Sunday, December 21, 2014

Divining the Masculine - Part 1 - The Disappearance of Masculine Ritual Processes

Recently, I have experienced friendly and intense discussions with clients and close friends about "divining the masculine" and what that might mean.  With all the talk out there about women coming into their "divine feminine" power and sexuality which is so incredibly beautiful and crucial to the evolution of humanity and I want to support that evolution in anyway I can.   At the same time I find it just as important to bring the conversation around the divine masculine more into the light.

The ideas which are so pertinent and relevant to this conversation are the philosophies and archetypical descriptions presented by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette in their book, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. Moore and Gillette present a jungian introduction to the evolving masculine.  We need to remember that men have been responsible for the industrial revolution, the suppression and maltreatment of women, the rape of the land through agriculture and bio-engineering, and the feminine got disgusted enough to start the feminist movement because they were not happy how men were exercising their immature masculine power. Homo-phobia is also a big area that needs to get addressed which keeps us separated from each other in a hierarchal structure.  It is my intention to help men take responsibility for the destructiveness of the immature masculine and help them evolve into the mature, divine masculine.

The evolution of the divine feminine has well taken off as we watch (and even hope for) Hillary Clinton decide to run for the US Presidency, Margaret C. Whitman as CEO of Hewlett Packard and even Drew Faust as President of Harvard.  What does that mean to the mature, divine masculine and how does it play out for the men on the planet?  How do men walk the path in their own mature divine masculine along side the women who are in their own divine feminine?  What is that going to look like?  This isn't about superiority or suppression, patriarchy or matriarchy, feminism or competition.  This is about finding balance and integration and polarity with the intent to best support each others' growth with love and compassion, with the good of the whole as the goal.  We need to become even more intimate with each other's challenges and suffering to witness the goodness that pours out of all of the pain so we evolve together. Change is happening and it's a new holy chapter in the human evolution. We all need to get on board!!

Since the invention of agriculture, the expansion of capitalism and the industrial revolution men have been in engaged in high degrees of forward movement (a masculine trait) and competition with each other to gather more food, money, land and therefore prestige (or a false sense thereof) due to their presumed success.  The good of the human collective ("inclusion" is a feminine trait) was hardly ever the main goal, mostly personal gain. Don't get me wrong, this was and still is a vital part of our human evolution, even today.  Since modern science and a technical world view has come onto the scene we have lost our contact with the great mystery of life and life's circumstances in exchange for something more tangible.  The fact still remains... our existence, life and death is the great mystery and there is no way around it.

As a result of all this forward technological movement, men have lost connection to ritual, ceremony and traditions.  Men are no longer hunting together for food in their tribes with the inclusive intention of feeding the tribe through the winter.  Right now men are sitting in their business circles with main objectives of making profit for themselves. All of this has left men with feelings of disconnection and isolation from their male counterparts.  First, we have lost the sacred space component of initiating boys into manhood for joining the military.  Second, wisdom from our elders have been lost because we are not hearing the stories from our forefathers being passed down to future generations of men in these sacred containers.

We have lost our connection with the land, with rituals and traditions that have been a long defining part of understanding what it means to be a man as nature, not separate from nature.  Men need to expand their understanding to the divine relationship to power, to sexuality, while living in life's mystery and all the while, supporting each other through this learning process.

Many of us seek the generative, affirming, and empowering father (though most of us don't know it), the father who, for most of us never existed in our actual lives and won't appear, no matter how hard we try to make him appear. We have lost connection with our ability to feel our deepest emotions of grief, sadness and shame along with the healthy ways of expressing them. Many boys are growing up with an absent father, not absent in the physical realm but, emotionally absent because we have not been taught to feel, only to suppress those feelings. "Stop your crying...big boys don't cry", is a common theme.

In order for a mature masculine to come into being there needs to be a death or a symbolic death and a re-birth, like the death of boyhood and a birth into manhood. Symbolic death is always a vital part of any initiatory ritual, the boy Ego must "die." The old ways of being and doing and thinking and feeling must ritually "die" before the new mature man can emerge and be born.  Effective, transformative initiation rituals/ceremonies does away with the Ego and its desires in its old form and resurrecting a new, subordinate relationship to a previously unknown and mysterious high divine power or God. The power of mature masculine energies always develops a new masculine personality that is marked by calm, compassion and clarity of vision.

We are right in the middle of a dilemma, lacking adequate role models of mature men, and in need of societal structures in conjunction with encouraging support systems for bringing about ritual processes.  Instead, sadly, it's ''every man for himself", and it is not sustainable anymore.  Most men will fall by the wayside, with no idea of what we are supposed to be doing as a man or what went wrong with our masculine desires. There is an underlying sense of anxiety, on the verge of feeling impotent, helpless, frustrated, put down, unloved and unappreciated, and often shame and insecurity of owning our strong, powerful, masculine energies. We can feel that our creativity is being attacked, that our initiative is met with hostility, that we are ignored, belittled, and not knowing how to transcend the past. So then we cave in to a brutally competitive world, making our work the highest priority while trying to keep our relationships afloat, always feeling like we are losing energy, or missing the mark and feeling isolated.

As I am a student of evolving human life's process, I believe there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's this good news for men (as well as women) that all we want to do is share the goodness for the benefit of everyone.

Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson on Grooveshark

Friday, August 22, 2014

A Walk In The Park....

Glorious days in Maine when the summer sunlight dims earlier in the day and makes the radiance of openness even more glorious.

It just wouldn't be the same without being greeted by the saucy Water-monkies in their chic hats.

