Why It Will Last: How The Stars See William and Kate

You actually don’t need the Stars to tell you that as Prince William married Kate Middleton, they appeared to certainly be genuinely in love. Last Friday’s most anticipated wedding of the century was witnessed by billions from around the world as they took their vows within Westminster Abbey. Can our planets above validate this actually is a real life “fairy tale” that is meant to endure the test of time?

A Marriage Chart: 11am 29 April 2011, Westminster Abbey

Astrology indicates this to be a strong marriage, rooted in plenty of responsibility and wisdom as it was initiated under an 8-degree Taurus Sun. 8 is the number of connections, stability, patience, and infinity. Taurus is the most favored sign in the Zodiac to be married under. Coupled with the security and equal patience that The Bull brings- as the Sun in the marriage chart is placed in the 10th house of Public Life/Career- they’ll be multitudes of recognition and reward they will gain together as a couple, furthering upon the energies of Taurus. Queen Elizabeth was the first to respond to this astrological promise with her wedding gift that involved some titles.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will find themselves doing their fair share of world-traveling as a royal couple. With an empathetic Moon in Pisces, they’ll be concerned for the world and their part in helping it, especially with a 9th house placement. The remainder of their 9th House of Foreign Travel/Beliefs/Higher Education has all of the planet power of Uranus, Venus, Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter pioneering here in Aries. Undoubtedly there will be amazing experiences throughout the globe they will be able to influence and bring good fortune to in their own original way.

Numerology favors this to be a very sensitive, protective, and imaginative bond through the 29 calendar date. Even though the 29 represents Grace Under Pressure, as long as this Capricorn and Cancer pair remain charitable, exhibit grace under challenging situations, and truly co-operate as a team; balance will be theirs. The 29/11 reduces all the way to a singular 2, wherein the Moon is very present: marking family-oriented, emotional, and nurturing energies to guide them as well.

Like any human soul, our marital initiations can be examined by the details of numbers. Looking to the Lifepath, we find the 19’s The Prince of Heaven blesses the entire journey of the marriage. This equally assures that our new Duke and Duchess will be seen on the stage of life, and they will also initiate many benevolent, creative and enterprising things together. There will be a protection around them that is quite fortunate to keep their bond exciting; fueling inspiration, and sparking new beginnings they will continuously share throughout it.

Are They Soulmates?

Astrology is always ready to give solid answers to this question that says absolutely yes. William and Kate definitely have known one another in more than one lifetime when you look to the details of how their natal planets “talk to one another” within their birth charts.

Kate’s Venus trine William’s Pluto

This is one of the strongest indications of a past life connection between charts, not only verifying soul mates, but that of twin souls. This planet contact between Venus and Pluto assures that once they met again in this lifetime, being separated would become extremely hard. It is a deep karmic bond in which they share, and there is an irresistible draw they have towards one another, that struck them like lightening when they first met.

Kate and William’s Mercury’s trine Saturn

What a delightful mirroring affect from this astrological gem! While both were born with a native Saturn in Libra, Kate’s Mercury in Aquarius and William’s Mercury in Gemini bring a double whammy of communication plus, allowing one to rarely be demanding over the other. The richness in their ability to be fair and friendly stems from lifetimes ago, as this strong Saturn contact brings back once again the good karmic ties they have already experienced. When the communication and mental compatibility is this good, longevity in the relationship can’t help but wish to stick around.

Why Do They Get Along?

William DOB: 21 June 1982 | Kate DOB: 9 January 1982

Born only 6 months apart, William and Kate share many similarities within the signs their natal astrological planets are placed in. Their emotions, motivations, wisdom, self-reliance, originality, and ability to transform are all in matching energies- as the planets in their individual charts representing these qualities happen to be placed in the very same signs.

Kate’s Sun oppose William’s Sun

Now, the Stars just had to spice something up a bit with all of the other planets adjoining within their charts. Here is a total case of looking to character identity alone, that opposites sure do attract. Oppositions -when approached properly- thrive on complimenting one another, and this truly seems to be the case here. Kate’s practical and classic Capricorn presence makes her the yang to William’s yin with his innate sensitive Cancer style. Cancer men are fairly brilliant at creating romantic environments, while Capricorn women will appreciate the perfection put into these efforts.

Kate’s Moon conjunct William’s Moon and Sun

Six months after the Full Moon in Cancer Kate was born under in 1982, William was born just hours after the New Moon in Cancer. Emotionally, our Royal Couple possess the same sympathetic, sociable, cherishing, and sensitive behavior in regards to how they feel. They each bring their personal sense of the extremes of starting and completing emotion to their union, (one more way they totally compliment each other). Exact Moon Signs can indicate telepathic abilities, which when placed in the sign of Cancer is even more prominent; so for William and Kate, going with the gut instinct is always highly advised.

Anytime in comparison charts, if the Moon is in the same sign as the partner’s Sun -as Kate’s is to Williams- you can best bet that your pair will not separate for too long. This aspect, guarantees from the Stars above that even if a parting should occur, the door will be wide-open to smooth things over later. William’s personality is undeniably soothed by the emotional nature of Kate. The ties they share in this lifetime are impeccably graced with a rare harmonious blanket as cozy as Cancer: one in which they also enjoy sharing plenty of time snuggling in together at home.

William’s Sun sextile Kate’s Jupiter, Kate’s Sun trine William’s Jupiter

Again, another mirroring affect in how the planets are “talking” to one another in William and Kate’s charts. When the Sun and Jupiter are in positive aspects as their sextile and trine is William’s Cancer Sun to Kate’s Jupiter in Scorpio/Kate’s Capricorn Sun to William’s Jupiter in Scorpio), the best of social prestige, abundance, wealth, and plenty of seemingly good luck is never too far away. Should troublesome spots be around, these planet relationships greatly aid in optimistically moving them right out of the way.

William’s 21/3 Karmic Path to Kate’s 9 Karmic Path

Numerologically, a 21 and 9 are a fine team and have a genuine and honest way of relating to one another. Both Kate and William enjoy their freedom and independence, and as long as they respect this about the other, this Jupiter (3) and Mars (9) understanding will have a endless joy spreading idealism around and motivating one another to learn and grow. Not to mention, these two definitely like having FUN together as a couple, but as we may see, as much as they will be in the limelight, they will make sure their private time is respected and granted.

Divine Timing

Ever wonder why some things last in life and some don’t? There isn’t a doubt that timing has everything to do with it. The current transits within our birth charts are a valuable tool to indicate appropriate timing within out lives. We also spin in time in 9 year cycles. Certain years are more favored than others to make important choices and changes within as well.

Mutual Saturn Returns in Libra

Even though William and Kate met when they were quite young within their growing years back in college, they waited until their Saturn Return to make a lifelong commitment to one another. Saturn now currently transits in Libra, and hasn’t spent time within The Scales since the couple years surrounding 1982. Astrology strongly advises making any permanent life-long decisions before the first Saturn Return, for the soul has not learned enough through experience yet about what it truly likes and does not. Once the Saturn Return is in motion, if things are meant to stay within the life, they will solidify, otherwise, they will dissolve.

