The one thing that makes everything else real is our time. In fact, what we do with our time is our life. Time is the only resource, which we are allotted in equal measure, and often the one we squander mindlessly. We speak in terms of time management and search for balance between our work and personal affairs and yet rarely glimpse what time is really for- until we brush against its end. Death is the great clarifier of our time, the moment when we witness just how brief and fleeting this life really is. We had a death in our family this week; so I am here again, looking at what I do with my hours and wondering why I still can’t seem to have a realistic relationship with how much can be done in a day. Still, with each new experience of this final loss, I think often and hard about what I spend my time doing and why. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the 'Making Love Sustainable' Category
Last weekend I found myself at a meditation retreat steeping in my own resistance. Don’t get me wrong- I love to meditate and have been using a variety of guided meditations to bolster my positivity practice for many years. Meditation is how I got through many sleepless nights, sometimes with profound revelatory moments of peace and insight. So, it wasn’t meditation that I was resisting, rather a very old belief that spiritual truths shouldn’t be taught by those seeking money. It is a resistance I have known for so long that I can’t remember not having it. I was a small child when I learned for the first time how much it cost to belong to temples and churches; and even more vividly, in my early twenties at a meditation retreat in France when the teacher bartered my attendance- in exchange for not having money he required me to stay alone for hours in a dark cave. I didn’t.
One of the most important revelations I ever had about relationships is that the ones that tend to thrive understand the relationship as not just as something that is a product of the interaction between two people, but rather as a living entity unto itself. This distinction is everything, because when we perceive our relationship as a living thing with needs of its own, we have a way out of the persistent and damaging competition of whose needs are being met, and focus instead on meeting the needs of the relationship, which magically then creates the safety and space to meet all of the individual needs we bring to it.
It is always when we land on the last day that we realize any regular day has the potential to be the one that includes our last goodbye. Dogs are not only the most faithful and loyal of friends to us, but they are also our most gentle teachers about life’s cycle. Our beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback, Coco, has lived with us now for thirteen and a half years- a year and half longer than her life expectancy. Every day is a gift – and I have taken her on walks and kept her near me as much as I could with my ridiculous travel schedule. Each time I leave, teary, I tell her “Not yet, I will be right back.” And so, apparently, she has waited for me for this last goodbye.
I have long been accused of crossing a line in relationships; in fact, I have lost more than one relationship to my tendency of overstepping a comfort zone- asking questions they didn’t want to answer or looking more deeply into their lives than they wanted to show. For me, this is where the heart of life lies. I have little interest in the superficial and I believe the real answers to what motivates us lives in how we feel and perceive, not what we think. We each have an invisible set of lines, like a fine mesh that we draw around our hearts and our desire for relationship and intimacy. These are easily witnessed in initial meetings when the clash of personal space boundaries is most apparent. Coming too close physically creates a palpable discomfort – like falling into a foreign culture. Remember the English parents invited to dinner in My Big Fat Greek Wedding? And yet, this invisible defense mechanism has a much deeper reach into our capacity of relating itself.
This month’s theme, focused on healing heartbreak, is deeply personal and yet, also profoundly universal. In this life dominated by relationships of all kinds- personal, familial, and professional, no matter where you fall in your level of engagement and vulnerability, no one gets out unscathed. I have long ascribed to the belief taught in many spiritual traditions that we are given our relationships as life’s most gentle and kind teachers. And yet, in the aftermath of broken relationships as we feel pummeled by betrayal, abandonment and broken promises, or conversely, drowned in the guilt and shame of cruelty and selfishness, our relationships feel like anything but teachers. Here is the thing, our suffering in relationships can only become our teacher if we are willing to get beyond the storyline of our broken heart and recognize the habits of our own unkindness. We have to dive into the heart itself.
Fear is the driver for many people’s sexual and erotic lives. One of Freud’s students, Otto Rank, was quoted as saying, “People vacillate between the fear of living and the fear of dying.” In some ways, our fears about our sexuality encompass both. We are equally terrified of what might happen if we gave into our erotic fantasy life and that we might never experience the pleasure we know that we hold in us. Worse still, these invisible and unnamed fears not only strangle our own capacity for intimacy but also are the source of the harshest judgments we hold about the sexuality of others; often times, those we hold most dear. Whether rooted in religious teachings or our first family structures, our sexual fears are instilled in us early and, as we mature, often translate into deeply held inhibitions, which prevent us from evolving sexually.
This year, we’re excited to be a part of August McLaughlin’s Beauty of a Woman BlogFest 2015. Not only does this online event celebrate collective female beauty and sexuality, but readers of this blog are also invited to go forth to read, learn and discuss. Not to mention- you’re eligible for prizes! Check it out!
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Sex has become the gateway meeting. Driven by phone apps and new social conventions of myriad hook ups as a way to “get to know someone,” sex- the deepest intimate connection we have to offer to another human being has been turned on its head and is now shared among much of the millennial generation with little more regard than a meeting for a drink. Sometimes, it starts with meeting for a drink- but by and large the idea of reserving the revelation of our sexual selves for the safe confines of an intimate relationship is passé. Being a mother of 4 young adults, I frequently witness the havoc that this new version of sexuality wreaks on the budding erotic souls of our next generation.
Lelo, one of the largest vibrator manufacturers in the world is launching a feature film and guess what – it’s not about sex. Rather, the film depicts a world where men and women have come to live apart, in a futuristic apocalypse of relationships. The film points to the immediacy and urgency of re-learning the dying art of relationship. I am always encouraged when I get these kinds of messages in my inbox- diminishing the loneliness I sometimes feel in my quest to put our capacity for relating first. With Valentine’s Day around the corner and all of its collateral damage, there isn’t a better time to reflect on our ability and willingness to not only work on our relationships, but even more deeply, to figure out how to truly inhabit them.