Sexy summer garb donning all the beautiful people, appreciating being alive, the joys of the simplicities when automobile parking is a breeze :-)

Being served pleasure in service to the greatest becoming... madame sunset glaring through sunglasses making known the end of the day where our perspectives are demanded to shift.

The hint of a tilted smile spins the perfect beginning to the most attentively and appropriately planned, fashionably late, evening.

Fruits of the sea spread in ritz cracker irresistibility... a delicacy to all and nobody could ever disagree!!

Dusk falls upon the convergence of the Salmon and Cocheco in shades of orange and purple. Life is alive on the waterfront.

Ruthie Foster beckons as a detour from the perennial gardens that the beloved knows are some the beauties of the earth.

Strawberry Banke met Madame Gundalow this evening as a reminder of life's past and simpler ways of life... while the USS Miami screams from across the water telling us how far we've come... and how far we still need to go.  A soft whisper in the ear... "Balance", says Prescott P., revealing her sexy curves so very graciously,

at every step...
the brush-by of a new body...
the freshness of intrigue...
two left feet...
taking it all in...
the great mystery...
anything is possible!...
Do palms only meet upon contractual agreement?
Pinch me?...
Oh, wait just a minute...

The formal garden demands full attention with her choreography of water and colored light dancing with the birds in the pond.

Wisdom of ancient trees downloading valuable messages while God delivers an invitation to live your best life...

Love is all it is.  Love is all you are.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Death is Eros - A Hospice Love Affair

The dying process was, and continues to be a curious fascination and something always drew me in closer to try to understand some realm of the mystery.  Dealing with loss and grief around the dying process has long been a part of my life. Witnessing, encouraging and being with feelings of grief, sadness, shame and anger from others when someone close was dying was always an easy thing for me. When others displayed resistance to be present with their feelings and present with the dying, it made it feel more of a natural place for me to operate from.  This witnessing strengthened my ability to stay and be present with whatever was happening in my own emotional state and be present with others around me who were going through their own individual process.  The time had come for me to spend more of my time with the dying and supporting the death and dying process for the families through Hospice work.  Never in my life would I have anticipated having such a love affair like I am about to tell you about...

After many years of being a hospice volunteer I received a call from my coordinator saying they had a unique opportunity for me.  I enjoyed getting those phone calls from hospice, when they found a client or a family who desired someone to come into their home to have conversation. I was presented with a very different situation... “Alice"…a 98yr old Jewish woman, lived in her own apartment, still had her complete wits about her, wasn’t afraid of speaking her mind and clearly expressed her desires to stay and live out her last days in her own home.  The call came as Alice had just fired her previous volunteer.  This volunteer reported back to Hospice that Alice’s apartment was little cluttered and dirty and placed a judgment on Alice’s living situation that should have been different then it really was.  As it turned out, there really wasn't an issue after all, only the volunteer’s lack of better judgment to respect Alice's needs.  When Hospice came in to investigate, Alice immediately got upset with the accusations from her volunteer and promptly fired them.  After the investigation, Alice was asked if she wanted to try another volunteer and she had special requests after this situation…this time, Alice wanted a young and handsome man to come over to her home.  It just so happened that I was the youngest hospice volunteer and just so happened to be a man. After I got the details of the situation I immediately knew this was an assignment for me, so I called Alice and arranged a time to pay her a visit.

Promptly on time I arrived at Alice's apartment, was greeted by her caregiver, got introduced to Alice and was invited in to sit down.  Immediately I could feel in the air that there was chemistry between the two of us.  After talking for only a few minutes we discovered we had a lot in common, we both grew up in Jewish households, had an appreciation for music and dancing, loved spending time in the Catskills, and visiting Boston and New York City (where Alice grew up). Alice eventually moved to Maine with one of her five, yes FIVE, husbands she wound up burying over the course of her life. Alice made it really clear to me that she was going to be around for a while and wasn't ready to go, no matter what anyone might have said to me. Alice had a zest for life that was unmatched by even some of the young people in my life, which was such a turn on for me.  What humored me a lot was that Alice wanted to make sure I understood there was no way I was ever going to be able to keep up with her stamina for life.  “Remember how many husband’s I buried”, she said.  I always conceded while telling her that I could only do my best and try to go at her pace.  “You can try, but remember the other men in my life couldn’t do it”, Alice would say.  Alice didn’t waste any time deepening into the intimate spaces of her life during my first visit with her. Alice said she wanted me to do most of the talking the next time I came over.  As I was soon to leave, I asked Alice "When do I get to see you again?"... And she proceeds to tell me how busy she is in her life and isn't sure when or if she might have the time to see me.  Resorting to a behavior that I am not familiar with...begging… "But, Alice, I would really like to see you again”, and after going around a couple times in my begging fashion, Alice conceded and allowed me to set up a time to come and see her the following week.

The commitment I make to my clients is to visit them once a week for at minimum of a couple of hours. Building a rapport, let alone an emerging intimacy like in this case with Alice, takes time and I pledge my devotion to make the connection happen!  So, off I went to see Alice again.  The time I spent with her this time was about listening to her life's disappointments.  Alice was disappointed with her family, with the rabbi’s at the temple’s she has paid dues to, disappointed that her husbands left her alone, unfulfilled expectations in her caregivers and even with the bigger hospice picture.  After listening to her for what seemed to be a long while I questioned her, "Do you really want to take all this disappointment and resentment with you to the other side?", and by me asking that question opened up the floodgates, "YOU HAVEN'T HEARD ANYTHING YET", and off Alice went on additional rants about more disappointments in her life.  It was then I realized what I was supposed to be doing with her.  I was there to be a conduit, to receive Alice’s downloads of her life so she could at least minimize them inside her mind and let them go as she needed to into the universe.  Following that realization…I sat in my chair, restructured my posture, put my two feet firmly flat on the floor which allowed her words and energy behind the words to pass through my body as I asked questions to try to get her to download even more of her anger, resentments and disappointments so she did not have to hold on to those negative energies anymore.  It was such a holy and sacred way for me to be serving Alice as a receiver of her life’s disappointments, I was honored.  My dance with Alice continued week after week, playing hard to get and being too busy to make additional plans to see me and making sure I knew there was no way I would ever be able to keep up with her.

