The challenges we face in life are often symptoms of something deeper. By only treating the symptoms, you may find temporary gratification, but this approach is nearsighted and fails to provide soul-satisfying, long-term solutions.Read More
These steps will turn your pain around in 24 hours (or less)
For those of us who seek healing we oftentimes get stuck on the HOW. If you’re like me, you’ve done a lot of work to determine the WHAT, that is, what the “wound” actually is. If you haven’t done that yet, I teach a class on core wounds you’ll want to take before doing the following exercise. Knowing what’s at the core of our issues is comforting but just having the awareness isn’t enough.Read More
Self-esteem is something I used to struggle with BIG TIME.
For years, I did not think I was good enough to be the woman I fantasized about being living the life of my dreams. So while I set goals for myself and envisioned my life when I would reach them, subconsciously, I *knew* I couldn’t really get there. I didn’t deserve that kind of happiness and success. So I would sabotage my efforts and feel like shit about it and “cope” with food or booze or shopping (hello credit card debt!).
And then Lumpy came on the scene and eventually I had to deal with my self-image issues.Read More
Sex and intimacy are what differentiate a marriage from a friendship or other kind of partnership. If you're married and not cultivating this aspect of the relationship, you can expect it to break down eventually. I've seen this happen so many times with clients and I have personally experienced it my own relationship.Read More
Each level of consciousness coincides with determinable human behaviors and perceptions about life and God. Each level represents a corresponding attractor field of varying strength that exists beyond our three-dimensional reality. There’s a critical point within each level from which its field gravitates (or entrains).Read More
Intimacy generally refers to being in a close personal association with another. It is a familiar and very close affective connection with someone as a result of a bond that is formed through knowledge and experience of the other.
The verb "intimate" means "to state or make known". The activity of intimating (making known) underpins the meanings of "intimate" when used as a noun and adjective. The noun "intimate" means a person with whom one has a particularly close relationship. The adjective "intimate" indicates detailed knowledge of a thing or person.
In human relationships, the meaning and level of intimacy varies within and between relationships.
To sustain intimacy for any length of time requires well-developed emotional and interpersonal awareness. Intimacy requires an ability to be both separate and together participants in an intimate relationship. Murray Bowen called this "self-differentiation". It results in a connection in which there is an emotional range involving both robust conflict and intense loyalty.
From a center of self-knowledge and self differentiation, intimate behavior joins family members and close friends as well as those in love. It evolves through reciprocal self-disclosure and candor. Poor skills in developing intimacy can lead to getting too close too quickly; struggling to find the boundary and to sustain connection; being poorly skilled as a friend, rejecting self-disclosure or even rejecting friendships and those who have them.
Studies show that fear of intimacy is inversely related to comfort with emotional closeness and with relationship satisfaction, and directly related to loneliness and trait anxiety.
I've been having a lot of conversations lately about 'The New Normal' or what I would describe as a new set-point for daily life.
A specific example of this from my own life is my fitness level. For months and months (and MONTHS) I tried to get consistent with diet and exercise and my yoga practice. I would journal about it and create strategies and and even post about my intentions publicly. And for months and months I failed at achieving the kind of results I wanted.
Today, however, I have even better results than I imagined for myself. So what gives? How did I go from an ongoing battle with myself - which would include a lot of guilt and frustration - to this New Normal where I am strong and lean and feeling really fucking great about myself - effortlessly choosing to eat clean and train at the gym almost every day?
I'll tell ya. And it's not as big of a deal as you might think. Follow these five steps and you will find yourself living a New Normal, too.
STEP 1: Clear Vision
This is the VERY FIRST THING YOU MUST DO to transform any area of your life. The question to ask yourself is, "What do I want to create?". If you don't know your WHAT you'll constantly be in a state of confusion, which is super draining, trust me.
Your WHAT must be deeply compelling. In other words, my WHAT was initially about "losing weight" but that wasn't compelling enough. Then it was "fitting into my clothes". Still not compelling enough. Eventually, my WHAT became "having more than enough energy to do all the things I want to do in a day and feel lean and strong and clear-headed".
If you want to transform your body or relationship or even travel the world, get clear about 'what you want to create' in that area and make sure it's compelling. That is, it has deep significant meaning for you and your experience of life.
