5 Ways to Touch a Face With Profound Effect

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No, not him, I thought when I looked up and saw him. Not him.

This was my reaction the first time I put our loving touch theory into action.

Early in my contemplations, with Willow, about connections between love and sexual energy I was thinking about how hard it is to generate feelings of love just by looking at someone. Both innately and from our culture, we have it wired into us that it is right to love one another. But sometimes it is hard to conjure up that emotion — that connection — depending on who we are looking at.

I sensed that if I could look at any person and touch their face, with a caress, or light stroke, or cradling, perhaps my love for them would be engaged. Actually touching someone at random, however, would not be appropriate. So I wondered if it would work if I touched them energetically. That is, I wondered if it would work if I simply looked at them and imagined myself physically touching their face lovingly with my fingers.

And so it was that I found myself on a 40 minute B.C. Ferry ride from Langdale to Vancouver, surrounded by people, regarding a large and lumpy, elderly, balding man.

The Universe had, of course, provided me with the perfect first subject: someone who did not fit my profile as easy to love. Not only was he rather unattractive by cultural standards, he was a man! As I said, I immediately turned away. No, I’m not ready for him, I thought for a second. I’ll try again. I’ll find someone more attractive. But then I realized that yes, he was a perfect first test. So I looked up again and embraced his face with my eyes.

I was amazed. As I let my fingers energetically reach out and caress this man’s face, to hold and touch his face lovingly, my regard for him was transformed. I felt his beauty. I felt how he was just like me, full of the same need for love, full of the same scars and wounds, full of the same illusion of separateness that we all have cultivated inside us. A minute ago I would have needed mental gymnastics to generate a feeling of love for him. But now, through the simple imagination of loving physical touch, my love for him flowed.

Since that moment I have tried this practice many times. It works in every case, with whomever I regard. The man-made calibrations of beauty in my head have been challenged often, but a true sense of beauty and love never fails to emerge when I energetically touch each face. I began to tell people to try this practice in the midst of an argument or conflict. Touch the other person’s face, in your mind, and see how it shifts the interaction.

This past week I had the opportunity to take this practice to another level. I was attending Caffyn Jesse’s one-week Intimacy Education workshop on Saltspring Island. It was fantastic in every respect. As part of the work, within a beautifully safe container, we have permission to give voice and choice to the kinds of touch we would like to receive. On the last day I knew I was due for one more session, which, by the way, within the context of this workshop can include full loving erotic engagement. As I had breakfast at a little restaurant called the Tree House, I asked myself, what kind of touch did I really want that day?

The practice of face touching came back into mind. As I thought about it, I wondered what it would feel like to actually have my face touched in love, both for me and the one doing the touching. Would it be as powerful as the energetic touching? Would it be healing in some way? Would it be erotic in some way?

I was excited. As I contemplated what I would ask for, it struck me that the person doing the touching could regard me in several different ways and in each case it might shift the quality of the touching and the emotion generated.

So I came up with the following five ways for the person to caress and hold and touch my face, with curiosity and love, finding the beauty:

1. Touch my face lovingly as me, as who I am.
2. Touch my face lovingly as every human, with love for the human race.
3. Touch my face lovingly as someone you have forgiven.
4. Touch my face lovingly as someone you need to ask forgiveness from.
5. Touch my face lovingly as you, as you would lovingly touch your own face.

I thought about who I would like to touch me in this way, who was right for this instance, and a couple who were attending came to mind.

I had a strong inkling it was going to be powerful. But I had no idea how deep it would be.

The couple enthusiastically agreed to my request. As I laid on the massage table, the man and the woman each took 15 minutes to cycle through the touch perspectives, telling me when they shifted from one to the next. Almost immediately, when I felt their fingers gently touch my face, I was filled with emotion. When I opened my eyes, to momentarily look into theirs as they touched, the emotion intensified. Our hearts became deeply connected. When they touched in the framework of forgiveness, tears flowed freely.

It was an honor to “stand in” for the human race, for those forgiven, for those who need to be asked for forgiveness, for themselves. I felt cleansed. I felt healed in some inexplicable way. Bathed in their love, I floated on a sensation of bliss for 30 minutes. This is how it is meant to be, I thought. And their experience touching me was equally profound.

When we shared our experience with the rest of the group, everyone was moved. We were given the opportunity to touch the two facilitator’s faces from these various perspectives as a thank you and farewell. Once again it had deep impact.

