Archive for the 'Making Love Sustainable' Category

Hurt Heart: Breast Revelations

Friday, October 17th, 2014

breastcancerresized“Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.”  -Carl Jung


We hurt ourselves by trying to defend ourselves against our own truth. The pain we refuse to feel collects in us and is stored in the places we are most shielded, which for most of us, is our hearts. We are so fearful of the potential of a broken heart that we inadvertently refuse to open our hearts for their intended use. This practice of shielding our hearts and denying our feelings can become such a deep and prolonged habit that we walk around encased in a shield that we don’t even know we are wearing. This explains why it is so rare and beautiful a thing – the meeting of two open hearts. It’s no good, this refusal of our own heart experience. The act of becoming numb to ourselves actually requires a lot of effort and explains our collective fixation on the wide range of drug and alcohol induced self-medicating. The pain in our collective breasts begins with what remains unseen in our hearts.
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Asking for Help

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

giving1resized“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.” -Dalai Lama

 

I spend most of my days trying to help but am only just learning how to receive help. The weakest link and most meaningful learning in my fledgling practice to receive help is in having the courage to ask and believe I can get the help I need.  This applies to everything from cleaning up a 100 year mess I inherited behind my house, to figuring out how to connect to my teenage daughter. The more I practice this often overlooked skill, the more I realize just how far a little help goes.

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Getting the Hurt We Believe We Deserve

Friday, October 10th, 2014

silhouette3resized“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”  -Buddha

 

I have come to believe that so many relationships are so hurtful because we believe that is the love we deserve. For years after my parents’ divorce, I watched my mother have a 30- year affair with a man who would never really show up for her in the ways she needed. She would end it over and over again after holidays or her birthday when she was alone, and then after they would get back together, she would go on about how this is enough for her. This was all the love that she believed she deserved. My friendships during my adolescent years mostly, were like hers- and left me feeling wanting, not pretty enough, not good enough. Like many of us, I learned how to have relationships that belittled and hurt me. My earliest romantic relationships went from bad to worse, yet even through my tearful protestations that I deserved someone who would love me, I continuously attracted boys who didn’t see me or care about me. Basically I got the hurt that I believed I was worthy of.

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Intimate Violence

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

domvi1resized“In violence we forget who we are.” -Mary McCarthy

 

Seeing a pro-football player knock out his girlfriend on an elevator video captures our collective attention. The league is held responsible for not taking the violence seriously, giving the offender a two game suspension, and then, after the public outcry, they expel him indefinitely. Intimate crimes persist, in part, because we don’t want to see them, and it isn’t just among our celebrities and sports heroes that we look beyond domestic violence. The numbers are mind-boggling. In a lifetime, one of four women are seriously physically abused by their intimate partners, which means that you probably know someone who has been or is being abused. Unbelievable but true- 15% of all violent crimes committed between 2003 and 2012 were by intimate partners. Although men are also sometimes victims, they are the perpetrators in 90% of the cases according to a 2002 report.

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Sex Education Heals

Friday, September 26th, 2014

bedcouple2resized“Concealment makes the soul a swamp. Confession is how you drain it.”  -Charles M. Blow

 

To my mind, the most powerful reckoning we make in this lifetime is with our sexual selves. Rarely are we privileged to bear witness to this process in others, even our most intimate others. So, when a NY Times columnist has the courage to  disclose how an act of childhood sexual abuse slowly evolved into a complex, yet healing journey to sexual identity, I am in awe. In part, because childhood sexual abuse is so widespread, yet remains cloaked in a silencing shame. It is hard to know whether it is the original event itself that damages so many lives so thoroughly or the fact that so many harbor this secret shame alone. I know that what we refuse to look at, what remains hidden inside of us, and what is beyond our ability to speak of and process, grows more malignant with each passing year.

