Dirty Laundry

Dirty Laundry Time….

I wrote about this, and never posted it because I didn’t like the tone. I was upset and felt like I was being unfair. To some extent, I still wonder. But now that dirty laundry just got shoved in my face, so hey, maybe it’s time to bring the discussion to the table.

Six or so months ago, I went to a training. I was pretty excited, so much so that I committed to long stretches of driving to attend daily. And yet, the minute I got in the door, the moment I sat down on my mat, I had a terrible feeling. I remember texting my best friend and telling her, “I feel like I need to get out of here…NOW.” She coached my through figuring out what the real issue was and I was surprised to come up with, “You know, I just don’t trust yoga teachers. They aren’t real.”

Imagine for a minute what that was like for me. I’m a yoga teacher.

But let us thumbtack that for a moment. A few weeks after that, I was asked by my trainees where I went to practice. I hesitated, mostly because I don’t like the answer. And I didn’t think it became me as a teacher of teachers. But they pushed and I was really honest with them. I don’t go out and practice in the studios, and if I do it is with a very small group of deeply trusted teachers and friends. I’m terrified to step into a random class outside of Kundalini because I’m pretty sure I will end up with a barely trained teenager who will adjust this aging body into an injury while telling me how empowered and awesome I am for turning out on my mat.

And isn’t that awful? Feeling like that makes me feel awful.

And just yesterday I bagged out of going to a yoga festival that I had paid for and probably should have gone to. (For professional reasons) Within said yoga festival were three Master Class time slots, each with five choices. I had scheduled and booked myself, even though within all fifteen choices there was only one class I felt comfortable with. I heard myself telling people, “Ya, I’m headed out to this yoga festival tomorrow. I’m sure I will come back injured.” Literally, those words came out of my mouth over and over. And these were Master Classes. I decided not to go and spent the day on my bike.

So then this happened via this blog:

Name: Jen
Comment: you and everyone like you dishonours yoga by proclaiming yourself a master. I know you have tasted the knowledge but have you thought of karma consequences of purporting yourself this way?
Time: March 28, 2015 at 12:02 pm

And I was like, WOW. I totally never thought I would be in a position to defend a trend that I had often disparaged. I teach a master class because I believe that we need to be teaching the deeper sciences of yoga before they are forgotten. I have looked at other teachers offering master classes, and really truly thought they had no business teaching it. That was obviously my bad. I have never, ever, ever proclaimed myself a master. Like not once. And, to be very fair, neither do a majority of the people offering master classes. Sure, some will be complete bullshit. But if you have the balls to stand up and say you have enough experience to teach at a different level, maybe that warrants looking into.

The trend is rising because we need it to. The market is flooded with classes just like the ones I talked about earlier. There is a wealth of instructors out there teaching from ego or from illusion. There are a lot of really, really young teachers with flexy-bendy bodies teaching from a position of ignorant privilege. There is a dearth of honest creativity in the field, and a surplus of branded style. Yoga is in a really sorry state.

So if a small group of people want to stand up and say, “Hey. Let’s try something a little deeper here. Let us work with more focus. Let us be more creative. Let us dive down into the science and practice in,” I say, go for it. We need to be moving the practice forward in an conscious way. There are a lot of experienced asana practitioners out there poised to move into mastery of self. And if we don’t stand up and teach them, who will?

Thank you, Jen, for your comment. I am indeed not a master, but I work on mastery at every moment. I am teaching as my dharma–not karma–and it took a long time to get here. You gave me a really wonderful experience of self-doubt and an opportunity to get clear about why I do what I do. I felt like quitting. But now I don’t.

Namaste.

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Kundalini Tantra in Action

Consider this a rare share, as the topic has been bouncing off of me recently. From many different directions all coming in from unrelated vectors. But at the moment, relationship is all around me. Some of it in obvious distress; Some of it in a quiet distress that may only be truly visible to a meta-conscious view.

I find it ironic as I, myself, am in deep recovery from a truly wretched love-experience. (I think I’m almost done, whew!) At this precise moment, I am very, very single. So I think that perhaps this relationship work is coming through me as a self-healing experience. I am by nature a teacher, a yogi by trade, and a student at heart, so I find that which I need to learn is often presented to me to solve externally. It’s odd, but has ever been thus.

So I hear, and I think, and I process, and I offer solutions to those who ask. The benefit of having such a fluid and deep science as yoga in my soul is indescribable with common terms. I have been blessed to have worked for many, many years with the esoteric technology of this practice and find that the deeper you go, the deeper there is to go. We do this work alone. But as I get older, I have come to realize that this work does not have to be done alone. And, if we exist in a pair-bonded relationship, it should not be done alone.

So for the last few years, I have been working on partner practices that use this technology to amplify and enhance the spiritual experience. They are harmonic tools that help couples (of ALL orientations) tune in to one another on the more subtle planes. These practices run the gamut from basic yogic-pair poses, to more advanced breath and mantra work, to all-out tantric weekends. It’s been fun to create them.

I usually only share them by request. And they are often crafted with specific couples in mind. However, this one was asked for three times, so I am going to post it. Please approach the practice with reverence. Hear the harmony in silence. Feel the respect of the yin/yang alliance as it moves through. This particular sequence is to help clear unspoken anger or resentment.

If you are interested in a sequence for other issues or energies, shoot me an email. I’m on a roll, lol.

Good luck.
Tune In. Face to face, eyes closed, knees touching hands in lap–center, Long deep breathing 1 min. One partner will initiate action– open eyes, lace fingers, begin to harmonize breath, inhaling and exhaling together no hand movement. Maintain eye contact.  3 min

Grapple. Remain in silence and begin to grapple with the hands–the stronger of the partners must mitigate for strength–do not hurt your partner–but try and let the anger speak through the hands. Remain in eye contact–3 mins or until the steam has run out.

