Archive | sensuality

my prayers.

I’m taking a class on reclaiming the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s fantastic. I have grown in new ways and really, deeply accepted some pieces of myself. I feel stronger.

One of the things the teacher asked us to do is name our prayers. That which we seek as a means of keeping our balance as we grow. Our prayers are our throughline. The thread that holds us together as we grow in a zigzag way.

I pray to this:

my journal of words and images

watering my plants (a new, simple, exquisite way I nourish myself)

facing my beloved, chest on chest, with hugs or kisses (or both!)

deep kisses with soft lips

curling up on down comforters

popcorn + rootbeer on Saturday nights


breathing into the orgasm and feeling it explode my whole body like a mandala

boot cut jeans

black leather boots. steel-toed.

rubbing my children’s legs as they fall asleep

English tea.

buying books. real, paper ones. reading them.

a dark wood with cedar trees and ferns

comfy chairs to curl up in.

magical things.

William Stafford’s words.

the feel of a good pen.

abstract art. art the size of whole rooms. 


lighting the candles for meditation + solstice.

listening to their stories + offering medicine.



Seattle. green moss. pine trees. mountains. streams. ferns. the smell of cedar.

my bed.


making things with my hands. wood working.

alone time. alone time. alone time. 

friends who hold me up. miracles.

the feel of writing. 
the feel of writing.
the feel of writing. 


“Prayer is what keeps us keeping on.
Prayer is where we allow for more.
Prayer is connected to what we are proud of,
what we covet, and our passion.”

– Renee Magnusson




The Sensuality of War.

I first wanted to write, “There is none.” and leave the post at that. But then I began to think about it.

There is a sensuality to war.

But it’s not what you think it is.

The sensuality of war is simply to be alive.
To be alive and attain anything approximating ‘normal’ again.

Let’s talk about the sensuality of war, since it seems to be so fresh in our national consciousness.

::: ::: ::: :::

First let me tell you about the smell of rotting flesh.

When you are at war, you will smell this.
Whether it is from an IED wound gone wrong or the leftovers of a nuclear bomb.

I have smelled rotting flesh. I worked in a nursing home through college.
Bed wounds and surgeries that don’t heal.
And the flesh rots, even when there’s been good care.

And once you smell rotting flesh, you will feel so grateful for the smell of nothing.
For the smell of air.
Strangely, even the smell of an outhouse full of shit is an improvement over rotting flesh.

To be alive and smell nothing- that is the sensuality of war.

::: ::: ::: :::

The sensuality of war is a good nights rest and the miracle of how that feels.

The memories, the sounds with no pictures, the triggers- they come with war.
And to be free of them is the most sensual thing in the world.
Ask a veteran with PTSD.

To sleep well and deeply is the sensuality of war.


[I do not know the artist who took this picture. If you know, please
inform me so I can offer the correct attributions. ]


The sensuality of war is holding a human being you love and feeling their warmth.

There is no end of cold inside war.
The cold of the physical body.
The cold of MREs.
The cold of distance.
The way the heart must numb itself to make it through.

And then, to hold someone you love, who loves you, that is the most alive thing.
Whether it is spouse or comrade or animal.
The feeling of ‘normal’ inside someone’s arms; that is the sensuality of war.

::: ::: ::: :::

The sensuality of war is to sit in a chair, in a normal place- a house, a restaurant- and feel calm.

To not remember the nights you slept against cold armor.
To not worry there is someone behind you (to not hear or imagine them there).

To feel your body settle and relax and know it can remain that way for some period.
To laugh inside that chair.

Breathing in a relaxed rhythm is the sensuality of war.

::: ::: ::: :::

War is awful and ugly and should be avoided at all costs. Always. In this day and age we have more than enough tools to keep ourselves from war.

I understand the allure of it all. I have been in emotional wars where my victory was certain – and that felt so delicious. Power is delicious.

But the power of war is the Buddhists hungry ghost; it has a never-ending stomach. It can never be filled- until the last opponent is dead. And then what is left? Nothing but the stench of rotting flesh.

War is sensual- it can make us feel very alive. But I think it is a backward kind of sensuality- where we dig ourselves into a hole and only feel alive again when we claw our way back to baseline. Maybe that’s the point of war- to remind ourselves how wretched the hole is, how good ‘baseline’ can feel. But we all know: war is almost never worth it.

Perhaps instead of enduring the sensuality of war, we could try something new: to practice the maturity of staying at baseline and loving it exactly as it is, not as something ‘better’ in contrast to a disaster.




The Laughing Heart

by Charles Bukowski

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.




The ultimate orgasm mmmm….

“If you are not regularly having orgasms in the senses that comprise your mind and intelligence…and most particularly with the person you claim to adore…if you are not- and I mean regularly having orgasms of insight, discovery, understanding, and revelation…then I am afraid you are probably extremely confused about sex.

