Stop… and Be

Mindfulness can be summed up in one word.

Stop.

Come to a halt, rest, breathe – even if you are still moving.

Stop, and notice how the smells of a flower, or the damp earth, or various types of food, or the ocean... resonate with your soul.

Listen to how the wind whispers sounds of love, or how the birds make music, or how the thunder rumbles inside you... stirring you.

Your mind will send a constant stream of thoughts to distract you from this practice. But they are thoughts only, having no present truth. One after another, see your thoughts as transient creations of your neurology without resisting them, then release them and let them pass through. Stop and be still inside. You can’t stop your thoughts, but you can stop giving them your attention.

Instead, notice how the warmth of the sun invigorates you, or how the coolness of the rain washes and cleanses your soul, or how another heart beating against you creates a blissful, loving vibration.

Notice the resonant crunch of someone walking on gravel, or how a song stirs you to move, or to sway, or to hum or drum. Hear how the energy of an engine resonates with the energy inside you. Feel the solidity of rock, or the softness of moss, or the smoothness of a fine, silk sheet.

And while you allow your senses to guide you in the present moment, smile at the amazing capacity of your mind to create thoughts worthy of the best fiction writer in the world. Let each story about you, or anyone else – each stream of words – pass on... into nothingness. Be aware of your mind’s creativity, but don’t buy in.

Notice, instead, the rich smell of your lover’s skin, or the taste and texture of a held kiss. Feel the press of their body against yours and how the energy between you circulates without boundary.

Stop... and feel how your loving arousal matches an ocean wave, or a billowing cloud, or the cascade of a waterfall, or the buzz of a hummingbird’s wing. The world loves you and you love the world, even if your fictional mind tells you otherwise. Let each random thought pass.

Notice how your lover’s breath mixes with yours. Breathe them in... and out. Feel the heat of their body, like the heat of the sun. Feel the heat in you. Feel the life-giving, loving sexual energy inside you. Thoughts will still enter and clutch at you, telling you who you are or aren’t – or who you should be – or who you want to be, in the present moment. Stop. Free your thoughts to be just thoughts, not what is... and let them go. 

Feel. Move. Enjoy. Be.

What Would You Look Like if You Were 100% Sexual?

What would you look like if you were to let 100% of your sexual energy flow through you, right now?

Perhaps an image comes to mind that makes you smile. You wouldn’t be alone if you imagine a writhing, screaming, thrusting porn star, which may not be ‘appropriate’ if you are reading this at work.

But I want you to go deeper with that thought. Feel your sexual energy—that strong, connecting, fertile, confidant, hormone-releasing, loving energy—rising out of the center of your body, filling you. You know intuitively how much is deep inside you. What would it feel like and look like if you were to open the doors wide and let your entire being fill with that energy?

Most of the time we massively restrain the sexual energy inside us, to our detriment. But that isn’t surprising in our present day culture. All our social myths and constraints act to limit the amount of sexual energy we allow ourselves to feel—and express.

Even behind closed doors we rarely, if ever, allow FULL, 100% sexual energy out. 

If the thought of letting 100% of your sexual energy flow out through your mind and body makes you uncomfortable, you are not alone.

But sexual energy is life energy. It is the root creative power of all life. It is divinely connected and tremendously fertile in every way. It is good for us. It is ‘food’ for us. It is healing and joy-inducing. It has the power to create lovely, positive, confidant shifts in our ‘wiring’. And when embraced in a way that is honoring of others, it is always positive.

How much sexual energy is flowing out of you at this moment? 

When Willow and I first asked this question of each other we both went blank for a moment, then, after feeling into it, had to admit it wasn’t much higher than 10%.

We, like most people, were not trained to tap into this energy. Or to allow it to flow more freely.

So we challenged each other to express 100% of our sexual energy, right then. 

A warning if you try to do this with a partner: it may induce laughter! 

But a good kind of laughter. 

Like anything, it is productive at first to exaggerate all actions, sounds, expressions, etc, that want to come out. There is no ‘right’ expression, of course. It may evoke a powerful stillness. What comes through you will be as unique as the person you are. Just let it flow! Play with it! 

As humorous as our expression began, the process was extremely instructive and liberating for us.

Two points to make from this.

One, feeling into (being mindful of) our sexual energy allows us to release more of this energy within us during the ‘routine’ moments of every day. The energy will make us more confident, connected and creative at all times. 

Two, exploring what 100% sexual energy flow looks and feels like with a trusted partner helps us experience the full potential of this divinely-gifted power inside us.

Willow and I still have lots to learn about releasing all that powerful, positive energy.

