Sunday, March 15, 2015

5 (+1) Guidelines to Falling in Evolutionary Love

Union by Android Jones
“I believe in karma,” he said, his dark eyes resting on my pained face. “Because I had to go through you to find her.”

Nodding my head, I calmly replied, “I believe in karma too. Because I had to go through you to find me.”

I didn’t know it then, at the end of my first marriage, but with that statement, I had laid the foundation for what would come to be known as “evolutionary love.”

My life didn’t look very “evolved” at that moment. I was homeless with all my possessions stored in the basement of a Brooklyn church. I was in my seventh year in my battle with anorexia, which reflected my own starving eroticism.  And I could barely get through teaching an hour of yoga without bursting into a river of never-ending tears.

I didn’t have language for it at the time, but as I sat in my room for hours begging God (or Spirit or nature or just my own damned will) to help me survive the shame, I knew something profoundly wise and beautiful was rising from the ashes of my agony—an agony that felt like death.

Because it was death. As frightening as it may sound, death is at the heart of evolutionary love because that’s what it means to evolve. We must muster the willingness to brave the fire of constant change so that new life can emerge.

In this sense, every relationship is an evolutionary one because it catapults us forward to the next leg of our soul’s journey. But when we begin to consciously work with this evolutionary dynamic, relationship becomes a sandbox for play and wonder, rather than something to which we unconsciously grasp out of fear of facing our inevitable aloneness.

So how does evolutionary love show up practically in our daily lives? If you asked that question of a thousand couples or multiples, you’d get 2,000+ different answers. However, in my exploration of love, partnerships and relating, as well as my personal experience with two marriages, I have stumbled upon some universal guidelines that may serve you on your path to evolutionary love.

1: It starts with YOU  
Ask yourself the question, “Who am I?” Go deeper and ask, "What do I want?” Inquire even further and ask, “What values are important to me?” The more you get to know yourself, the better equipped you will be when it comes to evolutionary love. Far too often we throw ourselves at the first cute, semi-clean person that comes across our path, donning various masks in order to shape ourselves into the person we think our lovers want us to be. Or we cling to people, attempting to fill the void of our perceived unlovability. When we lose our personal center, we are incapable of showing up as our raw, beautiful selves in the relationship. But when you have done the work to know who you are and what you stand for, you are more likely to attract others who support your dreams, nurture your growth and honor the evolutionary power of love.

2: Throw away the script
We’ve all seen the movies and read the magazine headlines that reinforce the heteronormative, nuclear family: Boy meets girl, boy marries girl by age 25, girl pops out two kids by age 30, boy and girl and kids live in a suburban house for 20 years, boy (and sometimes girl) retires and lives off pension until boy and girl die. The end. But evolutionary love is not linear and certainly isn’t beholden to any predetermined script. Evolutionary love demands that we continue to explore our personal edges in service to growth, not only for ourselves, but also for our community. We may fall in love with someone whose gender identity or expression contradicts what society deems as “acceptable.” We may fall in love with multiple people. We may choose to live in a community home with many constellations of people. We may choose to live in separate houses or even separate cities from our partners. We may decide that marriage, partnership and/or having kids is not in alignment with our personal desires. Evolutionary love requires courage and may seem subversive to many. But when we honor our soul’s true path, we are creating a world where multiple expressions of love can grow, flourish and find acceptance. Thus, we inspire others to step out of the shadows of their own fear and claim the love that is their birthright.

3: Be committed to the RELATIONSHIP
In the story of partnership, 1+1 does not equal 2. It equals 3, with the potential for infinity. What that means is, in the case of one couple, there are 3 key players: partner #1, partner #2 and the relationship between the two. Add multiple partners to the mix and the web of relating could conceivably go on indefinitely, though most people have a practicality threshold keeping that number relatively low.  In the case of evolutionary love, all partners must be committed to the relationship that wants to be created. This act of humility, surrender and responsibility sets the stage for a level of relating that goes beyond blame and creates space for all desires to arise and be seen. Yes, of course we must acknowledge individual personalities; however we must also recognize that neither person alone can create the epic magic that comes when one’s power alchemizes with his/her partner’s. As a personal example, I was recently angry with my husband—so much so that I had to leave the house and cry myself empty for two hours. At the end of feeling all that hurt, I asked myself the question, “Does the relationship last another day?” The answer was simply “Yes.” With my trust firmly rooted in the container of the relationship, coupled with the knowledge that my husband upheld the same value of commitment, I faced him with the truth of my feelings, sharing them in a way that contributed to the growth of our partnership.

