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