Art of seduction: How to contain and penetrate your woman

masculine penetrationYears ago, when I was fully immersed in understanding the art of seduction, I wrote a blog article that was very popular entitled “We want to be seduced.”

That “we want to be seduced” article felt true at the time, yet it was incomplete. I left out something that was very important. Unfortunately, without that missing piece of the puzzle, relationships and seduction can quickly turn to pain instead of joy for a woman.

So it took some years sorting out what was missing from my model of seduction, mostly in solitude. Deep down, I knew I still wanted that beautiful dance of seduction, and yet it was not enough. It was so not enough that it was not worth having until I sorted out how it could be fully joyful without the pain.

Some weeks ago, after I tapped through one of the 30-Day Sexual Abundance Challenge videos that I recorded way back in 2012 … a video focused on self-connection … I got picked up on the ski lift by a guy I’d never met before.

I have been very committed to letting it play out slowly, as described in my Tantric Dating articles. Too many past mistakes that led to too much pain. Not going there again.

That said, there was a feeling very shortly after meeting this guy that “this is it – this is that elusive something that I’ve been waiting for all this time.”

Today while I was running a search on Google for the masculine and penetration, I found a pretty amazing article that describes in some ways what I’ve been trying to crystallize for myself. Here is how it describes the ideas of containment and penetration of the Feminine:

“The Primal dominant male is one who enjoys his dominance, and doesn’t view it in the context of degrading or devaluing the other person. It is simply so that he is the physically stronger or more combat-adept, or at the moment the most stable and comfortable with physical control of the situation, and so it is his pleasure to contain and penetrate the female.

“Though most men don’t have a problem with the penetration part of this exchange, in my observation and listening to many men and women talk about sex, most seem to have a problem with the containment element. This is problematic because Straight women and feminine Gay men, as well as a great many Lesbians need this generally. The Primal female or feminine needs this exponentially more. Lack of it means simply that nothing is going to happen.

“Why aren’t more men aware of this? In some cultures, it’s not a problem at all. Containment is a natural part of being close to someone. It’s only in western cultures, the embrace is missing.”

Bingo! What I described in “we want to be seduced” had the penetration element, but it unfortunately lacked the containment element that is so key to a Feminine woman feeling safe with her man and being able to open to him fully.

We see this blind spot writ large in the relationship President Donald Trump has with his wife Melania. Did you see the cringe-worthy video of them meeting the Obamas at the White House? Trump was all too ready to “penetrate” the Obamas … but he forgot to contain his woman first. He forgot to protect and include her in this momentous occasion of ceremony on the White House steps.

And he paid for it later with a cringe-worthy first dance at the inaugural ball, a wife who was clearly upset and really “not that into him.”

I see this viral video as a powerful sign to all of us how we need to heal the relationship between the Masculine and the Feminine by balancing penetration with containment.

For me, “containment” doesn’t only mean embracing her physically prior to and during sex. It also means containment by creating an emotional container for the relationship in which she feels safe surrendering to him fully. The commitment may be defined in various ways depending on the needs of the people involved, but without that commitment … oh watch out. Nothing is more terrifying than a Feminine who has been abruptly left flapping in the breeze after her deepest vulnerability.

And so I reflect again on the ski lift meeting and how this guy made such a deep impression so quickly.

He was containing and penetrating me within two minutes of meeting me, that’s how.

Let’s replay it.

What was the first thing he did as the chair lifted us off the snow?

“Are you a bar down kind of girl?” And he reached for it and pulled it down as I was saying yes.

There you go, I’m contained.

Wow, that is absolutely stunning subcommunication, don’t you think?

He’s basically asking me straight up if I’m a Feminine energy woman who wants to feel safe, protected, and contained, and doing it under the guise of something utterly sexually neutral.

Then, maybe one more minute into this chair lift ride, I was crying out in pain because my feet were cramping up in my boots.

He suggested maybe I should loosen them, that might help.

Then he leaned over, asked if I minded if he loosened them for me, and started unbuckling my boots.

He’s literally undressing me on the ski lift, within two minutes of meeting me.

This is penetration, again under the guise of something that is “not sexual.”

The subcommunication, though, was highly sexual.

And at an unconscious level where the deepest impressions are made, he demonstrated himself to be a man whose very BEING in this world is containment and penetration of the Feminine.

Cuz you can’t fake this stuff.

