Power and Pussy-grabbing

I don’t cuss a lot. Or at least I didn’t used to.

But the election in 2016 has changed me. Maybe you, too?

Power politics may have been around forever, but when so many Americans could disregard a candidate’s “Grab her by the pussy” comment as just normal male bravado, I realized I’d been living in a deluded bubble.

Clearly we haven’t come as far as I’d thought!

But here’s the truth that has morphed my own work and life since 2016. Whether political or personal, it’s the abuse of power that still gets the pass.  Sex, money, and gender are just it’s smoke screen.

As a women’s intimacy coach, it would be so easy to take sides here, to make it all about how f*cked up men are. But gender stereotyping doesn’t demand much intelligence. Still, how many times have you caught yourself in exasperation saying, “Men are so…!”

I assure you, behavior is determined by far more than genitals. Testosterone and estrogen do play a part, of course, and bad behavior needs calling out. Thank God for the “me, too” revolution!  But when we get fired up, it’s way too easy to fall into an indiscriminating and habitual oversimplification and lose touch with what’s really going on.

No matter our gender, when we stay polarized in blame, we are all powerless, unwitting victims of a larger dynamic. 

Since the election I’ve watched couples and individuals I’m working with get way more engaged as they untangle their blame and confusion around power. Sure, there’s no escaping how we’re shaped by our culture and childhood. But what’s really changing my clients’ lives and connections – no matter their gender – is exploring how their less-than-healthy masculine and feminine energies have been running the show.

What we’re really talking about here is power. How easy it is to wield it through force or playing the victim. How we try to get heard or abdicate our voice altogether. How we force ourselves beyond what’s healthy and then fall into a guilty vegging-out abyss. How control and familiar habits (in and out of the bedroom) help to keep us feeling safe but suffocate the juice and flow.

These are explorations and conversations that can change us from within. I love what’s been happening to me as I tap deeper into my masculine oak-tree consciousness and structure so my feminine flow can really let loose.  I’m seeing in my own life and my clients’ the powerful shifts that are possible with this dawning awareness. Then the extremes of pseudo-power and the lose of our effectiveness can relax toward our natural purposefulness… and the pleasure that results.

What happens when you’ve been curious enough to take your gender assumptions off the table and look at what’s really driving you? Have you noticed that there’s way more power there? And vitality, too?  Will you tell us down below in the comments?

I invite you to join me next Tuesday, April 10th at 6pm at Crystal Essence Wellness Center when we’ll be taking a deeper look at the way patriarchy has bastardized masculine power. (Grab a ticket before midnight tonight and save). 

No matter your gender, your authentic yang energy wants expression — it’s what frees the flow and joy of your yin feminine. Peeling away what distorts our masculine essence may be the most important work of our time if we are to preserve the health and preciousness of life on this precious Earth.

And if you are curious, there’s more here…

Why history still holds us hostage in the bedroom

It’s an epidemic. The way women make do in the bedroom.
I know because I hear their stories every day.

I’m still in the afterglow
from my Awakening the Divine Feminine women’s retreat this past weekend.
Discovering just how much more pleasure there in is life than we make do with.
(We even went skinny dipping!)

But too many of the stories we shared had the same theme.

Despite all our sexual liberation,
and with advice about sex everywhere,
something strange is going on here…
And we don’t have anywhere to talk about it
if we dare to even admit it!

In last week’s blog
I ran through a slew of reasons why we settle for what’s not really working.
How we hope it will change someday.
Or sadly, why we just get used to doing without.
And reaching for pleasures that sabotage what we most need.

The story is age old. Your mother probably did it, too.

In fact, that’s how the world ran until not so long ago.
For millennia women were expected to do sex the way the guys did it.
And now with so much male-created porn on the internet, we’re even more convinced.

You see, before the 60s
it was a radical idea for women to expect pleasure in the bedroom.
True!

