Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

The Newest Love of My Life

Mishka2No, no. Nothing's changed with Nathan! He's still the true love of my life. But we've opened up our relationship to include another little bundle of love – and fur and claws – and named him Mishka, which we just found out after the fact means "gift of love" in Hindu and "white bear" in Russian.

Mishka5He's the first breed cat I've ever owned (an Egyptian Mau), and he is not only soft as a mink, but clever, sweet, friendly, affectionate, playful and can jump and flip in the air and run up to 30 miles an hour. Although he hasn't gotten up to those speeds in our little seaside flat. But I think he's trying.

We are so happy he finally figured out the litter box concept. We are a proud mama and papa, if ever there were.

I am totally in love. It's not that easy to get any work done at all! But somehow love of this sweet-hearted fuzzy one makes it all worth it.

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Posted by LiYana at 11:58 am  Comments Off on The Newest Love of My Life

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

One Thing To Do With Grief

Two questions came from readers lately, that turn my face toward the face of grief and loss:

"After one has been in deeply in a love relationship, how do you let go in order to move on. I tend to linger and wallow in the pain of letting go…"

"How can couples create/maintain connection and sexual polarity during difficult times — for example: illness, trauma, grief, loss of loved one, loss of home/financial stability, or other radical changes in circumstances, etc.? Is there anything that extinguishes feminine radiance more quickly than grief?"

Grief and loss are deep, thick waters that are a personal affair to plumb. How to embrace their weighty, heavy arms? How long to hold the embrace so the grief and loss have run their course through our veins? How do we know when we've traversed into "wallowing" territory and it's time to throw off the tight bands of grieving?

I wish I had the answer for every form grief and loss takes; I wish I had a caress for every sister's cheek grief and loss leave their sad kiss upon. I don't have every answer, but I do have the beautiful story of the Japanese goddesses, Ameratsu and Ame-no-Uzume, which points a finger toward the door we must all walk through with our unique shuffling, sashaying, sauntering step.

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Amaterasu is the sun goddess, associated with royal power, and returning life and joy after dark times, as the sun becomes stronger and warmer after winter. Ame-no-Uzume is the voluptuous goddess of merriment and celebration.

Amaterasu and Ame-no-Uzume
http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/amaterasu.html

Amaterasu is the sun goddess, the goddess from which all light emanates and is often referred to as the sun goddess because of her warmth and compassion for the people who worship her.

"I am the author of order, the sun in her clockwork path. To this beloved world I have given many gifts — the plow-furrowed fields, the strands of the seasons, the celebrations joining families and neighbors — these I carefully weave, weft across warp, binding communities and ordering Time. So it goes, as I knot together the substance of civilization. However …"

Most of her myths revolve around an incident where the goddess traps herself in a cave because of her brother's actions. One day, in a drunken rampage, he trampled Amaterasu's rice fields, filled all of her irrigation ditches and threw excrement into her palace and her shrines. The people asked her brother to stop but he ignored them and even went so far as to throw the corpse of a skinned horse at her hand-maidens who were weaving at the time. The women were killed by the splintered wood from the looms piercing their wombs.

"Every older sister knows a younger sibling, troublesome and maddening; my brother, I utterly can not tolerate. Where I am quiet, he is loud; where I am calm, he is violent; where I am steady, his tempers wax and wane. My planted fields he floods, my handmaidens he frightens; my weaving he cuts in pieces. But he passed all endurance one morning when he burst through the roof of my hall like a thunderclap out of the blue sky, and into the tumult he then cast, of all things, the flayed and bloodied hide of a horse — I'm sure he found it quite witty — and bright Wakahirume, most dear to me, was killed. A little of his chaos must then have entered even into my own heart, for I put down my shuttle and turned from my loom, took myself to a quiet cave, and shut the entrance after me with a great stone."

Amaterasu was greatly angered and in protest she shut herself in the Heavenly Cave and sealed it shut with a giant rock.

"In that cool place of silence and still water, I finally had peace. I lay down in the quietude, and soon wandered into deep dreamings."

As a result, the world was consumed with darkness. Without her, everything began to wither and die. Countless people gathered in front of her cave and devised a way to lure her out. They all sat around the cave and set up a mirror across from the entrance. Ame-no-Uzume, the voluptuous goddess of merriment turned over a wash-tub and began a sensual dance, tapping the beat on the tub. She exposed her breasts and lifted her skirts as she danced a divine striptease. All of the gods made a great noise of yelling and cheering and laughing.

