Aug 012015
 

One of my favorite observations about great sex was made by sex therapist Jack Morin, who did extensive research on peak sexual experiences. Jack said that a peak sexual experience is the result of just the right combination of safety and risk. I couldn’t agree more.

Think about a really hot sexual experience you have had. What made you feel safe enough to let go? What made it risky enough to be exciting? Learning to create sexual experiences with the perfect balance of safety and risk can transform your sexual encounters into ecstatic experiences.

Before you start taking new sexual risks you’ll want to create a safety net. This is not the kind of safety your mother meant when she called after you, “Be careful!” as you left the house. If your mother was anything like mine, that “Be careful” meant “Don’t do anything risky.” As you no doubt remember, the risky things your mom warned you about were always the most fun. In the realm of ecstatic and erotic experiences, they still are.

The kind of safety I’m talking about means being being sufficiently supported to take a risk. This level of support occurs at different lengths and depths in different situations for each individual. Safety—and what creates it—is a highly individual choice. Some people, for example, feel more comfortable learning new erotic skills with a group in a workshop setting. Others could not even imagine learning these skills in anything other than a private session with only their partner and a teacher present.

The principle of being sufficiently support to take a risk also applies to relationships. Our most successful and exciting relationships are those in which we are both supported and challenged. Whether it’s your life partner, the director of a play you’re performing in, the editor of the book you’re writing, your coach or your boss, the relationships we treasure and remember are those in which we feel closest to a perfect balance of challenge and support, risk and reward.

Once you have some idea of the nature and extent of the safety and support you need, you can begin to imagine the erotic and ecstatic adventures you’d like to take. Our fantasies are potent sources of inspiration. Certainly, we cannot live out all our fantasies. Many of our fantasies would be either dangerous or impossible to play out in real life. But our fantasies give us clues to our longings.

Set aside time to daydream erotically. Whether you lie on a beach, walk in the woods, masturbate or meditate, give yourself space to fantasize. Push beyond old familiar fantasies into something new and fresh. Breathe. Use your breath to keep your attention focused on imagining creative new sexual scenarios.

If you have trouble finding your desire, ask yourself variations on the question “If I knew what I wanted, what would it be?”, such as:

If I knew what erotic adventure I wanted to take next, what would that be?

If I knew who I wanted to take an erotic risk with, who would that be?

If I knew how I wanted to feel after my next ecstatic experience, what would that feeling be?

Listen to your body. Desire is commonly experienced as a physical longing that pulls your body toward the experience about which your mind may be hesitant. The clues to your deepest turn-ons may be physical, not mental.

Erotic adventuring may feel uncomfortable or anxiety-producing at times, particularly when you’re first imagining or discussing your fantasy or desire. Remember, nothing great, noble, profound, or ecstatic has ever been achieved by someone who is primarily concerned with staying safely within their comfort zone. Emotional uneasiness is a part of the process when we step out of that comfort zone into our as-yet-unknown “something more.” A new erotic or ecstatic activity opens us to a new level of intimacy with ourselves, and with others. Being exposed to any new levels of intensity can be scary. Just like in the gym or in yoga class, your first attempts may be stiff and awkward. However, if you take a deeper breath and allow yourself to fall further into the posture or exercise, it first becomes less painful, then less uncomfortable, and finally, perfect. The same thing is true of sexual exploring.

If you experience a feeling of anxiety shortly into the process of taking a new erotic or ecstatic risk—so long as you’re not feeling paralyzed with fear and insecurity—know that you’re on the right path. It helps to use the affirmation “I make no judgments, no comparisons, and I release my need to understand.” This affirmation helps you move out of your critical mind and into your body. Remember that an erotic or ecstatic challenge that excites you—even to the point of occasional anxiety—has the potential to be a mind-blowing sexual experience.

Want more on erotic risk-taking? Check out my book Ecstasy is Necessary: A Practical Guide to Sex, Relationships and Oh So Much More. Or come to a workshop.

Jul 222015
 

Someone sent in a great question for my free webinar, Urban Tantra: What's In It For You on 22 July. It was: "Can you recommend some erotic books and movies that aren't totally cheesy?"

