Posts in Life
how to become a more sensual person
how-to-become-a-more-sensual-person-recipes-for-life-the-good-life-cookbook.png

For many, the word sensual has a purely sexual connotation, but the more traditional meaning of the word is, 'gratification of the senses'. Using that definition, a sensual person is someone who knows how to stimulate their senses for not just practical, but also both pleasurable means.

Aside from the obvious benefit of experiencing pleasure, being able to tune into or focus one's 5 primary senses has numerous physical and mental benefits.

What Keeps Us From Being Sensual In the First Place?

As babies and small children, we were completely engrossed in sensory exploration of the world around us - putting everything (including our own little toes) in our mouths, delighted to hear the sound of our own shrieks, laughs and cries. Our five senses were the way we learned about everything. But social conditioning and maturity taught us to lessen our sensory interaction with the world in the name of appropriateness. Things like self-touch, loud vocalizations and uninhibited movement were discouraged and labeled as things that 'well-behaved boys and girls' didn't do.  As a result, many of us have become largely detached from our senses, and may even be uncomfortable as over-indulgent or immoral.

sensuality osho
sensuality osho

To become a truly sensual person, some unlearning of the norms of so-called good behavior is necessary.

These tips from MindBodyGreen and Mind Map Inspiration will help you increase your awareness and heighten your senses.

25 Ways to Increase Your Sensual Awareness

  1. Dance
  2. Self-massage 
  3. Walking meditation
  4. Stretch
  5. Give a hug
  6. Eat and drink more slowly
  7. Silently observe nature - watch your cat grooming, listen to the wind rustle the leaves outside, pay attention to the pace and rhythm of your own breathing
  8. Go barefoot
  9. Close your eyes to enhance your hearing
  10. Focus totally on your breath
  11. Look at a close object then a distant one and alternate focus
  12. Study your hand – explore the detail and aging!
  13. Smell deeply – differentiate between subtle odours
  14. Touch with eyes closed – explore textures, surfaces, shapes
  15. Close eyes and feel temperature of objects with hands
  16. Close your eyes and sense individual body parts
  17. Close your eyes and identify objects solely by touch
  18. Close your eyes and try observing your pulse or blood flow
  19. Gently pull your ears out and listen!
  20. Feel the wind – really feel it with all the senses
  21. Close your eyes and pass your hands through water
  22. Identify foods with your eyes closed
  23. Close eyes and brush fingers lightly over arms and face sensing hairs not skin
  24. Walk and be conscious of every step as you plant your feet
  25. Become aware of your entire body and “feel” with every cell

The more we feel with non-judgmental awareness, the more we open to the experience of our innate sensual pleasures"

While becoming more sensual may make you feel sexier - it may even make you a better lover - the real benefit in being more in tune with your senses is improving your ability to deal with the stress of everyday life.

What tips do you use to heighten your senses?

5 self-massage techniques you should learn right now
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Bad posture, stress and overuse can take a toll on our delicate muscles and tissues, making us feel tired, tense and not our best selves. Getting a professional massage may not always fit into our busy schedules or our budgets, but neglecting self-care for too long isn't the best for our physical or mental health. Whenever your body is feeling stiff and tense, try these 5 self-massage techniques to ease pain and stress in your feet, hands, neck and back.

How to Give Yourself A Foot Massage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUQYuQC-lWQ

 

How to Give Yourself A Hand Massage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=168lKIyc3lw

 

How to Give Yourself A Neck and Shoulder  Massage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFCO4f-NklA

 

How to Give Yourself A Breast Massage

4 Step Self Breast Massage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OSd0dpwixvo

 

How to Give Yourself A Back Massage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6CYAXocIk_U

 

For even more tips on how to give yourself a massage, check out this full-body guide to self-massage from Beyond Talk.

