My pelvis has been on a journey. I asked her to externally rotate and lift for the better part of 20 years while I was immersed in ballet. I didn’t know the energetic repercussions of these actions. But I did know that I cultivated way more sexual energy than my personality was comfortable expressing at the time. I also started having tendonitis in my feet.
Now I have no injuries, which is rare for someone who’s been dancing 30 years. I now understand the connection of the feet and the pelvis. I also have learned that the pelvis is a tremendous gateway to intuition and heart opening, not to mention the next generation. I’ve worked with many sexual abuse survivors, pregnant women, midwives, sexuality educators, and I have witnessed the ability of the pelvis to alchemize wounds into ecstasy, pain into forgiveness, tension into trust.
This weekend I’m so excited to bring this work to the Theatrical Bellydance Conference! We will be looking at the physical and energetic anatomy of the pelvis. I am starting to call this the “psychic hokey pokey.” Energy follows our intention!
I love sharing how the intricate muscles of the pelvis support our vital organs and weave with the same complexity as our facial muscles. I’ve heard too often that “kegels” are about stopping the flow of urine. But that would be akin to saying that facial expressions are like squeezing everything into a tight pucker and then releasing… and missing the nuances of happy, stunned, surprised… We can move our tailbone, we can isolate the right and left halves of the pelvic diamond floor, we can lift and tilt our womb. These deep gestures of the regenerative organs flood us with sensation, and sensation brings us into presence.
Our time together at the conference will be brief, as there are many incredible presenters sharing the day. So I will be offering a longer workshop in the next coming weeks. I’ve created this blog to gather your questions and comments so I can address them in the next workshop.
Last night we had our first Love Making Dances Class at Solstice Studio.
There is warmth in my body. My muscles feel supple. My feet are relaxed and held by the tremendous Earth. I feel a profound innocence in our circle as we stand here with closed eyes. We’ve been dancing the past 50 minutes and here in the silence between songs we are seemingly still. Our breath is deep and in harmony with the rhythms we have just been hearing. The taste in my mouth has become sweet. My mind is clear and gentle with me. My intuition is tuned to high and the things in my life that I desire to serve are present and simple… touch and move people to experience love and awe.
The music starts, Miriam Makeba sings with us through the speakers. We sway our hips side to side and drop our heels down into the Earth. We are harvesting from the land. We could be transported from the inncense and latern lights in this manhattan Solstice Studio to the sunny artichoke fields of California, or the sandy gardens in Dakar, Senegal where I danced years ago. This is the universal body bowing to the Earth and harvesting that which nourishes us. I am not really “teaching” these steps. I am remembering from one culture to the next, and pointing out the instincts we embody. We know ourselves more deeply when we dance our dances. Planting, harvesting, coming of age, courting, mating, birting, healing, dying… Love, makes all these dances for us.
I open the circle to ask the dancers why they have come. A man speaks about watching the children dance at a party. As he speaks he starts dancing, his excitement cannot be hidden. “I want to be free like the child,” he says.
I look around the circle. We are big kids here tonight with such laughter in our eyes.
Everything seems possible in this vibrant space. The fatigue has dissolved. It feels like a first date with God/Goddess. I am giddy. I can’t wait to be touched and yet I am, every part of my body is touched by Life.
If you would like to join us Mondays in March at Solstice Studio, 8:30 – 9:45 pm, you can sign up here! Drop ins are welcome.
She knows how to win…something. It’s something she doesn’t have, she needs, she lacks. And her winning does not restore balance, although it may bring her (and her lover) pleasure.
Yesterday I was coaching someone who told me that since she stopped eating sugar she experienced “hunger” for the first time. She realized that she had only known “craving” before. Wow! I asked if she could explain what hunger and what craving feels like. She said craving is when you have to have something now, compulsion.
My God craving is exciting, pleasure filled, even more fun when others are craving it too. Craving is the tool of Seductress. Ok so for someone lacking passion Craving might be a step up from numbness, but when you’re done you’re still…Craving.
I’ve had Craving sex. How can I tell? Cause when it’s over all I want to know is if we can have more. I can’t transition to the next place I need to be. My “leave the house for work” alarm has already stopped itself and I’m still not dressed. I can’t focus. It’s like a bliss hangover. Sound familiar?
