The Modern Practice of Puja

SUMMARY FROM LAST WEEK:  Puja is an ancient cultural tradition that has unknown roots. Some scholars believe that the practice began during Vedic times (1500 – 600 BCE) where the word puja has been found in the Sutras (which were composed to describe domestic rites, prayers, rituals).  In these years, it appears that puja mostly referred to the time when a priest was visiting a home to offer a ritual to the family.  A deity was being honored and was considered an invited guest.The puja ritual helped the family embrace the god/goddess’ spiritual essence so that it permeated the home and the people in it.   

In the 1980s, a man named Charles Muir, is said to have been one of the first teachers to bring tantra to the modern world in the west.  Honestly, I doubt this is true.  His book, “The Art of Conscious Loving” is fabulous (co-written with his wife at the time, Caroline Muir).  He and Caroline developed a sexual healing technique known today as “sacred spot massage” and as we know, anything with a focus on sex gets popularized quickly!  I’m not judging their work; I have found it very healing myself and recommend it to those drawn.  

And then there is Osho – the mystic, and the revolutionary the sex guru. Born in 1931 in Kuchwada, Madya Pradesh, India, Osho supposedly became enlightened at the age of 21.  He followed a career as a philosophy professor, later traveled all over India and was worshipped by thousands of people.  Around 1970 he started initiating devotees and in 1974 he started an Ashram in Poona.  In 1981, he relocated to the US, offering his version of tantra to the folks who joined him at his ashram in California.  

The question of WHO created the version of Tantric puja that embraces intimacy instead of meditation to a deity is unknown.  However, the question still remains whether we are honoring of the puja practice in its origin or diluting an ancient practice and doing a disservice.  

Let’s review the components I enumerated last week:

1.  The deity is invited to the ceremony.

2.  The deity is offered a seat and his/her feet are ceremonially washed.

3.  Water is offered for cleansing.

4.  A cloth may be wrapped around the deity.

5.  The deity is then adorned with incense, ornaments, jewels and more.

6.  A burning lamp, or candle, is waved in front of the honored one.

​​​​​​​7.  Foods such as cooked rice, fruit, and sweets are offered.

8.  The attendees bow to take homage in the energy the deity is providing.

9.  The attendees walk around the deity.
​​​​​​​10. The attendees leave.


And now let’s compare them to the Intimate Puja Circle as I choose to lead it:

1.  Women and men are invited to the ceremony.

2.  The women are offered a seat.

3.  Cleansing is done before we arrive at the puja ceremony via movement, sometimes water, sometimes fire, often breathing and releasing.

4.  Cloth is provided on the altar to create sacred space for our divine experience.

5.  The women most often adorn themselves (and we adorn the altar with ornaments, jewels, incense, etc.)

6.  We have a representation of a candle on the altar.

7.  Foods such as fruit and sweets are offered.

8.  The participants honor each other via non-sexual touch, eye gazing, energetic connection to begin to see/feel the divinity is in each of us.

9.  The outside circle moves around the goddess in the center.

​​​​​​​10. The participants leave at the end. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

So as you can see, the steps taken during a puja ceremony are similar here and there which fares well for staying in integrity.  But the real, the underlying question is whether or not the Intimate Puja Circle is a journey towards awakening.  And my answer to that question is YES. 

It can seem like it’s about getting touch needs met, learning to say “yes” when you mean “yes” and “no” when you mean “no” — and it can seem that it’s about having a good massage, or raising sexual energy which feels good.  It can seem that it’s about getting together twice/month and being in community.  For some, it can be about making money, or living in a nice home or meeting their life partner.

And there’s the thing — all those things are great!  They truly are….it’s so important that our words express our highest truth, that we are most often expressing our authenticity, that we feel good, get good touch regularly, make enough money so that we feel comfortable, and meet a life partner if that’s what we want.  I would never and will never underestimate the importance of these aspects of our lives.

And yet, it’s all for nothing if it’s not about AWAKENING.  This ancient practice (along with other ones of course) have demonstrated over the years to be a tool on the path to awakening.  It has the capacity to transcend who we think we are, and help us find out who we really are. The sacred ritual has the capacity to open our hearts to the Truth — the the Oneness of the Universe, to deep honest connection with God/Spirit and to realize that we are forever held in love.  And that we are love and nothing else is true.  Imagine that!