STEP 2: Anchors Away
Now that you are connected to WHAT you want to create it's time to release the anchors. And by anchors, I mean the physical and emotional stuff that's weighing you down and keeping you stuck. Think of it like 'clearing clutter'.
Where are you suppressing, resisting or avoiding? What coping mechanisms or distractions are you allowing to come between you and your desired outcome? What or who are you hanging onto that is no longer serving you?
We all have them. Usually, the most potent of these are emotional. We hold on to physical things and people and patterns of behavior because they keep us insulated (or 'safe') from our lower vibrational feelings. Emotions are powerful and some can be really uncomfortable and disruptive to our lives.
The best advice I can give here is JUMP. Jump off the mother fucking cliff and see what happens. Yes, you might feel terrified and be in a free fall with the ground coming at you at a thousand miles an hour. I HAVE BEEN THERE. And you know what? You'll find that you have the capacity to FLY. You'll find your wings and soar like an eagle. It happens every time.
STEP 3: Success Set Up
After letting go of the stuff that's not supporting you and your WHAT, it's time to set up environments conducive to your success. This especially includes the people you surround yourself with.
They say you are the sum of the five people you spend the most time with.
From my experience, this is a #truestory. In my case, my fitness game got amplified by the fact that my best girlfriend - a personal trainer and wellness consultant - moved in with me. I've also been dating men who are into fitness and yoga, eating well and making healthy lifestyle choices. So I'm surrounded by people who inspire and motivate me to be successful.
Not only are the people in your life indicative of your success, your environments play a huge role in it, too. Look around you. Your home - is it a reflection of you and what you want to feel? Or is there just a bunch of random stuff taking up space? What about your work environment? Are you among high-energy happy people who are stoked to be there? Or are things mind-numbing where you can't wait for the day to end?
Remember this is all about creating YOUR NEW NORMAL so you may have to shatter some old norms to get to the new one. Stay connected to your WHAT and the decisions to break out will be less painful.
STEP 4: Consistent Actions
The key to creating any lasting transformation is consistency. Every action is a CHOICE.
You have likely been choosing the same actions for a while and thus have the results you currently have. The good news is, when you choose to create a New Normal, you shift your actions and the results follow.
I used to struggle big time with being consistent in my work outs. I recognize now that I was not connected deeply to a compelling WHAT. So my lack of choosing to exercise on a daily basis was a natural response. Now, it's no-brainer to make time in my schedule for the gym, trail, and/or yoga. No 'force' is involved what-so-ever.
My coach helped me assimilate the concept of "where there is no consistency, there is suffering". Yes, SUFFERING.
Pain and struggle are a part of life. Suffering doesn't have to be. It is a CHOICE.
Choose to do whatever you must to get clear about WHAT you want to create and the rest of these steps will be easy.
STEP 5: Evaluate + Refine + Grow
Ok. That's like three things in one step but they all work in harmony. As you create your New Normal it's imperative that you stay alert and evaluate your progress. Doing so without harsh judgements. Forgive yourself for any fuck-ups along the way. YOU'RE HUMAN. Check in with your support system to help you be objective with this.
Refine or tweak what needs adjustment. This is unavoidable. You will ultimately be growing and evolving in this process and what strategies are workable will, too. So just factor that shit in.
Your personal growth and transformation is the WHOLE POINT here. If you are not motivated to be a better version of yourself and live a more satisfying, fulfilling and badass life ...then stay where you're at. Not growing and evolving is the surest way to repeat the days, weeks, and years you've already lived.
Plenty of people do it. I'm not one of them and I bet the people you admire aren't either.
The bottom line is this. You have ONE LIFE. And it's super duper precious and short. You can stay in your current state of normalcy (which may be really great, btw) or you can look at where in your life you are ready to transform / up-level and make that shit happen.
This article is a 5-step process to support those who want a New Normal. I speak from lots of experience here - both in my own life and in my coaching practice. If you really really want a New Normal but don't think you can do it on your own, let's talk. I got you.
1. Men are actively seeking to improve themselves as sexual beings. You might think women are all about personal growth and development and for the most part you’d be right. But when it comes to sex, men are hungry to explore and expand their knowledge and skills. I have the privilege of being one of the first responders when men decide it’s time to evolve their capacity as sexual beings.