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Outgrowing Our Sexual Adolescence

Friday, September 12th, 2014

gaymenfieldresized“Most people are mirrors, reflecting the moods and emotions of the times; few are windows, bringing light to bear on the dark corners where troubles fester. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.”  -Sydney Harris

 

We come into our erotic consciousness in our early adolescence. The process is mostly subconscious as the maturing brain establishes unique patterns of pleasurable stimuli, often in response to painful events or relationships that it is working to resolve. Like our fingerprints, or the subtle distinctions in our sense of smell, our arousal mechanism evolves outside of our control and often, to our surprise. It is no wonder that the first and often long-standing issue most of us begin our sexual journey with is – am I normal? As we come to know what turns us on, even in its most subtle forms, our sexuality pushes our boundaries of normalcy. Our sexual selves are the unique, wild streak in us that won’t be easily contained and whose full pleasure potential is achieved the less we try to control it. Since the Biblical verses in the Garden of Eden, human sexuality has been considered dangerous, serpent-like.

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Celebrating Sexual Wellbeing

Friday, September 5th, 2014

indianwomenresizedAfter people are clothed and fed, then they think about sex.  -Confucius 479 BC

 

What does sexual wellbeing mean to you? This is the question that the World Association for Sexual Health (WAS) selected for its focus on the 2nd annual World Sexual Health Day this week on September 4th.  More than 30 countries took part by creating events to recognize the need to articulate and understand the concept of sexual rights for all. This is no small thing, given that in most countries, the science of sexology does not exist and that, with the exception of a few Western nations, there is no collection or depository of sexual health data. Globally, we have not been willing or able to create a standardized terminology for the varied practices of sex. Unlike most other human-related scientific disciplines, our conception and understanding of our sexuality and related erotic selves remains in its infancy. When it comes to sexual behaviors, there is no collective data on legislation or its enforcement, the economic ramifications of sexual practices or even a shared global criteria for sexual counseling. It is truly something to celebrate that we have arrived at the 2nd anniversary of this day dedicated to raising global consciousness and I was proud to be included as a primary sponsor for the North American event in New York City.

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Engaging With Our Stories

Friday, August 29th, 2014

manwalkingdogresized“Don’t change the world, change worlds.”  -St Francis of Assisi

 

One of my favorite talks that I listen to over and over again by Pema Chodron is her teaching about cultivating Bodichitta, which is another word for the ‘awakened heart.’ Her advice is that we have to start where we are, recognizing the love we have to give and, more importantly, the love we can receive in this present moment. In the talk, she empathizes about how many people share the common and painful experience of not being able to identify a single person that they felt loved them truly and unconditionally. This narrative of feeling unlovable is rampant in our time. Arguably, there are more people living lonely and disconnected lives than in any time in our history, which is ironic given the vast technological advances designed to connect us all.

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Love Agent: Best of Love Shared

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

thinkinggirl2resizedI didn’t realize when we first envisioned the Love Agent movement that we were  actually creating an ongoing mechanism for relational breakthroughs until recently when it has became clear how challenging it is for our hundreds of love agents to go from being registered to engaged.   I naively thought that our little love missions would become a simple self fulfilling prophecy as people experienced how enhancing their intimate connections makes their lives more satisfying and whole.  I underestimated how becoming more loving in our lives actually represents a break through in our thinking.  And that It isn’t just our busyness that keeps people from engaging as love agents, but rather our initial resistance to changing our thinking and our lack of practice in sustaining it.

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Engaging Our Breakthroughs

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

nightsky2“…Having breakthroughs isn’t the point.  Living them is.  Seeing in a new way is only the beginning.” -Martha Beck

 

I find myself sobbing in a bathroom stall in the Chicago airport on my way to a meeting across the country, thinking “has it really come to this?” Grief catches up to us in unexpected places and times. The airport bathroom scene was triggered by sitting near a young family with four kids on the plane I had just unboarded, recognizing the finality of my active mom days that has shaped my world for over 25 years.  It occurred to me, as I walked the endless corridors between gates, that we spend the first half of life building, acquiring and creating what we are then required to let go of in the second half. On some moving walkway an emotional breakthroughs comes through me, unannounced like the change of the sudden thunderstorm over head, and I realize that this grief of mine is a privilege that I earned. This breakthrough in thinking lifted me and gratitude replaced my despair.

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