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It’s All About Him

This guy had two photos on his profile. His main picture was his head and upper chest, up against the diagonal where the wall meets the ceiling. He was looking down at the camera, I assume at his desk. He was bald, with a darker lower half of his face due to a five o’clock shadow for the second or third day. The other picture was of this buff, fit happy guy out in the hills above the city. The second smile was much more relaxed and real than the first. He soon took down the second picture, saying he never liked it much.

He approached me saying he felt a spark when reading my profile and looking at my beautiful face. I thought he was too adorable, built, deep, funny, and far away. From the beginning I had reservations about the distance but sooner than later we had a phone conversation in which we talked about his great job, the love his teenage twin daughters have for him, and his spirituality. He didn’t call himself a Buddhist, but that was more his venue than any other religion.

We talked about anger and he said, “Breathe your rage into your belly. Don’t let it make you a hot head.”

I thought that profound, because when I get angry, resentful, frustrated, or so many of the other negative emotions, after awhile my head gets hot and soon I have a headache, if not a temperature.

At the end of that first call he initiated plans to drive down that next Saturday to meet me for a coffee. Then I didn’t hear from him. So, Saturday afternoon I emailed and discovered that his back had gone out. A few more emails went back and forth. Then he wanted to meet me again but wanted me to drive at least half way. He said he needed to equalize the situation more. Apparently, he’d been driving far distances to meet women.

“If she’s willing to drive,” he said, “it tells me she is considerate or is just another woman with an entitlement attitude.”

I let him know I wasn’t driving much in between my cancer treatments and asked if we could have a face-to-face on Skype before we start negotiating the what where and when of our meet and greet. Since I didn’t jump at the chance to meet him, he said he detected resistance on my part.

“When two people first meet I think they are on equal standing. It’s a gesture of good faith when a woman reaches out to show she is considerate. It goes a long way with men in terms of engendering good feelings. Most men want a woman he feels will have his back and is sincere.”

He was upset I used the word negotiate.

From then on it got ugly. I’d suddenly remembered part of our one phone conversation where we were talking about how women today are dating more like men do . . . women are claiming the same rights that men have always had due to their reptilian tendencies.

He said, “Our society doesn’t approve of a woman who strays. The woman is supposed to be the nurturer. The man if he strays is doing what a man does . . . which is to spread his seed.”

Of course I disagreed with his antiquated point of view, but he was adamant about how society views women who don’t “stay in their box.” How interesting his back went out right after exclaiming he wants a woman who’ll watch his back. In his mind, the fact his back went out was much more important than the fact I was currently going through a cancer treatment. Talk about an entitlement issue why don’t we?

I was riled by his attack on me. I had to keep breathing deeply, but fortunately I had a friend with me in my home, at my desk, the day this disengagement via email went down. She was laughing hard at how obnoxious he was, but I was hurt.

When I took this to my therapist she said, “I’m not surprised he got upset with you when you questioned and confronted his behavior. This man has major issues with women, control, and who has the power. The fact that his girls’ mother is out of the picture, tells me he doesn’t understand what an equal relationship is at all. He wants to be taken care of by a woman. This is not about you. This is all about him. Let him go.”

Done.

 

LESSONS from this man I chose not to meet:

  1. Pictures matter. If he takes the happy, relaxed picture that attracted you down, beware of the picture that remains and what that picture represents.
  2. Listen carefully to his words, his focus of subjects, the issues that he has rage around.
  3. A man’s issues are always fairly near the surface. Shakespeare said it, “The Lady doth protest too much.” Be aware of what he has energy around because it will be emphasized in his dealings with you.

Motivational Meanderings

Can we please begin again?

Can I release all irritation, illness and incapacity?

Can I give up bitterness, befuddlement, and beckoning to another when what I want is internal balance?

Can I clear out drawers of inane words and unsettling thoughts, ignorant attitudes and nasty insults, fears and rejection of self and others?
artist done w drawers

Can I get back to the soul that sees life as the budding of spring’s new life and revel in the beauty?

Must I carry on the rage that something has gone wrong or will jump the tracks any minute now?