I’m not ready yet to share all the details of how this has translated into one of the hottest nights I’ve ever spent in bed with a guy, weeks later. The relationship is still fledgling and we haven’t yet had intercourse.

I do though point out how fast a man can start creating massive attraction with a woman by containing her and penetrating her.

As our President demonstrates, penetration is not enough. The Masculine role is to protect and contain so the Feminine can feel safe to express and play and surrender.


erika awakening


The Return of Tantric Dating

Moving Deeper Into Presence and Connection with Tantric Dating

erika awakening tantric dating

Oh the sadness of losing Harvey the Cat has touched my face for sure … and … I’ve still got it.

Let me ask you a question … how fast do you think your life can change when you practice more Presence? Weeks, months, years … Let me tell you a story then … about how much power you can tap in to nearly instantly when you learn how to reprogram the subconscious mind …

A little over a week ago, I pulled a Holistic Belief Reprogramming video out of the archives that I had not tapped in several years. This is Day 22 of the 30-Day Sexual Abundance Challenge, and the topic is Reconnecting to Your Body.

Upon tapping this Reconnecting to Your Body video, I felt delighted to find myself in a deep pool of presence. I literally felt each part of my body breathing a sigh of relief as awareness and presence moved in and stress moved out. I felt deeply relaxed and calm after tapping the video. “Damn, that’s a powerful video, I’m really proud of that one,” I thought to myself. Then I kinda forgot about it.

Fast forward to the next day. I drove out to Squaw Valley ski resort to take a few runs on the mountain after all the glorious snow we have received this month (23 feet of glorious snow and counting, and yes I tapped for that too – you’re welcome).

I was about to take my second run, on the Red Dog lift, and was scooting forward in the short line. There was a bit of confusion, and a woman next to me yelled something like “are you going up by yourself?” I took the hint and told the guy slightly in front of me that I was hopping on with him.

And so it began.

“Are you a bar down kind of girl?” he asked me. “Sure,” I responded, and he lowered the safety bar. Somehow we started chatting.

I was, by the way, covered from head to toe, literally, with not one inch of skin showing. I mean Burka style covered, in a blizzard. I was wearing mirrored ski goggles, a helmet, a face mask, thick mittens, and many layers of heavy snow gear. He could not see my face, though he later claimed he could see my eyes a little bit. I don’t know how lol with the dark mirrored goggles. Anyway …

(One of my very first blog posts after I started blogging back in 2008 was about my ski lift experience and what it taught me about attraction and approachability … that it has very little to do with physical appearance. Take a look, it’s worth a read.)

By the time we got off at the top of that Red Dog chair maybe five or so minutes later, we had discovered a lot of common ground. I even cried in front of him, my voice breaking as I told him about losing Harvey the Cat in November. I guess he was touched by my vulnerability. And my vulnerability came from self-connection, from releasing buckets and buckets of grief over the past few months, and from Reconnecting with My Body.

Well, what usually happens with these brief connections on the ski lift is that you wish each other a good day and never cross paths again. That was about to happen here. And then it didn’t.

He had helped me unbuckle my boots on the chair, because my feet were cramping. And I forgot to re-buckle them. So he shouted to me to remember to buckle my boots.

“Oh yes, thank you,” I said. Then it looked like he would move on and disappear. Except he didn’t. He kinda slowed down. We kept moving in vaguely the same direction toward the Squaw Creek chair at the bottom of the next run. I did what I usually do … start skiing.

So did he, except he kept waiting for me. If I would get behind, he would wait. If I would get ahead, he would catch up. (Turns out he used to be a ski and snowboard instructor and probably has a lot of practice with this lol.)

Next thing I know, we are riding the lift up together again. This time we are talking about meditation and deep breathing and working from home and so much else …

Now I’m ready for my last run of the day and it seems we have said goodbye to each other. I’m halfway down Red Dog on the way to cross over the Far East where my car is. And he has disappeared entirely. I felt a little disappointed and … well, that’s snow play … you have chance encounters and then don’t see each other again.

Except then somehow when I got down to the Far East lift, there he was ahead of me. I’m still not sure how that happened. He moved toward a friend’s car and I didn’t think he was aware of my presence.

So I kept skiing through the parking lot to my car, which was the other direction. I was swishing the heavy snow off my car windows with the heavy mittens, and loading up the trunk … when I hear a voice behind me …

“Erika …”

He followed me all the way to my car to get my number. Without ever seeing my face.

