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Andrea de Michaelis, Publisher

Hello and welcome to the February 2012 edition of Horizons Magazine. I'll begin with my Planet Fitness Update : I joined Planet Fitness the day before Thanksgiving and I can already tell a difference in how I look and feel. Just two months in, I'm already stronger, have more energy and get better sleep. I'm learning the importance of keeping muscles strong and how muscle tissue canrebuild in 6 weeks, how muscle tissue is broken down and reforms as you exercise.

I was lighter, healthier and more fit at the end of last year than when it began. I've changed my eating habits drastically since my previous carcass eating lifetime of processed and fast food. I tied cause to effect and, one by one, stopped eating the foods that my body couldn't handle for me, that was fats. Now, each year since 2005, I find myself being led to more healthful food and lifestyle choices, and working out a little more each year. I'm younger and healthier now than I was 10 years ago. I feel my diet has sent me back 20 years.

At the advice of noted fitness trainer Cindy Cox-Ruccolo (see www.cindyruccolo.com) I just added some fish oil supplements to my regime, as well as Glucosamine Chondroitin & MSM for the joints. I'd posted on Facebook that I hear a crunching sound in my right elbow area as I doa triceps kickbackeven without weight, but had no pain, no discomfort. Cindy had commented "Sounds like Crepitus. Crepitus is a symptom characterized by a crackling, crunching, grating feeling/sound under the skin, in the joints. In soft tissues, crepitus can be air or gas that has abnormally penetrated and infiltrated an area, in the soft tissue. In a joint, crepitus can indicate cartilage wear in the joint space. We are not Dr.'s. If there is pain, you should see a Dr. asap."

Cindy is the sister of a longtime friend, and she's a professional bodybuilder as well asa licensed and certified personal trainer. Cindy is an old school trainer, it's resistance training usingno machines, no weights, just your own body. She's 48 with the body of a 25 year old. I didher sequence last night of lunges, jumping squats and weightless deadlifts it got my heart pumping and got me out of breath in short order. I did sets off and on all evening so I can increase my endurance. My muscles are barking today. That means it's effectively working out muscles I need to work out. I will definitely do this sequence on a regular basis. It really works the major muscles.

And I can do this at home, alone, no weights, no machines? Bring it! Now on days I can't get out to the gym, I have the perfect at home routine. All I need is 30 minutes and 6 feet of floor space. I wonder what my body will be like this time next year? My thought is I'll be a clean, lean, healthy fuel burning machine.

                            All the particles of the world are in love
                                             and looking for lovers
                                                                 Rumi

Have you ever felt so filled with love that it didn't matter if you squeezed it out onto one person alone or everyone everywhere? Yeah, me too. I don't often write about love relationships simply because I don't think everyone needs to have a partner in order to feel loved and to be happy. I've spent a dozen years at a time in celibacy bouts with no lover on the horizon, and my life is happy and fulfilling during those solitary times. I've never been into recreational sex. I don't judge it, it just carries more emotional baggage than I want to be saddled with. If I'm going to be intimately involved with someone, if I am who I say I am then it has to become part of my spiritual practice.

The word "tantra" is used to market everything from bath salts to music, but what most do not know is that tantric sex is only one facet of tantra. Tantra is an entire lifestyle, just as yoga is a lifestyle and encompasses much more than merely body postures (asanas). The concept of true tantra, as in true yoga, is an entire state of consciousness that imbues everything you do with a sense of oneness and connection. It seeks to commune in a holy manner with everything you come in contact with, animate or inanimate, animal, mineral, vegetable or etheric. It treats everything with utmost respect, kindness and reverence, and celebrates every thing at every moment. Tantra teaches to live in an orgasmic state of being. That is what living a tantric lifestyle is all about.

A tantric practitioner approaches every moment with no agenda other than to taste fully the essence and form of it. To delve deeply into the experience of each moment and become one with it. To become timeless, to be in the ever present, and to breathe yourself into remaining conscious in that present.

When I reach that euphoric state of mind, I can take that deeply into my meditation and use it in my spiritual practice. I can breathe and direct that euphoria into thoughts of whoever or whatever could use some healing and blessing, and pour it out upon them in my mind's eye. In this way, I am adding to the global mental plane, that giant bank of thoughtforms in the sky that we all have access to. I make it a daily practice to deposit good thoughts into that bank. And when you do a practice like this with a partner, you together become a powerful force to do good in the world, to do a real service to mankind via your meditations and contemplations.

