Wednesday, May 13, 2015
Tapas. Heat. Fire. Burn.
I stand before the raging flames of what is, skin tingling with the heat and dripping beads of sweat, layers of self being singed away. I stand making a willing sacrifice to Her, to me. My full and clear intention is death. Something must die, pieces of me, ideas and stories and clinging, if I am to be born into my authentic Truth. And yes, I am.
So I set myself on fire, if not consciously at first, then certainly intentionally. Life’s intention is to live. Love’s intention is to love. My intention is to burn so that I may become who I am meant to become. She is guiding me. I trust this.
And that brings me here, back to Bali, to perhaps the most profound commitment to my spiritual evolution I’ve ever made. Stepping into this kula is stepping into the heat and the friction and the discipline that are the flames which will burn away what I thought I knew so that the phoenix of my true purpose may rise.
My goddess is it hot in here.
I thought I knew what I was coming here for. I thought I knew how it would feel to arrive. I thought integration would be easy. Burn. Burn. Burn.
Sleep deprived from jet lag. Bleeding from my moon. Thirsty from my body’s reintroduction to the tropical climate. Hungry from the reawakening of intense, intimate connection. Edgy from my thoughts of separation. All of my rhythms are thrown, form is gone, and I am melting into the shape She now wants me to take.
I’ve declared pleasure as my path, and so it is. What I’m learning over and over is that pain and pleasure are no different from one another. Each is a teacher. Each is a partner. Each is a necessary element and demands to be felt.
Even in the throes of my greatest pleasure, when the heat I feel comes from the weight of my lover’s body pressed against my own, the warmth of our synchronized breath pouring out from the depths of our bellies and the flames of passion rising as we are elevated to higher states of awareness, pain comes in as a teacher.
There is the pain of old wounds being unearthed so that they may be healed. The pain of seeing in the mirror of each other’s eyes patterns and habits that no longer serve and letting them go. The pain in that brief moment of recognizing that you’re no longer standing on the edge, but have actually stepped over to free fall into the unknown.
I crave the burn of this pain as surely as I crave the delicious ecstasy of our lovemaking. It’s a slow burn. We take our time. Time takes us. Flames mingle with tears mix with saliva melt into the nectar of our love, and there is no distinction. Consumed by the fire, death is assured, and at the bottom of the free fall, birth.
And therein lies the ultimate lesson coming through in all of this: there is nothing to fear. Even, and I’d say especially, the pain is bringing us to life and bringing us to love. Through the fire we are delivered to the promise of our own limitless potential for love. What, then, is there to fear?
Fear comes in through resistance, through holding on instead of letting go, through pushing against instead of leaning in. I say lean forward and let go and trust yourself to fall, over and over again, deeper into life, deeper into love. That is the path of pleasure I choose to follow, and with it, I welcome the pain.
Friday, May 8, 2015
Time is an arbitrary thing. It really doesn’t exist anywhere but in the constructs of our mind, this space that is actually limitless were it not for the self-imposed limitations we allow to constrain us. Symptom of the human condition. So it goes.
Another symptom . . . sentimentality. Looking back fondly. Holding on dearly. Marking the passage of time in specific increments, with birthdays, anniversaries, “a year ago I was . . .”
A year ago I was in a lot of pain while supposedly in the midst of one of the most pleasurable chapters of my life. I’d set off into unchartered territory, both inner and outer, and it was working me. A year ago I was resenting the hell out of my home for the moment and my partner at the time, for not moving in accordance with how I felt time should flow. I was counting the days until I would leave that place while simultaneously imagining into the possibility of forever with my oft-estranged beloved. Hypocrisy, irony, contradiction. Even more symptoms of the human condition.
Time has since passed. I sorted out the blaring contradiction in my life – saying one thing and doing another – by taking my biggest leap of faith ever and starting to live the life I’d been talking about for so long. I dealt in part with sentimentality by letting go [somewhat] gracefully of that which I’d held so dear. I still look back fondly, and I hope I always will, knowing that every experience then brought me to where I am now and paved the path leading to where I shall be tomorrow. And the perspective of birthdays, anniversaries and “a year ago I was” still signify an important barometer for me, allowing me to track growth and progress or lack thereof, yet another very human condition I like to do.
So here are the pertinent “measurements” I’m tracking of this past year:
- I let go of one partner and opened up to so very many friendships, intimate connections and lovers who’ve enriched me in infinite ways
- I said goodbye to a job and said hello to my calling, exploring entrepreneurship and creative collaboration and heart-centered offerings
- I parted ways with a house and allowed the concept of home to take shape for me in spaces and places across state lines and hemispheres
- I surrendered my notion of how things should be and allowed myself to receive what simply is
- I cut ties with resentment and wholly embraced an attitude of gratitude for even the most painful or perplexing circumstances and characters in my life
I’m tracking all of this as progress for a year gone by, when in fact the truth is this is lifetimes of work and deep remembering becoming manifest. There goes that arbitrary nature of time. We can make of it what we will.
