Friday, December 3, 2010

Relationship Epidemic: Shutting Out Body Wisdom

I'm wondering if there was ever a time when alexithymi­a was NOT the common state of much of humanity. Also wondering if it is really a disorder or maybe simply a different, non-feelin­g-based way of experienci­ng (or not experienci­ng!) life. In any case, tapping into and appreciati­ng body wisdom and learning how to notice, express and recognize feelings and energy flow in our bodies and others is so valuable - so necessary - in relationsh­ips. Thanks, Gay and Kathlyn, for all you do in providing informatio­n and tools for learning how to awaken this way of being truly alive.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Love with a Capital 'L': Recognizing the Divine Through Another

Great article. In my own writing, I often refer to "Love with a capital L" - although my publisher refused to use the capital L in our book because he couldn't justify it grammatically! Whether or not we connect such an experience with the divine, and however we interpret that, doesn't matter. What matters is the experience itself. To share such moments with our significant other is to enter into the delicious heart of a relationship. When all else falls away but our intimate connection with our partner, something arises that we can surely call Love - with a capital L! ~ Diana Daffner
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Monday, November 15, 2010

Why Your "Good Enough" Marriage Is Good for Your Kids

Diana Daffner commented on this article:
During the "Falling in Love" stage of a relationship, we probably experience more unconditional and non-judgmental love than at any other time of our lives. Of course, if we let ourselves be blindsided by our feelings of love, we might miss some conditions and necessary assessments that would help us make a better mate selection. However, if we've chosen reasonably well, and we're relatively comfortable in our relationship, then bringing back some of that unconditional love can add a whole new dimension to our happiness. Love is not a feeling that comes and goes, it's a very real experience of what is. And while, yes, there are many aspects to intimacy, a couple who can tap into the kind of love that drew them together in the first place is a happy couple indeed. And the happier the marriage, the better for the kids, the community and the world.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Marriage Renewal: From This Day Forward

Richard and I just celebrated our 25 years of marriage with an amazing renewal ceremony at the EcoTulum resort on Tulum Beach, in Mexico. This is the romantic location of our winter Intimacy Retreats, on the Riviera Maya, along the Yucatan coast of the Caribbean Sea.

Since I myself perform both weddings and vow renewals, this experience has given me more insight into the power of such ritual. I feel that new life has been breathed into our relationship. Rather than simply moving forward in our marriage from this year to the next, we have taken the time to consciously choose each other again. We began our new vows, "From this day forward..."

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Since you asked..

Well, maybe you didn't ask, but my last post - and our recent newsletter - mentioned that I was participating in an ancient ceremony/ritual without saying what it was. In case you are wondering, I experienced a mikveh (also spelled mikvah) which is a biblical immersion into water. It was a meaningful and powerfully sacred event. Note that although this ritual is most often associated with orthodox Jews, one does not need to be an orthodox Jew to experience it. (I am not.)

Actually, I created a ceremony that drew on ancient teachings related to chakras, which is from the world of yoga and Tantra. Walking down the seven steps to the mikveh (a pool of water), I connected with, and then released, the attributes of each chakra. It was a personal journey of letting go. I will write more about it at some time...

Thanks for your interest...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Turned on by Abstinence

From our newsletter: In our book, Richard and I share about how we honor our relationship, our love and our spirituality with a daily sexual meditation that we call Peaceful Passion. We have been more or less consistent with this wonderful, juicy connection for quite a few years now. But not today.

Today is different because I have chosen to personally experience an ancient spiritual ritual and have been asked to abstain from physical intimacy for seven days as preparation for this one-time event. Richard agreed - reluctantly, but with appreciation for the power of the ritual. (That’s one of the reasons I love him so much. He sincerely tries to honor my needs and desires in all aspects of our lives. As do I his.)

Since sexuality itself serves as a spiritual process in our relationship, it may seem odd that we agreed to abstain from it. It’s only for one week, how hard could that be?

Well it turns out that it hasn’t been hard at all. In fact, I have loved the ongoing feeling of romantic interest - and yes, even arousal - that I am experiencing whenever I see or think of Richard. While this is somewhat normal for me, I have been noticing an increased level during these days without our sexual connection. Perhaps it's the anticipation of returning to our daily practice that excites me!

Imagine, being turned on by abstinence!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tooting my horn!

When I visit Satya Winkelman's studio, she excitedly shows me her newest sculpture. "Isn't it fabulous?" she exclaims. That's not a question she is asking; it's an expression of exuberant delight!

