The Unsatisfied Force Within You: It’s time to set it free

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Photo by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

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You are a lot like me, but not in a way we would necessarily see if we met face-to-face.

On the surface, we might seem similar or very different, but under the surface, something strong and alive pulses inside us.

Here, under the surface, we are very much alike.

Under the surface, we long for something, and this longing is more than just a simple whim or desire that comes from our more pedestrian human lives. It is way under the surface. Way down where marrow enlivens bone and blood runs thick, hot, and blue.

This longing, this pulse, is the desire of life to be fully alive, to be fully expressed, and to enjoy the feelings of aliveness and joy and unfolding, even though they are often intense. Very intense.

This desire, this longing, this pulse – was submerged long ago, long ago when we, you and I, were young.

Parents try to get us to calm down, quiet down, contain ourselves, stifle the voice, and not be ‘so outlandishly’ loud and ecstatic. Not be so happy. Not be so joyful. Not feel our feelings so intensely. Not feel.

We learn to squash the life force within us down to an acceptable level. We learn to be afraid of our own aliveness and vitality, our own emotional intensity.

We become ‘adult’.

I know I became very skilled at squashing my vitality and joy, which is what full aliveness looks like on the outside! I internalized the voices of adults over the years who kept at it, kept getting me to ‘tone it down.’ I used to be pretty vibrant. I played hard. I would get really sweaty and I loved being alive. But I grew to contain myself as those adults would shoot me glances that told me my fabulous vitality was not and certainly not polite.

Then, one day I began to do it to myself, taking those many voices outside into myself, taking them down deep inside where I couldn’t really hear them consciously but where they could still wreak their havoc in service to my dutiful smoldering of this inner fire – and it IS a fire.

Are you feeling this? Is it resonating? Do you, too, know this fire?

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“Eros – it sounds like a nice dessert, like a happy ending. But Eros, the Greek god of love, was considered a tragic figure in antiquity. He was not the god of pleasurable satisfaction, but of emotional intensity that burned just as hotly, if not more so, when unsatisfied.” Dr. Andreas Weber, Matter & Desire

How does it feel inside you when your emotional intensity burns hot and sits unsatisfied within you? What’s going on inside of you when everything you really are is trying to claw its way out, trying to set itself free? How does that feel? Are you aware of it, conscious of this deeper impulse to flow like lava, or spread its wings and flee the cage?

I can tell you how it feels in me. Hot, angry, alive, pushing back against those old, old voices that, while I’m sure felt they were helping me to grow into a polite young woman, continued to imply that what is inside of me cannot be trusted and so I must contain myself.

But it is love. It is love that wants to fly. It is love that wants to push itself up and out of these holy bodies and into the bright air of this holy world. It is Eros. It is impulse. It is life.

We don’t trust what lies within us, but at the heart of who we are is a love so powerful that it must unfold itself into the world because when it does so, life increases, life grows, life expands – and this is what allows life to continue. This is all we were as kids – love in a small human body wanting to know itself, wanting to feel gloriously alive.

But now – we are growing dead inside as a species. We lock ourselves up. We are locking others up. We are even locking children up now here in my country.

Command. Contain. Control.

The message: do not trust that impulse inside of you to come alive, do not trust your humanity, do not trust yourself.

This that we haven’t trusted is love’s great and hot desire to live into the world, to continue itself, over and over, becoming alive and then enjoying the deep feeling of having done so.

“But this love – I thought, as the trail of the swift’s arrowlike flight seemed burned like an afterimage into the evening’s empty air – is indeed nothing other than the inexhaustible drive of both life-forms and the ecosystem to grow and to unfold. It is the desire for such unfolding and the joy experienced when that drive is fulfilled… It unfolds regardless of whether something good happens to me or another being because it is the joy experienced whenever life increases in the world, somewhere.”
– Dr. Andreas Weber

“… whether something good happens to me or another…”

This is key here. It’s not just about us. It is about life itself. We are part of life. We are included in this. We are not separate form life. We humans think it is just about us. We think this earth revolves around us. This is how we are killing ourselves, and how we are killing other beings. We’ve forgotten. It is about life itself and about the joy of this entire existence constantly pouring forth into the world as a holy expression of the deepest longing of love.

***

So, that feeling of frustration, grief, sadness – and sometimes hot and uncomfortable desire to be free, to run, to fly – is necessary to face and feel and welcome in. It is telling you something. It is life saying, “No. I will not contain myself. I will not kill myself slowly in this lifetime. I will keep a bookmark here, I will keep a placeholder so that when I grow completely tired of this charade, I will find myself again and I will fly free.”

Listen for these words in your own true voice.

And when you grow tired, you can fly free. Eros is pulsing. Love is always trying to make its way to freedom. Life will liberate itself when given the chance.

Eros is wholly unsatisfied when it burns hot and cannot flow. When it is kept down, kept quiet, kept submerged. Like lava, it will erupt. And then it will flow into the world, making new earth, making new life, creating as life as life does.

You are no different than Pele. You are no different than that hot intensity waiting to become new earth. You are life and there is nothing wrong with you or with your desire to be fully, wholly, and holy alive.

Everything in your glorious nature knows how to flow. A bit of loving attention with that voice inside of you that wants to contain you (because it is trying to protect you) and you are set free. Believe me. We are very much alike. We are family, the human kind, and we must guide each other to back to our own kind of flight – human flight – the billowing forth of love’s desire to both express and know the joy of this profound unfolding.

I know this. I’ve done this. Find your way to freedom.

We will become free, together.

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Love in a Time of Personal Power

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Photo by Jake Weirick on Unsplash

 

“We have put the value of love — of life, self, and others, — in combative opposition to the value of personal empowerment. In actuality, these two values should be more like the Eastern concepts of Yang and Yin, which are not combative. Rather, they compliment each other as opposites while retaining their own identities, reaching toward a universal harmony. Love needs empowerment to have strength and substance, and empowerment needs love in order to have value, purpose, and meaning.”
— Massimilla Harris and Bud Harris (Into the Heart of the Feminine)

 

I grew up during the second wave of Feminism. I remember those years of women fighting for equality. And, I remember how they were treated for wanting equality.