So it’s little wonder most of us still don’t quite know how to make it happen.
And why we still make do with giving him what makes him happy,
instead of knowing how to get across to him what we want
… just hoping the next time will be different.

But women, here’s the truth…
For most feminine-essenced people, his way just does not work for us!
And here’s why…

The penis is directional.
It knows how to get to the goal
in the most efficient way for the biggest bang for the buck.
Right?

That’s how the male body works,
and masculine energy, too.
The world’s been built with it.
It’s why we can fly cross-country in 5 hours instead of riding horseback.
Thank you, masculine assembly-line efficiency…
(and the men and women who worked there!)

Photo by Laura Gariglio on Unsplash

It’s also why my dad hated to stop the car on trips to let us pee.
He just wanted to get there by the fastest, most efficient route possible.

Then there’s my mom…
She’d have liked to stop at the roadside to eat our sandwiches,
maybe find a picnic table by a field or brook,
instead of passing our waxed paper bundles back to us from the sack by her feet.

That’s how the feminine works!
A man or woman’s feminine energy cares more about how delightful the travel is.
How comfortable the seats are.
If you have your favorite music playing.
Who you’re sitting beside.

The feminine is about pleasure.
The masculine gets stuff done.

When it comes to the bedroom,
the fast fuck rarely gives a feminine being the kind of ride she’d most enjoy.

Instead
it’s all the little things that gradually turn her on

and eventually turn her into bliss.

And that, My Dear, may not be involve getting to the usual goal of orgasm.

The one thing I find myself nearly always suggesting to clients I work with,
(whether single or coupled)
is this…
Slow down! 

Isn’t it time to bring the feminine back into life and the bedroom?
If what you want is more pleasure,
then always making orgasm your goal may just be what’s ruining your chances.

Of course, the same goes for life!

Not unlike last week’s antidotes to remedy our habitual making-do,
consider shifting one thing this week,
in and out of the bedroom,
to focus on your real pleasure
instead giving in to that damned efficiency tyrant within.

What one thing will make a difference?
Maybe taking orgasm off the table just this once…
and exploring your or your lover’s body, strictly for the fun of it?

Or seeing just how much pleasure you can feel with the least stimulation?

Be creative.
Let you own inner masculine and feminine work together.
He makes the plan. She decides how she wants to feel.

The more determined you are to stare down
your well-ingrained, cultural preference for efficiency,
the more pleasure you’ll find yourself enjoying,
no matter where you’re playing!
I promise!

 

Is ‘Making Do’ your MO – especially in the bedroom?

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That’s the question I find myself asking again and again of clients and friends…
and me, too, much more often than I’d like to admit.


Is “making do” your MO… especially in the bedroom?

We say you’re waiting for the right moment
…or the right words
…or the right mood
to somehow ask for what would really work…
what would really feel 
g o o d.

But that moment just doesn’t seem to come. 

What’s up with this weird voicelessness we still tolerate
… especially in sex?!

This summer I’ve been fascinated by how my feminine-essenced clients and those who are more masculine struggle to communicate… or just don’t.

And I’m shocked by what I’m discovering…

On so many fronts women speak out for what’s right,
stand up for others, 
risk conflict or worse to let our voice be heard.

But if you’re like millions of other sexually-confident women
it’s hardest to COMMUNICATE about what’s most intimate…
and especially what’s not working so well.

So women make do with a mediocre (or worse) sex life
or search from partner to partner,
hoping to find one that finally gets how to please us…
without us needing to say a word.

Here’s the really sad news..
Making do is why WAY TOO MANY WOMEN – by middle age –
give up on sex altogether. 

It’s just not good enough to bother! 
(Or we despair that there’s no one out there worth the effort.)

So we make do with substitute pleasures anywhere we can find them.
Let’s see… the refrigerator? Facebook? Pinot Grigio? Amazon?

And if you do have someone to share your bed,
Making do can feel like this crazy either / or conundrum …

Do I make do as a people-pleasing compliant, eventually dis-interested wifey
OR
should I just give up and leave in frustration.

