Imagine entering a womb-like environment, in which you know you are free to explore the deep inner recesses of your heart and soul. Heart beating with a blend of anticipation and nervousness, being greeted by radiant beings, one who you have waited 2 1/2 years to meeet hug to hug and the other a new friend whose glowing smile has beamed out at you from on line for a few months. The setting was familiar; the home of a long time friend Robin Renee and many those who gathered to absorb information and experience have been in my life for several years (one for about 30, one at least 15 and the other 8; the last one present at the beginning of my tantric journey). I had been eagerly looking forward to this weekend since I had heard that Monique Darling from San Diego and Ran Baron from NY, by way of Israel, were going to be offering workshops designed to invite participants to connect with the Divine. In many cultures, the body and soul are considered separate; one sacred, one profane. In traditional Hindu tantra, as taught by Ran and Monique, both are holy, created by the Source. Ran came to offer these teachings after 13 years of living in an ashram, being trained as a daka, (translated as ‘sky dancer..the female term is ‘dakini’), and taking the vows of Hindu priesthood. Monique is a spiritual teacher, soul explorer, Cuddle Party Facilitator, writer and healer whose curious mind fascinates me and whose courage inspires me.
I had set intention before the weekend began to fully allow for receiving, rather than giving out all the time. After all, the ocean tides flow both ways, so why was I expecting that I need not? I had wanted to peel off layer upon layer that I had built as pseudo-protection from emotional pain that I didn’t want even to acknowledge that I held. I desired to connect on a deeper level with people, with my role as facilitator taking a back seat to my place as full participant in a series of mystical experiences. I wanted to be real, genuine and fully present to all of my emotions, those which I lable acceptable and those I hide from for fear that “if people really knew what I was thinking or feeling, they would dispappear from my life.” Taking a deep breath as I write this.
The first night was the Goddess Puja, in which the men honored the women, in specifically performed ritual that included all of the senses and ritual items such as incense, a conch shell, water, fire, chocolate, and the sound of a ringing bell. Seated comfortably on a cushions as the men moved around the room to sit in front of each one of us. I sighed with gratitude and delight at being adored. How many women long for that, to be fully seen by a man, to be viewed through the eyes of love ? One of my favorite parts was being showered with rose petals. This was some of the group after the experience, celebrating with the flowers.
Saturday brought with it Tribal Love: Full Immersion as we took a more thorough exploration of tantric principles and engaged in energetic exercises that had me glowing from the inside out. Bonding with the community of kindred souls whose willingness to go beyond the mundane into the profound, sharing their joys and sorrows, beckoned me to do the same. By the end of the day, I was feeling wrung out and paradoxically energized (as a friend describes as “tired and wired”), which was a positive thing, since Monique and I faciliated a Cuddle Party that night. This was the first time that the two of us taught together and our styles blended seamlessly.
By Sunday morning, I was a weepy puddle; at one point, curled up in the lap of a new friend as he rocked me and stroked my hair; whose solid, supportive and loving presence, made it safe for me to truly allow a man to take care of me. So used to being self sufficient…who me? Need support? He and the others there held space for me to cry as I felt called to. One of my entrenched beliefs that have surfaced at other workshops is that ‘It’s not ok for me to take up too much of the group’s time.’ Since we teach what we need to learn, I tell participants in my workshops that they and their feelings matter and whatever arises for them, will.
One of the deep delights I experienced over and over during the weekend was the feeling of people’s hands resting on my back, ‘the back door to the heart’; my favorite chakra; anahata. It felt like a familiar knocking, to which I only wanted to answer “Yes, yes, yes.”
Sunday was all about honoring the Divine within the man or woman in the mirror in: Finding Your Ultimate Love: Yourself. Such a practice for me to keep coming back to my core essence, the love that I am, since I am so accustomed to being external. Again and again, I went within; mining treasures. I felt like my heart kept expanding (kind of like the image of the Grinch’s heart that ‘grew three sizes that day’…although I have never been compared to him, thank goodness:) Smiling with contentment throughout.
Although (uncharacteristic of this wordsmith), I didn’t write a whole lot this weekend, since I truly wanted to immerse myself in the experience, slurping it all up so that I could enjoy it, without my default thought : “Oh, how can I write about this, so other people can be here with me too? , I did note some feelings that arose, which I am sharing with you now.
And then last night, before drifting off to dreamland~
What do you love? Such a simple question with such profound implications. Facebook friend Matt Kahn inspired that think link for me this evening. My list is long and steadily growing. It starts with:
Family and friends who are my priceless treasures.
Knowing that God/Goddess/All That IS, has my back at all times.
Anticipating exciting adventures each day.
Senses that drink in the world around me and a mind that allows me to process it all.
Daily opportunities to connect with kindred spirits.
The ability to use my creative gifts to delight myself and anyone else who chooses to partake.
Being a resilient thriver.
Recovery from co-dependence.
The smell of newly mown grass and the scattering of wild flowers in a field.
Seeing a rainbow from a train window heading home from Raise the Vibration event on Sunday.
Having a healthy, strong and flexible body that enjoys ‘playouts’ at the gym.
Dancing with de-light!
