At the beginning of 2018, I was seriously considering entering a monastic phase of life. After three divorces and five years of messy relationships, I’ve become weary of the energetic exhaustion I associate with romantic relationship. Having ended my last romance in September, just before my mother died, I felt so heartbroken that I had a strong protector part making a very valid, rational case about why I should just accept the invitation of celibacy as the next phase of my spiritual journey. I was aware that it was likely that this impulse was coming not so much from my devotion to monastic life but from the trauma of repetitive heartbreak, a distrust of my own discernment, and a feeling of hopelessness. I also had a part that was making an equally good case for how the greatest growth edge of my spiritual journey lies in exploring my sexuality and radical emotional intimacy with a deep, spiritually mature partner who has experience with sexuality as a spiritual practice. I do not consider myself sexually experienced. Although I’ve had plenty of sex in my life, I’ve never really had a partner who was simultaneously safe enough and curious enough and spiritually mature enough and powerful enough to hold the kind of sexual and spiritual energy that can arise in the right partnership. I’ve tasted that intensity with two different men, but neither of them was available to explore that kind of heart/soul/genital connection in any sustained, reliable, deeply intimate way.

I spent the New Year marinating in this war between my parts.

Then I took the issue to my therapist. I have been working with transpersonal psychologist Ted Esser for four years as my personal guide and spiritual counselor. He hardly ever gives me advice or tells me what to do. If I ask for direct guidance, he unfailingly turns me back to my own intuition. Sometimes it makes me bonkers, because he’s super intuitive, and sometimes I just want him to tell me what he sees and help me cheat! But he is steadfast in his devotion to helping me trust my Inner Pilot Light. So it’s very rare when he is directive with me, expressing any forceful or strong advice.

But in January, when I was talking to Ted about my last break up, Ted responded with something he rarely does. First, he shared his intuition. Then he gave me an assignment.

His intuition was that I am not meant to live a monastic life, that the right partnership will explode my spiritual growth, and that such a partnership would benefit not just me personally, but my work, my message, and the collective.

No biggie.

His assignment was for me to perform a “white magic” ceremony to call in this Beloved who would be my partner in exploration of pleasure as a spiritual path. Everything in me balked at this assignment. I’ve spent years practicing spiritual surrender. It is my practice not to use intention or spiritual power to get what my ego might want. I don’t follow law of attraction teachings or sit in goddess circles to cast spells so we can attract men or make it rain. I rarely even play around with some of the stuff I once wrote about in The Anatomy of a Calling, like bending spoons or calling in the whales. I won’t even discuss such things in my workshops unless they’ve listened to hours of talk about abuse of spiritual power and how I’ll kick everyone’s ass if they use their power to show off, bolster their egos or God forbid—harm anyone with black magic.

While I have reckoned with my spiritual power and I know it’s real, I don’t have any wish to use it for egoic purposes, and calling in a partner felt like part of the “how to get what your ego wants” misuse of power.

Ted listened generously to my resistance, smiling and reassuring me that he’s totally on board with my practice of spiritual surrender. He wanted me to see that the two need not be mutually exclusive, that held in paradox, I could simultaneously assert the force of my will and let go with non-attachment, that if we hold a nondual perspective, willfulness and surrender can live together without conflict.

Something plunked in my gut when he said what he said. I sensed he was right, but I was still scared. “You should be scared,” he said, “Because this kind of relationship will rock your world.” Not only do I have a frightened part that has witnessed so much abuse of spiritual power—and so much destruction as a result of such abuse—that I don’t want to touch my spiritual power with a ten foot pole. I also sensed the deep truth of what he said. Part of me is actually afraid of meeting someone who could shatter me.

I also have a practice of not letting fear take the wheel of my decision making. I see that a lot of my resistance is fear-based and that I cannot fully express my purpose here on this planet if I am not willing to trust myself to use my spiritual power without abusing it. (For more on my views about The Shadow Of Spirituality and how spiritual leaders abuse power and how spiritual seeker give their power away in dangerous ways, you can participate in this teleclass I taught.)