All because there just doesn’t seem to be a way to bridge
the arousal and communication gap.

WHAT TO DO?



First, take a breath…
I know, it’s a lot.

When I began writing this blog, it seemed simple enough. 
Lay out the problem and offer a few suggestions I’ve seen work.

But it’s now 10 days later. 
This is far more fascinating and complicated than I’d imagined.
So there will be a sequel… or two.
But for now, let’s start right where many of us are.

Last week my client Kristin put it this way…
“I don’t want to seem demanding
or worse, needy!!!
or emasculate him
or hurt his feelings by making him feel like he’s not doing it right.
We’ve been through this so many times!
I’m pissed off, hurt, disappointed…
And I feel like I’m going crazy,”

Of course she eventually looses it in frustration.
She can’t stand this man she hopes she still loves
and melts down into the raving bitch she hates in herself.

Then leaving sounds like a huge relief! 

All because these two are at a loss for how to skillfully communicate about what works best for each of them.

Why is this SO HARD!?!

Here’s the first onion layer of why I (and maybe you, too) have been known to make do. Then I’ll share a few solutions I’ve discovered over the years.

When we love someone, we love to make them happy. It feels sweet!
But confrontation doesn’t.
Why rock the boat by being difficult?, we might think.
Here’s why…

Estrogen makes feminine-essenced people naturally connection-oriented and conflict-averse.

Without it, humans wouldn’t have survived as a species!
So women learned to compromise our own desires and take care of everyone else’s needs.
But in the process we can lose track completely of our own.

So often I’ve heard the lament, “I don’t really even know what I want anymore.”

Then, like Kristin, we feel lost and confused.
Playing pleasing wifey clearly hasn’t brought the happiness it promised.
But the bitch isn’t that appealing, either!

So it’s time to step away and get some clarity.
Time for a little triage…
Time to make your own pleasure important again.

Are you ready for today’s challenge?
We’ll get to the bedroom by Thursday’s blog.
But for today, first things first!

How much pleasure can you allow yourself to receive from the smallest of the day’s delights?

Seems too simple, right?
But don’t be fooled.
This is real research.
And it can change your vision forever.

What’s there, just waiting for you to notice it…
waiting to bring you a moment or two of pleasure.

It could be something as simple as the blue sky,
or the clouds.
Or how good it feels to have your hands in warm sudsy water,
or the intricate scent tones of your morning coffee.

Can you allow yourself 10 seconds to really take in that joy?

What is here in your life already, just waiting to please you?

If you spend the next few days committed to coming back to your pleasure in a determined way, you will find it much easier (and more fun) to allow yourself permission to be more fully pleasured in the bedroom.

This is a skill, Dear Friends.
And likely one you weren’t taught in school.

You might even put up a few stickies on the kitchen cupboard doors
or the bathroom mirror to remind yourself.  

Enjoy our little experiment… and share below how it’s going.
What are you noticing?

Ok… I’ll be back on Thursday
with a few juicy facts about arousal differences and why we (ok, I) have so easily fallen back into making do instead of making my own pleasure as valuable as my partner’s.

Why is telling the truth so hard?

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I’ve been quiet for a while. Taking in the lessons from a bad break-up. It’s been tough. But amidst the heartache I’m starting – just starting – to sense that all this pain is going to be worth it. And I’m dedicating myself, more than ever, to truth.

Here’s why…
For most of my growing up (58 years and counting) I’ve skirted around the truth. I learned early, like everyone else, that telling the truth can be scary and dangerousBut evolution created the hard wiring in us to keep ourselves safe. No matter what. And kids are smart! So we find truly brilliant strategies to protect ourselves.

When I was young, I figured out fast that if I was carefully nice and kind and oh, so thoughtful, people were nice to me. Of course what lurked beneath my sweet surface wasn’t always so sweet. And speaking it would have felt selfish or hurtful – something I didn’t want to be — and would have surely gotten me punished.