So in the end, I believe it has much to do with intention.  How I hold the space when I facilitate is paramount to what gets created, expressed and manifested in that space.  And just as important is how everyone in the room holds the space.  I realize there are different degrees of understanding and also we are all on different stones on the same path….but the overall intention is sacred and loving.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Let’s Get Scholarly Before We Get Sexy: What is a पूजा?

As I mentioned in my last article, the word puja is a sanskrit word that translates to mean sacred ritual, or ceremony. It is used by the Hinkus, Sikhs, Buddhists and others for a variety of reasons. It is most often used to honor a deity (god or goddess) to celebrate her character traits (and ideally see them as a reflection of what we have inside ourselves, too). A puja happens on specific Hindu or Buddhist holidays. It is also used during specific celebrations like a birth or death, and is basically the prayer and ritual itself to honor the occasion.

Pujas vary in terms of how they are done. Some people do them daily, some less frequently, and some just for special occasions. How they are organized, the steps taken, the deities honored, can all vary according to culture, region in Asia, religion, family tradition and individual practice. The good news is that it doesn’t matter. The location isn’t dictated either. The ritual of Puja is done in temples, at home or in an outside location for worship.

The temple (or mandir) pujas tend to be more elaborate with statues of gods and goddesses, jewels, beautiful scarves, candles, incense and more. They tend to be led by a “temple priest” or pujari, whose honor it is to take care of the puja, and welcome the Guest (god or goddess) each morning.

Pujas done in the home are usually less elaborate. As long as they are done with the sacredness that is intended, they have the capacity to be beautiful, soulful, spiritual ways to honor deeply.

Whether they are done in the home or in the temple, in the east pujas often follow similar steps outlined here:

1. The deity is invited to the ceremony.

2. The deity is offered a seat and his/her feet are ceremonially washed.

​​​​​​​3. Water is offered for cleansing.

​​​​​​​4. A cloth may be wrapped around the deity.

​​​​​​​5. The deity is then adorned with incense, ornaments, jewels and more.

6. A burning lamp, or candle, is waved in front of the honored one.

​​​​​​​7. Foods such as cooked rice, fruit, and sweets are offered.

8. The attendees bow to take homage in the energy the deity is providing.

9. The attendees walk around the deity.
​​​​​​​10. The attendees leave.

Puja is an ancient cultural tradition that has unknown roots. Some scholars believe the practice began during Vedic times (1500 – 600 BCE) where the word puja has been found in the Sutras (composed to describe domestic rites, prayers, rituals). In these years, it appears that puja mostly referred to the time when a priest was visiting a home to offer a ritual to the family. The deity was considered an invited guest and the puja invited the god/goddess’ spiritual essence to permeate the home and the people in it.

We can already begin to see how pujas in the west reflect the ancient traditional pujas of the east.

Stay tuned for next week’s article on how puja migrated to the east and whether or not the modern practices of the west are in fact in integrity with the true practice of puja.

What is a Puja Anyway?

Each step up the spiral black metal staircase was intentional, careful…curious, and cold on the bottoms of my not-yet-summer-callused bare feet.  My breath deepened as I arrived into the space I thought was only a sleeping space.  Instead when I raised my eyes, I found myself in front of a beautiful altar and lambswool rugs with cushions for us to sit together.  The altar set with a bright orange silk cloth was covered with statues of deities, photos of holy looking men and women, posters of Hanuman and Krishna and Ganesh, a small picture of Ram Dass, a candle burnt at the tip, beautiful boxes and other obvious keepsakes of experiences from a younger time.

He invited me to sit facing each other; to breathe together.  To gaze into each others’ eyes.  The energy, potent and powerful, ran through my veins and through my entire body.

Soon Shubal asked me if he could perform a Durga Puja for me.  Not quite knowing whatit was exactly, but sure it would be an honoring experience, I said yes.  Soon he was chanting in sanskrit (the ancient language of India), and although I didn’t know everything he was saying, there were many words I recognized:  Durga, Kali, Shakti, Om and more.  Flowers landed at my feet and Shubal performed many ritual acts of acknowledging the divine goddess in me.  I sat with my eyes closed and took in the energy.

I had been leading “pujas” of the western variety for years.  Although they are quite different, in form and structure, from the one my soon-to-be-beloved performed with me that day, the intention is the same and the outcome similar.

The word ‘puja‘ is a sanskrit word that means offering.  However, many sanskrit words have more than one meaning and such it is with the word ‘puja.’  As I understand it, puja, also means reverence, honor, worship and adoration.  It’s used by the Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and others — as a ceremony to honor a very special occasion; it’s also used more often as part of a sacred ritual, or practice to support opening to the wisdom of the Divine — our individual and collective source.