Kate’s 5 Personal Year

Kate is currently within her Mercury guided year of permanent changes, movement, and blossoming in her life from the previous 4 years work as the magical working of the 5 allows her to not return to what she once knew. How often does a “commoner” become a Duchess? There will be plenty more changes to show up within Kate’s 5 year, that is now only one-quarter of it’s way through. By the time she enters her 6 Personal Year in January 2012, there will be even more irreversible changes that she will discover will unfold. (We won’t “predict” it, but it may be of no surprise that with Jupiter passing through Kate’s collective 5th house of children over the entire next year- if it isn’t a further heir to the throne, certainly her creative nature may birth some brain children.)

William’s Natal Chart: Sun transiting 4th House

Looking to William’s natal birthchart, his 4th House of Home and Family has a positive boost as the Sun transits here now in Taurus, as we see him make benevolent changes in this area of the life. He is quite surrounded by emotions, and especially those of the past at this time. Certainly that was evident as reflection was placed upon Princess Diana’s (also a Cancer Sun Sign like William) absence, and although William was evidently more than happy, both he and Kate seemed especially tuned-in to one another as the Pisces Moon waned on. As they took their vows, feelings were more than open to their already innate sympathetic nature. Deja-vu is often known to happen with 4th house transits. The church the world witnessed The Prince marrying Kate in, Westminster Abbey, just so happened to be the very same church he last said goodbye to his Mother almost 14 years prior. Memories indeed.

It’s All in the Name

Lexigrams share the last piece of star secret intrigue. These are the phrases created out of the anagrams from a name, that uncannily enough tell a story that nine times out of ten, is wildly accurate to the one we see unfold in real life.

CATHERINE ELIZABETH MIDDLETON

A millionaire “commoner” to realize a rare dream

Meant to be married to a real nice cancer man, one that had a real nice cancer mom die in a car

Catherine came to earth to become a leader in a great heart

Catherine to become another eternalized name in time

WILLIAM ARTHUR PHILIP LOUIS

As William has his martial suit, pairs with his optimal marital “mortal” soul pal as all patrol

William has a warmth, a truth his soul sort out

William a popular, smart tip top aristo to support

William authors laws as a southpaw

William has a spiritual triumph worth it all

Heartfelt Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. It is a blessing to have the Universe in favor of it all down here below. While our new Duke may be sorting more of those feelings from the past out, Princess Diana, undoubtedly from above, equally sends her royal approval down here below accompanied by the warmth of Love.

Coming June 2011: It’s All in the Name

How McDonald’s (and Others) Can Find Their Way Back

There have been a lot of articles talking about the big challenges McDonald’s faces and how they are trying to find their way back to dominance in the fast food industry. Much of the discussion has been around their new ad agency and how they have been getting a lot wrong lately.

We could dissect this situation and pick it apart for many months to come and at the end we would be left with a pile of bones and no real answers. You see, from my perspective, it is actually quite simple. One key issue is that they are trying to be all things to all people… this doesn’t work at all today in our highly personalized world where every consumer can essentially get what they want when they want it when it comes to products. This isn’t the answer… and coming up with different sizes that the market doesn’t even know that they want truly misses the mark by a big distance.

And coming to the show late with offering breakfast items all day is a mere bandaid in the scheme of things. This isn’t new and it isn’t leading… it’s reactionary to their competitors and complaints from customers (for many years). This might increase some short term revenue but it’s going to do nothing to bring them back to dominance.

So why do I think this is simple? There’s a movie set to come out talking about the life of founder Ray Kroc and the birth of McDonald’s… let’s start there since it helps us see how they lost their way.

McDonald’s was built on being awesome! They came up with a model to deliver mediocre food quickly and with an experience. Customers enjoyed eating in as much as using the drive through experience. And as they added playgrounds and happy meals with toys and fun activities inside the meals they continually added to the experience. Food remained mediocre and even when they added some new products they weren’t anything spectacular. You could always get a better burger from the local burger joint. But as they kept growing their experience they kept adding more and more loyal customers.

Sure, there were lots of other burger places… most of which served better food than McDonald’s but people still wanted to go to McDonald’s… especially their kids. The kids didn’t care about the quality of the food they wanted to play, meet up with friends, get a happy meal and trade toys… and have fun. And yes they ate the burger and fries along the way.

To me, McDonald’s lost their way when they lost sight of this simple phenomenon… the experience their customers had at McDonald’s. No one ever came for the food and they still don’t… you can get a better version of whatever they serve somewhere else… their food is a low end commodity. What you can’t get anywhere else is the experience they used to offer. They missed it… their big agency missed it… and leadership seems to be missing it!

They forgot about what it’s like to be AWESOME!

If McDonald’s made a strategic decision to go back to being an experience for people they have a shot at being on top again. It’s really that simple… they just aren’t seeing it at the moment.

Let me paint a scenario of what might happen if they started delivering an awesome experience and stopped worrying about the product. To keep it simple, let’s say they have two groups of customers… those that continually use the drive through windows to get their food and families. If they focused on just these two segments they could create some remarkable experiences around these where both audiences would love to come back over and over and would go out of their way to tell their friends.

Take the drive through window experience. If you think this is an experience in ordering efficiency you are missing the point of an awesome customer experience. Sure, you have to be efficient and accurate with your handling of orders people give you… that’s a basic tenant of drive through ordering. But what could they do to enhance the experience to the customer? What could they do so the customer would say, “WOW, ordering in the drive through is unlike anyone else in the industry… this is actually fun and entertaining?”

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out. I could come up with at least 20 things that would enhance this experience and create this reaction. Some simple, like how they interacted with the person when they were ordering. Think Southwest Airlines and how they deliver the pre-flight speeches. They could do it like all the others or they could make it fun and something people look forward to. McDonald’s could create a version of this and have some fun and entertain their customers. It isn’t rocket science… it’s having a CUSTOMER OBSESSION focus.

Look at the second audience… families. There are so many things they could do to enhance the family experience so that the kids would throw a tantrum if their parents didn’t take them to McDonald’s. And think of it as a “community gathering place” where people actually wanted to meet up instead of their local Starbucks… because it is kid friendly as well. They could completely change the way people view McDonald’s and actually look forward to going there socially instead of to eat.

And the best part of all of these ideas is that the food doesn’t need to change. It can still be the mediocre low end commodity product they sell today… it isn’t why they are going. They can always improve the product and offerings, but without the complete change of the experience, it’s just competing in a commodity world of fast food… and that’s a tough game to win.

So rather than worrying about offering 3 different sizes of Big Mac’s and breakfast all day, McDonald’s needs to fire their agency and hire a team of people that can figure out how to get back to their roots Ray started and become CUSTOMER OBSESSED. This would have more impact on their bottom line and give them a chance to once again be the dominant fast food chain in the world. Will they take on this challenge or just keep trying to win in the food commodity space. It will be interesting to watch. But without some major changes in personnel and vision, don’t expect much more than a fancier Big Mac.

Live in the Moment – Ditch That Cell Phone

A phenomenon has taken place on this planet that simply baffles my mind. This phenomenon is not exclusively American. I have traveled quite a bit, as I practice Muay Thai in Asia and see it everywhere I go.

People are literally addicted to their cell phones. It drives me crazy.

People walk into you, or cut you off all the time. The worst part is they either don’t realize they have done so, or just don’t care.

