One of the unremarked aspects of Madonna’s legacy, in my opinion, is the fact that many of her lyrics are exceptionally devotional. She is remembered for the controversy, the pushing of boundaries about women were allowed to express, but also, she intuitively understood the nature of the Divine Lover and the blurred line between 'him' and 'Him'. The chastity and absolution that comes with prayerful loving.
Aside from the obvious (and controversial at the time) Like a Prayer, we also have : Cherish, True Blue, Rain. Deeper and Deeper. Even the (again, controversial video) Justify my Love. You can see so many of them as potent songs of Shakti to Shiva. Flitting between the Him, and the him.
Demanding that the little him shape up (Open your Heart, Express Yourself) to the full glory of what he is capable. As tantrics have always known, this is the mystical power of the conscious female, the yogini.
And you wonder where the modern day mystics have gone... They are going where mystics are supposed to go. Check out the scriptwriters, the rock bands, the writers, the poets, the artists, the thought leaders. Look at Lady Gaga. ‘It doesn’t matter if you love him, or capital H-im. Baby you were born this way’. Or the quietly witty video for ‘Judas’. Just because she’s exploring the shadow, doesn’t make her dark. It's a journey to the underworld, like the goddess Inanna. This is what women are supposed to do: feel and express without judgement. Feeling involves throwing a harness on darkness, rawness, pain, and pulling it into the light. Transmuting it through art into something less scary and freeing. There’s a great power in saying: This is how I feel. What are you going to do about it? Heal it, accept it or fix it, but don’t argue with it or deny it.
I could go on (and on), but in the meantime, what about the song which inspired this post... True Blue?
Go on, have a listen. I bet you’ve forgotten how childlike, innocent and uplifting this song really is.
It's not me, it's you
It's not me, it's you.
Let's call this delegation.
This is counter to most streams of thought which tell you that anything you perceive in anyone else is a reflection of something in yourself. So you do your own work and see what shifts. But then you get to a point where this is your own work. Because if you can feel it, you need to call it. Maybe not out loud, but firmly and silently. Because the bigger you become, the more you can feel other people and their stuff. Or they'll unconsciously try to project it onto you. And if you feel bad about seeing negativity in others you'll end up sucking it up. You need to call it. You need to give it a name. Pretending it's not there is not loving. And when you do, don't allow yourself to feel bad or guilty. Demons go for the jugular every time so you need to be tough. They will say: 'you don't understand me or what I've been through', 'I'm being nice', 'I'm just worried about you', 'you are not so perfect yourself' etc. etc. All these things sound reasonable, play to your compassion, and are designed to get you to back off so that you'll leave them alone to be small. It takes practice, but if you do this your relationship with the real person you care about will improve and more love will flow between you. It's actually an act of trust in the other person - you don't need to rescue them from seeing what needs to be seen and correcting it.
It's not me, it's you. Because it puts you back in touch with who you are, standing firm in your inner light.
This is work in progress. I'm an empathic healer which makes this really tricky so I have been finding rage useful. Allowing rage helps to integrate the shadow body and it's not the same as anger at all. Anger is more superficial, reactive and based in the ego and its attendant emotions. Rage is a much purer cleansing power which bubbles up from your belly in the same way laughter does. Rage is loving, and should leave you feeling light and joyful. It can even be funny.
Here is a selection of four poems around this theme. Rage-y, muscle-the-demon-to-the-ground-y alchemy: this is me, and it's not ok to be aggressive, passive aggressive, cynical, victimised, reductionist, self-righteous, pious, complacent, patronising or accusatory around me. We are all heart-broken, maimed, limbless athletes in the Paralympics. But we can still GO.
I am not here to make friends
to seek reassurances
I am not here to blend in
I am here
Suddenly it’s not ok
for you to deny me
to pretend that I’m not real
to make me doubt my soul
and what I feel
It’s not ok
for you to humour me
to redefine this cynically
I hear your demons
they are carping at me
They want to make me small
so that you don’t have to let go
But it’s not ok anymore
when I look at the work
that I’ve done
the passion that I’ve shown
the truth that I’ve grown
to feel your indifference
If you try to give me bullshit
if you are nice
if you try to be understanding
show me sympathy
but we are feeding your pretense
I will grab you by the throat and shake you
If you take the moral high ground
I will slap you
and pull it out from under you
It is kinder than the violence
this does to my soul
If you play the victim I will keep away from you
lest you make me your next aggressor
I am on my knees
at the beauty of this
but you are unmoved
Where is your fire?
