Occupy My Heart: An NYC Love Story

Originally posted November 4, 2011

13 years, 1 month, 8 days.

13 years.

1 month.

8 days.

How do you measure an era of one’s life (ok, that sounds a little cheesily Rent-esquebut you get the point).

That’s how long I lived in New York City—that sprawling, electric rainforest of cultures, experiences and concrete. Lots of concrete. Love it or hate it (or love to hate it), it’s a city that demands to be respected and pushes you to the edge.

I arrived there one week before turning 18 to embark on the dream of an acting career. I left at 31 to embark on an evolved version of my dream: to bring orgasm to the world through acting in film (if you had asked me two years ago if I would have ever written that sentence, I would have looked at you like you had three heads).

I lived in Washington Square, Kips Bay, South Williamsburg, Clinton Hill, Morningside Heights,Yorkville, Washington Heights, Cobble Hill, Astoria and East Elmhurst (with a 2 week stint in Midwood, Brooklyn thrown in for good measure).

I was in Brooklyn during 9/11 (four days after my 21st birthday), walked from the Upper East Side to Times Square during the 2003 blackout and spent part of my last evening in the city at Occupy Wall Street.

I worked in the offices of NYU, behind the bar of an East Village 24-hour diner, taught in the studios of numerous yoga spots, served coffee at the Washington Heights Starbucks, sold jewelry at a fine crafts gallery in Brooklyn, and coached many people in the subtle but extraordinary practice of Orgasmic Meditation.

I performed in theatres in the Lower East Side, Times Square, Hells Kitchen, the Upper West Side, Chinatown, and both the East and West Village. I co-founded a theatre company that is still going strong and co-wrote/co-produced a play that went on to the 2007 NYC Fringe Festival. I shot an indie film and numerous commercials all over the tri-state area.

And yet, none of this really matters on the surface. What stays with me is the feeling I have when I look back. The lightness and freedom when I fall into a pile of fresh snow (immediately followed by the dread I feel when hiking through the dirt slush that hugs the curb for the next 3 months). The sticky, thick wetness of a NYC apartment in summer—sans air conditioning. The electric buzz of Times Square blinking her offerings to tourists hungry for…well…whatever they can imagine.

And the people. Actors, writers, musicians, yogis, teachers, students, homeless dudes, people posing as homeless dudes, drug dealers, waiters & waitresses, prostitutes, lovers, haters, fighters, peacemakers, Wall Street champs, drag queens, buskers, subway drivers, bodega owners…I can’t possibly list them all here.

My last day in NYC was a Friday. October 7, 2011. Warm. A little Indian summer just before the apple-crisp winds of autumn. I spent the morning packing up the last of my things. Sent a few last minute packages in the mail via the post office a block and a half away. A bus ride and a few subway stops later, I’m in Union Square. I swing by Trader Joe’s for a bottle of wine (thank-you-gift) then walk down Broadway and stop by the $1 shelves of the Strand. Looking for an airplane book (something Paulo Coelho-ish?), I instantaneously stumble upon The Celestine Prophecy, a parable from the ‘90s focused on the energy of the universe, synchronicities and the next phase of our evolution. “How perfect is that?” I think to myself. And in that moment, a book by that exact title (How Perfect is That) pops into my view. Follow the synchronicities. I walk through NYU land, past Tisch, beyond Houston and into Soho. I make a quick stop by my work and then I am off to the southern tip of Manhattan.

And it is here, at Occupy Wall Street, that I finally felt like I was perched on the perfect bridge between the life I once wore and the open space I now faced. I know the rosy, warm, soft hum of human connection, having spent time in SF and Burning Man and through practicing Orgasmic Meditation. And right there, in the cultural epi-center of the planet, the energy of fiscal greed was alchemized into pure love. It blew my mind. I could dance here to the drummers and whatever came out of me was innocent perfection. Old men, young girls, dirty punks with metal in their faces and crisply-dressed Wall Street players (their ties coming out of place as they self-consciously swayed to the beat) all met there. All accepted exactly as they were. Myself included. And for a few moments, in that swirling, intoxicating rhythm of my heart, I fell through the veil of self and other. We all…just…were. Together.

