the body and mind can’t consent. It is a self-violation and we get into that reality of self-betrayal again.
So what a sexy future might be for me, in the grand scheme of things, is very permaculture as we redevelop relationships with land. When we feel ourselves connecting to Earth, Spirit, animals, living and breathing and feeling that - there is vulnerability and insignificance. But there is also great significance in the awareness of intricate connective nuances"
"There are so many. I'm actually more inspired by my friends and family than by celebrities or books. Specifically, here's a few: Nisha Moodley (devotional leadership), Elizabeth Bast, Lisa Rueff (collective hearts). Eve Ensler, Rhodessa Jones, Cheri Huber (Zen Buddhist teacher), Diane Ackermans (a Natural history of the senses), Dr. Robert L. Williams, Queen Afua."
CURIOSITY AND EXPLORATION
Sensual intelligence is not pleasure intelligence. It’s about being present, curious about the sensual, meaning of the senses, not with just what feels good. "There is an incentive to explore your senses because we don’t know we have a choice to experience more in life until we slow down and connect to our sensuality."
Shawnrey has a "journey of the senses", working with a strawberry. Find it in her new book, Sensual Intelligence: The Lost IQ.
We thank Elizabeth Bast, Permaculture Pinup's Mz. January, for the recommendation of pursuing Shawnrey for this interview.
"There is an incentive to explore your senses because we don’t know we have a choice to experience more in life until we slow down and connect to our sensuality."