Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Self-Care Check In

A week and a half ago I committed to 30 Days of Radical Self Care. I would like to update my follow-through status on my intentions:

The truth is that I was doing great until this last weekend. It felt as though something "fell" inside of me on Saturday night, even though I had a lovely weekend with Knight and friends. I don't know why or what prompted the drop, although I have some ideas. I feel more contracted than expansive. I feel a complacent cooling off in place of the fire of transformation and motivation I was experiencing. Allergies and headaches have thrown off my physical state. Chaos at work has me feeling unsettled, scared and sad. I need to find my center again. I am focusing on that today.


1. Begin every day with prayer: Until a couple days ago I was reading either Prayer for Union or the Prayer for Love at the end of this post (or both) every morning. But I have been feeling compelled to pray more personally. Two days ago I changed the morning reminder on my phone (I use the calendar function to give me daily reminders of my intentions) from "prayer" to "pray for your self, your loved ones, your community and your world." Yet I am having trouble finding my voice for personal prayer and I'm easily distracted in my waking-up state. I am out of practice in talking to the Divine. I intend to explore my resistance to personal prayer through study and writing, and resume reading prayers in the meantime.

2. Write every day: I have written every day except last Saturday, when I was engaged in social engagements and never came home. I do not publish to the blog every day because sometimes I am not able to finish my posts. I am trusting Divine timing when it comes to publication.

3. Pay attention to my authentic impulses and speak my truth when I feel guided: I have definitely been speaking/writing my truth more, but I still have inhibitions that I am exploring. I have been speaking about my transformation out loud to friends more and more. And I have kept the lines of communication with Knight open no matter what.

4. Study: I have been reading from The Book of Awakening every morning. I am currently reading at least a couple pages from Love and Awakening every day (which is awesome!). Hmmm...seems to be a theme around awakening!

5. Friendship: The Universe has been gifting me with opportunities for nurturing friendship without effort. People are seeking me out to share time. It's quite lovely, but I don't want to count on others coming to me. I seek to reach out more as well, while maintaining a balance with time at home and in solitude. It would be really easy to immerse myself in social engagement, so this is an intention I need to be careful with.

6. Exercise: I did walk every single day until Monday. I didn't make the time on Monday and yesterday it was raining all day. However, I had a good hike on Sunday that was equivalent to two of my weekday walks. I think that giving myself room to miss a day and do more on other days is good. I need to make an effort to do yoga on the days I can't walk because of the weather.

7. Make better choices around food/nutrition and take a multi-vitamin every day: I have been taking the multi-vitamin, but I haven't made any changes regarding food and nutrition yet. I think I need to bring some consciousness to the idea of making nutritious choices as an act of self-love.

I am feeling good about my progress, even with the "drop" the last few days. The reality is that we are constantly changing and no matter how I strive for authentic joy and love on a day-to-day basis, I am human. I will have sick days, off-days, sad days, etc. If that is my authentic experience, then I must honor it, as long as I don't turn it into suffering.


(This is a prayer by Mohamed from the Islam tradition. I changed the word Light to the word Love)

Prayer for Love

“O God, place love in my heart, and on my tongue love, and in my ears love and in my sight love, and above me love, and below me love, and to my right love, and to my left love, and before me love and behind me love.

Place in my soul love. Magnify for me love and amplify for me love.

Make for me love and make me love.

O God, grant me love, and place love in my nerves, and in my body love and in my blood love and in my hair love and in my skin love.

Increase me in love, increase me in love, increase me in love.

Grant me love upon love.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Mirrors & Motherhood

My family has a legacy of mental illness, teen motherhood, addiction and violence going back many generations. I believe I am transforming my family's legacy. Since getting pregnant the first time at age 16, it has been my life's mission to raise children who are happy and whole, rather than broken, when they go out into the world. Instead of continuing to unconsciously perpetuate the cycle of violence with my children, I have worked to heal my wounds, disarm my triggers and change my behaviors. But I still have violent communication to unlearn and I struggle with shame about that. It breaks my heart when I lose control of my emotional reactions and hurt anyone, most especially my children.

I have a 14 year old daughter. She is one of the brightest lights in my life. We have a great relationship with very little conflict. For a teenage girl she is remarkably easy to live with. But she is still a teenager and she has her ways of digging at me now and again.

It is in her sarcasm. She speaks a version of the truth through a veil of dark humor. It is penetrating and sometimes it is quite painful. She has this way of finding the places where I believe I fail as a mother and digging at them when she is in a bad mood. Sometimes I am stunned at her capability to call me out on my shadow. It is tough to hold space for.

The other night she was in a dark mood, and laughed out of the blue as we were preparing dinner. I asked her what was funny. She said she had a mean thought go through her mind and she thought it was funny. We talked about how she can't control how mean thoughts come, only what she does with them. Then she asked if I wanted to know what she thought. I said probably not, as I was tired and experiencing a bit of an emotional crash after a full weekend. She decided to tell me anyway.

"When you talk to me in your annoyed-with-me-voice, I want to go crawl into a cave and die."

Yeah. Not funny. It broke my heart actually. I started crying. It makes me sad that something I do could cause her to feel that way. It's another example of how I communicate through tone in harmful ways, something I have already been looking at in my relationships to both Knight and the Imps.

Some days it is difficult looking at the mirror in my daughter. Like me, she is an empath, which has its light and its shadow. As an empath, she intuitively knows things about people and can use that knowledge to help them, or to manipulate and hurt them. When I am angry and scared, I can be incredibly mean. I can spin some fantastic stories by manipulating the truth about a person's shadow behaviors. I am recognizing and healing the violence that persists in my communication when I am triggered. I don't like seeing my daughter struggle with what she has learned from living with my violence.


To balance this sharing, on the light side of mirrors and motherhood...

Most days I look at the mirrors in my daughter and I love what I see. Like me, but in her unique ways, she is immensely clever, creative, intuitive, and emotionally intelligent. She is a fabulous human being. I like spending time with her.

Sometimes, she lets me know that she really sees me and how I have tried so very hard to be a good mother.

For Mother's Day, she wrote me a thank you letter.

"Thank you.

Thank you for always being there for me whether I'm talking to you about boring everyday things or just sitting with me while I cry.

Thank you for putting up with my snobbiness and sarcasm.

Thank you for always trying. You may not be a perfect mother, but you try and that's good enough for me.

Thank you for putting up with my complaining and ungratefulness.

Thank you for letting me be who I am without question.

Thank you for always supporting me.

Thank you for being who you are.

Thank you for trying to grow and be everything you can possibly be.

Thank you for being so kind and giving to me, your friends and your community.

Thank you for telling me I'm smart and beautiful when I don't believe it.

And most of all thank you for giving me life and letting me be free.

I'm so sorry that you couldn't have had a mother like I do. I'm sorry your mother couldn't always give you what you needed. And didn't always put you first like you put me first. I'm sorry she wasn't all she could be. But I know she loved you, just like you love me. And I think you should always try to remember that. And if she wasn't who she was, then you wouldn't be who you are, right? I know she loved you. And I love you, too. I could not ask for a better mother. Really.

I appreciate you. I appreciate everything you've ever done for me. I appreciate what you are."

Pretty amazing, especially the paragraph about my own mother. Another mirror that I am grateful for.

***Image Credit: Picasso's Girl Before a Mirror

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Razor's Edge

The last 36 hours I have been struggling to hold my ambition for love and my habitual patterns of fear, resistance and withdrawal within myself simultaneously. I have been feeling shame for being "weak". But then I read this today:

"But that's what makes love so intriguing: Losing it -- letting go of old, confining identities -- is totally exciting and totally frightening. This makes for a most interesting situation. I am pulled in opposite directions: expanding and contracting, wanting to go forward and wanting to maintain my defenses at the same time.

This is why intimate relationship can be such a potent vehicle for wisdom and awakening. It allows us to experience both sides of our nature -- the call of our larger being and the fear and insecurity of our false self -- at once, right next to each other. On this threshold where part of us wants to expand and part of us wants to pull back, we stand on a razor's edge -- the boundary for the unknown, and the frontier of a whole new way of being...

Since it is easy to start doubting ourselves when we encounter our darkness and demons, it is important to understand that a wholesome logic operates here: The brighter love's radiance, the darker the shadows we encounter; the more we feel life stirring within us, the more we also feel our dead spots; the more conscious we become, the more clearly we see where we remain unconscious. None of this need dishearten us. For in facing our darkness, we bring light to forgotten parts of our being. In recognizing where we have been unconscious, we become more conscious. And in seeing and feeling the ways we've gone dead, we start to revive and kindle our desire to live more expansively."
John Welwood, from Love and Awakening

I am walking the razor's edge and it is such a fascinating experience to witness, even though it is heart-achey. I am sitting on the fence between ego-reaction and witnessing-Presence, having funky feelings but able to step back and hold space for them instead of getting overwhelmed by them or acting them out.

