Wintertime Air

Noses are portals, between the inner world and the outer world. The function of breath invites awareness. Each breath allows contact with the environment and points attention to our body.
Breathing wintertime air can be an experience of breathing air from over baked interior environments, to cool wet/cold dry outside environments. Wintertime is an opportunity time to tend to your nose, and tend to your awareness.
A simple practice of breath awareness is Alternative Nasal Breathing.
Place the thumb of the right hand over the right nostril, middle finger of the same hand over the left nostril. Cover one nostril and close it, exhale through the open nostril. Then inhale through the same nostril. At the end of the inhale, close that nostril and open the opposite nostril. Exhale then inhale through the same nostril. Do this cycle three times each nostril. Notice your breath, and the inhale/exhale.
I am breathing the moist air of maritime pacific northwest. What is your air like?


Passing Equinox and heading towards Solstice

The pivot point of equinox has passed, the nights are getting longer and temperatures are cooler.   I anticipate a season of curiosity and reflection.  And time for illuminating awareness and playing in realms of consciousness.
This summer in my community, Tahlequal, a member of the southern resident orca pod of the Salish Sea, carried her deceased infant for 17 days and nights.
She swam through the waters of Northwest Puget Sound and Canada, her grief palpable and visible.  Humans, sea mammals, mountains, and waters witnessed her expression.  I could feel her grief song, which vibrated in the water of my cells connecting me to this watery planet.
It was a state of non-ordinary … some would even describe this as a unitary consciousness.
How do I describe the non-ordinary? I think of ordinary awareness is the area of the mind.  Linda Bark, in her book What would you like to Change? based on the work of Jean Gebser, describes that the mental dimension “is a place of being and knowing which is based on logical, sequential, critical and mechanistic thinking.  Non-ordinary awareness is the realms of magical, mythical, the divine source.”
Another source book that has assisted my understanding is Consciousness Explained Better by Allan Combs.
What do you think the orca whales have to say about realms of consciousness?  I listen to whale songs, and settle into the mystery.


Take a deep breath in honor of trees and bushes

I am grateful for the abundance of living vegetation in my neighbor.
I asked my friend, who is an arborist, “What happens to the plants and trees when there is smoke from the fire in the air?”
He responded, “They like the CO2 from the fire, it is like fertilizer to them”.
Abundance. Look around and gather the garden vegetables, pumpkins, squash, plums, blackberries, apples, pears, late strawberries dripping from branches. And there are tall trees, shrubs, plants and flowers. I am harvesting not only the produce, but also the emissions from photosynthesis by the green leaves and needles.
Harvesting air by breathing.
Oxygen is food for your cells, breathing has the ability to excite to readiness or to calm and expand. I practice diaphragmatic breathing. During an inhale, notice the expansion of the lower ribs (points for contact with the diaphragm) to the front, back and sides. At the end of an exhale, the next moment all things are possible. At the end of an inhale, all is abundant.
The green leaves and needles that live around me, offer their silent photosynthesis. Today, I visit these neighbors and breath with them.


A Wonder Woman rabbit hole of delight

First, a quick note!

Portals of Pleasure, our annual 5-day retreat, is coming up July 18-22. We still have some space in it if you feel called to join us! We also have one full scholarship left for a person of color, which includes airfare (thank you, donor!). If you or someone you know would be a good fit for that, please do get in touch with us.
— Zed
Now, on to Alex’s note to you! 

I have fallen into a rabbit hole of delight.

It happens occasionally, and I find it invigorating and transformative.
It started with another nudge to see the movie Professor Marston and Wonder Woman. As a teenager in the 1970s, I had rejected Wonder Woman based on my idea that she an image designed by men, so I was reluctant to see the movie.  I had waited for its appearance in theatres in Seattle, but must have missed it so I rented it last week.
Then it happened: I fell down a rabbit hole.
The movie was sexy and delightful.  I had a dream about the content, and decided to watch it again.  Then I was inspired to read more about the Marstons DISC theory of human emotion and interaction: Dominance, Inducation, Submission and Compliance.  I also found more about Angela Robinson, the director, and Jill Lepore, the author of The Secret History of Wonder Woman.
What was delightful was all the surprises.  I didn’t know much about the history of Wonder Woman, about the screen writer/film maker, or about early academic theory about the emotional traits and dominance/submission. But I feel in love with the images and ideas of Angela Robinson and the thoughts of Jill Lepore.
I wondered through this for a few days, tasting the ideas and thoughts of these thinkers and erotic pioneers.  And to follow my pleasure and interests.
Here is the trailer; check it out.