I swear the next generation of Homo Sapiens will be crossed-eyed with one arm longer than the other, and a gigantic over-developed thumb.

A recent trip through the airport was a frustrating experience for me. People walking toward their gate were all walking with their heads buried in their phones. It was like walking through an obstacle course. You have to have the footwork of a professional Muay Thai fighter, just to survive.

When I arrived at my gate, everyone had their phones out, and were preoccupied with them.

I was a bit early for my plane so I went to the bar to grab a drink. I have always enjoyed meeting people from all over the world in airport lounges. Not any more… to a person, everyone was buried in their phones while sitting at the bar. Even the bartender, between serving customers, picked up her phone and started scrolling away.

This happens everywhere I go. I went to the gym the other day after Muay Thai training, and there was a guy sitting on the machine I wanted to use… you guessed it, staring at his phone for 20 minutes. If you can Facebook while you are working out, your workout might not be all that hard.

I was at a concert recently and everyone around me was recording the concert on their phones, completely missing the concert itself.

Another time, I was trying to watch some May Thai fights in Utah, but couldn’t see because the person in front of me had their phone in the air, recording them.

I took my wife and son to Thailand last year. When taking a break form Muay Thai training, we were on the most beautiful beach in the world, I looked over at my wife and saw her scrolling through her Facebook feed.

That was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me.

I don’t carry my phone any more. I got rid of it. I still have a phone and use it when I need it, but if I don’t answer your call or text for a few days, it’s because I didn’t see it. It’s not that I don’t care… wait, actually it is. Being in contact with people via a cell phone is really not all that high on my priority list these days.

Some of the things that have surpassed it are; sunsets, sunrises, trees, water, people watching, etc. You know… the world around me.

I honestly feel free. My wife gets frustrated with me sometimes because I don’t readily take her call, but I’m OK with that. The world is going on out there, and I am part of it.

If she wants to go out somewhere, I insist that she leave her phone behind. I want to spend time with her… not the back of her phone. Unfortunately for her, she has to spend time with me… just me.

There are some pitfalls to leaving technology behind.

I sometimes get lost because I don’t have my GPS system, and I’m OK with that as well. I eventually find my way, and have stumbled upon some other awesome places by accident.

I don’t have much of a library of pictures from my travels, but I have some amazing memories.

I highly recommend everyone give it a try for just one week. Leave your phone at home. Check it in the morning and before you go to bed at night in the event of an emergency, but leave it by your bed when you leave. You will be amazed at how liberating it is.

The world is going on out there… be a part of it.

Creed Cologne – 5 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Creed Fragrance

1. The Fragrance

Creed cologne is an incredible scent that is a perfect match for men who want to flaunt their elegant and sophisticated style. This cologne is a rare combination of quality and class that the House of Creed is famous for. Every bottle is fused with all the natural ingredients processed by maceration and filtration to ensure that every customer gets only the best.

Scents included in the Creed collection are those that are rich and warm, floral and woodsy, warm and sensual, tangy and earthy, and fresh and sexy. Every man is sure to find something that will suit his preferences.

2. History of the House of Creed

The House of Creed was established in 1760 by James Henry Creed. He opened his first boutique in London but later moved it to Paris. Its rise to fame was very quick and it was soon the official fragrance supplier of the royalties. Because of this, nobles all across Europe were using perfumes by Creed. Some of them were Napoleon the Third of France and Franz-Joseph of Hungary.

The secrets of the House of Creed have been passed on from generation to generation. This world-renowned perfume house is now under the leadership of Olivier Creed who was trained by his father for many years. He became a master perfumer in the year 1975 and since then has created many amazing scents including his company’s best-selling men’s cologne, which is the Green Irish Tweed.

For the past 250 years, this family-owned perfume house has continued to commit to produce quality fragrances with extravagant style.

3. The Creed Bestseller

According to The House of Creed, the Green Irish Tweed is the best-selling item in its collection. It was released in 1985 and has remained a favorite among all of Creed’s men’s colognes. Popular celebrities who have continued to be loyal patrons of this particular product are Robert Redford and Richard Gere.

The fresh and clean fragrance of the Green Irish Tweed has top notes of lemon and verbena, middle notes of Irish and violet leaves, and base notes of sandalwood and ambergris. Few people find this fragrance very strong, but many of its patrons think that the smell is just right. It is perfect for day and night use so men are assured of smelling fresh and clean all day.

4. The Elite Clientele of Creed

House of Creed’s luxurious boutique is found in Paris, and has been home to some of the world’s best kept perfume secrets. This dynastic, privately-owned perfume house has an exclusive list of clients which includes celebrities from the film and music industries all around the globe, and high-ranking officials from many government offices all over the world. Loyal patrons of Creed are mostly the super rich and famous.

Creed has been able to produce about two hundred fragrances which are all original and hand-made. Some extremely wealthy customers have asked Creed to craft perfumes for their exclusive use.

5. Women Love the Smell of Creed

Women just love Creed cologne as it exudes luxury and elegance. They know that Creed is synonymous with excellence as every bottle is made of natural ingredients processed with the finest perfume techniques. They know that a man who wears Creed is a man of excellent taste.

Should You Compare Yourself With Others?

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” – Theodore Roosevelt.

Now there’s a smart guy.

Part of the success that you’re going to see in life and in business involves how you perceive yourself and how you perceive other people. What a lot of us do, unfortunately, is we compare ourselves to others which is so easy to do isn’t it? As we scroll through our Newsfeeds looking at everybody’s ‘highlight reel’ of their lives, and comparing it to our own.

We don’t see the one hour beforehand, where they put everything in a particular place to get that perfect photo, put a filter over the top, and publish it. When it’s published, everyone looks at it, clicks LIKE, comments “stunning”, “gorgeous” “beautiful babe”, and in their heart think, “Oh, if only I could be like you,” or, “Oh, you’ve got it all together”, “I wish I was more like you”.

A majority of the time we only see people’s highlights reel. I know for myself, I’ve gone to take a selfie and things are happening off screen that doesn’t line up with the photo I’m taking! For instance, the kids are cracking up and you’re cracking up. “Can’t you see I’m trying to take a photo here?” You smile for the selfie, then it’s back to the drama at hand… “Oh, you guys are just so annoying. Can’t you ever behave?”

Stop comparing yourself to peoples’ highlights reel. Social media isn’t really a place where you put all your dirty laundry out on social media. You have a couple of trusted friends who you take your issues to and confide in, okay? When stuff is going on, you can have a download with them, and they can talk you through it, or smack you out of it, if that’s what’s required.

When you look at the social media profiles of others, you’re also most likely looking at their strengths. My kids were having a talk the other day about school, and square pegs and round holes. One of them said, “It’s a square peg in a round hole.” The other one said, “Depends on how big the hole is.” (I think they’ve heard a bit of this sort of talk over the years). Then another comeback was, “It’s like telling a goldfish to climb a tree.”

Can a goldfish climb a tree? That’s what we do when we compare ourselves with others. We might be a goldfish. The other person might be a monkey. They can climb the tree, but can they swim as good as you? No. When we’re comparing, it’s often like, “Here’s their strengths and, oh, gosh. I can’t do that.” By looking at everyone else and what their strengths are, and idolizing those things, instead of celebrating what it is that you’re good at, that is just going to rob you.

