The subconscious mind is getting a lot of buzz these days, as the folks leading the personal development/human potential/manifest-your-best-life-ever movements have honed in on it as the method behind our proverbial madness (i.e. how and why humans operate the way we do).
You see, the subconscious mind is responsible for 95% of our decisions and behavior. It is the lens through which we organize our realities, as well as the command center that determines how our realties organize themselves; and it is programmed – first, foremost, and only – through words and repetition.
Words and repetition. Words and repetition. Words and repetition.
This factoid would be one thing if words were objectively neutral symbols, solely defined by intellectual connotation, singularly serving as symbolic reference points for the things and ideas they represent. Alas, words are infinitely more complex, multidimensional entities, each encrypted with a unique vibrational frequency that is itself coded with oodles of metadata that palpably affects our emotional, energetic and psychological bodies in subtle – and not so subtle – ways.
The words we use to communicate with others, as well as the ones running on the incessant loops in our heads as thoughts and self-talk, double as hyper-nuanced programming codes that serve to either empower or disempower us in every given moment. Every word matters, as the subconscious mind tracks and responds to each one we utter, think, type or scribble, without exception.
In service to up-leveling our lives and our world for the infinitely more wonderful, I offer up these five words we’d all be wise to wield on the regular …
1// Choose We live in a world weighty with have-tos. We “have to” work, and make money, and floss, and kegel, and ground, and tap-in, to say nothing of the bills, and the paperwork, and the insurance premiums, and all the other matrix-y tasks that can really get a gal down, if she’s not mindful of how she’s framing her life.
The whole have-to paradigm is super disempowering, because it alleges that we are victims to external demands, and that we are enslaved to the tasks we are engaging.
This is where choice comes in. The reality is, we don’t actually have to do anything, ever. I can choose to skip flossing and kegeling, in exchange for gum disease, leaky pee sneezes, and mediocre sex. I can choose to skip my morning meditation, and let my mind run wild, and approach my day as a scattered, ungrounded, airy mess of discordant thoughts and vibrations.
It’s all a choice. I have free will. I can do whatever I want, as long as I understand that my actions have consequences. With that in mind, it is infinitely more empowering to frame these supposed have-tos as choices that we are willingly engaging as deliberate creators who are authoring our lives as we are authentically inspired.
2// Thank you “Sorry,” blurts the woman I jostled while squeezing my way through a crowded party, even though I’m the one who bumped into her, and she’s the one with kombucha dripping down her hand.
For what, exactly, are you apologizing? I want to ask. For inhabiting a body? For placing it in my path? For existing?
Sorry vibrates at the frequency of sorrow, which means that every time we utter a senseless sorry, we are sprinkling sorrow vibes on our reality, and basically, bumming out the planet. To this end, a hearty Thank you is an infinitely wiser, more uplifting way to quell the sting of the oopsie, while acknowledging the awkwardness of the engagement.
When I observe the urge to apologize (which is so often a cleverly disguised excuse to self-flagellate), I will instead offer a simple Thank you, which serves to honor the person for showing up as a valuable reflection in service to my/our growth, while adding some levity to the situation. As in, Thank you for giving me an opportunity to witness my clumsiness, or Thank you for letting me accidentally touch your boob, and refresh your obviously parched wrist.
3// As Languaging our intentions in the future is a great way not to manifest them. The subconscious mind is fully steeped in the present moment. So when we say we are “going to” do something, it takes our words to heart, and goes about putting off third dimensional realization for an imaginary future day that never actually comes.
Present moment languaging hacks the subconscious mind, and tricks it into collapsing the perceived distance between our future, and our now, thus bringing our desires into our material realities quickly and easily.
While there are lots of words that shift us from future-based craving to present moment experiencing, as is my current fave. As is affirmative; and it has the agency, the authority, and the mojo to move our manifestations from concept to reality, quickly and efficiently, because that’s how we do. It’s why I’m not going to fall in love when I open my heart; I am falling in love as I open my heart; and, I am not going to relish in all the opportunity and abundance that will come my way when I finish writing my book; I am enjoying all the spoils and wonderfulness flowing in as I write my #1 bestselling literary sensation.
4// Historically Just as new p. (paradigm) superheroes choose to language our intentions in the present moment, we frame our shadows in the past, because we are not tethered to the trials, tribulations, hardships, or identity constructs that lead us to this present moment, and we certainly aren’t going to seed our futures with them.
We are sovereign beings, deliberately creating our realities in each and every moment, which we know to be fresh, and new, and rife with possibility. And so, while I have historically tended towards the clumsy, I am now embodying ever-expanding levels of bodily awareness and mastery that have me moving easily and gracefully through the world. And crowded house parties.