That’s magnetism. That’s how fast Presence can work.

To be continued …


erika awakening


About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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Magnolia, My Magnolia

something I wrote a long, long time ago …

Magnolia, My Magnolia

Then they no longer huddled.
They forgot how to hide.
Tense as they had been,
they were flags, gaudy, chafing in the wind.
There was such abandonment in all that! – Anne Sexton

I was born blue in the face, my own umbilical cord wrapped three times around my neck. The doctors said I was lucky to be alive at all and that certainly there would be brain damage. But I guess good fortune was on my side. The stranglehold was brief and soon my skin turned rosy pink. I’ve always attached symbolic value to little life events. A bit of narrative irony there: the life cord threatening to squelch its own tiny beneficiary.

A little girl’s recurring nightmare: I’m standing in a field of dry grass and all my relatives–Mom, Dad, cousins, aunts, brothers–are being slowly suffocated by boa constrictors. There’s one boa constrictor for each family member and one that is suffocating me, too. I fight the death coil but the snake just keeps wrapping its body tighter and tighter around my legs and arms until I am gasping for breath.

We live at the edge of a wooded area where deer and squirrels are frequent visitors to the backyard. My brother and I long to get close enough to one of these deer to touch it and pet it. When we spot a deer in the woods, we approach it slowly to get near and then when it runs, we give chase. During the summer, it is a test of endurance to track a deer barefooted, over packed clay-earth and blackberry thorns. You have to be able to ignore the pain of your feet pounding on the forest floor if you expect to keep the deer in sight. During the winter, we wear rubber boots because the clay-earth turns cold and slippery when the rains come.

One rainy day, my brother and I begin a trek into the woods. We’re only around the first bend when my boot begins sinking in a clay-mud puddle. I yell to my brother that I am sinking in quick sand and to get our mother before I sink all the way down. By the time Mom arrives, I have recovered my leg, but the boot has disappeared into the muck. We find the boot two summers later, lodged tightly in the dried up clay pots, only the red rubber rim sticking out of the ground. Our own Brea Tar Pits, with the past preserved airtight in the reddish earth.

Mom gave in and bought us the Slip-n-Slide that we’ve been begging for all summer. My brother has it all set up in the backyard, with the long sheet of yellow plastic running the length of the lawn and the hose pouring water out at full throttle to lubricate the slide. I stay shut up in my bedroom reading. My brother has already made a few practice runs and now he comes to bang on my window. I tell him I don’t want to slide right now, even though I begged Mom for the set as much as he did. He cannot figure me out. He slides all afternoon, intermittently calling me out to play. Then he suddenly knows. You’re on your pyramid, you’re on your pyramid, he taunts. And I curse the day I was born a woman and I curse the bulky pad between my legs and I cry and cry and cry. This time the bleeding lasts for two straight weeks and I think it will never end.

Later, in high school, I learn that by losing just a few pounds and running every day I can stop the curse. I stop menstruating for months at a time and know that I have found paradise. Whenever it comes back, I just step up the regimen a bit and within a few months, presto, I’m as good as a boy. Just call me Demeter. You can take away my little girl, but I can control my fertility. You can shut her away in a dark underworld and threaten to never let her see sunlight again, but I will retaliate by willing my body barren.

It’s seventh period and I’m sitting in math class. The guy one row back passes me a note asking for a date. This guy is greasy and lusty and he repulses me. I write back, I don’t think so. He writes another note: one of my friends told me you’re just a prude and you’ll be an old maid until you die. I tear the note into tiny pieces and my eyes well with tears. I think it’s true. I’m sweet sixteen and have never been kissed. I probably never will be kissed. Shame saturates every corner of my being. I am ugly and repulsive and I hide my face in my shoulder length hair.

I am twenty and I’ve been kissed many times. Once in a while I still feel ugly, but I remind myself that it cannot be true because men are still willing to kiss me. Tonight is perfect evidence. Right now I’m riding home with Augustus, who is very good-looking. Dark, strong, but artsy, with two little gold earrings in his left ear. He’s a little drunk, but I’m letting him drive my car anyway. I just met him tonight and we hit it off, but now he’s acting a little weird. He asks why I’m allowing a guy I barely know to drive my car. He says: I could be anyone, I could be dangerous. He is five years older than I am.