My visits with Alice continued at least once a week and after about a month, evolved into sometimes twice a week.  There were a couple of times I entered into Alice’s apartment when the hospice nurse was leaving and was told she would not make it through the weekend.  I still came inside, sat by her bed, held her hand, told her I was there with her as she squeezed my hand back.  Alice's words were true, she was not ready to go and pulled through time and time again.  During the next month or so, Alice experienced a series of mini strokes and every time she pulled through and came back home with very little evidence of having a stroke.  It was obvious to me that God was not ready to have Alice just yet because she had some sort of unfinished business.

My connection and deepening intimacy with Alice continued as she made sure when I came over it was first to meet her family and then to hang out while her family was there.  Maybe Alice was showing off her new "boyfriend" or maybe it was because I was providing some degree of comfort for everyone around because it was so stressful for the family to interact with each other in a loving and compassionate way.  Alice scheduled my visits with her when she knew her family would be there and when I arrived, gave me center stage as she asked whoever was there in her home to clear a space so I could sit close to her.   This was not a traditional hospice volunteer assignment and everyone in the room knew there was something more going on then just a hospice volunteer paying a visit.  Alice continued playing hard to get with me and I played along.

Hospice would call me pretty regularly asking why I wasn't going to see Alice?  My initial response was smiles and laughter thinking that maybe Alice was really workin’ it to get me over to see her more and wasn't able to tell me to my face.  Imagining my laughter was confusing to hear on the other end of the phone, and after explaining myself, Alice was calling hospice as she was having ongoing memory issues to contend with following the strokes she was having.  Alice was not remembering that I may have been there on the same day she was calling or that I may have been on my way over to see her.  It was worth a good laugh and on the inside because I knew I was having this beautiful, erotic love affair with Alice, feeling her desire and longing to be with me.  I was experiencing the adoration, love and commitment we had to each other through the final days of her life. It was really sweet!

Alice has her 99th birthday and was excited about celebrating with everyone in the building and she could care less about what people would think about me coming in to celebrate with her.  Alice insisted on celebrating her life along with me, so she throws herself a party.  Alice invited me to be there and, unfortunately, I was unable to go.  One of the protocols in hospice is that we are not supposed to receive or give any gifts. I broke the rules and brought her a small bouquet of flowers before her party which went off without a hitch and was a sign that God was still not ready to take Alice away.  From that point on I felt an increased commitment to Alice and would see her twice a week.  I continued to be present through another series of mini strokes, through disagreements with her family and through a challenging time when her granddaughter came out to be a paid caregiver for her.  It was obvious that there was tension between the two of them.

Another couple weeks went along before my phone rang, yet again, from Hospice.  My eyes rolled in my head with a big smile as I anticipated what the familiar conversation was going to be.  How wrong was I!  Alice suffered another stroke and this time she needed more specialized after care.  I got a call from the hospice social worker and she told me of the situation and asked if I could come over.  I dropped whatever it was I was doing at that time and went to be with her.  What happened was a shock to me, Alice was admitted to St. Joseph's hospice suite... WHAT?  “Uh Oh”, was my immediate reaction.  A Jewish lady who was super clear she wanted to be at home and her family just admitted her to a catholic assisted living facility...OMG, I’ve never seen Alice this pissed off before in all the months I spent listening to her anger and disappointments.  She was so pissed off that her entire family was there, the hospice social worker as well as the hospice volunteer coordinator.  As soon as I walked in, Alice immediately called me over and wanted me to be at her side.  When Alice’s anger had subsided, it was agreed by everyone to get all the necessary supplies to her home ASAP and she would get back there as soon as those supplies were in place.  Alice was somewhat relieved while she asked me to take down the crucifix that was on the wall across from her bed.  Little things do make all the difference sometimes.  I told Alice I would come to visit her in a couple days after she got settled back at home and she was ok with that.

I arrived at Alice's apartment a few days after the incident at St. Joseph’s and was greeted at the door by the hospice nurse, once again telling me they didn't think she was going to make it through the day.  I looked at them out of the corner of my eye with a look of "yea, right...not again?” yet this time they were serious.  There was a brand new caregiver there who was not just new to the family, it was also her first ever assignment and was brand new to caregiving work.  There was also a close friend of Alice's in the room, the granddaughter of the 5th husband she buried, ShariLyne.  As it turned out, ShariLyne was the one who took Alice to all her doctors’ appointments, to the grocery store, picking up her medications, etc. and she was the one who did a lot of the day-to-day necessities for Alice.  I realized later that ShariLyne played an integral role in Alice's life and especially during the last months of her life.

After walking in, Alice was all setup in her bedroom with all accouterments to keep her comfortable in her last days of life.  She was going through periods of breathing and not breathing (called "apnoea").  Alice was visibly unconscious. I pulled up a chair, grabbed her hand and started talking to her.  I told her that she was home just like she wanted to be and that I was there with her and I wasn't going anywhere, I was right where I wanted to be and did not want to be anywhere else.  I spoke to Alice and reflected on our time together, the love we had for each other, how much I appreciated her tenacity for life, and the dancing we were doing together no matter what our age differences may have been.  It was clear to me right then that Alice was well on her way to transitioning to the other side.  I could feel the emotions welling up inside of me as I was holding her hand and hearing the low tones of the bit of conversation going on in the other room.  Alice took her final breaths and passed on.