You go into toxic thinking when you compare yourself with others. When we live a life of comparison you’re poisoning your soul. Toxic thinking will devour you. It will just keep going, and keep going, and keep going, and before you know it, you’re consumed with envy. You’re consumed with jealousy. And it causes you to be dissatisfied with your situation in life. It’s just a horrible place to be.

When you have those toxic thoughts against other people’s’ successes, it’s really going to limit yours. That is not something you want in your world.

How do you overcome comparing yourself to others? A lot of us have been going through this ever since we were kids. When our parents might have said to us, “Why can’t you be more like your sister?” or your teacher said “Why can’t you be more like Johnny?” – someone who was an authority in your life compared you to someone else, and that started the seeds.

How do we stop comparing ourselves and start celebrating who we are? Here are some ways:

1. Be aware. Think about when you scroll through your social media, what thoughts or feelings have been coming up, or be conscious of your thoughts next time. When you become aware, you then acknowledging that you’ve been doing it, and then commit to stopping those thoughts.

2. Acknowledge your strengths. Years ago, I heard someone ask a prominent leader, “What are your weaknesses?” He said, “Oh, I don’t know, really. I focus on my strengths.”

A practical example with that, was with my son and his school report card. There were a few subjects that he didn’t do so well in. So what do you do? Focus on the subject he didn’t do well in – “Oh, well, you better pay more attention to them and get those grades up.” For me, I was like, “Okay. You did really good in these subjects, so these are the ones that you’re really good at. Let’s focus on these and get these grades up.”

Instead of pushing a log up a hill sometimes, focus on those things that you are gifted at. Improve them and that is where you are really going to shine. When you keep trying to make things work that aren’t designed for you, that’s when you’re going to get frustrated. That’s when you’re going to be burnt out and overwhelmed. Focus on those things that you are good at. Focus on your strengths and making them better, and you will be in your sweet spot.

3. Celebrate other person’s achievements. Instead of turning into a green eyed monster, “Oh, she’s lost 10 kilos and I haven’t lost any.” Well, celebrate their success. Go, “Wow. That is awesome. I am so happy for you. You so deserved it. You’ve been working so hard. Good on you. What new outfit are you going to buy? Woohoo!”

Celebrate their success and acknowledge yours, as well. Too often, we’re looking at what other people have done. We tend to not acknowledge what we have done or accomplished.

If someone had actually like written up a bio of you that had all the amazing things that you have done, how would you react? Suppose somebody unknowingly created your bio. You would read it and say, “Wow. This person, look at what they’ve done. Oh, my gosh. Wow. This person’s living an amazing life!” Then you discovered it was your bio. “Oh. What? Is that me? No, that’s not me.” It is okay to acknowledge your strengths and what you’re good at, and what you have accomplished.

I hope that’s been of great value and you’ve got at least one takeaway that you can apply. If there’s someone that you know, or you think this has been great, share it out. Spread the word. Let other people know to stop comparing themselves with everyone else’s highlight reel and to celebrate their own success.

Quit comparing and why don’t you right now, write down five things that you are really good at? Five of your strengths or five things that you’re grateful for. Right now. Do it. That’s a challenge.

The Best 20 Bible Verses About Love

As a human, we are guaranteed to do ONE thing during our lives no matter what: we will love. Love is a timeless emotion that can be exciting, deep, passionate and even unwaveringly loyal. But there are also bad things about love: it can cause wars, pain, suffering turmoil.

That’s why, as Christians, we should learn about God’s eternal Love. If we do, then we can do our best to TRULY love people during our lives. Our love can be selfless, instead of selfish. The best place to learn about God’s Love for us is the Bible.

In the Bible, we see that God loved us so much that He gave up his only Son for our sins and us. If it weren’t for this eternal, unconditional act of love, we wouldn’t be saved. Praise God and read the Bible verses below to get a better, more fuller understanding of love!

# 20 – Psalms 42:11

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

The most important message contained in this verse is this: we should not be in despair. Psalms 42:11 tells us that we have no reason to be in despair or cast down. We, people who love and worship God, are saved. We praise Him because He loves us and he gave up His only Son for us. We should rejoice in His love!

Therefore there is no reason for us to be sad! Any time you experience sadness or depression in your life, all you need to do is remind of yourself of God’s undying love for you.

# 19 – Proverbs 5:19

Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.

When reading this verse in Proverbs, you must take a step back to truly understand the big picture. It teaches us about being satisfied with our chosen partner in life. We should be satisfied with by the love of this person, as an infant is kept satisfied by its mother’s milk. If the wife loves the husband and the husband the wife, then it is a recipe for happiness.

So remember, when you choose your partner, you should be satisfied both mentally and physically. This should be a person that you respect loves you back. If it is, then you will always be happy in his or her love.

# 18 – Proverbs 10:12

Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

Sin, strife and negativity are borne out of hatred – this is always the case! But, as this verse in Proverbs tell us, LOVE “covers” of these sins. Love, goodness and happiness will always conquer hatred, evil and sin. That is why every one of us should fill our lives with as much goodness as we can.

Love will heal us, so we should look to God’s love whenever we are in need of healing, support and guidance.

# 17 – Proverbs 13:24

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

If you love your children, you should always endeavor to teach them, even if this means punishing them from time to time. You would be doing them a disservice if you “spared the rod” and didn’t punish them when they did wrong. If you love your family – teach them what is right and good in whatever way you can.

As a parent, it can be hard to scold a child that you love so very much (more than yourself, even). But you must be strong! Teach the child what is good and what is bad – even if sometimes that requires chastisement. They will be better for it.

# 16 – Proverbs 17:17

A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

This verse from Proverbs is a little confusing – both a friend and a brother should know love. However, it is a friend’s nature to show love at all times. A brother’s love is different from a friend’s, however. Even though he should love at all times, he should always strive to fight for and protect his brother, even though he may face adversity while doing so.

Therefore, a brother’s love is MORE powerful… even though he might have to endure strife and hardships to protect his kin.

# 15 – Song of Solomon 1:2

Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine.

The Song of Solomon is full of colorful, passionate language about love.This verse is a simple celebration of love at its most basic expression – the kiss! The kiss can unite lovers, families and friends. It is universally understood as an expression of love. Love between two people can be more exquisite and enjoyable than all other earthly pleasures!

# 14 – Song of Solomon 4:10

How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments than all spices!

This is yet another verse in the Book of Solomon that celebrates the simple beauty and joy of love. Although there are many different kinds of love, they all share a similar core that brings us joy. How lucky are those who are able to love God, family and friends!

Love is compared to many pleasing things throughout history: a wine, a flower, a sound or a smell. And even though we can get wrapped up in the poetry of love, we must never forget what a serious, passionate emotion it can be.

# 13 – Song of Solomon 8:6

Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame.

All of us should be able to wear the love we have in our hearts like badges of honor on our sleeves. Love can be passionate – so passionate that it feels it will outlast even death itself! And although love can inspire jealousy that feels as cruel as torture, it is always worth the risk!

You should be proud of the unconditional love you have for people. It is an amazing thing to have. Every time we love someone we are honoring God’s love for us. Be proud!