After such an incredibly rich weekend of relationship with Knight, I have been struggling with the silence and lack of contact. Since our magical time together Tuesday we've had two text exchanges and one five minute conversation. I've sent a couple texts from a place of vulnerability and received no response. It's crazy how fast the old stories close in on the communication void. It's all circumstantial on his side, but The Invisible Girl tells me that if he doesn't acknowledge me, I don't matter. She tells me that he's forgetting me, that he's really happy being single and free of me, as if I've been some kind of obligation and weight rather than a desired addition to his life.

I feel childish for having hurt feelings about minimal contact for two and a half days. It's only 60 hours for heaven's sake! And the truth is, it is childish. It is my wounded child, The Invisible Girl, who tells me the fear-full stories.

This is where my addiction and habits lie. I do something that is an authentic expression of my love -- like a text -- and then instead of just being in the joy of loving, I find myself waiting for validation that I have been seen. I start sulking because I've had an unconscious expectation that he'll respond. Sometimes I allow my joy and open-heartedness depend on whether I "know" I've been seen, and our love acknowledged. I do not seem to trust what I cannot see or hear on a daily basis. I do not seem to trust his love is sustainable, which really means that I am not trusting my own sustaining lovability.

Through the last 48 hours I have been feeling increasing resistance to my intentions for choosing love. When the fear thoughts take hold, I am struggling to do what is needed to bring it back to love. I know love is right there if I am willing to pick it up, to focus my attention, but my ego wants to be lazy and allow the fear-demons to come play. My ego and demons tell me, "This feels like hard work and it hurts. It's easier--and safer--to be fearful. It's easier to withdraw and close up my heart. It's easier to build walls than to keep the love flowing through emotional discomfort and fear. This choosing-love stuff is a waste of time because either I'll fall back into the old patterns anyway or I'll never find people who really love me as I am. All these authors and teachers who say they are living passionate and love-filled lives are lying and are still living misery and drama behind closed doors. It's not really possible to live vibrantly in love and be happy every day."

Yuck. I don't like the way my ego and demons talk to me. They aren't nice.

I feel the shadow, I am ashamed of it for arising, and I am tempted to project my frustration with myself onto Knight. Instead of sitting with the discomfort of my own darkness, me ego wants to make it about him, tell myself that he's doing something wrong and I should stop reaching out. The Invisible Girl says, "He must not love me as much as he says because he doesn't want to talk to me every day anymore."

Withdrawal is my primary shadow response to heartache. Rather than confront what I feel, I withdraw from others and justify my withdrawal with stories about how they don't care and how I am better off without them because they're just going to keep hurting me. I also withdraw because I'm afraid to expose what I'm ashamed of.

A dear friend posted this on Facebook today:

"Confronting what comes up is the precursor to moving through it to get to the healing that is available to you now. Be honest about your pain with loved ones instead of hiding behind it and putting up walls or defenses for protection. Building walls only make you feel more alone. This is the opportunity to connect from a deep, raw, vulnerable space. Connect with your Self first and foremost- and with others who can be a healing balm to your Soul."
(from Divine Harmony)

Today, choosing love looks like accepting the conflict in myself rather than resisting it, and reaching out for support rather than reacting out of shadow.

Instead of continuing to feed the stories, withdrawing and hiding what I'm experiencing from Knight, I reached out to him today and asked for a conversation. He held space for me to express my feelings and shared his own experience. One of the most remarkable qualities of our relationship is our mutual ability and willingness to talk things through and to deepen intimacy by being completely vulnerable about our feelings, even the darkness.

I asked for what I wanted and love responded. I am ever so grateful for it.

"Trust life to do it's magic. It's about surrender to not-knowing how it will look like when it is healed. It is beyond our hands and beyond our willing. There might be moments that feel scary or unprotected, but it is life at work, moving and changing....Life is always flow and cannot be tied down."

A Prayer for Union

I was the "Valedictorian" at our Graduation Fire on Sunday and read this prayer to the circle. I read it every morning as part of my regimen of radical self-care:

A Prayer for Union by Daphne Rose Kingma
(From the book The Future of Love)

God of light Who calls us into being,
Who guards us on our way,
We pray for peace in our hearts in this season
Of the transformation of our relationships,
Of upheaval, of crumbling, of falling away.

As our relationships pass like sand through our fingers,
May we be blessed with the grace to know,
That this falling apart is, in truth,
Our journey of coming together,
Of finally returning home.

May we be startled awake by the memory of love,
The One Great Love that called us into being,
And is our only real destination.

May be have the strength to give up our search
for the "one"
Because, all together, we are The One,

And You are the True Beloved,
The ever-awaiting One,
Who allows us to move from love to love,
Knowing that You, our true selves,
Will always be there to meet us.

May we be released from the agony
Of wanting, hoping, dreaming, expecting.
May we instead be brought into the present moment
Of acceptance, grace, and simplicity,
Knowing that the sweet breath of love we breathe
In each relationship
Is the breath of the One Great Love.

Allow us to see that love is eternal,
Show us again and again
That love is larger than all its forms.
And may we go through these seasons of change,
In a state of surrender, of joy,
With the exact and perfect trust
That every step is ordained for a beautiful reason.

God of light Who calls us into being,
We pray for joy, for wisdom and compassion
In the relationships that we do have.
We pray for the willingness to grow,
For we want to be grander than we already are.

We pray for the sacred water of the One,
For our baptism, for our cleansing,
And our healing,
For our melting, for our joining.

We pray for light, for both inner and outer
For the brilliance to see, to know, and to feel,
To imagine and to remember
That You are with us each step of the way,
That we are not alone.

We pray for appreciation, acceptance, and forgiveness
Of all the steps, and missteps, and sidesteps
That we have taken on the long journey
That will bring us to our sweet reunion,
That will finally carry us back home.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Speaking the Truth & The Work of My Heart

Ronna Detrik, who writes insightfully about women and truth-telling, shared this last night...

"I’m going to do the work that I know I need to do, that I must do, that I’ve been waiting my whole life to do, without waiting for an audience...I’m not going to care anymore whether people like me when I speak my truth. I’m never going to ask for permission again. As Eve Ensler said, “I am going to hold who I am in the face of anything.”" Patti Digh


I feel the power in those words. I feel it from the the heat in my heart and flutter in my chest to the goosebumps moving across my skin. I am feeling the call to do the work I've been waiting my whole life to do.

Tonight I had dinner with someone who spoke of her need to stop making herself small, and how she has always felt like her heart is bigger than her body can hold. I know this feeling. It's time to stop making myself small because it's too sissy-woo-woo, hippy dippy to be vocal about my passion for living a sacred and conscious life. It's time to stop being afraid that people will find me ridiculous if I share what is meaningful to me. It's time to stop being so damn quiet and timid.

How is this for ridiculous? I have been feeling embarrassed for how passionate and big I feel about this transformation that I am going through. I'm talking about the shift in my relationship to Knight, but I'm not really talking about the other significant shifts happening for me. I feel embarrassed when I am around my friends that I am blissed out for reasons I can't put into words other than I am so incredibly in love (with everything). I am having mystical experiences, but I am not fully trusting them or myself. When I am on my own I am often big and expansive, but when around others I make myself small again. I am afraid to talk about my excitement for this process. I haven't been telling anyone how I think that sitting down with this blog every night is helping me create the life of my dreams and that through my commitment to speaking my truth I am going to find My People and the work of my heart. This is BIG, EXCITING stuff and I have been too afraid to trust it or myself enough to share it, and afraid to trust my tribe to hold space for it it.

Havi talks a lot about finding "your people." Your people are the people who resonate with you, who believe in you and your ideas, and who like whatever it is you offer from your most authentic and quirky self. Today I found one of my people. Someone who jives with what I'm sharing here in my blog. Someone who is excited by the fact that I identify as a mystic. Someone whose life is touched by my story and who is touching my life with hers. I need to trust my relationships can hold me, and if it turns out we don't resonate anymore, I need to trust my people are on their way to me.

Today Kelly Diels came out with the work of her heart and she is inspiring me in ways bigger than words can describe, especially since there are commonalities in what turns us on. Ronna and Havi also inspire me. They have created the work of their heart and they each radiate love through their work in their unique and quirky ways.

