Sunday, April 15th, 2007

Taking Space in Thailand

As April heads to a close, your Intrepid Guide finds herself on the wild boarder where Thailand meets Burma. I've thoroughly enjoyed this past month – the steamy street markets and food stalls of Bangkok, the constant call of the crashing waves and the response of the cicadas on our tiny island sanctuary in the gulf of Thailand, and now the relative cool of the rice-terraced mountains of the North.

Having just gone through a rough patch with my boyfriend a few months ago, we are enjoying the fruits of our efforts, recalibrating to a life of love and adventure together. Living on top of each other in and out of asian countries for a year with no real support but each other put more pressure on our relationship than usual. I am blessed and cursed to be with a younger man, which has many advantages (ahem), but also puts us at different stages of life, wanting different things from our lives due to our age/experience. This came to a head a while back, swinging us both into an uncharacteristic space of not being able to work it out together.

These last couple weeks, I notice a trend with my clients that echoes this very one: trying to work out an issue with the very person they are having the issue WITH. It is hard, and often counter-productive – and what to do about it?

The best way I know out of it is to either involve someone else, a "neutral" third party whom you both trust, or take some time and space – or both.

Our choice was to take some serious space. We have always been good about asking for time alone in our four plus years together, but never to the extent of putting tens of thousands of miles between us for a month at a time. I went and stayed with friends for a couple weeks, he went to be with family.

Ah, the benefits of taking time and space! It can be more helpful than any "working at" the issue, like a crowd of busy beavers. Space apart has a way of bathing the issue with a gentle mist that, partnered with time, lifts to reveal things settled, calmer, and somehow clearer.

And no, it doesn't have to be thousands of miles worth of space. Among my clients and family and friends, I have noticed creative, interesting options for "taking space" within relationship.

One client of mine has taken a lover, and she finds that a date once and a while renews her commitment to her relationship to her husband and their kids. (Of course he knows about it).

Another client and her husband worked out that every year they would take one month to be apart and do whatever they wanted, including being lovers with others, with the full understanding they would return to their marriage at the end of the month. They found that having time to be on their own and accountable to no one was a great refresher for their relationship and marriage.

Another, with a business with her partner in a very small town, takes time to travel on her own often for a month at a time, several times a year.

In addition to the drastic thousands of miles approach, my boyfriend and I often take a couple nights a week to do our own thing. I favor alone-time or girl-time, and he favors the movies.

Taking time and space – however much or little – is a opportunity to get centered, regroup as an individual, and mostly to miss your partner. It is important to re-remember all the things you love about them, which are sometimes easy to forget or take for granted when you are together, entwined and on top of each other all the time.

Where did I go during my month across the ocean? I went into the very necessary place of contemplating NOT being together, untwining our lives, and what it would take, emotionally and spiritually, to do it on my own. That was an extreme place to go to, but important. Because of going there, and the gift that time always gives me of seeing my partner for all that he is rather than all he is not, I was able to re-choose clearly and strongly into this relationship. And I do re-choose it, consciously and actively, everyday.

SO where does that leave me and my boyfriend, here in Thailand? Closer than ever.

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Posted by LiYana at 1:10 am  Comments Off on Taking Space in Thailand

Monday, April 9th, 2007

Free QUICKIE, anyone?

At my workshop, Crafting Extraordinary Relationships, coming up quickly May 4-6, I will be auctioning off a free quickie!

Ha, now that I've got your interest, I'll enlighten you.

Did you know there exists a woman, fluent in literotica, who will take the tid-bits and tendrils of your sensual fantasies and spin them into a piece of custom literary erotica for you? A fun, fresh thing to give your lover, friend, favorite bachelorette – or even yourself!

May I introduce the writer, Sage Vivant, who writes long, luscious stories or short steamy ditties (dubbed "quickies"), all created based on your personal imaginings. Check her out at http://www.CustomEroticaSource.com and while you're at it, consider her new book, "Your Erotic Personality."