Looking back now, I see that the call was for equality but not really for love for all of life, for justice for all, for the leveling out of the playing field for all.

It’s clear the feminine (as she appears in all human beings and in all of life) has been missing when we see the ways in which the power structures and institutions of our western culture values some lives more than others. When we discriminate against some lives and not others, when we commodify lives, when we don’t provide safety and care for all lives, we are witnessing the lack of the feminine in our institutional, systemic, and individual behavior.

Over the past two decades, many of us have found ourselves on this deep reclamation of the feminine.

She called and many of us answered, not really knowing what that meant.

The feminine (yin) can only be known in relation to the masculine (yang), and the masculine only known in relation to the feminine. In Chinese Medicine, this relational dynamic is understood as an elemental way of seeing and knowing life. Everything is related and nothing truly stands on its own. So when I speak of the feminine, I speak from this perspective. I am not speaking of women and men, but rather the energies of yin and yang.

The feminine is dark as related to the light. The feminine is moist as related to dryness. The feminine is non-linear as related to linearity. These aren’t moral leanings. They describe life and all life entails, including death.

The feminine is the mystery. She doesn’t reveal herself in clearly defined ways. Instead, she reveals herself through symbol, intuition, dreams, and the deep imagination of the inner world. But, the feminine has been revealing herself back into the world of form and we’ve begun to see the world in new ways. We’ve come to see how the feminine appears in this world.

We have so far to go to truly hold all of life as sacred, worthy, and equal. I believe one of the reasons we have not done so is that we don’t know the feminine. We don’t clearly see her. And, because we don’t see her clearly in relation to the masculine, which has had a greater presence in our world, we don’t see that the nature of life itself is to live not for itself but for the whole.

This is how the feminine moves in all of us — not hierarchically, but relationally. The feminine cares for life — all of life. Not some life. And not just life that is commodifiable. She cares for all of life equally.

The feminine is Eros. And Eros is love. Eros nurtures the impulse to live. And the living of Eros moves in such a way to ensure the preservation of the human species.

But the feminine is not moving within all of us because we haven’t become conscious of how she is within us. And we become conscious of how she is within us when we come to see what is hidden within us when we find the courage to face that which we haven’t wanted to see. When we do this, our hearts can break open. Our compassion can flow. And, our love can pour forth.

We can come to remember our wholeness.

While we’ve been seeking empowerment and equality, this twin ‘value of love’ has not been championed in the same way.

“We are liberating our empowerment, yet at the same time, we are denying our inherent abilities to like, nourish, and take loving care of ourselves and to make the love of ourselves, others, and life the dominant value we try to live by.”
– Massimillia Harris & Bud Harris

We want to be equal to men. We want to be empowered. But to what end?

Ultimately, it must be for the love of all things, all beings, all of life. For this is the nature of the feminine. She does not discriminate. She does not exclude. She does not favor one child over another.

Empowerment needs love in order to have value, purpose, and meaning.

What does empowerment do for us and the mess we find ourselves in if we aren’t caring for all beings if we aren’t using this power to liberate all of life from the effects of our out of balance, hyper-masculine western culture, exemplified by racism and white supremacy? The feminine does not hold any aspect of life supreme over any other, any expression of life over any other, any incarnation of life over any other.

Yes! Love truly “needs empowerment to have strength and substance.”

We must do what it takes to free the Love within ourselves, otherwise, we are still stuck in the old paradigm of ‘what’s in it for me’ where there is little true value offered to the whole of life through our work. And when we do free ourselves, we then have the strength and substance to bring Love to the forefront of our work in the world.

When we face all of the intense conditioning within us — everything that feels so hard to face and own — we often feel guilt and shame when we finally do. But here’s the thing. It is through feeling these very things that love frees up within us. When we truly stay with everything that comes to call on us, asking for us to face it, our hearts can open to the life that is here — to all of life, not just some of it.

This is how we do the deeper work we must do. We do what is ours to do. We face what is within us so that our hearts can do what our hearts know is true to do. This is how Love moves.

And for those of us who’ve said yes to Love and have been uncomfortable saying yes to power, myself included, it is time to bring these two together. Power-over, how we see power playing out in our world, is a zero-sum game. But power born of love is power-from-within, and this power is the expression of our deepest being into the world. It is our life force. It is Soul born from the deep Love that moves all things. It is generative. It is inviting. It is intelligent in the way of Life.

It can be frightening to live our power when our true power has been suppressed. We’ve feared our power for suppressed power fears harming others. We know somewhere that if we unleash it, it can be harmful. Yet, by not addressing it, we harm, too. Our true strength and power are of life itself. When we come to trust life itself, we come to trust that which flows through us and that which flows through all — the Source of life itself.

We cannot have true empowerment without having the conscious understanding that we are given our lives as a gift, that all of life is of equal value, worth, and beauty, and that we are here to serve the continuation of life itself. When we are willing to see what is standing in the way of this knowing and willing to do the work to dismantle it, I sense we will be able to live for life itself and to live life as the gift that it is.

Again, the feminine is the mystery. When we sit in what we don’t yet know and are unwilling to face what we must feel in order to know it, we’ll suffer and cause suffering. Everything is conspiring for us to end this suffering and liberate ourselves and the whole.

Originally published at JulieDaley.com

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Choosing to Stay and Be Human

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Photo by Austin Ban on Unsplash

 

“Eros is the drive of life, love, creativity, and sexuality, self-satisfaction, and species preservation. Thanatos, from the Greek word for “death” is the drive of aggression, sadism, destruction, violence, and death. At the conclusion of C&D, Freud notes (in 1930–31) that human beings, following Thanatos, have invented the tools to completely exterminate themselves; in turn, Eros is expected to “make an effort to assert himself in the struggle with an equally immortal adversary. But who can foresee with what success and with what result?” ~ notes on Sigmund Freud’s theories by Professor Easton in UMN 221 notes

 

This is where we are at right now. We have a huge, powerful wave of aggression, violence, and an incredible drive toward death as a species happening on our planet. But, Eros is making ‘an effort to assert himself’…the impulse to live, the drive to life, the force of creativity, sexuality, and species preservation!