Trying to love without physical connection is difficult. But reach out and actually touch someone with an intention to love, and that deep, innate, pure love that energizes all of life will get plugged in. Our minds get taken offline. Our hearts get powerfully engaged.

This will become a common ritual at our loving sexual energy Discovery Weekends. I invite you to try touching someone’s face in this way, whether energetically — which you can do basically anywhere, at work, on buses or rapid transit, on the street — or physically with someone willing, within a safe “container”. Try touching someone who is sick, or someone at the end of life, or someone you love, or someone you don’t like, or someone you’ve never met before. Try touching each other’s face from the five perspectives listed above. Pure, healing love will flow.

The Nurtured Man

Recently, as I watched newborn Enzo suckling peacefully and contentedly at his beautiful mother’s breast, I was struck by the notion that most men in our modern world have not been properly nurtured by the feminine.

Metaphorically, men are ‘pulled away from the breast’ much too soon.

That is, we men are quickly taught to resist the feminine. Be tough. Don’t cry. Don’t show your feelings. Only the strong survive. Play to win. Don’t be a mama’s boy. And on and on.

This cultural conditioning is so deep by the time that we are old enough to have intimate relationships, we believe that sex is about ‘taking’ pleasure in and from a woman, rather than receiving and revelling in the bonding, nurturing power of a woman’s sexual energy. We don’t allow ourselves to metaphorically ‘suckle on their breast’ -— to allow ourselves to be nurtured — for sustenance and growth. We resist that level of vulnerability. 

Perhaps this is why we have a world that is little more than a competitive sandbox. It seems as if many men are still children in men’s bodies. Or at the very least, act childishly, absent of sharing, gifting, feminine wisdom. There is no true equitable sharing across the political landscapes of our world, no nurturing of resources, no true cooperation or egalitarianism.

Men, of course, are their own worst enemies in this regard. We live in patriarchal societies and seem to want to keep it that way. But this simply becomes an endless Catch 22. It is patriarchal culture that pulls us away from the richness of the feminine too early in life, creating competition and possession as opposed to peacefulness and contentment.

No, little Enzo. 

Stay connected to your mother’s giving nipple as long as you can. Stay nestled against her soft, receptive skin. Rest peacefully there. Never let someone make you feel bad for receiving her kisses and her hugs. Revel in your mother’s nurturing presence and wisdom. Learn to see the world through her caring eyes. And learn to let every other woman in your life embrace and nurture you in the same way.

Then you will truly be a man.

A Call to Men to be Fellow Warriors in Loving the Goddess in Every Woman

 Sculpture by Auguste Rodin, 1889.

Sculpture by Auguste Rodin, 1889.

My brothers, why do we need to be so possessive?

Why do we need be so constrained with our women? Do we not see benefit in partnership? Can we not be stronger when united together?

I will be the first to admit I cannot be everything to my wife. I need brothers to work together with, as a ‘team’ of lovers, in order to fully love every part of her. I will admit that. 

Why do we have to be so possessive of our women? 

And further, why in fact do we need to know if a child is our own? Is it not a blessing that any child is brought into our world? Period. And our role—all of us—as men, as fathers, is to father each child. Can we not all be fathers? All be husbands. All be lovers. 

I seek other men to bond with my wife, to be part of our tribe. Her tribe. She will not experience the fullness of who she is through loving experience with me only. She needs variation. She needs to be listened to, cherished, counseled and held in different ways. She needs to be given love with different subtleties. She needs other loving husbands. I cannot minister to everything that my wife is, so I seek partners in this very high calling. 

That high calling, my brothers, is to love each woman in the fullest way possible, to birth the fullness of Mother God in every woman, to allow each woman to expand into her fullest potential. There is something in birthing the fullness of “Goddess” in our women that births a deeper, more rounded, more right experience of our connection to each other, to our planet and to the Universe as a whole. 

So I invite you, my brothers, to become one of my wife’s husbands. I willingly share her beauty with you. She is a gift to me, so she will be a gift to you as well. I will cherish her intimate experiences with you. I will love what you bring to her. I will have no envy or jealousy. I will take joy in the expansion that you bring to her. 

Because I too, my brothers, will benefit from the ways in which you love her. I will benefit from her expansion, from her opening up, from the growing confidence in her beauty, from the softening and enrichment of her spirit that she experiences within the loving sexual energy of other men. I will benefit from the ‘intelligence’ and wisdom you stimulate in her vagina.

