Apprenticeship to Love: Meditations on this Path to Authentic Relationship, January 25, 2024
- This week's playlist: silence
- Today’s questions: How do you "dance the follow?" How do you feel into your own "feminine flow," your own desire to "follow," and hold safe space for this energy to move as it needs to? And, how, if you choose to lead others —a beloved, a child, a friend, a colleague— how do you feel into their yearning to flow, and hold that safe, guide it as the sacred gift it is?
- Today's suggested practice: Day 25 of this month's practice, a breath work for "balancing," to allow these thoughts and feelings to move through you, with less resistance (see my "Short Practice,” below)
- My practice today: 2:30am: 45 minutes: yoga, with mantra and meditations from the Shakti sadhana with Kundalini Yoga School
- My vulnerability practice: Feel Her, and allow Her to move. Today is a day of tides that are beyond me, yet I will dance this dance & enjoy it all!
★ A reminder that as of today there are only eight "For Your Love, Valentine's Offers." FMI see apprenticeshiptolove.com/foryourlove
A FEW WORDS TO BEGIN THIS YEAR
Before I begin, let me ask you this: What tools do you use to navigate this life or the love you're experiencing?
For so many of us, the tools we've been led to use are primarily words, discussion, a form of linear or logical thinking.
There's nothing wrong with these tools. But, as one of my favourite "relationship authors," Susan Page put it on the title of one of her books, "Talking is not enough." Nor is thinking. Nor is the kind of logic or rationality most of us have been taught. It certainly hasn't been enough for me. Or for most of the people around me.
Yes, communication is important. In all of our relationships. Whether we're a parent or a child, a lover or the beloved, a business leader or a wage slave, or any of the many roles we can play in this life, communication is important. Vital. But how we communicate is not limited to the tools most of us have been given or taught.
As one of my teachers says, the head brain is excellent for either/or kinds of processes. Our relationships are rarely reducible to either/or. So what do we do?
I'm fond of the term heuristic devices. Tools that are useful for divining new information, new experiences of something that's become habitual (and therefore, profoundly imprentrable using familiar tools).
When I teach I invite students to use the tools of polarities, of yogically-inspired notions like masculine/feminine polarities. Of our bodies as collections of diverse energies that we have the capacity to align.
When I teach tango I invite students to use these same tools to deepen their capacity to feel into each other, and to "make art" out of whatever "conversation" their movements with the other may bring forth.
Today, with my students, I'll be asking them to consider a question that the tango teacher (and yoga teacher) Lya Elcagu posed recently: How are you dancing the follow?
Here's another tool: the phases of the moon. For many women the impact of the moon's cycles is experienced as an echo in their own cycles. Some are atuned to this rhythm, this ebb and flow. Most of us who are men remain in the dark. Sadly, most of us are unwilling to allow neither this gift of darkness or the moon's light, to divine the ebb and flow of the feminine energies in the women's bodies near and dear to us.
I invite you, if you're a man in love with a woman, or who wants to feel the flow of love between yourself and a woman, to become inquisitive. To stand in the dark and open to its secrets.
Today is the first full moon of the year. A full moon in Leo. As a Leo I have an interest here (yes, like so many Leos I am predictably interesting in anything related to me!). What does this moon mean to me?
To begin: the day started with strong portents of something cooking. I could say, this week leading up to the full moon has been cooking.
At 2:30am, after my "first sleep," I woke to practice yoga, and to meditate. I also read words that began to stir me. More on that later. Because, first...
First, last week, there was an important conversation with a tango teacher I'd only just come across. She is just beginning to explore tango as an embodiment practice with healing potentials. Through her I found another tango teacher (and yoga teacher), the one who asked, "How are you dancing the follow?" Fellow travellers!
I believe I have been asking this question of myself and my students, but not so explicitly. And there it is! And I am excited and inspired.
So today I ask you —and my students in this evening's Yoga+Tango for Lovers class— to consider: How are you dancing the divine feminine energy in your life, in your love, in this moment?
Leadership is often understood as direction. A capacity to gather others and guide them towards a destination.
That was the simple version I learned, as a masculine-identified man growing up in this culture. It worked. Sort of.
The gift of tango to leadership is that, to quote a tango truism: We lead by following the follow. You'll see it in the "leadership literature" experessed in terms of listening skills, empathy, etc. Slowly the culture of business (not yet politics it seems) understands that "soft skills" are needed. Slowly, in leadership seminars and retreats, you'll see and experience the non-rational and non-dual tools of yoga and dance being used. Why? Because to lead means to know with unreasonable knowing how and why and what those who would be led are needing, to create their deepest contribution to whatever shared endeavour the leader is trying to engage them towards.
In tango —and in our lives, and especially in our loves— that shared endeavour is the art that is unique to ourselves and to our relationship.
To lead, because that is my inclination as a masculine-identified man, requires me to pay attention to Her in ways I've never been taught. Tango helps. So does paying attention to the moon, and how it may be affecting me, how it may be affecting the one or the ones I want to lead.
