Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

What I Wish Someone Had Told Tiger Woods

This was published a while back in New York Spirit Magazine, but I thought it deserved re-posting. Timely topic!

Post your comments below…

What I Wish Someone Had Told Tiger

By LiYana Silver

Are you really surprised Tiger Woods was cheating on his wife? Were you surprised Bill Clinton, Jude Law, Leann Rimes, David Letterman, Jon Gosselin, Mark Sanford and Hugh Grant were? We shake our once-again disappointed heads over yet another public figure or leader who has proven to be a cheater, liar or hypocrite, but why exactly are we so surprised and disappointed? Of course it can feel like a betrayal when someone you look up to, a mentor, leader or teacher, turns out to have cracks in their morals. I’m not saying that all public figures, celebrities and leaders are cheaters, liars and hypocrites – I’m saying MOST OF US are cheaters, liars and hypocrites.

Hear me out. According to the Associated Press, 90 percent of Americans believe adultery is morally wrong, yet between 25 to 50 percent of married women and 50 to 65 percent of married men admit to having affairs. And since not all of those cheaters are married to each other, the numbers of those engaged in infidelities increases dramatically, affecting 80 percent of marriages. Picture a room of 10 people; between 2 to 8 of those people are or have been cheaters. You might even have to count yourself.

We cry for monogamy in morals, but our actions say something very different.

As hard on everyone as infidelity is, cheating deserves a closer examination. Cheating is defined by the context it is set in and the rules it breaks, not by the action itself. In one context, having a knife plunged into your abdomen in the middle of the night by a strange masked man could be a very bad thing; yet in another context, if you are suffering a burst appendix, you are wildly thankful for that surgeon’s scalpel. By one set of rules, copying out of the textbook in an exam is blatant cheating; in an open-book test, it is accepted and encouraged. It’s not the necessarily act of having sex, intimacies or emotional connections with people other than our partners that is inherently the problem, it’s the secrecy and dishonesty as well as the unexamined rules so many of us strive to live and love by.

We take for granted that monogamy is the gold standard for relationships, and when we can’t manage it, we blame ourselves – or our partner. But we could stop and consider a third option; that perhaps there’s something outdated or ill-fitting for some of us, about the structure, confines and pressures of monogamy itself.

I’m not letting Tiger, Bill, Jude – or those fictional 2 to 8 of 10 folks in the room – off the hook for cheating, lying, deception and infidelity. Dishonesty is a tragedy for everyone. But does everyone who has an affair do it for the sole purpose of breaking up a family or betraying the trust of their loved ones? Are all cheaters callous cads, letting wanton selfish desires take precedence over the sacrifice and self-discipline that is often necessary in loving relationship? Are a majority of us simply just rotten, bad people?

With deep respect to his wife and family (and an additional wish that he not have his personal life scrutinized by the public), let’s also look at what Tiger, our token cheater, was going FOR, not just what he managed to mess up. It’s a powerful force; call it freedom, lust, limerance, infatuation, love, difference, otherness, intimacy, desire, or thrilling newness. For as long as there have been partners to cheat on, we humans have risked loved ones, jobs, careers, nations, our lives – and endorsements – for this force. It’s powerful, enlivening stuff, of which it seems we’d jeopardize just about anything for a taste, and which is as much a part of our humanity as is our integrity and honesty. It deserves to be dealt with head-on, with a healthy dose of respect.

Has monogamy outstayed its evolutionary welcome? Is the solution for long-term, committed partnerships and marriages to open up? Is the solution to keep doing the sexing-with-others we seem to be doing, but to stop lying about it? For some, certainly, but polyamory (the practice of having honest, consensual, loving, intimate and/or sexual relationships with more than one person) isn’t a panacea. Some monogamous relationships become stronger after infidelity exposes the cracks to be worked on. A few of us who cheat are of the narcissistic or pathologically disordered sort. And some people are stuffed into monogamy that shouldn’t be, whose perfect expression of love and commitment is to many, not just one. The lifestyle and love-style of non-monogamy may or may not be suited to Tiger and his wife, but the questions and considerations that must go into creating an honest, responsible, consensual open relationship most certainly would have helped them. There’s not a one-size-fits-all answer; but there are some important questions to keep asking.

Tammy Nelson, author of Getting the Sex You Want, states that nearly 80 percent of partners are complicit in their partner’s infidelity, whether they explicitly knew about it or not. Maybe they don’t expect their partner to betray their trust or have explicit knowledge of the affair, but on some level, they know. We don’t get pneumonia out of thin air – we have to first ignore our sniffles, our sore throat, our cough that won’t go away, our fatigue and the pain in our chests. Likewise, most of the time, we do know when our relationships are faltering, dulling, and closing to intimacy. We ignore the worsening symptoms and are ill equipped to do much to restore connection, passion, honesty and life to our relationships. Most of us have little or no means to deal pragmatically, intelligently, carefully, consciously – and even joyfully! – with the massive contradictions that make up any relationship.