And I’ve had present sex. Now let me pause a minute. It’s possible to have some fucking powerful orgasms and feel a lot of love, and it’s still Craving sex. Guess I’m not done describing that one yet. Craving sex is when we forget about birth control, when we don’t ask about STDs, when we yell out like we’re in the Applachian mountains under the full moon but we’re actually in our friend’s bedroom (and next door are some people freaking out who haven’t come to a workshop on erotic soundscapes with Zahava…yet.)
When sex is habitual, we are just asking to feel Craving. When sex is present it’s creative. We hear sounds and requests we’ve never voiced before. We are in no rush, we’ve already arrived in the connection and I could stroke your earlobe for 12 amazing minutes.
“This is as good as it gets,” I remember my lover saying to me with light eyes and eyebrows lifted. It was kind of relaxing, it’s subtle. Nothing is happening. It feels like meditation. I think, this is it?! But then I’m struggling every time it’s not this.
There are people who will ask to be seduced. And the Seductress uses it as a reason to get what she wants…or at least what she thinks she wants. Do I want to seduce a man who wants to be seduced and then…then what? How else can we connect if that’s not the game anymore?
photo by Monique Torok in our Ayurvedic center one late beautiful night
In the desert of Tucson, Arizona I walked with Kenneth Ray Stubbs and a small group of amazingly perceptive folks. We had all gathered for a training course in the Sexual Shaman Path. Ray started this morning by reminding us that extraorinary things are always occuring, are actually quite ordinary, it’s just that we don’t often hear people sharing them. I knew this to be true as soon as I heard him say it.
My intention in this blog is to share some of the less shared “extraordinary” experiences of being human. I trust many of us are on similar journies. I’ve been so grateful for the stories and responses to my new blog, and the conversations it has opened. I look forward to sharing more and to hearing the magic that is living in your bodies too!
Often I will journey into orgasmic meditation. The orgasm will root into the basin of my pelvis and spin life energy up through my body. It’s not really through the spine, but in a spineward direction. I have learned when I move from my bones it’s distinctly different than moving through the water of my organs. I have discovered that listening to life energy during orgasm is more of a water listening: a rounder, fuller, reverberatory listening to life energy. The water listening fills the insides of my skin rather than traversing the directionality of my bone-snake-red-blood-cell-hatching spine. This water listening hears the orgasm as it expands to the inner surface of my body and then shifts into a lighter form, one beyond the unit of the individual. The orgasm is simply radiating from a point in space that happens to be the same point where my human form exists, but no longer contains it.
I feel the orgasm reach Her fingers (it’s not always a Her, but this one was) into my gut and only then do I remember how much I can trust. My belly opens. It almost tickles to loosen this constant reflex of holding, harnessing my identity to my snake spine with the deepest layers of my transverse abdominals.
I guide my attention to the Wisdom rather than to the pleasure. The Wisdom speaks through the language of pleasure, rather than on the topic of pleasure. When I ride the Wisdom the pleasure continues. Sometimes my attention shifts to chasing the pleasure, like listening faster than a friend is speaking, waiting for what I want to hear. I squeeze my feeling and my wanting until I remember to ride the Wisdom and my attention starts to expand like my belly.
Then the heart flying begins.
For years I would Wisdom Ride but did not know how to express what was occuring to the world outside my body. I could kiss these digital letters, the gaps they are now bridging!
ON 3? CHOREOGRAPHING ORGASMS?
Yesterday my body gifted me with an amazing surprise. I stood in my temple studio rolling my heels off the Earth, coming onto my toes. I focused my attention into my heart. My arms clapped in front of my heart and opened in a rhythmic 3 beats. In this moment I experienced the deep heart opening I had only before felt during expanded orgasms, tribal weddings, and deep grieving after death.
The immensity of love popped in on the third beat, my mouth opened and I fell to my bed laughing like a young girl who just discovered the doorway to the magical garden I thought was a 4 hour hike from here. Running my hands over my head turning side to side in disbelief, I laughed with waves of joy. This is the joy I felt seeing Grandma’s face at her 90th surprise birthday party.