Rest with fingers interlaced harmonizing breath 1 min

Push/Pull. Remain in silence and begin to pass the energy through the hands and heart following the circuit of polarity. Female polarity inhales as the left hand pulls back and right hand goes forward. Male polarity inhales as the right hand pulls back and left goes forward. Exhale reverses hand position, like a chugging engine–ujjayi breath. Hear it! Strong and steady but not too fast. Maintain eye contact. 3 mins

Rest with fingers interlaced harmonizing breath 1 min

Peace. Release the lace of the fingers, stay palm to palm begin to rhythmically chant “peace” to each other like a call and response. At any point the responder can answer “love”. Male polarity begins as caller–at some point the roles reverse. Maintain eye contact. 3 mins

Rest with palms together harmonizing breath 1 min

Brow kiss. Lace fingers behind your partners neck and bring the third eyes together. Breathe and communicate. Be conscious not to tug at your partners neck. However long.

Then break, bow in to one another. And fucking talk.

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All of Me

There is this thing happening. I don’t know where it came from and I don’t know why we buy it. I could speculate, but I’m not in the mood to put on my tin foil hat. I’m pretty annoyed by it–mostly because it caught me and I didn’t notice.

And then I did. And now I’m pissed.

When the fuck did it become wrong to experience the full range of emotion? How on earth did we convince a market full of people that they should be chasing happiness and that’s it? Why are all the other emotions now signs that you are somehow un-evolved? Or immature? Or (and this is the worst) of “low vibration”?

Let me go ahead and call bullshit on that. I might even throw in a fuck you for good measure. Because that is some of the most limiting, self-defeating, ego-riddled, asinine pseudo-spiritual twaddle I have ever heard. Or swallowed. It offends me.

It’s a trap, y’all. A big, fat hairy trap and we are walking right into in droves, checking our discernment at the door. In its place we get pretty buzz words and a fuzzy free pass to ride the merry go round. It sure keeps us busy. But it doesn’t really yield progress. Ever.

The human heart and its capacity for an astounding array of emotion is one of the most powerful forces on this green earth. Moving into your emotions, feeling into them and understanding their nuances gives you a power that can move mountains and transform lives. It takes work. And it takes a precision of mind. Shutting down the “bad” emotions is a short-sighted task, as is labeling them “bad”. They all have value. And they can all–each and every one– be very dangerous indeed. Happiness included.

It isn’t the emotion itself that is the enemy; It is the attachment to it. And going after the source rather than the result is like damming up the river because occasionally it floods instead of building your house on stilts. Foolish.

Your emotions are your tools and each one serves a specific purpose. The danger is when we bring out the same tool over and over again and never put it down. The danger is in not exploring the full range of emotional possibilities and understanding why each one is rising up. The danger is in becoming a one-dimensional being with limited perspective on the self as reflection of the Self. Because we are all reflections of Source, and to assume that Source only wants one reflection is a pretty hard core dis, in my opinion.

But that’s just me. I’m operating under the impression that we are here to experience and learn about life in the manifest plane. I got a big, fat tool box of emotions when I got here so I’m kind-of assuming that I should learn about each and every one. Otherwise I wouldn’t have them.

There is a time and a place for anger, I have learned. It is a huge motivator to make changes, or to right wrongs. Fear is one hell of a super-power that has saved my ass on a few occasions. I’ve even discovered that hate has value, mostly because it repels you from whatever it is that you obviously shouldn’t be around. I have also learned that love can really fuck you up and that happiness can be a dulling drug and that bliss is so internal that it is like living with your eyes shut. Anger can eat also you alive. Fear can leave you sitting on the couch forever. And hate can turn you into a person you do not want to be. Love can be sublime. Happiness can breed gentleness. And bliss can be….wonderful.

Do you see? It isn’t the emotion itself that is inherently good or bad or righteous or spiritual or evil or whatever other label has been slapped upon it. Tools are tools; with the right usage, they can help you build your life and your relationship to your Source. We manage our emotions, rather than letting them run wild like ill-mannered children. We embrace them, rather than stuffing the difficult ones in a box and pasting on a smile. We explore them so that we know when to put them down and cultivate others.

This farcical modern push to be happy is so damned exhausting because it is a false state. There are times when happy isn’t the fucking answer, and when somebody is suffering how cruel can we be to try and shove them into happy? We must all be more compassionate and more subtle and cultivate the ability to see when an emotion is the right emotion for the time–and when it has become a grooved record that is causing damage. This takes attention and love and discernment.

And bravery. Because the human heart is vast and terrifyingly beautiful. If you listen to it when it rages and weeps and rejoices and laments and laughs and loves and everything in between, you begin to cultivate your divine. That can be some scary shit for sure. Because then things get bigger. Time and space widens. And you find that there are even more possibilities to feel than ever imagined.

Good lord, why would we want to chase only one?

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Kundalini Tantra–Sacred Sex Awakening Part One

I’ve been thinking about sex a lot lately.

Lol. Not like that…

I’ve been thinking about what makes sex good for me. Pondering what I like, what I don’t, what I want and why. It’s that time in my life where I have enough experience in the bedroom that I can be choosy. I don’t have to take the first penis that comes along and hope that he knows what he is doing. I know what I am doing. Therefore my standards are a bit higher. I no longer just want to have sex. I want to have excellent sex. I want to have transcendent sex.

I know how to make that happen. Lucky me. But it has been more than a little difficult to figure out how to translate that information to potential partners. And I have realized that this is because really excellent sex goes way beyond technique. Most of us have never taken sexual performance out of “touch here, stroke there”. Most of us have never taken it beyond performance.