So what will you make of it? What will I make of it? I’m leaning into a more spacious, patient and compassionate relationship with time. I’m in the inquiry of what’s it like to slow down, to suspend the agenda, to move at the speed of love. It’s love that has been working me this past year. It’s love that is my constant teacher, my motivation, my guiding light. It’s love that I feel for all the circumstances and characters in my story. It’s love that I know myself to truly be.
Love is unbound by time. For love, time simply does not exist. Love is endlessly patient and immediately accessible. It can hurry the hell up and it can slow down and wait. My commitment and my suggestion – take a note from love and let time fall away.
Monday, March 16, 2015
Awestruck and tender-hearted. Those seem to be the two states that most move me to click my fingers across the keyboard and pour out a share. It's been awhile. I've been busy being busy, master of distraction that I am. It only ever lasts so long. There are feelings to be felt, visions to be seen.
Awestruck or tender-hearted? Sometimes I am blessed with the sight and the perspective to experience both sensations at once: union. Others I stay transfixed on one end of the spectrum: separation.
So where do I sit tonight? Let us see. . .
Tender, for sure. My heart feels as if it's being penetrated from the inside out, like a flow of hot lava has begun to bubble beneath the surface and is just making itself known, burning tears streaming in place of the molten glow. They've been pricking at the backs of my eyes for a while now. Only in the last few days have I softened my surface layer enough to let them come forth. There's such a relief in letting go. Breathing deeper now. I hadn't realized I'd been holding back.
Observing, I find myself aware of my smallness, of the child inside of me crying out, longing to be held and cared for, as the me who hears and sees and feels her offers what comfort she can. She's tugging at me to go dance and play and be. Whoever said you needed to have a child outside of yourself to be a mother? What a task it is to learn how to love the little one within as well as she deserves!
My hands trace the warmth of the back of my neck, the thin skin of my throat and the gentle curves of my breasts. Soft, nurturing strokes, soothing the body that holds both the child and the woman, the body that holds the many stories of this soul's journey. There's a part of me who wishes the caresses would wipe away the pain I'm sitting with here. That's when I realize I'm in a state of separation, attached to the story of my tender heart. So I move to the middle, the union. From there, even as I acknowledge the wish, the deeper knowledge that the pain is one and the same as my greatest pleasure emerges, and I know I'd never want to be without the wholeness of my experience.
In my tenderness I find myself awestruck, amazed by the course my life is careening down as I speed from one transition to the next, one initiation to the next. I breathe into the ache of what's releasing and the yearning for what's to come. Pulsing with aliveness, pregnant with possibility, my body responds to creative urges my mind doesn't comprehend. I feel pulled in so many directions, my heart answering calls only it can feel, calls I cannot hear with all the logic and judgment and good sense I've supposedly accumulated over all these years.
And what's the use of accumulating, I wonder? So much stuff, physical, mental, emotional. I'm amazed at my capacity for it all, and as I come to understand my truly limitless nature, I become increasingly aware of my human limits. More and more I find myself wanting to shed what I've amassed, to have a load so light or one so easily handed off for a while, that I can allow myself to be taken by whichever breeze suits me in the moment. Where would I go? What would I find? Who would I be?
Such fun to ponder. Awe-inspiring indeed. The tantrika lives alongside the businesswoman who is the wild child loving the mother. There is no distinction. All are me. I am all. Union. Ever fluid. Ever free. Yet even as the She in me longs for the freedom of floating, of moving effortlessly among Her many incarnations, bound by neither time nor place, there is also the longing for home. A sanctuary, a space where all of me is safe and welcome and can rest comfortably to ground.
Awestruck and tender-hearted. In the middle. With me.
Friday, February 13, 2015
I’m going to be a tad predictable, and dare I say cliché here. I’m going to write about love for Valentine’s Day. Just go with me on this, or don’t. Either way, it’s all love.
My experience continues proving to me that those words are in fact the ultimate truth: it’s all love.
“What’s ‘it’?” you might ask.
“What isn’t?” I’d reply.
There are the popularized, commercialized incarnations of love that many of us have been sold on for far too long. Take the essentials for this particular holiday. If you are to believe the hype, you must:
- Have a partner in order to properly celebrate Valentine’s Day
- Exchange the perfunctory cards, flowers, chocolates with said partner
- Prove you REALLY care with something extra. . . jewelry? Lingerie? Two tickets to paradise?
- Spend the big night in wildly romantic fashion, complete with mind-blowing sex once you’ve finished feeding one another chocolate covered strawberries, mouth-to-mouth, for dessert
- Let’s not forget that champagne toast!
I’ve experienced all of this before, and I adored it. Clearly I’m not above a little predictability and cliché in my life. In fact, just last year I was sharing much of the aforementioned status quo with a partner who I was so deeply in love with that I even allowed myself to fantasize I’d never spend another Valentine’s Day alone again. Score! Right?
Yet here I am another turn around the sun later, and I am single. Yup, I said the “s” word that many a woman in her mid-thirties cringes at that sound of.
I. Am. Single.
You know what else I am?
Deeply in love.
