Writing Directly Out of the Vast, Deep Mystery

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when you are struggling
in your
writing (art).
it usually means
you
are hearing one thing.
but
writing (creating) another.
— honest | risk

from salt, by nayyirah waheed

 

 

We all receive what wants to be created through us in different ways. As a writer and creative, I get images and a sense of what wants to be written/created. I can feel it, but it’s rarely clear. But even then, there’s always enough to begin, enough to take that first step.

That’s really the most important piece. To take that first step. To begin.

But what happens along the way to cause the struggle?

I was talking to a friend today about writing. We were sharing with each other about our writing process and how hard it can be sometimes to put words to what we ‘hear’ or ‘sense’ wants to be written.

I usually get a sense of the writing that wants to come. Sometimes it comes in images, other times I ‘hear’ something. But to write and create, my mind has to communicate what I sense, see, and or hear. Something deeper than my rational mind, the unconscious, is showing me the writing in its own way, but my mind must take that and put it into words. My mind must communicate the creation into form.

Sometimes I’ve noticed that my mind has a hard time doing that because there’s too big a gap between what I sense and what my mind can translate into words. So my mind fills things in as best it can and what I end up with isn’t at all what I sensed or heard. I’ve lately found myself sitting here at my laptop, fingers poised to write, while my mind attempts to find the words. It’s such an interesting thing to witness in the moment because I am aware of a felt sense of frustration within me – seeing/hearing what I’m trying to write and then trying to find the words and phrases that capture it.

Sometimes, too, the writing just flows. There is no gap. The mind is open and free enough that there is no separation in me, the one who is writing. There is only writing.

And then other times, I notice that my Voice of Judgment (VOJ) jumps in almost immediately, judging and criticizing what comes even before the mind gets it down on paper. It’s like an immediate judgment of what comes. It’s crazy how fast the VOJ can grab a hold of the steering wheel and take you right off course.

But really what I want to do is communicate what I am hearing and sensing. That is all I really want to do. It’s easier for me through photography (the image above) and dance. I don’t edit. There’s no judgment. There’s only the expression. But writing has been harder for me to lose the VOJ, the editor that wants to edit before there are even words on the page.

Can you relate?

We want to get it right but so often we come up short. It’s the mind somehow thinking it has to ‘make it happen’, which is really way beyond its job description of simply communicating. It’s trying to play ‘Soul’ rather than letting Soul be Soul and being, doing what it was created to do.

I’ve found that writing regularly helps to shorten this gap. A regular writing practice helps the mind get used to the practice of writing what it receives.

And, what I’ve found always brings me back to writing more naturally and effortlessly is writing about what brings me joy, or what I love, or what I care deeply about. If I’m trying to write something because I think it is what others want to hear, I never do so with much ease. I struggle to get the words out and once I do the piece can feel stilted and tight. And after writing it, I do, too. Because I’ve left Soul by trying to make it happen.

But when I write something that brings me joy or pleasure, then the writing flows. The soul can be heard and felt. When this is true, Soul is so close. That’s also true about writing in my Writing Raw groups. I love diving into writing when I’m surrounded by that sisterhood. Just the energy alone of the circle is a big support. And in these circles, we write from deep within, from the texture and beauty of Soul. We write directly out of the deep and vast ocean of Mystery. But you don’t need to be in a circle. You can begin to deepen your own practice of entering into this deep and vast mysterious ocean that is the source of all that is created.

We are so deeply interconnected through something much greater than any one of us. When you write what brings you joy or deeply moves you,  and you faithfully express it as you hear it, you move those who feel a similar way or need to hear it, or something else related. There is a connection. There is a correlation. We do meet our audience through our words but not in the way we ‘think’ we are supposed to.

Something greater than any one of us connects us through the deep place of love within each of us. It is this that drives creative expression. It is this that we honor when we write what we hear. And our writing becomes so much easier through this honoring.

Thank you to nayyirah waheed for her poem, available in her profound book of poetry, salt.  And thank you to Tanya for reminding me of this poem.

 

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A Touch of Soul, Here, on My Breath.

