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.

::

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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Love is the Teacher. Am I Willing to be the Student?

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most vulnerable…

Touch

I’ve been hovering over the keyboard today, burrowing down into some deep writing time and I’ve been sitting with the question of what feels most vulnerable in me right now.

I couldn’t find the words so I went out for a run. As I finished up, I found the tears beginning to flow, once again. These past few weeks have been full of intense energetic days: the full moon eclipse, Solstice, and Christmas. I’ve felt an unnamed vulnerability over these days, a shifting and unsettling as previously buried experiences come up to be seen again.

I came home and tried to warm my body by making chicken soup, and then following that with a long hot shower…a very long hot shower.

I can’t quite put my finger on what I am feeling. Something in me is longing to be nourished, to be deeply fed. I can feel the longing all the way down along my body.

As I stood in the shower letting the hot water run down my back and inhaling the steam into my cold-air-induced tight lungs, I flashed upon the poem that continually calls me back to read it, over and over again. It feels as though there are gems in the words just waiting to be discovered and savored, as I invite the words to work their magic on my soul. The poem, “If You Want to Change the World, Love a Woman“, speaks not to my mind but to the deeper recesses of my woman’s body. The poem calls to me, over and over. It’s as if I read it, but I don’t yet have access to something…

I long for this…

Somewhere in this body, I, too, long to be loved in the way Lisa writes of.

And then, very serendipitously, I came across this quote from one of my favorite books, A Woman’s Worth, by Marianne Williamson:

Some men know that a light touch of the tongue, running from a woman’s toes to her ears, lingering in the softest way possible in various places in between, given often enough and sincerely enough, would add immeasurably to world peace.

And in reading these words again, my body quivers with longing and my heart craves to know this sincerity from a man longing to love me.

I’ve written before about longing to be touched with the tenderest of touch, and I’ve heard from others who instruct me that if I want to be loved in this way I must first love this way.

I know this to be true and…

I then come across this quote, as if Life is dropping me tasty bread crumbs along this path of discover:

“Are you willing to trust love rather than your mind’s protection from hurt? If you are willing, then you will taste the possibility of living a life of love and conscious innocence. This is possible for everyone. Love is the teacher. If you are willing to surrender to love rather than trying to control it, love teaches you who you are.” ~ Gangaji ~

And the pieces fall into place.

I can touch with the tenderest conscious touch. Yet, I know I protect myself from hurt. I long to experience what Marianne speaks of, yet I can’t say I trust enough that there is a deep sincerity in the heart and touch of my lover…and the fear of trusting love keeps me from knowing love.

To be moved in this way, to live a life of love and conscious innocence, I must let love teach me… really teach me… and this scares me.

How does loving a woman change the world?

Perhaps our hearts are protected, afraid to surrender to love, afraid of the shame and humiliation we have suffered over the past milienia. Women aren’t the only ones to have suffered, yet I know, personally, that painful experiences to my female body, have caused me to not trust, when what I long for is to open to the most exquisite touch I could imagine.

A woman’t body is vulnerable. We take a man into ourselves. When we’ve been abused it is hard to trust again.

Yet, perhaps it is a woman’s openness, a woman’s trust, a woman’s receptivity that might heal much of what is broken in our world.

When a woman trusts, when she is fully open and receptive, when her vulnerability shines from within her, what does she create that she does not have access to when she is afraid to trust?

Lest you think I believe this can only happen with a woman and a man, I do not. I have a sense that it is a woman’s openness, a loving and responsive openness to Love that could move mountains, regardless of which gender the woman longs for.

For me, it is a man, so I write from this place.

Can I trust…

that love itself is the teacher?

Am I willing to be the student?

What I now know is that Love must be at the center of my heart…not my partner, but Love. Love, God, Conscousness…whatever name we give it, must be my beloved. When my partner is my beloved, I place my power in their hands, and vice versa. It’s taken me a long, long time to know this.

And when Love is my beloved, and Love is the beloved of my partner, perhaps then we can enter into the vulnerable, soul-feeding place of deep love – where we are both taught by Love.

::

And, you?

Do you long to be loved in the way Lisa writes of? In a way that would change the world?

Do you long to experience what Marianne writes of? Something that would bring world peace?

What do you know of this longing? I’d love to know…

::

Touch – Attribution Some rights reserved by mysza831

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Extending Love

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Bambi Friend, by Paulo Brandão
Bambi Friend, by Paulo Brandão

We are not held back by the love we didn’t receive in the past, but by the love we’re not extending in the present. ~Marianne Williamson

There are many parts of the psyche that don’t trust love, and perhaps even fear love. These parts have all sorts of reasons why we shouldn’t love another, ourselves, or even the world as it is. This fear of loving keeps us separate. To these parts, this separation is safety. To love, this separation is painful.