Since this person gave me no idea of their erotic preferences, it was hard to answer. So I gave a shout out to my community—a wise, wacky, and erotically intelligent bunch they are—and asked for their favorites. What a list they created! Here's what they suggested, with their comments. If you have any favorites we didn't list here, feel free to add them in the comments.

Anything made by Tristan Taormino .

Every film made by Gala van Ting and Sensate Films.

• Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love, a film by Mira Nair. It isn't erotic per se, but it is moving on many levels, that level among them.

I have NO idea if this film is still available, but Hamlet - For the Love of Ophelia is fantastic. They spent some actual money on it. The costumes and sets are great. The scene in which Hamlet walks around talking to himself, trying to get his mother's advice about what to do with Ophelia as Gertrude has hot three-way sex on the bed behind him (he is oblivious) is hilarious. The orgy scene in the woods is just fun, fun, funBooks: my favorites..The Beauty Trilogy by Ann Rice. Plus she's finally putting out the 4th book soon.

My all time favourite erotic book is Carol Queen's The Leather Daddy and the Femme. Extraordinarily hot, and beautifully written. But it is niche.
Erotica: The Big Book of Orgasm by Rachel Kramer Bussel, or anything by Kristina Wright. Porn: Anything by Petra Joy, Shine Louise Houston, and I like www.Frolicme.com of late. Of course there's always my site, LadyCheeky.com (shameless plug).
Ladies Home Erotica. Pleasures edited by Lonnie Barbach -- and she has some others. Anais Nin (though slightly dark at times). I hear good things about the Collette books. Movies: Sirens, Secretary (also a little dark for some).
For BDSM erotica that's written by one who lives within, try KL Joy's Catalyst and Desire in the "Stories of..." series. Book three due soon!
Amilee & Dangerous Liasons!
Like Water for Chocolate. The book and the movie.
Pat/rick Califia's books. Henry & June the movie. And there is some great porn on Crash Pad.
Porn: Four Chambers. Pinklabel.tv. Jennifer Lyon Bell. Inside Flesh (for heavy fetish). Zahra Stardust.
Also Erika Lusts' porn is gorgeous. Also, if the person wants pornography, many Comstock films are good.
Erika Lust: Cabaret Desire
 Shine Louise Houston!
Any film made by Courtney Trouble or Heartless Productions, both very strong artistic bend and authentic performances.
Lie to Me as a film, Slow Hand as a beautiful book of erotica written by women.

How to Have an Ecstatic Solstice

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Dec 212014
 

Stay in the present moment.

Don't try so hard. 

Stay in the present moment. 

Drop your expectations and your judgments. 

Stay in the present moment. 

Surrender. 

Stay in the present moment. 

Be conscious. 

Stay in the present moment. 

Practice doing all of this throughout your holidays...

…in the present moment.

Happy Solstice!

With Love and Ecstasy from Barbara Carrellas and the international Urban Tantra Team:

Hayley Caspers, Jazz Goldman, David Lola Houston, Amanda Gay Love, Tara Phillips, Calle Rebinder, Jennie Rehbinder,

Electra Amore, Catherine Carter, Cyndi Darnell,

DK Green, Rebecca Lowrie, Rowan Tinca Parkes,

Eve Minax, Mollena Williams.

Announcing 2015 Dates for the Urban Tantra Professional Training Program

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Dec 082014
 
I’m thrilled to announce the worldwide dates for 2015:

Copenhagen, Denmark  5-10 May 2015 

Melbourne, Australia  15-20 September 2015

London, U.K.  20-25 October 2015

Register now and you’ll receive the earliest of early-bird rates available.

In addition to all you’ll learn in the training program, you’ll receive ongoing benefits as part of the Urban Tantra Community, including: 

• A free listing in the Practitioner Directory on the UTPTP web site. When I am asked for referrals, this is where I send people. So do our graduates. 

• Free listings for any of your Workshops and Events, worldwide. 

• Membership in an extraordinarily active and supportive private Facebook group. This worldwide, safe and supportive network has helped our graduates with everything from challenging client issues, to personal creative crises, to housing support on the road. 

• Visibility in the Urban Tantra Community News—a weekly online news digest dedicated to the purpose of informing the world about the amazing and life changing work that our graduates are doing.   

