You, too? A channel for Love

I was a young mother, finally taking a nap after hosting a big New Year’s Eve party the night before. As my head was sinking into the pillow I caught sight, AGAIN, of the dead branches on a ficus tree near the window.

Damn it!
I was going to get rid of that ugly thing!

In all the chaos of my wild life with a 3 and 6 year old
remembering to water the poor tree had been WAY down on my list,
for way too long.

But as I drifted off to sleep
The tree began to speak to me.
       (WAIT… don’t leave yet!)

“I know I’m ugly.
I know you want me out of here.
But I have something I want to tell you.I’m only here to love you.
I’m just a channel for Love.And not just me.
Everything is here to love you.

Every bald of grass, every cloud.
Every rock and plant and breath of air.
It’s all here to love you.

We’re all just love, being what we are, for you.”

OK, I know!
I’m as hard boiled as the next person.
And I’m not one of those people who remembers her dreams.
But this one has never left me.Because if every blade of grass and leaf and cloud
is here to love,
— just by being grass or leaves or even clouds —
then so am I.I must be here to love, too.
To be a channel of Love.
Love expressing through the uniqueness of me.

Only some days I forget!
Some days my channel of love gets all gummed up.
Then every cell in my body feel tight.
I’m full of doubts or overwhelm,
afraid… or worried… or stuck in some old story of my not enough-ness.

But sometimes, somehow, I do remember.

It can happen when I’m out walking in the woods.
Or holding a newborn.
Or dancing.
Or just sitting quietly, taking a breath.
Then that channel of Love that I am somehow gets clearer.

I’m sure you’ve felt it, too, Friend.
There’s a sense of spacious centeredness bubbling up through you.
Or joy you didn’t expect.
Or just a gentle sweet feeling of safety and belonging.

That’s when I can be patient
remembering that my friend is doing the best she can.
Or generous when I’m cut off
knowing that guy’s probably having a really hard day.

On days like that
I know it’s all just Love.
That the grass and leaves and clouds and all of us
Are Love, being Us.

The trick, though, is remembering!

And what stands in the way every time
are all the habits and beliefs we’ve built since childhood to try to keep safe
— or that’s what we think.
(more on that next week)

Clearing Love’s channel
means investigating the muck that’s still there.
It means being curious about what I still do
to try to compensate for having not gotten the love I needed way back when.
This is the work of evolving.
It’s how we awaken to remembering what is really true!

This is the awakening so many of us are doing these days.
It’s what keeps me hopeful in the face of such much tragedy and darkness.

And it’s what I do with my clients every day,
whether we’re talking about relationships or sex or whatever else.
The work is just remembering the Love we really are
And walking back home together.
.

So… do you want to know the end of the story?
What happened after my dream with the ficus tree?

Well…
5 days later Love did its thing
And we conceived our third child.

Forever sharing Love,

PS…If you’re curious about exploring remembering the Love that you are more often, I invite you to come schedule a chat. My treat. Let’s walk back home together.

How 5 minutes by your window is like a week on retreat in Mexico

I arrived back home Sunday morning from a week in Mexico leading my women’s retreat, “Awakening Your Divine Feminine Self – A Deeper Turn-ON.” 

There’s no denying the pleasure of crashing surf, exquisite accommodations, and pristine nature all around you. Maybe you caught some of my shares on FB or Instagram.

When I got home I made the video BELOW because I want anyone to experience what we just lived in Mexico on retreat.

And sure, you can get this without traveling 3000 miles, but on the other hand, sometimes we need to break the pattern we’re stuck in — and then the best thing to do might just be to go really far far away in a totally different environment…  maybe like Costa Rica a month from now!

No matter where you are right now, here are 3 tips, 3 simple practices that can make your experience more powerful and delicious.