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reteachathingitslovelinessrosenoquote
“…for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness…”
Galway Kinnell
::

Witnessing my own unfolding

In looking back over the writing I’ve shared here over the past seven years, I see my own unfolding. Along the way, I’ve shared my experiences rather than using this as a platform to offer you ‘useful’ advice on ‘how-to’ or ‘how-not-to’. I’ve shared stories and insights. I’ve shared some of the most vulnerable moments of my journey. I can’t say that was my intention when I began. But, then how often do we know ahead of time what it is that is driving us? In the past few weeks, the unfolding has hastened. Things falling away left and right. Like a dog with a bone, I’ve followed every kernel of grace offered out to me. I cannot tell you ‘what’ it is that has happened, but I finally feel at home.

That is no small thing considering it’s been almost twenty years since I set out to find home. I don’t know that I’ve ever felt at home in this world, but I managed to avoid feeling the deeper feelings of not belonging and not being safe while married to my late-husband – until the early-morning hour when he died, suddenly. That’s when the journey began in earnest.

It was then, almost twenty years ago, that however my psyche had organized itself to help navigate the feeling of being unsafe here on earth, could no longer find a footing. In a matter of minutes after he died, I felt completely unmoored. He had been my love, my protector, my partner of 21 years.

It’s been a long journey to follow longing. A journey to find safety, not through another human being, but within myself. I didn’t know that was what I was looking for. Ultimately, it was really the journey to find love, the love that can only be found deep within oneself.

The push to get somewhere or something has been relentless. I could never settle. I could never feel like what was in my life was ‘enough’. All the while, I wouldn’t have been able to articulate to you these things. I know them now, in hindsight.

There is something new here.

A kind of softness, a trust, a faith in life.

A taste of earth, here, in my flesh.

A touch of Soul, here, on my breath.

 

Life guided me.

Life does this if we listen. Books fell unbidden from bookcases, guiding me to dance. People appeared as guides. Flowers called to me with their beauty, reflecting to me the light and beauty that is the soul of everything alive. And, my relationship came to an end when it was clear I had to find out who I am on my own – sovereign and whole.

The land called to me from different parts of our planet. I had to step foot on other parts of this earth to feel something that could only be felt there, in each place, to reawaken elements of earth that I’d tasted long before.

Nature called. Each day, I walk. Almost first thing in the morning, after tea. I hear birdsong. I feel wind. I take in the love of trees, offering it back to them with great appreciation. I have come to feel an unseen, but incredibly vibrant, relationship with life. I’ve come to know I belong.

John O’Donohue‘s words capture this feeling much more eloquently than I can.

“Essentially, we belong beautifully to nature. The body knows this belonging and desires it. It does not exile us either spiritually or emotionally. The human body is at home on the earth. It is probably a splinter in the mind that is the sore root of so much of our exile.”

I feel at home in my body. 

Another way to say this, is that my mind now trusts how my body feels at home. My mind trusts my body’s longing to be home. To not be held away, distant from itself, for my body is of the earth’s body. It is of the same clay.

This might surprise some of you who’ve read me for a while. It’s not like I haven’t been in my body. It’s not like I haven’t felt joy in my body. I have – often and much.

But that ‘splinter in the mind’ was always here. The splinter continued to tell me I wasn’t safe. It created a kind of vigilance, a hyper-vigilance. This kind of thinking, the circular questioning and the constant looking for safety, kept at bay what it was I was looking for. Of course it did. I was looking for love, but this small but insistent voice didn’t trust love.

As I read more of John O’Donohue’s words for the second time (I first read Anam Cara about eight years ago), in preparation for my writing course, I came across his description of how the body is in the soul, not the other way around. He writes,

“Your body is in the soul, and the soul suffuses you completely. Therefore, all around you there is a secret and beautiful soul-light.”

And, if the body is in the soul, then my body is held, and loved, and breathed into by Soul. My immediate breath is Soul breath. My senses first encounter the realm of my Soul. It is so close. Always.

This is what I had longed for – to know that love is this close. Complete and unconditional love, which Soul has for self. I had shut myself off to my own Soul, and I had to see that.

 

Necessary to reteach me of my loveliness.

As most of us do because we are taught to, I journeyed to find what I’d thought I lost out there somewhere. God is supposed to be up there, on high, somewhere. Right? And, I am supposed to find love in someone else to complete me. Right?

