Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Poise will be Poise!

I admire poise. In men, i see that as an aspect of the noble, mature, sacred masculine: composure, calm in situations of stress, physiological balance, self-possession, unruffled presence. In women, i see this as an aspect of beauty, grace and virtue. From where does this quality arise? Is it in ones DNA? Instinctive, inborn, granted? Or is it acquired, cultivated, developed as a discipline?

With all of the pressures this world imposes, internal and external, poise is a huge asset. It reflects a capacity to metabolize stress and to balance life's demands in the present moment, not allowing anything or anyone to push you off balance. Poise is a reflection of confidence, trust in oneself and in one's capacities to handle whatever arises, to be responsive to whatever presents itself, to integrate information, determine one's intentions, manage conflicting pushes and pulls and decide one's actions in the moment.

When do you feel poised and what throws you off balance?

What nourishes and contributes to your sense of poise?

How does this quality interact with enthusiasm, pleasure, the ability to surrender and receive???

Have you acquired this quality as you've matured?

Is it a quality you seek to develop?

Poise is a quality i continually to seek to develop.

I find it by centering in my physiology.

I feel poised when i find a quiet, still place in myself, when i am reflective and contemplative, when i listen to soothing music, when i let the demands and responsibilities, the tasks and projects, take their course without me pushing the river.

I go off balance when i have too much on my plate, a veritable plethora of impulses and pulls that have my mind moving in myriad ways! I am out of poise when i am reactive, triggered externally or internally into a psychological process that stirs my emotional body in confusing ways. That is when the pedal of practice hits the metal of experience. My sense of poise is a great measure to gage my compass and help me direct my attention, thoughts, actions and emotions.

My sense of poise is nourished when i see others embodying that quality: the open-loop nature of the limbic brain can take in another's calm way through osmosis, as easily as taking in another's stressful ways. It all depends on where we place our attention.

I am very enthusiastic by nature. excitable, gregarious, outgoing, expressive. i like to release and surrender, to dance, to be spontaneous and playful, to dissolve, melt and yield to beauty.

Balancing surrender with poise is grace; balancing enthusiasm with composure is artistry and requires, it seems to me, exquisite attention and skillful means.

What does poise mean to you??

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

a few thoughts on the art of intimacy

In me I see a desire for intimacy that begins as an inward arc, a movement, a calling, an inquiry, an opening, an entry and deepening into belonging, soulfulness, self-knowing and enhanced presence. I want insight, to see and sense into self and other with greater love, awareness and mutuality. To see and be seen, recognize and be recognized, hear and be heard, feel and be felt. So that awareness is amplified by the synergy of 1+1= a greater wholeness. So that we may root more deeply in the relational ground of our humanity, where our tremendous vulnerabilities, intelligences, resources and powers lay: in the land where security, faith, trust, strength, openness, willingness, acceptance, maturity and wisdom grow and prosper.

What amplifies synergy for you?
How do you attune yourself to another?

I find that willingness is key. Not just the will to make something happen, the desire and intention to draw closer to someone, the dynamic element of creative engagement. Initiative has its place. But the receptivity, the allowance, the permission and acceptance of letting another into one's vulnerabilities, into one's inner chambers. Where the engagement is a dance, where control and power are shared, where there is an inter-penetration, a real opening and allowing of influence, a reception.

As a man, do you allow another to enter into your heart?
Do you allow yourself to be fully vulnerable? What stops you?

As a woman, does your desire to be entered appear as an invitation, an offering, a gift (which it is!)? Or does it become a demand and an expectation, a nagging from frustration, a complaint about lack, and subsequently ineffective?

What approach do you want from your partner?
Do you offer that when you want to be more intimate?

My suggestion: give what you want: not to get it in some manipulative way! But as an offering, a gift which allows the other the choice to accept or decline. Don't personalize the no as a rejection. Refine your approach and perhaps the response will become more like the one you are truly desiring.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Playa Manna

One week back from Burning Man, the great annual fire arts pilgrimage into the desert of Pyramid Lake. SO many dimensions to describe: Black Rock City, the people, the art, the culture, the setting, the scope, the panorama... The power of this event-full event emerges from nothing but creative inspiration and becomes a synergistic, extra-ordinary and magical journey for tens of thousands of Burners:

How does Black Rick City and the Playa inspire, encourage and elicit so much radical amazement in its citizens?

