Episode 15: LaSara Firefox , "Embodied Divinity"
LaSara Firefox , “Embodied Divinity”
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Announcer: This is part one of a two part program.
Beth Crittenden: Hello everyone, and welcome to A Taste of Sex, Guest Speaker Interviews. I’m your host Beth Crittenden here on Personal Life Media, coming to you from One Taste Urban Retreat Center in San Francisco, where it’s our desire to weave orgasm into the world conversation, and into our bodies. We have a weekly lecture series here at One Taste, it’s called the Hybrid Practice Series, where educators from a wide variety of disciplines and areas of study, including sensuality, spirituality, sexuality, connection, communication, all across the board, have come to One Taste and present their work. It’s under the auspices of the Connect-Ed open collaboration. Tonight, we are really pleased to have Lasara Firefox, who is a writer, a ritualist, and a sex-positive activist and educator, here to speak to us about unifying the mind and the body and being the presence of love. Join us today on A Taste Of Sex, Guest Speaker Interviews, as we hear from Lasara Firefox about how all is divine, and that you can actually access divinity through the portal of the body. We’ll explore the question of boundary. Specifically, we’ll talk about sex-positive and body-positive parenting.
Beth Crittenden: So, welcome Lasara.
Lasara Firefox: Thank you, Beth.
Beth Crittenden: I love something that you said when we were getting ready for this, which is that you are working with the gateway between flirting and spirit. How do you do that?
Lasara Firefox: Well, basically I believe that every interaction of any variety is an opportunity to come present in the divine, and with the divine. I believe that the divine is, for lack of a better word the divine is operating through everything at all times, and so when we’re willing to bring our consciousness to the sacredness of the opportunities that we have to interact with others, and with ourselves as well, and bring our consciousness really to opening up and and being present in that interaction that it becomes a sacred offering.
Beth Crittenden: And what does the body have to do with that?
Lasara Firefox: Well, I believe that there’s, in our culture of course, we have a lot of separation, mind/body separation, mind/body/spirit separation. We have to say all three for people to think of all three. I personally believe that it’s time for us to start getting over that, to get through it, to get past it, and to arrive at the basic conclusion that they’re all the same thing. In some of my workshops I teach neuron-linguistic programming or patterning, and my teacher used to say if you can’t put it in a wheelbarrow it’s an abstraction. Right? So, so mind is an abstraction, mind is a concept, it’s not a thing, and I like to say thought, memory, emotion, they’re all processes. And they’re not just abstract processes, they’re physiological processes. So, memory occurs in our bodies, thought occurs in our bodies. Everything occurs right here in our physicality, so as we become more conscious of that process, and bring our full consciousness to that awareness, I tend to arrive at the conclusion that there really is no separation between mind and body. The mind is occurring in our physiological process.
Beth Crittenden: What are some concrete examples? Like, give us a partner dynamic A where there is that alienation from the body, and then a partner dynamic B where it works and they’re connected.
Lasara Firefox: A really easy one is, I work a lot with the concept of presence, so coming present, fully showing up to an experience which a stretch for most people honestly. I was speaking with a friend recently and I just bust out laughing. It’s not very funny, but it was funny at the moment, when I realized that honestly, more often than not we are interacting with our projections. We aren’t interacting with the people we’re interacting with. So, that’s a perfect example of disembodiment. That’s a perfect example of not being present in interaction. When we’re interacting with the things that we think people are, when we’re—like for example, my children. It’s so easy to fall into attachment instead of presence with my children. People’d say, “Well, of course you love your children.” A lot, I believe that what we think of as love is actually attachment. A lot of what we think of as love is actually attachment. And love is something different than that. Love, actual love, is the ability to come fully present with a person as they are, as they’re arising, as they’re arriving in this very moment. I believe that that’s love, and that is embodied presence, to be able to fall into total presence with a person as opposed to falling into attachment.
