Amara & Shyena Adventures
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Tucked away in the high mountain village of Wutai Shan China we return to the ancient Tibetan Temple where we stay for our retreat.
We wake at 3:30 am to cross the dark and cold stone courtyard to get our blankets. Brrr! I can’t wait to sit with the monks and chant with them for the morning ceremony. But first we make 108 bows. You put your hands on the two mits and then whoosh! – until you are lying straight on this board. It gets a little easier every day, and it sure warms you up for sitting and chanting. I remind my self we’re only doing this for a few weeks. They do it every day. More …
I’ve come to think that just about anyone loves permission to talk about sex.
Once you you peel away the veils that like getting lifted, I notice it’s the same everywhere I go. And I love hunting Beauty wherever it lands; coaxing it to peek through the shyness, enchanting it to smile, wonder or sing just a little bit more than it should. I like taking down the weight of walls nobody likes holding up.
It’s how I hunted Marianne, a Jew from Uzbekistan sitting next to me on the plane from JFK To Phoenix. Even before I notice all the yamakas and delicious scent of food passing across the aisles, she catches my eye by the way she covers
her hair and keeps tugging her skirt to cover her legs. But it’s how she inadvertently keeps brushing back her two year old’s soft brown curls that really has me smitten.
A lot of kids get cranky at take off, but Samuel stares wide-eyed out the window and giggles the whole way up. He seems blessed with an unusual dose of gentle intelligence.
It was Marianne who convinces me that given the time, a curious mood and the right questions, just about anyone will tell you anything . We start with casual banter about the Jewish holidays and then her nose flares slightly when I
tell her what I do. In her world of conservative Jews, no one’s written a book about sex. So she’s clearly delighted to me a few tell me things about her husband, all the while glancing at the floor to guard affections. More …
DONATE HERE to the HIMALAYAN STOVE PROJECT http://www.himalayanstoveproject.org/
I cannot say enough about the passion and integrity of George Basch’s dream of delivering clean cook stoves to families in the Himalayan region. I LOVE this video, and I’m proud to play a small part… (I’m in the video because Shyena and I went on one of the first trips to deliver stoves to monasteries and people’s homes. It’s an amazing story, and really helps people change their lives, yet, let’s them keep their life style (around the hearth) in it’s place.
Donate Here: https://www.facebook.com/himalayanstoveproject
Please share your Fire and consider donating. Every dollar brings warmth to the Home, Heart & Hearth of those in need.
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Some journeys change everything.
Words capture so little of the truth about extraordinary events, and to be honest, I hesitate to dilute how I feel from our retreat in a mountain Temple of Wutai Shan,China. Yes, I’m used to coming home stirred and happily out-of-sorts from deep ceremony, but this time, having taken a plunge into the refuge of temples, sacred chants and boundless tea, I feel like a puzzle piece still assembling unknown mysteries..
How do you capture the fragrance and unfurling plume of fine sandalwood incense, or the taste of rare puer tea that causes your heart to float in heavenly realms? How can you remember being locked into the fathomless depth of a teacher’s eyes? Perhaps we do keep memory imprints of such times, and maybe we bury moments of peace and love into the soil of our minds so we can recognize certain vibrations and water these frequencies until they bloom on their own again and again. More …
We were invited by Jaiya to teach her partner the White Tigress Magssage on VH1.
It was an amazing experience and Jaiya was awesome. She had a crew of about 20 people affiliated with VH1 filming her for the show: I’m Married to a Sexologist.
We were invited (as a birthday present for Jaiya) to teach her partner Ian how to give Jaiya a sensuous White Tigress Massage. The White Tigress Massage is for increasing sexual potency, sexual restoration and sexual intensity.
Have you ever noticed that when accidents happen, somehow, it’s your ego that’s trying to drive the show?
You know, one of those Divine Interventions or Interruptions that don’t seem so divine at first? The ones that come with sufficient bumps and bruises to get our attention. They always seem to show us how we’re pushing, trying too make things happen the way we want. Like during a sudden fall, when time slows and everything you thought important ceases to be.
Maybe there’s no intervention, no interruptions at all – perhaps it’s just the universe arranging things perfectly on our behalf, giving us the hint that our design is off.
One of my ‘accidental jolts’ came in the lovely Land of Kauai where, if you listen to her speak, she’ll cajole you into listening to the Divine. She’ll stagger you with joy, murmur and groan with her mighty beauty until you forget or remember where you came from.