About six months ago, I went through a really hard time in my life. I had been doing some deep work and uncovered something that had always been present in my life, but up until now, I knew it as more of a general sense of not really wanting to be here — like a withholding of myself from life, from relationships, from truly entering into life unbridled, unmasked, and no longer afraid to speak and create as my heart wants to speak and create. But at this moment, for the first time in my life, really, the impulse to end my life appeared out of the blue. It was only an idea for a moment, but the power of the desire toward death was what was shocking. It was truly an incredibly strong energy. I am grateful that I have the ability to reach out to a few people in my life who could hear it and could hold me as I needed to be held. I never was going to do anything, but that impulse is what began to teach me about life and death and how we dance between these two powerful energies, Eros and Thanatos, all the time.

Before this moment, I had been totally engrossed working with ‘Eros’ and its importance to our world. I had started a podcast called, “Awakening Eros” and felt so compelled to talk about it, research it, share it, and to really understand what Eros is. And then, my feet grew cold. I held back. I wondered if anyone would understand. Heck, I didn’t even fully understand the intense drive within them.

But after this moment happened, I was now very aware of the power of Thanatos — the drive toward death. And over these past months since this moment, I’ve come to see how — in both little and big ways — these two drives fuel much of the unconscious ways we inhabit our lives. And how Thanatos suppresses our own impulse toward living a full, joyous existence. I was killing my own drive to explore and express everything I sensed inside around Eros and love and being human.

Thanatos does not have to appear as taking one’s life to be present in our lives. It is present all the time. It is the drive toward death, just as Eros is the drive toward life. But there are many ways to kill our life drive without dying. We kill our joy. We kill our own impulse to create. We kill the power and desire for true sexual expression.

The Poet, David Whyte, speaks of the single malt essence of one’s not wanting to be here. In reading his words for the first time a few years ago, I was able to bring to light this deeper desire within me to run away. I have both stayed in and left situations when I wanted to leave. Leaving isn’t always running away. And sometimes it is.

As I’ve contemplated this dance between Eros and Thanatos, I’ve wondered if I (and any one of us) can truly make a full choice to stay, can truly choose this once, or if it has to be chosen over and over and over again. And I’m not just saying this in the large sense of life or death, but in the small moments where it feels like you will die if you stay and can only survive if you run, or when it feels like you will die if you run and can only survive if you stay. Moments in relationship with others, with yourself, with your work, with a creative project.

Whyte writes,

“Strangely, we are perhaps most fully incarnated as humans, when part of us does not want to be here, or doesn’t know how to be here. Presence is only fully understood and realized through fully understanding our reluctance to show up. To understand the part of us that wants nothing to do with the full necessities of work, of relationship of doing what is necessary, is to learn humility, to cultivate self-compassion and to sharpen that sense of humor essential to a merciful perspective of both a self and another.”

This impulse to live, the impulse toward life, the fear of entering into the mysterious realms of creativity, sexuality, vulnerability — being human, really — requires us to acknowledge the depth of our not wanting to be here, and perhaps the pain that life underneath it. That is what I needed to see and it is what brought me more present to my life and to a kind of humility and self-compassion I am only beginning to crack the surface of. The sense of humor is a glimmer I spot every now and then.

We often read that 80% of life is just showing up. You’d think that this would be so simple. Just show up and life handles the rest, so many say. But now I am thinking this isn’t so easy for many of us when we have this compulsion to run. And in the case of facing what’s here on our planet right now? What if 80% of this right now is showing up? I mean, though, REALLy showing up. Not running. Staying even when “part of us does not want to be here, or doesn’t know how to be here.”

I know for me that being here brings great grief when I long to feel so deeply connected to others, to touch and be touched, yet I fear the same as well. I long for it and I fear it. I long for a human world where we care about each other and each other’s welfare. A world where all people of every race, class, orientation, ability are seen as of equal value and worth, where all people have the chance to be happy, successful, loved, and known. A world where all creatures are seen as of equal value. A world in which the Earth is loved just as she loves us.

I would hedge a bet that very few of us, if any, truly know how to be here at this time on Earth. How does one be here in the face of what is happening? But this is where humility comes in. We’ve been an arrogant species for a long time. But to be here now, facing this, staying in this human relationship because we know it is where we can grow and evolve both individually and collectively — that is the invitation.

Staying because the love that we are asks this of us.

We stifle our fullest self-expression on so many fronts. We hide our hearts. We hide the bigness of spirit and the depth of the soul. We hide the true desires that fuel our sexuality and creativity. But most importantly we hide our tenderness and our fear that our not knowing how to be here makes us weak, that our reluctance to stay makes us somehow broken. Instead, I think they are what makes us human.
At a time when Eros is challenging Thanatos, and when love is trying to make a full emergence onto our planet, it is our humanity we must come to be present to. The seemingly incoherent mess that we see ourselves to be. Being human is messy. To be human is to be awake to one’s own vulnerability in the face of all of this and NOT KNOW what to do or how to do it. Being human requires us to feel, to ask for help, to realize our own powerlessness even as we engage with the creative strength and power that flows from within us. Being human is existing in contradiction and paradox.

Eros is inviting us to engage — to live — to create — to relate. To choose to stay and to live, together. It is up to us to become present enough to listen for the way, to listen to what life can teach us.

Come visit me at JulieDaley.com to discover more about how I might support and guide you as you travel this deep and sacred journey to awakening your erotic, creative nature.

 

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Eros, Love, & Real Power

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Existence is relationship and you are smack in the middle of it. ~ Alan Watts

 

Eros

I am in a deep exploration of Eros. I suppose I have been for quite a while. It was showing up through me – in my photographs and writing – but now I am making a conscious decision to move into a thoughtful, open, inquiring exploration of what this form of love truly is. It is calling me.

