Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

-Mary Oliver

This poem has called to me at so many different junctures in my life.  Each time I read it, a new and different piece touches me.    The first time I heard it, I was compelled by the possibility that I didn’t have to be good.  Was she sure?  Really, I didn’t have to be good?  I’d spent the better part of a life doing just that.   And then in the middle of an excruciatingly painful breakup, the reminder that regardless of my loneliness, the world offered itself to me if I was willing to accept, that I was indeed, part of something larger, this family of things.

May you find what you seek this day in these crisp, delicate words.  Permission, love, grace.  Whatever it may be, it can be yours.


Naturally Irresistible

As Valentine’s Day has come and gone, I am reminded of all the ways we  act in relationships and the strategies we use to get love and keep love in our life.  Having love and connection in our lives is something we’re hard wired for, no doubt.  Our strategies in this day and age to get those things, are a bit more contrived.   We try to manage our desire and needs in an attempt to stay in control, to look calm cool and collected, all the while starving inside for real depth, connection and vulnerability.  We aren’t actually interested in being in control or feeling calm, cool and collected, but yet that’s what we go in with, hoping that type of attitude will get us this other thing we want.

It is a common mis-step in the world of dating, largely in part due to  articles like this one.  “Do you have the kind of attitude men find irresistible?” the author asks wistfully.   The terrible thing about it is that putting prescriptions like this  out there, sets us all up for failure.  When trying to be anything that isn’t your natural expression, it is doomed to fail.    You may be able to pose in the short term, and maybe the short term lasts for a relatively long period of time, but one tragic fact remains, you are indeed posing.

I can say this from a place of certainty, having been a woman who desperately tried to be whatever I cooked up in my head (or from articles and media messages just like this one) that would be the winning ticket to a man’s heart.  I was one of those people yearning for deep connection and love.   But each time I’d pose, every time I’d try to be calm, cool and detached, I noticed I wound tighter and tighter inside, and inevitably the guy would not be there.   I began to realize, the exact thing that initially had the spark of attraction happen, something I did in an unguarded, involuntary moment was now the thing I was trying to manage and not let get out of control and that managing had the relationship fizzle, sometimes very quickly, sometimes more slowly depending on how much I felt I needed to manage (which was usually always in direct proportion to how much I liked the guy).

If the attitudes listed in this article aren’t your natural set point, don’t put them on like the tight dress you try to fit into thinking it looks hot when all the while you’re uncomfortable and can’t breathe.  It doesn’t fit, those attitudes aren’t you, and you’re suffocating the natural turn on and verve that is inside of you.  Because believe me, it’s in there.  And maybe out of your own expression of turn on and pleasure, you’ll find yourself sporting one of these attitudes, but it will have come from honoring who you really, not from a force of will.    Your natural expression is the most irresistible thing of all.


Sex as Power

When I was introduced to the concept of sex as power a few years ago, I didn’t really get it.

I was (and still am) a woman who enjoys sex.  Fundamentally, we’re all wired to enjoy this naturally built in mechanism for connection, energy and intimacy.  The degree to which we don’t is the degree to which we’ve let conditioning, fear and judgment cloud the experience.

And yet, I wasn’t sold on the idea that  sex could be a power source for me.   After all, wasn’t “sex” just “intercourse”? Something I did to scratch an itch, not something that had the potential to transform me, fuel me or have me be the woman I wanted to be in the world.    I found myself wondering how intercourse could give me power, and more fundamentally, what kind of power we were even talking about. Traditionally I’d seen power as negative, a weapon to use against other people or something that was only available to a select few (like the President or a CEO, not common folk like me).  The idea that I had a warehouse of personal power waiting to be activated hadn’t crossed my mind despite the river of self-help books I’d spent years wading through. And yet, I know now, this power from sex is what I was seeking for so many years. Some call it self esteem, confidence, value, self love. To me, it’s my ability to stay rooted and connected to myself.

Fortunately, I discovered the practice of Orgasmic Meditation. Through the practice of OM, I learned to slow down my mind and to feel my body, my partner, and the power that lived inside me.  Slowly but surely, stroke by stroke, I noticed sensations and textures throughout my body that I had never experienced before. I learned that when I slow down and pay exquisite attention to each moment of an experience, I tap into a renewable energy and power source.  My world opens up.  In an OM, a make out, strutting down the street in an outfit that fits just right, intercourse, and everything between.

Now, I know this power source as orgasm. Not just the one peak moment of climax,  but  rather the experience of noticing and feeling the entirety of every experience, every flavor, sensation, movement, and connection. This orgasmic energy will fuel your creativity, ignite the sparks of your relationships, and illuminate your life’s purpose. Yes, it is a power source.   Save your money on all of those self-help books. Instead, try  OM.  Begin to slow down, notice and feel. You’ll quickly see that all the power you need is right there in your own body.


Slut!

If you’re a woman, having grown up in our culture, you have inevitably had this word thrown at you one too many times, in an attempt to shame, ridicule or judge you.  Or maybe in an attempt to not have it thrown on you, you shut your desire and sexuality down so far that you could only be praised for what a good, nice woman you are.  And maybe you’ve been starving ever since.   I’ve been on both sides of the fence, and I can tell you, embracing my pleasure and joy is the best decision I’ve made in life.  Sacrifice is not a virtue and delayed gratification is sadistic.  You can say yes to yourself.


personality and power

A little one for you to chew on as the day winds down…..I was struck at how potent the piece about personality struck me, and when it is not in service to one’s soul how it’s really just there as an outcropping of one’s ego.