5// Omniscopic om•ni•sco•pic adj.every moment access to every possibility that is, was or will be.
The word omniscopic is pretty much your new BFF. It’s a handy-dandy alternative to the words limitless and unlimited, which – despite their best intentions – only ever tether us to the frequencies of the “limitation” they profess not to espouse. Remember, the subconscious mind is super, very literal. This means that, well-meaning though our suffixes and prefixes may be, when they are employed, the subconscious mind latches onto the actual word these little guys are attempting to modify, and goes about organizing reality according to the very frequencies they claim to cancel out.
Luckily for us, language is an ever-unfolding work in progress. And so, having happened upon this gaping hole in our lexicon, I have taken it upon myself to toss some linguistic novelty into our collective mix by crafting this handy-dandy new word.
I recommend using it widely and often, while enjoying the spoils, sparkles, and giggles that come from living life as an empowered creator in a world of omniscopic abundance, and awesomeness. We’re welcome.
The antidote for anxiety is to create your own manifesto for 2017, says Dani Katz. All you need to begin is a passionate cry of “Yes, I am!”
Despite any and all mainstream propaganda to the contrary, I happen to know that 2017 is going to be amazing—chock-full o’ fun, joy, personal breakthroughs, real-deal love, next-level sex, and quantum leaps in consciousness, success, prosperity, and lifestyle.
I know this because I also know that I, and I alone, am responsible for how I choose to experience reality. To this end, it’s become a daily practice—aligning my heart, mind, body, and spirit with my values, my genius, my desires, and my dharma. It helps that I have created a secret weapon—Yes, I Am—a hand-drawn, transformational coloring book that supports me in being my very best me ever, and in making 2017 my most wonderful year yet.
The book is divided into twelve I Am chapters, each one focusing on a different intention. I chose the I am theme because “I am” is the most powerful phrase in every mystical tradition there is, was, and ever will be—these two words are encoded with the transformative power of the multiverse.
And so, because sharing is caring, and caring is cool, I am offering up this manifesto, inspired by that aforementioned book of intentional awesomeness, so that you, too, can make 2017 your very best year ever.
“I AM SYNESCOPIC POSSIBILITY”
I choose to remember that limitation is an illusion that exists to be obliterated. I don’t buy into anyone else’s attempts to limit me, and I devote myself to surpassing my perceived limitations, and surprising myself with all that I can—and will—accomplish, and be, and share.
“I AM LOVE”
I choose to align myself with love in every moment. I meet non-love with love. I love myself unconditionally, and al(l)ways, and I radiate that love outwards, towards everyone I meet and engage with (while remembering that boundaries and discernment are self-love, too). I know that love is a state of mind, and a way of meeting the world, and I commit to embodying this love more and more, and better and better, each and every day.
“I AM OPTIMAL HEALTH”
Because the external is ever and always a reflection of the internal, I am committed to cultivating optimal health. This means sweating, breathing, and hydrating. This means eating organic whole foods, and getting plenty of sleep, and flossing and cleansing and supplementing accordingly. It also means minding my media intake, extricating myself from toxic relationships, and not overtaxing my adrenals on yerba maté, regardless of how yummy it tastes.
“I AM AUTHENTIC”
While money, achievement and outward notions and acknowledgements of success are lovely, I am far more interested in being the very best, most integrated and expressed me I can possibly be. I embrace my uniqueness. I appreciate my individual quirks and characteristics, and all the ways they come together to make this once in a lifetime phenomenon called me. Fuck trends. Fuck in/out lists. Fuck envy, comparison, established standards of beauty and love and success and lifestyle. I’m carving out my own course, and I’m doing a bang-up job of it.
“I AM MAGIC”
Did you know that 99% of our reality is totally invisible? Yup. And so it is that I am living 2017 as a testament to unseen forces of good and love and fun and wonderful, knowing that the Universe is infinitely more mystical than I could possibly imagine, and that miracles happen every second, of every day. Bring ‘em on, I say.
“I AM CONFIDENCE”
I know my value. I embody my wonderfulness. I shrink for no one. I am an empowered badass warrior of light and love and giggles, and I model this elevated awesomeness for, and in service to, the world at large. We. Are. Welcome.
“I AM NOW”
I don’t lollygag in the past, or worry about the future, because those are mere conceptual traps that keep me from experiencing the present moment, which is where reality (and juicy magical awesomeness) reside. I don’t surrender the miracle of my now to dark, dreary future fears, or what ifs, or worst case scenarios. I meditate. I focus on sensation instead of mind chatter. I trust in divine timing. I am patient. I am patient. I am patient.