4: Let go when the time comes
This guideline hearkens back to the previous statement that death is at the heart of evolutionary love. As difficult as that may be to integrate, think of all the relationships that ended poorly or were filled with constant strife and unnecessary drama. Much of the time, the problem was that the relationship did not evolve with the partners. Because we’ve been taught that a “successful” relationship is one where the partners stay together until one of them dies, people are slowly withering away in homeostatic relating, rather than braving the winds of change. Change doesn’t necessarily mean divorce or break-ups, but it does mean cultivating the willingness to consistently review our ever-evolving needs, desires and circumstances and dropping what is no longer serving the relationship. That may seem scary or difficult, like we are traveling without a map, but it’s also an exciting adventure and creates a relationship where every touch, kiss and caress is fresh and alive. In a recent article, Will Smith recently spoke about the multiple “deaths” of his marriage and the creative ways he and his wife evolved the relationship.

5: Champion the highest vision for your partner(s) and for your community
Being a champion for your partner(s) seems like a no-brainer in any relationship. Of course you want your partner to succeed in his or her dreams. But we often don’t act that way. Unspoken jealousies, fears and resentments creep into the relationship and we end up tearing down ourselves or our partners. This is where “starting with you” is crucial, because if you are sabotaging yourself, you often have the self-awareness to catch it and if someone is sabotaging you, you don’t stand for that crap. In all relating, your partner(s) act as a mirror, reflecting both the light and the shadow within. Evolutionary love recognizes this dynamic and consciously uses it for deep growth and transformation. Our relationships become spiritual paths, with our partners as our wisest teachers. Those practicing this model of relating often recognize that they don’t live in an isolated bubble, but are part of a vast network of people. They understand that through their love, they have the opportunity to inspire and uplift all within the community.

+1: Nurture your sex
I don’t call this +1 because it’s optional. I call it +1 because it is KEY to cultivating an evolutionary relationship. Most people say that the first thing to go in a long-term relationship is sex. It’s not because it isn’t important. It’s because it’s VERY important. We avoid sex because it’s one of the most highly-charged places in a relationship. Everything comes to the surface in our sexual lives, so when the resentments start to build, it’s easy to simply fall into the comfort of avoidance rather than to sit in the fire of transformation. DO NOT DO THIS. Keep coming back to sex. Keep learning from the orgasm that arises between you two (or three or more). Allow yourself to acknowledge all the places where you have been hiding and lying to your partner. And clear it. This keeps the wheels of the relationship greased and running smoothly, for if we can learn to communicate with clarity and compassion in sex, we can most likely do it anywhere.

The list above is by no means complete, definitive or even “right.” As I said earlier, evolutionary love has an infinite number of expressions. Ultimately, it’s what you make of it. Your desire is your guide and your imagination is the map.

I’ve had the great honor of witnessing several members of my community as they practice evolutionary love and teach us through their experience. My dear friend, Julia Maryanska, is currently raising funds for her film, Union: A Documentary About the Art of Love. The film follows 6 of these couples as they share their struggles, triumphs and unconventional wisdom on the path to evolutionary love. Interwoven within the stories are expressions of the couples’ love as told by the music of electronic artist, Nimitae, and the visionary art of Android Jones.

Click here to learn more and support this fantastic project---> https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/union-a-documentary-about-the-art-of-love


UNION: A documentary about the Art of Love (Trailer) from Julia Maryanska on Vimeo.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

It's Time to Get Personal...


I recently had the fantastic honor of being interviewed by my colleague, Dave T. Koenig, for his podcast, Bring Your Own Lunch, which explores the lives of actors, writers, comedians and all types of people in the performing biz. 