You are busy, you are tired...
Let me tell you how God is busy
Did you not see
what happened there in that
how the universe realigned itself
to my pretty?
Can you do that?
Who will give you permission
to call the clouds to attention
the moon and stars to heel?
I want to see the rage in you
that burns your self to ashes
I am not gossiping
with other inmates
I am standing at the door
and turning the key
Will you be free?
How much love
do you allow yourself to give?
the only question
If you think it is other
your arguments are
But our soul
is a simple
I seem to be developing criteria for songs which make it onto this blog, one of which is 'makes hair stand on end'. I could easily not add any commentary to this video, and just say 'ooooh', but in the interests of un-splaining, just a few thoughts....
We are all manifestations of the ONE
The ONE has many lovers
We all remember each other
We are all eternally COOL with this
We are all healed
We are all friends
The poignancy adds to the ultimate ecstasy
We are all
The Divine Lover
What is your relationship with the divine?
Father? Mother? Friend? Spirit?
What about Lover?
Can you make love to your vision of God? Just the two of you?
(Warning: your ego and shadow body won't like this at all. They will tell you all kinds of stories about why this is a big dangerous idea. If you're ready to take those fellas on, read more...)
Sexual union is the highest form of worship because it implies complete acceptance.
Think about it.
If you were to make love to your deity, you would have to accept everything that the deity is and stands for (hard). You would also find you have to accept everything that you are - your humanity, physically, sexuality (even harder), and accept that you are accepted, even adored, for being just as you are (mind blowing).
It would take years off your spiritual journey.
You would be forced to integrate your shadow self and find yourself a more whole, total being for it.
You would never have another bad relationship, because you’d have the gold standard to measure it against and no one could take that away from you.
I don’t want to give anyone crazy ideas, but who do you call out for in your most intimate moments? Is the divine present?
Who is the face of the Lover? Are they separate or are they ONE?
If the Divine is your sweetheart, you will very quickly start to see all of life in a very different way.
Like I said, don't get any crazy ideas...
Call him home
I bit my tongue three times this week.
So I had to ask the glaring question...Why am I biting my effing tongue?
What am I not saying?
So many parts of our feminine story are missing from the dialogue. The unconditionality, the sensuality, the calling to account.
This is the job of Shakti. Embracing the sheer complexity of all that is, has ever been and will always be.
Tantra is like forgiveness in motion. It exists because we are all IT, and we are all one, and because there was a Hitler, and there was also an Eva Braun. They are both still here in all of us.
Because the role of Shakti is to surrender, to remember, to use her whole self unashamedly, and raise her beloved to a higher place. It's not about rejecting or withholding. It's about kissing and upbraiding in a single breath. Caressing like a lover, and cuffing like a lioness to her cubs. Drawing lines, but going in. This is the power of the feminine.
It's time to get our hands dirty, and call our beloved home...
Why am I biting my precious tongue?
The tongue is an organ of loving
Feel the love flow between us
The pouring, the gushing
The gentle prattling to your sweetheart
You just want to be known
Confiding in me your lifetimes
All of your stories your learnings
I have the other half of these
The wisdom, understandings
I will explain it all, the primal rush
The love play
The way you slay me
How whatever happens
I still go to pieces when you play
Between my tongue and my love
The harmonics of good, and god-like
And what is that! and ninja-sweet attainment
I make it ok in you, the god in you
The stuff that makes no sense in you
Come home to me
Why am I biting my precious tongue?
Torturing this love organ
When we are both speaking through it
Giving and receiving
When the chiding and forgiveness come in two
When you finish my sentences, my being
As brother-sister, one-it-y
While you tickle all my love organs
With your ecstasy, our laughter
I have as much to give
As to receive
I am the engine that makes us go
You need to listen to what I say
As part of you
I find the needle in your hay
And know what to do
You slay me
Come home to me
I am not biting my precious tongue
There is a lot of chatter about 'abundance' these days on the airwaves. A lot of talk about removing blockages to this abundance. What they are usually talking about is financial 'success' aka performance, and often a successful romantic relationship. If you're really lucky you'll meet your 'twin flame'...
The trouble is, these desires are mostly a result of projection, and therefore lack. You want these things to compensate for what you don't currently have as a permanent state.
Try thinking about abundance in a different way. How much bliss do you experience when you meditate? How many layers of appreciation do you feel when you listen to a piece of music or watch a movie? How deeply into your own body can you go and how much of the universe can you find there? How many nerve endings are activated when you interact with another who is not your lover. How much self-compassion do you have?