And that, my friends, is the problem.

Truly excellent sex is an energetic exchange mapped out by the source to allow we humans to have a godlike, transcendent experience. If two people are functioning together optimally, with this understanding (either in the front, or the back of their minds), sex will take them out of their bodies and into the astral. It is the finest, most pleasurable meditation ever crafted. And it is a gift of being human. All that struggle and strife we inherit just by being alive? We get to leave these bodies and hang out in an ocean of pleasure. This, in my opinion, is our reward for taking on this blessing-burden of humanity.

But, sadly, somewhere along the line we forgot how to do it. Or maybe we never learned. Maybe just now we are beginning to rise above our basic animal nature and experience this. I don’t know. But through the study of yoga, taoism, kundalini and tantra, I think I have isolated the problem. And maybe the solution.

These human bodies are truly energetic systems. We have energy centers (chakras) and energy lines (meridians or nadis). We have elements (tattvas) that govern a large part of our mental-emotional state. We also have circuits that can be closed or open. We exist in a state of energetic charge, and whether that charge is high, low, positive or negative determines how we feel, where we go, what we share, and how we connect. Understanding all of this helps craft our sexual perspective, and creates our sexual experience.

So bear with me as I work around to the point.

Women and men both have what is called an arcline. This is a halo of energy within our magnetic field that stretches over the forehead from ear to ear. It is where we all transmit and receive spiritual information; It is how we project ourselves and our truths to others. Women have an additional arcline that stretches from nipple to nipple. This arcline is extremely sensitive and can take a lot of damage if abused. It covers the heart of woman and gives us a huge and natural capacity to transmit the vibrations of unconditional love.
There is also within each individual what is called the Microcosmic Orbit. It is a very large energetic channel that runs from the root center (pelvic floor) up the spine and over the crown of the head. When the tongue is placed behind the two front teeth, this creates a “lock” that allows the energy to run over the tongue and down the front of the body, returning to the root to start over again. This channel provides a lot of spiritual energy to all of the energetic centers, and keeps the physical body healthy and vibrant. It isn’t something that just happens; it has to be activated.

Furthermore, within each of us there are ‘poles’. Not unlike magnets, we each have a positive and negatively charged pole. In men, the heart is negatively charged and the lingham (penis) is positively charged. In women, this is reversed with the heart having a positive charge and the yoni (vagina) having a negative charge. I believe that this positive charge is what gives the female the extra arcline over the heart.

So if you take all of this information and think about what happens–energetically–when we come together sexually, you may be able to see the circuit that should be forming. Positive charges project, negative charges receive. The lingham projects postively charged energy into the receiving yoni, which is then moved up the spine–gathering energetic charge along the way– to the female heart and arcline, which projects out into the receiving male heart. This energy then goes back down to the lingham–gathering energy along the way to start the circuit again. If the partners are in full embrace with the tongues twining, the circuit actually creates an infinite loop, which carries this energy through the tongues, up over the crown of the head, through the hearts and down to start over. And it just keeps getting stronger and more powerful each time this circuit runs. (*This is also possible for homosexual couples)

Jing (Ching), or Sexual energy–the energy we should be sharing and spinning around– is the most powerful human energy that there is. It is extremely regenerative. Through it life is created.

Let me say that again.

Through sexual energy, life is created.

That makes us the gods, folks. Through the act of sex, we open the door to a creation level event. You, each and every one of you, are gods. The power that comes from that energy is intensely, unbelievably pleasurable–think orgasm to the nth degree that doesn’t ever peak or stop. Think about the essence of life being circulated through you and your partners bodies together. Think about what that can do to you and for you. Bliss, joy, beauty, life….

This is what we are circulating through one another when we have real sex. My sexual life/godforce traveling through yours, picking up charge and power along the way, which then comes back through me picking up power and charge along the way, which then goes back to you….and so on and so forth. Just. Holy fuck. Literally.

And yet most of us settle for a quick wham, bam, thank you ma’am. We just toss this energy out for about 2 seconds of feeling pretty damn good–if it even happens at all. What a fucking waste. Again. Literally.

Furthermore, it is starting to seem to me as if we have somehow reversed the poles of how we give/ receive this sexual energy. I really don’t know how, and this is speculation in the extreme, but given my experience and the cultural expectations that are out there, I am seeing a pattern of behaviour that leads me to believe that we have managed to neatly flip things around. To the great detriment of our collective sexual-spiritual health.

Look around. The cultural message I see most often is that women need to learn how to sexually please men. We are taught how to visually please them, and we are often reduced to just pieces and parts. The yoni is not at all thought of as a gateway to spiritual bliss; it is seen as a place where men receive sexual pleasure. Hear that again: The yoni is where men receive pleasure. And women are covertly taught that by giving men pleasure they will receive love. The female heart becomes a potential center of receiving. So if we project our energy out of the yoni through sex we will receive love through the heart.

This is backwards. And it flat out doesn’t work. As any woman with any age under her belt knows, expecting a man to love you because you have sex with him is a sure fire way to heartbreak. The man gets his pleasure and the woman gets hurt. On an energetic level this is because the positive charge is being pulled down and out through a circuit that was never designed to run that way. The arcline is being abused and it begins to invert backwards into the chest. This leaves woman vulnerable, insecure and constantly seeking for heart-security.

What does this do to our men? It closes down the circuitry that enables them to be vulnerable, trusting, and able to receive a powerful spiritual love. According to many tantric and yogic sciences, it is the woman who is responsible for the elevation of the man. I believe that this is because the arcline, when properly aligned, expands to include the one held in that embrace. Unconditional love–or divine love–is radiated and received and a man, for whatever time is available to him, can put down his weapons and his ego and just be loved as god loves.