I will take great joy in that my brothers. Never worry about what I’ll think. I’ll cheer you on, I’ll give you a chest to chest hug and say kiss her, love her, activate her womb, activate her yoni, open her up in your own special way, whether that be softly or with great strength and urgent desire. Whatever your particular way of loving is. I will embrace you my brother and thank you for your partnership, for being a fellow warrior in birthing and nurturing the Goddess in my wife.

In the same way I say to every woman, whether partnered or single, why is it that I can’t be one of your husbands as well? And not just me. I am sure other men would love to be a member of your tribe of lovers as well. Your tribe of men who cherish you and make love to you. Your tribe of men who minister to the divine temple of your womb. Your tribe of men who worship at your altar, who bring out, through each of our different spectrums, something different in the gorgeous woman that you are. 

Would you not like to have more than one husband committed to this purpose?

Why can’t I be part of your brotherhood of lovers—the lovers of you—committed to enhancing the beauty of Mother God in you. We together, as brothers, want to take you to a place where you feel no lack, where your womb is fully enlivened, energizing your mind, body and soul. 

I want to be part of your tribe of men, your tribe of male lovers, your tribe of men who are committed to providing a safe, free and beautiful environment for you to flourish in, to grow in your nurturing power, to grow in your loving intuition. 

Let us join together, my brothers and sisters, in building a love bond between the women and men of our tribe.  Let us embrace the joy of having more than one husband or wife who loves us, who cherishes us, who will uphold us, who will seek the expansion of Mother God—the full, connected beauty of the Universe—in each of us.

Why Most People Might Want to be a Prairie Vole

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Prairie Voles either have much superior willpower and strength of character than humans, or they are simply wired differently.

Maybe their ‘vows of marriage’ are much more meaningful to them.

Prairie Voles are almost exclusively monogamous, staying with their initial pair-bond for life. Indeed, if their partner dies, their commitment is such that they do not pair up with another.

I was intrigued by the article “Love is Strange” by Mike Lee Pearl in which he discusses the role of biology, and more specifically the hormones oxytocin and dopamine, in both Vole and human behavior around pair-bonding. It turns out that Voles are wired differently. They have “really dense oxytocin receptors...” which plays a critical role in their monogamous commitment.

So there you go. If only humans had denser oxytocin receptors the increased bonding instinct from the oxytocin ‘flood’ would cause us to stay for life with our first partner (as Voles do — although that might be a scary prospect for many). The issue of human infidelity and struggle with monogamy would be over!

But we don’t have equivalent biology. Yes, we process oxytocin and dopamine, but not to the same level. 

Despite this, we have somehow created a societal model that lauds monogamy as an ideal, and we use mental fortitude or pursuit of a higher spiritual esthetic as a way of accomplishing it. 

Let me just say I happily and sincerely extend my congratulations to any couple that is celebrating 50-years-plus of married life together. That is impressive, indeed (although, even as we cheer them on, we don’t know if they were truly monogamous).

So why do we so avidly aspire to a lifestyle we are not actually wired to? Yes, we do use oxytocin and dopamine for bonding and connecting, but not to the extent that we are so overcome that we don’t consider bonding and connecting with others.

Is it a spiritual test? That is, were we not given the Voles biology so that we ‘higher’ beings can learn to transcend our ‘lower’ physical nature? Seems rather cruel if the Universe intended it that way. The Voles get a free pass, but we don’t. Maybe if we succeed at monogamous commitment in this life we get to come back as Voles, so we can blissfully experience stress-free monogamy.

Okay, I jest. But doesn’t it make you wonder? If anything, shouldn’t our spiritual beliefs line up with our biology, and the biology of our planet?

Human beings greatest power for survival, beyond intelligence, is our capacity to share. We forget this from time to time, but we see it very clearly when there is a disaster or loss of life. People share and pull together. No doubt, if times get difficult on the planet, our key to survival will once again be to share.

Why is it we can share almost everything in life willingly—even money—but we can’t share our lover? Especially in light of the fact that we weren’t given the biology to be naturally monogamous.

What a revolution it would be if we could embrace our biology and see the sharing of our partner (both male and female) with others as a natural gift of loving connection. Ironically, more primary partner couples would likely stay together if this was so.

As for Mike Pearl’s comments about love, in the same article cited above, well, that’s for another blog post...