I AM A HEALTHY, BALANCED, THRIVING PLANET EARTH”
The earth isn’t just our home planet—our very own space ship, hurling us through space—it is a living, breathing, conscious intelligence. With this in mind, I honor her as I do all living creatures. I tread lightly. I conserve resources. I respect the gifts the earth so selflessly gives us—her oxygen, her water, her plants, her sunshine, and her gravity, as well as all the other beings sharing this ride with me. We are all of us earthlings. Every. Single. One. It is through this lens that I move through this magical world, ever and always grateful for these earth gifts with which we are so, so blessed.
“I AM ABUNDANCE”
Abundance is a state of mind that draws to it like-vibrating experiences and energies. And so it is that I attune myself to the abundance that surrounds me. I root myself in gratitude for all my blessings. I give. I receive. I know my value, which colors my every exchange. I welcome free-flowing prosperity, and abundance, and enough for everyone. And so it is…
“I AM OPTIMIZED”
Despite all illusory notions of time to the contrary, life is not a linear journey. It takes flexibility to flow moment-to-moment, and to hone in on what’s appropriate for said moments. And so it is that I choose to embody my most optimized version of myself, however that looks and feels in each moment. What I love about optimizing is that it requires a deep surrender to the wisdom of forces way bigger and more intelligent than I am. It’s the opposite of micromanaging. Aaaahhhh…so much easier.
“I AM GRATITUDE”
It was Meister Eckhart who said: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Gratitude is a magical frequency that transports us to the present moment, and infuses us with graciousness and humility and appreciation. I commit to an attitude of gratitude in 2017. I choose to honor the blessings of what is, instead of lamenting all that isn’t, and all the ways I wish what is was different. And when mood, moon cycles, weather, and mercurial boyfriends threaten my peace of mind, and I stray into the dark and murky waters of fear and doubt and grief and rage, I commit to getting grateful, and to staying grateful, armed with the knowledge that I am not a victim, that there are no victims, and that everything is happening for a blessing – al(l)ways.
“I AM WE”
I commit to Unity consciousness—to moving through the world armed with the integrated and embodied knowledge of our Oneness. I know that it is impossible to hurt another without hurting myself, as there is no other, and separation is an illusion. I devote myself to acting in service to the highest good of the whole of humanity, knowing that the only way to change the world is to change myself. I take responsibility for the reflections I attract, knowing that anything and everything that triggers me is merely a messenger who exists to point my attention toward shadows inviting acknowledgement and integration. I summon the courage, the will, and the fortitude to look said shadows directly in the eye, and to integrate them, in service to us all. We. Are. One.
Dani Katz is a human being. She writes. She draws. She dances. She lives in her native Los Angeles. Yes, I Am, her transformational coloring book chock-full of interactive inspiration, encouragement, affirmations, and awesomeness, is on sale here. Nab yourself a copy immediately!
You’ve been wanting to go for years. Your biggest regret is not having gone back in ‘97, when those two surfer dudes offered you a free ticket and a ride in their VW bus. You almost went in 2003, but ended up at an Iyengar retreat on Maui instead. Whatever. No one cares. You’re a newbie, a Playa virgin, and you’re (finally) heading to Black Rock City to party like a fifth dimensional rock star, and see what all the fuss is about. And you only kinda, sorta know what you’re doing.
Not to worry, dear Burner-to-Be. I am a seasoned Playa veteran, and I have some tips for you:
MAKE ACTUAL CAMP While paying to crash at an established camp with showers and a meal plan and maybe even hot Tantric hookers seems to be all the rage these days, if this is your first Burn, please, please, please resist the urge to go the princess route. Burning Man isn’t just a ritual, it is an initiation, and there is something to be said for driving yourself to Gerlach with a carful of water, kale chips and camping gear, and finding yourself a spot. Hammering rebar into the hard desert earth, pitching your tent, and fashioning your shade structure. Spending the week getting dirty and staying dirty, and being responsible for keeping your nest clean and safe and welcoming.
It’s grounding, the act of making/maintaining your own camp, and it connects you to the Playa and to the festival in ways you’ll otherwise miss if you pay someone else to do it for you. Radical self-reliance (a foundational Burning Man tenet) doesn’t actually mean: Pay people to do shit you can’t be bothered to do yourself. Just sayin’…
DO THE GIFTING THING For starters, Burning Man is a gifting economy, so be sure to bring offerings for your fellow Burners – the heartfelt kind that make people smile, and laugh, and feel delightful. Gifts are a great way to break the ice with strangers, as well as to seed the Playa with your energy. So, make sure your offerings are thoughtful, and high-vibing –handmade key chains, gluten-free hash brownies, extemporaneous odes to noteworthy brow arches – that sort of thing.