The new caregiver was a little freaked out by Alice's passing and mentioned she had formal "protocol" following the death of a client.  I asked her to wait a minute because Alice deserved an honoring of her life as I felt her presence still in the room.  We all stood there around her bed and held a vigil, saying the things we needed to say to remember the beauty of the woman she is and and paying homage to such an amazing being. It was an amazing and magical time to be able to experience the deep appreciation and love for Alice while in attendance at the exact time of her death. After everything was said that needed to be said, the process was started, the phone calls made and people started to arrive… family, hospice, the ambulance and it was then I knew it was time for me to leave.  I walked to the elevator, down to the ground floor, into my car and I lost it… all my emotion came rushing out of me, the tears and wailing poured out and I didn't think there would be an end to it.  I was paralyzed in my grief and sadness and I did not know where to go or what to do.  I was fortunate enough to pick up my phone and call a couple of friends who I told what was going on and was able to land with them and they were able to hold me in my grief and my experience.  Thank you Rosemary and Thank you Sharon!

I received a call from hospice the next day checking in on me and was so sweet.  Being able to experience someone’s death like that is a rare occurrence for anyone and an even rarer one for a hospice volunteer.  Alice's family communicated through hospice that they wanted me to say a few words at her funeral and be a pallbearer.  Everyone recognized the role I was playing with Alice at the end of her life and honored me with a beautiful gift to be able to have more intimate closure with the family funeral rituals and ceremonies rather than on my own with hospice.  I was grateful to the family for that offering.  I continue to tell this story about my love affair with Alice to new hospice volunteers and others who might be interested.

My love and deep admiration continues for Alice, for hospice, for the people who are drawn to the work and I take a lot of pleasure keeping Alice alive through telling this story.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

An Evolution Into Post-Conventional Relationship

What relationship type do you adhere to?  Conventional relationship... polyamory... relationship anarchy... non-monogamy... and what I am going to call... post-conventional relationship?  With all the talk out there about how human beings aren't meant for monogamous relationships, there are many other labeled options.  Each one of these options is beautiful and each has their own rules and path, but you have to know what some of the rules are before you choose to enter into them. However, should you decide you want to engage the post-conventional, you are saying you want to live on the edge. You don’t want to take yesterdays discoveries for granted because you want to include your important learnings of the past and transcend into tomorrow's learning and re-engage the fullness of every moment. That is not for the timid or weak of heart.

Reflections From Le Anne
A question that continually arose in my head ...what is the difference between the conventional (monogamous) relationship and a genuine post-conventional relationship and what are some of the key distinctions?  The nature of classical polyamory today can be described as an escape from commitment.  Why do I have to be with you when I can be with another person?  Or, I don't have to be with you because I have another. To be involved with more than one person in an intimate relationship means to be more committed, and not less.  The key distinction and an essential piece here is commitment.  The big difference between polyamory and genuine post conventionality is that there is a deep commitment to the other and that commitment is demonstrated as an essential responsibility to each other's growth and unfolding. If you’re willing to actually step up to this way of operating in a post conventional relationship, then, from each person you are involved with, you are committed to be working on a different dimension of your life and be committed to working on a different dimension in their life. There is a commitment to be involved in each other's lives and I am holding a piece of your story and that you are holding a piece of my story. The commitment means that I have something to learn from this person and I have to be willing to be impacted by them in the most profound of ways. The commitment means that you are committed to the emergence of the other's story, supporting and encouraging their evolution into the highest and best version of themselves.

If you are committed to being involved as a sexual lover; remember that being a lover means to be a giver. To be a giver is to be committed to the growth of the other.  Sexuality and our contact with each together is part of that commitment.  We agree to not just do casual sex, because when you do casual sex, in the end, there is a greater exposure and vulnerability that in someways goes bad because sex is never just sex, sex is holy and a sacred contract.  Sex is ethics and ethics is not casual.

I've been curious to explore and dive even deeper to this area of commitment, to discover and possibly even figure out (or even create) some of the answers to what commitment means and what levels of commitment are involved inside of a post-conventional relationship.  If you are involved (or deciding to become involved) in a genuine post-conventional relationship that says you are even more committed...not running away from the hard stuff, with a commitment to the self and a commitment to the other.

The first key aspect of commitment is time. If I’m involved with you then I’m committed to giving you a certain amount of time and we have to negotiate to decide what that amount of time is. This time commitment could mean that we write once a week, visit each other once a month or even twice a year, it might mean that we are together for a certain amount of time as long as we have that certain amount of time available.  When the agreed upon or the right amount of time is not available anymore then we close down that dimension of the commitment.  Lets say I want to be intimately involved with five people, I have to be willing to be committed to five people and each of them at a different level.  This is why it’s hard to be committed to 20 people, we just don’t have the time.  Post conventionality is a higher level of obligation, a higher time commitment then classical conventional monogamy.

The second aspect of commitment is saying you are willing to open yourself up to the new revelations that every day presents to us and not basing yourself in the precedent of yesterday.  Sexual permissions of yesterday are not sexual permissions of today.  Just because we had a sexual relationship yesterday doesn’t mean we will have one today. Another revelation, which isn't so profound, is that there are different stages of life.  You can have a stage of life where you are profoundly post conventional and then you can move to a stage of life where you say that you are not going to do the post conventional anymore and want to move into a classical monogamous relationship.  This isn't because you aren’t interested in the post conventional or that you shifted your position, but because at different times of life, different expressions work differently, both for better and worse.