Pride month. Reveal and Witness.

Pride is a consciousness of one’s own dignity. An experience of feeling worthy, of honor and respect. Reveal and tell, a witness listens and this action expresses dignity.
In my journey to learn more about listening, I watched the TED talk The Power of Two – How Listening Shapes Storytelling: Paul Browde & Murray Nossel. They say, “Listening and telling, one can not exist without the other.” It is in listening to their story, that I can become a better listener.
I also recommend watching Sayantani DasGupta discuss narrative humility. In this talk, she eloquently speaks about human need to been seen and heard.
I am moved by the power of the witness, and acknowledge that this is what we do for each other at Body Trust.
Thank you for listening to our stories all these years, I feel honored.
Enjoy Pride Month,


Pleasure Tonic

Stuck in your winter cave? Had overwhelming emotions or loss? Have been physically challenged by multiple respiratory infections and the flu only to be followed by springtime allergies? Need replenishment? Do you need some help?
Use pleasure as a tonic. Create experiments that focus on receiving pleasure. You can start with a sip of pleasure. One minute of pleasure, with full presence. Breath. Take in a beautiful image, nourishing touch, a sexy flirt or a tasty bite. These initial minutes of pleasure will build on each other. Notice the results.
Taking in pleasure may melt the numbness or warm up some emotions. Use pleasure to bath yourself, and wash away what may be painful or if you have some suffering.
What if we joined together and shared our pleasure tonic? Here is a taste of my pleasure experiments. Please share yours.
with pleasure,


Spring Cleaning?

Springtime, with the slow push of growth and the emergence of possibility, finds me eager to clean up and clean out. It is detox time.
Think broadly about detoxification with some inquiry. What have you taken in from your social, political or civic arena that you are hanging on to, do your cells need to revitalize, does your environment nourish you? Notice how you physically feel or if your lungs, or your skin, or your belly could use a tune up. Detox can vary from simple to rigorous.
Here are some examples of a detox:

  • Take a break from social media, cell phones, and the national news
  • Drink fresh green juice
  • Use a neti pot
  • Focused breathing exercises
  • Exercise in the woods

If you notice that it is time for a major cleanse, I suggest designing a cleanse for your particular needs. It is worth reading and rereading Chapter 8 (the Detox chapter) in Radical Healing by Rudolph Ballentine, MD.
Have fun.


What catches your eye today?

What catches your eye today?
That was the game I played as I walked outside between sessions.
For the next few months there will be filtered light with long shadows during the daytime. Usually the rain will stop and offer clouded gray or sometimes sunlight bursts. The light on this drizzly day offered brilliant colors and moist surprises.
There is a beauty conversation taking place between my visual receptors and my heart.
I am thankful for that.
— Alex


Fire season

This is fire season in the Northwest.   Heat, smoke, and fire press on the mammals, landscape, and water ways.   When I was a Ranger working the forest service, part of my job was to explain the positive benefits and health value of fire in a forest.  Clears out the old, opens to the new.
Fire in our belly combusts and changes organic mater into the nutrients that are food for our cells.   Emotionally and psychically, the solar plexus burns the inner flame of vitality.  When our heat gets turned up, we can take action with ferocity.  Or sometimes it can leap up and start burning the heart center.  Anxiety, heart burn, and ulcerated tissues are forms of the flame.   When the flame burns low, our life force diminishes.
Play with the fire! — it is essential to vitality. Recently my fire has burnt through my gums so strongly that my dentist stated, “This is the worst I have seen your mouth.” In the inquiry about my flame, I ask: where is this heat coming from and what it is doing to my body?  Clearing out the old for the new to open? Or just too much heat produced from hormones, toxins, stress?  Being aware of my heat is the first part of the inquiry … but many more questions follow.
How is your flame during this fire season?
Burn on …


Dear introvert: You are amazing.

I am not going to sing your praise in a loud public way, knowing that you will shrink into the sidelines from too much exposure. I will shout it out here, so that you can take it in while drinking a cup of tea or hear it whispered to you by a beloved.


Your thoughtful creativity emerges from deep inside. The fingerprint of your soul is expressed through your art. Thank you for taking the time to ponder, to be alone and to create. Thank you for letting me see what you have created. I feel the effect.


You are a good friend, and fun company. You know sensate pleasure. You can savor the taste of food, listen to moving music, be touched by beauty and have fun with your body. You have emotional intensity, and ask deep piercing questions.


Take time to nurture yourself, resting and being solo, because those moments feed you and your dynamo. And it is your dynamo that can feed the planet. I adore that flow in you.


With love,