Relationship

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!

5 (+1) Guidelines to Falling in Evolutionary Love

Union  by Android Jones

Union by Android Jones

Originally posted March 15, 2015

“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

When the sex just isn't enough...

La jeune fille et la mort, 1900 Marianne Stokes

La jeune fille et la mort, 1900 Marianne Stokes

Originally posted December 29, 2014

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.

 

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.

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.

4 Tips to Keep Passion Alive in Long-Term Relationships.

Originally posted November 13, 2013

View this article on Elephant Journal

Those were the days my friend—we thought they’d never end.

We’ve all been there. The start of a relationship. That crackling, electric time when you can’t help but just soak up every drop of your new infatuation and every private moment is spent in the throes of passion.

Until it’s one year, five years, 10 years (or more) later. You’re now more concerned about whether he or she picked up toothpaste from the store rather than what position you want to try tonight.

You know which foods give him or her gas. You’re harboring a secret (or-not-so-secret) resentment towards his or her cleaning habits. The mystery has shifted to TMI.

But you still love your partner. You still think they are gorgeous and awesome and you want to rekindle the spark.

So what do you do?

Of course, simply admitting the truth that you are both hungering for more intimacy (as well as any other withheld communications) is a huge step towards increasing the turn-on, but where do you go from there?

In the following video, I’ll share with you 4 of my favorite tips to help rekindle the passion in your long-term relationship.

5 Ways "Taking Space" Can Aid Your Marriage

Originally posted July 24, 2013

View original article on The Good Men Project

“Honey, I think we need to take some space.”

I spoke these words to my ex-husband towards the end of 2008—seven years too late. About a month later, the relationship ended.

Two months into my second marriage, I now see how the power of space is one of the key factors in helping a partnership thrive.

Oftentimes when a partner asks for space, an onslaught of negative thoughts deluges (and deludes) our minds:

S/he doesn’t love me anymore.

S/he is cheating on me.

I’m asking for too much.

I’m too needy.

I’m not attractive.

I’m no fun.

But the truth is taking space is one of the telltale signs of a healthy relationship. It demonstrates trust, interdependency (vs. codependency) and being able to know your own needs, share them with your partner and have them lovingly received.

Taking space is not the same as running away. Running away is cutting the cord of the relationship. It’s a form of emotional disconnection and is the only refuge of those filled with resentment. What’s most needed in those moments is to stay connected, both to your partner and to your own feelings, and to share the backlog of communication you have withheld during your time together (this might take a little while and in the company of a good coach or therapist).

Conversely, taking space is about staying connected through the distance. Being in your dance of solitude while still celebrating companionship. Nurturing yourself so you return to the relationship refreshed and ready to share your bounty.

The following are my top 5 reasons why taking space in a marriage are the keys to saving it.

1. It builds sexual tension.

Ever hear the phrase “absence makes the heart grow fonder?” How about “absence makes the cock grow harder?” No matter how smokin’ hot your spouse is, once you see them through the domestic lens of morning breath and dirty dishes, the sexual sizzle starts to wane. But, just a little bit of space creates dynamic tension—the further apart the polar opposites are pulled, the stronger the magnetic attraction builds. Both time and distance stoke that desire. So when the moment to reunite approaches, both partners are typically aching to jump each other’s bones.

2. It helps deepen relationships outside your primary relationship.

“Ever since you got married, we never see you anymore.” So goes the lament of many a best friend when his or her pal ties the knot. Unfortunately for many of us married folk, once we start building the nest, we often find it difficult to leave. Remembering to foster your important relationships outside the marriage is a great way to build community and friendship for when you need an outsider’s perspective. Plus, when people have a strong web of external support, they become less dependent on the marriage for emotional nourishment and relieve spouses of the impossible duty to be their partner’s “everything.”

3. It reconnects you to your own needs and desires.

Most of the time in marriage, partners think in terms of “us.” “Can I afford to take a music class and contribute to our rent?” “Can I go to the museum today or did my partner have other plans in mind for us?” When you take time alone, you get to tap into your own individual desires and flow from there. You start to learn things about yourself that you may not have noticed if you’d had your attention on your partner. Perhaps you become inspired by a piece of artwork and decide to take up painting. Maybe you discover that Ethiopian food is your favorite (since you’ve never tried it because your partner hates it). Having the personal space to reflect on your needs and desires helps you return to the relationship whole, integrated and clear on what you need to ask next from the relationship.

