Kitty Cavalier

Kitty Cavalier writes, teaches and shares about the art of seduction: not just as a game between lovers but as a spiritual practice that leads to a love affair with life. As Kitty says, “seduction has nothing to do with manipulation. It’s a spiritual practice. A way of life. And it changes everything.”

photos by: SaraJane Case and Becca Kannapell

How long have you been doing your work? Since my first gulp of air! But formally, about 6 years.

Is it your full-time gig? Yes!

How did you get started? I started by teaching burlesque classes in a smelly dance studio in Times Square. I had experienced a profound transformation as a result of performing burlesque and a few girlfriends wanted me to teach them. I absolutely fell in love with the transformation I was seeing as each woman’s natural seductive nature came alive, simply by putting on and taking off a satin glove.

I began to study the inner work of seduction as being more than just a game between lovers, but a way to make love to life. I’ve come a long way from that smelly dance studio! And if I had to pinpoint what led me from there to here, it would be that I just kept showing up and creating over and over. Even though I didn’t have all the bells and whistles I wanted at that time, I didn’t let that stop me from sharing my message no matter how unglamorous the setting. I was willing to let my creations be good in service to them being great.

If I had to pinpoint what led me from there to here, it would be that I just kept showing up and creating over and over. Even though I didn’t have all the bells and whistles I wanted at that time, I didn’t let that stop me from sharing my message no matter how unglamorous the setting. I was willing to let my creations be good in service to them being great.”

What is your morning practice? When I wake up in the morning the very first thing I do is pray. An important part of my creative life is letting the divine work through me in everything I do. I have some set prayers that I say, but often I just talk to my Higher Power and get really honest about what’s in my mind and heart. I find that the more I relate to the divine as a trusted friend who is there to support me and less like an employer I’m trying to impress, the more easily my life and creativity flow.

What is your evening ritual? In the evening I put myself to bed similarly to how a mother would put a child to bed. No electronics after 9:30 pm. I make a cup of Vanilla Chamomile tea, watch something relaxing on Netflix, and then read in bed. I give myself a sweet foot massage or belly massage and sleep with a hot water bottle on my tummy or chest.

Lately I’ve tried just turning out the light before I feel “ready,” and I’m often pleasantly surprised by how I can fall asleep even when I think I’m not tired enough yet. Listening to audiobooks while falling asleep helps me turn my mind off too. Right now I’m listening to Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle.

What do you want to say to the world with your art? My hope is that when someone reads my writing they feel inspired to slow down and savor the simple pleasures in life. I hope they begin to notice beauty and cultivate more of it in all they do. And I hope they feel a greater sense of freedom to be honest, to tell the truth, and relax into who they really are.

What’s hardest for you about sharing your work? Being that almost all of my work is shared online it can sometimes feel isolating and unfulfilling to share a piece with thousands of people and not receive any in-person feedback. Interacting with people over comments online helps but I crave that in-person connection, which is why the most satisfying part of my work is leading retreats.

Where do you turn for inspiration and/or how do you stay inspired? Whenever I travel, especially to Europe, I find I can hardly put my notebook down I feel so inspired. When that kind of luxury is not available I take a mini-retreat by first turning off my phone. I have learned that social media may give me ideas but instead of supporting my creativity, it usually drains it.  

Whenever I move my body in a pleasurable way – walking in nature, dancing, going to a high-energy yoga class, I get inspired.

What do you do when life gets hard (to make it less hard)? I reach out for support. I feel my feelings. I make my bed.

One practice I’ve started doing recently is taking an antique sugar bowl that I use as a “God Box,” where I write down all the things that trouble me and put them in the sugar bowl. Once I close the lid I can’t take those worries back. If I catch myself worrying I just remember that it’s in the sugar bowl and I let it go. But if I want to keep worrying that means I have to go over to the sugar bowl, find the piece of paper, and literally take it back. It keeps me motivated to trust that healing takes place in it’s own time, not mine, and the more I let nature do her thing, the more efficient the healing will be.

What makes you laugh out loud? Kind sarcasm.

Can I be awake and present in situations that are uncomfortable? Can I do the thing that scares me but also thrills me? Can I show up for others? Can I be brave and become the woman I have always wanted to be, not just for myself, but because I know that woman has something to contribute to the world that is powerful and that helps us all remember? My art is the answer to these questions.

Can I be awake and present in situations that are uncomfortable? Can I do the thing that scares me but also thrills me? Can I show up for others? Can I be brave and become the woman I have always wanted to be, not just for myself, but because I know that woman has something to contribute to the world that is powerful and that helps us all remember? My art is the answer to these questions.

Best advice ever received? “Just start.” 

Worst advice? “No matter what you do, make sure you get a job with benefits.” 

Your advice? Abundance is not about how much we can get but how deeply we can savor what we have.

Where do you get your ideas? Nature, travel, my clients, my life experiences, and by simply living in the question. The thing about having a business that is based on my creativity is that everyday I live in the question of, “What next?”

There is no formula and there are no rules, which provides tremendous freedom but also creates a feeling of instability that has been challenging to get used to. So if I want my business and art to thrive, I know I have to get out there and live. That doesn’t mean jet setting to Paris every other weekend, it’s not about how “big” life is, its about how deep it is.

Can I be awake and present in situations that are uncomfortable? Can I do the thing that scares me but also thrills me? Can I show up for others? Can I be brave and become the woman I have always wanted to be, not just for myself, but because I know that woman has something to contribute to the world that is powerful and that helps us all remember? My art is the answer to these questions.

How do you take risks in your art? I lay it all on the page and the stage. I don’t hold back. I share what is in the deepest, most vulnerable corners of my heart and I show all of myself to my readers and students. Vulnerability is, I find, where all art truly begins.

“Abundance is not about how much we can get but how deeply we can savor what we have.