Although I seek guidance from several teachers, therapists, and wise friends, I aspire to never give over my authority to anyone else—and Ted would never want me to.  Susie Bright says, “Take inspiration from everyone and instruction from no one.” (Hat tip to Jeff Magnani in our Soul Tribe for sharing that quote.) So I took his guidance and filtered it through my Inner Pilot Light.

After navigating all my inner resistance, checking in with my intuition, praying for signs, seeding my dreams, wrestling with my fears of abusing power, and asking for protection to ensure that I never misuse my power, I finally got the clear green light from my Inner Pilot Light to perform a “white magic” ceremony to call in my Beloved.

I won’t go into the details of what I did, because I don’t want my ceremony to be misappropriated for anyone else’s egoic or nefarious purposes. So I’ll just show you photos of my ceremony and share with you one part of what happened during this four hour ceremony that I performed by myself during the January New Moon. (Astrologers tell us that new moons are a great time to plant seeds of intentions, while full moons are ideal times for releasing that which doesn’t serve us.)

To prepare for this extensive ritual, I wrote what I’m about to share, and I read it out loud during my ceremony. I wanted to share it with you all in case it inspires you to tune into the frequency and emotional resonance of what might be calling you.

Calling In My Tantra Consort

We gaze into one another’s eyes and the edges of reality blur as the soul reveals itself. We feel tempted to look away—it is so intimate to be so seen that it feels frightening, but we have prepared for this moment and we can hold each others gaze without looking away. Our hearts open. I can feel the tears responding to the opening of my heart, as I give and am given the privilege of having my soul witnessed by this Beloved. Eros flows between us—the life force moving in our bodies and in the space between us. This is more than lust; it is the longing to be One, to touch our lips together, to merge our bodies, to make Love, to dissolve the barriers that separate us, to let go of the ego borders that make us separate from All That Is, to merge into union with the Divine through our union with each other, to glimpse eternity while still in two bodies, to return from this bliss and remember the Oneness even as we feel once again the Twoness, to take this deep Remembering out into the world until we unite once again.

I invite in a monogamous partner who is also a Tantra or Taoist consort for Karmamudra or Sexual Alchemy practice, someone who is prepared to explore with me sexual union as a spiritual practice of deep intimacy and Oneness with the Divine through the God/Goddess in one another. I understand that such a union can be a fierce invitation because such partnering is not always easy, stripping away all that is not Love and calling forth both partner’s deepest shadows, to be brought into the light, made conscious, and integrated through healing and self-acceptance. I am prepared to be challenged with bench pressing my receiving muscles, making pleasure a spiritual practice and increasing my tolerance for deep intimacy, intense pleasure, and the vulnerability and bliss of great joy and deep connection.

This relationship will exist between two sovereign beings who resist the temptations of co-dependence or the spiritual bypassing and intimacy avoidant tendencies to avoid conflict or resist having shadows seen and explored together. I am not available to be the narcissist or the co-dependent, but am fully available to hold the paradox of getting our needs met and setting each other free, even if it means that grasping insecurities are evoked or the desire to flee from deep intimacy arises.

Trustworthiness and transparency are tantamount. I will not tolerate lying, cheating, hiding, or withholding information that two intimates need to share in order to keep trust safe. I prefer monogamy, at least in the beginning, until secure attachment is bonded. Later on, although it is not a specific preference, I’m open to a more open relationship sexually, but not if it interferes with intimacy or risks the safety of the deep bond I long for. I am not a jealous person, and I don’t wish to partner with someone else who is jealous. I have a monogamous vagina, but a polyamorous heart. There are men I love who are not lovers, but who hold deep space in my heart, and I don’t wish to let go of those heart connections or resist new heart connections in the future. I also am not triggered by my partner having heart connections with others, as long as sexual boundaries are clear, respected and communicated.