“You’re either in flow, or out of it.  The flow is in direct proportion to the center of yourself, where god abides, where universal energy abides, where the divine within you abides.  How far you are from the center, from the divineness of yourself, from your connection to source energy, that which created you is how out of sync you are with your life, regardless of what you call it.  When you can align with that, no one can touch you.

When your personality comes to serve the energy of your soul, that is authentic power. “- Oprah Winfrey


svetlana and the ginger scone

I wasn’t having the best day one day last week.  I had a case of the sniffles, sore throat sort of thing, on top of some deep soul searching and revealing.  I had taken it slow and easy most of the day.  Oh, who am I kidding, I had chastised myself for being holed away alone, then went to see an acquaintance briefly who also chastised me, all to find myself at 7pm turning the lights off in my bedroom, crawling under the covers and taking a nap.   And if you knew me well, you’d  know, I am not the napping kind.    I woke up an hour later and begrudgingly decided to go downstairs to do the dinner dishes.

And much to my surprise was a turned on woman sitting with a couple of my housemates at the dining room table.  She, Svetlana, was eclectic, funny and endearing.  She stayed only briefly before going to a holiday party with my housemate, but those few minutes were all I needed to suddenly feel a little pep.   Another housemate pointed out that someone had brought home some pastries from a delectable little coffee shop around the corner, and mentioned that one was a ginger scone.  A ginger scone?    Not a fan of scones, but being a big fan of ginger I just had to try it.  And again, I found my self leaping with surprise and delight at what I had again discovered.   This scone wasn’t dry at all, and the ginger was the perfect subtle touch.  As I basked in the pleasure I was having I thought to myself “what if I just turn it all around right here?  What if, upon having the delight of this scone, I just remember that I have access to this experience of pleasure and joy.”   Those feelings far outweigh the heavy heart and mind I was carrying around that day.  I saw them in Svetlana, I experienced them through the surprising goodness of the scone.  I could if I wanted to, root myself in this good feeling, instead of one of sadness and despair.

That’s the thing with turn on.  It can turn you on.  If you let it.  If you let it, joy and pleasure will fill you up.  If you let it, you can allow the spark and electricity of a turned on woman, a blissful moment, an unexpected delight to fan the flames of your turn on.  But it really is a choice.  One we often miss in the everyday routine of our lives.    In that moment when I decided to stop the deflated feeling, I made a choice to let pleasure be my root.   Oftentimes people will say, “but my pain/crappy job/heartache is so much, I don’t know how to feel happy and turned on.”  I understand, I used to be one of those people.  Your pain, your tender places, the places you haven’t given attention for so long might be screaming for you.  But what I know is that those places that seem full of never ending ache want your pleasure.  Not in a fake put-on-a-happy-face kind of way, but in a genuinely fulfilled and nourished kind of way.  So go find your ginger scone, or maybe you’ll run into a turned on woman who will call to that same turned on place inside of you.  Open yourself to it, and it can happen in a moment’s notice, one simple choice.


a beautiful body

“You cannot be a healthy person, let alone hope for healthy children, if you sigh and moan every time you encounter your own image, eat a cookie, or see an airbrushed supermodel on a billboard.”

This quote, from an article written by Amy Bloom in O magazine struck a deep chord.  I know if you are anything like me, you may have grown up around a mother, or at least a sister, friends or cousins,  who were obsessed with beauty and their body. Or maybe you got these messages from the media.  Wherever you heard them, they are out there.  Look in any women’s magazine and 99% of the content is geared at looking better, being thinner, having stronger hair and sexier makeup.    It’s a fine line for women in many respects.  Physical adornment and beauty has been something that women have done for thousands of years, looking back to early civilizations we know that beauty that was something that was done as ritual, or in some cultures, a permanent fix (think of african and asian cultures where ear lobes and necks are stretched in the name of beauty).
These days, we’ve taken an obsession with body image, namely thinness, and equated it with health.  And the two are very much not the same.  Every woman’s magazine I come across that talks in a thinly veiled way about health by promoting the newest 100 calorie snack or another exercise to tone those abs is really just ingraining the notion that women’s bodies are only appropriate at a certain size.    We know the toll this kind of  obsession has on our culture; we have elementary age girls on diets, college age women being treated for anorexic, and a whole host of middle age women undergoing surgery and liposuction in an attempt to maintain a semblance of what they looked liked when they were in college.   Beauty is a part of our humanness, the desire to be loved, accepted and desired innate.  And so I call on Amy Blooms’ words once again:  “Stop criticizing other women’s bodies for sport or to soothe yourself.  And start. Start admiring aloud the things you really do admire. Show what you love and value.
Women’s bodies are beautiful.  We’ve all experience that there is nothing better than feeling sexy.  But we have lost sight of the fact that sexiness isn’t made up of just one set of factors.   Taking care of your body should be about more than just vanity, or believing you’re unhealthy unless you’re exercising and dieting in a particular stricture.
The truth of the matter is that a woman’s sexiness is innate, simply in the act of being female.  And when a woman taps into her sexuality, her potency comes alive. No new exercise regimens, Botox or 100 calorie snacks needed.    She is undeniable in her ability to attract, to be desirable; her sexiness exudes as naturally as the stride in her step.  It is in approval of our sex and our appetite that we find the full embrace of our bodies and attractiveness.  When you can love and approve of your sexual desire, everything becomes effortless.  The women’s magazines cajoling you to eat better and exercise more simply become ineffectual.  When your most primal instincts and desires are held in their rightful position, everything else will fall into place.

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