The Urban Tantra® Professional Training Program is designed especially for—but is not limited to—people who work with sex and sexuality. This intensive workshop will give you the skills to take your practice to the next level—both personally and professionally. Whether you are a tantrika, a pro domme, a daka/dakini, a sex therapist, a sex educator, a companion, or anyone else who uses or wants to use a more conscious approach to sexuality in your practice, this program is for you.

Still unsure? Email our local coordinators and have a chat. They will explain the program in detail so you can be sure it’s right for you. 

For Copenhagen contact Calle and Jennie: callejennie@urbantantra.org 

For Melbourne contact Tara: tara@urbantantra.org 

For London contact Amanda: amanda@urbantantra.org

I am looking forward to seeing you in 2015! 

Love, 

Barbara

Dec 042014
 

A New York Magazine pick for a perfect holiday gift!

UTE Best Sally copy

You told me what you wanted, and I listened!

I’ve created a new series for all of you who asked for longer, more in-depth Urban Tantra workshops. The Urban Tantra Experience premieres in April at Eastover Estate and Retreat in Lenox, MA—a beautiful retreat center in the Berkshires in Western Massachusetts.

Why look any further for that special holiday gift? What could be lovelier than a spring weekend of Tantra in the mountains?

The Urban Tantra Experience: Breath and Touch
Rejuvenate your relationship in the Berkshires. The Urban Tantra Experience is an approach to sacred sexuality that adapts and blends conscious sexuality practices from Tantra to BDSM into a hot and healing brand of sex for the 21st century sensualist. Learn the secrets for giving and receiving a body-melting, mind-altering, sensual and erotic massage. You’ll also learn how conscious breath and energy work can transform touch into a deeply intimate ecstatic encounter. All genders and sexual preferences welcome.

Register here:  www.urbantantraexperience.com

17-18-19 April 2015
Friday 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday 10 am - 3 pm

$840 - $1200 (depending on choice of room) Includes food and lodging.

Sep 082014
 

Last night I heard about the passing of our beloved Raelyn Gallina. Raelyn’s influence on me is so huge it’s hard to encapsulate in one post. Raelyn was (among other things) a jeweler, a piercer, a body modification artist of the hight order, a powerful priestess and a plant magician. She pierced me many times. Each was a ritual of life-altering proportions. She drove the Catholic Church out of my body once and for all. She gifted me with the most powerful protection spells I have ever used. She was my single greatest inspiration for my realization that Tantra and BDSM could be the same sacred art. Here is an excerpt from my book, Urban Tantra, which tells the story of the day Raelyn taught me one of the greatest lessons of my life:

The Needle Mudra

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of play piercings. Play piercings are temporary piercings. The needles are usually standard hypodermic needles, minus the syringe. These are pierced through small folds of skin anywhere on the body there is no danger to any blood vessels, nerves, or tendons. They are designed to stay in the skin for a few minutes or a few hours. Sometimes, small weights are attached to the piercings; when the piercee moves or dances, the swinging weights stimulate the needles and the body produces endorphins. The high is euphoric. 

In the Olympics of pain, I am more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner. I love the rush of endorphins from a permanent piercing: the feeling of fire when the big needle goes into my flesh, then the wait while the needle is left in place until the endorphins kick in. And then the best part: surfing the waves of altered consciousness in the afterglow. The long, meditative astral travels that accompany permanent piercings are better than any drug I have ever tried. 

But I had never tried play piercings. To satisfy my curiosity, I attended a play piercing demonstration by my friend Raelyn Gallina, the high priestess of piercers. Voyeuring was the whole point of the event, held on the ninth floor of an undistinguished building in New York's Chelsea, accessible only by a cramped, battered elevator. On the makeshift stage of what appeared to be an abandoned off-off-Broadway theatre sat two women and Raelyn. One woman was very young, probably just eighteen, with short, dark hair. She wore dark-blue jeans and a dark teal, zip-up sweatshirt over a neat white T-shirt. The other was older, blonde, and casually elegant in black leather pants and a satin blouse. Both were perched precariously on the edge of excitement and fear.

Raelyn is calm, centered, and entirely focused on her setup: gloves, alcohol, and needles in sealed blue packets. Every imaginable safe and hygienic protocol is in place. She is ready to begin.