I am completely drunk, but not stupid. I know that circumstances and details make people the way they are, not the other way around. He is treading into treacherous territory, and red flags shoot up in my head. He is trying to take control of the situation, and if I allow him to, then, yes, he will be dangerous. But it’s a game, a game I can play well. Measuring my voice carefully, I reply with deliberate confidence: I have good instincts and I trust them; I can tell you’re a good guy.

There. I’ve labelled him and re-taken control. He’s not so dangerous anymore. It is obvious that he has not sensed my quick rush of fear. But my confidence remains fragile. I begin to look more vigilantly for danger signals.

Back at his house, he cracks open another beer but I decline, honestly believing that I will throw up if I drink any more. We go upstairs to his room, where I notice black leather boots and a black leather jacket in his closets. He pulls his T-shirt over his head, revealing two tattoos on his shoulder and upper back. A lump grows in my throat. The combination of these external cues and simply the way he talks about his fraternity brothers from MIT is etching a pattern in my brain. I begin to suspect that Augustus is bisexual, the idea of which spawns two unexpected and frightening thoughts in my head. Number one, his probability of carrying the AIDS virus has probably just hundred-folded. Number two, would he rather be in this room right now with another man instead of me? Am I, just by sake of being a woman, already just a second-best scam? It’s a possibility I’ve never contemplated before. He’s right: I don’t know the first goddamn thing about this man, nor do I have the guts or tactlessness to ask him outright, and yet I’m lying in his bed in this unknown house.

I am nine years old at a new grade school where I do not know any of the kids. I spend my morning and lunch breaks inside the classroom making up word games and puzzles and reading books. My teacher worries that I am not social enough.

Amy Bennett gives me an invitation to her slumber party and though she’s not popular, I am happy enough to go. Her parents are not home, so we have free reign of the house. We gather at eight o’clock and make chocolate chip cookies before beginning the party games. We play a few old hat ones, and then I inexplicably suggest a renegade new game. I’ll run and you girls try to tear off my clothes. But I’ll try to fight you off and we’ll see if I can get away. (This is one blessed year before I gain knowledge of the defects of my body. I am not embarrassed to be seen naked.) So we play this game, and I think I can win, but there are six or seven of them chasing me around the living room, and I end up with rug burns, screaming naked on the carpet.

I am thirteen years old and a goody-good. My family spends August in the backcountry, in a rustic cabin beside a huge green lake complete with plate-glass surface that mirrors the forested mountains with their blue and snowy caps. Every year we reunite with relatives at this backcountry resort. This year my girl cousins, who are two years older, have given up bike riding for lipsticks and hairspray. We meet some like-minded boys down by the lakeside and trek to the woods for an impromptu game of Spin-the-Bottle. I refuse to play. I watch with guarded jealousy as my cousins take turns slipping into an abandoned ranger house to make out with the partner randomly chosen for them by the bottle. I desperately want to join in, but I don’t know how to kiss and cannot overcome my fear of playing the fool.

That night a beautiful electric storm smashes the placid aura of the rustic resort. With the lights turned out in our cabin we watch the sky as it cracks along tiny hairline fractures of light and re-sutures itself. A massive rainfall pounds the dirt outside and puddles are beginning to form. I slip out of the cabin without my raincoat and run giddily through the rain until hair licks my cheeks and my sopping t-shirt clings to my torso. I run to the lakeside in an adrenal rush of well-being. The storm is so close now that the thunderclaps are almost simultaneous with the flashes of light. Against the sky above the forested mountains there are glowing pinks spots where lightning fires have started. The night is eerily, violently perfect.

Augustus lies beside me, bare-chested. He says he is exhausted. I ask for nothing. I lie quietly on my stomach, motionless, my drunken body indifferent to any desire. I am infinitely flexible. I demand nothing. Since there is no action, I begin to drift off to sleep.

Suddenly Augustus grasps me. His hands are calloused and rough, which makes his caresses wonderfully brusque. I long to feel his hands all over my body. Then, he reaches for my buttocks, and again, I realize that he is feeling through me, to something else. I am in his presence but not in his mind. Powerlessness overwhelms as I realize there is nothing I can do to make this man feel me. Am I not beautiful enough? Am I not coy enough? Am I not? His hands are suddenly heavy on my flesh and I push them away. He is jarred, but not awakened. He asks: what’s wrong? Do you want me to seduce you or do you want me to stop? I want you to stop, I reply. I want you to stop. He stops. He says: I’m sorry, I didn’t understand.