  1. Look out the window. Just look outside. Be here quietly. We did a sit spot – a practice I learned from Jon Young – for 20 minutes every day. But a breath, just a short minute, can hugely expand you awareness and pleasure. Just sit here quietly and experience what’s here in your environment.
  2. Watch your senses. Watch what you hear. Watch what you smell. Watch what you feel. Watch the experience of seeing what’s there, really noticing the contrasts, noticing the percussiveness of sounds. Just noticing what’s there. Don’t make it right or wrong. Just be in the moment.
  3. Feel your body. Feel where you’re sitting. Feel the sense of this being in this space… and not the thoughts that can go along with whatever you’re feeling. We’re so in our thoughts – and out of our body – so much of the time.

That’s it. Those are 3 of the simple practices that we landed in Mexico to bring presence, pleasure and delight, right here, right now, no matter where you are.

Take these tips into your life, especially if you’re in the chilly north. And let me know down below, right now, which one you’re ready to make part of your daily practices. I consider each of them a meditation, as fully as I do my traditional sitting practice.

And if your appetite’s been whetted, I’m off to warmer climates again in March – this time to Costa Rica with Katherine Miller, menopause expert and dear friend. Learn to expand your pleasure potential by establishing habits of reverent self-care. See more here or email at info@diviningbeauty.com for more juicy details.

A Deeper Turn-On?

Screen Shot 2017-08-25 at 12.02.16 PM

A deeper turn-on? Huh?

It’s about pleasure in the body, most definitely..
But it’s more…

More than the momentary high of a great orgasm,
…though there are little-known practices that create the magic.
More than someone else’s slow hands,
…though that’s quite a delight.
Even more than all the best techniques in the world.

A deeper turn-on comes from learning to access the source of your turn-on.
And that is YOU.

You won’t find it in the perfect body you wish you had,
or some fabulous setting or future time when you’ll finally be ready,
or even someone who knows how to take you there.
(OK, so that is lovely,..)

No, this deeper turn-on is available right here… and right now.
In fact, you already possess the tools to bring it on.

I’m talking about what comes from living fully connected to yourself…
Your senses.
Your body.
Your inner quiet.
Your intuition.
Your enough-ness.

It’s knowing how to more fully receive what is already there.
No working! No trying!
No walking on your knees through the desert for a hundred years, to quote Mary Oliver.

A deeper turn-on is just about remembering what we’ve never been taught.
It’s about cultivating the Feminine. And indeed, it is Divine!

But we’re constantly putting out and producing and trying to cross everything off our list. That, My Dears, is living in masculine energy. It exhausts us because too much of it is just not healthy or natural to our feminine essence.

A deeper turn-on comes from accessing the vitality and sustenance of your larger body, the natural world.

That’s Divining your Beauty. It’s what I’ve been writing about these past years. It’s the territory I’ve traveled and the path I wish to share with you. ​

Nature is a Seductress

Road between mountains

Nature is a seductress. And a good one. She knows her power but has no need to force herself upon you. She makes you think this little affair is your idea, that you made the first move. You can’t remember when she first caught your eye. She was just somehow there. And all you knew was that being with her felt fabulous.

You lay on the grass, she held you. You wondered at the stars, she mesmerized you. You splashed in the waves, she frolicked with you. Her breezes softened your tension. Her icy gusts slapped you awake.

She wasn’t always gentle. Nature made you stand up and take notice. Pay attention. She could be a formidable adversary to challenge your mettle, to draw out from you your best. But all along, no matter what she dished out, her tender comfort was like a balm to you.

Often you were distracted, forgetting her altogether. You could hide out in your mind, but she was there, too, of course. Or hang out on your screens, but she would wait.

It was easy to think of her as “other.” And not all that important, really. Not like your plans or creations. You thought they were all yours. Only she knew better.

You could come back to her whenever you wanted. Climb her hills, dip into her waters, soak in her rays. She let you think it was your choice, the tip of your hat to her beauty. Thank you, Ma’am.

It was only when you began to take notice, to see her for who she really is, in her full majesty – to feel her subtle allure and stand in awe of her seemingly simple presence – that she began to more fully reveal her mysteries to you. Only as you took her in your arms and heart, confessing your love through devotion and reverence, did she bless you with her fuller flowering.

