The ideas of loving fiercely, savoring intimacy, and being fully embodied sound wonderful, but when it comes to actually experiencing these vital components of a whole life, many of us feel lost. Enter John Wineland, a Los Angeles based relationship coach, speaker and teacher who has been guiding both men and women in the realms of life purpose, relational communication, sexual intimacy and embodiment for over a decade. With a motto that we seriously love (“Fuck Hacking, Go Deep”), John shows that he’s not here to help us just scratch the surface of what it takes to live a life of passion and authenticity – no way – he’s here to lead individuals on profound dives into deep relational practice, allowing that passion and authenticity to organically bloom.
Regardless of whether or not you’re in a romantic partnership, John’s wisdom will help you journey beyond conventional beliefs and barriers around being in relationship with another, ourselves and the communities we exist in, in order to access an illuminating space where we can express and experience our deepest desires with open, fierce and loving hearts. Intrigued? So are we. Which is why we booked John for our Virtual Speaker Series on Wednesday, February 6th and engaged him in an in-depth discussion here.
Living Wholly: What was the path that led you to become a men's group facilitator, speaker and teacher?
John Wineland: It started in childhood. My father left, and my stepfather passed away when I was a child, so I didn’t have a strong model for masculine leadership in my life. I was raised by my mother and sisters – so I was surrounded by women growing up. But I believe that our deepest wounds are our greatest gifts. When I started studying with David Deida ten years ago I discovered how undeveloped my masculine was and how vital conscious masculine practice is, and realized how much other men needed this as well.
Living Wholly: What directed you to teach on the topic of Spiritual Intimacy and Yogic Sexuality?
John Wineland: A sense of how much disconnection and pain there is amongst people who truly wanted to connect deeply and love each other well, but they were just limited as to how. Nobody taught them. Just like nobody taught me. Or you. What I learned from my practices with my teachers is there absolutely is, for lack of better word, a “formula” to creating connection, depth and spark in your relationship no matter how long you've been together.
Living Wholly: How does Buddhist meditative practice and various yoga philosophies inform your work?
John Wineland: Meditation is about connecting to the infinite and connecting fully to the cosmos. Meditation is also around creating awareness and strengthening your feeling body to feel both yourself and others. Once our personal practice is strong enough so that we can connect to the infinite and feel deeply, then we can begin to bring that into our relating with others, or our romantic relating, or our relating in sexuality. In order to best practice yogic sexuality from a deep place, our bodies need to be open and receptive and capable of conducting love through the body. Breath and yogic practice as well as Taoist and other Tantric lineages help prepare the body for the deepest expression and reception of love.
Living Wholly: Can you explain the essence of the art of embodiment + intimate communication that you teach in your workshops?
John Wineland: There are two layers of embodiment. One layer is that it’s bringing awareness to different parts of your physical body, like being conscious of how our breath is moving into the navel and expanding our belly. The second is taking an esoteric concept like “Fierce Love” and making it real through the body.
Language and awareness are important tools in creating trust and intimacy. Intimate communication is about becoming meticulous in our awareness - what's happening in us and what's happening in another, and using language to describe the deepest experience.
For example, if somebody comes to their partner with their heart open and tears streaming down their face, expressing in one sentence that “I’m terrified that you’re going to leave me,” that’s a very different transmission than coming to the person and saying, “Hey we need to talk…” It’s important to do the work and become aware of exactly how you’re feeling, and to be able to express and reveal the truth of your heart through your body. When we do this, the possibility for deepening connection and passion in the moment expands.
Living Wholly: What are some primary blocks to sexual intimacy? And, what are a few tools that support individuals to move past them?
John Wineland: The primary block is the childhood programming that we carry into adulthood. For example, the programming that I have to be a ‘good boy’ in order to receive unconditional love. A practice that we use consistently is the Taoist three-part breath practice where you breathe deeply into your belly, up into your solar plexus and then up into your chest and back down to the solar plexus and belly. Doing this consistently makes your front body more receptive and lights up the center column of your body which is the deepest place for humans to connect.
