Grrrreeting the Day

Some moons ago I was in a yoga teacher training in which one of our “home work assignments” was to linger in bed and wake slowly, allowing time for wriggling and stretching and languid breathing, gliding in and out of consciousness, snuggling if your bed happened to be shared with another being, savoring the first moments of bodily awareness, all before going about the busy activity of one’s day.

This simple and sensuous practice was, at that time, surprisingly difficult to do — to allow — in practice.   Upon waking, my thoughts would begin to churn and I would feel the urgency, real or imagined, of all the stuff requiring my attention and energy in the hours to come.  My mind would start to herd me toward “getting going” with the day, toward doing at the expense of being, planning at the expense of pleasure.  Of course, waking in a zestful manner, launched with ebullience into the day, can also be pleasurable,  provided one’s motion is embodied and sourced in purposeful happiness.  Prioritizing this kind of sensuous waking, I discovered a tendency to greet, engage and conduct the activity of my day from a more embodied, more grounded, more present and connected sourcefulness.

Over time the practice became intermittent.  Sometimes I would remember and sometimes I just didn’t take the time to linger, even though in general I still endeavor to launch myself from that source-full place of breath and awareness  I have to say that changing the alarm to something less jabbing makes the practice much easier.  Many alarms are utterly anti-sensuous methods for being roused. If one has to use an alarm, I highly recommend ditching those that thrust one roughly into the now moment — definitely not conducive to pleasure!

Now, I have a new spiritual teacher and alarm system sharing the bed.  Macy, our 9+ month old puppy, has been inviting us into a new level of sensuous waking that is deliciously irresistible.  She begins the process somewhere between 5:30 and 7:00 a.m., depending on the previous night’s activities.  First, she wriggles onto her back, her legs reaching skyward and waggling, paws dangling in the space above her.  My eyes peek open to see her happy eyes waiting for me to notice her, wide doggy smile inches from my own face, nose pressed against me.  When she notices me noticing her, her whole body comes alive with wriggling happiness, little  sounds of pleasure accompanying her motions, drawing my hand like a magnet to rub her belly, which magnifies  her pleasurable wriggling. Then, I start wriggling and stretching and making sounds with her which again magnifies her happiness which in turn, magnifies mine.

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We fall back asleep for some moments, her head in my hand or tucked into the covers, paws still dangling above us, belly exposed to the growing light.  Then one of us stirs or I stop rubbing her belly, causing Macy to shift positions and begin the process again.  More wriggling and sweet squirming, paws reaching and then pushing against the body of my lover as she twists so that her body is pressed tightly against mine, or draping and leaning weightily across the curves of our blanketed bodies, mouth open and whole body smiling. We roll and wriggle and snuggle in this way until I know it is time to slide out of bed and begin the activities of our day.

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Waking alongside this dog-being has been a wonderful reminder to begin the day emphasizing pleasure: the pleasure of warm snuggly companionship, the pleasure of the morning sounds of birds and rain and wind in the chimes, the pleasure of opening the sleep-stagnation of the body with lavish, voluptuous movements, accompanied by pleasurable vocalizations and a smile.

Whether or not you have a puppy in your bed, try allowing some time for waking a little more slowly and sensuously.  If you find your mind beginning to spin about the events of the day, try turning your feeling-attention the simple rhythm and sensations of your breath, filling and emptying.  Move each limb and appendage slowly, honoring the body’s own process of becoming wakeful and mobilized for what the day holds.

To amplify the effects of this practice you can always get a puppy. : )

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Source-Full Pleasure is Vitamin “P”

Source-full pleasure is one of the essential nutrients for the feminine soul.  I call her Vitamin P.

The busyness of our lives frequently requires we maintain a constant driving pace and over time that pace can dehydrate the soul of a feminine being.  Any parched deserts out there?

The aching desire to escape the relentless and seemingly never ending stream of tasks and responsibilities has created a generation of people who habitually use pleasure as an escape from the mediocrity or relief from the bruising life they are living.  And so you (or someone you know!) find yourself needing a vacation to “vacate”  life, rather than a holiday to enjoy it.