HYDRATE The desert has an unquenchable lust for moisture, and thus spends her time sucking every possible drop out of your system. Dehydration can sneak up on you if you’re not paying attention, and slurping steadily. Plus, you have to factor in the toll the drugs and the alcohol are taking on your system, as well as the exertion from so many cross-town bike rides. Commit yourself to following the cardinal rule of hydration: if you’re not peeing A LOT, you’re not drinking enough. Period.
BRING A BIKE And lock it – even if you think you’re only darting into Center Camp for a quick chai. Time isn’t ever linear, but it’s especially un-so at Burning Man, where fourth dimensional synchronicities trump your iCal…and some people just suck. Oh, and be sure to put something glowy and instantly recognizable on it so that you can find it in the dark, while tripping your face off.
CLEAN UP YOUR S*** Literally. Take pride in helping to keep the Port-a-Potties clean, and don’t throw shit down the hole that didn’t come out of your body, or isn’t toilet paper. If you sprinkle and splatter, clean it up. Don’t squat on the seat with your Playa filthy shoes and not wipe it down after. Think of the person stepping in after you. Are you leaving the port-a-pottie cleaner than you found it? If not, what can you do to tidy up? This is your festival, Black Rock City is your town. Show some pride. Participate in its maintenance. Lead by example.
CARRY SUPPLIES Carry a bag with you at all times. Put these things in it:
Water Sunscreen Lip balm (with sunscreen) Electrolytes Aromatherapy spray (You. Are. Welcome.) Offerings for others Snacks A ziploc bag for trash Enough drugs to share with those in your immediate vicinity Goggles Scarf or hankerchief
BE A DUSTBUSTER Prepare for Playa dust. It is everywhere and unavoidable, and will turn anything and everything white, including your hair and your car. This is what the goggles and the scarf/hankie are for – to cover your face during those impromptu dust storms that blind you in an instant. It is also why you must tie down everything in your that could possibly blow away. It is your responsibility to keep the Playa pristine. It is your responsibility to keep your fellow Burners safe from flying water bottles and feather boas.
WARDROBE Nights get cold. Wear layers. And shoes you can easily/comfortably dance/ride/leap/skip/run/dance/dance/dance in.
HAIR AND MAKE-UP Don’t even try to brush your hair. It will dread, and be disgusting. Sunscreen is your friend, as are wide-brimmed hats and daytime sleeves. I know plenty of gals like to go the naked/lingerie-clad route, and that’s just dandy, but do be mindful of the intensity of the sunlight on your skin, and take the necessary precautions.
Slather your feet in Dr. Bronners every morning to stave off the dreaded Playa Foot, and don’t even think about walking barefoot on the earth. Playa Foot is essentially a chemical burn caused by the very alkaline dust that comprises the hard, crackly desert floor. It hurts, and is gross; and you, my friend, want nothing to do with it. Trust me.
Bring biodegradable baby wipes with which to bathe yourself. Use them daily. Share them freely. Bring more than you think you need. Abundance rocks.
THIRD BASE ONLY Even if you’re sure he’s your soul mate (or at the very least your twin flame) and every cell in your body is screaming Put it in!!!, you are still wise to avoid penetration during the festival. Even if you’re sharing a tent with your husband, and you’re both totally in the mood, you’ll still probably want to avoid penetration, because Playa dust mixed with sex goo is just straight up gross. Stick with foreplay. Plus, it’ll make the sex you have once you’re back in civilization all the better.
SEE THE SIGHTS Spend some quality time with The Man, The Temple, and the art. Traditionally, we give The Man those energies, patterns and thought forms we are ready to release. Keep this in mind while paying him a visit. Carve out some time to acknowledge the things, people and energies that are no longer serving you, and offer them up; that’s what he’s there for. The Temple is a deeply mystical, feminine structure in which we honor our friends, colleagues and loved ones who have passed on from this realm. Do participate in these rituals. They are real. They are meaningful. They are the energetic architecture of the entire Burning Man experience. And the art? Well, the art is just rad. I mean, where else can you engage (i.e. poke, lick, caress, climb) a giant, flaming animatronic snake skeleton underneath a starry, full moon-lit sky?
DON’T JUDGE Watch your judgments. Look at your contractions. Commit to assuming the best and focusing on the wonderful. Your every thought, gesture and comment absolutely shape the collective experience. So be your best. Radiate that stuff far and wide.
BE AUTONOMOUS As long as we’re on the topic, if you happen to be going to Burning Man with your lover, do not stay glued together at the hip the whole time. Make proper Playa dates instead. Also, create clear agreements as to what sort of extra-relational canoodling is fair game. Arm yourself with emotional/relational tools to deal with what comes up. Jealousy happens, but it certainly doesn’t have to ruin your Burn.