The third aspect of commitment is creating ease, grace and drama free transitions.  We negotiate our time commitment to each other, deciding what we are going to be doing together and then an issue comes up and someone gets busy… and there isn’t time anymore.  Then what?  You need to keep checking in, you need to create a spaciousness, you need to be relaxed, at ease, with a lightness around these transitions…no trauma no drama.  You don’t create false drama; you are in the presence of the moment, holding it seriously and lightly.  You have to look very carefully at what exactly the gift you are giving and what the gift you are receiving in every single relationship that you have to help make the transitions happen.

The fourth aspect of commitment is to be willing to liberate the other when you are not able to give to that person what they need.  You are continually re-engaging the relationship, that is why it always requires commitment. You also have to be responsible enough to end the sexual aspect of the relationship when its time…we negotiated a container for the sexual part of our relationship for period of time, now we don’t have a container for it anymore and we don’t let the sexual engagements become a perpetual habit.  In addition, when the negotiated amount of time is not available then we close down that dimension of the commitment to possibly renegotiate another agreement.

At a certain point in any type of relationship, you can see that the relationship begins to have a life of its own and we become committed to working through the issues that come up.  If both people are committed to working things out then that changes the game.  You have to work out what the sacred tradeoffs are.  These tradeoffs or concessions happen in every relationship in order to create or get to the higher and unique “we” of the relationship.  The relationship needs to be allowed to develop into the unique “we” and at the same time, the relationship needs to support the individuals. For example, if someone in the relationship isn’t willing to play, say in the realm of post-conventional or BDSM or anything else, are you able to liberate the other to play? Consider what desires and gifts you are bringing to the table. What desires and gifts is your partner is bringing to the table. How you are giving to each other. And asking, are we growing?  We need to answer those questions in every single situation, whether monogamous or not.

I believe we all try to figure out how to do all of our relationships well, in a compassionate and loving way.  Our individual desires are continually evolving and growing and changing.   Let's do the best we can to put our ego's aside to support each other to become the people we want to become within the sacred container of a 'we' space, no matter what type of relationship we choose to operate from!

Bizzare Love Triangle by New Order on Grooveshark

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The BDSM Mysticism - Domination and Submission

We live in a culture of sexuality where people can be confused around their desire to engage in the acts of dominating/submission (d/s).  Some people swear by the d/s lifestyle and others are disgusted by it.  Others love the energy when they are playing with d/s and at the same time are ashamed to admit that they love it.  It's my belief that everyone has this attraction, in one way or another, either to domination or to submission or to both and maybe you're not sure what to do with your own attraction.  We need to be able to engage in the conversation and to liberate the spiritual aspect of domination and submission, in order to give it a loving context and place it in a sacred framework.  My intention with this writing is to create a depth of love and compassion, an identification and a deeper understanding in this form of sexuality.  What value is in the dominant/submissive? Why is it important or not important?  How do we engage domination and submission in the realm of the holy and the sacred? Do you know where you find your relationship to domination and submission?

Before I get started, I need to so briefly introduce a framework of the psyche in transpersonal psychology, as presented by Ken Wilbur (Wilbur 1986), called the full framework consciousness model.   Within this framework, consciousness/development is considered to contain three principal stages: the pre-personal (subconscious motivations), the personal (conscious mental processes), and the transpersonal (integrative and mystical structures) levels of consciousness.  The pre-personal level of consciousness is characterized by an undeveloped level where the person has no firm sense of identity with no real ego structure established.  The personal level is characterized by a beginning sense of rational-individuated-personal selfhood where the individual experiences a sense of identity and autonomy with a healthy ego structure.  The transpersonal level of consciousness include those stages of human development that go beyond ego and self actualization toward self transcendence.  There is much more to say about this, and I needed to establish this basic understanding as I will be using these terms moving forward.

First let me talk about submission...the act of relinquishing, giving up control, a dimension of surrender. There is a deep and profound longing for humans to surrender and in this yearning there is an aspect which lives in the light and also a dark or shadow element.  In the shadows of surrender, there are specific times, certain people and in certain places where it would be inappropriate to surrender.  There are people who you shouldn't surrender to.  When you have to cross over your own personal boundaries or when its a violation of your own personal integrity then surrender isn't a good idea.  There is apart of us that wants to deeply surrender because we want to give up responsibility, which is a movement from the personal to the pre-personal, where the desire to surrender comes from the abdication of selfhood, an abandonment or sort-of betrayal of the self.  The dark or shadow side of surrender is when you are unable to stand in your personhood, in your ability to respond from your free liberated being to life's choices.

There is a second dimension to surrender which actually has a positive connotation…your not moving from the personal to the pre-personal but your moving from the personal to the trans-personal.  This happens when giving yourself up to a higher law, to a higher will or to a higher vision.  "I surrender before God".  (The God you don't believe in, doesn't exist) And you to make sure that God is not some home made created idolatry or lower vision in the skies.  You have to make sure it’s generally a higher vision. You have to be careful that God isn’t hijacked with some form of un-evolved consciousness.  Having said that, there is a form of surrender that is highly positive.  That’s beautiful surrender!

Tripping Over Joy by Hafiz
What is the difference between your experience of Existence and that of a saint?
The saint knows that the spiritual path is a sublime chess game with God
And that the Beloved has just made such a Fantastic Move, that the saint is now continually tripping over joy and bursting out in laughter and saying, “I Surrender!”
Whereas, my dear, I am afraid you still think you have a thousand serious moves.