This is the power of an awakened woman.

When we are able to be as energetically natural as we can be, this arcline is strengthened and expands. We have secure woman and all the petty nonsense disappears. When the petty nonsense disappears, we have secure man. Secure man doesn’t have to fuck or plunder or fight to prove that he is, indeed, a man. On some level, I think we all long for that. We were designed for it. Our energetic vessels are hard-wired for it. And within that wiring lies a capacity for a pleasure so intense that most people don’t have an inkling of its power.

By consciously accepting the role of receiver, you must raise and return the energy your partner has awakened in you. By participating in the role of giver, you must project as much loving energy into your partner as you can, through the sexual entry. As the giver, you must be 100% tuned into your partner’s pleasure, rise and crest. You are responsible for holding the space needed for them to go as high as they can–understanding that they will take you with them. As the receiver, you are responsible for letting go of tethers and inhibitions and flying up into the ether. Stay joined, stay connected, but do not concern yourself with earthly worries.

It doesn’t take a lot of funky techniques to master it. It will feel awkward at first as the old conditioning is broken down. There will be blush-worthy conversations that must take place. But the first time you run that circuitry and understand that we are indeed gods….you will never go back. That old kind of sex will feel like a violation. An abuse. You will be both healed and transformed.

The first step is simple. Just accept that this is something that you want and make a commitment to yourself. If you are with a partner, have the conversation. Odds are, if they love you, they will come on board to see what is out there for you both. If you are solo, be prepared to buck convention and choose your own power over fear-based do-it-or-lose-it sex. And talk about it, be unashamed about your choices.

This is not a difficult journey, and it can be as practical or as esoteric as you want it to be. The practice of sacred sex can also be as casual as a one night stand, or a true expedition of intimacy for long-term couples. At its core it is simple change of mindset that radiates through all the bodies of our being. As it travels through you and your partner, hopefully it will continue out and beyond to effect real changes in all the beings of our culture.
Somo Unos. We are all one. And here is where we feel it.

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Break Free

I grew up with feminism, Cindy Crawford and Martha Stewart. Middle class, educated, and upwardly mobile. I was taught to look pretty, be smart, go to college, be successful and start a family. My generation was expected to have it all, do it well and look perfect as we were executing the impossible.

And I did it. I followed that map to the very last stop, arrived at the “destination” and took a good long look around. It’s not a bad place. But is sure as fuck isn’t Nirvana. And it isn’t at all what they told me I’d find. Right now I’m standing in the impossibly long line, waiting to get on the Jersey Shore Ferris wheel that is middle life, and I’m pretty goddamned sure that I don’t want to do that.

So watch me hop out under the ropes, tuck my kid under my arm and strike out on my own. Sorry, folks. I may not be the canoe-down-the-Amazon type of adventurer, but you can surely bet I’m not the spend-my-life-in-Disney-World kind. Everything I have found at the end of that map is just an opportunity to end up on the hamster wheel, and while I wish somebody had told me this long, long ago, que sera, I know now.

Please come with me.

What we are doing as a people is not who we are. The things we worry about are not authentically ours. Life is much simpler and so much deeper than how we think of it. Don’t you feel it? That burning urge to break free? I do. It is screaming all around me and within me and I can hear it in almost everybody I talk to. We are tired of being told what to do, be, and expect. The pressure is intense, but the more we fight, the harder it gets.

So I’m learning that the key isn’t to fight, but rather to roll. Just as when a wave takes you under, instead of fighting for surface, you let go and surrender. Once the fury has passed, then you break surface take a deep breath and swim on. Easy, no. Liberating, yes. The world is full of people in the wave, desperate for shore. I’m telling you that the shore is an illusion. It’s the Ferris wheel, and with every rotation your chains get tighter. You want the ocean, full of mystery and opportunity and life.

Surrender is hard, and believe me, I haven’t mastered it. But I have learned that the first step is identifying where you are being told what is ‘right’, and what you should ‘expect’. Every image that tells you how you should ‘look’ and every story that shows you what is ‘happy’ is a dot on the map to slavery. I have found that every time I face internal conflict, every time I feel unsettled within myself, I can dig just a little bit and find a cultural program holding me down. The more I look, the more astounded I am.

Truly, only you know what is ‘right’ for you, and as long as it doesn’t hurt others, its good. ‘Expectation’ is the mother of disappointment, so expect nothing. You ‘look’ the way you look, and my question to you is: Why don’t you believe that is good enough? ‘Happy’ is just one of the many emotions available to us, and there sure as shit isn’t one way that it manifests. Each human is indeed a unique snowflake, and we deserve the right to orient our lives around that.
The amount of energy I have wasted chasing the culturally perfect body angers me now. I’m furious that being a beautiful woman of a certain age isn’t enough. That my grace isn’t enough, my wisdom isn’t enough. But it really is. My body is mine alone; it doesn’t belong to the culture. Your body is yours and it is an amazing creation of spirit.

How painful to realize the suffering I have caused and endured by forcing the norm of the ‘perfect relationship’. The amount of time and energy used pushing things into lines makes me want to weep. I can no longer allow my relationships to serve the culture. I never should have; it’s just not right. Now my love serves love, and it can look however it must to remain love. Your love is yours and it can be whatever it needs to be to fill you. Spread it far and wide and share it with whomever you please.

This pushing and shoving and steering happens across the board and not a one of us is safe from it. This means you are successful. This means you are productive. This means you have value. And while it isn’t often said that this means you are a failure, the implication is there. The judgment hides in the spaces between this and that. At every step of your life, you are fed the steps you should take to become a person of worth. You are told in a hundred subliminal ways that this is how you should be, and if you follow the line you will get where you want to go. Only, it isn’t really where you want to go, is it? Did anybody ever actually ask you?