Puja is done differently in the east and the west; but it is also performed differently from person-to-person, teacher-to-teacher, student-to-student.

What does the Durga Puja I experienced have in common with the Intimate Puja Circles I lead?  They both:

1.  Invite God, or the Divine, into our awareness.
2.  Assert that we are each an individual reflection of the Divine.
3.  Use breath to presence yourself.
4.  Are a sacred ritual, or practice.
6.  Result in feeling more deeply connected and loved.
7.  May use pranayam or asana to open the body.
8.  Are symbolic expressions of honoring the goddess within.

And more.

Come Back to Love: A Self Loving Lifestyle

​It’s a powerful time right now.  The Earth is showing us her power, the dark is entering the light, it’s renewal time for those celebrating the Jewish New Year and on the Hindu calendar it’s ​the holiest of holidays – Navaratri.
​If you are feeling tired from all the energy swirling around – I’m not surprised.  I am!
​All of these holidays/events, suggest that it’s time to enrich yourself by ​pausing, breathing more deeply, taking things in slowly (rather than allowing things to rush past you) and considering carefully and intentionally how you want to spend your time.

​​​​​​​According to the guru at the Sonoma Ashram, Baba Harihar Ramji (Babaji),
​”Navaratri is a time to enrich yourself with whatever you feel you are lacking. Be it good health, emotional strength, material wealth.​.​.whatever you need, this is the time to hold that prayer in your heart.  Receive Mother’s blessing as you observe Navaratri with focused devotion.​”​
Navratri–or the nine sacred days–mark the most auspicious days of the lunar calendar according to Hinduism.  Celebrated with fervour and festivity all over north India, and every Hindu community the world over, these nine days are dedicated solely to Maa Durga (goddess Durga) and her nine avatars.
Each day a different celebration, honoring and acknowledging a different aspect of the Goddess — of SELF.
​​​​​​​Most people do not incorporate enough self LOVING activities that support the mind, body and spirit and counter the stress in their lives or celebrate all the different aspects that make us the unique, beautiful and brilliant beings that we are!

​During this week, and next…a time of renewal (Rosh Hashonah), finding balance (Equinox) and enrichment (Navaratri), take a moment to sit quietly, and allow yourself to dream of the ways you are ready to LOVE YOURSELF even more.

​​​​To that end, ​here are a few suggestions:

  1. Take regular baths​ and add Epsom salts. Not only do we need down time to relax and soak, but our modern lives require us to have more magnesium (since stress depletes it from our bodies). ​L​ight candles, put on ​your​ favorite movie, and indulge in this nurturing ritual. Add 1-2 cups of salt and relax!
  2. Get a massage this week​. Massage has a drastic effect on easing stress and anxiety, as you already know! But do you mostly give massages, rather than receive one yourself?
  3. Perform a daily​ self-massage (another way to get one)! For the same reasons as above, a daily massage with warm​ sesame​ oil will do wonders​ for you. ​
  4. Create a daily routine. Find set times to wake up, eat, and sleep. The regular rhythm​ ​allows your body to relax into “knowing” what to expect and when​.​​
  5. Practice good sleep hygiene. Sleep before 10 pm​,​ do not watch TV ​after 9 pm, and sleep with the lights off.​ Wrapping your feet in a cool wash cloth is soothing to your adrenals and helps you sleep better! ​
  6. ​​​​Meditate and breathe. If nothing else, five minutes​/day and at best – 20 minutes.
  7. ​​​​Tired in the afternoon? The practice of Y​oga ​Nidra​, performed around 3–4 pm can have profound effects on rejuvenation.​ So can adding a delicious super food smoothie!
  8. Avoid too much sensory stimulation (I’m working on this one!)​ Give yourself​ a cell phone holiday through the day or consider yoga or a walk instead of watching TV.​​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​And here’s a suggestion for some SELF-LOVING herbal and essential oil support:

  1. ​​​​​​​Ashwagandha is a beautiful adaptogen, bringing balance to stress just about anywhere in the body. It has a particular affinity to the adrenal glands and can help promote sound sleep.
  2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Rose or Lavender oil ​help your body relax and calm down; the rose reminds us of LOVE and brings that “Come Back to Love” feeling right back!
  3. Tulsi tea is wonderful for balancing…

​Last but not least, create a ritual for yourself to honor the different aspects of the Divine Feminine in you (whether you are male or female bodied). This refers to your ability to be flexible, to flow with change, to shift directions if it feels like you’re heading away from, not closer to, your authentic path. It refers to times when you are able to just BE (and not DO) and to the ways you listen to your own heart (and to others as well.)