happy inauguration day
Happy-Inauguration-Day.png

Aight. I’m just gonna speak on this once, then I’m done. This message is for my godchildren, praying folk, spiritual warriors, lightworkers, wakan women, men of magic and mastery, meditators and chanters, and for all those that have ears to hear. All of this railing and gnashing of teeth and swearing at TV screens and hyperbolic commenting on every move or action this new leader makes is not the move. More than ever, your purposeful energy and focus is needed, and frittering it away on ‘being in your feelings’ is effectively weakening our cause. Case in point: I work with a lovely woman, a godly woman who mentioned to me on our way to lunch today that she was doing the ‘Daniel fast’ with her church. I asked her about it and what it entailed and then went on my way. Moments later, we were both in the breakroom. Me eating my lunch and deep into my Facebook feed, purposely ignoring the goings-on in the room. She – along with at least a dozen others – staring at the inauguration on the TV screen with a long face and emitting a caustic comment to almost every line of the new leader’s inauguration speech. When I finished my lunch, I quipped to the others as I walked out, “What y’all watchin’?” before laughing and sashaying off to my next meeting (Yes. I said, sashay, dammit.).

Later, still intrigued by the ‘Daniel fast’ my co-worker mentioned, I googled it to learn more about it. The fast is based on the biblical passage from Daniel 1:12 which talks about eating veggies for 10 days. But looking back to the beginning of the chapter and taking the verse in full context, the larger story is about 4 Hebrew youth (Daniel being one of them) who were true to their faith and considered some of the ‘cream of the crop’ in their community. A new leader had recently taken control of their lands and had specifically picked these 4 to come ‘be on his team’ so to speak, which included learning his language and eating his food. Danny-boy was like, ‘Cool, I get it. New leaders come and go. It’s the Old Testament. Sh*t is mad unstable. But this whole eating the food thing? Nah. Not gonna work for me and my homeys. We are officially anti- that.’

inauguration-danielfast-ill-pass-obama
inauguration-danielfast-ill-pass-obama

The king’s caretaker was nervous. ‘If y’all just eat veggies, you’re gonna be thinner and ashier than everybody else on the team for sure, and that’s gonna get all of us in trouble. No way, Daniel-san. Not on my watch.”

To which Danny replied, “Just give us 10 days.”

After the 10 days were over, Danny and his 3 kinfolk were fatter and prettier than everybody else in the place, so they were left to their own devices from then on. Over time, they came to be known as the wisest men in the land and even became known for having ‘extraordinary’ powers.

Now, all mystical / spiritual texts can be taken either literally or as encoded message. What I took from that text was not a command to eat veggies for 10 days, rather it was a command to not swallow the BS if you want to stay true to your own values and grow in personal power.

Don’t consume the filth, the vitriol, the bad behavior. Refuse it. Ignore it. Fast from it. If you do not, your mind and energy will be scattered with every new occurrence, and you already know there will be plenty of occurrences. Furthermore, don’t be dismayed when some of your assumed kinfolk start supping at the king’s table. Instead, bring all of your energy back into yourself. Redouble your efforts on your work, your craft, your service. Dance your dances and sing your songs with all the windows open and the lights on. Never let them see you looking thin and gaunt, or sad or frustrated or unhappy or bitter. Support and speak life into others who are working on causes that are aligned with yours, and watch us all grow fatter and stronger.

We all have our chosen work. I am not a political person, but I appreciate and support and answer the calls of those who I trust that are activists in that arena. Those of us who focus our efforts on areas that transcend politics have a responsibility to work just as hard as our cohorts. We fail them and ourselves if we focus on the distractions and neglect our own goals and missions.

So, for all of us who are officially ‘anti-that’, today was your inauguration. What promises will you keep, what accomplishments will you count over the next 4 years?

how to make time slow down
how to make time slow down
how to make time slow down

A while back, I was talking with a co-worker about an NPR story on why time seems to move faster as we age. One explanation offered in the story was that, when we were younger, everything we encountered was new and big and significant – we’d never done most things before, or, we’d done them so few times that it all still seemed like new.

Something about how the brain registers time makes it feel like everything slows down when we’re in new situations or experiences. Likely, it’s so we can process all this new information and store it in a logical place according to our brain’s particular filing system. As we age and repeat experiences, however, the brain takes shortcuts. It no longer needs to record every minute detail of something that you’ve done a thousand times. It speeds past those familiar and known experiences, and as a result we feel like our lives have sped up as well.