There is this moment where the beloved/life/divine incarnate says, I just made a great move…SURRENDER! And you still think you have 1000 serious moves and you refuse to surrender.  That’s being locked in the shadow of personhood, a contraction of ego…the inability to surrender is our illusion, isn't it?  Let's release that illusion for a higher level of love and consciousness.

There is this fierce desire that we have to surrender and is sometimes very hard to access.  So one of the places we can access surrender is in sexuality.  In sexuality, we use sexual surrender...remember…you can only surrender to a person you trust, you surrender in love, you don't surrender in fear.  Right?  You play out the game of surrender in order to access that energy in which you give up the contraction of the small self in order to let your wider deeper self emerge.  This is what I'm calling, the descent for the sake of ascent...

Let me get a little more precise of how this happens.  This happens through a profound and mystical process called …Yeridah - ירידה ‎(Descent) for Aliyah - עליה (Ascent). This precept tells us that sometimes we must descend into lower spiritual realms in order to ultimately ascend to greater spiritual heights.  This means you descend into the energy of domination and fear in order to ascend and experience a wider sense of self.  People do all kinds of role play, acting out some sort of coercive scene or another, which can be part of the play in sexuality.  What's the attraction to doing this? Through the energy of decent, the primal energy through the darkness, you bypass the personality, and are attracted to the experience of the self beyond the narrow and sometimes contracted boundaries of the personality, the ego and the separate self and then wind up ascending and experiencing the wider, transcendent self through these acts of submission. That’s what the deep attraction is. People are ashamed of engaging in these acts, because we are taught that we have to be in control.  Everyone doesn’t want to be giving up their personality or their persona or their separate self…because that’s considered shameful in our society.  But actually whats happening is we are looking for a way to access this wider space of self so we are descending for the sake of ascending.

There's a shadow side to this…you get stuck in the decent.  In the end, you don’t feel loved, seen or recognized.  You have to be very careful not to get stuck. In order to not get stuck, you should do domination mutually and you need to change rolls, called "the switch", so you don’t get into a relationship where one person is always the dominator and the other person is always submitting. By willing to trade rolls, you loosen the strictness of it and you are each able to taste both sides. It is then, you realize, they are actually rolls as opposed to solidifying into fixed negativity.

Now for the domination side of the equation, which might even be a little more complex.  The attraction to domination is power.  If people don't have a clean and clear relationship to the goodness and positive aspects of power they might be ashamed of claiming their power. The liberal community, in many ways, has made the human relationship to power negative.  In part, because the liberal community has been motivated by "good" perceptions toward life and ways of being. Power has often been abused and has not regularly been put into the light with a positive regard.  Here is an example, students have abused their power over their teachers by making a false complaint, which is abusive.  Teachers can also abuse their power over students.  In short, power is often negatively used.  There are abuses of power and we need to be aware of them.

However, power by itself is not a negative, power is attractive, a divine quality and needs to be used well. Power is an attribute of "the divine" such as a "higher power" and it's beautiful.  There aren’t many places where we can access that sacred divine quality of power and when we can, it's exciting! Touching that divine quality of power is thrilling because we have often become disconnected from power and we need to reconnect to that energy and offer it up in all its positive expressions.

Domination is a way to access that power without hurting anyone (nonconsensual) because of the sacred agreement and the container is one of love.  Both the dominant and the submissive are accessing power.  The person who is dominating is accessing their own power and the person who is submitting is accessing the direct contact with the others' power.  Contact with power is exciting, like the concept of high voltage electricity, an aliveness.  It's important to reformulate our relationship to power in more positive terms and not only negatively chastise power.  Domination is the ability to access power, and to access it in a way that we realize its essential and sacred quality.  It's exciting to access divinity and divinity is about power.  Can you feel the power of the big bang?  Can you feel the power of molecular biology in all of its amazement?  The power of millions of miles of neural pathways in the human body?

What the person who is dominating is pushing for, is to see the other person in their true, raw, unadulterated vulnerability.  But since the dominator doesn't often know how to look for that person in the rawness of their authenticity, its easier for the dominator to meet the other person when they are wearing their ego mask, because sometimes it's too difficult, too powerful to meet the submissive in their rawness of their own authenticity.  So the dominator is seeking a way to see the submissive's true essential self by removing their own ego mask, and we remove the ego mask, not by upgrading or up-leveling the person, but by down-leveling or downgrading the person.

There are only two ways to move out of the personal realm of consciousness, either up to the transpersonal or down to the pre-personal. If you don’t know how to tenter into the transpersonal realm of consciousness, transcending the separate-self - ego-self, then you go down, regressing back into a pre-personal state of consciousness.  What we have to do is make a deliberate conscious choice and access the energy of domination and submission and the pre-personal and say ok...I'm going to go down to the pre-personal, to regress, in order to descend for the sake of ascent … only to go up to the trans-personal, only in order to meet that person in their naked authenticity and their fierce vulnerability through love and not through fear.

There are a couple core ideas I would like you to take away from this.  First, engaging in acts of domination and submission should be created in a loving context, in a sacred and holy environment where the submissive has complete control to act and operate from their own personal boundaries, values and integrity. The second idea I'd like you to take away from this is that you need to move between the dominant and submissive so you don't get stuck in either role.  Always move between them so you can feel each dimension at play.  We will have a tendency to be more comfortable in one of the roles and changing roles will provide good learning about ourselves in the face of resistance to move into that role.  Move between them because you want to access both sides of yourself as a dominant and as a submissive.  All you will do is grow, and it'll be a beautiful thing!!