No. Soul is closer than my breath. Soul is closer than sound, taste, sight, touch. Soul is wrapping me in love. I turned away from Soul. I had to turn back to self to know Soul.

Splintering happens. For me, the splinter broke free when that portion of the mind could feel that it was held, and that what held it was safe. I watched it circle. I watched it look and question and wonder. I watched as it let go. I felt the softening in myself. I couldn’t make it let go, but I could hold the space for it to do it as it needed to. I could trust that it would set itself free.

And, one last thing…for now. I’ve written in the past of the ‘creative impulse’…of the beautiful desire that moves through us as human beings to express in this world of form. In my next post, I’ll write more about Soul, your body, and creativity.

 

For now, just know that God(dess) is decidedly sensuous. 

 

 

 

 

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Shaking Off the Concrete: A Wildly Alive and Fiery Force

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This Big Old Wild and Lovely Tree

A few weeks ago, as I was walking down the main street of my neighborhood business district, I came upon a scene with men in suits, men in hard hats, and men with chain saws. They were watching and talking, gesticulating and sawing. This big old wild and lovely tree had grown too big for her ‘place’, her roots uprooting the concrete sidewalk that had been placed all around her when she was young and still manageable, not her full-grown, wild-self nature.

As I stopped to watch, I heard one of the men in suits talking about the tree say, “It just became too much for the street here, too much to contain. We had to cut it down. We’ll dig up the roots, cut them out, and pave over the hole. It will be much cleaner.”

She couldn’t and wouldn’t be contained in that too-small spot she was given, decorating the fancy-shopped street along with a few other chosen trees, spaced neatly and orderly along the way. She was trying to shake the concrete off, trying to grow into her full potential, following the seed’s instructions that were at the heart of her becoming.

Now, enough days have passed by that all signs of the tree are gone, except for the sidewalk squares that are obviously new concrete, sitting right up against the old. There won’t be any more ‘growing things’ in that spot. We must maintain a controlled-enoughness at all times.

 

Pave Paradise

Now, I’m sitting, waiting for my Darshan with Amma.  Amma is the Indian saint who’s travelled the earth hugging others with unconditional love. I’ve been graced with her hugs many, many times, and each time is different.

The temple is filled with Shakti. My body is filled with fire.

As I wait, I hear a voice inside, an insistent voice, a fiery voice that is clear about what she wants. Shake it off. Shake everything off that is not true. Strip me bare of everything that hides my nature, that hides who I really am, like concrete laid out in large archaic patches across Mother Earth, keeping her bound, her bosoms unable to rise and fall with those magnificent in-breaths and out-breaths she takes as she prepares meals for her children.

As I see this almost-furious voice laying claim to what is true, I see that I am this strong core with deep roots, a core that is unshakable and roots that hold me steadfast to the earth.

I’ve been paved over. I was wrapped with concrete, laced with rebar that holds the paving in place, maintains a strict form, and certainly doesn’t allow any big bosom breaths to shake up the status quo.

You know that old Joni Mitchell song that croons, “We paved paradise and put in a parking lot”? Yeah, that one. Sometimes, that’s what this body of mine feels like – like paradise, a flesh and blood paradise, a conscious, aware, breathing, desiring paradise that’s been paved, made into a parking lot full of concrete, straight lines, and all sorts of rules as to who owns it.

 

Feral Flesh

Enough rules about ingress, egress, and regress will cause
any wild woman to forget that she was ever feral flesh.

And not the kind of feral flesh that old ‘parking lot attendant’, the one who believes he knows the ‘lay of the land’ and the rules about who gets to use this used-to-be-paradise, would want you to believe. No, not at all.

THIS. This body, this feral flesh – feral as in completely and utterly in tune with the seed of her becoming – flesh as completely and utterly part of this existence we call life, matter infused with the love and vitality, inspiration and creativity, vibrancy and expectancy that anything completely alive knows – this feral flesh, this desiring paradise, still remembers, still feels, still knows it is good and whole and necessary.