You must lead with your strengths. You must choose the things that light you up so that you can light the way for yourself, and for others. Kelly Diels

This is my bliss: Relationship. Intimacy. Connection. Empathy. Sharing our stories. Learning and evolving together. Creating together. This is what I want to be doing all the time, relating to people who resonate with me, both personally and professionally -- through writing, through art, through working with people one-on-one and in small groups, and through community leadership.

I believe that my work with the Imps has been leading me toward recognizing my bliss work is intentionally working with people around sacred and conscious relationship. When I pull all the threads of my life together, it all leads to sacred and conscious relationship...with my children, my partners, my friends, my community, my world. Growing towards deeper, richer, and more consistent experiences of love is my passion. I love Love. I love to love. I desire to be a walking embodiment of love, every minute of every day with every being that I interact with. That's what makes me a mystic. I am in love with all of existence. I focus that love in my relationships to other people. I see and feel the Divine Spark in others and I desire to get closer to it, to feel the warmth and bask in the brightness of light that each person has to share with me. I facilitate events so that people can feel free and open to express their Divine Spark through their creativity, sexuality and relationship. I build community because I know that we feel safest in expressing our Divine Spark when we're with people who support us. Mysticism is the driving force behind my work with the Imps and yet I've been hiding it in the closet as much as possible.

The pieces are coming together. The Universe is talking to me through all of these amazing women (and many other teachers) and I am listening. I am finally beginning to see what the work of my heart looks like and I am finding the courage to speak my truth as the ultimate act of love.

For more inspiration, check this out...

***Image source aussiegall

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Sacred Relationship

I am too tired to write my own words tonight and I am being kind to myself in regards to my commitment to self care. It's been a full day of work. I have done enough. So I share the words of others that resonated with me today as I contemplate sacred relationship.

From Mark Nepo's The Book of Awakening, the entry called "Love at First Sight":

"We all walk around within the numbness of our habits and routines so often that we take the marvels of ordinary life for granted. It is first sight that opens the freshness of each moment, unencumbered by any of our habits and routines. First sight is the moment of God-sight, heart-sight, soul-sight. It is the seeing of revelation, the feeling of oneness that briefly overcomes us when nothing remains in the way.

At its deepest and most real level, the notion of love at first sight is spoken of in every spiritual tradition as the reward for being fully awake. Such seeing anew restores our sense of being alive."


"As soon as we look beyond both duty and pleasure for a deeper meaning and purpose in relationships today, we start to move in the direction of the sacred, which we could define as coming into deeper connection with our true, essential nature, behind all our masks and facades...

Although "awakening to the sacred" might sound esoteric, it is, in fact, quite ordinary -- for it only involves learning to respond more deeply to what we already experience, and to appreciate what we already essentially are. If the bad news is that we can know another, and be known, only as deeply as we know ourselves--and coming to know ourselves can be a long and arduous journey--the good news is that love helps and inspires us to develop this deeper self knowledge. How we relate to someone we love provides an extremely clear and accurate mirror of how we relate to ourselves. For this reason, relationships can help us face ourselves and understand ourselves more rapidly and profoundly than any other aspect of worldly life. Seen in this light, love becomes a path of awakening--rousing us from the sleep of old, unconscious patterns into the freshness and immediacy of living more fully in the present, in accord with who we really are. This is the source of a deeper kind of happiness, which goes far beyond pleasure and comfort, and is the only real basis for healthy and satisfying relationships.

~ John Welwood, from Love and Awakening

i thank you god

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any – lifted from the no
of all nothing – human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

~ e. e. cummings

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sacred Sexuality

An aspect of reclaiming the Sacred in my every day life is putting intention towards Sacred Sexuality. Sex is a significant aspect of my creative and loving expression -- as a lover, as an artist and as a community builder. I have long desired to unify my sexuality and spirituality, but have not put real intention toward it.

I desire to relate to my lover(s) and friends from a Sacred perspective, where I express my devotion to them and longing to merge in Oneness with them through acts of intimacy. I seek to experience my sexuality as an expression of love for both the Divine Spark and the unique person with whom I am blessed to share intimate experiences of union in primal hunger, lust, pleasure, sensuality, cuddling, kissing, play and/or sexual fulfillment. I know that bringing the Sacred into my sexual and relationship life will lead towards greater experiences of love.

I desire for the people I love to attain their greatest potential in life and in love. Within the practice of polyamory, when I can recognize sex as an expression of love and longing to merge with the Divine Spark in another, it no longer feels like a threat to my relationship with my lover. It becomes an experience of shared love and abundance. It is a beautiful gift that I wish for my lover and their other partner(s) to experience with one another. When I live from the spiritual perspective that all relationships are Divinely Ordained, and that there are gifts that each person offers another for their potential evolution into deeper experiences of love, then compersion naturally flows for my lover's other relationships. I know that if my lover is drawn to someone for intimacy, no matter how the relationship manifests, they must have a potential gift to offer him for his spiritual development. In light of that, I desire to never again allow my fears to compromise another's (or my own!) expression of intimacy with others.


Last night I transformed my experience of longing for Knight into a rich sacred-sexual experience. After writing the blog post, I was considering how much I miss kissing Knight's cock in the mornings, which led me to thoughts about cock worship, which led to a fantasy about a sacred-sexual experience of worshiping his cock as a manifestation of the masculine creative life force. Instead of imagining a typical blowjob, I visualized an experience of spending time in devotion to his cock as an expression of my devotion to him -- both the man and the Divine Spark within him. Instead of having a quick self-pleasuring session with the goal of orgasm, I lingered with the fantasy, exploring it in rich detail as touched myself softly and slowly. My arousal was so intense that even though I did finally release, I am still carrying the arousal with me today.

My body is buzzing with arousal. I carried it with me to the Marsh for my walk at lunch and it was greatly enhanced by the energy I could feel in the nature around me. The wind embraced me wildly. Bird songs filled my ears with songs of desire. I felt deeply connected to the flowers and trees. I slipped into a private place, leaned against a tree, and deepened my arousal by caressing my clit. It may be the most erotic experience I've had with nature.

"He who desires perfection of the soul must worship the lingam." - Linga Purana

In Sanskrit, the cock is called Lingam. Lingam means "wand of light." I love the idea of meditating on the cock as a wand of light -- a symbol of light in the man and the Light in the Universe.

I have had a love affair and worshiped the female counterpart, the Yoni, for years. I had a multi-year art and writing project about the Yoni. I have deeply explored the Sacred within the Yoni from a variety of perspectives. And when I am gifted with a sexual experience with a woman, I always experience the Sacred in worshiping her yoni with my mouth and hands.

But as I've written before , I had a much more complicated relationship with the lingam until Knight. It seems that my love and adoration for his lingam continues to deepen.

The difference between last night's fantasy and so many I've had before involving Knight's cock is that this time it was purely about the expression of my devotion rather than about what inspires my own arousal. Usually I fantasize about cock worship within the context of submission to Knight's dominance. I love it when he grabs my head and "forces" me to suck his cock. I love it when he fucks my mouth to the point of making me gag and taking my breath away. But this fantasy wasn't like that. It had nothing to do with force or dominance. In fact, it was more about his surrender to my devotion. I imagined a love-making session that is focused entirely on him and the pleasure to be derived from worshiping his body with my own.

Tonight is our only night together for the forseeable future, due to both the logistics of other commitments and the uncertainty around our unfolding relationship. Rather than take the time for granted by just doing "whatever", I desire to bring Sacred intention to our time together. I am going offer him the gift of my devotion through an experience of cock worship as I fantasized it last night and today. I've done some reading on lingam worship in the Tantra traditions for inspiration into both the symbolic and practical. I hope to share an experience that will be as much a Sacred Gift to him as the cathartic scene he gave me Saturday night was to me.

***Image Source: Willow Arlenea

Monday, May 17, 2010


I feel accountable to the self-care resolution of writing every day. I have written today, quite a bit on a couple different post drafts. But they aren't for sharing yet.

I am tired. I am not clear on my motivations in my writing. I am uneasy tonight.

My weekend was so incredibly full and I did not get enough sleep. While my experiences were primarily joy-full intimacy, they were also deeply meaningful and emotionally complex, giving me much to process emotionally.

Sharing Knight with another woman was a big, big deal. It was an amazing opportunity to consciously choose compersion rather than my old stories of invisibility.

Sharing a cathartic scene with Knight was also a big deal. I am too tired to give proper words to the bigness of that.

And Fire was fantastic, deeply sacred and hilariously irreverent. We gave and witnessed powerful sharings.

I am being offered complex opportunities to practice relating from a spiritual perspective. It's a lot to process. And it seems after every great physical and emotional energy sharing, exhaustion sets in and emotions fall. I am heart-achy today.