It was only until relatively recently that marriage became about chosen love, soul mates, joint happiness and mutual sexual fulfillment. For most of its history, marriage was a political or survival strategy. You got your love, happiness and great sex where you could, if you could. Never before has marriage – or long-term partnership – looked like we want it to look now. Never before have we lived as long as we do now: the average span of “until-death-do-us-part” used to be about 10 years, and now our unions could last upwards of 60. Never before have we expected daily domesticity, child-rearing, financial decision-making, social and familial compatibility to merge seamlessly with erotic, sexual, intellectual, intimate, religious and spiritual fulfillment. Never before have we placed such pressures on one person to satisfy all of our needs, a burden too big for most of us to hold.

We are hard-wired biologically to be attracted to multiple people, as long as we have a pulse and hormones flow in our endocrine systems, and this doesn’t magically go away when couple up with just one. Often the closer, more comfortable, familiar and cozy the long-term relationship gets, the less the sexual spark, attraction and erotic fire. Desire, longing and arousal are fueled by newness, otherness, and even a bit of the unknown. It’s hard to find newness in a partner you know completely and it can become harder and harder to want something you already have.

Ever a realist, I’m not excusing infidelity. Ever a free-thinker, I’m not saying open relationship are always the answer. And ever a romantic, I’m not convinced that enough love, enough effort, enough faith – or the vows of marriage – can inoculate us from the very real contradictions of all relationships, let alone those facing the specific pressures of the 21st Century. We grow and change, and our world grows and changes, at alarmingly fast rates. The question becomes how can our relationships grow and change with us? Like buildings in earthquake zones, the structures of our relationships desperately need to be retro-fit for flexibility, pliancy and pragmatism – and right quick.

What sits before us all, and what I wish had shown up on Tiger’s agenda, is that now more than ever we have the opportunity to embrace the paradoxes of partnership – and they are many. The alternative to asking the hard questions of ourselves and our lovers is to bury our heads in the sand, and wonder, outraged, when cheating, lying or infidelity – or the general decline of our relationship – rears its head and makes a statistic out of us.

Albeit not for the faint of heart, there is absolutely a path for the survival and thrival of loving, committed, honest, fulfilling and sustainable relationships. What it takes is indeed humanly possible: a commitment to loving, openly and honestly; to having freedom and commitment under one roof; to the care and feeding of the partnership; and to seeking a third option when there appears to be none. Rather than defaulting to sexual exclusivity, it takes choosing powerfully monogamy or non-monogamy. It takes welcoming the enigma of relationships in the 21st Century. There’s no one right way to do it, except to choose YOUR way with open eyes and heart. What will your right way be?

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Posted by LiYana at 9:14 pm  | 4 Comments

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

Open

I go to these really hard, sweaty yoga classes where the teacher will get us into some insane pretzeled-out pose and then keep us there for what seems like an inhumanely long-ass time. I even get up really early, out of my uber yummy warm bed and go willingly to this madness.

If an alien were to visit, it might think it a touch odd to see all these folks like me brushing sleep out of their eyes and contorting themselves on purpose. And perhaps ever more odd to see them staying in the contorted spots rather than heading back to bed.

Why, you might ask, just like the alien might ask, do I keep going back?

The theory is that when we consciously place ourselves in challenging situations where we have to practice opening, breathing and loving through and into the difficulty, we are then better equipped to do it for real when life throws us the big doozies.

The theory can backfire, however, if we, in the midst of the hard time (the long pretzel-hold, the anxiety attack, the insomnia, the broken heart), clench down, zone out, resist or grit our teeth to get through it any way we can.

The reason I keep going back to these early morning challenge-fests is that there is something powerful and palpable about, as the 13th Century Persian mystic poet Rumi puts it, "not moving the way fear makes you move."

In the midst of challenge, to love. Rather than contract, to open. Rather than hold the breath, to breathe deeply and allow oxygen to carry some lovin' to our red blood cells, on the conduit of our breath.

"As if you were soaking in an ocean of love, relax open your throat, heart, belly, and genitals to receive love's saturation. Lovingly melt your heart and body open as the fullness of this moment. "

~ David Deida

When we decide to notice it, we are indeed in an ocean of love, even during the contorted pose, the anxiety attack, the insomnia, the broken heart.