The Soul can only know what it is to be fully alive in this life by way of this body. A paved over body cuts the tree down, uproots the roots – at least in our psyche. Our doing this causes great pain to the Soul. But when we turn back to Soul, when we show we are ready to let the Soul lead, the Soul returns, shaking concrete off of roots, untwisting rebar, unveiling her nature, the trunk and roots begin to emerge.

As Amma takes me into her arms and I feel her presence, I can tell she’s heard my Soul’s request. She hugs me with a force I’ve not felt before, her jackhammer of love hitting against those thick slabs of forgetfulness and severed connection. She’s tearing away the untruths just as this fiery voice requests.

These two wildly alive and fiery loving Divine Beings seem to have a direct line to each other. It is my job to get out of the way and let Nature do its work.

You don’t have to be in Amma’s presence for Nature to help shake off the concrete. Nature is ready and willing.

::

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Experience Becoming a Force of Nature!
I’m offering my course, Becoming a Force of Nature, over the summer, running from June 2nd through September 3rd, 2014. Our first call is on June 4th, with the first module being released on the 2nd, to give you time to go over the material.

This time, I’m offering the first module and call (June 4th) to EVERYONE, free of charge!

Sign-up here to receive the module so you can experience the course. I know you will learn a great deal just from Module One.

 

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Coming to Know the WildSoul is a Reverent Journey

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The soul is like a wild animal…tough, resilient, resourceful, savvy, and self-sufficient:  it knows how to survive in hard places. I learned about these qualities during my bouts with depression. In that deadly darkness, the faculties I had always depended on collapsed. My intellect was useless; my emotions were dead; my will was impotent; my ego was shattered. But from time to time, deep in the thickets of my inner wilderness, I could sense the presence of something that knew how to stay alive even when the rest of me wanted to die. That something was my tough and tenacious soul.

Yet despite its toughness, the soul is also shy. Just like a wild animal, it seeks safety in the dense underbrush, especially when other people are around. If we want to see a wild animal, we know that the last thing we should do is go crashing through the woods yelling for it to come out. But if we will walk quietly into the woods, sit patiently at the base of a tree, breathe with the earth, and fade into our surroundings, the wild creature we seek might put in an appearance. We may see it only briefly and only out of the corner of an eye—but the sight is a gift we will always treasure as an end in itself. ~ Parker Palmer, Hidden Wholeness

I read these words and immediately I recognize this within myself, this shy soul. 

Something within me softens. For a while now, I’ve tried to push myself to be more out there, more in the mix, more visible. I know it is coming. Yet, what also feels true is that my soul is tender and deep-feeling. And in seeing this, I found just a little more compassion for who I am and how I am in the world. As I soften, I can feel myself more whole, aligned and joyful.

So much in our culture tells us we have to be un-soul like to make our mark. I’ve come to know that this way is not my way. There is something so sweet about recognizing how our own soul feels, what allows us to glimpse it, but more importantly, the path to living life that honors it. There are many ways to be in the world, and I know we each can find the way that is true for our soul, even when the culture can seem so separate from soul.

The Wild Soul is shy, she is feral, and in being so, she doesn’t clang around making brash noise…unless she must. Then she will. She is tough and resilient. She is self-sufficient. Yet, there is this place where the soul only shows this soft side, this vulnerability when she is safe, when she trusts.

Coming to know the soul is a reverent journey. It is a blessed journey.


::

Because the very nature of this journey is such, I am extremely honored to be holding the first session of the WildSoul Book Club this fall with my colleague, Lianne Raymond. Our intention is to create a place where, together, we breathe with the earth and walk quietly in the woods with patience and care, so that our souls know they can come forth to make themselves known.

Please take a moment to see if joining our WildSoul Book Club might be just the thing you are longing for, right now. We’ve kept the price, $129 for 10 weeks, affordable so that many can join. Many of us are feeling called to awaken the Feminine Soul. It is time.

Questions? Join Lianne and me for a complimentary call for the WildSoul Book Club:

Tuesday, Sept 4, 4:00 pm pacific time.

712-715-7100, 1005863#

And, yes, if you can’t make it we’ll make the recording available here.

::

We’ll be reading Women Who Run With the Wolves, an epic book that celebrates its 20th birthday this Sept. 17th. It’s a book that can be read over and over, with each reading bringing forth new wisdom and perhaps a new glimpse of your soul.