I feel quite certain I will not wake up on Valentine’s Day to a partner magically fallen from the sky, so there won’t be anyone gifting me a handwritten card or a racy corset. It’s possible I could end up having a wildly romantic night, complete with steamy sex, and we just might feed each other chocolates, but you’ll have to check back with me on that one. And I’m just not much for champagne these days. Amazing how getting serious about this spirituality business can rid you of your taste for booze.
So I don’t have the trappings of the traditional Valentine’s Day love affair. How can I be in love?
Let’s dissect that for a moment. In . Love. As in to be inside of this thing we’re calling love. You can’t see it. You can’t taste it. You can’t smell, touch or even hear it. So how can you be IN it?
I like answering questions with questions.
How can’t you be?
Love is life. Love is death. Love is rainbows and earthquakes and sprouting plants and smiling babies and grieving widows and starry skies. Love is the sensation when you shudder with aversion and when you undulate with bliss. Love is every rising and setting of the sun. Love is the stillness and the silence in between all sense perception. Love is.
I am in this world of pure and utter magic, this world of love, and so I am in love, as are you. There is simply no way around it. You couldn’t get out if you tried. It’s the sacred marriage to end all marriages. You exist and thus you are in love.
So why then are so many of us walking around unaware? Why do we say we fall in and out of love as if we were talking about changing our clothes each day?
It’s because we’ve forgotten. We’ve lost our way. The ultimate truth, it’s all love, is also the truth of who we are. We misguidedly attach our love to objects, often other people, and then believe love is lost when they have gone away.
Yet think about that for a moment. What has actually left? Even if it’s a living breathing body you’ve attached your love to that ceases to exist on this earth plane from one day to the next, what has actually left us? Not love.
Love is transcendent. It encompasses all that we can perceive and all that we cannot. It is in us and all around us. It’s our nature, and when we remember this, when we find our way, we awaken to the truth that we are, always have been and always will be in love.
I started ruminating on this while I was on an amazing mission I dubbed “Operation Cupid”. You see, a friend of mine in the U.S. asked me to deliver a surprise Valentine’s bouquet to her beloved who happens to be in the same town in Bali as I am. That involved me hand selecting the card, transcribing the given message, finding my way by scooter to a flower shop where I chose each and every stem in the bunch and even the color ribbon it was tied with. Then once back on my trusty Scooby scooter, I set off to find the house where this gesture of love would land. I got lost. I was covered in sweat and breathing in the exhaust of just a few too many tourist buses. I realized that no one would be reciprocating any such gesture toward me on this particular Valentine’s Day. And I felt so wholly and totally in love.
Observing my sheer joy at this mission started me reflecting on what it is to be “in love” and how it was that I was having the exact same felt experience of being in love as I’ve known in the more traditional context even while I was negotiating traffic and juggling stress, wholly and totally by myself. It occurred to me that as in love as my friend is with her paramour, I am in love with the call to service I was fortunate to receive, I am in love with every breath I get to take (even if it is a polluted one) and whether I am happy or sad, accompanied or alone, I am always in love.
So my share is for the sake of inspiring your own reflection. Whether you will honor Valentine’s Day in the most cliché manner possible or by dressing in black and sitting in mourning or whatever the hell you feel called to do, I invite you to really ponder what the words “in love” mean to you and see if you might catch a glimpse of that ultimate truth for yourself. It really is all love.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Heart at once hollow yet heavy and full. Beating and bleeding and burning for You.
Who is this “You” and who is this “me”? Is this heart even mine? As mine as it can be.
I would if I could, just let go, just let be. Stop the doing, stop the feeling and sit with just me.
If me is You and One are We, beyond the pain of separation, Truth is set free.
So I set my intention and You set your sails, gliding so effortlessly while my anchor trails.
Trying to lighten the load, I release. Yet the weight pulls me down again and there goes the peace.
Yours is the lightness and mine is the dark. Ah, but We are One. Reminder is a spark.
Sparking the memory of the time beyond time, absent the notion of a yours and a mine.
All that exists is Truth Absolute, Knowledge Absolute, Bliss Absolute. Sat Chit Ananda. Ain’t that the Truth?
So I’ve been told and so I believe, and so I keep seeking, Your billowing sails out at sea.
The sea of compassion, of mystery, of grace. Sea of abiding love and wholeness I taste.
I taste You in my blood, my tears, my nectar honey twist. Your ocean is in me so I know You exist.
What I know with my body can’t always be known with my mind. I turn my senses inward to feel what I find.
In this body live the Lover, the Beloved and the Love. I taste color, feel music and hear the wing of the dove.
Nothing makes sense in here and yet sense is all there is. You open me for receiving and I give and give and give.
Offering my yearning, the depth of my desire. Offering my devotion, my emotion, my fire.
Offering what is big in me and also what is small. Offering and offering in hopes You’ll take it all.
Take me, have me, do with me what You will. Please just use me, use me up, have Your fill.
Fill Yourself with me so that I am wholly in You. Only then will there be an end to loneliness and a resting in what is True.