So we encourage ourselves, along with you, to... let ‘er rip

Sexual Shame and Guilt Starts the Moment We Put Clothes On

 Does viewing this picture make you feel uncomfortable in any way? Or does it make you feel like joining them?

Does viewing this picture make you feel uncomfortable in any way? Or does it make you feel like joining them?

Within moments of being born, the covering of our naked bodies begins.

SmallBoy.jpg

Often, as young children, we try to resist. Who doesn’t have a picture of themselves naked and joyful in the back yard, clothes happily discarded, exposed to the wind and sun? Ah yes, the freedom of it! Remember?

But we are quickly ‘marshaled’ into our clothing once again, when the frolic is over.

We learn that it is not ‘proper’ to expose our nakedness.

We learn that there is something ‘wrong’ with nudity.

We learn to criticize our bodies, based on being visually fed the scantily clad physiques of so-called “beautiful people” in the media. No wonder our bodies should be covered!

We learn to think that clothing represents our ‘style’. We begin to believe that what we wear is part of what defines us, or how we express our personality—a comfortable justification for covering ourselves.

Sometimes we tell ourselves we wear clothes to keep us warm, which is perfectly reasonable when it is cold. Yet when it is warm enough to be naked, we seldom go garment-less, especially around others.

We learn to believe that nudity is a trigger of lust (as if sexual desire is something bad). Therefore being naked is ‘asking for it’, or perverted, or immoral, or even sinful.

And it all begins with that first piece of clothing placed upon us.

We are not taught all this by words alone. Much of it comes intuitively, from silent social cues. And as we get older we come to understand that we can even be thrown in jail for removing our clothes.

It is astonishing that more people do not practice nudity. That is, of all the millions of people worldwide who seek to shed life’s traumas and grow in self-awareness and confidence—to expand consciousness and connection—a very small percentage regularly get naked with others. We do arduous work on our ‘insides’, yet miss the very simple, yet deep, work we can do with our ‘outsides’.

Sometimes I think practicing nudists or naturists are a step ahead in ‘consciousness’. The stories of folks who have embraced ‘public’ nudity with like-minded others are invariably the same. Almost all talk about the initial fear and inhibitions they experienced as they doffed their clothes. Self-awareness and self-criticism can be excruciating at that moment. Not only is there anxiety about people looking at you, but also anxiety about ‘where’ and ‘how’ to look at others. Yet despite these initial discomforts, new nudists ALL talk about the experience as being wonderfully freeing. It does not take long to realize, and internalize, that others embrace your nakedness as being beautifully normal. Issues about body image eventually dissolve. New confidence flourishes. 

Sexual shame and guilt begins with clothing. Which is why taking off our clothing in the presence of others is a critical step in healing self-limitations. 

Here’s to all of you who have no problem doffing your clothes, no matter what your gender, age or shape, within any kind of group gathering. You have, no doubt, found the experience as freeing as I described above. We need to better communicate how this simple act is crucial to healthy self-awareness, confidence, joy, enlargement and wellbeing.

It is not surprising that most of society regards nudist/naturist camps or resorts as being sleazy, or even dangerous. Most think they are havens for immoral, hedonistic people. And it is true that some people even fetishize such places. But there are many well-run resorts that are filled with Average Jills and Joes. And while these can be great places to take this first step to healing sexual shame and guilt, there is nothing stopping you from doing it with any group of friends or acquaintances, as long as everyone participates by choice, with understanding of the framework and goal for doing so.

To grow we must allow ourselves to become vulnerable.

Imagine how easy this step to healing is. No process to study. No long term work to be done. No talking required. No evaluations to complete. Just two brave hands, unbuttoning buttons, unzipping zippers, unclasping clasps, sliding off material. It takes less than 30 seconds. All done! 

Now relax and let the healing do its magic.

- - - - - -

Note: There is nothing wrong with clothes. Clothing does, of course, serve many purposes. But we are not taught to have a balanced view of why we cover ourselves. Instead, most of what we internalize about clothing limits us. If we experience anxiety about being naked in the presence of others we know we have a distorted perspective of clothing—and ourselves!

We Are Stuck in a Sexual Catch 22

LovingSexualEnergy14.jpg

The other day a good friend suggested that sexual desire and sexual urges are from our ‘lower’ or ‘base’ nature.

Or sometimes we hear it described as our ‘animal’ nature.

I think this is a pretty common view in our culture.