Holding my breath, I slipped out gently (so as not to tear the fabric that snuggled the group) to a friends place on Wall Street. I connected with her, floated on back up to Union Square for some goodbyes at Bar 13, and then made my way to the R train (the first train I took when I moved to NYC in 1998) for my final subway ride.

And as I stood on the late night platform, the raspy, singular sound of a man and his guitar jangled in my ear.

His song?

“New York State of Mind.”

Now…how perfect is that? 

Orgasmic Living: Peak, Excitement, Play

Open road on the way to Burning Man 2011

Originally posted October 12, 2011

When we least expect it, life sets us a challenge to test our courage and willingness to change; at such a moment, there is no point in pretending that nothing has happened or in saying that we are not ready. The challenge will not wait. Life does not look back. A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny--Paulo Coelho

I am sitting in San Francisco writing this blog. At times I find myself amazed that I am here, working with OneTaste. Already, I can feel my tumescence rising. How do I fit in? Am I taking up too much space? Am I irritating people? How can I be best used? What do I really want? Do I deserve it? Am I asking for too much?

Frankly, I have gotten just about everything I have asked for. It’s funny to notice my discomfort in this situation. As soon as it’s offered to me, I want to reject it and ask for just a little bit less (don’t want to appear too greedy). Or I want to explain myself to others as to why I deserve what I want.

Let’s go back about 2 weeks ago. I began talking to one of the senior teachers at OneTaste. I knew, deep in my soul, that I needed to be a part of the new Orgasmic Meditation (OM) course inLos Angeles at the end of October. I feel that the next phase of orgasm includes bringing prominent people from the media into the movement. Also, I have an incredible desire to act in film—independent film that pushes boundaries and explores the “dark night of the soul.” So it all just made sense.

But as the conversation continued, there was more. Oh yes, a lot more. A deeper hunger emerged. A desire to move across the country, move in with the OM community, work with OneTaste, get trained in Orgasm, connect to my burner tribe, and (quite frankly) have sex. A lot of sex. A lot of good sex. And OM. A lot. 5 times a day. To connect deeply, fully, organically to my hunger (which for many years I had seen as my arch adversary).

The discussion lasted a few days, over email. Proposals were written. Negotiations made. But nothing set in stone. Then finally I began to see how (like a good girl) I was waiting for PERMISSION from other people (my bosses in NYC, my clients, my teachers, my friends) to “allow” me to make this change. And I thought to myself, “Dear God! This is my one and only life! The only person responsible for it is myself…and you know? The rest of the world will go on just fine if I leave NYC—in face, the world may even be better off if I follow my desire.”

So I gave myself one week. One week to leave my jobs, to say goodbye to my friends and clients, to ship my life across the country and take a big fucking chance that it would all work out: money, orgasm, a place to stay…everything. A lot can happen in a week. As Paulo Coelho says “A week is more than enough time for us to decide whether or not to accept our destiny.” I was completely capable to move across the country in a week. In fact, I was being called to do so.  I hit a peak and it was time to change the stroke. To keep going in NYC would drain me. Irritate me. And over time, a layer of resentment and bitterness would seep into my body.  It was time to leave. To go in a whole new direction.

So, though there were moments when I got choked up my last days in NYC, it felt so right. Saying goodbye, over and over, I felt a little more of the old me letting go and creating space for the woman I am becoming.

And now…I am living in my purpose, aka the excitement channel (in orgasmic terms). A time to create. A time of limitless possibility. A time to take responsibility for my desire and be bold enough to ask for what I want.

So. Desire. Orgasm. Purpose. Life. I am here. I have shown up to the game. Let’s play.