LOSE YOUR CREW Be sure to have some solo adventures – this will open you to experiences you might not otherwise attract/brave in an insulated communal cluster. Wander into the deep Playa by yourself. As well, take some quiet time to yourself each day. Allow yourself to receive and to integrate the magic you are co-creating. Rest. Replenish. Nourish.
BE YOURSELF Finally, remember that what makes Burning Man so amazing is that it is a safe and expansive playground in which you get to be you. Your favorite you. Your most open, authentic, real-deal you. Remember that this is who you really are – always – and that you don’t need to wait for a week-long freak fest in the desert to be it. So commit take this you home with you, and amplify it out into the world where it inspires others to be their own best, most authentic thems, as well. In the name of planetary service ‘n all.
I think that about covers it. Godspeed, my friend. Here’s to your best Burn ever!
2014 has been a year of SELF-EXAMINATION, TRANSFORMATION and ADVENTURE! Here are 11 posts that made us laugh, gasp, cry…and take a good long look at our lives from the inside (listed in no particular order of awesomeness).
Ellie Burrows is pretty sure she’s discovered the secret to online dating. And it’s Tantra. Not super-connected, total body orgasm, tantric sex – rather the energetic concept that makes that kind of sex possible: a balance of the masculine and feminine energies.
Dealing with a situation that had left her feeling vulnerable and alone, when Ruby Warrington met her spirit power animal last year…it got emotional. Here’s how to connect with your own beast of the wild unknown.
Yay, you’re going on a yoga retreat! You want to get the most out of your experience, right? Who better than Heather Lilleston and Kumi Sawyers fromYoga For Bad People to lay down some summer retreat etiquette. We’re talking less freaking out, more more F.U.N.
Guru Jagat is the outspoken face behind the Ra Ma Institute, the only all kundalini yoga studio in California’s Venice Beach. She talks to Madeline Giles about her vision for the Age of Aquarius, life on the 33rd parallel and outsmarting the Global Elite. Conspiracy theories or conscious debate?
Right after a powerful New Moon in multi-faceted Gemini, gifting us an opportunity to embrace the quicksilver side of ourselves, Nadia Noirgives an insight into a life spent searching for “the other me.”
Empowering women’s movement, or de facto sex cult? Dani Katz gets intimate with the practise known as Orgasmic Meditation…
“I hate LA, and I hate my life,” I sputter in a flurry of tears, snot and spaz-out, as I drop my purse on the floor of Jamie’s kitchen, and freak way out.
“And my favorite pants are ruined,” I whine, gesturing to the stains dotting the hem, remnants from this morning’s explosion of glass and green at Moon Juice, where my Kundalini teacher dropped an eleven-dollar bottle of algae on my Birkenstock while lamenting the torment of her beloved’s non-monogamous tendencies. “…and everything would be easier if I were dead.”
“And how late is your period?” Jamie smiles, perpetually unfazed by my dark, melodramatic tendencies.
Why I can’t seem to remember that my every twenty-eight day despondency/bad hair day combo is related to the onset of my moon remains one of the more confounding mysteries of being woman. Well, that and our tendency to totally abandon ourselves for the crumbs of affection half-heartedly proffered by the man-children who don’t deserve us.
I reach for my iPhone, and pull up my Period Tracker app.
Period is 1 Day Late.
“I had a feeling,” Jamie nods. “Let’s get you stoned; let’s get you fed; and, let’s get your pussy rubbed.”
While this last zinger might seem wildly inappropriate coming from anyone else, Jamie is a One Taste devotee, an adept in the cult of orgasm, and – as such – her answer to pretty much everything is: Get your clit rubbed.
For those not yet hip to the casual stroking craze that equates orgasm with meditation, and mindfulness with turn-on, Orgasmic Meditation (OM) is a practice focused on female orgasm. It involves two humans, at least one vagina, a timer, a dash of lube, a tightly held container comprised of a very specific configuration of pillows and limbs, and a very (very) precise stroke – a gentle, vertical petting atop the surface of the upper left quadrant of the clitoris with the tip of the left pointer finger, for fifteen minutes.
“Okay,” I sniff, wiping an errant strand of hair from my face. “Can we make that happen?”
“Pfft,” Jamie snorts. “Duh.”
I should probably mention that all three of Jamie’s roommates also OM. Like, religiously, and even then, fanatically, as in several times a day. It’s but a symptom of the One Taste organization’s culty-er aspects – outcroppings of community houses packed tight with pussies keen to be rubbed, and fingers eager to rub ‘em.
“Hey, Dani,” says Jamie’s roommate, Josh, walking into the kitchen all of two seconds later.