We get real. We get raw. We get personal. We dive WAY deep into the history of my childhood, my days as an anorexic, my life as an actor and my erotic awakening and life as a writer.

You do not want to miss this.

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/bring-your-own-lunch/id900048382 

Web: http://bringyourownlunch.com/podcasts/item/38-byol-episode-33-candice-holdorf


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Who is Candice Holdorf? (VIDEO)

So...this happened yesterday. What began as a quick audition morphed into a playful video that we shot in one-take and that inspired me to edit into a autobiographical "sizzle reel" (gotta admit, I kinda hate that term). Anyway, it was fun to create and hope you enjoy it.
PS-Bonus points to my brilliant husband who told me to ditch my lame-ass script and said, "Just tell me 5 things about yourself. GO!"

Monday, January 12, 2015

Lessons from the Erotic Void

Black Square, Kazimir Malevich, 1915
These past few months have been some of the most emotionally intense of my life. I am sitting square in the center of every fear that I didn't dare admit:
-I'm fat (As a recovering anorexic, this is the equivalent of death).
-I'm a mediocre actress.
-I'm an inexperienced writer who isn't good enough for a book deal.
-I have no viable skills and can't even get an entry-level job.
-I'm a terrible lover.
All these voices (which I recognize aren't really me) arise and feel all-consuming in the face of how little external validation I've been receiving.
But the truth is, I've been in a very internal process. Since Burning Man, I have purposely reduced the number of social media posts in order to release myself from the pseudo-erotic hit of human connection I receive whenever someone pushes "Like."
I've intentionally carved out the 6-month quiet space I need, free from professional and personal commitments, to finish the draft of my book (which I did December 1) and to complete my personal edits of it before passing it on to a pro editor (which I intend to do by March 1).
In going over my manuscript, I realize that there is something so genuine, pure and undeniably erotic growing in this moment--a profound intimacy with my own voice. I am not writing this book--it is writing me and it's medicine comes more for my own healing than anything else.
And perhaps, it's time to stop complaining and start listening to its wisdom.
EXCERPT FROM PART ONE: INVOCATION, CHAPTER 6: EROTIC DEPRIVATION AND THE COMMODIFICATION OF SEX
"Most of us are stuck in craving mode because we are socially barred from experiencing the erotic in our everyday life. Our society values the logical comforts of stability over the mythical possibilities that rest in the unknown. We’ve linked our value as humans to this “logical stability” and to other quantifiable means of success—so it’s no wonder that we rush in fear and craving towards anything that will temporarily fill and silence that painful void.
Our modern commercial industry and business culture know our insecurities and continuously reinforce these addictive habits—it’s what keeps them profitable, after all. They pose a problem in your life, show you the emotional struggle and then offer the one and only solution (often adorned with scantily clad women, once again fusing and confusing the world of eros and sex) that will take care of everything for a low, low price. But the truth is eros demands we pay the highest price—letting go of all the pride and vanity that stand in the way of unconditional love. And the kicker is that no one else can give it to us no matter how much currency we offer. It is only found by sitting in the discomfort of our own erotic void.
Eros thrives in those moments of "wanting" and it is through the dynamic tension created between “wanting” and “having” that orgasmic energy can build and power us. Yet we spend our lives lamenting how we aren't "having" and miss this key opportunity to tap into the erotic fulfillment that flourishes within the gaps of our lives."

Monday, December 29, 2014

When the sex just isn't enough...

L'origine du monde, 1866
Gustave Courbet

2am.

Shaking, I dialed the phone for a second time, as he didn't pick up the first. The volatile emotion in my gut overrode the sanity of my mind.

I'd been sick for the past week--the ubiquitous winter "bug" finally took up residence in my sinuses, throat and chest. So I sent him off to the party alone while I recuperated at home.

At midnight, I tried to sleep. The minutes became an hour. Then two. Tossing and turning within the rattled nightmare of my own freight-train mind, I felt the ache in my chest relentlessly knock me more and more awake. Each passing second was an agonizing call from the depths of my most profound longing.

He answered the phone. And before the "nice girl" could filter my words with her soothing, toothless bite, I blurted, "I'm not sexually fulfilled."