I tried not to lie, since nice girls didn’t. My careful tact, innocent indecision, and quiet smile were effective ruses, and most of the time did the job. If you’re anything like me, you got good at being diplomatic and careful with truth. Each of us mastered ingenious ways to manage the truths we couldn’t handle. We had to, in order to protect ourselves or get what we needed.

Thing is, all this management begins to blur reality. We start believing whatever story best protects the image we like to project. And my inner nice girl wants to keep the peace. She hates to make anyone feel uncomfortable. She’s practiced for all these years pushing down messages from her body and intuition that said, “Hold up, Girl! Something’s not right here!”

The truth is hardest to see when we’re busy protecting a carefully engineered and highly effective self-image. We start believing it’s only safe to be that image of ourselves. In this breakup I received the gift of a mirror to see what I didn’t fully notice before in myself. And I’m grateful… if still feeling tender.

But here’s the wisdom I’m finally getting – and what’s becoming the through-line of my book:
Truth is the foundation of love. The more we can love and accept our real, unvarnished human being-ness — what’s really going on inside, and share that with our beloveds — the more intimacy we create and feel. That’s the authentic expression of the love we truly are.

Over the years my habit of not really saying what needed to be said has hurt a number of good men… and me, too, of course. It’s contributed to the ending of two marriages and several long-ish relationships. The more I delayed recognizing or sharing what was really going on inside, the more I craved truth. I missed its aliveness. It became my siren call. And when it finally came, it did hurt.

Along with the pain comes clarity and eventually, healing. When it’s coupled with courage and good will, when it hasn’t been too long poisoned by delay and denial, truth releases energy and aliveness. Instead of the Armageddon we so fear, what might just be possible is a fresh new kind of connection. It may not be what I’d wanted, but real and honest — I want that most of all.

So… I’m practicing truth telling these days. I’m a little bumbly. Sometimes it comes out too strong. Or the old fears keep me silent too long. And it’s not a happy ending every time.

Though I’m still nursing my wounds, through it all I can hardly believe the aliveness that comes with truth. What I most need now is courage to keep trusting its revelation. And how it clears the decks for more love!

I think this will change my life!

How about you? Does this resonate? If it does, I want to hear in the comments below. What cost have you paid for not speaking truth? And what miracles have happened when you have?

Thank you for receiving my dawning awareness and for reading all the way through this long-ish blog!! If you know others who might find it helpful, please send it along.

We are in this together, Dears. Wanting to live all that life has to teach us, to feel it all…the desolate sadness and the euphoric joy. This is what it is to be fully human and to travel the journey committed to growth and love.

How can I love better this year?

hands in form of heart

On one of the first fresh days of this new year, I had a come-to-Jesus moment.

I’m dating a wonderful new man. In a sweet moment of closeness, his purity and goodness were undeniable. I couldn’t imagine ever treating him badly, holding onto resentments, or failing to meet him with an open heart.

I believe that when we fall in love, we really do see this new being for who they most truly are. It’s the innocence and beauty of their deepest self that draw us to them.

But of course, this is the beginning of a new relationship for me. And I know the usual trajectory. As hurts and misunderstandings mount it’s not been long before I’ve lost sight of what had been so obvious.

In remembering this pattern, I’m overcome by a wash of shame… for the ways I’ve belittled men for decades, relegating them to other. Regardless of my best intentions, my disappointments and judgments have clouded their light. And as much as I’d rather not admit it, my love has been conditional. I needed them to change.

I’ve made men less-than in so many ways because they were different from me. I see now how my stories about them became the truth I created.

In that moment, lying beside my new sweetheart, I sent out a blanket apology to the Universe — to men in general, and to my ex-husband and past partners specifically — for making them wrong. And I vowed to release that habit.

Women disparage men. We often subtly make fun of them. Of course we’re encouraged by TV sitcoms, where they’re now often portrayed as bumbling, clueless dolts. It’s almost become a national sport.