I am five years old and my family moves into a small neighborhood in a suburb of San Francisco. The first day we pull into the driveway, two older kids, a sister and brother, are turning cartwheels on the lawn of our new house. This year is the first of what will be many years of drought, and watering our lawn is strictly forbidden. So is flushing the toilets. Our new backyard is overgrown with long, dry grasses topped grain-like heads that Dad calls foxtails. We play hide-and-seek in the yard, using the waist-length grass as camoflauge. On our side lot there are rows of leafy bushes with pretty pink flowers. Dad says they are oleanders, and poisonous. He says never eat the leaves of those plants.

Once a week the ice cream man drives down our street, playing his magical tune. We run out of the house with quarters and nickels begged off Mom to buy popsicles and chocolate-covered ice cream bars. Then we sit in the side lot by the oleanders with the neighbor kids and try to eat the melting treats before they dribble all the way down our arms.

I am five years old. One day my parents are not home and the neighbor boy comes over to our house. He is the same one who was turning cartwheels on the front lawn that first day we moved in. He is five years older than I am. We are playing in our glassed-in patio, when he sends my brother, who is three, away to play with a green balloon. The neighbor boy and I lie down on the bristly carpet and he pulls down my pants. I am not frightened. He climbs on top of me and moves up and down. He is inside me, but I will not remember what it feels like; I will not remember the boy’s name. I will not remember where my parents were. I will not remember who initiated it. All I will remember is that I did not fight off this boy or tell him to stop. It is a game, a game, a game.

Now I am twenty years old. Augustus has fallen asleep, but I lie awake, staring out the window at the sky that is just beginning to lighten. The air in the bedroom is hot and stale and hard to breathe. I look over at the distant man sleeping beside me, his voluptuous lips completely relaxed, the black stubble beginning to darken his face. Silently, I dress and find my shoes. I leave his bedroom without waking him, without leaving a note or a phone number. He doesn’t even know my last name. My car is parked in the driveway, between two blooming magnolia trees. The cool night air feels pleasant on my burning skin. As I turn the key in the ignition, the poem about fallen magnolia blossoms is re-writing itself in my brain:

After that I walked to my car awkwardly
over the painful bare remains on the brick sidewalk,
knowing that someone had, in one night,
passed roughly through,
and before it was time.
– Anne Sexton

Tantric Dating: The Art of Building Passion and Intimacy by Taking Sex Slow

Tantric Dating: The Myth of Fast Sex Revisited

“Sex is a conversation carried out by other means. If you get on well out of bed, half the problems of bed are solved.”

– Peter Ustinov

I am sitting here at my kitchen dining table as I write these words. My new friend is serenading me, singing with his guitar, rehearsing for a performance he has tomorrow by Lake Tahoe. He played for us all day yesterday, and I asked him to play again today. The soulful music is helping me tap in to my desire to write again after a long hiatus.

From across the room, I am inhaling his musky scent, mixed with leather from the couches and earthy rain outside and the hot fire burning in the wood stove. Last night, we soaked in the hot tub endlessly again, talking talking talking. Then we stood in the rain shower, one spigot hot and one cold as has become our ritual, talking talking talking, as the delightful contrast of hot and cold water pours down our faces and bodies. Our conversations light me up inside, because unlike so many people on this planet, he is alive.

Like me, he walked away from the trappings of “success” – prestige, extreme athleticism, the relationship house and business – and reduced his life to absolute simplicity and essence. That’s why it’s so easy to connect. We are both stripped down, naked to our values. There’s not a lot of bullshit in the way. ;)

Our second chakras connected last night. It happened suddenly, when I turned my hips toward his pelvis while we were cuddling. “Wow,” I said, “do you feel that?” He did. Like star bursting from the second chakra on up to the heart in kundalini fire. It felt so intense, it took my breath away. There was no penetration. I can still feel the glow of our connection.

He’s definitely the kind of man with whom I have an intense soul connection. My soul partners are always musicians, athletes, storytellers, with high need for freedom, and their right brain fully engaged. They often live on the fringe of society, like me. They are tuned into the intuitive flow of the Universe, which creates the delightful river of conversation, the outpouring of music, the touch on the skin that brings my whole body and soul alive.

