Archive for the 'Earth' Category

Curing the Valentine’s Effect

Friday, January 31st, 2014

rosepetalfeet“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone – we find it with another.” -Thomas Merton

 

Ashley Madison founder, Noel Biderman once told me that the biggest  day of his year is the day after Valentines day. More women sign up to cheat on their marriages on this day than any other, which is no small thing coming from a guy whose website generates $25K every hour of  every average day. The Valentines effect is so potent and inspires so many break ups because the holiday shines a light of authentic, genuine connection that makes our disappointment and frustration in our lovers inescapable. Mind you, those feelings are often percolating for months, or even years, but it is not uncommon for cultural celebrations of love (Christmas and Mother’s Day are not far behind) to clarify and maybe even exaggerate what is broken between us. Many might argue that the Hallmarked and arguably unrealistic expectations for a single day to capture what needs to be done all the time doesn’t help. But the truth is that we all long for a gesture- a perfect gift or carefully penned card to heal the rifts that live between us; for all the many ways our acts of love go unappreciated, unrecognized or worse still unreciprocated day after day.

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Celebrating Your Senses For the New Year

Friday, December 27th, 2013

beachwomanresized“Lose your mind and come to your senses.”  -Fritz Perls

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 Rest Makes You Sexier

Friday, December 13th, 2013

sleepingcouple2resized

“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.”

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Celebrate By Letting Go

Friday, December 6th, 2013

9e4c193b2b8769996c7a57c780ff3f7f“When we really let go, we become everything. At that point, we are identified with all things: the flower, the oak tree, the morning star.” -Dennis Genpo Merzel

 

 

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.

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Bleeding Gratitude

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

bleeding-heart“Judgments that constrain your giving are the very demons that are keeping you from receiving.” -Martha Beck

 

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.

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Grateful For the Broken Places

Friday, November 15th, 2013

IMG_6681resized“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.

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Receiving in Love

Friday, October 4th, 2013

huggingcouple“The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.” -William Blake

Falling in love is easy; our biological imperative to mate kicks in naturally opening our hearts and flooding our nervous system with the euphoric experience of idealized connection. In these early moments of love’s embrace, we receive love viscerally. Every exchange is charged with the energy of passionate recognition and the deep cellular relief of being embraced just as we are. And yet, often this early abundant receiving of love doesn’t stick. As the hormonal magic wears off and we are required to mature into the endurance sport of love over time, we lose the ability to feel the love that has accumulated inside of us. We allow small differences to evolve into heartbreak.

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Enlightened Self-Consciousness: A Warm Homecoming

Friday, September 13th, 2013

fatherandson5resized“Self consciousness is the indispensible means to enlightenment; at the same time it is the greatest obstacle in the way.”  -Aldous Huxley

 

I live among teenagers, which brings me into intimate contact with the often crippling kind of self consciousness that awakens in the human mind during adolescence. The experience of being seen in these years swings between a primal desire and a punishing shame. Constantly conscious of what others think of what they look like, what they are doing or saying, we parents watch in dismay as our child’s once natural ability to be fully one’s self in the present moment erodes into habitual judgment of self and others. Gone is the playful innocence of being one’s goofy and changing self; it is replaced by a lingering defensiveness that colors almost every interaction. Relationships large and small become matters of dissection and the opening to new and different people begins to shut down. It becomes increasingly challenging to separate the internal filter of how we think we are being seen with the simple reality of being.

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Uncovering the Unknown

Friday, July 26th, 2013

goldenpathresized“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” -Aldous Huxley 

I am not proud of the moments when something cracks in me and I become someone I hardly recognize. The times when a powerful storm lets loose inside me without warning, remain stubbornly unpredictable. The triggers are complex; rarely can I trace them to some direct input. Rather they are reflections of the internal conflicts, which more often than not go unnamed and unattended. They are the invisible cracks in our own heart that control us in ways that are potentially damaging precisely because they are invisible. These emotional prisons define our relationships in our intimate lives as well as our careers, and they are strengthened by our ignorance. Not knowing what we want, how we feel, or where our boundaries lay makes it impossible to align our ideas of life with reality itself. Getting stuck in these deep places in ourselves turns internal conflict into a smoldering ash that can be ignited by seemingly innocent events.

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Growing Up Into Belonging

Friday, May 17th, 2013

gratefulfamilyresized“The hunger to belong is not merely a desire to be attached to something. It is rather sensing that great transformation and discovery become possible when belonging is sheltered and true.” 

-John O’Donahue

 

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.

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