Gratitude

Relationship Game for the Month of October

Autumn Leaves,  Millais

Autumn Leaves, Millais

It's now autumn in the Northern Hemisphere and spring in the Southern Hemisphere (and Happy Jewish New Year!). With the equinox upon us, we often find ourselves asking the questions "What am I harvesting from my work this past year?" or "What seeds am I planting for the year to come?"

Orgasm grows where attention goes, so if we are yearning to cultivate more feeling and connection in our intimate relationships, then there is no better time than now to put our attention on our sexual/romantic relationships and long-term partnerships.

So I propose a game for the month of October. It's a simple game with only rule:

Everyday (preferably multiple times a day) ask yourself the question "How Can I Be More Generous with my Partner(s)?"

Now keep in mind that generosity does NOT mean doing whatever your partner(s) wants at the expense of your own desires. That is called acquiescence and is a breeding ground for resentment. In fact, generosity often entails giving your partner(s) an unobstructed peek into the window of your desire, i.e. "This is how to win with me."

If you are single or not sexually/romantically active, you can still play by asking this question in reference to the important people in your life: family, friends, co-workers, etc. Or you can even ask how can you be more generous with yourself! 

When you learn to approach your life from a generous place (abundance) rather than from withholding love (scarcity), you begin to cultivate honesty and gratitude, which are the secret weapons for expanding your capacity for more sensation and pleasure.

I hope you have a fruitful equinox and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Happy Harvest!

A Lesson in Gratitude

Originally posted December 2, 2014

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

6 (Non-Linear) Steps to an Orgasmic Life. (Part Two)

Originally posted November 13, 2013

View this article on Elephant Journal

In my previous article, I described a new definition of orgasm and talked about what it means to live an orgasmic life.

In this piece, we’ll dive deeper into the 6 (non-linear) steps to an orgasmic life.

Why non-linear? Great question.

First, orgasm (like life) isn’t linear. One minute we are up, the next we are down. Last week we went right, but this week we may be called left. One great success can turn into a massive failure and one embarrassing failure can morph into our greatest success. Through orgasm, we are cultivating a very dynamic and paradoxical way of seeing the world. To slap linear construct on top of that would limit our perspective of what’s possible.

Second, the first two steps are more like anchors that help us through each of the others. Anytime we feel our resolve getting shaken or the voices of fear overtake us, steps one and two are there to help us anchor into the present. Also, the steps themselves aren’t like climbing up a ladder, but more like walking in a spiral—the moment you find yourself at “the end,” you discover you are actually at a new beginning.

Finally, the steps themselves are simply guidelines for possible experience. The moment you step into Step 3, you may find yourself back to Step 1 or catapulted into Step 6. You may be experiencing Step 2 all the way though Steps 3-6. And this is by no means the complete and definitive list of how to live an orgasmic life. There’s lots of room forimprovisation and innovation. Ultimately these “steps” are about gathering tools and using them when the moment calls for it.

So, without further ado, I offer you 6 (Non-Linear) Steps to an Orgasmic Life.

1. Attention

This may be the most difficult for most of us, especially in an iPhone addicted, Facebook skimming, TV watching world—which is why it is so important to get this concept first before moving on. So much of our lives is spent obsessing over the past or trying to control the future. We look outside of ourselves to inform us about who we are rather than looking within. We are rarely here and now. We are worrying about how we look and what people will think. We hide from our power through any variety of subtle (and not so subtle) addictions.

Orgasm demands our full attention on the present so we can actually feel what’s here. Bringing your focus to the present, perhaps on your body, your breathing or some truth you want to speak, helps us connect directly to our desire, which is the mouthpiece of an orgasmic life.

2. Approval

Just as important as attention is the concept of approval. Approval is the ability to say ‘yes’ to what is happening in any moment and is the key to ‘turn-on’, i.e. the capacity for us to allow orgasm to flow freely through our bodies. Approval isn’t about being a pushover or a milquetoast. You can set a firm boundary of “No” and still be in approval of that which is happening, because you are a “Yes” to yourself and a “Yes to loving” to whomever you are speaking.

Approval is the radical acceptance of all that is happening as absolutely perfect. Approval is the willingness to let go of the struggle to “be right” and simply just “be.” Even in the midst of our pain, can we open up and say ‘yes’ to all that we are feeling? Can we approve of our anger? Our tendency to blame? Our judgments that things should be other than they are? Can we even be in approval of our disapproval?