This is how I want to live, where life becomes music whether a guitar is serenading me or not. The conversation is music, the touch is music, the flow of coming closer and moving farther apart, and inviting each other deeper … is all music … and the sex, when it comes will be … well, you get the idea … ;)

(He just looked up from his guitar and asked “is the music helping your writing?” I laughed, because he has no idea what I’m writing. “Yes, it’s helping.” What do you all think, is it helping?)

I’ve had amazing sex in my lifetime. There’s nothing mechanical about it. It doesn’t require a lot of role-playing or pretense … it’s definitely not strained imitation of porn flicks … The more stripped down we both are, emotionally and spiritually naked, the better it is. Amazing sex is always like being carried away in powerful music, losing oneself in the flow of Love and Life. I really don’t see a reason to settle for anything less. That’s why I haven’t had sex, again, for two and a half years.

It would have been easy to rush into sex. The second time we soaked in the hot tub, in the bright sunshine under the towering firs and Jeffrey pines that surround my home, and he touched me for real for the first time … it was pure electricity, and it was mutual. Over the next 24 hours, I felt everything in me opening and coming alive. (Want a glimpse of this aliveness? check out the Facebook video from the next day here, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.)

It would have been easy to let one thing lead to another … and rush in, without taking the time to get to know each other on a deeper level.

It would have been easy to be carried away with passion, and forgetting about having all those oh-so-important conversations about what kind of relationship we might enjoy, monogamy and polyamory, about keeping the house clean, about money … It would have been easy to rush in without first having some tough situations arise to see how we navigate conflict or anger together … without talking about mistakes we have made in relationships in the past, and how we intend to avoid repeating those mistakes.

It would have been easy to have sex quickly, and it would have been a mistake.

A year or so ago, I made the decision that I would not be rushed into sex, no matter how strong a connection with a man. I feel relieved about how strong I’ve been the past couple of years, as I consistently turned down the sexual opportunities that arose. I said no because it did not feel good. I could see clearly having sex in those situations would leave me in pain and anger. I never want to do that again.

So the connection is building slowly. No more being swept off my feet. Tonight we are going to yin yoga for more flow and presence. Then perhaps we’ll repeat our ritual of making creative moonshine cocktails, soaking endlessly in the hot tub under the stars, and allowing the waterfall of the rain shower to pour over us … Perhaps we will lie naked together on the bed again, breathing deeply and allowing the sexual tension to build and build and build … without acting on it …

And I’m so, so happy we are doing it this way. How could anyone argue that rushing into sex is better than this slow building of connection, intimacy, and sexual tension?

For years, I taught men in the seduction community about authentic connection with
women. In that community, I was a lone wolf voice in favor of not rushing into sex. I myself have practiced celibacy for extended periods of time, as long as nearly five years.

When I wrote about slowing things down, I felt puzzled to be on the receiving end of so much hostility, criticism, and resistance.

Why are we so scared to slow down this process? Do we really think a relationship that is meant to be will fizzle out while building connection, intimacy, and sexual tension?

Just what is it that people are so scared of, they rush into sex … often drunk … before ever talking about anything real? Isn’t talking the real foundation of all of it?

For me, great conversation is so exhilarating that it’s right on a par with amazing music, with amazing sex, with transcendent enjoyment of every kind … Why are we not all starting there? I call it Tantric Dating. It’s time to slow the f*ck down and build it …

What do you think?


erika awakening

Say Goodbye to Being Swept Off Your Feet: A New Approach to Dating

I am not the same person I was a year ago.

Over the past few years, I’ve spent an enormous amount of time in solitude and celibacy. No need to roll out the pity party. After all, like many of you, I’ve been on a quest for personal transformation. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to break free from a lot of unconscious programming if we continue on in relationships that reinforce that programming.

And what area of our lives is fraught with more co-dependent and unhelpful programming than intimate relationships? After all, look around. Even the relationships held up as models for the rest of us are often only “perfect” on the outside. Look a little more deeply, and you will often find a whole lot of unexpressed despair, rage, and co-dependency. I should know, being a life coach for such a long time. People often tell me the secrets they don’t tell anyone else.

For much of my life, like many women, I dreamed of being swept off my feet by a perfect lover man. We get programmed very early with Cinderella and Snow White. Heck, I was wooed by some of the most seductive men on the planet. I even allowed it to happen, a few times, through what in retrospect was suspension of disbelief. I wanted to believe it could be real.

And I got burned. Badly.

