Sexy Teachers

I spent the weekend at a retreat where we allowed ourselves to ask deep, beautiful (and for me, often frightening) questions about the nature of love, intimacy, self-care, sexuality and spirituality. As I “re-enter” the world where these aren’t the most common topics of conversation, I want to remind myself of these questions I’m exploring, and perhaps some of the answers I’m receiving.

What is Sexy?

People who know deep in their core that they are beautiful, and have absolutely no interest in convincing me of that, are a profound embodiment of luscious sexiness. People who have forgotten their own beauty and are hell bent on convincing me that they aren’t beautiful are the embodiment of unsexy.  And the paradox – people who have caught a glimpse of their beauty and are hell bent on convincing me to also see it, are in the ugliest part of the process. I’ve been in all three states, and know that how one gets from one of these states to another is a deeply personal journey. Love helps it along the way. For many of us, sex and love are so intertwined, that we get caught in this trap of it seeming like the only way to connect to feeling sexy is to have sex, but if we aren’t having a connection to our beauty, the opportunity for that becomes extremely scarce. Isn’t life a funny teacher!

How are Security and Self-Consciousness Connected?

I used to use the word “self-conscious” to mean “insecure,” as in “I’m self-conscious about my body,” or “I’m feeling self-conscious about the poem I just performed.” I’m gaining a new relationship to this word. I’m understanding that there are moments in our lives when something is worthy of bare attention – it can be when I’m on the edge of a beautiful new discovery about my truth, or when I’m on the edge of something that is powerful, or even when there is danger of harm near by. In these moments, a sharp and intense consciousness of Self arises to offer me the invitation to become present to my wisdom and to act from that place. This Consciousness of Self guides me – to garner the courage to walk away from negative mind chatter towards something more meaningful, to engage the powerful situation with appropriate and focused respect and care, or to move away from harm.  In this context, what I want is more self confidence, coming FROM the security of deep self consciousness, not to be “less self-conscious” because I’m feeling insecure. Fear is like this too, but I don’t fully understand that yet.

When to Teach?

I am so grateful for the teachers who have left breadcrumbs for me. And I’m deeply appreciating that there are breadcrumbs on every trail, each calling to me to go in useful and non-useful directions. When I choose for myself a painful path, I’m still learning. They are all teachers. My job is to feel myself drawn to the breadcrumbs that are healthy for me.

I love so much to be both the student and the teacher. I love the productivity of shared wisdom and workload. I love the way someone else’s journey can help me make a quantum leap on mine. But I struggle with knowing when to ask for help and when I’ll benefit most from the muscle growth of helping myself. I also struggle with knowing when to offer a hand forward vs. letting those I love find their own answers. The easy answer is to always ask permission before offering help, and I practice that daily. Yet, I notice in myself that I love best those relationships in which we know and love one another and have tacit permission to “cross the boarder” into one another’s hearts. When I’m a mess, I usually want my people to reach in and grab me be the shoulders, look me straight in the eyes, give me a little shake and say “get back into yourself!” Yes, I’ll get back to myself either way, but the process of going it alone often wastes needless time and effort. And I love the moment when I can offer an intuition to someone I love that helps them connect point A and B in their own journey.

 

So what is the toggle point of knowing when to cross the border? For me, sometimes NOT sharing that wisdom (in either direction) can feel like abandonment.  And also, I have stories of feeling invaded by other folks with helper tendencies like mine. I’m feeling like the toggle for me in deciding when to cross the border has to do with intention. Is it to serve my own agenda, or to help my beloved redirect towards their own good? And when someone is coming into my heart space — same question.

 

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A Theorem about Love and Transformation

I attended a David White retreat this weekend. I took notes. Yeah, I’m that gal, sitting in the retreat center, surrounded by poets and yogis, treating the entire thing like an academic exercise. Needless to say, I got something out of it, though I’m not sure I fully accepted the invitation of what was to be gotten. It’s good though, so here I share with you some thoughts and words, straight from David White’s mouth through the gauzy haze of my intelligence, so this piece is part plagiarization, part synthesis, part knee-slapping insight. And a lot of love.

A Theorem about Love and Transformation

Let us start by agreeing on this:

You can not truly inhabit a world for which you do not have the language.

And then let us remind ourselves:

“Applying labels is a strategy of the mind,” not the heart, nor the soul. Labels are a feeble attempt to make something unknowable feel real in the moment. “The strategic mind is meant to assign temporary names so that you can be less terrified and move on; it cannot give you happiness, and it is not the part of yourself that helps you belong.”

Next, let us talk about change.

Transition is a time and place we tend to look down upon, but an inherent part of being courageous and stepping into transformation is accepting that change is where the previous identity gets subverted.

Finally, we all know love.

Love is the one and only, the most powerful and potent agent of transformation. We form relationships for the very purpose of growing. Love is always something out on the horizon, calling us to a deeper understanding of the language of itself and ourselves. Understanding love this way helps us see clearly that “the soul is the faculty of belonging to the largest horizon you can find.”

And so, I believe “we name our love always too soon and in that naming, we create limits.”

It is not until we abase ourselves to the Love itself
that it can fully unfold and grow itself and us
into what is meant to be.
Love named too early can only grow to the limits of that overly eager label
which our waning identity offered to understand the impending self and love
before either had fully become.
This paradox can feel excruciating, especially to the mind, who thinks there is something to do.
But I will offer you this gift:
Transformation isn’t something that you do, it is a becoming,
it is a remembering of the language of your soul.
If your mind insists on action, simply take yourself in the direction of that horizon that is calling you.
“Go to the place where the conversation is happening.
Then just crack your heart open a little,
And let it in.”

Here Now

https://soundcloud.com/rayellen/here-now

There is an instant
after the big hand clicks into place
but before the chiming begins.

This is the 4:45 rooster
puffing his feathers and blinking
before he remembers who he is
and starts all– that– racket.

It is precisely the moment
between making eye contact with your lover
and knowing how her day was.

Pause here with me in this space.

Suspend our Ego wants
and our Id demands
and Pay Attention.

There is infinity in this place
between going and coming
before becoming
after the ending
where Truth awaits us.

Original- 11/30/2010

The River

There is a river in Nova Scotia that waxes and wanes.
The water flows West when the tide is coming in,
and East when the tide is going out.
It is a river that breathes with the ocean, with the moon.

We find a clarity in going, in coming,
in being “on our way.”
When the river is flowing,
it knows what it is, it knows how.

But during the shift, the in-between,
the precise moment when it is not flowing West
and it is not flowing East —
Is it still a river?
It is not still.

It is nothing, everything, chaos.
The water molecules churn about in unison,
together in their indirection.
The energy of the river is not this way or that,
it is simply not,
as it longs to remember how again.

We live in that moment,
in the stillness, in the chaos,
not who we were this last moment,
not yet who we are to become.

Here, in this singularity of
nothing, everything, one.

becoming

for years i longed
for the peace and solitude
that meditation and yoga
and loving completely evokes

but I didn’t meditate
because i wasn’t ready
to hear what truths
would become apparent
in the silence

and I didn’t practice yoga
because i didn’t yet believe
i was capable
of embodying
that kind of strength

and i refrained
from loving with all my heart
because that is only possible
when you know the truth
and are strong enough
to embrace it