We’ve interviewed a number of women about their experience reading Women Who Run With the Wolves.

Today, we’ve released our chat with Danielle LaPorte. If you listen to the interview, you’ll hear that she first read the book when she was living in Santa Fe, literally surrounded by wolves and their calls. 

Danielle shares wisdom and heart, and a real, very fresh life story of how the strength and power of her feminine soul came forth in a powerful way. I got goosebumps when I heard her tell the story in her words. You’ll find her interview, along with others, here.

We’ve also have an interview that Lianne did with Tami Simon of Sounds True, sharing the story behind how Women Who Run With the Wolves came to be.And, on the same page, we invite you to share your comments about the book. We’ll be sharing everything with Dr. Estes, the author, on September 17th.

And, if you have any questions at all that feel too personal to share, feel free to drop me a line at juliedaley (at) gmail . com

May you take some time today to sit down on the earth and listen for the soul’s footsteps, feel her breath on your skin, and feel her longing to bring you home.

 

image by bokeh burgerAttributionNo Derivative Works Some rights reserved

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Woman to Woman – Revealing Our Radiance

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Alla Sera
In my last post, Weaving a New World, I speak of telling a new story.

The story we’ve been living is not our own. It is one of conditioned behavior and beliefs. It is one of power over. It does not serve life – it attempts to dominate it.

This old story keeps us hiding our light, playing down our instinctive nature, not trusting our intuition. It keeps us ashamed of our sensuality and sexuality. It constantly reminds us that we can’t trust femaleness, either in ourselves or in other women.

This old story keeps us believing so many untruths. It keeps us in chains, so that our wildness remains tamed rather than free to express, create and love.

A new story

There is a fullness in all of life. It’s a power, a life force, a presence that simply can’t be put into words. There is no word, for words are removed from this fullness. Words are one-dimensional and this fullness is infinite.

This fullness is the new story.

This new story is a story of truth. When we tell our story, the truth of our experience, we are telling the story of life as it really moves and flows and loves.

The other day,

my friend and I were having an intimate conversation, both sharing things about ourselves and our lives that we’d not yet told each other. It was really lovely.

Then, my friend shared a deeper story, a story that was filled with an intimacy and vulnerability rarely shared in our world. The story had been kept close to her heart. It was tender. It was compelling.

As she began to speak, her body began to sway ever so slightly, her hands began to express what her words could not convey, her eyes closed as she felt into her story.

Words attempt to describe what we long to express, yet they cannot ever capture the experience itself. In watching her body tell the story, and in feeling her story in my body, I began to know the depths of what she was wanting to convey.

As she sat in silence once she was done, I spoke to her of the power of what she had shared, the powerful effect it had on me. I spoke to her of her brilliance and how compelling she was in her rawness and complete nakedness. I shared with her that her radiance was visible and palpable because of her vulnerability.

I watched as she heard what I was saying to her about the beauty of her soul. As she took in my words, her tears began to flow, as if something began to release in her.

The effect on me was profound. It felt as if the effect was profound on her, too.

I witnessed the struggle we go through to allow ourselves to acknowledge our sacredness, our beauty and worth. It was humbling to see how powerful our resistance is to acknowledging our own basic goodness. And, it was deeply moving to see, once again, how incredibly important it is for each of us to give the gift of witnessing and reflecting another woman’s beauty and worth.

How we long to relax into our own beauty.

How we long to settle into our sacredness.

How we long to trust what we know somewhere in the depths of our soul…that our sacredness is both exquisite and ordinary just as we are.

Despite what the old story tells us, vulnerability is powerful.

Despite what the old story says, telling another woman what you see in her, the beauty of the truth within her, doesn’t take anything from you, but rather is a powerful gift to both of you.

Despite what the old story says, when we tell our stories from our bodies, allowing the soul to speak in ways other than words, we begin to remember the deeper aspects and places of womanhood.

I’ve been lucky.

Not only did this friend offer herself as a mirror to me, I’ve had other friends willing to be this mirror, too. Women I know and love are willing to share with me what they see in me, and it’s had a profound effect on me, helping me grow into a woman with increased self-confidence and radiance.