I have learned from Satya from that it is okay to toot your own horn, to let people know how you feel about your own creative endeavor. Earlier tonight I heard myself doing exactly that. I was telling someone about the CD (Lessons in Intimacy) that my husband and I produced to help couples experience a more soulful way of loving. As I began to tell her that we had listened to it ourselves just a couple of nights ago, I heard myself bubbling with enthusiasm. "I loved it, it's really great!" The words just flew out of my mouth. And it felt good to be so appreciative of what I offer to others.

Have you tooted your own horn lately?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Womens Spiritual Leadership Teleconference

Excited to be invited to be a faciliator at the Womens Spiritual Leadership Teleconference..

Perpetual Motion and My Years of T’ai Chi Chih

A great blue heron ruffled its feathers, briefly landing in our yard today, during morning T’ai Chi Chih practice. I felt grateful for its visit, and for the Gulf of Mexico water, still flowing unsullied, as I write this, in the canal behind our home. I felt gratitude, as always, to Justin for having gifted the planet with TCC - which I have now practiced for over twenty years.

One of my favorite memories from our Teacher Training in 1991 was watching my husband Richard warm himself up by doing Pulling Taffy Variation #3, Perpetual Motion. We were way up north in Bemidji, Minnesota, almost in Canada, and the temperature outside was way down below zero. This January training took place within a week of our relocating from New York to Florida! Most of the time we stayed inside, traversing the warm tunnels that connected our room with the meeting and dining rooms at the University where the training was being held.

Richard and I had left behind most of our winter clothing, but luckily the school rented outdoor snow gear, so we could safely brave the weather along the lake. We had heard about Tibetan monks concentrating on the circulation of Qi and various breath practices in order to produce enough “Tummo,” or inner heat, to dry the wet sheets that were placed on their backs, or to make circles around themselves as they sat in the snow. Remembering that, Richard began doing Perpetual Motion. Experiencing it together (I couldn’t help but join him) we became less aware of the biting cold, more deeply in tune with our own inner flow of warmth, and with each other.

I am always amazed at the power of shared practice. For over fifteen years, we have led a weekly, follow-along practice session on the beach near our home. Some of those who attend are new to T’ai Chi Chih. Some have in the past, or are now, attending classes. Practicing TCC alone - or with the company of backyard herons - is powerfully rewarding. Yet as we all know, the awesome shift of energy during group practice supports and magnifies each individual’s experience. The beach session begins fifteen minutes before sunset. Our beach faces west, so that’s a natural gathering time. Nature supplies us here with amazing displays at sunset, and sometimes whole flocks of birds flap their wings all around us.

Richard and I also spend time in Tulum, Mexico, facilitating couples’ workshops at a resort on an east-facing beach. There, he leads TCC at sunrise. (I’m not a morning person, but sometimes even I can’t resist such an auspiciousness moment.)

A black belt in Aikido, I came to TCC after many years of embodied spiritual arts training. I easily felt and appreciated its value immediately. At the time I was also holding meditation classes in our home. Richard liked attending – but would promptly fall asleep. I knew TCC was for us when, while doing Bass Drum in our NYC apartment long ago, Richard said to me,” Now I know why you want me to stay awake during meditation!” His comment, and the writings of others in The Vital Force who spoke of their chi experiences, convinced me that one didn’t need a background like mine in order to benefit from TCC. We began sharing it with everyone we met!

And so the years have passed. We have enjoyed TCC in so many fabulous locations, I can no longer remember them all. I remember daily, however, the serenity such practice provides.

Wherever I am, Perpetual Motion takes me deep into the earth, rooting me, like part of nature itself. Continual movement, shifting weight, yet staying in place, like a tree rippling with energized life. Or a great blue heron ruffling its feathers.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Professional Review: Daffner's book offers hope of increased connection for couples

Contemporary Sexuality, the professional journal of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists has published a favorable review of my book, Tantric Sex for Busy Couples. "The book is easy to follow and offers hope of increased connection for couples." That indeed is what makes a relationship glow, isn't it? Increased connection. Of course, I wouldn't want to encourage a 24/7, joined-at-the-hip kind of connection. Or maybe it IS always there, hovering around us. The trick is to tap into it as the same time as your partner. Both fully present to the moment of connection. Yes! That's what it's all about.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

To Do, and Not To Do

Right now, if you could really see into me, you'd probably see dozens of unfinished to-do lists. Yes, I do mean that the lists themselves are unfinished, and so are many of the projects! Some get done though. Lots, actually. I was asked to write a blog post for about weddings, and so I wrote "Private Time - Now and Forever."

I was asked to send a flyer about the talk we're giving in Berkeley, CA, and I got that done.

Today's accomplishments included setting up a new computer in my office during a break in the Intimacy Retreat we are leading. (It had been sitting in a box for several months.)