Cathedral by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young on Grooveshark

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Relationship as Spiritual Practice

Modern-day relationships are challenging and full of opportunities for increased personal awareness and growth. As our society enters a time of transition from the ego and the thinking mind to body/heart connection and personal enlightenment, we are experiencing and experimenting with different ways of being with our and each other's pain. "Being" with our (and the other's) discomfort/pain can bring up all kinds of conflict, such as defensiveness, blaming, and even shaming the other for how we are feeling instead of owning our own experience.

A deep, loving and intimate relationship brings up, as a matter of course, all of our love wounds from the past. There is no surprise when some of us who claim to be "spiritual" use our sense of spirituality to try to remain above the pain and discomfort that these deep relationships bring up, so we don't have to deal with the relational woundings of our past. When these woundings of the past are not dealt with directly, however, they have a tendency to show up as "shadow" and we continue to behave and act in our old protective states to keep us from re-experiencing the pain.

Relationships will never evolve without dealing with these wounds, and there is nothing more perfect to heal those wounds than being in a loving relationship. It is important to realize these woundings are relational in nature and that the only way to be free of them is to feel them completely and have a full-on conscious experience.

When your partner behaves in a way that expresses anger or disappointment or even any kind of unconscious behavior, I would invite you to take a look at how you may be receiving this information. Can you relinquish the desire to "fix-it", let go of any perception/judgment you may have about their experience, not get defensive, and simply receive the information knowing your partner is showing you a place where they have been hurt?

People are either loving us fully or showing us where they have been hurt.

The only way to gain access to the bountiful fruit that an intimate relationship can bear, is to get rid of our conditioned defensive patterns.  By staying in old patterns of defensiveness, we limit the depth of intimacy that can be experienced in our relationships. As our protective ego lets go of our defensive nature in the face of wanting to love well, we can experience the desire of raw human connection and intimacy.

We need to allow all of our old constructs and our ego's defensive frameworks to come apart. It's not until then that we begin to find our most perfect imperfection at the core of our being. In order to grow as spiritual beings, we need to welcome these dirty/messy parts of ourselves to the surface. Their presence is not the ego making some bad or some unnecessary, horrible mistake. Rather, they are providing the invaluable "grist for the mill" that makes our transformation possible and even probable.

What does it take to have a relationship as spiritual practice? All it asks is for you to become involved in some sort of engagement with people, whether at work, in a support group, with a friend or in a love relationship.  Be aware when you feel the need to argue or take hold of a position of being "right".  It is at that moment you are operating from ego, from a sense of small self and letting go of the relationship.  You need to have a default position but that position can't be blocking you off from other, even higher and more expansive possibilities.

You can only be what you are willing to become. You can only become if you are willing to shift positions and perspectives -- to be able to hold a position and be able to give up that position in order to be open to possibility. You cannot hold a firm position of being right and at the same time find a spiritual path to connection and intimacy in relationship.

In conclusion, the path to loving well necessitates dropping all of our egoic, self-centered agendas, old stories, and fears, so that we may see the other with "fresh eyes" and see "the raw, perfectly imperfect other, the sacred other,” just as he or she is.  It is only then, when we embrace everything that stands between us, that we can enter the realness of our relationship and the realm of unimaginable possibilities.

I Know How to Love You Well by Tim McGraw on Grooveshark

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Stopping The Proliferation Of Our Erotic Disembodiment

As I was growing up in the urban area of Chicago and coming into myself as a sexual being there was little opportunity for me to consciously learn how to accept myself as an erotic creature.  As an adolescent teenager, there were lots of confusing and beautiful sexual desires in my body and I was feeling the peer pressure to not be left behind in sexual experimentation.  I realized at a very young age that I possessed a high sex drive which I had no idea how to contain, express or own as my own life force.  It took a destroyed marriage in order for me to look closer and unpack the meaning of my own erotic embodiment and how I can own it as mine and be able to express myself as an erotic creature on this planet.  I've come to believe that how I've been able to express my erotic self, my sexuality and my embodied vitality has directly effected how I can live into the uniqueness that I call my own unique self.  Until I was able to really own my erotic nature I was not truly able to live into the truest gifts I have to offer the world.

Robert McNamara does a fabulous job describing
embodiment from an integral perspective in this diagram.

Finding our erotic embodiment means to be living into our fullest expressive capacity.  Without owning our unique nature of ourself, which includes our thoughts, desires, patterns/habits, stories of origin, life's experiences, we will have a tendency to fall into using masking behaviors which keep us from serving the world in which we were meant to serve.   In order to offer our truest gifts to the world we need to find and express our own erotic embodiment by transcending and including our entire past and not get caught up suppressing our desires of how we want to live.  By working with our life's experiences and woundings we can find a new relationship with them and not have them run the show anymore.  I don't believe we will ever leave our past behind and be able to say "I've worked through that stuff, why does it keep showing up again and again?", we will only find a new way to relate to those stories moving forward.

As we embrace "The Great Mystery" and our life's old experiences and stores we can create the lives we want to create for ourselves.  By looking at our lives from an insider perspective it can help give us a clearer picture of the direction we want to go.  It's important to remember "we are not our thoughts"; so being able to observe ourselves from an outside perspective is another important aspect of embracing our most unique self.  Creating a sacred autobiography has a profound effect in accomplishing both dimensions of the inside/outside.  Once we can be able to look at ourselves from these two perspectives, we can start leaning into the changes we want to put into our lives.  We've now looked at our patterns/habits and love ourselves for them, as they have served us well in many ways, and begin to lean into new behaviors where we have been fearful experiencing in the past.  We've gotten comfortable in these old patterns, found a sense of safety in them because we know how the story will eventually play out and then we realize they have run their course and it's time for something new.  Establishing our new behaviors are part of "The Great Mystery" because we do not know how these new behaviors will turn out.  It's a beautiful and scary place to be for the first time and a necessary step to find the most unique expression of who we are in this world in order to find the gifts to offer into the world.

