It Exists: The Tantric Quickie

intertwined legs of a man and woman laying on the ground

Have you been thinking that Tantric sex means slow sex?

Slow sex is delicious. It helps us become more aware and attentive to all the sensations, obvious and subtle, that we exchange with another body during lovemaking. But Tantric sex isn’t defined by its speed or duration.

Tantric sex is goalless.

It’s free of expectations. It’s full of a love without attachment. Tantric sex is as deep as the moment allows. And it’s present with what the moment calls for.

I’m all up for slow, all-night lovemaking. Sometimes. I’ll be honest – I like to go to bed early, and I can get tired during the all-night marathons. For me, the Tantric quickie can be just as deep and profound, earth-shattering, and laughter and tear-filled as a longer love-making session.

I also love the excitement of a time limit, a secret hiding place, pulling off the road in a secluded forest, or needing to be really quiet so others don’t know you’re doing it.

Here’s a little “how to” on the Tantric Quickie. Note that these are not rules, they are simply guidelines to keep you on the track of freedom for your afternoon delight, late-night snack, or pit-stop. You make the rules if you need them. And you demolish the rules that don’t serve and keep you limited by stories of right and wrong.

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So What the Heck is Unconditional Love?

woman smiling while being kissed on the forehead by a man

I was raised saying, “I love you” to my friends, family, and intimate partners. And while this phrase was freely given as a child, as I grew up I developed a need to know I was going to hear it back before I said it.

Only in the last few years did I learn that this kind of love is conditional. As you may have already realized in your life, this can create a lot of suffering.

In my current partnership, we have agreed to return to unconditional love no matter what. For us, this means regardless of what happens, who hurts who, where trust has been breached, or how much we want to hold a grudge or not forgive each other, we choose to love. We choose to peel back what’s in the way and remember that we are love without needing to do anything.

But, What is Unconditional Love?

Is it really possible to love no matter what? What might it mean to love without any conditions? Without concern, if that love is reciprocated or received? Regardless of how we are treated?

Would it look something like Jesus saying of his crucifiers, “Forgive them, Lord. They know not what they do”? Thinking about the people who have figuratively crucified me, my response is usually quite different. It’s more like, “You’re such a $@%*(%#.”

It makes sense that most of us have no idea what unconditional love is.

Read the full article at Beducated.

Polyamory is Figureoutable

two women and a man hugging

I’m a newbie to the poly world. I’ve only been living in conscious non-monogamy for the last six years, more or less consciously depending on the year and day. The surprising part is that I couldn’t tell you why it started. I heard a lecture on polyamory, had big triggers and mental blocks, thought I would never consider it, and then a month later I wasn’t interested in monogamy anymore.

Not only has my approach to dating and partnership been flipped on its head since then, but my whole life has changed paradigms. It continues to do so regularly. I have been influenced by all of the partners, lovers and configurations of polycules (see below if you’re unfamiliar with this term) I’ve been in over the last six years. And through much trial and error, yes I have made a lot of mistakes, and the support of many lovers and partners, I’ve come up with my ideal way I want polyamory to look in my life.

Just to clarify, this article is not about how to overcome jealousy, find compersion or deal with the stuff that comes up in poly relationships. And it is not to help you decide if you want to be in a non-monogamous relationship, although it might help people considering non-traditional relationship structures.

The intention of this article is simply to offer a few ideas of how to uncover the non-monogamous relationship structure you want, clarify the conscious non-monogamy and open yourself to playing within these structures as they change with each new arrangement of people. And, finally, I hope it helps you to find your own boundaries, desires and the non-negotiable things in your intimate relationships.

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Quietly Rejoicing

living in korea

I’ve been living in Korea again nearly 2 months now and the only real observation I can make is that I Am Present. I am with the familiar, the unfamiliar, the challenging discomforts, the joyous comforts, the new routines and the constant changes with a seamless ease that makes me feel suspended between this world and another. It’s like I am watching a beautiful life of synchronicities and serendipitous meetings unfold, watching the moments pass by with simultaneous bliss and suffering, and screaming with gratitude all the while.

December  in Seoul was a month of loneliness, confusion, heartache, uber-caffeine and a wacky diet, and also a very stable yoga practice with a tapas (discipline) of heavy pranayama and meditation. I had a winter’s hibernation and barely left my house for 6 weeks, taking a lot of silence, reflecting on my cravings for people and things, and accepting my less-than-exuberant emotional and physical state. There was a solid week where I was so angry at myself for coming here and completely convinced that I had made the wrong choice. It was hard. And as I emerge, I feel that the cocoon has preserved and evolved me with stronger and more beautiful wings with which to fly into new and unknown territory.