After fire I was feeling wound up and asked Knight if I could come over and cuddle for a few minutes. I felt I needed a transition from the fullness of so much intimacy to the quiet aloneness of my home. Knight helps me ground. Being held by him helps me regain my center. He graciously said yes.

We cuddled. We talked a bit. And I settled into a peaceful state.

We both felt some desire for sex, but we consciously decided that was not our intent. I asked for support in grounding, he desired to provide it. We flirted, but we held to our agreement.

And then I got up and went home by myself. This would have normally been our week of living together at my place. Leaving his place was bittersweet, as is sitting here without him now and knowing I'll wake up tomorrow without him. On the drive home I felt a deep longing for him. To sleep with him beside me. To wake up to him. Oh god, how I miss starting my day on his chest, breathing him in, kissing his lips, kissing his cock. For me, there is no better way to start the day than that. I miss it very, very, very much. But this longing is not an experience of suffering.

I long for the intimacy we share. It is good and healthy. Sharing life with each other makes us happier and our lives richer because we both love intimacy in relationship. We both believe in relationship as a spiritual path and practice (we just weren't living what we believe). There is much light and good in our merging that it is appropriate to long for it, as long as it is without the suffering of attachment to fulfillment.

I realized this longing, that I know he feels as well, is a gift and its own experience of our intimacy. How blessed am I to have someone that my Divine Spark longs to unite with such intensity. I would much rather have this -- the longing, the heartache, the complexity and uncertainty, the back and forth between my heart and my ego to make the healthy choices -- than to not have it. I am blessed to love and be loved by this man and to get to share the process of evolution with him. Whether we are sharing a bed or not, we are always united in our heart connection. Every moment of our love shared is a gift and a potential experience of union. We are always One where our Divine Sparks meet, witness, play with, love and long for each other.

Self Portrait

Self Portrait

It doesn't interest me if there is one God
Or many gods.
I want to know if you belong -- or feel abandoned;
If you know despair
Or can see it in others.
I want to know
If you are prepared to live in the world
With its harsh need to change you;
If you can look back with firm eyes
Saying "this is where I stand."
I want to know if you know how to melt
Into that fierce heat of living
Falling toward the center of your longing.
I want to know if you are willing
To live day by day
With the consequence of love
And the bitter unwanted passion
Of your sure defeat.
I have been told
In that fierce embrace
Even the gods
Speak of God.

~ David Whyte ~

(Fire in the Earth)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Love My Life

This has been an amazing weekend and it not over yet. It is Sunday, shortly after noon. I have just come off of a couple of rich intimacy experiences on Friday and Saturday nights and am headed into another one. I am home for awhile, checking email and Facebook, connecting with my daughter, unexpectedly connecting with one of my best friends, weed-eating the yard, and grateful for the time to reflect before I head to (potentially) the last Fire.

Our tribe has had a tradition of Eat, Drink, Burn during the summer months the last couple years. Two dear friends have a fire circle in their backyard and we have a gathering of abundance. Everyone is asked to bring something to share -- something to eat, drink or burn (and burn can be interpreted in many ways). Initiation to the Fire requires a story. One must offer a story to the Fire, the presence in the gathering that is consistent every week. A story doesn't have to be a true story, or in story form. Some have offered songs or poetry. These rituals of connection have made for a different experience of intimacy than we get from other events or gatherings.

Some Fires have ritual intentions, especially if there is a holy day of some kind nearby. Today we honor Graduation, as we have several graduates of Humboldt State University in our midst. There are other metaphorical graduations taking place right now as well. The hosts of Fire are leaving Humboldt to start a new life adventure as one pursues her doctorate. One of my closest friends just left her secure, traditionally successful job to embrace the life of her heart. I am certain I will learn of other graduations tonight. And then there's me, going through this.

I am graduating from a state of fear consciousness into a greater experience of love. And I am amazed at how quickly the Universe is responding to my loving intention. As I shift my intention daily towards a spiritual and loving perspective, the Universe offers me situations in which to experience the life I am dreaming is possible. As I practice my self-care, I am gifted with unexpected support from friends and community. As I practice open-heartedness, I am gifted with incredible intimacy.

Friday night I somewhat reluctantly went to a private play party. I was tired. I didn't know who would be there or what the energy would be like. But at the last minute I felt an intuitive knudge to be open. Knight decided to attend this party at the last minute as well. I learned this minutes before leaving, so I called in order to negotiate expectations. I didn't want to assume he would want to be intimate with me and I didn't want to assume that he wouldn't play with someone else. We determined we were both open to play with each other and imagined that if play with others did happen, it would be light bdsm rather than sex. It could be challenging but it could also be fun. An opportunity to experience compersion.

On my drive to the party I shifted myself towards an open-hearted and loving intention. I focused my thoughts and energy on being open to connection, not just with Knight but with whomever was there. And I know it is this intent that led to the remarkable experience that followed.

The party was great. The mix of people was different than I had experienced before, but we had fun, good conversation and some beautiful play. I watched two dear friends wrestle and giggle. I got turned on by an impact play scene. And I witnessed a community member have what I believe to be a heart-opening and life-changing play experience.

And then Knight and I spontaneously flowed into a threesome with a friend of mine. There was a woman at the party with whom I have a flirtacious history. On my side there is a fairly strong attraction to her sexually, emotionally and creatively. We almost dated a couple years ago but life carried us elsewhere and we've only had occasional social interactions since. When I sat by her and we started talking, the chemistry was strong. We were touching without even thinking about it. I think Knight sensed it, because he initiated the idea of a light bdsm scene with us co-topping her. It just flowed from there, more into sexual expression than bdsm. It was beautiful. I'll likely write a separate post about the meaning it holds for me in my unfolding relationship with Knight, polymory and my queer identity.

On Saturday Knight fulfilled a wish of mine. I have been strongly desiring a heavy impact scene as an opportunity for cathartic emotional release. I wanted a beating. I surrender as a submissive to heavy impact scenes because the physical, energetic and emotional intensity of those scenes helps me to process my emotional life, especially during phases of intense transformation. A scene is a ritual expression in the physical world of my submission to the Divine in the spiritual world. I am grateful to have Knight, who understands this dance between the physical, emotional and spiritual, desire to give such an experience to me. There is a new richness in surrendering so deeply to him with what we're going through. He gave me exactly what I needed in every way and our intimacy has deepened because of it.

I love my life. I am so blessed to be a witness to and participant in these intimate experiences. What most people don't understand about the sex-positive lifestyle is that it allows for the most incredible experiences of relationship -- not just with lovers, but with friends and community members. It isn't just about the sex and bdsm. Not everyone is polyamorous, nor does everyone come to events to play. It's about the incredible intimacy, the sharing and connection that happens when people let their guard down and just be themselves.

As a culture, we are so focused on the idea of marriage/life-partnership as the ultimate expression of relationship and give up the potential experiences of intimacy that we can have with others--whether other lovers, intimate friends or community involvements. We make the primary relationship our end all and be all and then wonder why the majority of us can't make it work, at least not in a healthy way. For most of us it takes a community to meet all of our needs. We can't do it on our own, and we can't expect one other person to do it either.

I believe it is possible to create a life in which we can have all of our needs met. And I think that's what my tribe is striving for. Because we learn how to negotiate getting our sexual needs met, whatever they might be, we also learn how to negotiate getting our other needs met -- our needs for emotional intimacy, friendship and community, work we love and creative expression. As we express our authenticity around pleasure and sex, we become more authentic in every other aspect of our lives. Sex-positive community is a crucible for conscious evolution. You dive in deep enough with us and you can't escape it.

I love my life. And I love that I get to share it with so many remarkable you. Thank you for witnessing.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

I am a Masochist for God

I have often said that my biggest kink is evolving. I am literally turned on by the process of conscious growth, especially periods of intense transformation.

The truth is that I am a masochist for God. The deep surrender that I give as a submissive in BDSM play is a reflection of the greater surrender that I strive to give to God every day of my life.

I love, love, love the process of growth. I savor the burn of Kali's Fire. Yes, it is painful to grow, but pain does not have to be suffering. It can be traumatic to let parts of my self that are no longer needed to die. It can hurt like hell to break out of self-imposed fear prisons and allow the heart to expand into love. But it can also feel exhilarating, exciting and joy-full as new pieces of my self are revealed or new connections are weaved between pieces I've already known. There is tremendous relief in the emotional releases that occur throughout a dark night of the soul. And then I always come out the other side with a permanent transformation into greater awareness and deeper love. The whole process makes me feel very alive.