Beth Crittenden: And so the listener can get to know you a bit better too, other than being a Mom, which is incredible, congratulations…
Lasara Firefox: Thank You.
Beth Crittenden: How else have you studied this? What informs your work?
Lasara Firefox: Well, I’m a trainer of neuro-linguistic programming. I’m a practitioner, a Master Practitioner Trainer in NLP. I have worked with ritual much of my life, since I was very, very small. I was raised outside of this culture, I was raised in the United States but not in the dominant paradigm, and my training started, in facilitation my training actually started in the non-violent peace movement when I was very young. So I was facilitating in that arena when I was fifteen. I learned full consensus decision-making and non-violence training techniques, Ghandian non-violence principles, and was teaching those by the time I was fifteen.
Beth Crittenden: And where does sex fit into this?
Lasara Firefox: Well, when I was nineteen I noticed that, at least in—well, when I was nineteen there weren’t a lot of people doing safer sex education, and it was a subject that I thought really needed to be addressed, and I lived in a very sex-positive culture, actually. The sub-culture that I grew up in was very sex positive, it was the Hippie Back-to-Land movement and the Pagan, Neo-Pagan movement. So, I grew up in that arena, it was the most sex-positive option probably in the United States, and yet the functional component of safer sex wasn’t really being addressed because AIDS was really a pretty new phenomenon, and AIDS is really—you know, HIV infection and AIDS—when AIDS started hitting the news, that’s when people really started thinking about sex. You know, I grew up in an era when sex and death were very closely linked. You couldn’t—you know for me as a teenager, getting ready to encounter sexual interaction, I actually held off quite a while because I was so, ‘cause they were so closely linked for me, in my consciousness. And I’m a big feeler, you know, I can’t get away from it. Like I was born with a massive amount of compassion, and not only that, like, the sense that it’s my responsibility to change the world. I’ve gotten to the point where I realize that it’s everyone’s responsibility. Thankfully, it’s not just mine. But as a kid, I didn’t really have that perspective, I didn’t see people doing a lot besides, some of my elders were taking a very active role in trying to make the world a better place, but I didn’t see that happening in my generation. And so I always felt a need to address what there was to be addressed, and so safer sex education was one of those things. So when I was nineteen I designed a safer sex seminar that I started offering for free wherever I went, and that’s how that started. And, like I said, I grew up in a sex-positive community, and very body-positive and female-positive, so it was natural for me to take the skills that I had learned by way of how I grew up and to start offering them back to the greater culture.
Beth Crittenden: You’ve also said that you work on breaking down the cultural division between being spiritual and being embodied, so how does your work bring those together for people?
Lasara Firefox: Well, at this point I identify as a mystic, though my spiritual process is a very eclectic—I mean the mystical sort of direct-path orientation is very diverse yet completely the same from tradition to tradition. Every religious sect, every spiritual path has its mystics, and it doesn’t matter what path the mystics are from, it’s the same story that we’re telling, and it’s about the experience of being so completely in love with god, with all that is, with the entity that occurs through us continually. I actually just was privileged to witness a number of really amazing speakers, and one of them was a brother named Brother David Steindel-Rost, and he is a Dominican monk/friar, and he’s in his eighties, and he travels around speaking about peace. He’s friends with the Dalai Lama. He’s just the sweetest man, totally the sweetest man, and he was quoted by another speaker there as saying, “It’s time to take God out of the sky and put God in our hearts where it belongs.” And this is from, you know, a Dominican Brother. And, it’s very much reflects—he’s a mystic as well—so it very much reflects how I feel about it. And so that’s what I’m saying, god is not something that’s outside of us. Life is in our bodies, and if life isn’t god, then what is? The presence of the divine is in every cell, so my body is not something other than the all that is, right? My body is a seat for the divine consciousness, and your body is too, and the amazing thing about it is that when we bring our consciousness to our physicality, we have the opportunity of interacting with god everywhere that we go.
Beth Crittenden: Is that what your ritual work is?