Fuck that shit. Just fuck it right now.

Listen to me and hear me good. There is no safety on shore. The map you are following will not take you to health, happiness and bliss. It is the road to nowhere, and if you keep walking that road you will end up exactly there. We as a people need explorers, bold humans of spirit willing to set sail and make new maps. Be one. I know that it is scary out there and heading off into the yonder with no destination seems like a mighty tall order. But believe me when I tell you that the moment you stop following the norm, your inner compass springs to life. True North rings like a clarion call.

You know. You’ve known all along. Beneath all the noise is one true voice. And sometimes all it takes is one voice to turn the tide. For the love of God….

….listen.

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Underbelly

There is a Sumerian myth about the goddess Inanna in which she travels to the underworld. She is the Queen of the Heavens, and descends to increase the scope of her power.

As she descends, she must pass through seven gates. At each of these gates she must surrender an article of her clothing or jewelry in order to pass, until she finds herself naked under the stone-cold gaze of the Goddess of the Underworld. Weakened by the stripping of her adornments, powerless, she loses her life. Her corpse is hung in the realm of death for three days and three nights until her heavenly father sends two demons with water for her rescue. As they pass through the same seven gates, they grab the gods who guard them with the intention of sacrificing their lives for Inanna’s.

Revived by the waters of life, Inanna liberates these seven gods from the demons and returns to her kingdom. When she returns, she finds her husband–in his great ego–has seized the throne of heaven, which he has not earned and to which he is not suited. So she banishes him to take her place in death.

It isn’t a pretty story. But within this ancient tale is a map. And it might be the most important map you will ever be given.

For, mark my words, there will come a point in your life when you will travel to the Underworld. Something will happen, or you will meet someone, or you will do something that rocks your very foundations to rubble. And you will have to face the goddess of death in your very, very dark personal version of hell. This is called the dark night of the soul, and when it lands remember these words:

Its ok. You’re supposed to be here. It will feel awful and confusing and so very, very dark. And while you are indeed absolutely alone, you are not without guidance.

Help is written in the deepest fibers of your being and when you make it through, wounds and all, you are will be stronger and clearer and more radiant that you can ever imagine at the time. I’ve been there. I walked it. Sometimes weeping, sometimes bleeding, sometimes absolutely convinced that there was no way out and I would simply continue to suffer and suffer and suffer. With the blessings of my practice, I had this map. I knew the seven gates as our seven chakras and intellectually I understood what to expect. I knew that I would have to take off the shields–my proverbial clothing and jewelry–and walk through the dark issues that hide in these powerful energy centers. I had to slay the demons.

But knowing and feeling are two very different things. Being forced to truly experience fear, real survival fear is ugly. Allowing the slander of my femininity and giving my personal power over to subjugation is a shame I will never forget. Experiencing the sensation of having my love denied as love…willingly surrendering my authentic voice…seeing a reality I had so valued as being utterly, utterly false…wondering, truly wondering if I was going mad…Each of these experiences was a piece of me being laid bare. Each of them was a chakra being scoured with fire. On a spiritual level it was an indescribable rending.

The me that started that journey is dead, and she needed to die. This doesn’t mean that I’m not myself, or that I earned a new personality, or became suddenly enlightened. But that death did earn me a certain type of perspective. I found a certain kind of freedom in that darkness because once you are burned to ash, you are done.

And the choice there is pretty fucking simple: stay dead forever or heal. You have seven gods to save before you reach the surface and seven gifts to claim before you can breathe. We are all a bit mad, so you may as well enjoy that. Reality is yours to create moment to moment. Your truth and your voice manifest your life. Your ability to love is endless. Your power and your will carry both you and others through this wild ride. Your radiance is your beauty. And if you truly trust in your godforce, your will be supported.

But here’s the catch. Once you make it to the surface with all this clarity in your heart, you have got to throw your ego off the throne or all of that work will have been for naught. You cannot put your shields back on, you cannot assume that you are done, park your ass on the throne and hope to be a benevolent force. Because that journey leaves some damn poisonous wounds. You will have to remain vulnerable and open and naked despite the driving urge to cover it all up. Lord knows, nobody wants to go through that more than once, or even admit that they had to go through it at all. But as counter-intuitive as it sounds, we must, must let the air flow around those tender spaces. The seven gates must remain open.

At times you will have to roll over and show someone the soft underbelly that bears all those scars. You will have to say, “This is my shame. Here is my fear. There is my pride. And here is where I allowed them to rule me even though I knew better.” It is the only way to clear those wounds once and for all. The journey through the dark night isn’t about what we experience at the hands of others, but rather what we have done to ourselves in our separateness. We take the journey to clear those spaces and times where we weren’t true to our divinity and we knew it. Sharing this is a deeply vulnerable and absolutely necessary space. It is a place of accepting our humanity and our capacity to be flawed and really, truly knowing the beauty of that. Furthermore it is trusting that we can all be imperfect and still be absolutely divine.

This is the throne of compassion. This is the realm of the heart. This is being naked in the face of god and being loved for all of it…instead of despite it. This is you, divine human. So dive deep, dive in, go dark and come back.

And then love. And love. And love….

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Save the Men!

I don’t know what it means to a man be a man.

And I certainly don’t know what it means as a man to live as a sacred man.

But I do know that I’m seeing a few things happening out there in the world that have me wondering if we will ever be able to see sacred man again. I really, really hope that this is not the case.