On the Playa, magic really happens: synchronicities, synergies, co-incidences abound (in fact, as i wrote this, the word co-incidence was just spoken in the movie "it might get loud" )!! The setting, the context, the scope, the survival requirements, the generosity spirit, the beauty,... No cell phones, no money exchanged, no car keys, no computers... these are some of the elements that bring out the best in us Burners! My experience for long stretches of time was the sense that ... "it just keeps getting better" and... this is manna from heaven, it tastes like however we might imagine! One experience or encounter completes, and another amazing connection or scene spawns and evolves. One awesome moment morphs into the next, and its just as good. The morphogenetic fields that are generated by radical openness and co-creative engagement generate increasing generosity. That's how it works, as far as i can tell! As we are fed the manna of the Playa, we nourish and are nourished by each others acts of beauty, generosity, openness and love. Instead of closing off to the other, we open and are fed; we feed and feel, in simple acts of giving, an expansive generosity of spirit.

I offered workshops for men and women on the sacred masculine, the mature masculine and intimacy. The conversations and experiences were rich. For myself, the opportunity to step up into leadership of the sacred spaces village "third chakra solar masculine temple" became a brilliant moment in my life. The receptivity and responsiveness was deeply gratifying. There was one moment where a group of 35+ men in our temple dome were in 100% consensus that we each felt valued/valuable on the Playa. Not a dissenting voice! And we felt valued because we were all giving what we had to offer and being received. Its simple: see what needs to be done and do it, offer what you can when the time is right, and receive what is being offered to you without an exchange obligation, i.e. the need to reciprocate. My quivers are full of medicine arrows and i am not alone in that!

The beauty of burning man is astounding: radiant faces, dusty hair, open eyes allowing depth of contact, costume/adornment creativity, inventive structures/ domes/ sculptures/ bicycles/ art cars... bicycle paradise... events like monkey chanting, massage, workshops, healings... all night dancing and some of the the best sound systems in the world... sunrises and sunsets with the desert mountains as backdrop, double rainbows... a metropolis lit up at night in all kinds of crazy-inventive ways,... fire arts performances and sculptures that inspire and ignite the soul... all of this and more makes for an unparalleled variety of experiences, encounters and heart/mind/body/soul openings.

Just wanted to give a taster of a description of why i make the annual pilgrimage. Every journey is unique: each year the adventure burns into my soul, deepens my happiness, peace and overall life satisfaction. It is Manna from heaven, this thing called Burning man. I feel completely filled and am grateful beyond belief.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Meditation as an intimate path

The practice of meditation and the capacities therein are directly related to our ability to establish, deepen and sustain intimacy in our lives. What is more essential to authentic relationship than tuning into our own heart, listening more deeply to our own voice and intuition, cultivating a peaceful surrender and developing our capacity to witness our own and another's true nature?

Turning our consciousness inwards is a basic ingredient in being able to listen, hold, respect and attend to another. Intimate relating can falter on the rocks of not being able to stay in tune with, and "hold onto", oneself. Feeling trapped, suffocated or overwhelmed by the other's intensity reflects an incapacity to hold energy, to ground one's own being, to listen objectively and to speak intersubjectively.

As I quiet my mind and find a greater calm within the chaordic turbulence of life's ebb and flow, I develop an ability to listen deeply to what is, to ground myself in my own sensate experience, to ask deeper questions and and find insight into who i am and what my purposes and intentions are. This is essential to being intimate with another. Gnosis: self-knowing. How else can we possibly attend to another without losing oneself and in an authentic way?

I can then listen to another as a vessel, as an openness, as a container that can behold the similarities and resonances between us while respecting the differences. I can then speak from a place of knowing rather than guessing. I can speak with a sensitivity to the other's capacities for taking in my self-revealing, sensing into the way my revelations are "landing" in the other, an experience of inter-subjective, I-Thou, relatedness.