Eros is love. It is joy. It is beauty and deep feeling. And it is power…

I’ve been writing a lot about power: the kind of power we see today in our culture and the kind of power that is beginning to take hold in our world that is truly a form of love, a form of Eros. I see these two expressions of power from a relational perspective, for all of life is relational.

Power Over

The power we witness in our culture today is what I call ‘power-over’. Power-over is hierarchical and is characterized by domination and control. In our cultural systems, those in power are held higher in privilege and worth than those who are not. Those who are in power are supreme over those who are not. Those holding up the power structure are those who have power, whether it be through positions of power or unearned privilege.

This is finite power in a closed-loop system. It’s a zero-sum game. Why? It is a systemic power granted by and held within this specific system. The system grants it depending on how high you rank in the system. But there’s a catch. It’s ultimately not true power in the larger reality because there is a greater source of power than power-over.

Power-over is based on control because to believe that this is true power one must ignore the truth that life is really in control – that life is the greater source of power. Think about it. Within our culture, we do not entertain the truth about death (part of life). We push it into some kind of ignorant oblivion. As long as we refuse to see death and its power, and to see the power of nature itself, those in charge and in power of our cultural systems can pretend that they are all powerful beings, which they are doing on a continual basis.

Power-from-within

But there is another form of power emerging. It is power-from-within. Power-from-within is also a systemic power but within a different system – the system of life, whether it be the whole of life or one’s individual life. Over the past decades, people have been becoming more conscious and doing the work to heal wounds and become clearer about who they truly are. What we’ve been doing is waking up to our power-within. Not everyone is doing this, but so many are. And it’s shifting things.

Within one’s own internal system, there is a flow of life force that comes from Source. It is a steady flow through the body while we are alive. The internal world is the world of the feminine, the world of soul. When the feminine rises within, there is a movement to know and live our power-from-within – our naturally creative, life force power – into the physical world.

The thing about power-from-within is that when we live it, we are no longer living solely in flow with the status quo. The power that flows from source is intelligence that is alive. It is fueled with intelligence that knows something more than any one human being, or two, or even three, could know. This intelligence is tied to the whole of life.

Power-from-within is Eros. It is deep creativity. Power-from-within is the expression of this love into the physical world of matter. 

Now you know why Eros has been made to be something to fear or something that is only sexual in nature because if we fear our source of true power, we will stay within the power-over dynamic, even if we are in the ‘under’ position.

Eros is definitely orgasmic, but then orgasmic experiences are, again, found in so much more than just sex.

Power-with

Power-with is when I am living power-from-within alongside you living your power-from-within. Power-with is generative. When I live power-from-within, I take nothing from you. I don’t dominate you. I don’t try to control you. In actuality, the reverse happens. When I live power-from-within and you witness this happening, the awareness of your own power source begins to be awakened in you.

Eros

So here’s the thing. Alan Watts wrote, “Existence is relationship and you are smack in the middle of it.” In order to navigate and negotiate power-over structures from a power-from-within approach, we must come to remember that we are smack in the middle of life itself. A power-over system is not the ‘big’ system of life. It is pretending that it has that power, but it does not. When we come deeper into the real relationship with life and know ourselves wholly from this place, we can then see these power-over structures for what they are. It does not mean they go away, but we can navigate them differently with this generative life-affirming power.

We navigate them differently through Eros and our relationship with Nature and the Earth. Earth becomes our foundation. We begin to weave our power-from-within together.

We become resourceful and resilient, together.

Eros is love. It is deep feeling. It is beauty and joy. It is pleasure. It is life moving through life, asking life to blossom fully. This is the love we can embody in order to bring a new world into being. Eros connects us and when we are connected we are much more powerful in responding to the power-over structures.

When sleeping women wake, mountains move. – Chinese proverb

It is time to awaken to our power-from-within. To do so, we must go within. That is the task at a hand and we are up for it.

***

This is what I do in my coaching. I guide you to awaken to Eros, to your power-from-within. I then walk with you as you begin to live this in the world. I’d love to be your coach.

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Eros. A Beautiful Thing.

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Eros. It’s a beautiful thing.

I’ve often felt this underlying sense of grief that I cannot name. Sometimes it’s just a sense that I don’t want to be here. Not in the literal sense, but more of a kind of distancing from life. It’s like a contraction, like a pulling into myself. Which isn’t a bad thing at all. Everything contracts in the universe. Everything. And it expands. It’s a cycle of expansion and contraction.

But what I’ve noticed lately is that much of my pulling inward was learned. I learned to suppress my power – my Eros – because as a young girl it was much safer to relate through my powerlessness. I was a full-on force of nature when I was small – as we all are. Right? Do you remember this? Feeling like you were so alive, so full, so present, so much in love? I remember it at about the age of 3, maybe 4, before I started to see that the big people (adults) preferred little girls to be much less ‘active’ shall we say.

When I think of Eros, I think of the energy of Yes, the energy of life. Think about small children. They are all about the YES!

Eros is the ‘YES’ inside of us. It’s our vitality. Our yearning. If we’ve been down, depressed, grieving, sad, we can be out of touch with Eros, our life force. Suddenly when we come into contact with it again, we feel alive again.

Eros is the energy of change, that aspect of creativity that is a spark of consciousness desiring to be born. Osho once said, “God is in the new.” Eros is our dance with the Beloved that takes us out of complacency and into the arms of the mysterious force that cracks seeds, pushes sprouts through the soil, and thrusts the blossom open.

Eros is intimacy, magnetism. Eros is growth. Eros is joy and abundance. Eros is the cherry tree in full cherry! (I love Neruda’s, “I want to do with you what Spring does with the cherry trees.“)

Eros is our power. Power from within. And when we are not in touch with it, we are sad creatures.

Eros has been drawn down into a small, small sliver so that so many of us now think Eros or the erotic is simply about sex. It includes sex for sure, but it is so much more. And I feel we are suffering as human beings here in cultures where this is so because we no longer know Eros as the fullness that it is.