4. Freedom!

Autonomy! It’s “do whatever the hell you want day” because no one is around to stop you! OK, not that anyone can stop you from doing anything really, but in relationship, negotiations are constantly being made. When you have your own space, you can turn up the music, dance in your underwear and eat greasy Chinese food. Or take a tour of a random neighborhood and enjoy the journey without having to check on someone else’s bladder or hunger levels. Knowing that there is space in your relationship for personal freedom builds trust and gratitude towards your partner.

5. It reminds you of why you love your partner.

Space feels pretty cool when you get to do what you want. But then there comes that moment when you want that perfect cup of tea only your partner knows how to make. Or when you ache for the depth of touch only your partner provides. Or when that silly, “inside joke” song comes on the radio and you end up singing it solo. When we feel the absence of the exquisite attention that our partner provides, we appreciate our dearly beloveds and remember why we continuously choose “yes” to the relationship.

Men, You Get To Have Your Feelings, Too

Image Credit:  visualpanic /Flickr 

Image Credit: visualpanic/Flickr 

Originally posted July 3, 2013

I recently experienced what some would call an emotional breakdown. The hippie, new-age Cali girl in me would prefer to think of it as an emotional breakthrough. But yeah, I had a breakdown.

Anger, unspoken desires, resentment, exhaustion, hunger—all of these conspired to create the perfect storm of matrimonial turbulence.

Until he finally held my shoulders, looked into my eyes and said, “You get to have your feelings.” Finally, the knot I had been gripping with all my arrogance melted. He had touched the sore place where love does not easily flow.

The welling tears spilled forth, and my shaking body, caught in the grip of deep climax, collapsed onto his chest.

I could trust this man because I know that in our relationship, he gets to have his feelings too.

♦◊♦

Men seem to be perpetually caught in a paradoxical mind-fuck which dictates that they must be the impenetrable ‘rock’ in the relationship. He can’t have any feelings or those feelings must take a backseat to his partner’s. This belief, while chivalrous in its roots, cripples intimacy.

The stoic and mysterious Don Draper may certainly be appealing for a night of sensual debauchery, but his relationship track record is pretty wretched.

To me, being a rock doesn’t mean that a man is bulletproof or fixed. A rock is a porous being. It absorbs the water just as much as it meets and holds it.

The rock is meant to symbolize constant presence. What that means is a man stays connected no matter what is swirling within himself or his partner. He remains open and permeable, mirroring his partner with equal amounts of honesty.

Vulnerability is the real strength. Someone willing to say what he feels while holding the space for his partner’s experience requires the utmost courage and willingness to stay firmly rooted in the moment.

When a man is permeable, he is truly feeling his partner and not simply dealing with him/her. The former breeds compassion and trust. The latter usually plays out one of two ways.

In the first, the man may completely detach from the experience. He essentially waits for his partner to ‘get it over with’ before he returns to the present.

In the second, the man may settle into the old game of  ‘son saves mommy’, leaving both parties completely disempowered as neither will take responsibility for his own experience. The focus becomes on finding someone to ‘fix’ and not on sharing experience authentically.

As woman, I want a partner, not a caretaker. A playmate, not a parent. Someone who is already whole, not depending on me to make him whole. When a man is in alignment and approval of his own inherent femininity, it opens the door for total, embodied masculinity (which is pretty damn irresistible).

So men, release the ‘handle-the-problem’ mindset and allow yourself to be penetrated. Your willingness to have your feelings allows me the freedom to share mine.

Open your heart. Ground into your cock. Breathe. Let your commitment to stay present remain unwavering and speak your truth. That is the real rock we are calling forth from you.

Article adapted from its original appearance via The Good Men Project

I Got Married. Again.

Our awesome wedding. Photo by Shane Metcalf

Our awesome wedding. Photo by Shane Metcalf

Originally posted May 21, 2013

I got married. Again.

Something I vowed I would never do. But vows are funny things, you know. Life is constantly in a state of flux. What we vow one day gets flipped upside down the next. We either stay firm within them, or we shift with the tide.

So when the unshakable desire arose to love this man and commit to the unfolding partnership, I shifted too.

But when it came time for me to write my wedding vows, I found myself utterly stumped. Months went by. I thought the moment would magically arise and words would effortlessly overflow from my loving cup. Alas, I every time I tried to share what was in my heart, everything felt cheap and trite.