In my counseling practice working with both men and women, I have been surprised by the frequency and poignancy of men’s broken-hearted stories. So often they are earnest in their desire to please their woman, but frustrated that they never seem to get it right. They frequently despair at ever figuring it out.

Their marriages are without the vitality they’d hoped for. Battle lines have been drawn in the bedroom when he’s wanted sex and she’s said no, when they’ve both made each other wrong for being who they are. More often than you might guess it is the man who comes to me, desperately reaching for straws to find some way to make things better.

I’ve done my share of disparaging partners for never quite getting me right, not knowing what I wanted, or being insensitive to my shifting desires. But over the last few years as I’ve listened to my male clients and their despair, my arrogance has melted.

This is a baffling time for many men, especially as they age. They still need to feel powerful and purposeful, to be respected and admired. But shifts in consciousness are changing mores and roles. Social evolution is calling men toward a more subtle and nuanced relationship with women and everything else. What used to work doesn’t anymore. What men once considered flattery is now harassment. They wonder how to express their appreciation without offending. So often, they just want to make their sweetie happy.

As a woman, I’m getting just as tired of the accepted stereotypes we place on men as I am of those women have endured for so long. I want to go beyond the easy condescension, the jokes and snickers about our men that women too often exchange when we gather. Despite all the consciousness raising, we still indulge in the old-boy games.

So this is what I want to know as I begin this new and promising relationship. How can I love better? How can I find the courage to speak my heart’s and body’s truths, but with a consistently open and kind heart?

Then there’s the bigger question…How do we as women give the consistent respect and understanding we wish to receive ourselves, despite the inevitable disappointments? How do we step away from an over-simplified male/female dichotomy and into true respect for each other’s needs and proclivities?

I know I won’t always get it right, but in the clear light of this New Year, I want to make these promises:
~I vow to honor each person’s honest and earnest attempts to love, no matter their gender.
~I vow to choose curiosity instead of condescension.
~I vow to speak my own truth and to compassionately respect the other’s experience.
~I vow to meet every person with my heart as open as possible, ready to recognize their struggle as my own and to welcome our shared vulnerabilities as strengths instead of weaknesses.

We can lament the differences between men and women. Or we can enjoy them – even benefit from them – and dwell instead on the richness of our shared perspectives. We are more alike than different, especially when we come from unguarded hearts. It’s our choice. Maybe this year really will be the start of something new.

Does this ring true to you? Do you have promises you’re making to remember the true essence of your beloved or those you love who’s difference has blinded you to their true self? I’d love to know. There’s space below for your comments.

And thank you so much for partnering with me as we strive to divine everyone’s inner beauty.

Sensual Aikido in the Ocean Life

Ocean wave

I was born landlocked in Pennsylvania. My parents were farmers who didn’t swim. And I had soundly failed Junior Life Saving at the Y when the lifeguard had to save me! The beaches I saw on TV were mysterious and alluring, but terrifying, too. And at 12, the pummeling I received by the New Jersey surf while visiting cousins kept me timid and fearful of wild water ever after. Pools felt safer and much more predictable. If I didn’t feel entirely at ease in the water, at least I wouldn’t be sucked down to unknown depths.

But of course the ocean is unpredictable. And as it would happen, when I played hooky and went to the beach in Rhode Island last week, the surf was crazy after days of storms. A phantom wave drenched our blanket in the first five minutes. I’d never seen waves like this at Ninigret State Beach. And just as I was mustering up the courage to make my way in, the sea sent seven raucous breakers toward the shore in ten-second intervals.

A flash of the old fear surged through me. But fortunately some years ago a dear friend taught me the secret to turning this fear into frenzied fun. You know it, I’m sure. When I dove directly beneath the wild heart of each crest, I came up soaked, but shockingly unscathed! And thrilled! Dancing with Mother Nature’s power and unpredictability – in whatever form it appears – has become one of my biggest turn-ons.