I just read an article that tried to address this problem. Of course it was written by a woman. She gave a list of 10 things that men should do to cultivate the god force within them. It was a noble attempt and a dismal failure. First off because it read like a recipe for a romance novel. It made the potential sacred man little more than a fanciful hero, perfect for damosels in every way. The longer that I live and love in this world, I realize that women really don’t want romance heroes and we aren’t damosels. We want men. Hairy, hard, linear warriors of life. And when we get the romance man, we quickly crush him. He can’t match us and that gets old fast.

Second, we as women simply cannot tell a man what he should be. We don’t run the god force, we run the goddess force. And the goddess that we choose to be ultimately shows our man the god he can be. And vice verse. Loki is not Thor. Zeus is not Hades. Shiva is not Krishna. All of these aspects of the god exist for men, and they can choose to be any version (or all versions) that they wish. They should choose wisely. But so should we. If you don’t like the god they are showing you, then you should consider the goddess you are putting forth.

Do you understand? It all starts with us. Our nature is to reflect; Our mirrors must be tuned correctly. We must take responsibility for the goddess and let them take responsibility for the god.

I believe that many years ago we revolted as a gender. And we should have; we had to. The male-female relationship had gone so far out of whack that there was no choice. But when one revolts, it is not done against a nameless force. You don’t just revolt. You revolt against an enemy. In order to free ourselves, we made men the enemy. And many of them simply weren’t.

In the process of doing this, of freeing ourselves to be powerful goddesses and a force in the world, we emasculated an entire generation of men. With guns blazing, we took out the enemy and crafted a new reality in which we didn’t need them at all. We made our own money, we bore our own children, we bought our own houses, our own jewelry, our own cars. We learned self-defense and martial arts, we taught ourselves to fight on our own. We smashed the bonds of marriage and made it all happen solo. We took over the god force and left the men with….nothing. We didn’t even give them the goddess force. We took it all and left them unaccountable and non-responsible.

Then we taught the next generation of men that not only could we do it all, we would, and they didn’t have to.

Now we wonder where all the sacred men are. We have generations of man-children on our hands. We complain that there are no good men but take no responsibility for our part in creating them. We are willing to try and fix them–our way. So here we are, once again, carving them out of the process of creating their own connection. And that’s the only way it’s going to get fixed.

Sacred men must first and foremost be accountable to their own divine source. Choose one, I don’t care. Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Odin, Shiva, Zeus, Cern…let them be free to find a divine connection and to run it as only a man can. Hands off, sisters. Let them be men. And I don’t mean in the ‘boys will be boys’ fashion of sports, beer, cars and chicks. Let them be men. Strong, powerful, decisive, sensitive, leaders, lovers, fathers, Gods. And hold them to partnership with your divine woman. Hold them accountable to their divine duty. Don’t let it slide. Don’t let them slide. Let them be men in a space that is free and open for that expression.

Even if you don’t like it.

Women and men aren’t supposed to make sense to one another. We are crafted as opposite parts of a whole. We barely speak the same language. Heaven knows that we don’t think remotely alike. We aren’t supposed to. Their strengths supplement our weaknesses just as our strengths supplement theirs. Our magnetic charges are perfectly opposite and polarized, demonstrating the joined power of destruction and creation in the manifestation of the universe. This opposition, even though it may feel icky, is a wondrous and marvelous thing. It is the hand of creation in play.

We have to let men be men. And while we can give them arrows and maps and clues, we have to let them figure out what that means on their own. We have to trust them once again, and they have to become worthy of that trust. I do not think that the deep core of sacred man– that exists in potentiality within every man– wants to see woman diminished. Their natural, primal, biological directive is to protect their mate. In doing this they demonstrate their love and their respect. Sometimes they will have to protect you from yourself. Sometimes it will feel like they are just being assholes. Sometimes you will long for the romance hero who thinks that sunshine falls from your lips and senses your every desire. But that is only one facet of man. And you want a whole man–a sacred man. To do that you have to know that they are coming from their god force–their man-ness–even if you don’t understand it.

Love the man. Love the God. Show him how to put the two together by tending to your own garden and cultivating the goddess within you. He isn’t perfect and he never will be by a woman’s standards. But let him be perfect by a man’s standards and allow him to do what he feels brings him closer to his force. You hold your aspect. You handle your own force. And when you look at him see God in his eyes. That’s love.

Men aren’t the enemy. The system was the enemy. And if we take the power that we earned to properly re-empower our men, then we will have achieved true and glorious revolution. Sacred male will rise.

Then we can let the healing begin.

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How to Love

A couple of years ago, I fell in love. Wild, crazy, hairy love, the sort of which has made ages of legend and literature. I had loved before many times. And yet I had never loved quite like this. He was, indeed, another slice of my soul returned to me and it came home with all the fanfare of Rome.

Early on in the relationship, I remember sitting at breakfast with a dear friend. She was having some questions about her own relationship and wanted a sounding board as she sorted through her feelings. I asked her if she loved him, and she affirmed. I asked her if the love felt like mine, cosmic and large and brilliant. She said no. She told me that she loved him, and she enjoyed being with him, and he supported her and made her feel comfortable with herself. But it wasn’t fireworks and rainbows. For her, it was a warm pillow at the end of the day and someone with whom to share a meal, or a story, or a problem.

On that day I told her that she should leave because she deserved the type of love that I knew. The type of love we learned about from legend and literature. It was real and I had felt it. In that space, I knew that that was what love was.

They did not serve crow at that restaurant. But I am enjoying a healthy slice of it today. My legendary love was, in fact, the worst and most awful relationship I have ever been involved in. It was in no way nurturing and caused us both volumes of harm. My friend? She and her man are still marching merrily along, growing together in an environment of mutual respect and admiration.