I often write of wholeness, but I haven’t written of fullness as much. I in my own journey I see how important this coming back to fullness is. I remember when I sat with Brigid’s flame in Kildare, Ireland, how the one thing I felt was fullness. The feeling was clear and distinct.

I’m now embarked on a spectacular dance with Eros. A full-on immersion into what this is. And this is taking shape in two ways – at least two right now.

sweetpeaswscriptpageheaderOne – Spring 2017 Writing Raw

This circle will be focused on Eros & Joy. It begins March 14th. The early-bird price ends tonight, March 4. We are going to have fun in this session. Not that the other ones are not, but this is the first time I’ve declared a focus for the session. Find out more and register here.

Two – I’m creating a podcast all about this exploration of Eros.

I have no idea where it will take me – or you my readers. I’m nervous about it, to tell you the truth. But as Fritz Perls once said, “Fear is excitement without the breath.”

I’d love to know what questions you have about Eros and invite you to contact me so I have some great places to begin my exploration.

 

Right now, we need to rekindle, even catalyze, Eros because it is the force that blossoms change and we are in the midst of a deep cycle of death and rebirth. What is coming and how can we midwife it? Through embracing Eros in our lives, through opening to the source of Eros within us.

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

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A tsunami doesn’t just stop when the clock strikes midnight!

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Now what?

One Billion Rising is over. And, it has just begun.

I first joined One Billion Rising about a year ago. The day, Feb 14, 2013, seemed so far off. Yet, the vision pulled me in. One Billion women rising. I wondered how that would shift things. I wondered how that would change the feeling on the planet, in our cities, in our hearts.

Altar by Stacey Butcher

Last night, I co-led a beautiful event with Stacey Butcher, a teacher of 5Rhythms. Stacey created a gorgeous dance wave and she led us through it with love and grace. Kim Rosen, a well known spoken-word artist, and a personal friend of Eve Ensler’s, shared two spoken-word treasures that lit a fire in us before we moved into the dance. And, for the last song of the wave, Christine Hodil sang a beautiful song that we all joined in on at the end. Our hearts were opened, moved, fired-up, and lullabied. We were the one billion, and we danced for the one billion. And, there were so many men present, who danced alongside of us, who danced for the women they love, and for the women they don’t even know who continue to face abuse, violence, and harassment.

 

It is jarring to be in a beautiful event such as this, to open our hearts, to invite in the possibility for a world that is different, and then to step back into what seems to be the same old world.

What I do know, now, after witnessing so many women and men across the planet rising and dancing by way of live-streaming and the internet, is that this is no longer the same old world. While on the outside it may look that way, on the inside we are changed. We’ve cracked open the cage. We know something different now. We’ve experienced the fire and joy and creativity that comes when we dance, and come together, and rise.

One Billion Rising IS a new way of life. It’s a new way of being. It’s living unabashedly the fullness of our womanhood.

In practical terms? It’s about allowing out all the parts of ourselves we keep hidden for fear of being abused and harassed.

Our patriarchal conditioning keeps an essential aspect of us locked up in an internal prison…the aspect that is the most powerful and enlivening for our souls. This aspect is nourishing and healing. It is our instinctual, sexual self, that when expressed brings forth playfulness, joy, passion, creativity, and a good dose of fire. It is not easily controllable, meaning our own internal conditioning has to work really hard to control it. It gets exhausting.

You know what I’m talking about, don’t you!?

We’ve internalized the oppressor, so we continue the oppression against ourselves, along with the fear of oppression from outside. Eve Ensler so wisely saw that we have to break the chains ourselves, we have to break out of the cage we keep ourselves in, and dancing is a beautiful way to free this instinctive erotic nature that is both organic to our souls and a sacred aspect of life.

Before I go any further, I want to reiterate, that the erotic as it is understood in the current paradigm, is simply a small thin slice of what it truly is. When I shared my thoughts with one man I know and used the word erotic, his response? “That’s porn.” This is what we’ve been conditioned to think eros and the erotic are.

Yet, what the erotic is is a beautiful aspect of life, this aspect that is at the heart of our creative, sensual, sexual, joyful, and loving natures. And because it is at the heart of creativity and embodied love, it is also the channel that will bring about lasting change, and deep nourishment to a world that has been out of balance for far too long.

And, it is exactly what our world hungers for just as it is what we hunger for. How could it be otherwise?

Life is wholeness. When we pretend we aren’t whole, we aren’t really fully living. 

To dance is to unleash joy.

To dance is to step back into the flow, to move that which has been stuck. 

To dance is also to reawaken our natural relationship to the body, to music, to rhythm, and to the beat of the drum, the beat of our blood pressure, the beat of our hearts.

One Billion Rising is “unleashing a feminist tsunami, an energetic rearrangement of our universal chemistry. the biggest volunteer action maybe ever of women across the planet, a seismic collective remembering of who we are, a calling back of our authenticity, a world dance shaking up our original energy and wisdom.” ~ Eve Ensler

 

So what do I now know that I didn’t know before yesterday, V-Day 2013?

I know that we can come together as women to reawaken our wisdom and nature.

I know that we are hungering to rekindle the fire of our erotic nature.

I know that many men all around us want us to do this. They know they cannot. And they know that it is in all of our best interests to do so.

I know that many women fear this aspect, along with many men. And, I know we have the courage to dance through this fear for the sake of life itself.

I know that dance is sacred, that our bodies are sacred, and that it is up to us to embody this truth.

I know that women have something important to do in this new era that men cannot do and it is time we do it.

I know we’ve stepped through a threshold and we cannot turn back.

I know that women across this planet can come together to rise in service to each other, and to all of life.

I know this. We’ve witnessed it. I felt it last night. I feel it today. I feel it right now.

Margaret Mead wrote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

If a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world, just imagine what a feminist tsunami of a billion women and men dancing can do. Imagine it. Feel it in your bones. Pray it. Dance it. Paint it. Sing it.