Can I release the negativity that infused cells in my body and caused genetic trauma to stand up and be saluted?

I want to begin again. Instead of the rubber band barriers, tight and stretching to breakage, can I be lotion saturating and make silky smooth.

This is a big week ahead. I meet a new oncologist. Last week I was quite depressed believing my cancer is back and needing medical care soon. I straightened up my act this week and believe the spot on my neck that was slightly puffy has lessened again. I cannot eat anything I want. If I do, I pay. I need to respect this new life coming forward. I must remember the eagle and realize I’m still in the process of growing back my beak and plucking out the weakened feathers. I will fly again. There is a whole world I want to be involved with and watch interact with this world that seems locked up tight with forces that don’t care if the whole ship goes down.

I want to release the second-guessing.

I want to embrace the sensitivity.

I want to daily get back to what I do best, writing in the minute what I see and feel, think and understand.

Those moments when the immune system is plagued by the negative emotions, which make my blood bad, those moments I want to upchuck and release. I will do this from now one.

I won’t let it stay in me.

For Better or For Worse

This morning in the New York Times I read an article in the Opinion section written by Michael Cobb entitled The Supreme Court’s Lonely Hearts Club. I didn’t read all the links and research put into the article. I just sat and felt the feelings that came up as I read each paragraph.

Simply put, the argument for the change in marriage laws was based on the fact that single people are miserable and everyone deserves to be happy in a union. Cobb wrote, “Once again, being single is the dreary, awful, mournful alternative to marriage. A condition to be pitied, and quickly corrected by a sprint to City Hall.”

I’ve chosen not to marry. I have received seven proposals and ignored or ran from these opportunities. I chose to marry me, my writing, growth process, and soul’s true work which evolves over time. Doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, having choice every day instead of fulfilling a role someone needs me to do for them, because I need them to make me an “honest woman” in order to be valid in this world. Fully engaging with the Self in life has allowed me to know the people I interact with daily on a deeper level. I’m not just repeating patterns of acquiesence because that is expected and normal. Choosing to have an authentic moment, whether alone or with another, is something single people have.

I know there are satisfying marriages out there, but honestly, in all my years I’ve not known many married people who are sincerely content. They might not want to be single, but the compromises necessary for a successful continuation of the union make for an uncomfortable, irritating life and lifestyle. How many people are stuck, unsatisfied with either the situation of their solitude or their union? How many talk about it, get it off their chest, go to therapy, or live with an addiction in order not to feel what is unacceptable? How many walk down the aisle with doubt and dread that this isn’t the right person, right time, or the right reason to get married? It isn’t a black or white decision as Justice Kennedy makes it out to be, that marrieds are good and singles are bad.

So many people choose to marry because they don’t want to be alone. So many others marry because they don’t want to deal with the social alienation in a “couple” society. We can’t neglect the many who choose marriage because of the economic incentives. Justice Kennedy wrote in his opinion that, “No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family.”

It is certainly profound when the “for worse” part of the equation arrives. When illness transforms personality and suddenly the person with whom one stood at the alter is no longer the person in one’s bedroom. Our society doesn’t talk about how difficult giving birth is, or how traumatic the aging process affects families, or how to prepare for and talk compassionately about death. All the money instead is put into weddings, new real estate, building up ‘the life,’ having a companion to join forces in ‘keeping up with the Jones’s, coffins, plots, and funerals. Greedy façades crumble through deceit or illness, violence or neglect. Yet, the push to marry and reproduce remains ever constant. Deepak Chopra is now contesting Darwin’s theories in OM Times Magazine. He says Consciousness Drives Evolution. I think its about time. Besides, the Bonobos have more fun and I think live longer lives.

I recently saw a wonderful video of a man caring for his wife with Alzheimer’s. How many people are that caring, patient, and kind with those they profess to love? How many people on the planet receive and give that level of care? I’d really like to know. I wonder if that’s the kind of love that Justice Scalia knows in his own personal life?

