"...the book was most helpful in approaching death because it describes in detail the deepening mental states through which the dying person passes and how to prepare for them... we pass through these states each and every day when we go to sleep or end a dream, as well as fainting, sneezing or orgasm." ~ Forward in 'Advice on Dying' by the Dalai Lama
I have spent the last few months making time to masterdate. You read that right. Earlier this month I took a weekend off of work to take myself on the perfect dates in honor of my favorite holiday, Dia de los Muertos. I grew up without holidays so I have no sentimental affinity for any holiday except this one because when I was experiencing the death and grieving process of the end of my marriage a beautiful Mexican friend introduced me to The Day of the Dead as it was her favorite holiday. Simply recalling the introduction to something I never knew before gives me chills. This resonated so deeply and I had yet to understand why. I didn't want to disrespect a tradition native to someone else's culture and not my own so I took my time getting to know it and understand it. There is a deep reverence and sacredness to this time period and I wanted to honor it with the respect it deserved. For now, I will explain what it has come to mean for me and my views of sex.
In years past, when experiencing heavy grief or numbing from trauma I would turn to sex in order to feel something again. Desire came from a space of lack. In grieving sex offered not only an escape but also a palpability to the pain of my experience. When numb it was the only thing that felt safe to feel. These experiences offered a sanctuary from my own emotions, my heart, my mind and my spirit. I couldn't process life when I felt as though all I knew was death, death of my self, my ideas, my dreams, even my realities. I remained in the darkness but the darkness wasn't scary when I had sex. I will expand on this more in the future...
Now here I am, years later, giggling with myself for calling my self care escapades "masterdating" (a Facebook friend deserves credit for that word) and feeling comfortable with feelings of discomfort. I have known various forms of death and as I rebuild my life on my own I find contentment in aloneness. There is a surrender required to truly heal and grow beyond your stories. So now I can be fascinated with the state of dying because I am not currently in that state (any more than any living creature anyway) but having known the closeness of it, having become intimate with it the fascination returns when I awake from a dream, when I catch myself falling into meditation or experiencing Yoga Nidra while riding the bus to work, but most of all I still experience that state in sex but much more so. When you release fear of death it becomes easier to drop into these states.
When you are not a victim to your own drama anymore your choices become much more conscious as do the people you choose to surround yourself with; the more intimate the relationship the more particular you become. This is because you are acutely aware of your own sacredness. You don't forget your humanness and you are by no means close to perfect but life is manageable. When a majority of people you see struggle to manage their life and their own feelings as they are easily swayed by anything that triggers them (other people, social media, politics, etc.) you must fall in love with aloneness for your own sanity.
This brings me back to sex. Now I can see so clearly when desire comes from a space of lack and not just sexual desire but any desire; decisions and choices are made from fear because the focus is on what one does not want and when I look into someone's eyes I can see it, it looks almost crazed to me and it's familiar because I know that space all too well. You see more of what you fear, more of what's "wrong" and less of what is a blessing, what has deeper purpose. When I am familiar with that empty feeling and can compare it to the feeling I have now after working so hard on myself so that I can be of service to others, those feelings I have of fulfillment and of gratitude, then how could I possibly invite that old fear into my space on any level, especially a sexual one?
It's easier to have a stronger internal boundary when you have been blessed to know men on an intimate level that set the standard, they are the standard as opposed to men you find yourself assessing to see if they meet "a" standard. If you have to think about it then they don't measure up; either they are the standard or they aren't and I for one, deserve no less. This is the man that joins with you from a space of equality eager to share a spiritual awakening through orgasm with you. He doesn't come to take from you something he is lacking within himself, instead he knows that the experience will challenge you both to go deeper within yourselves as well as one another and he has the courage to allow the experience to unfold as it's meant to. Fear is overcome with courage as you explore the states of consciousness that join death and orgasm. Old patterns of needing to attach meaning to this shared experience can be tempting but then you remind yourself that you are both safe and allowed to explore different realms of consciousness together because that shared moment is why you are together. It teaches you to remain more present and to give up the need to control anything by defining it because you know that will limit this one thing that is meant to help you both transcend those old limiting beliefs; those old unhealthy patterns.
These connections are what I wait for now. This has been a new layer of learning for my body who is used to getting what it wants when it wants. Now my mind, heart, spirit and body are beginning to have a mutual understanding and appreciation for what the sacredness of sex has the potential of being. Once you have this kind of shared experience with someone, just the presence of the other person has a profound effect on you, it can be unsettling but infinitely worth it. This is how a sexual experience can trigger the death of something you no longer need to hold on to in the healthiest of ways. Some deaths are welcomed.
Saying 'goodbye' to the past seems to have been a theme this past month. Sometimes we hold on to people because they helped us remember who we were, who we are, or who we long to become. Over time though as we recover, heal, grow and expand we realize that we have outgrown these people and they may have even outgrown us.