"But it was not to last. In time I was awakened by a din and disturbance outside the rock-cave entrance. It was quite an uproar: I made out rowdy shouts and screams, and for a moment I thought my brother had come to disturb me even here. But, no, it was not his usual crashing jumble of noise — it was, no — was it? How could it be? By the door-stone the sound was much clearer — unmistakable now, the sounds of joyous celebration: music, cheers, and merry laughter. How can this be? Without my workings, the dark chaos of winter must descend. Are all my gifts given so cheaply held? The lore and learning, the wisdom of seed and soil, are these so swiftly forgotten?"

"I am so angry that at last I shift the stone slightly, to peer out at this madness. And within the dark winter, there is a small shining. I catch a gleam of the golden light of heaven, brilliant and beautiful. Its radiance and glory thrill me; such loveliness I have never seen. Forgetting my anger, I roll the stone aside and step towards the light."

Amaterasu peeked out to see what the noise was about. She asked the nearest god what was going on and he replied that there was a new goddess. When Amaterasu asked where she was, he pointed to the mirror.

"Tied to a tree is a small mirror, and the splendor shining back at me is mine. I have never truly seen my own beauty, caught as I was in my weaving; with my relentless work and busy mind I have somehow left out my own self."

Amaterasu had never seen herself before and when she caught her reflection, she stared at the radiance of her own form. She was so surprised and fascinated by her own nearly forgotten beauty.

When she was out of the way, the people shut the rock behind her. Having lured her out of the cave, the gods convinced her to go back into the Celestial Plain and all life began to grow again and become strong in her light. Once back in the Celestial Plain, she made sure that she was ready for her brother's harsh actions again by having a bow and quiver at her side.

"All around me are the welcoming smiles of my friends and neighbors, my own woven community come together to coax me from my darkness. I must never forget that I too am one of the strands."

What do the goddesses remind us to do? Never, never forget our exquisite beauty? Be coaxed out of our cave by the merry-making, music, laughter, sensual celebration (and exposed breasts! ;-P) of others less bound by grief and loss than us? Remember our place in the warp and weft of things? Step into the plains of our life after an appropriate time of weeping, with the knowledge we are stronger now to bear the joys and pains of this crazy life?

http://www.thaliatook.com/AMGG/amaterasu.html

Posted by LiYana at 8:05 pm  Comments Off on One Thing To Do With Grief

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

Sex, God, Rock & Roll

A while back I was interviewed by the "Punk Monk" Stuart Davis on Sex, God, Rock & Roll on "Relationship as Spiritual Path". Check out a clip of it here:

Stuart is funny. An amazing musician. The king of off-off-off humour. Sacred. A loving father. A stellar husband. Rocks the camera.

Close your eyes and open your legs, it's time for the full episodes of Sex, God, Rock & Roll! I'm on episode 4, and will be in the DVD box set that's coming out soon. Membership is $5 a month or something silly.

http://www.sexgodrocknroll.com/episodes/

And here's the article I wrote, after having so much fun with Stuart:

Sex and Relationship as Spiritual Path: can a relationship actually do what an ashram does?

by LiYana Silver, Relationship Specialist, November 2008

I am sitting in a filming studio in Boulder, Colorado, getting ready to be interviewed on the Stuart Davis Show, "Sex, God, Rock n' Roll." I'll be talking about Relationship and Sex as Spiritual Path; can a relationship actually do what an ashram does? It's going to be a good one.

In a pre-interview email, Stuart emailed me the following questions: Relationship as Spiritual Path: Can a relationship actually do what an ashram does; can a relationship actually do what a teacher-student relationship does? In what ways can relationship do what lineage, community, etc, does? In what ways do we use spiritual communities or teachers to "avoid" deeper engagement and relationship with our partners?

There's no One Right Way. This is a unique concept in a world that functions as though there is very much One Right Way. Our world loves the "either/or," "black/white," "good/bad" paradigm; our cultures raise arms around who are the chosen people, who's getting into God's kingdom, which diet is the right diet, is a homosexual marriage still a marriage?