Lasara Firefox: Absolutely. And I use god with a small g just to clarify, it’s not—I’m not a deist, I believe that god is the most—a bull isn’t a bull either, we just don’t have another word for it. Right? So, language falls short. There’s, you know language is a representational system, it’s representing concepts and the concepts are sometimes—concepts in this arena are very difficult to telegraph. I believe they’re the easiest to telegraph through feeling, and that’s why I like doing ritual, and that’s why I like praying with people, and that’s why I like sitting in a circle, and that’s why I like sex, and that’s why I like hanging out with my kids, and that’s why I like being in this body, because I have the opportunity to really feel the presence of the divine through this vehicle and in this vehicle.
Beth Crittenden: You also have a technique and a philosophy that you’ve worked with called Boundary Play. What is that?
Lasara Firefox: So, Boundary Play is basically, well it’s something that I started working with as a very sort of pragmatic thing. It’s about, I believe thoroughly in Systems Theory, and I apply Systems Theory to human interaction, and our bodies are systems, and systems within systems, and human interaction is systems within systems, and you can go out or in as far, and we haven’t found the end in either direction, so it may just loop back on itself, who knows? But…so, Systems Theory is part of it, it’s about creating positive feedback loops on a basic level, but on a more metaphorical and metaphysical level, it’s about the question of boundary. Right? I mean, our skin is a boundary, but is our skin the only boundary that exists? Absolutely not. And energy play, so there’s that also can go into Systems Theory. But then beyond that, there’s the question of getting beyond boundary altogether, and I—and again to loop it back to the physical experience, and loving the physical experience, and being the presence of love, and experiencing god through our bodies. Sex is such a potent doorway to surrendering completely to the cessation. They call it, you know, ego annihilation in Buddhism, or surrender is just such a great word, but it’s cessation. It’s falling so completely into presence that I cease, and the other ceases, and there’s no separation in between.
Beth Crittenden: What does it take to get there?
Lasara Firefox: Well, I—you know that’s a very good question, and I think that in my personal experience it’s happened to varying degrees and in differing settings. I was married for ten years, and I remember in my wedding ceremony that I fell into total presence when I was taking my vows. My ex-husband and I also had a dissolution ceremony on our ten year wedding anniversary, and I remember being completely in presence in that too, and falling into the cessation where it becomes timeless, where ego is dissolved, where it’s not about me, it’s about being fully present in the all that is. There’s no separation. And then beyond that consciousness of oneness, there is the concept of none, because even one, when we say, “I was totally at one with this person,” that’s still ego consciousness, right? There’s still something that’s conceiving of oneself as one, even if one is not separate from everything else. But when one gets beyond oneness and into total cessation, that’s Nirvana.
Beth Crittenden: We’re actually going to take a short break now to support our sponsors. How can people find you if they wanted to work with you?
Lasara Firefox: They can find me at lasara.us, they can email me directly at [email protected], and they can always Google me and see what I’m up to as well, but my website often has everything that’s going on.
Beth Crittenden: Great. I want to let people know also that you have a book that was published in 2005 called Sexy Witch…
Lasara Firefox: Yes.
Beth Crittenden: Which sounds amazing, and you have a new book coming out in January called Ecstatic Flirting: Playing at the Edge of Self.
Lasara Firefox: Mmm hmm.
Beth Crittenden: And you’d mentioned that the final chapter is Divine Other, so people will get a chance to download if they want to find out more about presence and connection and divinity through the body.
Lasara Firefox: Yes, absolutely. That chapter is actually going to be available through a website called A Thousand Symbols, which is a religious tolerance website that’s going to be launched in June, and so that’ll be a bonus download to that website.
Beth Crittenden: Great. This is Beth Crittenden, your host of A Taste of Sex: Guest Speaker Interviews on Personal Life Media. We are delighted to have Lasara Firefox with us today, and please join us after the break to support our sponsors.
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