So, if you'd care to join me this week:

Open.

Don't endure something that's bad or damaging to you; but do practice opening into the ocean of love, even when you want to throw something at your yoga teacher.

And definitely, let me know your thoughts and comment below – now or after you Open!

Enjoy,

LiYana

Posted by LiYana at 1:30 pm  | 1 Comment

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

If you want to change the world… love a woman

To all the power women in my world – that includes YOU – and the men who love you.

 

And by Isis, if this moves you in a small or big way, leave a comment below!

 

If you want to change the world… love a woman – really love her.
Find the one who calls to your soul, who doesn’t make sense.
Throw away your check list and put your ear to her heart and listen.
Hear the names, the prayers, the songs of every living thing-
every winged one, every furry and scaled one,
every underground and underwater one, every green and flowering one,
every not yet born and dying one…
Hear their melancholy praises back to the One who gave them life.
If you haven’t heard your own name yet, you haven’t listened long enough.
If your eyes aren’t filled with tears, if you aren’t bowing at her feet,
you haven’t ever grieved having almost lost her.

 

If you want to change the world… love a woman -one woman
beyond yourself, beyond desire and reason,
beyond your male preferences for youth, beauty and variety
and all your superficial concepts of freedom.
We have given ourselves so many choices
we have forgotten that true liberation
comes from standing in the middle of the soul’s fire
and burning through our resistance to Love.
There is only one Goddess.
Look into Her eyes and see -really see
if she is the one to bring the axe to your head.
If not, walk away. Right now.
Don’t waste time “trying.”
Know that your decision has nothing to do with her
because ultimately it’s not with who,
but when we choose to surrender.

 

If you want to change the world… love a woman.
Love her for life -beyond your fear of death,
beyond your fear of being manipulated
by the Mother inside your head.
Don’t tell her you’re willing to die for her.
Say you’re willing to LIVE with her,
plant trees with her and watch them grow.
Be her hero by telling her how beautiful she is in her vulnerable majesty,
by helping her to remember every day that she IS Goddess
through your adoration and devotion.

 

If you want to change the world… love a woman
in all her faces, through all her seasons
and she will heal you of your schizophrenia-
your double-mindedness and half-heartedness
which keeps your Spirit and body separate-
which keeps you alone and always looking outside your Self
for something to make your life worth living.
There will always be another woman.
Soon the new shiny one will become the old dull one
and you’ll grow restless again, trading in women like cars,
trading in the Goddess for the latest object of your desire.
Man doesn’t need any more choices.
What man needs is Woman, the Way of the Feminine,
of Patience and Compassion, non-seeking, non-doing,
of breathing in one place and sinking deep intertwining roots
strong enough to hold the Earth together
while she shakes off the cement and steel from her skin.

 

If you want to change the world… love a woman, just one woman .
Love and protect her as if she is the last holy vessel.
Love her through her fear of abandonment
which she has been holding for all of humanity.
No, the wound is not hers to heal alone.
No, she is not weak in her co dependence.

 

If you want to change the world… love a woman
all the way through
until she believes you,
until her instincts, her visions, her voice, her art, her passion,
her wildness have returned to her-
until she is a force of love more powerful
than all the political media demons who seek to devalue and destroy her.

 

If you want to change the world,
lay down your causes, your guns and protest signs.
Lay down your inner war, your righteous anger
and love a woman…
beyond all of your striving for greatness,
beyond your tenacious quest for enlightenment.
The holy grail stands before you
if you would only take her in your arms
and let go of searching for something beyond this intimacy.

 

What if peace is a dream which can only be re-membered
through the heart of Woman?
What if a man’s love for Woman, the Way of the Feminine
is the key to opening Her heart?

 

If you want to change the world…love a woman
to the depths of your shadow,
to the highest reaches of your Being,
back to the Garden where you first met her,
to the gateway of the rainbow realm
where you walk through together as Light as One,
to the point of no return,
to the ends and the beginning of a new Earth.

 

Posted by LiYana at 10:16 pm  | 1 Comment

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

Sexploration With Monika

Want to hear what I have to say about the War of the Sexes?


Tune in tomorrow, Friday, April 16, 2010
9:00 – 10:00pm Pacific time

FCC Free Radio 107.3fm in San Francisco

Sexploration with Monika
(a sex-positive feminist radio talk show … that's also masculinist, queer-ist, pro-poly, and pantheistic)
"Sex is proof that God loves us and wants us to have fun."