On the flip side can we approve of our pleasure? Can we open ourselves to the divinity that we are? Can we approve of our power and desire and allow it to guide us, even when it means being vulnerable? In order for us to move in the direction of our desire, we must first be in approval of where we are.

3. Ask

Once we have our attention on the present and are in approval of it, desire naturally arises. So what do we do with it? We ask for what we want, of course. Desire is vocal and if we sit around just waiting for life to happen to us, chances are we aren’t going to gather a lot of steam. So often we resort to subtle manipulation and sideways tactics and blaming people for not being mind-readers, when all we have to do is ask. Asking for what we want is a HUGE risk. It means the possibility of rejection and ridicule and being told we aren’t “good enough” to have it. It also means taking responsibility for ourselves and placing a stake in the ground for our desire.

Oftentimes, we don’t even know the specifics of what we want. All we can do is ask for help. This is just as good a prayer as any. Surrender to that unknown (or known) desire. Ask with sincerity. Be willing to go on the ride, even though you have no idea how it’s all going to turn out. That’s part of the fun, right?

4. Activation

Activation is the spark that occurs between us and life. It’s the ignition of orgasm and the gracious reception of it. It’s the sweaty palms as you lean in for your first kiss. It’s the beating of your heart before you go onstage. It’s the quickening of your breath as you sign your first client. Simply put, it’s the moment your mind, body and soul click into place and we are in total acceptance of our lives.

Activation is a key moment and one that requires the help of attention and approval. Oftentimes, when the energy gets high and we let go, we lose our focus or start to struggle for solid ground. This is where faith comes in. The universe has got it handled. Just breathe, soften and open.

5. Allowance

Once the spark of orgasm starts to flame through our lives, we must resist the urge to contract out of fear or the belief that we are undeserving of this amount of energy, be it attention, money, pleasure, etc. Allowance is the capacity to open wider and receive more. In sex, we often rush to the climax to try to expel the energy out of our body as quickly as possible. We do this in life too. Perhaps we rush towards anger or victimization or binging or going on a shopping spree.

Allowance holds us in the truth that we are capable of feeling so much more and that if we simply ride the edge,unfathomable amounts of pleasure are possible. Be willing to ride that edge, rather than rush to climax (unless climax is what is authentically being expressed in the moment—then ride that all the way down to the bottom).

6. Acknowledgement

Acknowledgement is a skill that automatically flips any perspective from suffering to celebration. Acknowledgement is recognizing just how much the world is conspiring for our success. It’s gratitude in the face of tears. It’s the willingness to share your orgasm with humility and generosity. Acknowledgement fosters compassion through its ability to see how connected we are. My success is your success. My pain is your pain. My healing is your healing. It’s the ability to simply name what it happening and love it as an integral teacher on the journey.

So rather than complain, acknowledge the blessing of life. Give profound and unabashed thanks for the miracle that it took for you to be alive in this moment. From this place, we can truly be of service to humanity and give back from a place of joy and fullness, which is the ultimate gift of an orgasmic life.

"I Just Had Sex!" (Cultivating Gratitude and Humor)

Originally posted August 7, 2012

View this article on elephantjournal.com

“You think this is just another day in your life? It’s not just another day. It’s the one day that is given to you…today. It’s given to you. It’s a gift. It’s the only gift you have right now and the only appropriate response is gratefulness.” ~ Brother David Steindl-Rast, from Louis Schwartzberg’s TEDxSF talk on “Gratitude”

I’ve recently started attending a weekly Native American tobacco ceremony. From the outside the ritual seems simple: everyone sits in a circle, says a brief prayer for the things for which they need help and smokes the sacred pipe.

However, within the basic framework lies an experience full of connection, humbleness and vulnerability. Through witnessing another in communion with his or her Creator, you realize that each person’s prayer is actually your prayer. To have someone speaking your heart’s deepest yearnings is a swift reminder that we are separated only by the most trivial of differences.

Which makes sense. To walk around as a boundaryless open heart all day, feeling the pain, hope and wonder of each person that breathes near us would render us perpetually incapacitated. After all, we have cubicles to inhabit, student loans to pay off and episodes of Weeds to download.

Hence this weekly sacrament of public surrender is like ambrosia for the emaciated soul. We walk around with our poker faces on, pretending like life is just “fine” and that we have everything “under control.” So simply saying the words “I need help” is enough to sucker punch us in the arrogant gut of our social deception. Yet it is through these cracks in the armor that life’s blessings can fill our cups of longing.