While Josh and I exchange greetings, Jamie – not one for subtleties – mimes a diddling motion with one pointer finger, while directing the other one my way. She’s a Capricorn; she makes shit happen.
“Wanna OM?” Josh blurts.
For those not living in houses populated exclusively by Orgasmic Meditators, most folks go about finding vaginas to rub, and fingers to rub ‘em on the OM Hub, a private online network available to those who qualify (i.e. throw down the cash for the online course, pass a quiz, and then throw down more for network access; oh, and who aren’t registered sex offenders).
“Anyone near Mar Vista wanna come stroke my pussy today between 3 and 5:30?” reads a sample posting.
The community operates on an any finger/any pussy/anytime philosophy, and the extent to which the randomness of the OM hook-up icks me out has proven prohibitive in my developing any regularity around the practice. To this end, I barely even qualify as a practitioner. Dabbler is probably even pushing it.
“Oh, hi honey,” Jamie said, meeting me at the top of the stairs back when she was first inculcated into the Grand Order of Holy Diddlers. “I’m just gonna squeeze in a quick OM, and then we’ll go.”
I took a seat on the futon in the loft, and texted our friends to let them know we were going to be late for dinner. It wasn’t long before the telltale sounds of turn-on started seeping forth from the backside of Jamie’s bedroom door.
Ew, I thought, scrambling to untangle the earbuds I couldn’t get out of my purse and into my ears fast enough.
It’s not that I’m prude, or shy, or at all delicate when it comes to erotic expression. Still, I just don’t really want to know what my friend sounds like when she’s getting off, much the same way I’m not interested in smelling her used tampons. TMI – way (way) TMI.
Minutes later, a man wearing glasses and a Pokemon t-shirt came strutting out of Jamie’s bedroom. “You next?” he asked, waggling a finger my way – a finger I could only guess was coated in vagina slime.
“Ew,” I snorted, thoroughly put off by the creamy digit aimed in my direction, but moreso the assumption that my holy vag was this random guy’s for the stroking.
When it comes to touching my vagina, the list of those who qualify for the privilege is short, and contained – lovers, gynecologists, the occasional nurse practitioner, and the Russian lady who waxes my bikini line. Hired tenders aside, it’s a highly restricted area, reserved for those I deem special/worthy enough to handle both the sacred wonderfulness that is my labia, as well as my heart, because – like so many people in our culture and maybe on the planet in general, I am programmed to believe that the regions are inextricably bound. As such, unless I’m in a relationship, my pussy doesn’t get much play.
Thus is the beauty of the OM – once she who is grossed out by the culture figures out how to meander her way around its ickier aspects. Hanging out at Jamie’s, as I’m now realizing, is a fantastic method to this end.
“Yes, please,” I say.
“When?” asks Josh.
And so it is that I’m dropping chlorella-stained trou in Josh’s room, while he places a washcloth in the center of “The Nest” – which is really just a yoga mat surrounded by half-moon meditation cushions strategically placed for my head, my thighs and his ass, but which will be honored as holy, and thus entered with the implicit understanding that while so cradled, there will be no canoodling, and no reciprocity. Just pussy-stroking. For fifteen minutes, no more, no less.
“Are you comfortable?” Josh asks, pulling my leg over his thigh, and arranging his foot so that it’s flat against mine.
I catch myself before asking How are we defining our terms? Because, while sure, I’m enjoying a semblance of ergonomic ease, I am also naked from the waist down, lying with my legs splayed to reveal my six days un-groomed pussy as a relative stranger dangles his arm over my thigh. Which – while fine – has me feeling more than a little vulnerable. Plus, there is the matter of warm-blooded man hands touching my inner thigh, of palm against flesh, and – um – the novelty of the connection and the alchemy on this unique, raw and dense plane of purely physical exchange. Which is all to say, comfortable isn’t the first descriptive that comes to mind.
“Uh-huh,” I chirp, because now is not the time for heady unravelings of my mental state, and because Jamie got me stoned while Josh arranged the pillows, and I’m just blitzed enough not to give a shit what he thinks of my spread eagled lady bits.
“Okay, I’m going to ground you, now,” Josh says, mashing his palms along the surface of my thighs.
It’s standard, The Grounding, as is the practice of announcing whatever touch is about to happen. It lends a sterile, business-like vibe to the exchange, which I happen to appreciate. As impersonal as we can keep our interaction, the better, I say. Josh is not my lover. Josh isn’t even a friend. Josh is the guy attached to the hands that are right now mashing my thighs, and my pelvis, and is getting ready to—
Oh fuck, I think, just now remembering the sequence of events, because it’s been a while.
Please don’t do The Noticing, I think, suddenly observing mild sensations of panic. Please don’t do The Noticing.
