The Face of the Present Moment

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The present moment is intense. Our President Elect is a person who ignites extreme fear, sorrow, and panic into so many hearts. These are understandable emotions. It is easy for me to feel empathy, because I have felt these emotions too. I intentionally don’t own a television, but, in the past months, whenever I’ve encountered television sets in public spaces (restaurants, coffee shops, gas stations, etc.), Trump has seemed to be on the screen a majority of the time, spouting red-faced angry statements that have truly shocked me.

This Trump character frightens people. In the past 24 hours, since we’ve woken to a new world, a world where Trump is our future leader, I’ve read so many ventings and cries for help on Facebook. My friends are feeling angry, depressed, and even suicidal, unable to get out of bed. They are finding work difficult and alcohol a much-needed comfort.

Friends, I feel your pain! People of America, I feel your pain! And, let it be known, there is this part of me that is totally calm. Totally at peace. There is this part of me that is untouched by all that is going on. How? I am keeping things simple. I am tasting the food that I eat. I am smiling at those I love. I am breathing, slowly, in and out, and looking at the trees, as I walk in the woods this autumn morning. I am keeping things simple…and because of this, I have been able to have an insight. I’d like to share it with you.

Friends, things are not as they appear. Look again. Look deeper.

If you dare to look deeper, maybe you will see what I see. Maybe you will see it, too… that Donald Trump is helping us. Trump is our mirror. He is an excellent—and no doubt intensely challenging!—mirror.

Of course, yes, I know, Donald Trump’s explicit aim is not to help us. I know. His aim is clear: greed, ignorance, violence, division, power. That’s obvious to so many of us wise, compassionate souls. However, he is helping us still the same by his very presence in such a central position in our media and government. Seeing his face on the screen, we can now no longer deny or ignore the fact that something is very very backward here, something is very very broken and outdated, not only with the entire current (global) political system as it stands but also with our human collective consciousness as a whole. We see we have much healing to do. (Maybe much more than we have been wanting to admit.) We also see that the time must be now.

This is the face of the present moment. This is what Trump’s face allows us to see.

And, dear friends, let me be very clear. In no way am I excusing Trump’s actions and words of racism, sexism, greed, and hate. I am not saying it is okay. Please look deeply at what I am saying and allow your heart to unveil my meaning.

Friends, there is always a deeper way of perceiving things. When we look at Trump—deeply look—what can we see? What can we find?

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What we can see and find is a perfect, stunning (yes, often horrifying!) reflection of the state of consciousness of a majority of people in this country and in the “civilized” world. We see where most people are at: stuck in fear, stuck in ignorance. And seeing this reality, so blatant and obvious right in front of our face, with nowhere to go, nowhere to escape to, we know our efforts at peace are needed—really needed, right now. We know our efforts to open our hearts with compassion to help others is a needed effort in this current world. We are needed. We can see how people are hurting by how they voted. We can see how they do not know. And we do not judge them or attack them for their vote, but rather we feel inspired and revitalized by the current events, by the present moment. By the possibilities that lie deeply, at the heart of this moment.

When we look at Trump, what else do we see? In addition to recognizing the seeds of fear and ignorance within others, we must also acknowledge that the seeds of fear and ignorance are also present within ourselves as well (to various extents). When we look deeply, we see that we, too, have been capable of fear and ignorance in our daily lives in the past, or maybe even today. Sometimes we have said angry words to others. Sometimes we have judged or condemned others. Sometimes we have been so locked in the closet of our own pain and despair that we have been unable to open that door and listen kindly to those we love when they have been in pain. Sometimes, we have not been our best self.

It hurts, yes, that moment of realization—the moment where we see within ourselves what we dislike in others—but it is also the moment where the whole game is seen for what it is. Trump is helping us! The situation of Trump has broken through the clutter of our busy lives, and, now, we are in the moment of now. We cannot help but be. We have no choice but to pause, in our deep grief and concern. We are here, in the now.

For me, this is a time to look back and realize that only twelve years ago, I was watching the television show The Apprentice, admiring Trump as a strong, confident leader from whom I could learn. (At the time, I felt ashamed of what I felt was my “feminine passivity.”) For me, this is a time to realize that it was not so long ago that I too actively strived for the values that Trump touts: the creeds of “success,” competition, and materialism. For me, this is a good time to reflect deeply. Many of my biological family members voted for Trump. It is not my intention to divide myself from them, to shake the finger at or blame them. What good would that do? It is Trump himself who advocates division, anger, judgment, and blame—so why would I want to continue to propagate the cycle? The only way to end blame is with compassion. The only way to end violence is with peace. The only way to end hate is with love. Teachers since time immemorial have taught this simple message. Teachers such as the deceased Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi as well as the still-living inspiration Thich Nhat Hanh. Their message has been simple, yes, but difficult to carry out. But now, in the present moment, we can feel the stirrings and the callings for change. Real change. We felt such hope when Obama was elected…but what really changed? The core of the system is flawed, and so our hopes went unanswered. What is the opportunity here? What can we do now that we couldn’t do then?