How to Come Back To Love Even When It’s Hard

Recently I went through one of those life trials where I might instead think, “Another f—ing growth opportunity!”  F.E.A.R was running the show.  Do you know some of the acronyms for “fear?”  Fck.Everything.And.Run is my favorite.  Also, False.Evidence.Appearing.Real another favorite of mine.

As you know I spend my life practicing “come back to love” — not only professionally…but very much so personally…in everything I do.  From parenting to relationship to taking care of my pets to self-care and so much more….BE-ing LOVE is what I believe is the reason we are here on the planet.  And it’s a spiritual practice.  It’s not just a state of being (for those you thinking that if you were in relationship, you could BE LOVE then…..”if only.”  No, it’s about BE-ing LOVE now. In this next breath you take…and the next one).

I know it’s just words on the screen right now for many of you. And for others it’s easy – you feel happy and joyful and, well, loving!  But what about when it gets hard to love?  When the rubber meets the road as it did in my life recently.  “Oh, I got a taste of my own medicine,” Greg said.  (smile!)  And I did (the good tasting kind though).

What I trust is that the Universe brings us around and around to experiences on purpose.  It isn’t random — it is purposeful in that the experiences have sometimes hidden, and sometimes obvious, but always POTENT — messages and growth opportunities for us.  And it is the ones that touch upon our deepest wounds where the rubber meets the road, coming back to love feels impossible and we’d rather run in the other direction instead of facing the truth.  This is CBTL at its best and highest level.

My personal story:  

Many of you know that I have experienced a fair amount of loss in my life.  My mother died when I was 10 years old, my father 20 years later and my partner a few years after that.  That’s the very short butchered headline version but it’s enough in order to share the rest of this story.  You get the point.

In the early days after my mother died, I felt very closed off, shut down and not open to deep connections.  I had a boyfriend who loved me but I could not open my heart to him.  I had a few good friends but feared making new ones lest I need to share my heartbreaking story and feel it all over again – so I stuck with the friends I had.

Growing up and good therapy (and a supportive husband) really helped.  I spent the better part of my 20s and early 30s healing some very deep wounds.  And guess what happened?  I learned to trust again, open my heart, connect in precious ways with my children, my partner, my friends.  My whole life changed.  I felt happy.  I was beginning to learn that love was available to me.

These days I experience myself as someone who trusts people, trusts the world and trusts life.

Enter new relationship.

As I said just a moment ago, the Universe (God) brings us what we need to heal the next piece on our life journey.  The specific details of what happened aren’t important to share.  What IS important to share is how mistrusting I had been in this new relationship – which SURPRISED ME so much!!!  What?  Me?  Seriously.

Of course, God set it up so that I could feel mistrusting.  But mainly I watched my mind create story after story – chock full of reasons to mistrust him, to mistrust the relationship.  Stories the mind makes up are very easy to believe. (Try it right now….tell yourself a story about something or someone and see how easy it is to believe!)

You see our minds (I call our minds, our egos…the opposite of love) do not want us to wake up and BE LOVE in a conscious way all the time.  The mind has another agenda — attachment and distraction mostly.  The mind wants to bring us down.  (Look at any sad or angry feeling you have right now and you will see that it comes from a THOUGHT or belief you have; a thought that comes from the mind.  The thought shows up and the feelings in response/reaction happen as a result.)   

I told myself a lot of stories that led me to believe that my partner was not trustworthy and that I could not trust the relationship.  And what I wanted was for him to do something differently.

Here’s the key: The key is that I wanted him to change; to do something differently in order for me to feel better.  I wanted him to stop X and do Y so I could rest easy and feel trusting.  HOWEVER (and here’s the key really), if he had acquiesced, I would not have had the opportunity to turn it around and look inside instead.  And this was the HARD PART.  This was the “Come Back To Love” boot camp.  My triggered parts were screaming and yelling (inside) in fear….I wanted to run away, leave and I felt very justified to do so.  I even had some of my friends convinced (hey, a good story is a good story!)

  • It’s easy to be loving when all is going well.
  • It’s easy to be loving when you’re not triggered, or feeling reactive.
  • It’s easy to be loving when something, or someone is nice, kind, open, heartfelt, adorable.