Since I started living and teaching in Korea again in early January, I’ve found a lot of companionship and positive energy in my colleagues. I am adjusting my daily practice to move into what supports me while teaching full-time to high-energy kindergartners, abstained for 3 weeks from coffee and sugar, and seriously reset my diet. I enter a new month feeling energized, excited for the year ahead, and without fear or doubt that I am right where I need to be, learning lessons I have been perfectly ripened for.

I am blessed to be on a 10-month journey with a group of people moving through the yamas and niyamas, the traditional ways to live according to the Yoga path. This week we began month five, aparigraha or non-attachment, which I find to be the crux of a spiritual lifestyle. The basis of non-attachment for me is TRUST, which is my intention for 2015. The more I actually let go, relax into the intelligence of the Universe, and laugh at the ridiculousness of my claim to know anything, the easier I can accept what comes and let go of what goes. It is a dance that takes practice, precision, and expertise, and eventually completely freeing oneself of all those things. Good thing I packed my dancing shoes.

New Opportunities

When I first got to Seoul, the Universe directed me to a few interesting opportunities which I decided to pursue. One was to audition for an international choir which has a pretty solid rehearsal and performance schedule throughout the year. I haven’t sung in a choir in many, many years so I was excited and nervous when I found out a few weeks ago that I was accepted. We started rehearsals last week and already my soul is rejoicing at getting to make music with trained singers and sing in beautiful, beneficial engagements around Korea. Apparently, this year is one of making music for me, with teaching music full-time and singing once or twice a week with the choir. And in this, a part of me that’s been trying to get my attention for a while quietly rejoices.

Another opportunity was a small organization I found that coaches and tutors North Korean refugees living in Seoul. I expressed interest in volunteering a few weeks ago and am now coaching two North Korean refugees on telling their story and speaking about how to change things for North Koreans and refugees. One has already been accepted to speak at three engagements in the US in two weeks, and I have a feeling they will both be frequently commissioned as the national and global energy for Korean Unification grows this year. I’ve started posting on the Supporters without Borders page with links, information, and how you can help if you’re interested. I personally believe Korean Unification is imminent and it’s up to us an international community to offer much-needed support however we can. Please visit the page and offer your encouragement!

I made a few blog posts earlier this month with some photos of the adorable kids in my school and my quaint and peaceful apartment. I also posted about my visa trip to Japan, a hilarious comedy of errors that involved traveling to Japan and back twice in subsequent weeks to get my Korean work visa.

The Usual Unexpected Twists

Quite unexpectedly, right after I started my job, I was asked if I could teach yoga to the staff one evening a week. It became obvious that there was a lot of interest, so I accepted and we began our classes tonight. Six women attended, with many more excited to join next week, and they have already asked me to teach several times a week for 2+ hours a class. That sort of aspiration cannot go unheeded, in my opinion. I had no intention of teaching yoga this year and thought that I would take a little sabbatical, but I warmly welcome this opportunity and hope that my students will find peace, balance, and restoration from our practices together. I am in jaw-dropping awe of where the Universe has already led me in the past 7 weeks and baffled to even imagine what this year in Korea will look like.

Which leads me to my wrap up and take home from this lengthy post: be open to what comes.

Life is endlessly unexpected, and being present is the only way to embrace the stream of blessings and be in love with every moment. If you want to experience being present and how to suffer from your notions and expectations, try teaching anything (especially kindergarten) for a day. Every time I am stuck in the past or what I think “should” be happening I suffer, and my students also suffer as a byproduct of my power struggle. I see how being attached not only harms me but everyone around me.

I recently read The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra and love the techniques he offers in applying detachment to everyday life: “Today I will factor uncertainty as an essential ingredient of my experience. In my willingness to accept uncertainty, solutions will spontaneously emerge out of problems, out of confusion, disorder, and chaos. The more uncertain things seem to be, the more secure I will feel, because uncertainty is my path to freedom. Through the wisdom of uncertainty, I will find my security.”

For me, the gratitude is truly endless. I love living in Korea. I am in love with every moment and amazed at what keeps falling in my lap. May you also experience boundless acceptance and expansion in your days and nights this lunar cycle.