There are too many people on this planet. Yet do we look at the real issues on our plate, or get distracted by created conflicts; the racial wars, and now the promised marriage option while quietly taken away is our ability to know what country our meat originates from, as daily our physical environment (climate) seems to get more unstable. Getting back to seeing marriage as the solution for loneliness, how many couples live in the same house but barely speak, rarely if ever have sex, share little if any affection, and basically live separate lives? Someone is there if you fall, maybe. Other than that, the daily grind of existing without thriving deadens imagination and creativity. That kind of an existence compromises and destroys the soul, because their is no growth or happiness that enlivens it.

The judge is talking about an ideal and yet, most marriages don’t even start with that ideal manifesting in their lives. Why can’t we deal with reality honestly in our country? When can we all stop pretending?

The Homeless Can Go Home Again

Vets Can Find Support

Vets Can Find Support

I recently helped a homeless man get a roof over his head. I have known him since 1985. We met back east right after his father died. He helped me miraculously sell my turquoise VW with lots of self-induced ink on the inside top vinyl surface that couldn’t be erased. He had been working in real estate before I met him but was disillusioned about the business. He wanted to become an angel.

BT is an honorable Vietnam Era Navy veteran. He had mental and emotional issues causing him difficulties and personality clashes with most people. Only by knowing him this long have I begun to understand what he’s going through. He’s very intelligent, but for most of the last three decades his sensitive heart has been overwhelmed by confusion and rage. This last year, while helping him, I learned why his anger has been there.

He spent most of the past ten years living on the gritty streets of Los Angeles and Long Beach, after he’d spent three years on his brother’s couch. In the beginning of his outside adventure he loved his freedom. By the end, he barely knew who he was any more. He’d grown up on military bases all over the country because his father was in the Air Force. He’d learned it was often easier to run than to deal with his problems.

How many when struggling with a neighbor or mate wish they could bolt, grab essentials and roll away to another zone to get some perspective? It’s one thing to run away for a few hours or a day or two, but what happens when life is so uncomfortable the only option is running, constantly? Many are never able to stand still because the quiet brings up the haunting pain that doesn’t make sense, and can’t be unraveled for long without help. Sure, there are little band-aids, distractions, and many agents that can numb the pain for a few hours. Often these issues cause more crisis and the problems stack up. Complications catapult into catastrophe and people fall through the cracks.

I’d lost touch for a few years. When I first moved into the neighborhood I’d see him on his bike and avoid him. Then I ran into him at a local Starbucks. Months later I saw him walking on Colorado near the park. Both times I stopped what I was doing to talk with him.

The last few years I tried to find him again, but had no luck. I went everywhere he’d said he hung out. I left messages for him. I had no luck. Finally this past December I discovered he’d been arrested, then transferred from jail to the psych ward at Vets Hospital.

I visited him after not seeing him for two years. I’d never seen him in that condition. He was gaunt, terrified, and sick. He could barely see and was extremely hard of hearing. He had a growth in his throat, prostrate issues, polyps, and a mouth full of rotting teeth. His numerous physical ailments had grown at an alarming rate, unchecked while living out in the wilderness of the increasingly abandoned among us.

He didn’t have much interest in continuing his life as it had been and didn’t think he deserved anything better. He was ready to say goodbye because he was too tired to care anymore. Hit over the head by thieves, he had concussions that went untreated that were adding to his mental lack of clarity.

He admitted, “I got addicted to coffee and cigarettes. It reduced my appetite. I thought I was functioning.” He told me many times after a few days of not eating he experienced such hunger that he shook uncontrollably and almost fainted from the pain of it. That’s when he’d scrounge through trashcans and eat old, cold, half eaten pieces of pizza or whatever else he could get his hands on.

But the most amazing thing was—he was crystal clear about his emotional issues. Years earlier he’d admitted to me that he always tried to get me to react emotionally so he would know what emotions he was supposed to be feeling. I’d known for years that his father was an abusive alcoholic. I’d known he was the first-born of four who received the biggest brunt of horrifying treatment. The second born, the other brother, learned how to bury his head in his sketchbook to ignore the wrath of their father and became a Harvard trained architect and urban planner.