Bodily, mental and emotional movement cannot be left out.  We find people in our lives to learn from who are farther along on "the path" we want to take than we are who will help us grow...all we can do is grow, and it will be beautiful.  I searched for the best erotic embodiment educator I could find, Joseph Kramer and learned as much as I could from him.  While I was going through this erotic embodiment process, I needed Stephen Andrew to teach me the art of being compassionate and accepting of myself as I worked through old paradigms of how I viewed myself and created a new way of living.  Yoga and meditation was and still is such an important part of my embodiment practice and I have amazing teachers to thank.  This was the only way I could stretch out of my comfort zone and still love myself for my mistakes and successes.

I've been gifted the honor and privilege to teach and guide many individuals that their erotic embodiment is theirs to own, to understand, to live into and to express into this world.  This is something I do not take for granted.  I really appreciate the courage it takes for someone to want to make the shift from their old erotic/sexual patterns into something more reflective of their truest selves.  Shifting personal perspective and practices in our eroticism and embodiment is incredibly powerful and will not only benefit us as individuals, but, everyone in relationship with us...including the planet.  By changing our perspective and creating a new version of our unique erotic expression allows us to open up to outrageous loving in the fullest expression we can find.

Blessings to your mysterious journey.

I Long To Hold The Whole World In These Arms...
Song For All Beings Chant by Jennifer Berezan on Grooveshark

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Completing The Circle With Tantric Principles (and a free class)

Connecting lineages which I have become a part of has become such an important part of my evolution.  When I saw an offer from one of my teachers Joseph Kramer, to give a free class to my readers, I could not pass it up.  This connects the lineage and completes the circle from teacher, to practitioner, to readers.  Then, I saw how I could expand the circle and include my tantric lineage of Rudy Ballentine into the erotic and sexual education offered by Joseph.  My hope is that you all find some take-away material to enrich your life with.

What is Tantra?  Ask that question on Google University and get 100 different answers from; right handed, left handed, Kashmir Shaivismsm, California Tantra, Sky Tantra and many more.  The lineage I've been trained in is based on seven living tantric principles...

1. Everything is an Experiment 
2. As Within, So Without
3. Tapas & Spanda
4. Multiple Realms of Consciousness
5. Inner Marriage
6. Ascending & Descending Energy
7. The Healing Power of Pleasure

Tantra is about unity and balance. Because of this, Modern Western or Neo-Tantra has become focused on what Westerners need the most to restore unity and balance … sexual healing.  The goal of Tantra is enlightenment, although, having a 30-minute orgasm or hours of sex can be regarded as a great perk. Because of this, many students seek Tantra for sexual development rather than the enlightenment.  Nonetheless, no matter the intention, Tantra practices and principles will benefit the student in both ways, as Tantra brings together mind/body/soul/spirit into harmony. 

Here is the completion of the circle, free access to Tantra Lovemaking for Couples class.  (This class contains videos of explicit sexual acts, so if you are not desiring to view, please do not click on the link)  As many people are looking to expand their erotic/sexual awareness and their capacity for pleasure (see #7 of the tantric principles), I introduce the "Tantra Lovemaking for Couples" class (Username and password = tantralove) where you will have access for 3 weeks (until May 3, 2014) after this blog gets posted.  CLICK HERE to access the course, at the top right corner is the login where you enter u
sername/password, which are both = tantralove.  Then you scroll down the page to access the "Tantra Lovemaking for Couples" class" to "view" the videos. (I realize the interface is not completely intuitive)

In this class you can learn about...

• Extending and expanding sexual orgasm
• Freeing the female orgasm
• Yogic ejaculatory control 
• Using breath to build and control sexual energy
• Full body and valley orgasm
• Awakening the Saspandana (female G-spot)
• Ancient techniques of Imsak, Kabbazah, and Karezza
• The use of ritual in lovemaking
 The ancient Tantric philosophy of Sacred Sexual relationship

Of all the learnings in this class I would recommend ejaculatory control, using breath, the ancient techniques and rituals in lovemaking.  The instructors in this class are Margot Anand, Nik Douglas, Charles and Caroline Muir, David Ramsdale, Robert Frey, Lori Grace, and Suzie Heumann, some amazing erotic explorers of our time.  

It's an honor for me to share this generous offer from Joseph and connect the lineage of The New School of Erotic Touch with the tantric principles.  Please feel free to share this with all!

In Breath and Pleasure...

Do What You Do To Feel...Down In Your Body Is Where You Find The Rhythm 
E-Motion by E-Motion With Julie Blue And Joseph "Pepe" Danza on Grooveshark

Monday, March 31, 2014

My Erotic Journey Into The Internet, Once Again...

The long arduous hours of web programming with the intention of hitting a larger audience to ultimately bring people together face to face, to have more fulfilling lives and relationships and, to end suffering.  What I'm trying to give doesn't need a shopping cart because my offerings aren't products.  My offerings and invitations are all the same concepts I study, practice and teach in my own life.  We will journey together finding and creating our most unique selves possible which will require individual practices, the sangha and group work.

As you've journeyed your way into Waking Eros through the internet, my intent still remains the same even after many, many hours invested in becoming loving friends with my computer once practice the art of loving give our most unique gifts in becoming the most outrageous lovers we can be in this world....through all of our interactions in all our relationships.

Welcome to Waking Eros 2.0