I reconsidered the whole notion of having vows. When I hear ‘in sickness and in health; til death do us part’, I think of fundamentalist, religious perspectives of the ‘proper’ roles of husbands and wives. Considering that I believe relationships can express themselves in a variety of ways, i.e. queer, poly and/or non-marriage based, this collection of antiquated aphorisms just weren’t my speed, nor did they inspire my writing.

Finally, in the shower, I had a flash in the form of a lyric from a medicine song that deeply binds me to my prayer.

I quickly wrapped a towel around me and dashed to my computer. Four lines squeezed out of me. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.

The next day, our internet went down. We called the cable company. While my partner was testing the internet on my computer, he saw the beginning of my vows, which I had idiotically left open on my laptop.

I was back to zero. And this time, I felt even more hopeless. The crappy internet had destroyed my tiny shred of inspiration.

And that’s when I decided I would start as I always do: with the truth. I made the decision to just write what I was feeling in the moment. Every mental block and aggravation poured out of me.

And from this odd pile of brain vomit arose a simple truth: I was trying to vow in a way that wasn’t in integrity with who I was. I was looking for static promises that I knew would all set me up for failure.

Instead, what I discovered, was that this love was a moment to moment choice. How our relationship will look or what we will want in the future will naturally ebb and flow with the tides of our lives. But I can be certain that I will be a total ‘yes’ to whatever arises. And this ‘yes’, to everything—the blissful and the challenging—is the foundation of orgasmic marriage.

I share these words with you today in the hopes that they carry on the spirit of that prayer: to inspire and foster growth—for myself, my Beloved and everyone we meet.

In a moment when a writer most needs her muse

Words utterly fail me—

Or rather they disappoint—

They are but brief placeholders

To the magnitude of love inside.

 

I remember within the first weeks of dating you

(During our emotional disarmament)

When I laid down my vanity and spoke

The ominous desire:

“I want to know what it’s like to be utterly devoted to a man.”

 

And so…here we stand.

Me: a woman

Just trying to figure it out.

You: the answer

To my every prayer.

 

This relationship has felt like a series of choiceless choices.

I can say ‘Yes’

And watch the most incredible miracles unfold--

Or…I can say ‘Yes’

Because you and I would never choose anything less than magic.

 

I choose connection over ‘being right.’

I choose vulnerability over pride.

I choose support for our growth over insecurity of my own inadequacy.

I choose celebration over manipulation.

I choose ‘more life’ over stagnant insulation.

 

I choose gratitude over resentment.

I choose play over ‘winning the game.’

I choose service to Spirit over selfish adoration.

I choose interpersonal freedom over fear-laden codependency.

I choose a pauper’s truth over a king’s ransom of lies.

 

“Oh my Beloved, you are always in my heart”

And this is my only prayer:

May our love be the foundation of our lives,

And an inspiration to each other

And to every person we meet.

 

I honor—and devote—myself to you,

Adam Gordon.

My partner in this world—

And every place

Beyond understanding.

11 Reasons Why I’m Getting Married (Again)

Photo by Karl Baba

Photo by Karl Baba

Originally posted June 5, 2012

View this article on elephantjournal.com

I swore off marriage when I was twelve years old. I was a jaded pre-teen with a bit of a feminist streak who had witnessed the demise of her parents’ relationship a few years before. I decided that I was never going to fall prey that heteronormative, societal slave trap. I was going to make something of my life and no amount of schmaltzy, romantic bullshit was going to stand in my way.

Ten years later I was married (life has a funny way of taking our belief systems and packing them with dynamite). I was a good wife—or at least I tried to be. I cooked and cleaned. I was understanding and kind (sometimes). And I really, really cared about my husband. But, admittedly, my heart was not in it. Nobody’s fault. We simply weren’t the best fit for each other and hung on for much longer than was respectfully necessary.

So, I ended up joining the ranks of one of the real housewives who get to say fashionable things like “My ex-husband this” or “My divorce settlement that”—all before the age of 30.

Joking aside, it was a pretty intense period of my life. Walking away from everything I had known about love and relating. Feeling like total failure. A selfish, sick little girl with no stable ground to stand on. Even though through it all I knew I was making the right choice, I was shaking with fear behind my mask of quiet bravery.

