May 3, 2018
This morning I awoke feeling peaceful and happy. I smiled as I listened to the singing birds. Then I heard the revving of a garbage truck. Leaving. I turned toward the man I love and snapped, “Arg! You forgot to take the garbage out AGAIN didn’t you? You’re so lazy!” I jumped out of bed, grabbed the mutts and headed for the beach. I glowered at the overflowing trash cans, blaming them for not strolling to the curb. Then my angelic tufted-toed orange dog saw another canine. Instead of a wiggly hello, she barked and lunged. Like mother, like daughter.
Let’s face it. Sometimes, despite the hours logged on the cushion, despite the meditation retreats, and certainly despite our best intentions, we don’t handle relationship conflict well. I’ve written a lot about how mindfulness makes us better lovers. But can it make us better “fighters”?
February 13, 2018
This Valentine’s Day Forget Chocolate – Practice Mindful Sex
Have you ever had an orgasm while meditating? One of my students reports that her inner peace sometimes comes with a side dish of Oh My! She worried that she was weird, and asked “isn’t mindfulness about, well, the mind? Why do I get turned on?” As a sex therapist and meditation teacher, it drives me crazy that the topic of sex is avoided in discussions of mindfulness. If arousal is mentioned at all, it’s like a repeat of the bad advice we got in seventh-grade sex-ed class – sex is dirty, don’t think about it, nice meditators hang out in the mind, not the messy ole’ body. This leads to the confusion expressed by my student. But meditation is not meant to be a disconnected head-trip – it is about direct, embodied experience of what is occurring right now. And if right now you are making love, sexual pleasure can become a fabulous meditation object.
February 3, 2017
Valentine’s Day—a sweet sexy reminder to wow your mate with passion and appreciation, or a Hallmark holiday that pressures you to cough up romance on demand? Your response to this single-item test is telling. Sure, it’s easy to be cynical on February 14 and ignore the whole thing, or grab a random card because if you don’t your partner pouts until spring. But if you see only the superficialities, you are missing the possibilities. For love itself is…well, great, and celebrating is not cliché. So this year, instead of refusing to participate, use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to love mindfully.
My granddad Norman was great at mindful loving. He first laid his sparkling blue eyes on my petite blonde grandmother Evelyn at a Valentine’s dance.
August 10, 2016
I was never one of those girls who dreamed of my wedding day. I was an independent tomboy who spent my time wrangling horses and existential angst. As a young woman I called marriage “The M Word”. Then I walked into a play reading and an incorrigible green-eyed actor took one look at me and proclaimed to his friend “I’m going to marry that woman”. A year later we eloped to Greece.
February 7, 2016
People often ask me what sex and meditation have to do with each other. A lot! I want to holler. But since my meditation teacher side is not supposed to holler, I calmly explain that mindfulness is not meant to be a disconnected head-trip. In addition to mind, we are to embody fullness by bringing rapt attention to all five senses. Then my noisier sex therapist side chimes in that we do have a naked body under those yoga clothes, and that it would be a shame to waste it. Which brings us to mindful loving.
Imagine meditating on something as simple as a raisin. Truly see its wrinkly beauty, smell vineyards and sunlight, caress it with your tongue, hear a slight sigh as you bite down, and taste the flood of sweet textured release. Mmm. Well, you just made love with that raisin.
September 21, 2015
You are sitting on your meditation cushion, at one with your breath. You feel good—mindfulness is working! Right here right now there is nothing more interesting than this very moment.
Suddenly you hear a voice you know so well, asking for the hundredth time “Honey, have you seen my keys?” You now spend your time wondering was this man, who counts picking up the car from the mechanic as a date, this woman, who forgets to feed the cat but knows the plot of every reality TV show, really once the most fascinating person in the world?
July 2, 2015
The other day I gave in to a junk food craving. After a day of clean eating – kale smoothies, quinoa vegetarian chili, fresh fruit – a little voice said “come on, you know you want to” and I was seduced. Before I knew it I was munching on balsamic and pepper kettle chips and nuclear-orange cheesies. The next morning I woke up feeling bloated and unpleasant. Hmm, no kidding. Like my Granny often said, Garbage In, Garbage Out.
So how does my lapse in compassionate eating relate to mindfulness practice? Well, for both mind and body, you are what you eat. What we consume mentally influences how the mind feels –
June 17, 2015
Q: I’m a wife, mother, and bank manager and these days I feel like I am failing at all of it. I meditate each morning and do yoga, but I’m still tired, stressed and cranky and I drop more balls than I catch. Why am I so lousy at having it all?
A: You can have it all, providing the “all” includes a nervous breakdown. Forget life-work balance. Whoever came up with that concept needs to straddle a see-saw for a few moments and discover that a balancing act is inherently precarious, exhausting, and impossible to maintain. Many female patients come to me for help with anxiety and exhaustion. They are wracked with guilt that they can’t find time to make homemade cupcakes for the school bake sale because they have a year-end report to write.
April 14, 2015
I used to date a man who had old world manners to accompany his old world charm. He always held the door for me, both in the world of walking and when we rode in a car. When I complimented him on this, he told a story of his best friend whose boyfriend repeatedly complained that she slammed the car door when she got into his passenger seat. She asked my then boyfriend – “so is he right? Do I slam the door when I ride with you?” My friend smiled and replied “have you ever touched your own door handle around me?” And she realized she hadn’t. When she rode with him, he opened the door, waited patiently until she was settled inside, and then closed it, softly, behind her. No slamming involved.
December 3, 2014
So there I was, looking for truth at the foot of the Himalayas, dodging soccer playing little-boy monks as I chased the wicked monkey who had swiped the last bit of gourmet chocolate from my windowsill (stupidly left unlatched by this naïve Canadian seeker), and the big wisdom coming down on me was – wow, I should have had less yak butter tea, because it’s freaking cold and I badly need to pee. And the outhouse is halfway down the rickety monastery staircase. Next to a pig. And all I really want to do is get to the delusionally-named internet café (one desk one monolithic computer one dial-up line and no coffee) so I can commune with the toe-curlingly wonderful man back home that I am falling in love with.
If that isn’t a how did I get here moment, I don’t know what is. So here’s how.
Would you rather be happy or right? Your partner is not wrong, just differentSubscribe to Weekly Love Bytes
Passion is friendship set on fireSubscribe to Weekly Love Bytes
Make sex your hobby – explore, learn, make time, and remember to forePLAYSubscribe to Weekly Love Bytes
Practice the three-breath hug-embrace as though your souls are touchingSubscribe to Weekly Love Bytes