But part of the beauty of being older is the accumulated experience. The wisdom that is its own treasure. Even if we could turn back the clock to when we were young and time moved more slowly, certainly we wouldn’t to lose all that precious learning and growth we’ve gained over so many years of living?

So the challenge is: how do I look through ever-older eyes with a forever-new heart? How do we make time slow down like way back when everything was new?

Here are some ideas:

9 Ways to Make Time Slow Down

Be fully present in your body. I think most of us are pretty detached from our bodies. We only really pay close attention to our body when something’s wrong with it (‘my knee hurts’, ‘I’m hungry’), or when it experiences pleasure. Most of our relationship with our body is spent in either avoiding pain or chasing pleasure for it – things that send our mind racing through time. Taking time to slow down and actually focus on how the body functions, and what it feels like when it’s being used, is essential. Active hobbies (e.g., sports, biking, walking), stretching, meditation, sex, even massage are good ways to get your mind back into your body.

Be observant. I can get in the habit of having blinders on while going about my day – walking with such purpose to my next meeting or to grab my lunch, that I don’t really see anything except for what’s directly in front of me. You’ve probably done the same. Convinced yourself you’re in a hurry, even if you don’t want to go where you’re headed (Really? I’m rushing… to work?) or you aren’t on a schedule at all (It’s Saturday, why am I mad that everyone’s moving so slow?). Instead of rushing past everyone and everything to get to your next location, slow down and pay attention to the things that you would normally pass by without noticing. Turn your head from side to side as you walk. Look up at the sky, count how many trees you pass from the train station to the office. Imagine the whole world is a ‘Where’s Waldo’ drawing, and you’re trying to see where that sneaky sumbitch is hiding.

how to make time slow down - ferris bueller quote
how to make time slow down - ferris bueller quote

Change 1 small thing. Routine makes weeks and months pass by in an indistinguishable blur. If you’ve been going about your daily life with minimal variation, introduce a little change. Take a new route on your commute. Switch your brand of cereal. Take a day off for no reason at all.

Go somewhere new. Even if it’s just a new park, a new restaurant or new area of town. Explore somewhere you’ve never been.

Learn something new. A new language, a new dance move, a new joke. Once you’ve got that one down, learn a new one.

Hang with kids. If you can’t be a kid again, be with kids again. Ask them questions, listen to them talk and engage in conversation with them like you would with any other friend. Play a game with them, show each other your best dance moves, have them tell you a story, laugh together at something silly.

Stop saying you don’t have time. I’m a big believer in the idea that what you affirm mentally and verbally, is made real in your life. If you say you don’t have enough time, you won’t. Your actions will follow your words and you’ll keep finding ways to squander away your time on a hundred things that you’ve chosen to do instead of the things you should be doing. If you really don’t have enough time to do the things that you need or want to in your life, that’s a big red flag that you need to sit down and make some difficult decisions about what needs to stay and what needs to go in your life. Ask yourself what and who you need to re-prioritize in order to stop feeling so overscheduled and overwhelmed. Or, you need to stop sweating the small stuff and change that statement from a helpless, “I don’t have time,” to a knowing, “I can’t do everything.”

Be someone new. This isn’t as un-doable as it sounds. I’m not suggesting you go fugue or check into the witness protection program, but do something that lets you see yourself as a different person. Change up your style, get a new hairdo, lose or gain some weight, talk in a German accent for an entire day, schedule some sessions with a therapist or a life coach.

Plan a vacation. Cuz, seriously, time moves at its absolute slowest in the weeks and days before it’s time for you take a highly anticipated trip somewhere.

Do you feel like time has sped up as you’ve gotten older? What other ways have you found to make time slow down?

how to do the impossible
how to do the impossible
how to do the impossible

“It always seems impossible until it’s done." ~ Nelson Mandela

When a group of friends comes to you and says that they’ve found a great deal on a 2-hour private Mediterranean boat cruise and want to know if you’re in, you say yes. You don’t think about the fact that you swim like a rock and are therefore mildly terrified of deep water without a pool’s edge or lifeguard in sight to cling to. You simply say yes. Because it’s summer. It’s southern Spain. And it’s what you do.