It’s really hard to be loving when you’re doing the really hard work of healing; this needs to be done first.  AND, as I said before, this is where the most POTENT opportunity is.  This is where you clean out the cobwebs.  This is where you have the opportunity to experience LOVE at its highest level; getting closer to a state of awakening, or enlightenment or perfect peace. 

This is where you begin with yourself (and God/Universe who brought you this experience) and know that it’s between “you and you.”  I knew after looking at this over and over again for a few months that I needed to focus on my part.  And my part was between me and me.  My part of the story, of the roller coaster I felt like I was on, was about my own mistrust.  Ways that I was still not trusting men, not trusting love and not trusting myself.

It’s too much to put in this one journal entry, this one article (you’ll hear A TON about this in my book when it’s published) but suffice to say that:

  1. I felt triggered because I was telling myself reasons not to trust.
  2. I believed my mind was telling me the truth.  Then I was reacting to those thoughts.
  3. I wanted my partner to change so I could feel better.
  4. I had the awareness and wisdom to look at myself and turn things around so I could see what was happening between “me and me.”
  5. I trust the Universe brings me situations/people/circumstances so I can do the next piece of healing that my soul is ready for (in this case: TRUST)
  6. When I looked at myself, I could see there were still things from my past (that had to do with my parents and my father in particular) that still needed healing.
  7. I did a lot of really deep healing work.
  8. I learned to trust at an even deeper level than I had been trusting; and I see how mistrust had crept in and was hanging around…until I could see it and heal from it.

After reading this, I’m curious what your take-aways are? (click that link and you’ll land in my inbox.) I said a lot and any one of those paragraphs above could be a chapter in a book.  There is so much to say.

Come Back To Love is a practice. I had an experience of CBTL when it was hard to do.  It felt impossible. I was convinced I was right and he was wrong.  I wanted him to stop.  Once I saw myself, my own story from my past, worked on my relationship with my parents, my parts inside relaxed and felt trusting again.  Or perhaps trusting at a level that I haven’t before.

This to me, is CBTL at its best!

Having Sex With Your Brain

Remember those public service announcements? This is your brain…this is your brain on drugs.” An egg sizzles on a hot skillet indicating the harm that drugs can do to your brain.

In Tantra, we can apply the exact same visual and words to describe your brain when you have sex except instead of polluting and “frying” your brain with harmful, synthetic drugs, you’re actually feeding it powerful, organic drugs which are naturally produced in your very own body. We actually need that natural sizzle in our brains to help promote healing, rest and satisfaction.

Sex is more complex than body parts coming together. Sex in large part involves the mind. I work with individuals and couples who think of sex independent of how they feel or think. The fact is your brain is the largest sex organ you possess!

Here are some things you need to know about sex and your brain. First, the sizzle of the sexes.

A Woman’s Brain on Sex:

You’ve probably heard these lines played out in a movie or on a television show: “I know that look. You’ve had sex. You’re glowing!” A woman’s brain is constantly multitasking, juggling to-do lists and solving world problems if only by deciding on the dinner menu for that day. However, from the point of sexual stimulation through ejaculation, the female brain becomes singular in its efforts. Meanwhile, dozens of areas in a woman’s brain blissfully come to life during sex. Her consciousness is expanded and hormones flood her brain as her entire being becomes focused on the moment.

Pretty powerful stuff!

A Man’s Brain on Sex:

“After sex, he just rolls over and goes to sleep. He won’t cuddle with me.” A man’s brain is so often misunderstood in the area of sexual afterplay. Outside of sex, men normally focus on one thing at a time. When sex happens to be that one thing, it comes with powerful sensations and biological functions which culminate with ejaculation. Once a man reaches climax, his brain like a woman’s; it is flooded with hormones which involve satisfaction and relaxation. It’s like sex is a sleeping pill for men! He isn’t bored or disinterested. Remember, he’ll focus on one thing at a time. After sex, that one thing is often sleep.

For both sexes:

Sex can act as an antidepressant. Studies have shown that sexual activity decreases anxiety levels. Oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin are natural “feel good drugs” that flood the brain during sex. People refer to feelings of love and happiness during and after sex. The brain is that place where fears and anxiety can quietly withdraw from your consciousness when you are sexually stimulated.