Because the physical aspect is really pretty mundane compared to the whole other ‘lost universe’ of mutual relational ecstasy. And ‘sex,’ as most adults understand and experience it…is far too commonly and easily substituted for its sources. This tends to become either boredom or addiction. Those are not really erotic- they are reactive.

Underneath all of our confusions about these matters, just about everything is fundamentally sexual, but not precisely in the ‘naughty’ sense.

And it’s all just as natural as rain or night- but it would appear supernatural because we have forgotten or lied about most of our actual relational nature as animals and human beings. In nature, nearly all relational expression actively elicits eroto-sexual connotation or carries similar content. Period.

And the results of recognizing and engaging with this are far beyond mere physical orgasm.”

| Darin Stephenson |





It’s the small things

Fellow travelers, I am sorry I did not drop any photo love for you while I was gone. I didn’t even journal and I barely meditated while I was in Seattle. You know what I did instead? I lived.

::: ::: ::: :::

It’s the little things that make a difference sometimes.




Like running up a real hill in Seattle. [The backside of Queen Anne in Seattle. I zig-zagged my ass up that hill twice. :o)]
I forgot what it takes to do that.
It felt fantastic.

Inhaling the smell of Puget Sound as I walked around outside.
The sea and the salt; soft but intense.

Seeing familiar plants and weeds that don’t grow in New England.
I know what they taste like and how they stain your fingers.

People who use their turn signal. And look over their shoulder first.

Always hearing ‘excuse me’ when we bumped into each other.

Watching men watch my tattoos in the airport.

Dancing and dancing and dancing the night away.
And the cute young DJ who sidled up to me a few times.
[Because a music lover is always a friend, no matter age.]

The polite wave when I make space for someone to merge.

A cup of coffee after two long, long flights.

A 5 am dog-walk and good conversation with a friend.

Being validated by someone who’s been there.
[Broken hearts and healed hearts hold one another.]

The joy and sensuality of this trip were over the top for me. And while I didn’t get enough time out in nature, the time I spent with people was amazing and nourishing and everything I love about this city and its people.




The best part, of course, was the wedding I officiated.

And it was the little things there, as well. 

I have now presided over 25 marriages in 10 years. And these days I can tell who’s going to make it and who’s not (with one exception). I used to have funny feelings about some couples – something was off. Years later I would find out, they had divorced. The couples who have made it- it’s evident in the small things.

The way they look at each other.

The words they use to talk about each other.

What they say and how they say it when they talk about their story.

What they want to tell about themselves and their story in their ceremony.

The hopes they have for each other.

The promises they make- not just how heartfelt they are, but the actual promises. Some people understand what it takes to succeed in long-term relationships.

How involved they each are and how they use (or abuse) each other’s strengths and weaknesses as they get through the wedding issues.

There are telltale details.

And this couple is going to make it- and joyfully so. They have all the skills they need and – most importantly – the willingness and capacity to develop more, if necessary.


One kind man at the wedding made it his job to take care of me and he chatted with me for a good long time. He’d been recently married- after waiting 9 years for his love. His now wife dated him for a year, left him for several more, and then returned to date and marry him. He knew he was going to marry her and that’s why he waited. He gave me hope.

And yet, as our conversation went on, it was clear there were already cracks. The amount of love given from each of them is not equal. Not even close, I think. He is far more giving and loving and interested than she. Could it work? Of course. But I think it is equally possible that he will be devastated at some point. It’s the little things that tell the story- and suggest how the path may go.

And it was the little things I learned while I was gone that suggested my path, as well.




I learned to do a very small thing: not hit the ‘send’ button.

I’m learning my boundaries as a healer and as a human. And I am learning to let the emotions run through me, to feel them, and to decide what to do about them a few days later (or weeks).

Encouragement and support and love are my superpowers, and it’s hard for me not to share them. But with some people I have a very low batting average (like 2 out of 14, whatever that is). Try as I might, we don’t connect. And I am learning to express myself as needed (Pinterest is sometimes helpful, but nothing there is ever quite exact enough), but not hit the ‘send’ button without thinking long and hard about it.

It’s the little things.

As I take time to get through jet lag today, I’m holding on to little things from the trip. So often, we come back from an experience like that and we feel different so we want things to be different. And usually that motivation to hold those new pieces of us runs out after a while.

So I’m taking a couple of small things from the trip and trying to hold them for the long haul. A better sense of boundaries and where and how to love and encourage. And a sense of nourishment deep inside me. That’s what makes Seattle my soul home– how it nourishes me spiritually and emotionally. And I want to hold on to that- a little bit more each day.

That’s the story, morning glory.

And if you’re a 90s person, here’s one last picture for you.
(If you can name the singer and the song from this picture, I’ll buy you a beer.)