When you start to truly have abundance in this inner way, you could choose to live in a cave and feel as if you have the whole world.
For me, abundance is characterised by a pomegranate seed. It's a little red, juicy jewel in which you can find everything. Try looking at one with appreciation. When I was teaching myself this, I spent some time clocking little 'jewels' that I found in my life, and endowing them with appreciation, collecting them like trinkets - gifts to me from the Beloved.
It's a good practice - how much 'juice' can you squeeze out of a little pleasure? Can you find pleasure in something you would normally resist? Make it into a game.
When abundance really happens, it would be unusual for your external circumstances to not reflect this. But that's not why you do it, because a critical aspect of this is surrender and letting go. You let go of your performance-led goals, and start living like a poet or an artist. Celebrate your own creativity in any way that pleases you. If you treat yourself with something nice, do it in full consciousness out of self-compassion and make sure you enjoy every drop. Re-define abundance, and it will be more likely to work with you.
I wrote a poem about these jewels of abundance a while back.
Always a good reminder.....
Jewels that I find:
Shining pomegranate seeds
French fancies, battenburg and Swiss roll
Our love in these
Like rubies and pearls
Shared moments of laughter
Glasses clinking and tinkling
You make me coffee
And I kiss you
More than I can bear
This poem was inspired by two great men - Shams of Tabriz and Rumi. Now there was a love story! Before they met, Rumi was a respected Islamic scholar and cleric. After meeting Shams, his spiritual mentor, he transformed into possibly the greatest poet of all time. At some point, Shams disappeared from Rumi's life in mysterious circumstances (which are greatly debated). Throughout his life, however, Rumi attributed more and more of his poetry to Shams, finding him within himself.
This may be a bit deep, but why do we have more than one of us in this life?
I believe it's so we can admire the good in each other, the awesome qualities which are difficult to see in ourselves. We get to experience what 'we' look like wearing different clothes.
Can you look into the eyes of another and see your own soul?
Can you strip your own masks away to be that other?
The experience is very real, very feeling, very love...
Ode to the female
Just for fun: how many famous femmes can you name check in this poem (there are ten to find in all).
This one is from shakti, in her many forms, to the divine masculine.
I wavered on one of the words when I was writing, but have settled for the less mischievous option here. If you spot it, and want to swap it - make it your own....
There are many aspects of the feminine to embrace, if only as potentialities. Not all of them are pretty, but they can all be awesome. If we repress and deny, we will only make our shadow body more powerful. If we find something we don't find 'acceptable' inside us, what can we do with it? What higher use can we put it to? Who is judging it as 'good' or 'bad' in the first place?
Fiddle dee dee
So what if I'm bad?
I get goosepimply
Would you come up sometime
And be pleased to see me?
Like a prayer
I'll whisper to you softly
To justify my love for you
Would you meet me on a train
And will you trust this dark, dark horse
Who has a taste for
Don't make me your
I'm better than your wildest dreams
Chinnamasta yoni veda
I don't have all the answers
But I sing because I have a song
If I drown my sorrows
I love you more
My own skin
Move so delicate
Weaving her moment
Holding me in icy
Devouring her own
In a humorous gulp
Sharing the love-play
At this beautiful killer
With her self-contained
What did we create
This is me
In this and her
By my poison
To an innocent spider
Crackling with the mystery
Of love and fear
Tingling my limbs
With crawling memories
Feeling the pin-sharp
You made her
She is you
And watch her
Real giving v. 'fake' giving
Don’t offer me anything
Or I’ll think it’s a bargain:
Be the sun
Where I didn’t expect it
Make me weep
That you are here
Sit next to me
Loving whatever you see
And I’ll give you
All I have
It's just under two weeks since I wrote this poem and within days I received my first 'response', then another. The trick? I identified clearly and specifically what it was that I wanted: that experience of someone just seeing what you need, 'getting it' and you not having to ask. Although one of my new year intentions is to ask for what I need, I also want to not have to ask, especially at the moment. I don't currently want to sift through masses of information, go to a workshop, read books, attend webinars, watch any video that's longer than 10 minutes. At this point in time I don't want someone to pass me a 'gift' or recommendation that will take up more of my limited time.