I’d never seen B so calm. He’d been warned multiple times by police to get off the streets. I didn’t know he was a vet. His brother never told me he was a vet. B has been medically classified but after twelve years of taking their meds, he refused to take drugs most professionals demanded he take to keep him manageable. Having experience with therapy myself, I knew what it took to heal and change. I felt something in him I’d never seen before. I wanted to help. My therapist told me there were services available for him, as a homeless person, as a vet, and as someone who was mentally disturbed. I had no idea these options were available for him.

B created encampments for himself in residential parks to get out of the downtown, which had been a more violent existence. Pumped up on free coffee (Thank you Starbucks) with very little substantial food, he made friends and enemies as he moved from park to park after enduring numerous concrete habitats. Many people in our great city gave him furniture so he could live outside more comfortably. Repeatedly he’d experienced other homeless men kicking his head while he was sleeping in order to steal whatever he had been given.

In our great shiny pearl necklace of an ocean-side city, B became almost a known entity. He reminded me of Laguna Beach’s “Official Greeter” Eiler Larsen who was famous in the 60s. A year ago, B looked like Eiler, both sported scraggly long hair and a similarly shaped beard. B gained infamy when Mayor Robert “Bob” Foster and Councilman Gary DeLong exchanged five emails about how to get this increasingly well-recognized hoarding homeless person out of the parks that accompany some of our nicest neighborhoods. Apparently, many voters complained but no one wanted the intelligent and polite elderly man to be hurt as he was taken from their upper middle class existence.

It’s been a journey, working with all the different agencies that exist to find the homeless homes. The first person I met was Leonard Adams who had been trying to help B for four years. Leonard works for the City of Long Beach and is stationed at the Long Beach Rescue Mission. He is also a Veterans Outreach Worker with Long Beach’s Multi-Service Center. Leonard was the most helpful. Regardless how much Byron fought the system, Leonard used his knowledge and human understanding to help B conceive of and create a better life for himself. Leonard never gave up, even though B’s frustrated behavior scared off numerous others from trying to assist him.

B’s first stop was a corrupt and uncomfortable housing facility. The owners intended to take almost all of his monthly social security money. He was uncomfortable amongst those housed and the staff. That’s when I discovered he didn’t know how to speak up for himself. With the help of an assistant at Vets and a wonderful Filipino woman, we transferred B to a convalescent hospital. He stayed there for ten months while we worked patiently (and occasionally without a shred of patience) to get him a HUD-VASH voucher.

In order to get this voucher he had to go through two interviews with PATH. He had to supply his bank statements and social security allowance paperwork. In March we were told he might possibly find housing by the end of April. In May the Housing Authority needed updated bank statements and SS income proof, which had been supplied months earlier but had been waiting piled up on someone’s desk. By June 4th the government stopped accepting applications for the Continuum of Care Program. I think that was one of the biggest reasons for the hold up. B was still living in the convalescent hospital complaining about feces in the shower stalls and food he didn’t deem healthy and couldn’t stand to swallow. The people were kind but B felt so horrible about his own situation, he just wanted to curl up into a ball and die.

In the early years of this century I gave both Thompson brothers information about the MHA (Mental Health America) village. B found a therapist and was walked a block away where he was told he should rent a bedroom in a tiny hotel with communal bathrooms for $500 a month. He appreciated the therapist but his wrath for the system that just wanted to “drug him” got to a point he broke it off with her.

This spring I insisted when trying to move B along the road the “system” promised would lead him to housing, that he go back into therapy. Having just gotten through chemo myself I didn’t have extensive energy. I contacted his previous therapist and told her how much he had changed in the preceding years, and that he was ready now to get help. Once B started seeing her again, he calmed down. It’s not that he isn’t still depressed and highly anxious, but he could hear what she was saying, and he was integrating her insights.

I helped him get glasses. He could barely see. Turns out his other health concerns were manageable and not life threatening. He was able to get some dental work and save a few teeth. Little by little things were getting better. I kept telling B to breathe and pray. Little by little it was working.