PS: Look for a later post on the magical experience that was my last day in NYC. Abundant with synchronicities and deeply fulfilling, the city and I shared a sweet goodbye that reminded me of why we fell in love in the first place.

If You Build It, They Will Come (But What If I Don't Know What I Am Building?)

My friend Lance and me as Vestal Virgins, Burning Man 2011

Originally posted September 16, 2011

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I/I took the one less-traveled by/And that has made all the difference. --Robert Frost

When I decided to move to the west coast, my intention was always to land in Los Angeles—and it still is. The film industry beckons me, as does the prospect of bringing Orgasmic Mediation to the myriad of package-pretty (but sensation-lacking) actors and actresses living in Tinseltown.

I had a plan: save up some money, buy a car and drive directly to LA at the beginning of 2012.

Only now, a pesky little gnat has taken up residence in my heart: Desire.

I recently spent four weeks out west, both in San Francisco and in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada as part of set-up and tear-down crew for the annual Burning Man festival (if you don’t know what that is, I really can’t explain it here, but trust me, it is a life-changing crucible of transformation). During these weeks, I experienced what it was like to feel validated as a sexually hungry woman. I felt creative in ways I never imagined (I painted a bunch of tables for Center Camp and gave a talk on creativity, purpose and orgasm—two things I have never done before!). I lived an existence where magic and synchronicity were the status quo. I celebrated my 31stbirthday on the playa. And I found my people. As I write this now I am starting to weep. Family. People who see all of you and love every little crazy, creepy, freaky, dirty, shiny, golden scrap of your wounded being. People, who when I say “I am sad” or “I am angry”, say “Great! Tell me about it!”—not the usual “Get over it” or “Awww, everything’s gonna be ok.” Most of all, I learned how to better express my own love. To not hold back out of fear of what the “Other” is thinking, but to just fucking stand up, look someone in the eye (with love and without entitlement) and say “This is what I feel. This is what I want.”

So now, all I can think about is how the hell I can get to San Francisco as soon as possible. Not in a passing “I’ll spend a week there on my way to LA” kind of way. But in a serious, 3-4 month energetic fortification before making my way to jungles of Los Angeles. As in buying a one-way ticket two weeks from today, donating most of my possessions and shipping the rest. Tying a hasty little bow on this 13-year love affair with New York City.

The thing is…I’m scared. Really. Do I have a job in SF? No. Do I have a place to live? Well, maybe a crash pad for a few weeks, but certainly nothing really affordable for me right now. Do I have a car (so I really need one)? A plan? Any real good reason to do this?

I mean, this doesn’t make sense! I just signed a 3-month teaching contract at the City University of New York. I have clients at the studio I teach out of in Soho. I need to be saving money now and moving costs a lot of money!

And yet…it all just feels like an excuse to me.

Because the bottom line is that my desire is calling me in a BIG FUCKING WAY to SF—right now in this very moment (oh man, here come the tears again).

I know what you are thinking: “Oh Lord, another one of these people who is making crazy life changes after going to Burning Man.” I hear you. But, this isn’t my first time at the burn, ya know. It’s my third, so it’s not as if I just experienced all this opening for the first time and I have decided to sell my life and become a monk in the Himalayas. I mean, I already started selling everything I own last April. I already had a plan to go west for the past year. And I am keeping in step with the purpose I was put here for: to perform and to bring OMing to everyone. It simply feels like I am now listening even more closely to my body, which yearns to accelerate at a pace I had not anticipated.

At Burning Man, my intention was to let go of the Good Girl/Princess and to step into the role of a Queen. Though there is still always work to be done here, I feel as if I shed a huge part of the last 10 years of my life on the playa. And in this lightness, I have found an immediacy, a weightlessness and a freedom in life. I can’t return now to the old ways of living: holding myself back, waiting for the right moment, scrimping by on “just enough”, living in the land of “if only” or “what if.” The moment is now. Always. The moment is right now. It’s simply up to me to choose which direction to go…