Separation is only an illusion, yet to the psyche it feels very real.

As I move deeper into awakening to the true nature of things, and to the divine essence that breathes and expresses through this female body, the realization that I keep myself separate is growing more keen. The ways in which I don’t extend love are becoming painfully clear to me.

Withholding love is painful. Feeling separate from others is painful. Feeling separate from the world is too painful to continue to once it has become a conscious strategy, rather than something I do out of habit.

I feel so much love in my heart for the world, yet somewhere inside there is still a part that fears extending this love. My favorite Mary Oliver quote, I mean my absolute most favorite quote of hers, is this:

I walk in the world to love it.

Yet still, there are places where my heart retracts.

In my last post, I Bow Down to Love, I wrote of the power of love:

“This quiet, yet insistent voice within doesn’t bargain with me. There is no bargaining with it. It only shares one step at a time. It asks us to trust in something greater than ourselves. It asks us to trust in love.”

We are being asked to trust in love, and I sense we are being asked to go into those places where we learned not to trust in love, for those are the places that hold us back, those places where we didn’t receive love. It’s not about rehashing these stories, for I know all too well that the story stays alive as long as we keep breathing life into it.

It’s about feeling. Feeling those old places in our bodies where we stuffed the pain of not receiving love, and perhaps even developed a strategy that feels vindictive, a strategy that says I won’t love because I wasn’t loved. Being with these painful places, as we would be with a small child that is in pain, a child that wants to be held and loved, so she can know that place within herself.

But it’s also about trusting in love, trusting enough in love itself to extend it. Not the juicy romantic kind of love, but the love that is the basis of all of existence, the love that is the basis of life. It is love that calls to us. It is love that is at the heart of the divine mystery in things. It is love that is at the heart of the divine mystery in you. It is not ours to hoard.

Love all of Creation:

When you love all of existence, you discover that mystery within you. I am learning this. Slowly.

I came across this piece from Dostoyevsky, and something became clear.


Love all of Creation

The whole of it and every grain of sand

Love every leaf

Every ray of God’s light

Love the animals

Love the plants

Love everything

If you love everything

You will perceive

The divine mystery in things

And once you have perceived it

You will begin to comprehend it ceaselessly

More and more everyday

And you will at last come to love the whole world

With an abiding universal love.

~Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I can see that love begins with something true. There are things we truly love. For me, these are my children and grandchildren, my partner Jeff, my family, my dear close friends, my clients, my work. I also love the wind in my face. I love redwood trees, roses, peonies, dogs, cats, make that any animal (except snakes and lizards, which I’m working on). I love painting and writing. I love exploring new places. These are things I feel great love for.

And after reading Dostoyevsky’s passage, I can see that the love within me, the love that I extend in places, but not in others, is not because of those people and things I love, it is the very source of life that moves through me. Sometimes it is easy to think we love someone a great deal because of who they are; rather, the capacity to love comes from within us, and can be extended to all of life. In doing so, we come to know the mystery in all things, that mystery that is no different in the other than it is in me.

A recipe for extending love:

Begin with something small. Begin in the places where we know what it is to love, to extend ourselves. Love the light. Love your child. Love your dog. Love the way the leaves turn riotous colors. Love the way your beloved’s face shines when you listen, truly and deeply. Love the way you feel when you give without needing to get. Love the way your soul moves when you hear that one song that gets you every time. Love the way you laugh. Let yourself love those things you already love, without question. Feel the naturalness of it, the immediacy of that love within you.

Just begin. Notice loving. How it just happens, naturally. In its own way, through you. And when you notice it,  allow it to spread to something else. Love the thing that lights you up. Then the next. As your love spreads, as you see how much love is inside you, and as you share it with those things that naturally light you up, you will begin to see it everywhere. Ceaselessly. It doesn’t matter where you begin. Just begin. You see, all of creation is the mystery. We can begin anywhere, and from that place it can spread to new places, if we’re willing to trust in love.

I’m going to follow this recipe over the next few months, consciously dining on the fruits of the extension of love to see what happens, for this extending love brings more love in return.

I invite you to join me, and to share with me here what you find.

image courtesy of Paulo Brandão on Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0

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I’ll Meet You There

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A Woman - Bangkok
A Woman - Bangkok

::

Born of her mother, giving birth to her daughter who would, in turn, become the carrier and custodian of life, she could feel connected to an immemorial past of mothers, and an immemorial future of daughters, each a transmitter of the life process, each surrendering to an experience more mysterious and powerful and demanding than any other, requiring as it were, her submission to an instinctual process which, ineluctably, as the vehicle of life, she served. ~Anne Baring

::

I know all human beings are creative. I teach this. Every time I teach, over the period of ten weeks, my students go from believing they are anywhere from not creative, to mildly creative, to somewhat creative – to knowing and trusting in their personal, internal creative process. Period.