                                                           Come to your lovemaking as Shiva and Shakti would

What is our purpose in being together if we do not enrich each other and those around us? A friend and I had a discussion about sex. She considers it something you do to get it over with. She is a very spiritual person but considers sex and spirituality in two different worlds.The greatest optical illusion is separation.
Tantra teaches that all aspects of life are special and sacred. It's the idea of creating heaven on earth and viewing yourself as a god or goddess.

In tantra, you learn to form a spiritual connection with everything and everyone. Tantra is a lifestyle which may or may not include a sexual practice. We're talking here though specifically about the sexual practice, where you worship your Beloved as the embodiment of God. If you do not have a partner, you simply do the practice on your own using visualization.

                                   To a worldly man, a God-intoxicated person will appear mad and he will laugh at him,
                                          but to the God-intoxicated man, the worldly appear insane, foolish, misled, blind.
Sai Baba

Make a practice of sharing this intoxication with your Beloved daily during a joint meditation practice. Daily meditation together keeps you bonded. Sit together for 20 minutes a day breathing together silently, eyes closed. Another bonding exercise I love is Heart Breaths. I remember the first time I did Heart Breaths. It was back in the 1970's in a group encounter session. We all sat in a circle and paired with the person next to us. We faced each other, chairs a little offset, my right hand over her heart, her right hand over mine. Left hands over right hands. Then we gazed into each other's eyes silently for four minutes, breathing together. It was very powerful. I've also done this alone, hand over my own heart, gazing into my eyes in the mirror. It's powerful stuff.

So you can sit together silently for 20 minutes, eachoffering the world's troubles up to God on the inhale , and exhaling His love back down into the hearts of the world. Then do 4 minutes of heart breaths, eyes open, then come to your lovemaking as Shiva and Shakti would.

Shiva is the Hindu destroyer god, which means he's the destroyer of our illusion and the ignorance that stands in the way of humankind's union and enlightenment. Shiva is a major Hindu deity, worshipped in Hindu temples in the form of the Shiva lingam, which represents the cosmic pillar that unites heaven and earth, in the shape of the phallus, it is the symbol of male creative energy.

Shakti represents the Divine feminine creative power, sometimes referred to as The Great Divine Mother. Shakti is the agent of all change, and is cosmic existence as well as liberation. Her most significant form is the kundalini shakti force, that flowing Life force we feel especially strong when we have chemistry or sexual desire for someone. Shakti is worshipped in the form of the yoni, which represents the origin of life, in the shape of the vagina. It is the symbol of female creative energy.

I'm not talking about role playing, I'm talking about being aware of the greater significance of the Cosmic forces playing out in your life. Myth and legend has a lot to teach us about archetypes and when we understand those, we understand ourselves and human nature more as well. What you want to do is create a setting for the seduction of Spirit to take the reins in your sexual encounter with your Beloved. Become aware of the spiritual energy in the room. Simply your awareness of it will constitute an initiation between the two of you. Make it a practice to use slow, deep breathing and controlled exhales throughout each session.

The male body symbolically holds the key to uniting heaven and earth as well as the continuation of mankind. When you worship your man's body as that, you are using the key to unlock a great power within him. Regardless of gender (I will use he and him and his for ease), when his heart opens when you touch him, or yours when he touches you, when that radiant feeling comes over you is the time you begin to breathe it in and then breathe it out into the Universe. You breathe it in as God's great Love and you breathe it out, sending it into that big bank in the sky that holds good thoughts and hope and healing, that anyone who wants to tap into it, can tap into it.

This is the stuff of real magic, having a daily practice to consciously add good into the Universe while enjoying your Beloved. Eye contact and slow, deep breathing is important, with slow and controlled exhalation. This also regulates the shakti within you and prolongs the pleasurable sensation. The inhale will take care of itself, your job is to slow and control the exhale as you become aware of the radiation of sensation.
That's one important job of meditation, whether you are conscious of doing it or not, is you are sending up thoughts of peace and security and good feeling and hope and they are depositing into that big bank in the sky they call the global mental plane.

So your job in the union of you and your Beloved is to keep him happy and filled with radiant Love so that he can create what God sent him here to create. The more you create the space for him to open up and pour himself out and feel God's love pouring through him, the more of a beacon he will be free to be.

The happier you make him with you, the happier he will naturally make you with him. God always has us give what we want to receive for a reason, it's his signal to us, it's the intuitive spidey sense He uses to let us know what the other is thinking and wanting.

A note to a Lover: You're not here to entangle me nor I you, except in silken sheets.
                                    I'm here to set you free to be, you're here to let me love you as
                                               you've never been loved before. You think that would be easy. LOL
                                                   here, step into this bath and eat this apple while we talk about this great Love.

Enjoy our offering this month.
Hari Om.