# 12 – 1 Corinthians 13:4

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

This verse in Corinthians reminds us that by giving to others we can express our love. Charity, a common expression of love, represents some of the most important things about the thing called love. It is kind, long, it does not envy and it is not concerned with itself. It is completely selfless – a perfect expression of God’s undying love for us.

We should be reminded here that love should be selfless. If we love someone, we should not care to receive anything in return, even if that is something we desperately want.

# 11 – 1 Corinthians 13:13

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

This verse in Corinthians reminds us of what we should hold dear in our lives: faith, hope and charity. However, it emphasizes that charity should be the most important. Charity helps others and it is a completely selfless expression of true love. It is the best way to spread the love of God to the people of the world!

Just think of what the world would be like if more people were charitable! It would be a kind, loving place and no one would have to fear. And although there are many very giving people in the world, not all of us are all of the time. We should work more often to be this way!

# 10 – Colossians 3:14

And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

This verse in Colossians that teaches us again about the importance of charity – it is the selfless expression of love that we should show the world as faithful Christians. Through charity, we can improve the lives of others without asking for anything in return!

Sometimes it is hard to put this into practice. If we are charitable, then we are not receiving anything in return. We must think about what God and Jesus would do during our days. Would They worry about receiving? Or would They give? Just like Jesus gave up His life for our sins?

# 9 – 1 Peter 4:8

And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

This verse in Peter means that if we are repentant, loving Christians… we should try to show love to others. By being charitable, we can show others and God that our love is pure and meaningful. Do your best to make the world a better place when you repent for your sins.

It might not always be easy, but it is best for your life and the lives of others if you are charitable and repentant. Volunteer, be selfless and always put others’ needs before your own.

# 8 – 1 John 3:16

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

This verse is telling us that we should use God’s ultimate example of unconditional love – Him giving up his only Son for our sins – as guidance in our own lives. If God was able to give up His Son for us, we should be able to provide for our brothers and sisters in a similar way.

Every day of your life doesn’t have to be full of extravagant, love-filled gestures, but we should always remember that the least we can do is to treat people with kindness. If God’s Son gave up His life for us, we can act least be nice to our fellow man.

# 7 – 1 John 4:9

In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

Once again, this verse from the Book of John instructs us how to treat the other people in our lives. If we can attempt to love others even a fraction of the way God loves us, we could make their lives and ours better.

That is why keeping God at the center of our lives can improve so much! Our lives can take on a whole new meaning if we try to love our brothers and act like true Christians. We should be filled with love – not hate!

# 6 – 1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Whenever we are truly, deeply in love with someone we shouldn’t feel fear. There is no fear in love – only passion, understanding, and kindness. Fear results in torment, misunderstandings and heartbreak. When we love God and others, we should be faithful in that love.

If we are in love with someone, the worst thing we can do is FEAR. We must let ourselves be consumed by the love. Some people fear change or commitment, but we shouldn’t. Love is a pure, amazing thing. Humans are imperfect and things can happen, but the act of love will always be the same.

# 5 – 1 John 4:8

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

This is an extremely important verse in the Book of John. This verse tells us that God IS love. If God is love, and we desire getting closer to God, we should learn to love more deeply and more fully than ever before.

This might be the most straightforward Biblical advice on love in existence. If God is love, then love is good (like God). It is also pure and holy. This is why when we feel love, we need to remember it is sacred. It should be treated with respect – and so should our fellow man.

# 4 – Song of Solomon 8:7

Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

This verse in the Song of Solomon so eloquently defines love – it cannot be drowned and it should be one of the most important things in our lives. Take this to heart when you think about your love for God. This love (and God) should be at the center of your life.

If it is, then you can be strong during times of strife. You can survive against the raging waters and not drown.

# 3 – John 15:13

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

If any of us were to lay down our life for our loved ones, we would be emulating the greatest act of love of all: Jesus dying on the cross for our sins. If we could put our loved ones first in our life, we could get that much closer to God.

This is never easy to do, but we should always strive to do it. Just think of how a mother would feel about her children: she has an undying, unconditional love for them. If we could express a fraction of that love to more people, we could improve so many lives – even souls.

# 2 – Song of Solomon 2:16

My beloved is mine, and I am his: he feedeth among the lilies.

This simple verse in the Song of Solomon summarizes love famously – if you love someone and they love you, you will be in a world so wonderful, as if sweet smelling lilies surrounded you. Now, the real world isn’t fantasy, but true love is real. And when you love, your world can be so much better.

Each one of us has a different mental of image of what love it like – you might think of sweets, flowers, perfumes, silks or passion. But love is a universal language. No matter what it means to each of us, we all feel the same love!

# 1 – Ephesians 5:25

Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

This final verse about love from the book of Ephesians is one of the best verses to read when you’re curious about the love in any relationship that you are currently in. It applies to every single one of us and we should take it to heart. Husbands should love their wives and wives should love their husbands – it is simple as that. Relationships can be complicated, but if we can keep unconditional love at the center of our hearts we can make our lives, and the lives of others, so much better.

So learn to love God more deeply and more truly if you want to become closer to Him – if you need help understanding, please read more on GodVine’s online Bible!

Parent Guide: How to Stimulate Language Development in Daily Routines

Communication is part of our unique definition as humans. It provides expression for our ideas, a platform for us to comment, tell, request, suggest, and share throughout our daily lives. For this reason, a child’s expression of his/her first word is reason for huge celebration! A little person is proving to the world that he/she has begun to “crack the code” of our complex world of language.

And indeed, a complex world it is. Think not only of our English language’s over 200,000 vocabulary words, but on top of that, the complicated grammar rules, the social rules that dictate when, where, and how things can be spoken, not to mention the ability to speak each sound of every word and sentence in a smooth, accurate sequence. It’s an amazing feat for any child to actually “decode” our language system, and be able to produce even a single word by their first birthday – and all that without any formal instruction! How is this possible? In fact, how is it possible that we’ve never given this miracle a second thought? Rarely do we consider language development at all, until we notice a child for whom understanding language and using it effectively is a difficult challenge.

If you do suspect your child is experiencing language delay, your first priority should be to schedule a comprehensive evaluation by a speech-language pathologist. Following the evaluation, the therapist will provide you with a detailed report that compares your child’s skills to the general expectations for his/her age, as well as a recommendation for or against therapy.

Regardless of therapy recommendations, however, there are so many things you as a parent can do to help foster language development in your child each and every day. In fact, parents are a child’s first and best teachers! This means better than the speech therapist, better than the early childhood educator, and better than the psychologist. Does this mean every parent of a child with learning challenges must go back to school for a degree in teaching, speech therapy, psychology, etc? Of course not! But you do owe it to your child to learn from the professionals who are educated in these fields. View them as your coaches, and imitate the models they provide you with. Bring home the strategies you see them using, and transform yourself into your child’s 24-hour, personal therapist. Seem like a daunting task? Perhaps… but remember, therapy is less about formal training, and more about seizing the opportunities that already exist in each moment of your child’s day.