Sex has anti-aging powers. You can save money on the expensive creams and fad treatments: DHEA is a naturally-occurring hormone in the brain that is great for your skin! Moreover, it’s been linked to improved brain function and possible new cell growth. It’s like finding the proverbial fountain of youth. It’s literally all in your mind.

Just think about how you ignite these powerful, natural drugs in your brain by simply having sex and putting a sizzle in your brain.

14 Ways to Come Back to Love Every Day

Happy Valentine’s Day to you whether you are single or partnered!

I do love today as it’s a whole day to remind us all of the practice: Come Back to Love™.

BUT what about tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow?

Come back to love is a daily practice….actually it’s a moment-to-month practice. Our Intimate Puja Circles are a place where we get to practice love in action.

Every day, I have taken on these 14 beliefs and practices that support me in coming back to love at any time, in every moment….even when it’s hard.

Our tantra practice is helpful, too, of course! I invite you to join me in the 14 ways I practice Come Back To Love every day.
Here they are: 14 Ways to Come Back to Love™ every day (read them slowly) 

  1. Treat others exactly how you want to be treated (even when you think they treat you poorly).
  2. Hold EVERYONE as the hugest vision of themselves no matter what.
  3. Never use the words “never” or “always”  😉
  4. Assume the person who hurt you was doing the best they could do in that moment.
  5. Remember that every single thing that happens is for your highest good.
  6. Love what is; exactly as it is.
  7. There’s another side to every story; and then another side to that one.
  8. Offer a loving, open-hearted perspective when your friend can’t find hers.
  9. Don’t participate in gossip.
  10. Wake up every morning and ask God what her intention is for today (for you).
  11. Listen to your intuition (your heart) and let go of doubt.
  12. Pray to remove the obstacles to loving.
  13. It’s easy to love those you consider lovable – now consciously and clearly choose to love those you tell yourself you couldn’t possibly love.
  14. Find and use the resources you need to attain the health, wealth, relationship, work goal, etc. that you want.  In other words, allow yourself to RECEIVE.

Goals, Shmoals….

At the beginning of the new year, there’s much talk about “goals” and setting them and looking towards them — into the future we go!  And I used to do that, too.  I even found it helpful at times although I never met all of the goals I set out to “manifest.”  Some of you read on my Facebook page that I usually spend a day “visioning” with friends.  As per is my ritual, I set that up on 2 different days.  Usually 8-10 women show up and we have a quiet day of journaling, map making, meditating, goal setting, sharing.  It’s lovely.

This year, however, 1 woman showed up on each day.  Don’t get me wrong – it was lovely!  Quiet, meditative and time to share a bit from our hearts.  But I found myself unable to “vision” the new year!  It surprised and delighted me at the same time.

When you’re on the right path, it’s very clear.  Doors open with ease, people jump in to help, serve or uplift your purpose and there’s very little effort towards making something happen.  And when the opposite is true, the reverse happens.

So why so few women and “trouble” visioning?  The obvious response:  Be In the Moment, not in the future.  

As my friend and colleague, Rich Largman said, “Goals, shmoals….”  Laugh!  🙂  If there’s any year in the history of the US (during our life time) to be in the moment and come back to love – it’s NOW.  Because all that matters is this moment anyway…..this breath, this thought, this feeling, this body sensation — all information, all Guidance for what to ‘do’ (meaning how to ‘be’) right now.

And when you’re with yourself in this quiet moment and present to what IS — and not thinking about the future, and not making up stories in your head about your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/neighbor/etc., and not deciding there’s a problem that you need to fix…..you have the remarkable capacity to find PEACE.

And that, as my teacher Maureen Whitehouse says, is the MIRACLE.

So instead of setting goals this year in 2017, join me in experiencing MIRACLES….one after the other.  Join me in feeing more PEACEFUL.  Join me in HEALING what needs to be healed still in our humanness.  Join me in AWAKENING to our true selves (divine love is the only Truth.)

Not sure how exactly?  Stay present to what’s around you.  Keep reading my newsletter as I plan to share way more about my own awakening journey.  Join me for an Intimate Puja Circle or a coaching session, if that serves your highest.

Breathe and come back to love in your heart.  Now.  There’s no other time (literally) like the present, right?  It’s YOUR time.  The time is now.  That, I am very clear about.

Are You Getting Stuck in a Sexual Rut?  

Remember when. . .

  • The scent of your partner’s skin put a flare in your nostrils as you drank in their essence;
  • You couldn’t keep your hands off each other. Love making could happen anytime and anywhere;
  • There was an underlying passion to everything you did with each other;
  • The smallest things mattered

Fast forward to the present. . .