I used to clear the screen of my awareness when joy flooded me. It felt like what I imagine my desktop experiences when I click the “Spaces” icon on my mac and slide into a new space knowing the clutter of my projects is hiden in a virtual pocket one click away. But now, there is a trust that does not need the messes and challenges to disappear for me to feel it. It is all here, the alarm clock for work that will go off in 13 hours, the death of my parents years into the future… it is all here with me as I feel this joy.
Returning from Ceremony with my sisters, I am overflowing with Gratitude. On the snow dusted grass, at the edge of Lake Joseph, we gathered for 24 hours, a full moon and sun cycle to share our gifts. The Shift has started. Looking into each others eyes, harmonizing, shimmeying, storytelling, meditating, mmmm….and the kitchen, Goddess! The kitchen overflowing with more delicious roots, berries, lentils, salads, chocolates, berries… than we could eat. We have such gifts, our intution is ripe, our voices clear, we are ready. Our histories are blessing us more and more as we bring understanding and love to the same stories that used to torment us. Thank you Queen GodIs for helping me hear this tonight.
I return home to my sex meditation under the orange waning moon. Today I have heard stories from wombs ready to release traumas and energies no longer serving. As I spread my legs, freshly bathed, I focus my mind on a pleasure prayer.
God, Goddess, may this pleasure spill up my spine and runneth over from my heart and breasts. May the universe experience its deepest pleasures through my human form. May this joy set the frequency for my life. May this laughter and ecstasy cleanse me. May this sex purify me and my Sisters. May this fullness fill our holes. Love, love is being made. May we see love, hear love, be love. I am making love out of the form that is my body. Thank you Spirit, oh thank you for making us life creating. Thank you for making us Life, creating. This life force swelling in my yoni, in my third eye, may it widen the straw of our love. May it awaken any parts of us that are not turned on, so we may be trully grateful for life.
I bow to the sex in me, it is Spirit, it is Creator of life, love, healing. I am trembling. Sex appeal is Life Appeal. May my capacity to feel this full, this happy, this nourished expand in my life as it is now in my body. Each inhale is opening me. Sisters, our wombs are the Source of our Healing, our wombs are Source in human form. These are the portals through which ancestry is brought onto the Earth, when we touch them with devotion we are touching Spirit.
Divine Costumes. That was the name of my first naked solo dancing onstage. I was in college. My parents, grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncle were in the audience. I had credited Mom and Dad as the costume designers.
|Photo by Jennifer Maeve|
I remember the stage manager asking if I wanted to put clothes on for the bow. I remember thinking he missed my intention… to honor the body. I remember how moved I was that night to hear people’s responses. My female housemate came up after the show and said my dance made her feel like a Goddess that night. I remember my male housemate saying he wanted to sexualize it, but he couldn’t, it was so much more. I remember grandma’s cousin sat behind some young children and she thought they would laugh. But when I started dancing they were silent and mesmerized.
I remember the email grandma’s cousin sent me 10 years later, “Beautiful Cousin, twice removed, you are out of this world! You have created a field of exploration that is all of you. I am sorry to be such an old lady, about to be 80, or I would be participating in all your events.”
I remember the dancer who was going to perform the duet with me before she developed a back injury. I remember her surprise that I encouraged her to rest and take care of her body. Our professional training had taught us to be martyrs more than sacred bodies. I remember the moment I chose to do the show anyway and to improvise a solo based on the duet we had started to create.
I remember rehearsing in the dance studio naked and covering the windows with pink foam boards. I remember my friend who sat filming me, baring her breasts in solidarity. I remember the security guard who walked in and asked us what we were doing. I remember thinking he felt more like an insecurity guard. I remember the badge I made the next day as I experimented with being a soul security guard.
|Painted by Rainbow for the Sacred Sex Round Up|
I remember the awkward moment of disrobing in the “dressing room” while everyone else put clothes on. I remember feeling the most comfortable on stage. I could get away with things in the spotlight that caused discomfort off stage. Maybe it was because the performance gave people permission to look… there’s some magic about performance that gives us permission to show and to see more intimately. Or maybe people like to look out from the dark.