Completing projects turns me on. Taking small steps toward larger goals feels good. I am so fortunate that I love what my day is filled with (and my nights - I really love sleeping with my husband!) I also love doing nothing. At one time in my life I was most proud of how good I was at doing nothing! I'm ready for a little of that now. A quiet retreat with nothing to do, no projects, no accomplishments - that sounds good to me right now.

That's all for now. Thanks for stopping by.

In gratitude,

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Newsletter Sent!

Communication with couples who are interested in our Intimacy Retreats is SO important. I just emailed a newsletter to 5,000 people! Wow, that is amazing to me! Of course, I think that most monthly newsletters go out at the beginning of the month.. and here it is mid-April already. Still, getting it done is an accomplishment I'm proud of. (Hope there weren't any typos or bad links.)

And today, my radio interview is featured on The Kathleen Show. There's our photo on the page, along with some very famous people. So today is a good 3rd chakra day. Chakras are psycho/spiritual energy centers in the body, and the 3rd chakra, located along the spine about midriff or solar plexus level, below the diaphragm, allows us to experience healthy self-esteem.

It's good to feel proud as long as we don't become too prideful. My heart chakra is active today too, because when I reach out to those thousands of people, I feel it through my heart. It may only be a momentary connection but if I can inspire others to nurture the love in their own relationship, it opens my heart as well. Love is good medicine for everyone!

With gratitude for all that is,

Friday, March 26, 2010

Lights Out!

On Saturday, March 27, at 8:30pm local time, we are being asked to participate in EarthHour, a one-hour lights-out reminder of our global need for renewable energy sources. This is the fourth year of this event and it turns me on that billions of people and organizations will turn off their lights in a cascading effect around the planet. Imagine what that might look like from space! (Of course now that we have Google, we probably won't have to imagine it, Google will probably find a way to map it for us.)

That's another thing that turns me on, Google. Well, not just Google but the entire internet, the entire web that connects us instantaneously as if we were truly - and maybe we are - one huge organism, one Being with billions of ways of presenting Itself.

Using only candlelight for an hour sounds like a lovely way to begin Saturday evening. Whether in a romantic setting or simply with friends and family, candles not only alter the visual environment, they often bring a change of mood, a closeness, a slowing down of the busy-ness of life. We could all use that for an hour!

I've heard that the flame of a candle can be seen throughout the cosmos, which means that angels, and beings in other dimensions, might also appreciate this worldwide, hourlong turn off of electricity. Hmm. I suppose not just the lights should go off, but our use of the internet itself, don't you think? I love when making calls via Skype, it says how many millions of others are also using it. If everyone held back from using electronic communication for the hour, that number could be tracked as well, time zone by time zone. How about no emails or texting or even phone calls. Plan to be with a friend at that time, face-to-face. Now THAT would be a huge turn-on, an hour of ONLY face-to-face communication.

One final thing that EarthHour reminds me of is a Jewish meditation and a Native American chant, both of which celebrate the Divine LIGHT as being within us and all around us. Perhaps in the darkness we will find it easier to access this inner light.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Acknowledging Presence: I See You

From today's Intimacy Retreats newsletter....

In the movie Avatar. a three-word phrase is used to acknowledge the true presence of another. The phrase is "I see you." How similar in feeling that is to "Namaste," the Sanskrit word we use at Intimacy Retreats when honoring our partner. Namaste translates as "bow," and indeed we do bow toward our beloved. The deeper meaning is even more significant. It is a spiritual acknowledgement. It is a seeing of the other as a beautiful expression of soul. In that place of soulness, we are One. This is the bliss of love.

At our retreats in Mexico, we use a Mayan expression, In Lak'ech, which means "I am your other you." Not only do I see you, but I am so connected to you, that we are One. While each is a unique expression of that Oneness, together we share who we are.

To truly see another, we must be in touch with our own authentic presence. A simple, three-word sentence that expresses such presence is "I am here." In Hebrew it is "Hineni," said by Moses as he stood before the burning bush. At our workshops, we use this as a powerful statement of committed connection. When we are facing our partner, looking into each other's eyes and aligning our hearts and bodies, "I am here" creates a timeless moment of shared presence.