  • You can’t remember the last time you made love;
  • Your partner is just a part of your daily routine;
  • Nothing seems to bring you together in passion anymore;
  • You wonder if this is all there is to your partner and your life together.

It sounds like your love life has fallen into a rut.

How did that happen and when? Is there a cure for what ails your private life? Without intimacy to bind a couple, the relationship may disintegrate into partners seeking intimacy elsewhere, bitterness, resentment and in some cases the breakup of a relationship where two people are pretty sure they still love each other. They just have no idea that they can re-capture that “new car smell” to their same, old relationship.

There are powerful hormones that flood your brain when you fall into love and lust. When you first meet adrenaline, oxytocin and endorphins are basically driving your every move. New relationship energy revs your sexual drive like a powerful engine! The tamest, most conservative person can exhibit sexual prowess like never before. On the other hand, others are fueled by the energy of another new relationship.

Most of us would agree that sex in the beginning of relationships is ecstasy.

Over time, those same hormones settle down and the two of you settle into being a couple. Your priorities shift to everyday living matters: jobs, children, ailing parents, bills, pets, chores and more. The list goes on and on. Less of your time is spent on conquering and discovering what makes each other tick. The hunt is over. You are now together so why bother right?

Sounds like it’s time for a tune-up to your relationship. As a psychotherapist and sex coach now with years of experience with hundreds of couples, I see this dynamic in 90% of the couples that choose to work with me. I’ve narrowed it down to. . .

FIVE WAYS TO CLIMB OUT OF YOUR SEXUAL RUT. This is the manual on how to make your engines purr for each other once again.

1. Stop What You Are Doing! Right now! I hear from frustrated couples that their sex life is or was actually still “ok”. There still experience orgasms. They love their partner and find some attraction enough to indulge them on special occasions. Often, however, a good book and a glass of wine or a football game leaves them feeling more fulfilled than a kiss from their beloved.

It’s time to do an about face and stop everything you’ve been doing up to this point. STOP IT! Don’t “do it” anymore like you’ve been doing it. It’s not working for either of you and you’re going through the motions like robots. So what do you do now?

2. You shall give or you shall receive, but not both. Not tonight. Realignment of your relationship starts with a simple but powerful Tantric exercise. This is an important exercise and one to be taken seriously. It can have significant impact on your relationship and your sex life. 

Decide together whose turn it is tonight. Spend 20 minutes together where one person gives and other person receives. There is no reciprocation. There is no mutual, consensually-agreed upon sharing. The receiver is at choice and decides exactly what he or she wants and makes a request (or several during the 20 minute time-frame). The giver is also at choice and can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. The key is that if you are a ‘yes’ to your partner’s request, then go all in and give to him or her in the ways that s/he invites during the entire 20 minutes.

NOTE: This is not a prelude to sex; this is not foreplay or a seduction challenge. This is an agreed upon boundary exercise that has the potential to super charge your desire for each other and refill your love tanks! Decide together how many nights you want to repeat this exercise and rotate between you.

3. Look under each other’s hood and rediscover the mystery that is your partner.

Unlike a vehicle, there isn’t a manual detailing every part of your lover, its function or necessary maintenance. No other engine works like this person you behold right now so there isn’t a manual. Love requires a process of consistent rediscovery. So does passion. So does the kind of swing-from-the-chandelier sex you invented when you met and fell in love. Some of the past may come back to you and that’s ok. You have history together however it’s time to give your partner a hall pass to cheat. . .on you, WITH you. This will be a new you! Go on and give it up to each other like strangers. You’re giggling at the thought of it already, aren’t you?

This is where role playing comes in. Air out those sexual fantasies, talk dirty to each other. Plan a date night. Go out, stay in. Dress up. Strip. Watch porn. Listen to sexy music stations online. Try costumes, toys, new sex positions. Have you ever played Doctor with each other? How about strip poker? I don’t care if you cheat at Checkers and argue over the rules as you make them up. The idea is to get your blood and oxygen pumping so those powerful and natural hormones can flood your brains. Your brains now involve your hearts, your genitals and all the body parts it takes to please yourselves and each other. You want to reach that first orgasm with each other right after getting out of the sex rut that limited your passion and desire for each other.

You now know new and exciting tickle spots, sensitive spaces and cuddle language you never realized about each other before. Believe it or not, there still is a world of exploration left between you. It is therefore your divine duty to please that booty in every which way you desire! You would do well to save these instructions. Many couples report to me that they’ve hit a rut in the life of their relationship more than once.