Of course, that’s not how most of my clients phrase it at first. The more common statement I hear is one related to “lasting longer” or “being better at sex”. As we explore the motivations for each person in their specific circumstance, the overwhelming majority of men get to the core of the matter and reveal the REAL driving force as something like “a deep longing to connect openly and freely with their partner”. In other words, they want intimacy. Intimacy is a common component in personal growth. It’s what allows us to truly be seen and heard by others.
We are literally naked, that is, physically. And when we match that nakedness with emotional and spiritual vulnerability something otherworldly occurs. We experience a timeless Ego-less presence to the miraculous being-ness that we truly are. Pretty cool. I suspect THAT’S the undercover culprit of men’s desire to improve themselves sexually. The rampant push to perform better is merely modern day cloak concealing a Universal truth -- we seek intimate connection.
2. Men find it difficult to speak to their wives about their sexual appetites or perceived lack of sexual abilities. When I inquire as to what keeps them from opening up or being vulnerable my clients reveal reasons ranging from fear and insecurity to not knowing how to talk about it. Sometimes they’ve been judged so harshly they have almost completely shut down the masculine sexual energy, or consciousness, that longs to be expressed. (btw, women have masculine sexual energy, too)
When it comes to being intimate and vulnerable, we are required to “take off the mask” of the Ego. But the Ego fights to keep itself intact. After all, it’s this contrived character that we identify with and so if we relinquish that sense of ourselves, who are we? Great question. But it’s one we perceive as so immense and existential that we shy away from it. Who has the time or bandwidth to solve such a riddle?
In today’s culture we rely on celebrities and magazines and corporate, government, and religious officials to tell us who we are. The problem with that is they are all in the business of manufacturing the truth (to maintain status quo) rather than revealing it.
So at best, we’re mindlessly following false images and at worst we’re being manipulated into being disconnected, dissatisfied and diseased.
This is especially true when it comes to sex. When men are “told” who they are supposed to be (at work, in society, or in the bedroom) they develop a relentless pursuit of accomplishing that in order to live up to who they think they should be. The trap being it’s a false image. It ain’t the truth. The reality is men and women alike are gifted with unique desires and a natural appetite for sexual self-expression.
The contrived characters and manufactured false images suggest one thing and the masculine sexual energy (aka consciousness) desires another. Conflict ensues. The result is men are uncertain or fearful of speaking to their wives about sex. And I think it’s safe to draw the conclusion that this unfortunate challenge is true for women as well.
3. Men crave compassionate loving non-sexual touch. When presented with the offer to enhance coaching with relaxation practices (meditation, breath and energy work, and therapeutic massage), 96% of my clients opted to do so. Why? Because they’re stressed the fuck out. Again, why? Refer to number two above.
We are all stressed out trying to live up to a manufactured ideal. And for some, the concept of compassionate loving non-sexual touch is foreign. The powers that be would have us all believe that human touch implies sexual intent and therefore a performance of some sort is required. That just reinforces the mask of the Ego or the drive to differentiate ourselves from one another and the source of our being.
It is a great privilege of mine to introduce people to a powerful healing and nurturing practice. This practice, when done with a crystal clear intention, can be very intimate and non-sexual. As a bonus, I encourage my clients to share the practice with their sweetie...and see what depth of connection results.
4. Men and women could use an an advanced education in being human. The sexual phenomenon I observe is this: People are dissatisfied and disconnected and, quite frankly, dis-eased because they think sex is an ACT to be measured and rated in terms of performance. Collectively, there’s also a rampant belief that sex is all about certain body parts.
How many people do you know, that when it comes to sex and sex appeal, compare body parts? Guys will go on and on about being a boob- or butt- or leg-man. And women talk about their satisfaction relative to the size of a man’s penis. What’s with the superficiality? Oh, right. That’s what’s being sold to us via the media and those in “power” who’re making a buck off that shit.
Here’s the deal, sex is NOT an act, it is not measurable, it’s most certainly not a performance AND it involves the entire HUMAN BEING (not just penis and vagina and couple other body parts). The pervasive perspective creates a lot of frustrated and disengaged people. How do I know? Read the title of this article again.