The Shadows of International Culture Shock

We’ve been here in the Philippines nearly 2 months and the last 2 weeks have gone by the fastest for me. Over the holidays, things really slowed to a crawl in terms of disaster support, both for our organization and the various gov and non-gov organizations on Bohol, the island in central Philippines where Circus and I find ourselves doing disaster relief work following the latest super typhoon. But January 2nd we all walked into the office and 2014 lit a fire under our collective spirits, in part because Rhonda, the full-time IDEA volunteer (International Deaf Education Association) who I was assisting, went home to be with her family, leaving me to become the housing liaison. Add to that the projects I’ve been trying to move along for the past 6 weeks and I’m a busy girl all of a sudden! It was a quick shift from doing very little to very busy days and long to do lists, often more than I can accomplish in a day. And then there’s the culture shock of adjusting to being any particular identity in Filipino culture.

My rajasic, workaholic nature is greatly pleased with this, and with feeling like I can really contribute to the houses and home repairs that IDEA is offering the long list of families in need. My more balanced, enjoy-life nature reminds me that I can only do so much and that life is not actually measured by how many things you do in a day. As many years as I’ve worked to re-route that samskāra (pattern), I’m still working on that. I still find myself becoming quickly overwhelmed, playing the martyr card (“Oh, I have so much to do!”) and even experiencing an inflated sense of ego and “my accomplishments.” Fortunately, I also get a regular dose, via personal or outside reminders, that I am not the doer of any of this. My morning meditations include a prayer of recognizing my emptiness, not being personally attached to outcome, and offering any “success” or “accomplishment” back to the source from which it came.

It’d be great to write a blog all about my yogic successes and how well I am doing at the yamas and niyamas (universal values). But I think there is far more value – for myself and my readers – in laying out the mistakes and continuous lessons learned. And remembering that, like the successes, I also have to let go of the fruits of my embarrassments and failures and not grasp or claim personal attachment to them.

Working in the IDEA office has become more enjoyable as I develop a personal relationship with many of the Filipino employees. For the first month, I felt very alienated as I really didn’t understand how to work with Filipino women. I started to read a book called Culture Shock Philippines from our housemate, Josh. Circus found a lot of poignant information on adjusting to the personal and professional idiosyncrasies of this culture and wrote this great blog about it a few weeks ago. One important thing we’ve learned is that direct communication between people is not tolerated here. I mean, really not tolerated. If someone needs to receive feedback, either positive or negative, it is NEVER delivered directly from the one giving the feedback. Instead, it’s spread like a gossip wheel, with person A telling person B, person B telling person C and person C eventually passing on the information to the right beneficiary.

I experienced this yesterday morning from the teachers at the deaf high school where we live. I was assisting Scotti, the American volunteer teacher, with a new Saturday program and was also asked to share a few tips on creating Project-Based and Out-of-the-Box lessons. I had a short meeting with the principle at 8am where I was told that I was not really being asked to teach the teachers. An hour and a half later, while I was leading an activity to the deaf high school students, I was told by someone who told someone who told someone else that I was being asked to teach the teachers and could I please come, now. I was in the middle of teaching the students, however, so the students had to wait. No hard feelings, no problem, just a misunderstanding. Later in the afternoon I was informed by that same 3rd party “go-between,” as they are called, that the principle had misunderstood me (she is partially deaf and had misinterpreted a gesture I made) as saying that I was not going to teach the teachers. So, in Filipino style, all was worked out, no one was offended and the information eventually made it to the right person.

Here’s the rub: I have been working for nearly a decade to embody direct communication. Every fiber of my being wants to be given direct feedback and to equally communicate with others. I’ve experienced that direct communication is really the best way to work through hurt feelings, vulnerabilities, share a work environment and personal relationship, and to not let things fester or turn into complaining, politics or drama. If you are a westerner, and especially a person for whom awareness and consciousness are values, you probably appreciate direct communication just as much as me. So I’ve found myself wondering how to fit in so as to be able to contribute the best I can to the local environment but also not play into office politics and gossip.

Here is where not speaking Bisayan, the local language, is actually a plus because I don’t have to hear the gossip that others talk about most of the day. And they are free to say whatever they want about me without me understanding or having the chance to be embarrassed or take it personally.  Even seemingly little things like whether or not to accept food you are offered and to make small talk before diving into a work issue can really upset people if you don’t follow social protocol. And if you do make a mistake, which I do every day, no one will tell you. The same is true, by the way, for locals and foreigners. They’ll just talk amongst themselves and deny there is every a problem.