Recently, I was liberated from a relationship under the phrasing, “I don’t feel the love you deserve. We both know what love can be.” When I hung up the phone, in that soft sadness I pondered those words. It took a while to reconcile it all, and when it settled I came to a simple clarity. That dismissal was a healthy bit of horseshit dished up on a little cracker of denial. The rejection itself was a demonstration of love, reconciled with an unwillingness to act through it.

Love isn’t a ‘be’. Love is a ‘do’. Yes, we feel love. But in the end, truly loving someone is a result of what you do. It is not a comet slashing through the sky, but rather the sun that gets up every day to shine. Even behind the clouds. Even in doubt. There is a reason that love comes coupled with commitment. The act of being committed allows for the ebb and tide of feeling to flow, while maintaining a steady framework of loving action. In this manner, love grows deeper and more true. It strengthens and becomes the chariot that carries the lovers through.

I don’t think that most of us ever consider how we want to love and be loved, or the amount of effort that it takes to sustain that. We want love; we want to feel love. But we never take it further along and qualify the loving behaviours that support that feeling. The first flash of feeling love is strictly chemical, but when that fades it is the action of love that sustains relationship. And if you don’t understand how your partner wishes to have love expressed, then you haven’t really found love. You have found addiction, and good luck with that.

Everybody wants to be loved differently. Some people do want to have grand drama and gesture. Others find that tiresome. Some people want gentle words; others find that uncomfortable. Some people like gifts; others like gestures. The act of loving is the act of learning what your partner needs to understand your love. You cannot rely on the big feeling alone to carry the day. And you cannot trust one day to be like the next. Loving is a constant state of attention, both subtle and gross.

Furthermore, you must understand what it is that you need to feel loved. You must be able to express that clearly, and then you must stand in the position of receiving. How easy to give love; how hard to receive it. Receiving love is indeed a most healing position that asks us to let go of some of our deepest held fears and beliefs. To receive love is to feel what separates us, what has damaged us, and to release it all into acceptance of self within other. If we can’t do that, then no amount of ‘feeling’ is going to create relationship. If we can, then even a lack of ‘feeling’ can lead to a great love.

Loving is so unbelievably basic. I’m astounded with myself that it took so long to figure it out. Yes, it is a feeling. But it isn’t what we have been led to believe. (And if you stop and think about it, all the really great “love stories” are tragedies) Show love every day, big or small and directed towards their style of receiving love. Receive love every day, big or small and in the way you can assimilate it. Stay committed to growing love every day and show the fuck up. Regardless of how you “feel” at the moment.

I’ve let go of the great romances as a model and taken on the sage position of a simple man. “I’m not a smart man, but I know what love is.” And he surely did. Love. Love simply. Love greatly. Love without affirmation. Love without expectation. Love because you must love and your other needs to be loved.

It’s really that easy.

 

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Reclaiming Tantra

Many years ago, when I was doing a lot of Goddess study, I ran an internet search on Adam and Eve. Being a pantheist, I had never actually read the story nor did I own a Bible. Silly me, I thought for sure there might be some intelligent discourse about the ancient origins of the story beyond the average: Eve bad. Adam foolish.

Not only was there no discourse on the myth at all, but the first ten pages of my search turned up nothing but porn. And lingerie. And sex toys. Suffice it to say, I was disappointed. It seems that we have reduced the first Judeo-Christian man and woman to mere representations of sexuality–and not sacred sex at that.

Fast forward to the last few months when I have been researching and studying the Tantric sciences. Of course, not having learned my lesson, I immediately ran an internet search on “tantra”. Not “tantric sex”, but “Tantra”. I was promptly rewarded with a picture of a giant, fully shaved vagina in the process of being pleasured.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m no prude. Have at it, ladies and gentlemen. Love it, lick it, pleasure it, do what needs to be done to express that sex vibe. We all have it and we all need to let those flags fly. If we don’t….unpleasant things happen in the energetic bodies and eventually the mind. The human is not designed for celibacy unless they take on serious ascetic practices, so I stand for sex surely.

But here’s where I have a beef. The term “tantra” is not solely relegated to tantric sex. As a matter of fact, most of the “yoga” we are doing as a culture isn’t traditional yoga. It’s a version of tantra. SURPRISE! Yoga is a solitary, ascetic practice, designed for the renunciate. It has the most success when the practitioner is not a part of the world and can focus on diving deep within–without distraction–to find god.

Tantra is the practice of the householder. It is the practice of one involved in dyadic relationships of all kinds. Tantra is finding the groove of the dance of polarities and riding that vibration to bliss. Tantra teaches us how to exist in duality and experience unity through it. Sum total folks, and all the rest of it is variations on a theme.

When you go to the mat and practice your asana, you are learning to experience your spiritual nature. You are exploring a spiritual aspect of self within the context of your material self. You, as a being, exist as both spiritual and material. You are duality in walking expression and the addition of your spiritual practice to your life balances you; It completes you and, in conjunction with your material life, creates a place of unity. The practice of yoga is tightly wound with duality as we are working with the subtle nature of ha and tha, or sun and moon. We deal with left/ right imbalances. We explore body/mind complexes. Yoga is a practice of balancing our dual natures in a constant effort to find source–or singularity. Yoga as we practice it is tantra. And most of us do yoga simply because it feels so damn good.

Tantrics are not ascetics. We are beings of a truly sensual nature (all the senses, thank you). We eat foods we love and take pleasure in them. We drink alcohol and take pleasure in it. We have sexual relationships and take pleasure in them. And we do all of this as an expression of our divine nature. Tantrics seek to strike a divine balance between the spiritual experience and the manifest experience–and anything that creates sensual pleasure has the potential to become a divine exploration. It’s a fine and tricky line. Not all who try it succeed. Not everybody is cut out to walk the left-hand path. But most of the yoga-tantrics I know are doing a pretty damn good job.