So what, then, is sex? Sex, or more specifically, the sexual body is a part of who you are. It contains both masculine and feminine energies. It’s one of 5 bodies that make up the human being. What are the other 4? I’ll save that for another day. But rest assured, I am here to expose the truth!
5. Women are into Tantra. OK, my sample is a little skewed but every woman I work with expresses a desire to experience more. More of themselves, more of their partners, more intimacy, more pleasure, more fulfillment in their relationship and life. That’s what Tantra has to offer.
My personal mission is to amplify passion, pleasure, and play in the bedrooms of people everywhere by supporting integrity, harmony, and vitality in each of us. Coaching, teaching tantra and writing about sex and relationships are my tools. Although my practice thus far has been built by men seeking to overcome challenges pertaining to masculine sexual energy I believe feminine energy (aka REAL power) will restore the harmony that they and our culture long for. When understood, sexual energy has the potential to create sustainable joy, connection, abundance, and ecstasy. And not just sexually. If we have the power to create NEW LIFE unconsciously, imagine what we can create when we are conscious and responsible and are no longer slaves to false images and contrived characters.
What do you think? Leave a comment below and let us know!
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A superb article that will guide couples interested in the art of Tantric love-making.
(Originally posted on How Stuff Works)
Have you ever experienced a moment of sexual ecstasy? How did it make you feel? Exhilarated? Luminous? Deeply connected? Intense sexual experiences are one of our greatest sources of pleasure.
At the same time, sex is often regarded with an equal measure of fear and fascination. We may crave sexual intimacy to the core of our being, yet also take great pains to avoid it. We may wish to be touched with all of our heart, yet fear our own vulnerability. We may long to rekindle lost passion, but have forgotten how to light the fire.
The practice of Tantra shows us how to reclaim the sexual intimacy that is our birthright. And through this most ancient of arts, we may discover new joys of the erotic and expand mere moments of sexual ecstasy into a lifetime of sexual bliss. At a time when the stresses, fears and distractions of daily life threaten so many relationships, the age-old practice of Tantra shows us how to open our hearts, our emotions and our sexuality.
What Is Tantra?
Although Tantra has long been practiced in many eastern cultures, it is just beginning to flourish in the United States. Born in India more than 6,000 years ago, Tantra emerged as a rebellion against organized religion, which held that sexuality should be rejected in order to reach enlightenment.
Tantra challenged the acetic beliefs of that time, purporting that sexuality was a doorway to the divine, and that earthly pleasures, such as eating, dancing and creative expression were sacred acts.
The word Tantra means "to manifest, to expand, to show and to weave." In this context, sex is thought to expand consciousness and to weave together the polarities of male (represented by the Hindu god, Shiva), and female (embodied by the Hindu goddess, Shakti), into a harmonious whole.
Couples need not adopt the Tantric pantheon in order to benefit from the sexual wisdom of this ancient art. Tantric sexual practices teach us to prolong the act of making love and to utilize potent orgasmic energies more effectively.
Tantra is also health enhancing. "Sexual energy is one of our most powerful energies for creating health," says Christiane Northrup, M.D., author of "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom."
"By using sexual energy consciously...we can tap into a true source of youth and vitality."
How Is Tantric Sex Unique?
In the West, we sometimes view sex as a source of recreation rather than a means of transformation. The goal may be to reach orgasm rather than to pleasure our lover or to connect with him or her more fully.
Beginning Tantric Sex Techniques
The usual kind of lovemaking, say sex experts, has a distinct beginning and ending, with a climax somewhere in between and an average duration of 10 to 15 minutes. Given that women can take about 20 minutes just to reach full arousal, this type of sexual experience can be deeply unsatisfying.
In the Tantric model, the sexual experience is seen as a dance with no beginning or end. There is no goal, only the present moment of exquisite union. For this reason, lovemaking is meditative, expressive and intimate. Tantra teaches lovers how to extend the peak of their sexual ecstasy so that women and men can experience several orgasms in a single sexual encounter.
