I was blessed to find myself soaking in the tropical waters in Hawaii this month and remembering again how simple life can be when we live through our senses rather than through our mind. My most magical moments were floating, fully immersed in the gentle surf with only my face exposed to the warmth of the sun. There were no thoughts that could hold me here with my senses fully captivated and charged by the most basic elements of the world. I am home now, and as I prepare to move Good Clean Love out of the small home it has occupied for 7 years into our new professional warehouse and colorful office space, I am reaching back to the magical moments immersed in feeling to guide me. So I offer here as we celebrate letting go of the old and moving into a new year some of the ocean’s abiding lessons.
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“How did it happen that their lips came together? How does it happen that birds sing, that snow melts, that the rose unfolds, that the dawn whitens behind the stark shapes of trees on the quivering summit of the hill? A kiss, and all was said.” ~Victor Hugo
As the days of giving and receiving gifts come upon us, let us not forget the true presence that most of our loved one’s crave from us may well be wrapped up within our lips and not a box. Taking the time to deeply connect in the midst of holiday festivities creates the most memorable moments we enjoy in the holidays. And with or without the mistletoe, our kisses have the ability to communicate our true feelings, desire and intention better than anything we can buy or even say to those we love. This is because kissing consumes the present moment and saturates our senses with the fullness of each other. So here are a few tips to enjoy the holiday season to its fullest and jumpstart the New Year with new levels of passion.
“Sometimes the most urgent and vital thing you can possibly do is take a complete rest.” -Ashleigh Brilliant
I have always been restless and prone to being busy. I love my work and have, for so long, confused who I am with what I do that most days I find myself doing from dawn until late into the night. Consequently, it has taken me years to learn the true value of rest. In this way, I am a perfect product of a culture that encourages rushing, celebrates the frenzy of the chase and equates resting with laziness. It has taken me decades to understand that rest is not the opposite of effort, rather it is the source, the nourishment, the energetic food for all that we aspire to accomplish. Maybe one of the most compelling forms of wisdom that age offers is the realization that taking time away gives you the perspective and answers that elude you the more you try to force it. Leonardo Da Vinci, once wrote: “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller and more of it can be taken in at a glance and a lack of harmony and proportion is more readily seen.”
This season I encourage you to celebrate the holiday season in the deepest way possible, and instead of accumulating more, focus the season on the practice of letting go. Start with the physical world and do a holiday closet clean out or drop off the boxes waiting to be donated in the garage. Letting go of what we don’t need materially is a great practice of lightening up and making space around you. Looking at our possessions with new eyes, especially at this time of year where we all mistakenly confuse stuff for love is healing and may save you some money. How many things in that giveaway pile held the promise of making you happy, even momentarily? How many can you really associate with a memorable loving moment? Some things, like my son’s old soccer jacket are hardest to part with, as they act like visceral memories, bringing back the sweet times of his childhood. I have found that letting them go doesn’t actually erase the memories, instead it makes space for what you really want to show up in the here and now.
“Sex is more than an act of pleasure, it’s the ability to be able to feel so close to a person, so connected, so comfortable that it’s almost breathtaking to the point you feel you can’t take it. And at this moment you’re a part of them.” –Unknown
There might not be two words that are better matched side by side than gratitude and sex. What moment more fully embodies gratitude than the deep and powerful pleasure of two bodies entwined in lovemaking? I believe that the universal desire to experience orgasm is more than seeking this crazy height of pleasure that bursts in us, but also recognizing with profound gratitude how our bodies are wired for love to work in us. Recognizing gratitude as a visceral response is a natural outcome of sexuality, which like joy, ignites a burst of creative energy that heals and transforms.
Sometimes life demands that we bleed. It isn’t enough to feel our painful stories echoing around in our heads; and even the familiar spasm in our backs behind our hearts is not sufficient to release the historic injuries of our childhood, so deeply ingrained that they become us. Sometimes accidents with a knife in the kitchen or slicing one’s foot open on blunt object as I did this week, move pain out of the head and squarely into the body. Five stitches later in my foot and the red swelling of the tetanus reaction are the physical proof of the pain that could no longer be satisfied with words. I had to bleed and limp and be fully immersed in my pain. This is the rationale I have heard about people who cut themselves. Bleeding is a relief; everyone can feel the searing of flesh exposed.
“The chemist who can extract from his heart’s elements compassion, respect, longing, patience, regret, surprise and forgiveness and compound them into one can create that atom which is called love.” - Kahlil Gibran
This last week has been punctuated by an emotional injury that feels like a pinched nerve between my neck and back. It is odd that this unique but persistent pain still catches me off guard after all these years and the many times that it has revisited me on the trips back to my dysfunctional family, or at other moments when I feared losing myself. Over the years, I have gotten to know this particular pain body intimately and am learning how to speak its language, which mostly only wants me to be quiet and listen. It opens up with my tears and softens with a slow chanting prayer. The story of childhood trauma that lodged there might be its trigger, but the wisdom of what that pain body has to teach reaches far beyond what happened years ago. The body is at once the container for unresolved emotions and the vehicle for transmuting them into wisdom.
Sex appeal is the most vibrant form of gratitude that we embody. It is a magical alchemy of feeling good enough in your body that you can say yes to all the visceral and sensory life experiences that are the stuff of memory and the container of relationships. Trusting yourself to say yes is to open up to the constant change that life demands with confidence and ease. Growing healthy intimate relationships is impossible without a capacity for gratitude. So try on one of these 3 simple sexy tips to color your sex appeal with gratitude and watch how quickly they will snowball into a passionate love affair with your life in and out of the bedroom.
The gap between the genuine visceral experience of feeling and the more common mental masturbating we do to distance ourselves from our feelings is everything when it comes to healing and growing up. We know our feelings most clearly in the mess of them. Their expression creates indelible memories, whether the breakdown belongs to us or someone else, which explains why I have so much empathy for any mother dealing with a screaming child in a grocery store. We know our raw emotions in the mess of the moments they flow through and out of us. Sobbing, laughing, even vomiting our emotional highs and lows are the true visceral markers that leave us cleansed and emptied of the power and intensity of feeling.
Early this morning when my 15–year-old daughter who shares the daily morning makeup and hair routine with me, turned towards me, straightening iron in hand, to do my hair; for a few minutes time stood still. I like to think of myself as close to my teens, but honestly, we don’t talk much during those morning makeup sessions, except to ask to switch sides of the sink. But today as I felt her fingers and the weight of the iron as she pulled it through my hair, there was only that moment. The rush of the morning routine stopped with her spontaneous attention. Her unsolicited touch lingered long enough for her to prompt me to do my makeup. It lingered longer still, as I hurried out of the house with a short wave to my husband and then reversed the car back down the driveway to run back inside and give him a real hug goodbye. These brief interludes where we feel seen or have the generosity to extend that seeing to someone else slow time down.