I have been preaching the gospel of learning to stay in our relationships for close to a decade, but only recently have learned for myself how the lessons of staying with the hard places in relationship are most deeply integrated through the work of the body. Learning how to hold our selves in the Warrior/ Virabhadrasana 1 pose provides a powerful metaphor for the complex commitment necessary for our most intimate relationships to thrive.
Sustainability is the catch phrase of this generation… it means learning how to use current resources in a way that does not harm the future. Yet the wisdom of sustainability is rarely applied to love, which, I believe is the source of life energy from which all else springs. Love is an action verb and a developmental skill set which evolves with time and practice.
As we begin to appreciate that being in relationship, having a family and history with someone is a precious resource we begin the journey of creating a thriving ecology of love. The huge amounts of trust, time and loving intention that we invest in our early relationships are actually renewable resources and the currency of our future health and wellbeing. Sustaining your relationship with loving words and actions not only keeps your own intimacy vibrant, it becomes a living education of what love is for future generations.
Join us, as we learn together about the art of love through the skill based practice of creating a thriving Ecology of Love by addressing all of the aspects of intimacy that make love grow. Each post helps you to honestly address all the areas of your relationship that need attention in order to create the passionate connection that makes love thrive.
Ask yourself: How does the opening in your communication with your partner increase your ability to share passion? What does it feel like when your partner shows up for you and does it make you want them more? How do your good thoughts about loving your partner invite you into a kiss?
I have been working on my capacity for receiving for some time. Teaching myself the ways of opening to love and affection, learning how to sense the feel of love in my body and noticing how it lasts or dissipates with my attention. The ability to receive manifests itself in everything from our capacity for sexual pleasure to our sense of financial security. It also lives in the endless human transactions that make up our days, not only within our most intimate relationships but in the ways we meet strangers, participate in groups large and small and generally experience belonging and isolation in our lives.
I have been making love with the same man for some thirty years, and although I can honestly say it has gotten amazingly and increasingly better over the decades, it is important to add that this improvement was in direct proportion to the work and willingness we brought to growing up sexually. To be fair and honest, my earliest memories of sex hold as much frustration as they did passion. I longed for the romantic, sexual combustion that would not only fill me up, but also unite me with my partner/ However, without any real skills to get there, much of our sexuality became an exercise in approach- avoidance.
“The only way that we can live is if we grow. The only way that we can grow is if we change. The only way that we can change is if we learn. The only way we can learn is if we are exposed. And the only way that we can become exposed is if we throw ourselves out into the open. Do it. Throw yourself.” -C. Joybell
I am coming to the end of an era in my life as my youngest daughter celebrates her 15th birthday this week. Mothering my four children has been my primary occupation for the last half of my life and now, as I near the end of this growth cycle, I am coming to see what has yet to grow in me. Somehow as I was having all these babies I never realized how old I would become when the job was done. I remember a few random moments pushing a swing, when I would calculate how old I would be when this last little girl would graduate from high school, but then the idea of this time so far in the future felt like fiction. Imagining my two–year-old at fifteen was as unimaginable to me as my then 37-year-old self turning 52.
It is that time of year again, when the garden performs its ritual magic of re-creating itself anew. Regardless of the challenging and changeable winter weather conditions, the perennials in the garden re-emerge each spring, a blooming demonstration of what it means to weather the storms of life. Perennials for me are the defining feature of an evolving garden, because we trust them year after year to sustain the shape of our garden. Finding the source of perennial sustenance in our selves is how we shape our own evolution. For me, after years of searching outside of myself, I am finally waking up to the singular truth of life that has been articulated by way smarter people than me- that our world is created from the inside out.
We all have a sexual soul, or more accurately, a piece of our soul is reflected deeply in our sexuality. This sexual space that inhabits the deepest recesses of our consciousness is one of the most meaningful ways that we know ourselves, and, as the Bible suggests, is truly a garden. Yet, the metaphor of our sexuality as a garden is, in fact, way more mysterious than the simple judgments attached to taking a bite of an apple. Heeding the inner calls to explore and attend your unique garden of sexual delights is a direct route to self-discovery, self-expression and arguably, the essence of our soul’s ability to keep our life pro-creatively inspired.
I learned about weeds before I learned anything about gardens. For my 40th birthday my husband built me a beautiful, secure deer fence and I was told to use straw to augment and lighten the heavy clay soil. The straw turned out to be hay and seeded itself heartily throughout the space. I was overwhelmed with weeds that I had inadvertently planted. Later, after the hay crop was removed, as a novice gardener, I planted several varieties of plants that I was told had “magical” properties. Although I didn’t know them as weeds, they infiltrated throughout the flowers and vegetable beds with their sticky seed pods. For many years, weeding and gardening were synonymous. Removing the weeds was the prerequisite to creating the space to grow the garden I had envisioned. It also became a worthy metaphor for working on my marriage.
I recently learned that the transformation of the caterpillar to a butterfly isn’t just about the effort of spinning their cocoon. Once inside, the caterpillar literally liquefies in its metamorphosis to its adult form as a butterfly, which, while short lived, optimizes the astonishing feat of beauty and freedom that most all living creatures aspire towards. In humans, I would argue based on recent life events, the transformation to our fully free and beautiful selves is no less epic. Yet, instead of spinning a cocoon of silk, we transform through forgiveness, through our courage to feel and dismantle the stories that have defined us and remarkably re-make our cellular memory.
Sexual dissatisfaction is one of the top reasons cited when we leave our relationships. It is also one of this life’s most worthy challenges to take on- not only for the meaning and pleasure it can bring to our relationships, but also for the very real health benefits that a satisfying sex life bestows on our wellbeing. I also believe that learning how to satisfy our sex drive and grow our comfort with our erotic selves is a window, which reveals our deepest humanity. It is no surprise that a massive consumer market designed to offer a quick fix for our sexual desires has ballooned into a billion dollar industry. But despite the millions of options available, there is no magic pill (even those that manage to sustain erections), toy or DVD of new sexual techniques that is going to bring you the kind of passionate intimate connection that we all long for. There are however, some pretty straightforward shifts in focus and attention that will lead you towards more satisfying sexual experiences and a comfort with who you are as an erotic human being. Here are a few ideas which are not listed in order of potency and even if you only try one at a time, take note on how your intimate life responds.
“Conservatives say teaching sex education in the public schools will promote promiscuity. With our education system? If we promote promiscuity the same way we promote math or science, they’ve got nothing to worry about.” ~Beverly Mickins
Most of what matters and gets better in life happens through education; yet remarkably, when it comes to sex, many people were not only deprived of sexual education in their youth, but have carried the ignorance is bliss thing way too long into adulthood. In fact, when it comes to cultivating and sustaining an erotic life, persisting in not knowing may well be the kiss of death. Usually what we don’t know about is shrouded with our fear, which can easily turn sexual encounters into regretful decisions with risky consequences. Consequently, three of the most powerful predictors of an evolving and passionate erotic life include cultivating a natural curiosity about your sexual self, opening up to the vast expanse of sexual experiences that live inside of you and discerning true sex education from sexual entertainment.