While I’ve also had men who’ve loved me share with me, too, when women share something else comes alive. Things hidden that have been hidden are revealed. Things pushed into the dark have come into the light. A knowing of the feminine has come awake again in my cellular memory. And the light of the new feminine consciousness has grown just a little bit brighter.

When we trust ourselves, we can be mirrors to each other’s beauty. We can help each other remember what we believe we’ve forgotten.

This beauty also includes those things we don’t normally call beautiful. When someone reveals themselves, even in their anger and fear, sadness and grief, that is beauty, for we only really know true beauty when something or someone is real.

I know for me, each time I am invited into the holiness of a moment such as this, something previously hidden in me is revealed, for in these moments we are open to the grace that is always here.

Photo by Alessandro Pinna. CC license – AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved

 

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For Longing

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A friend shared this poem, and I cried tears…

Tears for the beauty of these words.

Tears for the beauty that was this soul, this soul named John O’Donhoue.

Tears for the longing of the soul.

Tears for the beginnings of a glimmer of this knowing: “May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.”

His books, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom and Beauty: The Invisible Embrace, are gorgeous works. I’ve read them, and re-read them, and still I can tell I will read them again. While the words are gorgeous and full, there is something that weaves between the words that lights me up in a way nothing else does. Light moves through his words, through the pages into my own soul.

Let these words of his pour over you, filling the cells of your being with the love that is in every cell of existence. This is our inheritance. To know love like this. To know that God is longing for us with urgency. All stories fall away in the power of this knowing.

::

For Longing by John O’Donohue

Blessed be the longing that brought you here

And quickens your soul with wonder.

May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire

That disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.

May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease

To discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.

May the forms of your belonging–in love, creativity, and friendship–

Be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.

May the one you long for long for you.

May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.

May a secret Providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.

May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which
your body inhabits the world.

May your heart never be haunted by ghost-structures of old damage.

May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.

May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

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In Tune With The Whole Of Life

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Hello, I Love You, by Zenera
Hello, I Love You, by Zenera

Anytime you think of sexuality, you’ve got to think of your whole life.” Cornel West

Reverb10 Day 06
Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?

::

Love.

This year has been about making love. And, I’ve used my heart, my body, my mind and my soul

Now I know most of us have been taught that making love means having sex with someone we love. But, I want to break open the tiny sliver of a way in which we see sexuality, sensuality, the erotic.

The way we currently see sexuality is limiting, yet it is so much more. Collapsed and hidden within our culture’s definition of sexuality are sensuality, longing and desire, passion and beauty, and touching to deeply connect.

Let’s take women’s sexuality today – so many women see pole dancing as a way to find their sexy selves. Connecting with our fire in this way isn’t a bad thing at all. It has helped so many women tap into a part of their nature and give it breath. And, yes, it is just one way. And, it can be limiting. It is also a way that can fit into this culture’s view of women – as sexual creatures, even objects, that are here to serve men’s erotic fantasies. The pornography industry is big business. It has a particular view of women, and it isn’t a pretty one. This industry has become ubiquitous in our culture. Its perspective has infiltrated mass media.

When we see ourselves through this perspective, is it serving our wholeness, is it serving how we see and value ourselves? This doesn’t mean trying to eliminate this view, but rather opening up to our whole lives, a sense of wholeness as souls here to love life, to serve with our whole being

I want to open up our view of our sexual energy so we see what’s been hidden. There is a fire in the erotic, a fire that can serve our work in the world.

What if our sexuality could be informed by our intentions, not our conditioning?

I see the possibility for a profound shift for humans: to open our point of view around love-making from an act in the bedroom to all of our acts in the world. To know ourselves as erotic beings in a way that is whole, loving to self, and in tune with the whole of life.

::

A story that captures the essence of what I’m wanting to convey:

This man in India is a man of the Brahman class. As a Brahman, he is not supposed to touch people who are beneath his caste. What he does is feed the poor, the homeless, the destitute, the old people who have no one. He cooks each day, then delivers the food, even feeding some people by hand, the ones that can’t feed themselves. He also explains how he loves these people. He is shown bathing them, giving them haircuts and shaves, even massaging their feet. His actions show great love. His voice speaks great love. He is showing these people great love in each action. His touch seems to indicate that he is loving them with tenderness, true compassion and caring.