Intimacy is so much more than sex: tho' sex is a great way to experience and express and deepen intimacy, it can also be an avoidance on some levels of true vulnerability and soulful contact. The two, sex and intimacy, are not exactly the same... more on this in another blog...

your thoughts currently on intimacy??

Saturday, March 20, 2010

poison oak awakening

this past week i found myself exploring the kinesthetic sensations of a toxic oil/heat rash. Quite an adventure and an education! Having ignored any signs that there might be poison oak vines in the field i was helping to clear, the arrogance of my denial was overcome by the fire-plants inflammatory touch. As it dawned on me, over the next few days, and I realized what had scraped and seeped and licked and inflicted its way into my dermis, i began to explore a world of raw sensation we don't usually get initiated into (fortunately!) The intensity of burning; the ferocity of an irresistable urge to scratch and claw and rub and soothe; the virulently firing nerves on and just below the usual protective surface of skin; the experimentation with a variety of remedies, homeopathic, allopathic, drying, cooling, moisturizing,... all of this provided a fantastically unusual experience with going thru something i wouldn't have chosen but received anyway!

what does poison oak teach? Some say: boundaries. to respect the gates of the forest. to be awake and look, to pay attention to our movements in the field. to recognize the shadow of nature as well as its beauty and light.

a friend of mine, Ronda Mikolaitis, died this past year. She was an ardent nature lover, leading wilderness hikes for years before, ironically, she contracted lymes disease from the very goddess she loved! Nature is Kali, bestower and destroyer. Transformer. Not just benevolent. Earthquakes and tornadoes and fires and tsunamis and ... poison oak. admire and respect. beauty and power. arrogance does not do. we will get humbled before what is much greater than us.

some patches of skin now feel lizard like. i allow myself the pleasure of hot showers, of cool baths with oatmeal, the anti-itch creams and gels have offered some relief, the heavy hitting cortisone and steroidal creams have subdued the hyper-activated immune system reactivity, aloe juice cools, ice cools, the pleasure/pain sensations of scratching have been, at moments, blissful and ecstatic! I'd say this has been a remarkable ride, making the most of the immense discomfort that has arisen this past week. I have hung out and expanded/deepened with some friends, seen #30 clients and 3 movies, played bughouse chess, hosted rhythm matrix at tranquility salon and, this morning Equinox, sat with Adyashanti and a non-duality sangha at satsang,... and now write this. I feel totally blessed, moving through and beyond the nasty curse of the plant into relief.

the I Ching reading I found myself called to is #30 FIRE. sun and moon cling to the sky; plants cling to the earth. Clinging to what is right with double illumination (fire above, fire below) develops the world. as the 3rd yang reads, in the fire of the setting sun, either you drum on a jug and sing, or you sigh the lament of the elderly, which is unfortunate. image: how long can the fire of the setting sun last? needless to say, this P.O. process has been illuminating! and fortunately, intensity subsides and resolves into regenerative healing. so I feel graced.

Adya spoke this morning of embracing all, resisting nothing. I smiled during his entire talk. what is difficult wants to be accepted by us. to resist reality is futile; reality always wins! this week i have been granted the kind of experience that fulfills this principle. accepting what is, including the discomfort, calms the inflammatory/ reactive tendencies in our system.

How can you relate to this? what have you been resisting that needs to be met? are you ready to let go of your lament? I am.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Navigating Intimacy

i am contemplating intimacy in depth these days. wondering about essential ingredients in the processes of cultivating and deepening authentic connection and sustaining profound, embodied, essential contact. when I asked my FB friends to chime in on the subject of intimacy, this is what we came up with:

openness. curiosity. inquiry. dropping defenses. vulnerability. honesty. a sensing of resonance. mutuality. respect. authenticity. responsiveness. willingness. a sense of humor. playfulness. allowing. surrendering.

what is essential to you in being deeply intimate? How do you create and cultivate intimacy in your life?

to me, intimacy, like a good conversation, is a spiritual practice, involving deepening consciousness with/in oneself and may, as an advanced spiritual, sexual and developmental practice, engage another being in a way that greatly expands and deepens heart and soul. As a partnership path, the potential, synergy, activation, co-creativity abounds with possibility. Yet intimacy can also often go awry. What begins with a passionate start can fall off the cliff! Intimacy can grow into intense conflict, a sense of entrapment, a sense of betrayal and loss of the promised land! How does that happen? How can we both avoid the pitfalls and optimize the potentials for growth??

that/this is what I am dedicated to studying and presenting on these pages.