And with that mask came a resounding voice from the past: don’t ever get married again. No really. You are not wife material. You are not a mother. Do you want to put another man (and possibly innocent children) though hell?

Then five months ago he came along. And my whole system went “What the hell are you doing, Candice? Again? Really?”

No, not really. Something was different. Some puzzle piece went ‘click.’ The first part of the puzzle had to do with me. The fact that I done some deep soul spelunking, made peace with my hunger and discovered the courage to share my desire made a huge difference in being able to fearlessly express love (even in the face of inevitable rejection and humiliation).

Then, when you meet someone who totally compliments you and loves you and trusts you exactly as you are, there is a sort of ease and freedom that arises. Rather than trying to maintain some ideal of what I think wifedom and marriage should be, I am encouraged to peel off the layers and reveal parts of myself I have kept in the shadows for many years. In fact, the more intimate we are with each other, the better the relationship gets (case in point: jealousy and anger make for great raw material in sex).

And so I had to once again re-examine the voice that was against marriage. OK, so I am not in favor of the stagnant, co-dependent models of relating that parade themselves as marriage. And I think the way that marriage is represented in American culture isn’t truly rooted in love and commitment. I mean, we hungrily follow which football star Kim Kardashian might shack up with next. So-called ‘reality’ TV like the The Bachelor and The Millionaire Matchmaker have reduced marriage to the level of game shows, with husbands and wives as the ultimate prize. And as women, we get caught in this schizophrenic bind of having to find a husband and wanting our freedom: either we have to hunt him and trap him before we turn 30 (because the clock is ticking, ladies) or we give up relating all together for casual trysts that fill the gaps between power lunches and spin classes.

Cut and paste all that against the backdrop of a fierce political and religious debate surrounding the ‘sanctity’ of marriage as it’s ‘threatened’ by homosexual couples and you can see why we have a pretty twisted notion of what it means to be wedded in holy matrimony.

And it’s at this point that I settle onto my mediation cushion and find the pearl of wisdom that rests within me:

“Candice?”

“Yes, oh Sagacious One.”

“Do whatever the fuck you want.”

Exactly. At the heart of it all, I want to marry this man. He’s so fucking cool! I get excited when I think about living a crazy, rockstar, dream life with him—a life that goes way beyond the bounds of ‘normal’ marriage. We—my Beloved and I—get to create something unique and authentic. We get to make the rules (and break them). And in the end, we answer to no one but ourselves.

But I like to make lists. And I like to write articles. And I like to make lists when I write articles. So even though there’s really only one reason I’m choosing marriage (because it’s my desire), here are 11 Reasons Why I’m Getting Married (Again):

1. It was spontaneous. And I just love that. It feels much more honest when life happens at the unfiltered speed of ‘Yes.’ If you give me the perfectly scripted diamond-ring-and-down-on-one-knee proposal, I may smile and think “Oh how sweet,” but I’m not going to be sold. But if you give me the day of a total eclipse at the Symbiosis Festival in the Reckless In Love Shack at 3am while surrounded by an inebriated gang of Brits, you have yourself a winner.

2. He’s my best friend. We don’t just love each other; we like each other. We have lots of cracked out, dorky fun together. We like singing Bohemian Rhapsody (the entire thing!). We like quoting cheesy movies to each other. We make each other fall down laughing with our free associations and impressions of other people. And if after 13 days of spending nearly every moment together (days that included very little sleep, 30 hours of driving and camping out in some pretty harsh conditions) we still want to hang out with each other, that’s a pretty damn good sign.

3. We know when to take space. And then, after the 13 days of traveling together, when I say to him, “Honey, I need the night off,” he meets me with understanding and respect. He also knows when to ask for space. We may say something like, “I miss you. I feel sad. I’m disappointed not to see you. My body aches for you.” But in the end, absence does make the heart grow fonder—or at least our relationship stronger. For when we take the time to cultivate our individual passions, we come back together from a place of fullness and energy, ready to share our discoveries with each other.

4. I want to grow old with him. What’s more, I could even see myself having our child (yikes!). This is a very, very hard piece for me to admit. It hits my pride as a ‘free woman’ on so many levels. And yet, when I slow down and feel my desire, I discover joy in the possibility of building a life together—who we are as a team is infinitely greater than who we are alone. I don’t have to spend my life with him. I know I can survive just fine. But I’ve had flashes of his wise, old face in a rocking chair on the front porch of our home. I’m choosing to stick around long enough to see that.

