Do You Ever Have a Real Day Off?

mary time off

Everyone used to take a whole day off.
Most cultures had a Sabbath day built in – and “it was good.”

These days we’ve deleted most of religion’s restrictions,
— and thrown away any healthy guidance as well.

We’re being “productive” nearly all the time.
Or at least it feels that way.

But meeting our own high expectations is just plain exhausting.
And the never-ending to-do list?
It’s a scientifically proven anti-aphrodisiac.

We need real spaciousness, relaxation, and tending once in a while
— and I don’t mean just a bath (although that can surely help).

Otherwise our well-being is sacrificed on the altar of productivity.

What does real tending look like for you? Here’s my list, but go ahead and add to it down below in the comment section.

I need beauty and comfort.
A chance to move my body.
Being in nature.
A little adventure.
Some stimulation.
Some deepening.
Inspiration and connection to my primal energy.

That’s what I want. And there are days when I get it.

But there are days when I don’t.
And if I’m not careful, even weeks.

It’s why I need to take a real break
…to tend the fertile ground of my own aliveness.

And why I’m hoping you’ll join me.

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.

Work vs Play

Colorful heirloom tomatoes on rustic wooden background

There’s nothing like talking to a farmer to get a first-hand picture of work lived in harmony with life’s pleasures.
Since earlier this Spring, Dom Polumbo of Moon on the Pond Farm, has been instructing me on the finer points of raising chickens… like how to get them to come in at night!

Dom proudly toured me around his farm a few days ago.
Turkeys and chickens, eggplant and heirloom tomatoes, barns and tools, all a part of one interconnected web.
His love of this life was obvious as he effervessed on how the most nutritious weeds in his fields just happened to be the tastiest to his animals.

Of course that was our entrè into the subject of pleasure. A farmer doesn’t have time off.
And since there’s very little cash to show for the work, life on the farm must bring its pleasures in small doses throughout the day.
Dom finds moments of happiness walking out to a distant field to bring in his pigs or snapping yellowing leaves from the base of a pepper plant.

It’s the practice of seeing each day for the moment-to-moment delights available to us,
living in these bodies on this Earth, that’s inspired my  summer as well.

A gaggle of teen-age chickens cluck me awake each morning.
The seasonal cycles of iris, poppy, lily and zinnia grace my view from the breezy screened porch/office where I’ve had the joy to write and counsel my private clients.

It’s been a great summer.
I’ve been at my desk working each morning, creating the book, Your Erotic Life, that just won’t stop writing itself.
My days have never been this focused on my creative joy, so immersed in work and wonder, purpose and flow!
But now that fall is here, the real practice begins.

So here’s a tip I’ll be using to keep the pleasure a part of every day.
Look for little surprises
 at odd time during the work day.

Wake up your sense pleasure by noticing contrast: bright against dark, soft or rough, crunchy and smooth.
​Allow yourself to be seduced by the pleasure that’s here all along, living in the body!

Help me name my new baby…And get a free hour long session with me…


I’m birthing a new closed FB page… for any woman who longs to be free to flow in her feminine self. Right now it’s just called Divining Beauty… but instead of doing this DIY, I thought it would be much more fun to have you help me name my new baby.

So this Sunday morning I’ll gift the woman whose name I like best a free hour-long session with me.

Why am I launching this new platform? Because this is an important time for women!! Trouble is… the feminine doesn’t have a chance in a culture that thinks abusive power is what is masculine! She’s dissed, ignored, and shamed for being herself.

I want to use my energies to work for change instead of wringing my hands and diminishing my power, So for the last three month I’ve been on fire, geeking out on what the healthy masculine looks and feels like… in the world and within us. And because education is power, I want to share what I’m learning!

You see, these words — masculine and feminine — refer to energies, ways of being, not just genders.

The wind can be strong or gentle. A woman can be fierce or tender. It’s mature and conscious masculine energy — out in the world or within us —  that creates the safety and structure for the feminine to flourish. 

We’re seeing everyday what a world looks like when this beautiful masculine potential is twisted by power and greed. Without the perspective of the nurturing, inclusive feminine, abuse and terror are rampant. Living in a culture that values this distortion means we as women can’t help but overwork and under-enjoy life. And we have nothing left for vision and change.
SO… I have a fire burning in my belly with new ideas and practical suggestions to help women bring into harmony the energies that make us BOTH more effective AND spontaneously joyful. 

And that’s why I’m creating this free and secret FB pageWomen need to feel safe enough to get vulnerable and shift this sh*t. I’ll share my latest discoveries and more personal struggles and victories … through no-cost live mini-teachings and Q&As. And because I want your wisdom, too, we’ll share in discussions so every voice can speak.
I’d love to invite you to join the group. Here’s the link to request your spot.

Every woman’s voice — and that means yours — is needed right now! There’s much to do, but becoming aware of the often-unconscious ways we abuse our bodies and Selves is the first step. Then we can choose otherwise … and go into action to make healthy, life-affirming choices at home and in the world.

I want your voice in these discussions. You’ll help us shift AWAY from complicit alignment with the grotesque and dominating representation of the masculine we see these days (and how we sometimes treat ourselves) and TOWARD an authentic harmonized masculine/feminine perspective to further this essential work in the world. Every woman’s empowered and nurturing voice is NEEDED right now.

SO LOVELIES…What shall I call the group? Come join this free FB group and help me decide. Name our new baby right here — in the comment section below — by this Saturday night — March 4th — at 11:59pm. I’ll choose the name that best fits our new birthing group… and give that woman a free hour-long private session with me. 