The last few days I have been high on this glorious experience of transformation, even in the moments of my deepest vulnerability, discomfort and heartache. Knight said the other day that I am glowing. Something significant has shifted in me and the insights are flowing faster than I can document them. I surrendered to the Divine and to Love in this experience of losing my life-partner and it's like the floodgates have opened emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. I am buzzing with the thrill of it all and where I know it will lead me.

I am learning so much about how wounded souls relate and what is needed for relationship to thrive in healthy love. But I don't think I'm just learning it for me, I think I'm learning it so I can share it with others. At the same time that I'm having all of this growth around relationship, I am also having some amazing insights about my life purpose.

I am one of those people who believe we all have a unique genius or Divine Spark to give the world (a Divine Spark is the God in us being expressed as a unique personality). We all have a calling to something that only we can meet with our strange combination of personality quirks and life experiences. I recently came across the recommendation of noticing what people say they appreciate about you and how that is a reflection of your purpose. At the Imps leadership meeting several weeks ago I was told by someone that what they most appreciated about me is my journey -- how I am always striving to grow. I am realizing that consciously pursuing the fullest expression of my Divine Spark, and sharing my process of growth with others, is a significant aspect of my unique genius. Oh, I am an evolution genius! I think that the Universe has put me through the school of really hard knocks, given me an obsession with experiencing the greatest potential of love, and then compelled me to write about it, make art about it and do healing work, as a means of giving others a light on the journey.

I have been telling myself for years that I don't have the credentials to help people on their evolutionary journeys. I've been keeping myself small in administrative work because I don't have a piece of paper that says I am qualified to coach or counsel others. I haven't written a book or started a business of some kind because I feel like I'm not an "expert" in anything. And yet I haven't felt the call to go back to school. In fact, even though I am a passionate learner, institutionalized learning and I are not compatible. Over the years I have been feeling the intuitive knudge to trust there's another way to transition into healing work. But I've had no solid leads on what it could be, until recently, when I started coming across people who are doing healing work that also don't have pieces of paper, but have tremendous life experience and self-directed learning. People who trust themselves and claim their gifts with boldness and confidence.

What I haven't been trusting is that I have been going through a different kind of education that allows me to help others from the place of having been there and made my way out. Instead of going to years of school to get a degree in Pyschology, I have lived through the process of healing several significant traumas and transforming my own mental illness by studying psychology, consciousness and spirituality and applying what I learn to my own life. I have not been giving myself the appropriate credit for being my own therapist and spiritual teacher.

Many years ago, someone who was helping me on my spiritual path told me they believed that I lived through so many difficult experiences, and have such a strong capacity for empathy, so that I could accompany others on their journey through the dark night. Instead of sitting in a classroom and talking about how violence affects families, I have lived through and then healed violence in my own home. Instead of learning how to counsel others in a formal setting, I have been putting the healing work that I have learned into action in my own relationships. Instead of writing a doctorate thesis, I have been working on the frontlines of building a community through striving for healthy relationship and deeper love.

I started this post thinking about how I am head-over-heels in love with God and Life right now. But I'm ending this stream of consciousness with the realization that I'm falling in love with my self. I have been so focused for so long on making myself better, that I haven't realized I already am. I've been focusing on my fears and where I need to heal so intensely because I believe I'm still broken. But I'm not.

I am not broken.

I am whole. I will always be in the process of evolution toward greater awareness and deeper love, but I am whole right here, right now.

And I have so much to give others from that wholeness.

Excuse me while I go sit with that and cry for a bit.

Oh, and thank you for witnessing me. I really appreciate it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

30 Days of Radical Self Care

I started writing this post within a week of the "break up." It was actually the first post I drafted. The first major insight I had into the issues in our relationship had to do with self-care, recognizing that we were not caring for ourselves, which made it difficult to care for each other. I decided immediately to implement a radical self-care practice, committing to 30 days in hopes of giving myself an attainable goal and setting the foundation for the practice to become a good habit. I was going to boldly make a pronouncement about my commitment, but a variety of insecurities held me back. What if I pronounce it publicly and then slip back into my old habits and fail? Why would anyone want to read about my process? Who do I think I am?

But a couple of days ago, Lissa Rankin at Owning Pink published a post committing to 30 days of radical self-care (Owning Pink is a great blog and daily reminder towards the authentic life I desire). The serendipity was too much to ignore. I wrote a comment about my own commitment and she dared me to publish this post. So here it is.

I am on the edge of a major shift in consciousness - a significant choice point in my life. I have been approaching this edge over and over for years and my ego keeps saying NO and sending me back in circles. I continue evolving in other directions, but always return to this place. The Universe keeps calling me to live with more intention, more health, more love and I keep resisting. I keep telling myself that I am awake enough, that I work hard enough. I have overcome mental illness and poverty. I have raised happy healthy kids as a primarily single mom. I live a life of service. I am inspiring others to live with more consciousness in their lives. I have created a life rich with relationships. I am already working so damn hard! Do I really have to step up to more discipline and more responsibility in order to experience more love? YES.

This is where I decide whether I want to live in integrity with what I know to be true, or I want to continue living a half stagnant life. While I work hard to bring awareness to my relationships and my work, I am lazy about bringing awareness to my self. I confess that I take better care of everyone else than I do myself. While I give great effort to live up to a conscious relationship with my children, Knight, my tribe, my business partners and the Imps, I do not make the same effort on my own behalf. And I am living the consequences, as is everyone around me.

* My emotional stability is precarious - We had to put the brakes on the best relationship I've ever had largely because I cannot control my emotional reactions when I am triggered (it is my greatest challenge with the Imps, too). While I have made tremendous growth in managing my emotions (if only people knew what I was like when I was crazy!), I still have work to do. But I don't think it has so much to do with the psychological work of healing my past and overcoming my fear-stories as it does with daily self-care and spiritual practice that will create the centering place for me to respond to life from. I've been doing the psychological work, I have not been doing the spiritual practice.

* My spiritual life is nearly bankrupt. I was not maintaining a relationship with the Sacred. I did not have a practice. I did not put intention into living a life of Presence. I have not been living in integrity with what I believe about God. I have not been living in integrity with my belief that we are spiritual beings having a human experience. I have not been nurturing a spiritual perspective and the expansiveness it brings.

* My body is a mess. I am in mild to moderate muscular pain nearly every day. My digestive system also causes me discomfort, especially when I'm emotionally topsy-turvy. While I've been toying with the idea that I may have a significant health issue, my intuition tells me my body is rebelling because I am not living in integrity with what I know about good health. While I eat better than I have at any other time of my life and rarely emotionally eat anymore, I still do not eat well. I ingest things I shouldn't. I was not exercising at all. I have been making poor choices regarding my body, or neglecting my body entirely, and I have reached a point in my consciousness where my body is telling me I can't ignore it anymore. Either I take care of my physical self or I live in constant pain and discomfort.

* My finances remain limited. I have never moved beyond living paycheck to paycheck. I am nearly always just a little bit behind so I never get ahead. I made poor financial choices in the past and the consequences are still being resolved. I am still suffering from poverty consciousness and fear that I can't take any risks as long as I have a child at home. If I can't manage the resources the Universe is giving me now, why would it give me more? If I can't manage the confidence to move in a new direction, how can I change my circumstances?

* I continue working for a living rather than living my life's work. While everything in me craves to be creating abundance through work of my heart, I don't take the steps or risks to change my situation. It is exhausting me to work a 9-5 job I don't love in an emotionally unhealthy work culture, and then make the time and space for the work I do love (currently through the Imps). My exhaustion limits what I'm capable of creating.

Steps I need to take for self-care and what I am committing to for the next 30 days:

* Begin every day with prayer. I need to open the lines of communication with the Divine. While my understanding of God is always changing, I have learned that a Sacred approach to life is the most healthy and stabilizing for me. I need to nurture that relationship by connecting with the Sacred every day.

* Write every day. Writing is a spiritual practice for me, a conversation between God and I, and a form of contemplation. Writing is also a tool for my emotional health. When I process my emotions through writing, I find clarity and calm. Writing takes me out of the rut of thoughts and often leads me into insight. And sharing my story with others through writing is part of my life purpose (more on that in another post). It is my intent to use this blog to document and process my daily journey on this road to a life of integrity.

* Pay attention to my authentic impulses and speak my truth when I feel guided. I ignore a lot of guidance towards love, which is limiting the amount of love I experience! I ignore impulses to reach out to people for fear of rejection. I have impulses to give gifts, to say a kind word, to give a compliment, to offer a touch, to deepen a conversation. I have gifts that I could be sharing -- healing touch, intuitive readings -- but I am afraid people will think I am weirdo or a fraud. I hold back from speaking my spiritual truths for fear of rejection. I try to make myself as "accessible" as possible. People in my tribe already talk about my hippy-dippy ways -- I have worried about what they would say if I didn't hold back as much as I do. But the truth is, my friends don't really want me to play small. They want me to be big and be as *April* as I possibly can be. (And if they don't, then I need to find new friends!)

