So what’s the point of most of humanity remaining spiritually “asleep” for years or even decades of their lives? Why can’t we all just be born wide awake? Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we were? Is it natural to start out asleep, or is it a consequence of living in a fear-based culture that stunts and restricts us? *Do* we need awakening as an initiation on its own, and if so, does that mean that all the things that have wounded and repressed us before are actually good and necessary?

These are questions that I wrestled with for a long time. After all, it seems like one can get so much more done in the world, can live one’s purpose so much more fully and vibrantly, after undergoing an awakening– so was everything before that just a waste of time?

In the end, I genuinely do not believe that any experience in life is a waste of time (even if it’s hard to see its value just yet), and I’ve come to believe that there actually is good reason for spending the first part of your life asleep.

Let me say up front that I don’t think this justifies the ways that we as a society hurt, limit, disparage, and bully each other into being mere shadows of our true selves, nor does it mean we should shrug our shoulders and overlook those unhealthy, cruel behaviors. Just as we can have a productive, restful night’s sleep or a troubled, stressful night’s sleep, there’s a big difference between a natural journey towards awakening and a death march through life in which we can only hope that some form of awakening comes as a crisis intervention. Continue Reading »

Soul-food Reading

My poor neglected blog!

It’s been an unexpectedly busy summer, leading up to a couple of big projects in the fall. I’m off this weekend to Free Spirit Alliance’s Fires of Venus gathering, where I’ll be teaching sacred dance, presenting a sensual puja in honor of the Divine Beloved, and co-running a Trance Dance for the spirits of love, beauty, romance, and sensuality as a lead-in to that night’s fire circle. Fun stuff! I’m looking forward to a weekend of intense fire dancing and spiritual sublimity on some of the most beautiful and energetically-charged land in Delmarva.

So for now, I offer a couple of links to some good-for-your-soul reading that I deeply enjoyed:

Tom Robbins on the nature and feeding of the soul (I love that nutty bastard)

Karen Salmansohn in the Huffington Post with advice on winning the “happiness lottery”. Probably not anything you haven’t read in many other places, but it’s a good summary of key steps to a happier and more soulful life.


Last week a friend of mine made a comment about tournament poker being a good metaphor for life. I assumed he was just being cynical, but when I thought about it, I realized that the current Texas Hold ‘Em craze does, indeed, have some valuable life lessons for the budding Romantic.

I won’t belabor the metaphor, because I’m at best a casual hobbyist at poker. There are just two things that really stand out for me:

First, you play many fewer hands than you are dealt, and even the ones you play, you don’t always see all the way through. Even a relative novice should know enough at the table to look at a hand, recognize that it’s crap, and junk it. And there’s going to be a lot of crap hands.

Second, in order to win, you need to know when it’s worth it to put your whole bank on it.

In the first case, the thing to take away from it is that you need to get in the game, but you don’t have to play every hand. Life demands engagement. The bare minimum is for you to sit at the table and ante up. Most of us approach life as though we are only willing to put up the ante if we can guarantee we’ll get a hand worth playing. We cling to our chips, unwilling to suffer a bad hand, and so by default we become non-players in the game of life. Actually playing means we get out there and try things out, invest some time or money or effort into taking a small chance on something new and interesting on a regular basis.

And a lot of the time, you might drop it. You take a semester of French and hate it. You buy a tennis racket that becomes your prize dust collector. You start dating someone and then decide you’re just not that into them after all.

We tend to, unkindly, refer to people who habitually do these things as “dilettantes” or “wannabes” or “flakes”. What happened to good old fashioned stick-to-it-iveness? Commitment? Perseverance?

Those things are great, but they should be reserved for the worthwhile investments. A smart player learns how to quickly assess what’s worth her time and what isn’t. She’ll give the hand a try, give it the benefit of assessment, maybe even follow it for a little while if there’s a glimmer of promise, but she doesn’t force herself to stick with a bad hand to the bitter end just because it’s the one she was dealt, nor would any sane aficionado expect her to. She saves her resources for the hands she thinks she can win, so she has something substantial to put into that calculated risk.