I did question whether any of this would happen for him. I spent hours on the phone trying to get information and move the system along. I was repeatedly told, “This is how the system works. You just have to be patient.” As a result, I have learned the power of researching carefully and assertively requesting for the assistance that is advertised as available. I discovered by trial and error, how to be an advocate.

When given acceptable and standard excuses for why the process was taking so long, I threatened to write about how The System wasn’t working. I called the mayor’s office. I called supervisors. I felt I was pushing too hard, yet within an hour (or a day), the logjam that couldn’t be moved, moved.

I know many need help. I know one must find a way to stand out in order to get attention. My mother taught me early on, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Until I met Leonard, I’d never met someone who understands the squeaking and knows how to stop it. Leonard was “The Oil Man.” Whenever B had a problem he couldn’t work through, he called me. Leonard always had an idea or an answer, and no one had more patience while explaining what solution might solve the problem at hand.

Meanwhile B, having been a child of abuse and told during his formative years that he was no good, felt he didn’t deserve anyone’s help and his life was useless. As he gained weight and slept indoors with a pillow on a bed, his body did rejuvenate. As the months progressed, so did his mind.

It took from January to late June to get the voucher, which would help him find housing which wouldn’t cost him more than a third of his social security check. It took four more months to find the perfect place, but sure enough, where he is right now is a delightful one bedroom in a friendly elderly unit that I truly believe will become his home. I kept promising B that his best days were ahead. Now looking back at how it all worked out, I know divine guidance had a hand in it.

When in the psych ward he told me succinctly where he had gone wrong in his life and why he’d been so troubled and socially difficult during his 72 years of life. When facing death, he truly saw his life in perspective. I told him then that with this understanding and a desire to begin again, to ask for help, and not sabotage himself and others constantly—he could create a life that was worth living.

He has a support system of people who work for these city agencies that extended assistance. At a little gathering for B in his new apartment, nine people who helped along the way came bearing gifts welcoming him to his new life. They assured him they’ll continue wanting to help, and deeply thanked him for teaching them never to give up on someone. As they said, “We knew B was special. He didn’t drink or do drugs.” As Leonard wrote in his professional assessment, “Client would like to thank the Continuum of Care agencies that were so persistent in helping him obtain permanent housing and for never giving up.”

B now understands how his mental health kept him homeless for so long. I know he wants to help others just as frustrated, rebellious and confused as he has been. I pray he’ll continue to get stronger and in time become a beacon for both those wanting to help others and those afraid to admit they need help.

ONE MONTH LATER
Veteran’s Day
He actually said that he feels just as awful now as he did in the convalescent home and on the streets. He knows he is self destructive. He knows his mind is playing tricks on him about what is real and isn’t real. He rode his bike today over to Vets to get a free flu shot. They were closed. The folks that said they would deliver a bed and furniture within a month, said two months. Now they are saying he should probably buy a bed. He doesn’t feel well enough to get little things done for himself, like getting to Social Security to get the checks returning to him and away from the convalescent hospital. I loaned him an air mattress and though he admits its been a life saver, admits that he’s really starting to hate it. He called around to get people to do for him what he needed to get done. No one arrived to help. He won’t call back to ask where is the intern who was promised to give him a lift and get him to the SS building to change his address and fix the banking snafu. Huffington Post didn’t want to post this story. My therapist thinks this is a good story for the New Yorker. But I won’t send it. This story didn’t turn me on to write and to read again it is still drudgery and causing depression. I had really hoped this would be a new healthy beginning for him. As he said less than an hour ago, “I’ve had to readjust my expectations.”

The 6th and Final class

hump pillowI think the timing of this class was personally unfortunate for me. My level of patience and attention was tapped as the last few weeks have been extremely tense in every area of my life and I’ve been sick as well almost the entire three weeks.

There is plenty of good information in these sessions; about what gets in the way of welcomed consensus (two people equally excited and ready), what helps people feel more comfortable expanding their sexuality/sensuality, how couples can communicate with each other to enhance the experience for each person. There is tons of logic in each presentation and one would need to listen to each one many times to get the depth and passion behind each session.