So to get your own personal quickie, join me at my workshop!

In this workshop, Relationship With Yourself, you'll get the skills, tools and how-to's to move past self-doubt and self-criticism into unabashedly adoring yourself in your own skin. Only when you have an unshakably loving relationship with yourself can you go on to creating profound love and epic partnership with someone els! Make peace with your mind, learn how to create intimacy and what it takes to be radiant and attractive, and get fluent in communication with the opposite sex.

This workshop doubles as a rejuvenating retreat at the beautiful Clear Point center in the Connecticut mountains, and includes accommodation, lovingly prepared healthy meals, optional movement classes and guided hikes in the surrounding woods. And for that lucky someone, the workshop also includes a quickie from Sage!

For full information: http://www.ReDefiningMonogamy.com/crafting-2.html.

This workshop got rave reviews the last time I ran it in November 2006, and there are only 5 spaces left for this one.

Considering? On the fence? Be in touch with any questions! Write me at http://www.ReDefiningMonogamy.com/contactliyana.html

Tell me, who in their right mind would turn down the offer for a free quickie?

Posted by LiYana at 3:46 am  Comments Off on Free QUICKIE, anyone?

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Man on the half-shell

This morning, from his hammock overlooking the gulf of thailand's salty waves, my boyfriend reports to being "happy as a clam."

He is every woman's dream at the moment: open, sweet, attentive, flirty, sexy, and sharing his thoughts (and feelings!) freely. We share a saucy spark, from heart to heart, and from, well a bit lower than that, too… I relish these times. As much as I know and accept that they come and go, I also study them so I understand the elements that go into creating them, so I can do so with greater ease and facility next time. In the eternal quest to decode and befriend this strange species of shellfish – Man – I wonder what it takes to turn "clammed up" to "happy as a clam?"

Ever the metaphor whore, I start to think about men as mussels. Sometimes men are closed, hard shells clamped down and water-tight, and sometimes they are open, happily offering up their sweet, salty, soft insides, like a Venus, goddess of love, who stands amorously on such a shell. You can't force mussels to open – you might get poisoned – but there is a way to have them open willingly.

Here is my impromptu recipe to do just that:

1. Pluck from natural habitat. Place in a container with some water.

We all get used to our lives, even if our lives are amazing, so going somewhere different, doing something differently or changing it up in some way, necessitates we are more aware and attentive, rejuvenates the senses, and wakes us up a touch. It is so important to create a space that is different than normal, familiar life. This beach in thailand is working well, for sure! But if you can't take a vacation half-way across the world, you can create sacred space, or a container to connect inside of, anywhere, anytime. Set the space, be intentional: it can be as simple as lighting candles if you usually don't, going out for dinner if you usually stay in, turning off the TV, getting in the bath together, or spending a night in a hotel, just for the fun of it.

2. Add heat and steam.

The general rule is that a woman needs emotional connection to be sexually intimate, and a man needs sexual connection to be emotionally intimate. Sort of a catch-22, at times. My boyfriend tells me he pulls away and closes down when I don't prioritize our sensual time, when we are unable to connect, sensually. It is the thing that allows him to feel like we connect deeply, that we are on the same page, and that he is important and won't lose me to work, distractions, etc. And he is right – I often don't prioritize this. I love life in all its forms and minutiae. I call myself an "intellexual," meaning sometimes my work, or a deep and juicy conversation with a girlfriend can be as amazing as sex. But really, tell me, how in the world can I prioritize e-mail over connecting, heart and body, with my love?

So we make it a priority, just like yoga, exercise or work get a fair slot in our lives. At the risk of sounding super-crunchy, I'll share with your our Connection Ritual next posting. In the meantime, create your own, and we can compare notes!

Gramma was almost right: the way to a man's heart might sometimes be his stomach, but usually it is a little bit further on down…

Posted by LiYana at 2:05 am  Comments Off on Man on the half-shell

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