Then the panic set in. You might lose her altogether. Everywhere she’s being lost. Forgotten. Ignored. Abused. 

Or you could lose your freedom. Be forced to concede your dependence. Yield to a closeness that could leave you naked and defenseless. Relinquish your hard won control. Surrender to an unnerving vulnerability that incited peoples before you to worship her. Where would your precious independence be then?

Ah, well…as with any love affair, there’s always the push and pull. When love is this deep, it’s unsettling. You succumb, only to retract again, afraid to lose yourself or be left bereft. Within her constant holding, it’s too easy to grow complacent. Easy to neglect her. You will abandon her again and again, lose touch with her rare beauty, so available is she to you.

Only when the void becomes too unbearable do you return, confessing in wonder that you could have forsaken such intimacy for the shiny trinkets that caught your eye.

So let your life be this dance with Nature. Be tempted to fall deeper into her love. Offer yourself up for a lifetime of entrancement. Why hold back? You know she wants you.

Give yourself to her magnetism. Let yourself be seduced by the delicate touch of her breath, drawn in by her bird song, entranced by her honeysuckle scent. Indulge yourself in her innumerable delights.

Receive what she offers. Why resist such bliss? You’re already lovers for life.

Let the seduction begin.

Letting go of your prized burdens…

autumn

​A few years ago, Paul, an elderly friend of mine share his harrowing account of running to escape the Russian army during World War II. Beside him in the mass of terrified people was a mother carrying her infant child and dragging a heavy suitcase behind her. My kind friend offered to carry the baby, but the woman begged him instead to pull the suitcase. Just as he reached down to oblige, a strafing of machine gun fire mowed down all those standing. My friend was the only one to survive.

Some time later, Paul opened the suitcase to find it filled with the silver this unfortunate woman couldn’t leave behind.

So I ask… What prized burden have you been lugging along that might need to be left behind? Toward what experience of freedom are you being invited that is slowed by some weighty attachment to the past?

The biggest eclipsed moon of our lifetimes will happen ‪tonight. But what does that have to do with living fully alive in our bodies and beings? Eclipses collapse time. Lunar eclipses — as the moon goes from full to dark to full — accelerate a nearly 30-day process into about 3 hours. If we’re aware, we have a rare opportunity during the darkness to consciously connect and release obscured patterns that may not serve forward motion in our lives. As the moon returns to full, we can physically sense and more deeply come to know what’s emerging into the light of our awareness.

In this equinox/eclipse time of massively shifting energies, we are being propelled to let go, like the trees are doing with their leaves — in order to allow ourselves to be in sync with the changes that are happening all around us.

And surely we’ve been given signs, just as the coloring of the leaves and cooling temperatures give us an unmistakable indication of autumn’s coming. Perhaps a sticky interaction with someone or a relationship’s disharmony is insisting upon a greater dose of your truth. Most likely your body is signaling you about the changes that are in order. 

When you really tune in to any subtle levels of tension, you may get in touch with clear information about the shifts you are being invited to consider. Is something out of balance in your diet or sleeping rhythms? What’s true that you’ve been ignoring? This eclipsing full moon might just provide you with an ideal occasion to listen more deeply to the wisdom of your body.

Please don’t miss tonight’s opportunity to dance with the moon’s powerful energy. But if you do, this entire week will hold powerful potential for real change. Say yes to this invitation. In the energy of these strong forces, make an intention to realign yourself with your life’s purpose.

Decide what’s left in that heavy suitcase you may still be carrying, and choose to let it go. Step into the light that will illumine you when you’ve been freed to live you’re authentic life. Just like Paul, you’re still alive! Make the most of it!

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.

Why I celebrate the summer Solstice

mary solstice

Why do I bother to celebrate the summer solstice?

Well, first, it’s a really big deal cosmologically… High Summer, as the Celt’s called it.
Our sun makes life possible, grows our food, lightens our mood,
and as Mary Oliver reminds us, keeps us from ever-darkness.
This is the sun’s heyday.