The younger woman removes her sweatshirt, then her T-shirt, and finally her bra. Raelyn swabs her chest with gauze soaked with alcohol. She speaks to the young woman too softly for me to hear the words. The young woman nods. Raelyn picks up the first needle. She pinches a small bit of skin on the top of the young woman’s breast near the center of her chest and pushes the needle through the flesh. The young woman winces slightly, then exhales. Raelyn waits. The young woman smiles. Two dozen needles are to follow.

One after another, Raelyn places her needles in a circular pattern, starting at the breastbone and circling down around the outer edge of the young woman’s breast, beneath her breasts, around the outer edge of the other breast, and back to the first needle at the breastbone. After each needle Raelyn waits for the young woman to take a breath, letting the endorphins catch up with the piercings. After the first few needles, though there’s no need to wait. The young woman is clearly enjoying the effect of each subsequent needle more and more. After the last needle, Raelyn picks up a spool of elastic thread. To my amazement, she weaves the thread among the needles until the young woman is wearing a beautiful white spider web of needles and thread on her chest. 

Raelyn picks up a thread in the center of the mandala and gives it a tug. I gasp. The young woman seems startled, then a moment later she grins. The grin turns into a giddy giggle. Then she laughs. Happily. 

Now it’s the second woman’s turn. Raelyn does exactly the same thing to her. This woman clearly has done this before. She seems less surprised by the sensations and she knows how to use her breath to increase the effect of the endorphins. It’s not that she doesn’t feel the pain; she appears quite sensitive. It’s just that she’s learned that she can play the pain like music, changing the pitch and the tone and the volume. I enjoy watching her; I know what she’s doing. I use my breath the same way to build and move sexual energy in my body. I realize I’m breathing in rhythm with her. I’m getting high.

Raelyn keeps on piercing—as focused and present and beautiful as ever. Occasionally, she pauses between needles to give a gentle tug on the first woman’s mandala to keep the endorphins flowing. Raelyn finishes the circle of needles on the second woman’s chest, then she weaves an identical elastic-thread mandala. She gives the center threads a tug. The blonde woman shivers and then smiles. 

Raelyn is sitting on a chair in the center of the stage. The first woman sits facing her on her left. The blonde woman is on her right. Raelyn playfully tugs one mandala, then the other. Then she stands up, moves her chair away and asks the women to move in closer to each other until their knees are almost touching. She picks up her spool of elastic thread and my excitement grows as she ties the two webs together.

The two women are now facing each other, their chests not more than eighteen inches apart. They’re gazing into each other’s eyes. As if moved by some instinctual drive, they gently begin to rock back and forth, first toward one, then the other. As they become more confident, their gaze grows stronger, and their breathing becomes deeper and faster. They make an ahhh sound on each exhale. The rocking becomes more and more active, until I see an endless wave of energy between them. I’m knocked breathless. I’m seeing something totally familiar and something completely alien at the same time. I know this! I have never had a needle mandala on my chest, but I know exactly what they’re feeling. This is the Tantric Heart Position! 

Instead of each partner touching the other’s heart with the palm of their hand, these two are connected by needles and thread! Everything else is the same: the breathing, the rocking back and forth, the eye gazing. This posture can bring up laughter or tears—both of which are happening on the stage this very moment! The young dark-haired woman is smiling through the tears flowing down her cheeks and the blonde woman is simply radiant with joy. 

Raelyn had woven a physical diagram of the energy exchange. Tonight, S/M had become visible Tantra! What a mindfuck! I wanted to run out and call every Tantrika I knew and tell them of my most amazing discovery. Both Tantra and this kind of S/M employ the same magic ingredients of sexual energy, endorphins, ritual, and consciousness to attain transcended states of ecstatic connection. This was Tantra concretized. Tantra for the concrete. Urban Tantra! My head and my cunt exploded with the possibilities

Suddenly S/M made sense to me in a way it never had before. I certainly understood that S/M ran on sexual energy and endorphins. But until tonight I had never understood that it could be a sacred practice. But why not? The guiding principle of Tantra is “Do everything you want to do so long as you do not knowingly harm another or interfere with their spiritual growth.” The guiding principle of BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission and Sadism/Masochism) is, “Do everything you want to do so long as it’s safe, sane, and consensual.” The defining core of both practices is consciousness and the awareness that you are setting up a powerful dynamic for erotic or spiritual purposes. When we see both Tantra and BDSM as sacred sex, we step into the totality of possibilities of sensation and eroticism. 