In case this doesn’t work, she has other ways. Two days into my trip, on my way up from Secrets Beach, I flipped backwards onto some hefty boulders. I have to admit, I opted for some silly fashion that day, wearing high-pitched flip flops and a loaded purse. My body was tangled with sheer shock in the dirt, yet as I lay there tuning in, I smiled feeling the benevolence of this fall: nothing broken.
Still, I must not have been listening yet, for Kauai was just beginning to have her way with me. In another two days I took a dive again; this time the ocean whipped me onto the shore as I heard my knee torque with a loud crunch (in about a foot and a half water.) Now both sides of my body were thoroughly initiated into the wild gorgeousness of this garden paradise. Finally, I had to relax and listen.
It’s astonishing how quickly healing happens, and the correct things fall in place when you listen. Through ceremony, chants, Qigong (and a few extraordinary healers ), I was feeling good in days rather than weeks, and I returned to the mainland feeling better than I’ve felt in years. It seems a bit of genetic restructuring of my DNA was in order, and I believe it was just the beginning of many more magical things to come.
Amara, Laka, Shyena Feminine Spring Woman’s retreat Kauai
The raw emotion of our Nepal Adventure is overwhelming – every time we bring a stove to a family and fire it up, it INSTANTLY changes their lives – to see it and feel it – it brings us (and them) to tears, and confirms, one-on-one, one stove at a time, how we’re transforming lives in the High Himalayas. More …
I had to stay a couple of weeks near the great Stupa of Boudha* before I could understand why one eventually surrenders here. the sway of the world turns and turns just the way thousands of people walk around the Stupa everyday. Monks chant or walk hand in hand with businessmen, children play, dogs and beggars sleep or bark, merchants sell, while Hindus, Christians, Muslims, Hippies, Buddhists and tourists circle around in prayer or conversation. Buddha eyes follow everyone just the same.
One could miss this world, take a picture of strange things to settle for saying you’ve been here. but if you linger long enough to take in the underbelly of Boudha; slabs of meat and hoofs covered by flies on open carts, legless curled up figures, the smell of incense mingled with dal or dung at every corner, you can”t help catch something different in people’s eyes. if you’re preoccupied by some project or other far away thoughts, you’ll miss the subtlety of currency here.
Once I recover from the withdraw of familiar comforts, like pristine toilets, expensive cars and the choice of a hundred foods, I began to appreciate how a
day is filled by one to three things to do rather than a list longer than I can ever accomplish.
The currency here, the real wealth is time and space, or perhaps it could be called the spaciousness of time. most people have enough space in their faces to smile your way, for there doesn’t seem to be anything else on their minds.
It’s not that poverty goes unnoticed, yet it seems the scant resources, daily rations of electricity and dusty traffic-crammed roads are taken in stride by locals with only mild grumbles. Urgency here moves at about the same pace as the occasional cow chewing at scraps on the city streets. my desire to change or uplift things, that’s sewn into the nerves of my American psyche, has no choice but to quit.
there’s something else I notice. I’ve lived in New York, and other cities where housing is as cramped as Katmandu. especially at night, I thought scolding wives or children, lovers spats and blaring boom boxes were just a way of life. Sure, the homeless dogs who breed unchecked here are truly noisy pests. What’s missing is the undercurrent of irritation. If snarly outbursts are happening behind thin doors, they’re well hidden. I haven ‘t heard a raised voice in weeks.
I think the slower life, the less hectic pace is more than the nature of a mild mannered people; I think it’s the Buddha Eyes.
Why are stupas built like this? They’re different than churches, where you go inside to close off the world. A stupa is an outdoor event where Instead of getting away from it all, you can hear and see the going- ons all around you; you’re in the middle of it.
Then there are those eyes.
Atop a huge spire around which one circumnabulates the base, sits not a golden sculpture of Buddha, nor a symbol of a saint. The stupa is crowned with painted eyes. Not having been here to experience the effect for myself, I’m not sure I’d like the sense of big brother watching me from every direction. at first I thought they looked silly; like a gigantic tacky cartoon that was not particularly artistic or spiritual. Now, pondering their effect on this strange city, it’s why I like them so much.
At night while peaking between butter lamps through a tiny opening of the Stupa, I listen to several monks chanting the city goodnight. in the middle of ceremony one monk gazes my way. captured by his suspended smile, we recognize each other in Buddha’s Eyes.
*The Boudha Stupa was built in 600 ad near the birthplace of Buddha. It sits in the center of Katmandu.