Let’s consider some examples of how you can make a habit of stimulating language during your child’s daily routines:

• Floor time – Kids are curious creatures. They love checking out their surroundings, touching everything reachable, exploring new objects. Take advantage of this curiosity and cover your child’s explorations with words. If you see him looking at a toy, repeatedly name the toy in simple descriptive sentences. If he reaches for a book, say, “Oh book! Did you want the book? Here’s the book! Let’s read the book.” If his attention shifts, shift with him and describe the next object he found. Allow him to take the lead, because if he’s interested, he’s attending. And if he’s attending, he’s learning!

• Bath time – Routines can get old and boring for us as adults, but for kids, they bring structure and order. Kids enjoy familiarity and love being able to predict what’s next. And incidentally, these skills are all important for language development! Bath time is a great example. Pick a sequence of 3 simple steps you follow (“Play, Wash, Dry” or “Wash Hair, Hands, Toes”), and verbalize each step every time your child takes a bath. Set up visible objects to help illustrate the steps (play-toy, wash-washcloth, dry-towel), and point to/name them in order as you proceed through the routine. Ask her simple questions (“What’s first? What’s next?”). Encourage her to role play and give baths to the rubber ducky or doll, cementing the routine and the language that surrounds it. Over time, as your child becomes familiar with the steps, add new ones (water on, toys in, [child] in, play time, wash time, [child] out, dry time).

• Car rides – Think of all the mundane things that pass by our car windows on the way to the store, the doctor, school. Boring? Maybe. Learning opportunities? Surely! Describe the things you see, pointing them out to your child, using simple describing words (big truck, little car, green light, wet dog, cold snow). Act excited, and your excitement will be contagious! No longer a boring commute, but a mini language lesson. Add complexity as he learns the new words, talking more extensively about the things you see, and asking him simple questions (What is on top of the tall fence? Where is the green ball? Why is the dog wet?).

• Meal time – From day one, food is an important part of all of our lives. For most kids, food is very motivating, especially if it’s something they like. As parents, you can tell what your child likes and dislikes, and you can predict what he wants when she’s hungry. But you can encourage more language by playing dumb! Pretend you don’t understand her grunt and point, and you need to hear her words. Require her to first make a choice between 2-3 items (first by pointing, later by imitating a word you provide, then by independently using the word). As her skills develop over time, continually make the task more challenging by requiring more words (“Cookie”, “Cookie please”, “I want cookie”, “I want the cookie, please”). If she is hungry, and knows she will be rewarded for using her words, she will talk!

Naturally, these are just a few of millions of opportunities for you to practice your home “therapy” skills! Nothing comes without practice, so there’s no time like the present to make a beginning. Eventually, engaging your child in language practice will become habitual, something you do without even noticing. In fact, it’s likely you do many of these things already, simply by interacting with your child on a daily basis. If you have questions or are looking for some feedback, simply ask your child’s speech therapist to observe you and your child interact, or show him/her a video of a home interaction. The speech therapist can also provide you with more targeted tips on how to address your child’s specific language needs and goals.

Outdoors is the Way to Go For Senior Portraits in Hawaii

The Hawaiian Islands have some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. Oahu alone has amazing beaches, swaying palm trees, lush rainforests, cascading waterfalls and the towering Ko’olau mountains. The Big Island of Hawaii has an active volcano, a snow-capped mountain with a world-class observatory and cattle ranches. Each of the other Hawaiian Islands – Maui, Kauai, Lanai and Molokai – also have their unique natural beauty. So, why is it that most high school students who vacation in Hawaii don’t think about having their senior pictures taken here? Probably because all their classmates have their senior pictures taken with the school photographer back home.

The few students who break the mould are richly rewarded with unique senior portraits that can only be taken in Hawaii. Below are some great outdoor locations for student photos in Hawaii.

The Beach

It would be remiss not to mention the most popular location for portrait photography in Hawaii. There are golden sand beaches, black sand beaches (Big Island of Hawaii), beaches with lava rocks around – the list is endless.

Botanical Garden

If you’re a plant lover or would like a lush green background in your photos, consider a visit to a botanical garden.

Rainforest and Waterfall

Photos in a rainforest usually involves taking a hike. Several rainforest hikes do have waterfalls at the end of the trail but it may not be practical to take several outfits and hike through the mud. However, most local photographers will know of areas that have a rainforest feel sans the hike. There are also manmade waterfalls that can be easily accessed.

Orchid or Tropical Flower Farm

You will need to get permission to shoot at an orchid or flower farm, but most places will grant permission if you offer to buy a plant (yes, they can package orchids for air travel) and explain that the photos are for your personal use and not for commercial purposes. If you like a very colorful background, orchid and flower farms are good locations for your senior pictures.

Your hotel grounds

Most of the higher-end hotels have beautifully landscaped areas that are great locations for photography. Unfortunately, some of these hotels charge a ridiculously high photo fee even if the guest’s pictures are for their personal use. Your best bet is to call the hotel’s guest services director and ask him or her to waive the fee. Insist on using the photographer of your choice and not the expensive hotel photographer who takes boring pictures. If they refuse, say that you will stay at another hotel that is more accommodating. Chances are, they will waive the fee because hotels need to fill up their rooms.

Horse Ranch

If you love riding, consider taking your senior photos at a horse ranch or riding school. This will also require obtaining permission ahead of time.

Chinatown or some other bustling street in Honolulu

If you want to throw in some culture into your shoot, take a stroll down Honolulu’s Chinatown area on a Sunday morning. Bustling markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables amidst the historical buildings of Oahu’s downtown makes for a funky backdrop to your senior pictures.

Some senior portrait photographers, including myself, will allow pictures with family members, siblings or friends with some of the extended packages. Photo books, slide shows and canvas prints are also offered as add-ons with your outdoor senior portrait packages. These are all well worth considering as they will be a wonderful souvenir of your trip to Hawaii.

Veterans Day Party Games To Signify The Importance Of This Day

Veterans Day is a very special day to remember our heroes and Veterans Day Party and Veterans Day Party Games are the best way to signify the importance of it. The history of Veterans Day dates back to the year 1918. It was in November of that year that a truce was signed to end World War I. It was in 1938 that Armistice Day was acknowledged as a federal holiday and was later named as Veterans Day by President Nixon to remember the heroes who have fallen to protect their country.

Let Us Share The Stories Of Our Heroes

This is a very unique Veterans Day Party Game in which you are going to ask your guests to tell stories of our heroes. For this game, it would be important that you need to add a line in your invitation that they have to either memorize a story or they can get a print out and read it in front of the audience. You can also name the different war heroes on which your guests have to search on and share their views about them. When the stories are being shared, it is good that you have a patriotic music going on in the background, which would greatly involve everyone in this amazing event.

Crossword Puzzles & Anagrams

Crossword Puzzles and Anagrams are just classic Veterans Day Party Games, which would provide your guests with a challenge. You need to hand out the pages on which you have the crossword puzzles and the anagrams to your guests. It is best that you solve them first and time the game as well. You must put the time span for each game on the printouts. The individuals who are going to finish the game first will be the winners and will be awarded prizes.

The Veterans Day Party Games are a great source for everyone to remember their heroes and remember the fact that the air of freedom is possible because of them.