5. He cries. I trust a man who is not afraid to share his innermost wonder and grief. It gives me the courage to share mine. His raw vulnerability is a huge gift in a world where masculinity is falsely touted as being some unbreakable superhero. No, dear readers. The masculine face of love sheds many, many tears on the journey of opening one’s heart to a woman.

6. Because why the fuck not? I don’t ever want to say on my deathbed “Thank God I played it safe when I was in love.” I want to be able to revel in the fact that I risked it all and made the most of every second life had to offer me. I don’t think the universe makes mistakes and I certainly don’t see my first marriage as a mistake. I think it was a glorious journey that has taken me exactly where I need to be. This time, the universe has raised the stakes and I am ready to play balls out.

7. We inspire each other to keep growing. Settling for ‘ok’ isn’t good enough for either of us, even if that means discomfort on both our parts. But that discomfort is just a sign we are hitting a fertile boundary, ripe with creativity and promise. And we are both courageous enough to stay connected within the change, even when it includes some scary shit like moving to another city or exploring our sexuality with someone outside of the relationship.

8. We trust each other’s inner compass. And we strive to speak our truth and have space for the other person’s experience. When he feels something is ‘off’, I listen. When I get intuitive hits about where to go next, he pays attention. This kind of respect is not something I take for granted. It requires a high level of communication and trust to say things like:

“What’s your deeper desire?”

“Where are you right now?”

“Stop playing nice.”

“You feel far away.”

“What are you not saying?”

“I know we planned to turn right, but I’d like to go left.”

“You don’t feel connected to your heart.”

“I love you and I am fuckin’ pissed.”

“This is a hard boundary and I am saying ‘No.’”

9. I get to wear a kick-ass dress. OK, perhaps one of the more shallow reasons to get married again (and also why this list went from 10 to 11) but I like dressing up. And last time I got married at the Justice of the Peace in casual pants and a sweater, so this time I want to go all out. Think Tim Burton meets Moulin Rouge. Yeah, you know you’re jealous.

10. He’s a rock. In the sense that I can throw all my wackiest, off-the-wall, crazy, angry, jealous, freaked out, neurotic shit at him, and he’s still standing. Not only is he still standing—he’s still loving me. He’s not afraid to violate the rules I have locking my orgasm. His commitment to total presence in the face of my feminine outrage liberates the woman in me—and the delicious reward on the other side of that liberation frees us both.

11. I like kissing him. Don’t get me wrong—the sex is awesome too. And if you know anything about me, you know that I place a high value on quality sex. However, there’s something so intimate about kissing someone. There’s nowhere to hide. It’s as if I’m emotionally naked and all the faces of my desire come out as he is staring into my eyes. The warm, electric promise of more when he brushes his lips below my ear and slides his thumb over my nipple. The comfort of home when cups his hands over my ears and grazes his mouth against my forehead. The rousing of my hungry animal when he thrusts me against a wall and devours my face, while pressing his cock against my thick, wet pussy. The sweet, adolescent innocence of his soft, full lips against mine as our tongues barely caress each other. I’ve had a variety of terrific lovers, for which I have tremendous gratitude. But to know how to slake a dying woman’s thirst with just the right kiss—that’s enough to bring me to my knees and pledge a lifetime of eternal devotion.

Falling: A Meditation on Love

View from Castro Heights

Originally posted January 17, 2012

We travel initially to lose ourselves and we travel next to find ourselves. We travel to open our hearts and eyes and learn more about the world than our newspapers will accommodate. We travel, in essence, to become young fools again, to slow time down and get taken in and fall in love once more--Pico Iyer 

Anyone who knows me, knows that when I say I am committed to doing something, I do it full-out, all the way to the end.

Some may call this perseverance.

Some may call this folly.

I simply call it “falling.”

There’s a reason I’ve worn the guards around my heart for so many years. Yes, I can love the unloveable in a general way—give a little hit of the orgasm drug to the junkies and then scurry off to another corner of the planet. But to stick around long enough for you to see my folly…not on your life!

But I have a secret. Now, don’t tell anyone this, because it’s pretty well-hidden (but not really). It’s this innocent place that, if discovered, will reveal that I’m not really as worldly and jaded and smart as I pretend to be.