There are no limits to how many times you can repeat these steps.

4. As always, choose to Come Back To Love…and bring your partner with you. Be tender with each other and don’t point the finger of blame or shame your partner because of the sex rut you are in. It is no one’s fault. Both of you contributed to what’s happening right now. It takes two to Tango and two to untie the knot you are in (a little help from a therapist goes a long way of course.)

5Keep it fun. One secret to reviving that “new car smell” is remaining CURIOUS about how you and your partner tick, both together and apart. Choose to love each other, laugh together and support each other in moving forward. Don’t make it one person’s responsibility to “fix” things. Working on this together fosters that loving connection you both need from each other.

You now have the tools to jump out of a sexual rut as well as avoid falling into one altogether from now on! 

I Now Pronounce You Connected for Life

As I grew up, I was very open-minded when it came to matters involving sexuality. I was also very conscious of my spirituality and the sense that someone or something bigger than I was involved in my life. The two most intimate aspects of my identity, however, operated totally separate from each other…or so I thought.

I grew up like most people, with a very limited view and experience of sex. My attention focused on my genitals only, reaching the big “O” then rolling over and going to sleep. Sex, in my mind, occurred in the body and I worked hard to come into the knowledge of insurmountable pleasure.

The way I functioned was to turn off my God mode when I wanted to be sexual. In turn, I switched off my sexual mode when I wanted to be spiritual. This was a brilliant solution, right? Not really.

The discovery that the spiritual part of me affected the sexual and vice versa came careening into reality in the most unconventional way. I felt “God” for the first time while making love in 2003​. It was in that magical and mystical moment that I remember feeling true ecstacy. I also felt confused, curious and somehow….relieved. Finally, I had found a partnership that I didn’t even know I was seeking – a spiritual sexual ​experience. And let me tell you, after tasting the cosmic orgasm​, there was no going back to separating my soul space from my sex space.

In reality, we are all yearning for one thing – connection. It takes a singular heart to realize that we are all connected no matter what. A heart that compartmentalizes sex and spirit into little separate boxes brings to us a life of separation and an experience in disconnection. We feel rejected, pulled apart from those we love, eventually growing bitter about such profound loss.

What if instead, we understood and experienced ourselves as connected to everyone and everything in our Universe?

That mystical, magical moment when I first experienced God taught me that s​pirit is involved in every aspect of my existence, including sex. Spirit, the greatest lover of all, guided me to an experience that was so much greater than a clitoral climax. I felt at one with the someone or something that was much larger than myself. The only word I had to describe it was…God.

Bringing the spiritual and sexual together is what Tantra is all about. Tantra literally means “tools to weave together and unite.” Similar to yoga practice, Tantra practice unites us with God, with ourselves and if we care to share the energy, Tantra practice can powerfully unite us with our partner. This is why it is important that sexuality and spirituality be joined together in sacredness.

You may be wondering, “What about love?” Love is actually the foundation for bringing the spiritual into the sexual. It is the glue that holds these vast and visceral experiences together. Without love we do not have access to the spiritual realm, for love is not only the path to experiencing the Divine. Love is also the path itself. Love really is what the world needs right now. So how do you begin ?

Here are the 3 first steps toward marrying your sexuality with your spirituality:

1. Realize that this is a matter of the ​heart, not the head.

Most people find this very difficult, but practice sitting in meditation for at least 10 minutes. This is vital to keeping you connected to your heart. Set the timer, drop into inner self and take deliberate breaths. You can also just be still and listen to your heart beating.

2. Monitor your judgments.

Your mind judges all day and all night long! It’s what the mind does. Begin to acknowledge your thoughts and tag them with this mantra, “I don’t know what it is, but I love it.” I for one can testify that this mantra works and I know others who can say the same. One part of coming back to yourself and love involves letting go of judgments. This practice alone can change the course of your life.

3. Set an intention before being sexual with yourself or your partner.

How can you prepare for a spiritual sexual connection with yourself or your lover? Having sex of any kind is one of the most intimate experiences that you can create. Simply close your eyes, breathe, allowing a prayer or blessing to come forth. You can state your prayer out loud or within yourself. In this way, you invite the transformational energy of spiritual love-making to support your spiritual petition which is rooted in love.

In the end, you’ve joined sex and spirit through unity by coming back to love which is the foundation of all things Tantra.