Relationship can absolutely do what the ashram does. It just tends to do it in a sort of technicolor thriller, comedie noire, 3-D dramatique way.

The ashram asks of those who enter to supplicate, to prostrate yourself physically, emotionally and mentally at the feet of a master. It asks of you to give over of yourself in order to gain insight and maturity, to strip away illusion and delusion, to awaken. If you have a partner who has a basic grasp of the foundational elements of powerful relating (self awareness, communication, honesty, vulnerability and integrity), and you have a partner you can trust, your partner (or partners) becomes teacher, sensei and master – as well as and student.

The ashram offers you practice and challenges to rise to. Getting up to meditate at 4:00am in a cold zendo with aching knees and back, whether or not you feel like it, is a lot like getting up to breast-feed an infant or tend to your lover's food poisoning, whether or not you feel like it. Cleaning the meditation halls is a lot like cleaning the bedroom, sweeping away the dust and clutter to allow seekers to again tomorrow, free of too much distraction, lay themselves at the feet of intimacy and union.

The ashram offers you a physical and spiritual container, within which to examine who you are: Who are you in the glorious, open times as well as during the tough times? Come rain or shine, the ashram demands of you to do your practices. It's one thing to be a good communicator and a loving open being when the sun is shining in our relationship, but can we keep our hearts open and vulnerable in the midst of a painful, confronting storm when the shit hits the fan and it gets tough and scary? The cultivation of discipline, whether done in the ashram or in the relationship, is useful because of what it trains us for.

My rather irreverent assertion that relationship can be a vessel for growth, discovery and communion with the Divine, as the ashram can also be, comes from my experience with Vedic Tantra. Vedic Tantrism offers that there is nothing to transcend; the Divine is not out there or over there, separate from you; you are the Divine. The Divine is having a human experience through you. There is no where you could go, nothing you could do to escape the Divine. Being human is not a fallen condition. There's not a place of perfection we fell from and can claw, pray or self-flagellate our way back to. Vedic Tantra is inclusive, offering a way to see our shadows not as deviance from the Divine, but for further means of integration and experience of the full spectrum of the Divine. There is no experience that doesn't offer you, bundled inside of it, the chance to open to God. Relationship, when done with the intention and heart of a spiritual seeker, is an honorable spiritual path.

Lineages, like pilgrimages to ashrams, offer the beautiful structure of well-trodden spiritual paths, but don't necessarily have built in to them the elasticity to account for human and cultural development. Often in trying to transcend our humanity – our visceral, earth-bound bodies with their plethora of racing thoughts, storms of emotions and abounding sexual energies – is an excuse to push away life like a mirage, and can drive us even further from a union with the Divine. We have been taught, whether through Eastern, Judeo-Christain or through Puritanical traditions, to deny the body, kill the ego, cut out parts of ourselves and ascend above our messy humanity in order to commune with the Divine. But those same sought-after spiritual experiences are equally as accessible through the body, thoughts, emotions and ego; through an integration and understanding of our humanity. Rather than pretending our shadows aren't there or can be exorcised, we can embrace, include and integrate them.

When you choose life (and relationship) as spiritual path and choose to know and engage (rather than deny) every part of your being, the conversation with the Divine then happens right here, right now, not limited to churches, synagogues and ashrams. There is no spot where God is not, no place that is not holy; every moment becomes one where union is available. If you choose relationships, you choose to engage. Relationship is the highest-stakes, highest-reward spiritual game I know.

LiYana Silver is a Relationship Specialist, teacher, writer and counselor. Visit her website at ww.RedefiningMonogamy.com.

Posted by LiYana at 8:03 pm  Comments Off on Sex, God, Rock & Roll

Monday, June 1st, 2009

Red-Hot Body, Red-Hot Relationships

linewfeet

jenaI met my friend and colleague, Jena LaFlamme, over 8 years ago, while we were both studying holistic wellness and counseling. We were both struggling with eating disorders, weight issues
and relationship woes.  From macrobiotic cooking classes, conferences at Kripalu, contact improvisation dancing and zen meditation in India, I've experienced it all – and then some – with Jena.

Today, we are both successful business owners with booming private practices; we live, breathe and teach the secrets to vibrant wellness, healthy and balanced (red-hot) bodies and extraordinary and vibrant (red-hot) relationships.