Flirting, Seduction and Ritual Courtship (African Style)

Africans have very ancient cultures passed on from generation to generation for thousands of years. In the teachings of traditional African cultures, everything in the world is inhabited by spirit; we’re all essentially spirits with a physical form. As spirit and matter, we all have the ability to naturally slide into ecstasy or “fly” into the realms that spirits inhabit and to experience these “other worlds” with all the senses of the ordinary physical realm.

One doesn’t try to be spiritual, he or she just is…

Spirituality and physicality are meant to go together. These two are in-separable. When spirituality is ignored, physicality is misused, and when physicality is denied, spirituality is corrupted. But when spirituality and physicality are nurtured as inseparable, we experience “heaven on earth.”

A life lived on earth with a conscious effort to connect spirit and physical form is a life fully lived. The sexual union between a man and woman is believed to be a beautiful thing because it whets our appetite for creating life-physically and spiritually. Every time we have sexual intercourse there is a potential for a child to be conceived, a potential for a spirit-soul to come down from the spirit world of souls into this physical world.

The sexual act also whets our appetite for exploring, experiencing, and sharing body and spirit with another. The sex act is one of the most powerful tests of self-knowledge and interpersonal power in the African epistemological universe.

African erotic cultures are characterized by a fiery passion to experience sexual union as often as is possible, not on abstaining from it…

The African understanding of sexual awareness is more than about sexual pleasure, it is also a self-reflective process rooted in the concept of surrender-surrender to the facets of ourselves that are more unruly, highly energized, spontaneous, unpredictable, uncertain, and closer to the primal forces of nature. Similarly the African understanding of “sexual union” is not always about “sexual penetration” but about extending and experiencing the flow of raw sexual or erotic energy using all of our senses.

Sexual abstinence (no sexual intercourse) is not equated to “chastity” in which an individual chooses to deliberately abstain from any sexual union, pleasure or expression of sexual desire for religious purposes. An individual can enter a “sex fast,” a selective kind of sexual abstinence in which one withdraws or withholds from certain sexual practices in order to heighten other particular senses while completing a task or undertaking. These are choices that one makes consciously.

In many traditional African societies men and women, young and old, have the “permission” to be openly sexual in a culturally acceptable way…

Sexual expression and enjoyment is not something that simply happens when a young man or woman reaches a certain chronological age. Parents and close family members are fully responsible for sexual education at the child’s early age, but as boys and girls reach puberty, the community is responsible for their sexual education to ensure that they have sexually fulfilling lives. The community hands over this responsibility for adolescent sexual education to same-gender elders selected for their position in the community, their erotic experience, and inherited abilities to understand the intricate nature of sexual relationships.

Coming of age rituals begin at ages ranging from 12-18 years and can last up to five years. Girls and boys are often taken out of the community, away from the concerns of everyday life, to teach them all the ways of adulthood. They are exposed to rigorous studies of the self, one’s purpose in life and contribution to society. While in a non-threatening environment, the initiates are guided to uncover their sense of self and to examine their beliefs, values, and thoughts-(Who am I? What is the meaning of my existence? What do I have within me to achieve my life’s purpose? How do I know the truth? How do I know when I’ve stepped out of harmony with who I truly am? Etc.).

Before joining the adult community, they also learn about the changes happening in their minds and bodies as well as the responsibilities that come with those changes, rules and taboos of the society, moral instruction, and social responsibility. Their education also includes the “how to” of sex. Knowledge in the elements of sexual performance is given and demonstrated in an explicit manner. This knowledge is, in all cases, considered sacred and secret, and not to be shared with the uninitiated or “outsiders.”

Boys learn a masculine cockiness whose discourse is centered on protecting, taking care of, and giving pleasure to women…

Their sexual “how to” education includes knowledge about “medicinal plants,” (see Uganda Sex Tree – National Georgraphic) ideas about sexual prowess, endurance, and “sex-fasts”-rituals of abstinence used to heighten the senses.

The curriculum of the rites of passage for girls is centered on self-awareness, grace, and dignity. Their “pleasure” education includes how to emotionally and physically prepare themselves for intercourse and includes such practices as clitoris elongation and massage; masturbation (looking for the bean in the oil as they call it); the use of tantalizing, jingling, and jangling sexual movements enhanced with musical sounds, beads, body decorations, scents, and incense that heighten sexual pleasure. Girls also learn about culturally prescribed coital positions and art of lovemaking (see Teaching Safe Sex, Ugandan-style).

The months immediately following initiation into adulthood are a time of exploration, fun, joyfulness, laughter, and defining one’s sexual identity and assertiveness. Girls and boys move away from playing with their own sexual peers to exploring relationships with the opposite gender-playing pranks; engaging in petty altercations; feigned pain, disgust, and anger; mutual teasing such as addressing each other as “heartthrob,” “sweetheart,” “husband,” or “wife.”

Girls say to boys, things like, “You are so much in love with me, you can’t sleep at night”; “You look at me and wish you could have me but all you can do is just look”; “You are all talk but when it comes to it you cannot even keep it up for half the night,” etc. And boys say to girls, “Have you fed our baby?”; “Would you mind preparing my dinner tonight, dear wife?”; “Even my snake knows you because it raises its head whenever it sees you,” etc.

The relationship between young men and women becomes more physical because of their engagement in co-ed wrestling and stage-acted fighting routines and riddling games meant to express wit and sexuality. Young men and women also learn culturally acceptable sexual expression and public sexual contact through formalized flirtation and seduction dance ceremonies, sometimes called moonlight dances or mating dances. These are settings in which young people ages 12-18 are allowed (more like expected) to explore seductive and flirtatious communication that includes silent speech and suggestive and provocative dance moves. The dances take place during the full moon in a special arena cleared for the occasion, or in a chief’s or elder’s compound.

For every young person, these are special occasions that require a lot of preparation-plaiting the hair, decorating the body with ornaments and plant dyes, whitening the teeth using certain roots, and so forth.

Dances begin at dusk when the drum that summons the dancers is sounded…

The dance itself is performed in a circle, with the dancers facing the centre, or in a line following a circular path with the drummers in the middle. In some dances, boys and girls alternate dancing inside the circle while the opposite sex admires their dance moves. In other dances, individuals step into the circle one after the other. A dancer is rated primarily on his or her ability to stamp out the rhythm of the drum with his or her feet and to follow the musical rhythm of the song with the simultaneous use of the torso and shoulders, and the rapid vibrations or twists of the buttocks and pelvis. Characteristic rhythmic patterns vary from culture to culture, and from dance to dance within one culture, but the common feature in all cultures is the simultaneous rhythmic body articulation, foot-stamping, and/or light leaping movements. The drummers and other dancers respond to a good performance by a lively chorus usually laden with erotic innuendo.

I remember one particular song in my birth language which when translated into English goes something like this:

Solo:

I was in my house and would have liked to stay

But he [drummer] has come and wants to discuss the matter in public

So I have left my house and that is why you see me here

I am like a cricket. I would like to sing

But the wall of earth that surrounds me prevents me

Someone has forced me to come out of my hole-so I will sing

I am like the dog that stays by the door until he gets a bone

You have forced me to come when the sun has set

We shall still be here when the sun rises

Nobody goes both ways at the same time

You have told me this and you have told me that

Surely one of the two must be wrong

That is why I am here

[The others then join with a chorus]

Chorus:

Is something bothering you?