The smell of Nag Champa incense wafting through the air.
The sound of Citizen Cope singing “One Lovely Day” as I write this entry.
The taste of pineapple greek yogurt.
Witnessing my son Adam living his passion and purpose as a self taught chef.
Unwrapping the ‘present’ of the Present and Presence.
Being a writer who can turn ideas into tangible reality.
Having a laughter tinged world view.
Anticipating time with overlapping soul circle dwellers this weekend as I explore my own life perspective at a workshop.
Knowing that ultimately, all is for the Highest Good as I love it all.
One Lovely Day by Citizen Cope
“I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before, but it’s true-hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.”-Ray Bradbury
Clearly, the man loved writing.
Pages upon pages of literary treasure are likely being perused for the first time today by a new generation of readers, since the passing yesterday of one of the icons of a genre known as science fiction. From what Ray Bradbury himself has said, it is a misnomer. He preferred to think of his writing as fantasy. It touched the hearts as well as the minds of readers and writers. He is quoted as saying, “Science fiction is a depiction of the real. Fantasy is a depiction of the unreal.” I recall reading his classic 1953 novel Farenheit 451 in college; so called because it is the temperature at which paper burns. Imagine a world in which books are outlawed and torched and imagination is stifled. It boggled the mind of the then budding writer to consider that dystopic world. Without reading matter, life would seem dull and colorless. Bradbury’s vision was one of the catalysts that encouraged me to pursue writing as a career.
This nonagenerian had his finger in all sorts of prolific pies; writing books, plays, tv shows and films. I just discovered that he had been involved in one of my favorite childhood sites; the 1964 Worlds’ Fair. Much of what he imagined has now come to pass; particularly in terms of inventions that we take for granted.
“Do what you love and love what you do.”, was a comment he made during a presentation at a library a few years back. I do, Ray. Writing is indeed it. Someone asked me tonight what I feel when I first set out to write something. It is like a sneeze that I can’t hold back, a yawn that can’t be stifled, a compulsion that can’t be quelled unless I express my thoughts. Often, in the midst of a powerful event, my mind turns to “How can I share this, so that other people can take the trip along with me, as if they are experiencing it vicariously?” In short, I can’t NOT write. It’s as simple and beautiful as that. Writing soothes my soul, drenches me with wonder-rain, splashes me with word paint. I am grateful to have been given the gift of painting word pictures so that readers can enjoy their vision of a world as it is now and as may someday be.
Write in peace, Ray~
I love words that aren’t found in any dictionary, but this one ‘dielarious’ and its derivative ‘dielarity’ certainly belong there. I stumbled upon these apt descriptives when reading the June 2012 issue of Ladies’ Home Journal. The article entitled The Last Laugh was written by humorist and author Lizz Winstead as she described the final days of the life of her beloved father. Those who have lost loved ones will relate to her experience. Lizz speaks about the bizarre and sometimes irreverent conversations that took place as her family accompanied her father as far as they could on his journey and then needed to let go of his hand as he continued on, but leaving her and her sibs with a parting gift that they will never forget.
I can absolutely relate to Lizz’s experience, particular with the fairly recent (November 26, 2o1o) death of my mother. I grew up in a really goofy family, as those who know me or those who have been reading the Bliss Blog for awhile, can attest to. Silly humor and weirdness abound. We looked at death as another life event and although my parents’ deaths were not joyful occasions, obviously, they brought with them dielarious laughter, to be sure. One such occurred when I was visiting my mom in Florida while she was on hospice. She was asleep (or so I thought) in her hospital bed that was set up in the living room and I was watching tv; a special on The Learning Channel featuring Barbara Carrellas who is a sex educator who I have known for a few years. Her segment of the show was about energetic orgasms that the producers of the show referred to as ‘thinking off’, which is about experiencing the physiological indications without direct bodily/genital contact. Breathing and imagining are key components. So, here I am watching this show, while my 86 year old mother is in the room. Even as open as our conversations were about sex when I was growing up and as an adult, this was a stretch for me to be listening and observing as the people in her workshop were doing some pretty heavy breathing. My mother opens her eyes and asks “What are you watching?” I tell her that it is my friend Barbara on tv, helping people experience the safest sex there is. She laughs and says “Meshuggenah! (Yiddish for crazy)” and then goes back to sleep. We had many such moments prior to her passing. When I would assist her with personal care and she could still stand, she would lean against the bed and do a little hip action and wiggle before I hitched up her clothing. I would shake my tush along with her as we would sometimes collapse into laughter/tears. When we would take ‘trips’ all over the world with imagination as our wings, with no need for passport or plane ticket, one time she said she wanted to go to Hawaii and to a luau. I asked what we would be doing there and she grinned “Dance the hula and get lei’d.” “Oh, two wild women out on the town!” Rather than roast pig (we are Jewish), she wanted to indulge in s’mores; chocolate being our shared drug of choice. When she would become forgetful, she would often remind me that she still had her marbles. I assured her that I would retreive any that had rolled under the couch. She appreciated that.
Death is not an easy topic for most to speak about, but dielarity allows us to laugh in its sometimes dark and fear-furrowed face.