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Archive for September, 2013

you don’t have to be a working mother (like me) to feel guilt.

for me, guilt appears when i’m at my desk (and not with my little one).

and for me, guilt appears when i’m with my little one and feel i’m not working hard enough, earning more or serving my clients better.

maybe yours shows up slightly differently. maybe you’re torn between work and working out. or self-care and caring for your beloved. or tending to your family and tending to your ailing mother.

in the wake of the recently-revived question, “can women have it all?” i want to share a second video panel discussion, again with mister mars-venus, John Gray, and some other savvy Your Tango Expert relationship luminaries.

John and I agree on a lot, although i disagree with his suggestion that women should “find a balance” between work and home (or work and exercise, self-care and other-care, etc).

i want to share my favorite (unlikely) tool to wrangle this powerful, debilitating emotion, GUILT.

it’s a tool that every human, and definitely every WOMAN should know and use, and it’s one i got from my husband (who’s a great human and a great MAN).

the tool is simple. it’s one question. love that.

as an example, let’s use my guilt-laden query of time spent with my little one vs with my little biz.

in trying to find that ever-elusive “balance,” we could

::  scrutinize how many hours i devote to work vs kiddo (good first step).
:: check if my little one is happy, healthy and thriving (very good idea).
:: ask with my family or my husband’s family for their advice (hmmm… not usually a good idea ;-P).
:: do some online research what other working mothers are doing (definitely the wrong direction).
:: post a poem about guilt on Facebook and get lost in the comments from friends (creative, but there have to be better direction).

my husband is a maverick in these areas. aside from making sure our little guy is absolutely happy, healthy and thriving, he’s only got one tracking tool he uses. he asks,

“how lit-up and turned on do you feel?”

he assumes that the amount of life-force coursing through my body (and his body) is an appropriate litmus test and wrangler of guilt.

meaning, if for example if i spend 5 hours on biz and 8 with babe and i’m feeling alive and fit in my body, if i have humor at my fingertips and if i’m wanting to have great sex with said hubby – in other words, if i’m feeling turned on and lit up – then the 5:8 hour ratio is probably working, regardless of what my mind, my mom or Facebook says.

so, shoo, guilt, shoo.

and for example if i spend 16 hours with babe and 6 with biz and i’m feeling run down and out of sorts, if i’m surly and mean and if a root canal feels preferable to intimacy – in other words, if i’m feeling i’m turned-off and dimmed down – then the 16:6 hour ratio is definitely not working (regardless of what the latest scientific study reports).

so, the first question is, “how lit-up and turned on do you feel?”

and the second is, “what might need to be adjusted to bring back my turn-on and light?”

simple truth

your vibrancy matters.
how shot-through with life-juice you feel, matters.
how happy you are to be you, matters.

there’s a personal signature cocktail of wellness, work, family and service that’s right for you and your body will let you know. {tweet, tweet}

chances are it may not be popular with popular sources or popular science, but regardless, it’s a trustable tool to guide you out of guilt’s grasp.

wrangle, wrangle,








nathanPS: thanks again, husband. thanks for looking after my radiance when i often can’t or don’t. thanks for chauffeuring our relationship into better and better and better and better.

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a couple months ago, i was invited by Your Tango to create a series of videos along with John Gray (the Mars/Venus guy) and some other great minds/hearts in the relationship sphere and i’d love to share a hot one with you today … it’s on jealousy.

jealousy’s a hard one. some say THE hardest one.

i say it can be a blessing. i say, throw your jealousy a party.

the shelf life of any emotion can be only a few minutes when we neither feed it nor deny it. often, if we feel it fully and drink in the wisdom contained in it, it passes of it’s own accord. otherwise it can stay for a lifetime.

this is a practice i call the Strong Emotion Tea Party. you take a STRONG emotion, like jealousy, and instead of inflaming it or trying to douse it, you invite it to sit down with you at the table, you pour you both a fragrant, steaming cup of consciousness, and you get CURIOUS.

you can do this practice after or before the strong emotion occurs, by setting some time aside, getting quiet and asking yourself these questions, as a writing exercise. you can also do it in the moment when you experience said strong emotion.

here it goes:

1. identify a strong emotion. envy and jealousy are great ones to use.

2. track the emotion in your body and take a catalogue of your physical sensations:

what are you feeling and where are you feeling it? (for example, a tight abdomen, a flush in your face, your heart beating faster, etc.)

if this alone is intense, practice visualizing the sensations running throughout your body, collecting at your center, and then running down your legs and feet into the ground (like a grounding rod would with lightening).