Why not step in the circle?

Is something itching you?

Why not appease the throb?

See what will happen.

Who knows, maybe . . .

Each dancer then steps into the circle and completes the sentence with erotic motions and movement that mirror and reflect an evolving identity and personality, expressing individual freedom and pent-up emotions.

The sensuous abandon leaves little to the imagination as the dancer flirts with his or her audience with the use of the eyes, and as he or she ripples with imaginative erotic movements and overall bodily experience.

The African subtle, bred-in-the-bone, curiously innocent sensuousness should not be confused with grabbing crotches à la Michael Jackson or table top clutching and flashing breasts. It’s not a strip tease either, but more like a hypnotic eroticism that draws its power from fascination with the implied — creativity, imagination and suggestion — and generates plenty of erotic electricity that pulls in all those around.

A dancing African is not at all concerned about what he or she looks like when dancing or with whom he or she is dancing with…

A man will dance with a woman. Men will dance with men. Women will dance with women. Children will dance with elders. Humans will dance with domesticated animals. And most of the time, an African will dance with no one at all except him or herself.

The tempo of the drumming, singing, clapping, cheers, and ululations all combine to bring the dancer into an ecstatic state. And when ecstasy grips, the dancer is transported into another world, and sometimes has to be woken up by some kind of rude reality — like falling hard on the ground.

Even the most reluctant observer testifies to the hopelessness of resistance once the “heart throbs like a native drum.” It’s like one is drawn in by an omnipotent will. You feel it in your heart, your chest begins to expand. It spreads throughout the body and you begin to involuntarily move. It enters your bones and you just give up. How can you resist something more powerful than yourself?

Dancers learn to heighten their senses and focus their sexual energy to achieve a state of ecstasy…

Surrender, abandon, or to “lose control,” is an art in African cultures, something that is taught from the day a child is born because it is believed that without the required skill to artfully do so, we would “lose control” rebelliously, blindly, recklessly, and dangerously. If we get hurt during such times, it would only reinforce our fear of abandon and surrender, steering us away from the ability to really enjoy life.

During the rites of passage, young people go through rituals and dances that help them learn how to skillfully and deliberately surrender or loosen up-turning oneself over to the power of the unknown and unknowable. These rituals are based on the philosophy that says that when we are most truly vulnerable, we are more of ourselves, more open, more trusting, and free to follow the intuitive and spontaneous erotic impulses of our hearts and souls. It is only by entering this door of helpless surrender that we discover true intimacy.

One performance is followed by another .. and there are songs and dances to court lovers as well as songs to insult rivals…

Over the course of the night, songs easily become a battle of the sexes, and in most cases, turn into sexual seduction. Some daring and overly self-confident young man will inevitably, from time to time, dance towards the girls flaunting his hips or pelvis. The girls then mockingly strike back by tightly knitting their arms around one another’s waists. This stops the young man from singling out any particular one girl as his target for teasing. But some young men are not repelled by this kind of sisterly bonding and will continue to approach, sending the girls running away, laughing, and screaming euphorically, only to come back and join the dance.

It is at times like these that girls and boys practice what they’ve been taught about erotic rituals, the art of seduction, and the effective way of transmitting sexual energy and attracting attention in order to be chosen by the opposite sex. Girls learn that showing off healthy skin and child-bearing hips, eye or soul-gazing, and a confident and cheerful personality gets the boys all wound up. Boys on the other hand, learn that physical fitness and flexibility, playfulness and cockiness, are attributes that make one stand out.

During the breaks when drummers change to dancers and other dancers take over the drumming, boys and girls step aside into the less lit corners, either in groups or pairs. There may be affectionate petting, stroking and caressing, but sexual intercourse is not supposed to take place — well, sometimes it does.

In many traditional African societies, boys and girls are strictly forbidden to engage in penetrative sex until they are properly initiated into adult status. Many cultures have what is accepted or permissible as adolescent or “immature sex” and what is considered adult or mature sex. Adolescents may be permitted to engage in all forms of sexual pleasure except penetrative sex. In many cultures, penetrative sex is believed to be harmful mainly because the girl will get pregnant out of wed-lock, something that is considered a severe disgrace to her family status. Usually brothers and cousins monitor their sisters or cousins to make sure no sexual intercourse takes place and also to make sure no young man tries to force them into doing anything against their will. The more respected and feared a girl’s brothers and cousins are, the more respectful young men are towards her.

Parents and elders as a whole do not interfere with the flirtations of their children…

Some parents may sit at a distance and watch for socially unacceptable behaviour. A boy or girl who disrespects the family name with unacceptable behaviour is heavily punished. Depending on the gravity of the crime, punishment can be anything from scolding, to spanking with a leather whip.

Enabling the sexes to meet on neutral ground, openly and respectably, tends to remove some of the secrecy and unhealthy curiosity that is part of the mental transition from the self-contained experience of early youth to the new awareness of the new polarity of the sexes. Teen competitiveness, constant body contact, and purported romantic liaisons all provide individual and interactive challenges, and contribute to personal maturation, social development, and spiritual enrichment. They provide an individual a level of confidence and exuberance that comes from a healthy sexual attitude and a healthy sexual life.

These mating dances are often fruitful arenas for initiating relationships — traditional dating agencies as it were — supervised by elderly persons experienced in such affairs…

Unfortunately, traditional systems of sexual education are quickly disappearing and many young people today get little or no meaningful sexual induction. Contemporary or “modern” African societies mostly concentrated in urban centers and townships have adopted the culture of “passing the buck” with reference to the social institutions that ought to take care of children and undertake sexual education in the early years of development. The family passes the responsibility to the school, the school to the church, while the church, in turn, passes it back to the family. In the end, the child gets no proper instruction. Most of what many African children raised in urban and sub-urban Africa know about sex is from the little sexual information they come across in books, on television, and from their peers. This serves as a means by which they define their sexual identities and behaviours.

As Africa becomes more “modernized,” adolescence to adulthood passage rites are being replaced with getting a driver’s license, getting drunk, or getting laid. Many modern Africans have discarded the slow, subtle arts of flirtation and charm that our ancestors have used successfully for thousands of years, and replaced them with the “modern” quick, direct strikes — punching his or her number into the cell phone, grinding and bumping with him or her on the dance floor, rubbing his shoulders or her feet, and having sex with each other senseless — all within an hour.

Young people are growing up uneasy and uncomfortable about their bodies and most are out of touch with their sexual thoughts, feelings, and bodily responses. Many are sexually confused, anxious, and insecure. Formal schools and universities in modern Africa are often centres of even greater sexual recklessness and promiscuity on the one hand, and ignorance and repressed sexual uptightness on the other.

Similar cultural stories are being written in other parts of the world, all over the globe. This is a call for all of us, people all over the world, to wake up, reflect, see where we’ve fallen away, and to begin to heal ourselves towards a healthy sexuality.

Disclaimer: Much of what I discuss here does not apply to “African cultures” that are a mixture of borrowed fragments of modernity and exhausted relics of tradition but rather to Sub-Saharan African cultures that have not been influenced much by “modern” ideas and concepts, Judeo-Christianity and Islam.