The way forward, the first step, is with compassion. Can we see how we are more alike than not to our brothers and sisters? Perhaps we are not so fearful and ignorant as to vote for someone like Trump, but if we are honest with ourselves, we can admit that we ourselves do have some elements of fear and ignorance present within us. That fear and ignorance may not be manifesting as much or as obviously as in others…but does that make us superior to them? No. The way forward is the way of peace, the way of compassion. We have compassion for ourselves when we act with ignorance and fear (or maybe that is something we are still working on, too), and so we remind ourselves of that self-compassion, and extend it outward to others, no matter how they voted, no matter how ignorant or crazy they may seem.

Do you not see the beautiful paradox of this? That in the age of Trump, we have the most stunning, vital possibility for peace. In my life, I have found the deepest truths to happen within the caverns of mystery, in the places of paradox that seem to make no sense.

Friends, in this difficult, confusing moment, what if we could perceive our common thread of humanity? What if we could see that all our brothers and sisters (even Trump himself!) need love and compassion, in order to help us all awaken to our best selves. Friends, let us put this 2016 political election to great use. Let us not waste this opportunity.

Let us love.

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If you enjoy this blog, you might also enjoy Anya’s book, Opening Love. Or, for a closer encounter, please contact Anya today to schedule an intuitive guidance or relationship coaching session.

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The Voyage Home

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Him and I, we are lovers again. We make love; we bring our bodies together. We whisper and smile and kiss on pillows.

We are lovers. The word rolls off my tongue and I blink in surprise.

It is endlessly awesome, this game of life! So many twists in the path, so many unforeseen ways and happenings. Leaving, then returning home again.

At this time, in this particular moment, I am surprised. By the indescribable beauty and simplicity of this love. This relationship. I am grateful for the calm beauty, for the reassuring presence. For the safe haven and the space to learn and grow.

I am surprised. By the man I said goodbye to but now am saying hello to, again. I’m beginning to lose track of how many times we’ve said goodbye and hello. I’m finally starting to come to terms with it. We follow our hearts, and that is all. This coming and going, this returning and leaving, it seems to be our dynamic. (Maybe part of the suffering, in this lifetime and others, has been our not recognizing that, not embracing that.) Sometimes, I have to go. Sometimes we say goodbye; sometimes we say hello. Sometimes it’s chaos and tears, and sometimes it’s utter perfection and peace. Sometimes we forget about the reality of impermanence and we (ignorantly) create labels and plans. Sometimes we remember that we remember and we chuckle together.

I feel there may be another leaving in my future, another adventure away, but I’m not sure when. I tell him this. I am as honest as I can be about the future I’m not sure about.

Right now, though, I want to be home with him again. I have voyaged home, and I want to be here. I want to wake on Saturdays and say: “Let’s play!” I want making love on Monday mornings before work. I want it all. I want the slow afternoon strolls out in nature and the long evenings of surrender and touch. I want gatherings and meal-makings and hosting our friends; I want flirtations and laughter. I want my knees rubbed and mouth kissed. I want to scratch his back and hear him moan in my ear.

At this time in my life, in this moment, I am surprised by love. And I love that I am surprised! I didn’t foresee this chapter.

Love. Wow, love. It never is what I think it is—it keeps changing. I am learning big lessons. I am learning that sometimes I have to venture out, into the darkness, without a map. I am learning how to stop comparing him to the One of that one beautiful year. I am learning it’s okay, truly okay, that love feels different with different people. (I thought I learned that before, but the learning is going deeper this time.)

I feel big changes coming. Not too far, on the horizon. But for now, I settle, I sigh. The soft glorious blanket of this love. I rest. His arms. I thank the Universe for this love. It is teaching me so much.

Three cheers, my dear. Here’s to another chapter.


 

If you like this blog, you might also like Anya’s book, Opening Love. Or, for a more intimate encounter, please contact Anya today to schedule your intuitive guidance or relationship coaching session.

Twin Oaks: A Story of Communion, A Story of Love

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As I step onto the Twin Oaks property, a fragrant wave of October air fills my lungs. My eyes absorb my surroundings: broad leaves overhead beginning their transition from green to orange to red, cows gently mooing on nearby hills, and serene, smiley-looking people walking down dirt paths. A wonderfully weird sensation washes over me. Have I been here before? What sort of déjà vu is this?