Perhaps the hardest part is watching my own judgments about how detrimental that is to a society and not just being able to say, “that’s just the way it is.” I think there can be a happy medium of not playing into what I perceive as destructive behavior, even if it is the cultural norm, while trying to stay away from judgments or thinking my way is better. To exaggerate the point, even if everyone around me were burning people at the stake, I wouldn’t do it just to fit in. I hope. Certainly, walking the self-seeking path has taught me that fitting in is not really important, but respecting people’s choices and values and supporting wherever people are on their own path/culture/personal expectations/faith/etc is important. It’s harder to change the world if you’ve alienated yourself beyond redemption and no one wants to support you.

And now an uplifting story: A few weeks ago Circus mentioned wanting to play Monopoly. We live in a little cottage with Josh, an American volunteer, and Scotti his girlfriend who lives in the school but spends most of her daylight hours at the cottage. So the four of us hang out in the mornings and evenings with not much to distract us. And sometimes distractions are nice. Circus started looking around online and found a downloadable and printable Monopoly game. He printed the game board and Chance/Community Chest cards, downloaded the property values, and we borrowed dice from Dennis, IDEA’s founder and our “boss.” We all found something around the house for a game piece. Circus used a Davy Crockett keychain that the Mother Superior of Bellefonte Parish gave him. I used a small Buddha figurine. Josh used a Centavo coin, and Scotti used the cap to a perfume bottle. We hand-wrote the real estate cards as we bought them and kept a running bank statement instead of printing paper money. And it was down-home American fun! This morning we played for the 3rd time and it has given us about 12 hours of enjoyment. We appreciate it more as we had to make it ourselves. Nothing comes easy here, which perhaps makes it easier to laugh together.

I’m really trying to separate work from home, but that is difficult when everyone you live with you also work with.  Circus and I find ourselves talking about work every evening, even when we try to create a boundary. We share about our day, which inevitably leads to a discussion about the events and people, which leads to conversations about other work events and people, which leads to talk about building shelter, meetings, progress at work, the great need and how slowly it’s being met, colleagues, politics, etc, etc. Creating those firm boundaries is important for me, and that is on my new list of goals, especially as I decided to stay here for another month. The organizational team for IDEA’s disaster relief shelter building is quite small, 6 people including us, and I personally feel like my contribution is beneficial and in line with my personal mission and that of IDEA. I can’t begin to go into detail about the challenges, trials, learning curve, moments of connection, frustration, appreciation, laughter and tears that I’ve experienced on Bohol, but I’ll just say that I’m in for at least another few weeks. It’s been an emotional roller coaster and, as I was reflecting during my morning practice today, as long as I can return to my center regularly, I can handle what life throws my way. Even in those moments when I say to myself, as I’m sure you do, “I cannot handle this,” there’s that little voice that whispers, “Yes, you can.”

Is Non-attachment Turning Our Back on the World?

Non-attachment is a big part of what I’m working on right now. In yoga, non-attachment (sometimes called dispassion) is a very pivotal point. Does that mean complete detachment from life? From loved ones? From daily conveniences?

In my experience, it’s two things. The first is learning to be detached from the desires of the ego, the part of our mind that is constantly being driven by attachments and aversions, likes and dislikes, wanting and avoiding. The second is becoming detached from the fruits (results, outcomes) of action. It’s okay to have a preference for the outcome, but being non-attached means staying calm no matter the result. In the bigger picture, this means being open to what life presents and trusting that your steps are always being led in the best direction. It also means being aware of every moment and of why our mind is leading us this way and that: is it because the ego craves/avoids something or because we’re in line with the true nature of our Self? To figure out the difference, one needs to cultivate an awareness of every moment, every breath, and the turning of the mind. You can start with this breath and this thought right now.

Let’s take, for example, hot showers. What I’ve found out about myself is that I can remain perfectly fine with no hot showers** for, say, 4 weeks, but after a while I realize that my preference would be for a hot shower. This morning I asked a friend to shower in their room so that I could have a hot shower. Needless to say, it was divine. So in this situation, non-attachment means being okay with not having a hot shower and cultivating equanimity for my current situation but at the same time realizing that my preference would be for a hot shower and doing what I can to make it a reality. I love being in India and traveling in general, and I realize that there are sacrifices to be made in certain situations. However, if I can have a hot shower I will take full advantage, knowing how happy it makes me.

**Note: I have had hot water by the bucketful in many places and cold showers from a shower head, just not the combination of hot water from a shower head. It’s not that I haven’t showered in a month. And I wash my feet twice daily, which is a necessity in most of India.