Try saying these phrases with your beloved. Sit or stand in front of each other (naked is good!). If you have attended an Intimacy Retreat, use one of the Tantra Tai Chi positions or movements, or "Peaceful Passion." Look into each other's eyes. Let your beloved see into you. (Intimacy = Into-Me-See). Awaken love.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Here is something that caught my attention and interest recently:

A person with autism thinks in a totally different way than most of us do. Thinking typically implies the use of language to ponder, sort, consider and store information. Dr. Temple Gradin, a scientist and writer whose life is currently being portrayed on HBO, shows us that her autism allows her to think in pictures instead of words. The movie, titled simply, Temple Gradin, gives a sense of what it might be like to be her. Although she is quite well known in her professional field as well as in the world of autism, I was unfamiliar with her name. I hadn't seen any HBO promotions for the movie, just happened on it by chance. It had already started when I began to watch it and about half way through, I turned to Richard and said, this is so amazing, it must be a true story! Googled right then and there on my Blackberry and confirmed it.

I'm not sure exactly what stirs my fascination more - that someone would devote her life to designing better and more humane ways of leading cattle to slaughter (Gradin's field of expertise) or that someone with what is so often considered a crippling diagnosis could actually draw on the strength of her differentness to contribute so much to society. "Different, not less," is the message throughout. I highly recommend seeing this.

I am often surprised at what catches my attention, what excites my energy. A glimpse into the life of someone who thinks in pictures gave me much to muse about. Life is rich with so many possibilities.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day Thoughts

I've been thinking lately about "discipline." It's going to be the topic of a teleclass panel I'm on, on Feb 23. My friend, author Susyn Reeve, of, recently sent out, in her "daily inspiration" newsletter, a note about exercising her "discipline muscle."

For so many couples (dare I say most?), a daily routine to connect with one's most beloved partner is a challenging discipline to implement. Even when we reap a tangible benefit, even when it's something we enjoy, there's some kind of resistance we give in to. Or maybe it's simply a matter of forgetting.

For my husband Richard and me, the 10 minutes of our Peaceful Passion, using the energy principles of Tantra Tai Chi, while physically keeping lingam in yoni, is so mutually fulfilling to both of us that we manage to "remember" and show up for it almost daily. (Yes, sometimes we have to remind each other. It's still easy to get lost in whatever else we're each doing.)

I wonder how we decide which "disciplines" become routine in our lives.. For example, I have not ever - at least not yet - managed to discipline myself to a daily stretching or yoga routine, which I "keep meaning to." Maybe we don't make a decision about most of them, we just get into the habit of whatever we do - or don't do - regularly. Writing in this blog is an activity I show up for, albeit quite irregularly, even though I love writing. (How delighted I am to be here right now!)

We make choices every moment, and if we don't choose, the choice is made for us, maybe based on either momentum or entropy. We keep moving because we're moving, or we run out of steam. Discipline, habits, routines... A lot to muse about, yes?

Temperament plays a role. Some of us are born with a strong discipline muscle, or have it trained into us. Some need "new" everyday, are addicted to the brain's pleasure center that lights up for novelty. For others, routine and discipline are comforting.

I don't have any answers but I do believe that each of us can enhance our lives by creating - and sticking to - rituals that matter to our health, our relationship, our life. And I am grateful that Richard and I both find Peaceful Passion valuable enough to show up for it every day!

Odd thoughts, perhaps, on Valentine's Day, thinking about discipline, ritual, routines. Or not odd at all, since the whole idea of Valentine's Day is an annual routine, an annual ritual. We've been trained as a society, that at least once a year (well, maybe two or three times, including birthdays, anniversaries and those December holidays), we "show up" to express love for our partner. What if we only went to the gym three times a year? Not much exercise of our "discipline muscle" would occur.

Susyn proposes that when we stick to an exercise routine, a physical workout, it helps strengthen our ability to be more disciplined in other areas of our life. I wonder though, if some couples might do better to trade in some of that exercise time for at least a brief daily loving time with each other. When we nourish our relationships on a regular basis, we live in joy. Surely that's a way to make Valentine's Day last all year!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holistic Moms

How wonderful to be in the company of mothers. Women who with their whole hearts - along with their bodies and bank accounts - are raising the children of the next generation. This group of moms, in particular, take their mothering quite seriously and gather together at meetings where they not only schmooze with one another but also take time to learn something new that will improve their lives in some way.

Tonight in Sarasota, I was the guest speaker. The topic, of course, was based on my book, Tantric Sex for Busy Couples. No one is busier than moms. Sure enough, that's what I heard from them - how little time, how tired they get, how uninterested they think they are in the type of "intimacy" their husbands want. Not all of course. At least one - really, only one - of the moms reported being quite happy and sexually active with her husband.

I shared with them what I think is important about relationships and gave them a new way to think about intimacy, sexuality and the gift of love. When parents share a soulful presence with one another, even if it's only a few moments a day, their children benefit. So often the adult relationship is suspended during child raising. So little time, etc. Let's change that around, let's remind couples how valuable their love is. How valuable love is.