A good friend, Samantha Sweetwater, had her birthday party the other evening. One thing she said is that she "starts with how she doesn't really know the other". That is radical openness. I like that as a starting and a returning place in authentic relating: Not knowing who the other is. Not labeling them, categorizing them, defining them. So easy to control our worlds by naming, projecting, assuming, limiting and otherwise not see the others true self! We falsify ourselves with our ego identities, lose ourselves and lose sight of who the other is. Our relating then becomes rote, superficial, constructed.

Defining an intimate moment too soon can stifle its growth. "Premature relationalization" is what i am calling that tendency to define something before its time. In the phase of early dating it can be wise to refrain from such stifling practices as: talking about other relationships, talking about other people, talking about relationship(s) at all!

In middle phases of relationship, commitment does of course come into play. Deep intimacy requires a strong container. Relationship agreements, sexual dynamics, emotional needs all need to be negotiated. Our question is: how do we create an optimal holding environment that is neither too restrictive nor too loose?

more on this subject soon...

please leave comments on what interests you!!

be well, be intimate with life! Practice being openness!

see into yourself deeply and into those you chose to be intimate with.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Deep Archetypal Masculine Poetics

Deep Archetypal Masculine Identity, Being and Action includes diverse, distinct and distinguished energy forms: King, Lover, Fool, Magician, Father, Warrior, Witness... Light and Shadow elements in our culture, growing and becoming aspects of personalities we "fall into"... petty tyrants, bullies, dumb-schmuck, trickster, angst ridden, rageaholic; unrealized/frustrated masculine... partner of the divine feminine. One who learns to yield and surrender. Poet. Mystic. Provider. Son. Brother. Uncle. Master. and Servant... the masks we wear.

Inquiry: what other essential roles and perspectives hath the masculine? and what current constructs, identities and energies of the feminine are at play in your own imaginarium?? Divine Child, Goddess, Queen, Princess, Sweetheart, Dominatrix, Friend, Huntress, Ex, Boss, Mother, Teacher, Muse...

Further Inquiry: What are your particular gender gifts? How does the deep masculine and feminine manifest in your own unfolding? Are you giving your gifts over, surrendering into your self and your generativity? Are your families, friends, colleagues and lovers hearing you and you them? Are you exchanging brilliant thought forms with each other and if not, why are you holding on to ancient secrets, denying or holding back on your own genius and subsequently not fully realizing the collective/ collaborative projects that potentially may manifest between us?!

One such creative collaboration I am wondering about is Ritual Theatre: what does it look, sound and feel like when we consciously and intentionally enact/embody archetypal image/energies in relation to the issues of our time: ecological uncertainty, political unrest/upheaval, threats of conflict, illness, financial breakdowns, divorce and social isolation??

We need fresh vision and intentional, strategically informed actions. We need to source/access primal energies that inspire, inform, enlighten ourselves and each other with epiphanies and meta-transformative insights. We are capable of shifting our perspectives and our identities, of expanding and evolving our essential nature and more substantially fulfilling our purpose for being. We are each singularly creative, each with our own genius and qualitative contributional capacities.

Where can you join ? What inspires your deep internal process? How do you tap into the deep masculine and feminine potentialities within your own self?

Please feel free to comment on this, to share your own vision.
This has been inspired by some family interactions around my dad's recent illness and some epihnaies I experienced tonight; as well and importantly, by my whyze guyz mens circle; and by R Moore and D Gillette's book: King Warrior Lover and Magician