Apprenticeship to Love, May 3, 2024

  • Today’s questions: And again, What happens when you slow down, almost to the point of being still? What changes? What doesn't change? Now, slow yourself a little more. Notice what begins to open, to move, within and without. Are you willing to allow this to be enjoyable, this almost-still attending to the moment within and without?
  • Today's suggested practice: Day 3 of this month's practice, to breathe and feel the tension, pressure, friction, and stress, and then allowing it to become what it needs to be... (see my "Short Practice,” below)
  • My practice today: 5:30am: 60 minutes: asanas, pranayama (breath work) meditation for balancing the elements, for allowing stress to become what it needs to be...


I hear you. You, younger men and women, wondering aloud, How...?

I hear you, and although I do not know your way I believe it involves burning. Dminishment. Surrender. Becoming more of who you are through sacrificing what you think is important.
David Deida describes three broad-brush "stages" of being human. Our first in the world is all about ourselves, our perceived needs. More food. More money. More sex. More more more. Our appetite is limitless because we experience only the empty belly, and the world tends to want to feed this empty belly, if we're lucky. If we're not, the hunger is even harder, and more persistent.

The "second stage," and a reminder, Deida says: these are broad brush strokes —this is when we've learned the value of exchange. That we can have more the enough food, money, sex when we share. When we trade rather than taking. We use our words. We negotiate. We begin to understand that others are here with us, with similar hungers, and that there is enough to share. So we no longer take food, money, sex, etc. We trade. Many of us struggle to be in this "second stage." It is not a bad place to be. But there is more to life than transaction.

In the "third stage" we discover that the "more" has to do with service. With sacrifice, not in exchange, but simply in service to something more than ourselves. We begin to experience enough food. Enough money. Enough sex. We begin to see that our lives become even more magical and beautiful when we serve love, instead of asking or demanding that love serve us. We have learned to die to our appetites, and paradoxically the flavour and texture of life becomes unimaginably richer.

But, to echo the questions I hear from these younger men and women, and many not so much younger, How...? Or: I hear this from the men. It may be that the women, at least the ones I listen to, already understand the answer in the asking, a magic related to sacrifice, death.
A year ago I was honoured by my colleague Fabiola Perez. She invited me to stand as the masculine presence holding an awareness for the couples she was leading through a death practice. It was here that I first heard the words of Heidi Priebke, Fabiola reciting the entirety of the "1000 funerals" for the couples who, in the workshop for more and better sex, were being invited to die into their capacity for what Deida calls "third stage love." Priebke's words rang true. As did Fabiola's practice. I know that in my life there is deeper love and far deeper pleasure in life as I burn away those parts of me that are still afraid of not having enough, that will trade, but are still unready to be generous in the way a masculine-identified man must be generous in marriage, in life.
It is my observation that those of us born into a woman's body —a body that knows necessary and regular blossoming & dying & pain— are more skilled at heartbreak than those of us without a womb. This wombed body knows something of the wisdom of flow, of service, of surrender as the way through. Knows life after death. Knows a cyclical wisdom. Not with words, but in her blood and bleeding.

My body? It too is a powerful and knowing thing. It is galvanized to protect and defend and fight the flowing. It is about resisting and fighting. About vanquishing that which would overcome and overwhelm. This body screams, No surrender!, on principle. Reflexively. It will not admit ressurection except as a strategy of the weak, those who succumb and must find other ways to persist. This body knows the linear path from birth to grave and is confounded by all that life offers to complicate the path.
So, dear readers, find the path that is yours. I suggest that if you are with a womb, your path will often be in darkness, and your willingness to accept the darkness will ease your way. And, if your are so inclined, and if you are blessed to know a man worthy of holding you, then perhaps you may allow yourself to flow and bleed even more profoundly and beautifully than most of your sisters. Because this culture and this life is not gentle with the sisterhood.

And if you are a masculine-identified man, I encourage you to feel into those places that are most difficult, the ones that don't ask you to defend, but instead make the invitation to lay down your arms. To surrender. And, as you inevitably will resist, feel into the moment before you resist, and —incrementally, moment to moment— allow your body to become a little more, just a little more, ready to know this mystery.

It will be hard. The hardest thing you and I do as masculine-identified men trained in this culture of conquest and colonization and privilege and powering through. Surrender. Just a little. And feel what that is like, beyond the fear of death of myself as a man. Because I am still alive, and I have died a thousand times, and will die a thousand more as I learn to serve this love. Allow yourself, as I am learning to allow myself, to grieve through the thousand funerals of the man you think yourself to be. You are so much more. You will not trust me in this brothers, but I will still ask you: Trust me, brother. Allow yourself to be surrendered. Slain. Resurrected. And, more tender to the wisdom of the women in our lives.

They will, in their way, thank you. You will begin to know how profoundly deep and beautiful you are as you receive more than you ever imagined you were capable of receiving. You will begin to know how profoundly deep and beautiful they are, as you experience more than you ever imagined yourself capable of experiencing.


🌀Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes said, "If you cannot make something better or different, then make it holy."
Mary Oliver wrote, "This is the first, the wildest and the wisest thing I know: that the soul exists and is built entirely out of attentiveness."
We are not God(s). We do not 'make' things holy because they are not already; we honor the inherent holiness of the moment by bringing our full attention to it.
We move, we step, we speak, we take action as a gesture of honoring that holiness.
This is what we must do to stay human. (Kendra Cunov)

🌀 The Conscious Warrior makes death an ally, using it to sharpen his present actions, future plans, and current state of being. (John Wineland, Precept 11)

🌀…the pathway to these treasures has a cost. In modern physics, the cost is known as, "for every action there's an equal reaction." In metaphysics, this cost is defined as the path you navigate through the world's disruptions to arrive at the sanctuary of your treasures. 
…be grateful that all paths can lead to whatever you desire. (GS&GK)

🌀 Thank you. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren, She who must be ravished by my powerful presence)

Day 25 of this month's practice, to let these thoughts and feelings move through you, with less resistance:
Please read through first, then ...

  • Set two alarms, for times of the day when you have a five-10 minutes to become conscious of who and how you are in this day.
  • When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take a few moments and:
    • Ask yourself, again: What happens when I slow down, almost to the point of being still? What changes? What doesn't change? Now, when I slow myself a little more, notice what begins to open, to move, within and without. Am I willing to allow this to be enjoyable, this almost-still attending to the moment within and without?
    • Then, follow the short practice here:
      • Stand, or sit, and bring your attention to your posture.
      • Feel the ground beneath your feet or sit bones, tilt your chin slightly to lift your chest open and straighten your neck.
      • Take a deep breath, through your nose, and hold it gently for the count of six. Relax the breath for the count of eight. Repeat three times.
  • When you’re done, sit or stand for another minute or two, breathing gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, Do I feel right? Am I in alignment with the man or woman I am? Do I even have an inkling what that might feel like? Do I even have an inkling of what it feels like to be out of alignment with myself?
  • Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment.
  • Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.