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On further thought: Of course, there is another way to look at human vs. vole oxytocin biology. Since our oxytocin receptors are less dense, we obviously have to touch each other and make love much more frequently to create the same level of pair-bonding. Perhaps the key to maintaining an exclusive couple is to touch frequently and make love several times a day — then no marriage contract needed. -- MH

Monogamy vs Polyamory is NOT the Issue

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There are two sides to the ‘humans are meant to be monogamous’ argument, which are passionately debated. On the con side, some say monogamy is separation, denial, ownership, possessive, limiting, compromise, ripe for conflict, selfish, etc. On the pro side, monogamy is simple, efficient, freeing, safe, enabling, secure, natural, creates paternalistic certainty, etc.

There are also two sides to the polyamory (i.e. humans are not meant to be monogamous) argument, also passionately debated. On the con side, some say polyamory is fear of commitment, indulgent, superficial, complicated, ripe for conflict, selfish, etc. On the pro side, polyamory is efficient, freeing, enabling, secure, safety in numbers, natural, creates community, etc.

The arguments have heated up as the practice of polyamory increasingly hits the mainstream. Some monogamists feel compelled to attribute polyamory as a cause of society’s breakdown. On the other hand, some polyamorists feel compelled to attribute monogamy as a reason for the breakdown of society in the first place.

Yes, the arguments regarding the pros and cons of each sexual relationship model are similar. It just depends on perspective, which is surely a recipe for circular debate.

As long as we stay distracted by labels and structures, without addressing the underlying fundamental needs and characteristics of human beings, we won’t get to the heart of the matter.

So what is the heart of the matter?

For me, the disagreement distills down to our approach to sharing; how we decide what and how we share. And how we apply what Willow and I call the “spirituality of sharing”, if we’re aware of it, to our lives.

At the core of our existence is the truth that we are all sharers, whether we acknowledge it or not. We must ‘share’ the total amount of energy available on earth—Mother Earth if you like—at any given moment, with everything else that she is comprised of. Even at the penultimate moment we call ‘death’, we share. Although our physical body dies, our ‘life energy’ does not. Energy cannot die or disappear, so we ‘share ourselves’ back into Mother Earth’s energetic system, transformed into something new. There is no decrease in energy. In the same way, a vegetable grown in our garden does not die when we eat it. The energy of the vegetable is simply shared, and transformed. Death, you could say, is an illusion. It actually represents an act of sharing.

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It is humbling to understand that if every human on earth suddenly died it wouldn’t matter to Mother Earth. Our collective human energy would still continue, and she would share it with whatever life forms evolved after us. Mother Earth, if you like, with inputs of energy from the sun, moon and stars, is an ongoing sharing system of attraction and reproduction and flow. She shares. She ‘gives’ energy to all living things, to all types of matter. She has no prejudice or favorite. How the energy ‘pie’ is split up at any given moment is not her concern. Sharing is a divine mandate for all that we call life, and indeed for all matter. This understanding is at the root of the ‘spirituality of sharing’. (Willow will blog more on this later.)

It is ironic that for all our science and technology and centuries of thought, it was the earliest tribes of humans whose lifestyle most clearly reflected an intrinsic understanding of our connection to Mother Earth and the ‘sharing’ of all things.

Part of our rise to pre-eminence as a species was the adoption of sharing principles as a way of life. There were no ‘possessions’. People shared food, and housing, and land, and lovers, and children with each other. Early matriarchal societies were modeled after Mother Earth’s constant gifting. Sharing and gifting were spiritual imperatives. Women were central to the celebration and maintenance of the spirituality of sharing.  They were viewed as having a ‘knowing’ and special alignment with Mother Earth’s gifting through birthing. And they were revered for it.

Yet somehow, over the past few millennia, we have ended up with a world economic system that is directly opposite the principle of sharing. Our exchange economy is all about possessions, and runs on the principle that for everything we get we must pay something in return. Everything has a ‘price’. This is reflected in the theology of Christianity and other ‘newer’ spiritual belief systems and in almost all of our social structures. The culture of possessiveness has, to a large degree, fueled the debate about monogamy and polyamory.

But, what if instead of focusing on frivolous arguments about labels and structures, we returned to Mother Earth’s imperative—the spirituality of sharing—and let that govern our relationships, politics and business?  

What could it mean to approach all of life with a deep, abiding desire to share without attachment? To renounce ownership? To share what we consider to be precious: money, power, home, land---yes, even our partner. What would it mean? And how would it change our world?

Now that would be a worthy dialogue.