So when you subsequently find yourself scared shitless on a sailboat off the coast of Malaga on a blazing hot summer day with half of that group of friends taking turns diving from the boat into the water and playfully splashing about, and the other half shouting for you to jump in and join them, you’ve got a choice to make. Do you:

  1. Disregard the mind-numbing fear that’s gripping you, your bowels that keep threatening to loosen on you, and your lack of strong swimming skills, and take the plunge? Or,
  2. Act like a sensible person and say, “No thanks, guys, just gonna stay on board and make sure the chips don’t get soggy,” and miss the opportunity to add ‘swam in the Mediterranean’ to your list of ‘have you evers’?

If there’s anything I loathe more than the fear of ending up in a watery grave, it’s the fear of missing out on a chance to make an amazing memory. So, after watching my friends enjoy themselves for a few moments longer, I walked to the edge of the boat and stood there peering down into the water, hoping I’d be able to will myself into doing the impossible.

How to Do the Impossible

Find your motivation (aka, ‘the push’)

What is the one thing that makes you feel like you can’t not do this? The one thing that makes the impossible task looming in front of you seem like something you must attempt, even if you don’t prove to be successful at it? This is the thing that will give you that initial push that you need to get started with an impossible task, and will keep fueling your fire to see it through to the end. In almost every situation, that push will come from one of the following:

Naysayers

Years earlier, I was faced with a similarly impossible moment. I was at the famed Rick’s Café in Jamaica, nervously waiting my turn to jump off of one of the surrounding cliffs into the cool blue waters below (I know, I know. For someone who can’t swim well, I jump into deep water an awful lot). I wasn’t even sure if was actually going to jump. I waved 2 or 3 others ahead of me, while I continued to work up the nerve. Just as I was starting to talk myself out of it, one of the guys who’d seen me around the resort that I was staying at, sauntered up and took a seat on a rock off to the side of the diving ‘platform’. He took one look at my terror-stricken face and started playfully chiding me, telling me that I wasn’t going to jump, that I was too scared, that I should just walk back down and join my friends at the bar. It turns out that someone telling me that I couldn’t, was all the motivation I needed to realize that I could. When my detractor was right in the middle of one of his wisecracks, I ran to the edge of the cliff and jumped. Geronimo, ho.

how to overcome fear and do the impossible despite naysayers
how to overcome fear and do the impossible despite naysayers

Necessity

You’ve heard the stories of people who’ve rushed into a burning building or displayed superhuman strength to save someone they love in a moment of disaster. What makes those miraculous feats possible is a certain type of necessity. A necessity brought about by the fear of an outcome that is worse than or would cause more suffering than the impossible thing to be done. The avoidance of pain or suffering is a powerful motivator, and can make you completely suspend the notion that you can’t do a thing. After my Rick’s Café cliff jump, I hit the water so hard that my watch – which I’d forgotten to remove – came off and began to float away from me as I sank beneath the surface. The watch was a treasured gift from a dear friend, and I was damned if I was going to let the Caribbean claim it. In that moment, I completely forgot to remember that I couldn’t swim well. My panic at being in a big body of water was replaced by the panic of potentially losing my watch, and before I could think, I’d swum my way up to retrieve it and over to the bottom of the cliff where I extracted my beloved watch and my beloved self from the water.

Tragedy

Sometimes a personal life tragedy and the long, slow pressure cooker of time is what you need to accomplish a seemingly impossible feat – like this guy who went from Homer Simpson to hotbody in one year after a breakup with his girlfriend. Tragedy and adversity often gives us a reason to fight and a willingness to win – or at least, persevere – despite impossible odds.