Still, this day’s display was nothing to take lightly. I was thankful for the lifeguard not 50 feet away! So I ventured in. Minutes later, I was no Venus stepping off her shell. Three leviathan waves – one right after the other – had caught me unprepared. I’d had a wild ride, mostly in intimate contact with hard sand and swirling water. And though I’d surely had moments of panic, I’d also loved it.

There seems to be a direct connection between what frightens us most and what makes us feel truly alive. Of course, some common sense and knowledge of Nature’s ways will keep you safer – up to a point. There’s always risk though. She’s not about to be tamed; nor should you be.

But, the waves that scare us don’t usually rise out of the ocean.

I’m betting there’s an enormous wave out on your horizon, coming toward you right now. Some opportunity for really living, for more​ feeling, for deep intimacy – with  yourself or someone else – that you’re scared to dive into, fearful that you’ll be swept out to sea – that you’ll fall into the same patterns or lose control or get hurt again?

But I’d also bet that you feel the pull of what’s possible. Can you let go enough to let life seduce you? Can you remember that you’re actually safer than you think when you catch the wave wrong, when you’re tossed under, out of control, scratching your elbows and knees on the sand, having your suit fill with grit? This kind of living isn’t about comfort. There may be consequences. But what I’ve found is that the more I let myself feel all that’s there, the safer I realize I actually am. It’s when I block feeling that I freeze in fear.

So how fully do you want to live? That’s the questions Jack Kornfield asks in his book, A Path with Heart. “In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you learn to let go?”

The more intimate we become with what scares us – the more we understand its ways – the more able we are to play in its force. Like an aikido master, we learn not to fight against the waves as they approach or avoid the water altogether, but to feel the waves all around us and swim fully with the energies of life.

What risk does intimacy want from you?

mary market

In her recent book Lean In, Sheryl Sanberg encourages women to face challenges, take risks, and pursue their goals with gusto.

She focuses on career, where our culture says the reward is.

But leaning in in relationships can be just as daunting and juicy.
We want intimacy and yet we avoid it.
We long to be seen for who we really are,(in-to-me-see)
but we stay busy and unavailable…
even to ourselves.

It’s our habits that keep us conveniently disconnected.
We hide out in our busy-ness and cram too much into every day.
There’s so little time for self-reflection… or truly intimate connection with anyone else, for that matter.

What’s up with that?
Why are we so awkwardly hesitant to be truly intimate in our relationships
– with ourselves, someone else, or the world?
What risks are we afraid to take?
What truths are we afraid to say?
What challenges do we avoid, hoping the problem will magically disappear?

Maybe the truth will rock your world… or your relationships.
Being truthful is hard sometimes.
But, it’s often the things that aren’t said that create the distance. 
We will let a friendship slowly fade into memory before we’ll take the risk to share what we’re really feeling. We’re afraid to be that vulnerable.
We’re afraid we’ll mess things up.
We’re afraid of their reaction.
Lots of fear here, even if we’d rather call it something else.

But truth, though sometimes down right terrifying, is much less debilitating than dishonesty or hiding out in illusion or distraction.
It’s truth that brings a feeling of connection with others, and deep within, as well. 
There’s a surprising aliveness and freedom we feel when we’ve been courageous enough to let ourselves be seen.

I learned this lesson some years ago from a dare Mama Gena gave to 250 women in NYC in her School of Womanly Arts.
We were to flirt with a stranger before returning to class the following day.
Flirting, for Mama Gena, was simply enjoying yourself in front of someone else.

I was so terrified at the thought of such a thing that I forgot all about the assignment
until I was about to dash across 59th street to class the next morning,
having just grabbed a quick breakfast at the food cart on the corner.

I scanned the street, looking for a possible victim for my first fumbling attempts at this kind of flirting.
I did not think I would enjoy myself, that I was sure of!
In despiration I remembered the young man I’d just seen at the food cart.
He was gorgeous. And those eyes….!

