Day 1: Bathing into Presence

in the bathtub
in the bathtub

My first act of self love was to make the commitment to this 60 day challenge.  My second act was to draw a hot bath.

The first layer of my intention with Day 1’s Self Loving is simply to prepare myself for the long journey ahead.  And I say that with all seriousness.  You see, I’ve done this challenge before in 7 and 30 day increments.  Each time, while at some level it sounded so good and adventurous and even radical to commit to masturbate every day of the week for 4 weeks, I have gotten tired, wanted to quit, glossed over, cut corners, or actively avoided my commitment to self-loving.

The first time I encountered this mindful masturbation practice, it was called Orgasmic Yoga, developed by Joseph Kramer as part of the Sexological Bodywork Certificate Training.  In the beginning, I kicked myself if I wasn’t having the most explosive orgasm ever, or if I wasn’t even feeling the slightest bit juicy, I’d think I wasn’t sexually free enough — whatever that means!  I soon understood, on a cellular level, that orgasm isn’t the goal.  The goal is about coming back into the present moment of arousal, pleasure, and desire.  If I reach for the orgasm or demand my body behave in a certain way, I’m sure to be frustrated and angry when I don’t shake and quake.  When I just follow the path of pleasure as it ebbs and flows, then I’ll be in my own sphere of sensual delight, leading me into a deeper and more profound understanding of and love for my body, my heart, my sex, my whole self.

Over the course of 3 Sexological Bodywork trainings, once as a student and twice as a coach for new students, I have reminded myself (and now encourage my own clients and students) to consider Orgasmic Yoga, Self Loving, or Mindful Masturbation to be an experiment of time, space, and intention that encompasses all the ways I can take good care of myself, love myself up, and really appreciate all the ways that my body can feel pleasure.  Throughout this project, I’m giving myself (and you, if you’re following along) permission to let each day or each week have a different name — Masturbation, Self Loving, Daily Devotion, Body Appreciation, Pleasure Prayer, whatever it may be — according to what feels right.  Its not a destination.  Its an experiment.

Now, on to the bathing…

My 2nd layer of intention for my 1st day of Self Loving:
“To integrate where I’ve been with where I am now to reach the places I want to go.”IMG_1616

After lighting a few candles, pouring a cup of epsom salt into the hot water, letting lavender essential oil and rosewater concentrate drip into the tub, I took a few deep breaths, repeated this intention in my mind and out loud and stepped into the pool.  The water was luscious, hot, and steamy.  I felt buoyant and floating, even though my tub seems like it was made for a toddler half my size.

I let my mind drift to memories of the last 6 weeks, watching tinkering with to do lists or nit picking what I “should have done” in some given situation, I came back to my intention.  Remembering my commitment to re-member my desires.

Over the next 30 minutes, I touched each and every part of my body.  Scalp, ears, toes, space between my fingers, quads and hamstrings, tops and backs of knees, underarms, breasts, lips, nose, belly button, nipples, genitals, buttocks, anus, elbows, fingernails, eyelashes, everything.  And at each body part, I gave thanks and spoke words of appreciation.  “Lips, thank you for being plump and full so that I may give and receive luscious kisses.  Hips, thank you for being so expressive and flexible.  Toes and inner ear, I’m glad you help me to find balance.  Vulva, I love your lips, covered in natural human animal fur.   Into the internal realm, I thanked my lungs for being so expansive and elastic, my heart for beating and pumping oxygen rich blood throughout my body, my uterus for blessing me with gentle moon cycles, my intestines for processing all that I put into my mouth.

This practice of self loving gratitude brought me into a place of deep presence and appreciation for where I am in this moment, and in this life.  In those moments of stillness, my intention to integrate the many pieces of my life, dreams, and longings focused me see the next step of this intentional project of self-sexual cultivation.

Recipe for Bathing into Presence:
1 bathtub of hot water
1 cup of epsom salt
7 drops of lavender essential oil
7 drops of rosewater extract
4 tea light candles in votives
1 rubber ducky
All my regular bath products (face wash, loofah, body soap, etc)
Intention for time
Statements of Gratitude for body parts and pieces


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