Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, October 1, 2023

• Today’s questions: As I slow myself down, how does the sensation of this moment change? What do I feel more of, as I slow down? And, What am I afraid to feel, if I slow down?
• Today's suggested practice: Day 1 of this month's practice, to notice & receive while in motion (see my "Short Practice,” below)
• My practice today: 4:30am: 90 minutes: Yogic postures, mantra meditation.
• My vulnerability practice: To name what I am experiencing, and to share this. I feel so exposed & so alone. Only myself to hold me...

It’s October 1 and warm enough for me to be writing in the garden again.

It's Sunday, and I'm thinking of how to observe a day of rest in my week, a week I often get busy with and don't slow down enough to notice.

As I sit here and write I’m noticing the blueberries going red. I'm seeing the apples at the top of the tree slowly ripening to red. I'm seeing the various yellows and golds, of flowers and foliage, of the sun warming them. I'm noticing that the Sumac is not quite so full of fruits as last year, and wondering whether this is true across my locale, and how this affects the starlings that usually descend one day in late fall to pick every berry from the tree.

I hear the Stellars Jays, nattering. I hear the robins and sparrows and finches talking, much more discretely. There's a familiar screech from a bird I can't identify, though I've been hearing this call all of my life.

In the background is the hum of this small city, waking to Sunday morning. Overhead, a small aeroplane (how I love this "UK English" spelling!) seeming to amble across the sky.

I'm feeling tender to the world and I’m writing again about tenderness, my capacity to feel it in myself and others, —and yes, about tango. I could just as well be writing about the garden and Her ways. It’s all about what I refer to as “husbandry.” The gentle intuition and amazement and "leading by following the follow," noticing and receiving the gifts of Her beauty and Her love and her vulnerabillity.

It never stops, this dance, this husbandry. And, at least for one more morning this season, I am in the garden, enjoying Her.

A few days ago I wrote about tenderness, and my capacity to feel into the tenderness around me. To know the sexual vulnerability that is offered, not as an invitation to bed, but as the expression of divine feminine energy when She encounters a safely held space. In this case, the tango embrace.

I wrote about how precious is this moment of trust. I wrote about how it humbles me, to be trusted, to hold this tenderness, and to guide it towards whatever art we might make from this moment.

I name this vulnerability as sexual because this is what I have learned, that this dance of awareness and life is the deepest sexual dance there is. Because everyday I see and feel this gift of life preyed on, abused, taken for granted, demanded, defiled. And I want to alert those who read what I write that there is a way to honour and hold safe this vulnerability.

Because I hear the longing for love —from everyone of us— and our incapacity to trust each other, our incapacity to know that this tenderness that lies within our bodies, we don’t speak its name and we don’t know, aren’t taught how to hold each other, safe.

Safe to be free. Safe to be free to flow.
We live in a hypersexualized culture. We are “sex positive” to the point of desensitization.

With our post-sexual liberation ideas about sex we have opened the Pandora’s box of this powerful energy. With our lack of reverence and respect for its tenderness and its power, we hurt each other. And ourselves. Again and again, and again. And we still will not name this energy of our sexual energy and the holy dance we dance, every day. Every moment.

Be careful with each other! Be full of care.

My beloved gives me the gift of her tenderness. Let me sit with this for a moment. Let me remember not only her vulnerability and beauty, but also how I have squandered and defiled that offering.

Let me remember how she moved to close herself, to protect herself. "I was reckless," she said to me, recently. Yes. Because she trusted what she knew in me, but what I failed to know about myself: that I am capable of holding and revering her holy tenderness.

But then I did not know or trust myself, nor her. And she closed herself to me. Hid herself from me.

In the coldness of my grief I began to know something of myself, and her tenderness became my way. Becoming sensitive to my own insensitivity, my own hurt and hurtful ways, I began to see her, to feel her, to know her. And she, to begin to trust me, this man who was not trustworthy.

I found my way by following the follow, and I began to lead this dance from a sacred place of knowing her, knowing me.

Our sexual energies are beautiful gifts we offer each other. This is a sacred offering. But we treat it —and each other— too lightly.

Dance is an expression of this gift, a way of transmuting, as one reader put it, the deep sacral energy to join, to create, to enjoy with another. This is a sacred thing, even as it is a playful thing. Again, we treat it —and each other— too lightly.

What I have learned, as a lover, as a dancer, as a teacher, as a husband: the gift of this sexual energy is rare and holy. Now I am always asking myself, How do I hold Her, this feminine inside of me, inside of the other, that She feels free to flow?

What I teach: that we as masculine-identified men are too often unready for this gift. We are too often unconscious and insensitive to the deep tenderness we are asked to hold safe. There are things we can do. But mostly we choose not to. And She, our own feminine, our own sensitivity, suffers. And so, the woman or the child who needs us to hold them safe, suffers.
There is much sorrow and suffering here in our dance with each other. I am learning to be more careful. More full of care.

And I am learning to teach this care, even as I teach those who come to me to learn how to stir —and to hold— this beautiful energy of our deep and sacred sexuality. It stirs in all that we notice, in all that we enjoy.


🌀This empathy is so sensitive that life on Earth is often physically, emotionally, and mentally — even existentially — painful. This pain is relieved through service (seva in Sanskrit)….
Our prayer is that you remain in faith — you’re on the right path; have a daily practice that allows you to turn pain into a guidance system, not a hindrance, and recommit to the service of humanity each day. …(Guru Singh & Guruperkarma Kaur)

🌀I am beginning to trust “no expectations.” (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)

Day 1 of this month's practice, to move and to notice, and to receive

Please read through first, then ...

  • Today, set two alarms, one for the early part of your day, one for mid-late afternoon when you may be feeling low energy.
  • When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take three, five, 11, or 30 minutes to do this short practice:
  • 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, As I slow myself down, how does the sensation of this moment change? What do I feel more of, as I slow down? And, What am I afraid to feel, if I slow down?
  • 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.
  • If you want to talk about your experience, or your resistance, or about anything that, as one reader has put it, "lands while reading these chapters," please set up a short (15-minute) chat for Zoom:
  • It may not be enough, but it'll be a start. And that's always a good thing.