Raelyn by Catherine OpiePhoto by Catherine Opie

Apr 172014
 

Hello friends and family,

Kate Bornstein, my partner in life, love and art, need your help.

As many of you know, Kate’s lung cancer is back. It reappeared in late December in a lymph node behind her collarbone. The good news is that it did not travel far from it’s original site. Recent scans show it’s not in her brain or bones. The further good news is that it did not reappear anywhere that had been previously treated with radiation and chemotherapy. This means that the doctors can treat this new tumor aggressively and the treatment is likely to work. We have been assured that this cancer is still curable.

The bad news is that the treatment for this second round is way more intense than the last (and we thought that round was challenging!) This means that in addition to more intense chemo and radiation, she needs more supplements and alternative therapies to keep her fighting. She’s much weaker with this new treatment and needs to spend more on transportation to and from treatments. She has a hard time doing basic tasks, like preparing food for herself and the pets. Even getting dressed to go to chemo/radiation treatments is a challenge. Small tasks are not just physically, but also emotionally, overwhelming. This “brain fog” and the accompanying extreme energy drain are common, yet hideous side effects of the treatment. Worse yet, these effects will continue for months after treatment has stopped. This means we have no idea when she can return to work.

We are deeply grateful for your astoundingly generous donations of over $100,000 last year. It’s the support of her community—and we mean emotional, physical, and psychic support, as well as financial—that helps Kate #StayAlive. We still have a bit of that $100,000 left and we are stretching it as far as it can possibly go. (Let me take a moment to thank the people who are currently providing their services and products at reduced cost.) But Kate is going to run out of money very soon.

In short, if Kate is going to #StayAlive, she needs the financial support of her community once again. Kate wants me to be sure to tell you how hard it is to ask for this kind of support. She knows many of you have financial challenges of your own. Please give only if and what you can afford. All of the money raised goes directly towards Kate's treatment.

Here’s the PayPal link to donate: http://bit.ly/1pkRV4K

Whether or not you can donate, you can help Kate #StayAlive by letting others know how they can help. Please forward/post/distribute this message widely. For inquiries and/or offers of help, write to KateStayAlive(at) gmail (dot) com.

We will be posting regular updates on this fundraising campaign on Kate's Blog. So be sure and stop by.

And just so you know, Kate is truly appreciative of all the supportive tweets and other messages she's been receiving. Please understand that although it’s hard for her to respond to all of them, they mean the world to her.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Love,

Barbara & Team Kate

Eulogy For My Dad

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Dec 122013
 

Delivered at Jesus Saviour Church in Newport R.I. on the snowy morning of 10 December 2013...

I lost two hugely important influences in my life within 24 hours this past week, Nelson Mandela and my Dad, Ernest J. Carrellas. As I was thinking about their lives I realized how many of—all of us perhaps—have our lives defined by some singular event or circumstance—a circumstance or event so overwhelming and intense that it hijacks our life. When it’s finally over, we find that the course of our life has been irreversibly altered. For me it was the AIDS crisis. For Nelson Mandela, it was, of course, apartheid. For my dad, it was the Great Depression.

Ernest was 14 in 1929 when the stock market crashed. By then he had already been working with his dad at Carrellas Shoe Store on Broadway for two years. Suddenly the country and much of the world was plunged into poverty and joblessness. Ernie had nine brothers and sisters and two parents to help support in a world where the cash to buy shoes—and most anything else—had simply dried up.

The Great Depression lasted for over a decade—that was almost twice as long as young Ernest had been alive when it had started. Do you remember how long ten years seemed when you were a teenager? And, before the depression was over a second tragedy struck—the hurricane of 1938. The hurricane of 1938 was a super hurricane—the kind that only occurred once every 125 years or so, so that literally no one had ever seen anything like it. It swept away a massive portion of this state. A few of Ernie’s high school classmates who had gone to the beach to watch the towering waves were swept away as well. Well into his 90’s he could describe to me in detail the waters from the tidal wave pouring into the streets and up over Newport Beach, sweeping away everything in it’s path.