A hard blow to give via electronic communication, I know. But even as I said it, I knew that he already knew. Even as I said it, I knew he wanted more, too. And even as I said it, I knew what I wanted had nothing to do with him and everything to do with me.

We have good sex. In fact, we have great sex. Often. I have no problem experiencing one, if not several, climaxes that stretch out beyond the physiological contractions. He ejaculates if he wants, but if he doesn't that's fine too. I feel his heart. I feel his cock. I take pleasure in my own pleasure. We sometimes use toys and aren't afraid to get dirty.

But that one thing..that ineffable breath of life that overpowers our strongest defenses and connects us to the Source of all of Creation...yeah, I wanted that. All the time.

The sex just wasn't enough. I wanted more. I wanted Orgasm--the divine, erotic life force that births every moment.

The static between us had nothing to do with skill level or lack of love, but was directly connected to how honest I was about my desires, both inside, but more importantly, outside the bedroom.

I needed to look past blaming him and face the lack of fulfillment in my entire life, which was the true root of my discontent.

This has been a massive year of letting go: letting go of my coaching practice; letting go of raising the money to self-publish my book and instead opting, or rather praying, for a traditional publisher; letting go of the dream of acting; letting go of being the "sex expert" I thought I was.

La jeune fille et la mort, 1900
Marianne Stokes
And in the wake of all of that release, I realized: I wasn't mad at him. I was mad at God. Not any religious God, but my own personal connection with spirituality.

I felt betrayed.

Hadn't I already sacrificed enough? Hadn't I already whittled down my life to the barest of actions that were "in my integrity"? Hadn't I already "cleared the clutter" and dedicated time to only that which flowed from my deepest desires? Hadn't I stretched and beaten and shattered my heart enough so that it could "grow bigger" and "include all of humanity"? Hadn't I starved myself for seven years, left a marriage and sold 95% of my possessions to move across the country on a whim of faith? Wasn't I too old for this shit?

Apparently not. Or maybe none of that spiritual bargaining mattered. Or maybe I was just a spoiled adolescent brat on the verge of archetypal adulthood.

That mirror was painful. Sitting in the hungry void, feeling like I had given my all, yet not knowing who I was or what I wanted.

My lack of fulfillment stemmed from the ambivalence in my own life. The sex was simply a megaphone for those core erotic dissatisfactions, with Orgasm as the great communicator. And while Orgasm often speaks to us through sex, she will neither be contained nor compartmentalized to that one arena. The insatiable aches of my erotic appetite no longer found nourishment in the ephemeral frictions of sexuality, but in the perennial surrender with divine grace.

The Warrior
From 6 to 9 and Beyond:
Widening the Lens of Feminine Eroticism
Even as I write this, it feels as if I am asking for an answer to the unanswerable. It's like demanding that the Mystery reveal itself, but once it does, it will no longer be a Mystery.

I wish I could share a nugget of wisdom gleaned from Kali's blade. But I can't. Or if I could, the only thing I would say is this: I don't know a goddamned thing about anything.

And maybe that's a blessing. It strips me of those moronic "Top 5 Techniques" that I think will please him and use to temporarily assuage my inner crise de l'esprit. It forces me to release these binary notions trapped within the words "masculine" and "feminine." It shows me how little an understanding our culture has of the power of Orgasm and demonstrates the painful folly of lumping "sex" and "Orgasm" into one transient act (intercourse). And it places the responsibility for my erotic fulfillment squarely in the hands of the only one who can do anything about it: me.

Ask me what my biggest turn-on is and the answer will always be the same: Truth. The humble, quivering, vulnerable truth of each moment will invariably win out over any big-budget show. That is the ultimate fulfillment I seek and until I surrender to the truth of what is, I will always be fighting what isn't.

So that's our practice now: absolute, radical truth, both within the Orgasmic Eros of our sex and the Orgasmic Eros of our lives. And as the fire burns through the written landscape of my life, this truth may be the only thing left standing in the end.