I have a daughter and she is the light of my life, so any partner who bonds with me will need to bond with her too. I am open to bonding to someone else’s children, but I do not anticipate bearing more children myself.

I have a full, rich, exciting life, and I hope my partner does too. I feel smothered if I am the center of the life of someone who lacks other passions, friendships, curiosity about adventures, desire for solitary time, and dreams. I feel neglected if someone is a workaholic or has no bandwidth to prioritize me. I hope to find a partnership where we both prioritize one another but also offer enough space to support our life purposes, our other relationships, our children, our self-care, and our reasons for incarnating in this life.

I care a lot about service, healing the planet, creativity and activism, so it’s not a great match if someone else cares only for hedonistic self-indulgences. It’s also not a great match if someone is a martyr to a cause and devotes himself obsessively to his cause from a place of self-sacrifice and depletion, which inevitably leads to anxiety, despair, and illness or injury. Someone with circles under his eyes from late nights spent fighting for his activist cause or someone who has to meditate four hours a day in order to pursue his spiritual ambitions probably wouldn’t have enough time to play in nature, in bed and explore deep intimacy. But someone who only cares about playtime and isn’t in touch with a deeper purpose in life will probably get frustrated with my mission and excitement for global healing and the Love Revolution that is underway and making progress!

I yearn for someone who has already done a lot of psychospiritual deep work in order to heal from past trauma and learn the tools for navigating future traumas as life will inevitably deliver them. I do not wish to be someone’s primary teacher. I have a therapist and a spiritual teacher, and I am seeking someone who also has someone they can access to get help working on his side of the psychospiritual street if the inevitable challenges arise. While I believe the relationship itself can be a powerful guru, I also sense that a twosome can be strengthened if a third party is available to help navigate any conflicts the two can’t resolve with Non-Violent Communication, prayer, surrender, the willingness to explore challenges, and a commitment to love, growth and consciousness. Someone who believes he has the direct connection to God and never strays off track, who doesn’t need a therapist or teacher, or who believes he does not need a therapist because he has no trauma and will never have any in the future will probably not be a good fit for me. I work hard on myself, using deep self-inquiry and many other practices, to continue drilling down and stripping away everything that is not Love. I also commit to practicing pleasure as a spiritual path.

I love to play, be in nature, laugh, make love and have fun, so someone who wants to go from one silent meditation retreat to another will probably be disappointed in my lack of discipline! Play is part of my practice, and pleasure is my best teacher right now, so I’m not into the ascetic’s path. I love creating gourmet picnics to eat on mountaintops we hike to, basking in natural hot springs, listening to music with the windows down on Highway 1, enjoying a glass of wine by the fire after a day on the ski slopes, singing along with someone’s guitar or piano, and sunbathing naked at the local beach with the breeze tickling me and the sun basking on my bare skin. I love creating and participating in meaningful rituals, honoring full moons and solstices, and traveling to sacred sites like Macchu Picchu, Lourdes, the temples in Bali, and Grace Cathedral. I live for my weekly dance “Sweat Your Prayers” 5 Rhythms church, where 150 crazy dancers ecstatically connect and move energy through our hearts and into each other and the world. Singing, writing, and making art bring me great joy. I hope my partner is as excited about life and passionate about what delights him as I am. If our interests overlap, I will look forward to sharing these delights, and if they don’t, I’m OK with having separate passions and space to explore what we love separately, as long as there’s still bandwidth for and prioritizing of time for deep, intimate connection.

I’m not afraid of the daimonic realms of inspired creativity and sensuality, as well as those shadowy parts we try to repress. Vulnerability and willingness to explore these realms is important to me, as is the willingness of someone else to challenge me into the most expanded version of my human and Divine potential. I’m here to live a fully human life, not to transcend, bypass or deny my humanity. I’m also here to embody my Divinity and honor the Goddess as she expresses herself through me and in the world. Because I have a big purpose here in this life, I yearn for a consort to hold solid sacred masculine grounding for what one friend calls “the Lissa Poltergeist,” stabilizing and rooting me when the Divine Feminine in me explodes in a frenzy of unbridled Shakti. This feminine energy that runs through me has great power and must be met with great power—not through domination, control or suppression of this Shakti, but by a man ready to rise to meet my power with his in a swirl of Divine Love that can facilitate healing, transformation and alchemy in ourselves, in our partnership and in the world.