The best things in this life flow from Her, from the source of all that is beautiful, all that moves, all that is alive, all that is in any way an expression of love.
To dance Her, I need to deepen my capacities for attention and holding space and guiding flow. This is true for me in every important part of my life. And it's what this Apprenticeship to Love is really all about: learning how to dance the follow, in such a way that Her flow is most effortless, most full, most rich with so much that is unimaginable to me.
In this morning's space between first and second sleeps I was given the gift of Sri Yantra. Another tool. A way to look at the experiences of this life. To refresh any insights I may have.
Sri Yantra is a visual representation of the dance of masculine and feminine polarities, and especially of the Shakti or divine feminine as She expresses Herself as the everything of life. The question that immediately came to my mind: What brings me closest to this source of everthing? And also immediately, the image of my beloved. The one who showed me a gate to vulnerability, who offered herself as a sacrifice —"recklessly" so, she now says— to bring me into awareness of myself as one who can hold and safeguard her gift, and dance her as she yearned to be danced.
Was I alert, aware? Did I know what she offered? To what she sacrificed to make this offering? No.
Am I an "idiot," as we've sometimes joked, recently, in these delicious conversations about love and sacrifice and testing and, yes, tango? Yes. And no more an idiot to my own experiences than most masculine-identified men. We are trained and our bodies are formed in a way to serve for conquest and a very linear drive to the icons of success. The crooked ways we long to make straight. The darkness light.
In this training the tools of moon-knowing and kinesis and silence are too strange. Weird. Witchcraft. Denied. Repugnant. Frightening, even.
Slowly, with the help of teachers and a wise friend and my beloved who, testing me, begins to find me worthy of trust, I broaden my understanding of what it is to be alive. And, to love.
The tools of polarities and dance and yoga and solitude are helping me to learn this most important skill: How to dance the feminine, that my life becomes art, that this love becomes art. I learn how to crack open the hard shell that I've allowed to acrete around my heart and belly. I learn how to move the energy of my sexual desire (one of the few places we, as masculine-identified men, really feel alive and connected to the world) beyond my genitals and into a dance with life. (Words are not enough, and neither is this culture's limited notion of "sex." We are so much more...)
Today I am teaching another Yoga+Tango for Lovers class. I need to prepare the class. But first I need to breathe in what this day, this full moon in Leo, brings to me.
Does it matter that the moon is in Leo? Only if I allow it to.
Is that what I choose? Yes, because in this moment, that allowing opens a river of inspiration. And teaching is another way of leading. I want these students —lead and follow, men and women, singled and coupled— to deeply feel the question, How do I dance the feminine? And then to find their own way into their answer, their art.
It's a beautiful question, with a beautiful answer. If I allow it stir me. And today, I am stirred.
🌀The tiny single point is the Bindu (Shiva) out of which the infinite energy (Shakti) expands herself in a spiral manner, bringing everything into creation, from the tiniest atom to complete galaxies.
…As human beings our ultimate purpose is to bring our awareness out of the peripheries back to the centre, to the Bindu. As yogis we practice our undistracted concentration to pierce through all the layers of physical existence and all its phenomena so that we can rest our awareness in the ultimate Source [Shakti]. (Kundalini Yoga School, Shakti sadhana, Day 19)
🌀How are you dancing the follow? (Lya Elcagu)
🌀I appreciate you. (My beloved, my Oracle & Siren)
TODAY'S SUGGESTED SHORT PRACTICE
Day 25 of this month's practice, to let these thoughts and feelings move through you, with less resistance:
Please read through first, then ...
- Set an alarm, for a time of the day when you have a few minutes to become conscious of who and how you are in this day
- When the alarm sounds, wherever and however you are, take a few minutes and:
- Ask yourself: How do you "dance the follow?" How do you feel into your own "feminine flow," your own desire to "follow," and hold safe space for this energy to move as it needs to? And, how, if you choose to lead others —a beloved, a child, a friend, a colleague— how do you feel into their yearning to flow, and hold that safe, guide it as the sacred gift it is?
- Then, follow the short practice here:
- When you’re done, sit or stand for another minute or two, breathing gently, slowly filling and emptying your belly. Here, as you breathe into your fullness, ask yourself, Do I feel right? In alignment with the man or woman I am? Do I even have an inkling what that might feel like? Do I even have an inkling of what it feels like to be out of alignment with myself?
- Notice if your body-mind feels somehow changed. And whether you notice a change or not, be content with yourself, exactly as you are in this moment.
- Continue with your day until the next alarm sounds, and repeat.
★ THE JANUARY APPRENTICESHIP TO LOVE VIRTUAL WORKSHOP
with Sarah Anderson and me, Rev. Hans Peter Meyer
Starting January 30 the monthly (10x, no workshops July and August) Apprenticeship to Love Virtual Workshops will feature my couples' retreat co-host Sarah Anderson. These virtual workshops are FREE when you're an Apprenticeship to Love Premium+ subscriber.