I remember performing naked again years later at the Sacred Sex Round Up with my friends, a djembe player and an opera singer. I remember a couple came up to me after the solo crying. They said it was the first time they could share the experience of being turned on while watching a naked woman perform. They said they felt I let them see all of me. I remember the woman of the couple chosing to transform that night. She began to study with my sexual shaman teacher.
|Earth held, the sky has never explained infinity so clearly.|
I remember hiking naked in the red rocks of Sedona with my soul sister and best friend from kindergarden. I remember laying with our legs open, sunning our yonis. I remember how delicious the fire of the sun felt on my clit. I remember thinking, “how have I never spread my legs to the sun before?” And then thinking, where else could I? I remember the couple who came along the trail and the split second of wondering if we should move. I remember the man tripped as he came upon us. I remember inviting him into our comfort rather than joining him in his awkwardness. I remember as he passed the blessing I called out to him, and really to myself, “enjoy your life!”
Orgasm. Deep grieving. Belly laughter. Muscle spasm.
The moment after each of these, we often feel a deep release and peace. They are all forms of vibration…holding on, letting go, holding on, letting go until we really let go. They are all bridges into the involuntary nervous system.
In Orgasm the physical body literally has a spasm through the musculature of the pelvic floor and the womb flutters. In deep grieving and belly laughter the diaphragm contracts and releases with rapid energy and breath. In muscle spasm the muscle contracts and releases and contracts until it surrenders and lengthens. We surrender to the trembling and our voluntary nervous system stops controling the process.
We can have a consciousnessgasm too! Just before our awareness expands we can feel disorientation. My whole life I thought it was hard to make money, wait I can make money? no it’s hard, no wait there are lots of successful passionate people….and then our reality surrenders and the beliefs expand.
What I’ve noticed in the last decade of supporting people through physical and spiritual transformation is that before the transformation there is a vibration. It may not feel good, transformation as much as we seek it does not always “feel” good while it’s happening. But then afterwards there is an expansion!
In the last six months I went to study with Peter Levine, international trauma healing expert and creator of “somatic experiencing.” I also trained with a group of dance therapists on healthy embodiment for trauma survivors. In both of these professional development settings the theme of vibration, trembling, shaking emerged.
Animals do not retain trauma in their systems. Ok, imagine we’re field mice and we gather for dinner. I’m not going to be sitting there petrified telling you, “wow, I almost died 3 times today there was a huge hawk overhead and he came swooping down and I think I’m never going out to the field again!” No, animals tremble and shake until the fear moves through their nervous system and they continue living. Somewhere in our great human evolution we interrupted this process.
So while I was at these trainings with trauma specialists I kept asking why don’t we shake each day and rinse out our nervous system?! Do we have to wait for a trauma? And they were intrigued. Now, this is not new in other cultures where drumming and shaking is a daily practice.
As a yoga teacher and dancer I’ve noticed that a lot of folks try stretching but they are still tight. Sometimes deep stretches actually make them more tight. Recently I saw a rolfer and she was surprised to hear that I’ve been dancing intensely for 30 years and have no injuries. I mean dancing 2-8, sometimes 12 hours a day, and no injuries. She let me know that most dancers and yogis she works on have a lot of chronic injuries and I started to wonder what my body learned and how I can share it with others.
Shaking! Every day I put on music and I shake and let it rattle my breath and recreate my body on a cellular level. Really deep shaking so that sounds come from my throat, the world around me becomes blurry, every part of my body is in motion. Then I localize the vibration and literally shimmey down my legs inside of the hamstring stretchs, IT stretches, inner thigh stretches…I tremble. I remember when I worked with Anodea Judith, a pioneer in chakra health, that energy can move more deeply through a vibrating leg than one with contracted muscles. Later when dancing with Egyptian Priestess, Leslie Zehr, the same theme came up.
So I have started to teach vibration inside of yoga poses. I’m reframing the goal, it’s not so focused on physical flexibility as much as charging the energy through a muscle and oxygenating the tissue. The muscle contracts, releases, contracts….and then transforms. In fact sometimes a really limber body has the hardest time finding this shaking. But the shaking actually repairs, heals, and strengthens our embodiment. It prepares us for what Peter Levine describes as trauma proofing. I would say it integrates the soul body into the physical body so we can live at ease and playfully in a present body.
I’m thrilled to be sharing this approach in my classes and private sessions. I’d love to hear about your experiences with this process too! What are you noticing in your bodies, with your clients, and students?