3. what is the belief that goes with this emotion?

what might this mean about you or your life? what could happen as a result?

what is the worst-case scenario, if all that happened? (really go there). would you be able to handle it?

4. what does this emotion have to say to or request of you?

yes, personify and anthropomorphize the strong emotion. give it lungs and lips. ask (and listen): what is it’s positive intention is for you? what superpower of yours might it be linked to?

for example, it’s positive intention for you might be to keep you from getting your heart shredded again. or to keep you connected to your mother, since her most prominent emotion was jealousy.

and superpower? perhaps (as you ask and listen), you hear that your jealousy is connected to your amazing ability to call bullshit on a situation (including yourself).

5. if this emotion were pointing out ways you are dimming your light, what areas of yourself and your life can you brighten? [tweet me, hot stuff!]

(this is the best part! worth the whole party! and the perfect topic to comment on, below, yo!)

6. if this emotion was a sign to let you know, “it’s your turn to shine” what would be your next step?

optional: notice that you didn’t die, and it wasn’t too much to bear, even though it may have been quite intense and painful.

seriously sassy love,



liyana silver

Now is the time to know
That all you do is sacred.

Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God.

Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child’s training wheels
To be laid aside
When you can finally live
With veracity
And love.

Hafiz is a divine envoy
Whom the Beloved
Has written a holy message upon.

My dear, please tell me,
Why do you still
Throw sticks at your heart
And God?

What is it in that sweet voice inside
That incites you to fear?

Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.

This is the time
For you to deeply compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred. {tweet, tweet, baby}

~ Hafiz

if you don’t know of Hafiz, he’s the crazy cohort and inspiration of Rumi (the rather famous 13th Century mystic poet). Rumi’s the more well-known one, although Hafiz is the reason Rumi got all Divine-Love Crazed in the first place and couldn’t help but speak beautiful love haikus and epic devotional tales all about it.

i often think that if Hafiz was alive today, he might look (and act) like that guy with the really long dirty beard on the corner, spouting poetry enthusiastically at the pigeons, his grungy backpack his only possession. that guy, when you see and hear him, you might cross the street, just to be sure.

another contemporary of Hafiz and Rumi was a woman poetess who chose to wear no clothing, Lalla. he poems are just as feisty as Rumi’s and Hafiz’s, all about the worldly ecstasy of communing with the Divine. if Lalla was alive today, she might look like the dreadlocked, bare-breasted mama rocking out to the drum circle at the street fair. that lady, that in your head you might label either brave and beautiful – or a hussie.

in fact, if Buddha was alive today, in his pre-fame era, he’d be that weirdo nerdy guy in high school that didn’t say much of anything, and just sat … and sat … and sat … under the tree in the yard. and you might wonder, from your table flecked with safe comrades, if he was special or just sorta slow.

like Joan Osborne said, what if god was one of us? what if the seemingly weird, colorful, odd-ball and out there, were portals to mystical wisdom and wormholes to sacred love? what if they too were tattooed by the searing embers of the Divine?

maybe instead of crossing the street, keeping your distance, or letting your mind stop with the finality of its judgment (there are other options after judgment), you’d lean in close. you’d get curious for their story. you’d search their eyes for the stamp of All-Holy, because if god’s among us, and i’m sure she/he/it is, her/his/its sense of humor would indicate that she/he/it would show up in the most unlikely of places.

so, your mission, should you choose to accept it:

:: look the super market checker in the eye and beam love into his/her heart.

:: listen to the street poet’s words as if encoded with a message for you from on high.

:: shake your ass a little bit as you pass by the drum circle disco, and see if you can’t feel your own kundalini rising.

to Love in all his/her/its forms, and to your comment below,






PS: yeah, yeah, yeah, LiYana; love yourself and stop fighting with yourself, but HOW?

that’s the whole point of my mentorship program, Woman: The Embodiment Experience, my 5-month beaut of a high-touch program, which concludes this week. to take a look-see and be notified when applications for 2014 are open, click HERE, lovely.