I felt scared and vulnerable.
But instead of flaking on the challenge, I turned back to him, leaned in to my awkwardness, and said,
“I just want you to know that I think your eyes are beautiful.”

I felt a little ridiculous.
It was a risk. 
What would he think?
Yet I watched this young man’s cool-guy bravado melt away as his face softened
and he sputtered out the “thank you” of a sweet, shy 8-year-old.
For a moment, despite differences of age, race and culture, we were connected.
And that felt amazing!

How often we miss out on this kind of joy!
We notice something, yet so rarely say what we’re thinking.
I’ll probably always be working with my hesitancy to trust myself and the situation enough to say what’s true. Because, let’s face it, some truths will rock our worlds.

Yet practicing leaning in to the fear has deepened so many of my connections that it’s becoming positively addicting.
It’s the intimacy I must have to feel alive.

I have a challenge for you….
Try experimenting this Memorial Day weekend.
Surprise someone with a bit more of yourself.

​And watch how you’re affected.
How did it feel?
​Share with us below, to inspire us all.

So Why Limit Love?

Young woman making heart symbol with hands, wintertimeIn the deep dark days of February,
it’s a good thing that someone decided to plunk down a holiday celebrating love when I most need it.
It’s been a very long winter already!

It seems this day is all about chocolate and pink hearts,
romantic dinners and love for a special one.
​But for many of us, it just reminds us of what we don’t have.

So I’m asking…why do we so severely limit love? To a day, or a month, or a person?
It’s said that there are only two states of being: love and fear. I go a bit farther.

I think there’s only love
…and forgetting love.

That’s really all fear is anyway. Just forgetting. Forgetting that we are deeply connected with everything.
Forgetting that our genetics make us nearly identical to one another.
Forgetting that Nature, in its magnificent generosity, offers us such an abundance of beauty that we can barely begin take in. We forget that we are made of love,
…made by love,
…made for love.

What we most forget, I believe, is to receive the love that is here offering itself to us, in every moment.
So right now, glance around you.
What do your eyes first light upon?
What catches your attention? Let yourself be touched.
Even entranced.
What about it surprises you, when you really look closely?
What pleasure — or love — wants to be received?

Today, allow yourself to receive love through heat as you warm your hands on a steaming fragrant mug of jasmine tea.
Or let your mood receive the precious February sun’s rare shimmering directly to your eyes.
Take in the love gifted to you by the bold red kiss of a cardinal against a backdrop of snow.
Or be seduced by the caress of your soft sheets as you slide between them tonight.

There is so much love here for you to receive.

​Take a breath. Let that land. This perspective demands a shift in thinking.
Cultivate your own sensual curiosity to expand your repertoire of how you can receive love.

Do we just forget about receiving the love that’s offering itself to us?
Are we so preoccupied with managing the conditions we place on what we consider good love
that we set limits on what we can actually receive?
How incredibly sad!
How much we deprive ourselves when we make love so small and complicated!

How are you choosing to receive love? Let me know below.

And let this month be your occasion for expanding love.
For embracing love.
​For being the love that wants to bless the world.

Love is all there is…

Frosty winter morning
mountain house retreat

I am still basking in the afterglow of the women’s sensual retreat I just lead – an entire weekend of remembering ourselves as feminine beings, bringing reverence to our senses and emotions, honoring our need for rest and connection.

In short, RECEIVING LOVE.

That’s my intention for 2015.
To receive love.
Maybe you’d like to join me?

RECEIVING
Receptivity – this powerful element of the feminine – isn’t passive.
It’s active and intentional, yet open to the surprises of each day.

LOVE
What if John Lennon was right, that “love is all there is.”
But perhaps that love is bigger than romance and even relationships?
What if every atom and molecule is love in physical form?

Is each flake of snow falling around me this morning a crystal of love?
Perhaps every breath I take draws in love as oxygen sustaining my body.
Maybe the sun’s warmth and light, essential for our existence, is simply love as sustenance.

