Receiving Love from Unlikely Men

contradance

I went dancing last weekend. With hundreds!
The Flurry is a huge dance festival with hot bands from all over the country.
Big Band swing, Zydeco, Charleston, Contra, Blues, all sorts of ethnic sounds.
Like the proverbial girl in the candy story, I couldn’t get enough.

I was a little shy at first, uncertain about sharing my energy so intimately with so many… and some, well… so odd.
Few of these men would be my choice for a date (no less a kiss).

As I entered each room, I scoped out those I might find acceptable.
The others… well, I did my usual – avoid eye contact, hope they wouldn’t ask.

But they did ask. and here’s the surprise.
I learned something amazing about receiving love by dancing with every man who asked! ​

Gawky college boys and gray-haired gentleman.
Sexy, long-haired types, men with balding bravado, and others with bulging bellies.
Ernest, but awkward new dancers and fast furious show-off aficionados.

Instead of being creeped out, I reminded myself that I was safe.
I could say no anytime I chose.
Being receptive doesn’t mean giving up all control. I could receive only what felt right.

So I accepted the gifts of these men.
Their smiles. Their hand. Their lead. Their gentle shyness.
Their enthusiastic spins. Their kind and patient instruction.
Their eyes enjoying me. Their touch against my body.
I let them be men.

In dancing, the man gets to lead.
He gets to protect the woman from overenthusiastic and bumbling couples.
He gets to set the pace and the direction.
He gets to be chivalrous. He makes the decisions.
And we get to receive.
Whether they’re awkward or skillful, clumsy or elegant,
our job is not to criticize, not to control and manage the way this offering of love comes towards us.

Our role – our opportunity, actually – is to allow the gift.…
To notice the kind intention, the warm willingness, the courageous invitation to make the most of this dance.

It was a dazzling day, but there was one last surprise.
Later that evening, at dinner in town with my kids, a lovely man came over to me to say,
“I just had to tell you, you are very beautiful!”

I think there’s some contagious magic that flavors the air around us when we choose this feminine receptivity.

So what’s inviting you to dance?
Let me know in the comments below.

Will you stay safe and sure of yourself?
Or will you allow a surprising bit of love to infiltrate your day?
If you try, I think you’ll find the world much safer than you think!
​And way more fun!

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?

Why gearing up for the holidays can seem so hard…

christmas trappings

For eons, this time of year — the season moving toward the winter Solstice — was a slowing-down time.
The harvest was in.
Days were short.
Longer evening had more space for family, for quiet and sleep.
And all sorts of pleasures, too, I’ll bet.

So what happened?
If December’s packed calendar is tough for you, it may be that our bodies and consumer culture have evolved at different rates.

Did you know that the shift to more is relatively recent?
Before the Victorian era, the holidays meant a day off and a nice meal, if you were lucky.

But with a more commercial society came this idealized vision of the perfect family Christmas.
Presents sprawled beneath the tree, the house bedecked with evergreen boughs, candles aglow, lavish food and drink.

Yet, what our nature calls for is rest and going inward.
It’s why the holiday push seems so crazy.
Now we’re busier than ever.
Presents and Prosecco and parties.

No matter what your religion, December’s over-the-top focus on gift-giving brings with it a huge level of stress for many women.
We may be breaking a glass ceiling on every other level,
but we’re usually still the ones to make all the festivities happen.

IT’S STILL WOMEN’S JOB TO MAKE IT FUN AND BEAUTIFUL FOR EVERYONE ELSE.

But, what does fun and beauty mean for you, really?
How can you gift yourself with what you most need and want during this precious holy time, built for contemplation by the cycles of the seasons?

HERE ARE A FEW PRESENTS TO GIVE YOURSELF…

Surprise yourself with 5 minutes of sitting quietly every day.
Schedule a bundled-up solo walk- maybe even on ground instead of asphalt.
Light candles and just breath, feeling your shoulders drop with each outbreath.
Listen to my 10-minute breath meditation.

Then there’s just looking into your loved ones’ eyes for a minute…
Move slowly — if at all — for half an hour, maybe even with a lover.

Chances are that what you need right now is less doing and more being.
​I bet you’ll find real pleasure in listening to your body’s whispers.
Joy to your world…

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.