All human beings are creative. Yet, I find the ‘creativity = artistic’ beliefs in this culture, on the whole, to be frustratingly entrenched.

When you think of creativity, does it have to do with painting? writing? art in some way?

Do you believe you are creative? If not, when did you lose touch with your creativity. If you do, how did you hang on to it? Or when did you reclaim it?

Just wondering. ‘Cause I have something really important I want women to realize within themselves.

“surrendering to an experience more mysterious and powerful and demanding than any other…”

Women are powerfully creative. We are born with the capacity to bring life into being. To birth life into life. Requiring our “submission to an instinctual process” that we cannot, the least bit, control.

I submit that women’s creativity is mysterious and powerful enough that anything and everything has been done to get us to forget the power of this process that is intrinsic to our gender.

And, I’m not just talking about birthing babies. I’m talking about an internal power we hold, as women, that could rock this world if we really got how powerful we are. And, if we could come together, as a gender, to honor, revere and support each other, fully, to wake up to this power within, the world would never be the same.

::

Today, Marianne Williamson wrote an open letter to Sarah Palin. I was deeply moved by the grace and eloquence that Marianne showed in both her willingness to bridge the gap between her and Sarah, but also in her ability to articulate her way through what could be rough waters. In my opinion, Marianne was able to offer an invitation to enter into conversation with Sarah, a conversation between two women of faith.

What I loved about this most, though, is the example Marianne set of how to begin to come together as women, in a way that can begin to engage our powerful creative abilities, together as a community of women, especially when we might hold such polar opposite political views.

Each of us women is “…a transmitter of the life process…” whether or not we birth babies. Each of us is the microcosm of the glorious macrocosm that is the Big Womb of Life.

It’s time we find a way to come together to honor, revere and reflect this mysterious and glorious creativity we all embody. Somehow, someway we can realize we’ve all been conditioned to the hilt; we’ve all found some way to survive in this culture that does what it does to suppress women because it is terrified of this natural, most mysterious female power.

We can find solidarity, even when we hold such differing views. I know we can. I sincerely hope Sarah is willing to meet Marianne in this conversation. I sincerely hope they both can hold this space. I ardently hope I can find the grace and eloquence that Marianne showed today, so that I, too, can somehow begin to help bridge whatever chasms lie between all the women of the world, the carriers and custodians of life, regardless of our conditioning or our political points of view.

::

Whatever it takes to ensure there is a future worth living for all the world’s children is worth it. Whatever it takes to reclaim this power as women, we must do it. I don’t know how we will do it, but I know this deep mystery that is our female creativity does know.

It is time for our awakening to our instincts, letting go of our judgments, and setting free our deep river of love for each other as women.

::
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass,
the world is too full to talk about.
Ideas, language, even the phrase “each other” doesn’t make any sense.

~ rumi

image by Ronn ashore : creative commons license 2.0


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The Internet is Alive

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When an idea reaches critical mass there is no stopping the shift its presence will induce.
~Marianne Williamson

::

What if the Internet, itself, was spiritual in nature? This is a question I wondered about back in 2001, when I designed and wrote a thesis on Spirituality and the Internet. My ideas at the time were roughly hewn. I had just finished three years doing a lot of coursework in design, computer science, and digital art. The project was to create a spiritual space on the Internet. But, the deeper message, was that the Internet itself was a spiritual space, simply in its form – following on the form follows function idea.

On this same idea, just today, two very interesting and timely articles fell into my lap, by way of – you guessed it – the Internet.

The first, Saudi women revel in online lives, written by Caryle Murphy, gives us a small glimpse into how the internet is opening up the world to women in Saudi Arabia.

In a country where about one-third of the population regularly goes online, the internet gives women “a place to vent out our frustrations and our dreams,” said Reem Asaad, 37, a professor of banking and finance in the Saudi port city of Jeddah who blogs at reemasaad.blogspot.com.

It also has allowed women who normally are “physically invisible” to participate more actively in Saudi society, Asaad added.

“From the authorities’ viewpoint,” she explained, “so long as women are behind a curtain, or a screen, and so long as they are not before a camera or walking down the street, then everything is fine. Women are free to do anything they want as as long as they aren’t seen, heard or spotted doing it by men.”