The truth is, I have not been here before. (At least, not in this lifetime!) Nonetheless…it feels so… familiar. Like a home I’ve left but can’t remember leaving. Like chords of a song, beloved in childhood. Or like looking up into a maze of stars on a warm summer night. Twin Oaks is something like that. Coming here is something like poetry, something beyond the logical and the rational. Something beyond the mainstream notions of what life “should” be.

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Twin Oaks is an intentional community in rural central Virginia, founded in 1967. It’s the longest-running and most well-known of all the egalitarian communities in the United States. Members of Twin Oaks (approximately one hundred people) live by the values of sharing, cooperation, nonviolence, equality, and ecology. Many members avoid the term “commune,” due to some lingering negative connotations with the word; however, that is exactly what it is. A commune. A communal way of life. Members are like family: they share income, they share their days, they share their dreams.

I’ve been visiting Twin Oaks on a three-week visitor period. I’ve worked and played and lived. I’ve tended the greenhouse, bottle-fed baby calves, worked in their organic tofu factory, harvested peanuts, facilitated Reiki healing sessions, made homemade pizza with wild mushrooms, and gotten lost in the breathtaking river and trees. It’s been incredible.

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I’ve been pondering how to summarize my experience, and realized one of the less-popular definitions helps me to describe how I feel here. A “commune” is a mode of communion, a way of communicating in a very personal or spiritual way. Indeed. Twin Oaks is a place of deep, intimate communion: with the land, with the animals, with the plants, with the Earth itself. It’s a place of opening. A place of expansion. It’s a place where one meets and is, finally, met. It’s a space of air. It’s a story of love.

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When I leave in a few days, I will leave more humble than I came. Twin Oaks has been a powerful mirror. It has helped me see myself more clearly. And, in that sense, it has much in common with a lover. Twin Oaks has been this beautiful, intense, intimate, and in some ways challenging entity that has helped me perceive some of my more hidden, pernicious character weaknesses (areas for growth!) and has also helped me strengthen the gifts, skills, and passions I naturally possess. It has reflected both the positive and the negative aspects of myself—a dynamic, of course, that hasn’t always been easy!

I came to Twin Oaks with the intention of adventure, and that is what I have done. Along the way, I have shared walks, work, smiles, silence, hugs, songs, and snuggles with dozens of beautiful souls. In short, I have communed with a new kind of lover. And that lover has just begun to be explored.

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Love this post? Awesome! If so, you might love Opening Love, Anya’s book about navigating the challenges and ecstasies of intentional relationships.

It was Life

I fell in love
because I couldn’t see him
I fell in love
because I couldn’t touch him

In the beginning,
my Lover appeared—
once, twice, three times:
as a man.

He was a man.
A very lovely man,
with very lovely eyes:
the shape of the moon
on the clearest of summer nights;

Hands like lightning

Striking a nearby tree.

 

In the beginning, it was three times.

We met
Three Times.

 

And then and then, he
(the man) was gone.
He returned to his country
and his hands were no more.

 

I fell in love when I couldn’t
see him…so I made
songs to the air,
offered gifts of poem;
I made many enticements to bring him back,
and to communicate (somehow)

the Depths.

 

The trees and the water were my witness.

I prayed.

 

The sky and the earth:

My witness.

I prayed.

 

I could not see him.

I could not touch him.

I wondered if I knew him

And my heart,           my heart was broken.

 

But…oh, oh, oh I could not not
so I fell in love:
I fell in love
with you, instead.

 

The world…
had seemed such
a muddy mess…and now,
now, glimpses of a new world.
A world where shattered mouths
could drink from goblets again.

Pour the wine!

 

Oh Lover,
I fell in love.
I fell in love.
Which is another way of saying—
Myself!
I fell in love,
I fell in love:
and it was not real or imagined.

I fell in love.
I could not see him
I could not touch him
when it happened.

(…This was always the plan, wasn’t it?)

The way your hand
Would fit into mine;
The way your heart
Could whisper and soothe
like no other.

Oh how I begged for him!

Oh, how I nearly died for him!

And you appeared!

 You!

 

It was the eyes, looking
back into itself.
It was the girl, the girl from the convex mirror.
It was the boy—when they said the mirror was cracked.
It was memories,
memories of the past:
Two Sisters,
and how they vowed their love would grow
Next Time.
It was brothers and mothers and children
from all time.
It was baskets,
always weaving;
And it was reeds,
always holding us,

always moving.