The final session was about communication. My folks always said if you learn one thing in life, learn communication because it will take you very far. The concept of positive communication is important… the whole idea of catching more bees with honey than vinegar. The fact that the communication taught during this session to use with a sexual partner/fellow sensual researcher is a technique one can use with one’s boss and children simultaneously. You wouldn’t think it possible, yet its true. Getting oneself into that frame of mind in order to speak so calmly, evenly, and logically (regardless of the situation at hand) is a challenge for me.

My emotions, especially of late, as I try to patiently wait for a new cycle to actually start while still feeling the after effects of last year’s most trying medical cycle, have caused extra impatience and an even more critical nature which doesn’t move things along in a positive fashion. It’s interesting that one would choose honey over vinegar because it tastes better, yet it is the latter which keeps hot flashes to a minimum.

I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the sensual/sexual aristocracy. I do believe as I heard my father say many decades ago, that “lovemaking is an art form.” The folks that teach these classes have taken this thought process seriously and have provided a class that gets one to think, and perhaps move forward in the erotic field of one’s life. Not a bad direction to enter regardless whether there’s a polar vortex or a drought or the house is shaking or the roof is coming off. Sometimes its better to focus within for awhile when everything outside seems so cloudy and crazy.

The Miracle Journey

life bike keep movingWhat do I notice about myself in the long length mirror as versus the small hand held mirror? Can I see myself without a critical eye? Is there an eye of loving acceptance and joyful reunion when stopping the world for a while and just being with me?

Turning off the external sound of a local leaf blower, to touch and sense how my body is doing? My body loves the attention when I slow everything down and don’t forget who is capable of getting me one place to the other, who comes up out of a dream each morning, who is his fantasy and has journeyed through so much pleasure.

To just be, not have to do, not have to push, not have to finish, not have to perform anything but touch and pay attention. Simple instructions. What can be found when one isn’t expecting results or needing outcomes? This body is made for pleasure yet the world demands it produce so many other things necessary for survival. How joyous to touch with no time limit, with no mournful memory attached, with no incurable longing making the moment uninhabitable.

Be here now with this breath, with this finger, with this fine piece of architecture designed only to move me toward mirth. Finally the sensuous lessons move us toward the concept of excitement and anticipation.

This second to the last class was vital for me because someone pursuing me recently insisted a woman had to do Kegel exercises. I politely explained that my experience didn’t align with his book’s theory. He balked at my not buying his head trip that it’s up to the woman to do the work so the man’s size doesn’t matter. He attacked my book and said my skills went to waste with such an archaic and close minded sexual opinion. I felt ungrounded after honestly protecting my boundary.

Then Class #5 said Kegel exercises constrict the energy and deplete our pleasure. They gave scientific reasons why that explained what my intuition knew after years of exploration and delight. I’m not scientific, especially about this subject. I just know what I know and what has worked for me after intense internal study both when isolated and entwined. Our bodies are such a miracle and the sensual sexual journey the best trip imaginable, if one only gets the ticket and says yes.

Cycles Can Caress or Careen

little girl on beachThe sensuality class is heating up. But of course, it’s Spring time. Today started out discussing heat cycles. This is something I’ve come to notice about myself in the past two years. This isn’t something I ever thought about ten years ago, or even twenty years ago. I was so into the heat of it all then it’s as if my brain was too hot to really get logical about it all.

Of course animals have mating “seasons” and other times when they aren’t fertile or furtive or interested in being bothered or touched or climbed onto or approached. Other times when they called out and didn’t necessarily care who came running.

But the female human has such a big brain she can basically decide when she wants to get hot or not.

When writing my book and reading again so many experiences I had when younger, then charting my longer relationships ebbs and flows I became very aware that there were times I was hyper sensitive and interested, almost too hot to touch and times when even getting everything on my list crossed off couldn’t stir me to stand up.

What is fascinating about this class is that there is a logic that gets illuminated that otherwise gets lost in the shuffle of modern life. There are exercises that encourage a person to take what they are learning and create an exercise or experience which expands their pleasure in a variety of safe and sensual ways.