(this article was first published in New York Spirit Magazine (October/November 2007) in my then column titled, Enlightened Sex in the City)

happy womansince i write this grandly titled column, Enlightened Sex in the City, i figure it couldn’t hurt to start by trying to pin down this slippery eel, “enlightenment.” the term for me is a bit like “carbs,” which includes equally a piece of Wonder Bread or a fresh peach, two very different animals indeed. as i see it, on one hand, enlightenment is a realization of one’s Self with a capital “S”, being awake to one’s nature, or an abiding realization of what does not die when mind and body does. from this place, an “enlightened” one often exudes happiness, fulfillment and loving kindness. on the other hand, i hear enlightenment referring to a cultural and moral standard for behavior and comportment in life; as in it is more enlightened behavior to tell the truth, less enlightened to lie, cheat or steal.

for my purposes, i refer mostly to the first “definition” of enlightenment: a deeply personal realization of who you ARE, fed by your own direct experience. this can be different indeed from how you comport yourself in life. i am less interested in behavior, and most interested in experience, since your direct experience often dictates your behavior.

a while ago in an issue of “What Is Enlightenment” magazine, i ran across this quote by Leslie Temple Thurston: “Many years ago, i found myself asking Spirit what it would take to save the world. And the answer came clearly and immediately: a lot of enlightened women.” this doesn’t mean a lot of women ACTING enlightened, or behaving in the “enlightened” fashion de jour. this means a lot of women fed by the realization of who they ARE, awake to their nature, alive with the privilege of being a woman, turned on (sensually AND spiritually), turned up, full of light; and then living, acting and behaving from there.

how exactly are women the key to “save the world?”

i’ve spent most of my life throwing myself headlong into research of this seemingly elusive condition, happiness. one place that yielded incredible bounty was Morehouse, an intentional communal living collective, offering courses on communication, sensuality, man/woman dynamics and what they have found, in their 40 years of research and experimentation, it takes to have a happy, fulfilling, fun life.

in the courses i took, the dynamic and authentic teachers offered their observations of what works, and what doesn’t; they “describe” rather than “prescribe.” in their observation, the health and viability of a group, whether that is as large as a culture or as small as a relationship, can be measured by the happiness and turn-on of the women in the group. {whoa. tweet that!}

and it is from here they start: when the women are happy, everyone is happy; when they women are unhappy, somehow no one else is happy for long. and if you look around in your own life experience, you’ll likely notice that most women around you are shut down and pissed off. maybe you’ve never even seen what a happy, radiant woman looks like.

it’s a good thing to define “happiness,” too. there is no universal standard; you know when you are happy and when you are not. generally, though, as defined by the veterans of Morehouse, happiness is a function of approving of what is, not what you wish to be so. when you find your life and your self good, right and wonderful, you are happy.

as many advances and liberations that women enjoy currently, we are still considered second-class citizens. our cultural, societal, economic, emotional, medical, sensual – and many spiritual – belief systems are all prejudiced to reference the male as standard. any straying from the standard is considered deviant.

so women, like other oppressed groups, have learned – as those considered to be deviants learn – that it is not safe to be as we are and that we are not welcomed as we are. we have learned that since the playing field is not equal, we have to lie, cheat and manipulate to make up for the unfair advantage in order to get what we want. we have learned that what we want is not important; we have learned to bury what we want – or we attempt to not want at all. The result is a bunch of royally pissed off women, swimming in a sea where we are constantly found wrong and bad; hungry and depleted at every level.

the remedy is simple. FILL UP the women.

as i practiced the simple, organic, generous philosophies of Morehouse, my heart and head blew wide open. IMAGINE: recognition of the anger i didn’t even realize i had; a system that saw me, appreciated me and invited me to do the same; actual tools to lead a happy life.

i took the courses to work out some kinks in my relationship to myself and in my partnership; and i began see all the ways i was doing a disservice to me and my relationships by focusing on what wasn’t working, since that put my attention on what was wrong or bad. there is an astounding universal law at play: you can’t move from bad to better, you’ve got to go from bad to good, and then from good to better. It’s just the way the progression goes: bad to good to better. no short-cuts. the magical thing is to start from finding good, right here right now.

and from this heart-opening, gratitude-overflowing place of what is already good, you can address what’s not working and help things to move toward better. whether in work with couples or an individual woman, this is where we start – from what’s already good. only from good, only from approving of what is so, not what we wish was so, can things get better. any person, but especially a woman, who can find her life and self good, begins the necessary process of filling up.