Fridays 8-10pm PST on
FCC Free Radio 107.3fm in San Francisco
Or listen live, streaming via their website: www.fccfreeradio.com

Here's what we'll be discussing:

* Are we bred to have dysfunctional relationships?
* What do men really want from women?
* What do women really want from men?
* What are some strategies to break out of these bad relationship patterns?
* What' is the single-most important "ingredient" in relationships, without which it is doomed, but with which it will flourish?
* What about people for whom gender roles aren't black and white, but more gray and flexible?
* What are the three main ways women push men away without even knowing it? (and how to get them back on your side).
* What are the three biggest mistakes men make with women? (and how to change them good).

I hope you'll join me. We're going to peer over the fence at what's possible on the other side of the War of the Sexes.

And even if you'll miss this juicy interview, leave a comment below about YOUR experience with the War of the Sexes!

Posted by LiYana at 6:19 pm  Comments Off on Sexploration With Monika

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

Devotion and Desire: A Challenge

Let me speak to you of Devotion and Desire – a self-imposed challenge for 21 days.

This day four of 21 in a row. Each day of these 21, I get up at 7:00am and meditate. Vipassana-Buddhist-mindfulness-watching-the-breath style, with some of my own Pleasure Expansion breath circulation thrown in from time to time. Then a sensual practice, which I've coined the Pleasure Expansion Technique. Then exercise – dance, yoga, the gym, or a walk up the crazy hill I live at the base of here in the beautiful, hill-rich city of San Francisco. Also, no refined sugar and no white flour products, and generally a vibrant diet made mostly by the hands of me or my fiancee. And the most important yet least tangible element of it is doing each moment with pleasure and love; being pleasure and love. How I'm being in each moment is just as important as what I'm working on or creating. In fact, the two can't be separated.

That's the challenge. Mindfulness. Pleasure. Desire. All senses alive. Love.

First of all, why cultivate Desire? And second of all, why capitalize Desire, like you would a deity, a proper noun or an esteemed elder? Just so we know what we are talking about here, Desire is defined as a strong feeling of wanting to have something or for something to happen; it's also a strong sexual feeling or appetite. It's what we want that we don't have yet, it's connected to our sexual, creative energies.

Much of Buddhism says the key to liberation lies in our cessation of Desire, and here I am cultivating it. Rebel meditator! I take a bit of issue with how this important point of Buddhism is interpreted. To be alive is to Desire, it is to want what we don't yet have: our next breath, food to sustain us, to give and receive love, our next creative gift to the world. To live and to grow is to Desire. And we are all created from sexual energy; just like our very bodies are made up of the food we've eaten over our lifetime, each of us were created from sex, created with sexual energy. Sex is the most potent, creative life force there is. Without it, we wouldn't have been made, and without it, we have no urge to make and remake – not only babies, but the rest of our work, gifts, creative endeavors, offerings, etc.

You know that Law of Attraction stuff? Well, Desire is the first step. What do you want? What calls to your heart? What do you long for? Without cultivating our heart's longing, we are cut off from step one of this pretty potent force of creation. (yep, there are 3 other steps to the Law of Attraction, but I'll have to get to them later, since that's not what this blog post is about… a little teasing never hurt anyone.) But the point is, if we are alive, we need to Desire to keep on living and growing.

The key here, is that you are cultivating your Desire from a place of already being full, rather than from a place of lack or emptiness. The mantra is like this: things are good, and we want more and better and higher; rather than: things suck and I want something to make it better. The latter never works so well.

Desire goes hand in hand with Pleasure, two magical forces, greatly misunderstood by the cultures most of us swim in. OK, some of us have created micro-cultures and sub-cultures that are Pro-Pleasure and that go against the grain of our larger cultures. But we still feel it in the air, watch it in movies, see it on billboards and in magazines, hear it around us and on the radio, etc – Pleasure is for later, after you've worked enough. Pleasure is amoral and will lead you to ruin. Pleasure, you don't deserve it.

But Pleasure my friends, is a directive and corrective force. I'm not talking about getting carried away in hedonistic bliss to the detriment of other people or things. It is possible to be in our Pleasure and still be caring, considerate and responsible. Cultivating mindfulness and awareness (read: meditation) helps a lot. Pleasure is spoken as a YES through the body, and boy, to we need to know when we mean YES and when we mean NO. Pleasure is meeting the moment as it comes, not wishing it to be other than it is. Pleasure is following the urge of our animal body, whose instincts are intact, like a plant leans toward the sunshine.

And what I also know is that we can't separate the process from the product. Who I am BEING while I am writing this blog post can't be separated from the blog post you are reading. When I'm full of love, enjoyment and pleasure while I'm writing this, you'll feel it. My mojo gets in there, like it or not.