So you might be wondering, how do I get this 'giving' business right? Isn't it the done thing to check you're not overstepping the mark with whatever it is you're suggesting? Whenever two people come together in any situation (work, friendships, family, love) they start to form a third unit which is the two of them combining. In order for this relationship to be satisfying to both, one of them then falls into the role of giver, and the other of receiver. They may bounce the roles back and forward as many times as they like, but the key factor is the quality of the giving. This is because the giver is at any given time, the one who is in the dominant 'male', role and therefore 'leading', as in a dance (note: by 'dominant' I do not mean aggressive). The receiver is in the 'feminine' role. You may have heard people talking about learning to 'receive more'. This only works if you know what good giving looks like, and are able to identify and reject fake giving. Effective giving leaves you feeling looked after and satisfied, disfunctional giving leaves you feeling confused and in a state of tension which will eventually come between you and the other person.
For example, you chat to a friend saying how you'd like a night out with your other half, you haven't had one in ages, and they say to you, 'I could babysit for you sometime'.... There is a likelihood you might never take them up on it, as you're not convinced they really mean it. They haven't followed through. You have the responsibility of actioning this - picking a date, asking if they're free. You don't want to impose on them. Maybe they were just being kind etc. However, if they say to you right away 'ok, when are you both free? How about this Saturday? I am not doing anything and it's no problem - I can play with the kids and watch a movie'. Then you are more likely to be able to receive. Think about it, in the first situation you probably feel heavy and lacklustre towards the offer (the responsibility is yours), in the second scenario you most likely start smiling and feeling lighter even if Saturday is initially not the right day for you.
Another example: you receive a Christmas card or Facebook message from someone you haven't seen in ages who says 'we must meet up', or 'hope to see you in 2018'. How are you supposed to respond to this? It is neither giving nor receiving. You feel you need to either take the initiative (which you may not do, as you're not convinced they really want to see you), or quietly file it. How do you feel? If they said, 'We haven't caught up in ages, I'll phone/email you soon to set up a date' - you are feeling more optimistic and perhaps pleasantly surprised.
Your employer tells you 'we really value you' but can't currently offer you a pay rise. How do you feel? Confused, in doubt, low in energy towards your work? What would a 'real giving' approach look like? Perhaps: 'I can't do anything right now, but in three months time we'll sit down with HR and see what can be done - let's put it straight in the diary'. That feels more positive. You may not be 100% satisfied with the situation, but how do you feel about the relationship?
This is tantra, and it works for all your relationships.
To get this right, you need to bring yourself into resonance with the person in question and think of them as a part of you. Instead of small talk (or while you're warming up), ask yourself 'What does this person need from me right now?', 'What might they be trying to give me?'. Breathe and feel into the space in between you. Assume that if you've found yourself in the same place as someone at the same time, that there is an effective interaction to be had. Stop for a moment and allow an idea or intuition to surface rather than just filling the space with chatter because silence is too 'real'. When you are having a conversation with someone observe how the roles change - if you are just chatting, who is giving and who is receiving? If you are asking someone to listen to you while you get something off your chest, you are actually receiving and they are giving you the space to talk and their attention. Do you want advice (unless you've asked for it, probably not, you just want them to listen). How can you make your giving better? Can you be more specific about what you want to receive? Once you understand quality giving, you are more able to receive freely, as you understand that someone who is giving effectively is gaining great satisfaction. There will be a flow of trust, love and enthusiasm in your relationship which will keep it energised and vibrant.
You also need to actively root out fake giving. Fake giving allows the other party to trick themselves into feeling good in their mind, but they're actually subconsciously messing with you. This is how the ego works - it gets you to slither out of quality interactions, thus keeping you in a state of separation. People do this all the time and it results in poor relationships or destroys them completely. Somewhere you are not being authentic, If you spot fake or ineffective giving from one of your relationships, make sure you test it - throw it back to the other party and make sure they know it's their responsibility. 'What do you suggest?', 'When do you suggest'. 'What do you suggest we do about it?'. That way, even on a subconscious level, you will be forcing them to respond to you better, with more love. If you've started to 'go off' them, and the relationship is waning, realise that this is the disfunction talking, not the real person. If you are able to kickstart good giving and receiving, you will warm to them again and them to you.
Tantra is an art, and it thrives on allowing, being present and authentic, not 'performing'. If you felt forced into fake giving, or giving that didn't leave you satisfied, you are probably falling into the mistake of performing. Why did you feel you had to do that? Whose expectations were they? So practice giving, and identify examples of real giving in your own life. Receiving will then fall into place.
Now, time for a song from one of my favourite musicals - My Fair Lady. Listen to what the lady says....
confidence - freedom - passion