Every ancient culture, the wide world round, celebrated this event.
Undeniably, that experience is embedding in our collective unconscious.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, each of us is profoundly affected by daily, monthly and seasonal cycles, connecting us to the world and cosmos around us.

That’s why I create experiences for people to more fully connect with themselves and Nature
in celebration of these few remarkable days
… and why you might want to, too.

Why not design your own summer solstice celebration if you’re not able to get yourself to mine
— though there is still one empty bunk waiting for you (at the time of this writing, at least).
To find out how I’m celebrating summer solstice here in the Berkshires with women friends from around the country, click here.

Since sol-stice means sun-stop, consider stopping during the days surrounding the solstice, next Sunday June 21st. Stop even for a few moments throughout this liminal time to connect with the life that’s everywhere
– to take in beauty and the gifts your senses bring to you.
They connect you to what’s real, right now.

Let yourself be touched by the fullness of this sun-soaked season.
Choose to go slowly for a few days.
Find some wild, natural water to dip you feet into… or your whole self.
Allow spaciousness between activities.
Watch how these intentional shifts change you and everyone around you.

Or try this if you really want more intimacy with life!
Every day give yourself a quiet time of sitting in the same spot in nature,
just noticing whatever happens there.

When you sit for several consecutive days,
you’ll be amazed at how things have grown and changed from one day to the next.

Engage all of your senses…

  • Watch the birds in flight; listen to their conversations.
  • Listen for the loudest sounds and the quietest ones in all directions around you.
  • Notice what moves, what’s still, what the sky and the clouds are up to.
  • Feel your skin being touched by the breeze or humidity, the wood stair you’re sitting on.
  • Be awake to scent. What spring over-the-top-ness is wafting on the air?
  • What colors demand your attention and appreciation?

Over the years, marking the solstices and equinoxes
— flags of the earth’s cycles –
has become an essential part of my life.
We are all embedded in this matrix of life whether we pay any attention to it or not.

But it’s in noticing and really feeling our connections to the wider, wilder world
that we become fully human
and not just minds, lost in space. 

It’s how we deepen our capacity to feel, to take in delight, to be fully ourselves
​— and in that fullness, to be authentically intimate with others.

That’s why I’m celebrating the summer solstice next weekend, and why I hope you will, too.

Venus Reflected in the Ocean

woman in ocean

I’m just back from a week teaching at a gorgeous retreat in Mexico, where perhaps you’ll join me in November. After a week of living out of cell range and with the rhythms of Nature and exquisite healthy food, something woke up in me.
I’ve come home asking myself a few probing questions…

Do I really need to rush,
   to do so much,
   to be so tied to my phone,
   to stay up so late?
Is that the kind of life I want?

And how can I stay connected to what truly feeds me?

Without electricity in my casita, the brilliant night sky became my evening entertainment.
I saw Venus reflected in the ocean!
Candlelight and the sound of ocean waves gently transitioned me from busy days to peaceful nights.
My usual bedtime texts and reading fell away.
And I slept better than I can remember, waking with the dawn, rested and content.

Now that I’m home, I realize that I want to be more in alignment with what’s real and important.

I’d hardly noticed that I’d been leaving behind basic self-care, like healthy sleeping rhythms,
for the lure of virtual connection and productivity.
Little by little I’d abandoned the deep pleasure of real connection 
with myself

for the gratification of external stimulation in my virtual life.
It’s fun, like candy, but not a great staple in a luscious daily diet.

So, with spring, there’s no escaping the call for change.
I’m determined, once again, to let the old die away and new habits be born…
Like floating into bedtime near candlelight and far from my smartphone.
Like keeping my fridge stocked with the veggies I adore
and scheduling time twice a week for cooking something delicious and healthy…
like this beet mayonnaise from Haramara I made the day after I got home.

So, tell me..
What basic self-care — and deep pleasure — are you ready to reclaim?
What wish of yours might you grant yourself?
What pleasure can you let bloom with the blissful springtime?

Is it more time outside,
more regular yoga,
feeding yourself with food that really feeds you,
​time to be quiet or create something of beauty?

Share below and let me know. You’ll inspire us all