Ernie learned young that surviving both natural and man made disasters took both luck and careful planning. In short, stay on high ground when the floods come and make sure you’ve saved plenty of money. Ernie dedicated the rest of his life to insuring that he and his family would never again go through anything like what he’d experienced in the 1930‘s.

Ernie worked in the shoe store for 50 years—first for his extended family, then to support my mom and me after he finally bought the business from his family. Ernie loved his customers. Since his passing I have heard so many memories from parents and children. My cousin Ann remembers buying her yearly PF Flyers—Ernest always let her think the choice of color was completely up to her, despite my Aunt Mary Lou standing by clearly disapproving of the white pair which would be dirty the next day. A Facebook friend remembered that all the shoe boxes went home neatly wrapped in brown paper and string, with a balloon tied on for each child. (As a side note, Ernie first gave out lollipops until someone accused him of trying to drum up business for his brother George, the dentist upstairs. The lollipops were quickly replaced by the bright balloons with "Carrellas Shoe Store" printed in white letters.)

Ernie may have loved his customers as much as they loved him, but he hated working in the shoe store. He had always wanted to be an accountant. Finally, at 61, he retired from the shoe store to live his dream. He set up office in his basement and became a tax preparer, bookkeeper and investor. He thought it would be a part time sort of thing, but soon business was booming. Yet he always found a way to devote the major portion of his days to investing his hard earned and well saved money. What I found most remarkable about my dad’s love of playing with money was his healthy detachment. He could ride out even severe market downturns with philosophical peace and calm. I could say that this naturally comes with surviving a depression and living almost a century, but it doesn’t. It was something quite rare and unique, and it taught me a great deal about faith, patience and non-attachment.

Ernest was a gentleman and he was generous. When, only recently, he became unable to manage his financial affairs I became aware of how much he gave and to how many charities, including, of course, his biggest charity—me. I will be forever grateful to him and to my mom for the financial support that has allowed me to pursue so many of my dreams.

Since his passing we have all had time to reflect on our gratitude for Ernest in our lives. In the days to come, especially over the holidays, we will continue to appreciate him. This, however, is my only public opportunity to appreciate those of you who made Ernest and Alice’s life so much happier and richer in their final years. So here they are—prayers of gratitude from Ernest, Alice, and me.

Anthony Carrellas, his younger brother, and closest friend. Obviously, Anthony has known Ernie longer than anyone else alive and they’d been thought some...shall we say...interesting times, over the ninety years they knew each other. One of the things my dad most looked forward to was a visit from Antony. Bless you Anthony, and bless my cousins, Patricia, Dave, Bob, Ann and Joan for making their visits possible.

Lucille Silvia. Ernie really really loved Lucille. So did Alice. They also thought she was a great artist (I agree, BTW). Ernie counted on her frequent visits and never ceased to feel guilty (but pleased) whenever she brought him some little gift. Thank you, Lucille, for your constant love and friendship.

Ernie met Peter and Gail Paranzino along with Lydia Reynolds when they started bringing him Holy Communion when going to church became too difficult for him. Peter’s friendship was one of Ernie’s great pleasures these past years. Most of Ernie’s male friends had passed away by the time he was in his nineties and having a guy friend he could talk to and trust was an immeasurable gift. Bless you, Peter.

Arthur Carrellas, Ernie’s nephew, was the accountant Ernie had always wanted to be. He loved Arthur and he trusted him. Plus, he loved their chats about taxes and investments and the economy. Bless you, Arthur.

Jean Carrellas. Both Alice and Ernest adored my cousin Jean, who I agree is one of the most adorable people I know. And also one of the most giving and caring. Jean is a nurse at Newport Hospital and she kept a watchful eye out whenever either Alice or Ernest was in hospital, especially my mom who spent more than her fair share of time at that hospital. We love you, Jeannie.