We hear constantly about “our obsession with sex”. The word ‘obsession’ delivers the same message, that sex is a human urge out of control. It sends the negative message that we have let our lower nature overpower our higher nature. And most people seem to agree this is true, based on the proliferation of porn online, the popularity of behaviors like ‘sexting’ and sending naked ‘selfies’, the use of sexual imagery in almost every form of advertising and entertainment and the constant stories of sexual crimes in the media.

Welcome to the human ‘Catch 22’.

On the one hand we are constantly told, in many subtle and not-so-subtle ways, that our sexual energy is a low, base, animalistic urge that must be controlled, yet on the other hand we are born with a built in ‘furnace’ of sexual desires—urges that want to be expressed and fully experienced.

Kim Anami, noted life and sexuality coach, describes it as our bipolar attitude towards sex. I like that analogy. We fluctuate between engaging willingly in sexual energy and then attempting to transcend it, riding the rollercoaster of opening up, then shutting down, opening up, shutting down, etc.

Even if we find a sexual partner with whom we are able to experience true sexual bliss—a partner who has given the space and safety to allow us to be fully open and vulnerable—we often subtly censor, or ‘make private’ that experience, as if it is something special we can’t share. This censoring more accurately reflects a learned discomfort about revealing that we have given in to our animalistic nature; knowing such behavior within our culture of ‘transcendence’ will almost surely lower other people’s view of us.

So how do we escape this sexual energy ‘Catch 22’?

In any process of inquiry, I love flipping things upside down to see if the reverse view holds a revealing perspective.

The common cultural view is that we must elevate ourselves from ‘unconscious’, animal body urges and desires into a state of spiritual consciousness, free from the physical world.

The reverse view would be this: we must elevate ourselves from ‘unconscious’ spiritual urges and desires into a state of body consciousness, free from the spiritual world.

Does this statement make sense to you, on any level? It may sound odd, on first reading, but if we dig into it a bit, I think it does make sense. Profound sense, actually.

First, we are definitely part of the physical world. We share energy within the physical system we call planet Earth. When we die, the energy that comprises our physical human body gets returned into the system.

Second, because of our ability to be conscious of our actions, thoughts and emotions, we almost intrinsically ‘elevate’ ourselves above the rest of our energy system (including all other living beings). We also naturally question everything. We wonder about the how and why of our existence. So we have this unconscious, intrinsic urge to be spiritual.

Third, many people on their path of enlightenment say the moment they “landed in their body” was significant. Truly landing in, accepting and rejoicing in our body, and its connection with everything else, seems consistent with the reverse view; that we need to elevate ourselves into a state of higher body consciousness.

Fourth, one of the reasons we use the word “lower” for sexual urges is because we consider our genitals (or root chakra) to be physically below our brain (or crown chakra). But I have no problem considering the reverse. If you think about it, there is no up or down in the universe. We tend to think up is into the sky and out into space. But the Earth, which we are part of, could just as easily be up. Our planet is round, so there is no empirical up or down. We are simply attached to the Earth. Who is to say our genitals don’t actually reside in a physically higher position, in relation to our source?

Fifth, the last phrase, about us becoming “free from the spiritual world”, is for me a truism in the sense that we need to be freed from the notion of transcending the physical.

So, perhaps our way to escape our human Catch 22 is to understand that we have things backwards.

What we call our lower nature is actually our higher nature. Instead of transcending FROM our lower selves to achieve a closer ‘walk with God’, we need to elevate our consciousness INTO our higher, creative, sexually-energized selves—the physical world—where ‘God’ actually resides.

Sexual energy is life energy, after all. There would be no life without it. Sexual energy is creative, generative ‘God’ or ‘Source’ energy, right inside us, and in all living things. Sexual energy is what makes us, and all facets of the beautiful planet we live on, tick.

And once we understand this, an ironic transformation takes place. Elevating ourselves into body and Earth consciousness actually elevates us into spiritual consciousness—the very thing we unconsciously desired in the first place. We don’t need to transcend our lower nature to achieve spirituality. Instead, we need to transcend into it, to embrace our true spiritual connection to the Universe—to God, Mother God, Source, or however you refer to the Creator of all things.

Truly understanding that sexual energy, and the love that it generates, is spiritual, causes us to honor our sexuality, instead of hiding and shaming it. We would honor one another—and our whole planetary system—much more deeply with this perception firmly embedded in our consciousness. In this respect, there would be no need to control or constrain sexual energy or our bodies. We would not be afraid of sharing sexual energy freely as a way of deeply loving and honoring ourselves and others.

What a joy it is to know that we can openly embrace and stoke the furnace of sexual desire inside us, surrendering ourselves to the total bliss of divine, healing, creative, loving sexual energy.