Celibacy is (still) the new black

I crowned myself, so to speak, as the director of a festival. It took guts and grit. I didn’t do it to steal the spotlight. Far from it. I did it to make sure the spotlight was shining on the right people.

I’m sitting on the roof steps of Casa Om, in Puerto Morelos Mexico, wind in my hair, wearing a long sleeve shirt on my last night in the Mayan Riviera. Writing. Digesting. So much has happened in such a short amount of time, and unless digested, I won’t be able to make space for more.

And my body? My body mirrored this fullness that I felt in my life. I was super bloated and gassy most of the afternoon (trés sexy!). I blamed it on the cake. My team and I found Craig Villani’s birthday cake in the fridge, mostly uneaten. And after nearly 2 days of meetings, we couldn’t get plates and a knife fast enough. There was nothing spectacular about the cake itself, but I’ll never forget how much fun we had eating it.

So I blamed it on the cake all afternoon. And it was only until I was sitting up here, feeling the near-emptiness of this house, the thick bittersweet nostalgia that is felt after something’s over, that I realized it was time to digest. It was time to write.

When asked what it is that I do, it’s simple to answer that my bread and butter is marketing and event production. It’s like life, through many different circumstances, has polished me for it. I turned pro when I worked at the Open Center in NYC: I was flipping rooms, assisting teachers, setting up spaces, working the AV system (my least favorite), and a thousand other little things that come with producing an event just about EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

I’ve learned how to hold space, move around unseen, orchestrate from backstage, and anticipate two steps ahead. So this past summer, as I found myself helping to coordinate One Fire Fest, I felt an underlying sense of anxiety. I’d never managed something this big before. And my bosses were crazy busy building their second hot yoga retreat center in West Virginia to be in the drawing board with me as much as I would have liked. So I decided to take ownership of what needed to get done, rolled up my sleeves, and knew that I HAD to knock this out of the park if I was really going to be taken seriously.

On the very last day of the festival, during the very last class, I was overcome with wave upon wave of gratitude. Something incredible had just happened: we packed the house and people had had an incredible time. Connections had been made, magic had happened. And it was then that I understood the feeling that I felt: I felt alive, I felt connected, I felt as though I had listened to the call and answered it. I felt surrounded by people who had undergone a transformation, and just like I feel when I think about my sisters from Wild Woman Fest: I felt at home.

My personal transformation has left me bewildered. I came to Mexico thinking I knew what would happen (ha!). I came here thinking that I would have a great love affair with a sexy photographer who has been flirting with me for months, thinking perhaps he was the man I’ve been waiting for. Instead, something far more wild and unnexpected happened.

Through practicing celibacy, I’ve recognized my most damaging pattern when it comes to my relationships with men: as soon as I feel a connection with someone, I am quick to jump into the sack. Now, this is not to say I’m hooking up all over town. Because for me, authentic connections are few and far in between. So when they do happen, I dive right in.

The problem, as I’ve come to learn, is that sex clouds your perception. In a new relationship, it steals away clarity. And for women, it does something to our hormones that makes us immediately attach ourselves to a man. So even if we don’t like the guy that much and tend to ignore the red flags, biochemically we’re kind of, well, fucked.

So when I arrived to Mexico, I was curious to finally have a laboratory to explore what it means to not immediately jump into the sack. And constantly I prayed: “Divine Spirit, if this man is mine by Divine Right, I am open to receive him. If he’s not, I am open to receive someone like him or better.”

Day in, day out. Little bit of flirting here, little bit of flirting there. And it was all rainbows and ponies until I got word from one of my girls that he has a girlfriend. And as soon as I heard those words, I cut the cord like that *snap*. I let that man go like a hot plate, and with a new set of eyes, saw a new friend who is loads of fun to work with (what’s a little harmless flirting after all?)

Less than 24 hours later, I was to lay under the stars with a guy who swept into my life and has left me a little bit dizzy.

It’s too soon to tell what that was all about. And thanks to celibacy, I can blow him a kiss as I say farewell. Let him go, send him blessings, with no attachment.

I leave this land tomorrow, to travel up north to my life in western mass. To snow, indie-mamahood, coparenting, building my business, and dreaming about what to build on my land. To my new moon women circles, my beloved friends, my Subaru and all the Lore I listen to when I’m driving. To teaching yoga, paying bills, washing dishes, and waking up at the edge of the bed while my toddler lays spread out like a starfish. To my plants, my books, and to co-authoring a book. To all of this and more as I patiently wait for him, whoever and wherever he may be.


My name is Mishel Ixchel. I’m Ecuadorian-born &
NYC-bred. Western Mass is currently home, and it's also where I practice + teach the art of
Sacred Self Care.