A tsunami doesn’t just stop when the clock strikes midnight!

Take your sisters and brothers by hand and step across the threshold into this new land. And, keep dancing. We must be committed to dancing. We are in this together. Isn’t that a wonderful thing to know! 

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I’m putting together the pieces I read last night, along with a little something else, into a complimentary ebook for my newsletter subscribers. If you’d like to receive it, be sure to sign up for my newsletter in the top right corner of the page. When it is ready, I’ll send it your way.

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Here’s the One Billion Rising video from San Francisco. It’s hard to see me, but I’m there. I love seeing myself dancing. I’m so serious here, so passionate. It’s a lovely thing when you FINALLY accept your intensity is a beautiful thing.

 

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Little Flares of Coiled Delight

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“Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film.” ~ Ansel Adams

The other day I had to pick up a new headset for my iPhone. I was down in Palo Alto, so I headed over to the Stanford Shopping Center. This is one of the most beautiful outdoor malls ever created…mainly for the flowers planted all around the center.

I hadn’t realized just how out-of-sorts I was feeling until I saw these Dahlias. As I stopped to really look at them, I realized just how much joy seeing the beauty in flowers brings me. They bring me home. I begin to breathe more deeply. I being to smile a soft smile. I feel joy, that soft easy joy that is such a field of contentment. This joy is the joy of an open aware heart that meets life without expectations.

Returning Home

In Women Who Run with the Wolves, Clarissa Pinkola Estes writes about the periodic need of women to go home, to return to the soul. Sometimes, we need to really get away to some place earthy and enchanted to remember the depth of what we are, and sometimes we can find a mini-retreat of sorts to reconnect to the soul.

As I continued to meander through the mall looking at flowers, I found this one. From the front, it is gorgeous in its openness. It’s not at all symmetrical. It has its own unique arrangement of petals. I loved that about it. Then, (and I don’t know what possesssed me to do this!) I looked behind it, at the back of it, and lo and behold! – there were these beautiful little curls that you see in the top image. I think she invited me in…

Seeing the coiled flares of delight she’s got going on behind her, sort of like under her skirts, caused me to wonder (I love the word wonder) what flares and curls and pink petals I’ve got stashed away, just waiting for a moment when the light shines upon them calling to them to come out of hiding. I know it’s something to do with bawdiness and laughter, delight and belly-shaking glee.

I know I’m shaking off the voices that have caused me to continue to believe that logic and reason reign supreme over delight and wonder, that having things figure out is much more important than settling down into the utter delight of not knowing a damn thing and being open to the delight of discovery, that clarity of argument will always win out over the powerful peace that comes when something is just what it is without the need to get anyone to understand. Ha…how totally devoid of delight, glee, and eros these voices were that I came to internalize!

How about you?

What coiled tendrils and flares are you keeping to yourself? What would others see if you were to give us access to those parts of you you’ve yet to unfurl, that you long to unfurl? Notice the uniqueness in this beauty. Where, and in what, does your uniqueness just wait to be invited out?

Where is that bawdiness in you, the place where delight, desire, and a good belly laugh are all that’s needed?

What mini-retreat might you have at your fingertips just waiting to take you home, back into the arms and lap of the goddess who delights in those little flares of soul?

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Erotic Visionary: Following the Instinct of Love, Joy & Creation

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Connecting with life.

I’ve just returned from a beautiful weekend retreat at Ratna Ling retreat center, near Cordoza, California, a spot in the coastal mountains of northern California. The land is so beautiful here. The retreat time was short, yet filled with so much wisdom and learning. I learned so much about myself, how I hold back from a truly fulfilled life of truth and transparency, and ways to access my instinctual self more readily. All of this so amazingly fits in with my last post on being an erotic visionary. I thank you for sharing that post, and also thank those of you who shared yourself in the comments of that post.

At the retreat, I loved the exercises we did to discover ways in which our instinctual selves are so accessible and so ready to be expressed more fully. In one particular exercise, we were asked to go exploring in twos. Our explorations were to notice and follow our instincts through our senses.

It’s amazing what happens when we allow our instincts to guide us. My partner and I spent thirty minutes exploring the land around Ratna Ling center through our senses, allowing ourselves to follow our instinctual impulse.

We climbed into the center of huge redwood trees hollowed out by fire. We stroked moss covered bark and the insides of charred redwood trees turned silky over time. We found the tiniest red flowers sprouting from minute lichen. We delighted in a Yucca plant in full flower. We took turns sharing with each other what we were immediately drawn to.

What was I drawn to?

Beauty, Color, and Life.

Contrast, Joy, and Tenderness.

The intense color contrast between sunlit orange Tibetan prayer flags and the bright blue skies that canopy the hills of northern California, just miles away from the Pacific Ocean. When I had first arrived at the center, I was delighted by these flags. In giving my full attention to this delight, I gazed at this contrast and realized how much I LOVE color, light, and contrast. This love has been with me from as far back in my life as I can remember.

The tenderness of flower petals, how the light shines through them, and how they so fleetingly exist in a world where everything dies, where everything in creation eventually dies.

The experience of the impulse itself and the very simple, yet oh so important, joy of discovery what life is displaying just around the corner… discovering what lies at the other end of the instinctual impulse.

Eros

We have these impulses all the time, yet how often do we allow our eyes to simply land on what they want to see, our hands to touch what they long to feel, our ears to listen to that which they long to hear?

We are so strongly socially conditioned to inhibit our instincts. Yes, some of that conditioning is a good thing; AND, some of that conditioning inhibits the soul from freely expressing itself in the world, of following the instinct of love, joy and creation – eros.

When we follow this instinct, we connect with life and with the earth. When we trust our instinctual selves, we rediscover an aspect of self that we buried so long ago.

Learning to trust this instinct, and guiding others to trust this instinct as well, is where my work is leading me. My work is shifting in a direction not yet fully formed, which is exhilarating. I’m following the trail of where my soul is calling me, where the instinct is leading me.

And, you?