Cheerleaders / Role Models

Things don’t seem nearly as impossible when you’ve got a friend or few by your side cheering you on, believing in you, and pledging to be there for you if and when things get dicey. Sometimes a support group and a gentle nudge is what you need to get started on an impossible task. While I was standing on the edge of that sailboat in the middle of the Mediterranean, still debating if I could jump, I heard my friends cheering me on and smiling from the water. “C’mon, Kisha! You can do it! Jump!” Surely these smiling, strong-swimming people wouldn’t let me drown, I thought to myself. They weren’t even pointing and laughing at how obviously scared I was. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I can do this.

Fully commit (aka, ‘Sh*t or get off the pot’)

So you’ve found your motivation, but you’re still a little bit scared, you may even still be hemming and hawing about going through with this impossible feat. Nothing unusual about that. Fear doesn’t necessarily fade away simply because you’ve found a reason to face it. But if you’re still hesitating and reconsidering once you’ve started down the path toward the impossible, there’s a huge chance that you’re going to hurt yourself in the process. While motivation gives you the power to start an impossible thing, commitment is the thing within that says there is no stopping, no turning back, no giving in once you’ve started. Or, if you’ve decided to ‘get off the pot’, commitment prevents you from regretting that decision and continuing to beat yourself up about it.

how to do the impossible
how to do the impossible

Visualize the Desired Outcome

What’s the worst that could happen? Instead of letting that be just a rhetorical question, allow yourself to imagine the worst possible outcome – failure, embarrassment, physical pain, financial loss. Sit with that image for a while, try to feel the emotions attached to that outcome. Now, imagine the most desirable result. How would that feel? What would that look like? Spend more time filling out that image in your mind. See yourself swimming and playing with your friends in the water. See yourself not drowning, making it back to the boat and enjoying soggy chips with your friends as you sail off into the sunset, still laughing. Imagine yourself 1, 5, 10 years from now telling your kids the story of that one time when you swam in the Mediterranean despite the fact that you were scared to death. Then tell yourself that all the positive things you’ve just imagined can be real. All you have to do is….

Once It’s Done, Do It Again

You already know how my story ended, right? Of course you do. I eventually jumped off of the sailboat into the water on that sunny summer day in southern Spain. It was much, much colder and a lot less scary than I thought it would be. I splashed about in the sea, dodged several jellyfish undulating by, floated on my back (yay, saltwater!) and admired the cloudless sky above, and, when our little swimming pit stop was over, I climbed back onto the boat, proud of myself for having conquered my fear. We pulled up anchor, sailed off and headed back towards the shore. But just a few minutes later, my friends pleaded with the captain to stop the boat once more so we could take one final dip before heading back in. Once again, my intrepid friends dove fearlessly into the water. And, once again, I was struck with fear at the prospect of following them. Even though I had already jumped, here I was, moments later, just as scared as I was the first time. Even I was surprised at my lingering fear. Why was I still afraid? Hadn’t I already slayed this dragon? Doing the impossible once doesn’t necessarily make it any easier or less frightening to do the next time. My fear was still present and it was clouding my brain with irrational, but very convincing thoughts. What if I just got lucky the first time? What if it was just a fluke? What if I was about to let a false sense of confidence get me into trouble? Fear is not a rational thing. Which is why the only way to conquer it is to do what it says you can’t, and do it again and again and again. The fear may never fully disappear, but you will eventually learn to tune it out when it starts whispering its senseless nothings to you.

That day, I ignored my fear, and jumped. Twice. And once my friends and I were safely back on the shore and enjoying a few celebratory beers at the nearby beach, I confessed to one of them how scared I’d been because of my weak swimming ability.

“Whoa, that’s pretty awesome! I didn’t even know you couldn’t swim that well!” exclaimed my friend, before giving me an enthusiastic high-five. And at that moment, I realized a simple truth. Even if your attempt at the impossible is awkward, fumbled, ugly, causes you to shit your pants, lose money, lose friends, or get laughed at, going ahead and doing it anyway is infinitely better than the feeling of ‘what if’ or what might have been.

In short, doing the impossible – not necessarily being flawless at doing it – is the reward.

how-to-overcome-fear-do-the-impossible-jay-z
how-to-overcome-fear-do-the-impossible-jay-z

How have you overcome impossible feats in the past? Are there any big, impossible things you're afraid of that you need to go ahead and do anyway?