Alexander - Truth from Alexander on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

A Lesson in Gratitude



Many of us in the US have just survived Round One of the holiday season: Thanksgiving. And while football, family and feasting usually comes to mind during this time (for better or for worse), it's also a great opportunity to step back and reconnect to one of the most powerful Orgasmic tools available: gratitude.

Gratitude has the immediate power to expand our capacity to receive more orgasm, more sensation and more LIFE. When we are caught in cycles of resentment, anger or blame, it's often a symptom of lack of gratitude.

But wait just a minute there. Before you start "looking on the bright side," let me tell you what gratitude is NOT. It isn't denying your feelings in favor of "positive thinking" or telling other people not to worry because the universe "has it all taken care of." This kind of spiritual bypass is a way of avoiding difficult feelings--and these feelings have something rich to teach us!

Gratitude is simply the ability to stay present and say "yes" to what is happening. Say yes to the resentment. Say yes to the anger. Say yes to the blame. Then listen in closely and see what it has to say to you. This sets the stage for unfathomable amounts of intimacy. More often than not, there is a message of love that feels unworthy of being shared.

So share it. And by learning to say "yes" to all that is happening, you learn to express your clear "no" and set proper boundaries from a centered place of wisdom.

The more we cultivate our "yes," the more we can appreciate what is working in our lives, rather than getting hooked on what we perceive isn't working.

Start right now. Notice your body. What is the sensation or feeling that is most predominant right now? Say yes to that feeling or sensation. Keep saying yes as it shifts. Ask it what it wants to say. Just stay with it until you receive something. It may not make sense. It may not be transmitted through language. But just keep listening and saying yes until you are complete. Then thank this feeling or sensation and, while still connected to this part of you, write down 10 things for which you are grateful.

Learn to say yes to what is happening and the incredible abundance around you quickly becomes clear--no matter what time of year it is.

I am thankful for you all and wish you a safe and grate-FULL holiday season.

Blessings,
Candice

PS-In this moment, I also want to offer a prayer for peace and healing, as the true nature of Thanksgiving is not as happy as our history books would want us to believe. Please say a prayer for all who suffered during the founding of this nation. May we all learn to love one another as one people. Aho. (And special thanks to my friend Michael Costuros for bringing this link to my attention)
http://www.manataka.org/page269.html

Friday, October 31, 2014

One of the Scariest Decisions of my Life...

One of the things I've learned over the years as an Orgasmic Life Coach is how to spot desire. When I hear the tremble in a client's voice or the strain of resistance or the ho-humness of "that really doesn't matter," I know I am getting closer to what s/he truly wants.

I've learned all the tricks in the book...because I was a master myself. I could rationalize my way through any decision--hiding my desire in the safety of "socially acceptable behavior"--until finally the dam gave way and the messiness of my pulsing orgasm came gushing forth.

I've gotten a lot better at honoring what I want, but there are definitely still times when it takes every ounce of courage to own my desire.

Today feels like one of those days.

But here goes anyway...

As of November 1, I will no longer be taking on any long-term coaching clients. I am freeing my time and shifting my focus on writing, performing and public speaking.

Of course I will continue to work with my current clients for as long as is necessary.

I am committed to redefining orgasm and bringing the erotic out of the shadows of the bedroom and into the shame-free sunlight of everyday life. In fact, I see this as my life's mission. And while this career shift is quite scary on many levels, in my heart I know it is absolutely the next right step.

I've always been a storyteller and I believe it is through artistic expression that I can have the most impact. My writing continues to be a source of joy (and my book is nearing completion!). I feel most alive performing and giving interviews on the changing nature of orgasm, eros and femininity.

I am profoundly grateful for the many people who have chosen to work with me and share their journeys over these past 4+ years. It is through their vulnerability that I have been able to come to accept mine.

For now, I am still available for my signature 2-hour Deep-Dive sessions (both coaching and OM) but by referral only. 

I feel very excited for the next phase of my life as an integrated artist/healer and although I am not really sure how it's all going to look, I can honestly say that orgasm has never let me down thus far--so why would she now?

Thank you for being my orgasmic community and for being such an open and supportive reflection for me in this life.

In faith and service,
Candice