Check on the FB page Sunday morning for our new name!!! As never before I’m excited to be a part of the healing of our world. Please join me.

With my love,
Mary

​Pleasure of Breath

If you’ve been following me these last years, you probably know what I’m about.
 I’m constantly exploring the ways we can live alive in body and soul.

I have no interest in transcending the earthly realm. 
I live here, in this glorious, sensual world.
 In fact, what I know is that living fully awake in these bodies IS a sacred act.
And … when we’re in touch with what our senses bring us, pleasure lives there!

So, how do we awaken to this delicious dance of living FULLY
… in the body? 
 …and the heart?
Most of the time we’re too preoccupied to notice the pleasures that abound.
And we have our own fairly limited ideas of what is sensual in the first place.
We mostly limit the vast realm of the sensual to merely sex.

And we wait for some bigger, more intense experience than what we’re having in the moment.
We make due with the mundane.
In the process, whether in the bedroom or everyday life, we ignore the pleasure of what is, right now.
And all we really have is right now… this body… this breath.

So…
I’m totally thrilled to share with you my first-ever recorded breath meditation.
 Horrah!!!
I sat with Mark Kelso, my fabulous producer and dear friend, in his studio a few weeks ago, excited and a bit nervous.
I’d never done this before.

First Mark led us in a beautiful invocation.
 Of course!
Then we played with several mics in this cool sound booth, tinkered at mixing board., and voila!
It’s juicy.
Yummy.
Sensual.

Layers of my voice beneath a guided meditation to bring you back to your own sweet self.
The Pleasure of Breath.

Slide over to the Pleasure of Breath page to take a listen, or click here to hear it on Soundcloud.
If you like it, fingers crossed, spread the joy with your friends… near and far.
I’m cooking up all sorts of new sense experiences for this fall and I’d love you to be there with me.

You know, any meditation is just a tool.
And there are countless ways to access this deeper place.
Tools aren’t magic or sacred in and of themselves.
… we use them to either focus the mind or bring it to stillness.

The purpose of any practice is to help us become aware of what IS, right now.
And to encourage us to notice the choices we’re making constantly about where to put our energy, our thoughts
…
and then, to choose again
…
and again
…
and again.

A meditative practice is about noticing and choosing.
Like life.

So I’ll be playing in the realm of the senses in upcoming blog posts.
Exploring how to be more awake to what we’re feeling, in any moment we choose.

How fully do you want to live?
How much of your own natural pleasure do you want to enjoy?
How profoundly do you want to inhabit all that this beautiful world has to share with you?

I’m loving the adventure…. And hoping you will join me.
 Write something below that inspires your senses. That makes you feel truly alive.
 These are life’s gifts to us, in every moment.

​What is it to be free?

 

Maybe it’s just paying attention
And choosing to participate
Really being in whatever I’m doing.

Maybe it’s a practice, really, this attentiveness…
this responsibility to what I feel, right now.
Being awake to my body and my emotional life.
Being affected – by life, work, a lover, parents, children.
Noticing what is moving in me.

And noticing my hesitation,
when I back away from being real in order to be nice.
Or when I am afraid to hold a gaze.

Being free is not holding back.
Freedom isn’t indulging in reactivity
or spewing emotionality …
That’s being bound to the old.
I’m not free there.

Being free is being true.
Allowing myself all of me.

And everyone else every last bit of themselves.

I’m playing in the the-a-tre of free-dom this week. Asking these questions and watching what comes.
With 9 other explorers and you, the audience, if you’d like.
Meet someone dressed in a vibrant color on a corner in Great Barrington.
Be led into an exploration of freedom and intimacy.

My kind of adventure, and yours, perhaps, adored ones!

Coming Back

The whistle from this morning’s tea kettle took me for an unexpected dive into the Divine. Not its usual message of hot water ready for my teacup. No, I was taken off guard by the sound itself. I almost laughed at the joy of it, the sudden arching pitch, the resonance, the beauty.

I wouldn’t normally consider the whistle of a tea kettle beautiful. Not in the same way I might be struck by the perfection of Kiri Te Kanawa’s soaring high notes in a soprano aria. But my experience was the same. It wasn’t some distant intellectual analysis of the quality of the pitch or its timbre. It was the sound itself — the unexpected way it enlivened something inside me.

Is that why we‘re so entranced by beauty? Why it moves us? Is it because it actually gets inside us? That, more than just seeing it with our mind, we feel it? Does what we experience as beautiful actually become a part of us? And even more radical a thought, do we become a part of it?

Is that what stops us in mid-sentence when we are awed by the stark beauty of a winter’s bare branch trembling in the wind? Or the sun’s sudden appearance, infusing us with its warmth and light, on a gray day? There’s something about letting the sun breath into us, and giving ourselves back to it. Allowing it to warm more than skin or muscle or bone. Permitting the sun to infuse the entireity of us with sun-ness. Becoming sun; becoming Divine.

But we rarely let ourselves be touched by such intimacy. There’s really so little time. We’re just too preoccupied to notice. Too encased in buildings and cars and our hectic lives to prioritize that kind of joy, that connection to what is most sacred, most Divine in life.

But when we do . . . when we allow ourselves to feel the beauty, the deep subtleties, even for a moment — to really let them in — we’re renewed. Our very being is reconfigured. Awakened. And we come back to ourselves.