women are in need of nourishment, emotionally, physically, spiritually and sensually. ESPECIALLY SENSUALLY. a gratified woman is a unique and precious commodity; she is a fountain overflowing. giving from surplus creates more; giving from deficit creates anger and resentment, even if you are really good at hiding it or burying it. a woman in sensual surplus is a delight and a gift to everyone around her. a hungry woman might just be the meanest thing around. {yep, that’s another tweetable!}

research indicates that between 30-50% of women have difficulty or never experience orgasm or satisfying sex. sexual pleasure is mostly defined by penetration and orgasm standard as that of a man’s – but this does not necessarily take into consideration the physiology and make-up of most women. our religious legacy is that most of our problems started with the lustful, sinful nature of Eve – culturally we have a deep mistrust of women’s sexuality. many spiritual traditions define enlightenment and spiritual ecstasy from a male perspective – so often women try to fit themselves in to a model of spirituality that is passed off as a universal model, but is more a male model. it still costs more to dry-clean a blouse than a shirt, and a woman still earns about 77 cents to a man’s dollar. but regardless of how, why, when and where, you need only to look around to see women drying up and gasping for air.

how then to feed and fill up a woman?

women are accustomed to being overlooked, ignored and disregarded. or objectified for what’s skin-deep. the simple and powerful antidote is to see us, TRULY appreciate us and to give us your full-hearted regard. we want to be noticed not as a formula or how close we’ve come to emulating a male model of success in business, spirituality or sex, but as a unique being. this may seem overly simple, but it is the profound start to a much-needed cultural shift.

women want to be radiant and happy, but we cannot wait around for guys (or people in general) to catch on and start paying attention to us. it starts with taking personal responsibility for our own happiness. it starts with a large dose of courage to find ourselves and lives right, right now. all this, i have noticed over 5 year of working with clients, takes a huge paradigm shift. it takes a level of understanding how you are wired and what to do with that. it takes a realization that if you are losing, it is by your compliancy. it takes the ability to communicate, to tell the truth, to be open and vulnerable. In working with women, this is where i always start.

women start to fill up when we find ourselves regarded no longer as second-class citizens; when we begin to realize we no longer have to lie, cheat or manipulate to get what we want; and when great value is placed on or happiness. only when saturated in our own goodness and rightness can we women awaken to our very nature; only from a place of surplus can we behave with loving kindness, compassion and radiant light.

it may take a long time of this to fill us up – our wells might be very dry indeed.

when you have to pick either the chicken or the egg – focusing on the happiness of the women or of the men – you have to pick the women. a happy woman naturally wants everyone else around her to be happy and get exactly what they want. this is not necessarily the case with happy men. a happy man is a GREAT thing, but he does not necessarily affect the level of happiness of the group, as does a woman. and often, what makes a happy man is that his woman is happy; if she worries about whether he’s happy, her worrying makes him unhappy.

it is not that men get ignored in this equation. it does no good for either gender to feel disregarded, unable to give their deepest gifts. generally what happens when a woman receives attention and approval from a man is that she wants more than anything for him to be happy and enjoying his life. a woman who is full and gratified is full of the very creative life energy that created us all. anything that is full overflows generously on everything that is in its path.

here we are, men and women alike, in the middle of our lives playing the game of love, sex and relationship, and playing it from an enlightened perspective. the founding father of Morehouse, Dr. Victor Baranco says, “If you’re going to play the game anyway, why not win?” it would seem the winning formula is to start with approving of and placing attention on women, nourishing us in all our dry, cracked places. women also need to take full responsibility for our own happiness, not to delay our joy one moment nor wait an instant for our culture to catch up. and somewhere in the middle, the women get watered.

is a woman who is happy and radiant a fully enlightened being? i say YES. however, rather than speculating, let’s ask HER (aka YOU), shall we? and either way, i figure, a world abounding happy women, defining “happiness” by our own surplus and generosity, defining “enlightenment” by our own lit-up behavior, is a pretty great start.

to the FULL you,






PS: being a happy, turned-on woman means you are, well, TURNED ON and being guided by your sensual intuition. every time i mention this in print or in a live talk, i always get the retort, “yeah, i’ve followed my turn-on and my sensual intuition before, and i cheated on my husband or i gained 20 pounds or i quit my job and ended up in bankruptcy.”

SO, does following your woman’s intuition mean you end up fat, broke, lonely, demoralized, homeless and toothless?

i’ll set the record straight in an upcoming article, and so i’d LOVE to hear YOUR story of how following your woman’s intuition (especially the sensual longings) ended you up in a bad, bad place. email me directly or share your story in the comments below.