It’s this place where, if I acknowledge just how much I love you and how much you mean to me, then I am totally yours. Forever. Deeply, deeply devoted in a kind of full-on surrender that I completely lose who I am in pursuit of knowing and experiencing this one true thing.

I know it in acting. But I wasn’t happy with just one impossible cause.

I know it in orgasm. And yet two also just didn’t seem like enough.

So why not really make a fool of myself? Go for the great triumvirate! The cosmic hat trick! Mind, body, spirit! Father, son, holy ghost! Or whatever fucking parallel you want to make.

The point is this: I am in love with a boy.

There. I said it. I admit it.

I.

Am.

In.

Love.

With.

A.

Boy.

Yup. A mere mortal. No great cause to sweep away the suffering of the world, but an angel in human form that I keep merely for my own selfish pleasure.

Please forgive me that we are already 374 words into this blog post and I have still yet to release my sardonic tone. But the fact is I need it as a buffer in order to get the tiniest shred of love to trickle out onto the page.

Innocence. Right. Change of stroke.

So what does it mean to fall in love in an orgasmic world? Well, for starters, there’s a sort of conscious pride-death that takes happens. In muggle terms, that means I giggle stupidly when he’s around…all the time…even when he is putting on his socks. There’s a way in which he’ll tell me he doesn’t like what I am wearing and I will tear up my boxes to find something we both like. There’s a way in which I can downstroke him, right in the middle of penetration, and he will let that sword in and I will ride the slicing pain of sensation all the way down to the bottom. There’s a way in which he can tell me in the moment, “I don’t want you moving to LA. I want to marry you, move to the suburbs and make babies,” and because he is so honest with me, I feel like I can trust him—which makes me love him even more. And there’s a way in which we have an upturned palm surrounding the relationship. It doesn’t grasp or cling, but it holds itself open, ready to let go (or receive) at any moment.

And it’s for this reason that I keep coming back. It doesn’t mean that he and I don’t get jealous or scared or annoyed or bored or obsessive or whatever. What it means is that our ability to trust and to surrender expands the container of our relationship to include all of that “negative” energy, alchemize it to turn-on and fuel our desires.

He was nervous a few weeks ago to tell me about an interaction he had with another woman. In the old model of relating, we normally hide things like that from our lovers because we think they are too fragile and we don’t want to hurt their feelings (or so we say…many times it’s just our own shame in admitting how greedy we are sexually). In any case, I began to ask him about his makeout. Was it hot? Where did you feel the most sensation? What did that interaction reveal in you? Or was it just a good, old-fashioned, apple-pie fuck? And as he talked, I got more and more turned-on, hungry to feel more of him.

I like feeling his desire. I like knowing what makes him happy. I like that he wants to include me in the ENTIRE landscape of his sexuality—not just the confident, successful façade most men show. The good stuff is in the greasy bits left in the bottom of the cast iron skillet. The angry, hard bits. The unctuous butter. The concentrated salt. The blackened bitter. The way he slaps my face while I roll on top of him and choke his throat. Or in the way I lay my head sweetly on his shoulder and press my hand gently on the dark fur of his chest.

And I love that he’ll ask me “What do you want?” again…and again…and again…and again…patiently awaiting the moment when I finally burn through my shame and pride and simply say, “I want you to hold me in the soft warmth of this bed.”

Or I’ll say, “I want you to move to LA with me and start your business there!”

Or I’ll say, “I want eggs…no I want oatmeal…no I want a green drink…no I want chamomile tea…no I want toast with almond butter…NO! Kombucha! That’s it!”

In the end (if there really is such a thing), it doesn’t matter what it looks like. And that’s what’s most important for me. That’s the part (if this were an OM) that has my nervous system relax, trust that the container is tight enough, and allow anything to orgasmically arise. Perhaps the relationship plays out until I move to LA. Maybe it tumultuously climaxes next time we see each other. Maybe we create a long-distance partnership that spans years. Maybe we move to Kathmandu together and become hermits for the rest of our lives. The point is we are not relating in a way that is rooted in what was or what might be (though these things do come up naturally). But we work to keep our attention in the present moment and on the sensation right now. And we trust that if we feel our way, all will unfold in its divine intelligence.

I have travelled to lose myself, to find myself, to open my eyes and ears, to slow down, to meet my fool and to get swept away. I have travelled all the way across the country to know this place. Might as well fall in.