CAN RECEIVING LOVE BE THIS SIMPLE?
We can choose to receive love as we perceive snow, air, sunlight.
What an elegant human design – that our senses are the conduits for delivery of this everywhere love.
How do we open ourselves to receiving each opportunity,
delivered to us through scenes of beauty, a kindness or daily synchonicities?
Isn’t our challenge to be more awake to it all?

These days I’m discovering that it all seems to be less complicated than before,
especially when I release my mind from the dramas it delights in and  instead open to this moment of ever-present joy,
just waiting to be noticed…

When I choose to receive love from the orange of a persimmon,
the arc of a naked tree branch,
the smell of coffee,
the sound of my woodstove,
my son’s face,
the way morning pinks the sky.

Imagine into love being all there is. How would you join me in receiving all the love this day has to offer you?

What Most Blocks our Vibrant Life Force…

Male feet standing on yellow maple leavesIt’s still October. I’m optimistic.
I think I really can do all I’ve planned.
Fabulous new projects as my career heats up.
Leading groups and planning retreats. Writing.
Making Halloween happen. Family events.
Keeping up with perpetual email and Facebook .

I’m betting you’re in the same situation. We do so much, and our standards are astronomical.
We want to bring our best to everything.

And then there’s what I want do for me. Hikes. Meditating. Fun with my son.
Buttoning up the garden. Time with friends. Tending my chickens.
Making quince paste.
(I just can’t resist this pleasure! It’s the first year my quince tree has produced its glorious golden mythic fruit.)

Oh, and there’s lovemaking. That’s right. I’ll squeeze that in somewhere.

Is this your story, too?
Partner or not, why is it that tending to our own sexual pleasure is often near the bottom of the list?
We know we should want it. But, what’s wrong that we don’t, or not so often.
It’s kind of crazy, really!
After I do make love with my partner or myself, I wonder why I don’t do this every night!
That’s what I say in the moment, at least.

But then my life happens.
There’s so much still to do!
And I’m exhausted.
Just let me sleep.
Please!

So here’s the issue, Dear Women…
The everyday stress of our full-on yang lifestyle is death to a woman’s desire.

And even more confounding – the masculine doesn’t work that way.
For most men, sex reduces stress. It chills them out.
Lets them relax and revive.
Perhaps this is why our hyper-yang culture is so sex-obsessed.
And why a constant diet of quick sex is often just not that great for women.
But stress defines the culture we live in!
What’s a girl to do?

Well, first. WHEW!
Does just hearing this truth help you feel a little less bad?
It’s not just you.
You’re not defective.

Here’s the thing…
Being relaxed is necessary foreplay for a woman’s pleasure.

Running as fast as you can — even if it’s doing all that good self-care – is really NO help at all.
But sinking into the sensual is.
Stepping back into the feminine.
And not by just making that another goal on your to-do list.

Begin to look for the simple sensual pleasures that are available to you in this moment, without any effort at all.
How do we move out this crazy hyper-efficiency obsession?

Here’s what I know.
Remembering to notice – and then  appreciate — what’s here now is the secret.
Really seeing beauty — the contrast of colors on my plate, the arch of a sparrow in flight,
a kindness received or given,
one exquisite breath expanding the tense muscles in my shoulders and chest – begins to turn my life around.

You see, pleasure begets pleasure. 
When I find the simple sensual pleasures that are available to me in this moment, my energy expands from doing-doing-doing to being present and welcoming.
Then a soak in the tub doesn’t seem such a ridiculous waste of time.
And THEN, almost magically, giving myself or my sweetie a hand massage begins to sound, well… delicious.

Try this simple practice — for just one day, shift your focus from efficiency to noticing beauty and see what happens.

Do your own research — and let me know in the comment section below what you find.
Here’s to the shift that wants to infuse this day – and every one to come — with the pleasure that moments of beauty bring.