Kate Bornstein. Kate is my partner. For the 16 years she knew Ernie and the 9 years she knew Alice, she consistently strived to make their lives more comfortable and pleasurable—often against their will. (They were neither pleasure nor comfort focused, my parents.) But Kate wore them down. My mom loved the steady stream of soft stuffed animals and fairy figurines that poured into the house. For Ernie, it was the food. My dad loved sweets, especially cookies. He’d only buy the cheapest ones for himself—the ones on special at the Stop and Shop. For Ernie’s 90th birthday, Kate gave him a HUGE shopping bag of gourmet cookies. He ate like a prince for months.

Now to the real Bodhisattvas of Alice and Ernest’s lives. A Bodhisattva is an ordinary person who takes up a course in his or her life that moves in the direction of buddhahood. Which means, a life dedicated to easing the suffering of others.

My cousin, David Roche, was adored by both Alice and Ernest. As my parents became less able to do things for themselves, he quietly, surreptitiously, took on more and more of the small tasks they could not do. Whenever my dad couldn’t do something, needed something, couldn’t figure something out, he could call David, who’d appear—usually within minutes. As he did yesterday, BTW, when I locked myself out of the house!

When my parents were younger they made elaborate plans for their old age—none of which they executed. When the time came, they did not want to rearrange the house to bring the bedroom downstairs. They did not want to move into assisted living. The Bodhisattva that made our lives possible, bearable, pleasurable and sane for the past decade is Carol Yount. Carol came to assist my mom after she’d broken her hip. After my mom died about two years later Carol said she’d be going back to her job at a nursing home. On the day of my mom’s funeral my dad asked her to "stick around," as he put it. And she did—for 7 years. Carol was my mom’s last best friend. She was my dad’s last best friend. And she’s been mine. I have no brothers and sisters and I live in NYC. Carol has been the only person I could count on to keep my parents safe and to tell me the truth. My gratitude to her knows no bounds and I hope to keep her as a friend for the rest o my life.

In closing...

As we go forth into this holiday season, we will all celebrate the Rebirth of the Light in different ways. Whether you call that light God, Goddess, Creator, the Great Spirit, Allah, Yahweh, Jehovah, the Universe, All That Is, or as my partner Kate says, “The Great Big Good,” I invite us all to remember that Ernest and everyone else who sheds the flesh suit that we all take on at the time of our earthly birth, is reborn into this light. May every holiday candle and bulb, every ray of returning sunshine, remind you of how much Ernest, Alice and I appreciate all the love, courage, support and light you’ve all shown us. Happy Solstice, Merry Xmas. Blessed be.

 

Sep 172013
 

There have been 19 mass shootings (defined as killing more than 5 people in each) in the USA since 2009. In Australia? Zero. Why? The Australian government passed strict gun control laws following the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.

In an interview on The Takeaway on NPR this morning Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave a history lesson on the 2nd Amendment. She explained that in the early days of the USA there was no organized army—there wasn’t any money to pay soldiers. The country’s defense relied upon the state militias who could be called up when needed to defend the country. These militias were made up of volunteers who were required to own certain specific weapons (like muskets) for this purpose. The “right to bear arms” was more like an obligation to bear arms so as to be ready to defend the country. This is the history behind the 2nd Amendment.

It’s time for a reality check and a move into the 21st century.

Sep 092013
 

What a wonderful time I had at my Urban Tantra workshop the Open Center on Saturday, 7 September! I was assisted for the third time by the gorgeous and talented Zahava Griss.  Zahava has some wonderful workshops of her own coming up. Check them out!

Sacred Woman Alchemy (Oct 1 - Dec 13) Now accepting applications for this 3 month immersion combining dance, energy skills, sacred sexuality coaching, & Esalen bodywork to transform what is not yet love into love.

Alchemy of Sex & Spirit for Women (Oct 14 - Nov 10) An online course for women to connect to the loving, healing, creative power of our bodies through: dance meditations, sacred agreements with rage, cultivating sexual energy practices, and group calls.

Zahava Griss is the founder of Love Making Dances, offering performance, dance, coaching, and bodywork. She has 30 years of dance training, which she combines with the sexual and spiritual arts of Sufi dancemeditation, sexual shamanism, tantra, bioenergetics, and transformational group dynamics. Learn more at http://www.LoveMakingDances.com/.