Those of us with a Feminine sexual essence almost always rediscover the true nature of pleasure, both offered and received, as both a connection to Source and as spiritual nourishment and fuel to perpetuate the magnification of love.

Create Source-ful Pleasure in your own environment to inspire and ignite your mission and gifts to be offered and serve those in your realm.  Take 15 minutes to sit in the sun or to appreciate your garden.  Take 30 minutes to walk around the neighborhood.  Enjoy a homemade glass of iced tea or the process of preparing a meal.  Enjoy a hot bath with all your favorite trimmings or a cool shower to enliven your spirit in the heat of summer.  Saturate your senses with a taste, smell, texture, sound or sight that you love.

To experience the spiritual potential and maximum benefit from pleasurable activities, approach each one consciously.  Dedicate the pleasure to what you are creating or causing or celebrating; consecrate the pleasure to the health of your body, mind and spirit and all that flows from you.  Breathe deeply and fully as you enjoy the pleasurable event, circulating the energy generated by each morsel of your pleasured senses.

When the activity is complete, move on to whatever is next, consciously circulating the energy of pleasure through your body and conduct it through your body as you work or play or parent or whatever is next for you.

Have you imbibed your daily dose of Vitamin P today?

The Moment is Your Lover

How would this unfolding moment occur for you if you engaged with it as your Lover? Cultivating this quality of intimacy with the moment is a profound practice to dip into periodically throughout your day.

The phrase “being in the moment” is commonly used to represent a desired quality or state of being: be present, be in the moment, be here now.  While it isn’t difficult to understand the value of being in the moment, it does seem difficult to actually be there for any length of time or with any frequency. Modern living seems to drive us right through many moments without even noticing where we’ve been as we strive to get things done, to make a living, to meet our own crazy perfectionistic (it’s a word now!) expectations.

Notice how often you are actually thinking about the past or about the future while doing something else entirely “in the moment.”  Perhaps your mind is wandering to reexamine a conversation you had with a lover or colleague as you take a walk or a shower.  Perhaps you are lying in bed trying to sleep and imagining how you will approach a difficult task the next day.

Certainly there is nothing wrong with savoring cherished memories or flirting with the future – these activities can inspire love, gratitude, creativity. Yet, if notice I think you will find that we are forever dawdling in the past and fussing with the future in ways that are less than nourishing.  Becoming aware of where my attention goes when it is free to wander has revealed for me the great quantity of time I can spend worrying, analyzing, judging myself  -– my behavior, my thoughts, my physical form, my failures, my weaknesses. . .  Anyway. . . .

While we do need to plan, to make progress toward accomplishments and to solve problems, we also need to remind ourselves to pause in the present from time to time; to consciously dwell fully in the very moment that is arising right now.  The next time you are doing an activity of some kind – walking, doing yoga, dancing, cleaning, gardening, cooking – play with the practice of consciously and consistently bringing your attention back to the moment.  Simply notice when you have been wandering in loops of the past or the future and attune to the occurring moment.

The feminine version of approaching the moment as a lover is opening to receive the moment into you and the masculine version is entering the moment and opening it.  We all have both masculine and feminine within us, so approaching this practice from either perspective is valuable.

For those of us whose essence rests more in the feminine, consciously and creatively opening to “receive the moment”  ripens our sensuality and blooms open our radiant depth of connection to the pervasive aliveness that is right now living through and around us.

Tuning your attention to receive the moment is most directly accessed through your physical senses: sight, taste, touch, hearing, smell.  The senses are always only experiencing in the moment. Attend to the sounds and smells in the environment you are in, the temperature of the floor under your feet, the texture of your clothing against your skin, the sounds arising around you, the smell of breeze, the colors of the flowers in the bins of the floral vendor, the pleasing shapes of the clouds.