* Study. Taking in new information from teachers challenges me to new insights and life changes. I am starting my mornings with The Book of Awakening. I am going to read Nonviolent Communication since violent communication is a shadow I am currently working with. I am also reading books about love and spiritual relationship.

* Friendship. Experiencing intimacy with others is a significant aspect of my bliss. Yet, I have not given the time and intent toward nurturing my friendships. I have made myself so busy with work, Knight, family and the Imps that I haven't had the space to be a consistent friend. I have also lived in fear of being rejected if I attempt to deepen friendship intimacy.

* Exercise -- outside if possible -- yoga or walking at least five days a week. It could only be 15 minutes, but it needs to be something. Both walking and yoga are meditative as well as physical practices. They feed my soul as much as my body. I've started going to the Arcata Marsh or Redwood Park every day at lunch to walk. I am finding that not only is walking significantly decreasing the pain I feel, walking in such beautiful places is nurturing my perception of life as a blessing. Yesterday the beauty of the sky reflected on the marsh waters actually brought me to tears. People in cities buy calendars and posters to see the beautiful landscapes that are within five minutes of me in any direction!

* Make better choices around food/nutrition and take a multi-vitamin every day.

It is my hope that implementing these daily practices will lead to positive shifts in all aspects of my life, especially my relationships. I am truly beginning to understand how living a love-filled life begins with loving my self first.

(Image Credit: Sharon Simpson)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Breaking Surface

Let no one keep you from your journey,
no rabbi or priest, no mother
who wants you to dig for treasures
she misplaced, no father
who won't let one life be enough,
no lover who measures their worth
by what you might give up,
no voice that tells you in the night
it can't be done.

Let nothing dissuade you
from seeing what you see
or feeling the winds that make you
want to dance alone
or go where no one
has yet to go.

You are the only explorer.
Your heart, the unreadable compass.
Your soul, the shore of a promise
too great to be ignored.

Mark Nepo

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Moments of Grace

I spent my lunch hour with Knight today. We hadn't spent time together since Sunday morning and it flowed for us to have some time today.

For my part, I desired to see him and it came from a healthy, loving, present space. I enjoy spending time with him. One of my favorite things in the world is talking with him, especially when I can lay my head on his shoulder, press my body up against his, make contact at every possible point, and put my hand over his heart. There is such ease in our conversation, and such incredible openness. I have never been so honest, so transparent. We have deep intimacy. While we may have some shadowy and unhealthy patterns between us, we also have many incredibly light and healthy aspects of our relationship. We do intimacy really, really well, which is carrying us through this transition in our relationship with incredible grace.

Last night we talked about what we might do at lunch. I have been taking a walk every day as part of my practice of self-care. We talked about walking. Or having lunch. Or having sex. He made a half-joking comment about the apartment being empty and the possibility of sex. He's such a man when it comes to these things (I find it endearing and flattering). I felt powerful desire and temptation at the thought of sex. I also realized there were light and shadow motivations at play, so I quickly tried to resist the idea with a comment about meeting somewhere safer than his empty apartment. Ultimately we did decide to meet at his place and didn't settle on what we would do.

The flirting and the possibility of sex being bandied about turned me on. And for the first time since the "break up," it didn't make me sad to touch myself or fantasize about being with him. It felt good. It felt joyful. It felt loving and damn sexy.

I showed up this afternoon and we decided to cuddle on his bed while we talked. Because of my reading last night and the flow of insights that followed (a post on that coming soon), I wanted to talk about the spiritual aspects of our relationship and was distracted from thoughts of sex (mostly). During our conversation I was profoundly moved and cried several times, not out of grief this time, but out of immense gratitude for what is unfolding within each of us and between us, for our desire to truly witness each other and for having someone with whom I could talk about spiritual partnership and know he gets it. It is so strange to suddenly feel comfortable with the idea that we are not returning to what we had. I no longer want to. The parts of our relationship where we were relating from our wounds rather than our love need to die. Our attachments to the illusions of security need to die. I can feel how much more real, loving and vibrant the relationship we are capable of can be when we free ourselves from the past.

Toward the end our time together I asked if I could kiss him. I asked because I wanted to respect boundaries and offer the opportunity for him to decide whether it would be an authentic expression for him. He said yes. After our kiss he asked if I wanted him to ask me from now on. I said no. I am open to whatever unfolds naturally from love. He said he feels the same way. We both emphasized our commitment to act from healthy and authentic places rather than shadowy and habitual ones. We are making no commitments. We are not "back together." We are focusing on the spiritual and emotional rather than the socially conventional and domestic.

As we break our habits we are able to see what we have that is rich and good and that which came from our need, our attachment, our insecurity, and our fear of being alone. We see where we need to work on ourselves and learn to relate in healthy ways before we can know if sharing a domestic life is desired and good for us. Perhaps there is a different relationship structure that suits us better. As our relationship unfolds we will see where it leads to act in integrity rather than from a sense of expectation or obligation because we call ourselves partners. We don't know those people-living-in-relationship-integrity yet, so we cannot know what kind of relationship they will have.

What we do know is that we have these moments of grace and we can create more of them. It doesn't matter what we call our relationship or whether we live together or whether we remain lovers. What matters are the moments in which we act from love, towards ourselves and each other and everyone else, and increasing those moments through self-care, open-heartedness and spiritual practice.

Toward that end I bought us each a gift: The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo. It is a daybook with reflections by a poet who survived cancer, which was an experience of spiritual awakening for him. Someone shared passages from it on Facebook and it resonated with me. I gave Knight's copy to him today with a homemade bookmark*. My hope is that we will both be inspired and that we will have a shared spiritual practice every day, even though we will not be together every day.


*The quote on the bookmark: "A true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that’s holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake.”

I wrote a personal note that said," Thank you for smacking me awake."

Spiritual Revelations

I have had wave upon wave of revelation about the importance of my spiritual life in the last 36 hours. Even though I claim that I am a Mystic, head over heels in love with God, I have not been nurturing my relationship to the Divine or a spiritual life of any depth. I have been distracted by relationship and my work with the community. I have been immersed in the mundane. And I have lost my center because of it.

I am examining the idea of living in integrity -- which I believe is acting from one's beliefs about themselves and the Universe. I have not been living in integrity with what I believe. I've been treating spirituality like a hobby, picking it up when I feel like it, putting it down for other distractions. I turn to my spiritual life to save me when I am heartbroken, but I ignore it when I am focused on relationship, until the relationship falls apart and I come back to it to save me again.

How can I maintain a healthy intimate relationship with another person(s) if I can't maintain the two most important relationships in my life - my relationship to my Self and to the Divine?

We are so incredibly drawn into relationship because we seek Oneness. We are spiritually driven to relationship -- to relate from Divine Spark to Divine Spark -- but we aren't conscious of it. Knight and I desire to merge in every way -- physically (cuddling/touching), sexually, emotionally, and domestically -- because we hunger for Oneness. We believe in the illusion that if we immerse ourselves deeply enough we will experience Unity. But when we immerse in the mundane, move through our days without intention, and connect as ego-based personalities rather than as spiritual beings, we lose our center and get lost in the complications, compromises and conflicts of two individuals trying to share a life. Unconscious merging does not lead to Oneness, it leads to entanglement and relating from our wounds.

When Knight and I came together I was intentionally seeking a spiritual partner. I was interested in relationship that was based in our spiritual commitment -- a commitment to our own spiritual development as well as each others. I felt that potential with him from the first time we met. Actually, I felt that potential with him when I read his emails to various community lists and resonated with his sharings. But instead of putting any intention into our spiritual relationship, Knight and I became immersed in the domestic, social and sexual. We've done our relationship backwards. Instead of focusing on a spiritual partnership and allowing the rest of our relationship to unfold from that, we have focused on traditional expressions of emotional and domestic partnership, hoping one day we'll be motivated to integrate the spiritual.

I come to this place over and over again. Each relationship, whether to an intimate partner or to a community, eventually brings me to this place where I realize that I can go no further without reclaiming my spiritual life. Every relationship transition I can remember experiencing involved an opportunity for spiritual awakening and a return to my practice and rituals. When I have spiritual practice and maintain a spiritual perspective on all that is unfolding in me and in the world around me, I am uplifted. My days feel better. I make choices that increase my joy. I am too busy telling love stories and focusing on movement forward to get mired in the fear of old wounded stories.