It’s my least favorite part of the practice, The Noticing, wherein the stroker ogles the vag in front of him and then shares his visual observation. Out loud.
“I’m noticing that you have one pubic hair that’s really straight, and poking straight up towards the ceiling,” a stroker once told me, as I wished a hole would open up in the ground beneath me, and swallow me at once.
“The outside of your lips are, like, a really dark pink, almost like cranberry juice,” noticed another, as my cheeks turned a similar shade, and I stared at the ceiling and wondered why any and all references to my vaginal “lips” creep me out so hard.
Please don’t do The Noticing, I psychically beg/command.
That Josh actually skips The Noticing is as much a testament to the anti-Noticing trend Jamie will later tell me is sweeping the community at large as it is to my psychic authority. No matter. Noticing isn’t happening. I’m golden, I think, grateful to have escaped the humiliation of Josh’s take on the whitehead lodged inside my inner thigh crease, as he starts the timer on his smartphone, snaps on a pair of latex gloves, and goes about sliding a hand underneath my ass.
“I’m going to touch your introitus now.”
Safeporting, they call it, the resting of the stroker’s thumb against the vaginal opening. I guess it’s supposed to help the strokee to feel held, to quell any lurking fears of floating up and toward the ceiling, of slipping through the cracks of an air vent and being forever lodged in the crawlspace with no pants on. Jamie has developed this annoying habit of rolling the term into her everyday lingo to reference any sort of safeguarding.
Like the time we were invited to our friends’ house for dinner, after a particularly awkward series of texts and naked hot tub gropings, and she said: “I know Michael and Katrina keep trying to fuck you, but don’t worry. I’ll be right there, safeporting you the whole time.”
I appreciated the sentiment, but, the languaging? Um…ew.
“I’m going to touch your pussy, now,” Josh announces as his lube-globby finger makes contact with my clit.
They’re big on the P-word, these Orgasmic Meditators. On the one hand, it’s refreshing, especially given how many Tantra intensives I’ve attended wherein the words yoni and punani are tossed around like so much New Age-appropriated Far Easterly exotica.
Still, if one more soft-eyed dude wearing three-day beard scruff and a rudrakshra mala wrapped around his sacred geometry tattooed wrist greets me by mashing his hands together at his curiously hairless heart chakra, bending at the waist, and purring Namaste, I might have a stroke. To this end, I’m all for the P-word. And yet, I find something slightly confrontational about its ubiquity, as if those who OM are wielding the word in the hopes of inspiring discomfort, verily daring those within earshot to take issue with their languaging, and their lifestyle.
“Okay,” I sigh, narrowing my focus of attention to the point of contact between Josh’s finger and my clit, while expanding my awareness around all the sensation said contact is generating.
“Why can’t you just do it yourself?” my mother prods when I meet her at Pilates a week later, wanting to not be disturbed by this, yet another comfort zone-challenging ritual in which her daughter is dabbling, and yet still not getting it.
It’s not that I can’t; it’s that I don’t. I tend to forget that a) I have a bundle of nerves in my vagina that tingle when stimulated; and b) I can stimulate them whenever I want to. I’m a heady gal – “an upper chakra creator” as Trish, my go-to psychic, likes to say. More often than not, I forget I even have a body, let alone that caressing it is an option. But, even if I chose to remember, OMing and masturbating are not the same thing.
“Ooohh…” Josh groans, clearly navigating a surge of arousal as the tip of his finger waggles up and down and up and down and up and down along the top of my clit.
OMing is an exchange – of trust and vulnerability, and of grunts and desire, but mostly of the electro-chemical polarities that attract masculine and feminine.
“I felt this electrical jolt – like a lightning bolt – shooting out of your clit and into my finger, where it traveled up my arm, across my chest, into my heart, down into my cock, and out my other arm, like a circuit, and then it just kept circulating for the rest of the OM,” said Lance, a guy who once stroked me while I was crashing at Jamie’s, and we were Sharing Frames after the stroking part, which isn’t quite as cringey as The Noticing, but is sort of in the ballpark.
The point is that something larger, magnetic and infinitely more mysterious happens when fingertip strokes clit in this specific way and inside of this container – something that doesn’t happen when I’m jerking myself off.
It’s the electro-chemical exchange that inspired me to try Orgasmic Meditation in the first place, back when I was cozy in a monogamous love thang, and my partner and I read Slow Sex together at a Colorado hot spring, and thus grooved on Nicole Daedone’s whole down with stimulation, up with sensitivity/awareness philosophy, and took to a daily OM practice.
“Achoo!” sneezed then boyfriend.
“Wow!” I said, shivering, because I felt his sneeze in my own body as palpably as if it were my own.