I am not attached to this sacred union. I would rather live a meaningful monastic life than distract myself with relationships with immature men who aren’t ready for this kind of intensity and depth of intimacy. But I sense you are coming to me and that I will recognize you—and you will recognize me—when it’s time. Until then, I enjoy leaning into the unmet longing, even when it hurts. I know it is that longing for the Divine—and the Divine through another human—that draws me forth. I know it is this longing that draws you to me. The Eros of this longing is magnetic, pulling me toward the partner who is ready to match my power, my passion, my depth, my intensity, my psychological health, my spiritual maturity, my calling, and my capacity to love and experience intimacy at great depths.

I welcome you in, my Beloved, wherever you are.

The Outcome

I performed my ceremony on January 16, 2018. On January 23, a man reached out to ask me out through a series of synchronicities I won’t get into right now. We had our first date January 29, which turned into a shocking whirlwind of connection, intimate disclosures, negotiations, emotionally vulnerable expressions of resistance and desire. We spent the last intense month going very slow sensually and very fast emotionally. Both of us have prioritized staying grounded and resisting the impulse to dive headlong and recklessly into the vortex that emerges between us. Both of us have wounds around “frying” our partners with blasts of unrestrained spiritual and sexual energy. Neither of us wants to hurt the other, so we are practicing grounding, integration, and radical depths of communication and intimacy.

Some parts of me are stunned. Other parts want to get all grandiose. “Look what we did! It worked!” Mostly though, I am just awash in gratitude and overwhelmed with awe that I have met an extraordinary man who seems to meet the description of what I read out loud during my ceremony shockingly well. Our first month was hard—full of exploration of each other’s shadows and difficult negotiations and disclosures. It was only a week ago that we finally decided to relax our guard and have a honeymoon in Mendocino, where we become lovers for the first time and celebrated how excited we are to have met one another.

We do not know what the future holds. We are not promising each other anything, other than “Today I choose you, tomorrow, we’ll see.” What I can say is that my intuition feels that this will be a significant relationship, perhaps the most significant of my life. It’s early to say much more. Neither of us have any fantasy of “happily-ever-after” or “soul mate” projections or fairytale endings. But we do have hope; hope that it’s possible for a man and a woman to be free spirits who express themselves authentically, outside our cultural conditioning, to explore intimacy and freedom in paradox, rather than in conflict, to use this relationship as a spiritual practice, and to dive into pleasure as a spiritual path.

When we are more solid, if he gives his permission, I’ll share more.

The past two years have been brutal. I’ve shared with you most but not all of the painful details of life’s most recent Perfect Storm. But I don’t want you to think my life is pure pain or that spiritual growth must always be intensely uncomfortable!? It’s like ecstasy and trauma are riding shotgun, side by side on this rollercoaster of life.

My latest growth edge is my capacity to receive unlimited blessings. I’ve got the masochism as a spiritual path thing down pat. Throw anything painful at me, and I can alchemize it into soul growth! But what about pleasure as a spiritual path? Can I expand my tolerance for ecstasy, rapture and bliss? How much joy, ease, and grace will my system let me have? How many miracles can I fully take in with awe? Do I have a glass ceiling? If so, this man is going to help me discover it—and bust right through it (either that, or I’ll sabotage this).

I am up for the task. I can see where the growth edge lives. I’m so much more comfortable giving than receiving. I am learning to receive blessings from the Universe—and from this man. Can I handle it without contracting? Time will tell…

Since I pretty much tell you all most of the intimate details of my life, I wanted to let you into this emerging love story. Please hold the two of us in your hearts and send prayers and blessings for whatever serves the highest good for us all.

With love and hope,

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