The experience today called SPECIFIC FRAMES reminded me of the story BREAD CRUMBS I put in my book. My editor tried to get me to change the name for the longest time. We even researched Hansel and Gretel. I was horrified when I learned just how violent the actual story was, not the fairy tale I remember where both kids get out alive. But I love reading my BREAD CRUMBS story because every time I do, I remember each and every step along the way that night. I remember what I was wearing and how he reacted. I remember what we did on the chair before ever getting to the bed. BREAD CRUMBS is a story I tried to tame down for public consumption, yet my brother encouraged me to keep it as raw and real as I wrote it. Celebrating my 36th anniversary with FOG reminded me of the many March 25th’s we got to celebrate in the past. As men age their cycle changes immensely. It’s wonderful I kept such a record of his earlier days when he was so hot I hardly had a head in heated exchange. It’s nice to remember, like that best vacation ever, or the time I first saw the view from the Campanile in Berkeley. There are some moments we don’t forget. What a gift it is if we actually made notes and can remember exact details that would have unfortunately gotten lost in the rush of advancing time.

CHOOSING JOY INSTEAD

Thank you Tami Hans

Thank you Tami Hans

In the third class I was exposed to the concept that we live in a pain-oriented society and pleasure is a questionable goal in life. I’d never quite thought of life in this way. I have noticed that it seems for most of society the only time to have fun is when they can get drunk on the weekends or holidays and get beyond their daily mask. I’ve never liked having a mask, or living under a label.

When I was young I was introverted and listened very carefully to what was going on around me. I trusted who I was told to trust. I didn’t question those whom I was told to trust. It never dawned on me. Three experiences in my youth inspired me to become less introverted and I learned successfully how to become more externally motivated. I won awards and the admiration of peers at that time. I soon discovered that having won (repeatedly) a top office the responsibilities involved necessitated I become entrenched with commitments. I didn’t have the freedom to explore in the moment what my deepest self wanted.

After toeing the line for 22 years I broke free. Tonight’s class asked us to write up a gratitude list. I wrote the basics like my wonderful home, friends, family, improved health, successfully ruled legal attack, and the gift of having found wonderful dance and yin yoga classes nearby. I’ve known for a long time that focusing on what feels good brings more good feelings than focusing on what hurts. I remember hearing a Maori healer once tell a class I got to attend the year before he died, “Give thanks when you stub your toe.” The next time I stubbed my toe I remembered and gave praise. It amazed me how much more quickly the pain of surprise and real pain dissolved.

When I was young I was vexed being confused. Elders told me to enjoy the chaos of not knowing. As I look back, I think this applies to the gift given in tonight’s session. You can focus on how others prefer pain and find pain acceptable, but you yourself, in your own heart and soul can smile and avert your eyes. There is bliss inside, a humming of internal joy that the body is alive and needs nutrition, movement, and loving attention. Life can be fun solving the dilemma to acquiring those needs. It doesn’t have to be a drag. It can be a joy.

What gets in the way of sensuality?

we give away

In Class #2 I got an understanding of how many rules I broke after class #1 when running errands with just my button-up shift, the cover-up coat, the no-see socks and my shoes. Did knowing I broke rules add that skip to my step or was it the freedom from constriction whether others saw or did not see that lifted my spirit? My mother doesn’t break the rules. She doesn’t want to get in trouble. Growing up with stringent rules I have stayed safe for the most part, but less than alive when the rules are more important than my desires.

In this second class it was brought to my attention that it is limitations placed upon us as we mature, usually quite unconsciously, that end up giving us the identity we take on as individuals. As babies, we are sponges, masses of clay on which the artist carves the next statue. As a baby I was told my older brother would do everything. I was seated in the middle of the room by my elders and asked what I wanted and how I would get it. The story goes, I always answered, “Marc will get it.”

It has taken many decades to return to my own self to determine that I will get what I want. Not how I’ll get what others want for me to get, or how I’ll get what I think will make others love me, but how I’ll get what will help me to grow and evolve into who I really am.