Leading teachers of Tantra suggest that even men who experience premature ejaculation can learn how to extend orgasm, and, with practice, to enjoy multiple orgasms. One of the most well known advocates of Tantra is the musician, Sting, who credits his fulfilling sex life to this ancient art. With ingredients such as love, trust and mutual respect, the magic of Tantra is available to couples of all ages and levels of sexual experience.
The following exercises will help you reconnect with your body and with your partner in a profound way. As you move through these steps, do not focus on intercourse as the ultimate goal. Instead, simply enjoy giving and receiving pleasure using gentle touch and loving words.
Communicate with your lover to discover what he or she finds most arousing. Try to spend several weeks practicing the Tantric Intimacy Exercises without necessarily engaging in intercourse. For many, experiencing these erotic exercises with no pressure to "go all the way" helps release sexual guilt, builds trust and reawakens sexual desire. Enjoy!
Make time for each other every week. Plan a sexual rendezvous at least once per week. Set aside an hour or more of uninterrupted time to be together. Although it may be difficult to find the time or to manage children, you won't be able to benefit from Tantra if your relationship is not a priority.
Create an inviting atmosphere. Whether you meet in your bedroom, living room or another space in your house, creating a sacred space for each other will help relax you and bring you into the moment. Candles, fresh flowers, erotic art, finger foods and tantalizing aromas can transform any room into a temple of sexual delight. Even something as simple as dimming the lights and playing erotic music will help create a welcoming environment.
Dress provocatively. Or, wear nothing at all. Experiment with clothing or accessories that make you feel sexy and excite your partner.
Tantric Intimacy Exercises
Use ritual to develop intimacy. Begin your journey with a ritual. This may be something as simple as feeding each other delicious foods or sharing a glass of wine in the nude. Some couples enjoy bathing together in order to attune to each other.
Take time to wash each other with loving care. Water relaxes the body and is a symbol of sexuality. Massaging each other is also an excellent way to fuse your energies. Or, read poetry to each other, dance, play, listen to music—work on developing new intimacy skills. Most importantly, use this time tocommunicate,sharing what you adore about each other. The idea is to help each partner feel loved and cherished.
In order to fully focus on each other (rather than on the goal of sex), some lovers experiment with various intimate rituals for several weeks before moving on to the next steps or engaging in intercourse. This is a wonderful way to strengthen the bonds of love and ignite passion.
"The only time we ever think about breathing is when we have trouble doing it, yet conscious breathing can be a powerful aid in sexual growth," according to sex therapist Marty Klein, Ph.D. of Palo Alto, California. Breathing exercises also quiet the mind and help you focus on each other.
Try this exercise: Sit quietly, cross-legged, facing each other. Rest your hands on your knees with your palms facing up. As you gaze into your partner's eyes, take soft, but deep breaths. Keep your eyes open, gazing beyond the eyes, into the soul. Although this may feel awkward at first, sustained eye contact is essential for building intimacy.
Now, pay attention to your breathing. Begin to breathe at the same pace, bringing air slowly in through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. Maintain eye contact while you breathe together. Practice this exercise until you can sustain eye contact and harmonized breathing for about 10 minutes. Then, you may move into the next exercise.
Experiment with erotic touch to fully appreciate your partner. This most pleasurable practice will help you become better lovers. Although you should continue to maintain eye contact, don't worry about keeping your breath synchronized. Breath will come back into play later. Guide your partner as you take turns stimulating each other. Describe exactly how you would like to be touched.
Share your desires in an encouraging way, making requests in a clear and loving manner. For example, ask your lover to caress your clitoris or penis (or any erogenous zone), encouraging him or her to apply more or less pressure, to stroke in a specific pattern, to use the tongue, etc. Thank your lover and let him or her know with words or sounds that you are enjoying this sensual touch.
Once you become comfortable with this process, you may wish to create a "pleasure chest." Include whatever excites you and your partner—a feather, vibrator, massage oil, blindfold, soft fabric, erotica and loving notes to each other are just a few ideas. As you pleasure each other, don't be shy about asking for something different. This is your time for appreciation, experimentation and for taking responsibility for your own fulfillment by asking for what you want.
From here, you may wish to embark on your own erotic journey. Create amorous adventures together, exploring new and creative ways to awaken each other's bodies and minds. Then, you will be ready for Tantric lovemaking.