Friday, January 18, 2013

HeartCamp 2013

Heart Fruit
One of my drawings, inspired by this event.

Sex and the Beach will be on a bit of a hiatus until February. Yours truly is organizing the second annual HeartCamp, which is keeping me quite busy, in between work, caregiving for my elderly parents and planning a move back to South Miami.  Sometime life takes priority over blogging. Actually, if you're a true writer, you're always "writing," even when your hands are far from quill and paper.

HeartCamp will gather speakers and participants from all walks of life to discuss all matters of the heart, from the physical to spiritual and creative aspects of what it means to be a heart-centered being.  We'll discuss all kinds of juicy topics -- sex, relationships, nutrition, breathing, heart health, following your heart's desires in your career and life, motherhood, pregnancy, heartbreak. communications, neuroscience and so much more.  Speakers include Tedx presenters, life coaches (one flying in from Chicago), literary authors, sex educators, pharmacists, doctors, relationships coaches, marketing professionals and folks with just a really good story to tell.  The audience is invited to participate as well. We'll have a plenary open-mic session at the end.

This splendid day will take place on February 2 at Hotel Urbano Brickell in Miami.  It isn't just a girly event.  Guys are welcome, too -- day before Superbowl! But guys, what a great gift to give to your football widow, eh?

Learn more at HeartCamp or register at Eventbrite.  Deadline for registration is January 25.

I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

As Flies to Wanton Boys

I don't really have any resolutions because every moment, every breath is a chance to start anew; every second is a "new year," when you are ready to let go of what no longer serves you.

Think about it, if you were a fruit fly that only lives 24 hours wouldn't you perceive your "new year" differently?

Of course, we humans need ritual and that's OK. Ritual and celebration defines our trajectory. We mark milestones on the journey because it gives us a sense of direction.

But every day YOU have the power to remake yourself any split second you desire.

I did, however, write "excess weight" on the paper I threw into the fire pit last night, but then when I thought about it, it wasn't just about pounds on my body. Living light is the way to go, freed from drama and the past.

Also, my word for the year, the word that just came up instantly, was LOVE.

That's it. L-O-V-E. Pure and simple.

At first, my dirty mind took over the stage. L stood for labia, O for ovaries, V for vulva and E for ejaculation. But then there was also L for longevity, O for OM, V for vitality and E for energy. And for my wanderlust: L for latitudes, O for origins, V for velocity and E for earth.

But if I'm already in a space of love, what do I make of that? Do I just cultivate more of that goodness? What about excess love? I mean, you can't have enough love, can you? The word "excess" has a negative connotation, but I don't think that applies to pure love -- not to a love that is compassionate, kind and patient.

And I'm not referring to obsessive love; it's not about Shakespeare's line from Othello, "one who loved not wisely, but too well." No, I’m talking about a love that all of us can cultivate each moment as we experience the little things in life.

Are you really putting love into that soup you are whipping up in the kitchen? Do you really “love” the healing effects of a nap? How in tune are you with love? How does it inform every fiber of your being? How does love feel for you in moments of frustration, boredom and loneliness? Can you still embrace -- truly and FULLY embrace -- the one you love in the middle of an argument?

Love isn’t about maudlin TV commercials but about leaving your comfort zone and growing.

Yeah, growing -- not belly fat growing but expanding your heart in directions not even available on airline destinations or Richard Branson’s proposed moon trips. It’s traveling across dark universes you’ve never seen, worlds inside. Punching raging comets out of the way when you’re pissed off, gliding through galaxies that seemed distant but were really right around the corner. Love is hitting rock bottom in the grittiest, hottest volcanic earth of that worst part of yourself and finding, somehow, a way to forgive and move on in the journey.

And all of this has nothing to do with your pant size.

An expansive, compassionate heart is the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see, no matter who’s “wearing” it or what that person looks like. That heart travels to places it doesn’t want to go because it has to, because it longs and yearns and beats in spite of itself or more appropriately, because of itself.

A heart that doesn’t go on that crazy journey stays stuck, forever waiting.

Whether it's sexual passion or caregiving or being supportive of a friend in pain or maybe the simple act of moisturizing your face in the morning -- love is love. That's all there is to it. Does love inform your every breath and action?

Good lord, if I got anything out of my yoga training, it was that. It wasn’t about standing on my head or looking lean in leggings. It was about love. And of course, it still is.

So, I guess I do have a resolution but it's not just mine. I don't live in a vacuum and this is so much more than me losing weight.

I encourage my community: let's have an "excess" of GOOD things that nurture the best in ourselves; let's rejoice in that excess. And let's go for an absolute dearth of all that is negative and holds us back.

Love starts in YOUR heart, right at home. The only home you will ever really have, no matter where you live.

That corny line, "home is where the heart is," is very true and you don’t even have to be in a relationship to experience that love.

Everybody is going to start going to the gym now. And yes, that’s great for the body. But don’t forget that the other "weight" we need to get rid of is not just the fat around our bellies, but the fears and insecurities that hold us back from being creatures of love and light. Is it any coincidence that the phrase "travel light" refers to getting rid of "excess" baggage?

When I was in high school, I conducted a science experiment with fruit flies for my AP biology class, which won an award at the Miami-Dade County Youth Fair. No fruit fly in the world would carry a Mac truck on its back, but yet this is what I see some of my fellow humans doing in their grief, depression, anxiety, pain and sorrow. All things we must go through, surely, but it doesn't have to define us permanently. Trust me, I know, the heart can be a very heavy organ and weigh us down. But there is love to uplift us, mend and heal.

I've been working on this for every day of my life so I’m not sure if it’s technically a new year’s resolution. Another great Shakespeare line from King Lear reminds me of the fragility of life: "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods."

At any moment, that’s it, it could all end. Years ago, I experienced a brief death when I was injected with adenosine in an ambulance. My heart literally stopped, everything fell from under me, my lungs felt as if they collapsed and I gasped what seemed like my last breath. Life was never the same again, because as soon as the heartbeat stopped, life ended. The sinking feeling of life leaving my body is something I’ll never forget.

My real, physical death will come again, but I will be stronger and grateful that I lived to have a chance to live and love MORE.

But does love really end in death? How could something so powerful end when the actual organ stops working in the physical body? Somehow, my intuition tells me that’s not the case.

So, I guess that's my resolution, to keep on doing what I'm already doing. Loving what I do, living a life of love and loving those who are in my life.

Come to think of it, that’s pretty damn good start to this year. Now let me get off this blogger chair and hit the exercise bike.

Thanks to everyone for a great 2012. There are so MANY OF YOU who inspire me day in and day out, I can't thank you enough. And wishing everyone all the best for 2013. More heart discussion will take place February 2 at HeartCamp.