I liken it to Vipassana meditation, wherein the prolonged practice of scanning the body for sensation strips away the walls and shadows that obscure our hearts and our light and our genius. The practice of OMing strips away the walls and the density that obscure not only our connection to our own feeling nature, but to the shared feeling nature that conscious sexual exchange inspires when we know how to work with it.
“Ooh,” boyfriend said, when he hit a particularly sweet spot with his tongue during a post-OM canoodle. “I felt that one in my toes.”
“Do…more…that…” I instructed, palming his skull, trying to catch my breath, “…hnnnh!…”
But, it’s not just instances of Freaky Friday-like feeling-sharing that differentiates OMing from diddling myself. Orgasmic Meditation isn’t goal-oriented – there is no race toward climax. In fact, it’s not even a destination. Sure, it happens; I hear. I’ve yet to climax during an OM, and I have all of zero interest in doing so, and not just because I think it would be thoroughly embarrassing.
The magic is at the edge, which is where all magic lies, and – for me – OMing is the perfect set-up to play with that edge, to redirect the energy that threatens to undo me in a fit of trembles, spasms, shrieks and sensation, and to instead redirect it up my spine and into my head, where it dances between my third eye and my crown, and animates my entire body with a thousand and one lightning bolts exploding behind my eyelids and across my every meridian in fractalized bursts of psychedelia.
“UNNHHH!!” Josh sucks in his breath at the very same moment a jolt of electricity explodes in my upper cervical spine, and then mutters a thoroughly floored: “Whoah.”
“And, what’s in it for the guy?” Mom presses.
I can’t really say, not being a guy or having ever stroked, but that doesn’t stop me from rolling my eyes, and snorting, and saying “Mom, I already explained this,” because even though I’m a grown woman, there’s something about sharing time/space with my mother that inspires adolescent histrionics. “It strips away the layers of calcified density, and renders them more sensitive and available to experience their own sensation through less and less stimulation.”
Also, a lot of the guys in the community are spazzy dweebs who, if it weren’t for One Taste, wouldn’t likely see much pussy, let alone get to touch any, unless they were paying for it.
“Two minutes,” Josh says, alerting me to the impending close of our session with a pronounced shift in his touch – Downstroking, they call it, which is totally applicable when spread eagle and doused in coconut lube in The Nest, but kind of annoying when chatting with my friend over kale smoothies.
“You probably want to downstroke her before telling her you don’t want to work with her anymore,” Jamie advises.
I roll my eyes and vomit just the tiniest bit in the back of my throat, not because it’s not good advice, but because I’m still having a hard time getting used to my friend’s tendency to talk like a cult initiate.
“Time,” Josh says with a massive exhale, removing his hand from very, very tingly pussy, despite my clit’s silent pulsing pleas for him to come back, to stay awhile, to keep doing that thing he was doing with his finger for – like, I dunno…ever?
I exhale as Josh grounds me back into my body, and into the room, again mashing his hands atop my only slightly trembling thighs. He helps me up to a sitting position where I drape the now damp washcloth over my lady bits, and avail myself to the grand finale – the Sharing of Frames.
“There was this moment, when I saw, like, a drop of – um…well, your juices on the edge of your pussy, and – uh, well – when I did, I felt a lot of sensation in my cock.”
I think the point is to get us in the practice of communicating our turn on, and our feeling experience. It’s gotten easier, the Frame-Sharing, minus the moments when I realize, mid-OM, that I’m going to have to do it, and then I retreat to my head, scanning the practice for something noteworthy to speak to. That, and the fact that I don’t love talking to strangers about my turn-on, but – whatever – I’m a grown-up; I can deal.
“There was a moment when you pulled back on the pressure, and I found myself wanting to chase it, but instead chose to inhale into my clit, and found the connection I was craving through my own breath.”
And with that, we are complete.
It’s actually my favorite part of the whole experience, the leaving, the absence of lingering eye locks, of nervous heart flutters, of carefully couched farewells that may or may not allude to a deepening intimacy, and to future dalliances that so often never come to pass. I love the none of that. It’s honest. It’s clean. We have accomplished the business at hand – the touching of my pussy – and now that we are finished, I will be on my (way merrier) way.
Back in Jamie’s kitchen, dinner is ready – kale salad with pumpkin seeds and tons of nutritional yeast.
“How was that?” Jamie asks, knowing smile hijacking her perpetually radiant face.
“Best. Friend. Ever.” I gush, proffering the world’s most grateful hug, feeling infinitely less suicidal and – dare I say – pretty darned good.
Dani Katz is the creator of the I Am Calendar 2015, a total astro/affirmation/badass birthday fest of all ’round awesomeness. You can find out more about her work here.
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