When I read the words “physically invisible”, my heart felt a sharp pain of sadness and despair. I can’t begin to imagine how it feels to be physically invisible. Feeling into what it might be like to be hidden in such a way stimulated a deep sense of compassion for all women who are experiencing this. Obviously, I don’t know what this is like. And, of course, I am projecting my own fears and feelings onto the story here. But, from one woman to another, from one soul to another, I feel for these women.

To read on and see how the internet is bringing them into connection and out of such separation brought a sense of possibility for what might be, how the world could shift simply through the Internet. To shift this way, we have to see that the Internet is the means for connection, something I believe we are beginning to understand more deeply each day.

After sitting with these thoughts, the second article fell into my lap (or I should say, landed in my inbox). The Internet as a Living Symbol of Global Oneness, written by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee Ph.D., a Sufi teacher and author, is an extremely important article on Huffington Post. It could change the nature of how we experience, and use, the Internet.

“I believe that the Internet is a gift we have been given. It provides an image of how the energy of life can flow freely in a way that defies the barriers of nationality and geography. Yet sadly because we are so immersed in the surface activity of this technology, in its tools of commerce and communication, we do not realize its deeper, symbolic dimension. A symbol is a connection to the sacred ground of our being which alone gives real meaning to our daily life. The Internet, as a living symbol of global oneness, offers us a direct connection to an awareness of divine oneness (italics mine). But because we have lost touch with the symbolic dimension of life, we do not fully recognize this potential of the Internet: as a dynamic expression of a new consciousness of oneness that has within it access to energies and means that can unify our divisive world (italics mine). If we were awaken to its real potential, we would be truly in awe–and we would laugh, with wonder, at life’s capacity to recreate itself while we are not even looking.

What does it mean to shift to seeing the internet as a symbol of global divine oneness? What does this mean for our everyday use of the Internet?

I can see, now, that all my attention back in 2001 on this notion of connection through the Internet was coming from intellectual and psychological perspectives. The internet as a dynamic symbol? A brand new door of understanding and knowing.

The Internet as this symbol feels deeper and richer. It feels alive. It is alive. It is dynamic. It has energies and means within it to bring about the awareness of oneness that already exists. We aren’t in control here. Yet, we can, if conscious, align with this potential inherent in the “gift we have been given”.

We can see ourselves in connection with others out there, like these women in Saudi Arabia who are now experiencing a new kind of visibility. We can know we are moving within this dynamic consciousness of oneness as we bring our own gifts to the interplay of connection and expression. We don’t have to figure out how to use this. We can’t figure it out. It knows. It is alive. We can trust in its aliveness. We can move with it.

::

One thing I do know: the importance of connecting women, in order to awaken the vital energies of healing and nourishment that lie dormant in the cells of our bodies – to awaken the primal sacred feminine nature of women’s creativity. We won’t fully bring to life this force within that is pushing to awaken, if we stay hidden, invisible and alone in isolation. We will awaken in community. We have been given the gift. How will we use it?

::

And, you?

How have you already experienced this divine oneness? How does knowing this change your perspective on the Internet? How might you being to move with it?

What if simply knowing the Internet as a living, dynamic manifestation of oneness were the idea that needs to reach critical mass that Marianne Williamson speaks of? How might things shift?


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What is it to be Female?

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j0437392.jpg

“Today, the reason we haven’t found our grail, the key to who we are as women, is because we look for it in worlds of false power, the very worlds that took it away from us in the first place. Neither men nor work can restore our lost scepter. Nothing in this world can take us home. Only the radar in our hearts can do that, and when it does, … ‘We will light up like lamps, and the world will never be the same again.’ “

–Marianne Williamson

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”  

– Albert Einstein

“The key to who we are as women.” What is this key that Marianne Williamson speaks of? Who are we? What key might unlock this door? Answer this question? Awaken our own knowing?

 

These two quotes point to the same thing: that we can’t look to the current cultural paradigm to answer the questions we face in this moment. The conditioned world we swim in today is the world that took our knowing away from us. It is a illusory world devoid of a woman’s grail, that by which we know our own wholeness. What we see in this world is void of a deeply feminine reflection.

So if we can’t look to the outer conditioned world for our knowing, the only place we can look is within. Within our own being lies the key. When we enter into the inward gaze, we enter the unknown. If we truly want to know, we must be willing to step into not knowing. This means leaving behind all false powers and the answers they so readily give. We turn our faces to this inner gaze so that we might know something wholly new.

It is a heroine’s journey. It is a truly creative act. It is the place for disruption. And, it is ripe with the fragrance of grace for it is in our willingness to turn away from the conditioned world and toward that which is without false words of comfort and safety that we will discover the truth in the question that asks, “What is it to be female?”

 The only place we will find this truth of our being is within our hearts. That is the only place where the illusions we have been taught cannot exist. Trust your heart to bring you home.


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