 

It was sex, it was beauty, it was family.
It was choice, it was destiny,
It was desire. It was
comfort, fear, ambition, loss.
It was lightning
striking the tree
from the window
you cannot see.

It was love.

 

It was life.

anya-light-38      Halle Roland Photography

 


Love this post? If so, you might also like Opening Love, a compassionate guidebook through the challenges and ecstasies of intentional and polyamorous relationships.

What I Am

anya-light-1Halle Roland Photography

 

I am the robin

and mother’s clear call to dinner

 

 I am the princess        and the pirate

the abused      and the disorderly

the wealthy     and the cherished

the misunderstood

the unloved, the adored

 

 I am the never and the always loved

 

 My castle is a dominion

and it crumbles in forever

 

My tower is forgetting

and the kingdom of something new

 

 What I am, love, is simple:

a dream in the streaming clouds

a tear in the flowing brow

a face in the falling mask

 

I am the last and the first

the never-ceasing flow

the sparrow and the grass

and the always-tepid glow

 

I am

the guts in the machine;

an    unalterable

sense of presence

 

I am multitasking

Facebook

incense

a prayer

 

What I am, love, is what you know

but can’t remember how

 

What I am, love,

is simple:

 the song in your voice

though many years from home


 

Like this? Awesome. You might also like Opening Love, a compassionate guidebook through the challenges and ecstasies of intentional and polyamorous relationships.

Leonard is my Lover

leonard_cohen1The night before my thirtieth birthday, I dreamt of Leonard Cohen. I always dream of him at turning points in my life. He is like an angel; he is like a lover. He is never far away.

In the dream, he is giving a concert at my childhood church: an old wooden Presbyterian building. A mess of pews and cobwebs.

He is taking an intermission, standing off to the side: sweating, smiling, resting. I approach him giddily. I touch his arm, and with a hungry whisper I say, “Can I kiss you on the cheek?”

A moment, barely a pause. Then he gently places his index finger under my chin— lifts it. Our eyes, together. Our eyes, forever. (His eyes are glassy-cloudy, like a crystal ball. They give me much information.) And then, with a sly smile, he moves his index finger out from under my chin and draws it deep into his mouth. Engorges it. Licks. Sucks. As if that finger is a cock he is so happy to devour. My heart is racing. He pulls his wet finger from his mouth and then places it on my lips.

The finger is still for a moment. Frozen. And then he draaaaaaags it across my lips, my slightly open mouth. His saliva and mine, together. Forever, in this space. His eyes, which seem to have never left mine (which I know can’t leave mine), seem to say: Wasn’t that better than a kiss, my darling?

He jumps away to the stage, continues song.

After “Closing Time,” we, his dear audience, his sweet adorable children, run out of the church with him. We rush! Leonard is leading us—he is a god, a saint, a savior. Such speed! We all run, following him to where we don’t know, our fingers open, swinging by our sides, towards the grass and free sun.


 

If you like this blog, you might also like Anya’s book, Opening Love. Or, for a more intimate encounter, please contact Anya today to schedule your intuitive guidance or relationship coaching session.

That One Beautiful Year

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Young couple holding hands with sun-flare.

There were many miles between us. Oceans. Birds. I met you, and fell in love in an instant. There was nothing else—just your eyes.

And then we parted. A few hours later, we parted. I had to catch a train.

It felt like a trauma.

For a year, there were emails, letters, phone calls, Skype. For a year, there were visits. Plane tickets, savings accounts happily and ecstatically drained. There were moments that cannot be recalled because they will never need recalling—they will forever be at the very center of every waking moment from now on. They are me.

You are me.

For that year, that one beautiful year, I began a habit of singing to you. When I crossed green forests alone or sank deep into a glorious bath, I sang to you. My voice rang out, cancelling in an instant the seeming realness of so many miles. My voice rang out, clear and unburdened by the day. I made up beautiful songs. I never knew I could sing. I even joined a choir.

I learned the meaning of the word “yearn.” I discovered all amounts and measures of pain. Sometimes, before visits, I would say things like: “only a few more weeks, Beloved.” I would cry, oh how I would cry! Bittersweet tears of longing. Bittersweet tears of joy and ecstasy.

And then, one day, something inside me awoke. It was my heart—my own beating heart! And I realized I’d been singing to it this whole time.

This whole time…singing to my own heart. Coaxing it out of hiding.

My love, my dear love without end, through that year, through our love, I found my way.

Thank you.

Thank you.

 


If you like this blog, you might also like Anya’s book, Opening Love. Or, for a more intimate encounter, please contact Anya today to schedule your intuitive guidance or relationship coaching session.