If you had fifteen minutes to follow your erotic impulse with a friend, where would your instinctual self lead you? Take fifteen minutes today to follow this erotic impulse, whether with a friend or alone. Notice the feeling of the impulse, the pull of what you are drawn to. Notice where you stop yourself. Just notice what it feels like to follow the instinct of love, joy and creation.

Then, come back and share with us what you discover in the comments. I look forward to learning from you!

 

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All of Life is this Wild Eros, Including You

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Today is International Women’s Day.

I’ve been not quite sure what to write. I have mixed feelings about this day.

On one hand, so many women need to know, in a real and grounded everyday way, that being a woman is a beautiful thing, and that they gifts we women offer to the world are worthy and sorely needed – gifts that we offer when we are being wholly who we are as women.

On the other hand, around the world, women still are far from sharing equal rights with men. Here in the United States, we’re seeing how much fear and distrust of women still lurks in the shadows, and sometimes stands in broad daylight. Having a day where we celebrate women can feel so shallow in the light of the atrocities happening each and every day around the world. Sometimes, it feels like we’ve been thrown a bone when in reality those who hold the strings of power have no intention of really offering women equal rights.

Speaking of strings of power,

have you ever noticed that women will most likely never have equal rights in this cultural paradigm? I mean, let’s look at the present day situation. In a cultural construct based on heirerarchy and patriarchy, with a system set up to keep this heirarchy in place, maybe it’s only possible if the actual structures crumble…

Everything eventually dies, including structures and cultural constructs. I see the structure of patriarchy most certainly is dying.

The structures that we currently see in the world as we know it, at least most of the world, are structures that were created with a mindset that the feminine is something to be feared and distrusted…the feminine in women, the feminine in men, and the feminine in the world – basically all of nature. So much of what we see in our human constructs were built on this.

And, if you’ve ever given birth, been witness to earthquakes and tornadoes, the feminine is most certainly powerful. I have birthed two babies, and watched each of my daughters give birth, and the power of the feminine is something to behold, something that brings forth complete awe in me.

The feminine is powerful and awe-inducing.

These structures based on fear of the feminine don’t just exist out there, they also exist within each of us. We’ve internalized them. And, we’ve probably internalized some kind of fear and distrust of the masculine as well, the masculine in us all. And, these internal structures are dying, too. Can you feel this inside you?

Can you feel a new feminine consciousness within yourself?

Why is this important today, on International Women’s Day?

A few months back, I met Marianne Williamson at an intimate gathering. She asked what I do, and I told her the varied things that fill my workday. She seemed to take interest in the course I teach on Creativity and Leadership in Business, and asked me what I would say to women about what they need to know around business.

My response? Two things:

“We are not men.” & “There is a different way to do business than what we see operating in our world today.”

We are not men.

We are not men. Even though most everything in the culture looks at the world through men’s eyes, we are not men. Thank goodness there are men, and thank goodness there are women. We all are here to be what we really are.

I am interested in you knowing this, not because I’ve written it, nor because it seems to be an obvious physiological conclusion. I’m interested in it because the new world coming depends on you knowing it.

Let me say that again…

The new world coming into being depends on you knowing who you are and expressing it through the female body you live in.

What I am interested in today is you knowing you, knowing who you are, knowing what delights your heart, knowing what it is to be fully alive in this world in your female body. Alive and erotic just like the cherry tree, just like the ocean, just like Mother Earth.

All of life is this wild eros, including you.

And, we could most certainly all use a shot of wild eros, don’t you think?

In our personal lives, our relationships, and even in our businesses.

Passionate Business

Business budding with blossoms, business giving birth, business erupting and shaking and crashing its waves upon the shores. Business that neither fears the feminine nor the masculine, but works in tandem with all of life…including the earth.

So many times I see women thinking they have to make a mark on the world that is big and audacious. Nothing wrong with that, and that may be how your mark shows up…and, in reality, we affect the world in many small beautiful ways each day. And, sometimes what happens is those many small ways eventually move into big changes along the way.

In a day-to-day, personal way, my friend, Renae Cobb, sees International Women’s Day from her personal vantage point as a mother to two daughters. She writes of not really knowing what this day is about, yet going on to share just how important an impact she has.

On an international level, the Christian Science Monitor writes of Twelve Innovations that are Lifting Women Out of Poverty.

Women are changing the world, everyday. There are many ways to do womanhood. And many ways to do manhood.

What if we found the courage to put down the project of who we believe we are supposed to be, so we can be who we really are, fully alive, powerfully real, wildly erotic in the fullest sense of the word…unabashedly female.

Part of this being truly you is discovering the rich love women have for each other. I’ve just written about it here.

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I’d love to know what ways you are living womanhood. Consider sharing in the comments. We feast on each other’s wisdom.

 

I’ve recently released my new collection of posts, poetry and audio into a sensual immersive experience, The Best of Unabashedly Female. I’d love for you to take a look to see if it might be of interest to you.

 

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Touch, Eros and WDS

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Touch

To touch hearts. To touch skin. To touch the moment with breath.

I love touch and I miss being touched. Just having left my relationship of seven years, I miss that day-to-day connection of the skin and heart: the morning kiss, the spontaneous sharing of a moment in the day, climbing into bed together at night, and the sudden swell of sweetness that arises from brushing my body against his in the wee hours as the night moved toward morning.

Touch is such a beautiful sense. In a most intimate way, through touch we can lose that sense of solidness and separateness that we so often think we experience inhabiting these human bodies. Through touch, we can begin to let go of the need ‘to other’ and realize we aren’t separate at all.

I recently wrote about longing for a deep and reverent kindness, a touch from my lover that transmits an aware, divine conscious seeing of self as self. Some of the most awake moments of my life have been in the midst of touching the body of another, whether it be lover, child, or friend.

WDS

with Desiree Adaway, someone I've looked forward to hugging.