Yes, your mind will also wander to lovely memories and exciting plans and juicy ideas.  Some of my best ideas and solutions come when I am in a kind of meandering contemplative state.  Take note of the juicy ideas and then bring your awareness back to the moment where you are breathing and sensing right now.  Notice especially when your mind begins to spin and churn on some past or future event and gently bring your attention back to the feel of the wind on your skin or the feeling of your muscles working as you move the laundry from washer to dryer.

In your love affair with life, the moment is your Lover.   The most mundane moment can become one of sublime sweetness with a mere shift of your attention to the messages from your senses.  Tuning your attention to the moment can be combined with other delicious blissiplines, such as savoring and celebrating beauty or saturating your senses or consciously deepening the rhythm of your breath.

As with your lover, there are moments of intimacy and moments of distance, rich moments of intense connection and dry moments of awkward separation.   Remember, all lovers have squabbles, clashes and other messy encounters that feel like less than love.  The art, then, is in feeling into and through those moments, rather than turning away from them in rejection or shrinking away in protection.

But that, my friends, is a posting for another day. . .

With Radiant Devotion

Deborah

Beauty – Vital Nourishment for the Feminine Soul

Life moves so fast and can be so full of challenges that we tend to neglect a key nutrient for the feminine soul: Beauty.  We forget to notice Beauty – to see, hear, taste, smell, touch and experience the beauty unfolding in every moment.  Beauty is there, happening, be we are not “tuned in” to receive her frequency.  We forget to create and celebrate Beauty for ourselves and for others.

Right now, in this moment, what Beauty is arising within you or around you, waiting to be seen, heard, smelled, tasted, felt, experienced, offered?

For Best Results:

Take time in your days to actively celebrate and create beauty in some way.

  • Pick some flowers and place them on your desk.
  • Send a fun card to a friend or sneak one on to a colleague’s desk.
  • Notice the quality of the late afternoon light on the trees.
  • Take a deeper breath and taste the quality of the twilight air.
  • Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.
  • Complement or acknowledge someone for their contribution.
  • Take time to really listen to a favorite piece of music or to watch your child sleeping.
  • Actually stop and smell the flowers!!

The pace and striving of the “modern lifestyle” can produce a serious deficiency in the nutrient of Beauty for the Feminine Soul unless we remember to nurture her existence in our lives.  Make the celebration and creation of Beauty a crazy habit and then invite others into your sweet madness, particularly those other Feminine Souls out there whose essence has become dehydrated.

Although we can celebrate Beauty from the past or anticipate Beauty in the future, the ripe potency of her power is experienced in the moment, and thus requires that we slow down from time to time; that we take time because Beauty is worth it.  And creating Beauty requires that we be willing to offer ourselves as her instrument and trust what shows up.

So, Sisters, let Beauty into your heart and soul and dance her rhythm on the skin of the Earth.

Burst of Beauty

With Radiant Devotion

Deborah

Love-Bruised & Moon-Drunk

Greetings Sisters!

The Alchemy we created together in the first ever Women’s Weekend continues to unfold in the way I have been living and loving ever since.  Even now, I am still so present to the shape of you – individually and as a Tribe – moving in my heart.

I arrived home love-bruised & moon-drunk on Monday evening, after completing with the Gift of My Heroic Journey group on the last day of the program.  My arrival home was divinely timed, allowing me to spend 20 minutes with my man before he ventured off to lead his bi-weekly men’s meeting here in Seattle.

By the way, while I was gallivanting with ya’ll l in our Love Affair with Life, Gary was co-leading the Men’s Retreat Weekend with three other brothers: Sonora’s husband, Stephen Garrett, Martin Hahn and Sean Nixon.  We all contributed to a profound wave of Sisterhood and Brotherhood on the planet during that weekend’s Full Moon Magic!

With Gary off to the men’s meeting, I had the LoveShack (the name of our funky little home) to myself for my own “homecoming” — an evening of re-integrating the “home” awakened in me during our weekend with the physical home where I sleep and eat and dance and dream, the place where I nest and that sources my service in the world as the Temple of my life.  I enjoyed a completely meandering evening of spiraling into the moment and into my home while bringing you all with me.