His actions so clearly show what I am trying to convey. His love infuses his actions.

You might ask why I call this making love, and not simply doing good works. You might find it confusing to mix up sexuality, sensuality and the erotic, and doing work in the world with great love.

All of this can be confusing, because trying to communicate with each other through words is limiting at best. Words come with baggage. We collapse distinctions around words, causing them to point to a mixed-up jumble of conditioning, experiences, beliefs and desires.

For me, this opening up of our minds to our own soul nature is crucial if we are to rediscover our whole nature as sensual, sexual, erotic loving beings, and find the fire and passion to unleash our greatness.

I’m wanting to explode open our limited conditioned ideas of sexuality and making love, for buried in them is our fire, our passion, our power. We are so much more than objects that can be sexy, if we do all the ‘right things’.

Here in our culture, many times when we see people touching we immediately think in terms of sex and sexual attraction. We make up stories about touch. Yet, touch is one of our most amazing senses, and one of the most amazing gifts we can give another. To touch and feel in the heart at the same time, brings a closeness unique to the sense of touch.

::

Somewhere, eros and sex got mixed up.

Somewhere, love was thrown into the mix, making things downright messy.

From Wikipedia:
Éros
(ἔρως érōs[2]) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Modern Greek word “erotas” means “intimate love;” however, eros does not have to be sexual in nature. Eros can be interpreted as a love for someone whom you love more than the philia, love of friendship. It can also apply to dating relationships as well as marriage. Plato refined his own definition: Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Plato does not talk of physical attraction as a necessary part of love, hence the use of the word platonic to mean, “without physical attraction.” Plato also said eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros.

eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty, and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth…Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros.

Audre Lorde wrote this of the erotic:

This is one reason why the erotic is so feared, and so often relegated to the bedroom alone, when it is recognized at all. For once we begin to feel deeply all the aspects of our lives, we begin to demand from ourselves and from our life-pursuits that they feel in accordance with that joy which we know ourselves to be capable of. Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.

She adds this:

When we look away from the importance of the erotic in the development and sustenance of our power, or when we look away from ourselves as we satisfy our erotic needs in concert with others, we use each other as objects of satisfaction rather than share our joy in the satisfying, rather than make connection with our similarities and our differences. …

But this erotic charge is not easily shared by women who continue to operate under an exclusively european-american male tradition. I know it was not available to me when I was trying to adapt my consciousness to this mode of living and sensation.

We can choose to see what perspective we are operating under. The European-American male tradition has choked the life out of women’s eroticism, out of our sense of our erotic, sensual selves. It’s put it all into narrow confines and wrapped the words sexuality and sex around them. Everything points there, and yet in reality, that simply isn’t so.

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A soul that can give of itself to the whole of life.

2010 has been about discovering for myself, what it is to be a sensual, erotic being. In making love to life, I am beginning to re-member the sensual and erotic nature within my being that I cut out because it didn’t fit into the cultural tradition in which I was raised. I began to earnestly make love to life, to let go of the small narrow ways I see myself, so I can open to the erotic nature of the soul and of life itself.

What is it to be a soul in a human, female body, a soul that longs to remember its wholeness, the beauty of the world in which it lives? A soul that can give of itself to the whole of life?

Bringing our whole selves to our work, to helping give birth to this new paradigm means re-discovering our nature, a nature that can bring the joy, the eros, the love back into a world starving for what we have to give. We can unleash a passion that fuels our work, so we give our whole selves to it, not just our small, timid egos.

I am in the midst of this making, a making of how I live in this world, how I see myself and what I can truly do, so that it isn’t quite so overwhelming, but rather a natural extension of my nature.

Let’s allow ourselves to notice the fire that was hidden, the passion and joy for life that have been tucked away in the bedroom, or that have become non-existent in our lives, because we believe they can only come out when we’re having sex, or feeling sexy.

Let’s allow each other to discover this for ourselves, to not judge how we do so, but to know we’re all on this journey together, in service to the emergence of the sacred feminine within us.