I'm working to step out of my own madness around working hard and suffering to get through, to be able to produce something (like a course or a blog post or a meal) in record time. I suffer while doing it, I am tight, uptight, hard, brittle and worried while doing it. My mojo gets in there, like it or not.

So, today, as with each of these 21, my work shall be imbued with a slightly quieter mind, all my sensual senses on line, an energized body, a pleasured body and a heart alive with Desire and Love.

Devotion? Well, doing what I said I would do, whether or not I feel like it, day after 21 days, is a form of cultivating Devotion. You bet your booty. Devotion to my word, Devotion to loving even in the HARD spots, Devotion to my body, to what makes it most alive and most able to live and love well.

And when the 21 days are up? I'll let you know then – and a lot more about how it's going along the way – but I'll probably follow the advice of my great friend, Todd, from Orgeon: "Everything in moderation; moderation in moderation."

Want to join me? What's your version of this challenge?  Just want to expound on Desire, Pleasure or Devotion?  I look forward to your comments below!

Posted by LiYana at 2:37 pm  Comments Off on Devotion and Desire: A Challenge

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Eye Contact

How Eye Contact Can Help You Attract Your One and Deepen Love and Intimacy

eyecontactAfter working hard on it for nearly two years, my good friend Michael Ellsberg's first book is about to come out from HarperCollins.

Michael's book is called The Power of Eye Contact: Your Secret for Success in Business, Love and Life, and it's the first-ever book to teach you how to use this most potent and mysterious force — eye contact — to have a more exciting, adventurous, and sexy social life.

We all know the eyes are one of your most powerful tools for communicating — on a date, with your loved ones, with your coworkers and your boss, at a job interview or a sales presentation, with your clients and customers, and women, with that cute guy at the party!

This is the first book that teaches you in-depth how to use your eyes and eye contact for maximum attraction, sizzle, and charm in all these circumstances.

To celebrate the launch, we're hosting together a free teleclass next week, "How Eye Contact Can Help You Attract Your Soul Mate and Deepen Your Love and Intimacy". This class is primarily aimed at the ladies on this list, but guys are also welcome to check it out!

This is going to be a blast — the first time Michael and I have taught together — and we're going to pack a ton of amazing content on there (see below for more details.)

The class is totally free, whether you buy the book or not. However, it would really mean a lot to me personally if, as a member of this list, you'd consider pre-ordering the book today via this link here:

http://www.amazon.com/Power-Eye-Contact-Success-Business/dp/0061782211

You'll be supporting the success of one of my friend's biggest life-long dreams, his first published book. It's a bit under $10 on Amazon, just over the price of a halfway-decent lipstick. And I promise you, this book will have much bigger impact on your life than another lipstick — it could change your life forever.

Michael has also been my personal book angel, helping me with how to take the publishing world by storm for my own forthcoming book, so he is quite dear to me.

And, whether you buy his book or not, we look forward to seeing you on the call!

FREE CLASS: How Eye Contact Can Help You Attract Your ONE And Deepen Your Love and Intimacy

WHAT: FR*EE Tele-Class!
WHEN: Wednesday, April 7th, 8PM Eastern, 5PM Pacific
WHERE: Your phone
WHO: YO’ SEXY SELF! And Michael Ellsberg, author & Relationship
Expert, LiYana Silver
WHY: Because getting sexy has never been this easy!

HOW: To get your fr*ee dial-in number and access code for the call, simply use this link (scroll down to the bottom to sign up):

http://www.powerofeyecontact.com/archives/how-to-use-eye-contact-to-attract-your-soul-mate-and-deepen-your-love

You will learn:

* A single eye contact secret that will have tons of cute guys coming up and talking to you within minutes, anytime, anywhere

* A simple technique that will allow you to become world-class at eye contact, within weeks, if not days, with hardly an effort

* How to use eye contact to make your sex sizzle – tonight!

* How to get your man to look you deeply in your eyes in that sexy, seductive way that makes you melt

* How to use your eyes to become the most magnetic woman in the room – whether it’s a party, a dinner, or a business meeting

* The three biggest eye contact mistakes you’re probably making right now that kills your attraction

** PLUS, we’ll be answering YOUR questions on the call!

(If you can’t make the call, don’t worry, sign up anyway and I’ll be sure to send you the recording!)

That link, again, to sign up for our fr*ee tele-class:
http://www.powerofeyecontact.com/archives/how-to-use-eye-contact-to-attract-your-soul-mate-and-deepen-your-love

And that link, again, to pre-order Michael's book:
http://www.amazon.com/Power-Eye-Contact-Success-Business/dp/0061782211

Enjoy!

Liyana

Posted by LiYana at 2:57 pm  Comments Off on Eye Contact

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