I also recently attended a summit (of sorts) in Portland – The World Domination Summit (WDS) with Chris Guillebeau. I’m not a fan of the word domination, and I don’t know why the summit was titled this because my experience was far from what this might imply. My experience was one of connection, creativity, action, and joy. I was able to touch, physically touch, many of the people I’ve met and come to know online. When I arrived in Portland, I had no expectations for the weekend other than to see and hug my (up until then) virtual friends.

with Jen Louden

As the weekend unfolded, I became acutely aware of how important it is to be immersed in life, not virtual life but real life, and real life with friends and colleagues. It is so easy to forget this when I spend so many hours of my day on the phone with clients and on the computer writing and socializing through social media. I have never been fond of networking, but now I’m realizing an entirely different way to network, by way of touch – touching heart, and touching soul.

The first speaker of the weekend was Pam Slim, who spoke of roots, the power in greeting another with the Navajo greeting: Ya’at’eeh (everything in the universe is beautiful), and the understanding that a mother’s role is to prepare her children to be independent,

‘Giving them the feeling of no matter what happens, I have the capacity to get through it’.

Pam’s talk was beautiful, inspiring and heart opening. And, it was practical, in that she offered very real ways of rooting ourselves in life, in knowing our capacity to get through whatever comes. We touch another deeply when we know and acknowledge their beauty. In doing so, we also acknowledge our own beauty, and the beauty inherent in life as it unfolds.

Slithering

For me, the most experiential presentation of the entire weekend was offered up by Andrea Scher and Jen Lemen, co-creators of Mondo Beyondo, a wildly successful e-course. Drawing upon foundational coaching expertise, Andrea and Jen brought the house down with their ability to connect through the heart. They had us work with a partner to re-experience a peak experience. As a CTI trained coach, I’ve done this exercise many times in the past; yet, this time, the experience was very different.

In the past, when it comes to peak experiences, I’ve always considered things I had done that were successful, moments when I felt on top of the world, or had reached a dream I had longed for…some of the languaging that can be used in setting this experience up.

This time, however, it was different, perhaps because my awareness was on simply being with the very real sensations of connection and touch. As I shared with my partner, the peak experience was actually three combined. They were very similar in feel and sensation, and all involved touch, stillness, warmth, water, sun, skin, love, connection and the body.

As I relived these experiences, and then shared them with my partner, what showed up was nothing about success and achievement, but was all about being completely and utterly immersed in the erotic field of life, where sensuality and sexuality are part of the beautiful dance of being conscious in a human body.

At the end of the exercise, our partner spoke some of the key phrases or words that we had said aloud back to us. Then, we were to pick one of those and write it somewhere on the body. My word?

SLITHERING.

Yes, slithering.

Slithering doesn’t have to be about snakes, yet this is what I, and many others first think of when we hear this word. Seeing as how I have quite a fear of snakes, not nearly as bad as it used to be, but still near phobic proportions, I felt a tinge of ‘yuck’ when I considered writing this word on my body.

But, I also knew how clearly this word articulated something very important to me, because it is more about a way of being in life. There’s a sense of flow, of ease of movement, of softness and groundedness, and of feeling one with life, with the ground, with the sensuous nature of being alive…

moving

in undulating

curves

and rhythms

out of the water and

up onto the

sun-warmed sand

confidently and tenderly

loving life.

A snake doesn’t move with stiffness or rigidity. It moves with the land, propelling its body in connection to the earth.

A snake is powerful and has all sorts of baggage attached to it, especially with regard to women and apples.

As I moved throughout my day, wearing this word on my skin reminded me of those moments when I felt so at home in my body, so fed by the earth, water and sun, so close to my lover. It reminded me of touch, and of slow, delicious movement.

Eros

As WDS drew to a close, the last speaker, Jonathan Fields, asked us all to take what we’d learned over the course of the summit and put it into action. Yes, this is important; and, for me that action is important because of touch – how we touch others’ lives, and how we allow ourselves to be touched by people who are not different from us at all.

In my 2001 thesis on Spirituality and the Internet, I concluded with the understanding that even though the Internet would become such fertile soil for connection that couldn’t be made in the physical realm because of the limitations of space and time, the connections we make in the virtual world must ultimately serve to deepen the gifts we are here to give in the real world.

We can be touched online in very real ways. Our hearts can be opened.

Our souls can be seen.

Our consciousness can become more aware. And, our physical bodies still need physical interactions with other beings.

Biting into VooDoo Donuts, with Marjory, Tanya and Kate

I can get complacent about showing up in the real world, yet what I experienced that weekend in Portland by coming together in flesh and blood incited a joy in me that I only experience in the physical world. Looking directly into eyes, smelling personal scents, feeling skin to skin, hearing the sound of voices I’d never heard before, and even sharing VooDoo Doughnuts with Marjory Mejia, Tanya Geisler and Kate Northrup Moller are all experiences that come out of this erotic field in which we live.

Eros is so much more than the slim sense of eroticism our culture focuses on. Underneath the surface of speakers, break-out sessions and events, there was a field of connection and intimacy that underscored the WDS experience. Eros was sublimely present at WDS, and is in each moment of existence.

Serendipity was a big part of my experience at WDS.

On the evening of the first event, my friend Marjory and I were leaving the hotel to head over to WDS. As the elevator door opened, we were suddenly face-to-face with Jamie Ridler and her sister, Shannon Ridler. I’ve wanted to meet Jamie for some time now, and voila, there she was!

On the bus that would take us to the after-party, I met Veena Kumar, a kind Pediatrician from the east coast. We introduced ourselves and shared a little bit about what we do.

I told Veena the name of my site, Unabashedly Female. I asked her what the name brought to mind for her and she responded by pulling out a piece of paper. It was the post-it note from Andrea and Jen’s talk. They had put over 500 post-its with messages for each of us under our chairs. Under Veena chair was this note.

She said unabashedly female makes her think of the freedom to be yourself without fear.

This is exactly it: finding the true freedom that comes from being yourself fully, femaleness and all, without apology; enjoying the sensuality of a life lived in a human body, connecting with others without hiding your true nature; touching life fully in each moment.

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