When I began to realize how far I've come and as I accepted where I really want to be, only then did I begin to truly feel the "letting go" of the connections I held on to for so long. I had held on to people from my past as a way of pacifying the struggles I was going through. At some point however, I realized I held on more out of fear than out of love. Some people had grown and began moving towards a different path, our work together coming to completion; but most people remained the same. Years have gone by now and still so many people had remained exactly the same. It began to feel so strange to me that for so long I clung to these people I loved as some sort of safety net, a way to cling to hope and an identity... an identity that I was working so hard at evolving in the first place! This was no longer love, this was desperation. Why continue to hold on to the past? Because it's familiar? Out of fear?
I am no longer desperate. I am no longer the person I was 30 years ago, 20 years ago, 10, last year, last month, yesterday... So why hang on to a fantasy, and a fantasy based on fear, pain, lack, emptiness...?
The one man that I knew had outgrown me is the one who loved most authentically. He showed me what it's like to love in the present. He showed me that there are men who choose to grow and evolve and are brave enough to be vulnerable, to be raw, to connect. We both outgrew the roles we were meant to play for one another along with the way our love was meant to be expressed for each other but a love that real, a connection that authentic is never outgrown, it expands, it invites others who are ready for that kind of love and who need that kind of companion who can share a vision and work to create that together. This kind of love is not what the above quote is referring to because that kind of love drops seeds everywhere it goes, even when lovers part ways. The quote is for the more common love, at least from my experience, the love born from pain, emptiness, loneliness, an aching need we hope someone else can fulfill.
Maybe it's the Saturn transit, maybe it's because the moon is in Cancer, maybe it's mere coincidence but this has been a month of acknowledging the harsh Winters of all the empty love that never offered any real connection. That flower has grown tired of the harsh conditions, constantly fighting to break through the impenetrable soil. Seeds have been dropped though, potent seeds filled with potential that will remain alive and vibrant until the perfect conditions arise for it to bloom and flourish creating a mutual and balanced experience, creating new life.
"I want you" - "I need you" - "I choose you"
There was a time when I longed to be wanted; I craved the words, "I need you". Then I realized that 'want' comes from a space of emptiness and 'need' was coming from my own perception of lack. I wanted nothing more than to be enough for someone. How absurd when my cries were from a space of emptiness and lack proving I wasn't enough?!
I began to do the work, primarily focused on awareness; noticing when my patterns could potentially emerge, pausing, and making a different choice than one I would have made in the past. My entire world and worldview shifted as well as how I interacted with others. The thing about being self-aware is you begin to become more self-fulfilled, more self-nurturing and learn the healthy balance of self-love thereby giving you the opportunity to truly show up and love others in the healthiest ways for everyone. Every interaction with other human beings becomes more fulfilling, even if it is simply because it offers a new awareness or opportunity for growth.
This is about the time the opportunity to know a certain kind of love knocked on my door. This time I was ready to face any fears head on as they would come up and begin to mindfully explore this new road with absolutely no attachment to an idea, a fantasy or a desired outcome.
Here's the thing about dating when you have worked on all of your own 'stuff', you can be completely open to standing in witness of how things unfold. For the first time I wasn't the girl jumping to the end of the book to see how it ends before reading the entire thing, I am the woman who picks up the book excited to see where this journey takes me, perfectly willing to accept a surprise ending or explore an infinite amounts of chapters.
Here I am discovering what it's like to choose someone every single day. I would read the quotes about love being a choice and love being a verb but never appreciated it in the real sense, the a posteriori sense. But now, now I see that the choice alone is a verb. Our overall wellness is a choice as well as a union of the mind, body and spirit; this goes for our relationships as well. Each morning and throughout the day my mind may choose him, other times my heart and often my body wants a say as well. When I'm with him they all choose him at once and it's like music; different types of music, sometimes the playlist changes or it's on shuffle but for each day and each experience we share, even in quiet stillness, there is always music.
Now desire is born from the space of my own fulfillment and the recognition of the fulfillment he has within him. Desire comes from all the little things that make this person who they are, the shadow and the light, creating this beautiful package. Desire comes from the appreciation of being accepted as we are with no projections from our past. Desire comes from the relief of getting to know someone who doesn't truly need anything from us but chooses to sometimes be the one to graciously give and sometimes graciously receive. Desire will be easy because even the scariest moments will somehow make you feel even safer and you will feel a sense of ease as you get through them together. Desire will be the celebration of sharing an exciting experience with someone new, ready for wherever the road may lead you because no matter what, you will always have these moments that you are sharing together.
Micah's confessions and lessons that have helped with self-forgiveness, healing and acceptance.