There are so many rules that we inherited and mostly agree to abide by without even questioning their origin or necessity. The work ethic that we must work five days to have a weekend off, or work fifty years in order to retire and do whatever it is we wanted to do in the first place is a debilitating rule and one the younger generation isn’t buying so readily, especially since the job market has undeniably changed since the 50s.

We aren’t supposed to make much noise, except on Independence Day. We’re supposed to look a certain way; wear certain clothes in a certain way, eat according to accredited guidelines, enter and act in a bus or an elevator in a certain way. Rules have a tendency to deny citizens their individuality. I remember when growing up I was told in the United States we were free to be ourselves. Yet, in the USSR or China, children couldn’t have their own thoughts. Are these society rules for the betterment of our culture, or the ease of those hired to protect us from ourselves? I remember in English class 7th grade Mrs. McKenna said, “Once you know the rules, you can break them.”

If so much of life demands we do things as others do them, what could possibly make anyone feel brave enough to claim credence to a concept that adding more pleasure and sensuality to our lives would be a good thing? Shutter to think we’d become a hedonist or nymphomaniac. Certain circles would shun us if we smiled more and perhaps even hummed from time to time except when requested to do so?

I was able to sequester myself off the road more traveled years ago. I’ve learned by isolating myself that when I do interact with others, it feels sacred. When I had to interact as expected and as I’d done for decades, I couldn’t see all the little miracles along the way because my eyes had been closed by the heavy pressure of conformity.

It’s important to determine which rules really apply to our lives and which ones we can adapt or shift more to our making. One thing is certain, we do have choice, some more than others but if determined to gain consciousness one can create more choice instantaneously.

Insecure Excitement

centaur love

I’ve been waiting for this class to start. The educators are a group of people who take my favorite subject very seriously. They live together and pleasure is one of their top priorities. I think as we age, we think pleasure is what our ancestors thought was pleasurable. If it was fine dining, or spending, or playing cards, or going to the beach; it’s pretty likely those things might be on our list. The concept of expanding the list of what brings us pleasure is a huge gift and one I think people should contemplate. Daily we have so many responsibilities/duties/obligations, but there are only certain acceptable pleasures we should indulge in, right? Expanding that concept might be healthy for millions of people.

The timing involved was perfect for me, as a leg up from one part of my life to another. Like this class will get me off my human legs and onto my Sagittarian ones. That big of a sea change.

Last night was the first of six classes. I listened at the time the class was taught. It’s only an hour long but I wasn’t sure what they were talking about or where they were going with it. What did confrontation have to do with orgasms? I thought the class was called Deliberate Orgasm. I did pick up that the class was getting us to think of our life in more sensual terms. That makes sense. They were encouraging us to become sensual researchers. I like that assignment.

Today when speaking with one of the educators it was explained to me that this being one of their opening classes, it is about sensuality. While on the call I realized that I had something to say about sensuality and as much as I know about my own orgasms, the chance to turn my writing towards the art of sensuous living sounds like a delightful adventure.

Laying on my beige micro-fiber (fake suede) love seat, I realized the beige dress I put on after court last night and haven’t taken off yet is a sensual adventure all in itself. It’s a dress I got somewhere for $3 about ten years ago. I’ve never worn it and it’s not my color but it’s been hanging there nonetheless. Yet it feels so good on my body; sleeveless, v-neck, buttoned up, a soft old cotton. Nothing itchy. Nothing restrictive. My body felt protected yet free at the same time. After class I put a coat on because I needed ink and groceries and had energy to go. I ran from Staples to Trader Joe’s and home again fully aware that other than my lavender no-show socks I had nothing restrictive or uncomfortable on my body. I don’t find fancy clothes or high heeled shoes to be very sensuous or erotic. But that’s just me.

Now, just sipping my thick kale avocado cucumber and strawberry smoothie seems a grand escape from the focus necessary to get my work done for the day. Yes, focusing on pleasure and sensuality for the next three weeks, I’m in! Are you?