The secret to Tantra is the balance. It is understanding the dual nature of things, working with the polarities of life and integrating them into your experience in a healthful way. The tantric’s eye is always on source, and he or she takes every available opportunity to merge duality–through sensual experience of it–into unity. This is where the common usage of “tantra” most often falls into “tantric sex”.

Tantra as practiced sexually is the most obvious merging of polarity/ duality. It is one of the most tangible experiences we ever have of two becoming one. Tantric sex is the act of consciously using this merging of polarity to route divine energy through the shared body. It is not merely a way to have longer, stronger orgasms. It is not simply about the pleasure–although that is the sad direction the practice is heading. Tantra, when applied to the practice of sex, is about recognizing the divine polarity within your partner. They are not merely man or woman. They are tactile representations of god or goddess. The tantric sex practice is about owning the divine polarity, merging the divine polarity and discovering source unity through that experience. It most certainly does yield heightened sexual pleasure. But that really isn’t the whole point. The point is the merging of duality into unity.

Tantra is Tantra. Whether it is experienced in the bedroom, at the table or on the mat, any time we use the senses to bring two into one, we are practicing Tantra. Anytime we consciously explore the relationship we are having with something and use that exploration to find unity with source, we are practicing Tantra. It is a beautiful practice in all of its many faces.

I’d like to reclaim Tantra and put it back into a place where more people are willing to study it. Tantric sex is an amazing practice all on its own, and has a place in this emerging culture, but it cannot be the sole representation of Tantra in our social collective. I’m not alone, I know. Many teachers are trying to pull Tantra out of the bedroom and give it a seat at the table. Which it rightly deserves.

…because there are more of us out there than even we know.

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Make Love

I am slowly coming to believe that we actually make love.

I don’t use that term here as it is commonly known. I’m not at all referring to the sexual act’s gentile moniker. I’m stating that I believe we actually make love. We create it. I do not think that love is something that we seek and find. Nor do I believe that it strikes like lightening. I believe that we, as humans, through our loving actions and attitudes actually manifest love.

And, if my theory is correct, that love that we make goes out into the world and sustains not only our personal existence, but that of everybody we know and do not know. This is because love is an energy and we are energetic beings. We are the batteries and love is the charge….or maybe it is quite the other way around. I’m not sure. But love is what sustains us and we are what creates it.

The energetic need for this type of love is what has so many of us out in the world looking to partner. We are all seeking something that we should actually make at home, from scratch, with ingredients ready to hand. Love is a recipe, nothing more, nothing less. It starts with two people, a cup of trust, a tablespoon of playfulness, a dash of respect, a pinch of vulnerability and an arena where these ingredients can be happily mixed together and baked.

That arena is sex.

Sex is where is all comes together. Sex is where the charge is created; it is the heat that fires up the love and gives it both power and durability. Sex does not have to be tied to romantic love, but it is, unequivocally, tied to the generation of human love. This is why the two are so very often confused.

Sadly, this confusion coupled with millenia of repression has created a real block to the ability of our human sex act to create this powerful, energetic love. We are flailing around like drunken, blind idiots, hurting our partners and ourselves with selfish ignorance. Sex as it is commonly performed has no power and no strength. It is tearing us apart rather than bringing us together.

I can sense that there is something more out there in the world of sex, and I want it. I want it with a deep part of my soul that is just now beginning to shout out for attention. Maybe this is a result of so many years of yoga. Maybe it is a result of the times changing. But I can feel it with every fibre of my being. The time has come for us as a species to stop messing around, stop chasing around, stop screwing around and get aware.

I think we start here, now, by recognizing that we are here to make connections. We are here to make love. Life is about people. And sex is one of the most powerful ways for us to connect with a person. If we do it right, we can get a glimpse into their depths, and in doing so, come to a greater understanding of who we are, where we come from and why we are here. Sex is that powerful. Sex can show you the very heart of nature and creation. And I believe it can fill you up so powerfully that you can walk through all your days with joy.

The very first thing to realize is that sex is an act of creation. It isn’t the end-goal; it is the very beginning. Sex is the vehicle for life. Literally. Human life cannot organically come into this world any other way. This makes the act of sex a god-like event.

Think about that. Every time you have sex, you are opening the door to a creation event. You are participating in the possibility of a soul making the transition to this existence. You and your partner are working in tandem with god (creation, nature, the universe, whatever) to make a person. That’s a serious deal. That’s some seriously powerful energy going on right there. I’m in awe of that thought.

Sex is a function of the divine in action. Amazing.

Now, the fact that you may not be looking to create life doesn’t make the possibility any less potent. The fact that you may actively take steps to prevent that–either through the choice of contraception or the choice of partner gender–doesn’t make the act any less powerful. You have within you the potential to participate in creation. Just because you aren’t actually creating doesn’t make it any less. You have the power of god when you have sex. Why on earth would you want to diminish that, or deny it? Why wouldn’t you reach out for that with both hands and the whole of your heart?

You have the power of god realization–self-realization–in your skin. It is this that makes us separate from the animals. This is what makes our sexual ability and potentiality so shockingly powerful. And this is what we lose when we choose to participate in low grade sex. Simply changing the way we perceive the sexual act can create profound changes in our entire lives. Gone are disappointing mornings, heavy hearts and the sense of being used or using another. Sex as we know it cannot fill the hole of sadness; Rather it only digs a deeper one. Sex as it can be will obliterate that hole forever.

For it will show us, in absolute and certain terms, that we are not alone. We have never been alone. We are love. And we have the power of creation and realization within us. It is that powerful.

But only if we change our sexual minds….not merely our sexual tactics. intention

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