After all, I have values that are really, really important to me in relationships. Values like trust, honesty, integrity, keeping agreements. Oh yes, that pesky expectation of keeping agreements, that’s a really big one for me. For me, the feeling of crushing disappointment after counting on someone to do something – especially someone I really loved – and they don’t follow through … is up there on my list of never-want-to-have-again feelings.

Trust, honesty, integrity, keeping agreements … those values are not in the repertoire of men who “sweep you off your feet.” The man who sweeps you off your feet is a con man. That’s who he is.

With a lot of solitude and celibacy, I was able to step back from my childhood Cinderella fantasy with a lot more honesty … When I was really honest with myself, I could see that What I found with being swept off my feet was only disappointment. Men with no integrity, who could not keep their word to save their lives. The betrayal seared me. It almost destroyed me. Maybe they too wanted to believe their lavish (in retrospect, rather grotesque) fantasies, or maybe they were even more cynical than that. Either way, it left me wanting never to have sex or romance ever again.

So I released and released and released. When Harvey the Cat was really sick this past year, there was no time or energy for taking a shower much less dating. I barely slept for several months, barely left my apartment for the better part of a year. Getting even the most basic tasks done was almost impossible. There was only wall-to-wall healing, week after week, month after month. Only God and I know how many thousands of tears were shed, releasing so many lifetimes of grief to save Harvey’s life.

I am not the same person I was a year ago. I am almost unrecognizable as a person, after being in the crucible this past year. I’m approaching myself now almost the way I would a stranger, not knowing the answer to so many questions. What do I like to do? Who am I? How will I move forward from here? I don’t know.

What’s very, very clear though, is that I have absolutely no interest in being swept off my feet by a man. Never again. I will keep both my feet firmly grounded on the earth, thank you very much :)

Now being a stranger to myself, and so not knowing how to expect myself to behave or think or feel, I went out on the town a few weeks ago. I wrote about it in my newsletter, as some of you who are on my list may remember. What seemed to be the highlight of that night was practicing assertive communication, ala the 30-Day Communication Challenge, with another woman.

I did though meet a man that night too, briefly. It was quite random. And while we did exchange Facebook information, there really was no reason for him to know that I found him intriguing. Not as someone to sweep me off my feet. As a human being. He’s a renegade, like me. Living on the fringe of society, outside the lines. Like me.

And so, since he is a hermit, and I am a hermit, after a couple weeks went by, I found myself feeling drawn toward connecting with him. What’s more … gasp … I went ahead and made the first move to see if he would like to get together. He seemed very excited about it. I didn’t know how he would react. He might have blown me off, and I might have let the fear of that stop me from asking for connection … How many opportunities do we miss in life because of the “roles” we expect each other to play?

Remember, I don’t know myself anymore. So instead of following rules or roles, I did was in my heart.

I’m so glad. We went out for Cinco de Mayo. I didn’t know it was Cinco de Mayo until people started mentioning margaritas. What I did know is that, without any expectations of being swept off my feet, we were having a beautiful, amazing, dynamic, energizing conversation. He super graciously paid for my dinner, even though I had been the first to reach out. Then, it seemed nobody wanted the evening to end. So we went up the street for margaritas, which I was going to pay for but could not get the bartender to accept the cash. (I have a long history of the Universe giving things for free.) They were seriously the best margaritas I’ve ever had in my life, and I’m sure the taste was enhanced by the amazing company and conversation.

Today we saw each other again. Was it some hot and heavy intense seduction? Nope. We hung out in my garage and made a new insert out of glued-together styrofoam scraps for my sagging hot tub cover. And talked, and talked, and talked. While we wound yards and yards of duck tape around our makeshift insert. Then we celebrated by taking a dip in the hot tub. Where we talked some more.

It was glorious. There were no expectations. There was no pressure. I felt super grounded. It was fun.

I will not be swept off my feet. Any relationship that develops in my life now is going to develop in alignment with my deepest values. Honesty, trust, integrity, keeping agreements. Day by day, long before any deep physical intimacy, stone by stone, DIY project by DIY project, the foundation will be built first. Or it won’t go anywhere.

I will never again allow my life to be capsized by a little boy in man’s clothing. Those values – trust, honesty, decency, keeping agreements, mutuality, integrity – are not negotiable. The responsibility for keeping things grounded and everything moving glacially slowly, is on me. It’s a responsibility that – after all I’ve been through that took me to the brink of despair – I happily accept and embrace.

That means getting swept off my feet, is no longer in the cards.