With regards to women, most are blocked around revealing their heart’s truth in the moment. They might complain about what they’re not getting – and a common complaint is that they’re not getting enough love – but don’t actually reveal the feelings underlying the complaint. One way to touch into those feelings is through a feminine movement practice that breaks up the knots and allows the river of love to flow through the body more freely.
Living Wholly: How can we help to evoke the best in our partner?
John Wineland: For the feminine, they need to be an invitation for what they most deeply desire from their partner. Rather than complain, it is much more effective for a woman to reveal the true longing and desire in her heart and give that to her partner as a gift. The deeper into her heart she goes, and the more she expresses that to him, the more consciousness she will evoke from him in that moment.
If, for example, the masculine wants to evoke open-hearted devotion, then he needs to share his consciousness playfully and lovingly. The deeper the consciousness that is embodied through his eyes, breath, touch and presence, the more devotion and trust he will evoke from his partner.
Living Wholly: What are tools for staying connected to our partner, even when we’re triggered?
John Wineland: Breath is paramount, especially slowing your breath down and bringing your awareness to the feeling that is deepest. Then use two sentences to describe what you're feeling (Example: “I’m so jealous. It’s driving me crazy.”) Another good tool would be for the partners to use 1 minute of non-verbal communication, maintaining complete eye contact and heart-openness while expressing the truth of how they're feeling.
Ultimately, it is the masculine partner's responsibility to create a container when things are getting out of control. An easy example I use is each partner looks at the other and says, "Here's where you're angry. And here's where you're right," and acknowledges why their partner is angry and where they are right in how they feel.
Living Wholly: How can we express the full range of our emotions in a way that doesn’t damage our relationships?
John Wineland: Expressing the full range of emotion starts with our own personal practice about feeling the feelings we avoid most. In our personal practice, we can set a container, either with ourselves or with trusted friends, to express the depth of our pain around a specific feeling. After we've learned to express our own range of feelings, we can then share with our partners in a modulated way. An example is if we’re feeding our partner grapes, we’re not going to shove the grapes down their throat. We might feed them one at a time. So we might bring our rage, but we bring it in such a way that we modulate it so that the intensity of it will not blow out our partner’s nervous system.
The most important part of expressing any feeling to any partner is that your heart is open. Most partners can metabolize a lot more if the intense emotions are lubricated with love.
Living Wholly: What are tips for artfully creating boundaries?
John Wineland: Tip #1: Set them up to win by saying, "I know you try very hard and you want to make me happy. It would make me really happy if you..." (i.e. "...didn't call me a brat," "...didn't bring your phone to the table.") Tip #2: Let your partner know what it would do for you. (i.e. “I would be much more willing to listen to you in a heated moment.”) Tip #3: When they honor your boundary, praise the fuck out of them (i.e. "Thank you so much for...; that made me feel....") and lavish them with affection.
Living Wholly: Who are the coaches that inspire you, books and/or podcasts that inform your work?
John Wineland: David Deida (Blue Truth), Carlos Castaneda (Journey to Ixlan), Chogyam Trungpa, and Bruce Lee.
Living Wholly: What does living wholly mean to you?
John Wineland: Living Wholly means to feel it all and relate from that place of deep feeling. Let your experience as a human being be a gift to others.
Living Wholly: How can people learn more about you, and work with you?
John Wineland: You can find out more about my upcoming workshops and trainings on my website: www.johnwineland.com. Enrollment is open for my three long term programs and several weekend intensive workshops.
Are you ready to experience love, intimacy, and desire in their most potent, transformative forms? Are you ready to dive into the deepest wells your heart? Are you ready to lift out of the fog and into a space where you experience the most vibrant incarnations of love with all senses? Then we invite you to join us for our LIVE complimentary Virtual Speaker Series webinar with John Wineland on Wednesday February 6th at 6pm pst. Click here to register to confirm your spot. With John’s compassionate, expert guidance we’ll explore spiritual intimacy, yogic sexuality and beyond, unleashing a vigor for life that many of us didn’t even know was possible.
The bonus is the John is giving away one twelve month membership to his virtual series valued at $450. You don't want to miss this! See you soon!!!
with love + inspiration,
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