I began unpacking and putting away the altar items and decorations that became a part of our Temple, and in the process, completely surrendered to voluptuous impulse to create the primary altar in my home newly from the space we shared in our weekend together.  I put on music and nibbled food and danced as the new altar grew from the Love Affair with Life and Sisterhood pouring through me.   I went outside and breathed in a magnificent Sunset streaming clouds of neon rose and lavender steel in a sky alive with the wind.  In honor of our time together, I dedicated the evening to living what came alive in me in the cauldron of our circle, my cells literally dancing with the desire to create more beauty and magic!  Each time I light the candles and tend to this new altar, my heart feels outward to you.

As I tend my garden, walk in the woods near our home, and breathe in the majesty of summer’s ripening, a sweet corner of my heart is feeling your shape in my heart.

Just as you, I am always doing my best to live as an offering of love to the moment, to make conscious art with all that arises as best I can.  My own Love Affair with Life is sourced in devotion to the sanctuary of my practice – the sanctuary of what nourishes me and honors the feminine flavor of my essence.

Superficially it may seem like feminine spiritual practice is supposed to get you into your feminine – which is useful particularly for those of us who must find our way through all manner of activities and patterns of living that may feel out of harmony with the rhyme and reason of our more natural rhythms – those of nature, of the seasons, of our body’s cycles and the meanderings of the heart.

Ultimately, your feminine practice is devotion to how you want to be living and to tending the cauldron in the fire-center of your life. To incorporate feminine spiritual practice into our lives we each need to discover what nourishes us and harmonizes our energetic existence.  I have found that each of us needs a source of feminine “medicine” – using that word in its ancient sense as doorway to sacred – to remedy mechanistic living.

Ask yourself: How much love does my motion of energy in the world create and evoke? What must I nourish in my life to live as an offering of devotional openness?

In that spirit, here are just a few suggestions – potential “blissisplines” for you to play with and to inspire and celebrate your own living Love Affair with Life.

Enjoy!

Meandering Time

I regularly arrange my life to allow myself a regular dose of meandering.  You might recognize meandering as something called “puttering.” For me, “puttering” carries a slightly negative connotation, suggesting aimless or mindless activity without accomplishment or redeeming value.  Just another misunderstood feminine style of spiraling through what the flow of the day and one’s deepest longing brings into being.

Meandering is a sort of flowing practice of wu-wei. . . of letting pleasure guide you in a spacious, effortless flow of ripe engagement with the unfolding moment.  Let go of the need to value time by how many things you check off your list.  The creative core of your soul craves the nourishment of unstructured, organic time and motion, spiritually and physically.

Arrange your life to give yourself regular doses of meandering for a few hours a week or perhaps – gasp! – a whole day of curvaceous play once or twice per month!

Tending to Your Altars

Take time out to tend to your altars and sacred spots of beauty.  Remove dead or dying flowers, clean away dust, and perhaps refresh and rearrange the items displayed to align with what is wanting to move through you now.

Savoring & Meandering Walking Contemplations

I am blessed to live in an area of older residential neighborhoods among which is nestled a fantastic park of woods and trails and a little beach.  Sometimes I just walk the neighborhoods, taking in each home and yard as an altar.  Sometimes I take the longer walk into the woods and savor the sounds and sights and smells of textures of nature.  I practice for a time dwelling only in the unfolding present moment, savoring through what my senses encounter in the here and now and the delight of a meandering mind.  After a time I allow my mind and emotions meander and frolic and tumble with whatever is stirring within me, birthing creative ideas, realizing insights, tasting memories and entertaining imaginings.

In my gratitude for the privilege of living my life, I will continue to bring you the fruits of my practice and ofmy love affair with life!

with Radiant Devotion

Deborah

Keep the fire burning and the brew simmering!