The thing is that most of us carry thimbles where we have room for chalices; so even when can let in a little bit of the good, we fill up quickly and look for ways to manage the excess. One common way is to expel the energy through complaint. It’s a lazy way to avoid doing the work to discover what we truly want, as well as shirks the responsibility for your happiness to someone or something else. It’s easy to be angry at your friends if you throw a party and no one attends—but if you don’t give us explicit directions on how to get to your house, you are setting yourself (and the rest of us) up for failure.

We look for what’s wrong with life. We hold onto the idea that life happens “to” us, as if we are some sad little puppet, rather than becoming active participants in the experience. We have a thousand ways to talk about what’s shitty in our lives and virtually no language for what’s good.

Nowhere do I see more of this than in the arena of sex. It’s an area loaded with confusion, shame and resentment smothered by a lacquer of bravado, victimhood or just plain avoidance. It’s also the place where we are most desperate to be touched and where a mountain of excuses resides to keep us small and safe:

I’m not getting enough

I’m too old/fat/inexperienced

No one knows how to touch me

I can’t last long enough

My partner is blocked

I’m fine, but they have a problem

All the good ones are taken

It’ll never happen for me

The art of receiving what you want is something we are rarely taught and yet it’s the foundation of sexual maturity (and is required for vibrant and nourishing sex lives). First, we must have the courage to admit that we are hungry and that it is no one else’s responsibility but our own to feed us.

Once we decide to follow our desires, rather than live in the world of complaint, we must then undergo the task of expanding our thimbles into chalices. If we want more, we need to grow big enough to hold more.

Again, I take my inspiration from the pipe ceremony. There, the way we are taught to pray is that before you ask for what you want, you must first express gratitude for what you have in your life right now. It changes the perspective, so that your desires come from a place of abundance and attraction, rather than lack and rejection of what is. You mentally and energetically set yourself up to receive.

Think of it this way: each time you say “thank you,” you find your location on the map of desire and widen the net for the universe to bring you more. Conversely each complaint is energy wasted that could have been used to express yourself and surrender deeper into pleasure.

Recently, I was making love and towards the end, I found myself in a state of overwhelm—the energy was high, I was feeling physically exhausted and my mind was flipping out on whether or not he was happy. We’d lost the connection and I started crying and blaming myself for ‘fucking it all up.’

“Do you want to check in with me?” he asked.
“Ok,” I simpered.
 "Well, the first three-quarters of that was some of the most amazing sex we’ve ever had together.”

Oh. Well that changes things.

Because I was approaching our sex from fear-based, life-or-death-stakes mindset, all I could see was the negative: any perceived ‘fuck up’ was going to lessen my value as a human and I would end up dead and unloved in a crappy studio apartment in the Tenderloin (fear-based mind also tends to bring out the drama queen).

Had I been in my abundance and gratitude, I would have stood up on the bed, ripped off my chain & turtleneck sweater and sang “I Just Had Sex!”

Which brings me to my second point: the importance of cultivating humor in sex.

We’re all human. Being able to laugh at ourselves in the face of our sheer incompetence is what makes being alive bearable. Humor takes the life-or-death-stakes view on sex and infuses it with space and permission. As one of the clumsiest people on the planet, I’ve had my fair share of teeth-banging kisses, cum & snot-nosed BJs and mid-coital pussy farts. You just gotta laugh at that shit because we’ve all been there.

You are allowed to make mistakes. You are allowed not to have the answer. You are allowed to curiously fumble into the unknown. In fact, that is where the best sex happens. When your rational mind throws its hands in the air and says ‘Fuck it! I’m just gonna let it all hang out and have fun,’ you go from being a warrior on the battlefield to a child in a sandbox—totally unaware of people’s eyes on you and unattached to what is created.

Play for the sake of play.

And really, why have sex for any other reason other than for fun? Of course there’s also procreation and shared intimacy—but if you’ve lost the spirit of play in the process, then I suggest slowing down, re-evaluating your desires and re-connecting to your own pleasure.

Because ultimately sex is fun—and silly and weird and confronting and undeniably human. We should celebrate that: the slips, trips, bumps and falls as well as the bliss, joy, ecstasy and intimacy.

So no matter how your sex expresses itself these days—whether you humped three people this morning or haven’t kissed anyone in ten years—take the time to be thankful for your sexuality. You are alive, right now, a sexual being on this planet, and you have the unique opportunity to go on a rich and hilarious journey into the heart of your own desire.

Just don’t forget to pack the Gratitude…

…and Humor.