What are the activities in life that bring me the greatest joy, that give me that feeling of being light and loving? Spiritual rituals. Reading works that set my heart and mind on fire. Writing about my process. Contemplating human evolution and how I can contribute to it. Work that matters - whether it's for the Imps or towards other positive endeavors. Loving relationships through uplifted connection -- conversations about what's real, physical affection, and sharing positive experiences.

I have been spiritual all my life. A few months ago I went through my mom's photographs and found a picture of me, maybe 8 years old, in a grassy field on my knees, head bowed, and hands together under my chin. I am praying and it is beautiful. Something in that picture reminded me that I have always been connected to God and I have thrived in the worst of circumstances when I have relied on my relationship to God to get me through. It has been a blend of psychological work and spiritual practice that allowed me to transcend the traumas of my youth and build a functional life. Now it's time to move from functional to thriving in every possible way. It's time to use spirituality as more than a heart-break healer.

I have come to recognize that another way that I am like my mother is that we both need to be strong in our spiritual practice to maintain our emotional balance. The functional periods of my mother's life coincided with the practice of her faith and her involvement in a spiritual community. When she was immersed in her spirituality and her church, she was free of her addictions and lived more from love than her wounds. I believe a significant reason that she descended so far before she died was that she never found a spiritual community in Las Vegas.

Which brings me to another revelation -- I have been desperate for spiritual community since my last one dissolved a few years ago. I haven't found a church or traditional community that suits the modern mystic's journey. I have tried to reach out to others who may be interested in nurturing spiritual community but it hasn't gone anywhere. For whatever reasons we haven't felt the call strong enough to make something happen. That needs to change for me. I need spiritual community. I need to connect and share regularly with other people who are living life from a spiritual perspective.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Emotional Poverty Consciousness

One of the insights I've had into our relationship experience is that we were living in emotional poverty consciousness (the Ethical Slut calls it starvation economy). We behaved as if we believed there was not enough time or love and we needed to horde all the time, attention and affection we could get. We clung to every possible moment we could squeeze out of our schedules to be together. We suffered with longing when we had to be apart. We struggled and compromised ourselves when we desired to be doing different things but didn't want to give up time with each other. We were jealous of other relationships, including friendships.

We couldn't seem to experience a sense of enough-ness. It wasn't enough that we had someone amazing to share our lives with. It wasn't enough that we were present when we could be and witnessed each other regularly. It wasn't enough that we were having the deepest, richest and most passionate experience of love that either of us had known. It wasn't enough that we did our best to support one another. It wasn't enough that we were as open-hearted, honest and communicative as we could possibly be.

I could never get enough witness from Knight. My Invisible Girl archetype would show up regularly with her stories and convince me that he wasn't seeing me. She would take everything he did personally. Every time he was self or other absorbed rather than focused on me, even when appropriately so, the stories of invisibility would be reinforced. It didn't matter how much he did witness/honor/support/appreciate me, I focused on the stories of invisibility.

Knight had his equivalent to my Invisible Girl who could not get enough in his own ways.

We both have emotional wounds from our past that keep us believing we are not enough and that we are not worthy of the abundant love that surrounds us (not just our love for each other, but the love in our friendships and community as well). These beliefs are so deep that we neglect ourselves, which indicates that we believe we are not even worth our own self-care. We have both been living in so much fear that we can not trust the love we are given. While we grasp and cling to every external sign of love, we are actually unable to really see and feel the immensity of love that others have for us. I know that we underestimated how much the other loves us and how committed the other was to sharing a life. I know we underestimate how much our friends love us and how much they desire us in their lives. How can we experience the reality of love when we are so busy wrapping ourselves in our fears?

I am cultivating a new gratitude practice in hopes of nurturing abundance consciousness and rewriting my stories of not enough. There is so much beauty in this world and in my life. I have more abundance in friendship and love, resources and money, than I ever have before. Why would the Universe give me more if I can't appreciate what I already have?

The Tight Rope

I feel as though I am walking a tight rope. I must strike an intricate balance to take full responsibility for my fear based choices and the resulting consequences without falling into shame, humiliation and regret. I must allow the grief for what is lost to move through me while maintaining a bigger perspective on the perfection of what is unfolding. It is an unsettling teeter totter. I start to fall and try to lean back into a more loving story. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I lose my balance, fall into the dark and then have to do the work of climbing up the ladder to the light again.

Last night's revelation that I have become that which I most fear, and that which I have been unable to forgive in others, weighs heavily on my heart today. For as long as I can remember I have said that I do not want to become my mother. I have consciously worked on my mental-emotional-spiritual health for 15+ years so that I do not become my mother. And yet here I am, making similar fear-based choices. I spent so much time fearing that Knight would choose something or someone else over his love for me, that I couldn't see how I was choosing to live in my fear rather than my love for him. I am astounded that I've lost control of my emotional life to this degree.

It seems like it should be easy to choose love, but it isn't, not when you've been living a fear-story since birth. Choosing love takes incredible intention and attention. Right now it requires nearly minute-by-minute vigilance as I witness what unfolds in my mind and heart as I go through my day. And isn't just about choosing love in my relationship to my self and Knight. It's about choosing love in every interaction at work, at home, and in my community.

Right now choosing love means forgiving myself, Knight, my mother and my ex-husband for choosing love over fear. Because of this experience, I have a new depth of compassion for all of us.

Choosing love means actively rewriting my stories, both past and present. It's time to transform my wounded stories into something more empowering. When the stories start looping in my head, I must be vigilant about stopping them in their tracks and redirecting them toward love.

Choosing love means holding back from reaching out through text or phone call every time my heart longs for him because I need to learn how to act from love rather than yearning and habit. It means trusting that just because we no longer talk every day, or share life the way we did, we are still connected and he still loves me.

Choosing love means believing I am lovable.

Choosing love means trusting that remaining open-hearted and vulnerable despite the heartache will bring healing.

Choosing love means taking action towards self-care. To care for my body I am walking every day. To care for my mind I am writing. To care for my heart I am giving myself permission to grieve without turning it to suffering. To care for my soul I am nurturing my relationship to the Divine through prayer and paying attention to the abundant sources of guidance and support being offered on my behalf every single day.

Choosing love means walking this tightrope until it transforms into a comfortable walking path towards my growth and healing.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Audacity of Authenticity

"Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be, and embracing who we are. Choosing authenticity means:

• Cultivating the courage to be imperfect, to set boundaries, and to allow ourselves to be vulnerable;

• Exercising the compassion that comes from knowing that we are all made of strength and struggle and connected to each other through a loving and resilient human spirit; and

• Nurturing the connection and sense of belonging that can only happen we believe that we are

Authenticity demands wholehearted living and loving – even when it’s hard, even when we’re
wrestling with the shame and fear of not being good enough, and especially when the joy is so
intense that we’re afraid to let ourselves feel it.

Choosing authenticity is not only an act of courage; it is an act of resistance. You’re going to
confuse, piss-off and terrify lots of people – including yourself. One minute you'll pray that
the transformation ends and the next minute you’ll pray that it never ends.

But, if we want to engage in our lives from a place of worthiness, authenticity is not an option. We have to wake up every morning and say, “is is who I am, this is my story, and . . . I am enough.”

Brene Brown, from What is Dying to be Born?

YES. This is who I am, this is my story, and I am enough.

And the same goes for you.

The Free Pass at the Campout

Speaking of living the Love Story...

Last Saturday was the staff party for the Prom. Two weeks after every large event, the Imps have a staff decompression and appreciation party. This time we had a campout at a lovely spot with redwoods and wild flowers in a lodge with a giant fire place in the center of the room.

Knight and I started negotiating the staff party soon after the break-up. We knew it could be a difficult experience. We have been to every Imps event as a couple since we met. Most of the time I was convinced that I would only stay for the decompression. I believed that the grief would be too overwhelming and it wouldn't be good for me (or anyone else) to stay.

A couple days before the event, I asked Knight what his ideal situation for the staff party would be and he indicated that he desired to have a shared play experience, which ultimately led to an expressed openness to sharing intimacy on our own or with others. At first it took me some time to figure out if sharing intimacy at the party would create more suffering or not, but then the question changed to what the most loving choice would be. We could focus on our heartache, attend the party and keep our distance from one another, restraining the love and desire that still flows, being awkward and sad. Or we could take an expanded view and give ourselves a free pass to express our love for each other without inhibition or attachment.