We'd like to invite you to a free 2-part webinar series, where we'll share with you, each in turn, what we've mastered over the years.

Red-Hot Body, Red-Hot Relationships: Let two women who KNOW show you how!

To register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/129027795

Part 1: Red-Hot Relationships
The Nine Essential Ingredients for Passionate Partnerships for the 21st Century
with Relationship Expert, LiYana Silver

Tuesday, June 9, 2009; 5:30-6:30pm PST; 8:30-9:30pm EST

–  Confounded, confused and can't communicate with the opposite sex?
–  Discouraged when your relationship gets more loving & intimate, the sexual spark fizzles?
–  Want to stop unhealthy relationship patterns, but you're not sure if it's them, or if it's you?
–  Want to be yourself, but always feel like you have to choose between you or the relationship?
–  Daunted when it starts out so loving and sizzling, but turns into a fight-fest, over and over again?

Join Relationship Expert and Coach, LiYana Silver and get the revolutionary recipe guide for creating the intimate love relationships you hunger for.

If the Iron Chef got Naked, slipped into a sassy, classy lady suit and divulged her feisty, fresh formulas for creating tasty relationships, sex and intimacy – and passed out yummy samples at the end – that would be this webinar.

You will:

– Learn the nine essential ingredients that make any relationship sizzle – and lasting!
– Uncover the number one skill, without which your relationship is doomed
– Decipher your relationship blueprint – the first step in turning conflict into harmony (and so that you will  never get into a lame relationship again!)
– Learn simple communication tools that will get your needs met without nagging, diffuse reactivity and bring you more  satisfaction in the bedroom
– Find out why men and women appear to be different species –  and how to activate your translator for symbiotic, respectful relating
– Learn why in most long-term relationships the sex dies – and what you can do about it

Complete with vital information, lively Q&A and simple how-to's and tools you can apply to your life (tonight!), this hour-long, chock-full webinar will forever change what you know to be possible in relationships.

** You'll also get a special offer to be a part of a 11-week beta relationship coaching program with LiYana Silver!

To register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/129027795

To learn more about LiYana Silver, Relationship Expert & Founder of Re-Defining Monogamy :
http://www.redefiningmonogamy.com

Part 2: Red-Hot Body
The Seven Succulent Ingredients for a Body that Sizzles
with Weight-Loss Expert, Jena LaFlamme

Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 5:30 – 6:30pm PST, 8:30 – 9:30pm EST

–  How would you like to look in the mirror only to find a satisfying smile ripple across your face?
–  How would you like access to your metabolic hot buttons so that weight loss becomes a natural letting go of that which is no longer needed, as opposed to a forced and painful  restriction exercise?

If your relationship with food and your body feels more like a nightmare than a dream, like a fight than a friendship, do not resign yourself to a life of inner conflict, there is a way out.

I spent a decade vacillating between overeating and cruel food restriction, and in my search for the body of my dreams I tried everything under the sun. And nothing worked….until I came
across these teachings. These teachings worked for me to lose 20 pounds and you can too.

In the end, the answers were simpler than I ever could have imagined. My discovery? That the blue-print to easy, sustainable weight loss has been with you all along, in the very instincts of you own body, or as I call it, your "animal."

In this 60-minute free webinar you will:

–  Discover why "self-control" doesn't melt off the pounds and what really does.
–  Dissolve your despair with your stubborn body and replace  it with hope and inspiration that you too can have the body  of your dreams
–  Learn the key, delicious foods that will satisfy you and put an end to your cravings
–  The exercise secret that keeps weight on even if you are pounding the treadmill and has allowed me to maintain a slender figure without even stepping in the gym
–  Recognize where you may be inadvertently sabotaging your weight loss efforts and how you can get more satisfaction from food and make weight loss effortless

With these strategies, I have not only lost weight myself and kept it off for years without yo-yoing, but have helped hundreds of clients get the same results. You can too!

There's only room for a limited amount of you on the bridge line so if this interest you sign up immediately while there is still space.

To register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/129027795

To learn more about Jena LaFlamme, Weight Loss Expert & Founder and Director of  the Jena Wellness Center :
http://www.jenawellness.com

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I look forward to having you on the red-hot pair of webinars!

Enjoy, LiYana
—–

Posted by LiYana at 7:53 pm  Comments Off on Red-Hot Body, Red-Hot Relationships

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