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Image courtesy of Zenera, under CC2.0

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Drivin’ With Soul

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image by BlackButterfly, Flickr

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As I open to the grandeur of the soul, I feel the immensity of her being. Such raw creative power. Such soft joy. Such simple elegance. Such beauty – beauty unlike anything I’ve been conditioned to recognize or understand. In many ways, she is elusive; yet, she is right here, always.

I refer to her as she, yet she is she not in the way we think of she. She is she in her complete receptivity and vulnerability. She yearns to know, again, the sweet piercing of the heart. She is of the feminine nature.

In my day-to-day life, I know she is there, yet I lose this immediate connection to her. I lose it through the conditioned way I live daily life, that way that pushes out from the mind, rather than meeting life through the sensuousness of the body. I lose it through the ways I have learned to disrespect myself. I lose it through the ways I was conditioned to dishonor all that is of feminine nature.

Yet, I’ve discovered I can reconnect with the grandeur of the soul by shifting these things in my daily life. As I open to her presence, she leads me to know her through sometimes unexpected means. They are means that speak to only me, for my ways of evading her presence are just as unique as I am, just as soul speaks to you in ways you will know.

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On a warm, sunny day in August, I took a trip in my new car. All my life, I have purchased things on the  basis of practicality and cost-effectiveness. By themselves, these are not bad values, but when they rule my decision making process, I find myself surrounded by things that don’t reflect my own internal values of beauty, sensuality, and refinement. I find myself wearing clothes that don’t reflect who I truly am deep inside. I fill my home with functionality rather than refinement.

Things that are well made are beautiful, simply because of the care put into the construction through thoughtful details and quality workmanship. They are infused with a sense of the beautiful.

After twelve years of driving a small car, I bought a beautiful car that had been owned by a woman who took impeccable care of it. In this car, I feel its refinement, the craftsmanship of those who created it, and the elegance of its design. I feel more safe in it, knowing its body can withstand much more than the economy car I traded in.

On this sunny day in August, my very good friend had invited me to travel down to Big Sur, to Esalen. Big Sur is beautiful. The scenery is majestic. And, Esalen is a balm for the soul.

We headed off on our trip after our morning dance in Marin. All along the route, from Sausalito through San Francisco by way of the Golden Gate bridge, down the peninsula along one of the most beautiful freeways in California, out to the ocean and along its shore by way of the coast highway that weaves through Monterey and the Carmel Valley, and on to Big Sur, we talked, listened to gorgeous music and felt the sun shine down on us through the open sun roof. It seemed as though beauty surrounded us and infused us with its power and peace.

We arrived at Esalen in time for a soak in their world-famous baths before eating a dinner that was filled with vegetables grown in the gardens on the lan. Looking out over the Pacific Ocean, fully emerged in the natural hot springs that flow from the ground at 119 degrees and 80 gallons per minute, I began to let go into the simple radiant elegance that is the Soul.

During the remainder of our weekend trip, I was fed, both literally and metaphorically.

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I hope you see that I’m not saying we can only know soul by way of grand experiences. Rather, I am sharing how sometimes soul calls to us to remember its beauty and grace, to remember the regal nature of soul. The tightness and contraction we feel when we deny the beauty of the world in its simplest manifestations, can cause us not to know, on the deepest level, that what we truly are walks in the beauty of all that exists. And, that we are that beauty.

What are the things we learned, at a young age, that keep us from relaxing into our true nature? What keeps us from knowing our deep, raw creative nature as women? What keeps us from reclaiming our sensuality, a sensuality that is not something we have been gifted with just to please others sexually, but rather a natural divine connection through the senses to a life force that all along simply continues to come and go, into and out of existence.

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When I think of this weekend, I think of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, beauty and raw sexuality. Aphrodite is my nature as a woman, of the true nature of all women.

Where in your life do you remember this true nature? What experiences are being offered up on the altar that celebrates you and your femaleness? I would love to know when and how you settle back into the soul, and what  that awakens in you.

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This post is part of Gwen Bell’s Best of 2009 Blog Challenge
Day 19 Car ride. What did you see? How did it smell? Did you eat anything as you drove there? Who were you with?

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