So we chose love. It was beautiful. It was healing. And if it is the last time we are intimate, I couldn't have wished for a more joyful ending to our lover relationship. We were so incredibly present to each other and the moment. There was no grief (until the morning after). We saw each other with eyes of pure love. I believe that I see him more clearly now than I ever have. As we've untangled our entanglements and talked through our processes with openness, I have come to see and understand him better -- who he is, how he feels, why he experiences the world and our relationship the way he does. As I witness him stand in his integrity and authenticity around the necessity of change in our relationship, I see a strength I didn't know was there. As I experience his openheartedness with me, despite how I've hurt him, I finally see the profound depth of his capacity to love unconditionally.

We don't know if we will be intimate again. We agreed that nothing would change as far as our relationship transition is concerned. We have no idea what we're transitioning into. We still have processing and healing to do. We are still walking the tightrope between honoring our authentic impulses toward intimacy and breaking our habits of each other. But our experience over the weekend gives me hope. Whatever our relationship looks like, we are already transitioning to a deeper, more present experience of love. Our individual emotional and spiritual evolutions are being transformed by the continued unfolding of our relationship. We have the potential to write ourselves into an amazing love story that defies social convention.

I am voraciously reading The Future of Love by Daphne Rose Kingma tonight. I am deeply inspired by her vision of love and relationship. My spiritual longing has been ignited by this experience and the book is reconnecting me with a spiritual perspective of my unfolding. It has been too long since I consciously nurtured my spirituality. I feel inspired and excited. I feel as though I am coming home to myself again. I hope it is the same for him.

Choosing to Live a Love Story

"That same circuitry is active in your brain today in the amygdala, hippocampus, and related structures. It's hard-wired to scan for the bad, and when it inevitably finds negative things, they're both stored immediately, plus made available for rapid recall.

In contrast, positive experiences (short of million dollar moments) are usually registered through standard memory systems, and thus need to be held in conscious awareness 10 to 20 seconds for them to really sink in.

In sum, your brain is like velcro for negative experiences and teflon for positive ones.
In the moment, this built-in bias puts a negative spin on the world and intensifies our stress and reactivity. Over time, these experiences build up in what’s called “implicit memory,” casting a glum shadow over mood and outlook, and darkening one’s interior landscape. Yes, these hard-wired inclinations have been evolutionarily successful, but Mother Nature cares about grandchildren, not about dukkha."

- Rick Hanson, psychologist, and Rick Mendius, neurologist
Something I have known intellectually for years is finally sinking in experientially -- where we put our attention defines, and even creates, our experience. The way to cultivate attention is to live with intention.

I spend far too much time putting my attention on shadows. Rather than intentionally cultivating gratitude and appreciation for the abundance of goodness I have in my life, I have been focused on not-enoughness, disappointment and other negative judgments of myself and the people in my life. Especially within my changing relationship.

(Oh goodness, I need something to call the man I love with all my being but is no longer my "partner." From now on I shall call him Knight. In many ways he has been my Knight in Shining Armor, even if we may not live happily ever after from a traditional perspective. We are rewriting the fairy tale and redefining "happily ever after.")

Knight is a truly good man. He is a good provider who makes a living doing something he loves, which is serving and facilitating healing for others. He is dedicated to family. He is fun and made me laugh a lot. He has a strong masculine/feminine balance and is overall a great communicator. He is remarkably accepting and non-judgmental of mine and other people's quirks and shadows. He is smart and creative. He works toward his own evolution and encourages others in their work. He is curious and adventurous. He is incredibly sexy and a wonderful lover. He is definitely a great catch. I had so many moments with him where I consciously thought about how blessed I was to be in the closest possible relationship to him. I was consistently surprised by the beauty in him -- his openness, his tremendous capacity and desire for love, and his insights into the human condition. I could see the Divine Spark in him and it is so very beautiful.

And yet as his quirks and shadows emerged over time, I took them personally and paid them too much attention. I allowed them to feed my fear stories. I became emotionally volatile. When a situation with him would set off a trigger, I would sink into the fear and shut him out. My communication would become violent -- passive aggressive, blaming, criticizing -- which would set off the fear triggers in him and send us into a tailspin as we tried to inflict pain on one another in some twisted sense of self protection. Our shadows weren't dancing well together and we didn't put the needed intention into learning how to dance with grace. We protected ourselves right out of our relationship. Funny how I don't feel any more safe or secure now.

Instead of focusing on how Knight was choosing me as a life partner, to the point of making compromises for me, I focused on my fears around his desire to be polyamorous. Instead of maintaining gratitude and appreciation for all the consistent ways he supported me, listened to me, encouraged my growth, and expressed his love and desire for me, I tripped out on him when I misunderstood him or he was self-absorbed or fell down in his own fearful stories. Instead of practicing compassion and holding space for his experience, which would have deepened our intimacy and strengthened our bond, I became self-absorbed in my fear and pushed him away.

I believe that I have been too focused on my own shadow. While we cannot bring our shadows into the light without paying serious attention to them, I believe that we can focus too much on our "deficiencies" and live in a consistent fear of fucking up. We pay so much attention to our fears that we bring them to life. I have seen this pattern in others, but I have never consciously experienced it in my own life like I am now.

In recent months I have had to face the shadow of violence within me. I have become aware of how I communicate violently and how I sometimes hurt people I love with my words and my tone. And it has made me afraid. I am so very afraid of hurting anyone ever again. I am judging and blaming myself for the pain I've caused. I am perceiving judgment all around me, believing that people see me as a fraud, incapable of living the love I claim to be striving for and ask them to strive for. I have been so afraid that I started worrying the crazies might be coming back -- or never really went away. I have been afraid that I will do the unforgivable, and living so deep in that fear that I created exactly what I was afraid of. I did something that may be forgivable, but has lost me one of the most precious gifts the Universe has given me. How can I not feel like a failure? I don't think I have failed so big. While I can usually find the opportunity, and even the beauty, in every failure or disappointment in my life, I can't imagine how that is possible with this. I have lost the love of my life, someone with whom I feel more potential for a love-filled life than I have ever felt before. How do I find the grace to forgive myself and believe that I am deserving and capable of a healthy, loving relationship?

Instead of writing a love story, which is what I believed myself to be doing, I was writing a fear story and brought my fear to life. I don't know that I have ever understood my own creative power so well. It's time to put that power to better uses.

One of the questions I am living is how can I trust the Universe if I cannot trust myself? How can I trust someone elses love for me if I cannot trust my own love? I am more violent with myself than I am with anyone else. I have voices inside, voices that I spend much too much time listening to, that tell me I am a failure, that I have no right attempting to make change in the world when I have so much change to make in myself, and that I should hide away with my fucked-up-ness. My saboteur runs rampant in me and keeps me from doing all that I am inspired to do. I am terribly unkind to myself. I neglect my body to the point that I am living with near daily discomfort or pain. I strive to take good care of the people I love -- my children, my tribe and the greater community I serve -- but I don't take care of myself. I try to meet everyone else's expectations -- sometimes to my own detriment -- and yet I don't feel deserving to ask for what I need or desire from others.

I desire to be living a love story, not a fear story. And not just with Knight, but with myself. Oh wow, I just realized a whole new layer to what is unfolding. I have been unable to forgive my mother for choosing a fear story over her love for me. I have also struggled to forgive my ex-husband for choosing a fear story over his love for me and my children. I have judged them, blamed them and struggled to forgive them because they are a mirror for my own fear choices. I have been doing the same damn thing, choosing to give attention to my fear more than my love.

When my mother died, a friend told me it was an opportunity to be free. I have convinced myself that the path to freedom is digging into my wounds. I have given tremendous power to my wounds, allowing them to disrupt the flow of love in my life. Every difficult moment I had with the Knight (and in all of my other relationships) was based in a fear story that reinforced my wounding. Once I was emotionally triggered by a situation, I couldn't break free of the wounded story. Instead I fed it and reinforced it by setting limitations for myself and our relationship.

I haven't broken free of my mother's hold on my life, I have become her.

"The whole world is waiting for someone to open their heart first." Byron Katie

This is my wake up call. I have always had a passion for self development because even though I was born into such a deep fear story, I was also born with a deep intuitive knowing of what living a Love Story can be. I have never been able to explain it properly to people, but I can feel the potential of living a Love filled life. I can feel it within myself, within others, and in relationship between myself and others. I work so hard on myself and on my relationships because I am striving to create that Love experience. I work to bring information and experiences to others that will encourage the Love because I am striving to create what I feel is possible. I believe in Love fiercely and I will do whatever it takes to open myself to it to my fullest capacity and encourage others to do the same. Right now that means ending the fear story I've been living and intentfully writing my Love Story.

Thank you for being a part of it.

"You suppose you are the trouble, but you are the cure. You suppose you are the lock on the door, but you are the key that opens it. It is too bad that you want to be someone else. You don't see your own face, your own beauty, yet no face is more beautiful than yours."
~ Rumi