The value of those folded hands, then, is that it keeps us in the game so we’re already playing when that killer hand is dealt. Sure, so we tried out sixteen things that we didn’t stick with. We had fun along the way, right? Learned something new about ourselves? Got a bit of knowledge to apply to future situations? And, on top of that, we were there and open to it when a great new passion grew from one of those relatively low-risk attempts. *That* was the hand we followed to the river. That hand didn’t get dealt to the guy next to us instead while we were too chicken to play.

Which brings me to the second big lesson offered by Texas Hold ‘Em– when the situation warrants it, don’t be afraid to go all in. Put your whole heart and soul into the thing you truly believe will pay off in your life (and I HOPE you know that I don’t mean “pay off” in purely monetary/competitive terms!) Holding back, wussing out in the face of a big raise or a bluff, is bad strategy. You’ll never win, and losing is a bitter pill washed down with the salt water of “what might have been”.

Yes, maybe you’ll lose if you go all in. But you know you played your best, and it brings up one more piece of poker wisdom to play us off: There’s always another game.

Following up to my post titled “What Is Awakening?”, I wanted to address the down side of soul awakening, because it’s very real and, for many people, it is a very confusing and painful time.

First let me say that it isn’t always traumatic, especially for someone who’s “hit the snooze” a few times and because of it, has started to become aware of what’s going on; or for someone who is fortunate enough to have an experienced teacher capable of answering questions and guiding them through the experience. (If there’s one need in this world I’m certain of, it’s the need for compassionate, wise, strong spiritual teachers who are not in it for mere ego gratification…) Some people do experience it as a predominantly joyful and exciting time, or they feel relief because things make so much more sense now.

However, living in a world where there *is* a dearth of real teachers, where religions have become politicized bureaucracies, where there are few remaining rites of passage and our public rituals have become commercialized within an inch of their lives, and where there’s so much information with so many competing agendas, most of us are left feeling alone and bewildered. We hack our lonely way through that wilderness, often frustrated, eager for any tiny sign that anyone has gone ahead and left a path. And when something extraordinary happens within us, we may not know how to handle it.

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It’s a word you’ll hear tossed around a lot in spiritual circles, often sounding like a New Agey version of Eastern concepts of enlightenment. It’s a word you’ll hear a lot around here.

But what, in practical terms, does it mean? How does one awaken? How does one know if awakening has occurred?

I’ll start with that last: Like with orgasm, if you have to ask if you had one, you probably haven’t.

That’s not intended to be as flip and unhelpful as it sounds, but rather to assure you that it definitely won’t pass through your life unnoticed.

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Hello again!

I put this blog aside for a while, not entirely intentionally, as I made my way through an incredibly busy several months. Much of that time has been great– I’ve been teaching, writing, organizing parts of events, doing some very exciting work! Some of it has been not so great; but then, I’ve never claimed that living a life devoted to Love was always going to be glitter and roses…

I’m looking forward to updating this space a lot more often, as I evolve its voice and style, and post things that I hope will be beautiful and meaningful.

I also wanted to announce that I will be teaching a track on Sacred Romance at Free Spirit Alliance’s Mythical Journeys event, which is a long weekend of very focused, intense spiritual work. I’m thrilled to be doing it, and excited to share the news!

Be welcome here, all, and enjoy!


I love that word…muliebrity. A friend taught it to me many years ago, when she made it the name of a grrl-power mix tape she made for me. It is to “woman” what “virility” is to “man”. And that’s what this entry is about—how to be a woman, in full possession of her feminine power. (For the inspiration and reason for writing this piece, read How To Be A Man at Steve Pavlina’s site.)

There are many ways to be a woman, more than I will list here, more that will no doubt be discussed by many other fine writers participating in this friendly competition. The ones I list here are the ones that I have witnessed and admired in many women in my life, the ones that I strive every day to embody, the ones that resonate also with the principles of a Romantic life (as I began to explore in this post).

They are the things that I would teach to my daughter or to any girl who came to me seeking advice on the path to womanhood. Whether you agree or disagree with me, I hope they inspire you to contemplate what you believe about womanhood, regardless of your gender. Continue Reading »